Updated: Jan 4
The warm weather that oddly hung around throughout December ended abruptly with a deep freeze during the holidays. Our first major cold front has pushed through the mountains and left a bit of snow and ice behind in its wake, but it did raise the water levels in the creeks and rivers. The fish can now find a bit of sanctuary in the deeper pockets and troughs. The higher water has also pushed up a good many of the trophy trout onto public waters. Keep an eye out for these behemoths as they move from pocket to pocket upriver. If you locate one, chances are there are one or two more in the same area. Look for these movements to continue throughout the month following medium to heavy rains.
North Georgia Trout Streams Report
The bite throughout North Georgia should progressively get more and more tough in the coming weeks. The wild trout bite is slowing quickly as they congregate in their winter haunts. The trout on the Delayed Harvest waters have been pounded into submission over the holidays, but plenty of trout are still around. This is likely the most productive bite around for anglers looking to put a bend in their rod. So when the junk fly patterns lose productivity and if you can stomach it, drop down to smaller size 18,20, or smaller fly patterns along with light tippet and you can still net the all the trout you manage to not spook. It won't be long before we begin seeing the Blue Wing Olive hatches. Have your emerger and small profile dry fly patterns ready when you begin seeing the BWOs appear. Fly patterns between size 16-22 will work best. Be prepared to cycle through sizes until you can find what the trout are looking for.
This is also a good time to explore some new streams as the undergrowth is a bit more dialed back than normal. If you do manage to find some trout, remember that you can have 2-3x as much success in these places during the warmer months.
Chattahoochee River Tailwater Fishing Report
If light tippet and small flies is your thing, the bite on the Chattahoochee tailwaters is also back. The water has finally cleared from fall turnover and the fish are feeding well. Warm/mild afternoons have been leading to increased midge hatches and the trout fishing improves along with the afternoon temperatures. The activity level of the wild brown trout should continue to pick up in the coming weeks for anglers who know where to look for the trout transitioning for their spawn.
For any streamer fisherman, January is the time to shine. Whether you're throwing a big wooly bugger, clouser, or a real meaty fly pattern with some bulk, make sure you are keeping your bait down in the water and bump the bottom of the bigger holes. This is the time of year you can find the big trout being a bit gluttonous and taking advantage of an easy meal.
The private waters are the best bet during winter as the fish tend to eat more regularly and see much less pressure this time of year. Expect a warm afternoon to really activate the trout. Junk flies and small (size 18 and 20) natural patterns will work best.
If you get stuck inside during poor weather, check out the new articles from American Fly Fishermen and start planning your fly fishing trips for 2023. Also learn WHEN to find trout and WHERE to fish for trout, along with the BEST FLIES that you will need on the water in our updated articles.