Saturday, July 10, 2010

fly fishing trout (helen, ga)

This was the first day of our family vacation in Atlanta, Ga. We made the 12 hour drive from Chicago through the night, the day before. This was for the benefit of both my kids and my wife and I. By the time the kids woke up we were already in Nashville. We were staying at a beautiful lake house located in Dawsonville on the shores of the giant Lake Lanier. The next morning, I woke up early in the morning and decided to venture out to explore the streams and rives in the Chattahoochee national forest.

My first destination was the Chattahoochee River, which is the river that feeds Lake Lanier. There are 2 different sides of the river, one above the lake that starts as a mountain stream that flows in to the lake, and one below the lake that is a tailrace fishery. I chose to start my expedition above the lake in the small mountain tourist town of Helen, Ga. This is a quaint Bavarian influenced city where the famed river flows through the heart of its downtown.

the chattahoochee river in helen
The scenery was magical but the fishing stunk. Furthermore, the best stretch of this river was private. Not that you couldn’t fish it, but if you wanted to you would have to pay a hefty sum of money for a “guided” trip through a local outfitter. This “protected” stretch of river is located just below the Nora Mill and contains some trophy trout by anyone’s standards. The problem is, these are fish that are raised on a steady diet of trout chow that you can purchase from the vending machines located on the walkway above the water. You can look down from the walkway and see hundreds of trout sitting in the pool below the spillway waiting for the next “hatch” of trout chow. In my opinion this is equal to fishing a kiddies’ pool stuffed to the brim with giant trout.
nora mill
The water I did fish looked like it held promise but no strikes. Then 10:00am rolled around and the recreation tube traffic started and hordes of people on inner tubes started to float their way down the river. Time to get out of here, so I did what any good father would do….. I went back to the house and grabbed the family and came back and rented some tubes. Yes, I joined the ranks of many others that have “tubed the hooch.”


  1. This post caught by eye since you are in my neck of the woods. Trout fishing above Helen should offer a better experience. I hope y'all enjoy your visit. Atlanta and the surrounding areas have much to offer for family and fishing fun. BTW...I live in Bartow County near the Etowah River. It is good river to catch Bass and not as crowned as the Chattahoochee.

  2. tubin' the hooch is way more fun than fishing it...admit it!

  3. It might be more fun then not catching fish