Page 1

issue 30

april/may 2017

Southern Trout

Publisher’s message

Family Affair


outhern Trout’s longtime readers know the publication is a family affair, which hopefully they feel a part of. A conscious effort is made to give readers an inside look at STM which we sincerely hope extends to foster readers knowing they are a part of this one-of-a-kind publication. Early this year you may recall the much publicized passing and nationally televised funeral of U.S. Army Lieutenant General (Retired) Harold G. Moore. In the small, closed world of the military, there are “rock stars.” Not singers or actors, but legendary leaders whose courage in battle, concern for the welfare of the troops,

and grounding in the ethical standards of duty, honor, country serve as examples and inspiration. One of those was Lt General Hal Moore who passed away two days short of his 95th birthday last month. Mel Gibson portrayed Moore in the 2002 movie, “We Were Soldiers” based on Moore’s New York Times bestseller, “We Were Soldiers Once…And Young.” While many may know Moore fought as a grunt infantryman in Korea and Vietnam and was decorated for valor seven times to include the Distinguished Service Cross, he was also a member of the Southern Trout extended family. His son, Steve, is responsible for two featured articles each issue, and much more in the Southern Trout family. Steve confirms his father is to blame for Steve’s passion for the outdoors in general and fishing in particular. Steve had no choice in the matter. It was preordained since Hal was fishing in a local bass tournament on the morning Steve was born. Hal always claimed to have had permission to go, but his wife did not remember the facts matching that story. The point that he won a nice Shakespeare reel did nothing to mitigate the trouble he was in upon his return. Hal introduced Steve to fishing at the age of five on the small ponds at Fort Leavenworth, but it was not until the Army assigned Hal to duty in Norway that things clicked into place. Chasing l Southern Trout l January 2017 l 3

Southern Trout Publisher Assoc. Publisher Assoc. Editor Managing Editor Special Projects Dir. Photographer/Writer Editorial Consultant

Don Kirk Jerry Davis Ragan Whitlock Leah Kirk Loryn Lathem Adam Patterson Olive K. Nynne


Publisher’s message


wild trout with Mepps spinners on pristine mountain streams closed the deal. Steve is not unique; all the Moore kids love the outdoors. Steve’s Mom would routinely complain that most of the family pictures included a fish. We here express our most heartfelt condolences to the Moore family who like will miss this pillar in their world. As an American, I thank God for blessing this country with the caliber of men and leaders as General Moore. We could not help but share this with our fly fishing friends.

Bill Bernhardt Bill Cooper Kevin Howell Harry Murray FIELD STAFF

Ron Gaddy Columnist Craig Haney Columnist Jimmy Jacobs, Georgia Editor Roger Lowe Columnist Bob Mallard Columnist Steve Moore Columnist Bob Borgwat Columnist

Southern Trout is a publication of Southern Unlimited, LLC. Copyright 2017 Southern Unlimited LLC. All rights reserved. 4 l February 2017 l Southern Trout l

Yep, it’s just that easy with Western North Carolina’s premier fly shop and guide service. Kevin Howell and his experienced staff have been fishing the surrounding 500 miles of prime trout waters so long, they know all the fish on first name basis. And they’ll be more than happy to make a few introductions.



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il 22nd and 23rd

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Tommy Lawhorne - South River Fly Shop Eric Harvey and Hunter Cullen - Virginia Trout Junkies Mark Frondorf - Shenandoah Riverkeeper Herschel Finch - Front Royal Outfitters - Jackson Kayak Pro Staff Reed Cranford - South River Fly Shop Senior Guide

THIS ISSUE From the Editor Gearhead Hybrid Waking Boots

3 14

Black Wing Olive Chronicles 28

Leagalize Pot...Licking

Sunburst Trout Sponsored Craig's Camp Cooking


New Fly Guy Boot Basics


Fly of the Month


NC Yellow Sally


54 66


Situational Fly Fising in 54 the GSMNP Western NC's Lake Logan Featured Artist


Featured Fly Tier Connor Jones Cohutta


Andrea Larko


Featured Guide 80 George MacMillan Unicoi CLOSE LOOK - GEORGIA Montgomery Creek What's in a Name?


Rabun's Rainbows, Brookies and Browns


8 l February 2016 l Southern Trout l




FANNEN COUNTY Trout Fishing in the Trout 104 Capitol of GA




Wild Trout of the Toccoa


Stocked Water Fun


The Upper Toccoa


Delayed Harvest 128 Fishing at Sandy Bottoms The Lower Toccoa




Trophy Trout in the Trout 142 Capitol Escape to Blue Ridge





Rod Review: Sndicate Rods Graham County Tricos - The Hidden Hatch


156 162 172

Book Review: Fishing Tips and Tales 180

150 156 l Southern Trout l March 2017 l 9


Hybrid Wading Boots: Hikin’ & Fishin’ BOB MALLARD

Chota Hybrid HighTop Rubber

14 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l


: L

ike many of you, I spend much of my fly fishing small streams. Places such as Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks; Chattahoochee, Cherokee, George Washington, Jefferson, Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests are home to myriad hard-to-reach small streams teaming with wild trout. Unlike fishing roadside, or floating, you must walk to get to many of these streams, or walk out when you are done. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 15

gearhead While small freestone streams lack the heavy current found in large rivers and streams, they are not easy to wade. For me they present what is arguably my biggest wading challenge, and account for more mishaps than everything else combined. These tiny rivulets are strewn with rocks and boulders, many of which are loose. Not only are the submerged rocks very slippery, the high humidity and canopy make even exposed rocks slippery. Walking to and from the water presents its own challenges. Trails are often covered in grass, mud, leaves or pine needles; and littered with stumps, roots and rocks. Getting in and out of the stream can be challenging as well, and often necessary to get around large boulders and deep pools. These detours take you off-trail where hazards are often obscured under ferns and other vegetation. Small streams are often wet waded. While I started writing about “Wet Wading Boots”, I realized there is a big difference between hopping in and out of a boat, and heading off with a daypack to your favorite remote trout stream. The boots that work in the former can be a disaster on the latter, as my wife learned when she developed blisters on both feet walking out of the backcountry. General purpose wading boots are not necessarily your best option for small streams—especially those you hike to. While I am a fan of felt, and believe it’s the best option for slippery rocks, walking on trails with it is akin to walking on ice in dress shoes: It’s bound not to end well. Plus, many general wading boots are heavy, and lack support, which can take its toll after hours and miles of backcountry use. Small freestone streams are a place where so-called “Hybrid” wading boots excel. While no formal definition exists, a hybrid wading boot typically has a sole made from some combination of rubber, felt, studs, spikes or bars. They are lightweight, yet offer good support. The toe and heal are reinforced to reduce wear, and protect you as you slide, kick and push your way through nearly endless obstacles. They are non-absorbent and drain well. While the market for hybrid boots is far smaller than that associated with all-purpose boots, and the product offering reflects this accordingly, there are a number of options. Whether you can justify the expense of a dedicated pair of boots for small stream use or not is another thing, and dictated too some degree by how much of it you do, and how much expendable income you have. 16 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l



Korkers Buckskin and Buckskin Mary l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 17


18 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

Best In Class

Hodgman Vion


I field-tested six products representing the best-in-class in boots for use in backcountry streams. They run the gamut: Rubber, rubber with optional studs, rubber with aluminum bars, rubber with felt inserts and interchangeable soles. Each is relatively lightweight, provides good support and protection; and is non-absorbent with good drainage. The boots are listed alphabetically by vendor. At only 15.6 ounces per boot, Chota’s aptly named Hybrid High-Top Rubber Soled Boot (www. is the lightest product I tested. It is also the least expensive at just $119.95. Available in size 5-14, the unique 2-stage removable inner sole allows you to wear them with waders or without. The tread provides great traction on the trail and performs well in the water. Micro screen panels offer good drainage and synthetic materials don’t absorb water. A pull-cord with tensioner allows you to secure the boot without tying, and adjustments a breeze. The toe and heel are reinforced and the ankle is padded for support and protection. And they are advertised for “hiking in for mountain Brookies”, exactly what many of us do. Hodgman® recently introduced a series of interchangeable-sole boots which are by design “hybrids.” Their Vion™ addresses the needs of the backcountry angler with rugged nonabsorbent materials, reinforced toe and good support ( A neoprene lining provides warmth and comfort while a padded mid sole absorbs shock. They drain well, keeping them light and clear of debris. The Vion weighs 32.7 ounces per boot, and is available in size 7-13. They cost $199.95 with rubber and felt soles, and $219.95 with rubber and studded rubber soles. Use the rubber soles for walking in and the felt or studs for fishing once you get there. And you can purchase optional felt, studded felt and studded rubber soles for added versatility at $29.99 to $39.99. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 19

gearhead Due to their proven interchangeable sole system, all Korkers boots are default “hybrids.” The Buckskin ( fishing/buckskin.html), and new Buckskin Mary designed specifically for women ( weigh 26.0 ounces per boot. They cost $139.99 with rubber and felt soles, and $159.99 with rubber and studded rubber soles. They are available in men’s 5-15 and women’s 5-11 (be sure to order one size up). Made from nonabsorbent materials they are reinforced in critical areas to prevent wear, and offer good ankle support and superior drainage. The fact that you can have one sole for hiking and another for fishing makes them extremely versatile. Add the optional Studded Vibram Idrogrip sole for $59.99 for the best trail and stream traction possible in a single sole. Orvis’ Access Wading Boot ( is both rugged and comfortable. They weigh 29.6 ounces per boot, cost $179.00 and come in men’s 7-14. Mesh side panels help the boot drain and synthetic materials limit absorption and dry quickly. A rubber toe guard, extended heal protection and generous abrasion strips help prevent wear while providing protection. Padding and dense material in the ankle area protects you from twisting and impact. Double-stitching helps prevent seem fatigue. The trailfriendly Vibram® outsole in their proprietary lug pattern is designed to be used with their PosiGrip Screw-In Studs ($27.95), which greatly improve traction on slippery rocks. Standard lacing system and two rows of lace hooks provide for easy on and off, and a secure and tight fit. Patagonia’s Foot Tractor is one tough boot (www.patagonia. com/product/foot-tractor-wading-boots/79150.html). At $279 it is the most expensive boot I tested. They weigh 36.7 ounces per, and come in men’s 5-14. Rubber toe and heel guards and a 2-4” chafe strip protects the boot from abrasion. Generous ankle padding provides great support and impact protection. Critical seams are doublestitched, and mesh panels help the boot drain. The laces start closer to the toe than on other boots, giving them the fit of a hockey skate or hiking boot. There are two rows of lace hooks and tongue-mounted gravel guard hook d-ring. The proprietary rubber sole comes with five replaceable 3-4” by 1.25” aluminum bars which offer exceptional traction on the trail and in the water. 20 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l


Orvis Access l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 21


Simms Intruder Boot Felt

22 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l


Advertised as a “wet wading” boot, the Simms Intruder® in the felt sole option is much more ( Rubber and felt combine to create a sole that offers exceptional traction on both trail and stream. They weigh just 23.5 ounces per boot, and cost $179.95. They come in men’s 7-14 including half sizes. An integrated neoprene sock helps keep out debris, and allows for use without waders, socks or neoprene booties. A dual-density midsole absorbs shock while the outer sole facilitates the use of optional cleats for added traction. The Vibram® Megagrip rubber outer sole edge is long-lasting and aggressive for walking on trails, and also helps keep the sewn-in felt inserts from wearing. Abrasion-resistant pads in critical areas help prevent wear. I am a believer in “using the right tool for the job.” Rather than using an all-purpose boot for a niche type of fishing and unique set of conditions, I prefer a hybrid boot for small streams. For years, I used a boot by Simms and Keen. I called them my “Ninja Boots” due to their flexibility and versatile rubber and felt soles. After years of heavy use the bottoms came unglued, forcing me to replace them. While I will miss my old boots, I was relieved to find that the industry hadn’t forgotten us… Note: Weights are actual, and based on a size 12 boot.

