Georgia is the 24th largest and 8th-most populous of the 50 United States, and when it comes to fishing, it is definitely a top destination. With nearly 700 miles of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and over 12,000 miles of rivers and streams, there are plenty of places to drop a line in Georgia.
Some of the best places to fly fish in Georgia include:
- Cartecay River
- Chattahoochee River - Lower
- Chattahoochee River - Upper
- Chestatee River Tributaries
- Cooper Creek
- Jacks River
- Lake Rabun
- Lake Seed and more.
Because the waters of Georgia are so diverse, they offer a variety of fish species for anglers to target, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, catfish, Crappie, and more. This article will explore all 13 of the top fly fishing destinations Georgia has to offer.
Best Fly Fishing locations in Georgia
You will find some of the best fly fishing in the southeastern United States in Georgia. Let's look at why!
1. Cartecay River
The Cartecay River is located in the North Georgia mountains and is a tributary of the Ellijay River. It is well-known for its fly fishing, as it is home to a large population of trout. The river is easily accessible and offers beautiful scenery and excellent fishing opportunities.
The Cartecay River is a 19.1-mile (30.7 km) river that flows into Ellijay, Georgia, in Gilmer County. It's home to a class II whitewater run. The Coosawattee River is formed by the Cartecay and Ellijay rivers merging in Ellijay. Most of the Cartecay watershed is located in Gilmer County, Georgia, but there are small parts of the watershed in Fannin, Pickens, and Dawson counties.
Stemming from the Chattahoochee National Forest, Clear Creek, Licklog Creek, Owltown Creek, Anderson Creek, and Tickanetley Creek are the major tributaries of the Cartecay River. Most of the property is unoccupied, although some residential towns are along the river.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Cartecay River, Georgia:
2. Chattahoochee River - Lower
The Alabama and Georgia borders form the southern half of the Lower Chattahoochee River and a portion of the Florida-Georgia border. It is a tributary of the Apalachicola River, which is formed by the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers and empties into Apalachicola Bay in Florida's Gulf of Mexico.
The Chattahoochee River is 431 miles (690 kilometers) in length. The Apalachicola–Chattahoochee–Flint River Basin includes the Flint, Chattahoochee, and Apalachicola rivers. The drainage basin of the Chattahoochee is made up of most of the ACF's waterways.
The end of the Chattahoochee River is in the city of Chattahoochee, FL. From there, it becomes known as the Apalachicola River, which travels (160 miles) to reach the city of Apalachicola, FL.
To get the best experience, look for a local Georgia Fly Fishing Guide to get you into the best spots.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Chattahoochee River - Lower Section, Georgia:
3. Chattahoochee River - Upper
The Upper Chattahoochee River rises in Jacks Gap on the border of Union and Walker counties, Georgia's southeastern corner, at the foot of Jacks Knob. The river's source is located in Jacks Gap, near the northeastern extremity of Union County's southern Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Tennessee Valley Divide runs north-south through the headwaters of the river. The upper reaches of the Chattahoochee River and its source are within Chattahoochee National Forest.
The Upper Chattahoochee River, which has its source in the Blue Ridge Mountains and courses south westerly to Atlanta before turning due-south to form the Georgia/Alabama state line's southern border, is one of the most well-known rivers in the United States. It flows through a series of reservoirs and artificial lakes before emptying into Lake Sidney Lanier near Columbus, Georgia's third-largest city.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Chattahoochee River - Upper Section, Georgia:
4. Chestatee River Tributaries
The Chestatee River is a 32.76-mile-long (52.72 km) river in northern Georgia, which begins at the confluence of Dicks Creek and Frogtown Creek near the junction of US 19 and US 129 and flows down through Dahlonega before flowing under the northern end of the Georgia 400 expressway from Atlanta.
