Grab your fishing gear, license, and get ready to go! Fishing in North Georgia is one of the most peaceful, but also exhilarating past-times! Some of the state’s best freshwater spots are conveniently located in and around Blue Ridge. Whether you’re searching for trout, bass, walleye, or all the above, you can find it all by boat or wading in the beautiful chilly waters.
For beginner and advanced anglers, the fishing spots found in North Georgia rank in with top sights and top catches. With waterfront property rentals, Escape to Blue Ridge will ensure that your lodging experience is first-class after a long day of fishing. The summer season in North Georgia brings an assortment of adventure and a wonderful chance to test your fish-catching skills!
There’s a reason why Blue Ridge is named the Trout Capital of Georgia, and you’ll have to come fish around to agree. We picked a few of the best fish-biting spots in North Georgia, and with peak season upon us, you won’t leave empty-handed!
The Toccoa River
The trout found in the Toccoa River include rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout. The variety of the species found in these waters weigh in heavier than average and seem to continue growing with each passing year. The consistent cold rushing water in this river makes it a prime spot for year-round fishing. The two main sections of the Toccoa River, the Upper and Lower areas, offer almost 20 excellent miles of available fishing spots. Access points for entry include the Blue Ridge Dam, Horseshoe Bend Park, and Tammen Park.
This spot is located on the Toccoa River and provides fishing spots under the bridge or along the side of the river. The bridge is located on Aska Road and is a part of the Benton Mackaye Trail. This section is a Delayed Harvest Area, so you are almost guaranteed a catch if you are with fly fishermen. There are strict ‘catch and release’ policies during certain times of the year, nonetheless, this location is a great spot to strengthen your skills.
Lake Blue Ridge
The crystal-clear waters and mountain peak views make Lake Blue Ridge one of the most premier spots for a full day of fishing. The waters are packed with a variety of species, with the bluegill being the most plentiful in this area. This lake is known for its walleye, catfish, white bass, smallmouth bass, and bluegill. There are several points to enter these waters, and a boat is necessary if you’re wanting to explore all that Lake Blue Ridge has to offer. Lake Blue Ridge Marina, Morganton Point Recreation Area, Lake Blue Ridge Day Use Area, and Lakewood Landing are top access sites. Lake Blue Ridge’s consistency and abundance of fish make this spot a must-visit!
This stream in the heart of Ellijay stretches for over 15 miles. Its ample width and length are full of brook trout, rainbow trout, and largemouth bass. These waters are private and some of the most pristine in North Georgia. All you need is your tackle and a little bit of patience and you are good to go!
One of the best-kept secrets in North Georgia for bream and bass fishing is the Cartecay River. This waterway only 0.2 miles away from Ellijay is stocked with trout once a month. Popular species caught at this stream also include rainbow trout and flathead catfish. The sounds of the flowing waters and rolling hills in view make up a picture-perfect scenery for a fishing adventure. Enter the 34.691475 latitude, and -84.483536 longitude coordinates into your GPS or smartphone to find the Cartecay River.
This fish hatchery spot found in the Chattahoochee National Forest reels in a large population of wild trout. This creek has nearby streams that flow into these waters, providing several spots to cast a line. Rock Creek is nestled in between Dahlonega and Morganton, only 45 minutes from Blue Ridge. It’s found off Forest Service Rd. 69 on State Rte. 60, making it an easy entry for fishermen. This is a prime spot for rainbow trout, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch native brookies in the higher elevations!
Jacks and Conasauga Rivers
These two rivers run parallel to each other, providing about 45 miles of ample fishing opportunities. The Conasauga River is open year-round and Jacks River is open from March to October. The overhanging branches keep these waters cool and have a population of Appalachian brook trout. The rugged terrain and 60-foot waterfall on Jacks River are added bonuses to the fishing experience!
Who needs Napa Valley, when you have North Georgia?In fact, North Georgia, and specifically Dahlonega, has been called the Napa of the East. So, what’s the point of hopping on a plane, enduring crazy traffic, and dealing with stifling crowds? Right here in North Georgia you will be better served, remain relaxed, and meander the charming and scenic back roads of Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Dahlonega, Blairsville, and Helen to enjoy a wine experience that’s even better than what the wild west can offer!
