Fly Fish America Magazine – February 2006
The following are “spotlight” articles on various fisheries around the U.S. These articles originally appeared in Fly Fish America Magazine in February, 2006.
Alabama — Mobile Bay
If diversity is what you crave, it’s hard to beat the Mobile Bay area. A network of rivers, marshes, flats, beaches, and both fresh and saltwater make for a true year-round fishing experience. Many different species of gamefish flourish in this area, but the most pursued include redfish, speckled trout, sheepshead, and flounder. Just north of Mobile Bay is 350 square miles of delta, which acts as a giant nursery for shrimp. During November those shrimp move through the bay on their way to the ocean, and the fishing gets hot. By December, January, and February the north end of the bay fills with fresh water, and that’s when the south end and the beaches turn on. Huge schools of redfish show up and many are up to 15 pounds. It’s not unusual to see schools of over 1,000 redfish at a time, as well as three and four-pound speckled trout. By springtime the bay is fi lled with saltwater once again, and the cycle starts all over. Another species that has adapted well to all these changing conditions is the largemouth bass. In fact, during the late spring and early summer it is not uncommon to catch a redfish on one cast and a bass on the next. A good guide will be invaluable in a fishery that’s as diverse as this. Captain Dan Kolenich is an Orvis-endorsed guide running fly-fi shing trips out of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and knows the intricacies of this fishery like the back of his hand. Contact Dan at (251) 626-7175, or visit http://captdankolenich.home.att.net/ for information or to book a trip. by Carl Warmouth
Georgia — Chattahoochee River
How does a river that runs through a major metropolis make our Travel Guide? By being one of America’s top angling destinations, that’s how! While Atlanta, Georgia is well known for hot, steamy days, rapid urbanization, and seemingly endless traffic delays, many people already know that it’s also home to one of the South’s premier tailwater trout fisher ies—the Chattahoochee River. The tailwater section of the ‘Hooch below Buford Dam offers anglers roughly 40 miles of trout habitat, including a five-mile stretch of special-regulation water, offering fly fi shers a chance to escape the hassles of city life in favor of catching a potential trophy trout. In fact, the wilderness feeling on many stretches of the river makes it almost impossible to believe that the city is so close. Abundant insect hatches, an annual stocking of 250,000 trout and a healthy population of holdover fish (including Georgia’s state record brown trout) make this river an excellent fly-fishing destination. Chris Scalley, the owner of River Through Atlanta guide service (http://www.riverthroughatlanta.com, 770-650-8630) spends 200 days a year on the river and knows it better than anyone. Chris and his affiliate guides offer year-round drift-boat and jet-boat trips and have an excellent reputation as not only one of the premier guide services in the country, but also as advocates for the river through Chris’ non-profit organization, the Chattahoochee Cold Water Tailrace Fishery Foundation. Accommodations and dining options are nearly limitless, as downtown Atlanta looms just beyond the banks. by Carl Warmouth