by David Hulsey
Fly fishing on Georgia’s trophy trout waters is a fun experience that everyone should do once on their fly fishing journey. Twenty something years ago when I for some reason decided that being a fishing guide was a cool way to make a living, there was only a couple of private landowners managing their property with trophy regulations. Since then there has been a surge in folks with streams flowing through their properties that have begun to do this. Some offer a chance for the public to visit their property and take a guided fly fishing trip for a half or a full day with a chance at catching large rainbow, brown or brook trout. Normally anyone outside the family of the landowner wouldn’t be able to access these properties, so we are very grateful to them for this.
Of course the regulations on these areas are fly fishing only, catch and release only. Without this designation, these waters would soon be decimated by folks raping the stream of the fish populations that live there. The trout can happily thrive here, and some can reach 30 inches and 10 pounds here. Almost every pool that can hold a nice sized fish does and makes these waters perfect for teaching a new angler how to fly fish. He or she will have multiple shots at fish during the day instead of fishing public hatchery supported water and hoping the stocking truck came by this week.
Because of geology the trout waters here in Georgia for the most part are very acidic. This fact doesn’t make it hospitable for aquatic insects to grow and thrive, and our trout populations suffer from not having as much food as the Rockies or even the Northeastern states. Also, liberal trout regulations on our public waters just don’t let fish live long enough to get past “good eaten size”, as my dad used to say. A few trout figure it out and can live a little longer. Protecting these private water trout and having a supplementary feeding program really improves the chances for the fish to be able to make your fly reel scream instead of just squeak!
Of course, you have to pay if you’re going to play. Most access fees will begin at about $250 and go up from there. A lot of people can’t stand the thoughts of having to pay to fish as they drive off in their fifty thousand dollar bass boat. Let’s face it, Georgia isn’t Montana, but it’s a whole lot closer and less expensive to drive two hours to catch big fat trout that can make the most jaded trout angler giggle like a school girl.
My favorite private water is Noontootla Creek Farms near Blue Ridge Georgia. The Owenby family has about two miles of mind-blowing trout water flowing through the most beautiful valley in the Georgia Mountains. The water contains the most brightly colored big rainbows and browns you’ve ever seen. They offer awesome guided fly fishing trips for one to sixteen anglers a day in addition to Bobwhite quail hunts with world class bird dogs and a challenging 12 stand sporting clays range. Where else can you catch a five pound rainbow in the morning, shoot a round of sporting clays and hunt over a beautiful Brittney or Setter in the afternoon all on the same property? You can contact them by phone at 706-838-0585 or check them out on the web at www.ncfga.net to book your trip of a lifetime!