Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Toccoa River Georgia
Many Georgia anglers think the lower Toccoa River is
one of the best tailwaters in the South. At the time this
was written, a new dam was under construction that
everyone thinks will improve the fishing over what it has
been in the past. That's saying a lot, if it turns out to be
true. There are about fifteen miles of good trout fishing
waters below Blue Ridge Lake. It extends down to the
Tennessee state line where the name of the river
changes to the Ocoee River. Upper Toccoa River
Fly fishing the Toccoa River from the bank is limited
because the river flows through private property. Access
is provided at parks and road crossing. We have fished
this stream on two occasions without a boat and still done
very well. We have drifted it several times and always
caught plenty of trout. It has a lot of trout that probably
only average about 12 inches but there are also some
very large holdover trout in the stream.
The Blue Ridge dam changes pace in a heart beat and
this stream borders on being dangerous. It is much better
to fish it from a boat than wading. The water levels can
change fast. It's really a small stream, width wise. Long
and very deep pools and a lot of rocky shoals also make
it difficult to wade. You can't wade it if the water levels are
high, of course.
Most of the trout are browns. There are rainbows but
probably only about a forth of the population are
rainbows. These trout act more like a wild trout than they
do stocked trout. They are stocked as fingerlings, so they
have to learn much the same way a wild trout learns.
They can be picky and very selective, unlike most stocked
Again, the big advantage the way I see it is the very good
dry fly fishing almost year-round. There are not many
days of the year you cannot catch trout fishing a dry fly.
Now,, I don't have anything against fishing below the
surface at all, but it is certainly an added attraction to
have dry fly fishing available.
Toccoa River Georgia
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
All the images used for the Toccoa River
tailwater were provided by Steven Lamb.
For cold & warm water fly fishing see
www.georgiaflyguide.com for a Guide
trip give us a call. Thumbnails:
Click Image to enlarge
Recommended Tackle & Gear
5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 & 12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Superb Five or Ultimate Six
For 5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
The season runs year-round
Spring is the best time to fish the
The water stays cool all summer and
fishing is good all summer long.
Toccoa River Tailwater Fly Fishing
At the time this was written, It had been some
time since we have fished this tailwater. It's a
great medium size stream to fish provided you
fish it from a drift boat, or at least some type
of boat. I mention that because there are only
five places you can access the fourteen mile
long stream to fish it wading or from the bank.
One thing we like about the stream is the fact
dry fly fishing can be very good. While many
tailwaters are very good streams, for the most
part, most of those in the Eastern United
States don't have very much dry fly fishing. In
general they have few aquatic insects that
hatch on the surface of the water, and many
of the ones that do, have hatches that last
only for a short length of time. Most of the
fishing is done with midge imitations or
streamers. Of course this isn't true of all of
them. Some have excellent hatches and this
is certainly one of them.
Even though the dry fly fishing can be great
at times, most of the productive fishing is still
done fishing flies near the bottom. Heavily
weighted nymphs work most anytime and
produce good size trout. Streamers are also
very effective on the brown trout, especially
when the water is slightly off color from heavy
As mentioned in the introduction page, these
trout can be selective towards certain insects.
Imitating those that are most plentiful and
those that are about to hatch is necessary at
times to produce the best results possible.
Although I'm not a big fan of strike indicators,
they will work on the Toccoa River tailwater
most of the time. Double and tandem rigs are
popular. Probably the best all around strategy
during the winter is to fish imitations of midge
If they are hatching you should use
imitations of the pupae. Most of the
midges we noticed were light green or
Swinging a streamer will probably produce
more larger trout than anything. Day in
and day out, provided nothing is hatching,
I suggest you fish either a stream or a
nymph as close to the bottom as you can
Toccoa River Tailwater Hatches and
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and nymphs,
not guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop
trout flies, we have specific imitations of all
the insects in the Green River and in all
stages of life that are applicable to fishing. If
you want to fish better, more realistic trout
flies, have a much higher degree of success,
give us a call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
The Toccoa River is different from many
tailwaters in that you can be assured of
several hatches throughout the year that will
provide good dry fly fishing.
