Lake Blue Ridge
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) operates this 3,290-acre reservoir on the Toccoa River near Blue Ridge, Georgia. In addition to Georgia's more common reservoir fish such as bluegill, largemouth bass and white bass, anglers have the opportunity to catch smallmouth bass, walleye and even the occasional rainbow trout or yellow perch.
Tennessee Valley Authority: ph. 423-751-2264 or 1-800-882-5263
Through a joint project with the Tennessee Valley Authority, Wildlife Action and local businesses and anglers, Fisheries Section personnel with the Wildlife Resources Division help construct man-made fish habitat (often in the form of fish attractors) for various lakes throughout the state. These constructions help serve the purpose of providing underwater habitat for fish.
Locate Lake Blue Ridge's fish attractors here by viewing available maps and heeding biologists helpful tips.
Prospects and Fishing Tips
|Best Bets |
|SPOTTED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS, SMALLMOUTH BASS, WALLEYE & BLUEGILL |
|Largemouth bass |
|Prospect ||Largemouth bass abundance will hover around historic levels this year. The average largemouth will be 1 1/4 pounds in size, but 3-4 pound fish will not be uncommon. Though few in number, 9 and 10 pound largemouth are not out of the question at Blue Ridge. || |
|Technique ||Baits vary from season to season, but larger u-tail or ribbon tail plastic worms or plastic lizards (especially in May and June) and the standard pig-n-jig are successful largemouth techniques in this lake. Top water lures like Zara Spooks or Rapalas, fished at the end of the day, can generate some exciting top water action. Natural baits such as crayfish and live minnows are also effective. |
|Target ||Largemouth are most often found in the up-river locations of the Toccoa arm of the lake. Locating woody debris is key when targeting largemouth in this reservoir. Focus on the backs of coves and tributary mouths around fallen trees or stumps. |
|Smallmouth bass |
|Prospect ||Over the last few years, smallmouth growth has been good. Consequently, 1-pound smallies have become the norm at Blue Ridge. Persistent anglers should not be surprised to see a few 5-6 pound smallmouth pulled from these waters in 2013. |
However, overall smallmouth abundance is relatively low and reproductive success has dropped since the establishment of blueback herring and expansion of the spotted bass population. Spotted bass compete with the native smallmouth bass. Anglers are encouraged to harvest their limit of spotted bass from Blue Ridge when possible.
|Technique ||Use medium action rods and reels spooled with 8-10 pound line. April and May are great for shad- or herring-patterned crankbaits (#5 shad raps or Bill Normans) fished on long points. In summer, top water baits fished at dawn or dusk can be effective. However, most summer fishing is done using subtle presentations like Texas rigged plastic worms/lizards, or drop shot rigs fished around brush or rock piles. The cool fall weather pushes smallmouth out of the deeps to more moderate depths around 15-30 feet. At this time drop shot rigs, flukes and crawfish-imitating jigs are good bets. These same tactics will work in winter as well. Live minnows are a good bait just about anytime of year. |
|Target ||Fish long shallow points in spring when smallies are spawning. When smallmouth move shallow to spawn in spring, head to long rocky points in the Toccoa arm of the lake. Summer time sends fish deep in the main lake, where they hold on brush piles, ledges and humps. Try nighttime fishing in summer for fish that move to shallow water to feed under the cover of darkness. Cooling fall weather initiates aggressive feeding activity on wind-blown main lake points. In winter, smallmouth tend to congregate around creek mouths where water temperatures are often a few degrees warmer than the main lake. |
|Spotted bass |
|Prospect ||Spotted bass are an introduced species to Blue Ridge. Unfortunately their abundance continues to increase in the reservoir. In addition to growing numbers, bigger and bigger spotted bass are being caught each year. The average spot will be around a pound, but 3-4 pound plus fish are increasing in number. The DNR encourages anglers to harvest their limit of spotted bass whenever possible, to reduce the competition this invasive species places upon the native smallmouth bass population. |
|Technique ||Follow the same techniques listed for smallmouth bass in your pursuit of spotted bass. |
|Target ||Spotted bass will be found in the same locations listed for smallmouth bass. |
|White bass |
|Prospect ||Once common in the reservoir, white bass numbers have dramatically declined in recent years. This decline has been concurrent with the establishment of blueback herring, which may be negatively influencing white bass reproduction. Most white bass in the population are older fish that have grown to large size. || |
|Technique ||Small lures like "doll flies," and plastic grubs in light colors, along with small, herring-imitating crankbaits, fished on light spinning gear are recommended. |
|Target ||For spawn-run fish, target rocky points and shoals in the Toccoa River arm of the lake in March. Throughout the rest of the year, look for white bass in the main lake body anywhere schooling herring are found. |
