Okay guys, sappy post time!
Last Saturday the weather was forecasted to be nice, so what is there to do other than fish?
I wanted to try a new place, but I was having a hard time deciding where to go. I have a book called “Fly Fisher’s Guide to North Carolina and Georgia” (click to find it on Amazon) so I decided to browse through it and see what I could find.
I had the set intentions of catching a native brook trout or a brown trout as I’ve never caught either of these before. I wasn’t sure where to go other than the Chattooga (where I watch a good friend catch a beautiful brookie), but I only had the one day to spend, and it’s about a mile and a half hike to the best spots to fish there. I kept looking and looking and it seemed like Coopers Creek was going to be my best option, but I was dead wrong.
I got to Coopers Creek around 6:45 AM, and it was nothing like I’d expected. It was wider than most of the small streams in Georgia that I’ve experienced, and with all the rain we’ve had this season the water was rushing and almost uncrossable. I decided to try it anyway.
I continued to rig up my gear and prepare for the long hike that I would have to make to get upstream where the water would (hopefully) be a little bit tamer. I hiked a good half a mile and saw no signs of the water calming down. If anything it was getting worse. I climbed through bushes, over and under fallen logs, and even found the biggest pine tree that I’ve ever seen in Georgia just to get a short distance upstream.
I eventually got to a wooded area that was simply too dense to get through, so I decided I was going to tough it and wade across. Bad idea. Although I never fell into the water, my heart was racing a hundred miles an hour the whole time, I had no one with me and no one around. I used more muscles in my legs than I knew I had trying to keep the current from taking me downstream.
I gave up. No sign of calm enough water to fish, too risky to cross, woods too dense to get through, so I gave up.
Upon getting back to my car, I thought about my phone not having any signal, and not really knowing the way home, so I decided I’d just drive around until I either gained service or knew where I was. Neither of these things happened, but I came upon a sign pointing towards the Blue Ridge WMA, a place that I’ve never been before. I decided to take a chance and drive around for a little bit as I’ve seen this in the fishing book that I mentioned earlier in this post. I found a bridge that had ample parking space and decided to hike in with my gear again, not even knowing what river it was.
Through fighting my way through the bushes and the fallen logs (again), I managed to catch my first brown trout and my first two wild rainbow trout in the headwaters of the Toccoa River. Although these weren’t my goal fish for the day (I was pushing so hard to get a brookie), they were still fish that I’ve been itching to put in the net. I was so ecstatic that I had to take a minute and soak in the fact that I almost gave up and went home, I almost gave up because I figured the only way to catch uncatchable fish was to go with someone who knew all of the spots, but I kept on fishing despite the fact that I felt like I was only ever good enough to catch stocked fish.
As you can see now, this is why I said “sappy post time”, everyone always hears the “don’t give up” talks. But for real, don’t give up. If there’s a fish you want to catch, keep trying until you catch it. If there’s a mountain you want to climb, don’t give up until you’ve reached the top. If there’s a trail you want to hike but you think it’s too long, don’t give up until you’ve hiked every mile of it.