On a pleasant spring day less than a week ago Charles Murphy and I took a day long trip on a western Floyd County stream in search of fish.
The creek was almost normal level with obvious high water marks on the creek banks showing that the rain earlier that week made the creek at least four feet higher.
As we floated downstream I used my two-weight fly rod and caught several spotted bass, some at least a pound, and an assortment of other sunfish. When we approached a smaller feeder stream we dropped anchor and started throwing Mepps spinners.
We began catching some white and yellow bass and found that by letting the spinners drop to deeper depths the action picked up dramatically. The yellow bass were all staying close to the creek bottom and the whites were slightly more active at mid-depths.
During the day we caught and released close to 300 fish and, although most were yellow bass, we also caught bluegill, redbreast and green sunfish, as well as redeye bass and a drum. The drum is proof that we needed to keep our lures near the creek bottom to catch the yellow and white bass.
When I was young we called the white bass “stripes” because of their faint lateral stripes, but since then I know to refer to them as white bass. These fish are very common in Georgia and although most of those caught are less than a pound or so they can grow up to six pounds.
Where as the white bass are native to Georgia, the yellow bass is relatively new to Georgia. Yellow bass are native to the Mississippi River Basin and were first found in the Coosawattee River about 25 years ago after someone transplanted a few into Carters Lake. Most yellow bass are less than a half pound and the record is less than two and a half pounds.
The yellow and whites spawning runs take place almost simultaneously, and when that happens the lucky angler can catch more fish than most folks would even believe. During the peak run I and those fishing with me have caught hundreds and hundreds.
These spawning fish will hit almost anything dropped into the water if you can locate their feeding depth. I have caught these small, scrappy fighters on weighted flies, crappie jigs, crank baits, spinners and even bare hooks. If you are lucky enough to get into a bunch of these fish, keep all the yellow bass you want as there is currently no limit on these non-native fish.
Changes coming to the Chili Cook Off
This years’ cook off will have several changes that should entice more cook team participation. One change that is the prize money for the official judging. This year the grand prize is tripled to $1,500.00 with second prize going to $750.00 and third prize $500.00.
We have always strived to make sure that the judging is fair. The judging is double-blind and it is impossible to cheat. The Director of Judging will contribute part of next week’s article to explain how the judging is conducted.
Kids Fishing Day
Kids Fishing Day returns to Rolater Park in Cave Spring on June 15, the day before Father’s Day. As usual the pond will be stocked for the kids from age 3-12 who will fish during designated time slots. The creek will also be stocked and kids can fish there anytime during the day.
Veterans, Ladies’ Fishing Day
This July we will have our Seventh Annual Fly Fishing for Vets Day, and this year we are combining this event with our first Ladies’ Fly Fishing Day. The tentative date is July 20. As usual we will be at Rolater Park in Cave Spring and ladies 13 and up and veterans will get hands-on instruction in fly casting and will be able to fish for rainbows in the pond or the creek.
Rock Creek in Murray County
The Coosa Valley Chapter and the Cohutta Chapter of TU spent a day placing a new structure in the stream in preparation for the USFS kids fishing day, which was held on May 4.
The next meeting of the Coosa Valley Chapter will be a cookout and fishing day on May 18 at a private lake west of Rome. The event is open to our members, their guests and Coosa Valley TU sponsors. Visitors may arrive as early as 9 a.m.