Hybrid Wading Boots Pros and Cons Pros: Purchasing a dedicated boot for small streams allows you to address a broad range of conditions without sacrificing much on either end. It also allows you to have something that fits well when wet wading, rather than forcing you to add socks and/or booties to take up the extra space. In addition, it takes a lot of wear-and-tear off your everyday wading boots, which while it costs a bit more up front, evens out over the life of both boots. Cons: Like any multi-purpose or “hybrid” product, it is impossible to do everything as well as a product designed for a specific condition. In this case, you are probably sacrificing at least some level of wading security over a felt-sole boot. Likewise, these boots will not perform as well on the trail as your favorite hiking boot. And as I said above, your initial financial outlay will be higher than using a single boot for all your wading. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 23

gearhead Hybrid Wading Boots Dos and Don’ts • Consider what you do most before selecting a hybrid boot. If you spend more time hiking than fishing, look for a product that excels on trails. If, however you spend more time fishing, look for one that offers the best wading security. • Physical conditioning, balance, eyesight, age and other factors come into play when wading, and to a lesser degree hiking. If you are not a strong wader, you may want to consider a boot that works best for wading. • Rarely do I wear waders when fishing small streams. Most of the time I am in quick-dry pants or shorts. I tend to drop one size below my everyday wading boots. In some cases, half sizes are available and this may be a better option than a dropping a full size. • I always carry a spare lace when fishing in the backcountry. While rare, lace failure is always possible and a loose boot can cause blisters or become a safety hazard. • Try before you buy… Some have wide feet, some narrow. Some have high arches, some low. Some have large toes, some small. Since you will be hiking, comfort is of utmost importance. Conclusion: Small stream fishing calls for a different type of boot than roadside wading, float fishing or float tubing. Superior protection and good traction in both water and on land are key. In my opinion, a dedicated pair of boots is money well spent…

Patagonia Foot Tractor

BOB MALLARD has fly fished for over 35 years. He owned and operated Kennebec River Outfitters in Madison, Maine from 2001 to 2015. Bob is a blogger, writer and author. His writing has been featured in blogs, newspapers, ezines and magazines at the local, state, regional and national levels. He has appeared on radio and television. Look for his books 50 Best Places Fly Fishing the Northeast and 25 Best Towns Fly Fishing for Trout (Stonefly 24 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l


Press). Bob is also a fly designer for Catch Fly Fishing out of Billings, Montana; as well as the northeast sales rep for both Stonefly Press and Catch. In addition he is on the R. L. Winston Rod Co. Pro Staff. Bob can be reached at, www., or 207-474-2500. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 25

black wing olive chronicles


o be or not to be…legal, that is for partaking of "pot." You probably already think I am referring to another old vice belonging to Daddyboy, but I am not, although these days most of his extended family members are flocking to Colorado in July on skiing trips. I am not talking about Mary Jane. My crusade is the canine cause of pot licking. I personally prefer the title of "pot liquor." (It would be "pot likker" in Tennessee where Daddyboy was reared.) Frankly, it is beyond my ability to grasp why the allowing of a dog to lick pots is so disturbing to so many of you bipods. For canines, it is a completely natural behavior that dates back to when we shared residences in caves with humans, and my species dutifully awaited well-gnawed bones that were tossed aside for our dining pleasure. These days it seems that the very sight—even the mental image of a dog with its head stuck in a sticky pot or frying pan—sends many bipods into irrational convulsions.

28 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

T... Licking Thank goodness that I live where I do. You see, ole Daddyboy does about eighty percent of the cooking here at the compound, with his apprentice, Boy, doing the rest. Over the last ten years or so, Daddyboy has neither loaded the dishwasher nor even put up anything such as cooking oil, open bags of cornmeal, or anything else used in his preparation of a meal. He gets away with this because he is a decent enough cook, which if you do not believe me, just ask the ole fart yourself to see if he doesn’t validate this claim. Personally, I like it when Daddyboy is buzzing about the kitchen. More ingredients for his recipes hit the floor than make into the pan. Also, he’s quite the stickler to when it neatly trimming away fat from briskets and chicken. I do regret that Daddyboy

gave up pork, a hiatus he has managed to hold on to despite his well-known weakness for bacon and pulled BBQ. But, it is what it is, eh? Digressing back to pot licking, Daddyboy’s sole contribution to kitchen cleanup is to place everything he used on the floor for me to clean to a spotless state. This not only includes pots and pans, but also mixing bowls and plates. While I am not trying to brag, please trust me when I say that my pot licking efforts are every bit as efficient as that noisy ass dishwasher that Boy grumbles about every time he is tasked with unloading and reloading it. In fact, I am not altogether certain that once I have completed my pot licking chores that the ole Scottish skinflint doesn’t occasionally bypass the modern convenience of the dishwasher and restore

the sparkling clean pots and pans back to their respective storage spots. So while also being in charge of corporate morale and moral behavior, my pot licking efforts certainly expedite the publishing process here. It bothers me that so many bipods look down on pot licking as though it was something of which a canine should be ashamed. You would think pot licking is illegal or something. From a four-legged, tail wagging prospective, I find it rather ironic that any bipod would have a negative opinion. I mean, after all, right now the biggest question facing your species in the country is transgender lavatories (he, she and confused). As a species, we canines moved beyond this ridiculous argument long, long ago. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 29

best kept secret


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I spotted a package of trout fillets in the freezer the other day and decided to thaw and smoke them, but, I was clueless on how to smoke trout since I had never done it before. I have never let ignorance slow me down when it comes to most things and immediately started researching ways to smoke trout. Somewhere between ignorance and TMI, I remembered the Big Green Egg Cookbook by Ray Lampe. This became a “man-thing” conflict. Real men don’t read directions, at least, we don’t admit it. No one was home so I scanned the book. I found a recipe for smoked salmon that was appealing but I tweaked the ingredients a little and prepared the two trout filets. Trout are about half as thick as salmon so I cut the cooking time in half. Only 15 minutes. That didn’t sound right. I have been smoking chicken and various cuts of pork and beef for longer than I can remember. The one constant no matter the cut of meat is that it takes awhile. It just does. I struggled with taking the filets off after such a short time, it just didn’t seem right! But dadgum, they were good. I served them with a salad and some green peas and my wife said they were so good we needed to smoke them every week or so.


32 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

INGREDIENTS 2 trout filets 1 cup cold water 2 T Morton brand coarse kosher salt 2 T sugar 1 tsp Old bay Seasoning 1cup crushed ice and water 1/8 C light brown sugar INSTRUCTIONS 3-4 hours before cooking make the brine. Combine the water, salt, sugar, Old Bay in a microwave safe bowl and mix together. Put the bowl in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Take out, stir,add the crushed ice water and mix until the ice is melted. Place the trout in a heavy duty resealable bag, force the air out and seal. Place in therefrigerator for 2-3 hours, turning occasionally. I got my egg up to 300 degrees and added some cherry wood chunks for my smoke flavor. I then drained the brine from the filets and dried them. I coated a perforated pan with Pam spray and placed the filets skin side down on the pan. I then sprinkled the light brown sugar over the filets and put the tray in the Egg. Fifteen minutes later, I removed the filets for a delicious meal.

SMOKED TROUT l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 33


Don’t go home empty handed!

Sunburst Trout Farms Is located below the Shining Rock National Wilderness in the Pisgah National Forest. Since 1948 they have been growing rainbow trout, and the farm is now run by third generation brothers Wes and Ben Eason.

Sunburst has a long standing commitment to quality. Their fish are hormone and antibiotic free, and the feed is made especially for them containing no mammalian by-products. All trout are cut to order in small bathces, mostly by hand, thus ensuring all products are of the highest standard. In addition to Sunburst’s flagship fillets you can also find their award winning caviar, as well as trout jerky, hickory smoked trout, cold smoked trout, smoked trout dip, trout sausage, and even some non trout products, pimento goat cheese and smoked tomato jam. Be sure to stock up on their Original Jennings Jerky! It’s shelf stable and perfect for those long days fly fishing. To order go online to

314 Industrial Park Drive Waynesville, NC 28786 828-648-3010 • 800-673-3051

Get Outdoors

in Western NC

Full Day and Half Day Guided Fly Fishing Trips • Authorized Orvis Dealer • Scientific Anglers Dealer • Montana Fly Dealer • Whiting Farms Dealer • Fly Tying Section • Locally Tied Flies • Locally Made Bamboo • Fiberglass, and Bamboo Rods • WNC Fly Fishing Trail

Just a couple of miles from the De

570 West Main Street Sylva NC 28779 Quality Gear Knowledgeable Guides Orvis Fly Shop

elayed Harvest section of the Tuck.


new fly guy

Boot Basics Steve Moore

38 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l


apoleon asserted an Army marches on its stomach. While the snacks stuffed into our fishing vests are important, we need to pay the most attention to our feet; making boots the most significant piece of equipment to get right. We can be successful fly fishing with rods and reels ranging from a $25 Walmart starter kit to a $1,000+ custom setup, but neither will ever see a fish unless we can walk to the stream, and, once there, safely negotiate the challenges of the streambed. While discussing safety is not interesting, every criterion for selecting a boot has a safety consideration. When purchasing your next pair, consider how you get to the stream (long hike or short slide into the water from a road), where you fish (in the water or on the shore), and the physical characteristics of the stream (fast moving or gentle). Starting from the bottom, rubber or felt? While felt has significant traction advantages over rubber, the environmental negative is overwhelming. Felt does not dry quickly, and the transfer of invasive aquatic species has been laid, literally, at the feet of anglers transporting them from stream to stream; leading many Moore states and Steve Canada to ban felt soles. The other disadvantages of felt are it wears out quickly when hiking and loses traction in cold weather when ice and snow harden the bottom; adding weight at the same time. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 39

new fly guy

Rubber is not traditional rubber any longer. Instead, the “rubber” material used on today’s boots mimics many of the grabbing characteristics of felt while adding durability and avoiding the species transport problem. If needed, studs provide additional traction on either felt or rubber. While the price of studs has come down, this is one area where avoiding a name brand saves a significant amount of money. Instead of spending $30 for 20 studs ($1.50 each), take a lesson from the adrenalin junkies who race motorcycles on ice. They routinely screw studs made by Kold Kutter into their tires to gain the traction needed to avoid death The 3/8” or 1/2” lengths work fine for wading boots with a bag of 250 studs going for less than $20 on Amazon ($0.08 each). At that price, if they wear out or fall out, replacing them is no big deal, and the Kold Kutter grab pattern is much better than merely using generic selftapping sheet metal screws (the other budget option). To use studs, follow a few simple rules. First, pick a good installation pattern. did field tests and came up with two basic patterns you can review on their website. Second, be very careful walking on hard, smooth surfaces. Unless there is a crack for the stud to catch on, it is very easy to slip. Third, metal studs scrape and create more noise on the streambed than either bare rubber or felt; requiring more careful foot placement. Finally, never get into a boat or walk on a hardwood floor wearing studded boots! While the sole is the most important part of the purchase decision, it is not the only factor. Consider the material used to create the uppers, the associated drainage system and how easily the boot laces. Look for uppers made of a lightweight, porous material that is also hydrophobic since fishing with a heavy boot is exhausting!. Hydrophobic materials, like Gore-Tex, do not absorb water. Even though “hydrophobic” is a technical term, most manufacturers use it when describing the boot features – look for that word!

40 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 41

new fly guy

Assess the heel and ankle support. The quickest way to ruin a fishing trip is to turn an ankle or break a leg. Just like a hiking boot, the boot must hold the heel firmly in place to provide support and avoid blisters. At the same time, there must be room for the toes to move without touching the boot. When trying on the boot, verify the top has the appropriate padding for firm comfort. Confirm the tongue is either attached to the boot on both sides or is much wider than the gap when laced up to minimize sand and gravel intrusion. The boot should have a reinforced heel and toe since those parts experience the most wear scuffing against rocks.

Since water retention adds weight, check the drainage system. Is it obvious how water will flow out of the inside of the boot? Exercise the lacing system. Is the boot easy to lace up? Are the included laces durable? Once laced, is the boot comfortable to wear? Does it flex properly with each step? Never purchase a wading boot wearing street socks. Since we use wading boots with stocking foot waders, put on a pair of neoprene socks when trying on the boot (borrow a pair off the rack). Understand how the manufacturer sizes the boot if purchasing over the Internet since some include the additional space for the thick neoprene and quote the street shoe size while others expect you to upsize to find the right fit. 42 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

For maximum flexibility, consider the removable sole system from Korkers. The Korker OmniTrax system has six interchangeable sole options including plain felt, various rubber and studded options. Using the Korker system allows the angler to pick the right sole for hiking with the ability to change quickly once streamside. YouTube has over 5,000 reviews of wading boots – check out a few to gain perspective and then shop smart! With the right boot, you can walk a million miles and be fresh and ready to fish upon arrival!

Check out Steve’s YouTube channel at KayakHacksFishing for more on this and other topics. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 43

featured fly pring is not spring without emergences of yellow sally stoneflies on the trout streams of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Little Yellow Stoneflies is the common name used for a number bright yellow species of stonefly look and behave much alike. The streams of the Southern Appalachian Mountains have abundance of these stoneflies.


My North Carolina Yellow Sally is a variation of the standard Yellow Sally, in that the NC version incorporates darker dun hackle. It is a must “have in your fly box� pattern throughout all of the spring months. Carry them in sizes 16 through 12.


46 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

Hook: Thread: Body: Wing: Thorax: Hackle:

94840 Mustad Pale yellow Pale yellow dubbing Bleached elk hair Pale yellow dubbing Light blue dun


By Roger Lowe l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 47

Is Swain County NC a Fisherman’s Paradis Hundreds of miles of native mountain trout streams flow

through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park above Bryson City and Cherokee — freestone creeks with native rainbow, brook and brown trout. Most streams offer all three species.

Trout are also common in our four rivers – the Oconaluftee,


Great Smoky Mo National Pa

Little Tennessee, the Eagle Chambers Nolan Twentymile Hazel Creek Forney Creek Creek Creek Creek Tuckasegee and the Creek Fontana Dam Fontana Nantahala, one of Fontana Cheoah Lake Lake Lake Lewellyn Trout Unlimited’s top Fontana B Branch Fontana 129 Lake Boat Village Alarka 100 rivers. And now, a 2.2 Cable Ramp Marina Boat Dock Cove 28N Boat mile section of the Tuck Ramp Almond Lemmons Boat Park Branch through Bryson City has Boat Ramp Stecoah 143 been designated delayed 19 Wesser 74 Needmore harvest waters, and Road For more information, Nantahala River promises to have one of contact the Bryson City / the highest trout counts Swain County Chamber of Wayah Road (NC 1310) of any stream in the Commerce 800-867-9246. Upper Nantahala southeast. River


Public Access

Public Access

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Public Access


Upper Raven Fork

ountains ark

Deep Creek

Indian Creek

Raven Fork Trophy Section

Lakeview Drive

Old 288 Boat Ramp

Tuckasegee River

k Alarka Creek Alarka Road

28S Little Tennessee River

Bryson City

Whittier Whittier Boat Ramp

EBCI Hatchery Big Cove Road


441 Tuckasegee River

Public Access

Conleys Creek

Heintooga Ridge Road

Blue Ridge Parkway Cherokee Indian Cherokee Reservation


Public Access

Raven Fork

Oconaluftee River

nd k


Straight Fork


Clingmans Dome

You be the Judge.

