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Ohio Transplant - new to southern fly fishing

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  • Ohio Transplant - new to southern fly fishing

    This is a great website. Thanks to all that make it that way.

    I'm a catch & release fisherman with 16 month old twins. We're in the process of relocating our family from Columbus, Ohio to the NE ATL suburbs. Needless to say, my wife grants me very little time for fishing.

    Our temporary apartment is in Suwanee at McGinnis Ferry & PIB. The river is so close - I need to fish this amazing fishery soon!
    I cut my fly fishing teeth on the Mad River in Ohio. A day without a fish is not unusual and anything over 12" is a trophy fish. Needless to say I'm excited for a new home water.

    First, let me say I'm not looking for any secret spots or honey holes.
    But I'd love a bit of advice. If I only have a couple hours to fish, am I better off heading up to the dam or trying something closer to McGinnis Ferry?

    Another thing - What is the ideal rod for the Hooch? I currently have a 3wt, 4-5wt & a 6wt. The 3wt is a Sage and I love it, but is it too light for the Hooch?
    There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm.

  • #2

    Hi empty creel,

    Welcome to GA! I have only been here since Sept. 09 and am still learning. I would suggest you join TU if you don't already belong. I am in the Upper Chattahoochee Chapter and we meet the 4th Tuesday of the month at Ippolito's Rest. on Holcomb Bridge Rd. in Roswell. Great bunch of people.

    As far as fishing the Hooch, maybe the closed for wading for you would be Settles Bridge or Jones Bridge. At JB there are two ways to access the river. The park on the Gwinnett side or the park on the Fulton Co. side. This is where I get in. Good fishing most of the time. Before fishing the Hooch you need to check on releases from the dam at Lake Lanier. Cell 770-945-1466 for the release schedules. I think it takes about 4 to 5 hours for the high water to reach JB, Settles will be much sooner. It's closer to the dam.

    Enjoy this wonderful area for fishing.



    • #3

      Great wealth of information here and the Trout Unlimited suggestion is a good one. Several chapters in the metro area. TU chapters are like shoes - try several on until you find a good 'fit'. And really, "Columbus"? We all know it's really pronounced "Clump-us, Ahiya". I can say that having lived there for a few years. The 'Hootch is a great resource close at hand with two 16 month olds I am going to guess your fishing excursions may be few and brief. Hence, the proximity will be helpful as will the tail end here of the DH season.

      As for the Mad, don't knock it. It can be a very good river but it does take some time to get to know it well. Good article on the Mad in a recent edition of Eastern Fly Fishing.

      Have fun!


      • #4
        I'm a TU member of my Ohio chapter, but I'll look into joining a local chapter now that I'm Georgian.

        I didn't mean to knock the Mad River. I love it. But you learn to rightsize your expectations while fishing it since there are so few holdover fish. It's still the best game in town for Ohio aside from our amazing stellhead runs on the Erie tribs. Now that is some crazy fishing!

        Thanks for the warm welcome.

        Tight lines,
        There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm.


        • #5
          all of the above

          You could put all of your rods to good use on the hooch! The 3 wt will work just fine; that's what I usually fish on the hooch. It will just make things a little more interesting if you hook into something big. The 4/5 will be more fish turning power and is probably the most common size range used on the hooch. If asked what one size rod to use on the hooch, the general consensus would probably be a 9' 5wt. The 6 will be perfect for throwing streamers and hunting some of the bigger fish that occasionally come out to play. Welcome and have fun. You got one thing figured out already, the hooch is definitely an amazing fishery!
          "Everyone blows their money on stupid stuff. Just choose which stupid you want and roll with it."



