Let me start off by saying that Little Amicalola Creek is absolutely stunning. Between the massive Amicalola Falls and the beautiful paths along the stream, this creek is amazing. However this stream is such a let down. I would truly love to see this creek, or at least the section inside Amicalola Falls State Park, be turned into a special regulation catch and release area and to establish it as a wild brook trout stream. However as of right now this creek is stocked and it gets fished out very quickly. Also this creek suffers, like all creeks in Georgia, a lack of water (which could be solved by the destruction of the pond at the base of the falls).
Ultimately because the water here is so clear, the creek doesn’t have an ample amount of water flow during the summer, and the amount of high amount of pressure this stream receives I can not recommend fishing here. It is pointless, instead go to Amicalola Creek or another creek close by.
As far as trying to fish here, it is possible right after a stocking. Aim for the bigger holes and the pond at the base of the falls. I would use nymphs mainly, do not weight them (unless you are fishing them in the pond) and do not use any streamer patterns (except in the pond). I personally haven’t tried dry fly fishing here because it seems pointless with the amount of fish in some of the pools, however I am sure a stocker that survives a couple days in the creek would probably hit a dry fly.
Another bummer, besides it being fished out quickly, and the amount of traffic that comes here, is that because it is a state park; you will need to buy a parking pass, rather a yearly or daily pass, in order to fish here.
One of the main things as an outsider to Georgia is how similar Georgia is to Virginia. In the mountainous sections the weather is usually cool and mild, while the flat lands are hot and humid. Only when it comes to winter can you tell the true difference between Virginia and Georgia, and realistically this change can really only be felt from the Atlanta Metro area south, everything else is relatively the same as Virginia. As with the weather, fly fishing for trout in Georgia is realistically a lot like Virginia. You have your high mountain native brook trout, wild rainbow trout, and occasional wild brown trout. In other places you have your stocked streams, and in several of the river systems (i.e. the Chattahoochee) you have your dam tail water wild trout. Also both the State of Georgia and Virginia have Delayed Harvest Sections during the Fall, Winter, and Spring months. However there are two main differences that an angler will see between Virginia and Georgia; the first is that the stockings month are backwards from Virginia, during the Spring, Summer, and early Fall months the State of Georgia stock their designated stocking streams. The second difference is that instead of stocking by Counties (like they do in Virginia) the state of Georgia have Wildlife Management Areas. At first it was a bit frustrating to find information on where and how to fish – I knew the fish were there, but like when I started fishing in Virginia the information out there is outdated and the only way to figure stuff out was to talk to local Fly Shops and to explore.
The main reason why I wanted to tell you all of this up front is because this will be the first of many posts about the trout waters here in Georgia. It has taken me a little over a year to get used to these waters and feel comfortable enough to actually talk in detail about them. So without further ado, here is my first Georgia stream recommendation and description of said stream.
The Upper Chattahoochee is a section of water in the Chattahoochee WMA area that extends from Little Crumbly Knob Mountain to the town of Helen Georgia. The first thing you must understand is that some of the water is private, obey the no trespassing signs at all costs. Also make sure that you lock up your vehicles and that they are parked in spot so that others can easily get by you. The last and final thing to know about this water way is that it is amazing. Honestly it is better than most of the streams that I have fished in Virginia; knock on wood, I have never been skunked on this stream and have fished it year round. Though the Upper Chatt is only stocked during the Spring, Summer, and Fall months an angler can always find a hold over somewhere through this freestone creek. Also in the extreme back wood sections, if you are able and willing to make the hike, an angler can find wild rainbows, and native brook trout. Also this stream is one of the few streams that I have found Tiger Trout in, yes the State of Georgia does stock tiger trout, however I have yet to find any wild tiger trout in these waters… but the possibly of finding wild tiger existing here is very high.
Now what can I say about the actual stream itself; if you know me then you know that by far my two favorite streams in Virginia are Big Stony and Little Stony Creek in Giles County, well the Upper Chatt is a mixture of these two streams. Very large boulders protrude from the water, that lead into deep long holes, while in other area there are very fast riffles followed by very shallow runs. Because of all of this different types of flows, fish can be found almost anywhere throughout this stream. However aim for the deeper pools, here you can always find trout rather at the drop, the deep middle sections, or at the rear of the hole.
One of my favorite things to do is use a good pair of polarized sunglasses and watch how the fish are eating, if they are constantly hitting top water I will use a dry/dropper rig or if they are constantly looking like they are going after stuff on the bottom I will fish two heavy nymphs and float the nymphs straight through that area.
