Fly Fishing in the Georgia Mountains: The Complete Guide (2023)

flyfishing in Chattahoochee river

Whether you are a veteran angler or novice, there are many places in Georgia where you can try your hand at fly fishing! You can catch brown and rainbow trout and other varieties of big fish in the north Georgia mountains almost any time of year. 

The waters in the North Georgia mountains create an ideal habitat for many fish types, perfect for all levels of fly fishing. Many fishing spots are less than an hour’s drive north of Atlanta, making them an easy day trip. On your own or with a guide, fly fishing locations are abundant in Georgia!

With all the following options, check out all the places in the north Georgia mountains where you can cast your fly rod!

Everything You Need to Know For a Georgia Fly Fishing Adventure 

Georgia Areas for Fly Fishing

When you want to go fishing, look no further than Georgia for your next fly fishing trip. About ninety miles north of Atlanta you’ll find Blue Ridge in Fannin County Georgia. Blue Ridge sits on the borders of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

This North Georgia mountains destination is one of many areas where you can cast your line for several varieties of fish. 

Or you can head south to the Chattahoochee River, one of the best trout streams in the U.S. With other fly fishing locations in between, and plenty of fishing outfitters to help you find the right gear, Georgia should be your next fishing destination. 

Georgia State Requirements for Fly Fishing

Remember that everyone sixteen years old and older must purchase a Georgia fishing license from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. This includes fly fishing.

You can find the license application online, at a sporting goods store, at a local outfitter, Walmart, or apply by phone.

The Basics of Fly Fishing in Georgia

Fly fishing is a method of catching fish where you use a weighted fake fly, a fly rod, a weighted line, and reel. The lure itself is not weighted.

The casting method and flies vary according to where you are fishing–in a pond, stream, lake, river, bay, or ocean.

Georgia fly fishing vs. ordinary fishing:

Fly fishing uses a weighted line with a weightless lure, whearas ordinary fishing uses a weightless line and a weighted lure. Since the casting method for fly fishing requires more practice and expertise, fly fishing is more complex than ordinary fishing. 

Fly FishingRegular Fishing
Lure TypeWeighless Weighted
Line TypeWeighted Weightless

As with any fishing, you need patience and practice to improve your skill. Casting well is essential. And this can be where beginners get stuck and quit. But persevere and you will learn how to deliver the fly to the water.

Having a knowledgeable guide is helpful in learning the right technique and identifying the best fishing spots on a particular river to fly fish.

Fly Fishing in the Chatahoochee River

The Chattahoochee River is stocked annually with rainbow and brown trout. Its location is near the Chattahoochee National Forest and is just north of metropolitan Atlanta. As such, fishing in the Chattahoochee River offers some of the most convenient fly fishing for those living in and around Atlanta.

Buford Dam

While the river is managed by the National Park Service, some of the best fishing happens to be right in the center of metropolitan Atlanta.  One of the prime fishing spots sits at the tailwater of the Buford Dam. Be sure to check the Dam release schedule before you plan to fish.

You can only fish with artificial lures in the river section from Highway 20 to Abbot’s Bridge. But farther downstream from Jones Bridge you can use live bait.

Best Time of Year for Fly Fishing in Chattahoochee River

Most anglers say the best times to fish the Chattahoochee River is in winter and spring due to the cool water temperatures. 

And if you’re needing a rod and reel to get started, the Orvis Clearwater is a solid choice for the money. You can find it on Amazon here along with TIDEWE waders for both women and men.

Fly Fishing in Clarkesville, Georgia

Clarkesville is in the North Georgia mountains and is an excellent place for fly fishing trips.

Fly Fishing in the Soque River

With a quaint downtown where you can find a charming spot to stay, Clarkesville sits near the Soque River. This river flows over thirty miles of private land to empty into the Chattahoochee River. 

While the Soque used to be a spot known only to avid fishers, it has quickly won a reputation as one of the best places for trophy trout fishing. The Soque River water temperatures are ideal for trout. The river temperatures encourage abundant trout without the die off warmer waters have. 

