Fly Fish America Magazine – February 2007

The following are “spotlight” articles on various fisheries around the U.S. These articles originally appeared in Fly Fish America Magazine in February, 2007.

ALABAMA • Coosa River • Coosa River Drifters

If your image of an Alabama river is a slow-moving, muddy, catfi sh hole, then you will be pleasantly surprised by the Coosa River. The Coosa provides anglers with diverse fi shing opportunities and scenery on par with anywhere you have ever fi shed. The tailwater section below Jordan Dam near the city of Wetumpka fl ows crystal clear and cool and features a variety of water, including long deep pools, shallow riffl es, rocky plunge pools, and Class-I to -III whitewater. The Coosa has the look of a classic southern tailwater trout stream, but with banks lined with cypress knees, giant stands of elephant ears, and trees draped with Spanish moss it reminds you that you are in the deep south. This river is known by many as the best spotted bass fi shery in the United States, and spotted bass may be the perfect fl y-rod fi sh. If you take the tenacity of a smallmouth, and the voracious appetite of a largemouth and put that fi sh in the same kind of water trout live in, you’ll have the spotted bass. Incredibly fun to catch, hard-fi ghting “spots” are just as willing to annihilate a top-water bass bug as they are a soft plastic lure or crankbait. The Coosa is full of spots, and on a good day it’s not unusual to catch 50 or more on fl ies. Guided trips are available from Coosa River Drifters (334-444-9583; for $295 per day for one or two anglers. by Carl Warmouth

ARKANSAS • White River • Wilkinson’s Outdoor Adventures

There are many famous destina tions that flyfishers can go to catch big trout, and even more where you can expect to catch a lot of trout. There are few places like the White River in Arkansas, where anglers can expect to catch lots of big trout! Year after year, the White River proves itself one of the country’s greatest fly-fishing destinations. This river is unique for the simple fact that it is almost never unfishable. During periods of power generation, the river fishes well from those inimitable White River boats—long, narrow, Jon boats perfectly suited for drift fishing. During non-generation periods, the river is wadeable and also fishes very well. Scuds and sowbugs provide most of the nutrition for White River trout, so fly patterns that imitate them catch the lion’s share of the fish. But that’s not to say that dry-fly aficionados can’t score nearly as well, both during hatches and non-hatch situations. An abundance of shad, and a seasonal shad kill, makes for outstanding streamer fishing, as well, and accounts for many, many huge trout. In fact, with every cast there is the realistic possibility that the next fish could weigh between 10 and 20 pounds. Whether you like to wade or float, fish dries or go deep, Clint Wilkinson of Wilkinson’s Outdoor Adventures (870- 404-2942; http://www.whiteriver-fl yfi is a White River veteran who can satisfy the longings of trout fishermen. Contact Clint for one of the best trout adventures that Arkansas has to offer. by Carl Warmouth

FLORIDA • Central Panhandle • Shallow Water Expeditions

Let’s face it, scoring a hall pass from the spouse to take a fi shing trip is not always easy, but what if you can combine it with a family vacation? Florida’s central panhandle indisputably offers the best of both worlds. While many people associate the areas near Destin and Panama City Beach with great fishing and beach bumming, few people realize there’s fantastic inshore fly fishing available just a stone’s throw from the beachfront condo. Whether you want to probe the flats for redfish, jack crevalle, and trout, or run the beach for pompano, false albacore (bonito), ladyfish, bluefish, or cobia, the panhandle has it all. Of course, to make the most of your time away from the family it’s best to let a professional put you on the fish. The guides at Shallow Water Expeditions (850-534- 4343; have got more than half the upper Gulf Coast covered, and are ready to offer patient instruction to beginners and a challenge to the experts. As their name implies, they specialize in skinny-water sight fishing for nearly all species of inshore fish using the best flats boats and tackle available. Those who would like to take the tarpon fishing challenge can get shots at fish that are 80 pounds or better, but because of the popularity of this trip, reservations should be made about a year in advance. Half-day inshore trips start at just $350. by Carl Warmouth