Blue-winged olive hatches of several different
species will be taking place on cloudy days
early in the year even in January. These
hatches can occur all the way into the middle
of April. There's also a Fall hatch that starts
in October and last for most of the rest of the
year. Little dark brown winter stoneflies also
hatch throughout the Winter.
You have a very good Little Black Caddis
(Brachycentrus) hatch that takes place in the
late Winter. It usually starts in late February
and last through March. These caddisflies
hatch almost like a mayfly, meaning
midstream on the surface. Dry fly fishing can
be great when they are emerging and later
on in the day when the female deposit their
Spring brings about several hatches not
common to many tailwaters. March Browns
start hatching in mid April and last for about
six weeks depending on which section of the
tailwater you're fishing. There are some
areas of the Toccoa River tailwater where
Hendricksons hatch in decent quantities. This
occurs in late April and May.
Later on in the year, starting as early as
late May, Eastern Pale Evening Duns
hatch. These are called Sulfurs by the
locals. The true Sulfurs hatch in June and
on into the first of July.
There are also a few LIght Cahills that
hatch on the Toccoa River. This takes
place in June. You have several more
small hatches of mayflies that should hatch
during the year according to stream
samples we took a few years ago.
Spotted Sedges and Cinnamon Sedges
are common, mostly Cinnamon Sedge.
Little Sister Caddis cover the water at
times. The Spotted Sedges and Cinnamon
Sedges start as early as late May and last
almost all Summer. The Little Sisters start
in June and hatch into mid July.
Now, that I have said all that, you should
be aware that the mighty midge is still a big
producer on this stream. They hatch
year-round. Streamers probably produce
the largest trout. Imitations of crayfish and
sculpin should work great, the crayfish for
large browns and smallmouth bass.
During July, August, and September, don't
forget about terrestrial insects. Imitations
of ants, beetles and grasshoppers all work
Remember "Perfect Fly" has specific
imitations of every aquatic and terrestrial
insect that hatch in the Toccoa River
tailwater in their various stages of life. If
you haven't already tried them, you
Autumn is the time for catch large brown
trout because they spawn in the Fall
Trout can be caught most winter days.
Midges are most effective but some days
even dry flies produce.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
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|More Georgia Trout Streams:
Click the links for fly fishing information
including descriptions of the streams,
access, location, species of fish, a fly
fishing guide, a fly fishing report, hatches
and recommended trout flies, fly fishing
gear and equipment, USGS stream data,
local weather and much, much more
Headlines: The coming week
looks good for fly fishing the
Toccoa tailwater. The weather is
going to be very warm but will only
affect the water in the middle and
lower sections. It may warm up a
little. The weather may result in
some little BWO hatches but
midges and Winter stoneflies will
still be the main insects hatching
and the food you need to imitate.
Check out the Toccoa River
fishing report by clicking the link
above for the latest in fly selection
10/16/15 Great fall weather is getting a lot cooler. Little rain is in the forecast, so discharges
should begin to be much better. It won't be long before midges will be about the only thing
hatching, so now is a great time to fish. The water temperature in the Toccoa River is ideal for
late early fall fishing and aquatic insects are still hatching. Cinnamon Caddis, Slate drakes are
10/23/15 Conditions have been good for the past several days and some very nice brown
trout have been caught. They should remain good through this weekend. You will need to
check the discharge schedule carefully past this weekend. There is a lot of rain in the forecast
for next week. Blue-winged olives have started hatching again but other than that, midges are
10/30/15 Sorry, I never changed the date on last weeks report and that had to have been
confusing. Stream levels have been high most of the past week due to higher discharges.
There was a good bit of rain. More is headed in for the weekend but it shouldn't be heavy.
Two good reports of some big browns came in this past week.
