One of the nation’s best trout fisheries can be found in northern Georgia. Fannin County, where Blue Ridge is located, is named the official Trout Capital of Georgia. It was proposed by the local chapter of Trout Unlimited and certified by Georgia Rep. and Speaker David Ralston.
There has been lots of added attention to the city of Blue Ridge, Georgia, after being named “Trout Capital’ and this attention has brought more anglers to the area in search of trout. But according to local Fly Shop Co. owner and guide Will Taylor, the fish have always been there. “I grew up in Blue Ridge and we have always had great trout fishing. Now it’s getting the attention it deserves as one of the best regions in the country for fly-fishing,” adds Taylor.
The area around Blue Ridge, Georgia, is home to several species of trout. Rainbows, brooks, browns, as well as tiger trout. All can be caught on a fly in the hundreds of miles of creeks and rivers in the region.
Even with the abundance of species, the brown trout is king in this region. “There is nothing better than sight-casting for a big brown. Browns are an amazing fish and catching browns between 25–30″ is not uncommon where we fish,” says Taylor, who takes his clients to untouched, private stretches of streams filled with trout.
Targeting Big Browns
There are many ways to land a big Georgia brown, but for a true trophy, Taylor says nymphing is the best option. “The big fish are looking down for an easy meal and I use what I would consider ‘new-age nymphing,’ with two or three flies and indicators. You can use an indicator like a Thingamabobber or what I prefer, a tapered high-vis Cutthroat furled leader,” adds the owner of Fly Shop Co.
His setup includes a smaller leader due to the size of the waters he is fishing, a 50″ Hi-VIS Nymph Leader with Seaguar® Grand Max® 2X fluorocarbon tippets to connect the flies. “I like 2X because we have big fish here and the creeks are full of structure. The Grand Max is literally the best on the earth, and the fluorocarbon helps to keep the bugs down in the current,” Taylor says. He will also make sure to use wrapped or bead head flies to get them down quickly into the strike zone. Grand Max is made with two custom 100% Seaguar fluorocarbon resins that are fused in an exclusive process into one strong and sensitive line. It is fast sinking with low stretch and virtually invisible underwater.
Taylor will alternate between two or three flies depending on the water clarity and the choice of nymphs, which varies both in size and color. “The first one will be a meatier fly like a Black Stone or Pat’s Rubber Legs in a size 8 or 10. The next one will be a medium-size fly, a 12 or 14 Hair’s Ear, Pheasant Tail or Rubber Legs,” says Taylor. The colors vary, but purple has been the go-to color this year. The final fly is what he refers to as “trash bugs,” small flies that will entice strikes just about anywhere in most trout streams. The last one will be a small San Juan Worm, Glow Ball, Y2K or another egg imitator.
While nymphing is usually the way to go, there is a time and a place for dry flies. “When the big ones are sipping on the surface, it can be really fun,” says Taylor. For that application, he uses a Seaguar Nylon Tippet due to the floating properties of the line. “There is definitely a place for nylon and it helps keep the bugs on the surface longer.” Seaguar Nylon Tippet material and 9′ Nylon Leaders have just recently been brought to market. Both are soft and supple, with low memory, and built with the best balance of tensile and knot strength.
When to Go
The best times of the year to fish this region are around what Taylor calls “the turns,” the transitions from summer to fall and again from fall to winter. The trout are on the move due to the weather changes and spawn cycles, and fish from the deeper waters of the rivers head to the small creeks. “These are always great times to fish, but I seem to catch some of my biggest browns each year in the dead of winter. The cold days are sometimes the best,” he says, and adds that the region does experience some cold weather. Taylor refers to this area as the “farthest you can go north and still be in the south,” and says that snow is seldom, but does occur.
For more information on trout fishing in Georgia, contact Will Taylor of the Fly Shop Co. at [email protected] or visit www.flyshopco.com. For more information on Seaguar Fluorocarbon and Nylon tippet and leaders, visit www.seaguar.com