Toccoa River-Delayed Harvest

Stream Location: Fannin County

Wild Trout: Rainbow and Brown

Stocked: Rainbow, Brook, and Brown

Other Species of Note: Smallmouth, Largemouth, Rock, and Spotted Bass


Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, Royal Wulff, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Caddis Puppa, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Stone, Squirmy Wormy, Mop, and Perdigon 

Streamers: Minnows, and Wooly Buggers

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, Bow and Arrow, Spey, and Roll


Realistically there is very little chance of me going through and telling you about the entire Toccoa River and all of the places to fish on it. It would be like giving a stream post that covers the Chattahoochee River, the South Holston River, the New River, and the James River. It would be an impossible feat unless I spent years doing the research, neglecting the other streams in the state of Georgia. I am not that bold to do that. 

What I can say about the Toccoa River is that it is a beautiful freestone stream in Northern Georgia that makes you almost feel like you are out west fishing. It is remarkably cold, with large runs, deep holes, nice rapids, and a few riffles. Caution must always be used when fishing in a river such as the Toccoa, rain fall and snow melt can make this river a very dangerous spot for anglers that are wading and people who are floating it. Also during the fall, leaves can often mask how deep a hole is, be careful not to get into a situation where you could fall into one of these holes, always carry a wading stick with you to make sure this does not happen. Also you might want to bring a change of clothing just in case.

My main focus of this stream write up is stream post will cover the Delayed Harvest section of the Toccoa River, since it is one of only five DH streams in the state of Georgia. Located in Fannin County, near the town of Blue Ridge, Ga the Toccoa DH section is an amazing piece of water that can an be accessed by angler that are wading or ones that wish to float through. Realistically you should always check the water levels of this section of water before coming here. The day I took all of these photos for this post the Toccoa was very high, but I couldn’t resist the fall foliage. In most sections it would have been almost impossible to wade that day, but a person with a boat or raft could easily float through this section. As I have said before, please be careful out on the Toccoa while fishing, watch the depth of the water, watch for people in boats, and if you are floating this section watch for those that are wading. 

As far as fishing this section one should use any type of hot spot nymphs, Pat’s stoneflies, squirmy wormies, and mop flies during the early months of the DH season. Once true winter sets in switch up to the more traditional styles of nymphs as fish get accustomed to the water (do not forget about midges). Streamers and dry flies are also a very good choice to use here. Another option, especially in high water, is to use a spey or switch rod to get further out in the stream, thus covering more water. The main thing to remember is to make sure that if you are using nymphs and streamers that you are getting down deep enough in the water column to the fish. Look for structure in the river that fish could easily hide behind, and don’t forget that fish sometimes like to be at the very end of a long run where water is not flowing so roughly. 

Once again please be careful out on the Toccoa, take the appropriate precautions, park in the designated areas. Also try not blocking boating ramps that guides and boat owners like to use to pull their boats/rafts out of ( there is at least one that I know of, you will know it once you see it).


Amicalola Creek

Stream Location: Dawson County and Dawson WMA

Special Regulations: Delayed Harvest from November 1st – May 14th

Wild Trout: Unknown; this stream is massive and has the potential for wild trout

Stocked: Rainbow, Brook, and Brown

Other Species of Note: Bass


Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, Royal Wulff, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Caddis Puppa, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Stone, Squirmy Wormy, Mop, and Perdigon 

Streamers: Minnows, and Wooly Buggers

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: Yes

Casting: Overhead Tuck, Bow and Arrow, Roll, and Spey


Let me first say that Amicalola Creek is massive, its really a small river that flows into the Etowah River. Now with that being said, there are literally miles of fishable water and a plethora of public access points to fish. Also Amicalola Creek is one of five Delayed Harvest Streams in the State of Georgia, but I will cover that further later in this post. 

Amicalola Creek is a stream that literally you could fish at any access point and catch fish year round, it is so big that stocked fish have miles and miles to circulate in and get away from the anglers that just want to fish where the stocking trucks dump at. As for the creek it is a freestone creek that offers very long pools, deep pockets, several undercuts, fast riffles, and very wadable waters in most areas. 

