Chattooga River Trout Action - Game & Fish (2022)

Chattooga River Trout Action - Game & Fish (1)

October 04, 2010

This stream in the northeast corner of the state is a longtime mainstay of the area's coldwater fishing. But those conditions are anything but static. Here's what's going on there today. (May 2008)

Chattooga River Trout Action - Game & Fish (2)

The Rabun County TU chapter is fighting hard to keep scenes like this from occurring on the upper Chattooga River.

Photo by Kevin Dallmier.

Designated by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River for its outstanding scenery and its value in terms of recreation, wildlife, geology and culture, the Chattooga River offers five-star trout fishing in a truly primitive setting. Since access to those sections of the river that offer the best trout fishing has been an on-your-own-two-feet proposition, the upper Chattooga is a favorite of gone-native anglers looking for solitude and stream-bred trout in wild conditions.

The river begins its journey high in the North Carolina Appalachians and travels a rugged 50 miles before ending in the still waters of Lake Tugalo. For much of its course, the Chattooga forms the state line between South Carolina and Georgia.

The entire watershed was heavily logged around the beginning of the 20th century, which brought serious erosion to the river valley. The U.S. government started purchasing land soon after the logging and began reforestation, along with erosion and fire control.

In the 1920s, the Georgia Power Company began to purchase most of the remaining private land along the main stream up to 14 miles above the State Route 28 crossing, with plans to construct several hydroelectric impoundments. Fortunately, those plans were eventually abandoned.

During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps worked to restore and protect the watershed, including constructing the nearby Wahalla Fish Hatchery in South Carolina. The states that shared the river managed it as a trout fishery from Ellicott Rock down to the U.S. Highway 76 bridge. The fishery was outstanding as long as the water stayed cool, with high catch rates of large trout in a backcountry setting.


Movie buffs may have scouted the Chattooga River and not even realized it. The movie Deliverance was filmed on the lower Chattooga, and that section remains as rough and remote as it was when film crews had to use rafts to get on location three decades ago.

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The river is split into several management sections. The upper section from Ellicott Rock to SR 28 is of most interest to anglers. Ellicott Rock, the boulder that marks the point where Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina all meet, is named for Andrew Ellicott, an early 18th-century surveyor assigned the job of surveying this rugged area of Southern Appalachia. This stretch holds the best trout water on the whole Chattooga. Downstream of SR 28, the river becomes marginal trout water, and redeye bass are much more common.

As things currently stand, boating is prohibited above the SR 28 bridge, giving anglers an oasis from the heavy whitewater rafting pressure the river receives. Since this area upstream has the best fishing, and the area downstream of the highway the better white water, this management approach has worked well over the years. The section of river above SR 28 can be further divided into distinct areas in terms of angling potential. Burrells Ford breaks the upper river into two sections -- wild trout fishing north of the ford and stocked waters to the south.

THE FISHING
May is a great month for fishing the Chattooga. The cold downpours of spring have begun to taper off, and the mountains are abloom with new life. Unlike many Southern trout streams, the Chattooga supports good numbers of insects, and produces some heavy hatches during the spring. Flyfishermen should plan their trips to try to be there when the hatch is on and the trout are in a feeding mood.

Some important hatches to consider this time of year are those of the mayflies. The Light Cahill mayfly is very common in Chattooga trout diets, and other mayflies such as the Sulphur, Green Drake and March Brown are also present. Expect to find the best hatches early and late in the day.

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A box stocked with patterns in sizes No. 12 to 16 along the lines of Light Cahills, Parachute Adams and tan Elk Hair Caddis should cover most of the bases. A Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear nymph belongs in any North Georgia flyfisherman's box. Other possibilities include big streamers like a Woolly Bugger or Matuka.

For conventional gear, try small spinners like a white Rooster Tail or Panther Martin. Small plugs that imitate a minnow or crayfish are also a good choice for big brown trout.

Even upstream of Burrells Ford, the Chattooga River is "big water" if judged by Georgia trout fishing standards. This section is 50 to 60 feet wide in most places, with shoals separated by long, deep pools. This area is predominantly a wild brown trout fishery with heavy, stream-reared browns a real possibility. Anglers wading this section should have no problem if they use common sense. A short hike around rough areas should put you back into wadeable water.