Straight Fork Road

Bradley Chasteen Kephart Fork Creek Prong

74 Conleys Creek Road



Visit for profiles of all 26 Swain County fishing locations on this map. All are just minutes from Bryson City, NC.

Two mountain lakes The 30 miles of trout offer trout fishing streams on the The 29-mile long, Cherokee Indian 11,700 acre Fontana Reservation are the Lake and its smaller downstream neighbor Cheoah Lake both have strong populations of trout, particularly near the mouths of streams flowing out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cheoah is regularly stocked by the State of North Carolina.

longest privately-owned and stocked fishing waters east of the Mississippi. The 2.2mile Raven Fork Trophy section is home to the biggest trout in the Smokies. This specially regulated section is fly fishing only and catch and release.

Fly Fishing the Smokies Guided Fly Fishing in the Tennessee and North Carolina Smoky Mountains (828)-488-7665 or Wade Trips, Float Trips, Hazel Creek Camping, Beginner Lessons, and Fly Fishing for Kids. Est. in 1999, one of the oldest and most experienced Guide Services and Outfitters in the Smokies. Wade or Float for Trout and Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Muskie, and Carp. We offer guided fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the WNC Fly Fishing Trail, Tuckasegee River, Little Tennessee River, Ravens Fork, Pigeon River, and Fontana Lake

For reservations call (828)-488-7665 or book your trip on the web at;

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A getaway to HARDY COUNTY changes everything. Perhaps the most legendary fly pattern of the Great Smoky Mountains, originally the pattern was tied with the wing feathers of the Northern Flicker Woodpecker, which is also known regionally as the Yellowhammer. Flickers are now a protected species. Protected lands, recreational Their seductive wing feathers waterways and the only are replaced by fly tiers with natural lake in West Virginia dyed starling, dove, black bird Experience the readily Hardy available Effect! and other more plumages. My personal choice is dyed yellow grouse wing feathers. There are as many stories related to the origins of the Yallarhammar fly as there are old time tiers who created these flies. It’s a buggy pattern that trout in #HardyCounty these waters are eager to take, that does not accurately imitate a

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situational fly fishing


bout 12 miles from Canton, NC and divided by Highway 215 you will find a 300 acre sanctuary called the Lake Logan Conference Center. The Conference Center boasts of lodging and dining facilities for hosting fishing retreats, conferences, seminars, and spiritual retreats. The center piece of this breath taking property is beautiful 90 acre Lake Logan with a half mile of pristine private trout water on the West Fork of the Pigeon River that feeds the lake. This private water

Lake Log

Western North Carolina’s Bes

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in the great smoky mountain national park connects to 2 miles of heavily stocked delayed harvest water. Lake side lodging to support groups or individuals in search of “that place� to team build, retreat, train, fish, or just rest, relax, and rejuvenate. Even most of locals think this magical place is off limits for fishing, but although private, it is accessible for a meager rod fee.



h st Kept Secret! l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 53

situational fly fishing


In the 1930s, as the Champion Paper Mill was built in Canton, the area about 12 miles upstream called Sunburst was bought and totally logged out in support of the paper mill. Lake Logan was created to support a substantial water reserve for the paper mill. After the damn was built the President of Champion Paper Mill decided to build a family cabin alongside Lake Logan. Following were more cabins moved from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park as it was being created and reconstructed on the Lake Logan site. More cabins were built until there would be enough lodging to support as many as 85 of the paper company’s executives. The Champion Paper Company sold the paper mill to its employees in the late 1990s and after a few changes in ownership the Lake Logan property was bought by the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina to be utilized as a retreat and conference center. A lot of the surrounding timberland was acquired by the North Carolina Land Conservancy and transferred to State and Federal ownership; better known as Game Lands and National Forest.

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in the great smoky mountain national park

Lakeside Lodging l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 55

situational fly fishing

Dining Hall 56 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

in the great smoky mountain national park


Lake Logan offers a variety of unique lodging options to board most any size group or situation. Small to large groups or a family get away. Lake side cabins, smaller more private cabins to dorm type lodging that would accommodate up to 17 people. The reservation fee at Lake Logan includes lodging fees, three meals per day, and access to recreational facilities that includes fishing beautiful Lake Lagan and the private pristine trout water of the West Fork of the Pigeon River. Hidden around the lake and overlooking the river is enough lodging to accommodate up to 85 guests.


Lake Logan offers inclusive pricing, meaning that three meals a day are part of your nightly rate. Bishop Johnson Dining Hall, fully equipped for groups and individuals, is the newest building at Lake Logan Episcopal Center. Delicious meals are served buffet style in this stone and cedar lodge overlooking the river. A typical meal might include country biscuits made from scratch, crisp garden salad, steaming in-season vegetables, and blackberry cobbler. A variety of menus, including vegetarian and glutenfree selections, are available. Meal times are 8 a.m., 12 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.

Lake Logan Fishing l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 57

situational fly fishing

At an elevation of almost 3000 feet, Lake Logan may be the closest thing to an alpine lake that you will find in the Eastern US. You will find monster brown and rainbow trout along with largemouth and smallmouth bass cruising in the depths of the lake. Although having a good population of wild trout, the river section of Lake Logan is frequently stocked and designated as catch and release only. During the spring and summer month’s massive brown and rainbow will make their way up the river looking for cooler water and a place to spawn. If you are looking for top water fishing this may be as good as it gets. You will find hatches underway almost any time of year and the pristine clear water gives way for some of the best top water action in Western North Carolina. The month of May always brings a prolific yellow mayfly hatch, better known to the locals as “the sulfur hatch”. From the river and even down into the lake, trout will be feeding feverishly on top to get their belly full of these yellow may flies. You will also find many species of stonefly, caddis, and as well as mayfly hatches.

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in the great smoky mountain national park

Pigeon River System

Connected to the private water of the Lake Logan property is 2 miles of Delayed Harvest Water and then another 2 or 3 miles of hatchery supported water. If that isn’t enough with a few minutes’ drive you can be fishing wild trout water. West fork of the Pigeon Gorge, Middle Prong of the West Fork Pigeon, Right Hand Prong of the West Fork, or deep in the West Fork Gorge. Lake Logan is the absolute epicenter of the Pigeon River System, whether you like Lake Fishing, private water, delayed harvest to blue lining it’s all right here.

Lake Logan Private Waters l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 59

situational fly fishing

Cabin Lake View

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in the great smoky mountain national park

Trout Unlimited Cataloochee Home River

The Cataloochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited has recently signed an agreement with the Lake Logan Conference Center to adopt their section of the West Fork of the Pigeon River as TU Cataloochees’s home river along with the 2 miles of Delayed Harvest water that connects. Plans are underway for some river maintenance such as trail maintenance, stream bank restoration, riverside displays, hatch charts, resting benches and stocking. TU Cataloochee will also be in charge of arranging for aquatic insect and fish studies to ensure stream health and identify detrimental issues that may affect the river. TU Cataloochee will also partner with the Lake Logan Conference Center to provide Fly Fishing Classes, Fly Tying Classes, kids fishing days, Veterans’ fishing days, day or evening seminars on many aspects of fly fishing.

Fly Fishing Class at LLCC

Trout Unlimited Cataloochee’s first scheduled event at the Lake Logan Conference Center will be a 3 day, all inclusive fly fishing class on 26, 27, and 28 May. Lake side lodging and three home style cooked meals, buffet style provided daily with the class. The fly fishing class will be conducted by TU Cataloochee’s seasoned fly fishers boasting of hundreds of years of fly fishing experience. A professionally designed curriculum has been developed specifically for the class using the latest classroom technology and guides for real time on the water casting techniques. Each guest will receive a study guide and a fly box that will contain a dozen or more proven flys. The class is designed and ideal for the beginner to the intermediate fly fisher. Special discounts are available Trout Unlimited members and Veterans. For more information on this class and the Lake Logan for Conference Center go to the Lake Logan Conference Center website at Fish Responsibly. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 61

• Huge selection of Wooly Buggers • We carry a large selection of flies for streams • Authorized Reddington and Rio dealer • Flies start at 65¢

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Andrea Larko

Featured Artist

by Loryn Lathem


y earliest memory of art was drawing my house and asking my mother why it didn’t look real…” recalls artist Andrea Larko, “I learned about perspective when I was 3 years old and it all unraveled from there.” l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 65

featured artist

With striking color and detail, Larko produces some of the most incredible works, prompting one to stare for what could be minutes or hours, appreciating every drop of color and every curve of the brush. Initially encouraged by her mother and various art teachers, Larko used art as an outlet for expression, although it became more than just an outlet when she discovered her talent for it. “I believe everyone has an innate talent to be an artist; it’s a matter of putting the time into it and educating yourself, much like any other subject. I drew every day and anywhere I could. I made flip animations in my vocabulary books, doodled in margins in my Biology and Calculus notebooks, even drew on my clothing when I didn’t have paper. I took as many art courses as I could throughout high school. Mr. Stiles, my high school art teacher, helped me by exploring many aspects of art from jewelry casting, printmaking, and ceramics, sculpture, painting and drawing. Being able to try so many different types of mediums and styles helped me figure out my strengths and improve on my weaknesses. His faith in my talent and determination for expression gave me confidence in my work and putting myself out there. Although hesitant to say if her surroundings while growing up influenced her art, she insists that the people in your life impact your endeavors more than any geographical location would. “I’ve heard, it’s not where you are, but whom you’re with. I strongly agree and know that if I didn’t have the support from my family, teachers and friends I would have pursued a very different career path.”

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featured artist

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Fish are without a doubt her favorite subjects to paint, however she clarifies that she mostly draws fish as opposed to painting them. “I have a lot of sketchbooks full of funny looking doodle creatures too that I hope to make a book from as well, but those are also drawings and some in watercolor. I don’t paint that often because I enjoy painting with mixed media and a lot and the fumes are a bit much in a smaller studio space. Most of my paintings are done in the warmer months when I can paint outside, but fish are definitely my favorite subject to draw and paint.” A big fan of mixed media, Larko insists that she enjoys working with different kinds of paints, however she works more with watercolor because of the ease of use. This does not mean, however, that she shies away from the more intimidating materials; mixed media with oil, acrylic, and ink are favored when she can paint more often. When asked about her best-selling work, about those pieces that are best received, Larko gives a simple but telling answer: “I have a watercolor painting of a brown trout I made a few years ago when I was playing around that has been one of my best selling pieces. I seem to do my best work when it’s a piece for myself and I do not have to modify it to suit another person’s vision. When I’m allowed to experiment and go off on my own with my work it seems to benefit the piece as well as my determination to push myself farther with my work.” It’s this determination that translates into her work and enraptures the audience, pulling them in and not letting go until they have fallen completely in love with it. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 69

featured artist Larko releases somewhere between 20 and 40 pieces a year, however she says she finishes many, many more than are every released. “I finish many more pieces than I release because a lot of them end up in the fire pit, in sketchbooks, in drawers or in the back of my packing inventory closet […] hundreds end up elsewhere, either unfinished or just not up to my personal standards.” Doing solely commissioned work, there she finds time to do some pieces for herself between projects, helping to keep her trying new things and not becoming too stagnant. Larko has not received any formal awards shockingly, however her work has been published in books, online and in magazines; Larko tells Southern Trout Magazine, this is more than she could have imagined. “Those are better than any award sitting on a shelf collecting dust.” “The most challenging part of creating fish art would have to be capturing the brilliance in some of the fish I have not caught yet…” Larko explains, “It’s difficult to show the color, range and movement in fish I haven’t seen in person. I drew a grayling a few years ago from photos of grayling I could find but when I caught one in Alaska I couldn’t have imagined how far off on the brilliance and energy I witnessed in these fish. I’m planning on creating another grayling soon to capture when I had on the other end of my 3 weight in the Chugach forest.” For the would-be artists, Larko has just one piece of advice: Practice! “Practice. A lot. Don’t stop drawing and creating. Do it every day. Carry sketchbooks with you and draw every chance you get. Take critiques seriously and let it advance your work not impede it. Criticism and critiquing are very different. Don’t let someone’s criticism stop you from becoming a better artist. Keep pushing yourself. If you’re becoming comfortable with your work you’re not pushing hard enough. Once you become comfortable with your work it will suffer and become boring. Creating art is supposed to be exciting and expressive. You’ll never be able to stop learning from other artists, books, and teachers, the massive amounts of literature and tutorials online and peers. Keep an open mind and push yourself past your comfort zone. Better work is coming. It always will be, because I’ll never stop transforming my work and striving to become an artist who will hopefully one day have her name remembered and recognized. I believe every artist wants just that.” To get a good look at her work and to have your own work commissioned, please visit

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39 South Public Square Cartersville, GA 30120 770.606.1100 2441 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 (865) 868-1000

Guided Fishing Trips | Fly Fishing Schools | Destination Fly Fishing Travel

featured fly tier


t is remarkable that entire angling culture has spouted around the concept of using thread to wrap feathers and fur around a little hook? Most are first smitten by artistically cast fly rods and line. Thereafter almost as many are seduced by the addiction of creating their own flies. It is even debatable at times if fly tiers have a vise or a vice.

Connor Jones

Conner Jones is a fly tier. He is also the Manager of Cohutta Fishing Company. These days Jones resides in Cartersville, just down the road from the Georgia community of Acworth where he grew up fishing for catfish and bluegill. Until he was introduced to fly fishing in the 8th grade, Jones says he spent more time playing in trout creeks than fishing cold water.

