View Full Version : Stripers below Morgan Falls
08-04-99, 02:31 PM
Please fill me in on what you know about the Striper fishing below the dam. What time of the year are they most active? Do they make a spawning run as a group or are there year-round residents that can be caught at all times? Would the primary flyfishing method be sight casting for surface feeders from a boat or blind casting below the dam? Is there good access for both wading and boating?
Sorry for the barrage of questions. With this striper talk going on, I've gotten excited. Catching schoolie stripers on a 5wt is how I learned how to flyfish. I have many a fond memory of hucking big deceivers into water boiling with linesides.
I undersand the complaints of people who look down upon the stiper for eating their trout, but once you feel that big guy pulling on the end of your flyline, you might change your mind.
25,000 stripers were stocked in West Point Lake in 1990, and a subsequent stocking took place in 1992. When I started fishing this program in 94, there was almost a carnival like atmosphere at Morgan Falls in the summer as a lot of people were catching a lot of linesides. By 1997, the numbers had dwindled, and the crowds drifted away, but the fish were now 20 -25+ lbs and a few diehards stayed after them and regularly caught the big fish. Also in 1997 baby stripers begin showing up in the river, and it was determined that natural reproduction was now occurring (the eggs have to drift for 72 hours after fertilization), with 4 distinct age classes present in the river.
There is a resident striper population in the river year around, but the bulk of the stripers move back and forth between West Point Lake and Morgan Falls. They usually arrive at Morgan Falls in May for the spawn and hang around Atlanta until October, to take advantage of the cool water.
The big problem with striper fishing at Morgan Falls is the electric gate. It opens at 8am and closes at 6pm which keeps anglers out of the area during prime feeding time. I know a person that Jets up from Peachtree Creek and fishes Morgan Falls at night with excellent results. The only other option you would have, is to be on the river during heavy cloud cover. Stripers are notoriously light sensitive, but I have caught them at Morgan Falls all day with clouds and rain.
I've never seen any surface activity at Morgan Falls, and I usually just blind cast until I hook up. There is a rock wall and a deep channel on the east side of the river that holds the most fish. Also, there is a hole in front of the far left discharge that can be good also. In addition, there is a shoal about 1/2 mile downriver that occasionally has fish.
Most people use white 1/2 - 3/4 oz deer hair jigs and will throw them right up into the discharge tunnels. I always had my best luck with rainbow trout colored plugs. Redfins, AC's and Rebels that are 8-12 inches will all take fish. Also, I like to "wake" the plug which means retrieving it slowly enough so it is just under the surface and gives off a V-wake as it comes back.
To fish Morgan Falls, you really need a boat. There is limited shoreline access, but it won't get you to the best places. There is a good concrete ramp about 1/4 mile down river from the dam. Don't even think about using a float tube, because the current is vicious during generation.
There are also many other areas that hold stripers in Atlanta. Most of the fish are probably at Morgan Falls, but Peachtree Creek has a good population, the discharges at Plant McDonough, Utoy Creek, and Sweetwater Creek all hold fish. All of these areas have sewage discharges associated with them (except Plant McDonough), and as a result attract huge schools of shad which the stripers feed on.
If the DNR pursued the striper program on the Hooch with large annual stockings, it would be a phenomenal striper fishery. Perhaps now that the trout have a difficult time surviving below Morgan Falls the striper program will be re-evaluated.
BRING BACK THE NATIVE. It was striper water before it was trout water.
08-05-99, 10:23 AM
Thank you VERY much, that's great information. It sure sounds like it will be worth a shot. It's just too hot to persue the trout here in town. Since it's not just an easy jaunt up 85 to Buford for me, I think that I'll give the stripers a try. If you are going to beat the water blindly all day, you might as well do it in an area where you might hook-up with 20+lb fish.
I guess my only other question, right now, is how small of a boat do you need to navigate that area? Or conversely, how large a boat will the river accommodate? My options are kind of at the extremes. You mentioned that there are shoals between the ramp and the dam area, are they navigable with a 18" or so draw?
Thanks again for the info Hooker, I foresee a western afternoon commute instead of a northern. Down with OTP and the senic Atlanta 285 parking lot.
A boat with an 18" draw will have a problem. Probably a jonboat would be your best alternative. A small gas engine or a strong trolling motor is usually enough to keep you in the discharge pool.
Where is the ramp 1/4 mile down stream from Morgan Falls. You also mentioned some shoals you can fish from. Any directions would be appreciated.
Pat, as your going north on Roswell Road from I-285, you cross under a large set of power lines. The turnoff for Morgan Falls is under those powerlines. It's called Morgan Falls Dam Road, and there is a sign with a boat ramp symbol on it. After you p****through the gate, follow the road and it will deadend at the ramp.
The shoals are about 1/4 mile downstream of the ramp, but you need a boat to get to them.
Fish the east side by the rock cliff.
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