Updated: Dec 2, 2022
Dahlonega, Georgia gets less recognition than it should for the surrounding trout streams in the area, but there are many opportunities in a short proximity of town. Whether you are looking for stocked trout, trophy trout, wild trout, or any of the three trout species that occupy Georgia waters, Dahlonega puts you in a position to target them all. Along with the trout fishing, Dahlonega offers some of the most scenic streams in the state of Georgia as well. Dicks Creek Falls, DeSoto Falls, Bearden Falls, Cochran Falls, Amicalola Falls, and Black Falls are all within a very short distance of town. And yes, you can find some trout, mostly wild trout, around all of them making fly fishing in Dahlonega a great place to immerse yourself in the Georgia mountains,
Chestatee River Trout Fishing
The Chestatee River is the main body of water that runs through Dahlonega. Though the river mostly consists of black and white bass species from the city limits southward, the upper reaches of the river and its headwater tributaries are primarily trout streams. The main stem of the Chestatee does get stocked during the spring and early summer just north of town along some of the bridges. Majority of the rivers public access is limited to the bridge right of ways. Wading for conventional or fly anglers is limited to the headwater streams, but still some of the best fly fishing in North Georgia.
Dicks Creek Trout Fishing
Dicks creek is the largest tributary of the Chestatee River. It also receives the most stocked fish out of all the tributary creeks in the area. Because of this, it is no wonder it's also the most popular trout fishery around Dahlonega. Dicks Creek is stocked year-round but sees most of its pressure between late spring and summer. In the summertime, the creek can be incredibly crowded not only with anglers, but visitors who are trying to escape the heat in the deep pools below the falls. For anglers looking to escape the crowds, there are a couple wadable, public water stretches downstream where you may have the creek to yourself. Upstream of the falls you can find the smaller wild trout which won’t do much for the anglers looking for a cheap meal but can be very exciting to target on the fly. The headwaters lead all the way up to Blood Mountain. Trout can be found in these tiny tributaries that lead to the Appalachian trail.
Waters Creek Trout Fishing
The sister creek to Dicks Creek, the two Chestatee tributaries meet just above the large falls. Waters creek was at one time a productive trout fishery much like Dukes creek near Helen. Additional management was put into place to promote public water trophy trout. However, this project has been somewhat of a failure as the creek is largely unproductive. Waters does receive stocking once a year still but the trout seem to either disappear or fall victim to poachers. There are still wild trout throughout the creek, although the creek chubs are a menace to any fly drifted through the pools and seams.
Upper Chestatee River Trout Fishing
The two creeks that comprise the two northernmost tributaries of the Chestatee are Frogtown and Boggs Creek. Due to their closer proximity to Blairsville, I have addressed the further in our Trout Fishing Blairsville article. These two creeks are stocked in the spring and early summer.
Frogtown Creek Trout Fishing
Frogtown Creek is stocked below the Desoto Falls Recreation Area Campground. Trout tend not to last long at this location either as the trout disperse or are harvested from the heavily trafficked campground. Above the campground you can find small wild rainbow trout for several miles up the creek. Look for deeper rungs and plunges to hold most of the fish. During high water conditions, I have found more fish in the shallower riffles and tails.
Boggs Creek Trout Fishing
Boggs Creek receives more stocked trout than its neighbor, Frogtown. The more dispersed campground allows these trout to spread out through the creek and find cover. Because of this there is just about always trout to be caught in Boggs Creek. In the fall during low water periods, these trout can get spooky after a season worth of fishing pressure. For the adventurous angler, a short hike into the upper reaches of the creek will yield many wild rainbow trout and the occasion stray stocker that has found its way up the small falls and plunges.
Ward Creek Trout Fishing
Ward Creek is a tributary of Zwerner Lake, just north of town. Ward is stocked several times in the spring and summer but offers little in terms of public access. The bridges are just about the only access for shore bound anglers.
Yahoola Creek Trout Fishing
Yahoola Creek is the last tributary of the Chestatee that is stocked by the state. Yahoola is the larger tributary of lake Zwerner. Like Ward Creek, it is only stocked in the springtime along one of the main bridges that crosses the creek. Angling is limited to the shore as the upper reaches are private water, much of which is not likely to hold trout year round anyways.
