I am seriously feeling deja vu as I write this stream write up, it really seems that Georgia has a lot of creeks are set up for spin fishermen, or for those that really just want to take some fish home with them. Turner Creek is a very, very small creek that has very limited access, if I ever find a new access point to it that is on public land I will update you readers.
Turner creek is a spring creek that has a freestone bottom, it looks a lot like a certain spring creek in Virginia that I love to fish. However there is very limited access to this stream. I would use everything in my arsenal to hammer these fish. Keep close to banks and also fish deep in the section where water flows over a grated sections. Just be warned; there is not a lot of creek to fish and getting into this area is a bit sketchy. I wouldn’t right off this creek if you are looking for some fish to take home, again fish it deep and be very thorough.
Waters Creek… Bless it’s heart, it means well. That right there pretty much sums of Waters Creek, everything about it just screams I AM A TROUT STREAM, but sadly this is far from the truth. With that being said, work on Waters Creek is still on going so that it has a chance to become a wild trophy trout stream.
Waters Creek, which is a tributary to Dicks Creek, located in Lumpkin County, is a beautiful sandy/gravel bottom stream that is clean and cold. Trout Unlimited and the State of Georgia have done a lot of work on this stream, even making it one of the few streams that you can only fish on certain days of the week, signing in at the lodge located at the beginning of the stream. Honestly the possibilities are there for this stream to be completely refurbished and wild trout to flourish here, however it will cost a lot of money to get it there and to maintain it.
I have been to Waters Creek area several times on the days that fishing is not allowed on Waters Creek, the parking area for Dicks Creek is also used for Waters Creek, and I have seen fishermen coming off the trail to Waters Creek back to their vehicles, obviously the regulations are not being enforced like they are on Waters Creek sister regulated stream Dukes Creek, and anglers are going into this area at their leisure. Also I am seeing a lot of signs that the special regulations for artificial lures only on Waters Creek are also being ignored by the signs of power bait and worm containers that I see on the sides of the stream. This leads me to a highly educated guess that the locals or careless anglers that are in the know are coming to Waters Creek and fishing it out before the fish can even establish themselves.
Realistically if the State of Georgia wants to see this stream take off then they are going to have to set it up like Dukes Creek; gate it off, have Wardens on site daily, and realistically only open it from October to May. Also they need to gate off the stream so that the fish that are stocked in Waters Creek do not swim downstream and get into Dicks Creek. If not, I see any money and restoration put into Waters Creek being wasted.
Honestly I loathe being negative about a stream, especially one that is gorgeous and has such possibilities, I really love the area that Waters Creek and Dicks Creek are in, however I promised myself years ago when I started this site to tell the truth and that’s what I am doing. As far as how to fish Waters Creek I have no clue, I have only seen one fish in the stream and I have been skunked every time I have fished this stream. The only pointers I can really give you is about the gear you take; during the summer you can easily wet wade this area, just make sure your sandals have some studs in them. During the winter: waders that come down to your hip should be fine. As far as styles of fly fishing: there is plenty of room in places to dry fly fish, in other areas I can see where nymph fishing would be prime, and also I have seen areas that streamers should work. But like I mentioned above, I honestly have no clue what will definitely work – all I can do right now is guess. If by chance I do figure out Waters Creek I will update this section immediately. Also I will update this stream as stream restoration goes forward.
As I was going to get photos for this writeup I noticed that the stream has a lot of wild fingerlings in it. I am unsure of what type, they looked to be brook trout, so now I know this stream definitely has some wild fish in it, or some stocked fingerlings. With any hope these fish will grow up unscathed by natural predation and become big and strong. They are literally everywhere throughout the stream. Also it looks like some people have cleaned up the park tremendously. However the park still needs a lot of work and they need a Warden onsite, they only have a sign in sheet. What I did find hilarious was that someone was soo disgusted with the stream that they wrote, “What a f@#king joke of a creek GADNR,” in the guest sign in sheet.
Again I can only hope that this stream will get better as the years go by.
If you want a stream that is very beautiful, very technical, full of waterfalls, stealthy approaches, and very cold, clean water – then Jones Creek is the creek for you. Forming out of a natural spring in the mountains, the stream slowly meanders down from its head waters, gaining faster water as it hits several waterfalls below the Jones Creek Campground. There has been a lot of restoration efforts by the State of Georgia and Trout Unlimited to make this a wonderful wild brown trout stream. However these efforts are still in the works and have not totally taken a foot hold as of yet.
Imagine a stream that has some pretty significant pools, fast runs, and a lot of structure to hide in – not to mention a large amount of gravel beds that a brown trout can spawn in, this is Jones Creek. The bad part as I have mentioned earlier, is that this stream is just in the beginning stages of restoration, it might take twenty years to see this stream grow into what it could become. So with that, don’t take what I am about to say with a grain salt, Jones Creek is not going to be a trophy stream for years to come, it is not an easy stream to fish, you must be very stealthy (I would suggest wearing camo and felt boots) using long leaders or a euro leader setup, and I definitely wouldn’t fish heavy nymphs or streamers unless the stream was very high (ie after week of rain).
