The Mighty Chattahoochee
The Chattahoochee River was once warm water, shoal bass fishery. But, when Buford Dam was built to create Lake Lanier, everything changed. The Chattahoochee that runs through Atlanta is now a tailwater. Coldwater from the bottom of Lake Lanier is released to generate electric power and provides cold water to create a trout fishery as the “Hooch” flows downstream and through Atlanta. By the time the water flows past the Paces Mill area at the I-75 bridge, it is no longer cold enough to be considered a year-round trout fishery.
Buford Dam to Morgan Falls
The Chattahoochee River from the dam to Morgan falls is a cold water fishery all year. The water released at the dam is in the 50-degree range even on the hottest summer day. This section of the river is stocked with rainbow trout by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). There is also a healthy population of brown trout. Brown trout are no longer stocked in this part of the river because they are naturally reproducing wild trout.
IMPORTANT! Fishing on the Chattahoochee can be dangerous. Each year, people are rescued and sometimes drown when they are surprised by rising water. Life jackets must be worn by anyone on the river from Buford Dam to the Highway 20 bridge.
Delayed Harvest Fishing
The Chattahoochee River below Morgan falls is also a year-round fishery. However, the water gets too warm to support a healthy trout population during the warm months of the year.
During the cooler months, from November until May, this section of the river is catch-and-release only. This can make for some great fishing right in Atlanta’s backyard. This section of the river is generously stocked with rainbow and brown during the delayed harvest time span of the delayed harvest regulations.