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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Day 4

Our last full day at Georgia was spent fishing at the cabin. Hard to argue the decision after the success we had our first day there; we were basically having withdrawals not hitting it the the day before. It was another good day with some quality fish caught, though not quite as many as on day one. On day one trout were holding all over the place, by day four water levels had dropped and clarity improved a good bit. Instead of getting hits on lousy drifts, you actually had to concentrate and work the water over, hitting every seam where they might be holding. When you got a hit though it was usually a quality fish. I finally lost the Upper Colorado rig that worked well the first day, but Blake had tied up similar stonefly patterns that worked nearly as well, one of them I’ll have up for an SBS pretty soon.

The first fish I tied into on the day was a strong fighter, made several jumps and ran me downstream to the point where I had to actually follow the fish (not quite River Runs Through It style).  It may not have been the biggest fish on the trip, but I’m really happy I didn’t screw it up and was able to bring this fish to hand.

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Then Blake got in on the action with a couple nice fish, the second one on actually came on the dry. Always a treat to watch a big trout rise and sip (or clobber) a big dry.

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The day went on like this as we picked our spots and worked them over. The first (and only) snake encounter we had on the weekend was with a black rat snake that just wanted to be left alone.

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Later on I landed a brookie, a rare treat on this stream which gave me a slam on the day.

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After that we grabbed a beer at the cabin then headed to the spot where we doubled on day one and I tried (and failed) to document with the GoPro. We approached the hole a little differently as the fish weren’t holding in the same spot. These fish were stacked up under some rhododendron so Blake stood on the bank and told me where my drift needed to go and after a short while I was rewarded with a good eat.

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We let the spot settle down, then tried our luck drifting through again, this time a bit further downstream. It wasn’t long before I had another eat and this time it was a better fish. The fish ran sideways and after a very short fight my tippet gave way. What a heartbreak. We pushed further down, beating the bank with nymphs and streamers. Blake threw at a downed tree and I remember telling him that looked like a good spot. I threw at it and had a massive take, then as I laid into him to set the hook deep, I came up empty. My entire rig broke off above the dry! Not quite sure how it happened, there was a lot of structure down there, so it could have run me up into there, all I know is that this fish seemed larger than any other we caught all weekend, now maybe he’s sporting some lip jewelry. Another heartbreak, I really wasn’t in the mood to tie anything else on after that. Blake fished on and caught one last fish before we went back to the cabin.

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It really didn’t take much to convince me to rig up again and I was able to land one more before it got too dark to see.

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Day 5

We woke up a little bit earlier to fish before the long drive back to Louisiana. Not much doing for me on the day, but I did land a couple of fish of note – another brookie and a “trophy” bluehead chub.

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BBQ and Lazy Magnolia at The Shed in Ocean Springs put a nice touch on the end of the trip – I forgot how good this place was. Another successful trip to North Georgia for Memorial Day weekend in the books. It’s too bad we caught a year when my parents were out of town and the girls couldn’t make it, but that certainly freed us up to do a ton of fishing. It was a good year for it too because the creek at the cabin is fishing better now than I ever remember. Hopefully it fishes the same next time I head that way, not sure when that will be, but I always look forward to it.

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Saturday we decided to hit wild water again, however this time we headed somewhere new, to a stream that I’ve yet to fish in the Cohutta Wilderness. It was a bigger body of water than the previous stream and one that we could only access by hiking in, which is always appealing because it keeps most of the riff raff off the water. We stopped at Blue Ridge Fly Fishing on the way in to see if we could re-stock our supply of flies that had been working at the cabin. They were also able to offer advice on what might work where we were headed. We continued on our way and parked at a trailhead along a headwater stream.

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The trail was a gently sloping downhill which took us two miles to where it met the river, then it was just a matter of finding a good place to start fishing. When we got down to the river there were some folks camping streamside and even a few other fishermen, so we hiked a bit further downstream before we began fishing.

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The river was beautiful and had more vertical water than I thought it would, no complaints here, that is something we were use to fishing on our smaller streams. Water levels were great so holding water was everywhere. It didn’t take long to catch fish either, I believe Blake had a hit on the first spot he fished while we were just crossing. We started with dries, throwing yellow bodied Adams, per the advice of the guy at BRFF, and that’s all I fished the whole day, I was getting hits relatively consistently. Blake switched it up and started nymphing the deeper runs and having success as well. The combo worked well since he could work the deep water and I was picking apart the pocket water. Fish size was slightly larger than the day before and I had a solid fish rise at the end of the day, but still no above average fish brought to hand on this day.

