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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On Oct 2nd, a friend and I traveled to Stone Mountain State Park to fish Bullhead Creek, which used to have a lot of trophy trout in excess of 20 inches. Not any more! I don't know what happened to all the fish that used to be in that creek, but I suspect there has been a lot of poaching and no overwatch by the park rangers. There are no, I repeat no, trout of any size, from fingerlings to 5 pounders, in Beat #2 or #3. The special permit to fish this creek costs $22/per fisherman/beat, and I advise you to save your money, as you will be as disappointed as we were at the total lack of any fish. I have fished for trout in NC for more than 50 years, and I have never been on any stream, at any water level, or that was massively overfished, and not seen at least some baby trout or a couple that I didn't see and spooked. There were no fish of any sort! We would have been better served to have saved our money and fished some of the wild trout streams in the immediate area. I learned that I now need to research any stream that I plan to fish in NC, as the conditions have probably changed since the last time I was there. You would be well advised to do the same. I have not been so disappointed in a long time.
 

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I know a fella who worked as an intern at SMP. His job was to feed the trout kibble. The aforementioned person told me there were no signs of life in this stream until the kibble hit the water, at which point the water would explode with trout coming from nowhere. That was about 17 years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He was correct about the Purina Fish Chow being a turn-on for the trout back then. It would look like a salt-water feeding frenzy. I fished it back then and since and it was great. But not any more.
 

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I have seen the feeding frenzy in the past and seen the trophy fish there in years previous. Unfortunately that is no longer the case and I have routinely advised folks for the last few years, not to spend the money. I believe there are some fish much further upstream...but the trophies have not been around for quite a while. I believe there may some changes in the future as far as designation and fees.... but for now, save your money seems to be good advice. Most success stories come from the DH....and occassionally from a wild stream.
 

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I think the State Park has the responsibility for the stream. Reportedly, it was a private stream. When the park acquired the property, the "understanding" was that it would be managed as the private owners had done. For a number of years, I gather it was done. The stream was divided into "beats"...you reserved a number (i.e. 2, 3, 4 etc) and paid your fee. The rangers would hike the path and feed the fish during the week. I fished it a few times 8-12 years ago and there were indeed some trophies there. The "home pool" was always worth a shot....and if there were not fish to be seen...a handful of trout chow would often bring on the frenzy. However, in recent years the fish were reportedly poached; washed away; not fed etc. etc. Don't really know for sure. In any event, I haven't heard of any trophies in quite a few years. Occasionally someone says the fish are there....but most reports don't talk of trophies....maybe some wild fish in the upper stretches, which would likely be the case....but not worth the fee.

I did hear recently that there was consideration being givien to changing the stream designation....but have not heard any specifics.
 

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Bullhead is now just a wild trout stream. Most of the beat signs past Rich Mt. Creek are rotten and gone. The trail at beat 7 is closing in and almost nonexistent, and the one at beat 8 does not exist at all. Beat 8 is rough as scrap metal heap. Beat 6 and 7 are good sections. Have seen trout up there up to 15 inches. That all being said, the trout here are very skittish. I would suggest fishing it only after a decent rain in the Summer. BTW, a 15 inch trout in a small crik such as this is a trophy. I'd bring bear spray if venturing up to 7 or 8

I don't mind paying a fee, but the amount of beats need to be reduced to 3 from 8. Lower Bullhead, Upper Bullhead, and Rich Mt.
 

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Bullhead is now just a wild trout stream. Most of the beat signs past Rich Mt. Creek are rotten and gone. The trail at beat 7 is closing in and almost nonexistent, and the one at beat 8 does not exist at all. Beat 8 is rough as scrap metal heap. Beat 6 and 7 are good sections. Have seen trout up there up to 15 inches. That all being said, the trout here are very skittish. I would suggest fishing it only after a decent rain in the Summer. BTW, a 15 inch trout in a small crik such as this is a trophy. I'd bring bear spray if venturing up to 7 or 8

I don't mind paying a fee, but the amount of beats need to be reduced to 3 from 8. Lower Bullhead, Upper Bullhead, and Rich Mt.
If I may ask, if you pay the fee can you pick your beat and do you get the beat alone or is it a shared space
 
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