Part of the northern watershed of the Chattahoochee River, the Soque River only runs through Habersham County.

Property owners along the water ensure the river is restocked each year and there is plenty of food to produce high-quality fish. Check out the spots below and the guides who help you navigate the river.

Fly Fishing Outfitters Near Clarkesville, Georgia

    u003cliu003eUnicoi Outfittersu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eFern Valley Fly Fishingu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eRiverside Trout Fly Fishing u003c/liu003eu003cliu003eBlackhawk Fly Fishingu003c/liu003eu003cliu003eBrigadoon Lodgeu003c/liu003e

1. Unicoi Outfitters  

Unicoi Outfitters specializes in teaching new fly fishers to cast and catch fish. Sunfish and bream are plentiful and easy to catch for novice fly fishers.

Unicoi Outfitters can also help experienced fly fishers refine their techniques to catch more fish than ever before. They are local, friendly, and even have a great podcast for listeners!

2. Fern Valley 

Fern Valley caters to all levels of fly fishing, from the beginner to the expert. It’s located about four miles north of Clarksville.

Fern Valley has waters that can be waded through to catch rainbow trout, brown trout, and a limited number of anglers per day so you have plenty of space to fish.

3. Riverside Trout Fishing 

Visit Riverside Trout Fishing for a fisherman’s paradise on the Soque River. With the average trout weighing in at around eight pounds, you will need your camera to record proof of catching some amazing rainbow, brown, and brook trout with your Riverside guide. 

4. Black Hawk Fly Fishing

When you want to catch trout along the Soque River, Black Hawk offers the thrill of fly fishing in deep pools and rapids. They are open all year round with lodging nearby. 

5. Brigadoon Lodge 

Surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest, Brigadoon Lodge owns over a mile of the Soque riverfront. This privately-owned fishing lodge is unique among the other spots in northeast Georgia. Fishing with your private guide will yield some of the biggest trout you have ever seen. 

Fly Fishing near Suches, GA – Cooper Creek

River in Blue Ridge Mountains

Cooper Creek is an ideal place to practice with new fly fishers in a small stream setting. While the weekends can be crowded, the fishing is more peaceful during the week.

Located near Suches, Georgia, in the north Georgia mountains, Cooper Creek has crystal clear water. Trout are stocked weekly in the spring and summer seasons.

Fly Fishing Near Helen, GA: Duke’s Creek

The closest spot for fly fishing in Helen, GA is at Duke’s Creek. Running through Smithgall Woods State Park, Duke’s Creek is one of the state’s top trout streams.

While you will need to call ahead for reservations, the five miles of trails and over fifteen miles of roads offer unlimited trout fly fishing access. With miles of trout streams, you’re sure to get some good fishing in!

They allow trout fishing Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from October through May. And guests who stay at the park can fish any day of the week. 

Flint River Fly Fishing 

Located in southwest Georgia, you will find the Flint River. It’s one of forty rivers in the U.S. that flows over two hundred miles without a dam.

It courses south to join the Chattahoochee River at the Florida line to form the Apalachicola River. 

This is often called one of the most unique rivers any fly fisher has seen. On one side you see a mountainous area and on the other, a coastal plain. You can find a rare species of shoal bass called the black bass here. 

Throughout the river, you will find crevices, cracks, and slots in the rocky bottom where the bass stay. You will also see catfish, redbreast, and gar in the Flint River, and sometimes white bass and crappie.

In the summer, you can see thousands of spider lilies that bloom and put on a show.  Stretching over three hundred forty-four miles, The Flint River offers some of the best guided fishing in Georgia.

To learn more check out their website here.

Lake Chatuge Fly Fishing 

On the Georgia and North Carolina border sits Lake Chatuge in the Blue Ridge Smokey Mountains. With over one hundred thirty miles of shoreline in a seven thousand-acre lake, Lake Chatuge is best known for its annual trout fishing contest. 

You can fish for spotted, northern, hybrid-striped, large-mouth, small-mouth, and shoal bass.

There are over thrity-two species of fish, including bluegill, crappie, walleye, sunfish, channel catfish, and hybrid bass.

