Georgia River Fishing Information
Chattooga River

The Chattooga is a tributary of Weiss Reservoir.  It originates near Lafayette and meanders about 51 miles southwest.  A narrow river channel with numerous hazards makes most of the river floatable only by canoe or small boat.  Large prop and jet boats can navigate the river below Ga. Hwy. 27 with caution.

Prospects and Fishing Tips
Best Bets
BREAM, BLACK BASS, STRIPED BASS & CATFISH
Black Bass
Prospect The black bass fishery is "fair" in comparison to this river's bream fishery. Expect most bass caught to be less than 1 pound, but anglers do have a chance to catch three different black bass species to include: redeye, largemouth and spotted bass. Redeye are more common in the upper reaches, while spots dominate the lower portion. Largemouth are least common, but can be found throughout the river. image
Technique Light colored spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and topwater plugs are all good choices. Crawfish jig imitations bumped along the bottom near structure also works well under most conditions. Stealthy anglers will fair best in these "skinny" waters.
Target Fish deeper pools, especially those with woody debris. The largest individual will be found where the river enters Lake Weiss.
White bass
Prospect White bass are available on a seasonal basis. They migrate into the lower Chattooga in early spring, and the spawning runs peaks in March and April. Outside of these months, few white bass will be found in the river. image
Technique Small jigs and shad-patterned crankbaits (Rat-L-Traps) are favored lures for these "mini-linesides."
Target Find spawn-run fish around creek mouths in the lower sections of the river below Lyerly Dam, off Lyerly Dam Road.
Striped Bass
Prospect These striped behemoths migrate into the river during the spring months, and good numbers remain through summertime in search of cool water refuge. Expect linesides anywhere from 1-25 pounds with the average fish weighing around 6-7 pounds. Persistent drought in 2007 and 2008 may still be limiting the number of 20-plus pound fish available this year. However, good spring spawning conditions in recent years may have improved upon the abundance of smaller fish (<5 pounds) out there this year. image
Technique Best bets are live gizzard shad or cut bait, but aggressive stripers will hit shad imitations and top water plugs (Zara Spooks or Redfins) under the right conditions. To keep fish from breaking off on the numerous downed trees in the river, 20 to 30-pound line and heavier baitcasting rods are recommended.
Target Target spring-fed pools, especially around fallen trees and logjams and in the mouths of cool water tributaries or springs. Look for flowing water near cover, as these are prime striper haunts.
Catfish
Prospect The catfish population is relatively modest. Channel cats greatly outnumber both flatheads and blue catfish. Most channel cats will be in the 1-pound size class. image
Technique Cut fish baits, chicken livers, catalpa worms and prepared stink baits fished on the bottom are recommended.
Target Target channel cats in moderately deep flowing habitat, especially those found along outside river bends or near fallen trees or log jams. Also, don't overlook the downstream side of shoals, as catfish often feed in these areas from dusk into the night. The river sections around the towns of Lyerly and Chattoogaville are good areas to target this river's "whiskered" inhabitants.
Bream
Prospect Bream dominate the river's sport fishery. Redbreast sunfish are more abundant in the upper reaches, while bluegill dominate the downstream river reaches. Bream 5-8 inches long are common, with some individuals even topping the 10-inch mark. image
Technique For artificial baits, small is the key. Try small spinners and natural crawfish imitating jigs. For live bait, crickets or worms rigged under a bobber or bottom presentations weighted with split-shot are both effective techniques.
Target For catches of larger bream, target the river section immediately above the city of Trion. Concentrate in deep pools, behind logjams and along undercut banks. In summer, bream will bed in slack areas along the shore, behind debris and on the downstream side of sandbars.
Other Species
Prospect Freshwater drum are a unique but common, edible river resident. Expect the average drum to run slightly better than 12 inches, but a fair number of "bull drum" will top 17 inches or better.
Technique For drum, small white jigs fished along the bottom, crayfish, cut mussels and shrimp are the best techniques for catching them.
Target For larger drum, concentrate in the swift "runs" of the river, which are generally 2-3 feet in depth at normal flows. Target runs along undercut banks and near fallen trees where actively feeding drum are often found. Areas immediately below shoals are also good stops for anglers looking to hook into hard-fighting drum.
Additional Information
Current USGS river gauge data for the Chattooga River just above Gaylesville, Alabama is available at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/al/nwis/dv/?site_no=02398300&PARAmeter_cd=00065

There are two dams on the Chattooga River. The first is the Mt. Vernon Mill's Dam in Trion, which is impassible to boaters. The second is a small low-head dam further downstream in the town of Lyerly. This dam is breached in several places and can be floated through by canoe or portaged around under normal water conditions.
 
Best Fishing Times Key
Excellent:   image     Good:   image   Fair:   image