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Basic tips and tricks for a beginner

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  • Basic tips and tricks for a beginner

    Hello, I am new to the forum and new to fly fishing in general and I'm looking for basic tips and info to get me started. I have a 5 wt rod I plan on using for trout on the hooch and bass in a local lake. I have been doing my fair share of reading and I'm starting to learn a few very basic terms and strategies such as dry flies vs nymphs, but I can't seem to find much on fishing the Chattahoochee specifically. I have a small Jon boat I plan to take out Saturday. I live in Alpharetta and I plan on launching at the ramp on McGinnis ferry. Any tips on where to fish, what to use, an into to what the water release does to the fishing, and any rules or regulations I should know about would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

  • #2
    If you launch from MF just remember you cant really go upstream from there, so make sure you can get back up river from below the ramp. Check the release schedule from Buford Dam Fri night and Sat morning, if the water is coming up, GET OUT!!
    Dennis C...""Giving Stripers everywhere a bad day!!""

    Comment


    • #3
      Best advise? Hook up with someone else a few times before venturing out alone. And heed skibum's warning....

      if the water is coming up, GET OUT!!

      We don't want to read about another statistic on the Hooch..
      BE DIFFERENT AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE! <

      Exodus 29:18
      Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD. God loves BBQ!

      Comment


      • #4
        You have both talked about how important it is to get off the water if it's coming up. Why is that?

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        • #5
          Also I am going out Saturday with a friend of mine that is an avid fly fisherman, but he isn't very familiar with the Chattahoochee in particular.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by tdaily View Post
            You have both talked about how important it is to get off the water if it's coming up. Why is that?
            The Chattahoochee is a dangerous river, and it goes to extremely dangerous when the dam releases water, or immediately after heavy rain. the water rapidly rises, and the velocity of the water rapidly increases. navigation is an extreme hazard as the water gets into the banks and can trap, pull under, break, etc. you and your boat in trees.

            We have several drownings each year on the Chattahoochee in the stretch through metro Atlanta. Some fools or drunks, some fisherman and boaters.

            Knowledge of how to avoid this would be considered more important than fishing techniques, in my opinion.

            For example, let's say you launch your Jon boat and float downstream and can't make it back to your ramp. What do you do?

            The river is especially tricky after a year of higher than usual rain, making the releases fairly constant and somewhat unpredictable. Example: most of the time the dam doesn't release Saturday. They released two Saturdays ago. It rained extremely heavy in the overnight hours last Saturday. So the Saturday's are safe theory has been disproved.

            I'm sure you'll get plenty of advise from plenty of knowledgeable folks, but the transfer and absorption of this info is tricky via message board. I second the go with someone knowledgeable approach.

            Furthermore, it will be in the low 20's air temp Saturday morning. Water is darn cold as well. What's the plan if you get wet, not totally unlikely in a maiden voyage.

            I don't mean to sounds like a huge jerk, just trying to convey the message that it is dangerous.
            Last edited by mlewis; 01-15-14, 12:57 PM. Reason: added temperature

            Comment


            • #7
              Welcome to the board.

              I would humbly suggest that you launch at Abbotts Bridge or Medlock Bridge boat ramp first before you try McGinnis. The Hooch is not as easy of a river to operate on as some think, and as Skibum said, you should go upstream on your first outing, or most of the time really, and there is very little water upstream of McGinnis before it becomes not-beginner water. Another thing to think about right now is the regular and massive water releases, make SURE you call 770-945-1466 and confirm that you are clear from a release. You should be able to use the sticky threads at the top of this forum to calculate when the water will be down at whatever ramp you decide to use. Also, get familiar with the river gauges, the water at Abbotts, and even more so at Medlock, take quite a while to fall out after a release ends.

              Fishing wise, only fish at low water, fishing during a release is a total waste of time, and is very dangerous. You should worry about operating your boat safely first, and the fishing can/will come later.

              Be patient. You are embarking on a long learning process if you want to become a safe and effective fisherman from a boat on the Hooch. Don't rush it and you will have a lot of fun, but if you push too hard, the river will bite you, especially in the winter.

              FM
              The tug is the drug!

              "Grow a pear!" - Groundpounder

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tdaily View Post
                You have both talked about how important it is to get off the water if it's coming up. Why is that?
                This comment tells me that you are wholly unprepared to operate a boat on the Hooch, especially in the winter. Please read a lot, and TAKE IT SLOWLY.

                FM
                The tug is the drug!

