Blue Ridge's Dog Days Bassin'

by Bill Vanderford, Georgia Field Editor

The tiny topwater lure flew effortlessly through the crisp morning air and splashed down quietly on the calm water along a rocky shoreline at North Georgia's Lake Blue Ridge. Only the ever-widening circles of disturbed water betrayed its presence, but the unseen bass population below the surface were aware of this invader. Just a twitch of the rod by the angler, transmitted through the almost invisible strand of monofilament disturbed the diminutive artificial bait. Despite the subtleness of the movement, it triggered an immediate response. Instantly, an over 3-pound bronze-colored bass shattered the placid surface as it exploded skyward in a shower of spray as it engulfed the lure!

A nice dark smallmouth from Lake Blue Ridge.

PHOTO CREDIT: BILL VANDERFORD

These scenes are common on Lake Blue Ridge during the warmer months. This 3,290 acre TVA lake is on the Toccoa River in Fannin County near the town of Blue Ridge. It has always been considered to be one of the best smallmouth bass and walleye reservoirs in Georgia and continues to maintain that reputation. In fact, smallmouth bass are by far the most common black bass in Lake Blue Ridge.

According to records supplied by Georgia DNR biologist, Kevin Dallmier, over the past ten years, catches of smallmouth bass have been about four to one over largemouth. Though most of the smallmouth average around a pound, fish in the five pound class are not uncommon. Nevertheless, this small mountain impoundment also has a healthy number of largemouth bass, and, at times, more of them are caught than smallmouth. In fact, as part of a sample study conducted during the fall of 1995, one largemouth bass specimen was taken that weighed 8 and 1/2 pounds. 

Since the bottom of Blue Ridge Reservoir has been compared to the emptiness of the ocean depths, finding fish can be much easier than at lakes with lots of underwater structures. Therefore, many successful Blue Ridge fishermen troll over or around large areas near shoals or gravel points with smaller crankbaits, or cast to these feisty, bronze-colored bass.

They accomplish this with lures like the 1/4 ounce, white Blakemore Roadrunner jig or a 1/8th ounce leadhead jig with a 3-inch, chartreuse, Ranger twister-tailed grub. All of these artificials are good when fan casting large areas of open, shallow water.

Deep running crank baits, like grubs and jigs take good fish.

PHOTO CREDIT: BILL VANDERFORD

One of the best areas at Blue Ridge Reservoir is around the Morganton Point Beach, which is a U.S. Forest Service maintained beach and camping area. It is an extremely flat, gravelly shoal that extends far out into the lake and provides an excellent area for smallmouth bass. Also, many of the rocky points or shoals toward the upper end of the lake from Morganton Beach can be very productive, and at times quite a few smallmouth are caught along the riprap at the dam.

Knowledge and patience are the keys to catching plenty of hard-fighting bass from Lake Blue Ridge. When the temperature of the waters in most of the other lakes in the Peach State has risen to above normal readings, this mountain jewel is still cool. Also, since the bass in this reservoir spawn late, and the shad population is low, Lake Blue Ridge could offer Georgia's best hot summer bassin' action!

Dark, deep water smallmouth hit well into summer.

PHOTO CREDIT: BILL VANDERFORD

Lake Blue Ridge Marina near the dam has boat launching facilities, fishing supplies, boat rentals and up-to-date fishing information. Contact them at (706) 632-3044. Johnny LeSesne is available for guide service. Call him at (706) 632-6771.