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“My Cousin Cheston is really who exposed me to fly fishing,” explains Jones. “I went to Walmart and bought my first fly rod and reel after attending a summer camp where I watched a friend catch bluegill on a fly. Rod in hand, I taught myself to cast by watching the VHS tape that came with the rod. However, it was not until Cousin Cheston showed me the ropes and where to catch fish that I was able to get my teeth into fly fishing. From about the 8th grade onward, fly fishing was my true obsession.” started when I picked up a fly rod in 8 or 9th grade. Jones's interest in tying flies grew organically out of his love for fly fishing. Eventually, as he learned more about trout and the bugs that these fish eat, he developed what has become a lifelong interest in tying flies. At the time none of my friends really fly fished when I picked it up the habit. The same was true regarding fly tying. I had an Orvis book of flies that I would stare at for hours and try to replicate the patterns as best I could

without any tutorage. Tying was self-taught, still evident in that to this day Jones wraps his thread backward from everyone else. “When I first began tying trout flies, tied a lot of Catskill-style Adams, Humpies, and Stimulators,” says Jones. “I tied a lot of these flies because they seemed like staples to me; good general patterns. I don’t tie many dry flies anymore but I do still fish a lot of those old patterns.” “Some of the older, traditional patterns I like to fish and tie include winged wets, I tied a March Brownwinged wet for the Angler Magazine a while back, and I really love the way that fly looks. I really love soft hackle flies. They are simple but they are super effective. I feel like being able to come up with patterns that aren’t mass produced and available in every fly shop across the country can help in some situations.” For his own trout fishing, Jones notes that he basically only ties a few nymphs; the Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear, Peacock Soft

Hackle, and the Wooly Bugger. When casting for striper, then he confesses to getting a little crazy, tying a lot Bob Popovics whose beautiful big buck tail flies inspire him. When fishing the freestone streams of Georgia, Jones essential to carry the Parachute Adams, Pats Rubberlegs, Parachute Sulphur, Hare’s Ear Soft Hackle, and Peacock Herl Soft Hackle. “I do very limited commercial tying, and then just to supply Cohutta Fishing Company with some of my custom Bass and Striper flies,” says Jones. “I teach a beginner tying class the second Saturday of every month at Cohutta Fishing Company as well as advanced classes. “Good buck tail not as easy to find as beginning tiers might believe,” says Jones. “I’ve learned the hard way that not all buck tail is created equal. Finding good long hair on buck tail is hard and finding good soft buck tail a are hard also. If you get one tail with both long and soft hair you better hold on to it. Here and

there every once in a while, I’ll find a good feather or some fur that I can use in the field, but I really like the consistency that you get from store bought material. “Also, I tie a lot with synthetics for my striper and bass flies. I really like all these new brushes from Enrico Puglisi are great. It makes tying streamers so much faster. Laser Dub and Fusion Dub are also two very versatile new materials that I absolutely love.” When asked what advice he had for would-be fly tiers, Jones recommended buying good gear, getting cheap stuff even when you are a beginner isn’t going to do you any favors. Also, never stop tying. The more you tie the better you become. I am the Manager of Cohutta Fishing Company so feel free to stop by anytime and bullshit with me or the guys, we have a lot of great tiers that work here and we all love to fish. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 75

there’s nothing

like fishing in a mountain stream…

1-800-984-1543 ll Southern Southern Trout Trout ll May July 2016 2016 ll 111 111

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featured guide

George MacMillan

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he fast way to acquire a year of experience on a stream in North Georgia is to contract the services of the region's top fly fishing guides. If your choice is George Macmillan of Unicoi Outfitters, you not only receive insider advice on the new waters you are on, but odds are that at the end of the trip you will be a better fly fisherman. "At Unicoi Outfitters our clients end their trip experience as better fly fishermen," says George Macmillan. "We hope that after a trip they continue with what we consider a great way to spend your time and pass it on to others. After all, trout don't live in ugly places." Macmillan's career as a North Georgia fly fishing guide dates back to when Jimmy Harris bought into Unicoi Outfitters. Harris asked him to start guiding part- time back 1998 when Macmillan was still a full-time school teacher. Following his retirement in 2011, Macmillan took on the mantel of a full-time guide for the Helen based fly shop.

"We offer trips in both Georgia and North Carolina," says Macmillan. "Unicoi Outfitters offers the option of guide fly fishing trips on both public and private waters. Most of our trips are either on the Chattahoochee River, the largely private waters of Soque River, and to the fast flowing freestone streams found in the surrounding national forest. Additionally, we offer do drift boat trips on the Toccoa River in Georgia and the Tuckaseegee River in North Carolina. We also offer drift boat and jet boat trips for shoal bass on the Chattahoochee." "Unicoi Outfitters offer full day fly fishing classes as well as individual casting lessons," says Macmillan. "Our most popular fly fishing class is a three-hour tour. We do one hour of casting and two hours fishing with a guide. We supply all equipment if needed. Flies cost extra on certain trips. Transportation and food depend on the type of trip the client has booked, but we always have drinks available."

Macmillan noted that his most popular repeat trips are Unicoi Outfitters' private water trips, adding that some clients fish with them on these us 4 or 5 times a year. The expectations of our fly fishing guided trip clients seem to be more age based than most people think. The quality of North Georgia's trout fishing is better than ever according to Macmillan. He credits to many different people and agencies responsible for these improvements. The Georgia DNR and Trout Unlimited should get the most credit. Then there are programs like Healing Waters and Casting for Recovery that are fantastic for getting people involved in fly fishing. North Georgia fly fishing has a great network that keeps improving coldwater resources. Macmillan said, "Younger clients want to catch every fish in the river, while our older clients have a greater appreciation of what the day is supposed to be like and are glad to be there. They're happy

with the whole fly fishing experience." "Our clients come from all over the country to fish with us. In North Georgia, there is a lot of fishing pressure on our streams during peak fishing months. Success also requires an awareness of often quickly changing weather and water conditions. If you are coming to North Georgia, it is very helpful to know what waters are the best fishing for your time there. Guides are your best path to success. I think that our guided trips on the private water give them a better opportunity to achieve the success they are looking for. I hope fishing with us makes them a more confident fisherman. I hope they leave us at the end of a trip wanting to visit our area again," says Macmillan. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 79

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close look - georgia

Montgomery Creek: F

or the most part a trout stream gets a name and that label stays with it, often never changing at all. But there’s one stream in North Georgia that has a long history of being called by different monikers. Well, actually, it is a creek and its major tributary that have suffered through these metamorphoses.

The main stem of the Etowah River above FS 28-1 has some old stream man-made stream structures.

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What’s in a name? JIMMY JACOBS The watershed of which we speak is in the headwaters of the Etowah River and rises in the northwest corner of Lumpkin County, a few miles west of the historic gold rush town of Dahlonega. There is no question that the stream is the Etowah River as far north as the junction with Jones Creek. From there on the name game begins.

But, why even bother with this name shifting history? One reason is to make it possible to find one portion of the stream that offers good hatcherysupported fishing and some equally good wild trout action on another stretch. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 83

close look - georgia Delving back into veritable troutfishing prehistory, the river itself was once known in early settlement times as the Hightower River. Today that name still is echoed by Forest Service Road 28-1 that offers the best access and is also called Hightower Church Road. Additionally, the main stem of the creek rises in Hightower Gap on the Appalachian Trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The real confusion today begins upstream of the mouth of Jones. The Flint River Chapter of Trout Unlimited published a short guidebook to Peach State streams in 1982. Called The Georgia Trout Guide, it referred to the waters upstream of Jones Creek as being Montgomery Creek. Roughly 1/4 mile upstream of where the creek flows under FS 28-1, the stream splits. The right fork was then known as Black’s Creek. Even today the main waterfall on that branch goes by the name Black Falls. Meanwhile, the left fork was called the West Fork of Montgomery Creek. It would seem that the confusion could be cleared up by looking at a map. Unfortunately, that depends on which map you consult. The U.S. Forest Service map of the Chattahoochee National Forest from 1975 has the Etowah River name used on the main creek and the left fork. It provided no name for the eastern fork. The interactive map of trout streams that the Georgia Department of Natural Resources provides on its website agrees with that naming protocol. 84 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

The author fishing the shoal marking the upstream limit of stocked water on the Etowah River. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 85

close look - georgia The junction of the West Fork of Montgomery Creek entering the Etowah River from the left.

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Fast forward to the USFS map of the Chattahoochee NF published in 2000 and it calls the left fork the West Fork of Montgomery Creek and right fork the Etowah River. The U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle map of the area agrees with those names too. Of course, these usages beg the question, “How you can have a West Fork of Montgomery, if there is no Montgomery Creek?” And then, to add more confusion, the Georgia DNR directional road signs in the area for finding the camping area at the FS-28-1 bridge call the site “Montgomery Creek.” When and if you figure out all these name shenanigans and arrive at the water, you find a relatively small stream running through a surprisingly level valley above the bridge. There are a number of primitive campsites marked out along a stub road on the upper side of the bridge as well.

A stocker rainbow from the Etowah River. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 87

close look - georgia The region above and below the bridge receives weekly stockings of trout from late March through the 4th of July. The releases after that are twice monthly until Labor Day. This part of the creek is very popular with campers and anglers through this period. The creek upstream of the camping area, however, gets relatively light fishing pressure. About a 1/4 mile upstream you reach a small shoal area that is as far upstream as stockers general show up. Up to that point there is no real trail along this main portion that we’ll call the Etowah River. Just upstream of this shoal two small creeks about 20 yards apart enter the stream from the left. Those are actually the West Fork of Montgomery Creek, which has split to flow around an island. Continuing up the right fork, or Etowah River, quickly arrives at Black Falls. It is a good idea to end your fishing on this stream at that point. Above the falls the river runs through the Frank D. Merrill U.S. Army ranger training facility. Ever since 9/11 they have been more sensitive to having anglers wander out into the camp unexpectedly. The real adventure is to head up the West Fork of Montgomery Creek. It too begins by meandering through a flat valley. Through here the water is often shallow and slow moving, only occasionally broken by small riffles. There is good holding water in some of the bends of the creek, however. Soon the stream takes on a different persona, as it tumbles through cataracts and over several waterfalls. Be forewarned, however, there is no formal trail up the West Fork either. In some places it is possible to see faint traces of angler’s meanderings along the creek bank, but most the trekking is bushwhacking on your way out. 88 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

The author fishing below the first major falls on the West Fork of Montgomery Creek. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 89

close look - georgia

A wild rainbow that is typical of the colorful fish from the West Fork of Montgomery Creek.

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Wild rainbow trout predominate here. These colorful fish are plentiful and often top 10 inches in length. The big plunge pools at the foot of the waterfalls are good places to encounter even bigger trout. As with all of the Peach State’s smaller streams, the best angling option from spring through fall is to toss big, bushy attractor dry fly patterns. Humpy, Royal Wulff, Royal Trude or Adams Parachutes are all good choices. At the foot of the waterfalls you might want to tie on a dropper and get a nymph down deep. Or you might rig a streamer pattern or Wooly Bugger and take a shot for a larger fish Bottom line is, if you can figure out the name of the stream and find it, it will provide some interesting fishing options.

About the Author Jimmy Jacobs is the Georgia Editor for Southern Trout. His guidebook, Trout Fishing in North Georgia provides information and directions for the public trout streams in the Peach State, including the Etowah River and West Fork of Montgomery Creek. His latest book is Brook Trout in Dixie, which provides information, legend and lore about the region’s only native trout.Autographed copies of both books are available from l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 91

Rabun’s Rainbows, N The Best K

close look - georgia

By Samuel Thomas orth Georgia has a rich trout fishing heritage, and no place better represents that rich history than Rabun County. Several years ago Fannin County was officially recognized as the trout capitol of Georgia. While some anglers were befuddled by the apparent snub of Rabun County, there was hardly a peep from the locals. It’s part of the Rabunite charm. Most of them will tell you Rabun County is the trout capitol of the world, not just the state, but they’re perfectly content if the city folk in Atlanta don’t know that. Rabunites only value one thing more than a good trout stream, and that’s a good trout stream that nobody else knows about. If Atlanteans are traveling to Fannin County to fish the Toccoa, that means they won’t be spooking fish on “The River”, which is what Rabunites call the Chattooga. It can be argued that Rabunites have the most unique and iconic fishing culture on the east coast, and they are proud of it. The Rabun Rendezvous-an annual banquet hosted by the Rabun County Trout Unlimited Chapter-is the most celebrated event in all of Georgia trout fishing. Anglers from every corner of the state attend, and the CEO of Trout Unlimited has even been known to make an appearance. The event pays for a significant portion of the TU and DNR conservation efforts each year, and is a crucial part of managing and protecting our fisheries all across the state. I spent the better part of highschool fishing in Rabun, and decided to attend college

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Brookies and Brown: Kept Secret in Georgia l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 95

close look - georgia I’m not from Rabun County, but I like to think I’ve spent enough time fishing up there to be an honorary member of the club. as close to Rabun County as possible. Consequently, I did a ton of fishing in college— much to the dismay of my professors—and picked up on some of the fishing traditions. Rabunite rule #1 forbids me from telling you where I fished, but I can at least point you idrought years brookies reproduce in high numbers, but they grow much faster in flood years. For that reason, it’s not uncommon to catch brookies pushing 10” or larger in the rain soaked Rabun streams. Brook trout also thrive in the woody debris left behind by storms, even if it does make them harder to catch. There are only a handful of brookie streams I fish more than once, but most of them are in Rabun County. Pretty much every major fishery has brookies somewhere, either in a feeder creek or the headwaters. Grab a topo map, look for steep elevation change around 2,000’-2,400’, and hit the trails.