          • #6
            Upper Tailrace

            Settles Bridge is a great place; JB is 20 minutes away from you. Settles has been fishing great but can get tricky and technical due to skinny gin clear water. Caddis flies have been active and trout have been taken with dry flies but most of our fish have been taken subsurface on size 22 dual nymph rigs using zebra and disco midges fished 6 to 7 feet under and indicator. The fish are deep within the water column and small shot may be necessary in deep runs. I suggest you attend the "Drag Free Drift" Seminar at the fling next weekend to educate yourself on how best to approach the aforementioned technique. Dual dry dropper rigs with two caddis and a soft hackle off the back of the second fly have also been productive. With low flow releases from the Dam there is a lot of wadeable water. Program this number into your phone 770-945-1466 and call it often. It is a message from the Corps of Engineers with the days water release schedule. Call it before you decided to go out and again when you get to the river. As a rule of thumb it takes the water 2.5 to 3 hrs to get to Settles and 6 to JB. So if you plan to fish Settles at 8 am and they release at 8 am you have about 2.5 hours to safely navigate and fish the river. You want to be off the river before it starts to rise. Given the aforementioned scenario JB would be a better bet. They have recently stocked the river and its full of feisty little bows, especially down at JB. A simple cone head olive woolly bugger in a size 12 with a size 16 bead head prince nymph dropped about 15-18 inches off the back will yield fish. Simply cast a quarter cast up stream and strip it back. Welcome to Atlanta enjoy the river. LM


            • #7
              I have 4 year old twin boys and I am from PA. There is no better reason to be alive but if you ever can make it to Buckhead in the evening let me know and I will show these waters and tell you some funny stories about twins. Btw all your rods will work. My go to For dry flies is my 4 wt 9 ft sage but I am going to get a 7 ft 3 wt. Atlanta and GA have incredible fly fishing but you will be busy for a while so relax and enjoy your kids too. Everyone will tell you it goes quick but it does. Atlanta has a bunch of really great places to take kids so let me know if you would like to hear them. Fishing up near you will get better later in the spring.Tight lines.


              • #8
                my suggestions

                My recommendation for a newbie is to try the Delayed Harvest section before it gets too warm (ie before the end of April). This section is heavily stocked Nov-May. The recommended entry point on the DH is Paces Ferry (hwy 41).

                Walk up the path from the parking lot (ie head upstream) about a quarter mile until you hit the I75 bridge and jump in! The section of the river is an easy wade all the way back to the parking lot.

                The DH section is a confidence builder Nov-May until the water heats up. After May, head to Jones Bridge where the water stays cool year-round.

                I started fishing the Hootch in the late 90's. Someone pointed me to this board and I found it a fantastic resource. Lots of info and many people willing to answer any question. Good luck!


                • #9
                  Thanks to all for the informative replies!

                  During one of our family excursions we visited the tailwater below the dam (not to fish, just to take a walk). It looked beautiful.
                  Is it worth fishing?

                  Once the days get longer, I'm looking forward to hitting the water after the little ones are sleeping (thus maintaining domestic tranquility with my lovely wife).

                  Tight lines,
                  There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm.


                  • #10
                    I've caught alot of fish just below the dam. I think it fishes better as the weather warms up. If you fish below the dam make sure you have a life jacket on. Settles is a pretty place to fish but less action IMO. Jones Bridge is my meat hole because I live very near you. Always catch a lot there. I use a 3 weight and it is fine, unless the wind is howling. I usually use my 5 weight. Pm me and we'll hit it. Welcome to the A town!

                    I am here:


                    • #11
                      Welcome Kev, another Buckeye YES !..From Toledo myself. Get in the water's just like back home,,,,all the info you need is here, somewhere but get in the water....Will


                      • #12
                        Welcome aboard man. I'm also an ohio Transplant ! Let me know if I can help!



                        • #13
                          I would recommend coming out to the spring fling this coming weekend. A lot of us will be there. If you ever decide to go to settles bridge let me know and I can try to meet you there. I don't know much about the hooche but what little I do know I will be glad to share with you. Do you tie your own flies your have you been buying them?
                          Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough. Thank you for the rain. And for the chance to wake up in three hours and go fishing: I thank you for that now, because I won't feel so thankful then. - Garrison Keillor

                          Team Georgia, Competitive Fly Fishing


                          • #14
                            I should also say I'm a very proud graduate of Ohio University!

                            It's not often we can brag about our sports, but we're in the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 60's!

                            Woohoo!!! Go Bobcats!

                            (I like the Buckeyes too)
                            There is no greater fan of fly fishing than the worm.