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

Chickamauga Creek

Stream Location: White County

Wild Trout: None

Stocked: Rainbow Tout

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:

I have almost come to conclusion that the state of Georgia loves to create areas designed specially for spin fishermen and also some for fly fishermen. Chickamauga Creek has only 30 yards of access, it is literally just one large hole that someone can fish for a couple hours. I am positive that this creek gets fished out almost as soon as it gets stocked. I have spent hours looking for other spots that the state of Georgia could also stock, however my search has not yielded anything as of yet. I have even went as far as to ask a local fly shop about it and they are almost certain that this is the only area that fishing is allowed publicly. 

The stream flows straight off of a small water fall into a massive hole, one that is very deep. From there it flows down past a nice wood covered bridge, then you will see the no trespassing signs begin. 

My advice is to fish this hole using nymphs, mops, squirmies, or using a wooly bugger. The reason being is that I believe that the fish that are stocked here get hammered with about everything but a fly. Using something very buggy might produce a very productive day. I wouldn’t right off this creek if you are looking for some fish to take home, fish it deep and be very thorough.

Directions:

Crumbley Creek

Stream Location: White County

Wild Trout: None

Stocked: Rainbow Tout

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: None

Waders: No

Net: No

Wading Stick: No

Casting: Tuck, Bow and Arrow, and Roll

About:

Well I finally found a place that is a spin fishermen’s dream come true, this stocked stream is very small and also very confined. You will be lucky to even be able to roll cast on this stream. Your best bet is to cast out just enough to carry your fly down the stream a bit, then using a tuck cast bring your fly or nymph back up stream to float down. 

The stream is very small and confined, as I have previously said, however the stream seems to be a very healthy freestone stream. The main problem with this stream and why it should not really be considered is that it has very little public access, not even 30 yards. Also It is very tough to fish unless you are a very skilled in fishing in very confined areas. My advice is to go to Smith Creek if you are in the area.

Directions:

There they be!

“They’re porpoising,” I thought to myself. “Jesus, they are everywhere!”

I decided to cast my rope fly right in between two of the shapes that had just risen out of the water and dove back into to darkness of the deep cove. Slowly I stripped in the fly; strip, pause, strip, pause, strip, strip, strip, pause… then all Hell broke loose!

“Holy Shit,” I thought to myself, “That is a dinosaur! Do Not Fuck This Up, Slow And Steady, Do Not Give It Any Chance To Throw The Fly!”

Keeping the slack out of my fly line, turning the my rod against the way the fish was trying to go, keeping the line tight as the fish went aerial, slowly and steadily stripping in line I came to face to face with a prehistoric nightmare fish, a true monster with the teeth to prove it – I had finally caught a Gar! Sorry that I am not talking about a musky, I wish I was, but it was most definitely a Gar and it was the biggest fish I have caught to date – a whopping 39 inches (one inch away from a citation trophy fish).

Gar fishing for the most part is frown upon in both the spinning and fly fishing communities, Realistically the only fishermen that fish for Gar on a constant basis are bow fishermen. I think the main stigma of fishing for gar by both spin and fly fishermen comes from the fact that hooking a gar is damn near impossible, their beaks are almost complete bone and the only way to actually hook them is to let them run for 20 or so yards and swallow the lure/fly, then you can hook them.

The only other way to fish for gar is to use a rope fly, it is a simple thing really; to make one use a 2 to 10 inch nylon rope that has been unbraided and combed out, doubled the rope in a small key chain ring, and secured using several wraps of gsp , then coat the wraps with head cement.  Basically what these flies do is Velcro the mouth of a gar shut, entangling them so there is little chance of them getting away (however if you don’t let them run first and automatically try to “set the hook”, you will pull the rope flies clean out of their beaks).

Honestly I think the next part is what really makes spin and fly fishermen not want to catch these fish. Once you get the gar in the net and next to boat, you have to get the rope fly untangled and out of it’s mouth. Sounds easy enough… um no it is not. Gar have hundreds of razor sharp teeth, their scales are like razors, and they just don’t sit there all nice as you try to get the fly out of their mouth, to be honest you can see how pissed off they are just by looking into their black eyes… they want to bite the shit out of you. Everything about a gar makes them very unfriendly to spin and fly fishermen.

So how the hell do you get a rope fly out of a gar’s mouth? Well you have to be very careful and patient. First thing you need to do before going gar fishing is to go your local hardware store and buy a crowbar, a pair of very longnose pliers, and some stout leather gloves. Granted you only need one of the gloves, the one that you will be holding the fish with, but you definitely need them, believe me I know! I didn’t use a pair of gloves one time and my hand felt like it had paper cuts all over the palm and fingers of my hand. Trust me; use gloves!

Once you net a gar leaving them in the net like you would a musky, take the crowbar and pry open its mouth (aim for the back part of the mouth  where the teeth are the smallest. After you get the crowbar in its mouth and pry it open it is time to try and get the rope untangled. You can use the pliers to try and pull the tangles out, however I have found that if you just use your glove free hand you can get the rope fly out faster, but once again remember these fish are out to bite the shit out of you, you have just became their nemesis. Once they are free of the rope fly, put on the other glove, pick the gar out of the net, get a quick picture, then release them quickly. Always measure them in the water before picking them up, if they are close to citation try and go to a dock or land to get the photo of the gar’s measurement. Once again, take my word, there is nothing scarier than a gar flopping in your boat, teeth just chopping away and you trying to get the damn thing out of your boat or back on to the bump board for a measurement.