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The brown trout fishing in Rabun County might be its greatest, and least known asset. There are at least a half dozen streams where a 12” wild brown is fairly common, and 18-20” fish are caught every year. The trophy brown trout fisheries range from nameless feeder creeks to large rivers, and if you scout enough water you might be lucky enough to find an occasional beaver pond full of feisty browns. While brook trout are widely seen as shrouded in mystery, it’s the elusive wild brown trout that requires the most dedication. There are only a handful of small streams in the state with thriving brown trout populations, and most of them are in Rabun. They aren’t well know, they don’t have any sort of topographic features that jump out on a map—like a barrier falls on a brookie streams--and they have to be a very specific habitat type.

There is literally only one way to find them: by visiting the streams in person. Even if you find a stream

with wild browns, conditions must be perfect. On a sunny day, you can visit the best brown trout fishery in the state, and still not see a fish. It’s like the stream is devoid of life. But fish that same stream on a rainy day and you may very well catch fish until your arm hurts. Unfortunately, the best days for catching browns are not great for scouting new streams, so it may take multiple trips to really figure out what you’re dealing with. When the conditions are good, you can catch fish on pretty much any large streamer or nymph. The primary forage during rainy days is large stoneflies and small crawfish, so a brown wooly booger dredged along the bottom is hard to beat. On sunny days you will need very small flies, maybe a size 18 ant or a tiny PT nymph, and a lot of luck. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 97

close look - georgia Wild rainbows are literally everywhere in Rabun County. If you find a body of water over 1,700’, there will be rainbows in it. In fact, I’ve watched little bows feeding in the creek that flows through the McDonalds parking lot in Clayton. Unfortunately, wild rainbows just don’t seem to get very big in this part of the state. There are always a few really large fish caught in the Chattooga and Tallulah Rivers, but they are mostly stocked fish. I can think of two, maybe three streams where you can reasonably expect to catch a wild rainbow over 10” long. But if you’re just aching to get out and spend a care free day on the water catching fish, wild bows are hard to beat. They will readily take a dry, and 40-50 fish days are not uncommon. Best of all, they’re pretty much a worst case scenario for blue lining in Rabun County. Maybe your exploratory trip will yield trophy browns or wild brookies, but if not, you are pretty much guaranteed to catch a bunch of wild rainbows. Some of my earliest memories are fishing with my dad on the Tallulah River, and I cut my teeth as a fly fisherman hiking into small blue lines in WHERE GUESTS BECOME FAMILY the Chattooga River watershed. Rabun County has a huge breadth of fisheries for experienced anglers, and phenomenal opportunity for beginners. Fishing can be a strange and unpredictable sport, but there are a few “sure things” that you can always count on. (706) 663-2211 In Rabun County, blue lining in April and May is about as automatic as leaky waders. 98 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 99


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Trout Fish

ou’re on your way to trout fish in the southern Appalachian Mountains … maybe tomorrow, next week or next month. You’ve already decided that a not-so-long drive from Chattanooga, Asheville, Atlanta or Birmingham fits well into your plans to drive just a couple hours or less into the tri-state region of Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. Good choice! But that’s a choice that can be confusing when your planning reveals those mountainlands are laced with thousands of miles of trout streams – from the wild trout waters of national forestlands, to powerhouse tailwaters where rainbow and brown trout grow quickly, to reliable fishing fun on trout waters stocked by state and federal hatcheries around the region. Make the decision easy on yourself! Type “Blue Ridge, Georgia” into GoogleMaps™, but hang onto your hat when you view the region from above via your digital airship! That darkest, thickest, longest blue line crossing the map from east to west is the Toccoa River – the spine of trout fishing in Fannin County, the official Trout Capital of Georgia – and there are countless more thin blue lines that represent trout waters of every kind. With its headwaters in both Fannin and Union County, the Toccoa flows for more than 20 miles before dumping its icy cold springtime water into Lake Blue Ridge. Along the way, it collects dozens of small to medium-sized streams that teem with wild rainbow, brown and brook trout. A few of the larger waters are stocked annually with thousands of rainbow trout raised in both state and federal hatcheries. And when the Toccoa pours out from beneath Blue Ridge Dam, the tailwater trout fishing it supports lends itself of nothing less than great year-round trout fishing for rainbows and browns that often measure more than 20 inches long. Trout fishing reaches so far across Fannin County, the Georgia state legislature in 2005 designated it the “Trout Capital of Georgia.” In 2016, the local Trout Unlmited chapter expanded the concept to create the Blue Ridge Trout Festival & Outdoor Adventures event in Blue Ridge, the county seat. On opening day, the state legislature named the event the official “Trout Festival of Georgia.” And in 2017, the second annual Blue Ridge Trout Festival & Outdoor Adventures event is scheduled April 28-29. For more information, go to for event news, the fishing program lineup, and vendors’ and sponsors’ information. 102 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

hing in the Trout Capital of Georgia by Bob Borgwat l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 103

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Wild Trout of the Toccoa River Headwaters


anging to more than 3,500 feet above sea level, the mountaintops and ridges that swallow the borderline between Fannin and Union counties throw shadows early in the day across trout streams that go unnamed in local fishing circles. Spread the word too far, and, perhaps, the impact of increased fishing pressure on these tumbling jewels could grow to damaging levels. The cascades, slick glides and plunge pools that entice fishermen to these thin “blue lines” are often hidden in thickets of rhododendrons and mountain laurel. In other places, log jams hide their clear, cold

by Bob Borgwat

water for hundreds of feet or they tear quickly downstream through sharp draws. But occasionally, the forest canopy of hemlocks, white pines, alders and a host of hardwood trees give way to casting sites along soft creek bottoms, dotted with moss-covered boulders, that don’t do well in heavy foot traffic. There are many such sites in these hills, but in other locations the moss has been rubbed from atop the rocks, the laydowns are dotted with trash, and gravel banks have been beaten to silt. That’s not to say you can’t find trout in the more heavily fished sites, but

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close look - georgia fishing the lightly trod streams is a joy that’s hard to beat … especially, with a fly rod. From the working end of a 7- to 8-foot 3-weight fly rod, the cast of an Adams, BlueWinged Olive, tan Caddisfly or a yellow Stimulator can draw quick and vicious strikes from rainbow, brown and brook trout that alternately inhabit the streams. Properly scaled tackle puts the fight in perspective when your catches rarely exceed 8 inches. Indigenous brookies are found at the highest elevations where a barrier waterfall has kept the non-native (some say “invasive”) brown and rainbow trout out of the purest upper reaches of several streams. Fisheries biologists in the 1960s responded to the decimation and recovery of these trout streams – a period from the 1920s through the early 1950s – by stocking both browns and rainbows as replacements for brook trout populations eliminated by the fallout of high silt loads and high water temperatures caused by a reduced or eliminated forest canopy during the heavy logging operations of the period. 106 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

Trout Fishing in Fannin County’s Cohutta

Wilderness Area

More than 40,000 acres of national forest land on the northwest side of Fannin County, Georgia, is designated as the Cohutta Wilderness Area. From the ridges that rise to nearly 4,000 feet in elevation, the Conasauga and Jacks rivers parallel each other in the wilderness and offer great remote flyfishing for wild rainbow, brown and brook trout. This roadless area is accessible from the top, down; in other words, you leave your vehicle at one of the several trailheads at the top of the rim that forms the wilderness area below it. The watersheds join each other near the Georgia-Tennessee River. Upstream, they are two watersheds accessed by trails that frequently cross the rivers (more like creeks at this elevation). The Jacks River trail fords the river more than 40 times. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 107

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But where the native brookies remained in the highest watersheds, these scrappy fighters quickly snatch small dry flies and nymphs. Spinning tackle is overkill on such small streams for such small fish. Cast with care, so as not to spook the brookies into hidey-holes in laydowns, broken rock and undercut banks. Drop your flies near any of those targets, however, and the fight for their life will be on! After a brief and manic tug of war that defies their size, the finned jewel of the Appalachian Mountains succumbs quickly to the pressure of the rod. Admire them briefly in the wet palm of your hand, take a picture, and let ‘em loose to share their water with other anglers after you. Downstream from the brook-trout waters, the Toccoa’s headwater streams carry on quietly through semi-remote forests of legacy poplars and hemlocks before alternately tumbling through deep gorges. Plunge pools often collect the largest rainbows and browns. Some go 12 inches and more. These are the streams – still unnamed – that would soon reach a confluence with larger water and commonly require the effort of a 15- to 30-minute hike. The rainbows are brilliantly striped. The browns are buttery gold. Fly rodders might strip a small Wooly Bugger across the deeper waters. A Stimulator or Caddisfly is hard for a shoal-bound trout to resist off the top. Ultralight spin-fishermen (arm your reel with 2- to 4-pound line) do well to toss 1/32- ounce inline spinners -- gold, black, yellow or green patterns are winners – into the same places. Cast upstream and pick up the pace of your retrieve to keep the lure working downstream slightly faster than the stream flow.

Despite the “wilderness” of the area, the rivers can produce both wild rainbows and browns upward of 15 inches, but 9 inches seems to be the norm. Brook trout are found among the tiny tributaries under the heaviest canopy. Wildfire consumed about 30,000 acres of the Cohutta in fall 2016, and the impact upon the trout fisheries is not yet documented. Expect hikes of 3 to 5 miles, entering the Cohutta from either the Jacks River trail (to the Jacks River) or the trailhead at Betty Gap (to the Cohutta River). Longer hikes can be planned using other trailheads. While the area is beautiful, it’s the hike uphill out of the Cohutta that most hikers remember. For more information, search online for “Trout fishing in the Cohutta Wilderness.” l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 109

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STOCKED Catch ‘em T

he Georgia Department of Natural Resources reports more than 120 sites in Georgia are stocked with trout. The stocking season commonly runs late March through July 4 (some are stocked later and selectively). Depending on the location and water quality (water temperature), stocking sites receive hundreds of trout on a weekly, every other week, or monthly basis. State fisheries say more than 1 million “catchables” will be stocked this year. Stocking numbers in the upper Toccoa River watershed are typically high, taking place weekly at about a dozen sites. The schedule is published and updated online at

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D WATER FUN m now, right here! by Bob Borgwat

You can be sure where trout stocking takes place, the fishing access is easy. Roadside access provides pull-outs and parking areas situated alongside upper watershed streams like Coopers Creek, Rock Creek, Noontootla Creek, Big Creek and one lake – 20-acre Rock Creek Lake on Rock Creek Road. Stocked tributaries to the lower Toccoa River (see “The Lower Toccoa River” below) include Hothouse, Hemptown and Sugar creeks. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 113

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Plan your trip and properly prepare your attitude, and you’ll enjoy the stocked fishing sites. First, beware that you’ll not fish alone. These sites are among the most popular fishing sites in the Toccoa watershed if for no other reasons than the frequent stocking and the ease of access. Rock Creek may be the most heavily stocked trout stream in Georgia! Roads are well maintained. Camping is popular – both in developed campsites and so-called “primitive” sites in the surrounding national forest. Next, plan your trip as a catch-and-keep outing. That’s what everyone else around you will be doing. The stockings are frequent and take place where trout survival is marginal in the heat of summertime. May as well join the crowd and kill what you catch. That’s why you don’t catch fish at the stocking sites after July 4. Trout fishing at stocked sites is best from March through June. (Author’s note: Trout fishing on the rest of Georgia’s trout waters is best from November through June. And if you’re prepared for winter weather, you can fish in peace and with great success from December through February.) 114 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

Fannin County Trout Fishing Events

• • • •

Chattahoochee National Forest Fish Hatchery Veterans Fishing Rodeo – May 5 Family Fishing Festival – June 3 Seniors Fishing Rodeo – June 2 Free Fishing Days – June 10, September 23

Finally, come armed with the gear that catches stocked trout. Ultralight rods are best armed with 4-pound line. Spinners and small spoons – 1/8- to 1/16-ounce – will catch plenty for you in just about any stocked water, but the top takers for fresh hatchery trout are natural baits and soft processed baits. Red worms, meal worms and crickets are hard to beat when fished properly. Keep it simple! Tie a size 10 or 12 single hook to the mainline. Weight it sparingly. A single, small split shot placed 12-15 inches above the hook will carry your cast and provide just enough weight to keep the bait tumbling through the riffles, dropped deep into a hole in the creek, or leave it sitting lightly on the bottom while bank-fishing at Rock Creek Lake. The rig for the processed baits – such as Berkley’s Power Bait and Potzke’s Balls of Fire salmon eggs – is the same but the hook is changed to a size 14 or 16 treble hook to help hold the bait together in the water. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 115

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Added fun in fishing for stocked trout also takes place four times a year at the hatchery responsible for stocking all these sites and more. Located on Rock Creek, the Chattahoochee National Forest Fish Hatchery plans fishing events each year that target what might be called our “most special” anglers. Along the creek inside the hatchery grounds, the hatchery technicians host a Veterans Rodeo for US vets only; a Family Fishing Festival for kids 16 years old and younger; and a Seniors Fishing Rodeo for fishermen 65 years and older. And on the Georgia Free Fishing Days -- June 3, June 10 and September 23 – the hatchery extends heavy stocking repeatedly that day to more than 2 miles of Rock Creek.


