Recent fishing and recommendations during the NGA drought

Thread starter #1
Last weekend, we took our boys to the GA DNR National Fishing and Hunting outdoor adventure day at Unicoi State Park. It was a great event. My eldest, age 6, tried his hand at the bow and firing an air rifle. The DNR and volunteers really did a great job. I highly recommend going to an event next year if you have little kids.

Disclaimer: I'm referencing a creek below in a well known GA state park. I hope I am not breaking any rules.

After the event when the boys were napping in the van with my wife, I dropped into the creek above the lake for an hour or so where they had stocked a truckload of rainbows for the event. I wet waded beyond the frenzy of the stocked pool not expecting to find great conditions due to the drought, but I thought could get some casting practice in among the low hanging limbs and mountain laurel. I brought several creek chub to hand and sighted two wild rainbows in the 7-8 inch range. One was a long distance release and I missed the set on the other. All together not a bad hour of fishing as my expectations were low.

I've been given approval from the boss for trout fishing this coming weekend. I'm from the Atlanta area so my options would be North Georgia or Western NC and willing to drive 2 to 3 hours. Last time I had a full day on the water was about 4 weeks ago in the Chattahoochee National Forest on a small headwater creek for the Hooch. Flows were cold but very low. Landed a half dozen wild rainbows ranging from 5 to 9 inches all on the dry fly with aggressive takes. (new to the board so I'm working on figuring out photo posting)

I'm curious if the members of the board have any general location recommendations for fishing this weekend given the current state of the drought. Should I try tailwater, stick with North GA mountain streams (maybe blue lines), is NC side of GSMNP fishing okay? I've wanted to get back to the Chattooga after fishing it early this summer, but I'm seeing the flows are so low in the gauge reports. I'm not looking for any specific fishery names in this thread, but I'd be more than happy to discuss in private messages. If you had a free Saturday and typically get to fish only once a month or so, what would you be thinking about location-wise while we're in this drought?

I think we've turned the corner and summer weather will finally say goodbye. I know I'm ready to be standing in the water in the brisk air with the brilliant colors of fall on display around me.


Senior Member
And welcome. Here is a link to the DNR website that will help you in your search.

You can sign up and they will send you weekly information.
It has been so darn hot and dry that in north georgia i would say upper tallulah past first bridge. The chattooga at the 28 bridge and give a shout out to NChillbilly about western NC. Good luck
With the temps possibly dropping and some rain maybe coming, either could be good.
BUt I know those NoGA small streams have been hot and low so the fish are probably stressed out of their minds.
Hooch tailwater isn't doing bad.
WEstern NC is always a good trout spot, but can't comment on the streams there, because I haven't been all season... :(


The NC side of the GSMNP is fishing fairly good, if you hit the smaller creeks higher up.


Senior Member
I would also think smokemount campground or koa up at Cherokee. Ravens fork will require a tribal fishing license but smokemount would just require NC out of state.
Thread starter #6
Thanks everyone!

The GA fishing blog is great. I miss Jeff's reporting since he retired.

I fished near Smokemount about 1.5 years ago during really high water and didn't do so well but I still had a great time. GSMNP is a haul for me, but sounds more promising. Plus you can't beet those colors up there.
If you have a kid(s), smokemont is the best campground around.
Kids can get out and catch critters, fish, walk, ride bikes, decent hiking trails that are kid friendly right near by, and if you know your way around you can find some natives in a far walk or a 10 minute drive. Ain't nothing as fun as watching those little critters jumping to yellow stimis on the end of a cane pole and a kid getting so excited they fall in the creek. I could watch that Alllllllll day long. LOL
Thread starter #8
Splatek, I've fished Bradley Forks before. The campground near there is really nice. My son went be on this trip, but I think your right that it would be very kid friendly place to camp. Last time I fished Bradley I think I hiked maybe a 1/2 mile at most up stream. The water was very high and watching was dangerous. This time I may try to push on father because I'd love to get into some brookies.
I can tell you for sure the Chattooga will be too warm to be productive, unless you go way upstream, probablyinto NC. The Hooch tailwater should be good. The Smokies are always good if you dont mind the drive. Small streams in NGA will be hit or miss, as some are more dependent on rainfall than others to maintain water levels.
Thread starter #10
Thanks for the recommendations and advise. I made the drive to GSMNP with a friend. We hiked settled on a creek that my friend has done well on before, and I had not fished. We hiked in about 2 miles before fishing hoping to get some good water.

Water conditions were very low and the trout proved to be very spookey. We were getting hits almost immediately as we cast into riffkes and the upstream ends of long pools. Patterns getting takes included simulators, parachute emergers, EHC, and a royal trude. The hits were lightning fast by these nervous fish, and we missed several hookups each.

It was frustrating missing takes, but that frustration easy passed when I lifted my head up and took in the beautiful surroundings. The park is truly an incredible place to fish.

My friend and I took turns moving ahead and sighting fish or prime lies for each other to try and improve our odds of a hookups. Eventually I hooked into a few on an EHC.
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Nice! Glad you had a good time and caught some fish. I am a bit partial to the Smokies myself. :)