Friday, June 15, 2012
Trout, Bass and Stripers -- They All Shine in Summertime
As summer rolls in this month, trout fishing offered by the guide team at ReelAngling Adventures is highlighted with the float trips available on the Hiwassee and lower Toccoa rivers. The Hiwassee trips will be operated on daily high-water flows through Labor Day weekend, with the guides working boats on 2-mile, 5-mile or 7-mile floats chasing both trout and striped bass. This is a numbers game for the trout, typically running 10-14 inches long. They take flies of all styles – dries, nymphs and streamers – as well as the usual spinning lures, small spoons and jigs. Stripers are just appearing in the upper river, and we anticipate catch numbers to begin increasing as trip counts grow from June through August. We hit ‘em with both lures and baits, hooking into what can be fish that push the 50-pound mark!
Our Toccoa tailwater trips are based on day-to-day water levels that have created some interesting fishing conditions this year on the 5- to 6-mile-long float trips. The TVA had been running water flows from 240 to 360 cfs – much more than the historical minimum water flows of 160 cfs – which changed many of the skinniest boat-dragging shoals into prime trout lies with plenty of bug activity to keep the dry-fly fishing working well through the day. However, on June 13, the TVA returned to minimum flows to small to support float trips on the Toccoa. Higher flows are sure to return with significant rainfall. Until then, we’ll keep at it on foot, hosting wading trips on the Toccoa tailwater at or near the primary stocking sites -- Blue Ridge Dam, the TVA access site off Curtis Switch Road, and Horseshoe Bend Park in McCayesville -- where dry-fly fishing has both rainbows and browns looking up and taking the fly patterns of summertime. You might recall, too, that the Toccoa River Watershed Coalition (www.ToccoaRiverWatershedCoalition.org) supports special trout-fishing regulations it believes would speed up the recovery of the Toccoa tailwater trout population, which took a significant hit a year and a half ago when the TVA released water from the lake that exceeded 74 degrees. Those releases cost the lower Toccoa River almost 85% of its trout fishery. Nonetheless, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has not shown any indications it will change fishing regulations on the tailwater at this time.
Thanks to timely rainfall and moderate weather, most of the high-elevation streams remain open for wild trout in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee and can produce some good trips for dry-fly fishing. We’ve got our fingers crossed that these waters will fish well for another month before summertime heat takes its toll and runs localized water temperatures to near 70 degrees. These are great small-water adventures targeting wild rainbows, browns and brook trout on some of the prettiest remote trout waters in the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Those same rains are extending the action on our trophy-trout water at Noontootla Creek Farm by keeping water levels up and water temperatures steady in the low 60s. Despite the sometimes spotty action, anglers on the 2-mile-long private-access stream that caters strictly to catch-and-release fly-fishermen took several trout last weekend in the 20-plus-inch class. Fly selections can sometimes change daily on NCF, but the technical “challenge” is part of the beauty in fly-fishing this spectacular spring creek. Cover is often tight; the stream is often clear; and stealth is a must on the riffle-run-pool pattern that characterizes the stream’s progression from top to bottom.
Black-bass fishing on the impoundments is currently on fire at daylight! Our half-day summertime morning trips are finding both spotted bass and smallmouths slashing through large schools of herring that gather over night on the surface in deep water. The bass “discover” these schools of baitfish as daylight arrives. The bite is fast and furious, providing exciting topwater action that sometimes extends for several hours. Smallmouths and spots run together on Lake Blue Ridge, and some really large schools of white bass can surprise anglers with some of the most frantic fishing of the year! Spotted bass rule at Lake Chatuge. The TVA continues to hold Lake Blue Ridge 15 feet below conservation pool, while Lake Chatuge is full.
Also, Reel Angling Adventures recently developed a working relationship with the guide team at FishGarrison.com – the premier guided fishing service that targets striped bass and hybrid-stripers at Lake Nottely (Blairsville, GA); and hybrid-stripers at Lake Chatuge (Hiawasee, GA). Guides Josh Garrison and Darren Hughes combine for more than 30 years of fishing experience. Both guides use large, center console boats outfitted with the latest electronics, rods, tackle and live bait. Summertime fishing trips are planned around running deep live-bait lines in the morning half of the day in uncrowded conditions, surrounded b the picturesque settings of the North Georgia mountains. Operated by the TVA, the lake is currently full with the best fishing taking place on the days of cloud cover and drizzling, rainy weather.
Summer is, indeed, upon us, and fishing action – whether it’s fly-fishing or conventional fishing for trout, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, stripers or hybrid-stripers – is taking the active turn toward the historical trends associated with the destinations of the guide team of Reel Angling Adventures.