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A Brief History of the Rabun Chapter

The Rabun Chapter’s birthplace was at a dispersed campsite near Burrells Ford on the Chattooga River nicknamed Double-Bit (a double-bit axe was found there some years earlier). A group of local guys who loved to fish had become friends over the years and regularly fished and camped together at Double Bit every year. This group were the founding members of the Rabun Chapter. The group called themselves the “Klondikers” (because gold is where you find it). These annual camping and fishing trips were called ‘Klondikes’ and were usually held during May. Doug Adams was an integral part of this group.    

It was in 1986, during a spring Klondike, that Doug suggested to his fishing buddies that they consider becoming a Chapter of Trout Unlimited. No one at the campout had heard of Trout Unlimited and thought it was more for city folks.   

Doug told everyone what Trout Unlimited was all about, that it was a conservation organization and not a fishing club. He suggested creating a chapter because he thought that becoming a part of the national organization would give them some influence over how the Chattooga River was managed.

At the time there were pressures to change the fishing regulations of the Chattooga River from folks coming from outside the area. The Klondikers believed that if they became a part of Trout Unlimited, they would have better support and a place at the table when decisions were being made. The chapter was proposed so that they would have a greater voice in the management of the Chattooga River. 

They voted yes during the campout and applied for a charter and it was granted the next year. Doug Adams was the first president and Tom Landreth was the first Tightlines editor. There are about 7 founding members who are still a part of the Rabun Chapter. There were probably about 12 or 14 founding members at that Klondike when the vote was held.

Since its formation, the Rabun Chapter has steadfastly worked to keep the Chattooga River open for a variety of fishing opportunities, has supported stocking the river in the backcountry as well as for delayed harvest, has fought against overuse and defended the prime fishing seasons from paddlers. We have built a handicap accessible fishing pier on the Tallulah River.  

As with all other chapters, we support the USFS and GA DNR in their endeavors to promote fishing and clean waters through improving fish habitat, protecting and stabilizing stream banks, education and cleanups. We have a Fly Fishing 101 class every spring and support Project Healing Waters and Casting for Recovery.

The Rabun Chapter of Trout Unlimited currently has 168 members. Members are from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Illinois, North and South Carolina, Alaska, Alabama and of course Georgia. We incorporate one of the smallest geographic areas as far as square miles since our boundary is only Rabun County. We have the pleasure of having 3 State Parks, one DNR fish hatchery, and thousands of acres of Forest Service Land within Rabun County. The Chattooga River has a Delayed Harvest section.

We also have the famous Rabun Rendezvous fundraiser at the Dillard House every year in January. See our website for details or contact our chapter President. It’s bluegrass music, pig picking and a Dillard House meal.