View Full Version : Fishing North Georgia.

04-20-05, 08:33 PM
Hey guys;
I just moved here from Cali...Please don't hold it against me. I am an avid trout fisherman but I have no clue how or where to fish here. I hear the Hooch is a good start but it's a huge river... Where to fish what to use.. Swept away by the little info on the generation schedules. "Watch out" "Be careful" It seems people are swept away every week according to local fisherman gossip. I grew up wading the "American, Kern, and Sacramento rivers" in California but it seems I need direction here to not get killed fishing the "Hooch"

Any information I could receive would really help this "Newbe" out.

Thanks guys.


Mike Smith
04-20-05, 10:20 PM
Just keep your head about you and you'll be fine. The first couple of times you my want to go with one of the guys on here. There are lots of places to safely float, or wade the hooch. Do you have a round float tube. That's one of the funniest ways to fish the hooch below the ****. the float tube is to catch you when you step off into a hole. "That’s where the big trout are". Then there is the DH section of the hooch. There are several wadeable areas there too. It hasn't been fishing well consistently this year due to heavy rains and increased generating schedules. Just post that you’d like to buddy up with someone and you’ll get tons of offers on this message board. I learned all I know about fly fishing from these guys. I’m fishing with Brent for “green trout” bass and bream, this weekend and next weekend I’m tied up. You should try the DH sections of Smith’s Creek, above Helen, and Smithgale Woods before it ends in the end of May. Good Luck.

04-20-05, 11:28 PM
Main thing is to keep an eye on the Buford Dam power generation schedule - call 770-945-1466 before you head up there.

Waders and boaters must wear PFDs from the dam down to Hwy 20.

Good places to wade include the dam area itself, Settles Bridge (which you don't get to via Settles Bridge Road) Jones Bridge and Paces Mill (where water flow is managed from Morgan Falls Dam - 404-329-1455.) There are other wading spots as well.

Some useful links:

Hooch Access Points

Hooch Flow Times

A good investment is Jimmy Jacobs' book "Trout Fishing in North Georgia" (3rd Edition) updated in 2001. Lots of useful information, stream reviews and directions. Available through Amazon and other sites.

And for a $2 parking fee, Dukes Creek at Smithgall Woods near Helen is downright amazing. Wary and smart fish, but fun to hunt. You need reservations - instructions are on the site.

04-21-05, 06:27 AM
Welcome vanquig, ditto the above advice, and if you wade at the dam, be extra careful. Those rocks have a coating of grease or something that keeps them slippery year round. You would think that with the generations they woukd be a little rougher, but they are slicker'n snot on a doorknob. :yikes:
The north Ga mountains are th way to go. You won't catch big fish, but the water is a whole lot more predictable. :)

04-21-05, 08:15 AM

Welcome. You will find a lot of information here and plenty of advice. I would also suggest putting a post up under Fishing Connection and ask to go along with someone. That is one of the best ways to learn the fishing around here and there is usually always someone that will step forward and meet you.

Also, since you are from CA, did you also fish The Pitt, Hat Creek or Putah Creek?


04-21-05, 09:45 AM
New to N. Ga fishing myself and can tell you with limited experience the availability and quality will surprise you, it's all good.

Atlanta is very convenient to waters in NC and TN as well. TN offers 4 of the finest tailwaters anywhere in pristine settings and the generation schedules are planned weeks in advance and generally do not change. TVA does a much better job at letting you know how much water is going to be in the river at any given time and even in peak demand periods have recreational release periods during the weekends.

Some of the better ones:

Hiawassi River - less than 3 hours drive from the northside up I75 and some back roads. Big water with big fish. Excellent access for both floating and wading. Nice hatches this time of year.

Clinch River - Norris Tailwater - 30 minutes north of Knoxville, TN this is one of my favorite streams. There is a huge scud population that makes the fish enormous. It is truely a fantastic river. Excellent access for wading opportunities.

South Holston River - Huge hatches of sulfurs give you a chance to land a trophy on a dry during most of the spring and summer months. Excellent access for wading.

