I’m taking some liberty here with the term steelhead, but the creek behind the cabin has several rainbow trout in it that certainly look the part. I caught a few of them when I was last there and missed many more. These fish aren’t migrating up from anywhere, so don’t let it be mistaken, North Georgia does not have a known steelhead run, lol.
It seemed like the size of the fish I caught decreased as the week wore on, but I began to size my flies down too, so that outcome could have been predicted. I began to pick up river chub when I did, which are always prevalent. I’ll never complain about a tug on the line, especially when it’s from a native fish.
I just wanted to share a few fishing shots from the trip North Georgia. It’s always special when we head up there and this year was no different. We fit in a ton of excursions away from the cabin this time around and I think the kids really enjoyed it. The whitetail population is doing very well up there as this is the most we’ve ever seen, lots of mommas with fawns.
After driving home from fishing north of Lake Pontchartrain, we ultimately decided it was in our best interest to pack up that night and head north with the kids in the morning, far out of the cone of uncertainty that surrounded Hurricane Ida. We ended up booking a cabin in Oklahoma, near Hochatown, Beavers Bend State Park, and the Ouachita National Forest. There were several cabins available and after Blake and I had visited and fished last year up that way I commented how that would be a fun place for the whole family. It seemed like now was as good a time as any to head back. We turned it into an impromptu vacation that I think we all enjoyed.
While we were up there I did find a little bit of time to sneak away and fish. I fished the Lower Mountain Fork in Beavers Bend last year in early Fall and remember the fishing being tough. This time around I decided to explore a bit of the Ouachita NF backcountry and find a creek where I could target some native fish. After a lengthy drive down numerous dirt roads I arrived at a creek crossing and decided to check it out.
The water was beautiful, some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen. There were lots of baitfish swimming around too. I decided this was as good a spot as any to string up the 3wt and explore it further. It did not take long to catch fish.
The longear were timid, but eventually obliged and ate up my offering. The longear were nice, beautiful fish, but I was really looking for a smallmouth, which were proving to be elusive.
The water was so low and still that fishing was tough, especially for the larger predators. I saw a few smaller smallmouth, a fish I would normally consider aggressive for their size, but they were extremely wary. I may have had one mouth a bait and I pulled it from him before he could get hooked. I didn’t want to be gone from the family too long either so eventually I had to call it a day without the smallmouth I was after, which was a little disappointing, but I was happy to have gotten out.
The next afternoon I was able to get out again, this time I had Marin along for the ride, so it was less of a fishing trip and more of an exploratory one. I went a different route and ended up on a different creek. I knew she probably just wanted to play in a creek, but I brought along a 1wt, just in case she wanted to see what lived in said creek.
I wasn’t so certain I’d find a fish big enough to hit my flies in a creek this small, but I did when this creek chub sucked down my dry. There were a lot of creek chub in the creek, this one just happened to be big enough to get hooked.
We had fun playing on the slippery rocks in the creek and checking out a part of Oklahoma I’m sure not many people know about. The Ouachita’s are beautiful with some of the prettiest creeks I’ve come across, I definitely recommend checking them out if you ever get a chance. Next time I’ll hit some bigger water though and give myself a better chance to locate the smallmouth.
We headed back to Baton Rouge on Tuesday not really knowing the hornet’s nest we were driving into. We knew that things were bad back home, but to what extent was unknown. We knew our home was fine and that power had actually been restored that day, but much of area was severely impacted. I was really glad we made the decision to head elsewhere during the worst of the storm and that my kids didn’t have to live through the experience of riding that one out.
Last weekend I wanted to get Marin out of the house so I asked her if she wanted to go see what fish lived in the “creek” at the nearby park. That wasn’t reason enough for her to commit to going, but then I sweetened the pot and told her that we could play on the playground after we fished which got her to immediately put her shoes on and head toward the door.
The “creek” is a drainage ditch that runs through the park near our house. It’s not very long, I’m not even sure it has a name. You can jump across it and not get wet in some places, at bends it slows down and deepens enough to make a pool. Those pools will hold fish. On a hot, cloudy February day those fish were hungry. We caught several species of small sunfish, some on tiny nymphs, but more on dry flies. I brought a 1wt and had fun making bow and arrow casts to the pools and watching fish explode on the surface shortly after the fly landed. Marin had a blast holding the fish and releasing them back into the water.
Dollar sunfish (Lepomis marginatus)
Redspotted sunfish (Lepomis miniatus)
Green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)
Longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis)
Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
I was surprised at the diversity within this tiny trickle of a ditch, but really it shouldn’t come as a surprise as Louisiana is truly a melting pot for Lepomis species. This was borderline microfishing but it was actually pretty entertaining, especially with ultralight fly tackle. Marin loved it too, which is really all that matters.