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(Video) Trout Fishing Georgia's West Fork Chattooga River

One area that has great fishing, but that is to be approached with respect, is "Rock Gorge," downstream of Burrells Ford and a short distance upstream of the intersection of the Bartram Trail and the Chattooga Foothills Trail. The deep pools in the gorge hold some of the biggest browns, but strong rapids, undercut rocks, dropoffs, and dead-end wading paths are common there.

Never go into this area alone. In fact, sharing the day with a partner is really a good idea for fishing any of the Chattooga. Not only do you have someone to share the experience with, but you also may end up saving each other's lives.

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The best time to fish for the Chattooga's big brown trout is first and last light. Browns are much more nocturnal than are rainbow trout, and since night-fishing is prohibited, low-light periods are the next best option. Overcast days are also good, with the fish feeding off and on throughout the day.

A good time to be on the river during the summer is right after a light rain when the water is just starting to dirty. The stained water makes the trout a little less wary, and bites may come quicker. Once the water truly muddies, though, fishing is tough.

With stocked rainbows supplementing the fishery, the easiest fishing in the summer is at Burrells Ford, but it also is the most crowded. A short walk, however, usually outdistances most casual anglers, and gives you some space. There's plenty of room for fly-casting, so this is a good area for novices to hone their skills.

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Downstream of Burrells Ford to the SR 28 bridge the river widens to almost 10

0 feet, and rainbows are the more abundant species. Stocked fish make up more of the catch, since natural reproduction is limited in this area. Since the area downstream is inaccessible to stocking trucks, helicopters are used to drop subadult fish into the river.

Within this section of the Chattooga is a delayed-harvest area from the SR 28 bridge upstream to the mouth of Reed Creek, which enters from the Georgia shore. Under this management strategy the fishing is catch-and-release only from Nov. 1 through May 14. Anglers are restricted to artificial single-hook lures. During the remainder of the year, the stream is open to harvest under standard regulations.

(Video) Chattooga River Fish Stocking - Fall 2013

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Delayed-harvest streams are stocked throughout the year, with the goal being high catch rates during the closed season, while allowing for harvest during the remainder of the year.

A NEW CHALLENGE
Although the upper Chattooga has remained a place of solitude for eons thanks to its remote location and the Wild and Scenic River designation, that solitude is now being tested. The U.S. Forest Service, responsible for managing the area as part of the Chattahoochee and Sumter National Forests has been under pressure from whitewater boating groups to lift the longstanding boating ban on the river upstream of SR 28.

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The proposal has been opposed by many groups, but for none does it strike closer to home than for the Rabun County Trout Unlimited Chapter. In cooperation with the Georgia Trout Unlimited Council, the Rabun County anglers have actively opposed the idea, issuing a position statement that sums up the issue for trout anglers.

Doug Adams, an officer of the Rabun TU chapter, has been heavily involved in this issue from the beginning. "I have fly-fished the Chattooga since 1955," he said. "I fish the Chattooga North Fork 40 to 60 times each year, walking in from 30 minutes to one and a half hours before beginning to fish. I enjoy the backcountry solitude experience, and the challenge of fly-fishing for trout in beautiful surroundings. The Chattooga is a special place. It is remote, wild, spectacular, serene, rugged, beautiful, and natural. No car horns, no diesel fumes, no cell phones -- just the sounds of birds, wind and water. And it has a good variety of great fly-fishing."

Regarding the current threat to his home river, Doug explained the situation. "The Forest Service is responding to the decision on the appeal of the 2004 Sumter National Forest Plan," he noted. "American Whitewater, an organization composed of boaters, filed the appeal to try to get boating allowed upstream of the Highway 28 bridge. The Rabun TU Chapter is only one of many organizations that oppose this proposal. From the very beginning, user conflicts were a problem on the Chattooga. The river had become wildly popular with boaters through Deliverance fame, and a 1973 Sports Afield article extolled both the boating and the quality trout fishing the river offered. With the sharp rise in the number of users, conflicts were common and often confrontational.

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"The 1974 Wild and Scenic River Designation and subsequent planning for the area provided a workable compromise. The designation ended the stocking below Highway 28 since the stocking points fell within in the quarter-mile protection corridor, and boaters were restricted from using the river above Highway 28.

