There are so many fantastic ways to spend quality time in North Georgia. Here, visitors and locals alike love dining at award-winning restaurants, strolling into charming family-owned shops, and taking advantage of all that the surrounding wilderness has to offer. One of the best ways for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains is to go fly fishing! We compiled everything you need to know about fishing in North Georgia, an incredible way to experience our surrounding mountain scenery. Before packing your bags for North Georgia to catch a big one, be sure to download our free North Georgia Vacation Guide! This helpful document has helped so many visitors plan unforgettable trips.
About Fishing in North Georgia
North Georgia fly fishing is a fantastic experience for both skilled fishermen and beginners alike. It’s also a year-round affair! Whether you choose the Soque River, Lake Rabun, or the Chattahoochee River for your excursion, you’ll find that our backcountry tailwaters flow cold in every season. Many of North Georgia’s most coveted species and their food sources thrive in water temperatures between 52 and 58 degrees, and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. Water temperatures fluctuate between the low 40s and mid-60s depending on the season, but the spring and summer seasons reliably bring near-perfect conditions for fly fishing.
No matter what time of year you visit, you won’t leave our streams empty-handed. In addition to the environment’s naturally occurring populations, North Georgia’s waters support hatchery-grown rainbow and brown trout. North Georgia hatcheries distribute more than one million trout across 30 North Georgia counties, so you’re sure to reel one in! Though our streams are normally stocked year-round, a late spring or early summer visit basically guarantees fully stocked streams.
Some of the Species You’ll Catch
Brown trout are among the most common fish that naturally inhabit North Georgia tailwaters. Even though their populations are restocked often, Brown trout frequently grow larger than 10 pounds!
Many “trophy” catches in North Georgia are either Brown or Rainbow trout. These colorful, spotted fish are commonly harvested for food, but they’re fun to catch and release as well.
The Brook trout is one of North Georgia’s indigenous fish species. Unfortunately, higher Brown and Rainbow trout populations overtake this fish’s natural habitat, so finding these “blue lines” can be difficult. Seasoned North Georgia anglers don’t often disclose their favorite wild trout fishing spots, but there’s a chance you’ll discover one on your own. Spend some time exploring remote streams in the Chattahoochee National Forest and you may just find one!
The Largemouth bass population in North Georgia is higher than it’s been in nearly a decade, so the odds are in your favor for catching at least one. People most often catch Largemouth bass that are less than a foot long and under one pound, but there’s always a chance you’ll reel in a big one!
Spotted bass are also common catches in North Georgia. Most of the Spotted bass here weigh between one and two pounds. The best way to capture one of these fish is to venture over to Lake Rabun, which is located under 30 minutes away from Glen-Ella Springs Inn.
Lake Rabun is also a fantastic spot to score some bream, which can weigh up to a half-pound! This North Georgia lake is home to Shellcracker, Redbreast, and Bluegill bream varieties.
Walleye are some of the hardest fish to catch in North Georgia, but their numbers are higher than in years past. If you are lucky enough to catch one, you can expect it to be between two and four pounds.
Where to Go Fly Fishing in North Georgia
The Soque River
The Soque River in Habersham County, Georgia, is a breathtaking and unique body of water. It flows approximately 30 miles through private land before emptying into the Chattahoochee River. Soque River fly fishing was once a hidden secret, but has since become a beloved hobby for area fishermen. The river consists of several sub-basins including the Headwaters, Raper Creek, Shoal Creek, Deep Creek, Hazel Creek, Beaverdam Creek, and Yellow Bank Creek. Many sections of the Soque River are wadable and all are absolutely full of fish.
Water temperatures on the upper Soque River are ideal for supporting large numbers of trout. Landowners and local fisheries ensure that the fish are well fed to maintain their trophy size. Whether you’re an avid angler or beginner seeking a guided trip, Soque River fly fishing is an exciting and fun way to spend an afternoon in the North Georgia Mountains!
Lake Rabun, Georgia is an 834-acre body of water located in the town of Lakemont. It’s first and foremost a paradise for fishermen of all skill levels, offering plenty of big catches to reel in. Many other visitors love exploring via a Lake Rabun boat rental or kayaking the shining waters while viewing beautiful waterfront real estate. Most strive to do all three on their visit to North Georgia!
The Chattahoochee River
The Chattahoochee River is home to some of the most treasured fly fishing spots. Many of the trailheads that follow this river’s route lead to remote, high-elevation havens for woodland trout fishing. This river is the nation’s southernmost tailwater trout fishing location and maintains the largest population of wild brown trout in the Southeast. Within The Chattahoochee, you’ll discover breathtaking chutes, waterfalls, glides, riffles, and plunges. Your fly fishing trip to The Chattahoochee will double as a refreshing retreat into the Blue Ridge backcountry! We think this river and the surrounding National Forest is especially gorgeous in the fall.
Our Favorite North Georgia Fly Fishing Outfitters
Black Hawk Fly Fishing
Black Hawk Fly Fishing offers private fishing trips along a two-mile stretch of the Soque River. This outfitter's stream is a haven for trout; it features strong rapids and deep pools that flow over the rocky riverbed. Over the years, Black Hawk Fly Fishing has helped anglers reel in some of the country's largest trout. Get ready to catch a big one!
Located just 20 minutes from Glen-Ella Springs Inn, Brigadoon Lodge operates an enormous bend in the Soque River. This section is surrounded by the Chattahoochee National Forest ad boasts 360-degree mountain views. This area is especially beautiful in the spring, when 300-year-old mountain laurels, azaleas, and rhododendron bloom. If you prefer cooler temperatures, check it out in the fall when the leaves are changing. Be sure to stop by the Brigadoon Lodge Fly Shop for fishing lessons, custom rods, high-quality reels, a full selection of hand-tied flies, waders, and other equipment. You’ll also love this outfitter’s local wine offerings!
Fern Valley on the Soque
About four miles north of Clarkesville, family-owned Fern Valley on the Soque offers both productive trout fishing and plenty of heart! Owners Glad and Marty Simmons vowed to be good stewards of the land they fell in love with, and that philosophy shows. The Simmons family offers fishing on their half-mile stretch of the river as well as walking trails, picnic tables, fire pits, and swings. Fly fishing on the Soque must follow a few simple regulations:
- All fish must be catch-and-release
- Only four anglers are allowed in the stream at a time (excluding group reservations)
- Anglers may fish between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Landing nets must be used
- No dark egg-patterned fish must be captured.
Riverside Trout Fishing
Located in historic Batesville, Georgia, Riverside Trout Fishing holds Georgia's current state record for the largest Rainbow Trout. Here, fishermen can choose between full- or half-day trips hosted by a private guide. You'll be taken out on the water and shown where the biggest fish reside. Be sure to bring your camera for this trip!
Unicoi Outfitters offers trophy trout fishing on several private streams. These areas provide fly fishermen with the opportunity to find trout measured in pounds, not inches. Many successful days on the water result from trips on Unicoi's streams. These lucrative spots include The Nacoochee Bend, Riverside on the Soque, and Noontootla Creek Farm.
Where to Stay After Fly Fishing in North Georgia
Now that you’ve decided to try your hand at fly fishing in North Georgia, you’ll need somewhere to stay! Support another family-owned business in Clarkesville, Georgia, when you stay at historic Glen-Ella Springs Inn. Our beautifully rustic accommodations include amenities you won’t find anywhere else like wraparound decks, heart pine wood accents, and a complimentary gourmet breakfast each morning. You’ll even have easy access to our award-winning restaurant for a delicious meal after spending a day on the water!