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We stopped in Blue Ridge to get dinner and pick up more beer before heading back to the cabin. A couple things to note: the food at the Black Bear Bier Garten was good, but the portion size of our sandwiches left us wanting more – in Louisiana it is generally the other way around, maybe I’m jaded. Also, for a “Bier Garten” the selection of beer was quite lousy, though I did have an excellent Mother Earth Dark Cloud, something I wouldn’t have been able to get back home. One would think that the “Beer Barn” would be an excellent place to find a selection of beer however that wasn’t the case, according to Dad we should have went to Ingle’s. Lessons learned.

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Friday we headed to one of our favorite small streams in the area. It is one of the few in Georgia that have wild, reproducing populations of all three of the state’s resident trout species – brook, brown, and rainbow. Normally this stream is a can’t miss, it has fished well for us every time we’ve hit it, which is one reason we keep coming back. It also tends to produce some larger than average small stream fish. This time was a little different though, it didn’t fish nearly as well. I blame the slight cold front that moved through the area overnight, dropping lows into the 40s. Yeah I know, it’s a convenient excuse to explain slow fishing, but it’s the best I’ve got. Still we had a good time watching the rainbows we did catch smash dries, too bad we couldn’t convince any other species to come out and play.

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We got off the stream early enough to head back to the cabin, grab a quick drink, then hit the creek before dark. It was still fishing pretty well, though I don’t remember seeing any of the bruisers we saw the day before.

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As I said in the last post, day 1 of this trip was nothing short of amazing. Here’s how it went down, but also what led us back up to the cabin for Memorial Day weekend.

Memorial Day weekend has become our annual pilgrimage to the coldwater streams of North Georgia, utilizing my parents cabin as a home base. This year however, we toyed with the idea of going to Arkansas and floating the Buffalo for smallies, which is something I still would like to do, but I really didn’t put in the planning necessary to give us a real shot at success. This weekend kind of snuck up me, not gonna lie. I mean, I still had the date blocked off on my calendar, knowing I’d be headed somewhere, but I kind of thought it would be somewhere new. I figured I’d be halfway through the bass slam by now, but life happens and I’ve yet to make the first trip on the quest, so the priority of accomplishing the bass slam is quickly sliding down the list. Having some success at the cabin in April certainly didn’t help make me want to go anywhere else either.

When we decided to head back to Georgia I thought it would be a good opportunity to stop at the Flint River, in shoal bass territory, and at least try our luck with one new bass species to us. However, last weekend’s heavy rains put an end to that idea as every gauge I checked for the Flint did not paint a pretty picture. It’s always good to have a backup plan though, and heading to North Georgia a day early was not a bad option.

We got in real early Thursday morning, put in a few hours of sleep and got on the creek about mid-morning. I went to work pitching a streamer, which I had some success on in April and landed a couple small browns at the first spot.

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Working our way upstream, it was evident that the interest in the streamer was just not there so I switched rigs. I still had the dry dropper rig we fished with on the Upper Colorado River in September set up in my pack and I told Blake, “if I catch just one fish on this rig, I will consider it a success”. Wouldn’t you know, just a few drifts in and I hook into a nice one.

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It was a stud rainbow on the dropper. The rig was a success and would continue to produce the rest of the day. To get an idea of the rig(and to understand why I made that statement), take the biggest foam dry fly you have in your box and hang the biggest stonefly imitation you’ve got below it, now add 2-3 split shot in between and that’s about what I was fishing. For the size water we were fishing throwing the rig seemed ridiculous at first, but we caught browns and rainbows in pretty much every likely looking spot. Some bigger than others, with the biggest going 22-23″, most were around 14-16″ though.

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We headed back to the cabin for lunch/brews and stopped to look for fish food under the rocks on the way back. Sure enough, we found our Huckleberry. Found some fish eggs clinging to the rocks as well.

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If you can believe it, the fishing actually got better after lunch. Blake caught twelve in a row standing in one spot with one of them being a monster. While he was at that spot I was just downstream having have similar success, landing back-to-back browns that were probably my biggest to date. I know this is private water and most of these are stocked trout that receive supplemental feed, but the fishing was unreal by any standards.

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We ended our day at a spot upstream known to hold behemoths, with both of us hooked up on big fish I decided to set up the GoPro. Unfortunately I failed to account for the sun being in the shot and Blake wasn’t able to bring his to hand at the very end. Still, I landed probably my biggest rainbow trout ever.

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With that the weekend was off to an incredible start and we would be hard pressed to top day 1.

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It’s Memorial Day weekend and Blake and I have found our way back to North Georgia for our annual trip. We contemplated heading elsewhere for this weekend, fishing for something new, but after having some success last month, I had to come back. We got in town REAL early this morning, slept a bit, then headed out to the creek for the day. What a day it was! We had quantity, we had quality, and we couldn’t have asked for better conditions. Below are just a couple teaser pics, y’all will just have to wait for the good stuff.

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