"The issue is not simply a few environmentally-friendly boaters disturbing a few highly sensitive local anglers," Adams emphasized. "If that were so, there would not be the diversity of groups opposed to the proposal and seeking to retain the solitude of the upper river. For anglers however, the issue is simple: Each time an angler encounters a boater coming downstream toward him, he has to reel in his line, move out of the way, and wait for the boater to paddle past. The angler's rhythm has been disrupted. The boat and the paddling commotion have probably spooked the trout he was seeking. The angler either has to wait for some period of time and hope the trout calm down and begin feeding again, or move on and search for other trout that have not been spooked.

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"And since boaters space themselves, about the time the trout calm down, here comes another boater! The intrusion and frustration the angler experiences is not unlike the experience of having a discourteous angler jump in just upstream and start fishing. Either one can lead to a confrontation."

So where does the situation stand? In late 2007, an Environmental Assessment of Recreational Uses was released followed by a 45-day public comment period. The Forest Service will use this information to develop a final plan for the upper Chattooga. Anglers and other interested parties have had many opportunities to comment the last several years as the process ground along. Many interested anglers have provided input into the issue, but when it comes to these types of issues, the more voices the better. Anglers should continue to follow the issue closely and provide comment whenever the opportunity arises.

Beyond the route of the formal approach lie other avenues for informing people on the issue. "Throughout this process I have met many individual boaters, and most seem to be nice people who appear genuinely interested in conservation," Adams resumed. "I invite them to come visit the Chattooga North Fork back country on foot to experience the wildness, remoteness and solitude. They can boat on the lower Chattooga, the West Fork-Overflow headwaters, and on several of the Chattooga's tributaries. This should offer them the best of both Chattooga experiences and maintain the North Fork of the Chattooga in its unique wild and scenic state. I hope that in the future we can all work together to continue improving water quality and to protect and preserve a very special wild place for future generations."

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If you decide to give the Chattooga a try, here are some things to keep in mind: Primitive camping is permitted anywhere in the Chattooga River corridor not otherwise posted as closed to camping. Campsites must be at least a quarter-mile from a road and 50 feet from any trail or stream or the river.

A semideveloped campground is available at Burrells Ford on the South Carolina side. The campground is a short walk from the parking area and offers several good flat places to pitch a tent. Some campsites have lantern posts and picnic tables. Both a hand pump for water and pit toilets are available. The campground is open year 'round.

Another option is the Forest Service Cherry Hill Campground off South Carolina State Route 107. Following the trail two and eight-tenths miles from the trailhead near the campground puts you on the river.

To reach Burrells Ford, from U.S. Highway 441 in Clayton, take Warwoman Road east for 14 miles to Georgia SR 28. Turn right and drive one and eight-tenths miles to gravel Forest Service Road 646 on the left. Follow this road to the parking area on the right just before the river bridge. To get to the campground parking, cross the bridge into South Carolina and the parking area is up the hill on the right.

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FAQs

Where can I trout fish in Chattooga River? ›

The River:

Burrells Ford is a bridge that serves as the marking point from where the river is stocked with hatchery trout. North of the bridge, towards Ellicott Rock (the confluence of NC, SC, and GA borders), the fish are native and wild.

What kind of fish are in the Chattooga River? ›

Anglers do have a chance at three species: redeye, largemouth and spotted bass. Redeye are more common in the upper reaches, while spots dominate the lower portion. Largemouth are least common throughout. Technique - Light colored spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and topwater plugs are all good choices.

Is the Chattooga River stocked? ›

The Chattooga is stocked by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at the upper end of this area in the Long Bottom Ford area, just downstream from the SR 28 bridge. Obviously, the best fishing on this portion of the river is in this area.

Where do they stock trout in Helen GA? ›

Chattahoochee River

The Chattahoochee Wildlife Management Area boasts some of the best fishing in Helen, where you'll find both hatchery and wild trout. The Upper Chattahoochee and its headwater tributaries around Henson Creek contain small brook trout.

What's the limit on trout in South Carolina? ›

Species Cold Water Trout Limit 10 fish per day, 10 in possession. Saluda River - not more than five trout may be taken in any one day from that portion of the lower Saluda River between the Lake Murray Dam and the confluence of the Broad River.

