This weekend, Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30 and Blue Ridge Trout Fest and Outdoor Adventures will promote everything outdoors that Fannin has to offer.
Fannin County Chamber of Commerce proposed the idea for the festival to capture the camping, hiking, biking, rafting and, of course, trout fishing that people come here for. Blue Ridge Mountain Trout Unlimited Chapter 696, the host of the event, has worked with local organizations like the Boy Scouts, Rotary Club and Fannin County High School to organize the event. The Blue Ridge Lodging Association has helped greatly with the logistics. Keeping with the goal of promoting all of Fannin County as an outdoor destinations, all participating fishing and rafting guide services work in Fannin County. The USFS will be promoting public natural resources and trails throughout the county, especially the Trout Adventure Trail.
Bob Borgwat, Fannin fishing guide and Trout Unlimited member says that Fannin’s trout fishing is unique because there is an opportunity for every style of fisherman. Anglers can choose between fishing for wild trout or stocked trout, brown, rainbow or brook trout. People can fish from the headwaters to the tailwaters year-round. Even during late summer, upstream feeder creeks have brook trout. The fishing areas are diverse as well, from river and creek access points near a road to back-county access points promising solitude but requiring a hike. In fact, all surface water in Fannin County is classified as trout water quality by the EPD. And, it helps that Fannin is about the first cold-water fishing opportunity a person hits when travelling north from Florida.
Mr. Borgwat, whose articles about north Georgia trout fishing has appeared in Southern Trout and Georgia Outdoors, will be giving a presentation about wild trout on the Upper Toccoa. Other presentations include tips and tactics, making fishing flies and choosing equipment. Atlanta Fly Fishing will offer free fly-fishing lessons in the morning. There will also be a casting pool where local guides and vendors can help festival-goers better their form. (click here for program schedule)
Other activities include a kid’s area which Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association is running. On Friday night, the Rotary Club is sponsoring “Trout Train”. On Saturday, three north Georgia bands will be performing in the Beer Garden area.
The Blue Ridge Trout Fest & Outdoor Adventure will be the 1st trout festival in Georgia. Even before it occurs, the festival is already Georgia’s official trout festival. House Speaker David Ralston built on his commitment of promoting Fannin tourism and Fannin County as the Trout Capital of Georgia by passing a resolution that the Blue Ridge Trout Fest is Georgia’s official trout festival.
From response to social media and other advertising, Trout Unlimited expects between 5,000 and 8,000 people and has its sights on a larger crowd next year. Proceeds from the event will fund Trout Unlimited’s programs in Fannin county like Trout in the Classroom, Project Healing Waters for Wounded Veterans, Casting for Recovery from Breast Cancer, Boy Scouts’ and Girl Scouts’ conservation education, Georgia Trout Camp, Trout Adventure Trail and Mercier Orchard Family Fishing Days.