GEORGIA • Dicks, Chestatee, and Frogtown Creeks • Cannon Falls Lodge

There may be a more beautiful place on earth to go fly fishing, but I personally have never been there. Cannon Falls Lodge (706-348-7919; is located in the mountains of northern Georgia. This private getaway provides a relaxing atmosphere, gorgeous scenery, and true southern hospitality—and also a chance to catch the trout of a lifetime. The three streams that converge on this property are home to thousands of rainbow, brown, and brook trout, which range in size from 8 inches to more than nine pounds, and lurk in literally every pocket and pool. Dry-fly fishing is excellent throughout most of the year, but nymph and streamer fishermen will have plenty of opportunities to work their magic as well. The streams themselves course through a steep gorge, plunging over no less than four waterfalls as they make their way through countless riffles, pools, and boulder-strewn stretches of pocket water. The rugged beauty alone is worth the trip to this secluded retreat, but the fishing is even better. Lodging comes in the form of a tastefully appointed mountaintop log cabin or a suite in the main lodge. Either one is an excellent place to relax your weary bones after a long day of catching Cannon Falls trout. Lodging rates start at $160 per night, and guided fishing rates start at $230 for a half day. Call Dean or Kara Koester to learn more about this magnificent Georgia fi shery. by Carl Warmouth

KENTUCKY • Cumberland River • Guide Chris Scalley

In an age when many fisheries seem to be on the decline, and we spend much of our time reminiscing about the “good old days,” it is refreshing to find a trout river coming out of the closet as a true blue ribbon fi shery. Kentucky’s Cumberland River, a tailwater formed below Wolf Creek Dam on Lake Cumberland, is just such a river. With nearly 50 miles of trout water, unparalleled scenic beauty, and an official state record brown of 21 pounds, the likelihood is that experienced anglers can tie into at least one 20-inch fish a day. Many anglers are comparing the Cumberland to how the legendary rivers of the west used to be. Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has been in the forefront of the development of the Cumberland by implementing special regulations on creel limits, increased stocking schedules, and looking to the future of the river by addressing environmental concerns. For instance, a slot limit on rainbows from 15 to 20 inches has been imposed, and brown trout under 20 inches must be released unharmed. Nearly constant generation from Wolf Creek Dam makes for limited wading opportuni ties, so boating the river is almost mandatory. Nymphing is the most productive method of fishing the Cumberland, followed by fishing streamers and crayfish patterns. Chris Scalley is a licensed guide on the Cumberland and has full-day trips starting at $345. He can also advise clients on lodging. Call Chris at (770) 650-8630. by Carl Warmouth

TENNESSEE • Tellico River • Southeastern Anglers

A pervasive sense of betrayal befalls me as I contemplate profiling the Tellico River watershed. I spent many of my best years knee deep in the icy cold water of the Tellico and its tiny tributaries, hoping, praying, that the world would not discover its secrets. Things have changed, as they will, and other writers before me have acquainted the world to the beautiful surroundings and abundant trout fishing opportunities common to this east Tennessee fishery. Yet time seems to stand still for this river and the small town of Tellico Plains. While thousands of anglers annually prospect the trout streams surrounding Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the other touristy towns of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Tellico is still visited primarily by locals. The Tellico itself is for the most part a heavily stocked, put-and-take trout fishery, but for fly fishers willing to travel off the beaten path a bit, several of its tributaries support native populations of brook, brown, and rainbow trout, all of which can be caught year ‘round, and many on dry flies. Streamers also do a great job of pulling big holdovers out of the deep pools, and of course the Tellico nymph is one pattern most fl y fishers will want to try for tradition if for no other reason. Dane Law guides a limited number of trips on the Tellico. Wade fishing trips run $300 for two anglers. Dane can be booked through his website at, or you can call him at (866) 55-TROUT. by Carl Warmouth


Posted on June 5, 2010, in Fishing Blog Entries. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Where can I find your mag – Flyfish America?
    Would flike to subscribe

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