Callaway Gardens fishing report

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Posted by Kent - LaGrange, GA on August 12, 1997 at 16:34:50:

8/10 - Callaway Gardens - Pine Mt., GA. - 6:30 pm - WOW! Fished with Carter Nelson, the fly-fishing guide at Callaway Gardens. We actually were "scouting the water" for the coming week (tough work, but someone's gotta do it). The azaleas may be beautiful and the light shows fantastic (they say the golf is good, too - who cares?), but little compares to world-record-size red-breasted shellcrackers on the end of a fly line. Flowers and light shows pale next to these fish - savagely beautiful predators who put on a fantastic show. We saw them tailing (coulda been bonefish or reds) in shallow water, we saw them waking as they pursued our flies, and we saw their tropical colors as we released them back into this lovely pond.

We caught bass, too, and several nice bluegill. The bass we caught weren't large, but there are some trophies here. These ponds are old and virtually unfished for almost 50 years; they are now carefully monitored and managed. How do I know they're large bass? Two ways: 1) Carter told me based on personal catches and electro-shocking surveys; and 2) all the bluegill and shellcrackers we caught were 10" and over, so something is happening to the smaller bream. That is to say something is eating 9" bream - BIG BASS!

The lake we fished is right on a main road into the gardens - it's natural on two sides, and grassed and manicured on the other two adjacent the road. On one cast my "floating wooly-bugger" (a Carter special) landed just on the edge of the grass; I plopped it gently into the water and before I could start a retreive, a big shellcracker came from deeper water, half his body showing as he closed on the fly and took with a huge splash.

Carter is a young man who knows his business. I foolishly ignored his advice on fly selection until he outfished me, then he was kind enough to turn me on to one of the hot flies (black sneaky petes & floating wooly-worms. He also suggested the dam side of the lake to start, but I picked the other side - of course, we didn't catch many fish til we hit the dam side. Next time, I'll take good advice.

North Georgia Trout Online has a detailed review of Callaway fishing under "STREAMS" if you want more info.

Or you can contact the Gardens office ( at 1-800-Callaway, the flyshop at (706) 663-5142 or Carter( directly.

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