Fall 2020 FFRT Florida Southern Trip Results

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

Brooke Trout on Cape Romano

Fall 2020 took me from Chicago to Southwest Florida and back, covering 3,400 miles. The goal was to catch some mop-up states where I just visited, states where I blew catching fish, and new states. These states will include Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama. If I capture a trout in each location, my total would be 31 US States out of 50.


First up would be the drive up to Ohio, leaving late out of Chicago and sleeping at my first rest area. The next morning, I decided to find the first small town to get a cup of coffee and good cell coverage for my hotspot. Tethering to my PC, I worked until lunch and drove out to the Mad River. It only took me three casts until I saw the perfect overhang and laid an ideal cast to catch a small trout. Ohio down!


Another rest stop as the campsite in winter only takes reservations on Thursdays…ugh! I visited Otter Creek in July of 2020 for about an hour, but I found a better spot after doing more research. Arriving at the parking lot, I talked to someone who had been fishing there their whole life. He gave me a mop fly which produced a fish in about 15 minutes, but I lost him.

I lost my first three fish. They stock these fish big, plus they also stock trophy size trout. So, my 6x just broke. Finally, I hooked a rainbow on a greenie weenie which I threw on the rocks before the line broke. Of course, the line did snap, but the fish was trapped in the shallows.

I was able to grab it before it could get into deeper water. I took a picture and into the Quest total as I didn’t catch another trout the rest of the morning. I flew the drone for a while and played with Brooke Trout, then packed up and headed to South Carolina.


I arrived late at night, and to my surprise, the Burrells Ford Campground Parking Area was full. From my Google Earth research, something seemed different about this campsite. You had to walk in ¼ mile to the campsite. Ugh, pitch black, tried, and a lot of gear to carry, Brooke and I are sleeping in the car.

Morning arrives, I hike in with my gear three times. Brooke was so tired after the second time she stayed in the tent. It was worth while as my campsite was incredible and right by a feeder creek to the Chattooga river.

That creek would be where I would catch my wild small brown trout. South Carolina Done!


After spending three weeks in Marco Island, Florida, catching saltwater varieties on spin and fly rod, it was time to move up north. Florida is unique as there is no stream in the state. This pond is stocked by a plantation owner every winter. I’ve been reading about this place for a long, long, long time. I finally got a chance to be in the area and the right time to make it happen.

The pond temp was running warm almost no one was catching trout. I had a strike after about two hours but lost him. Losing fish happens to me a lot. This time, I grabbed the net, and the camera caused a little slack in the line, and he was off. It took another two hours and my last five casts of the day to land a giant rainbow for my dinner. I was exhausted; I didn’t take a break for four hours.

During my time, I met two veterans of the pond, which confirmed my fishing approach was correct. You question yourself if you are doing things correctly after fishing for so long while catching nothing. One of the gentlemen tied the most beautiful trout and salmon flies. Everyone I met supported my quest and kept encouraging me.


I arrived near Sipsey Fork and my I-65 rest area just in time for the rain to start before going to sleep. The next day I didn’t have too much time to fish due my work schedule. I did sneak away for 45 min, but the place was cold and black from all the rain. I made it to the stream carrying Brooke part of the way. She climbed into the middle of the river on a rock while I stumbled and rumbled finally falling into the water while the cold flowed into my waders. No fish, plus the dam, would release water at 3 pm, making the small river into the Mississippi. I came back a 5 pm after work to fish right under the dam during generation but to no luck. Now, I had only tomorrow to catch my Alabama trout.

The next morning my car door was frozen. The rain turned to frost. There was no need to rush to the stream. So, a drove up the road to a Starbucks and a warm latte. I got to the river about 10 am, and like Florida, it came down my last five casts. I was exhausted again! But, after six hours without a break, a small rainbow hit my green copper john! Alabama done!

So, to wrap up, my goal was to catch a trout in five new states, and I did it! Along the way, a met new people, which is why I do this! And I learned more about US fisheries. See details on individuals states look at Locations menu.

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