1st Place Winners
Surprisingly enough, it turns out North Georgia wines also are winning quality competitions in California’s very own backyard which is causing quite the “Bottleshock” to all the more seasoned western vineyards. So quality-wise, the wine is not a concern. Which makes another good reason to stay close to home!
Starting in Blue Ridge, it doesn’t take long to feel like you’re in wine country. Within an hour’s drive you might swear you just caught a glimpse of Tuscany, or around the corner there’s what looks like Oregon, California, or Upstate New York. North Georgia looks like a lot of other states in the beauty department. That’s why Hollywood likes Georgia, and especially North Georgia, so much. It could look like the Midwest, inland Oregon, or maybe even New England.
For wine production purposes in these parts, the secret lies in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, which provide ideal weather, geography and geology for successful vinifera grape growing due to its long springs, hot, dry summers, and elevations between 1,300 – 1,800 feet.
It’s All About The Grapes
The trail of six farm wineries that lead from Dahlonega north and east into White County and Helen is a great example of how terrain changes dictate grape production and variety of purpose. Designated as the “Dahlonega Plateau”, an AVA (American Viticultural Area), on July 20, 2018, the area encompasses 133 square miles with the same climate, soil, elevation and physical features creating conditions that are ideal for growing grape varietals such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot.
Passport to Wine
2020 Wine Highway Week is now a MONTH long! Enjoy touring 24 participating vineyards in the beautiful mountains while you discover Georgia wines! There will be a $50.00 fee for each participant which will be collected at the first winery visited. Travelers will receive a “Wine Highway Week” collectors’ glass and Passport which will give them admission to ALL participating wineries at no additional charge. Be sure to keep you Passport and Collectors glass with you at all wineries visited! You can purchase your Passport on line at: www.georgiawineproducers.org/shop
The Wine Highway
Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery is tucked in the hills just 45 minutes from Blue Ridge and a five-minute drive from downtown Dahlonega. Wolf Mountain is elegant, with spectacular views, the perfect wedding and event venue, but also the ideal place for Sunday brunch, or fun gatherings with friends. A lot of the North Georgia wineries multi-task that way.
Montaluce Winery and Restaurant, with its elegant, ivy-covered walls, and its porches with views to the vineyard, conjures up images of Italy, but is also the site of bike races that have featured the likes of Lance Armstrong and Georgia Hincapie. This breathtaking destination offers a spectacular brunch on Sunday and lunch and dinner Monday through Sunday.
Kaya Vineyard & Winery, in White County, makes the best of the perfect perch, with 360 degree views of Blue Ridge scenery. Wines produced from Kaya’s vines have received over fifty awards and most recently, the vineyard was recognized for producing grapes for one of the “Top 50 Wines of the Year” reviewed by the Wine Report.
The Cottage Vineyard & Winery, one of the earliest Georgia farm wineries on the scene, founded in the late 1990s, actually has church services on Sunday mornings, with inspiring views of the vineyard. Paying homage to all military men and women is a North Georgia Honor Wall that features the 5 service flags of the US Armed Forces: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corp., and Navy as well as the POW and U.S. Flags.
The wineries of all three – Dahlonega, White County and Gilmer make for a pleasant mix of wine trail possibilities – from upscale to downhome; and from farm to fancy. At Cavender Creek Vineyards and Winery you can even pet donkeys and alpacas. It’s a local favorite, especially on Friday nights, and live music is always a draw, as it is at most wineries on the weekends.
You’d guess by the name, that Three Sisters Vineyards was a family winery started by siblings – good guess, but wrong. It is indeed a family winery, but the name refers to the three Blue Ridge Mountain ridges that form the perfect backdrop for wedding and special events.
Frogtown Wine, a perennial winner of prestigious national and international wine competitions, offers dramatic 50-mile views, but the ambiance is decidedly California casual, especially the bright white main lodge with deck seating. There are 23,000 grape vines in Frogtown’s North Georgia vineyards capable of producing up to 180 tons of premium wine grapes each year. This tonnage equates to over ten thousand cases of Estate grown wine per year!
On the Ellijay side of Blue Ridge, Fainting Goat Vineyards (yes, they actually have fainting goats), and Cartecay Vineyards, with its distinctive fireplace and iconic chimney, both make for fine outdoor enjoyment most times during the year. Chateau Meichtry specializes in combining wine tasting with learning a lot about the wines, and the entire process of wine production. All three feature live music most weekends.