Honestly you could probably spend a lifetime wade fishing this creek and never be able to cover it all. As a Georgia fly fishermen this creek is almost a must to fish, it offers so many ways to fish it; you can easily perform roll casts, tuck casts, roll casts, and you could always spey fish here. It is just an amazing piece of water.

Now comes the Delayed Harvest Section of the stream; this section runs from County Road 192 (Steele Bridge Road) downstream to GA Hwy 53. The Delayed Harvest season runs from November 1st to May 14th. This section is just as amazing as the rest of the creek but offers some truly deep holes, use caution in this area and make sure you don’t get in over your waders. 

When it comes to fly choice the choices are endless, about everything works. However using a two nymph tandem rig is my preferred way to fish this creek, especially in the deep holes in the DH section. Also streamers are a very good choice in this water, there are several small bait fish throughout this creek and they become a prime target for trout, especially in deep holes and high water. Also it worth mentioning that anglers should not forget about midges during the winter months when fishing the DH sections, when fish are not hitting anything big they are munching on tiny midges, this can often save an angler from having a skunked day to multi fish day. 


I am going to provide a link of a map provided by the State of Georgia for the Directions. If you have any questions just leave a comment and I will provide some better directions if needed.

Click to access amicaloladh.pdf

Smith Creek

Stream Location: White County

Special Regulations: Delayed Harvest from November 1st – May 14th

Wild Trout: Unknown; I have yet to try and explore above Ruby Falls

Stocked: Rainbow, Brook, and Brown

Other Species of Note:


Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, Royal Wulff, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Caddis Puppa, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Stone, Squirmy Wormy, Mop, and Perdigon 

Streamers: Minnows, and Wooly Buggers

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: Yes

Casting: Overhead, Tuck, Bow and Arrow, and Roll


Starting at the mouth of Ruby Falls in Unicoi State Park, then going in to Unicoi Lake, then starting again below the dam at Unicoi Lake you have Smith Creek. Smith Creek is a year round stocked stream available to all anglers, however Smith Creek doesn’t really begin at Ruby Falls, it truly begins above the falls and has the possibility to have wild brook trout in its head waters (this I haven’t explored yet). Still yet Smith Creek might be one of the prettiest streams I have encountered here in Georgia and it is one of five Delayed Harvest Streams. The Delayed Harvest season here in Georgia is from November 1st – May 14th, and the Delayed Harvest section for Smith Creek is located from the mouth of Unicoi Dam to the Unicoi State Park boundary. 

Honestly I am not being fictitious about how beautiful this stream is, it is truly an amazing freestone stream that is meticulously cleaned by the workers of the park. Also it has the best parking area that I have ever seen on a Delayed Harvest Stream, not to mention there is a set of permanent bathrooms on site. Realistically it feels like you are fishing at a resort, because technically you are. 

The Stream, like I previous said, is a freestone stream that runs the mouth of Ruby Falls down to the Lake Unicoi. This section is only stocked during the summer time, take note that most of the fish here will probably fished out by the end of October, and looks like a mountain stream slowly meandering down to the lake. But the real gem of the stream is below the dam. Here you will find a quick moving stream that has long pockets, deep holes, several undercuts, and utterly beautiful water. From what I have seen, the State of Georgia does not slack off when it comes to DH waters, Georgia puts some slabs in these waters. 

As far as fly fishing, using mop flies, squirmies, and streamers work really well during the stocked season and the early months of the DH season. However after these fish become more accustomed to the stream and its traditional meal base, fly fishermen need to switch over to more traditional flies (ie pat’s stonefly, prince nymphs, pheasant tails, hares ear, and zebra midges… especially zebra midges during the winter months, I cannot stress how important these flies are during the winter months). During the stocking season you can pretty much fine the stockers in the deeper sections or in fast runs, but during the DH season you need to cover all of the stream because of water temps and the fish being able to freely move. 

