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  • Writer's pictureDavid Hulsey

Winter Trout Fishing in North Georgia

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

Cold weather usually makes its presence known this month. The first dusting of snow in December triggers something in almost all fly fishers. The initial dragging out of fly tying tools and materials of all kinds normally begins now no matter how bad you really are at fly tying. Everybody likes the idea of a roaring fire in the fireplace, a strong drink in your favorite glass and feathers and fur flying about as you mutilate yet another pattern in your vise.

For some though, the low angle December sun means solitude and a sense of peace finally on the river. Gone are the throngs of fly whippers guarding every nice pool in the creek and basically the only fishers left are the occasional great Blue Heron and squeaking River Otter. Not too many hatches occur at this time of year in the freestone streams of Southern Appalachia but not to worry they’re always nymphs scurrying around on the stones and sticks in the streams. The trout are in low gear right now kinda like us too. Moving slowly about in the river is always a good idea but winter makes it even more so. Taking a dive into 35-degree ice water isn’t fun and trout don’t like swimmers anyway.

Heavy nymph rigs that slowly tick bottom and slow swung streamers will get you a few hook ups. Fly patterns such as big Rubber Legged Stones in size 8 and streamers such as an Olive Zonker in Size 6 can make your day. Standard nymphs such as the Prince and a Pheasant Tail in size 14 and 16 will also take their share of fish. Tungsten beaded flies really get down there and grind the bottom where the fish are when the water is this cold. Czech nymphing tactics can be deadly at anytime of the year but can make you look like pro in the short days of the year.

Being on the river at sunup isn’t required at this time of year so have that extra cup of coffee or heck, have brunch! Usually a little sun on the water will get the fish feeling a little more enthused about eating. Midday is primetime right now and when that evening sun slips behind the trees and the temperature starts dropping it’s a good time to head to the house.

The Upper Toccoa Delayed Harvest fishes well through the winter. The other Delayed Harvest streams scattered about the state also are great places to spend a sunny winter afternoon. Toccoa River tail water fishing can be good and you might even have a few Black Caddis and Black Stoneflies actually hatching and prying some fish off the bottom to eat. Tiny Blue Winged Olives and Black Midges could make an appearance in the warmer water near the dam. The lack of fishing pressure at this time of year can make the fish a little more forgetful being there is more time between getting harassed by us. Come take a winter guide trip with us and see how good the winter trout fishing can be. You won’t even notice the icicle hanging off your nose!


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