By: Chris Shaffer
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has been busy this week. They’ve been driving thousands of miles to stock rainbow trout in the Peach State’s best trout streams, rivers and lakes to prepare for holiday crowds. In fact, more than 70,000 trout will be stocked before the holiday weekend begins.
We’ve spent the week filming Pautzke Outdoors in North Georgia and caught and released dozens of trout. Kudos to the Georgia DNR for stocking healthy, beautiful and hard fighting rainbows. Of the dozens of trout we caught and released on film this week all were at least 10 inches and up to 14 inches. They seemed to be aggressive and willing to bite given the availability of cold water.
Filming in five different North Georgia locations this week there was one common dominator: river and creek levels are running higher than normal. This is due to a rainy spring and recent thunderstorms. Rather than being intimidated by the high flows anglers can maintain success by targeting softer seams along fast water. Target any soft water behind large boulders, logs and the larger, deep holes. You’ll be able to catch trout in these areas as long as you get your bait close to the bottom.
Our success came on various baits. Top producers were Pink and Garlic Salmon Egg Fire Bait, Gold Label salmon eggs and Red and Chartreuse Anise Fire Balls. We caught fish on an assortment of Pautzke products, but grew attached to the above mentioned because they were the most effective. All were fished on four-pound test and size eight single salmon egg hooks. Normally, we use a size 12-14 hook, but went larger because the wider gap on the larger hook yields better hookups. These baits were bottom bounced or fished under a float depending on the type of water we fished.
*Wildcat Creek: This creek is stuffed full of trout and has been stocked weekly since March. Crowds will be heavy. Walk away from obvious roadside pullouts to find success.
*Tallulah River: We filmed here Wednesday and flows were high. Meanwhile, the river was stuffed with trout. We targeted roughly a half-mile section and caught trout in every hole we fished. The key was finding water out of the main current and drifting close to the bottom. Gold Label and Garlic Salmon Egg Fire Bait were the big hitters.
*Chattahoochee River (Below Buford Dam): We fished here for two hours Monday morning and caught four trout on Gold Label salmon eggs. There was a lot of fishing pressure, but favorable flows when we arrived at 9 am. We chatted with tons of fly anglers, but didn’t see anyone else catch anything near the parking area at the base of the dam. We were told the river was stocked after we left for lunch. Therefore, fishing should be good.
*West Fork Chattooga River: Fished here Thursday and found excellent water conditions and flows that locals informed us were high. Still action was epic. We and the dozen other anglers that were fishing near us caught trout. Red Fire Balls, Fire Bait and salmon eggs were tops. Action was best from the bridge just above the campground down through the camp.
*Chattooga River: We didn’t fish here but drove over it daily and several access points. The river is high, but visibility is good. Action should be good, as always.
*North Georgia Streams: Two days this week we fished a few smaller streams that are on the stocking list near Clayton. We visited these after filming on larger systems. All had good water conditions and plenty of trout. The GA DRN said they’ve all been stocked for the big weekend.
Editor’s Note: For more info on Georgia trout stocking please visit http://georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout. Pautzke products are available at Walmart and Bass Pro.