October Fishing Report

Tailwaters Shaping Up

by Bob Borgwat/


Catch 'Em with Love In Mind

By Bob Borgwat

The colors of fall in the woodlands of north Georgia not only announce the change of season. Mid- to late autumn is a special time for the brown trout in the area streams and rivers. 

Savvy trout fishermen know brown trout spawn from late October through November on falling water temperatures. Aerated riffles and gravelly bottoms combine to perfectly site the brown trout spawning redds. A female brown, commonly the larger of the species, is often joined by several male browns -- some call 'em "bucks" --  all of which are competing for her affection. Once the eggs are deposited and fertilized, the successful male remains on site, guarding the nest until the eggs hatch. Notoriously known for eating fish eggs (think glow-balls and Y2Ks, and bait rigs holding salmon eggs), rainbow trout often share streams and rivers with browns. Their unwillingness to leave a nest site can be an angler's benefit . 

During the fall, walk thoughtfully in your favorite stream. Avoid the clean, gravel-bottomed nesting sites, while looking ahead for target sites that can hold browns ready to pounce on your offering. 

On small streams, like Coopers Creek, Fightingtown Creek, Noontootla Creek, spin-tackle fishermen do well this month with small spoons (Phoebe, Kastmaster) and spinners (Panther Martin). Fly-fishermen should consider large terrestrials early in the season, followed by large stonefly patterns when the season's chill has set in.  

Fall float trips and wading outings on the larger rivers, like the Toccoa, Hiwassee or Nottely, are best approached with small to medium-sized sinking crankbaits (Pointer 78, Rapala Countdown, Rebel Tracdown) and 1/4-ounce spoons and dressed spinners (Phoebe, Little Cleo, Kastmaster). Those lures can produce large fall browns on each of those rivers for spin-fishermen, while large stonefly patterns and streamers in sizes 4-8 can bring action to fly-fishermen who make long casts and cover a lot of water. 

And those rainbows? Drop a doubled-up egg pattern rig under an indicator, get it near the bottom where it can tumble in the current over gravel and hang on! 


September Fishing ReportS

Narrow Your Options

Reported by Bob Borgwat ... 10-05-19

Smallmouths right now! Low, clear and warm water across much of the area trout streams leaves few options for trout fishing. So, Sam Miller and Jeff Odom joined me for a late September float on the Hiwassee River (at Reliance, TN) for smallmouth bass. And the action was great! Under the hot summer sun, we three accounted for 13 smallmouths to 3 pounds. None were taken on fly tackle, but purists we're not! Working jerkbaits and crankbaits in rapid, stop-and-go retrieves, the bass kept the action going well whenever we floated and/or anchored in the shoal areas of the river. We floated from the boat ramp in Reliance to the Hwy 411 bridge just outside Benton.  See more pix in the photo gallery!

SHARE YOUR SUCCESS AND SORROW ... We don't care if you catch 'em or not. We just want to know if you're wetting a line and where you're doing it at, whether you're ripping some lips or not! Send your latest fishing report and pix to BRMTU website flunky, Bob Borgwat at, and he'll be sure to spread the truth ... stretched as it might be!


august Fishing Reports


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.

Trout Can't Beat the Heat

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.