Chattahoochee Winter Trout Fishing

This 2013 winter fishing season could prove to be some of the best angling ever on the Chattahoochee River tail-water! Many anglers have been disappointed this past 2012 during the fall through Christmas time frame because of the high flows released from Buford Dam making fishing and access almost impossible. These excessive flows were badly needed down-stream in the ACF watershed to help replenish water-tables with the 100 year drought conditions.

The good news is that Lake Lanier is extremely low and it will likely take months for the Army Corp of Engineers to fill the lake to Winter & Spring-rule curve levels. This means Buford Dam will release primarily minimum flows about 650 Cubic Feet per Second(CFS)** for the remainder of this winter making for mostly ideal and safe fishing conditions on the entire 48 miles of trout water.  Please note that the Corps will release or “burp” the lake with the occasional one to three hour releases which will cause dramatic fluctuations (5 – 9feet water level rise and fall) during this time. Please visit  for a river safety flow chart.

Anglers should call Buford (770) 945-1466 or Morgan Falls (404) 329-1455  dam release schedules and visit their web site  Also, anglers should note that excessive rain events will cause high muddy flows from storm-water run-off and may need to migrate upstream to find low clear water above blown-out tributaries. A good plan “B” or “C” is to go to Buford Dam where the water is always clear but anglers MUST wear a PFD from the Buford DAM to GA Hwy-20 Bridge. For a free hatch chart for selecting the right fly for winter angling go to

**Cubic Feet Per Second (CFS) – a rate of the flow, in streams and rivers, for example. It is equal to a volume of water one foot high and one foot wide flowing a distance of one foot in one second. One “CFS” is equal to 7.48 gallons of water flowing each second. For example, if your car’s gas tank is 2 feet by 1 foot by 1 foot (2 cubic feet), then gas flowing at a rate of 1 cubic foot/second would fill the tank in two seconds.

Tight Lines,

Chris Scalley