View Full Version : Fear and loathing of Helen, GA

01-23-2008, 10:38 PM
Ok, trying to work up a fishing/camping trip to Helen GA this May...Searched LRO forum, found links (Unicoi, GASP, No-Ga, etc...) started research, and am scared to death of trying to fish there:eek: .

As much as I wish I could support the Helen economy, stay in a lodge, hire a guide, catch Gonzo trout...I can't afford it, and it seems all available info revolves around Unicoi Outfitters. Heck; it took 45min of searching to find the tent camping rates for Unicoi state park.

Any suggestions on sources for informative maps of public fishing, access, or advice sure would be appreciated by this would be trout bum.

BTW...I'm sure some of you may be professional guides, I appreciate and am envious of your business model...unfortunately my business model has Anorexia...If you get my drift.:redface: yeah...yeah...pun intended

01-23-2008, 11:58 PM

A good place to start would be to get a copy of “Trout Fishing in North Georgia”, by Jimmy Jacobs. It’s got good info on public water in the Helen vicinity. If LRO or a shop in your area doesn’t have it, I think you can get it from Amazon.com.

You’ll want to check out Dukes Creek. It’s managed trophy water owned and run well by the state. The only cost is a small parking fee. It’s open Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, and you have to make a reservation ahead of time. Barbless hooks only, though, so be sure your barbs are well mashed.

Be sure to stop by Unicoi Outfitters, too. They’re good folks, who’ll point you in the right direction regardless of whether you’re interested in fishing one of their pay-to-play stretches.

You might want to post your questions on NGTO (North Georgia Trout Online). They (we) are a helpful bunch, and there are members who know a lot more about the Helen area than I do.



01-24-2008, 06:05 PM
Think I was letting my frustration about how expensive this sport can be, get the better of me:redface: . Would REALLY LOVE to have a Guide to whip me into shape on a stream...but for now I have to rely on the kindness of all the good people here and their very informative posts.

If you have fished the streams there, what rod weights did you use?
I have a favorite 7'6" 3wt for small streams, and a 9' 5wt for Tailwaters...love both of them and wouldn't want to deny either of them a workout.

What do you think?

BTW, had a guy tell me about checking barbs on flies...he says the Georgia Elves take'em and stick'em in your shirt to make sure they come out clean...I have NO problems using barbless...matter of fact, I think it just adds another dimension of fun to what we do...as if it weren't hard enough already:biggrin:

01-24-2008, 10:42 PM
Second Milton's suggestions.
Fished the delayed harvest last year. Used a 5wt but a 3wt would have been a little more fun. Take both since either will work just fine and you will have a backup.
Good luck.

01-25-2008, 05:45 PM
I agree. I think a 7 1/2 foot 3 wt. will do fine for any water you're likely to fish around there.

The DH stream that irfishing is referring to is (I assume) Smith Creek, which is right there in Unicoi State Park. Never fished it myself, but I hear it's a lot of fun. It's a small stream, where that rod will be a perfect fit. DH in Georgia ends May 15, but there might be some fish left even if you're there later in the month.


Art Vandalay
01-28-2008, 02:04 PM

I fish Dukes 2-5 days a month and it's just not practicle to fish with a 3wt. The fish are far to big and a 3wt is going to stress the big guys if you don't have experience on that stream. I'm happy to share info if you need.

Mr. Vandalay

Wade Blevins
02-13-2008, 01:23 PM
The public sections of the Taccoa are fishing incredibly well. Big Browns and lots of DH fish. I also recommend Jimmy Jacobs book. Great info!

James Buice
02-14-2008, 05:34 PM
Sorry I'm so late on this thread. Around Helen, GA there are a lot of public areas to fish, several were mentioned above. Dukes Creek (open Wed, Sat, Sun with a limited number of anglers) is probably the best 'trophy' stream in GA. On the Toccoa tailwater (where I guide/fish) the public access is limited, however, if you rented a canoe, you can access some amazing water with a solid chance at a 18+" trout on a dry fly. Granted, with the latter you'll need to wade through scores of 10" guys, but watching heads will pay dividends.

Smith's Creek at Unicoi State Park has some HUGE fish in there this year, but the crowds are out in force on the weekends. During the week, on some days it's like your own private creek.

Hope this helps,
James Buice

02-18-2008, 12:45 AM
I appreciate the info on the upper 'Hooch et.al. I have started a list for my trip, and have began planning my days...counting them too:rolleyes:
I'm a planner by nature and have ordered some maps and created a file of sites and Info... I look forward to hearing more and look forward even more to giving all here my stories from our trip.

Hey Man..., I'll be on the creek for a week in May (No cellphone, email, sales reports, or complaints... with the only Blackberry to deal with being on my morning toast).... catching fish would just be icing on the cake!:biggrin:

02-18-2008, 06:19 PM
Anybody have any first hand information on the campsites along the Noontootla? I have heard some are better than others.

What about the Cooper Creek or Mulkey campground?

Or does anyone have any other streamside camping spots in N-Ga to recommend? Solitude and wild trout are a bonus...

James B. Where would you camp in north Georgia for a few days of trout fishing in late March?

James Buice
02-22-2008, 10:57 PM
I'd camp around Unicoi State Park if you want to base out of Helen. There are no campgrounds around the Toccoa tailrace, but a few up on the headwaters on the Blue Ridge WMA (near Noontootla Creek, which I would fish for sure). In late March, I would hit the Toccoa tailrace for sure, esp around Curtis Switch as it has, in my opinion, the best wade access for something more than the stockers you catch up and around the dam.

Make sure you have some CDC Caddis #16 (tan) and maybe a few March Browns in #14-16. For nymphs, pheasant tails, Split Case BWO, and Rockworm caddis in 16-18 are key. I live be the rule of "no gold beads" in these waters, as they do see a bit of pressure. If you want the big boys, go full stealth mode and you'll find them.


Tellico Angler
02-23-2008, 11:03 PM
I would not hesitate to call Unicoi Outfitters with any questions about GA fishing. I have guided the owner on North River and have helped a friend of mine with a 4 driftboat trip where I used my boat and one of their guides used his boat for the trip. All their people that I have met are super guys and will do anything they can to help you, whether you are paying them or not. Granted, I have only met 2 of them, but I was very impressed with their talent and their personality.