Chattahoochee Winter Trout Fishing

This 2013 winter fishing season could prove to be some of the best angling ever on the Chattahoochee River tail-water! Many anglers have been disappointed this past 2012 during the fall through Christmas time frame because of the high flows released from Buford Dam making fishing and access almost impossible. These excessive flows were badly needed down-stream in the ACF watershed to help replenish water-tables with the 100 year drought conditions.

The good news is that Lake Lanier is extremely low and it will likely take months for the Army Corp of Engineers to fill the lake to Winter & Spring-rule curve levels. This means Buford Dam will release primarily minimum flows about 650 Cubic Feet per Second(CFS)** for the remainder of this winter making for mostly ideal and safe fishing conditions on the entire 48 miles of trout water.  Please note that the Corps will release or “burp” the lake with the occasional one to three hour releases which will cause dramatic fluctuations (5 – 9feet water level rise and fall) during this time. Please visit  for a river safety flow chart.

Anglers should call Buford (770) 945-1466 or Morgan Falls (404) 329-1455  dam release schedules and visit their web site  Also, anglers should note that excessive rain events will cause high muddy flows from storm-water run-off and may need to migrate upstream to find low clear water above blown-out tributaries. A good plan “B” or “C” is to go to Buford Dam where the water is always clear but anglers MUST wear a PFD from the Buford DAM to GA Hwy-20 Bridge. For a free hatch chart for selecting the right fly for winter angling go to

**Cubic Feet Per Second (CFS) – a rate of the flow, in streams and rivers, for example. It is equal to a volume of water one foot high and one foot wide flowing a distance of one foot in one second. One “CFS” is equal to 7.48 gallons of water flowing each second. For example, if your car’s gas tank is 2 feet by 1 foot by 1 foot (2 cubic feet), then gas flowing at a rate of 1 cubic foot/second would fill the tank in two seconds.

Tight Lines,

Chris Scalley

Float the ‘Hooch

We will have a float trip Saturday (1/12) from Jones Bridge to Holcomb Bridge. Be at the Fulton County side at 9:30am sharp. Bring your float tube, pontoons, etc. Jones Bridge also has plenty of water to wade for those who don’t want to float.

As an added bonus, Ed Chamberlain (FFF master caster and AFFC casting guru) will be giving casting lessons starting at 8:30am (Jones Bridge, Fulton County side also). Come early for casting instruction and stay to fish! What more can you want?

Since turnover has just ended, I would venture to guess that some of the flies that might work are y2k’s, zebra midge, copperhead soft hackles, Sawyer pheasant tails (and regular pheasant tails), blue assassins, lightning bugs, princes, hare’s ear, and maybe-adams and october caddis.

Hang around after the trip is over. We will go out for some vittles!

The ‘Tuck is Hot!!!

This past Monday and Tuesday I was lucky enough to be invited by Bob “NASCAR” Chambless to fish the ‘Tuck. What a great two days. We had at least 80 each but it was not the number that was the great attraction, it was the number of fish on a dry and the size of the fish.

About half the fish I caught were on a dry (Adams). The first day NASCAR got a couple of nice 18-19 inch fish and I got a big boy ‘bow of 21-21 inches-on a dry! The next day NASCAR got two in the 20 inch range and I got one about the same plus a nice 17-18 in brown. NASCAR had never gotten fish this big this time of year on the ‘Tuck.

I recommend having some October caddis, Adams, black zebra midges, Sawyer pt’s, Cousin Pat’s secret fly, blue assassin, and the PB midge.


Jackpot on the Saluda River!

Hey Guys, I trust you all had a safe, meaningful, and enjoyable holiday season.  My time off was made more special by the trout I caught on a guided fishing trip with Michael Frank, again.  I was home (Columbia, SC) for the Christmas, so I hired Mike to take me and  buddy out on the Lower Saluda River (below the Lake Murray Dam).  In short, JACKPOT!  I landed a 22″, 4 lbs 10 oz. brown trout.  It was the bigges trout known by the guide to be taken from the Lower Saluda.  It actually broke his record of a 21″ brown.

