Info Provided by: Jeff Durniak, GA DNR North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor and North Georgia Region Fisheries staff
Fall is here and so are the abundant angling opportunities associated with cooling waters, recharging rainfall, and lots of sport fish species trying to stock up on groceries before winter. From headwater trout to reservoir stripers, a great menu of excursions awaits north Georgians during our “angling Octoberfest.” The weekend weather report looks great and stream flows are falling after this week’s monsoons, so make some plans for Saturday. Best bets: bluelining wild trout in the afternoons and chasing reservoir bass on top, early and late. Here’s the latest news…
Banker’s Smokies Specks – “Here’s another trip report. Oldest son and I had an amazing day in the Smokies in late September on an IDBIS brookie stream. Consistent action all day from 11:00 on with dries, including almost two dozen between us out of one large waterfall pool! First we cleaned out the tail / lip feeders with dries then hammered them in the main body of the pool with ant droppers using a new bead head sinking ant pattern I really like (bet we could have gotten 30 if we’d used green weenie droppers). Small dries worked well all day – #16 peacock EHC and #16 Mr Rapidan Parachute (BWO colored) in the runs, pockets and pool tails. Mid – afternoon saw some Cahills coming off, so a #14 trailing shuck parachute also worked well. Then saw some spinners coming back late in the day and switched to orange spinners last hour finishing strong. Water level and temp were about perfect. Better than average size as well – many 8″ and a few up to 9″ and fat, which is pretty good by Smokies standards. Fish have obviously been gorging on terrestrials all summer with all the rain. Wish I could be on the water more right now because it’s going to be a great fall!” – Banker
“Took Terry Rivers to IDBIS Creek on Friday and we had another good day, if not quite as stellar as the mid-September trip with my son. Fished some of the same water as before but also a 1/4 mi. section that we didn’t fish before after we saw another fisherman coming off it. Dry fly action was good between noon and 3:00. Small and dark worked best, same as before – #16 – 18 Mr. Rapidan Parachute (BWO imitation) worked best for me and #16 peacock EHC worked well for Terry. I also used a new pattern that I copied from the Blue Ribbon Flies catalog that I have been wanting to try, a Royal Wulff cripple size 16 but with a blue krystal flash band instead of red. Started the day with it and it was kinda slow at first but they started hitting it better as the morning wore on (the stream is at 4000 feet, so definitely late rising this time of year). Biggest difference from last time was the weather. Overcast all day but still mild temp. A front came through about 4:00 and it got misty, then started raining on us as we were hiking out about 5:00. Water temp when we started was 53 vs 55 before, and I’m sure it dropped after the front came through. Everything pretty well shut down then, at least on dries. Fishing a dropper PT nymph in the big waterfall pool that we did so well at before got no action. Terry got a couple nice ones on the EHC though. Fish were running same size as before – mostly 7 – 8 inches and full of color. Terry has some good pics that I’m sure he will show you. As soon as I can figure out how to download mine from my new camera, I’ll send those as well. Spectacular early fall scenery and great fishing, a near perfect blueline afternoon. Still sore from the rock climbing though. I’m glad Terry got out without screwing up his other knee. I’m sure we both slept in late Saturday.” – Banker
Headwater rainbows – “On my way back from Blue Ridge on Saturday (10/11), I hit one of the local WMA streams to see how the wild rainbows are biting. I fished from about 1:00 to 4:00 and did pretty well on dries. No monsters, as usual, but I fooled a couple 9-inchers among the 8-10 I landed. Great colors on the wild fish right now. Got one that reminded me of a cutthroat, due to the lack of spotting on its front half (see pic). Some of the fish seemed to be fattening-up for the lean winter months to come.” – John Damer, Fisheries Biologist
Headwater Rainbows – Report No. 2
Rainy Rainbows at Dukes – Congrats to Foothills TU’er Ricky Ozmar. Net-man Dredger reports that this young flyfishing fanatic has really “got game” at Dukes Creek. The eighth-grader took advantage of stained waters last Sunday to first toss big and bright patterns such as pink san jauns and Pat’s rubberlegs. As the water cleared through the late afternoon, he scaled down to small pheasant tails and hares ears to stay in the game. A nice handful of chunky rainbows to 19 inches was netted, while a monster was lost when Ricky’s dropper fly hung on a submerged limb. I guess a rematch is in the making. PS – Google “October caddis” and carry a few of these big dries along with you to Georgia’s larger trout streams.
Toccoa Tailwater Lunkers – You may recall seeing the photo of John Damer holding up a fifteen-pound brown that was sampled and released back into the Toccoa Tailwater. John told me the rest of the story: three other trout of nine pounds or better were also captured, measured, and released during his September sampling.
Georgia’s Delayed Harvest Trout Streams (November 1) – Get ready for this annual program of catch-and-release trout fishing opportunities on selected Georgia streams. Here are some tips to help you prepare for good times ahead. More tips from Orvis: How to make a water haul cast, and how to detect strikes when nymph fishing.
Outdoor Adventrure Days Thanks! – Thanks to all of you volunteers who helped at one of WRD’s events on September 27 to celebrate National Fishing and Hunting Day. We had 92 volunteers at the Unicoi State Park event, with a total of 1,037 attendees. Enjoy the photo of a father and son who had a great time at the park, due in large part to your help.
Good luck. Layer up to start your day and then shed some clothes as the afternoon sun thaws you out. Don’t forget the extra change of clothes in the car, in case you take a wrong (and cold) step while wading.