Right here in Blue Ridge we are lucky to have two great wineries: Bear Claw Vineyards and Serenberry Vineyards. Bear Claw Vineyards is welcoming for every member of the family, both two legged and four. Well behaved pets are welcome and there are plenty of games to keep the kids busy while you catch up with your friends and family while you sip their delicious wines. At Serenberry, you are invited to savor the day by relaxing in a beautiful mountain setting while tasting delicious wines!
So, who needs Napa? With the broad variety of wines, and the expanse of experiences, plus the proximity and easy scenic drives (be sure to stop along the way at Amicalola Falls, the highest cascading waterfall on the East Coast), or at charming farmers markets, orchards and food stands – that is indeed the question.
The Southeastern United States is known for having some of the best whitewater around. Here in Blue Ridge we are within 1 hour of 3 action packed, exciting rivers and 2 hours away from one of the most challenging rivers in the state! Our cabins make the perfect Home Base for day trips, exploring the beauty of Mother Nature and soaking up the Appalachian Lifestyle.
Just thirty minutes from downtown Blue Ridge, you can access the put-in to the 91-mile Cartecay River off Highway 52. This class I-II river starts in foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and runs West and if you follow it pass the common commercial takeout, you’ll float right through the center of town! The river begins with a nice, calm current as it meanders through the valley. About halfway through your float, the rapids begin to increase in frequency and in fun! The last quarter of the river offers some fun rapids that aren’t too terribly technical and end in a last hurrah at Blackberry Falls. This intimidating looking rapid is really just a big slide and is tons of fun to run down regardless of the your water vessel. There are two outfitters, Cartecay River Experience or Ellijay River Outfitters, to help you with shuttle assistance or to rent you a tube, kayak, or canoe.
Bonus: Since Ellijay is the Apple Capital of Georgia, there are plenty of Apple Houses around to stock up on cider, breads, and of course a wide variety of apples!
About an hour Northeast of Blue Ridge after passing through
the mountain towns of Murphy and Andrews in Western North Carolina the road
will narrow up and you will begin to drop down into the Nantahala Gorge. There’s
just something about this gorge that’s special. You can hang a right on old
river road and watch the pro kayakers take on the Cascades and Upper Nantahala
or continue straight to the lower Nantahala and stop at one of many outfitters that
offer guided and non-guided rafting adventures.
The 8-mile Nantahala River is a Class II-III River that runs
right along US HWY 76 deep through the Nantahala National Forest. There is no shortage
of fun on this exciting river! The opening rapid Pattons Run is a good class
III rapid to get your blood pumping right off the bat! After that enjoy a good
hour or two of fun, fast, cold water and about 20 named rapids. The river ends
with the Grand Finale of The Falls. This class III rapid has an observation
deck for passerby’s to stop and watch as the kayaks, canoes, and rafts navigate
the technical section of fast white water as they try to pick the perfect line to
conquer The Falls!
Bonus: Eat at River’s End after a fun day on the water. Enjoy delicious food, friendly service, and a spectacular view of the river below.
Traveling a little less than an hour Northwest from Blue
Ridge the Ocoee River, home of the 1996 Olympics is 10 miles of Whitewater fun!
The aforementioned Olympic competition took place on the upper section of the
Ocoee River. This super technical section of the river features some of the
biggest most challenging rapids and is only able to be experienced for 34 days
per year. The Middle Ocoee is 5 miles of class III and IV rapids. Hop on Mother
Nature’s natural roller coaster and squeal with delightment as your trusty raft
guide navigates you and your party down the river with great care to maximize
the fun! From the put in at Grumpy’s to the ending rapid at Hell’s Hole, you
will never forget the fun and excitement of a trip down the Ocoee!
Bonus: Love to mountain bike? The Cherokee National Forest features miles of mountain biking trails.
Made famous after the filming of the movie Deliverence, the
Chattooga River is about two hours from Blue Ridge. Flowing across both Georgia
and South Carolina, the Chattooga River is divided into 4 sections with section
4 being probably the hardest in the Southeast. The class III section increases
in difficulty from a mild beginning to a challenging final rapid at Bull Sluice. Being that section 4 of the Chattooga begins at
the hardest rapid on section 3 should lead you to believe that this will be a much
more challenging run, and you’d be absolutely right about that. The crux of
section 4 is at the Five Falls Section of the river. These Class IV rapids are
no joke with a 75 foot drop from the beginning to end.
