The heat of summer often makes it very uncomfortable to remain out on any area lake in a fishing boat for an entire day, and the bass fishing slows appreciably. For those who still love to fish, however, the cool, summer waters of the “Hooch” below Lake Lanier beckon. The water is considerably cooler than on any lake, and the scenery is breathtaking! One might even catch a glimpse of redtail hawks, ospreys, or an occasional eagle overhead, and the lower Chattahoochee River is teeming with explosive brown and rainbow trout to catch.
With adequate ramps available near Abbott’s Bridge and Medlock Bridge, anyone with a canoe or small, aluminum jon boat can carefully fish the river. Nevertheless, a few of the rapids and other shallow places can be rather difficult for any novice.
Hooch Brown TroutThe trout, however, can be found almost anywhere in the river. They are in both the fast and slower water areas as well as both the deep and shallow parts. They utilize rocks or fallen trees as cover from which to attack any edible creature that might be swept by with the current, and many of these hiding places are right down the middle of the river.
Though these river predators will hit a multitude of tiny lures, the most productive artificial offerings seem to be the smaller floating or sinking Rapalas, or Swirleybird spinners. When using Rapalas, the floaters usually work better in shallower water that often has underwater vegetation or other obstructions. In deeper, slower sections of the river, the sinking version of the Rapala is better for attracting the hungry trout. Gold is normally the most popular color, but many other brighter shades of lures have been successful.
Since the river teems with crawfish and stone flies, dark colored Swirleybirds are great lure choices. Small plastic worms in red or other bright colors are also deadly if the river becomes slightly stained from rain or other runoff, and artificial insects cast with a fly rod are always good.
The early morning or late evening hours provide a darker, foggy atmosphere that makes trout quite active in the clear waters of the “Hooch”. Overcast days can also be excellent, but during the heat of summer, morning seems to be the best time.
The logistics of fishing a fast river with all the currents, obstacles, and rapids can be a chore. Neophyte river fishermen have trouble “reading” the river and often cast indiscriminately, instead of fishing specific targets. Nevertheless, the Chattahoochee River has a healthy population of trout that are fairly easy to catch. So, instead of running off to some exotic waters this summer, enjoy the beauty and coolness of the “Hooch” and experience some of the best summer trout fishing available anywhere!