The Etowah River was fishing well before the torrential downpour earlier this week. If the creeks clear up by the end of the week and generation allows, this would be a great option this weekend. Water temperatures at the dam are falling into the low fifties, so be prepared to work your flies S-L-O-W. I recommend intermediate or sinking lines with neutrally buoyant flies around structure, so think Galloup’s Dungeons in tan/craw/black, and unweighted 2-3 inch baitfish patterns. Sparkle Minnows/Rubber Buggers and Kreelex’s are also good producers. Be patient and don’t think numbers – some of our biggest Bass of the year come out of the river from now through March.
The Toccoa Tailwater was blown out earlier this week due to rain. The river should begin to clear, but the generation schedules will probably start to limit time on the water as the TVA levels out the lake. We’re primarily looking for that bigger bite and fish this time of year with streamers and nymphing bigger stonefly patterns and wooly buggers, but your traditional tailwater fare of junk, midges, pheasant tails, rainbow warriors, and lighting bugs should all produce. Keep some caddis and BWO dries on hand in case a hatch comes off.
For those of you that want to throw streamers, bring 6-8 weights rigged with floating and intermediate fly lines with 12-20lb fluorocarbon leaders. For flies, we recommend throwing a variety of colors, weights, and varying fly actions to see what the fish like. A good place to start is with two or three colors of Galloup’s Dungeon, Strolis’ Ice Pick, and a couple smaller streamers like sparkle minnows and medium sized buggers. Vary your retrieve and cast past your target just like you would while nymphing. This style of fishing is about quality over quantity and takes a lot of perseverance for success, so plan on committing and fish like every cast is going to have big results.
The Toccoa Delayed Harvest might be floatable till sunday, and will definitely be wade-able by Friday. We recommend watching the USGS gauge at dial road just in case – anything >500 cf/s is okay to wade, but higher than that is dangerous. If the river stays higher, make sure to bring along some #1/BB sized split shot. If you’re unfamiliar with the Delayed Harvest system, be sure to check out the DH blog post here!
Check the generation schedule before you plan your trip! We do not recommend that you float the Etowah if Allatoona dam is releasing water. We do not recommend wading the Toccoa if the TVA is releasing water. Check the release schedules and be safe!
Allatoona Dam Release Schedule- (706) 334-7213
Cartersville Shop: (770) 606-1100
Blue Ridge Shop: (706) 946-3044