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The dog day of summer mean its time to escape the heat and head for the headwaters and small streams of North Georgia or the cooled tailwaters of the Chattahoochee River or Toccoa River. The dry fly bite has been excellent. Trout can be caught on a myriad of flies as all insects are present. Stoneflies, mayflies, caddis and terrestrial imitations will catch fish throughout the day. If you are out at an odd time when trout don't want to rise add a small/simple dropper fly below your dry. Majority of the hatching bugs are on the small end of the spectrum with some larger mayflies showing up in the evening. The Appalachian slam (brook, brown, and rainbow trout) is still very achievable on most days. Several customers have landed theirs on half day outings since June. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather as afternoon thunderstorms can pop up quickly. For me, lightning is a quick time out, but heavy winds can be scary under a dense canopy.
The tailwater below Lanier is still a good bet for a shorter day on the water. The normal patterns of midges and junk flies are still catching most of the trout. The recent rains we have had have thrown a bit of a curveball at the trout but with the right adjustments you can still do well. Bigger flies or small streamers have been fishing well in the lowlight hours. For a break in the trout action, bigger groups of bass than normal have also been gathering at the mouths of creeks once water levels in the feeder creeks reside.
The fly fishing near Ellijay is still slow with the warm water. Heading toward the higher elevation streams such as Amicalola or the Upper Tocccoa River Tributaries will be the best options for wild trout.
The fly fishing near Blue Ridge is still the best of any of Georgia's mountain towns. The small wild trout streams of the Cohutta Wilderness and Upper Toccoa River are going to be the best options until the late summer early fall rains arrive. The Toccoa River Tailwaters will fish well in the mornings before the tubers and kayakers crowd the river, but with the school year fast approaching you can expect these numbers to decline in the weeks to come. To the east, Rock Creek and Cooper's creek will be some of the few creeks where anglers can find consistent stocked trout. Moving into the headwater streams will yield plenty of wild trout and great dry fly action.
The Dahlonega fly fishing has slowed down a bit in the past couple weeks, especially on the stocked waters. Dicks Creek will be the only consistently stocked creek from now until the Fall. The heavier traffic make Dicks Creek a challenge to fish on weekends but stocked trout can usually be found until they're fished out by Monday. Boggs Creek was also stocked with a HEAVY amount of trout this past week. Many of the anglers to find them first were practicing catch and release so the trout were able to get a quick education and may be able to avoid the onslaught of anglers looking for a meal. With the water in Boggs low, look for the trout to be tight lipped and spooky, but willing to bite if approached cautiously. The wild trout streams have been fishing well. The lower water levels have made them a bit more spooky so move slow. Hopefully the afternoon showers will raise water levels back to normal, but I believe that may just be wishful thinking.
The summer months are still slow for fly fishing in Helen. The heavier number of visiting anglers and the fewer stocked trout to go around make for slower days, but as vacationers retreat, expect the trout fishing to improve steadily. Stealth and accurate casting are key to landing the finicky wild trout and the remaining stocked trout. With a little hiking and bushwacking you can find plenty of nearly untouched water this summer.
Best of luck in our last month of summer. If you find yourself stuck at home hiding from the heat, check out our latest article on fly design and selection to better understand how to tie and choose your flies for targeting trout under different conditions. Fall is just around the corner and now is the best time to start planning your trips to fly fish North Georgia's most scenic rivers during the color change.