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The Upper Toccoa


or more than 20 miles, the Toccoa River flows through southeast Fannin County before adding its volume to Lake Blue Ridge. Lake

Blue Ridge, itself, is not recognized as a trout fishery, and fishermen would do well to understand that the Toccoa River upstream from the lake is not the best

Private or Public?

Respect Property Owners’ Fishing Rules on the Toccoa River Most of the upper Toccoa River, and all of the lower Toccoa River, flows through private land. Despite the expanse of the Chattahoochee National Forest around the river’s corridor, the river itself flows across long stretches of private property only to share itself with public access at a few sites. Where private land lies on both sides of the river, the owners of that land have the right to restrict access across their land. Property lines of shoreline tracts commonly extend to the centerline of the river; therefore, property owners also can restrict activities upon those who float the river through their properties. Not all do, and that’s what raises confusion among anglers. Where “posted” – and when stated by on-looking property owners – fishing the river at those points is prohibited. Heed the signs and the statements. Property owners who like their privacy are known to call law enforcement for help with arguing anglers. For more information, contact the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and/or the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department. 120 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

of trout fisheries. Still, the Toccoa River offers a lot for trout fishermen who plan their trips from November through June and watch the local stocking schedule (learn more online at The uppermost public fishing site on the river, at the intersection of Cavender Gap Road and Georgia Highway 60, is revealed by an obvious stocking site. A sign restricts parking in front of the long black tube there, conveniently placed at a height where state and/or federal stocking trucks can easily attach the stocking sluice to it. Angler access lies along the right-of-way for several hundreds of feet up- and downstream. Watch for the boundaries of adjacent property owners and get permission to cross before you trek any farther.


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A few miles downstream lies Deep Hole Recreation Area, administered by the US Forest Service. The campground holds about 15 developed sites alongside the Toccoa River. A canoe launch and streamside trails provides immediate access for fishermen, but private property intrudes quickly upstream and downstream. Heed the notice about fishing across private properties. It’s posted on the campground information kiosks. A few bridges provide marginal access on rights of way to the upper Toccoa River. The first bridge just 2 miles downstream from Deep Hole is on Rock Creek Road. About 6 miles downstream, Doublehead Gap Road crosses the river at a bridge locally known as Butt Bridge or Swan Bridge; and Van Zandt Bridge stands on Newport Road

above the Toccoa 1 ¾ miles farther downstream. The amount of public access varies at each bridge, and private property adjoins each of these sites. Beware the trespass issues, heed all “posted” signs on the river, and get permission before you fish along private property. Public access is commonly “posted” also along this corridor with clear signs marking the boundary of “National Forest.” The national forest is, however, prevalent on both sides of the Toccoa through a semi-remote stretch of more than 3 ½ miles that includes trail access at the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge, a beautiful suspension bridge that hangs about 60 feet above a heavy shoal at one of the prettiest locations in the entire watershed. Anglers can boat into (kayaks/ canoes) this stretch from the public put-in at Deep

Hole. Beware: For more than three miles, private property flanks both sides of the river. Much of it is “posted” against trespass and fishing, and property owners are known to enforce trespass laws with the help of the GDNR and/ or the county sheriff. Otherwise, the area of the Swinging Bridge is reached via FS 816 off Highway 60 about 15 miles southeast of Blue Ridge. Park at the end of the road and walk about 1/2-mile to the river’s edge. You can fish your way through the national forest upstream or downstream each way for about 1 ¾ miles. Trout habitat varies from long pools to gravel riffles, rock gardens and ledges. All methods of fishing are legal. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 123

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Delayed Harvest Fishing at Sandy Bottoms by Bob Borgwat


he jewel of trout fishing on the upper Toccoa River lies, perhaps, along the mile-long stretch of the river at the Sandy Bottoms put-in/takeout site on the Toccoa River Canoe Trail. From November 1 through May 14 the state imposes “delayed harvest” fishing regulations here, easily recognized by the many postings of these rules on trees along the downstream riverbank that state fishing is by catch-and-release only, and only with single-hook artificial lures or flies. When May 15 rolls around, the general regulations to designated trout water apply. Both sides of the DH zone are accessible. Most anglers choose to access the river via Old Dial Road on the river’s north flank. A walk-in site also leads from a powerline right of way off Aska Road on the south side of the river.

“The delayed harvest streams have special catch-and-release regulations from November 1 through May 14 each year and are stocked monthly by the (Georgia) Wildlife Resources Division and our partner, the US Fish and Wildlife Service,” says John Lee Thomson, Wildlife Resources Division trout stocking coordinator. “This combination of stocking and catch-and-release (fishing) allows for good trout catch rates and high angler satisfaction.” Wading is the most popular way for anglers to fish the Toccoa River DH. Safe wading water typically measures less than 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) on the river gauge labeled as “Dial” (online, see “Valley Stream Flows” at Others use float tubes, personal pontoon boats, and

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close look - georgia drift boats (however, there is no formal launch site for drift boats). Deep slots, ledges, pools and riffles punctuate the DH zone. Fly-fishing is popular. Top patterns include Wooly Buggers in many color patterns; beadheaded nymphs such as Hare’s Ear, Prince and Pheasant Tail; and dry flies that are often best selected by the ongoing hatch of natural insects (bluewinged olive, Hendrickson and sulphur mayflies; small black stoneflies; and tan or olive caddisflies). Spinning-tackle favorites include a variety of small lures: Mepps, Roostertail and Panther-Martin inline spinners; Trout Magnet; and various patterns of Kastmaster spoons. Local guides have a few secrets of their own. Catch-and-release fishing implies there will be more fish to catch later into the DH season. That’s true, but many of the trout released here move out of the DH water, both upstream and downstream. Make your

Lodging, Guided Fishing and More in the Trout Capital of Georgia

Uniquely positioned in the heart of Fannin County, the Trout Capital of Georgia, services in and around Blue Ridge is convenient for visiting trout anglers. Small-town appeal, fine local dining and craft breweries, local outfitters/guided fishing trips, and nearby access to the Toccoa River make local lodging a no-brainer. Rather than scouring the net searching for these services, go online and check out these trusted members of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce: • Visit for more information about local lodging. • Visit for your local guided fishing services. • Visit for more local business and recreation information. day more successful and that lies almost immediately fulfilling by fishing beyond adjacent to the DH zone on the DH boundaries. Foot both sides of the river. traffic enjoys access to the national forest land that extends upstream on the Dial Road side only. You’ll need to float, however, into the downstream reach because of private property

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The Low

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wer Toccoa River by Bob Borgwat


any anglers – and some local fishing guides – define trout fishing in Fannin County as fishing on the lower Toccoa River. From its escape beneath Blue Ridge Dam to its last gasp 15 miles downstream at the Georgia-Tennessee border, the riverway features year-round cold water, tumbling shoals, boulder gardens, chutes and ledges that punctuate wide and slow deepwater pools. Thousands of rainbow and brown trout are stocked annually. Many grow to trophy proportions, especially brown trout that exceed 10 pounds. Georgia fisheries officials confirm rainbow trout tend to be the most abundant species in a typical year, but recent GDNR sampling reveals a dramatic increase in the proportion of brown trout in the river. Don’t be surprised to reel in a few more browns this year than in past years. Anglers’ catches of both rainbows and browns tend to measure 10-14 inches long, but you can find yourself hooked into larger trout, especially browns. In fisheries surveys last fall, the GDNR staff collected a 14-pound brown trout along with several others in the 9-10 pound range.

Water levels influence fishing success on the Toccoa, no matter the method. Water releases occur daily in a typical year at Blue Ridge Dam, operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Power generation, flood control and downstream water needs command releases and are planned daily. At full generation, the river flows at about 1,800 cfs -a significant increase from 120 cfs that is commonly recognized as minimum flow. It goes unsaid in any tailwater that safety is foremost. Fortunately, TVA schedules its powerhouse releases the day before actual operation. In other words, at about 5 pm on Monday, TVA will publish its powerhouse flows for midnight to 11:59 pm on Tuesday. This reveals the l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 133

close look - georgia window for planning your time on the water. In some cases, high-water flows will occur all day. Other times, highwater flows will be broken by the minimum flow or some level in between. Some days, minimum flow takes place all day. Plan your trip safely and effectively – depending on your type of fishing trip, wade-fishing or float-fishing. For release information, go to and follow the prompts for Lake Blue Ridge; or call TVA at (800) 238-2264, then dial “4”, “23,” and “#” to reach the Blue Ridge Dam information. Its moderate size but lack of public access seem to define the river as a fly-fishing destination. Fly-rodders certainly dominate the local fishing crowd and often float the river at low volumes for access to the many miles of the riverway flanked by private properties, many placed with beautiful homes and vacation cabins. Low water reveals more trout habitat than high water. Your fishing targets are commonly defined by breaks in the current. Trout feed in relation to current. In river settings, they are

station feeders that use the current lines as food delivery stations. Rarely do trout swim around looking for food; rather, they hold comfortably in breaks to the current yet close enough to the current to snatch aquatic and terrestrial insects, small baitfish and small

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crustaceans floating with the current. At low-water or intermediate water levels, fish near the obstructions in the current – individual rocks/boulders, logs, slots, ledges, undercut banks, riffles and shoals. Substantial caddis, mayfly, and midge hatches occur throughout the season.

Fly-fishermen should be prepared to "match the hatch" when fish are rising. Hendricksons, blue-winged olives and sulphur mayflies drape the air in seasonally staged hatches. Nymphs, wet flies and streamers also have their place, especially in winter. Visit the local fly shops, access

online hatch charts (see ReelAnglingAdventures. com) or search popular internet message boards like North Georgia Trout Online ( for the current fishing reports and local seasonal tips. Deep, slow water may also attract trout mostly as resting sites. Swim lures and fish baits

deep in these areas. Other anglers wade or float, too, using lures and bait along the whole length of the Toccoa tailwater trout fishery. Night crawlers, red worms, kernel corn and Berkeley’s Power Bait are popular choices (fishing with live minnows is prohibited on any trout stream). Lure choices differ little from those used on the upper river: Inline spinners, small spoons and small jigs will take their share of fish. Anglers hoping to find their way into a Toccoa River trophy brown often toss small crankbaits and stickbaits, such as the Rapala Countdown. No matter which method is used, high catch rates keep anglers coming back for more. Given the popularity of the Toccoa, all access points are sometimes a bit crowded on weekends or holidays. Both Tammen Park in Blue Ridge and Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville are public parks, complete with picnic tables, pavilions, playgrounds l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 135

close look - georgia and bathrooms. TVA also maintains a parking site about ¼ mile downstream from the bridge-crossing at Curtis Switch Road, about 6 miles downstream from Blue Ridge Dam. The parking site provides access for wading anglers, as well as a put-in/take-out for float-fishing. Those looking for a more solitary fishing experience may choose to float the river between access points. TVA recently

added a back-down ramp at Tammen Park near Blue Ridge Dam. Similar ramps are planned for the Curtis Switch parking site as well as Horseshoe Bend Park. A back-down boat ramp in McCaysville, at the end of Market Street, is the last available take-out on the river, 2 miles downstream from the put-in/take-out at Horseshoe Bend Park. Meanwhile, putting in and taking out at these locations are matters of using the

riverbank as safely as possible. Local fishing guides have a good handle on maneuvering around these sites and river flow timing, as well as intimate knowledge of the river for a successful float trip. Use caution when wading or floating, as water can rise rapidly and without warning. Float times and tables that explain how quickly the water can rise are displayed at all public access sites.

Blue Ridge – more specifically, Fannin County, Georgia – throws a

tackle box-full of trout fishing opportunities at trout fishermen of every kind. Beginners can fish the easiest of streams where stocked trout provide quick action on simple bait-fishing rigs. Intermediate anglers can challenge their skills – whether fly-fishing or casting lures – on medium to large trout streams where stocked brown and rainbow trout hold-over from year to year, oftentimes reaching 16 inches or larger. Conservationminded catch-and-release anglers find the fish-rich “DH” water of the upper Toccoa River very enjoyable (of course,catch-and-release fishing can be practiced on any trout waters of Fannin County at any time of year); and expert fly-fishermen can tackle the technical side of the sport on the gin-clear headwater streams of southeast Fannin County, or step their fishing up a few notches more by targeting the trophy brown trout of the Toccoa River tailwater. In any case, trout fishing in Fannin County is trout fishing like nowhere else, because this is trout fishing in the Trout Capital of Georgia!

