View Full Version : The 'Hooch below Morgan Falls Dam
07-07-00, 10:59 AM
I just have some general comments regarding the fishing at Cochran Shoals area (really anywhere below Morgan Falls) and would love to see some response to the topic. I've read so much about this area being nonproductive these days for trout fishing. However I have had some success in this area. A couple months ago I went to Cochran Shoals area one morning and pulled in about 7 trout (all rainbow) and a few bluegill too. The trout were almost all darker in color like the holdovers, and ranged from 7 to 10" or so & they fought like crazy, harder than others I've caught in the river. A couple of trips in the summer have not been as good, but still caught one of two. The thing is, I have seen or spooked quite a few large trout out there. Saw a brown jump the other day that must have been 3 or 4 pounds atleast. I have also caught a decent size smallmouth bass there. Obviously the water is warmer there than JB or IF areas. Is this part still stocked regularly? And if so, with fingerlings or full grown? Also, do you think the trout in this part tend to die off into the summer? It seems there are still a good many fish there, especially in the Spring, but I just wondered what everyone thought.
07-07-00, 03:02 PM
Coachman, I also live in this area and was wondering how the fishing would be. I have heard that it can be tough wade. If it holds trout then great! I could get in a lot more afterwork trips as opposed to going all the way up to Jones Bridge.
In past years DNR only stocked fingerlings below Morgan falls which accounts for fish acting like stream breed fish. I do not know if they are currently doing so. In the 60's it was the place to fish with caddis hatches that looked like snow storms. If we could get ride of some of the joggers so we could get access to the parking lot that would be good also.
07-07-00, 09:56 PM
I believe the official status is that the DNR quit stocking the section below Morgan Falls.
After several shock boat survey's the DNR confirmed reports that stripers from West Point successfully migrate up the river. The interesting part is that a significant population evidently stays in the area, due to the cooler water temps, and available forage (trout). Remember Hammonds Fishing Center has one of the biggest trout stocking programs on Lanier http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/wink.gifhttp://www.hammondsfishing.com (it's not finished yet, but what the heck)
I remember the ~92, 93ish fishing reports in the AJC well, when an angler caught a 12lb striper just below the dam on an ultra light rigged with a roostertail. The report indicated that he thought he had the mother of all brown trout, and it turned out to be a healthy striper. That was only about a year after the DNR started the West Point stocking program (which they have also stopped to my knowledge, but I could be wrong on that one). It was around this time that several friends and I formed the North Georgia Striper Club, and fished several tournaments down at West Point.
As to whether or not there is a fishable population of stripers in that area, you'll have to ask Hooker. He spends quite a bit of time down there.
-- tight lines
Isn't it sort of funny how Lanier *used* to have trout in it, up until the 70's when they started stocking stripers. Concidence, water quality, I think not (the water quality may be poor now, but to my knowledge not bad enough to kill trout back in the 70's). I can name numerous projects that the gubmint has screwed up in this regard (the mediterranean fruit fly, kudzu, hydrilla, etc, etc.)
07-08-00, 12:09 AM
Ah Chris that was the good days at Lanier back then when a small trout was considered under 20 inches . http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
07-08-00, 07:31 AM
I used to be lucky enough to live right next to the river south of Cochran shoals and fished it practically every week during 1995-6. Coincidentally, this is when the quality began to decline. Like to amuse myself and think they all left because they where tired of being constantly harassed by me -- and the stripers.
Have made it down there only 3 times since, and average catch is a half dozen bluegills and a half dozen small trout. Last time I went (February) I was making an especially sloppy retrieve with a small WB on 5x when I though I was hung on a log – couple of tugs later the log accelerated downstream and didn’t even hesitate as the tippet popped.
I really pay attention to posts here about the lower ‘hooch’, and the consensus seems to be there still a few grizzled-old veteran trout down in those parts, but it takes some perseverance and skill (i.e., not mistaking them for logs) to catch them.