Now for the bummer part! I know, I know, there is always a bummer part. Because Smith Creek is located in Unicoi State Park, and because of the Town of Helen, Georgia this stream gets hit hard year round. There really isn’t any good time to come here where you will be alone with the stream. However even though this stream can get very crowded I still would recommend it over some of the other streams here in Georgia just on how beautiful it is. Also there is a required parking pass that all visitors must purchase; you can get a yearly pass or you can get a day pass, I would strongly recommend just getting the yearly pass because this allows you to park in any Georgia State Park. 


Game Plan for Summer 2017

Oh the changing of the seasons, I cannot explain to you how eager I have been for summer weather. To hell with Fall, Winter, and Spring! This past trout season has been one of my worst; from very crowded streams, to piss poor stocking by the VDGIF, and snapping the tip off of my Recon rod, I am very ready for warm water fishing. I haven’t given up on trout altogether, but there is some remarkable feeling about being out on a kayak in the middle of the river, fishing for various fish, that I have been missing since last Fall.


Luckily here in the Roanoke Valley the capability for kayak fishing and warm water fishing is outstanding. Not only do we have the Roanoke River right in our back yard, but we also have the New River, the James River, Smith Mountain Lake, Claytor Lake, Carvins Cove, and several large streams within a reasonable driving range, that hold a large variety of warm water fish. I am stoked to say the least.

This summer I am dedicating my time to knocking out as many warm water “Trophy-sized fish” as I can in order to get my Master Angler award from the state of Virginia. If you have never checked out this program that the state of Virginia is offering you should, it seems like an exceptional way to get Virginian’s fishermen, which are in a set selection of fish, to fish for other species around the state. The only rule that I am imposing on myself for this goal is that I can only achieve this award by using fly fishing gear only. Sorry spin fishermen I will never go back to the dark side of fishing again.


After studying the criteria for Virginia’s “Trophy-sized fish” I came to the realization that several levels of the Master Angler Award can definitely be achieved by a fisherman here in the Roanoke Valley with very little travel involved. The only exception will probably be trout; more than likely a person will have to travel to a spring creek or a mountain river (Jackson River or North River) in order to find a large trout during the summer months.


So here are my ideas (feel free to correct me if I am wrong or if I am missing anything):

Smallmouth Bass: New River or the James River

Largemouth Bass: Local Ponds, Claytor Lake, and Smith Mountain Lake

Striped Bass: Smith Mountain Lake and Roanoke River

Hybrid Striped Bass: Claytor Lake

Rock Bass: New River, the James River, Smith Mountain Lake, and Claytor Lake

White Bass: Smith Mountain Lake

Chain Pickerel: Pandapas Pond and maybe Carvins Cove (I will need to research Carvins Cove more)

Crappie: the New River and the James River

Musky: New River or the James River (this I will have to watch because of water temps, I don’t want to kill them)

Sunfish: Any stream or river around Roanoke

Carp: Any river or lake around Roanoke

Walleye: the New River, the James River, the Staunton River (the Staunton River is 1 hour 40 mins away from Roanoke)

Brook Trout: holed up, big brookies stocked in the Roanoke River. Also any state fee fishing area (i.e. Crooked Creek or Wilson Creek)

Brown Trout: Mossy Creek and the North River in Harrisburg. Any river that might have hold overs in it, and also any state fee fishing area (i.e. Crooked Creek or Wilson Creek)

Rainbow Trout: Mossy Creek and any stream/river that might have hold overs. Also any state fee fishing area (i.e. Crooked Creek or Wilson Creek).

Hopefully by the end of the Summer I will have achieved at least one level, maybe even two. Even if I do not achieve any levels this summer, I am going to fun, challenge myself, and better my current knowledge as a fisherman here in Virginia and I implore each of my readers to do the same this summer. If you do not currently live here in Virginia check your current state’s programs, hopefully they will have something similar to this program.


Master Angler Program

Trophy Fish Size Chart



In short, Luck’s always to blame.

Six months ago I almost ruined my entire ’16-’17 trout season. On a late summer day last year I asked one of my buddies to go fishing with me on one of our off days, both of us were looking for a nice end of the summer trophy fish. He mentioned Mossy Creek and the New River, while I suggested the Jackson River and the James River. All four of these places have citation fish caught each year out of them, however the problem that we were both stumbling over was that the odds of us both catching a trophy sized fish, on the same day, out of the same body of water was just damn near impossible unless we travelled outside the state of Virginia.

