So this weekend Sarah was on call on Saturday again, and I decided to go north to fish again. Thursday night I was looking for somewhere with a lot of restrictions, catch and release only, barbless hooks only, and maybe even a limit of people per day. I was looking into private water, club owned waters, and other restricted areas in northern GA. Who would have guessed that the Georgia State Parks Services has just such a place. It is called Smithgall Woods Conservation Park and it is a special regulations creek with plenty of rules. Smithgall's rules are plenty, but the one I love the most is the number of people allowed to fish the creek per day only 3 days a week.
This is the reason I love that rule. This picture was taken within 250 yards from the road, and in a creek like this anywhere else on the east coast, in a spot this close to the road there would be at least 4 people fishing. So Friday I called and got my name on the reservation list and was told the that earliest I could start fishing was 7 am. After getting slightly lost I found the place, paid for parking, and was told to take section one. Section one played into my hand it was a tight mountain section. All mountains stream tend to have some of the same characteristics especially when you get higher up in the mountains. You will find that the higher up in elevation you get the more you'll find fast water followed by a deep hole. Knowing that, you can find bigger fish in these holes, and since most people who fish know walking against the current makes it easier to sneak up on fish you can fish a section of water from the back to front. I have also found that in water like this that holds a large population of wild trout you can catch small fingerlings all day long if that is something that grabs you.
This is one of many many fingerling sized trout I was catching all day. As you can see this particular trout was not staying still long enough for me to snap a good shot of it.
This little guy did much better giving me a couple nice pictures. This is no stocked trout, it is a wild rainbow trout. I don't remember how many I caught that were this size but it was a lot and these fish even as small as they were made me happy.
This was the biggest spider I have ever seen, and it was located right in the center of the creek. The whole thing was about the size of a Gatorade bottle cap. The web well it was easy 18 inches round.
Here is a great shot showing just how wonderful the colors can be on these rainbow trout. This is a much better fish and I only got a couple this size. In the hole where I got this fish I had set the hook on what would have been the fish of the year. It was 20 inches by my best guess, I set the hook and felt like I was stuck until like started flying from my reel. Then just like that it stopped, when I checked the line I notice the knot failed and that is something I can control and really made me mad.
I spend the next 2 minutes reliving it and actually had shaky hands because I had such a rush from it. It was picture perfect, the fly drifted into the pool from the side and I watched the fish appear from the bottom and just nail the fly. Then it ran and ran out all that line and once I gave it a little pressure the knot just plan failed. Well I was in a funk for about 15 plus minutes missing every strike, but eventually I got back to me then found that hole that would get me back to the positive.
This bad boy, as the best of the day. I came to a hole that had a nice flow with lots of easy lines to drift a fly down. Well I set the hook on this guy and it pulled like it was a 40 inch striper. It pulled the line out of my hand and took some extra off the reel. I finally landed it took a couple snap shots and quickly released it so it would get bigger and I could catch it when it was 5 inches bigger.
Smithgall Woods gets an A in my book and I will be taking the trip back up there in the very near future. This is the kind of place I would love to take my brother or a couple of my other fishing buddies. I'm not sure what next weekend will bring but I'll do my best to post a couple posts this week.