By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Outdoor Life - Great month to trout fish in N. Ga. mountains
Placeholder Image

When we planned our outdoor calendar for 2012, my suggestion for your April adventure was to head to the North Georgia Mountains and get in some trout fishing in one of the many streams and rivers our state has to offer.              Although trout in Georgia streams don’t rival the size of those in states to the north of us, it is still a lot of fun and a wonderful outdoor excursion for you and your kids or buddies.
    Trout fishing in North Georgia is now moving full speed ahead with the seasonal streams having been open since March 31. Georgia’s trout streams have three major species available, including the rainbow, brook and brown.
    The state record for rainbow trout is 17 pounds, 8 ounces, caught in the Soque River in 2004. The state record for brook trout is 5 pounds, 10 ounces, caught in Waters Creek in 1986. The state record for brown trout is 18 pounds, 6 ounces, caught from the Chattahoochee River in 2001.
    Early season tactics for trout usually depend on water temperature. They are less active if the water temperatures get below 50 degrees, so that’s one consideration. As of now, that should not be a problem with the weather we’ve had. It is useful to remember that small streams will warm up faster than will the larger ones. If you encounter high, somewhat muddy water, remember that smaller streams will be your best bet because they will clear up faster. 
    Another tip for early spring is to think about a slower presentation, regardless of the type of bait or lure you are using. Find those places where the water is relatively still but close to the current line, and keep your bait or lure in that vicinity as long as possible.
    All the veteran trout fishermen will tell you to cast upstream so that your lure is always working downstream at about the same speed (or slightly slower) as the water flow. Trout are going to be facing upstream looking for their meals as they come by on the current. They are going to be wary of anything moving against the flow, and you will spook a lot of fish if you try wading and fishing downstream.
    If you are using live bait, there are several good ones from which to choose. Night crawlers, wax worms, minnows, red wigglers, and salmon eggs are among the top choices. Make sure you have enough lead to keep your bait close to the bottom but not so much that the bait drags along very slowly. You will present a more realistic look if it’s moving along just above the bottom with the flow, and you won’t get hung up so much. Rule of thumb is to use as little weight as you can get away with.
    If you are a novice fly fisherman, the best general advice is to try to “match the hatch,” which is to say tie on a fly that resembles insects that you have noticed in and around the stream. That will change in different times of the year. The other best method is to find the local fishermen and question them on what’s working at present. 
    If you want to use lures, small in-line spinners like the Panther Martin and Mepp’s spinners are good choices. Another favorite is a small, shallow diving Rapala or any other lure that resembles a minnow.  Light spinning tackle is ideal for this method.
    If I were going tomorrow, I’d probably go to Noontootla Creek in Fannin County (Blue Ridge). Noontootla is not one of the stocked streams so if you would rather catch the smaller, fish in greater numbers, it’s not the place for you.
    There’s also a 16-inch minimum in Noontootla and it’s tributaries on the Blue Ridge WMA. This creek offers the opportunity to catch larger trout (although it’s a catch and release stream) in a beautiful environment.
    There’s also the Noontootla Creek Farms stretch just before the creek empties into the Toccoa River. This is a privately owned operation that manages two miles of the Noontootla and offers a chance to catch a 20-inch rainbow. You must go with a guide and use a fly rod in this area. The guides operate out of Unicoi Outfitters’ Blue Ridge shop.
    Here are a few basic things to know before you go. You must have a trout stamp in addition to your fishing license and these cost $5. If you are going to be fishing on a WMA, you will need a license for that and they are $19. The season for seasonal streams runs until Oct. 31, and fishing hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.
    Daily limit is eight total fish in any combination. There are no minimum lengths except in Waters Creek, where brown and rainbow trout must be at least 22 inches long and, as previously noted, in Noontootla Creek and it’s tributaries on the Blue Ridge WMA.
    It is advisable to read all the guidelines on trout fishing before you go. For complete regulations, maps and other information on trout fishing and available places to go in Georgia check out or go to, where you can find this information and also purchase licenses.

    Alvin Richardson can be reached at