Over the past four years I attribute catching a lot of my citation trout on being vigilant to watching the stocking reports and putting myself in the right situation to catch a citation, but realistically I attribute my citations to being lucky. Hell I know my citation smallmouth bass was without doubt luck because it was the only fish I caught that whole day. So trying to figure out a place that both my buddy and I could be in the right situation, to have the right conditions, and to have luck smile on us at the same time was definitely a quandary. Luckily I had heard of one place that would provide us with such a chance; Cedar Springs Fish Farm.

Smallmouth Bass Citation New River

I had heard about Cedar Springs from several different people I work with and from several fishing guides that I knew in the area. There general consensus was that Cedar Springs was just an amazing place to fish. I know a lot of people frown upon fishing farm fisheries, but sometimes as a fisherman you just need to have that one day to be able to catch a monster fish and farm fisheries provide you with that chance. Also some days you just want it to be more about the trip, to enjoy the surroundings and just relax without being crowded.  Simply put Cedar Springs Fish Farm provides all of this.


Cedar Springs Fish Farm, which is nestled just outside of the small town of Rural Retreat, VA (near Wytheville) is a wonderfully large farm, running through the farm’s interior is Cripple Creek; a medium sized freestone creek with large, deep holes. Although the State of Virginia feels that the minimum stocking size of a trout should be 7 inches, Cedar Springs doesn’t feel this is adequate, they do not stock anything below 15 inches.  Add in the fact that Cedar Springs only allows 6 anglers on the farm per day, you end up having all of the right conditions to potentially have a perfect day.

Potts Creek Rainbow – Damn near citation

What I found to be truly special about Cedar Springs is that you still have to fish it like any other creek. It is not easy fishing, you have to work for every fish you put to net; from targeting a big fish, to casting your line so it doesn’t spook the fish, to proper drift management.  You will have to use all of your skills to catch a fish at Cedar Springs.

Not only did my buddy and I catch several trophy trout that day, but also my buddy’s dad, who was a late addition to our party, also caught several trophy rainbow trout.  In the end it was one of those days that all three of us will remember and be able to look back and smile on.  However like I said at the very beginning, that day almost ruined my trout season for this year. The very last rainbow trout I caught that day was a monster; just looking at this fish a person will realize it truly was a fish of a life time. Unfortunately no one in our party had enough sense to bring a measuring tape on our trip. I had to wait until I got back to Roanoke to measure it. Honestly that drive back from Cedar Springs to Roanoke was euphoria mixed with gut wrenching dread. I could not get over the fact of how huge that rainbow was, I dreaded learning how big it actually was, knowing that catching a fish like it again in any of Virginia’s streams was going to be hard accomplishment. My personal best for a rainbow trout is 24 inches, I caught that fish during the ’15-’16 season out of Big Stony Creek in Giles County. Fortunately after I measured the Cedar Springs monster rainbow I was completely euphoric, it only measured in at the minimum citation limit of 22 inches – my trout season was safe, and with a little luck, there was still hope of finding a fish in Virginia’s streams that could equal it without it coming from a fishery.

Cedar Springs, Cripple Creek Monster 22″ Citation


Side Note:

I just wanted to relay something that I only became aware of over the past week. I knew that the state of Virginia awards certificates for each citation an angler catches, what I did not know is that the State of Virginia also keeps up with every citation and upon catching 5 citations of different species of fish (ex. rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, smallmouth bass, and musky) the state will award that angler a Master Angler award (which is a certificate and badge). There are four different levels, each with its separate requirements. Personally I think this is a very cool thing that the state of Virginia does, because it forces anglers to get out after other species that normally they wouldn’t even consider fishing for.

Roanoke River Brook Trout – Damn near citation

Big Stony Creek, Giles County Rainbow Trout Citation 24″

New Changes Coming to the Site


Over the course of the next few months there will be on going changes being made to the website. One of the first few changes you will notice is that there will no longer be a Stream Report for the upcoming 2016-2017 trout season. The new VDGF website (  and the USGS website ( already provide this information more accurately. Instead of reproducing this information I will be doing a weekly update on what flies I am using and some of the creeks/rivers I have been to. This will be listed in a blog section that will be coming to website in the weeks to come.

