Early arrivers of the mass exodus of striped bass and white bass up into the northernmost waters of the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers from the south are always the smaller male white and striped bass. These are followed quickly by the heavily egg laden and much larger female white bass and stripers. Many of these migrating bass travel up into the Chestatee River as far as the shoals above Highway 400 or on the Chattahoochee River to the rocky runs above Belton Bridge. These areas are difficult to reach by normal boats, so I take clients in my specially-designed, jet-powered, tunnel-hull, 18-foot, aluminum river boat.
Though great numbers of white bass are found in the upper portions of the rivers that are impossible to reach with normal boats, many of these fish also find spawning areas south of the river shoals where they are more accessible to conventional craft. These white bass seem to prefer sandy flats near the moving water of one of the main river channels.
Trolling the edge of these flats with 1/8th ounce or Flyrod-Sized Swirleybirds (available at www.georgiafishing.com ), 1/16th or 1/8th ounce Blakemore Roadrunners, or small jig and grub combinations can be effective and a means of locating the schools. After a congregation of white bass is found, a buoy marker should be dropped in the general area, then cast to the fish with the same shad-like lures that were used for trolling. White or chartreuse are always excellent color choices.
For those interested in catching a huge striped bass, the last two weeks of March and the first two weeks of April are the best times in the Chattahoochee River above Lake Lanier. Though nothing is produced from their spawning efforts, 20 to 40 pound female stripers travel up into the shoals of the upper river to go through the spawning process. I again use the jet boat to allow my fishing clients an opportunity to catch a more than thirty pound fish in beautiful surroundings.
Both the white bass and stripers are headed north again, and for those lucky enough to locate a big school of white bass, it can be nonstop action. In with those thousands of white bass, however, one might find a lifetime trophy striper lurking!