North Georgia's State Parks offer visitors plenty of opportunities to catch fish from Sloppy Floyd State Park to Black Rock Mountain State Park. While several parks do include small lakes and ponds such as Vogel State Park, Unicoi State Park, and Fort Mountain State Park. Many allow public access to small North Georgia streams where anglers can try their hand at fly fishing. While trout are the main target in many of these small streams, small sunfish, and bass are also present and a worthy challenge for anglers. Most trout in these waters are stocked, but wild rainbows can be found along smaller stretches of streams. Beginning in the Northeast corner of the state, Timpson Creek flows through Black Rock Mountain State Park.
Black Rock Mountain State Park Fly Fishing
The Timpson Creek headwaters begin in the heart of Black Rock Mountain State Park and flow westward. While Timpson Creek is mostly stocked further downstream along Hwy 162 west of Clayton, the headwaters within the park may have some wild trout moving on and out. The largest pull for anglers is the small, 17 acre, Black Rock Lake which is stocked during the cooler months of the year. This is an excellent opportunity for beginners and young fly anglers to get out and cast in a more open setting. Woolly buggers will be the best choice for fly anglers here as the still waters will make traditional flies less effective. Slow stripping and combing larger areas with repeated casts will produce the best results.
Moccasin Creek State Park Fly Fishing
Further to the west, anglers can visit Moccasin Creek State Park. Home to one of Georgia's largest fish hatcheries, visitors can see the raceways filled with the soon to be stocked trout. The special regulation area can be found here for anglers over the age of 65 and younger than 11. This is a great location to introduce your kids to trout fishing or fly fishing. Think simple on these waters. Woolly Buggers and junk fly patterns such as a mop jig, eggs, and squirmy worms are enough to fool most of the trout here. Anglers hiking further upstream towards Hemlock Falls can fish for stocked trout throughout the year using similar patterns. Wild trout can be found above Hemlock Falls and offer a great challenge for experienced anglers and excellent dry fly fishing. Stealth is paramount when targeting these wily trout.
Unicoi State Park Fly Fishing
Home to one of Georgia's best Delayed Harvest Trout Streams, Unicoi state park may be the best fly fishing opportunity in the state during the cold weather months. From November through May, Smith Creek is stocked heavily with trout and managed under catch and release regulations. This assures an abundance of trout for beginning and experienced anglers alike. You can learn more about how to fish Smith Creek and Georgia's Delayed Harvest Trout Streams here. The DH section is not the only fly angling opportunity in the park. Above Unicoi Lake, the upper section of Smith Creek is stocked throughout the spring and into summer. The trout tend to not last very long as they are harvested rather quickly. Moving upstream towards Anna Ruby Falls, fly fisherman can target wild rainbow trout on dry flies that see little attention from the catch and keep fisherman. This is beautiful water to fish and you will likely have the small creek to yourself during your outing. Anglers looking to target bass and sunfish can spend some time on Unicoi Lake and have a bit more room for casting than what they would find on Smith Creek. Running into a stray rainbow trout at the top of the lake is not all that unheard of either.
Smithgall Woods State Park
On the opposite side of Helen from Unicoi State Park lies Smithgall Woods State Park. While many of Georgia's State Parks offer fly fishing as an afterthought to their visitors. Smithgall Woods and Dukes Creek is designed especially for trout anglers. Dukes creek is the best opportunity for fly anglers to run into a trophy sized trout in all of North Georgia. The creek requires anglers to make reservations which caps at 20 anglers and is only open to fishing on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from October through May. Anglers staying at the cabins on the park are allowed to fish the uppermost sections outside of these times. Because of the pressure it receives the popular creek receives, small flies are the best option. Stealth during low water conditions is key to running into bigger trout. High water can make trout a bit more aggressive which also puts bigger flies back on the menu. While the fishing in the creek has trended down the past few years, the number of wild trout is doing exceedingly well, especially in the upper sections.
Vogel State Park Fly Fishing
Located between Dahlonega and Blairsville, Vogel State park offers lake and small stream fishing for trout. Similar to Black Rock Mountain, Wooly buggers will get the most attention from fish being target within Lake Trahlyta, in the heart of the park. Wolf Creek will hold populations of wild trout, creek chubs, and shiners which can be a great time for young anglers but likely frustrating for experience anglers not able to get a good hook into most of their fish. Late Spring and Summer are the best times to visit the park in the search for trout on the fly.
Amicalola Falls State Park
West of Dahlonega, off of Hwy 52, Amicalola Falls State Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in North Georgia. For anglers, when the crowds wane during the coldest days of winter and early spring, the small pool at the foot of the falls is stocked with trout on a regular basis. The fish in a barrel analogy has never been better used. For beginners and kids looking to try their hand at fly fishing, this can be a worthwhile stop if your timing is right. Woolly buggers in the still waters and small squirmy worms in areas with current are enough to fool most trout in the pool. If the trout seem to be absent, there are plenty of other opportunities to be found further north into the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area. Upstream of the falls, anglers can find some wild trout. Dense cover along the small creek makes casting tough but is still very doable. Dry flies are the best bet here and can reward anglers with plenty of brilliantly colored wild rainbows.
Don Carter State Park Fly Fishing
Moving to the south, Don Carter State Park gives visitors access to the Chattahoochee River above Lake Lanier. Here anglers have an excellent chance at running into various bass species that call the river home. While Spotted and Largemouth bass can be found, it is the much less common Shoal bass which draws anglers to the state park. This is one of few places that grants public access to an excellent shoal bass fishery without the need of a boat, kayak, or tube to drift downriver. Mid to late summer through the fall are the best time to get out on the river and navigate the endless pools, shoals and rock outcroppings. Streamers can be the most productive patterns here fished aggressively around the deeper water seams and plunges. Don't overlook larger stonefly and crawfish patterns on days when the action is slow. Determined anglers can also find migrating striped bass moving through in mid to late spring. These migrations are triggered by heavier flows, so doing a lot of wading is likely not the best idea at these times. Striped bass will stage in deeper pools and at choke points of the river, much like salmon do during their upstream runs. Brightly colored streamers fished in fast water are the best way to elicit strikes from these behemoths.
Learn more about North Georgia Fly Fishing from our website. We discuss the best fly fishing destinations in Georgia, as well as the opportunities for Fly Fishing in Dahlonega, Fly Fishing in Blue Ridge, Fly Fishing in Ellijay, Fly Fishing in Helen, Fly Fishing in Blairsville, and Fly Fishing in Clayton.