The recent cool temperatures are good news for fly fishermen who are targeting trout in mountain streams. In fact, one of the north Georgia fly fishermen I spoke with this morning told me that water temperatures were in the 50s over the weekend.
That is GREAT news for Georgia fly fishermen!
Why does that have north Georgia’s trout anglers jumping up and down with excitement? Well, until the recent cool snap, hot summer temperatures have made many of the state’s streams too warm for good trout fishing. The fish are still there, but in the warm water (warm to them, at least) they become lethargic and may simply have no interest in taking the fly fishermen’s offerings. In fact, on many of those warm summer days, it’s been better to turn your attention to warmwater streams and species such as bass or bream. Many of the coldwater streams, particularly at lower altitudes, have just not been cold enough to make for good trout fishing.
But that’s changing as the weather begins to cool. Even a little bit of cool weather can cause a dramatic shift in stream temperatures, and the result can be an equally dramatic improvement in the trout fishing you’ll encounter.
Experienced fly fishermen will tell you that these golden days of October bring some of the most enjoyable fly fishing that Georgia trout anglers could hope for. Not only is the water more to the trout’s liking, but the cooler days make it much more pleasant to be out-of-doors. After all, even the best breathable waders can still be hot when it’s in the 90s outside!
What sort of flies should you try this time of year? It can vary from day to day, of course, but it’s easy to figure out – even on a stream that’s new to you.
Here’s how to do it. When you get to the stream, don’t start fishing right away. Instead take a few minutes to stand there and observe what’s going on along the creek or river you’ll be fishing.
First look at the streamside vegetation. What kind of bugs do you see? This time of year there’s a good chance you’ll see large ants, beetles and other terrestrials. That’s you cue to use similar flies. Select flies that imitate the general shape and size of the bugs you’re seeing, bearing in mind that impressionism may be more important than exact imitation.
Next, pick up a couple of rocks from the streambed and have a look at what lives underneath. You may see mayfly nymphs, caddis larvae, and other underwater insect forms moving about on the bottom of the rocks you pick up. They are the clue to the flies you might pick for subsurface fishing. Again, imitate the general shape and size.
Don’t forget to look at the air too. Yes, the air! What’s flying? You may see a hatch of some sort, and that can be your key to go with a more specific imitation, focusing on overall shape and size first. If you can come close to the color of the bugs you’re seeing, so much the better.
A local fly shop can help you select specific patterns for the streams you’re planning to fish. Next time we’ll look at what some of those patterns are in order to get you ready to get the most out of Georgia’s fall trout fishing!