11/06/15 It is raining now and more rain is on the way for the next few days. That means they
will be lowing the lake some and discharging more than a normal amount of water. Fishing this
tailwater will be limited mostly to drift boats but that is usually the normal situation. Blue-
winged olives and midges, and of course sculpin streamers, are the flies to use.
11/13/15 It is finally getting a little colder. It has been unseasonably warm. There was lots of
rain the past week and more will be coming through the tailwater, so don't get too happy there
is none in the forecast for the coming week. Hatches are down to mostly Blue-winged olives
11/20/15 The Toccoa tailwater has been running strong and high lately and will probably
continue to discharge a lot of water. As everyone probably knows, there has been a lot of rain
lately. Hatches are mostly midges and some Blue-winged olives. The Brown Sculpin streamer
fly has been producing some large browns lately and may be the best choice, especially with
the higher levels.
11/27/15 The discharges have settled down from all the previous rain. There should be a few
days of opportunity before we get more rain starting again on Sunday. It is warming back up
some but that will have little effect on the tailwater temperature, just make it comfortable to
fish. We recommend midges fish with the larva the bottom fly and pupa up the tippet about a
foot or more.
12/04/15 The Toccoa tailwater is going to be high quite often the next few days. There is still
a lot of water to get through the system caused by the recent heavy rainfall. The weather
looks good this coming week and conditions should be back to normal for this time of the year
very soon. Watch the levels and discharge schedule. Midges are the only insect you need to
be concerned about imitating.
12/18/15 The power company has been running a lot of water through the dam the past week.
It shows they will continue to do this at least for two more days. The weather is going to be
great this weekend. You can fish is you use a drift boat but wading is out until they drop the
levels. There isn't many places you can wade this tailwater.
12/25/16 There is a flood water for the area through today. There is rain in the forecast every
day for the next week. You will just have to watch the stream levels and discharge schedule
from the power company to see if there is any opportunity to fish without extremely high water
levels. The will be lower the lake again from all the rain and it may be a few days.
01/01/16 There is still a lot of water in the headwaters of the Toccoa. They will most likely be
running water every day for the next few days but be sure to keep a check on the discharge
schedule. The water is still fairly warm for January and you should be able to catch plenty of
trout on mdiges, Winter stonefly nymphs and Sculpin streamers.
01/08/16 The river is a little high now and will probably stay that way for the next three or four
days. There is rain in the forecast through Sunday. Streamers, such as our White Belly
Sculpin, will catch trout under these conditions. Midges, fished in tandem will also work
provided the water clarity stays decent and right now it is.
01/15/16 They are running one generator today and tomorrow. It is raining now but should
end tomorrow and be clear for a few days. The White Belly sculpin streamer fly works good
under the current conditions. Winter stoneflies and midges fished in tandem should also. It
looks like the lake will be getting back to normal winter storage levels by the first of the week
and lessen the discharges.
01/22/16 There is a winter storm warning in effect through Saturday. I'm sure most of you are
well aware of that. The power company is showing they are not running a generator today or
tomorrow, but they will be soon. There is a lot of rain falling. Midges and winter stonefly
nymphs are the best flies to use when the big storm is over.
01/29/16 The stream levels are fine for drift boats and the power company shows that they will
be running one generator today and tomorrow. Midges, both cream and red, larva and pupa
fished in tandem is still the way to go. Winter stoneflies and Sculpin streamers should still
produce as well.
02/05/16 The weather is turning back cold or normal for this time of the year. Midges, red and
cream pupa and larva, are the best options at this time. Fish the adults when you find clusters
on the surface in eddies or on the surface. The winter stonefly nymph has also been catching
02/12/16 There is a slight chance of snow today and Sunday through next Tuesday,
otherwise the weather will be a little warmer than normal. The water temperature will stay
about 40 degrees near the dam and colder the further downstream you fish. Midges is still the
most important insects but Black flies are also hatching.
