Fly Fishing Lessons in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Samuel and I went out with our good friend, Greg Johnson to learn to fly fish.  Greg teaches novices such as us the basics of fly fishing.  We met at Curtis Switch, a popular fishing area on the Toccoa River early in the morning.  When we first got there, I assumed that he would teach us the techniques of managing the rod.  Little did I know all that he would have to teach us.

Fly fishing at Curtis Switch

Fishing at Curtis Switch on a summer morning

He had to teach us:

  1. Law – he made us purchase a fishing license before we went fishing
  2. Biology – be the fish
  3. Entomology – the lifecycle of various insects
  4. Hydrology – understanding what you are seeing on the surface of the water and how it effects the fish
  5. Walking – how to walk in the water and not fall in and not scare off the fish
  6. Manners – yes, there is fishing etiquette
  7. Fishing – yes, he had to teach us to cast as well.

The Toccoa Tailwater is reputed to be one of the best places to fish for trout in North Georgia,  The water released from Lake Blue Ridge is coming off of the bottom of the lake, and is about 46 degrees all year.  This makes an excellent habitat for trout, even in the heat of summer.  At other times of year, the river upstream of Lake Blue Ridge in the Aska Area also offers excellent fishing.  You can go to the TVA’s website to find information about scheduled water releases (very important for safety and fishing)  you can also call 800-238-2264.  Enter 4 for information about predicted water discharges, and 23 for the Blue Ridge Dam.

You can purchase your fishing license online!  This is too cool, the State of Georgia is set up so you can purchase your hunting and fishing licenses online at and print it out on your computer from home.  You can even purchase 3-day licenses if you are not planning on coming back to go fishing any time soon.

Arriving at Curtis Switch at 7:00 am, I thought we were going to spend 2 hours practicing casting, before hitting the water.  What we did do was have a class about trout, the life cycles of the insects they feed on, the mechanics of the rod and reel, and then we headed to the water.  I think that Greg could have put us in a grass field for several hours practicing our casts, but he felt it would be best to learn casting, in the water, trying to catch fish.

Fly fishing for trout on the toccoa river

Teacher and student on the Toccoa River

Greg showed us how to maneuver through the water, where the fish probably would be lurking, and then taught us to cast.  While we were terrible, we were able to get the line out (most of the time) and actually caught fish!  Greg was a great teacher and encourager, gently reminding me 40-50 times to not use my wrist when casting the line.

early morning fly fishing at curtis switch

Early morning at Curtis Switch

When the lessons and fishing were over, we had caught 23 trout between the three of us!  Greg did catch the most (9) but we were not far behind him.  In Greg’s defense, he spent most of his time helping us, not fishing.

If you are planning a visit to Blue Ridge and want to fish where you stay, you will definitely want to look at our riverfront cabin rentals on the Toccoa River.  You may want to ask us to make arrangements for Greg to take you out on the Toccoa River for individual or small group instruction.  Fly fishing is one of the most popular things to do in Blue Ridge, take the time to discover what it is all about!  I am certain that you will have a great time, and leave “hooked” on fly fishing, like us! If you would like to contact Greg to arrange fly fishing lessons, email him at

P.S. A little about Greg – Greg will take you out in groups of 1, 2, or 3 people.  He believes that he will be able to give you the best value in your lessons if the group remains small so he can help everyone.  During your lesson, Greg’s attention is on you and your enjoyment, not him fishing.  He may throw the line a few times, but most of the time, he will be working with you.

P.P.S.  – Now my wife, and daughters want to take lessons and go fly fishing too!  I envision a lot of money being spent here on fishing equipment in the near future.  Greg’s advice will help us make wise investments in our equipment.

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4 Responses to Fly Fishing Lessons in the Blue Ridge Mountains

  1. Pingback: GA vacation spots with family; Fly fishing, Whitewater rafting; Blue Ridge fly fishing cabin rentals

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  3. John says:

    How can I get in touch with Greg Johnson or another fly fishing instructor.