Also as a member of the local Trout Unlimited, please be mindful of your trash, if you get a chance please bring a trash bag and fill it up as you fish. Keeping this stream beautiful is a very hard chore since it is a major tourist destination for campers during the stocking season.
There are very few pull off points to the stream, and some of these still leave your vehicle very close to a road that has a ton of traffic on it. Be mindful also of trespassing and take precautions when it comes to little to no cell phone service. Also, and I can not stress this enough when it comes to deep mountain streams, be mindful that you are in bear country, be safe.
Rock Castle Creek, which is located right off of the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a gym of a stream. It is one of the few streams that a person can access easily off of the parkway. The beginning of this stream reminds an angler that they are fishing in brook trout waters, that the streams are very rocky, with deep pools, and fish here are relatively small. However the stream opens up when it gets going and becomes a stream that can rather large fish.
This mountain stream, immersed in laurel thickets and deep in a very natural forested area, is extremely cold: even during the summer months.I would highly suggest wearing waders at all times, unless you are one of the few that love wading in freezing water.
Honestly I don’t know what else to say about this stream, besides fish it almost immediately when it does get stocked. No wait, I guess I can say one other thing, this stream reminds me of what all of the state of Virginia mountain streams should be like. By this I mean it is very cold, shaded, and has a lot of rocks in it, it really is the perfect stream for wild trout to be reintroduced into and become one of a few special regulation wild streams that can be accessed off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sadly though it is a Category B stream that gets fished out rather quickly. However if you are willing to hike off the beaten path the stream does have wild trout in it, but this is towards the end of the stream.
There are very few pull off points to the stream, and some of these still leave your vehicle very close to a road that has a ton of traffic on it. Be mindful also of trespassing and take precautions when it comes to little to no cell phone service. Also, and I can not stress this enough when it comes to Blue Ridge Parkway streams, be mindful that you are in bear country, be safe.
What can I say about the Delayed Harvest Section of Back Creek that I haven’t already said in the post about the main section of Back Creek… ? Well it is technically a tail water that is stocked. Located in Sunrise, Va this stream has been reconstructedby Dominion Power after they built a dam to generate power, now this dam and Dominion Power has created one amazing fishery.
Fish this area just like I have mentioned in my regular Back Creek section, but fish deep. Again, make sure you have a wading stick. This water when it is high can move very fast, and even at its lowest it moves faster than most water in other near by rivers and creeks.
Parking can easily be found throughout Back Creek, and the camping area/fishing ponds near the Dominion Power house. Just be mindful of the “No Trespassing” signs. Also you will definitely be in bear country, be mindful of this. Also do not expect to get cell phone service, make sure you let someone know that you are going here and when you expect to be back.
Back Creek is one of those streamers that will fool you in a heart beat, make sure you have a wading stick. This is the only stream I have ever fell in and ruined a phone. It happened so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to recover. This stream moves fast, even at its lowest, beware of sudden shelfs in the water you are wading in.
As far as the stream itself, well all i can simply say is “beautiful.” This is a stream out of a story book, the down side is that unless you live close by then it will be a drive. However the drive is also beautiful. It is definitely a freestone creek with lots of limestone. The fish here have so many places to post up and hide in that it is unreal. But don’t be dishearten by this fact: yes you will lose flies a lot on this stream if you are fishing deep like you should, but the rewards are marvelous fish and one of the most secluded areas to fish in. I have never been out west to the Rocky Mountains, however this area makes me feel like that is how every stream is out west.
Honestly I have caught fish at this stream on almost everything, they are vicious.. However you must read the water, and sight fish. Look for deep holes or shelfs that fish can hide in, they are there. I prefer hot spot and mop flies on this stream the most, just because it gives those fish a little more to entice them to strike. But most streamer patterns also work, just be prepared to be hung up a lot.
So if you noticed on the “Wild Trout” section I put “Unknown,” this because there is a lot of speculation on whether this stream actually holds wild trout or if just continues to hold hold-over trout. Either way you can fish this stream year round and catch fish in it, just like the Jackson River. Also there is a slight chance that you might catch a steelhead in this stream. They were introduced by the State of Virginia into Lake Moomaw, with the hopes that they would go up the Jackson River towards Hidden Valley and also up Back Creek to spawn. However, again, there is much speculation as if this ever succeeded. I for one have never caught a steelhead on Back Creek.
I highly recommend this stream, big fish do exist in this stream and it is one of the few that you can fish year round.
Parking can easily be found throughout Back Creek, just be mindful of the “No Trespassing” signs. Also you will definitely be in bear country, be mindful of this. Also do not expect to get cell phone service, make sure you let someone know that you are going here and when you expect to be back.