Trout Fishing Helen Georgia
Updated: Mar 17
Besides being one of the most popular towns for tourists visiting North Georgia, Helen offers more public water trout streams than any other town in the Georgia Mountains. Whether fly fishing or conventional angling, there are a handful of stocked trout streams, one trophy water trout stream, and what seems like endless wild trout streams, all within a half hour drive of Helen. All three trout species found in southern Appalachia, rainbow, brown, and brook trout, can be found in these streams that comprise the Upper Chattahoochee watershed. The headwaters of “The Hooch” begin high in the mountains north of Helen, and flow directly through downtown. On the other side of the ridge begins the headwaters of the Hiawassee River which also offers the opportunity to target wild and stocked trout that receive a bit less pressure than the Upper Chattahoochee. Fly fishing in Helen is best during the cooler months when there are a plethora of angling opportunities that spread out the angling pressure.
Soapstone Creek Trout Fishing
Soapstone Creek begins just below Brasstown Bald, the highest point in North Georgia. Soapstone is a lesser talked about stream in the area but offers some of the best fly fishing in Helen. The creek flows adjacent to Hwy 180, North of Helen. The lower portion of Soapstone is stocked regularly throughout the year. Despite its regular stocking schedule, Soapstone sees much less pressure than the other heavily stocked creeks in Georgia. As you would guess, this makes the task of finding trout much easier, and the bite more consistent. The upper reach of the creek has a good population of wild trout that are very willing to rise to a dry fly most of the year.
Upper Hiawassee River Trout Fishing
The Hiawassee headwaters run adjacent to Hwy 75 just across the ridge where the Appalachian Trail crosses. The cascades and plunge pools that comprise the high elevation section of the Hiawassee has plenty of wild trout. Navigating your way up the valley cut from the river can be difficult with many boulders and thick underbrush impeding access. You will likely have the stream to yourself as many opt for waters with easier access. High Shoals Creek and Brier Creek are also small tributary streams of the Hiawassee that hold wild trout and fish similar to the main stem.
Upper Chattahoochee River Trout Fishing
The Chattahoochee River can be split into two separate sections around Helen. The higher elevation creeks and main stem of the river down to the Martin Branch being the upper section. The lower section starting just below Helen to the confluence of Martin Branch Creek. I have split the two sections like this, as this is typically the divide on where you will or won't run into a majority of stocked trout.
Chattahoochee River Stocked Trout in Helen
This lower section is mostly stocked trout with the occasional wild trout around. Stocking is done in several locations throughout the year, and the trout tend not to move far. The off season, late fall through spring, are the best time to target these trout as the tubers will make fishing nearly impossible through town during the warmer months. Nymphs and junk flies are your best chance at landing these trout.
Chattahoochee River Headwater Trout Fishing
The upper section will have much better fishing during the warmer months along with being a better escape from the heat. Besides some stocked sections of Low Gap Creek, Jasus Creek, and Spoilcane Creek, the river has a good population of wild trout. Wild brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow can be caught in the main stem of the river. Vandiver Creek, Wilks Creek, Henson Creek, McClure Creek, Chinquapin Creek, Andrews Creek, and Horse Trough all have populations of wild trout that are very opportunistic feeders. Stealth is key as these trout can be very spooky. You can learn more about fishing the Upper Chattahoochee River and its many tributaries in our Chattahoochee River Fly Fishing Guide on The Best Place to Go Fly Fishing in Georgia.
Low Gap Creek Trout Fishing
Low Gap Creek is stocked regularly during the spring and summer and once more in the fall. Campers can usually fish the creek out quickly as the trout have few options for cover in the small creek. Straying away from the campgrounds may give you a chance at some hold over trout eager for a quick meal. There are wild trout above the campground if you have the patience to weed through the abundant creek chubs and shiners.
Jasus Creek Trout Fishing
Jasus Creek sets up like Low Gap Creek. The two creeks are typically stocked at the same time so if you run across stockers in one, you will likely find them in the other as well. The creek is marginally bigger and has a bit more cover than low gap. Wandering trout can survive a bit longer in the areas around the campground if they are able to find cover.
Spoilcane Creek Trout Fishing
Spoilcane is stocked with trout during spring and early summer. Most of the stream is accessible to the public as it parallels Hwy 75 north of town. There are several pull-offs where anglers can hop in the creek. Besides the seasonal stocked trout, anglers do have the opportunity to catch the smaller wild trout while making their way upstream.
