By Chris Scalley, owner of River Through Atlanta Guide Service
Twelve years ago a gentleman named Andy Mills called me inquiring about the trout fishing on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam. Andy had just relocated from the West Virginian Appalachian Mountains where he had a career teaching science at a public high school. He and his wife moved to Atlanta to live closer to their kids and their grandchildren in Alpharetta, Ga.
Andy was pretty bummed out because he was an avid trout fishermen back in West Virginia and thought there was no earthly way there could be any good trout fishing in Georgia, let alone Atlanta. A fishing friend of ours was a member of Andy's new church and told him to call Scalley, noting that Scalley would tell him where to go and what flies were needed to get started. Andy now fishes at least three to five days a week on the river, and when we need a good fishing report Andy is always willing to share his wealth of information.
On a late July morning we bumped into Andy at the boat ramp and he mentioned he saw a big bruiser brown trout chasing juvenile rainbows in the shallows just that previous morning. As he launched his boat we exchanged flies as we commonly do and wished him good luck. The next morning I got a frantic voice mail from Andy from the river saying he caught "Walter" the big Salmo Trutta he had been seeing in the shoals, adding that he had caught and released him on one of those flies we had given him.
Fortunately one of Andy's fishing buddies and church members was nearby and managed to snap some pics of the biggest fish of his lifetime. The fish measured 31 inches in length and 20 inches in girth likely weighing upwards of 15lbs!
On a special note about Andy from a few years back includes an event with one of my guides. He had some bad luck on the river and had broken two rods in a boat with clients during a paid guide trip. The guide and his clients were about to cancel the trip seeing how there were no fly rods to be used for the remainder of the trip. Andy being the "salt of the earth" kind of guy, loaned our guide his only three rods, so the unfortunate guide could finish the full-day trip. The morale of the story is that some good deeds do indeed go unpunished!