Come spend Easter with Us! Blue Ridge GA cabin rentals
  • Bookmark and Share

North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountain Fishing

Local Fishing Tips | Local Fishing Locations and Guides

North Georgia fishing offers something for novices and old pros. Our flowing rivers, streams and lakes house rainbow and brown trout; smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass; giant stripers and white bass; bluegill, crappie and shellcracker, sauger, walleye, and, of course, catfish are all abundant in the area. Georgia has everything you need for a great fishing vacation.

The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, and the Cherokee National Forest are all great places to cast a line and find some great fish, with hundreds of lakes and rivers to choose from, surrounded by beautiful forestry and wildlife. Other fishing areas offered by the U.S. Forest Service include Mulky Creek, Rock Creek, Deep Hole, and Coopers Creek. If that's not enough, there's also nearby Toccoa River, Noontootla Creek, Jack's River, Conasauga River, and the Mulky Recreation Area.

Rock Creek Lake offers 13 acres of trout-stocked waters where anglers can fish year-round from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. No camping sites, picnic tables, restrooms, boat rentals, or boat ramps are available, but both shore and boat fishing are allowed.

Near Blue Ridge, Georgia, you will find Fightingtown Creek, a stream which flows out of the Cohutta Wilderness Area. Most areas of the stream are wadeable, and much of it is wide enough for fly fishing. Brown and rainbow trout are the most abundant species here. Further west, near Ellijay, the Cartecay River is popular for fly fishermen. It's stocked with rainbow trout and also contains many native species.

Along with amazing white bass, walleye, bream, perch, bluegill, catfish, and crappie fishing, the 3,290-acre Lake Blue Ridge offers a full-service marina, over 90 campsites, numerous boat ramps and boat rentals, and public swimming and picnic areas. Eighty percent of the lake's 100 miles of shoreline are part of the Chattahoochee National Forest. The backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains makes it a particularly picturesque setting for a relaxing fishing vacation. The area is open March through October and also offers boating, canoeing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, hiking, rafting, mountain biking, tubing, pontooning, and swimming.

Wherever you decide to set up your rods and reels, make sure you know the rules and regulations. You'll need a Georgia Fishing License (either resident or nonresident) and many areas are only open at certain times of the year or day. Call the Wildlife Resources Division - License and Boat Registration Unit at (770) 414-3333 to order a fishing license or Fisheries Management at (770) 918-6418 for other questions. Additionally, the U.S. Forest Service's Southern Region Regional Office may be contacted at 404-347-4177.

Trout fishing opportunities in Georgia vary and include heavily stocked high use streams, wilderness streams, streams with special regulations & small impoundments. Trout streams are open to fishing during trout season (last Saturday in March through October 31) or are open year-round. Anglers 16 years of age and older are required to possess a fishing license and trout stamp to fish for or possess trout. Fishing licenses can be purchased at license dealers (sporting goods stores, bait & tackle stores, marinas, etc. where fishing tackle or bait is sold) or by calling 1-800-ASK-FISH (275-3474). There are exceptions. Please refer to the current Freshwater & Saltwater Sport Fishing Regulations for trout fishing license requirements, regulations and a listing of seasonal streams, year-round streams and streams with special regulations. Georgia's approximately 4,000 miles of trout streams are relatively unproductive when compared to streams found in other parts of the country. This is, in part, due to the calcium deficient soils found in north Georgia. Therefore, to meet the demands of over 100,000 anglers that purchase trout stamps, plus anglers under 16 years of age and Honorary license holders who are not required to purchase a trout stamp, stocking and special regulations are used on some streams to maintain acceptable catch rates for anglers. The Wildlife Resources Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service both stock streams with rainbow, brown and brook trout from March through mid-September. The number of trout stocked, and the stocking frequency, depend on a stream's fishing pressure, accessibility and water conditions. In general, streams on public lands are stocked more often and with greater numbers of trout. Many of the streams are on private property and anglers should respect the landowner's rights. Always obtain permission from the landowner before entering or fishing on private property.

