Chattahoochee Float Times and Fishing Tips

Chattahoochee River Information

Approximate time in hours for water release crest to reach various locations downstream from Buford Dam. To access information on the generation schedule call 770-945-1466.
The government site ( that shows accurate and timely river conditions: the turbidity should be under 10 to be considered fishable.
Miles Downstream
Approximate Hours to Crest
Approximate Hours for Water to Completely Recede
Highway 20 Bridge
2.5 Miles
45 Minutes
1-1/2 Hours
Settles Bridge
5 Miles
1.5 Hours
3 Hours
McGinnis Ferry Bridge
8.5 Miles
3 Hours
6 Hours
Suwanee Creek
10 Miles
3.5 Hours
7 Hours
Rogers Bridge
11 Miles
3.75 Hours
7-1/4 Hours
Abbotts Bridge, GA 120
13 Miles
4.5 Hours
8 Hours
McClure Bridge
14 Miles
5 Hours
10 Hours
Medlock Bridge, GA 141
17 Miles
6 Hours
13 Hours
Jones Bridge
19 Miles
6.5 Hours
14 Hours
Holcomb Bridge
23 Miles
8 Hours
16 Hours
Island Ford
29 Miles
10 Hours
20 Hours
Roswell Rd., U.S. 19
31 Miles
10.5 Hours
21 Hours
Morgan Falls
35 Miles
11.5 Hours
Morgan Falls Dam.
For information on generation schedules for Morgan Falls Dam, call 404-329-1455.

Access Points: See the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Maps for location details.

Miles from Buford Dam
Access Point Location Comments
Public Park, boat ramp, picnic tables, parking, good wading areas on east and west side of river. Must wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) from Buford Dam to Hwy 20 Bridge.

Hwy. 20 Bridge Artificial Lures only from Hwy 20 Bridge to the boat ramp at Medlock Bridge. Call 911 to report offences.

Limited parking, long walk to river, steep bank, slippery when wet, limited wading. Excellent float tube trip to Settles Bridge.
Settles Bridge
(Artificials Only)
East side access only, good parking, great wading areas. Long float trip to Abbotts Bridge.
McGinnis Ferry
(Artificials Only)
New boat ramp with excellent parking. Forsyth County fencing blocks all access to wade fishing upstream. Good float to Abbotts Bridge.
Abbotts Bridge
(Artificials Only)
Public park, boat ramp, tables, restrooms, limited wading. Good float trip to Medlock.
Medlock Bridge
(END – Artificials Only)
Public park, boat ramp, picnic tables, very wooded area. Good float trip to Jones Bridge.

Jones Bridge- East Side

Great park with large covered pavilion, restrooms, picnic tables. Extensive wading areas. Good float trip to Holcomb Bridge.

Jones Bridge- West Side

Public park west of river off Barnwell Road. Boat ramp, picnic tables, restrooms. Good, short float trip along park property.
Holcomb Bridge
Limited parking, exit immediately on right just below bridge and Water Plant. Parking available.
Island Ford
Chattahoochee National Recreation Area Headquarters. Great park. Restrooms, picnic tables, boat ramp, fishing pier. Beautiful river views. Extensive wading areas.
Hwy 9 & Azalea Rd
Parking, picnic table, wading areas.
Chattahoochee River Park
Parking, restrooms, picnic tables, boat ramp.
Morgan Falls Dam
Parking, boat ramp, good wading areas.
Johnsons Ferry
Parking, boat ramp, no wading. Good float trip to Cochran Shoals.
Cochran Shoals
Parking, restrooms, picnic tables, good float along park property.
East Palisades
Off Harris Trail and Whitewater Creek Road. Parking, picnic tables. Extensive wading areas. Good, short float trip along park property. Good float trip to Paces Mill.
Hwy 41 / Cobb Pkwy
Paces Mill Park. Parking, restrooms, picnic tables, boat ramp. Extensive wading areas.

Float the Hooch!!!
by Joe Carriveau, Past AFFC President

I have been asked many times what one should have if they want to join the group that floats the ‘Hooch most weekends in the summer and often during the winter. As you know the law requires you to wear a life vest from Buford Dam down to Highway 20. From that point on you do not have to wear it but you must have a life vest on/in your tube.

The list I have put together was originally for warm weather, however with most of the river open year around you can now adapt it to cool weather by adding lightweight and windproof thermal layers to your upper body for winter fishing. I have made some recommendations of what items and actions will make your float more enjoyable.

First, check the generation schedule by calling 770-945-1466.

Float Tube
Without this, the trip is off. Check the air pressure for proper inflation and also check for leaks. It’s a long walk along the bank to the takeout point.

The water temp is between 43 – 54 degrees. If you have neoprene waders, use them. If you have regular waders, put on long underwear and warm socks. You may think it isn’t necessary with the air temp in the 80’s but I’m speaking from experience. Hypothermia is a very real danger and should not be taken lightly.

Life Preserver
It is the law. You must have a Coast Guard approved life preserver with you. You don’t have to be wearing it but it must be on/in your float tube.

Fly Rod
The best choice is a 8 1/2 ft. to 9 ft. fly rod that is a 4, 5 or 6 weight. The longer rods help since you’re sitting low in the water. If you have one rod, bring it.

Your choice of a 7 1/2 ft. or 9 ft. tapered leader in a 3x to 5x should cover most of the fishing conditions. The shorter if you plan to fish nymphs; longer for drys.

Starting at the bottom with nymphs… Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail, Hares Ear, March Brown, Stone fly and Serendipity in size 10 to 16 will work well. Soft hackle flies and bead heads also take fish. The use of a strike indicator will help substantially when fishing nymphs.

Dry flies range from Caddis in tan or cream to Adams regular and parachute style to Light Cahill’s, Blue Duns down to (size 18 or smaller), Griffith’s Gnats, and Midges.

Other Items
Some other things you will want to bring are Sunblock 15 or higher, water or Gatorade type drink, sandwich or food in a zip lock bag, travel tissue, polarized sunglasses and a hat. Plus, float tube fins to maneuver with, and a fishing net to land all the fish you will be catching.

Editor’s Note:

Use of Float Tube Fins

Float tube fins work even better than Joe’s original suggestion of using a dust pan or ping pong paddle to maneuver while floating the ‘Hooch in the deeper sections. You can actually put yourself into a “hold” position with fins as you cast to rising fish. Take them off at shoals and gravel bars to allow easy wading while fishing and then put them back on to continue your float downstream. Use a tether of some type to prevent losing a fin while wade fishing a shoal or gravel bar — when you’re away from your tube.

Always be cautious of getting a foot caught or jammed in underwater hazards while floating with float tube fins in a river system. For this reason, many people do not recommend using float fins in rivers or fast moving streams.

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