Trophy Trout Done Right

Finding a balance between Fish and Angler.

When it comes to trophy managed trout waters in the Southeast, not all are created equal. There are a multitude of factors to consider when fisheries managers set out to create a trophy fishery. Balancing the needs of the fish with the expectations of paying anglers is a trick that can be tough to master.

While any yahoo with some stream frontage can stock a few hundred trout and feed them until they’re fat and sloppy, it takes careful strategy to nurture a fishery for trout that not only grow large but also retain the natural instincts that make them such worthy game fish.

A thriving wild trout fishery awaits in North Georgia!

North Georgia’s Noontootla Creek Farms (NCF) is an example of trophy trout fishing done right. Guide David Hulsey will be the first to tell you that location has as much to do with their little creek’s productivity as anything.

To begin with, Noontootla Creek is a thriving wild trout fishery without any help at all. Upstream of the 1,200-acre NCF bird-hunting and trout fishing preserve, Noontootla flows off Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area as one of the best public wild trout streams in the state. Its pristine, cold and clear waters provide almost everything required for a trophy fishery… including trout.

Hulsey said the farm doesn’t need to stock any fish at all. The trout are mostly stream-born rainbows and browns. A few stocked brookies and bows show up from time to time, likely migrants from the Toccoa River downstream, and the appearance of these introduced fish is dull in comparison to the bright wild fish that remain on the NCF property year-round.

Private waters and a strong population.

Noontootla offers small-stream fishing for big trout over 2 miles of private water. With supplemental feedings, their fish grow to 2 feet and longer, but these are not pellet pigs. The fish at NCF exhibit the looks and feeding behaviors of wild trout, and it takes a certain amount of skill for anglers to catch them.

The fishing is limited to fly gear only, with barbless hooks and a strict catch-and-release requirement. The creek is broken into four half-mile beats to control the amount of fishing pressure. Through this careful management, NCF has created a trophy fishery that is as close to natural as they come, which means it can be as challenging as it is rewarding.

A strong stonefly population makes stonefly nymphs a good option year-round, while seasonal hatches of various caddis and May fly species keep trout tuned to natural feeding patterns. One of the highlights each year is the summer terrestrial bite, when giant trout jump on big, high-floating hopper patterns.

By CAM Staff

For information, see

Contact David Hulsey:

770-639-4001 /

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