Trout Season opening soon in Rabun County Ga

March 5, 2012

It is that time of year again, flowers are starting to show up in the woods and the afternoons are warming up.  Every March I look forward to the opening of seasonal trout streams in north Georgia.  If you really think about it, there is not a better way to explore the mountains of Rabun County than to get a map out and go looking for a new fishing hole!

Depending on what kind of fishing you like to do, there are many opportunities for all skill levels.  If you are trying it out with kids for the first time the best place to start is the Moccasin Creek Fish Hatchery off Hwy 197 at Lake Burton.  This is where the GA Dept of Natural Resources raises trout for stocking local streams.  There is a lot of fishing pressure in some streams, and there is no way natural reproduction can keep up with the demand.  They have ponds and lower stretches of Moccasin Creek where kids and people who cannot wade streams can wet a line.  It is also fun to watch them feed the fish and you are welcome to walk around the races usually.

If fish in a barrel isn’t your thing, but you don’t wade streams like a wild man, Tallulah River Road is the next place most weekend fishermen are familiar with.  This is nice because it is scenic and stocked often, but also easy to get to and has some good places to bank fish without getting in.  There is a good variety of terrain here for open water fly fishing or tight flip casting.  Another good place if you have worn out Tallulah River is Warwoman Creek at Earl’s Ford Road.  Bring a Jeep or truck if you are going to trek down Earl’s Ford Road, and don’t ford Warwoman Creek unless you know what you are doing.

More experienced wading anglers can go back across the county to Wildcat Creek, especially if you are fishing with somebody less experienced and likely to get bored.  There are nice big bank fishing holes in the lower areas around the bridge for corn fishing, and head up the creek any number of miles for some challenging mountain trout.  Fishing the upper sections of Wildcat Creek require some casting skill, as most of you know rhododendron is very unforgiving and your hook will not easily drop loose from “limb bream.”

Most of the trout you catch in Rabun County streams will be rainbow trout.  Sometimes they are very silvery looking, but depending on their diet they can be colored nicely with a red midline.  I have always been of the opinion that the longer a trout has been in the creek the more colored up it will be.  Naturally reproduced fish are some of the most beautiful you will see.  You might catch some fish that have little orange dots on them and these are usually small brown trout.  Large brown trout are easy to identify because they clearly look different and have the green backs with bronzed sides, and they will give you a good fight, too.

Every now and then, even in Tallulah River, you catch small trout with white fins that have black and orange edges.  Most likely you are into some native brook trout if you land one of these.  I think it is fun reading all the trout fishing blogs about how far back in the woods you have to go to find these elusive creatures, when actually you can jump in among the tourists and really have a better chance of finding some of these beautiful little fish without getting your line all tangled up!  Browns and rainbows feed on these tasty little natives, so to really find populations and fish exclusively for them you will need to get up in the headwaters of just about any stream in the mountains to find them.  Some streams have better habitat in more remote areas, and many fishermen keep these places as guarded secrets.

The daily limit of trout is 8, and trout can be of any size in most streams.  I am a middle-of-the-road fisherman, and regarding catch and release this is what I recommend:  “put-and-take” stocked streams, keep ‘em and eat ‘em…. natural reproduction streams I usually pinch the barbs down and release fish if they are not injured and going to make it… trophy streams, follow their rules which is usually catch and release only.  Click here for license requirements and special regulations.

Seasonal trout streams open up in Georgia on March 31, 2012, send me pictures if you catch a good one!