2013 Flows on the Chattahoochee

Spring fishing season is upon us with hints of honey suckle in the air and mountain laurel along with trout lillies in full bloom. As one of our clients exclaimed, “Chris, the fish are just the the gravy, it’s beautiful out here!” We are excited about the new spring season with a better prevelence of stone, may and caddis flies throughout the tailwater despite the recent high flows from Buford Dam for the May recharge of Lake Eufalia or better know as Walter F. George . As water tables normalize downstream in Alabama and Florida the Army Corps will appease peak power demand when every household airconditioner kicks on mid day with the advent of warmer weather. Lake Lanier elevation is 1.48feet above summer pool  and surface temps at Lake Lanier are at 50F with a uniform water temp of 49F gushing from the depths at  the Buford Dam penstocks making for copious amounts of  “winter-stored water” perfect for trout for nearly 40 miles of river. Since Lanier hit full pool by mid April we are optimistic that many trout will thrive even into the Delayed Harvest area near 285 at CRNRA mile marker 300 well into Atlanta City limits. June will be quite productive even during the week days once the lake reaches the normal summer “rule curve” of 1071 feet above sea level.  We have  had frequent sitings of birds of prey most notably the “fish hawk” or osprey.

Wild browns have been targeted matching the subsurface hatch imitating large stone and crane fly nymph patterns. We always keep one or even two dry fly rods loaded in case of a may or caddis fly hatch usually short lived but fleeting sparse hatches means less selective fish. Dead drifting nymphs is the rule but if anglers are willing to strip crawfish or baby trout streamer patterns can score big on trophy fish.  We are excited about our new web site with different fishing packages targeting larger and less pressured fish off the beaten path. For some folks who want to see lots of  scenic river mileage common on South American and Western US rivers these remote areas even in Gwinnett county or Dunwoody GA yeild bragging sized trout.

It is time to plan ahead now to schedule a trophy striper and shoal bass trip in June below Morgan Falls Dam when warmer water temps bring new migrant Linesides and local Shoallies to the “big net”. The violent strikes and breathtaking runs of these fish can get your heart pumping for sure! Even if your not equipped for salt water species we can provide quality rods and reels with ample backing.  Book a half day before or after work during low light conditions or drift a remote reach of the river for a full day from Morgan Falls to Standing Peachtree Creek.

Another true adventure is our guided carp angling trips on acres and acres mud  flats above Morgan Falls Dam where these skittish leviathans cruize all summer and early fall. We use boats equipped with poling platforms with clients alternating shifts on the casting deck. This trip resembles the intensity of a guided saltwater trip similar to redfish or even bonefish angling. This is a great way to get yourself prepared to site fish before you travel to the tidal salt water flats. Our guides are homesick salt water guys who get their “salt-fix” right here on the Chattahoochee.

On-stream monthly group classes or private classes? Yes we offer the ONLY on-stream classes for wade anglers on the CRNRA with veteran  guides as your instructors. Learn to target trout, shoal and striped bass. Also learn fly selection, presentation, line/fly manipulation, reading water, fish habitat,river safety. Check out our new web site for class schedules and pricing.

chris scalley
River Through Atlanta
Please visit our new web site at www.riverthroughalanta.com

May is a good time for mayflies on the Chattahoochee?

While mayflies hatch year-round on the Chattahoochee the month of May is when anglers can expect to see the first great emergence of larger mayflies like Light Cahills, Quill Gordons and Hendricksons to name a few. These three species occur in better numbers  on the lower river downstream of Morgan Falls Dam but do also exist in sparse  population densities extending upstream on the 35miles north to Buford Dam.

From Morgan Fall Dam  down to Paces Mill anglers should be prepared to imitate adults with dry flies as the hatch cranks up with trout often keying in on one size and one color. On the upper reach it is best to imitate the nymph stage with larger pheasant tail nymphs in #12 down to #16 hook sizes.

The Chattahoochee River tail-water has approximately twelve species of mayflies which include all four behavior types or styles of this species in the larval stage which include burrowers, crawlers, clingers and swimmers. These behavior types will help anglers narrow down their selection process while choosing the right nymph and fly fishing tactic. Matching the Hatch by Ernest G. Schwiebert, Jr. is an excellent guide to mayfly hatches and tactics in North America.

As a good general rule of thumb if you see mayflies on the surface but no fish rising it is best to try to match as close to the size of those adults with a nymph imitation with an initial “dead-drift” then a final swing or “Leisenring Lift” as your fly quarters downstream . When fish begin rising you will likely see these larger more visible mayflies actually get eaten by the fish which will allow you to make an obvious choice to switch to dry flies.

Tight lines, Chris Scalley

Club member Gregg Goff competes in Trout Tournament

I was in Helen, GA, March 29th and 30th (Friday and Saturday).  The town’s annual trout tournament (24th overall) was held Saturday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Tagged trout were worth $500, $250, $100, $50, and $25.  The higher the dollar value, the fewer trout were tagged.  No one caught the sole $500 tagged trout.  So, next year’s jackpot will be worth $1000 (rollover with this year’s $500 jackpot).

At check-in time, there was one $250 trout, one $50 trout, and about 10 $25 trout.  I was one of the “$25 trout” anglers.  Something is better than nothing. All tagged trout were rainbows a minimum of three (3) pounds!  Thank you Tellico Trout Farm in Tellico, NC.

I will spare the many details of the layout of the tournament format.  I consider it worth noting that the tagged trout are stocked at different points in the Chattahoochee River in Helen after midnight the morning of the tournament so that no angler knows the exact location of the fish.  Untagged trout, rainbows and brookies, were stocked the day before by the Georgia DNR to assure plenty of fish would be caught (brown trout would be caught, too).  Only tagged trout (again, all tagged trout were rainbows) needed be brought to the check-in.

The one I caught was a 20-incher between three and four pounds.  I gave it away to a family since I was not able to keep it alive at check-in time.  Otherwise I would have clipped the tag and released it.  I kept it alive till check-in time, but then it died for being out of the water for so long.  🙁

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It was a lot of fun.  Admittedly, I did not know what to expect since this was my first competitive fishing tournament.

Everybody around you looks at you when you hook a fish!  Everybody wants to hold it, touch it, get close up view of it, especially the kids and teenagers.  I do not mind.  Showing your catch at a tournament is part of the fun.

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