How do you fish Chattooga River? ›

Chattooga River Fall Trout Fishing - YouTube

Where can I fish on the Chauga River? ›

Several good access points to the trout water of the Chauga River include: Verner Mill Road, Cassidy Bridge, Double Branch Shoals, and the Grapevine Access area. Handicap access is available at the Grapevine Access area.

Where is the East Fork of the Chattooga River? ›

The East Fork rises in the southern end of North Carolina's Jackson County. Very quickly it spills across the state line, where is a small, but fishable trout stream. From that point down to its junction with the main branch in the Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area, the East Fork offers several types of angling for trout.

Can you use corn to trout fish in South Carolina? ›

Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except single hook artificial lures. Unlawful to use or possess corn, cheese, fish eggs or imitations of them.

Is there a trout season in South Carolina? ›

Seasonal trout fisheries are also available in smaller lakes in the mountains of South Carolina. During the colder months (November through April), several state and county park lakes, as well as US Forest Service (USFS) lakes, are stocked with trout.

Where do rainbow trout live in South Carolina? ›

Wild self-sustaining rainbow trout populations occur in South Carolina's mountain region, generally east of the Chattooga Ridge along the Blue Ridge Escarpment in streams with elevations from 1,300 to 3,000 feet.

How many trout can you keep in GA? ›

On seasonal trout streams, the creel limit (how many you may keep) for trout is 8 fish, and there is no size limit. For more information about trout fishing rules, regulations, and license requirements or about the Fisheries Section in Georgia, visit the website at www.gofishgeorgia.com.

Can you trout fish with corn in GA? ›

Keep in mind though, fishing with corn should not be used for catch and release fishing. Trout and other fish easily swallow a hook baited with corn and trying to remove a hook from its gut will likely cause the fish to die.

How many rods can you fish with in South Carolina? ›

A fisherman may only use four rods and reels. A fisherman fishing from a boat may use an unlimited number of rods and reels if all persons in the boat 16 years and older have valid fishing licenses. Nongame fishing permits and tags may be purchased from SCDNR only.

Do senior citizens need a fishing license in South Carolina? ›

Senior Lifetime License

A person who has been a resident of SC for 180 days or longer and has reached the age of 64 may apply for a Lifetime License for $9.00. The license is valid for Freshwater Fishing, Freshwater Set Hook, Saltwater Fishing State Hunting, Big Game, WMA and Migratory Waterfowl.

Can you fish at night in South Carolina? ›

Yes, fish bite at night in the ocean. Anglers head to offshore waters during the nighttime hours when targeting bottom fish off the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

How deep is the Chattooga River? ›

However, the deepest point on the river is located at the Chattooga River Above Gaylesville Al reporting a gauge stage of 4.15 ft. This river is monitored from 3 different streamgauging stations along the Chattooga River, the highest being perched at an elevation of 1,165 ft, the Chattooga River Near Clayton.

Where does the Chattooga River start and end? ›

It begins in mountainous North Carolina as small rivulets, nourished by springs and abundant rainfall. High on the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains is the start of a 50-mile journey that ends at Lake Tugaloo between South Carolina and Georgia, dropping almost 1/2-mile in elevation.

What city is the Chattooga River in? ›

Chattooga Geography

The fifty-mile Chattooga River begins at the base of Whitesides Mountain (elevation 4,930 feet) near Cashiers, North Carolina.

Do you need a trout stamp in South Carolina? ›

Commercial Saltwater License and Gear Licenses: SCDNR License Office, P.O. Box 12559 Charleston, SC 29422-2559, 843-953-9301. * Licensee must have the stamp or tag in possession before using this privilege. Fish tags must be secured to the nongame fishing device.

How do you fish for rainbow trout in a river? ›

How to Fish for Trout in a River/Creek by 1Rod1ReelFishing - YouTube

Is there any trout fishing in South Carolina? ›

How to Catch Trout in South Carolina - YouTube

What do trout like to eat the most? ›

Trout eat a host of aquatic insects, terrestrial insects, other fish, crustaceans, leeches, worms, and other foods. The food items that are most important to trout and fly fishers are the aquatic insects that spend most of their life cycles underwater in rivers, streams, and stillwaters.

What bait is good for trout fishing? ›

For catching trout, many anglers turn to natural baits. Nightcrawlers and other types of earthworms are an excellent choice. Salmon eggs, mealworms and locally available baits can also be very successful and often are similar to food sources in the environment.

