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  • David Hulsey

Fly Fishing The Upper Toccoa River

Updated: Feb 10


The Toccoa River near Blue Ridge, Georgia is a great year round destination for the fly fisher. The river flows north and is divided into two separate sections. The Lower Toccoa River or Toccoa River Tailwater section flows north to McCayesville, Georgia from the Blue Ridge Dam. The Upper Toccoa River is the section of the river that flows into Lake Blue Ridge but it will be south of Blue Ridge. The Upper Toccoa River is a freestone stream that originates in Suches, Georgia. The Upper Toccoa is formed by Cooper Creek, Rock Creek, and Noontootla Creek in addition to several smaller tributaries. These are great places to spend the day also with decent populations of trout. As a freestone stream, this beautiful river rises and falls with precipitation and can become unfishable during heavy rain events. The Delayed Harvest section of this river runs for about a mile and a half downstream of the Sandy Bottoms Canoe Launch on Old Dial Road. From November 1st to May 15th, this section is catch and release only artificial lures only water. The river is stocked here on the Chattahoochee National Forest. You might see the occasional wild trout.

The river here is large for southeastern trout stream standards. It has quite a few big deep holes with slick rock shelving that can be tricky for wading this water. We recommend using a wading staff for the unsteady fisherperson or it can also help you judge the depth of your next step when moving to other fishing spots. Further, using a wading belt, wading boots with felt with studs or vibram soles with studs, and polarized sunglasses are a must too. Polarized sunglasses with amber lenses are the best to help folks see the floor of the stream as well as fish in the water.

Checking the water flow before you arrive at the river is a good idea. Flows less than 350cfs are easier to fish and safer to wade. Over that and you might consider hiring a guide with a drift boat to safely access the best water. To find out the flow rate, google TVA Valley Stream Flows and look for the Toccoa near Dial.

Here is a link to this information: TVA Valley Stream Flows

Fly selection need not be too complicated with general purpose nymphs, streamers, and dry flies working well most of the time. Wooly Buggers, Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tail, and Hares Ear Nymphs will normally catch a trout or two subsurface fishing. A Parachute Adams, Yellow Stimulator, and Elk Hair Caddis will take surface feeders. Being able to cast a long line and get a good drift without drag or slack in your fly line are essential here. A long 9 foot single hand fly rod in 4 or 5 weight should do the trick. Further, an 11 foot 2 or 3 weight trout spey rod should work for our swingers. Soft Hackles and Small Intruders are effective flies to swing in the many riffles and runs. Access is pretty good along the road at the top half of the river with every pull out normally almost sitting on a good run or hole. Weekends can be crowded so getting here early or late in the day will show you some peace. Hiking into the lower half of the delayed harvest will help eliminate competing for good runs or riffles on the river as well. The river fishes good all year, even in the heat of summer. You can catch fish early in the day before the throngs of tubers descend on the water. There are also a few smallmouth bass and spotted bass that make the trek from beautiful Lake Blue Ridge in the spring and summer. They are a welcome surprise for the fly angler.

We hope you will check out our 3 Hour Intro to Fly Fishing Class or Toccoa River Trout Spey Class for opportunities to fly fish with us on the Upper Toccoa River. We provide all gear needed.





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