April Stream Review - Tallulah River
This months review comes from Craig Ferfecki, NGTO reader turned editor. Special thanks to Craig for taking time out to write for NGTO.
My past experience with trout fishing tends to spoil my idea of pure serene trout fishing. I was born and raised on a native brook trout stream in Northern New Jersey. There we had the ability to catch (and release) as many brookies you wanted to, any time, just about any day. A few years ago, since I've picked up the old fly-rod again, I took a camping trip to North Georgia to do some camping and trout fishing. My wife and I hadn't taken a vacation in 2 years and we just wanted to get away from it all.
After pulling out an old map from the local library (Statesboro Georgia) we decided to visit a fairly well marked area in North Georgia - Tallulah River Camping Area - for our vacation. Little did I realize that this trip would catapult my interests again in trout fishing. Up to this point I fished all my life in New Jersey, moved to South Georgia, and hadn't fished for a trout in almost 4 years.
We arrived at Tallulah River Road on a Thursday around lunch time and decided to stay at Sandy Bottom Camp Ground. This is an excellent spot to stay being away from many of the campers but still near some. Also, the river is immediately next to you night and day. When we arrived it was middle August, temperature around 75 degrees. We weren't there 10 minutes and I told my wife, "I've gotta' wet a hook, it's been too long!" Using an ultra-light spinning rod with a silver phoebe, I took one cast under a waterfall that looked too good to be true. That cast would determine the mood of my entire vacation, shear excitement! I caught and released a beautiful native rainbow about 12", who once hooked, propelled from the water about 2 feet! We stayed there for four days and I wound up catching my limit twice.
I have since been back to Tallulah River many times, during all different times of the year. It is an ideal place to do some fun camping but at the same time enjoy some of the most exciting trout fishing around. I have gone back to fly fishing and have found the river that much more exciting. Some of the best things to remember about fishing Tallulah is; you can catch all three species; brook, brown, and rainbow; it has beautiful, ideal pools for dry fly fishing; it is stocked constantly (if you like to catch stockers); it is fed by two other very interesting (creeks), the Coleman River and Tate Branch; both native browns and rainbows thrive there; and it rains all the time (almost).
Over the past four years I have been fishing the Tallulah River and have two fish I would like to mention; on August 17th, exactly one year from my first trip to the river I caught a rainbow weighing 3 1/2 pounds, 19 1/2" long; on September 2 two years ago I hooked and landed a brown of an unknown size (my guess he was about the same size as the rainbow). Both of these fish fought like champions and I've been told by the locals that they were both "trophy fish" and most people who fish the river don't catch anything that big their entire life!
I will be returning to the Tallulah this spring to fill my soul with more excitement! - Photo Available