Smith Creek Trout Fishing
Smith Creek can be split into two sections of trout streams due to regulations. The most popular stretch of Smith Creek that flows into the upper Chattahoochee River from Unicoi Lake is managed as a catch and release trout stream during the cooler months. The creek is incredibly trafficked during these months as it is one of the four Delayed Harvest trout fisheries in Georgia. This section of creek is void of trout during the summer when the chubs and shiners have the creek to themselves. You can learn more about Smith Creek and other DH fisheries in our Georgia Delayed Harvest Trout Streams article. The upper section of creek above the lake is inhabited by mostly wild trout, with a smaller section just above the lake being stocked throughout the year. The stocked fish tend to be harvested quickly due to the large amount of visitors and limited cover in the stream. The cascades and falls found in the headwaters offer optimal habitat for wild trout.
Dukes Creek Trout Fishing
Dukes Creek is another incredibly popular trout fishery in North Georgia. It’s popularity stems from its designation as a trophy trout stream. It is now the only public trophy trout stream in Georgia. Though the population of trout found in the stream has declined, there is no other public water trout stream in Georgia where you can regularly have a chance at a 20’+ trout. The stream is open to anglers from October through May and is stocked once per year. Because of the pressure it receives, small flies are the best option. Slow approaches during low water conditions are also key to running into bigger trout. High water is also known to make these trout a bit more aggressive which puts bigger flies back on the menu. Dukes Creek is a reservation only fishery that is only open to anglers on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so make sure to call in well in advance of your trip.
Raper Creek Trout Fishing
Raper Creek is a smaller creek that feeds the Soque River just east of Helen. Majority of Raper flows through private property, but a small portion of the creek is found on public land adjacent to Hwy 376 and is stocked in the throughout the spring months. As a lesser known trout stream, the creek does not get much attention from weekend visitors so locals will be the only competition on the creek.
Soque River Trout Fishing
The Soque is Georgia’s fabled private water trophy trout streams. While the North Georgia Fly Fishing Guides and their clients chase monster trout on the neighboring private water, the public water access is limited to two stretches found along the middle section of the creek and the headwaters. The middle section is stocked by the state regularly in the spring and summer and once again the fall. Along with the fish stocked by the state, high waters often move the trophy trout found on neighboring private waters onto the public section. This brings heavy pressure from local and visiting anglers to this small public section to try their luck at an oversized, pellet fed, trout of a lifetime. The upper section holds a population of wild trout. Like the many other wild trout streams, these trout don’t see much pressure, and will be eager to bite a modestly presented fly.
Chickamauga Creek Trout Fishing
Public access to Chickamauga creek is limited to the very upper end of the stream off Hwy 356 and the bridges crossing the stream. These bridges are where trout are stocked during the spring and summer. With the better fishing opportunities nearby, the stream is used only by the landowners.
Sautee Creek Trout Fishing
Sautee Creek is a tributary of Chickamauga Creek and offers similar limited public access. Time on the water is better spent in the areas with more public access.
Panther Creek Trout Fishing
Stocking on Panther Creek occurs on the lower end of the creek closer to the town of Clarkesville. The upper end however gets much less attention but holds a good population of wild trout. Access to this upper section can be found above Bear Gap Road. Dry flies and flashy droppers attract enough attention to assure some success on any visit.
Turner Creek Trout Fishing
Turner Creek is a small tributary stream of the Chestatee River found above Cleveland. The creek flows completely through private land and is stocked along the bridges leaving shore bound anglers the only opportunity to catch these stocked trout before they move.
Fly Fishing Helen GA
The Gear to bring when fly fishing Helen, changes throughout the year. The wild trout of summer require only a smaller rod and a box of your favorite dry flies. From Fall through Spring, anglers have more choices as stocked trout often fall for more junk fly patterns while the wild trout diets expand more toward subsurface offerings during these cooler months. The Delayed Harvest can be feast or famine depending on the angler traffic which is usually tied to the day of the week or the weather. If you find yourself fly fishing amongst the crowd, be sure to lose the bobber/indicator and work on achieving the best drift possible to fool the trout that have seen every fly in the book wash over their heads.
If you're looking for other things to do while visiting Helen or other parts of North Georgia, the Blue Ridge Travel Guide is an awesome resource to use to find interesting places to visit and find entertaining things to do during your trip.
Trout Fishing Helen GA
If you're looking for the best cabins and lodging for trout fishing in Helen or if you are looking for other trout fishing destinations in Georgia, check out our Blue Ridge Fly Fishing Guide, Ellijay Fly Fishing Guide, Blairsville Fly Fishing Guide, Clayton Fly fishing Guide, and Dahlonega 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.