Because of our latitude in north Georgia, we have a mild winter compared to most trout fisheries. Because of our higher elevation with Atlanta at over 1,000 ft. above sea level and our headwaters in the Appalachian mountains over 4,000 ft. above sea level our summers are mild. Our trout season is year-round with no closed season.
The Chattahoochee is a classic southern tailwater river fishery. Water temps are cold with high oxygen content perfect for 50 miles of trout water. Brown and rainbow trout were introduced into these frigid waters in the mid 1960's. Brown trout thrive so well that the GA state DNR quit stocking browns in 2005, proving there is a self sustaining wild population. There have been two state record brown trout caught by anglers exceeding 20lbs in the past 16 years (2003 and 2013). Rainbow trout in the 15-21" range are common with some natural reproduction and annual stocking. Further downstream where the river temperature warms slightly there is a subspecies of largemouth bass well adapted for rivers called a shoal bass which can reach 3-5 lbs. During the warmer months, there is a striped bass migration from 70 miles downstream originating from the next reservoir. Striped bass in excess of 30 lbs. are not uncommon from May through October.
The Chattahoochee watershed north of Atlanta begins just 150 miles north in the mountains in excess of 4,000 ft. above sea level in the headwaters. This river empties into the 38,000-acre Lake Lanier impoundment with depths exceeding 200 ft. controlled by Buford Dam. The Chattahoochee below Buford Dam is quite cold, averaging around 48 F as the water exits the penstocks. This region is known as the Piedmont area with rolling hills with long needle pines and ancient hardwoods. This region would be considered an extension of the Appalachians with mountain laurel, rhododendron and wild azaleas along the river banks. The four seasons are distinct with autumn being especially beautiful when the leaves are peaking and the brown trout are spawning.
Weather in the Piedmont is relatively mild with winter temperatures ranging from freezing at night and warming into the 50s F in the day. Summers are warm ranging at night into the mid to upper 70s to high 80s low 90s in the day but with the cold water temps act like an air conditioner on the River with temps cooling 20-30 degrees on the water.