Updated: Aug 28
Summer is arguably the best time to be on the water in North Georgia. There’s no better way to beat the heat than hopping in the river. Fly fishing during the summer has its ups and downs whether you’re looking for trout or striper. The quality of fishing can be tied directly to the amount of rain that falls in the northern part of the state from May to July. For beginners to fly fishing in Georgia, summer offers an excellent time to learn about fly angling much more quickly than other times of the year as the fish will be feeding with abandon for several months. For experienced anglers, summer is an outstanding time of year to explore new trout streams in Georgia. Lower flows and hungry trout are an excellent combination that allow you to fish with more confidence while hunting your next honey hole.
Fly Fishing North Georgia’s Wild Trout Streams in Summer
Wild trout streams offer the best fly fishing in North Georgia during the summer. You can be assured the trout will be looking up for their next meal on the surface. This means the best dry fly fishing of the year. Particular dry fly patterns are not too important as these trout are indiscriminate on what their next meal will look like. Depending on the body of water you are fishing, fly selection in North Georgia should be based on function, not profile or style. For instance, while fishing faster or more turbulent creeks and rivers, more buoyant flies that ride higher on the surface such as a stimulator, small hoppers, or caddis pattern will serve you best. This will eliminate the hassle of dealing with sunk flies and limited visibility. On slower, low gradient streams, smaller flies can be used, and work especially well if the trout have been pressured. I opt to fish a tandem of the two groups which best allows the trout to decide what patterns may be working better on a given day. Summer also gives anglers the best opportunity of the year to learn how trout utilize different holding water. During the summer months, trout will hold in just about every water type from fast, shallow riffles to deep slow pools. Based on the time of day and weather, trout will move in and out of these areas in search of the best possible feeding opportunities. Learning these movements can lead to some incredible fishing. Bug activity during the warmer months typically revolves around the late evenings, throughout the night, and early mornings. This makes the low light hours the best time to be on the stream. Fly fishing will still be effective throughout the day.
Fly Fishing for Georgia’s Appalachian Slam
Summer is the best time of year to target the Appalachian Slam. This is an awesome challenge for any angler in Georgia. Summer and Fall are just about the only time of year you don’t have to rely on a bit of luck to consistently land a brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout, during a day on the water. Knowing where these fish are and can be caught is the true challenge for anglers who have spent a lot of time exploring North Georgia. These trout will all be focused on the surface throughout these months, so tie on your favorite dry fly and start covering a lot of water.
Fly Fishing North Georgia’s Stocked Trout Streams in Summer
Stocked trout streams are more hit and miss during the summer months. Stocking will continue on most streams through June, which will keep trout fishing consistent. July brings the end of regular trout stocking in the smaller and low elevation streams. These streams will either be stocked once a month throughout the summer or left alone until the fall. You can learn which streams fall into this category in our North Georgia Trout Fishing Stream Guide. Stocked trout will be best in the popular streams across the state as stocking continues throughout the summer months. During late spring and early summer these creeks will be loaded with anglers during the weekends as camping will still be popular. After the dog days of summer begin, the herds of campers will lose interest, and the fishing pressure will ease up. Catching stocked trout is still catching stocked trout in the summer. A hopper dropper should appeal to any non-pressured trout it passes. If they are put off by the dropper, change patterns until you strike their curiosity.
Fly Fishing Georgia’s Tailwater Rivers in Summer
Georgia’s Tailwaters are an excellent place to spend a hot summer day. However, the trout fishing on the Toccoa River below Lake Blue Ridge, and Chattahoochee River below Lake Lanier can be heavily trafficked during the summer months. The Toccoa River in particular will see nearly endless tubers and kayakers from about 9am until sundown. Even the weekdays can be busy during the summer. Fishing early in the morning is the best option to avoid these crowds that can make for a frustrating day of fishing. This strategy works out well as majority of the daylight hour bug hatches will be in the early morning and late evening. The Chattahoochee also sees the big weekend turnouts but not quite like the Toccoa. The early morning is the best time to hit the Hooch. Fishing further downriver below Hwy 20 is a good way to avoid much of the river traffic around mid-day. The summer generation schedule typically leaves the river unfishable in the late afternoon and evening hours. Though if generation ends earlier than normal the late evening midge hatch below the dam can be outstanding. This is a great time to target wild brown trout who become more active during the low light hours. Dry fly fishing the Chattahoochee River will be at its best during these times.
Georgia Summer Striper Fly Fishing
Summer Striper Fishing in Georgia can be limited on the fly. Striper in Lake Lanier and Lake Oconee will have made there move to deeper water and only rarely moving to the surface during the early summer months. To find a consistent bite you must move to the rivers. Trout in the upper Etowah and Chestatee will likely have pushed their way back down to the reservoirs by mid June. Striper in the Chattahoochee above Lanier may stay a bit longer but can be more challenging to find. Smaller headwaters such as the Coosawatee River or Nottely River may be more productive for those who have boat access during June and July. The best summer striper fishing will be found in the rivers that lie between two reservoirs. The Etowah River between Lake Weiss and Carters Lake and the various sections of the Chattahoochee provide the best opportunities for striper fishing in the summer as large migrations occur in both rivers beginning in late spring and early summer. A boat is certainly helpful to giving you the best opportunity at one of these behemoths, though several shoals on the Chattahoochee below Morgan Falls are accessible by wading anglers. The best times to target these striper are during low light hours as this is mainly when they will feed. High sun is certainly not your friend and will either put fish deep or make them inactive. When trying to locate fish focus on areas that act as pinch point in the river. This is where striper can herd and ambush their prey, typically threadfin and gizzard shad. Shallow shoals may seem like an unlikely place to hold a ten pound fish or bigger, but it is shocking just how these striper will use the skinny water when they are feeding. Good presentations can be dead drifting large baitfish patters through funnel points in shallow falls on the shoals or casting parallel to the shoals and quickly retrieving the fly as it swings down current. Do not be afraid to through some BIG fly patterns at these fish. They more you can catch their eye, the more drawing power you will have. When hungry they are incredibly greedy.