02/17/16 The next two to three days should be great for fly fishing the Toccoa tailwater. The
discharges will be low and the water clear and warming on the middle and lower sections of
the river. Blue-winged olives, size 20 adn midges, cream and red, should hatch.
02/26/16 It has been very warm and back cold again, but is on the way back up. The water
temperature remains almost the same during these big weather swings. The lowest section of
the river's water temperature will go up two or three degrees. Little Blue-winged olives should
begin to hatch anytime.
03/04/16 The conditions for this coming week are looking very good. Right now the
discharges are still high but hopefully, they will be subsiding soon. There's no rain or snow in
the forecast for the next week. It is going to be much warmer and a good time to fish the
03/11/16 For the most part, discharges have been reasonable and drift boats able to fish the
river. The discharges may be high at times. There has been a lot of rain. The weather is very
warm as I'm sure most everyone knows, but the tailwater won't change much except on the
03/18/16 There is some rain in the forecast starting today, and that may eventually lead to
higher discharges, but as of now, they are not expecting heavy amount of rainfall. Little Black
Caddis and little Blue-winged olives are hatching, as well as midges, and some trout are being
caught on the surface.
03/25/16 LIttle Black Caddis are hatching good. There are also some small BWOs and Midges
hatching as well. The discharges have been running low but there is some rain in the forecast
and some that took place last night, so they will probably be running water most of the time.
04/01/16 There have been some flood watches in the area lately but we don't think the overall
amount of rain is going to amount to that much. You will have to keep checking the power
company discharge schedule. Midges, little Blue-winged olives and little Black Caddis have
been hatching good.
04/15/16 The discharge schedule looks good for the next couple of days and the stream level
is currently in good shape. Little Black Caddis and midges are hatching. The weather is going
to be a little chilly for a day or two but that shouldn't affect the water temperature but very little
and only on the lower end.
04/22/16 The stream levels should mostly remain low. It is raining now, but then not again for
the next several days. The water is in good shape and we see no reason for it to change
anytime soon. Little BWOs, little Black Caddis and midges are hatching.
04/29/16 Good conditions continue to exist with a few place one can actually wade. There is
enough water for drift boats but you do need to watch the rocks. The water is staying
relatively low. Anglers are still catching plenty of trout. The dam isn't working right and won't
be until July.
05/06/16 Remember the dam isn't working right and won't be until July. They are using the
gate for discharges. The do have to continue to let the right amount of water through the
system from the lake. Last weeks reports from customers was good and a good number of
trout were caught.
05/13/16 Remember, these is a problem with the turbines and they are making releases
differently. This won't be fixed until July. Green sedges or caddisflies, have started to hatch.
There is no rain in the forecast through the weekend, so it should be a good destination for
those with a drift boat.
05/20/16 The river is in good shape with our customers giving some good reports on the
numbers of trout caught this past week. Most of the time, the stream flows and levels from the
dam has been good and this should continue to be the case this coming week.
06/27/16 Our customers reported catching several trout this past week. Discharges were
reasonable to fish and the weather nice. It is going to be much warmer this coming week and
that will affect the lower section of the river some. The caddisfly activity should increase and
the overall conditions continue to be good.
06/03/16 The stream levels have been high most of the week, but customers are reporting
that they are catching a lot of trout. Two species of caddisflies are hatching and bringing
about most of the action. Streamers have worked good when there has been heavy cloud
06/10/16 The Toccoa is settling down with better stream levels, thanks to lower and fewer
discharges. It should be running a more normal schedule this coming week. We received two
good reports from customers this past week. The water is getting a little warmer and late
afternoons are producing the most fish.
06/17/16 Conditions have been very good this past week. We have two good customer
reports with lots of trout being caught. The discharges and stream levels have been good for
the drift boat guys. There are lots of caddisflies hatching and the egg laying and hatches are
both producing a lot of action.
