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Tugaloo Lake

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Tugaloo Lake is a Reservoir in Habersham, Georgia.

Have you fished Tugaloo Lake? Help your fellow anglers out by giving a fishing report, some fishing tips or general information about Tugaloo Lake.

Do you have a question about Tugaloo Lake, ask it here.

Lake Tugalo is a beautiful 600-acre lake formed by the Tallulah and Chattooga rivers. Owned and operated by the Georgia Power Company, Tugalo is on the South Carolina border near Clayton.

Fishing Description: 

Best Bets: Largemouth bass, walleye & white catfish

Fishing Tips, Tactics, How-To info: 

Surveys indicate that largemouth bass in the 1 to 2-pound size range are abundant in Lake Tugalo.

From December through March, largemouth bass wedge themselves among the deeper branches of downed trees. Pig-n-jig combinations and other slow moving baits are effective this time of year. During the spawning period (April and May), cast soft plastic baits like flukes, trick worms and curly tail grubs around visible structure in the small coves and pockets that dot the shoreline. When water temperatures rise in the summer months, look for quality-sized fish in the cooler headwater areas of the lake. Bouncing crayfish imitations along the bottom is an effective approach for bass in these rocky, shallow, swift water areas. Blueback herring lures, live crayfish, nightcrawlers and minnows also are effective in the headwaters. The fall transition pushes bass into the deeper areas of downed trees, especially on the upper end of the lake. Shad-imitating crankbaits, soft plastics and jigs are best bets in the fall. Anglers should also keep a watchful eye for surface feeding fish in the upper reaches of the lake and cast toward breaking fish with crankbaits and surface plugs.

The shoreline is very steep, undeveloped and saturated with downed trees, which provide a haven for largemouth bass most of the year. Largemouth bass gorge on blueback herring during the early fall months and anglers should focus their efforts on the upper reaches of each river arm and fish around the deep water edges of blown down trees. The Chattooga River arm in the vicinity of South Carolina is one of the best places to fish for bass in both the spring and fall. The upstream headwater areas on both river arms are the best places to target bass in the summer.

Annual stocking of walleye in Lake Tugalo supports an abundant and popular walleye fishery. Anglers typically catch fish from one to three pounds, but walleye over 8 pounds have been caught. State record-class fish also are available. The dominant prey of walleye in Lake Tugalo is blueback herring. Live herring or artificial lures that mimic herring are the most effective baits to attract walleye anytime of the year.

Fishing access to key target areas is reachable only by boat on this remote lake. In mid-March, walleye congregate in the flowing waters of the Tallulah River below the Tallulah Falls power plant – cast floating Rapalas or nightcrawlers on a jig head at night into the flowing waters below the power plant. Use a slow but steady retrieve and be prepared for gentle resistance on the line, which indicates a strike. In April, move to the Chattooga River arm and fish the area where the river pours into the lake. Fish nightcrawlers or curly tail grubs during the day or night on the bottom. The heat of summer creates a different pattern for walleye. Rising water temperatures force walleye to migrate to the lower end of the Chattooga River arm in the vicinity of the dam where they congregate at depths of 40-60 feet. Fish on the bottom along the points in the target depth range with nightcrawlers or minnows on a jig-head. In the fall months, walleye move into shallow water in the evenings to feed on bluegill, yellow perch and blueback herring. Nightcrawlers, minnows and shad-imitating lures are effective this time of year. Walleye have a very light bite, so anglers new to walleye fishing should remain alert to slight movements in the line, which may indicate a strike.

During March, target the area below the Tallulah Gorge power plant on the Tallulah River arm. In April, target the river section of the Chattooga River arm. In the summer months, fish the points on the lower lake on the Chattooga River arm at depths of 40 to 60-feet. Fish the same areas in the fall but in more shallow water.


Catfishing is popular among local anglers who fish on Tugalo. White catfish that average 2 pounds in size are abundant in the Chattooga River arm.

Catfishing techniques involve simple baits and simple tackle. Worms, liver, small bream and artificial catfish mixtures are the most popular baits. Impale preferred bait on a number six size hook up to a 1/0 size hook, attach a few split shots onto the line and fish on the bottom along the main channel banks at depths ranging from 20-40 feet.

The best time to fish for Tugalo’s white cats is on a summer afternoon when power is being generated. The gentle current through the reservoir created by power generation seems to trigger a feeding frenzy in the fish. Surveys indicated that the highest concentrations of white catfish are found in the vicinity of the South Carolina boat ramp. Target the points on the Georgia side, especially in the sharp bends upstream of the boat ramp. During the summer, bank anglers catch catfish from the South Carolina boat ramp.

Recreational Activities: 

Whitewater & Aesthetic Water Releases
Hiking and Mountain Biking - more than 20 miles of trails
Bicycling - 1.7-mile paved "Rails to Trails" path

Facilities and Parks: 

Tallulah Gorge State Park offers one of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S., Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks, or they can obtain a free permit (limit 100 per day) to hike down to the gorge floor. A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing spectacular views of the river and waterfalls.


Tallulah Gorge State Park
338 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr
Tallulah Falls , GA 30573
Park (706) 754-7970
Camping (706) 754-7979
Picnic Shelters (706) 782-4014

Camping facilities include:

50 Tent, Trailer, RV Campsites
Backcountry Adirondack Shelter ($10)
Picnic Shelter ($60)
Pioneer Campground ($35)

Boat Ramp: 

Because of Lake Tugalo’s rugged access roads, vehicles with four-wheel drive that trailer small boats are strongly recommended.

Boating access on the Georgia side of the lake is available through Tallulah Gorge State Park, which is located off Hwy. 441 in Tallulah Falls, Ga. Easier access to the lake is available at the South Carolina boat ramp.

Directions to the South Carolina ramp are as follows: From Hwy. 441 in Clayton, Ga., turn east onto Hwy. 76. After crossing the Chattooga River Bridge into South Carolina, travel about three miles and turn right onto Orchard Road. At the stop sign, turn right onto Battlecreek Road. At the fork in the road, bear right. After passing Damascus Church, turn right onto the gravel road. This long, winding gravel road will lead to the boat ramp, which becomes paved and very steep as you approach the parking area.


Lake Tugalo has a 25 hp motor restriction.

Due to access restrictions on private property, the original Sliding Rock Trail is closed. Sliding Rock pool is accessed by hiking the Hurricane Falls staircase. GORGE FLOOR PERMIT REQUIRED.

Free permits are required to access the gorge floor and can be obtained at the Interpretive Center. Visitors must wear proper footwear to obtain a permit -- no flip-flops or crocs. Permits will not be issued after 4 p.m.

Permits limited to 100 per day. On busy days, permits may run out early in the morning. Permits are not transferable.

Groups of 20 can get permits on Saturday and Sunday only. Groups of 30 can get permits Monday through Friday only. To protect the natural resource, no groups larger than 30 are allowed.

Weather and water flow conditions can restrict gorge floor access.


Tallulah Gorge State Park
338 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr
Tallulah Falls , GA 30573

Directions to Lake: 

U.S. Hwy. 441 within the city limits of Tallulah Falls, Ga.

Tugaloo Lake
Waterbody type: 
United States
Standard elevation: