Updated: May 24
May has finally arrived but the cool weather is not quite behind us. Though air temperatures have still been on the chilly in the mornings, water temps have been somewhat stable in our lakes and streams for the past few weeks. There is not a bad place to fish at the moment. Whether you are targeting trout or striper in the rivers or lake, these fish should be hungry and on the move. Covering a large amount of water is the key to running into fish. Anglers spending too much time in one area run a much higher risk of going home empty handed.
Georgia's heavily stocked trout streams offer good opportunities for anglers during the week. If you happen to be the first person to run into these freshly stocked trout, you can be assured they will bite ANYTHING. As we move into the weekends the large crowds will take over these streams making opportunity a bit more bleak, especially for new anglers. There is still opportunity if you are willing to move around and use more finesse when targeting the trout that have been caught or harassed. Another great alternative to fishing the heavily stocked streams is to fish the trout streams that are stocked less frequently. The major streams may have double the amount of stocked trout at the moment but see ten times as many anglers. The streams that are stocked every other week or once a month usually will have double the number of trout doing their best to hold over this time of year with fewer anglers on the water. This makes may a great time to explore some new streams for stocked trout.
Georgia’s Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing
Georgia's delayed harvest trout fishing is quickly coming to an end. These trout have been picked through and heavily pressured for the past several weeks. The finesse presentations will be best if you are unwilling to look for trout streams that may offer better opportunities. The streams should be just about completely cleared out after the weekend of the 14/15th. The additional pressure in the Delayed Harvest during this week may mean less pressure on the other stocked trout streams across the state.
Georgia’s Wild Trout Streams
The wild trout activity has picked up considerably in recent weeks. Whether your targeting brown trout, native brook trout, or wild rainbows, the fish have been slower in the mornings and get more active as the day progresses. I have seen several sizable (for Georgia) hatches in recent weeks. Yellow Sallies, golden stoneflies, grannom caddis, Sulphurs, and PMDs have been the bugs I have seen the most in recent weeks. Dry Flies continue to produce well on these streams and should continue until December. However, small patterns have still been outshining the large patterns and its not quite time to put away the nymph boxes on chilly mornings. This should stay the same until later in month or June when the trout will begin favoring the big bugs more.
Chattahoochee River Tailwater Trout Fishing
The trout fishing below the dam on Lake Lanier has been excellent for the past couple months. There is something for just about everybody. Small midges will always be the best way to attract bites from nearly every trout around. If you’re throwing bigger than a size 20 you can be sure you’re leaving trout behind, especially the wild browns. The river has been crowded on some afternoons during the week and around the clock on weekends. A ten to fifteen minute walk will put plenty of distance between you and 80-90% of other anglers. A great challenge for experienced anglers is the dry fly bite. The midge hatches have been excellent in the mornings and following generation. The wild browns are very selective but can be fooled with a slow approach and good presentation. This video will demonstrate how I approach these fish eating on the surface. The number of trout to hand is far less than what you may see fishing seams with a euro rig or indicator setup, but can be far more exciting. Steer clear of the the dry flies on windy days. It's a brutal process and typically more frustrating than anything else.
Lanier Striper Fishing
The spring striper fishing has been good and getting better. The shad spawn is just now taking off, making the first couple hours of daylight critical for being on the water. Look for points, preferably with rock, to congregate larger shoals of bait. The striper, and spotted bass, will not be far behind. I would recommend bringing some topwater setups along as well for the days the fish are moving too fast and don’t seam to want to get close to the boat. If you are covering new water and don’t know the typical places the shad/herring typically spawn, keep and eye out for herons. They will behave like seagulls during the shad spawn and clue you in on where the activity is happening.
North Georgia Striper Fishing Rivers
Striper runs are in full swing on the Chestatee, Upper and Lower Chattahoochee, and Etowah Rivers. A float down any of these will produce a variety of fish species but the bigger striper are present. Smaller baitfish imitations are best for getting bites, but don’t be afraid to go big if you’re looking for a trophy. Runs on the Coosawatee River and Nottely River, should begin soon as the water temps continue to rise. These runs will pick up as we get closer to June.
Best of luck in your May fishing. If you need more help finding North Georgia trout our articles on North Georgia Trout Fishing will help your along the process. Our new Fly Fishing Lessons teach some basic and some in depth methods on how to find, target, and catch trout that our guides here at Georgia Wild Trout learned the hard way.