Watauga River - Strip a brown wooly bugger in the trophy section of this river and hold on. Again, excellent access.

Nantahala River - 2.5 hours North and you'll be on a superb trout stream with monster rainbows and brookies, some browns too. Easy access. Watch out for the rubber rafts and duckies in summer.

A google search of any of the above will give you all the information you want. Drop me a line if you need additional info.

There are many, many more. I consider these streams more accessible and friendly to fish. I am told, in Georgia the land owner adjacent to the stream has rights to that stream. In TN and NC at least, if you can get an innertube through it you can fish it, doesn't matter who owns the property adjacent, the streambed is fair game if it is navigatable.

04-21-05, 10:14 AM
Do people die on the Hooch? Yes, but then again people die in their bathtubs. As long as you know the generation schedule and pay attention if the water starts to rise, you'll be fine.

Post in the fishing connection a day or two before you want to hit any area and you are almost assured to be able to team up with someone. You've came across a great bunch of people.

Do you fly fish or spin? To me it doesn't matter, all that does matter is catchin!

04-21-05, 02:27 PM
I don't worry near as much about the Hooch as I do driving on 285 to get to the river :)

04-22-05, 10:39 AM
The Chattahoochee river is, for my money the best river in the state. That is because I live only 1/2 hour away from it. Even if I did not live close to the river I would still think it is the best river in GA. The state record brown trout 18 1/2 pounds came out of the water south of Hwy 20. My best fish came out of the Chochran Shoals area. The fish was cught and released measuring 26 inches long with a calculated weight of 11 lbs 2 oz using a nymph on 5x tippit. There is a technique to fishing the Hooch. When fish are hitting the surface they can be caught on dry flys and will often ignore nymphs. Usually the day in and day out fishing that I will use is a double dropper nymph rig and a strike indicator. The indicator will act as a pivot point in you line and help you to get a more natural drift. You will constantly be adjusting your depth to be sucessful.

I recommend that you use a pontoon craft or a float tube. If you use a float tube do not use a U shaped tube. I have had several frends tip over forward and required assistance to right themselves. One of my friends almost died in my presence because he used his back pack straps as suspenders for the tube and when he tipped over he was trapped upside down. My favorite type of tube is a little caddis tube that is nothing more than a tube with a seat. It is small and light and can be pulled up around your waist and allows you to wade, It is great for what I call rock hopping. Rock hopping is hopping from one shallow spot across some deep water to another shallow spot.

This river has a lot of ledges in it. You can be walking along a spot knee deep, take a step and you will be swimming. The rocks are also very slick. Felt soles are a must at a minimum and I like studded felt soles. If you do not use a tube I recommend a wading stick. My wife used to tell me that I should just take a bar of soap with me when I would go fishing because I took a bath every time and I might as well use some soap while I was at it.

Danger, well no more than any other tail water. The Hooch sees more fishing hours than any other river in the state. Use your best judgement. Call the generation schedule to see if the water will be high. If they are generating it is almost impossible to wade fish and you might as well go some where else.

Rick Padgett
04-22-05, 12:08 PM
Welcome aboard vanquig,

Lots of great folks here. I fish mostly in the mountain area, so I'll leave the lower Hooch advice to the regulars. I used to fish the lower hooch YEEEEEARS AGO. Like already said, use you head, pay attention, and you'll be ok. It takes several hours for the water to reach the Duluth area, so if you know the release schedule, and watch your marks, you can safely fish.


Jimmy Harris
04-22-05, 09:51 PM

Just an FYI about trespassing in North Carolina. An earlier post here indicated that you could fish any streams you could float a tube through. Don't want anyone to get in trouble up there but NC law is essentially the same as GA law when it comes to non-navigable waters. If a landowner owns both sides of the stream, they own the stream and wading through or floating through without permission is trespassing. On the upper Nantahala there is a private club (Rainbow Springs) that has a full time caretaker who can and will have anyone attempting to come through there arrested. Not the only place that will do this but a good example nevertheless because they are very serious about it. Just wanted you to know.

04-23-05, 05:31 PM

Welcome aboard! Good to have you.