The information presented here is not intended to be a complete guide, but rather as a sample of trout fishing opportunities. "Trout Streams of Georgia", a map published by the Wildlife Resources Division, is an excellent reference to find your way to any trout stream in Georgia. This map and the fishing regulations are available at any Fisheries Section Office at no charge (770-918-6418) . A map of the Chattahoochee National Forest is also an excellent reference for finding your way to trout streams within the national forest. It is available for a small fee from the U.S. Forest Service (770-536-0541) .

Fannin County: Toccoa River (Highways 2, 5 & 60 east of Blue Ridge) the entire river is open to fishing year-round, although its tributaries are not. The Toccoa River above Blue Ridge Reservoir is stocked about every other week (March through mid-September). Most of it is on private land, but much of the section along Route 60, near the town of Margaret, flows through national forest property. The river below Blue Ridge Reservoir is very broad in most areas, making it a good choice for flyfishing. Trout are also stocked regularly in this section. A popular pastime is to float from the dam approximately 15 miles to McCaysville. Other species present include largemouth and smallmouth bass, sunfish, and walleye.

Noontootla Creek (Fannin County: Forest Service Road 58 southeast of Blue Ridge)
Located on the Blue Ridge WMA within the Chattahoochee National Forest, Noontootla Creek is open to fishing year-round. There is a 16 inch minimum length limit on trout and only artificial lures can be used. Trout are not stocked within the WMA. These regulations are intended to allow natural reproducing trout to maintain their population levels as if fishing did not take place. Because of the stream's relatively low productivity, very few trout ever grow to 6 inches making this fishery almost entirely "catch and release." Rainbow trout dominate the main stream, but brown trout are not uncommon in the lower reaches. Several of the tributaries contain wild brook trout. The portion downstream of the WMA is open under general trout regulations and is mostly on private property.

Fannin County: Rock Creek (Forest Service Road 69 off Route 60 between Blue Ridge & Dahlonega)
Rock Creek watershed including Rock Creek Lake is open to fishing year round, The Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery is located on Rock Creek, and this creek and some other nearby streams are heavily stocked with trout from the federal hatchery (March through mid-September). Rock Creek also supports good populations of wild trout, including native brook trout, in some of the small high elevation tributaries. Use of this area is very high. There is a campground near the stream.

Conasauga River (Murray and Fannin Counties: Forest Service Roads 17 & 51 and State Route 2 northeast of Chatsworth)
The Conasauga River is located within the 36,977 acre Cohutta Wilderness Area. Careful planning is important for fishing in this rugged area. Vehicular access is very limited and confined to a few Forest Service road crossings. The largest portion of the river can only be reached by foot. The main river and its tributaries support reproducing populations of wild brook, brown, and rainbow trout. Therefore, trout are not stocked within this watershed. Redeye bass fishing is excellent in the lower reaches of this watershed. The Conasauga River and its tributaries (this does not include the Jacks River and its tributaries) upstream from the Georgia-Tennessee state line is open to fishing year-round. From November 1 through the last Friday in March, fishing is restricted to the use of artificial lures only. Natural baits may be used during trout season only (last Saturday in March through October 31). A detailed map of the Cohutta Wilderness Area will be useful to anyone planning a fishing trip to the Conasauga River. It is available from the U.S. Forest Service for a small fee

Union County: Coopers Creek (Forest Service Road 236 off State Route 60 between Blue Ridge and Dahlonega)
Coopers Creek is located in a scenic part of the state. The lower section is stocked heavily each week (March through mid-September) and there are good populations of wild rainbow and brook trout in the upper section of the main stream and in the tributaries. Coopers Creek is open to fishing during trout season only. The U.S. Forest Service operates two campgrounds close to the stream.

