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TALKING TROUT: Trout Expo returns, Chili Cook Off date changed

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Trout Unlimited

There is a lot going on with the Coosa Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Of prime importance is the return of the Trout Expo to the ECO Center at Ridge Ferry Park on Feb 24. 

This is an opportunity to pick the brains of trout anglers, fishing experts and professionals. Whether you want to find out the newest flies or lures that are on the market or just want to know the best way to bait your hook with a cricket or worms, there will be someone to give you assistance.

Folks from the Georgia DNR and the U.S. Forest Service can answer questions about streams that receive the most trout stockings or tell you where you can find healthy populations of wild brook trout.

As I write this, over a dozen Coosa Valley TU members are in Cherokee, North Carolina, on a chapter trip. The chapter members plan trips to many fishing destinations around the south and beyond, and at the Expo you can learn about the destinations and how you can attend a future trip.

There will be fly-casting and spin-casting competitions for youth and adults with prizes for the winners. Throughout the day there will be $500 in fishing-related door prizes awarded. The expo will be from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and is open to anyone wanting to find out more about trout, trout angling and Trout Unlimited.

Anyone who has never been a TU member before can join that day for $17.50, half the normal cost of joining.

Chili Cook Off date changed

This year’s TU Chili Cook Off will be on the third Saturday in October instead of the second Saturday as it has been for the past 22 years. The reason for the change is that the Wings Over North Georgia air show falls on that weekend this year.

We know that many thousands of folks will be attending the air show, which could negatively affect the cook off attendance if both events were held at the same time.

So, chili lovers and cook teams, mark your calendars for Oct. 20 as the date of the 23rd annual TU Chili Cook Off. We hope that the Cook Off will return to the second Saturday next year. There will be more about the cook off soon.

Fly fishing in Cherokee

Charlie Gilbreath wrote the following about fly fishing for trophy trout in Cherokee, North Carolina, recently:

The Cherokee Indian Reservation offers anglers a chance to catch trophy trout without breaking the bank, and winter is the best time to go. The crowds of summer and the float tubers are gone. The water is usually low and clear, and the fish still have to eat so they are easy to spot.

The Raven Fork River has a 2-mile section of water designated as fly fishing catch and release only. All fish caught in this portion of the river must be immediately returned uninjured back to the river. Only artificial flies with a single barbless hook may be used.

My son Jeremy Gilbreath and his friend Don Osteen fished this section on a recent Saturday. They reported only seeing four other fishermen all day. They used red and pink flies which imitate worms that occur naturally along the stream.

They landed five trophy fish between 3 and 5 pounds and lost another four. The water was low and clear enough that sight fishing — casting to a particular fish — was possible most of the day. An added bonus of the trip was watching elk feeding along the river bank.

Raccoon Creek workday

Raccoon Creek in Paulding County is a tributary of the Etowah River and, near its headwaters, it flows through the Paulding Forest, which is state owned.

Although the stream often gets too warm for trout in the dog days of summer, the DNR stocks the stream with trout during the cooler months.

On March 3, members of the Coosa Valley Chapter will join members of the Cohutta Chapter of TU in a workday on Raccoon Creek.

The creek is beautiful and the area where trout are stocked is remote and best accessed by walking or biking the Silver Comet Trail.

On the workday we will be able to drive to the site.

Trout Unlimited meeting

The next meeting of the Coosa Valley Chapter will be Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Rome-Floyd ECO River Education Center at Ridge Ferry Park. The public is invited.