Peach State Summer Trout

by Bill Vanderford, Georgia Field Editor

Trout? In Georgia? You bet! And real trout, not the fish Yankees call weakfish either.

As the young man sat staring at the huge stack of unfinished paperwork on his desk, his mind wandered off to another time and place....He had cast his tiny lure into a shaded area beside an old fallen tree that formed a small eddy which broke up the fast-moving water of the river. Suddenly, a flash of silver appeared through the refracted light of the crystal-clear water like the jagged streak of a lighting bolt! The diminutive lure instantly disappeared.

Before the youthful angler could react and crank the small handle of his ultralight reel, the fish sped directly toward him. Several yards from the astonished fisherman, however, the huge native rainbow trout leaped clear of his watery environment........The Brilliant red stripe shimmered in the blinding sunlight as the fish displayed its beauty at close range prior to throwing the tiny spinner past the young angler's head and disappearing in a shower of spray beneath the fast water.

Landing a nice trout on a North Georgia River.

Surely this action transpired in some faraway trout paradise like New Zealand, Argentina or Alaska. Not so! It happened in one of the wild rivers of North Georgia. This includes outstanding populations of trout from below Buford Dam to midtown Atlanta on the Chatahoochee River, which is made possible by the release of cooler waters from the depths of Lake Lanier.

Most of the mountain trout waters of the Peach State are both well stocked and easily accessible. Nevertheless, for those who seek solitude, relief from the summer's heat and a place that could satisfy the daydreams of the most avid Purist, Georgia still has the solution.

Such rewards require dedication, imagination and some hard work. First, none of the really lightly trod areas of northern Georgia are easily reached, and they are certainly poorly publicized. With the proper study of detailed maps, help from governmental agencies and advice from experienced mountaina anglers, however, one can turn mystery into exciting reality.

Detailed maps of the Chattahoochee National Forest are available from the U.S. Forest Service Information Service at 404-347-2384. For many other areas quadrangle topographic maps with finer detail can be purchased from the Map Unit of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources by calling 404-656-3214.

With more than four million people living less than two hours by car from almost any of Georgia's northern borders, one would naturally assume that every place in those cool Blue Ridge Mountains would be occupied during the hottest months. That, however, is far from the truth. In reality, the wild rushing waters and virgin-appearing pools of remote areas along the Jacks or Conasauga Rivers in the Cohutta Wilderness Area can only be reached by backpacking, and solitude is still a possibility. So, armed with the proper information, one can enjoy a portion of Peach State trout fishing known and enjoyed by a very select group. For more details contact Trout Unlimited.