WILDERNESS STREAMS
These streams are in rugged terrain, not readily accessible by road, and generally not easy to fish. Careful planning and preparation should precede trips to these streams.

Jacks River (Fannin County: Ga. Hwy Forest Service Roads 22, 64 & 73 and GA. Hwy. 2 west of Blue Ridge)
The Jacks River is located within the Cohutta Wilderness Area. It is just as rugged and wild as the Conasauga River. The Jacks and many of its tributaries support reproducing populations of wild trout. Therefore, it is not stocked. Access is very limited and confined to foot trails. Redeye bass fishing is excellent in the lower reaches. The Jacks River is open to fishing during trout season and the Conasauga River's artificial lure restriction does not apply.

***While fishing specially regulated waters with a minimum size limit, it is a violation for an angler to possess a trout which is less than the specified minimum size regardless of where the fish was caught. The following trout streams and portions of trout streams have special management programs and regulations to provide a variety of trout fishing opportunities:

Trout Season- Tips to Know

Trout season is open from the last Saturday in March through October 31st each year. Be aware that there are many trout streams open to fishing year-round.

Trout Fishing Rules
  • Trotlines, set hooks, jugs, nets, bows and arrows, and all other gear except poles and lines cannot be used in trout streams
  • Trout anglers are restricted to the use of one pole and line which must be hand held.
  • Live bait-fish may not be used in any trout stream, except live bait-fish may be used on the Chattahoochee River downstream of the Roswell Road Bridge (Georgia Highway 9). Seining bait-fish is not allowed in any trout stream.
  • On trout streams designated as "artificials only", only artificial lures may be used. It is unlawful to possess any other type bait on an "artificial only" stream.
  • It is unlawful to fish for any fish species in a seasonal trout stream when the season is closed.
Artificial Lures Only

CONASAUGA RIVER and its tributaries (except Jacks River watershed) upstream of the Georgia-Tennessee state line are restricted to using only artificial lures from Nov. 1 through the last Saturday in March of each year. Natural baits may be used during trout season.

NOONTOOTLA CREEK & its tributaries on Blue Ridge WMA. NOTE: All trout less than 16 inches in length caught from this section of Noontootia Creek must be released immediately.

STANLEY CREEK & its tributaries on the Rich Mountain WMA.

Impoundments on Trout Streams

Anglers Can:
  • Fish for fish species other than trout without a trout license, except on Dockery and Rock Creek lakes.
  • Fish year-round, except on Dockery Lake.
  • Fish at night, except on Dockery and Rock Creek lakes
  • If you fish for or possess trout, you must possess a trout license. If you catch a trout and do not possess a trout license, you must release the trout immediately
  • Visitors fishing impoundments on State Parks can fish for and possess trout without a trout license. State Park visitors fishing trout streams must possess a trout license.
  • Nonresidents 16 years of age or older, regardless of physical condition, must have a valid nonresident Georgia fishing license to fish in Georgia, EXCEPT: a fishing license is not required when fishing in a private pond. This does not include ponds owned by governments (city, county, Federal or the State of Georgia).
  • Nonresidents under 16 years of age do not require a fishing license or a trout license
***Most trout streams are located on private property and the land owner controls access to, and fishing rights in, such streams. It is your responsibility to know when you cross a property line. Always get permission from the land owner before entering or fishing on private property.

Area Fishing Locations and Guides

Appalachian Outdoor Adventures (guided fishing)
Contact: Jerry Barnes
Phone: 706-258-4530
Email: troutman@ellijay.com

Blue Ridge Adventures (guided fishing)
Contact: Linda Clement
Phone: 706-374-5060
Email: wildtroutwoman@tds.net

Chattahoochee National Fish Hatchery
Website: http://www.fws.gov/southeast/chattahoocheeforest

Morganton Point Campground & Public Beach
Website: http://www.fs.fed.us/conf/mgntncmp.htm

Unicoi Outfitters
Website: http://www.unicoioutfitters.com