What's the limit on speckled trout in South Carolina? ›

The designation of spotted seatrout as a gamefish occurred in 1985. Presently, our state has a minimum size of 14 inches total length (tip of the snout to the maximum length of the tail) and a bag limit of 10 fish per angler per day.

What month is the best fishing in South Carolina? ›

Anglers can come here to fish year-round, but the best months for offshore fishing are late April to December. For hard-core anglers looking for the ultimate blue-water action that South Carolina can deliver, target the months of May through September.

Do you need a fishing license to fish off a pier in South Carolina? ›

No license is needed to fish from a public fishing pier, but South Carolina does require a license to fish from the surf. Daytime surf fishing may be restricted or prohibited during peak visitor periods, however.

How can I improve my trout streams? ›

Improving Stream Habitat for Brook Trout - YouTube

What type of trout are in South Carolina? ›

South Carolina State Record Trout
  • The state record rainbow trout was caught from Lake Jocassee.
  • The state record brown trout came from Lake Jocassee.
  • The 5 primary trouts are the rainbow, brook, brown, cutthroat and lake trout. Browns are considered the most difficult to catch and brookies are the easiest.

How do you catch rainbow trout in a stream? ›

How To Catch TROUT In Creeks, Rivers, Or Streams. - YouTube

How many rods can you fish with in Georgia? ›

There is no restriction on the number of poles and lines used to fish for game fish except: Fishing for trout in designated trout waters: 1 pole. Fishing on Public Fishing Areas: 2 poles. Sport shad fishing: 2 poles.

Can you trout fish at night in GA? ›

Anglers Can:

Fish at night, except on Dockery and Rock Creek lakes. See Trout Fishing Hours for details.

Can seniors fish for free in Georgia? ›

How do I get the free 65+ resident senior license? Georgia residents 65 and older born before July 1, 1952 can obtain a free Senior Lifetime Sportsman's hunting and fishing license. There are no transaction fees for this free license. This license does not have to be renewed, and is valid for your lifetime.

What time of year is best for trout fishing? ›

It's also year-round in most areas. Normally, the best months to target trout are July to Early September when the waters are at their warmest and many insects are hatching. Because of this, dry fly fishing becomes incredibly effective.

Do you need a fishing license on private property in Georgia? ›

Exception: A fishing license is not required to fish in private ponds (does not include ponds owned by governments—city, county, state, or federal) nor by a resident and their immediate family when fishing on their land.

What depth do trout feed at? ›

With a depth finder, fish your lure/bait between 10 feet and the surface following winter, between 35 and 45 feet deep in mid-spring, between 50 and 65 feet deep in late spring and at the 53 degree thermal layer in the summer.

What kind of bait do rainbow trout like? ›

Rainbow Trout Baits

Minnows, nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, flying insects, terrestrial insects, and grubs are all on the menu. They will even eat on other dead fish carcasses if other food is not available.

Can you use hot dogs for bait? ›

fishing with hot dogs as bait catches 50 Fish in 1 hour - YouTube

How deep is the Chattooga River? ›

However, the deepest point on the river is located at the Chattooga River Above Gaylesville Al reporting a gauge stage of 4.15 ft. This river is monitored from 3 different streamgauging stations along the Chattooga River, the highest being perched at an elevation of 1,165 ft, the Chattooga River Near Clayton.

Is the Chattooga River dammed? ›

The Chattooga River from its origin flows unimpounded by any man-made structure for sixty miles, making it one of the longest free flowing rivers in the southeastern United States.

Where does the Chattooga River start and end? ›

It begins in mountainous North Carolina as small rivulets, nourished by springs and abundant rainfall. High on the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains is the start of a 50-mile journey that ends at Lake Tugaloo between South Carolina and Georgia, dropping almost 1/2-mile in elevation.

Which way does the Chattooga River flow? ›

The Chattooga begins in southern Jackson County, North Carolina, and flows southwestward between northwestern Oconee County, South Carolina, and eastern Rabun County, Georgia.

What class rapids are on the Chattooga River? ›

Chattooga River, SC

There are two very distinct whitewater rafting sections on the Chattooga; Section III is known as “Mild & Scenic”, with numerous swimming holes, Class II-III rapids, and a Class IV grand finale at the famous Bull Sluice rapid. Section III is perfect for families and children eight-years-old and up.