The main thing an angler that comes here must realize is that this stream is meant to be a “wild brown trout” stream, brown trout are known for being very easily spooked and they love to hide in undercuts. Because of this you might not even see a trout, thinking that it is a dead stream, and you will more than likely get skunked. Jones Creek is definitely not for those anglers that are wanting to catch trophy sized brown trout… yet.
However, if you are still reading this and you still want to fish this stream because you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the other trophy wild brown trout streams (Dukes Creek, the Chattahoochee River, or any of the other tail waters in Georgia) then you need to heed my advice. Be as sneaky as you can! Seriously; sneaky, sneaky, sneaky! Do not wear bright colored clothing, wear camo or something very drab, also I would suggest felt boots or sole less moccasins. Also take the bare minimum with you, rod, one or two fly boxes, tippet, and floatant. Realistically you will want to be able to carry everything you need in the pockets of your jeans or pants, you really don’t want to carry a bag with you when you are fishing Jones Creek. It’s all about stealth on this creek. Realistically treat Jones Creek as if you were fishing for brook trout. Be prepared to not see a fish, if you do see one be prepared to never catch it, be prepared to be skunked on a regular basis here, and if by some miracle you do catch one of the gems of this creek treasure it like it is gold!
When it comes to casting: make very few false casts, be very accurate to hit right on the edges of rocks and logs, start from the bottom of the pools and work your way up to its mouth. If you are nymph fishing: start fishing a line very close to you and work your way out from there, again its worth mention that you should use a euro nymph setup on this stream or a very buggy indicator (New Zeland Strike Indicators). As for fishing streamers, don’t! Not unless there has been a very significant rain and the creek is raging, this will be the only time that you could sneak a small streamer into this creek. Finally it is worth mentioning that if you are into Tenkara fly fishing, then this stream would be a very good stream to use a Tenkara rod on.
Noontootla Creek is an extremely technical stream to fish – if you want a beautiful stream to fish, one that is literally in what seems like a very big gorge, a stream that is shaded by massive and ancient trees, but also a stream that is liable to skunk you… then Noontootla Creek is the creek for you. Simply put Noontootla Creek is an ass kicking waiting to happen, I hate to be so blunt but it is what it is.
Because of serious angler pressure Noontootla’s wild trout have become very suspicious of everything that flows through this creek, to be honest I am surprised that they just do not starve to death. I have been there several times and have been skunked almost all of those times. Honestly it might be harder to fish here than in any water in that I have fished to date. If I hadn’t caught and seen a trout there I would honestly write this off as a barren stream, one that the state of Georgia has lied about. However to my astonishment there are trout in this stream, they are just very intelligent because of the pressure they receive daily… yes daily. I have never been to Noontootla Creek and been the only angler there. Besides dealing with anglers also know that you will have to deal with campers, bikers, hikers, and hunters year round.
Besides being one of the toughest streams I have ever fished, Noontootla Creek might also be one of the prettiest stream that I have seen, not to mention it has everything that an trout angler would want in a stream. There are tons of big boulders, fast runs, deep drop offs, deep holes, small holes, long pools, long riffles, and a lot of room to cast. Granted some areas are infested with my nemesis, Laurels, but for the most part You can overhead cast with ease, you can tuck and roll cast to anywhere in this stream. Noontootla is also a great spot to euro nymph fish, actually I would almost dare to say that euro nymph fishing or dry fly fishing is the best way to catch fish in this stream. However, if you are not dry fly fishing or euro nymph fishing, then stick to a very small strike indicator, like a New Zealand Strike Indicator, that does not cause a lot surface commotion that would spook trout. Also I would suggest using a slightly longer leader, like a 12 foot leader, instead of the traditional 9 foot leader. This way a majority of your fly line is out of the water and not spooking fish.
Realistically I cannot stress enough that you must be very sneaky and stealthy when you fish this creek. You don’t necessarily have to go fish this stream in camo, or be so stealthy that you are not enjoying yourself, but understand that fishing here is like fishing for brook trout at all times, which are also in this creek at its head waters (nod, nod, wink, wink).
Remember that you are in bear country, that you will not have a lot (if any) cell phone service, and you will be miles from the nearest doctor’s office. Take appropriate precautions before going to fish here. Use the pull off spaces that are available, trying to stay out of camping spots if you are not going to be camping there. Also since there are a lot of people that visit this area I would lock up your vehicle while you are gone, do not leave anything in it that a person could possibly steal. I have heard of several vehicles that had windows smashed and several hundreds of dollars’ worth of equipment being taken. Finally, just reemphasizing that you are in bear country, I would say that you should also carry, or at the very least have a bell on you as you walk this stream, you can never be too careful when you are in the backwoods.
Besides mostly being on private property the sections that are open to the public make Dicks creek one of the prettiest gems of the Northern Georgia trout streams. Nested in one of the gorges that run through Northern Georgia, Dicks creek is a major limestone creek that every angler should visit at least once. What makes Dicks creek such a wonderful place to go to is it’s monstrous waterfalls, yes I am very much a sucker for waterfalls. But the fishing here is also brilliant, above and below the falls. However one could easily be discouraged by Dicks creek by seeing all of the water that is located on private property, that water just screams “fish are in these waters.”
