Justin had some skills as an angler, having fished for bass and bream in lakes, but had never experienced creek fishing in the mountains.
Since we have had a lot of rain lately, I felt that our best shot at having a successful trip would require going to headwater streams.
Steve and I discussed the options, and since Justin had to be at a ballgame at five Saturday afternoon, we decided on Noontootla. We packed our gear and headed to “Three Forks” where the Appalachian Trail crosses the main road.
I decided that we would have a great chance at brook trout on Stover Creek. Stover has been one of the primary work areas of the “Back The Brookie Program” in Georgia.
This stream has always had a healthy population of brookies and Trout Unlimited, along with the US Forest Service and the DNR, have dedicated many man hours to see to it that the stream becomes a showplace for brook trout.
Steve had wanted to introduce Justin to fly fishing as well as trout fishing. Knowing the stream as I do, I felt that the terrain and vegetation would only frustrate a 13-year-old novice fly angler, and that it was best to use spin tackle.
Before we ever hit the water, I showed Justin that his primary cast in the tight confines of the creek would be a simple flip cast. Just a few minutes later, I felt it was time to walk the Appalachian Trail to the area upstream from the fish barrier.
After a quarter mile walk on the trail, we descended to the creek in search of Brookies. During our time on Stover Creek, Justin hooked, and missed, two brook trout, while I caught three.
Even though he didn’t get one in, he said that he enjoyed creek fishing much more than bass fishing. Justin needed to be back in Rome by 5 p.m. for the ballgame, so I decided that we would try another stream that had a mix of brooks and browns.
Frick Creek is smaller than Stover, but easier to fish. I coached Justin in places to cast and he caught a brown of about seven inches. In just a few minutes more, he had another brown about 11 inches long.
Time was running out so we decided to leave for the ballgame. Knowing that Justin had trout fever now, I told him that we would stop at the bridge and make a few more casts. I had him make his first cast to a hole upstream of the bridge that had a history of having big trout in it.
Justin had hardly begun his retrieve when a three-pound rainbow grabbed his Mepps spinner. He brought the big rainbow to the shore like a seasoned angler and his grand dad lifted it from the water.
I think that now we have a future trout Unlimited member and a confirmed case of trout fever.
Don’t forget and make plans to be at the Trout Unlimited Trout Expo to be held Saturday, April 25 at Georgia Highlands College free to the public and fun for all ages.
This will be a chance to explore many aspects of trout and trout fishing. Bring your favorite rod and try the casting games and pick up pointers from state and world record holding anglers.
If you have special questions about places to fish or just want to know more about trout, you need to be there. Bring the kids with you. We will help the young anglers and their parents prepare for the up coming Kids Fishing Day at Rolator Park.
We will have TU members who can check out the kids’ equipment and help you get it in good working condition. We will have fly casting instruction, fly tying demonstrations, and displays of wading and fishing equipment.
If you have a fly rod and do not know how to rig it, we will show you how. This is a day to learn all about trout and trout fishing, so mark the calendar for 10 a.m. at Georgia Highlands College in the gymnasium.
Our next meeting will be at The Landmark Restaurant at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday April 16. Fisheries biologists John Damer and Gary Biesser will give a presentation of both the trout and the sturgeon stocking programs. The public is invited.