|We no longer have a trout season, which is kind of a shame, as everybody used to have a big party the night before opening day, which was the last Saturday in March. It traditionally signaled the start of the mountain tourist season. (Turkey season usually came in at approximately the same time.)
The Toccoa below the dam (the tailrace) is considered the best trout stream in Georgia. Access is limited, although there is public access just below the dam and at Tammin Park (on the four-lane). The river can also be accessed from Hogback Road from the west. (A few years back, our county commission saw fit to sell the east end of Hogback at the river, past the old depot in Mineral Bluff, and this is now private property.) There is also some access at the bridge on Curtis Switch, and again at Horseshoe Bend Park (off Hwy 60 north, just before McCaysville). Because access is so limited, many people choose to float the river, with or without a guide.
Local & Outdoors Info
!WARNING! You must be aware of the release schedule for the dam before fishing the river below the dam. If you haven’t experienced it before, you will be astonished by how fast the water rises and how swift the current becomes. Save your loved ones the embarrassment of explaining how the great fly fisherman managed to drown in the Toccoa. Check the release schedule. Be aware that it can change without notice. Access the release schedule at www.tva.gov (click on “Lakes & Recreation”, then “Recreation Release Schedules”).
By the way, the river immediately below the dam is a good trip-saver in case the streams become stained after a rain. No matter what happens, the tailrace is usually cleaner.
The river above the dam is considered fair, but it is a beautiful, natural river with much forest service frontage. It can be accessed from some points on Aska Road. You can also cross the Shallowford Bridge, turn right, and right at the first fork. That puts you on the strip of national forest property that runs upstream to the Sandy Bottoms Canoe Launch. Highway 60 south (toward Suches) also runs by the river at a number of points.
Fightingtown Creek is probably our most famous local trout stream. It winds through much of the county, emptying into the Ocoee across from the chemical plant. Again, public access is limited. You can access it from the national forest off Cashes Valley Road (near Bushy Head Gap) and at certain points off Old Hwy 2.
Noontoola Creek, at the end of Aska Road, is a beautiful, gravel-bottomed trophy stream. You can fish the triangle between Aska Road and Newport Road, or follow it up into the Blue Ridge WMA off Doublehead Gap Road to the beautiful Three Forks area.
Trout Fishing in North Georgia, by Jimmy Jacobs is a useful guide (Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers, 1993). Northern Georgia Canoeing, by Bob Sehlinger and Don Otey may also be helpful in identifying access points (Hillsborough, North Carolina: Menasha Ridge Press, 1980).
There’s a bait store next to the Dunkin Donuts at the junction of Hwy 60 & Hwy 515.
Basic tactics on trout include rigging a clear bobber above a hook baited with either canned corn (two kernels) or a worm. Trout often hold on the downstream side of rapids or large rocks. Let the bait drift down to them, like anything else that’s good to eat in the river.
Blue Ridge has a very active chapter of Trout Unlimited, #696, with many educational and public service opportunities. I believe it is still the second largest chapter in Georgia, and it hosts a wonderful Troutfest in the downtown Blue Ridge park every spring. If you don’t know how to fly fish, they will teach you!