Even though the prettiest parts of Dicks creek are in private waters, the rest of the stream is a delightful place to fish for all skill levels. I mainly focus on the waters below the falls down to the “No Trespassing” sign and the waters from the parking area, located at the trail of Waters Creek, down to the head of the waterfalls. These waters are moving very fast in certain sections, and in others they are dropping down to form enormous deep holes. I am almost certain that there are holdover trout in these waters that are becoming giants. However I am also certain that a majority of the holdover trout are getting into the waters below the “No Trespassing” sign and probably spawning.
When fishing these waters use a two nymph dropper system and make sure you are fishing them very deep. The fish here also love squirmmies, mop flies, and Pat’s stoneflies. I would not bother fishing dry flies at all, well not unless you see fish hitting the surface on a regular basis. Also I would not recommend using streamers here, the reason I say this is that I have seen too many spin fishermen here that have constantly gotten skunked using spinning flies while I am catching fish, using nymphs, on every other cast.
Above the parking area at Waters creek trail head the water here are very slow and meandering. Occasionally you will find a good deep hole, but for the most part this area is a slow riffle area. In this area I recommend using a single nymph set up or using a streamer, casting the streamer to the other bank and quickly moving it back across to yourself.
One of the main things as an outsider to Georgia is how similar Georgia is to Virginia. In the mountainous sections the weather is usually cool and mild, while the flat lands are hot and humid. Only when it comes to winter can you tell the true difference between Virginia and Georgia, and realistically this change can really only be felt from the Atlanta Metro area south, everything else is relatively the same as Virginia. As with the weather, fly fishing for trout in Georgia is realistically a lot like Virginia. You have your high mountain native brook trout, wild rainbow trout, and occasional wild brown trout. In other places you have your stocked streams, and in several of the river systems (i.e. the Chattahoochee) you have your dam tail water wild trout. Also both the State of Georgia and Virginia have Delayed Harvest Sections during the Fall, Winter, and Spring months. However there are two main differences that an angler will see between Virginia and Georgia; the first is that the stockings month are backwards from Virginia, during the Spring, Summer, and early Fall months the State of Georgia stock their designated stocking streams. The second difference is that instead of stocking by Counties (like they do in Virginia) the state of Georgia have Wildlife Management Areas. At first it was a bit frustrating to find information on where and how to fish – I knew the fish were there, but like when I started fishing in Virginia the information out there is outdated and the only way to figure stuff out was to talk to local Fly Shops and to explore.
The main reason why I wanted to tell you all of this up front is because this will be the first of many posts about the trout waters here in Georgia. It has taken me a little over a year to get used to these waters and feel comfortable enough to actually talk in detail about them. So without further ado, here is my first Georgia stream recommendation and description of said stream.
The Upper Chattahoochee is a section of water in the Chattahoochee WMA area that extends from Little Crumbly Knob Mountain to the town of Helen Georgia. The first thing you must understand is that some of the water is private, obey the no trespassing signs at all costs. Also make sure that you lock up your vehicles and that they are parked in spot so that others can easily get by you. The last and final thing to know about this water way is that it is amazing. Honestly it is better than most of the streams that I have fished in Virginia; knock on wood, I have never been skunked on this stream and have fished it year round. Though the Upper Chatt is only stocked during the Spring, Summer, and Fall months an angler can always find a hold over somewhere through this freestone creek. Also in the extreme back wood sections, if you are able and willing to make the hike, an angler can find wild rainbows, and native brook trout. Also this stream is one of the few streams that I have found Tiger Trout in, yes the State of Georgia does stock tiger trout, however I have yet to find any wild tiger trout in these waters… but the possibly of finding wild tiger existing here is very high.
Now what can I say about the actual stream itself; if you know me then you know that by far my two favorite streams in Virginia are Big Stony and Little Stony Creek in Giles County, well the Upper Chatt is a mixture of these two streams. Very large boulders protrude from the water, that lead into deep long holes, while in other area there are very fast riffles followed by very shallow runs. Because of all of this different types of flows, fish can be found almost anywhere throughout this stream. However aim for the deeper pools, here you can always find trout rather at the drop, the deep middle sections, or at the rear of the hole.
One of my favorite things to do is use a good pair of polarized sunglasses and watch how the fish are eating, if they are constantly hitting top water I will use a dry/dropper rig or if they are constantly looking like they are going after stuff on the bottom I will fish two heavy nymphs and float the nymphs straight through that area.
Also as a member of the local Trout Unlimited, please be mindful of your trash, if you get a chance please bring a trash bag and fill it up as you fish. Keeping this stream beautiful is a very hard chore since it is a major tourist destination for campers during the stocking season.
There are very few pull off points to the stream, and some of these still leave your vehicle very close to a road that has a ton of traffic on it. Be mindful also of trespassing and take precautions when it comes to little to no cell phone service. Also, and I can not stress this enough when it comes to deep mountain streams, be mindful that you are in bear country, be safe.