Etowah River Trout Fishing
Just west of Dahlonega lies the Etowah watershed. The river and its tributaries run south before heading further west to Lake Allatoona. The Etowah can be broken down into two distinct trout fisheries. Much like the Chestatee, most of the lower sections of the river run through private land while the upper reaches are found on a large expanse of public land. Two sections of the lower Etowah are stocked along the bridges with public access. I have found these areas do not keep the stocked trout long as they either are fished out rather quickly, or the trout do not hang around long. There is a large stretch of the river that sees very few anglers. While there aren’t many trout in this long stretch of river, you can be assured these trout have not seen flies or lures in some time. Be prepared to do some hiking and traverse some dense understory if you plan to stalk these untouched trout. As you move upstream to the headwaters you can find wild trout below the numerous falls, plunge pools, and tail outs. These wild fish are great for sight fishing as they like to set up in the lower parts of the pools and shallow runs. Georgia dry fly fishing is at its best here and will see good success at least 10 months out of the year.
Jones Creek Trout Fishing
Jones Creek is one of the larger tributaries of the upper Etowah drainage. Jones Creek receives no stocking from the state of Georgia. Beside a few small stretches toward the confluence of the Etowah, Jones Creek runs through public lands within the national forest. The creek contains smaller wild brown trout in its upper reaches with the occasional rainbow trout on the lower end. The stream is mostly wadable with only a few steep holes below the campground and a couple scattered log jams to traverse.
Nimblewill Creek Trout Fishing
Nimblewill Creek is another Etowah tributary similar in size to Jones Creek. Nimblewill is stocked regularly throughout the year with trout. It does not receive the same number of trout as similar sized stocked creeks such as Rock Creek, Wildcat, or Coopers, so it doesn’t see as much of the crowds. However, the skinny water and much fewer deep water refuges in the creek tend to make the trout easy pickings for anglers. Because of this the stocked trout tend not to last too long. There is a fair number of wild rainbows found in the creek for anglers willing to leave the beaten path. Dry flies are an excellent choice for majority of the year. The upper half of the creek all falls on public land while the lower half to its confluence with the Etowah is private.
Amicalola Creek Trout Fishing
Amicalola Creek is not only a popular destination for tourists looking for an easily accessible waterfall, but one of the most popular trout fisheries in the state. The creek can be split into three sections. The lower section where you can find the Amicalola Delayed Harvest, the middle section which is stocked from spring to early July, and the upper section located above Amicalola falls. In the upper section, you can find wild rainbow trout in decent numbers. Some of the creek is easily accessible but the best success is to be had in the upper reaches under a much denser canopy. The middle section from the falls to the DH is stocked at each of the public access points with a fair number of trout. Straying away from the heavily trafficked parking areas will yield better results and trout that have become more in tune with their new environment. For more information about the Amicalola Delayed Harvest Section, check out our article that better outlines Georgia’s delayed harvest to understand these popular seasonal trout fisheries.
Cochrans Creek Trout Fishing
Cochrans Creek is a smaller tributary of the Etowah that receives much less traffic than Jones, Nimblewill, and Amicalola. According to the DNR, the state stocks Cochrans creek throughout the spring and into summer. During my visits, I haven’t once run into a stocked trout in the creek. Even though the upper end of the creek falls completely on public land, the lower reaches that fall on private land may see more of the stocking by the bridge access points. This could be the case, or someone may be extremely efficient at cleaning out the stockers. The creek does however have a good population of wild trout, and unfortunately creek chubs, all the way up to Cochrans Creek Falls. Traversing some of the large boulders, ledges, and outcroppings of the lower sectional of falls will lead you to the wild rainbows found in the many plunge pools.
Anderson Creek Trout Fishing
Anderson Creek begins in close proximity to Amicalola Creek. However, it does not belong to the Etowah River drainages like Amicalola,, but instead the Cartecay River drainage which eventually flows through Ellijay. The lower part of the creek closer to Ellijay flows completely through private lands but the upper reaches are found on public land and can be accessed from the road above Amicalola Falls. The creek has plenty of wild Rainbow trout. I have found some of the most colored-up bows in the state in this small creek. A vague footpath can lead you downstream to water open enough to make some short casts or bow and arrow casts. Trout can be found in just about every piece of water that runs deeper than your shin. Dry flies are ideal as it will be much easier to keep from getting hung up.
If you're looking for the best cabins and lodging for trout fishing in Dahlonega or if you are looking for other trout fishing destinations in Georgia, check out our Blue Ridge Fly Fishing Guide, Ellijay Fly Fishing Guide, Helen Fly Fishing Guide, Clayton Fly fishing Guide and Blairsville Fly Fishing Guide to learn where you can find more trout this year. If you know where you would like to fish but are just getting into fly fishing or need some help getting over that initial learning curve, take a look at our North Georgia Fly Fishing Trips. We can get you over the hump and ready to explore all North Georgia’s beautiful trout streams.