                "Grow a pear!" - Groundpounder

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tdaily View Post
                  Also I am going out Saturday with a friend of mine that is an avid fly fisherman, but he isn't very familiar with the Chattahoochee in particular.
                  Fly fishing skills have nothing to do with boat operations, except maybe when fishing from a small boat. You said you have a small jon boat; 2 guys fly fishing from a small jon boat on a river better have their stuff together, aven more so if it is new water.

                  Maybe you can tell us more about you and your equipment, so we can better advise and answer questions. Like Lewdogg said, I also don't mean to sound like a jerk, but this is sounding like a very risky proposition.

                  FM
                  The tug is the drug!

                  "Grow a pear!" - Groundpounder

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jes' be aware of the dangers.

                    If your jon-boat has a motor on it, I would highly recommend puttin' in at the Abbott's Bridge ramp just off GA 120 in Duluth 'tween Peachtree Industrial and 141. On the other hand, if your boat does not have a motor, I would strongly suggest avoiding launching in the 'Hooch altogether. Like Skibum said, there's not really enny way to proceed upstream from McGinnis Ferry for more than a quarter-mile or so due to a purty significant rock barrier.

                    However, assumin' you have an outboard motor on your bateau, if you put in at Abbott's Bridge, you can motor up river about five miles to McGinnis Ferry and drift back downstream without havin' to worry 'bout your motor not startin' back up and not bein' able to git back up river to your trailer.

                    I am extremely confident in my 25HP Johnson, but it is still a very rare occasion for me to start out by goin' down river and having to trust that the motor will fire up with absolutely no doubt. If you put in at McGinnis Ferry and begin drifting down river, then discover that your motor won't start, the next take out point with a ramp is Abbott's - which is five miles from your starting point on a river that's still unfamiliar to you.

                    By puttin' in at Abbott's and heading upriver, you eliminate that worry. And then there's the added benefit of plenty of good, fishy water for you as you head t'ward McGinnis Ferry. I'd be willing to wager that if you put in at Abbott's, you'll find so menny good runs along the way upriver that you never even get to Suwanee Creek on your first trip (unless you're only jes' explorin').

                    Now, jes' keep it in mind that it's best to go slowly and peer closely into the water ahead of you until sech time as you have come to be familiar with this treacherous ol' river. The ripples on the surface could be from any number of submerged propeller-eatin' demons such as rocks, shoals, HUGE trees. . . And be sure to choose your path carefully, and raise the motor halfway when in doubt.

                    Now, as for water releases and how they affect the 'Hooch. . . Let's jes' say that enny release mentioned by the COE on their call line will significantly impact the nature of the river. The water rises fast; it pushes your boat in ways you do not want to go (even when you are under power); the hazards come at you more quickly and are more difficult to identify in time to avoid them; the water gets murky so it's hard to see what might lie just beneath the surface; the fishing generally sucks; and it's a helluva lot harder to trailer your boat when the water is up and the current is ripping through the 'Hooch than it is to land a 747 in a tailing crosswind!

                    Now, with all that said, the 'Hooch is a genuinely lovely place to fish, an' it's right next door to you also too. Jes' be cautious your first few trips. We'd kinda like to get to read a couple thousand more posts from you in the comin' months.

                    By the way, welcome to NGTO! We're pickled tink to have you join us!

                    Addendum: I jes' noticed that fishmonger has weighed in three times whilst I was still attemptin' to compose a response. Please, please, please heed the guidance of fishmonger. There are few fishermen on the 'Hooch who are as familiar with its ev'ry twist, turn, mood and subtle nuisance (no, I do not mean "nuance") that the 'Hooch can and will throw at you from time to time. Enny advice you're able to garner from him is worth twice its weight in gold! Like he said, though, take it SLOWLY. You are embarkin' upon the equivalent of a study that could land you a PhD in 'Hoochology, but you're entering at a freshman level right now. There's nothing wrong with that, because all of us 'Hooch fisherman did exactly the same. Jes' realize that the course isn't as easy as it is fun. This is one of those degrees where you get more lab time than lecture time, and that's what makes it so fun. But don't neglect the lecture time and study time. Learn to read the charts you'll find online and understand what they mean. It'll make fishin' the 'Hooch much safer and more productive.

                    TIGHT LINES TO YOU!
                    Last edited by Swamp Angel; 01-15-14, 01:38 PM.
                    If you have difficulty understanding the post above, read it out loud and it should make sense. This NGTO member is known for his poor hill-billy upbringing and his affinity for all things from Louisiana (particularly if it relates to LSU). It makes for a poor mix of accents and much difficulty in translation. He was doing well for so long, but now seems to have regressed.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Graph of water levels at McGinnis:



                      Notice that it goes up 10-12 feet during a release, THAT is why you shouldn't try to boat or fish on high water.

