Fishing in the Drought

By Jeff Durniak, Georgia Wildlife Resources Division

A. Winter (December – February)

1. Look behind before looking ahead

a. Have trout populations recovered?

2. Droughts good for spawning – stable flows

3. “Gauge” your stream – USGS Real Time Water Data

4. Low water = large stream accessibility

5. South slopes = sunshine and warmer water

6. Fish the afternoons (11AM to 3 PM)

7. Fresh fish like junk food: Y2K, egg, fly, san juan worm

8. Residents love tiny pheasant tails (sizes 18 – 20)

9. Cold fish react slower–find slow water

10.Best bets: Hooch DH, Toccoa tailwater, Smith DH, Chattooga DH, Dukes Creek

B. Spring (March – May)

1. Low water is tough on adult trout habitat, but easy on wading!

2. Droughts are easy on sac fry and fingerlings

3. Universal search rig: parachute Adams dry fly and prince nymph dropper (Size14)

4. Let your fishing follow the water temperatures and hatches: Noon to dusk to “dark – thirty”

5. Hatch charts at “Tight Lines”

6. Everything is good! Best bets: largest freestone streams, the two tailwaters

7. Must tries: Georgia “speck” streams, NC’s Nantahala DH near Andrews.

C. Summer (June – September)

1. Add a month to spring by going to NC (extra thousand feet of elevation)

2. Ole reliable–two GA tailwaters

3. Go high – headwater rainbow streams at top of watersheds: Hooch, Tallulah, West Fork Chattooga

4. Hit north slope streams like Noontootla

5. Scaledown-“six foot rod and six foot leader”

6. Attractor dries and terrestrials: yellow stimulator, coachman trude, ants, soft hackle wets (16-18)

7. Replace trout with other species:

a. River redeye and shoal bass

b. Pond bass and bream

c. Reservoir gar and carp

D. Fall (October – November)

1. Remember to look back – trout recovery?

2. Ole reliable–tailwaters

3. Get the Delayed Harvest jump in NC (October 1)

4. GA headwater trout last chance (October 31)

5. November = cooler weather and cooperative DH stockers

6. Find spawning browns

7. Best bets = tailwaters, NC DH (Tuckaseegee, Nantahala), Chattooga and Toccoa DH

E. Summary

1. Let the weather and the water be your trip guide; decide the day before

2. Change your destinations and tactics to match the seasons

3. Change species in summer

4. Add to your ranks. “Take one, make one” – Anglers Legacy, NGTO, Trout Business Cards.

5. Jeff’s email list for north GA news (

Jan 19: 32nd Annual Rabun Rendezvous!

It’s time to Rendezvous!  Yee haa!!!!
Saturday, January 19 at the Dillard House Conference Center, in beautiful Dillard, GA. Based on feedback from previous years, this year we have made a couple of changes to the Rendezvous, such as starting at a slightly earlier time and eliminating the guest speaker, in order to conclude the Rendezvous in time for folks to make the drive home.
More details here!
And here!
Check here for a list of items on the auction and raffle tables.



Calling All Trout Campers! Time To Apply

Trout Camp 2019 is set for June 2-7, at Tallulah Falls School, Clayton, GA! Applications due March 15.

Read more here.


2019 Dream Trip Raffle

The opportunity to fish with John McGarity, stay in his fabulous log cabin conveniently located between the Madison River, Yellowstone National Park and the Henry’s Fork puts you smack dab in the middle of some of the most famous trout waters in North America. Details here.