The Chestatee River basin area consists of three HUC-10 watersheds and 14 sub-watersheds. One of the most well-known sections of the Chestatee River is "Frog Hollow." This stream, which is privately owned and managed as trophy trout water, has some massive trout.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Chestatee River Tributaries, Georgia:
5. Cooper Creek
The Cooper Creek Recreation Area, in the North Georgia Mountains, is nestled on the shores of Cooper Creek. Campers can participate in various activities, including camping, hiking, trout fishing, and hunting. Anglers may fish for wild and stocked trout in Cooper Creek and Mulky Creek, both of which are ideal trout streams. Before heading out, check State fishing regulations. Typically, a State fishing license and trout stamp are required.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Cooper Creek, Georgia:
6. Jacks River
The Jacks River, also known as Jack's Fork of the Conasauga River, is a 19.4-mile river in northwest Georgia's Cohutta Wilderness Area. The Conasauga River flows into the Jacks River before it crosses 411 Highway. The Jacks River may be accessed via National Forest Service roads in Georgia and Tennessee. It joins the Conasauga just inside Tennessee near the Georgia-Tennessee state line, slightly north of where it crosses into Tennessee.
Most of its water is in either the Cohutta Wilderness Area or the Chattahoochee National Forest. Jacks River, unlike the Conasauga River, is formed on private property outside public parks.
The West and South forks of Jacks River merge to form the main part of the river, both of which are on private property. Inaccessible by roads, this upper river has a population of Appalachian brook trout native to it.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Jacks River, Georgia:
7. Lake Rabun
Lake Rabun is a twisting 835-acre (3.4 km2) reservoir in Georgia's Rabun County, located in the state's northeastern corner. It is the third of six lakes in a series that follows the original course of the Tallulah River and begins with Lake Burton as the northernmost lake.
Lake Seed comes next, followed by Lake Rabun, Tallulah Falls, Tugalo, and Yonah Lakes. The 10-mile (16 km) stretch of the Tallulah River where Lake Rabun was constructed runs through a deep valley.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Lake Rabun, Georgia:
- Double Bunny Black and Olive - Size 6
- Zoo Cougar Yellow and Natural - Size 6
- Muddler Minnow - Size 4
8. Lake Seed
Lake Seed is a 240-acre (0.97 km2) reservoir in Rabun County, Georgia, United States, with 13 miles (21 km) of shoreline and the second lake in a chain of six reservoirs built along the original riverbed of the Tallulah River. Each lake in the sequence is formed by hydropower dams run by Georgia Power.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Lake Seed, Georgia:
9. Mountaintown Creek
Mountaintown Creek is a tributary of the Coosawattee River in Georgia, United States, located 5.1 miles from Elders, GA. Mountaintown Creek is a brook situated near Ellijay in Gilmer County, Georgia, and is just 5.1 miles from Elders.
Catfish, bream/bluegill, lake trout, carp, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, blue catfish, brown trout, tiger trout, and rock bass may be caught here. Whether you're baitcasting, fly fishing, spinning, or trolling, here you'll have plenty of opportunities to catch a bite.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Mountaintown Creek, Georgia:
- Prince Nymph Beadhead - Size 12
- Holy Grail-Tungsten - Hairs Ear - Size 12
- Flashback Pheasant Tail Beadhead Gold - Size 18
10. Noontootla creek
The headwaters of Noontootla Creek are at Springer Mountain, near Frying Pan Gap. It is a tributary of the Upper Toccoa River and begins in the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area. This medium-sized freestone creek has a healthy population of wild brown and rainbow trout, as well as native brook trout. This is a catch-and-release-only creek with the exception of trout up to 16 inches long.
Brown trout of 6-12 inches are found in this creek, with some of the browns being larger. Several tributaries of the creek enter into the headwaters, where it is said that brook trout hideout. This stream isn't as packed as you'd expect.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Noontootla Creeks, Georgia:
11. Rock Creek
Rock Creek is a National Fish Hatchery in the Chattahoochee National Forest, where they release over 324,000 rainbow trout each year alongside 460,000 other fish. Rock Creek is a trophy trout stream, and fly fishing is highly encouraged if you want to catch big fish; nevertheless, it isn't required.
