The summer months tend to kill the angling aspirations of many anglers, but all they really have to do is look north to find a cooler places to enjoy their favorite pastime. The Northeast Georgia mountains are an ideal choice to experience successful outdoor adventures with much less heat.
An ideal area is Moccasin Creek State Park, which is located about 20 miles north of Clarkesville on Georgia Highway 197 where Moccasin Creek empties into picturesque Lake Burton. This park is mainly designed for family camping and fishing. It especially caters to the under 16 and over 65 year-old crowds. In fact, the section of Moccasin Creek that runs through the campground can only be fished by the younger and older anglers, and is heavily stocked with trout for that reason. For family fun, however, Lake Burton offers great fishing for several different species including spotted, largemouth, and white bass. In addition, one can catch crappie, sunfish, yellow perch, and walleyes.
Lake Burton is the first and largest on the Tallulah/Tugaloo chain of lakes and is fed primarily by the cool waters of the Tallulah River. Impounded in 1919, it is the second oldest manmade reservoir in Georgia and contains 2,775 acres of water. Its clear waters are teeming with life and because of a DNR experiment, is producing better catches than ever before.
The rebirth of this more than 70 year-old lake is the direct result of an experiment by DNR biologist Anthony Rabun that began In March of 1990. At that time, 40,000 threadfin shad were stocked in Lake Burton. They were followed with an additional 20,000 the following February. The growth and reproduction of that 1990 class were phenomenal and caused a furor. The spotted bass population exploded in both numbers and size far beyond expectations. Though the average fish is still around a pound, many spotted bass are being taken in the three to four pound class with an occasional five pound fish as a bonus.
During these warmer months, fishing can also be outstanding up in the Tallulah River arm of Lake Burton or at the mouth of any of the feeder streams. The main body of the lake from the Highway 76 Bridge to below Billy Goat Island is an excellent fishery.
Besides the great fishing, Lake Burton has much more to offer visiting anglers and their families. In fact, for many Georgians Lake Burton conjures up memories of catching wild trout from the picturesque pools of its tributaries, and some will remember learning to water ski on Burton’s calm, blue-green waters, or enjoying the purely Southern culinary experience of home-cooked food at LaPrade’s. Moccasin Creek State Park information is available by calling (706) 947-3194.