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. After filling up Lake Blue Ridge, the Toccoa 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.
Easy access for Anglers
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. Several sites — including two public parks: Tammen and Horseshoe Bend — are even stocked on a regular schedule from March through June. More adventurous anglers, often accompanied by guides, hike off-road to some of the Toccoa’s small tributaries like Noontootla Creek or Rock Creek.
Explore 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 and 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. For more details, including choosing a trail, trail maps, what to bring and other resources, visit troutadventuretrail.org. The Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Unlimited website (blueridgetu.com) also provides useful information on fishing, events and getting involved.
Welcome to the Trout Capital
Fannin County was named the Trout Capital of Georgia by resolution of the Georgia Legislature in 2010. In 2016, state lawmakers designated the Blue Ridge Trout & Outdoor Adventures Festival 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 the last Saturday in April in Downtown Blue Ridge.