The last month or so I have included stories of fishing out west. These personal experiences from friends have focused mostly on the fishing experience. The following is by Charlie Breithaupt past chairman of Georgia Council of TU:
The American West is a fascinating place. When I think of the west I’m thinking Wyoming, Montana and Colorado, maybe a little more. I’ve been fortunate to travel out there many times, usually including some fishing. I find I prefer Wyoming, perhaps because it is the least populated state out there. Just think — there are more folks in Gwinnett and Cobb counties combined than there are in the entire state of Wyoming and it’s much bigger than Georgia.
Trout fishing out west is a lot like trout fishing around here but there are several things to keep in mind, especially in your planning. Out there the weather is a more serious factor than in Georgia. Snow can cover everything, starting in September and staying until mid-June. Then there is the run off from the snow melt that can make streams unfishable. Contacting a local fly shop for information can prevent disappointment, and booking a float trip is a good way to not only fish a beautiful river but to pick the guide’s mind for more information.
While fly selection is important, I have found that elk hair caddis and parachute Adams work well in most places. Bigger water might warrant a “hopper/dropper” rig for a chance at a big fish. Once again, local information is helpful.
There are many well-known streams and rivers, but I’ve found that unlikely waters often provide good fishing. Last year my wife, Kathy, and I were in the Snowy Range in southeastern Wyoming. After a day of crawling over blow-down to fish a small stream where we caught several cutthroats, we decided to take it easy and fish in a seldom used picnic area with a stream running through it. We caught even more fish. What we lost in solitude we gained in saving my octogenarian knees and back.
Before you go, I urge you to gather all available information on your destination, buy your license online, maybe get a can of bear spray and prepare for a wonderful time.
Remember that the West is full of attractions other than fishing. There is a ton of public land, including state parks and our wonderful national parks. Yellowstone National Park is our favorite and you won’t live long enough to fish all the streams there. Also, there are festivals, rodeos and celebrations everywhere. Go West young man — and enjoy yourself!
Charlie has a lot of experience as a fisherman and, as he stated, fishing for trout in Georgia is basically the same process as fishing a western stream. The difference is truly the location. Even in Georgia’s most pristine and isolated streams in the Cohutta Wilderness you are less than 15 miles as the crow flies from Blue Ridge, Chatsworth, Ellijay and help. Many of the great streams out west are much more isolated and can be 100 or more miles from a city. Georgia has black bears, coyotes and foxes while the west has the same — plus elk, buffalo and grizzly bears, all of which you must be wary of.
It is best to always have a backup plan and a spare rod and reel. You can’t make a quick run back to a fly shop for a new rod or reel as the trip could take many hours that are now lost.
If I win the dream trip I will definitely plan on extending my stay and see some places up close. I have spent weeks out west in the early ’80s while on major concert tours. I was able to see a lot of things, but almost always from the window of a tour bus with few stops. I will definitely find time to fish.
To enter the Dream Trip drawing and get the chance to go west, go to the Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited website, GeorgiaTu.org. Make sure you choose Coosa Valley Chapter so that we will get credit for the ticket sale.
TU meetingThe next meeting of the Coosa Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited will be Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rome Floyd ECO Center at Ridge Ferry Park in Rome. Our speakers will be Kathy and Charlie Breithaupt from the Rabun chapter.
Their chapter has had a very successful program for several years called Rabunite 101, a one day basic course on fly fishing that covers equipment, casting, knots and entomology. Our chapter is planning on starting a fly fishing educational program in the near future and we hope that Charlie and Kathy can help us get our fly fishing class started.
The public is invited and we will put you on the list of potential students if you are interested.