Sunday, September 29, 2013

Frogtown Creek: My First Trout on a Fly!

Mornin' Folks,
  Today I thought I'd share some pictures with you.  These are all cell phone pictures, so the quality isn't the greatest.  The weekend before last I spent a great evening visiting with my grandparents up in the North Georgia mountains.  I got up and left early Sunday morning to do some small, mountain stream fly fishing.  I had yet to catch a trout on the fly, so I was hoping that this would be the day.  I stopped first at Helton Creek Falls and fished the pool at the bottom of the lower falls.  After about 10 minutes I started seeing some fish moving in the pool and showing interest in my Prince Nymph.  Just when a trout looked like he was going to take my fly, I heard a loud thud behind me and the fish took off.  I turned around to see a rather clumsy looking "photographer" had come down the stairs behind me and was jumping from rock to rock taking pictures.  The brush was just too thick to head down stream, mostly because of the cut Chestnut trees, and the "photographer" didn't appear to be leaving anytime soon, so I decided to pack it in and try to find another stream. 
  I'm a little fuzzy on the stream access laws of Georgia and it seemed like every nice place I found to fish had a house sitting next to it.  So, I headed down to DeSoto Falls Recreation Area in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. 
  In the past, I've hiked the trail of DeSoto Falls, but set out too late to make it to the falls themselves, but I was surprised to see a 24-site campground with shower and restrooms in the recreation area.  I'm going to keep that in mind for a later camping trip. 
  The banks of Frogtown Creek were pretty overgrown.  Stream access wasn't bad, but I couldn't cast from the bank.  The only waders I have are neoprene chest waders, which are way too uncomfortable for a warm, late summer day so they were left at home.  Frogtown Creek is a freestone stream so I thought I'd just rock hop.  I was wearing waterproof boots, so figured I could walk through the shallows.  After I slipped off the first rock I decided the day was warm enough to just wet-wade! 
  I had a great time fishing this stream.  There seemed to be a fair amount of fish in the water.  I got a lot of splashy refusals and a couple missed bites.  I didn't see any fish rising, and no insect hatch that I could detect, so I tried to stick with the nymph style flies.  The fish seemed interested, but I just couldn't get a hard take.  After catching my last small nymph in the trees, I tied on the only small fly I had left.  I'm not exactly sure what the fly was, I think it came in an assortment pack that I got as a gift years ago, but I think it was a deer hair Caddis fly in about a size 18 or so.  I would've posted a picture of this fly, but I lost it not terribly long after tying it on.  Makes me wonder if I tried hooking trees if I'd catch more fish...
  I wish I had tied on the Caddis sooner!  On my second cast next to a boulder in the middle of the stream I got a big splashy strike, but I missed the hook set.  Most of the reading that I've done on trout fishing says that trout spook very easily and if you recast to the same fish you can scare it off.  I think I probably cast to this fish a half dozen times and he splashed at it every time.  He finally took the fly and I had my first trout on my fly rod!  This guy put up a way better fight than the little bluegills I've been catching in Lake Lanier.  I fought him for a few minutes, reveling in the bend of my 2 weight TFO rod.  Since the water really wasn't that cold, I didn't want to fight the fish too long and risk over stressing him.  So I brought him to hand, dropped him a couple times, but I got my picture.  I had finally caught my first trout on a fly, a very nice little rainbow, about 7 inches long and full of energy.
  Having caught my first trout, and promptly losing the fly I caught him on, I decided it was getting late and I had homework and things waiting for me at home.    I look forward to camping at DeSoto Falls, hiking to the falls and doing some more fishing in Frogtown Creek.  And I can't wait to catch another trout!!!

Helton Creek Falls in Union County.

All of the American Chestnut trees were cut down along the trail due Chestnut Blight.

This is why they were cut down, otherwise they would fall. This stump was easily 3 ft. across.

The lower falls of Helton Creek Falls.

Frogtown Creek just below DeSoto Falls at the DeSoto Falls Recreation Area.

My 6 ft. Temple Forks Outfitters 2 weight rod.  Perfect for the small Frogtown Creek.

Further downstream.  Trout don't live in unattractive places.

My first trout on a fly!  Not huge, but he sure was fun. Definitely hooked now, I can't wait to do some more coldwater fly fishing!

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