About the Author: Bob Borgwat is a regular contributor and columnist for Southern Trout Magazine. He is a former senior editor of 28 titles of fishing/hunting magazines; an award-winning freelance writer/photographer; and outfitter/fishing guide in the southern Appalachian Mountains where he olives and operates Reel Angling Adventures ( near Blue Ridge, Georgia. 136 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 137

The city of Waynesboro offers some of the finest trout fishing in Virginia. Trophy-sized rainbow and brown trout thrive in the South River Delayed Harvest Area, which flows right through downtown and has one of the two urban fisheries in the state. The South River Fly Shop on Main Street provies guided trips, classes and an extensive line of fly fishing products. Waynesboro is also home ot the South River Fly Fishing Expo in the spring. Attendees have the opportunity to enjoy fly tying, casting, and fishing presentations by regionally known professionals. Visit our website to learn more about Waynesboro, VA.

close look - georgia

Trophy Trout in Capital by Bob Borgwat


outhern-styled trout fishing includes access to private fishing waters that cater to anglers looking for the fight of their lives. Trophy-sized brown and rainbow trout are the norm on these waters, often measuring more than 20 inches long. In Fannin County, the Trout Capital of Georgia, catches of trophies like those are normal on the spring-fed stream at Noontootla Creek Farm. Located just 12 miles outside Blue Ridge, NCF boasts almost 2 miles of private access along Noontootla Creek. Snaking through the forest canopy across almost 1,000 acres of beautiful bottomland, the stream features riffles, runs and pools that hold brown and rainbow trout protected from harvest by both private land boundaries and protective angling ethics. “All fishing on NCF is fly-fishing only, using barbless flies that make the catchand-release requirement easier and safer for our trout. As a result, this is a highquality trout fishery,” says NCF’s fisheries manager David Hulsey, “that is enjoyed by all for both its beauty and the way it fishes.” NCF’s fly fishing is more technical in nature than many other private trophytrout waters in North Georgia. Because Noontootla Creek originates within the boundaries of nearby national forest land, it normally runs gin clear, even behind most local rain events, and makes angler stealth a priority. Four separate sections of about a half-mile each of classic North Georgia trout water are dedicated to individual fishing parties. It doesn’t get much better than this! NCF water is easily waded by anyone, but don’t get the impression this is easy fishing. Technical obstacles make the fly fishing anything but easy throughout the stream’s length. 140 l April 2017 l Southern Trout l

n the Trout l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 141

close look - georgia The upper section is “tight” requiring careful casting. The middle two and lowest sections are more open from a casting perspective, but the trout that live throughout the stream see a lot of action and can recognize the images of an angler and fake bugs. Fishing pressure aside, these browns and rainbows feast on strong natural food sources that make good – maybe great – fly presentation critical. Spring and summer hatches include stoneflies, caddisflies, multiple mayfly species and midges. Terrestrial insects bulk up the food sources in late summer and early fall. Wintertime fishing at NCF also rewards anglers with some of the best fishing of the year. Nymphing with both common and specialty patterns can turn the head of trophy fish, but be prepared to fish water that sees its temperature often fall into the low 40s. Presentations have to be spot on, and the rewards can be spotty, but the fish that eats wintertime nymphs enjoy high oxygen levels, comfortable water temperatures and are among the strongest fish caught all year. For more information, or to book your trophy-trout outing on Noontoola Creek Farm •Call Reel Angling Adventures – phone: 706-838-5259/ •Visit or call David Hulsey at Noontootla Creek Farm – phone: 706-838-0585



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Trout only live in beautiful places.

Fly Fish the Trout Capitol of Georgia. With over 550 miles of beautiful rivers and trout streams, Blue Ridge and Fannin County have the richest, most diverse all-season fishery in the state.

For a free Visitor’s Guide, call 800-899-mtns

Fresh off of the presses: The first book ever dedicated to the Brook Trout of the Southern Appalachian Mountains

NEW FROM JIMMY JACOBS YOU KNOW HIM AS THE AUTHOR OF GUIDEBOOKS TO TROUT FISHING IN THE SOUTHEAST. NOW EXPERIENCE THE OTHER SIDE OF JIMMY JACOBS’ WRITING. THE CERDO GRANDE CONSPIRACY IS A NOVEL THAT TAKES YOU ON A WILD RIDE FROM ATLANTA TO KEY WEST, FLORIDA. The Cerdo Grande Conspiracy was born in a tale related to me by a reserve officer with the Monroe County Police Department that serves the Florida Keys. It revolved around an escaped pig on Stock Island that becomes amorous with a motorcycle in a convenience store parking lot. The owner of the bike and the pig's owner ended up in a fight as the biker attacked the pig. While it sounds surreal, locals have good reason to call the city at the south end of U.S. Highway 1 "Key Weird." Anything is plausible in this slice of paradise. And if it hasn't already happened, it likely will. Admittedly, some liberties have been taken with the original tale, but that's what fiction is all about. From that incident the story of the conspiracy to save the porker took root. Hopefully, you'll find that it grew into an entertaining romp along the southeast coast down to the American tropics. And, should you ever visit there, you just might recognize some of the locales in the tale. Jimmy Jacobs Kindle Edition $4.99 Paperback $9.99 AVAILABLE AT WWW.AMAZON.COM/AUTHOR/JIMMYJACOBS

Natural State Fly Shop is located within walking distance of the fabled White River, just up the road from the Cotter boat launch and public access. A full-service retailer and outfitter, Natural State Fly Shop offer flies, tackle, rental driftboats, shuttles, guided float trips on the White and Norfork Rivers, and guided wade trips on Dry Run Creek. Featuring products by Winston, Ross, Galvan, TroutHunter, Catch Fly Fishing, and many more; Natural State Fly Shop offers everything that the visiting fly fisherman needs. Natural State Fly Shop Shop: 870-471-9111

3392 Cotter Road 102 Harding Blvd. Mobile: 870-706-0820 870-321-2792

Cotter, Arkansas

close look - georgia

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e to the Blue Ridge W

hen making the Blue Ridge Trout Festival last year, we opted for getting a cabin where we could relax after fishing and working the STM booth at the festival. A friend in Blue Ridge recommended we contact Escape to the Blue Ridge. A few minutes on the telephone and we were booked into a ridge top, five bedroom cabin—room enough for the entire STM crew and Olive K. Nynne, too. Our choice was a good one, which we are doing again this year, the biggest change being that we have increased the "likker" budget for twilight enjoyment on the big back porch. STM is as much of a lifestyle publication as it is a fly fishing magazine. In its content construction, an effort is made to treat a southern fly fishing trip for trout as an adventure where fishing is the key, but not the only reason you visit the fantastic places where trout can be cast to. In recent years there has been a significant shift from southern fly fishermen holing up in an inexpensive motel room, to opting for a cabin rental. This is even truer when you bring the family, some of who that may not share your addiction to fly fishing. It is also doubly true if you and a handful of reprobate fly fishing buddies want to share lodging. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 149

close look - georgia Admittedly my experience in the realm of cabin rentals is not especially deep, but over the years I have slept a few that ranged from Spartan to quite swank. Our experience with Escape to the Blue Ridge is such that we have no problem giving them the Southern Trout Approved rating. I might add too, they are the first such business to receive this designation. "In recent years we have seen a significant increase in people renting cabins in North Georgia where one or more of these guests has a keen interest in fly fishing nearby trout streams," says Ernie White who oversees marketing for Escape to the Blue Ridge. "The fantastic fly fishing in the Blue Ridge Mountains is no longer a secret, and the many people have discovered the best way to sample the sport here is to base their visit from one of our luxury cabins."

Blue Ridge is located 90 minutes from Atlanta and a day's drive from five Southeastern states. Escape to the Blue Ridge manages 130 plus cabins scattered throughout the scenic highlands of North Georgia. All Escape to Blue Ridge rentals, whether twobedroom retreats or resortstyle mansions offer the value and convenience of a spacious, fully-furnished home versus a hotel room. Each cabin is privately owned and maintained with consistently high standards of cleanliness and comfort. Beginning with one cabin in 2006, founder Doug Miracle selectively grew the portfolio to more than 130 cabins, selecting cabins for beauty, livability, and proximity to the "Blue Ridge experience." While the architecture, dĂŠcor, and locations of the rental homes reflect the mountain cabin tradition, they're hardly rustic. With stunning views and gourmet kitchens, game rooms, and hot tubs, they exceed the "home away from home" concept.

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When creating Escape to the Blue Ridge, Miracle's vision was brought higher levels of customer service to the North Georgia vacation rental market. Growing up in the Sheraton Hotels his father managed, Miracle understands the difference between routine service and exceptional hospitality. Doug's wife, Pamela, and business partner Ernie White share this passion. Together, they've invested in Blue Ridge, not only as business and cabin owners but also as people who love this area. Well, as Forrest Gump would note, "That's all I got to say about that." For more info contact Escape to Blue Ridge or call 866-618-2521 or 706-413-5321.

Escape to Extraordinary. Escape to Blue Ridge. With a cabin vacation from Escape to Blue Ridge, premium amenities are as important as creating priceless memories. Year-round adventures are as abundant as picturesque mountain views. And making an escape isn’t just accepted, it’s encouraged.

Discover why our vacation cabins are North Georgia’s finest at 855-885-4894

&Unwind Relax


uests breathe easier here, and it isn’t just the mountain air. It’s the entire Eseeola experience: award-winning cuisine, exceptional service, and of course, first-rate fly fishing on the Linville River. Call Today for Reservations

175 Linville Avenue Linville, NC 28646 (800)742-6717

Ron Gaddy


fter hearing nothing but good feedback from my fellow fly fishers that had fallen prey to the Syndicate Syndrome I decided to bite the bullet. Before I purchased the rod I was a little worried that a 3 weight rod may be too much of a noodle for my streamers, but it turns out this rod has plenty of backbone. It’s a great all around rod for streamers, dries, and slinging heavy nymphs as well. The length of the rod provides the leverage and reach you need for most streams and will keep your fly line off the water to maintain stealth in a nymphing or dry fishing mode. With this extra length you will also find yourself a little less tired at the end of the day due to the light weight and reach of the rod. I put a Pflueger Trion Fly Reel and some 3 weight level sinking line on the rod that seemed to balance the rod perfectly for my taste, so you may elect to use a heavier reel to help balance out the rod length. You could also easily go up a line size and reel size and this rod will handle it.

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11 FT. 3 WT. Fly Rod Review l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 155

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The rod is considered a mid–flex rod but to me felt a little faster than that with a very sensitive tip section for detecting strikes and the backbone for hook setting and playing the big fish. I love the leverage this rod has for shooting line, roll casts, and mending. The Syndicate rod makes line control a breeze. It’s no wonder why a lot of tournament fly fishers are now using Syndicate Rods.


First of all let me tell you that I’m fly fishing gears worst nightmare. I’m very hard on everything from boots to rods and have broken more rods that I care to count. After fishing the Syndicate for 8 to 10 times, fell on it at least 3 times that I can remember, and fought some pretty heavy fish I’m convinced this is a tough and well made rod.


Your Syndicate Fly Rod is covered by a Lifetime Limited, original owner warranty. The lifetime limited warranty applies to rods registered with Syndicate by the original owner, so make sure you register your rod when you buy it. Most service claims can be resolved for a service fee of $35.00, a meager fee as compared to other rod warranties.

Cost and Value

The Syndicate 11 ft. 3 wt. rod retails at $325. This rod is the most under rated and under priced rod on the market. You can pay $500 to $1000 for a comparable rod if you just like to spend money, but I’m not convinced you can’t get a better rod at any price. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 157

Buy a shirt and proceeds go to


Western Caro “One Stop”

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olina’s � Hot Spot T

ucked in the southwest corner of the Tar Heel State is Graham County. Covering just over 300 square miles and home to around 8,000 residents, its rugged terrain is deeply veined by hundreds of miles of dashing trout streams and sprinkled with deep, clear Alpine lakes. Distilled in Graham County is everything needed to qualify as classic Carolina fly fishing for trout. Frankly, it is impossible to sling a dead cat in Graham County that does not land in a trout stream. The county boasts a dozen designated wild trout streams, and just as many hatchery supported streams. Additionally, Graham has trout fishing in four reservoir/tailwaters; Fontana, Cheoah, Calderwood and Santeetlah. Unless you are a very determined fly fisherman, it is impossible to fish all of these waters in a single season. Access to these streams varies from very easy, to true backcountry trekking. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 161

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Big Snowbird Creek

Jack Cautious

Big Snowbird Creek has long been regarded as the crown jewels of trout fishing in Graham County. Insiders divide Big Snowbird into four distinct fisheries. Five years a 2.8-mile section of hatchery-supported waters was re-designated as delayed-harvest waters. It is between a foot bridge just above the Junction at the end of Big Snowbird Creek Road and continues to Chestnut Flat Bridge.. It is foot travel only access upstream from where Big Snowbird Creek Road ends to Big Falls. This portion of Big Snowbird Creek wildtrout waters populated largely by streambred rainbow, but holding enough brown trout to keep things interesting. Although engulfed in an overhead canopy and streamside rhododendron, this 5-mile section is wide and covered with glides that make it a favorite among fly fishermen. At Big Snowbird Creek’s Lower Falls brook trout are common for next 7-miles to the stream’s headwaters. Widely regarded as North Carolina’s premier speckle trout fishing, between Lower Falls to Middle Falls to Upper Falls, Big Snowbird Creek is the recipient of tributary rills that also offer seldom cast to true Southern Appalachian-strain brook trout. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 163

Slickrock Creek

A Little Tennessee River feeder stream, Slickrock Creek is a tough to access, but worth the extra trout fishery. Known as as brown trout fishery, Slickrock Creek begins cradled the remote Joyce KilmerSlickrock Wilderness Area and the flows through a road less area along the Tennessee/North Carolina line before emptying into Calderwood Lake. Most of this wilderness stream is in Graham County. Slickrock Creek is accessed at only a few routes, and none are easy. To reach the mouth of Slickrock Creek, either boat across the lake or make a two mile hike along Slickrock Creek Trail (also known as Ike Branch Tail). You can “drop” into the stream via Forest Service Trail # 41 (located at the end of Forest Service Road #82 (Slickrock Creek Road). It’s a 2 mile hike to the creek; a very rugged, virtually vertical trek. Slickrock Creek is well worth the effort to reach. It is chock full of fat rainbow and brown trout, the latter being surprisingly spooky considering their backcountry home waters. Fishing pressure on Snowbird Creek is moderate, and the fly fishermen who go to the trouble of being there are quite adept at the sport.

