Updated: Aug 28
North Georgia Trout Streams
February usually brings the slowest trout fishing of the year. This year hasn’t been much different but there are a few areas still fishing well throughout North Georgia. The cold weather and snow we received in late January caused the wild fish in small streams to seek out their nearest winter refuges. The bite has been painfully slow, and the fish are very reluctant to bite. Stocked fish in smaller water are much more willing to eat if you can find them. Many stocked streams have not been replenished in some time so finding the right water is the key to success. The streams that are stocked more often; Coopers Creek, Wildcat Creek, Dicks Creek, Tallulah River, Rock Creek, and the Toccoa River have the highest densities of trout at the moment, but I would anticipate that these trout won’t make it to the end of the month. The glory days of the Delayed Harvest sections have passed us and shouldn’t likely return until they’re stocked again in late February or early March. There are still some fish to be found but finesse is everything now. The warmer rains from this week should help pick up the bite in coming weeks on the smaller streams but will likely make the larger waters, such as the Toccoa River, too dangerous to wade.
Chattahoochee River and Toccoa River Tailwaters
The tailwaters fished very well toward the end of January and should continue into February. The lack of anglers below the dam on the Toccoa left a few more fish for the anglers willing to brave the cold when the river level permitted wading. The fishing below Lanier on the Hooch has been similar in the afternoons once the dam finishes generating. The wild brown trout on the river made a massive push to spawn much later than usual this year, as many more trout than normal have moved up to the reaches above the Highway 20 bridge. The spawn has just about wrapped up but many of the fish should hang around and recoup some energy for another couple weeks into February, before retreating back to their winter haunts. Some of these trout have been more optimistic about what’s on the menu following the spawn in attempt to recover. Small is still the ticket for both species throughout the river. Midge imitations in the size 20 range are your best chance to get bit. The dry fly bite has become a bit more temperamental. Either less bugs are hatching due to the colder temps, or the amount of generation is throwing of their groove. I still see the occasional trout rising but the consistency is lacking.
Lake Lanier Striper on the Fly
For those wanting to spend some time on the lake hunting striper, the bite on the fly has been tough and the opportunities have been few and far between. Though I expect these conditions to change in coming weeks, the snow we had late last month pushed the bait out of the very backs of the creeks and into deeper parts of the creek channels nearby. This crushed our typical midwinter fly bite for the time being, but I expect things to change again after these warm rains and colder temps that will follow. Until then, their will be the occasional striper roaming shallow on points but not enough of them to pattern, and the majority of the fish will be focused on the herring in 45’-60’. Keep an eye on thing to happen mid to upper lake. Taylor, Johnson, and Yellow Creek on the Chestatee Side along with Ada, Little River, Wahoo, and Gainesville Creek are all holding a good amount of striper on the Hooch side.
Best of luck to those with the urge to get outside this month. Don’t let the cold deter you from getting out. This is the time of year when the biggest fish are caught. However, no one will blame you for hiding out on a windy day, they can be quite rough. If your stuck inside and want to learn more about trout fishing in North Georgia, check out our other articles for fly fishing tips and techniques.