The Trout Next DoorThis month something a little different. If you are looking for trophy trout read on...
Dr. Scott (Doc) used to drive hours to catch trophy trout, now he simply opens his front door, the front door of his Marietta home. With help of his friends and partner, Robert Hafner, and with the aid of some publicly available state publications on pond management, Doc has a trophy destination in an ultimately convenient location. Doc, aside from his work as a consultant, also runs a trip service called appropriately "Let Us Lure You Angling Adventures". He takes anglers north to Canada for Pike, south to Venezuala for Peacock Bass (photo right), and many points in between. The newest part of his program includes the Marietta trophy trout fly-fishing pond. Hanfer is a Georgia guide and certified fly-fishing instructor, not to mention a long-time NGTO member. Together they offer a complete program centered around this trophy pond.
Late in January, I had to opportunity to meet Doc and his partner and even got a chance to enjoy some fishing in their trophy water, and I didn't have to drive very far to get there. We arrived early afternoon and upon driving up, the first thing we noticed was the rising fish. They seemed to be everywhere, and from the size of the ripples they were leaving on the surface, one could easily see that these trout were monsters. But why a trophy trout pond in Marietta? What could have given them the idea to start a trophy trout pond here? I asked Doc this same question and the answer I got was somewhat refreshing...
"We love trout fishing and we just couldn't keep trout fishing this good a secret.... we wanted to see if there was in interest, and if so, then hopefully we can at least cover expenses and do this again next year."After that statement, I knew I was in the company of true trout-addicts. (Let's be honest, I know if I had the resources, both natural and monetary, I would probably have a trout pond in my backyard!) The pond was stocked with over 500 pounds of fish, all above 2 pounds, and quite a large percentage of trophy size fish, up to 6 pounds and growing. The pond is also an outstanding warmwater fishery. As Doc says "Don't overlook the bass and brim here!" In addition to the trophy trout available in the winter, the pond is also stocked with catchable sized bass and mammoth brim, which during the summer, will provide the warmwater fly-fisherman with plenty of action.
(We started fishing wooly buggers on the advice of our guide (Hafner). Within minutes I had a strike, but missed. According to Hafner these fish had been really turned on to the strip, so we were stripping the wooly buggers in and across the bottom. Next my partner, Mark Ellis (Cocoon), had a strike and missed - (that's why it's called fishing and not catching...) I didn't get a temperature reading but the water had to be very cold, as the air temperature was no more than 34 degrees so I decided to slow my strip down a little. Since the water was slightly stained due to the recent rain/sleet/snow storm; I also decided to change to a brighter colored fly - an egg-sucking leech...)As far as the seasons go, Doc and Hafner don't know how long the trout will hold, but one thing is for certain. The fishing is going to get very interesting as the season progresses and the bass and brim become active along with the trout.
(Strike! After about 20 minutes I actually hook my first confirmed fish and man did he fight. A beautiful rainbow, about 17 inches. Shortly after my partner hooks into another fish, which tops mine by a few inches.)Generally Doc and Hafner have found that most flies will work on these trout, but they do seem to favor it when it is stripped in. Streamers, buggers, beadheads, and even San Juan worms can do well here. As far as tackle the only rules are fly-fishing only with single barbless hooks. The rest it up to you. I would recommend at least a 4-weight rod and 3x tippet though if you actually want to land one of the larger fish.
Both my partner and I manage to land a couple more after what we consider to be a great day, although the fishing was off due to the weather and Doc says it was the worst he has seen it. (If that was "off" I can't wait to see "on") We plan on visiting again soon.In addition to the trophy fly-fishing opportunity, Doc and Hafner also run several other programs including fly-casting instruction and a once a month "Boot Camp" for beginning fly-fisherman. Hafner also offers his services as a guide part-time.
To book a 1/2 day please contact Robert Hafner: email@example.com, 1/2 day Rates as of time of this printing are $175 for two anglers Saturday/Sunday and $100 Monday-Friday. Extra anglers recieve discounted rate. Fly-casting instruction is also available for $35/hour. Boot Camps run once a month and are $95-$175 for a full-day class. Please email for more information.
ADDENDUM (02/12/2000) - I returned to Doc's place on Friday and boy was it hot! If you are looking for some non-stop trophy action, without having to head to the mountains, you simply can't beat this.