Ah, the summer family vacation. The average American family of mom, ad and 2.5 children dutifully pack the duds and other travel paraphernalia, load the average American family car and excitedly hit the average American road. Cruising the interstates and back roads, that half-child looks a bit odd and draws stares from passing motorists. Mom and dad, however, love each offspring equally and would not remotely consider leaving the tyke at home.
Arriving at their carefully chosen destination after an all-day drive, said family exits the crowded vehicle, wearily checks into an average American lodging facility and prepares for a restful night’s sleep in anticipation of waking afresh and commencing the plethora of fun and frolic promised in all the slick, colorful travel brochures.
Thus begins the average American vacation road trip of three days to a week, during which spirits are restored, rest and relaxation achieved and a fine time is had by all.
Well, maybe, but not always. Post-vacation statistics show that a large percentage of family vacation trips are not the idyllic jaunts we expect and anticipate during the planning stages. In fact, one or more family members are likely to return home disappointed.
“I didn’t get to….” one complains.
“So what? I didn’t see…” laments another.
“Hush up and unload the car!” snaps dad. “What’s your problem? I packed the fishing rod for nothing!”
Thus, the desired effects of the traditional summer vacation trip are limited or altogether nil.
The plain truth is family vacations do often fail to live up to their something-for-everyone billing. Worse, the situation can be exacerbated if angling is on someone’s desired agenda.
Georgia, fortunately, is a state that, vacation-wise, can provide a number of best-of-all-possible-worlds scenarios. Filled with ample fishing opportunities as well as more traditional family vacation attractions, it is relatively simple to find a destination that will please everyone involved. Let’s consider a few specific Peach State summertime getaways.
NORTH GEORGIA MOUNTAINS
In June there are few better places for family travel than the northeast Georgia mountains. Daytime temperatures, as a rule, are still pleasant, fishing can be very good and non-angling recreational opportunities are plentiful.
Where fishing is concerned, the mountains offer eclectic angling choices suiting a wide range of skill levels. In June, the bream and bass are active in numerous high-country reservoirs. Lakes such as Burton, Chatuge, Nottely and Blue Ridge contain good populations of various bass species, including largemouths, smallmouths, spotted and white bass. Chatuge whites, Burton spots and Blue Ridge smallmouths are of particular note.
Lake Chatuge is one of Georgia’s premier white bass reservoirs from May through July. Lake Burton boasts the spotted bass state record and is currently Georgia’s only reliable reservoir trout fishery. Blue Ridge Lake is the only remaining consistently producing smallmouth lake in the state.
All of the state’s mountain reservoirs are home to good bream populations, with larger individual fish showing up consistently during the summer months.
With plenty of public boat-ramp access in a variety of locations, Georgia’s mountain lakes are ideal destinations for the accomplished angler. Lake Chatuge also features fishing piers for the more casual or younger fisherman. Check out the pier-fishing opportunities at Chatuge Dam Reservation and Ledford Chapel Recreation Area. In addition, Lakes Burton, Chatuge and Blue Ridge are fine locations for swimming, picnicking and a variety of other outdoor activities.
Trout season is in full swing in the mountains in June and few vacationers interested in angling miss out on it. Georgia’s liberal stocking program and high-country abundance of both challenging and easy-access waterways provide entertaining sport for trout fishermen of all ages and skill levels. Whether it’s the challenge of fly-fishing or the bait-chunking bug that bites, one is almost assured to find a well-stocked public-access trout stream within easy reach.
Wildcat Creek and the Tallulah River in Rabun County, Fannin County’s Rock Creek, and the Chattahoochee River near Helen seldom disappoint. There are also ample bank-fishing opportunities for trout in the region’s smaller fishing lakes, notably the impoundment at the Lake Winfield Scott Recreation Area on Georgia Highway 180, just a few miles from U.S. Highway 129. This U.S. Forest Service facility also includes a fishing pier and the lake is generally well stocked.