Toccoa River-Delayed Harvest

Stream Location: Fannin County

Wild Trout: Rainbow and Brown

Stocked: Rainbow, Brook, and Brown

Other Species of Note: Smallmouth, Largemouth, Rock, and Spotted Bass

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, Royal Wulff, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Caddis Puppa, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Stone, Squirmy Wormy, Mop, and Perdigon 

Streamers: Minnows, and Wooly Buggers

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, Bow and Arrow, Spey, and Roll

About:

Realistically there is very little chance of me going through and telling you about the entire Toccoa River and all of the places to fish on it. It would be like giving a stream post that covers the Chattahoochee River, the South Holston River, the New River, and the James River. It would be an impossible feat unless I spent years doing the research, neglecting the other streams in the state of Georgia. I am not that bold to do that. 

What I can say about the Toccoa River is that it is a beautiful freestone stream in Northern Georgia that makes you almost feel like you are out west fishing. It is remarkably cold, with large runs, deep holes, nice rapids, and a few riffles. Caution must always be used when fishing in a river such as the Toccoa, rain fall and snow melt can make this river a very dangerous spot for anglers that are wading and people who are floating it. Also during the fall, leaves can often mask how deep a hole is, be careful not to get into a situation where you could fall into one of these holes, always carry a wading stick with you to make sure this does not happen. Also you might want to bring a change of clothing just in case.

My main focus of this stream write up is stream post will cover the Delayed Harvest section of the Toccoa River, since it is one of only five DH streams in the state of Georgia. Located in Fannin County, near the town of Blue Ridge, Ga the Toccoa DH section is an amazing piece of water that can an be accessed by angler that are wading or ones that wish to float through. Realistically you should always check the water levels of this section of water before coming here. The day I took all of these photos for this post the Toccoa was very high, but I couldn’t resist the fall foliage. In most sections it would have been almost impossible to wade that day, but a person with a boat or raft could easily float through this section. As I have said before, please be careful out on the Toccoa while fishing, watch the depth of the water, watch for people in boats, and if you are floating this section watch for those that are wading. 

As far as fishing this section one should use any type of hot spot nymphs, Pat’s stoneflies, squirmy wormies, and mop flies during the early months of the DH season. Once true winter sets in switch up to the more traditional styles of nymphs as fish get accustomed to the water (do not forget about midges). Streamers and dry flies are also a very good choice to use here. Another option, especially in high water, is to use a spey or switch rod to get further out in the stream, thus covering more water. The main thing to remember is to make sure that if you are using nymphs and streamers that you are getting down deep enough in the water column to the fish. Look for structure in the river that fish could easily hide behind, and don’t forget that fish sometimes like to be at the very end of a long run where water is not flowing so roughly. 

Once again please be careful out on the Toccoa, take the appropriate precautions, park in the designated areas. Also try not blocking boating ramps that guides and boat owners like to use to pull their boats/rafts out of ( there is at least one that I know of, you will know it once you see it).

Directions:

https://georgiawildlife.com/sites/default/files/wrd/pdf/trout/tocooaDH.pdf

Amicalola Creek

Stream Location: Dawson County and Dawson WMA

Special Regulations: Delayed Harvest from November 1st – May 14th

Wild Trout: Unknown; this stream is massive and has the potential for wild trout

Stocked: Rainbow, Brook, and Brown

Other Species of Note: Bass

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, Royal Wulff, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Caddis Puppa, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Stone, Squirmy Wormy, Mop, and Perdigon 

Streamers: Minnows, and Wooly Buggers

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: Yes

Casting: Overhead Tuck, Bow and Arrow, Roll, and Spey

About:

Let me first say that Amicalola Creek is massive, its really a small river that flows into the Etowah River. Now with that being said, there are literally miles of fishable water and a plethora of public access points to fish. Also Amicalola Creek is one of five Delayed Harvest Streams in the State of Georgia, but I will cover that further later in this post. 

Amicalola Creek is a stream that literally you could fish at any access point and catch fish year round, it is so big that stocked fish have miles and miles to circulate in and get away from the anglers that just want to fish where the stocking trucks dump at. As for the creek it is a freestone creek that offers very long pools, deep pockets, several undercuts, fast riffles, and very wadable waters in most areas. 

