Blue Lining for Trout

By James Bradley

You may have heard this term before, but do you really know what it entails? I see on some online boards and other media outlets where they speak of blue lining. Sometimes, I think the term “blue lining” is just referring to the waterways on some map. True “blue lining” to me is getting out there where you will probably not see another person.

“Blue lining” is tearing your clothes as you traverse your way through the rhododendron, scrambling up over boulders, and climbing up some 50-foot waterfall to in pursuit of wild trout. High elevation streams should be over the 2,000-foot range and preferably above 2,400 feet.

I refer to fishing these small streams as “blue lining”. Blue lining is a favorite amongst many Appalachia fly anglers because the fish are always wild, often untouched, and very abundant. Their parr markings and vivid colors are worth the skinned elbows and knees that oftentimes occur in this neck of the woods.

These less accessible creeks can provide some of the best fishing and a big surprise or two along the way. Words cannot express what it is like to bring to hand a ten, eleven or even twelve-inch Southern Appalachian brookie. These little jewels have been here since the dawn of time and are the most colorful in the area. Many locals refer to them as specks due to the red dots with blue halos that are embedded throughout their sides.

Most of these trout are not very picky about your fly selection but will be more sensitive to your presentation. Dry flies will normally work here when they will not in other lowland streams. Use obstacles to your advantage and keep a low profile for better results as wild trout are extremely easy to spook.

The average trout size ranges from around four to eight inches, with a handful of ten plus inchers. Though rare, some of the streams in our wilderness areas can support wild trout in the twenty plus inch range. Yes, you read it correctly, 20+ inches.

If you are a beginner wanting to learn how to fly fish, we have a great staff of instructors who have been schooled in the art of fly fishing. One of the best ways to learn about fly fishing is to spend time with those of us who are professional full-time guides. Don’t forget to ask us about our float trips! Currently, we are doing floats on the Toccoa Tailwater and on the upper river as well. Give us a call to book your amazing trip on the water and don’t forget that we offer gift certificates!

James Bradley is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide. Call him at (706) 273-0764 or look him up at Reel ‘Em In Guide Service operates as an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Outfitter in North Georgia’s Historic High-Country region. They have been offering their services to fly anglers since 2001. They have permits for guiding in North Georgia and North Carolina, offer over 7 miles of private trophy waters across Georgia, and operate float trips on the Toccoa River
in GA and the Tuckasegee River in NC.

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