So why should an angler fish for gar? Well it is like musky fishing; realistically you are not fishing, instead you are hunting a fish. You have to spot them, cast with precision, and try not to spook them all at the same time. Not to mention watching a gar follow your fly up to your boat might be one of the coolest things ever to watch. I thought initially that these fish were spooked by boats, nope I was wrong. Not to mention there is something primal about catching a fish that is so prehistoric, to see it close and personal, they are truly a wonder of the world. Plus here in the lower Eastern United States what else are you going to fish for that is so close to a musky? 

Pads Creek

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Stream Category: Put and Take Class -B

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Brook Trout

Other Species of Note: None

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Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, 

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Casting: Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

Pads Creek might be one of the most hidden jewels in all of Bath County. Yes this stream is a Put and Take Stream, and we all know how much I do not like Put and Take Streams, but if you are going here you better have a good 4 wheel drive vehicle that you are willing to take through a stream. That at least puts a damper on some of those that like to follow the stocking trucks, well that and Pads Creek is literally in the middle of a no where gorge. If you go here make sure you carry (you can never be too cautious), take lots of food, water, and something to sleep in. Realistically I am not trying to be a pessimist, but stuff does happen, it is always a good idea to be prepared for anything. 

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Now for what all of you have come here for: the fishing. Pads creek is a sandstone/limestone/shale creek that is gorgeous to fish. Ok well let me first say, the road that leads to Pads Creek is very flat and very straight dirt road that is fun as hell to drive, honestly I would go there to just fly down that road over and over again. But I digress, fishing here very simple, keep it simple. Find a good drop off pool, throw above it, watch it come down, and expect to get a fish every time. Yes they might not be citation size, but this creek is very easy and fun to fish. You can streamer fish, you can nymph fish, and you can dry fly fish. This is one of those streams that I would take some to teach them how to fish on, because it has almost every scenario that one encounters in stream fishing here in Virginia.   

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Additional Notes: 

Park where ever you like, just make sure you are off the road, especially if I come through flying.

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Directions:

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Pigg River

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Stream Category: Put and Take Class – A

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brook Trout

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, 

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

I guess the Pigg River is the one way for Franklin County and VDGIF to apologize to it citizens over Runnett’s Bag Run. These two creeks are polar opposities; while the other is literally the worse stream I have laid my eyes on, the Pigg might be the most well maintained streams I have ever seen. 

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The stocked section of the Pigg River runs through Waid Recreation Park, near Rocky Mount. Other than it being a Put and Take area, I cannot in good conscious say anything bad about this stream. 

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The Pigg is a freestone/sand river that is a Euro Nympher’s dream come true. Usually where I find trout in the Pigg is located in deep, fast moving holes, or through the riffles. It is the perfect spot for a long nymph rod, controlling the nymphs height and how fast it runs through the holes is crucial. 

But for those that like to streamer fish or dry fly I am almost certain the Pigg will accommodate you as well. I have observed several fish rising to flies, and lets be honest if a spin caster does well so will a streamer fisherman. 

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Additional Notes: 

Please be mindful of how beautiful this area is, keep it clean. There is more than ample parking. Also be mindful of others using the park; there are several lacrosse and soccer fields here, not to mention runners that use the fishing trails. 

Directions:

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Runnett Bag Creek

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Stream Category: Put and Take Class – B

Wild Trout: None

Stocked Trout: Rainbow and Brown Trout

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, 

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: No

Net: No

Casting: Tuck, and Roll.

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About:

If there wasn’t already a stream called “Shit Creek” in my area I would call this stream Bag’s Run “Shit Creek.” Unfortunately I don’t want to dishonor “Shit Creek” (Elkhorn Creek, WV), by calling this shitty creek “Shit Creek,” but it is very shitty. 

Where to begin, other than this creek might be the shittiest creek I have ever been to, well it is a freestone rock/sand creek. It really depends on what part of the creek you are on. There are some decent holes, but they get fished out quickly. If there was one place I would recommend a chapter of Trout Unlimited to clean up it would be this one, trash is everywhere (I think you can see the role of toilet paper in the upcoming picture), it is definitely not accessible (a lot of the stream flows through private property, which makes no sense to have it as a stocked stream), and you should definitely carry while at this creek. 

I would skip this creek and go to Pigg Creek, which is thirty minutes away. 

Additional Notes: 

Parking is located on pull off spots on the sides of the road and at a church parking area. If you do go here please carry while you are here, and don’t be stupid and go by yourself.

Directions:

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Little River

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Stream Category: Put and Take – A

Wild Trout: 

Stocked Trout: 

Other Species of Note: None

Gear:

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis

Nymphs: Stone Flies, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Midges, Mop Flies, and Squirmmy Wormies

Streamers: Kreelex, Minnow Patterns 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Kayak: Yes

Rod: Switch

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, and Roll.

About:

Everything about where the stock this section is of the Little River drives me nuts, honestly whomever decided to stock this section needs to be beat with fishing rod, a heavy salt water fishing rod… backwards with a reel on it. The Little River, depending on where you are at can be sandy or freestone, but in this area it is very sandy. 

Unless you can over head or roll cast very far, or have a switch/spey rod, or a kayak it is pointless to fish in this area as one fly fisherman to another. From one side of the river to the other, it is at least 30 to 40 yards, and the water here is just too deep to wade. Realistically the state should put a kayak/raft ramp in right where they stock and one every two or three miles down the river. Then it should change this section to be a catch and release only or delayed harvest area, that can only be fished by raft or kayak. 

No I do not recommend this stream to any fly fishermen unless you meet the criteria above

Additional Notes: 

Hardly any parking, just pull off the best you can and hope for the best.

Directions:

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