High Shoals Creek

Stream Location: Swallow Creek WMA

Wild Trout: Native Brook Trout and Wild Rainbow Trout

Stocked Trout: None

Other Species of Note:

Gear: Seven Foot Rod, nothing above this.

Dry Flies: Adams, Caddis, Royal Wulff, Terrestrials 

Nymphs: Caddis Puppa, Pheasant Tail, Prince, Hares, Stone, Squirmy Wormy, Mop, and Perdigon 

Streamers: None 

Waders: Yes

Net: Yes

Wading Stick: Yes

Casting: Tuck, Overhead, and Roll


How can I describe High Shoals Creek? A place that I never thought would have existed here in Georgia. A place that is so incredibly like Virginia, a place that has such great beauty, while is absolutely so frustrating. I guess I can describe it for those that are familiar to the brook trout scene in Virginia with three words: Little Stony Creek. It reminds me soo much of Little Stony Creek that I can not put my head around it at times, it has all of the characteristics and all of the headaches. 

For those that are not familiar with Little Stony Creek or the Cascades (as the stream is generally known as), Little Stony is one of Virginia’s premier native brook trout and wild rainbow trout streams. It is one of the few heavily restricted streams in Virginia because of such. However it is also one of Virginia’s most popular hiking destination because of the beautiful water falls at the end of a two mile hike. Honestly it is one of the bane’s of my existence during heavy tourist season.

Just like Little Stony Creek, High Shoals Creek, is a beautiful hike to two amazing water falls, it also has some of the prettiest native brook trout and wild rainbow trout in it, and of course there are a billion tourist that love to frequent High Shoal Creek for the waterfalls. It is maddening! 

Forgetting about all of the people that come here, disregarding the no climbing the falls signs that people ignore just to cliff dive right into a monstrous hole, a hole that probably held dozens of native brook trout at one time, lets talk about the stream itself. As far as I know there are no restrictions on this stream, which shocks me, you would think the State of Georgia would  have some type of restrictions for this stream because of the native brook trout. However you would be wrong. Also this stream is not as easy of a hike as Little Stony Creek is, even though it .3 miles shorter. Also I really hope you like Laurel bushes, they are everywhere.

First of all you will have to drive straight up a mountain, praying that no tourists are there – that you will not find cars parked all the way up to the mouth of the trail. Then at the mouth of the trail you will have to hike about 1.5 miles straight down the mountain you just drove up. The trail is very steep, I really hope you have brought some type of studded boots or sandals, but it eventually levels off right where an angler should start jumping into the creek to the right of the trail. Unlike Little Stony Creek, you will start fishing the head waters at High Shoals and work your way down stream (that is if you do not care to be as stealthy as you should be in brook trout waters). Each and every hole is roughly the same for the first quarter mile or so, big drop into a big hole, with a very long and shallow pool following it. All of which has some type of Laurels to block easy overhead casts. This is where having a very short rod will come in handy, you will not be able to do many false cast for distance, instead you will need to maximize what little false casts you can make, and rely on precision shots. Also you will need to use roll and tuck casting every chance you can.

As you work your way down the stream you need to use extreme caution and common sense when it comes to some of the holes that you can fish. Remember you are going down a mountain, with very slick and sharp rocks, and it is at least a 1.5 mile hike out – this is not the area that you want to fall and break anything in. Each hole will get a little more difficult as you come up to the first small waterfall with the Laurel bushes getting thicker and thicker. After you get past this section you will come up to the first waterfall called Blue Hole Falls, if you are lucky enough to fish this section without any tourists jumping into the hole from above, make sure you fish this section deep with a  heavy nymph, mop, or squirmy. Hopefully you can coerce a fish out hiding. Below this hole are several other holes, again be very cautious because the second waterfall, which is named High Shoals Falls, is very high and is blocked by Laurels. Below the second waterfall fish the small trickle that forms out of the falls, you will be amazed by what is there, also this starts the wild rainbow section of High Shoals Creek. From here you can continue to fish down to where it meets the Hiwassee River, however this is as far as I have ventured to fish. More will come as I try my luck down this stream.

Additional Comments:

After reading this I hope that I have conveyed some very important information, and I hope it doesn’t dissuade you from fishing this gem. Ultimately you need to plan to come here during the week time when no one is off to fish or hike, be very careful and plan out a trip here. Notify someone of when you are going here and what time to expect you back. I would even suggest telling them a time that you will call them when you get to Helen or back into cell service, this way they can notify the Towns County Sheriff’s office for help if you don’t call back.