Summertime in North Georgia brings warming water temperatures to the point that many of our trout streams become un-fishable. Luckily for us, our waters in Georgia aren’t limited to trout – warmwater species such as bream, bass, and striper populate our waters and take priority. One species in particular, the Coosa Bass (Micropterus Coosae) allows us to experience trout-like mountainous streams with the aggressive attitude and explosive hatred of topwater bugs that makes bass so enjoyable to catch.
Coosa bass are native and can only be found in the Coosa River Basin: look for tributaries in Alabama and Georgia to find the higher elevation homes of these fish. They also become most active at temperatures in the high sixties and up, so the best window can be roughly defined between late May to September. Look for water that provides slower current such as an eddy and structure – downed trees and rocks.
We prefer 8 to 9 foot 4 and 5 weight fly rods for this style of fishing and weight-forward lines that allow you to throw medium sized poppers, terrestrials, hellgrammites, and crawfish patterns. Olive or yellow boogle bugs are perhaps some of the best and only flies you will need. When nothing else works, implementing a popper-dropper rig by dropping a light fly such as a Pat’s rubber legs off of the popper. Fish these poppers and popper dropper rigs like a dry fly for trout – twitch and pop the bug once, and follow with a dead drift.
If you find yourself wondering where to go when the temperatures start rising, throw on your favorite wet-wading shoes and grab a map. You might just throw away all those trout flies.