|Prospect ||Though often overlooked, good populations of channel and flathead catfish are available in this mountain reservoir. |
|Technique ||For channel cats, a variety of baits like chicken liver, cut shad, and cut bream are good bets. For flatheads, anglers should use live bream weighted with a heavy sinker. |
|Target ||Probe deep holes and river ledges. The cracks and crevices found on rocky banks also provide good hiding places for catfish. Such habitat can be found in the Toccoa River arm of the lake and along the face of Blue Ridge Dam. |
|Prospect ||Quality, not quantity, best describes bream fishing at Blue Ridge. Bluegill average 5-6 inches in length, but thick-sided 9-10 inch "bull-gills" are not uncommon. Redbreast sunfish are far less common than bluegill, but like bluegill, they too attain impressive size in this reservoir. || |
|Technique ||For artificial baits, small is the key in the typically clear waters of Blue Ridge. Try small spinners and natural crawfish imitating micro-jigs. As for live bait, crickets or worms rigged on light line under a bobber, or bottom presentations weighted with split-shot are both good tactics. Drop shot rigs, typically used for bass, can also be employed using live bait, as a means of targeting deeper nesting fish. |
|Target ||Anglers should concentrate on fishing around downed trees or other structure in shallow coves, tributary mouths, or on sand flats. Look shallow for nests, but nesting colonies of magnum "gills" may also set up shop on deeper locales in 15-20 ft. of water. The Toccoa arm of the reservoir is a favored location for these large bluegills, which concentrate during the May-July spawning period. For the boat angler, the submerged gravel road bed that extends out from Blue Ridge Marina to the old submerged deep water boat ramp will hold good numbers of nesting bream this year. |
|Prospect ||Walleye reproductive success has been poor in recent years - following the introduction of blueback herring to the reservoir. This has resulted in a walleye population increasingly dominated by older, larger fish, with few young fish recruiting to the fishery each year. Fortunately, recent DNR sample data suggests spring 2009 and 2010 walleye spawning success was much improved over previous years. These 3-4 year old fish should be 16-20 inches in length in 2013. While few in number, older walleye have experienced better growth over the past few years. As such, there is the distinct possibility a lake record walleye could be pulled from these waters in the near future. || |
|Technique ||Between February and April when fish are shallow, use shallow running crankbaits or jigs. Work deeper fish with 1/4 ounce light colored jigs, or vertical jig with a silver or blue chrome spoon. In summer, walleye move deep, sometimes suspending in the thermocline over deep water. Flex-it spoons are a good choice, but trolling deep diving (weight them to get them deeper) crankbaits (shad raps or jerkbaits) can be productive. Fall and winter techniques are similar to spring, with shap raps and spoons being the most effective approaches. Throughout the year, jigs tipped with live baits like night crawlers or live minnows also are effective. |
|Target ||In late winter and spring, fish the deeper river ledges in the Toccoa arm of the lake. Warming water will bring walleye shallower to feed and spawn. By summer, walleye are back in the main lake, on deep (30 to 50-plus feet) rocky points, humps or even suspended in the thermocline over deep water. With the cooling of fall, walleye move out of their deep summer haunts, into the 20-30 foot depth range. Find them on points and or ledges in tributary coves. Throughout the year, night fishing during a full moon can be productive. |
|Other Species |
|Prospect ||Though not overly abundant, yellow perch do call Blue Ridge home. What they may lack in numbers, they more than make up for in size. Jumbo perch, 12 to 15-plus inches in length and 1-plus pounds in weight, can be caught at Blue Ridge. |
|Technique ||Perch and walleye are often found together, so try some of the same methods listed for walleye. Smaller baits are preferred, as yellow perch have a smaller mouth than that of a walleye. Small pieces of worm or minnows fished on the bottom are both favored perch fishing techniques. |
|Target ||Yellow perch are often found in the Toccoa arm of the lake. Fish the deeper coves where they may be found holding on brush piles or channel ledges. |
|Additional Information |
|Anglers wishing to camp at Lake Blue Ridge can do so at the USFS's Morganton Point Campground. Information about this facility is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=10529&actid=29 |
Since 2006 the TVA, DNR and local volunteers have worked to enhance fish habitat in Lake Blue Ridge. Anglers can find information about this program and maps of the deepwater fish attractor sites on the WRD Website.
Spotted bass are now established in the lake - probably the result of illegal stockings. Their population has increased significantly in recent years. Spots compete with and can hybridize with smallmouth bass, which in the past, has resulted in the collapse of other Georgia smallmouth bass fisheries. To help reduce spotted bass competition with smallmouth bass and retain that unique fishery, anglers are encouraged to harvest their limit (10) of spots.
|Best Fishing Times Key |
|Excellent: Good: Fair: |