Rock Creek is only accessible during certain seasons and has limited restrictions on the type of license required and authorized, so before heading out, contact the national forest service.
Recommended Fly Patterns for Rock Creek, Georgia:
- Kaufmanns Stimulators Yellow and Orange - Size 12
- Formerly known as prince - Size 14
- San Juan Worm - Size 12
12. Soque River
The Soque River and its watershed are within Habersham County, Georgia's boundaries. The Soque is a tributary of the Chattahoochee River. State Route 197 runs along parts of the river.
The Soque River is 28.5 miles (45.9 kilometers) long and has a watershed of 83,983 acres (340 km2). The Chattahoochee National Forest's Chattooga Ranger District contains approximately 17,524 acres (71 km2), or 17% of the flow. Tray Mountain Wilderness encompasses a portion of the river, its basin, and part of the watershed.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Soque River, Georgia:
- RS2 Emerger - Gray & Love - Size 20-22
- CDC Caddis Emerger- Size 16
- Hotwire Prince Nymph Beadhead- Size #12
13. Toccoa River
The Toccoa River rises on the wilderness mountain slopes of southwestern Union County in the Chattahoochee National Forest of the Eastern United States, Western Continental Divide. The Toccoa then flows north into the remote upper reaches of Fannin County.
This river is unexpectedly broad for a high mountain stream and frequented by both canoeing and fishing. Private property is encountered in certain sections of the river, so contact your local forestry to ensure that you may fish in public areas if necessary.
Recommended Fly Patterns for the Toccoa River, Georgia:
- Royal Wolf - Size 12
- Kaufmanns Stimulators Orange - Size 12
- Graphic Caddis Pupa Tan or green - Size 16
What Gear do I need to Fly Fish in Georgia?
Because of the variety of waters in Georgia, the length of your rod is determined by how far you intend to cast, which takes into account the size of the river, stream, or lake. If you're in a tight area, go for an eight-foot rod or shorter; if you have more room to maneuver, go for a nine-foot pole.
The most important gear when fly fishing in Georgia is your line. In general, use a floating line when fishing dry flies and nymphs on rivers and streams. If you're fishing streamers or wet flies, use a sinking-tip or full-sinking line.
In general, a pair of waders will keep you dry and comfortable when fly fishing in Georgia. Waders also have the added benefit of providing a place to store extra gear.
Is fly fishing good in Georgia?
Fly fishing in Georgia can be a great experience, whether you're a beginner or an experienced angler. There are many different types of fish to be caught, and the state has a variety of different waters to choose from.
Does Georgia have good trout fishing?
Georgia has some of the world's most pristine and beautiful trout fishing streams. Georgia's 4,000 miles of trout streams are regularly replenished to accommodate the more than 100,000 trout enthusiasts who enjoy the state's delicious waters. Trout fishing in Georgia can be excellent, particularly in the northern part of the state.
Is there a season for trout fishing in Georgia?
From March through October, the Wildlife Resources Division and the US Fish & Wildlife Service stock rainbows, brown trout, and brook trout in Georgia's streams. However, trout waters are open all year in Georgia.
Are there trout streams in Georgia?
Georgia has over 4,000 miles of trout streams, making it one of the best states in the country for trout fishing.
There are plenty of trout streams in Georgia, and the state is home to a variety of different trout species. Some of the best trout streams in Georgia include: Rock Creek, Soque River, Toccoa River, and Chattahoochee River.
Best Time to Fly Fish in Georgia?
The best time to fly fish in Georgia depends on the type of fish you're hoping to catch. For trout, the best time to fish is from March through October, when the state stocks rainbow, brown trout, and brook trout in its streams.
Georgia offers some of the best fly fishing in the country, whether you're a beginner or an experienced angler. With over 4,000 miles of trout streams, the state is home to a variety of different trout species. The best time to fly fish in Georgia depends on the type of fish you're hoping to catch, but in general, the best time to fish is from March through October.