Bonus: Add to your adrenaline rush by booking a Zipline trip where you fly through the sky, over lakes, and among nature!
Spring is in full bloom and this is an ideal time to come visit the North Georgia Mountains! Escape to Blue Ridge and enjoy a vibrant downtown, great restaurants, unique shops, rushing waterfalls, a sparkling blue lake, and mountain views that will take your breath away!
The Blue Coyote is known for their live music and entertainment. While you’re there you can enjoy their tasty bar food and a whole bunch of beer! They even have a dog-friendly patio! Stop by, check it out, and enjoy the music!
May 3 – Slickfoot Band Live May 4 – Southern Vantage Band May 10 – Apollo Band May 11 – Mind the Stepchildren May 17 – Shadow Ape Band May 18 – Topper/Voices of Rock May 24 – Breaking Point Band May 25 – Gregg Erwin May 31 – Rocket Band
Australian and on tour, Achison is a guitar master as well as a song writer. His music has been compared to the Allman Brothers Band, Eric Clapton and JJ Cale. He has a solid foundation in blues while also embracing varied musical styles.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn the art of watercolor painting, now’s the
time. This three-day retreat covers techniques like layering, blending,
accenting and various other aspects of watercolor painting. Crafters at all
levels from beginners to advanced are welcome.
You can’t get a better venue or greater acoustics than right on the
lake. With delicious food and jamming tunes, you’ll love the atmosphere and
entertainment at the Boat Dock Bar & Grill at the Lake Blue Ridge Marina.
May 3 – Shannon York and Rob Harper May 4 – Lindsay Beth Harper May 5 – Buck & Oz Return May 10 – Danny Rhea Live May 11 – Gopher Broke May 18 – David Welch Unplugged May 24 – Gopher Broke
On Friday meet all the biggies – Bigfoot, Avenger, Brutus, Gunslinger and more. Plus you get to meet the guys who drive these monster trucks and eat a bit of barbecue while you’re at it. On Saturday the trucks and their drivers are in full stomp mode. Choose either event or both.
Ellijay is apple country so no wonder an apple festival is a huge springtime
attraction! Artists, crafters, music, entertainment, and children’s activities
will all be there to kick off the spring season! Pet friendly and FREE
It’s a tradition at wineries to help grapes wake up in the spring – it takes more than a nudge, and alarm clocks are worthless with grapes. So, cuttings from cold weather prunings fuel the bonfire and grapevines are perked up by folks drinking wine and listening to live music. It’s a tradition. It’s necessary. And it’s fun!
This will be the 12th annual Taste of Blue Ridge, benefiting the Humane Society of Blue Ridge. More than 30 restaurants from around the Blue Ridge area will participate – plenty to eat, plus live and silent auctions and live music!
Being out your creative side at Mercier’s and create a beautiful painting of an apple tree. The cost is $40/per person and includes a tractor ride up to the pavilion overlooking the orchard, a lunch consisting of a variety of sandwiches, fruits, and desserts, all the art supplies you will need, and a skilled artist to help you! All skill levels are welcome!
Back in Blue Ridge, American Idol winner Kris Allen is ready to rock the mountains in a special live intimate acoustic show in a private cabin! Tickets are seriously limited, so get them as soon as you can!
Rule of thumb – do anything (whether it’s art, a demolition derby or a golf outing) whenever the first two words describing the event are “rusty trucks”. In this case, it’s an art event – so sign up soon and you’ll be painting your very own rusty truck before you know it. The cost is $25 and all art supplies are included plus instruction by Becca.
It’s the swinging 60’s and it was okay to call flight attendants “stewardesses”. Dating practices also were a tad different in those days, like three fiances! Life gets a little bumpy when his lies catch up to him and his friend Robert comes to stay!
Not your usual 5k or 10k – that’s for sure. This Adventure Race features a 24-hour race and an 8-hour race complete with secret locations and a variety of skill sets like trekking, biking, paddling, navigation and orienteering.
An Eggfest is a gathering of Big Green Egg fans and experienced cooks from
all across the country and Canada. The cooks will be showcasing their skills
and talents and will be preparing their specialty recipes all day long!
Travis Tritt and The Cadillac Three will be live in Hiawassee on May 18!
