North Georgia Fishing Report: Dec. 4, 2013

Info Provided by: Jeff Durniak, GA DNR North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor

Delayed harvest rainbow trout from the Chattooga.
Delayed harvest rainbow trout from the Chattooga.

EDITED: Quick notice – North Georgia streams are very high due to 2+ inches of rainfall yesterday. It may be several days before they return to wadeable levels. Check the USGS river gauges carefully before making a trip up here and getting into the water. Wading safety = careful thought first (whether to be in the water at all), then a wading belt, a staff, and a buddy. Some stream fans even wear PFD’s like the SOS-penders, or fish from the bank.

Our staff has also learned from Georgia Power Company that the Murray Cove boat ramp, which provides public boating access while the lake is drawn down in the winter, is closed for renovations until the new year. This may mean boaters will have to wait a short time to launch again on Burton and hunt its trophy spots and brown trout. The good news is that the Murray Cove ramp should be better once the work is completed. More info on GPC lakes.

Looking for success with reservoir stripers and hybrids? Now’s the time! This warm, overcast weather has a lot of fish near the surface early, late and after dark.  Lanier anglers Jimmy and Landon hooked three on Monday afternoon (Dec. 2, 2013). They boated two, and left a new fly line with a whopper, which headed down into the trees and on to freedom.  Many stripers are aiming for small shad (2 inches), so carry some small lures or flies with you as you follow the diving birds.  Night anglers are doing well, too.

Reports for reservoir stripers and hybrids:

Fish slow for some big bass in reservoirs! Check out these reports from Lake Lanier:

Delayed harvest and tailwater trout are also biting well.  Watch dam generation schedules and rainfall/runoff to pick fishable locales where the water isn’t too high or muddy. USGS stream flow gauges, fishing guides, and local tackle shops are great info sources! Smaller watersheds, like Smith Creek Delayed Harvest Stream, will shed heavy rainfall much faster than large basins such as the Toccoa River Delayed Harvest, and will therefore have many more fishable days. Always have a small stream Plan B ready in case your Plan A gets rained out.

Nice scenic look at the Delayed Harvest section of the Chattooga.
Nice scenic look at the Delayed Harvest section of the Chattooga.

Despite very cold water (39 degrees F), Dredger had a great Saturday afternoon (Nov. 30) on the Chattooga River Delayed Harvest by bottom-rolling apricot egg flies and tungsten beaded hare’s-ears along the bottom in riffles and runs. A brook, two browns and a big bunch of rainbows came to hand.  The Old Dog thanked young Landon for the recent lesson in Helen on the “French nymphing” technique, which worked well on the Chattooga.  Hint: try a dab of Biostrike to save rigging time over the mono “sighter.”

Lessons in French nymphing:

Did I mention that Dredger’s flies were bumping the bottom?

A good bet for wild trout:  Topwater  action is unlikely, but dredged nymphs should do well as the waters warm this week.  Some of the USGS stream gauges also monitor water temperatures, so you can get a feel for warming trends that may turn on the headwater trout (examples: Hooch in Helen, Chattooga at Burrells Ford).  Just subtract a few degrees if you’re fishing “way uphill” from the river gauge.

Look at your Georgia trout map and find those year-round streams such as the Tallulah and Charlies, Overflow, the upper Chattooga and Noontootla.  Also, Dukes Creek at Smithgall Woods State Park has given up whoppers to camera-toting anglers. See North Georgia Trout Online (NGTO) for their stories and pics.  Dukes Creek fishing reservations: 706-878-3087.  Hint: try picking up an open slot at Dukes due to a no-show.  If none are available, institute Plan B (Smith Creek).

Mentoring Kudos!  Shout-out to Trouter 23 for “passing it on!”

Grab a raincoat and take advantage of the warm weather this week!

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