UPPER TOCCOA RIVER -- submitted by Bob Borgwat, 08-23-19
Little, if any, trout fishing is ongoing on the upper Toccoa River. Water temps are too high for trout to be active, and the regular hatchery stockings on the riverway were concluded shortly after July 4. Smallmouths, rock bass and redeye bass are the most likely catches until mid-October. Work small crankbaits, jigs and spoons with spinning tackle. Streamers can take fish for fly-fishermen. Work all the presentations in deep pockets and lanes around shoals.
COOPERS CREEK/ROCK CREEK -- submitted by Bob Borgwat, 08-23-19
Flows on Rock Creek are low and warm. I doubt any trout fishing is ongoing until water temperatures drop into the 60s. Even then, according to the hatchery personnel, the only stocking on the stream is likely only to take place just before Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Coopers Creek is pretty much past its turning point. The lower end of the stream along Coopers Creek Road and in the area of the NF campgrounds is too warm for much, if any, trout action. According to the hatchery personnel, the only stocking on the stream is likely only to take place just before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Depending on the localized water temperature, some holdout trout (and a few wilds, too) may still be active in the upper reaches of the creek between the upper bridge and Lake Winfield Scott. Stocking has been suspended at the bridge and the Shope Field CG, too. Look for the best action in the most remote places you can fish, including the several feeder streams that hold wild rainbows, browns and, in some streams, brookies.
NOONTOOTLA CREEK -- submitted by Bob Borgwat, 08-23-19
This gem that holds only wild 'bows and browns could still fish in the mornings under its low flows, but it's grown marginal, too, in water temps. Still, tossing Adams, Caddis and Coachman patterns in the plunges and the riffles could take some fish. Expect them to be small, despite the 16-inch minimum-length limit for possession of trout. Artificials only, single hooks.
LOCAL UPPER TRIBS -- submitted by Bob Borgwat, 08-23-19
Fish these tiny streams in "search mode" for wild browns, rainbows and brookies. Water flows are at the year's lowest, and temperatures could be a problem in all but the highest and most-covered streams. The best action is probably on the "brookie streams," which are usually the coldest this time of year, yet the hardest to access. I don't see any sense in throwing anything but flies on these jewels. Cover the mini holes, riffles and lanes with Caddis and Stimulator fly patterns.
HIWASSEE RIVER (at Reliance, TN) -- submitted by Bob Borgwat, 08-23-19
Trout fishing on this great riverway is all but over. The state stopped stocking in late July; however, rumor has it a stocking will take place at the upper boat ramp ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend. If that entices you to head that way, beware of the great rubber/plastic hatch that signals the end of the recreational season on the 'Wass. Tubes, kayaks and rafts between the upper ramp and Reliance will number to near 1,000 per day on Saturday and Sunday. Believe me. It won't be pretty for fishing. If you fish, toss small spoons and spinners in deep water and the shoals in hopes of turning some reaction strikes based on the flash of the lures. Expect water flows in the range of 2,800 cfs. Stay safe. Next stocking date will be close to Nov. 1, when the river regs switch to "delayed harvest" -- catch and release, artificial lures/flies only -- through March 15, 2020.
On the other hand, summertime's high-water flow on the lower Hiwassee -- from Reliance to Hwy 411 -- can deliver smallmouth bass, maybe even stripers, for those who can float the river. On Aug. 20, I floated this stretch with Brad Wayne and Harmon Smith. We collected seven smallmouths, with the best at 3 1/2 pounds. All were caught on lures -- crankbaits and soft-plastics.
BLUE RIDGE/NOTTELY/CHATUGE -- submitted by Bob Borgwat, 08-23-19
No reports. It's the dog days of summer. Bass fishing on lakes Blue Ridge/Nottely/Chatuge is at its toughest of the year right now. Fly-rodders with some skill for fishing bugs deep might have fun with bluegills, redbreasts and small spotted bass.
Fisheries biologists tell us trout metabolism slows tremendously at temperatures over 68 degrees. Water warmer than 72 degrees is often lethal because it does not hold enough dissolved oxygen for trout to live. Many -- most? -- of the local trout streams are in this place now. The trout are lethargic and hiding anywhere they can sit out the high temps.
So, it's time to wait it out (except on the highest elevation streams).
Trout metabolism peaks when water temperatures range from 52 to 58 degrees. During those times of the year -- mid-spring and late fall -- trout feed heavily; thus, fishing is often best then, and especially so for fly-fishermen. Not only are the trout active, but many of the aquatic insects trout eat -- stoneflies, mayflies, caddisflies and midges -- hatch abundantly in spring. Some species -- caddisflies, blue-winged-olive mayflies and various midges -- can be seen year 'round, and the fall season often delivers dead or dying terrestrial insects to the trout feeding lanes on our rivers and streams.