Grab your best boots and sing along to some of your favorite Country songs like
“It’s a great day to be alive”, “Here’s a quarter”,
“T.R.O.U.B.L.E” and “I’m gonna be somebody”!
The 44th Annual Spring Arts in the Park is a Southern tradition in these parts. Enjoy more than 200 arts, crafts and food booths, featuring the best in mountain crafts and fine arts, demonstrations, music and dancing!
Blairsville’s Downtown comes alive Memorial Day Weekend with talented artists, musicians, and food. The weekend begins with a concert at the Old Courthouse Friday evening, a Memorial Day parade at 10am on Saturday, an outdoor concert on the Square Saturday evening and of course the festival! FREE and family-friendly!
New Homes Added to Our Program
Do you dream of a private mountain getaway where you can leave the stresses of daily life behind and relax with family and friends in a magnificent setting? That dream can become a reality at Just Bluffing. This beautifully designed Blue Ridge cabin rental is a tri-level showplace situated on a bluff amid the trees, with a glorious view of the mountains from sunrise to sunset. Secluded and serene but just six miles from the shops and restaurants of downtown Blue Ridge and fun activities like apple picking at Mercier’s Orchard, it’s the perfect place for a well-deserved vacation.
Aska Adventure Lodge
The Aska Adventure Lodge is located in the sought after Aska Adventure area and is conveniently located less than five minutes from the quaint town of Blue Ridge, Georgia, the Toccoa River and Lake Blue Ridge. It is close to everything you’d want, but tucked away with all the privacy you’d expect from a mountain vacation retreat. Aska is the Cherokee Native American word for “winter retreat,” however, this cabin is perfect in every season. Hike right from the expansive wraparound porch, up the hill and connect with the Benton MacKaye Trail. Or, take advantage of the many popular area waterfalls and great tubing and canoeing activities.
In Case You Missed It
Dog Friendly Hikes
Hiking with your dog can be fun for both you and your furry friend. Not only does it provide a great source of exercise for you and your dog, but it’s also one of the best ways to have amazing adventures while creating memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a win-win for everyone! While we’d all love to be able to take our dogs with us on every trail we venture down, we can’t always do that. Sometimes the trails are too steep or the terrain is too rough for our four-legged friends to maneuver, or sometimes they simply aren’t allowed in that area because of other critters that may be dangerous for our dogs to encounter. To make things a little easier for you and your furry companion, here’s a list of a few trails around the Blue Ridge area that are sure to bring tons of fun for both and your favorite adventure buddy! Keep Reading.
When it comes to Halloween the first thing that comes to mind is all the miniature ghosts and goblins running around seeking out candy by the truckload. Halloween doesn’t have to be just for the little ones, there are a lot of fun things for adults to enjoy. So, channel your inner child, get out your best costume, and prepare to be spooked in Blue Ridge!
Have you heard about Old Man Jones? Legend has is that Old Man Jones owned most of the section of Blue Ridge where the Fairgrounds now reside. In the late 1800’s Mr. Jones suffered more personal tragedy than many realized. In keeping with the fashion of the day, these “happenings” were not public knowledge and were never published in local papers. Come see the history for yourself or are you too scared? If you dare to purchase tickets, Click Here.
Shadow Ape Returns to The Blue Coyote Bar and Grill on Friday, October 26th from 8pm-11pm. Put on your best costume for the and enjoy the Halloween Costume Bash while jamming out to Classic rock, 90’s alternative and Southern rock. On Saturday, October 27th The Bone Daddys will have you tearing up the dance floor. Maddie invites everyone to come out for a Spooktacular good time! Let her know Escape To Blue Ridge sent you.
A Halloween Costume Party and Live Music will be going down at the Copperhill Brewery this Saturday, October 27th from 6pm-10pm. You know why you need to go? Because they have your favorite Ichabod Pumpkin Pie Ale on tap!
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is hosting a Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 27th from 11am-3pm. Enjoy games for all ages, live music by The Whistle Stop Band, interactive displays, delicious carnival snacks, face painting, prizes, costumed characters, and plenty of photo opportunities!
Fall-O-Ween Fest at Mercier Orchards features tractor rides, pumpkin decorating, face painting, carnival games, a movie in the orchard at dusk and more on Saturday, October 27th from 12pm-7pm.