What city is the Chattooga River in? ›

Chattooga Geography

The fifty-mile Chattooga River begins at the base of Whitesides Mountain (elevation 4,930 feet) near Cashiers, North Carolina.

What major River is a large part of the border between Georgia and Alabama? ›

The Chattahoochee River forms the southern half of the Alabama and Georgia border, as well as a portion of the Florida - Georgia border.

What river was deliverance filmed on? ›

The river had as much a starring role in the film as actors Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds. But many people don't realize that the actual river they filmed on was the Chattooga River, which runs along the top of the northwestern part of Oconee County and creates the border between South Carolina and Georgia.

Where Was Deliverance filmed in Georgia? ›

Deliverance was shot primarily in Rabun County in northeastern Georgia. The canoe scenes were filmed in the Tallulah Gorge southeast of Clayton and on the Chattooga River. This river divides the northeastern corner of Georgia from the northwestern corner of South Carolina.

Is Aintry a real town? ›

It may seem surprising that the movie is being commemorated, given the history of disdain residents have expressed toward the film's portrayal of the locals. In actuality, "Deliverance" isn't set in either county but in the fictional locales of the Cahulawassee River and the town of Aintry.

What river separates Georgia and South Carolina? ›

From its headwaters in Appalachia to its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean, the Savannah River forms the border between the states of Georgia and South Carolina, draining a watershed of 10,577 square miles.

What region is the Savannah River in? ›

The Savannah River drainage basin extends into the southeastern side of the Appalachian Mountains just inside North Carolina, bounded by the Eastern Continental Divide. The river is around 301 miles (484 km) long.
...
Savannah River.
Savannah River Tugaloo River
• rightTugaloo River
26 more rows

What states does the French Broad River flow? ›

The French Broad River is a river in the U.S. states of North Carolina and Tennessee. It flows 218 miles (351 km) from near the town of Rosman in Transylvania County, North Carolina, into Tennessee, where its confluence with the Holston River at Knoxville forms the beginning of the Tennessee River.

What are 3 primary functions of the Savannah Chattahoochee rivers? ›

Georgia History REVIEW 1
AB
The Okeefenokee contains this many species of animalsMore than 400 species
THREE primary functions of hte Savannah/Chattahoochee Riverswater supply, recreation, Fort
These are examples of BARRIER IslandsSt.Simons & Tybee
Tallest peak in Georgia (part of Appal. Mtns.)Brasstown Bald
33 more rows

How many other states does Georgia border? ›

Georgia is bordered by Tennessee in the north, South Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean in the east, Florida in the south, and Alabama in the west. In the northwest corner of the state is the Appalachian Plateau, with deep caves and the 2,393-foot-tall Lookout Mountain.

What states does the Chattahoochee River flow through? ›

Chattahoochee River, river having its source in several headstreams in the Blue Ridge Mountains in northeastern Georgia, U.S. It flows southwestward across northern Georgia to West Point, south of which its course marks the Georgia-Alabama and Georgia-Florida boundaries until it joins the Flint River at Chattahoochee, ...

Situated on the eastern border of the state, Georgia'sChattooga River is a wild and scenic river

Situated on the eastern border of the state, Georgia's Chattooga River is a wild and scenic river that provides excellent opportunities for trout fishing away from others.. From the middle of the Chattooga River Trail just upstream of where it enters the Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area, I could plainly see the big brown trout below in the river.. Those waters also present anglers with four sections of water that have very different fisheries.. When fishing on the portions of the river that hold stocked fish, bait selections are not too difficult.. However, the portion from SR 28 down to around Earls Ford does hold trout for some part of the year.. The Chattooga is stocked by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at the upper end of this area in the Long Bottom Ford area, just downstream from the SR 28 bridge.. Because the stockings have been more dependable and larger in number since South Carolina took over management of the Walhalla Fish Hatchery from the U.S.. Farther downstream, walk-in access is available at Earls Ford from both Georgia and South Carolina.. This is an area that has some larger, holdover brown trout as well.. With better fishing for both stockers and wild fish farther north, the water along Low Water Bridge Road is the only part that attracts many anglers to this section of the Chattooga.. Additionally, the Chattooga River Trail (with the Bartram Trail running on the same path upstream of Sandy Ford) offers hiking access on the Georgia side from a parking lot at the U.S. Highway 76 bridge all the way up to SR 28.. Although the International Game Fish Association presently considers them to be the same species as the Coosa redeye bass found in west Georgia, Dr. Freeman thinks otherwise and has been researching these fish for years.. Among those are brown trout running up to around 18 inches.. Wild or stocked, spinning or fly-casting, the fish and the angling on the Chattooga River can provide some memorable days on the water.

