Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2. Little Yellow Stoneflies
3. Slate Drakes
4. Needle Stoneflies
5. Little Yellow Quills
11. Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
Fly Fishing Etowah River Georgia
I fished the lower waters of the Etowah River for years in the sixties and early
seventies without ever knowing it. When the river gets to Rome Georgia, the name
changes to the Coosa River. During those years I fished mostly for bass and the
Coosa River chain of lakes was and still is a great place for both largemouth and
spotted bass. ESPN held this years Bass Masters Classic on Lay Lake. Other were
held on Logan Martin Lake. Weiss Lake is the first lake on the Coosa River, then
Henry Neely, Logan Martin, Lay Lake and finally Lake Jordon. It changes to the
Alabama River near Montgomery Alabama where other Bass Masters Classics were
A quick story about the spotted bass is that when Smith Lake Alabama was first
coming into its prime, the world record spotted bass was caught and broken there
several times. All along I knew the spotted bass in the Coosa River were very
different. They were longer and spotted (marked) differently. They were, and still
are considered two separate sub-species. They are now called the Northern
Spotted bass, also called the Kentucky spot (the ones in Smith Lake) and the
Alabama Spotted Bass sometimes called the Coosa spotted bass.
In the late sixties I caught a 7 pound 8 ounce spotted bass from Lay Lake on the
Coosa River and tried to get it established as a world record Coosa spotted bass. I
didn't get anywhere with it. A mount was all I got out of it. The spots from Smith Lake
grew larger and even though they are a completely different fish, as far as I was
concerned, it didn't qualify as a record. The different subspecies are lumped in the
same World Record category.
Since then, the lakes in southern California have taken over the record with the
spots as well as the largemouth. The World Record spotted bass is ten pounds, four
ounces. This has little to do with the trout fishing on the Etowah River. I just
happened to think about it writing this article.
I will also mention that the Coosa River flows into the Alabama River and the
Alabama flows into the Mobile Delta and on into the Gulf of Mexico. The drainage of
these rivers is quite different from those that form the Tennessee River, yet their
headwaters in North Georgia and Southern Tennessee are very close together
The Etowah River starts in the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area near
Dahlonega. The stream is small and stocked by the state. It also has some wild
rainbows. Below the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area, the stream is stocked
for about eight miles. It also contains some wild brown and rainbow trout. This
section of the river is quite large and is best fished from a drift boat. It flows almost
exclusively through private property. It's only accessible at the bridges by boat or
There are three major tributaries in the Blue Ridge Wildlife Management Area. The
West Fork of Montgomery Creek, Jones Creek and Nimble Creek. All three of these
streams are small, headwater streams with some wild trout. The West Fork of
Montgomery Creek (the Etowah River used to be called Montgomery Creek by
some) is a very good little trout stream. It has a series of high waterfalls. The entire
length of the stream above the Forest Service Road 28 -1 must be reached on foot.
It can also be reached from its headwaters from Forest Service Road 141 at one
point. This stream has some wild browns that go as large as twenty inches. Its wild
rainbows average a small size. The West Fork of Montgomery Creek isn't stocked.
Jones Creek, also located on the BRWMA, is another small stream but it has a
population of wild brown trout only. Although the browns average a small size, It's
still a good little trout stream to fly fish. It's rarely fished by the locals simply because
it doesn't have stocked trout. Jones Creek can be accessed where Forest Service
Road 28-1 crosses the creek. It's small and tightly enclosed in most places but full
of small, wild brown trout.
Nimble Creek is another small stream in the BRWMA but it's easily accessed and
stocked with rainbows. It has a few wild trout. Forest Service Road 28-2 follows
along this one. Nimble Creek is worth little to the avid fly angler but Jones and the
West Fork of Montgomery Creek are nice streams well worth fishing.
Amicalola Creek is a much larger tributary stream that flows into the Etowah River
downstream of Dawsonville. It was mostly a canoe and rafting stream but it's now
one of Georgia's five "delayed harvest" streams. Its delayed harvest section is
about 3 miles long. From November 1 through May 14, all trout must be released.
The DH section is in the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area and runs from
the Steele Bridge Road downstream to Georgia Highway #53.
As the water warms downstream from its headwaters other species of fish show up.
Redeye Bass and Spotted Bass become the main species of resident fish. These
show up well upstream of Amicalola Creek but Amicalola Creek brings much cooler
water into the river, although it isn't cool enough to sustain a year-round population
of trout. That's the reason for the delayed harvest season. Striped Bass, Hybrid
Bass and White Bass show up in the river mostly during spawning runs upstream
from Lake Allatoona. The striped bass with the broken lateral lines are hybrids, or a
mixture of white bass and landlocked striped bass. All three species are fun to catch
on the fly.
I should also mention that striped bass fishing below the dam at Lake Allatoona is
also very popular. There are plenty of large stripes in the tailwaters.
Copyright 2010 James Marsh
Images provided by Steve Lamb, Georgia Fly Guide. Give them a call 678-986 0703 if you
would like to fish the Etowah River or any of the many other streams they guide on.