Due to the extreme heat in the southeast last month, many trout anglers have been forced to fish the larger and/or colder and deeper water and I am no exception. Many of the streams in Georgia have become too warm for plantings of trout and anglers are forced to fish either wild streams or colder stocked waters. This is why I chose to go ahead and review a portion of the Chattahoochee this month.
I must admit, I am a novice when it comes to flyfishing in deep water. This probably explains why on all but one trip to this area I was skunked. On my first visit I spent most of my time in the shoals casting into the runs and pools. As usual there was no hatch in progress so I tried a number of different dry and wet attractors. The problem was I just wasn't fishing deep enough. After several hours and many flies I decided to call it a day.
Before my final trip to the area I stopped by a local tackle shop and spoke with several other anglers familiar with the area. I was advised that the fishing had in fact been quite good at Island Ford in the deeper water and the technique of the week consisted of bumping larger nymphs and bugs along the bottom in the open areas. I went back home, retrieved my float, and decided to try one more time.
I reached the stream in the early afternoon and floated down into the open flat area between the two shoals. I had tied on a black bead-head and strike indicator a good three feet above it. I immediately saw the difference. Within about an hour I had landed two fish and had many other misses. I ended up the day having caught and released four rainbows in the 8-10'' range.
Now keep in mind that during a majority of the year many of the fish in the area will reside in the shoals and in fact, many mornings it is very easy to find a rising fish to cast to, but during these extreme weather days nothing beats the deep water. Unfortunately to reach the deeper water a float tube is almost necessary. It is also important to note that the water in the Chattahoochee remains very cold all year long and wet-wading should be reserved for hardier individuals. Also always remember to check the to see what time the dam is releasing so as to not get caught in the raging water. The schedule can be unpredictable at times, depending on power needs, and it is imperative to call the following numbers to obtain the generation schedule.
Chattachoochee River below Buford Dam: Available from Corps of Engineers for Buford Dam at (404) 945-1466
Water releases travel downstream from Buford Dam at about 4-5 mph. It's a good idea to stay off the river during releases.
Morgan Falls Dam: (404) 329-1455.