Fishers can angle off the shore, from a canoe or boat, and by wading.

Lake Rabun Fly Fishing 

Located thirty minutes from Clarkesville, Lake Rabun is a sought-after spot for fishing in the north Georgia mountains! This 834-acre lake boasts walleye, largemouth and spotted bass, and bream fish.

Whether you want to fish from shore or get out on the water in a boat, there is fishing for all ages at Lake Rabun. 

Noontootla Creek Farms Fly Fishing

Near Blue Ridge in north Georgia sits Noontootla Creek Farms. This fly fishing spot was originally a hunting club of over one thousand acres, but has expanded to cater to fly fishers. They have over two miles of the Noontootla Creek where you can wade and fish a full or half day. 

You can also book a float trip for two anglers in the fall, winter, and spring. They offer full and half-day floats and can accommodate multiple boats floating together. 

  • Noontootla Creek Farms also offers quail hunting and an expansive sporting clay course. You can rent the farmhouse for a large group, too. 

And if you’re interested in other hunting opportunities, Georgia has a lot of areas for wild hog hunting. You can learn more about hog hunts in Georgia in this article on our site.

Fly Fishing in the Ocoee River in Eastern Tennessee

The Ocoee River on the eastern Tennessee border with Georgia boasts multiple native fish species. You can catch largemouth bass, catfish, brown trout, and rainbow trout.

Fall through spring are the ideal seasons to catch trout here. Located in the Cherokee National Forest, Ocoee River fly fishing requires a trout stamp to catch rainbow and brown trout. And you can only wade to fish during the low flow times on the river for safety reasons. 

Smith Creek Fly Fishing

Fly fishing at Smith Creek, just downstream from Unicoi Lake dam, will yield some large brown and rainbow trout. Fly fishing is best from November to mid-May.

The middle section of Smith Creek is classic small stream trout fishing but with deep holes where big trout hide. This public Georgia trout stream can be challenging but yields some large trout. 

Toccoa River Fly Fishing 

The Toccoa River, near Helen, starts in the Chattahoochee National Forest and flows all the way to the reservoir, Lake Blue Ridge, where there is a flourishing walleye and smallmouth bass fishery. Along the river, you can find large trout and smallmouth bass.

To fly fish, you can wade, hike into the national forest, float, or combat fish. With sections for beginners and expert fishers, the Toccoa River delivers a spectacular fishing experience. 

Why You Should Consider Hiring a Fly Fishing Guide

If you are new to fly fishing, having a guide can make the difference between loving this sport or giving it up. A guide will help you with your casting technique and give you plenty of space and opportunity to practice. They can ensure you catch at least one fish during your river outing!

Although you might be a veteran fly fisher, branching out to new rivers is a completely new landscape. This can be where their knowledge of a specific body of water will take you right to the best section of the river. Having a guide will help you catch more fish since they know which rod and lures will attract the fish.

Relying on the expertise of a Georgia native fly fisher can make your one day amazing and your several days outstanding. 

Final Thoughts   

From novice fly fishers to trophy trout pros, Georgia rivers and creeks have a lot to offer. The fish include trout, bass, and other types you want to catch. The short drive and proximity from Atlanta to the north Georgia mountains means that you can enjoy a day fishing trip. Or maybe spend several days mastering one fishing location. 

Many people would call these mountains the trout capital of Georgia. Fishing with a guide on private land or exploring public access on a river on your own, you make plans to experience fly fishing in north Georgia!

Fly Fishing Body of WaterGeorgia Location
Chattahoochee River North Georgia through Metropolitan Atlanta
Cooper Creek RiverSuches, Georgia
Duke’s CreekHelen, Georgia
Flint RiverEast Point, Western Georgia
Lake ChatugeBlue Ridge Mountains
Lake RabunNorth Georgia Mountains
Noontoola Creek FarmsBlue Ridge, Georgia
Ocoee River Cherokee National Forest
Smith Creek Below Unicoi Lake Dam
Toccoa RiverChattahoochee National Forest

Recent Posts