By: Chris Shaffer
To trout anglers in North Georgia Wildcat Creek is no secret. Only a mile from the hatchery, Wildcat remains a favorite to trout anglers in the know, and for a good reason: the creek is stocked weekly with rainbow trout and a few browns through early July. It often gets large allotments of trout and quality fish.
While some people struggle to find success others catch easy limits in under and hour. As with anywhere in North Georgia planning is key. Even as the Georgia Division of Natural Resources often sends a full truckload of trout many can be gone by the weekend. This creek is so popular with local anglers you’ll often see several of them waiting in the parking lot next to the hatchery at 9 am to follow the truck to Wildcat. Crowds even amass during the week.
Fortunately, the creek is planted over a several mile section, which aids in spreading out some of the fishing pressure. Still, the weekday bite is much better than the weekend when many of the fresh planters are already fillet. Keep in mind, Georgia is one of the few states with a large trout limit. Do the math. If 100 anglers catch a limit of eight trout the first day they are stocked, nearly 800 trout are removed from the stream. Seeing 100 trout anglers a day here in the spring is common. There’s likely going to be more especially on the weekend.
So how do you maintain success given the high fishing pressure and lack of catch and release? Good question. Make sure to arrive early, which can be a chore because anglers don’t know if the creek is being stocked on a Tuesday, Friday or another day. The good news is the creek has been stocked weekly for months. This means the inventory of trout is building weekly, even with the fishing pressure. Not all the trout are caught right away. Most, unfortunately are.
We filmed Pautzke Outdoors on Wildcat a few weeks ago and were able to catch and release a few limits of trout in a few hours. However, this is likely because we avoided some of the obvious roadside stocking points and focused on holes that weren’t easily viewed from the dirt road. Even walking 50 yards off the main road can increase success. Any small pool, hole or pocket on the creek likely holds trout.
Our success came on Pautzke salmon eggs, most notably the Silver Label, Pink Shrimp and Chartreuse Garlic. We simply fished them on four-pound test and either drifted them under a small bobber or bounced them off the bottom. Both methods were effective. Due to the clear water we only used one or two eggs at a time. We often caught a few fish out of the hole and then switched the color of the egg we used once they got conditioned to it.
Most of the trout were rainbows, about 10-12 inches. However, the GA DNR did stock a bunch of browns, although we only caught one. Some of the browns we saw weighed a few pounds, which is impressive for a stocked put-and-take stream in North Georgia. The browns aren’t stocked weekly, but are available for the lucky angler.
Editor’s Note: Pautzke salmon eggs are available in most North Georgia Walmart locations and at Bass Pro Shops. For more info on trout stocking in Georgia please visit the GA DNR at