Saturday, November 2, 2013
Buckets of Opportunity
I spent a couple of hours yesterday with a group of volunteers, mostly from the Georgia Foothills Chapter of Trout Unlimited, toting buckets filled with rainbow, brook and brown trout to spots the hatchery truck couldn't pull close to so that the fish would be well distributed in a popular delayed-harvest stream section. Most of those fish will stay there for a while because only catch-and-release fishing with single-hook artificial lures in permitted in DH waters from Nov. 1 to May 15. That means that every bucket we dumped was a bucketload of long-lasting opportunity for North Georgia trout fishermen. Some fish will die, and some no doubt will be taken illegally, but large numbers will remain in the creek, providing fun fishing for many anglers.
It was fun seeing how quickly the fish moved into classic trout positions. As soon as they left the bucket and hit the stream, the trout would orient upstream and start looking for spots, and moments after I'd tip a bucket, every one I'd dumped would be behind a rock or a the edge of a current line, looking like it had been in the stream for a long time.
I also enjoyed seeing the quality of trout that was delivered from the Lake Burton Fish Hatchery. The fish were nice sized on average, with a few extra big ones in the mix, and their colors were outstanding for being fresh from the hatchery.
Of course I couldn't resist walking back down to the creek and catching a few fish after we were done with our work, and at that point it became more obvious that the fish were fresh from the hatchery. They'll wise up quickly and will become tough customers, but as of yesterday, even I could fool 'em!