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Big Santeetlah Creek

The headwaters of Big Santeetlah Creek sprout forth in the Nanthala National Forest not far from Robbinsiville. The stream flows into Santeetlah Lake. The creek has fine populations of brown and rainbow trout. It can reached via Forest Service Rd. 81 off the Joyce Kilmer Road near the starting point of Cherohala Highway. Fly fishing pressure is surprisingly low, especially if you opt to veer off up a tributary stream such as Wright Creek. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 165

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GRAHAM COUNTY HATCHERY SUPPORTED WATERS • Big Snowbird Creek- Old R~R junction to mouth • Calderwood Reservoir- Cheoah dam to TN line • Cheoah Reservoir • Franks Creek • Long Creek-Not on game lands • Mountain Creek- Game land boundary to SR 1138 bridge • Panther Creek • Santeehlah Creek- Jones branch to mouth • Sawyer Creek • Stecoah Creek • Tulula Creek- Headwaters to lower bridge on SR 1275 • West Buffalo Creek • Yellow Creek • Graham county WILD TROUT WATERS • Big Snowbird Creek- (game lands portion above old junction) • Indian Creek • John's Branch • Little Buffalo Creek • Santeetlah Creek- (headwaters to John's Branch) • Sassafras Creek • Slick Rock Creek • South Fork Squally Creek • Squally Creek • Wright Creek l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 167

Tricos: The Hidden

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n Hatch

Hary Murray

ne of the most gratifying forms of fly fishing is catching large trout that are feeding selectively on small natural aquatic insects such as trico mayflies. Little did I realize as I sat in Charlie Fox’s den in his home on the Letort Spring Run in Pennsylvania long ago that he was about to change my outlook on trout fishing. In his polite quiet manner Charlie said, “I know some trout fishing which I believe you will really enjoy …. Tie up some sparse black dry flies size 24 and get to the spring creek by 7 am.” Having grown up fishing for wild brook trout in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I was not prepared for what Charlie talked me into, nor did I realize it would become my favorite form of trout fishing all across the country. If you can envision standing in a stream and having a pod of more than a dozen large trout gently sipping in natural tricos within casting distance, you can appreciate my addiction. If you would like to take advantage of this great fishing let us look at the tackle, flies and tactics which are effective. Accuracy and delicacy in fly placement and protecting a 7X or 8X tippet on the strike is very important in trico fishing. In order to achieve this I use a delicately tipped eight foot two weight rod for my Eastern trico fishing and a nine foot four weight rod for my Western trico fishing. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 171

I like a reel that weighs less than four ounces that has a very light starting drag in order to protect these fine tippets on the initial run when the trout feels the sting of the hook. I use nine to twelve foot compound knotted tapered leaders. I try to get by with 7X tippets but freely go to 8X if I need to. I used to carry eleven different patterns of tricos but I have narrowed this down to two patterns because I believe a natural drift is more important than having eleven different flies. I now use a duck quill no hackle black and white pattern for the duns and a spent wing white poly wing spinner with a black thorax and a light olive abdomen for the spinner fall both in sizes 22 and 24. In order to improve the hooking of these small flies I bend the gap open slightly, bend the point ten degrees to the side, mash the barb down and sharpen the hook. The density of these flies can be shocking as I discovered one morning when I came to a downfall over the stream. One limb had a spider web perfectly located to catch the male tricos from the previous night as well as the morning’s females. Holding my hand up in front of the spider web I counted the flies by tens. Under the span of my hand I estimated there were over two hundred trico mayflies. It is no wonder the trout feed heavily upon them. However, they can be finicky in how they will take our flies.

The importance of having a realistic drift with my flies was driven home to me one morning on a small Pennsylvania spring creek. Vince Marinaro and I were fishing the same section of the stream when I spotted an exceptionally large brown trout feeding on tricos. Vince encouraged me to try the brown and he went up the bank to sit in the shade

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FlyFishingTheSmokies. net

of a willow tree to watch me. Try as I might I could not get him to take my fly. Finally I went back and sat down beside Vince as we watched the brown continue to feed. As I sat there my arm was resting across my knee and my wristwatch was in line with the brown so I decided to time his rises. In sixty seconds he took sixty seven natural tricos. Vince said that

he suspected that although the drifts of my flies looked good to us there might be a slight drag that caused the trout to refuse them. He suggested I go back down to the stream and select a casting position that would permit my fly to drift to the trout at a different angle. It worked; he took it on the first drift. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 173

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A good tactic to help achieve a natural drift on your presentation is to first evaluate the currents around your feeding trout. Once these are determined you know the angle at which you must present your fly in order to get a three foot drag-free drift to him. Sometimes this can be achieved by choosing a casting position either upstream, downstream or across stream from the trout. Sometimes you may need to make a slack line cast such as a reach cast, a lazy-s cast (wiggling the rod from side to side as the line flows forward), a puddle cast (the rod is stopped thirty degrees above the stream on the presentation cast and the line falls in a controlled puddle), or even a bounce cast (the presentation cast is overpowered with extra line and abruptly stopped causing the line and leader to bounce back with slack line). Often you will need to relocate to a different casting position as well as make a slack line cast in order to drift your flies naturally. Last September on a spring creek in Montana’s Paradise Valley the need for a precise drift to a specific trout became apparent. The hatch was very heavy and the stream surface was covered with tricos. I had over thirty trout feeding in front of me. There was a great temptation just to “shoot into the covey” hoping some trout would take my fly. It did not work. Only after I started picking out specific trout, timing my presentation to his rising rhythm and using slack line casts was I able to fool these trout. Many tailwater streams have great trico hatches and the same tactics used on spring creeks are effective on them. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 175

If I spot a pod of risers I prefer to beach my boat and wade to fish these trout. By carefully fishing to the closest trout first, fighting this trout away from the others and then fishing your way on through the pod you can catch many nice trout from each pod.

Frequently there is much aquatic grass drifting on tailwater streams. If you encounter this on a pod of feeders in the middle of the river just let it drift through and fish these trout as normal. However, if you find a pod of feeding trout in a back eddy twenty feet in diameter beside the

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bank it’s a different game. Often several raft of grass five feet across will float around and around in these back eddies. It does not seem to affect the trout because they keep feeding. However, you need to adjust your timing so you can cast your fly to a specific trout just

as the grass drifts by. These are often very large trout but they are not difficult to fool because most anglers pass them up either because they do not see them or they do not want to fool with the grass. Setting the hook on large trout with small flies on light leaders is easy if you strike gently. I use what I call a slip strike where I use a gently rod lifting motion and strike with my line hand, holding the line gently between my thumb and first finger. As soon as I feel the hook penetrate the trout’s jaw I open my fingers thus releasing the pressure on the tippet. Fighting and landing these large trout on fine leaders is easily accomplished if you stay downstream of them and apply a gently rod pressure. When he is ready to land, slowly lead him into shallow water with a high rod to cushion any last minute run. Position your net in the stream and lead him into it. Revive him patiently by facing him to a moderate current in knee deep water, holding him gently until he can swim away. On most streams this is a morning hatch, starting as early as 7 am with the spinner fall two to three hours later. Some hatches start in June and last until late September, coming a little later each week as the season progresses Trico fishing is quite challenging but once it is mastered it is very gratifying. l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 177








Cherokee Lake

Norris Lake

Melton Hill Lake



Knoxville Fort Loudon Lake




Lenoir City



Great Smoky Mtns National Park



Mars Hill


Pigeon Forge



Watts Bar Lake


Douglas Lake








FontanaL09-10 Dam


Bryson City

Sylva Robbinsville








Cherokee National Forest





Nantahala National Forest Dillard











Pisgah National Forest


Tellico Plains




75 Athens

40 Canton

Maggie Valley




Clayton Blue Ridge

Not To Scale



Chattahoochee National Forest


Index of Maps Featuring All or Partial Sections of Waters Listed J08-09 Blockhouse and Kinzel Springs USGS Quadrangles Little River downstream of Great Smoky Mountains Nationa Park, Hesse, Cane and Beard Cane Creek. J10-11 Wear Cove and Gatlinburg USGS Quadrangles Little River, West Prong Little Pigeon River and Gatlinburg special permit streams.


K10-11 Thunderhead Mountain and Silers Bald USGS Quadrangles Little River, Lynn Camp Prong, Fish Camp Prong, and Hazel, Forney Creek, Bone Valley Creek and Jonas Creeks.



K12-13 Clingmans Dome and Smokemont USGS Quadrangles Oconaluftee River, Raven Fork, Bradley Fork and Noland and Deep Creeks. L07-08 Whiteoak Flats and Tapoco USGS Quadrangles Cheoah River and Citico, Jake Best, Doublecamp and Slickrock Creeks.

Johnson City


Cherokee National Forest

L09-10 Fontana Dam and Tuskeegee USGS Quadrangles Fontana Lake and Eagle, Hazel, Yellow, Sawyer and Stecoah Creeks. L11-12 Noland Creek and Bryson City USGS Quadrangles Fontana Lake, Tuckasegee River and Forney, Noland and Deep Creeks. L13-14 Whittier and Sylva North USGS Quadrangles Tuckasegee and Oconaluftee Rivers, and Soco, Dicks and Scott Creeks.

Pisgah National Forest

M05-06 Tellico Plains and Bald River Falls USGS Quadrangles Tellico, River and Bald Rivers and Wildcat Creek. M07-08 Big Junction and Santeetlah Creek USGS Quadrangles Tellico and North Rivers and Nabb, Santeetlah Creek, Little Santeetlah, West Buffalo, Little Buffalo Squally and Snowbird Creeks. M09-10 Robbinsville and Hewitt USGS Quadrangles Santeetlah Lake, Nantahala River and Tulula Creek, Long, Mountain Creek, Snowbird, Franks, Berts, Bear and Stecoah Creeks. M11-12 Wesser and Alarka USGS Quadrangles Little Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers and Alarka, Rattlesnake, Tellico, Burningtown, Cowee, Rhinehart and Sugar Cove Creeks.



M13-14 Greens Creek and Sylva South USGS Quadrangles Tuckasegee River, Caney Fork and Greens, Savannah, Wayehutta and Cullowhee Creeks. M15-16 Tuckasegee and Sam Knob USGS Quadrangles Upper West Prong Pigeon River, Caney Fork and Moses, Mull, Wolfe and Tanasee Creeks.




N15-16 Big Ridge and Lake Toxaway USGS Quadrangles Tuckasegee and West Fork French Broad Rivers and Tanasee, Robbinsville, Flat and Panthertown Creeks. P01-02 Tennga & Hemp Top USGS Quadrangles Conasauga River, Jacks River and West and South Forks of Jacks River and Mill Creek. P12-13 Rabun Bald and Satolah USGS Quadrangles Chattooga River and West Fork Chattooga River, Walnut Fork and Warwoman, Sarahs and Hoods Creeks.

A 85



Š 2016 SAINT CLAIR MAPPING Updated 9/22/2016

book review


lot of review copies come and go here. It took reading about two pages of C. William King's Fishing Tips and Tales for me to be sucked into the vortex of his amazing story telling talent. I'm a sucker for this kind of storytelling that takes me back to my salad days when reading such prose made me long to be a fly fishing writer. Having made that confession, I will go out on a limb as say that Fishing Tips and Tales is the best book reviewed here since STM's launch in 2012. If you enjoy reading simply for the sake of reading, this is pure brain candy. Fishing Tips and Tales share the fishing life through quirky combinations of surprise at what happens, and a sly knowing of the inevitable consequences of what is about to happen; capturing its wonderful obsession, successes, near misses, and failures. The book includes stories of fishing trips gone wild, fishing trips gone bad, and laugh out loud situations. Even when the storyteller is outsmarted by the wily trout, his passion shines through. He can't help himself. These stories are compelling essays of the fishing condition.

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The style is quite reminiscent of the old school angling literature many of us grew up reading. These stories harken back to humorous and irreverent tales, set in the 1930s, 40s, and '50s, although updated to the 21st century. There's just not a lot of stuff published these days that is written for the pure enjoyment of reading. These stories fill that niche. Read just one story and it is the angler that will be hooked. Some stories are poignant and thoughtful, while others are stuffed with surprises, fun, and shenanigans. These stories are full of nuances about how the world works, as seen through the eyes of a rabid fly fisherman. William King graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. He started keeping a fishing journal in 1996 to preserve some information about the fishing trips he took. However, at some point, it evolved to include preserving memories of a lifetime of fishing. When he began writing, he had no idea that real life could turn into literature. The fishing stories within these covers are meant for the readers' enjoyment, but he also wanted to leave a legacy to his children and grandchildren. He lives in a small town in Ohio with his wife of more than 40 years who puts up with all his fishing, rod building, fly tying, storytelling, and writing activities with love and good humor. The author can be reached through his bamboo fly rod website l Southern Trout l May 2017 l 181

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A Museum for the Southern Fly Fisherman

The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians — originally

located in Cherokee, NC — has a new home in neighboring Bryson City where it shares a building with the Bryson City / Swain County Chamber of Commerce. It’s centrally located on the town square across the street from the visitor center. The Museum is open Monday thru Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and admission is free.

The scope of the museum covers an

area with more than 14,700 miles of accessible trout streams — the nine Southern Appalachian States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama; the Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Bryson City, NC


Through exhibits and videos you’ll

learn about legendary “Stream Blazers,” the evolution of rods and reels, basic knots, fly-tying, types of gear, types of gamefish, regional fishing waters, and the history of fly fishing in the Southeast. Whether you are a long-time fly fisherman, or have only attempted or never tried fly fishing, you will find something to enjoy and to learn from in the museum.



Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians 210 Main Street Bryson City, NC 28713 800-867-9241

Southern Trout Magazine Issue 30  
Southern Trout Magazine Issue 30