I caught several rainbows, too.  Two were tagged by the SC DNR.  I plan to submit the tag numbers to the DNR for accoutability purposes (as requested by the DNR).  Plus, I caught one bow on one of Craig Reindau’s chartreuse Wee Willie Wigglers.  I included two pics of it, too.

See you next Wednesday.  Happy 2013!

Take care,


The Inching Foot:: A Case of Ignoring Safety

Andrew A. Cox, Associate Newsletter Editor

Many anglers pursing this sport realize that fishing and other outdoor activities have a certain element of danger. Some anglers take great care in anticipating potential sources of danger; others pursue the sport with little foresight and may find themselves in potentially dangerous if not life threatening situations. The angler should take extra precautions when engaging in such activities. It is important to be observant of your surroundings, not take risks, and plan ahead.

I was reminded of the importance of safety many years ago as a young man when I almost drowned while trout fishing in the Chattahoochee River, north of Atlanta, Georgia. During this time period, I was working in the Georgia public schools and had extended time during the summer months to fish on weekdays when waters were less crowded. I was fishing downstream from the Jones Bridge area of the Chattahoochee River, beyond the sound of sirens at Lake Lanier’s Buford Dam warning of water releases from the dam. I neglected to obtain the day’s generation schedule from the Corps of Engineers at Buford Dam.

Though fishing with a friend on this particular trip, he was fishing another section of the Chattahoochee River. Over the course of the day’s fishing, I waded to some small islands and gravel bars located in the middle of the river. Getting to these gravel bars, I had waded across the gentle current of the river’s main channel with water being above my ankle but below the knee. I had laid a small waist tackle bag on the gravel bar while fishing the bar’s riffles. After a period of time, I observed the tackle bag beginning to float downstream. Retrieving the floating bag, I noticed that the river’s current had increased considerably in velocity. I returned to where I had entered the river and attempted to cross the river’s main channel on the Fulton County side. However, by this time, the water was now rapidly rising over my waist. If I had picked up my foot to walk across the main current, I likely would have been swept downstream, filling my waders with extremely cold water. Instead, I slowly inched my foot along through the gravel and small rocks on the river’s bottom to the river’s bank. When finally reaching the bank, the water was up to my chest and rapidly rising towards my shoulders. Over the course of my return crossing of the river, several tackle items were swept away by the torrent that was now the Chattahoochee’s current.

As a result of this frightening experience, I learned many lessons in preparing to fish not only a tail-water river but other types of waters. I began to use a wading belt to prevent water from entering the top of my waders, fishing with a partner, being alert for rising water, and making contacts to determine the water release schedule.

The angler can develop a safety plan and attempt to anticipate potential problems. One can search the internet or make telephone contacts to obtain information regarding generation schedules as well as figuring out when high water would reach the angler’s location on the water.
Having available and programming a cellular telephone with various emergency telephone numbers would be invaluable. Inform others of your fishing location and time schedule as a means to prepare for an emergency situation.

The Atlanta Fly Fishing Club is advocating for Project River Rising. This project along with other advance preparations can be the difference between life and death for the angler.

That was a BIG Fish

NASCAR Bob Chambliss asked Ed and I to go to the AMI on 12/28. It was a pretty cold day with pretty chilly water (around 45). The fishing was pretty good but sporadic, you would go on a run then it would shut down. Saw Ed and NASCAR fishing underneath the bridge and Ed was getting a fish on about every cast-it made NASCAR jealous!!!!


Ed was kind enough to leave and I took his spot and only got only 2 in about an hour of fishing. Off and on fishing. And speaking of on-Ed got one of the biggest, if not the biggest ‘bow (look at the pictures) I have ever seen outside of the pellet farms. This bad ‘bow was around 21 to 22 inches and THICK, reminded me of Budcan. I finished with around 18 and got to use my new Scott S4 rod, of which I was very impressed. I’m sure NASCAR and Ed got at least that many (it seemed like Ed pulled 8 or 9 out of that one hole). Be careful wading this time of year the water is cold-ask Ed !!!!!!!!