The Chattooga River on Georgia's northeast border has a reputation as a good winter fishing destination. Has that changed? Join the author as she explores the river.

However, Georgia trout fishermen conjure up a more idyllic set of images when asked about the Chattooga, which is one of Georgia's best year-round trout fishing destinations.. We've seen them up to 27 inches on the Chattooga, whereas on a typical Georgia trout stream a 12- to 14-inch fish is about as large as you ever see.". Of special interest to winter trout anglers should be the newly designated delayed-harvest stretch of the Chattooga that extends from the Georgia Highway 28 bridge north to Reed Creek.. "This is South Carolina's first delayed-harvest stream, so they are eager to see how well it catches on with their anglers.". Throughout the year, the stretch of river from the Georgia Highway 28 bridge up to Burrells Ford is the most popular section of the river with most anglers.. Another popular area to access the Chattooga is from the Cherry Hill Recreation Area on the South Carolina side of the river.. North of Burrells Ford is primarily a wild brown trout fishery, though anglers may encounter a few stocked rainbow trout that made their way up the river.. Fishing a No.. "Fish slow and deep and try several different patterns to see what is working on that particular day," suggests Keefer.. Anglers may obtain information on Chattooga River access, camping, hiking, rafting and other recreational opportunities from the U.S. Forest Service.

The Chattooga River, already legendary for its trout fishing, got even better this season through heavy stocking and some special regulations.

We also didn't know just how big two of the fish we had hooked were.. We were fishing the new delayed-harvest section of the Chattooga River and were somewhere around the midpoint of the 2 1/2-mile-long stretch of water.. We had begun the day right at the state Highway 28 bridge, which marks the lower boundary of the specially regulated waters, and had worked our way gradually upstream.. Because of the Chattooga's legendary upstream offerings, South Carolina and Georgia trout fishermen were thrilled by the establishment of the delayed-harvest section.. The Chattooga River Trail parallels the entire delayed-harvest section on the South Carolina side, which aids the access enormously.. Also, natural baits or lures that have more than one hook point cannot be possessed on the stream, even if the angler is not fishing with them.

Concerned Anglers, Several boating organizations have organized nation-wide campaigns alerting boaters (via message boards and emails) and urging them to comment on the Chattooga situation (the opening of the upper 21 miles of the river -- the only section of the Chattooga, or any river in...

Concerned Anglers,Several boating organizations have organized nation-wide campaigns alerting boaters (via message boards and emails) and urging them to comment on the Chattooga situation (the opening of the upper 21 miles of the river -- the only section of the Chattooga, or any river in the east for that matter -- to boating which will effectively ruin the unique backcountry experience -- and fishing -- presently available here).. You can comment on Alternative 4 and/or any other alternative saying why you think one or another alternative works or does not work:. > Thank the Forest Service for designing the preferred alternative (#4) with zoning stipulations to minimize conflict between anglers and boaters, avoiding the overuse and user conflicts that have plagued the lower Chattooga for decades.. > If the Forest Service is unable to adopt these suggestions to improve management and protection, then Alternative #3 should be the preferred alternative (no boating) and use the freed up funds to restore the upper Chattooga biophysical resources.. The range of alternatives:. The “no boating” group. Alternative 3: Emphasizes, protects and enhances exceptional, year-round, high-quality trout fishing.. Alternative 8: Opens the entire upper Chattooga River to year-round boating opportunities with no zone, seasonal or flow restrictions; provides adaptive limits on all users.. I would rather the preferred alternative had been Alternative #3 (boat-free year-round, high-quality trout fishing), but I can accept Alternative #4.. I believe the zoning stipulations in Alternative #4 will provide good protection for the upper Chattooga backcountry’s Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORV) of solitude and remoteness for present and future generations.

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