Stream Location: White County
Special Regulations: Delayed Harvest from November 1st – May 14th
Wild Trout: Unknown; I have yet to try and explore above Ruby Falls
Stocked: Rainbow, Brook, and Brown
Other Species of Note:
Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, Royal Wulff, Terrestrials
Nymphs: Caddis Puppa, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Stone, Squirmy Wormy, Mop, and Perdigon
Streamers: Minnows, and Wooly Buggers
Wading Stick: Yes
Casting: Overhead, Tuck, Bow and Arrow, and Roll
Starting at the mouth of Ruby Falls in Unicoi State Park, then going in to Unicoi Lake, then starting again below the dam at Unicoi Lake you have Smith Creek. Smith Creek is a year round stocked stream available to all anglers, however Smith Creek doesn’t really begin at Ruby Falls, it truly begins above the falls and has the possibility to have wild brook trout in its head waters (this I haven’t explored yet). Still yet Smith Creek might be one of the prettiest streams I have encountered here in Georgia and it is one of five Delayed Harvest Streams. The Delayed Harvest season here in Georgia is from November 1st – May 14th, and the Delayed Harvest section for Smith Creek is located from the mouth of Unicoi Dam to the Unicoi State Park boundary.
Honestly I am not being fictitious about how beautiful this stream is, it is truly an amazing freestone stream that is meticulously cleaned by the workers of the park. Also it has the best parking area that I have ever seen on a Delayed Harvest Stream, not to mention there is a set of permanent bathrooms on site. Realistically it feels like you are fishing at a resort, because technically you are.
The Stream, like I previous said, is a freestone stream that runs the mouth of Ruby Falls down to the Lake Unicoi. This section is only stocked during the summer time, take note that most of the fish here will probably fished out by the end of October, and looks like a mountain stream slowly meandering down to the lake. But the real gem of the stream is below the dam. Here you will find a quick moving stream that has long pockets, deep holes, several undercuts, and utterly beautiful water. From what I have seen, the State of Georgia does not slack off when it comes to DH waters, Georgia puts some slabs in these waters.
As far as fly fishing, using mop flies, squirmies, and streamers work really well during the stocked season and the early months of the DH season. However after these fish become more accustomed to the stream and its traditional meal base, fly fishermen need to switch over to more traditional flies (ie pat’s stonefly, prince nymphs, pheasant tails, hares ear, and zebra midges… especially zebra midges during the winter months, I cannot stress how important these flies are during the winter months). During the stocking season you can pretty much fine the stockers in the deeper sections or in fast runs, but during the DH season you need to cover all of the stream because of water temps and the fish being able to freely move.
Now for the bummer part! I know, I know, there is always a bummer part. Because Smith Creek is located in Unicoi State Park, and because of the Town of Helen, Georgia this stream gets hit hard year round. There really isn’t any good time to come here where you will be alone with the stream. However even though this stream can get very crowded I still would recommend it over some of the other streams here in Georgia just on how beautiful it is. Also there is a required parking pass that all visitors must purchase; you can get a yearly pass or you can get a day pass, I would strongly recommend just getting the yearly pass because this allows you to park in any Georgia State Park.