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  • Writer's pictureDavid Hulsey

Bass School - Fly Fishing Opportunities on North Georgia Electric Only Lakes

Some wonderful fly fishing can be had on Georgia’s watershed lakes. All across the state there are scattered waters that mostly are used by local counties and cities for drinking water, flood control etc... that are open to the public for fishing. Normally there are no gasoline motors allowed on the water and only electric or paddled craft can be used. If you have access to a canoe, kayak, drift boat, or slick tricked out electric jon boat lots of fun can be had. Usually bank fishing is very limited and on some lakes prohibited so check the regulations before going. This provides ample opportunities for the fly fisher to safely putter around casting to bass and bluegill without dealing with the huge waves and noise that are a constant on the big reservoirs.

These lakes vary in size from a couple hundred acres to five hundred or more. Most are open year-round morning until evening with no night fishing allowed. Some require a fee to park and fish so check it out before you go if you need a little cash on hand. Different fishing regulations from the regular state regulations may be in effect too to better manage the fishery so do your research beforehand. For us fly fisher folks we mostly practice catch and release unless keeping a few is recommended by the lake management anyhow so this is not a problem. These lakes make great places to learn how to target warmwater species because of the good numbers of quality fish. We have a tricked out Clacka Craft Headhunter Skiff rigged with modern Minn Kota electric motors to access these waters in comfort and style. The leg locks allow effortless standing and fishing making casting and spotting fish much easier.

Bass School

The lakes we fish and give our popular 4 hour Bass School on are Hickory Log Reservoir, Hollis Lathem Reservoir, and Lake Zwerner also known as Yahoola Creek Reservoir. In our class, we spend pretty much all the time in the boat learning to fish lakes from top to bottom for Largemouth, Spotted Bass, and Bluegill. Quality fly fishing gear is supplied along with water and snacks. We give these classes from April to October 7 days a week. On the weekends there can be a good bit of traffic or even electric jon boat tournaments on the lakes so coming through the week can be nice. Here’s a little information on the lakes!

Bass on the Fly

Hickory Log Reservoir


Hickory Log Reservoir near Canton, Georgia is 411 acres and 15 miles or so of shoreline containing a good population of bass, crappie, and bluegill. There’s a nice ramp and parking area on the upper end of the lake. The lake also has a 150 foot no build buffer so the shoreline is nice and natural with woody debris and a little grass growing in spots to provide the gamefish and baitfish with good cover. The shad and bluegill population are in good shape so flies that mimic these forage fish are a good place to start to catch some nice bass. In the warmer months, early mornings can provide some good topwater action with poppers and sliders. The bluegill population is always looking for little poppers and spiders it seems. Fishing popper dropper rigs can keep you busy all day with a wooly bugger or R.L.D dropper.

Hollis Lathem Reservoir


Hollis Lathem Reservoir near Jasper, Georgia is 334 acres and about 15 miles of shoreline due to many coves and cuts going in and out along the shore. Many areas of standing timber were left and are super habitat for not only the gamefish but the baitfish population that is thriving. Shad are present and bass can frequently be seen exploding on the schools out in the middle of the lake! Trying to get into range while they are crushing bait is sometimes tough but I find a better practice is to get in an area where they are consistently coming up and wait for them to surface in casting range. White pencil poppers or Pole Dancers in the same zip code usually will work. Blind casting Clousers and Game Changers on a sinking line around the boat can be productive too at these times. The shoreline gives constant woody and rocky targets to cast poppers or popper dropper rigs and will usually get attention on warm weather mornings. Large frog poppers for the bass and small chartreuse poppers for the bream can be an exciting way to catch a bunch of fish if the conditions are right. A great paved boat ramp and parking area with a nice manned visitor center on site. There is a small parking fee so plan accordingly.


Lake Zwerner - Yahoola Creek Reservoir


Lake Zwerner also known as Yahoola Creek Reservoir in the city limits of Dahlonega, Georgia is 220 acres with a great 3 mile or so hiking trail that circles the lake. The lake is not as big as Lathem or Hickory Log but I’ve caught some good Largemouth here. Some nice bluegill and crappie here too. Small Bluegill are a primary forage fish for the bass population so streamers that mimic these are go to flies for us. Worm patterns work well too slowly dragged or hopped across the bottom. Crayfish imitations are good too especially around the rocks and rip rap close to the bridge. Top water bugs cast close to shoreline cover are productive along with popper dropper rigs catch a large share of our fish here too. There is a great boat ramp and parking area. You are within a mile of places to eat and shop in beautiful downtown Dahlonega.

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