06/24/16 The river is in good shape with good discharge rates and stream levels that permit
drift boats good opportunity almost all the time. There is a lot of rain in the forecast this
coming week, and the cloud cover should be a benefit. Egg laying caddis are presenting the
best opportunity. Late in the day is the best time to fish.
07/01/16 The past week has been a good one for anglers fishing the Toccoa. The discharges
and resulting stream levels have been good and we received some good reports as to the
numbers of trout being caught by customers. The coming week looks good and we should
have plenty of cloud cover and some rain. It is needed.
07/08/16 The conditions for fly fishing the Toccoa tailwater have been pretty good the past
week and should be about the same for the coming week. They will be running a generator
fairly often. There is a chance of rain in the forecast for everyday for the next week. There are
a lot of caddisflies hatching on the river and late afternoons is the best time to fish it.
07/15/16 The river has averaged a little higher and faster than normal for this time of the
year. There are chance of rain everyday this coming week and it is likely to be high often
again. We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. We do know the late
afternoon egg laying caddis, the last two or three hours of the day, is the best time to catch
07/22/16 The discharges have been rather low but there is a chance of rain everyday for the
next week, and that may change. We didn't receive any reports from anyone this past week,
but the conditions should be very good. Often, anglers relate the fishing conditions with the
air temperature and in this case, it has little effect on the water temperature.
07/29/16 We received two good reports this past week. There are a lot of caddisflies
hatching. This takes place mostly in the mid afternoons, but the egg laying activity occurs
during the last two or three hours of the day. Fish as late as you can for the best results.
There is rain in the forecast every day this coming week, so watch the discharges closely.
08/04/16 Currently, they are running one in the morning and none in the afternoon. That is
good but keep in mind there has been recent rain and this is likely to change after today.
There is a chance of rain every day for the coming week. Caddisflies are the main thing to be
imitating. Cinnamon Caddis and Green sedge caddis are both hatching good.
08/11/16 They has slacked off on the generation lately. They are only running water a few
hours today. You can wade a few places in the river with these low flows. Caddisflies are still
the main souce of food on the Toccoa. There are two species hatching mid afternoon. The
last two or three hours of the day, egg laying caddis will bring trout to the surface to feed.
08/18/16 We received two good reports from customers fishing this past week. One was
catching some large trout fish Sculpin streamers in the early mornings. One was fishing only
late in the day to near dark. That is when the caddisflies are depositing eggs. Terrestrials,
such as Carpenter ants, Japanese Beetles and hopper should also be working good.
08/26/16 Our customers continue to send in some good reports. The discharges and water
levels have been good lately. This will probably continue to be the case this coming week.
Hatches continue to be most all caddisflies, with Little Sisters and Cinnamon caddis both
hatching along with a few Green sedges. Late afternoon egg laying continues to bring trout to
the surface to feed.
09/02/16 The flows have been suitable most all the time this past week. There is little chance
of rain for the next few days and the discharges should remain about the same. We received
only one report from the past week, but it was a good one. They fished our Brown Sculpin
streamer in the mornings and caddisfly hatches and egg laying in the afternoons.
09/09/16 The river is about the same as it was last week. Flows are high at times and low at
times, depending on the schedule. There have been little to no wading opportunities but drift
boats have been catching some good numbers. The caddisfly hatches are still going strong.
Streamer fishing has worked in the early mornings.
09/16/16 The discharges and stream levels have been rather low the past week. There has
been little rain lately. There ae some chance of it about every day this coming week. Our
customers have been catching good numbers of trout. There are still lots of caddisflies
hatching and some small Blue-winged olives. Sculpin streamers are working good in the early
09/23/16 We did receive one good report this past week from a customer. He fished tandem
midge rigs all day and caught a lot of trout. There are also some Blue-winged olives hatching
but look for them mostly on cloudy days. There are still plenty of caddisflies hatching. The
discharges and stream levels will be low through the weekend.
