In certain years Georgia WRD stocks trout in many north Georgia streams and rivers going into Christmas because they have a surplus of stocking sized trout some years and distribute them as a bonus. Check DNR's website to find out about such bonus stockings and where to fish.

I drove to Helen, Georgia to fish the public water area of the upper Chattahoochee that runs through Helen. Recently it had been stocked with trout. It wasn't like shooting fish in a barrel, it was REAL fly fishing. In fact it was the nicest fly fishing trip I've had on those particular public waters. This stretch is year round trout water, and normal regulations including creel limits apply. If you come to this water fish the pocket water, deep holes, and deep water in fast runs.

Consider this selection of common flies: size-10 to -8 olive wooly bugger or size-10 to -8 crayfish/black or olive/black streamers. In shallower water strip wooly buggers in short, pulsing strips. Fish weighted streamers in fast water and in deep pools. In fast, shallow water cast upstream or across and strip fly as it tumbles across the bottom. In deep pools count down weighted streamers to sink them, then strip in short pulsing strips. Drift glow balls and pink San Juan worms deep and slow. Because of current and depth, I opted to fish weighted streamers on this trip.

To fish this public area, I entered Helen and turned right on Chattahoochee to a city parking area at the intersection with Edelweiss. For $2.00 per day you can park, get on your gear, and enter the stream just below town. From this point you can fish upstream to the alternate 75 bridge, or you can enter the water and fish downstream to the concrete bridge, 150 yards above well marked private waters downstream. Below the bridge is private water, so STAY ABOVE THE CONCRETE BRIDGE!

Traditional flies and methods will allow you to catch fish here, but I fished weighted streamers and was able to cover the fastest and deepest waters very effectively. I pulled trout after trout from the slightly deeper water in fast runs, fish holding in hydro cushions in front of boulders and at the heads of runs, and in deep pools with the countdown method and slow stripping. I found fish distributed in all of these areas, but they were scattered. I had to fish aggressively to catch them. I probed a lot of water and found fish where I had never caught fish before. It was FUN! It was REAL fishing!

In this image (RIGHT) notice the direction of current and where fish were holding. I probed my streamers in the deep water, behind and in front of rocks in hydro cushions, along current seams where there is a drop to deep water. I found many trout holding on the seams.

I probed pockets just behind wood lying in the stream. There is plenty to fish. Don't overlook potential spots and probe carefully with streamers which will get down in front of the fish in even shallow water with fast current.

In flat water like this (LEFT) I probed the deep water down the center, and stripped my streamers down and across the run. To fish downstream hydro cushions in front of rocks, I cast downstream just ahead of the target, then let my streamers tumble into the lie ahead of rocks. I then stripped the flies upstream, and let them fall back into cover. I caught 4 trout holding in one small stream bed depression that way. Light tippets and non buoyant flies are needed. The most productive were my size-10 streamers in olive and black or crayfish and black.

I was very pleased with this trip. I walked and fished almost its entire length. There were minimal fishers on the water, and the fish were big enough to make it fun. The first two trout I caught were fat 15 inch rainbows. On my Orvis 1 weight with 4 pound tippet, it was a lot of fun! My apologies for not shooting images of the beautiful rainbows, but I decided on this trip to fish by myself and JUST FISH.