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 wet weather we received in late January caused the wild fish in small streams to stray from their winter refuges. 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 some trout holding over, but I would anticipate that these trout won’t make it to the end of the month.
The trout in the Georgia Delayed Harvest sections have finally spread out relieving the pressure from the more popular holes. . 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. The small waters are better opportunities for beginner fly fishing. Opportunities for fishing Georgia's State Parks are at their best in February and March, especially when Fly Fishing with Kids.
Chattahoochee River and Toccoa River Tailwaters
The fishing in the tailwaters was productive the last few weeks of January and should stay consistent into February. The lack of anglers below the dam on the Toccoa River left a few more fish for the anglers willing to brave the cold and rain when the river level permitted wading. The fishing below Lanier on the Chattahoochee River has been similar in the afternoons once the dam finishes generating. The spawn has just about wrapped up but many of the fish should hang around the areas above highway 20 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 an attempt to recover. These are the ideal conditions to see trophy size trout expose themselves and succumb to a well presented fly. Our latest article on fly fishing streamers goes into more detail on the subject.
Small is still the ticket for numbers and both species throughout the river. Midge imitations in the size 20 range are your best chance to get bit. The dry fly and emergers bite has become a bit more temperamental. Either less bugs are hatching due to the colder temps, or the amount of generation is throwing off their groove. I still see the occasional trout rising but the consistency is lacking compared to what will come in the weeks ahead where consistent mid morning hatches should become the norm.
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, though I expect these conditions to change in coming weeks. The recent rains have kept water temps up and crushed our typical midwinter fly bite for the time being, and the forecast shows more of the same ahead. Until then, there 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 things 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.
Planning your trips for 2023? Check out some ideas at American Fly Fisherman. You can also learn more about the coming months in our Winter Trout fishing and Spring trout fishing articles. 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 fly fishing North Georgia or trout fishing in North Georgia, check out our other articles for fly fishing tips and techniques.