View Full Version : Delayed Harvest Below Morgan Falls
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Has anyone suggested making the Chattahoochee below Morgan Falls delayed harvest? It makes sense to me. Big water, enough food to grow trout, but too warm in summer. Any thoughts?
The area below Morgan Falls use to be phenomenal. In fact, trout fishing was good all the way to Six Flags. The large amounts of aquatic vegetation produces volumenous amounts of insects, and the growth rate of trout in this area was 1/2" A MONTH! However, the water during periods of high rainfall warms up too much down there now, and the trout can not tolerate it. Many feel that the cause of the temporary temperature jump is the increase in the concrete surface areas that flush into the river. When the water temperature gets above 70, a trouts metabolism speeds up so much, that it can not eat enough food to compensate for the loss of energy. At 80 degrees, trout literally suffocate, because the waters ability to hold oxygen becomes greatly reduced. These warm water periods are very short in duration, but long enough to eliminate the trout population below Morgan Falls.
I wish it wasn't so.
Thanks for the response. It's because of what you're saying that I think delayed harvest could be a good idea for that section of the river. I assume (and correct me if I'm wrong) that, say, October through May even the temperature spikes after heavy rain are not going to be high enough to kill the trout. During the spring caddis hatch we could be catching trout that have been growing 1/2" a month for six months. After that, keep them and eat them, since they aren't likely to survive the summer anyway. Isn't that what delayed harvest is all about?
It's my understanding that delayed harvest provides a opportunity to catch a better quality fish from an area that has sustained low fishing pressure.
One of things that makes an area attractive to delayed harvest is an established fish population. It is very difficult to catch a fish if they are not concentrated, or the population is not at carrying capacity. Some recent estimates on the Hooch have the trout population at about 5,000+ per mile of river. I dare say that if the population dropped to 2000 trout per mile, the quality of the catching on the Hooch would deteriorate below a level that would keep many anglers interested. At low population levels, the trout feed well and are using all the best hiding places. As populations increase, competition for food increases, and shelter becomes a rock in the middle of the river instead of an undercut bank. These two factors make fish vulnerable to anglers.
To build the fish populations to catchable levels every year below Morgan Falls would probably take 200,000 fish, which is just not economically feasible.
The Chattahoochee River is a trout fishing phenomena. There are few other rivers in the United States where consistent catches of 20 to 30 quality trout in a morning are done. Many anglers just don't understand the quality of the Chattahoochee fishery between Buford Dam and Morgan Falls.
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