                      FM
                      Last edited by Swamp Angel; 01-16-14, 12:05 PM.
                      The tug is the drug!

                      "Grow a pear!" - Groundpounder

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The huge swings in the water level at McGinnis Ferry that fishmonger shows is the result of a water release like this:



                        The second column is the one you're interested in. It's the release schedule from Buford Dam. The "7" is the minimum release number. It'll only be in years of exceptional drought that you'll see a number lower than 7 on here. The "67" is a release that is half of what a full opening of the gates will create. A full release is shown as a "127".

                        The number represent megaWatt hours of electricity generation, but they can be roughly figured as being 1285 cubic feet of water discharged per second for every "10" megaWatt hours of electrical production. So, at minimum flow of 7, there are approximately 900 CF of water being released from Lanier into the river every second. That's not too bad.

                        However, generating rates usually run from the minimum of 7, to the next stage at 42. That six time the amount of water coming out of that chute at the dam and filling the river than there is at low flow, and this is only 1/3 of what a full-on release is like.

                        A half release at 67 really makes for a wild ride if you get caught out in it! That's around 86,000 cf/s of water screaming down the river making fishing absolutely worthless.

                        During a full release, the water rises rapidly and carries things downstream at an alarmingly fast rate. There's really not much time to react to approaching hazards. And notice the difference in water depth between a minimum release where the water is only a couple feet deep, to a full release where the water depth exceeds 14 feet! And then look at how fast that happened! On Jan 13, that water went from 1'-10" to 13'-0" in about two hours. That means the water rose one foot every ten minutes!

                        Dangerous stuff if you're not careful.

                        Also keep in mind that the release schedule shown online is subject to change. (And they change it just as often as not.) Always call that number for Buford Dam before you head out to go fishing for the day just to ensure that they didn't bamboozle you and change the release schedule when you weren't looking.

                        Keep your eye on this thread. I have a strong feeling that there's going to be a lot of good, solid information coming forth in the next few hours.

                        We don't want to scare you off, by any means. What we do want is to get a whole lot more posts out of you. Remember, you had to apply for approval to be able to post on the site here. How do you know that we didn't run a full background check on you to ensure that you're just the kind of person we want to have here. And, if that's the case, dont' you think we'd want to keep you around for as long as possible?

                        When I get my own boat ready to roll out and run the 'Hooch later this year, I'll give you a shout see if we can hook up and I'll show you what little bit I've learned about the 'Hooch.
                        Last edited by Swamp Angel; 01-16-14, 10:22 AM.
                        If you have difficulty understanding the post above, read it out loud and it should make sense. This NGTO member is known for his poor hill-billy upbringing and his affinity for all things from Louisiana (particularly if it relates to LSU). It makes for a poor mix of accents and much difficulty in translation. He was doing well for so long, but now seems to have regressed.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          He never mentioned what kind of motor was on the john boat did he? If it's electric, def head upstream and don't just run the battery dry and start floating back, trust me you will need it again. PDF's are a must and if you have a sterns inflatable, its only legal when you wear it, not just riding along with it.. Just fyi...
                          Dennis C...""Giving Stripers everywhere a bad day!!""

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            First off, let me apologize for not properly greeting you tdaily. Welcome to NGTO, THE BEST site for trout fishing in the southeast.
                            I must admit, I don't know that much about the Hooch. But I fished a good bit on the Savannah River between Hartwell dam and Clark Hill Lake before Lake Russell took over. The releases from Hartwell would catch you midstream if you were not careful, and if it did, you were in for a bad day. A friend of mine fished it regularly, and he would take a 20 dollar bill, place it on a rock, and place another rock on top of it. He would keep an eye on it, and as soon as the water levels started to rise, he was out of there.

                            Releases from any hydro electric dam are dangerous, and sadly there are lives lost every year because of ignorance.

                            Don't be a statistic, understand the release, timing of when the water starts to rise where you are, and don't get caught. Hope you get to fish regularly and often!
                            BE DIFFERENT AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE! <

                            Exodus 29:18
                            Then burn the entire ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, a food offering presented to the LORD. God loves BBQ!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thank you all for the comments. There is a lot more than meets the eye about taking a boat out on the hooch. I will check the schedule, launch at abbots instead of McGinnis and head upstream. Also I already have a life jacket that I planned on wearing and I will definitely get out if the water rises. Thank you all for being concerned about safety as that is such an important part of being a responsible fisherman. I have a Minn Kota 55lb thrust trolling motor. Also any comments on what is working as far as flies?

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