The vast majority of hunters/anglers in Georgia have very little knowledge when it comes to trout fishing in Georgia. It is not the easiest topic to get information about, especially on social media. There are several social media groups dedicated to trout fishing in Georgia but I have found them to be “toxic” and does not really yield the cut and dry information needed. They mostly consist of people arguing over ethics, catch/release vs. keeping, fly fishing vs. spinner and chastising people for their ability to only catch stockers. So, I feel that there is a void for me to fill and hopefully shed some light to someone who wants to enjoy a weekend fishing for trout.
The first thing that people should know is Georgia is not a trout destination so to speak for national or international trout fisherman. Georgia has a high human population compared to other Southeastern and Western States. Higher populations of people mean higher demand for energy, industry, and agriculture and we have no choice but to take our supply and demand needs from the natural resources around us. So, the majority of rivers and streams are dammed or a factory is pulling water from it for production of a product which directly affects the trout population.
The second thing I think should be known is just general knowledge of history. The Brook Trout is the only native species of trout that exists today in Georgia. They are part of the char family that is found out West, Alaska, and around the world. They are wild rainbows and brown trout here that were introduced and have successfully reproduced in the wild. That is the distinction between what is wild and what is native. The trout fishing in Georgia is operated more as a industry rather than restoring trout streams and undamming rivers. The rivers are stocked during the summer every week in a manner such as supply and demand of fisherman. It may sound or read as if I am condemning the Department of Natural Resources but I am not. If it were not for them people as a whole would have no opportunity to catch trout at all in Georgia, as they would have been consumed and extinct in Georgia in the name of more energy and industrial encroachment. I do not pretend like most people to have the answer for a sustainable trout population. Many people chastise them for the weekly trout stockings and say it is only a band aid rather than a permanent fix but like I said I am not one of those people that pretend to know the answers and in general that is another subject matter altogether. For a beginner, I think that is enough general information for you to start planning so now on to the “how to” and “where to” topic.
You can pick out just about any North Georgia city and chances are they have a trout stream in close proximity. To make it simple I will name just a few: there is Helen, Blue Ridge, Blairsville, Clayton, and MANY others. When doing your online search for a city, the first thing I would do is search to see if they have a bait and tackle shop in that city. There are several reasons for that other than the obvious of you getting tackle. The main reason is I have found that most bait and tackle shops will happily give their customers information on trout fishing and even directions to a river or stream nearby and all you have to do is ask the question. A local that doesn’t want his fishing spot populated by outsiders will be very vague and hesitant when asked about trout fishing. But if you ask someone that their business and income depends on people fishing in their area they will happily assist you. Out of everything, I think that is the most important and key advice to a beginner is to just ask. Once you determine the river you are fishing, go to the Georgia DNR website and check to see what the local regulations are for that specific river and at that time purchase your trout license.
As far as bait and tackle, here are a few suggestions. I would go with a ultralight spinning rod and reel that is not over 6 feet in length. As for line I would go with a quality fluorocarbon at around 8lb. test. I say quality because you want the diameter of the line to be as small as possible without losing strength. I would not get anything less than 6lb. test and the reason has nothing to do with the fish size. Some of the rivers and streams have a very fast and powerful current, when you get a trout to bite and set the hook the force of the river and the fish can easily snap a 4lb. line. There are many different options for lures and it largely depends on what river you are fishing. If I am being honest, the actual lure is probably the least important thing because trout out of the stock truck will just about bite anything. I personally use Panther Martin lures and my preference are the black/white body with a silver spoon. With that said, I have caught trout with just about any color combination of Panther Martin’s lures.
My gear suggestions are; a vest or at least a pack that you can store pliers, extra lures, etc. so you can stay mobile. You will need a fish stringer that you can tie to the bank or yourself. If you plan on walking the river or staying mobile I highly advise bringing a small net. I have lost many trout due to them falling off the hook before I can get back to the bank or them slipping out of my hands. If you are going in the summertime waders are not necessary. Probably the best advice I can give as far as getting in the water is have on some sort of shoes that grip well to rocks and slick surfaces. The water can still be cool but does not take long to acclimate to it. I really can’t give great advice on where to throw your lure other than to simply throw it. If you have done any fishing at all it will not take long for you to dissect the river you are in and know where the fish will hold at. Don’t be scared to throw in fast flowing turbulent water, you will be surprised that trout can swim just fine in water you can barely stand in.
People I have encountered while trout fishing overall were some of the nicest people I have ever met. I have had people come over to me and tell me they were leaving and for me to come fish in their spot that they were having really good luck. Even if they don’t come speak to you, if you see someone catching fish go to their spot when they leave. It is public waters and it is for all to enjoy. My intention for this article is to make the endeavor less intimidating to the beginner and I hope I was successful. It is one of the easiest forms of fishing and most enjoyable you can do here in Georgia.
Oh, and they taste amazing!
Last modified: September 1, 2020