Honestly you could probably spend a lifetime wade fishing this creek and never be able to cover it all. As a Georgia fly fishermen this creek is almost a must to fish, it offers so many ways to fish it; you can easily perform roll casts, tuck casts, roll casts, and you could always spey fish here. It is just an amazing piece of water.

Now comes the Delayed Harvest Section of the stream; this section runs from County Road 192 (Steele Bridge Road) downstream to GA Hwy 53. The Delayed Harvest season runs from November 1st to May 14th. This section is just as amazing as the rest of the creek but offers some truly deep holes, use caution in this area and make sure you don’t get in over your waders. 

When it comes to fly choice the choices are endless, about everything works. However using a two nymph tandem rig is my preferred way to fish this creek, especially in the deep holes in the DH section. Also streamers are a very good choice in this water, there are several small bait fish throughout this creek and they become a prime target for trout, especially in deep holes and high water. Also it worth mentioning that anglers should not forget about midges during the winter months when fishing the DH sections, when fish are not hitting anything big they are munching on tiny midges, this can often save an angler from having a skunked day to multi fish day. 

Directions:

I am going to provide a link of a map provided by the State of Georgia for the Directions. If you have any questions just leave a comment and I will provide some better directions if needed.

Click to access amicaloladh.pdf

Smith Creek

Stream Location: White County

Special Regulations: Delayed Harvest from November 1st – May 14th

Wild Trout: Unknown; I have yet to try and explore above Ruby Falls

Stocked: Rainbow, Brook, and Brown

Other Species of Note:

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, Royal Wulff, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Caddis Puppa, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Stone, Squirmy Wormy, Mop, and Perdigon 

Streamers: Minnows, and Wooly Buggers

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, Bow and Arrow, and Roll

About:

Starting at the mouth of Ruby Falls in Unicoi State Park, then going in to Unicoi Lake, then starting again below the dam at Unicoi Lake you have Smith Creek. Smith Creek is a year round stocked stream available to all anglers, however Smith Creek doesn’t really begin at Ruby Falls, it truly begins above the falls and has the possibility to have wild brook trout in its head waters (this I haven’t explored yet). Still yet Smith Creek might be one of the prettiest streams I have encountered here in Georgia and it is one of five Delayed Harvest Streams. The Delayed Harvest season here in Georgia is from November 1st – May 14th, and the Delayed Harvest section for Smith Creek is located from the mouth of Unicoi Dam to the Unicoi State Park boundary. 

Honestly I am not being fictitious about how beautiful this stream is, it is truly an amazing freestone stream that is meticulously cleaned by the workers of the park. Also it has the best parking area that I have ever seen on a Delayed Harvest Stream, not to mention there is a set of permanent bathrooms on site. Realistically it feels like you are fishing at a resort, because technically you are. 

The Stream, like I previous said, is a freestone stream that runs the mouth of Ruby Falls down to the Lake Unicoi. This section is only stocked during the summer time, take note that most of the fish here will probably fished out by the end of October, and looks like a mountain stream slowly meandering down to the lake. But the real gem of the stream is below the dam. Here you will find a quick moving stream that has long pockets, deep holes, several undercuts, and utterly beautiful water. From what I have seen, the State of Georgia does not slack off when it comes to DH waters, Georgia puts some slabs in these waters. 

As far as fly fishing, using mop flies, squirmies, and streamers work really well during the stocked season and the early months of the DH season. However after these fish become more accustomed to the stream and its traditional meal base, fly fishermen need to switch over to more traditional flies (ie pat’s stonefly, prince nymphs, pheasant tails, hares ear, and zebra midges… especially zebra midges during the winter months, I cannot stress how important these flies are during the winter months). During the stocking season you can pretty much fine the stockers in the deeper sections or in fast runs, but during the DH season you need to cover all of the stream because of water temps and the fish being able to freely move. 

Now for the bummer part! I know, I know, there is always a bummer part. Because Smith Creek is located in Unicoi State Park, and because of the Town of Helen, Georgia this stream gets hit hard year round. There really isn’t any good time to come here where you will be alone with the stream. However even though this stream can get very crowded I still would recommend it over some of the other streams here in Georgia just on how beautiful it is. Also there is a required parking pass that all visitors must purchase; you can get a yearly pass or you can get a day pass, I would strongly recommend just getting the yearly pass because this allows you to park in any Georgia State Park. 

Directions: