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Old 04-04-17, 11:34 AM   #1
Blr_0719
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Default Big Chattooga Weekend

I've been looking to get off of the Chattahoochee and try some new places so this past weekend two friends and I took a trip up to the Chattooga. We drove up Friday morning and parked at the Burrells Ford lot and hiked downstream probably two miles and set up camp. I had no knowledge of this place and we were flying by the seat of our pants, but let me just say...this weekend could not have turned out any better.

It took me a bit to adjust to some of the subtleties of fishing smaller water. I was able to book a trip with Big T two weeks ago at the dam that really helped me hone in more on my presentation and was very beneficial for this trip. I got rid of the thingamabobber and almost exclusively used foam hoppers above a double nymph/midge rig. I didn't have any dries that would float a double tungsten rig, but the fish didn't mind as about four of them made some exciting and explosive hits on the the hoppers. I also spent my share of time getting my line out of trees and bushes in the beginning because I usually don't have to pay attention to that stuff. Scouting became important, and carefully presenting to specific small boulders/holes/whatever was the key. This is really the key anywhere, I guess, but it was just much more precise here. Again, it just required some refinement compared to the bigger water on the Chattahoochee.

All in all I took about 30 fish to hand and lost/missed about the same amount. Friday was tough because the water was high and stained, but an olive woolly buggar with olive ice dubbing instead of chenille brought five or so little fish. Saturday was the big day. Perfect weather and clear water. I spent the whole day wandering around the river casting everywhere that looked promising. The first half of the day I worked upstream until I came close to the campgrounds. As Snag Whisperer said it was crowded up there. So I turned around and paddle faster when I heard Lynyrd Skynyrd. The second half I worked my way a few miles downstream. Downstream was loaded with incredible runs and promising looking water. I found fish almost everywhere that looked good, but rarely found multiple fish in the same spot so to keep moving was the name of the game. I don't know how far downstream I went but it was at least a few miles and I didn't come across a single other person. I fished from about 8am to dusk before finding my way back to base camp, ripping off the waders, and cracking open a 12 year bottle of rum.

All I can think about now is how I want to get back out there.







In the trees..

















Last edited by Blr_0719; 04-04-17 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 04-04-17, 11:43 AM   #2
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Great post! My GF's dad has been trying to get me up to the Chattoga for awhile. Have not fished that river in a good 20yrs. Rule of thumb seems to be to get away from the people to get to the good fish. Those browns are absolutely gorgeous!
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Old 04-04-17, 03:28 PM   #3
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Good looking fish! I saw you out there, hard to miss that bright fly line - glad to see you got into them!
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Old 04-04-17, 04:03 PM   #4
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awesome!
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Old 04-04-17, 04:13 PM   #5
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Nice first brown.
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Old 04-04-17, 07:35 PM   #6
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My grandpa and great uncles used to tell of huge brown trout from the Chattooga from the late 40's - 60's that had very few spots. They called them 'the original German Browns' and theorized that the browns that were stocked and had many spots were a different kind of brown trout. They claim there were browns in the river back then that were over 10 pounds and 30 inches long, and say you couldn't go there without catching a 20 incher. They were tremendous hunters and fisherman, and were native to Hiawassee. Almost all of them eventually found employment and worked for General Motors in Atlanta, and went on to raise great families.

It would be interesting to see how'd they'd do on the river today, to see if they could find a 30 incher, or if the river was just better back then with less pressure and a better environment.
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Old 04-04-17, 08:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckman1 View Post
My grandpa and great uncles used to tell of huge brown trout from the Chattooga from the late 40's - 60's that had very few spots. They called them 'the original German Browns' and theorized that the browns that were stocked and had many spots were a different kind of brown trout. They claim there were browns in the river back then that were over 10 pounds and 30 inches long, and say you couldn't go there without catching a 20 incher. They were tremendous hunters and fisherman, and were native to Hiawassee. Almost all of them eventually found employment and worked for General Motors in Atlanta, and went on to raise great families.

It would be interesting to see how'd they'd do on the river today, to see if they could find a 30 incher, or if the river was just better back then with less pressure and a better environment.
Buckman, after doing the research I have been doing on big trout caught in Georgia I have been focused on the Hooch but I have been wondering if the Toccoa and Chattooga had similar cycles that the Hooch has over the past 30, 40 or 50 years.
Course when you have the USFS and the DNR taking such a weak, reactive outlook of 'once a species is eliminated, one will replace it.' it is not hard to see why our fisheries have gone from having world class trout to what they are today. Extreme siltation, loss of habit or loss of tree cover due to wooly adelgid, extreme poaching and then the completely irresponsible outlook by both entities the USFS and DNR, which we still pay taxes for these peoples salary via taxes, equals to the severe decline of our cold water fisheries as they are today. Only way to fix this system is to model it after some other more successful states that have brought fisheries back from severe decline. And build a common thread on which to conserve things upon.


And I am off my soap box.
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Old 04-04-17, 09:08 PM   #8
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Moving downstream there were some runs that I'm sure held some nice fish that I know I didn't fish properly. I wish I would have spent the whole day moving downstream. But after the first five hours I got pretty lazy about adjusting my rig for depth, and was more exploring the new area than trying to optimize my setup in accordance to each run. At one point I was running two tippet rings about 18 inches apart so I could move my hopper with ease and adjust depth, but even that became a chore. A euro rig would have been ideal but that wasn't how I was setup or something I'm well practiced in.
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Old 04-05-17, 08:16 AM   #9
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Looks like you did really well. I have a feeling that I know where you camped - a great spot...and those runs are (sometimes) loaded with fish. I once caught 15 fish in the same run down there on a dry fly and had one fish break me off. 10 minutes later, I caught that same fish, retrieved the lost fly from its mouth and kept on fishing. I was just getting into fly fishing at the time and boy was it fun.
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Old 04-05-17, 08:58 AM   #10
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Great report, nice fish, great pics!
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