Most anglers think of trout as a western game fish, but there are actually a number of productive trout waters nestled throughout the southeast. And though most fishermen you’ll see in this part of the country will be pursuing largemouth bass, crappie or catfish, you’ll also see them wielding fly rods and wearing waders, as they catch one beautiful rainbow after the next. In this post, we’ll help you do the same. Let’s take a look at trout fishing in Blue Ridge, GA. We’ll cover everything you need to know to get started in this trout fishing paradise.
Get To Know The Location: Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge, GA is a small city located near the Georgia-Tennessee border. A popular vacation destination, the area is perfect for outdoor adventure, with plenty of opportunities for hunting, hiking, camping and, of course, fishing. The city itself is only about 2.5 square miles in size, but the entire surrounding area offers fantastic trout fishing.
Blue Ridge Waterways
Lake Blue Ridge is the largest body of water in the region. Formed by the damming of the Toccoa River, the lake holds healthy populations of largemouth bass and other gamefish. But for Blue Ride trout fishing, you’ll want to skip the lake and focus on the creeks and rivers of the region.
There are dozens of streams and river access points to choose from in the area. Most of these waterways are stocked by the nearby Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery, which produces more than 1 million trout each year.
Most of the fish that the hatchery releases are rainbow trout, but they also add brown trout to the local rivers and creeks. There are also wild trout swimming through these waters, which are often targeted by advanced fly fishers.
Getting To The Trout
Just about every river and stream in the region will give you the chance to catch a few rainbows. Visitors will usually have the best results, however, by sticking to the Toccoa tailwaters, just northwest of Blue Ridge Dam. The hot spots for trout fishing in Blue Ridge, GA are:
- Blue Ridge Dam Canoe Access. Just north of Blue Ridge proper, this Lake Blue Ridge Dam access allows anglers to slip their canoes into the water and be right on the fish.
- Tammen Park. Have a quick picnic at the park, then get into the water for a full day of trout fishing. This access is conveniently located right off Highway 515.
- Curtis Switch. There are a few options here. You can enjoy fishing under a historic iron bridge or travel half a mile down from the bridge to a more secluded fishing spot.
- Horseshoe Bend Park. This park has picnic pavilions and public restrooms. It’s also known for good trout fishing on the Toccoa.
Image from blueridgemountains.com
You can wade out into the Toccoa at any of these four public access points, but you’ll generally have better luck fishing from a canoe or float, as it’ll allow you to cover more water. You can launch your boat at the dam and drift downstream to Curtis Switch, or enter at Curtis Switch and float down to Horse Shoe Bend Park. You can find Lake Blue Ridge release information here.
If you’d prefer to fish smaller creeks and rivers, try Rock Creek, one of the primary tributaries located upstream of the dam. The Noontootla is another productive creek that joins the Toccoa above the dam and also offers excellent fishing opportunities.
Consider A Local Guide
If you’re new to the area, hooking up with a local fly-fishing guide can be the perfect way to get started. An experienced guide can take you right to the best spots and will often have all of the equipment you need for a great day of fishing. For an experienced guide in the area, we recommend On The Fly Excursions. They work with beginners and experts alike and offer several fishing trip packages.
Gear & Tackle
Unsure how to gear up for the trip? Here are a few tips to best suit your gear to fly fishing in Blue Ridge, GA.
Although there are a few giant fish in the region, capable of putting a bend in an 8-wt rod, most of the trout in the area are rather small. Most anglers will find something in the 2- to 4-wt class ideal. Remember that fishing wooded streams often requires you to work nimbly among the trees, so it’s usually a good idea to choose a slightly shorter rod than you’d use when fishing on a quarter-mile-wide river out west.
As always, you’ll want to “match the hatch,” when selecting flies, as insects will form the bulk of the diet for these small- to medium-sized trout. A few of the most productive flies to try in the region include the Copper John, Pheasant Tail, Blue Wing Olive, Olive Caddis, Griffiths Gnat and Sulphur.
Other Helpful Gear
You’ll also want all of the basic accessories you would use when fly fishing anywhere else. A backpack or over-the-shoulder tackle bag filled with extra flies, line cutters and other basic tools are a must. You’ll want to bring along an appropriately sized dip net too, to lift trout from the water gently.
Don’t forget a water bottle to keep you hydrated in this hot and humid land, and bring your cell phone along for safety’s sake—and to take photos of the trophies you catch!
Follow Local Rules & Regulations
Ethical anglers always obtain the required permits and licenses, following all of the rules and regulations in place. Doing so can prevent you from having an unpleasant encounter with local law enforcement, and it will allow you to do your part to keep the water stocked and managed properly.
Fortunately for those fishing in Blue Ridge, GA, it is pretty simple to do so. All you’ll need to do is purchase a Georgia fishing license and a trout stamp. You can buy a license and trout stamps in many of the bait and tackle stores in the Blue Ridge region. Some local sporting goods stores carry them as well. But the easiest way to get your license and stamp is by visiting Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources website.
Note that the legal fishing season varies from one river to the next in this region. Several waterways here, including portions of the Toccoa, are classified as “delayed harvest” waters and remain closed for a few weeks longer than the others. For more on Georgia trout fishing regulations, see here.
You should always dress appropriately for any fishing adventure, but it is especially important to do so when fishing in the sun-bathed streams of the southeast. There, you’ll be confronted with high temperatures, suffocating humidity, and blasted with the sun’s rays throughout the day. Bone On Sportswear has a full line of performance fishing apparel to help you get through the day in comfort and style.
- UV Protection. Our UV Protection Fishing Shirts are perfect for keeping you cool, comfortable and protected from the sun’s rays.
- Technical Fishing Shirts. Those visiting the region in the early spring or late fall may prefer the flexibility of our Outfitter Long Sleeve Technical Shirt. This piece has plenty of great fishing features and can be buttoned up completely until the sun clears the trees and heats up the creek. At this point, you can simply unbutton a few of the buttons, roll up the sleeves and continue to fish comfortably.
- Fishing Hats. You’ll also want a quality fishing hat to protect your head and break up your outline, making it easier to stalk wary fish.
Get Out There
Trout fishing in the small mountain creeks of Blue Ridge, GA can be quite different from working the lazy rivers meandering through the western plains. You may need to adjust your approach, gear and techniques to enjoy a productive day of fishing. But one thing’s for sure: you’ll have a good chance of catching a couple of rainbows and enjoying a great day on the water! We’ll see you out there.