Unsure of stocking schedules…but assume they still stock down there some based upon the small trout I see and have caught. Hopefully the stocking schedule/quality may improve if they pull-off the designated harvest regs below Morgan Falls. Some mixed feelings on this board regarding that program on the ‘Hooch, but I think it’s a great idea. Unlike the Ami, the prime fishing spots below Morgan falls are predominated by Hikers/Runners/Etc, and a pretty good contingent of the Sierra/Greenpeace/PETA crowd (I know…I lived amongst them for a few years). If there is ever a place on this earth where C&R may be supported and enforced by the general populace, this is it. The Gore-Tex-clad environmentalist crowd far outnumber the fisherman in this stretch, and dwarf the ever referred to “bubba” population. A few signs explaining the regs and the DNR and ParkService people are going to get swamped with cell phone calls from environmentally-sensitive exercise-crazed crown – especially at C Shoals. If the National Park Service lends some assistance in enforcement, DH will work well in this area -- won't be perfect, but an improvement over the existing conditions below MF.
If you support the idea, send a letter to:
GA Dept. of Natural Resources
2123 US 278 SE
Social Circle, GA 30025
Think the idea may already be approved, but it wouldn’t hurt to show additional support for it.
Don’t think I answered much of your question, but I did enjoy rambling for a few paragraphs.
07-09-00, 10:31 AM
The "competition" for parking spaces, etc. at Cochran Shoals has been there for quite a while. The joggers, walkers, dog people, kayakers, etc. all seemed to take offense at someone walking down the path in waders carrying a fishing rod. And this was a dozen years ago!
I agree with Lisa, that the reaction to any signage would be ridiculous. I think, given the conditions, that we are just going to have to write this area off. It really pains me to write this since it was one of my favorite holes "way back when".
Cochran Shoals is (was http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/frown.gif )great water, but it was a real pain to go fishing there and I suspect that it's even worse these days. It's a shame.
BTW, "DoubleHaul", I suspect that there are probably a few big ones left in there. In the past, I've had my tippet parted more than once there!
07-09-00, 11:17 AM
Always be some potential conflict between the exercise enthusiast and the angles down at Cochran Shoals, I guess. Surprises me that you ran into it often, Professor...but twelve years ago was prior to "The Movie" -- and the favorable, environmentally-concious images of fly-fishing on TV attempting to sell everthing from SUV's to arthritis medication. I think the general populace, especially in urban areas like Atlanta, understands and appreciates our sport more than they did a decade ago. Not everyone who saw "The Movie" went out and bought a fly rod (Thank goodness!), but millions who saw it have been left with favorable impressions about fly fishing -- perhaps the only positive of this infamous film. The number of positive questions and favorable comments I got from the other users of Cochran Shoals in the mid 90's far outnumbered any critisisms.
07-09-00, 01:04 PM
http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif Good Grief ! Don't say " Smallmouth" in the Hooch ! http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
........ah, don't worry, your name ain't Owl..your safe form the grenades......
really, though....I doubt a smallie? Then again, I can show you a pic of a walleye outta the Hooch..... http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
07-10-00, 03:47 PM
DNR still stocks fingerlings below Morgan Falls Dam. 50,000 RBT and 50,000 BNT. Also, we are still working on the specs for the DH section there.
07-10-00, 04:45 PM
thanks Lisa....that clears things up. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
07-10-00, 08:50 PM
Thanks everyone, for your replies. Honestly, I the fishing I talked about was at the Devil's Racecourse area not far up from I75 bridge. I'm sure these two areas are similar though...and, by the way, It really was a smallmouth. I'm sure of it, because I've never caught a bass from the Hooch, so I really inspected it!--most of the trout that I've caught in this area are smallish holdovers, but I have caught a couple that are silvery and seem to be current stockers.--I'm interested to hear more about the delayed harvest program.
The "smallmouth" was probably a shoal bass...they are very similar to a light-colored smallmouth in mouth size, body shape, markings, and color. The resemblance is so strong that they used to be called Flint River Smallmouth. Most of the smallies I have caught in the south (You pretty much have to go to NC or TN to find them in a riverine environment) have been very dark, almost black...unlike the lighter-colored fish that I have caught in the Midwest.
I guess there is a chance that it could be a smallmouth since there used to be a population in Lake Lanier...but the odds are definitely on the shoal bass. See the discussion under the warmwater board....
07-11-00, 08:41 PM
I used to avail myself of Cochran Shoals during the cold months of the early '80's. I beat the parking issue by getting there before daylight and enjoying a cup of coffee before waddling upstream (west bank) to the bottom of the little island and fishing the narrow channel upstream. It wasn't uncommon to be fishing in front of an audience, either, which was kinda' cool.
Never got over the comments made by half-naked runners about "You'll freeze in that water" when I was warm as toast in all those layers. And nobody ever gave me grief about using light baitcasting tackle!
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