10/01/16 The cool weather is helping the lower section of the river and it has come alive this
past couple of days. The water temperature is down a little and more hatches are taking place
there. We had two good reports from the past three days. There are plenty Blue-winged
olives hatching. The discharges and stream levels are low and should continue to be low for
the next week.
10/14/16 The discharges and stream levels have been low and will continue to be low most
likely. There has been little rain and none forecast until Thursday at the earliest. There are
place you can wade for a change. Our customers have been catching plenty of trout. The
brown sculpin streamer has been getting some big browns nearing the pre-spawn stage.
10/21/16 The river continues to be in good shape. There are places you can wade some of
time due to the low water conditiions. There has been little to no rain in the watershed for a
long time with none in the forecast for the coming week. There are still some caddisflies
hatching and little BWOs, Mahogany duns and some Great Autumn brown sedges.
10/28/16 The discharges and stream levels are staying low most of the time. There has been
little rain the past two months and the lake level is low, so it is doubtful they will be running
much water. This makes the fishing opportunity good. There are some Blue-winged olives
hatches taking place. Brown sculpin streamers are getting some or our customers some very
nice brown trout. .
11/04/16 The tailwater discharges are running low most all the time, and of course that means
low water levels. That makes little difference in the Toccoa due to the fact much of it is deeper
than wading levels but it opens up some water you normally can't wade. Blue-winged olives
are hatching good.
11/11/16 The river levels are low with low discharges. This will continue for at least another
week. There isn't any rain in the forecast. Blue-winged olives and Cream and Red midges are
hatching. Our customers caught some big brown trout, mostly post-spawn trout, this past
week. The Brown Sculpin and olive Mutaka sculpin streamers are great for that.
11/18/16 The stream levels remain low due to low discharges. This is actually not bad from a
fly fishing standpoint. There is enough current for drift boats. Our customers reported some
very good catches this past week. The weather is turning a little colder but that will have little
effect on the water temperature.
11/25/16 Conditions are very good for the few fishing the Toccoa tailwater. There are good
numbers of trout being caught and some are good size ones. The Brown trout are in the post-
spawn stage and hungry. The Brown and White Belly sculpin steamers continue to catch
them. Midges, reds and some creams , are hatching. Blue-winged olives are hatching good.
12/02/16 The discharges and stream levels have still be very low offering plenty of good fly
fishing opportunity. Our customers have been reporting catching large numbers of trout.
There have been some areas of the river that you could wade, which is a little unusual. The
levels may start coming back up soon. There is a lot of rain in the forecast this coming week.
12/09/16 Conditions have been good on the Toccoa tailwater and should continue to be good
this coming week. Midges, the creams and reds, continue to be the key flies. Fish the larva
and pupa in tandem with the larva imitation the bottom fly. Brown sculpin streamers are
continuing to catch some large post-spawn browns for our customers.
12/16/16 The river is in very good shape with low discharges and stream levels. This makes it
easier to get good drifts near the bottom for those fishing midges. That is the best choice of
flies right now. Reds and Creams are hatching. Remember, the red adult midges are black
and white, not red. Trout are eating them on the surface at times.
12/23/16 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. The weather was
like a roller coaster and that's maybe why. It is going to be very warm this coming week but
that will have little to no effect on the water temperature. When cloudy, try the Matuka or
Brown Sculpin streamers. They will catch the larger trout. Fish Cream or Red (blood) midges
12/30/16 The river is a little colder this week than it has been but the water temperature is still
about 40 degrees, which is good. It will probably remain about that temperature until Spring.
Midges, Creams and Blood midges, will continue to be the most important insects. Fish the
Winter stonefly nymphs near the bank late in the day. There are some Winter stoneflies.
01/06/17 As I'm sure most of you know, there is snow forecast today and tomorrow. Beware of
the road and launch conditions. The water is a little colder thants to recent cold weather but it
affects mostly the middle and lower sections. Midges and Winter stoneflies are the only
aquatic insects you can expect to find hatching. The Creams are most plentiful but there are
some reds, or blood midges.