Thanks and Stay Tuned.

Fly Bum Outdoors.


Roaring Run


Stream Category: B  and Special Regulation Water

Wild Trout: Brook, Brown, and Rainbow Trout


· Dry Flies: Adams, BWO, Terrestrials, Stimulators, Royal Wulff, and Caddis

· Nymphs : Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear, Copper John, Prince, Zebra Midge, and Soft Hackles

· Streamers: Wooly Bugger

· Rod: 7’

· Waders: Chest

· Net: No

· Polarized fishing sunglasses

Casting: Back, Side, and Roll Casts



Roaring Run is very similar to Little Stony Creek in Giles County, not only in the way the stream flows but also because of its native trout population and its friendliness to fly fisherman. The difference between the Little Stony Creek and Roaring Run is that Roaring Run is not an easily accessible stream, because of this it does not receive the same traffic as Little Stony Creek. Also Roaring Run still receives stocking from the state of Virginia, some of the fingerling trout are apart of Trout Unlimited’s “Trout in the Classroom” program.


From what I have learned Roaring Run used to be a very heavily trafficked stream for both spin fishermen and fly fishermen, even now it’s special regulation water is known for its trophy trout water. However only one citation or ”trophy trout” was caught in the 2013-2014 season according to Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website. From what I have personally seen the trout in this stream are far from what I would call trophies, though there are several areas that could easily hold trophy trout.


So here comes the problem with planning; when going to Roaring Run prepare as if you were going to Little Stony Creek, bring a small fly rod (7’) that you can easily cast with under brush and rhododendrons.  However make sure that your fly rod is at least a 5 weight with a 4 to 5 weight tippet and leader, any smaller you run the risk of losing any trophy trout you encounter. For the most part you will only encounter five to ten inch trout. Also you should choose which style you are going to fish before starting to fish, personally I like to dry fly fish from the parking lot up to falls, from there I like to switch to nymphs back to the parking lot. I only use streamers in the larger holes.


Additional Notes and Precautions:

Besides the distance from any major cities Roaring Run is a fantastic stream. Just remember this fact, make sure you have enough gas to get there and back, take plenty of food, water, and definitely make sure you take a med kit. Cell phone service here is very spotty, if you are using GPS to get to Roaring Run make sure to print off directions back to where you started or back track using the directions below.



From Main Street in Blacksburg:

Take Main Street to US-460 E. Once on US-460 E continue until you reach I81 N. Continue on I81 until you reach Exit 150B US11-N/Us-220 N. Once on US-220n continue for 27.9 miles the turn left onto State Rte 615. Continue on State Rte 615 for 5.5 miles then turn right onto State Rte 621. Roaring Run will be approximately be .3 miles on you left.

From I81 in Roanoke:

Take I81 to Exit 150B US11-N/Us-220 N. Once on US-220n continue for 27.9 miles the turn left onto State Rte 615. Continue on State Rte 615 for 5.5 miles then turn right onto State Rte 621. Roaring Run will be approximately be .3 miles on you left.

Stream Reports 11/09/14

Stream reports as of 10/26/14

Top Producing Flies

Dry Flies: Adams, BWO, Royals, and Attractors

Nymphs: Twist and Shout Nymph, HobGoblin, Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear, Prince, Soft Hackles, Royal Tellico, and Zebra

Streamers: Wooly Bugger, Muddler Minnow


Water Level

Stocking Date

Big Stony Creek



Little Stony Creek



Mile Creek



Wolf Creek – Giles



Dismal Creek



Craig Creek



Pandapas Pond



Poverty Creek



Toms Creek



Wolf Creek – Bland



Laurel Fork – Bland



Peak Creek



Peak Creek (DH)



Potts Creel



Brabours Creek



Bluestone Rivier WV



East River WV



*Water Level Rates (1-Very Low. 2-Low, 3-Good, 4-High, 5-Very High)