10/29/08

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Fly Fishing the Chattooga River

The Chattooga River is claimed by both Georgia and South Carolina. It is located in
the general area of the intersection of the Georgia, South Carolina and North
Carolina state-line borders. It is a freestone stream that has been designated as a
National Wild and Scenic River. The river starts in the mountains of North Carolina
and flows about fifty miles before emptying into lake Tugaloo. The upper section is
the most popular section for anglers. The lower section is popular for its whitewater
rafting but it also has plenty of trout.

There is a designated "delayed harvest" area of the stream. Both wild and stocked
trout are in this section. The entire river above the Georgia Highway 28 bridge has
trout. Much of the stream has only wild trout.

This stream is quite larger than the typical wild trout stream found in the Southeast.
That provides an opportunity for the trout to grow large. It has its fair share of large
brown trout.

The good problem one has fishing this river is the access points. It has few. To get
to the best fishing waters, you need to hike a good ways. I say "good problem"
because it is the remoteness of most of the river that is the appealing part. If it were
developed, it would not be the wild trout fishery it is. Primitive camping is allowed in
several locations along the river.

The season is open year round and a license from either Georgia or South
Carolina is valid. The section of the river in North Carolina requires a North
Carolina license.

Angie and I have only fished this river three times during the past few years. From
the nymphs and larvae present, it appears to have its normal freestone river
hatches of mayflies, stoneflies and some caddisflies. We have found the wild trout a
little difficult to come by but we have still managed a few quality fish the last two
trips we made there. Our first trip didn't produce a single trout but it was during
August in the lower section of the stream.

Copyright 2008 James Marsh