An Adventure Runs Through It!
By Bob Borgwat
Special to DIRECTIONS Magazine
When Georgia anglers think “trout fishing,” many find Fannin County at the end of their lines. Stretching southward from the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina, the watershed that surrounds Blue Ridge holds everything trout fishermen love.
It’s all in the water
Novice or pro, bait-fishing or fly-fishing, casting for stocked rainbow trout or wild trout … every angler can find the kind of fishing they seek along the Toccoa River, the backbone of Fannin County trout fishing. In fact, trout fishermen throughout the Southeast recognize the Toccoa and its tributaries — both above Lake Blue Ridge and along the tailwater downstream from Blue Ridge Dam — as serious trout water.
For almost 50 miles, the Toccoa flows south to north, beginning in western Union County before bisecting Fannin County. Along the way, the river collects many high-elevation creeks and streams that support wild populations of rainbow and brown trout, as well as indigenous brook trout. Then it pours cold and clear from Blue Ridge Dam, supporting 15 more miles of classic trout water all the way to the Tennessee border at McCaysville/Copperhill.
The access is awesome
Along its length, the Toccoa River offers several sites where bankside and wading anglers can cast for stocked rainbows. Aska Road, Doublehead Gap Road, Dial Road, GA Hwy. 60, Curtis Switch Road and many gravel-topped Forest Service roads create easy fishing access, including several sites (including two public parks) stocked on a regular schedule from March through June. More adventurous anglers hike off-road to the river’s small tributaries like Noontootla Creek or Rock Creek.
Hit the Trout Adventure trail
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources publishes a comprehensive guide to trout fishing in Georgia. The guide, along with several maps to water trails and fishing spots, is available at the three chamber-sponsored Welcome Centers.
While you’re there, ask for information about the Trout Adventure Trail, a do-it-yourself hiking and learning experience for kids of all ages. The Trail weaves through the Chattahoochee National Forest along the famous Appalachian and Benton-MacKaye trails. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a hands-on education and discovery experience on your choice of trails — from a gentle 1.8-mile path to a more challenging 12.4-mile route. And when you hike any portion of a designated route along the Trout Adventure Trail, you’ll be eligible for an official commemorative patch provided by Trout Unlimited.
Welcome to the Trout Capital
By resolution of the Georgia Legislature in 2010, Fannin County was named the Trout Capital of Georgia. In 2016, state lawmakers further resolved to designate Blue Ridge Trout Festival & Outdoor Adventures as the Official Trout Festival of Georgia. This annual public event celebrates trout fishing and recreational activities in the Toccoa River watershed — from the city limits of Blue Ridge to deep into the Cohutta Wilderness Area. Proceeds benefit local cold-water environments
supported by the conservation, education and outreach programs of Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Unlimited Chapter 696. For more information about trout fishing in the North Georgia mountains, visit the festival on Saturday, April 27.