The lower Coosawattee River extends about 25 miles from Carters Reservoir to its confluence with the Conasauga River northeast of Calhoun. Public boat access is limited, but anglers prepared for an all-day outing can float from the small boat access at Carters Dam to the only public ramp located near Calhoun at Highway 225.
Guide to Fishing the Coosawattee River in PDF (666 kB). This document contains access and fishing tip information and a color map with river-mile designations.
Prospects and Fishing Tips
|Best Bets |
|CATFISH, SPOTTED BASS, REDEYE BASS & STRIPED BASS |
|Black Bass |
|Prospect ||Spotted, largemouth and redeye bass comprise the river's black bass fishery. Spots dominate, and you can expect to catch fair numbers of quality 1 to 2-pound fish under the right river conditions. Trophy spots, in the 5 to 6-pound range, are not out of the question in this river. The smaller redeye or Coosa bass will typically average under 1-pound. While not abundant, largemouth in the 3 to 4 pound range can round out a good river outing for anglers. || |
|Technique ||Live minnows, buzzbaits, jigs, shallow running hard baits like Rapalas, and inline spinners should illicit strikes from hungry bass. Fly-fishing with minnow imitations and dry terrestrial insect patterns also have their place on this river. |
|Target ||Bass can be found throughout the river, but one of the better locales lies within the 2-3 mile river stretch below the dam at the Carters Re-Regulation Pool. Being structure oriented, target bass around the numerous log jams and deep pools found in the river. Floating the river in a small boat, canoe or kayak will allow you to cover much more water in search of feeding bass. |
|Striped Bass |
|Prospect ||Striped bass will range in size from 1-30+ pounds, with the average "lineside" tipping the scales in the 5 to 8-pound range. Better numbers of slightly larger 8-10 pound fish may stretch lines this year, as a strong year class of mid-sized stripers fills the ranks. Ten to 20 pound fish numbers will be similar to recent years. Expect fewer than normal larger stripers in 2016, due to the severe drought conditions experienced regionally in 2007 and 2008. On the flip-side, smaller fish (<5 lbs) may be more plentiful given the good spring spawning conditions in recent years. || |
|Technique ||Live or cut shad is recommended, though artificial lures, such as the Zara Spook or Redfin can be effective. Keep these fish reeled in with a stout fishing rod and 20 to 30-pound fishing line spooled on a baitcasting or large spinning reel. |
|Target ||This is a seasonal fishery, so look for stripers from summer through the early fall months. Target the area immediately below Carters' re-regulation dam, as fish are known to congregate in this thermal refuge during the heat of summer. Stripers may also be found holding in any of a number of tributary mouths or spring seeps along the length of this river. |
|Prospect ||Channel and blue catfish are extremely abundant. The average channel cat will run about 1/2-pound, while blues will near 1 1/4 pounds. Trophy fish are present, but are few in number. || |
|Technique ||Casting chicken liver or cut bait below shoals, undercut banks, and log jams will produce catfish, but most larger cats will hold out for live offerings of bream or shad fished along the bottom. |
|Target ||While both channels and blues are found throughout the river, their numbers are highest in the section downstream of Highway 136. Blue cat numbers tend to increase as one moves downstream from the Carters Re-Regulation pool dam towards the river's confluence with the Conasauga River in the city of Calhoun. |
|Prospect ||Bluegill and redbreast sunfish are the most abundant bream species in the river. Expect the average fish to measure 5-6 inches, though plenty of 7 to 8-inch fish can be found. || |
|Technique ||Crickets, worms and small artificial lures are recommended. Live bait may be fished beneath a bobber or weighted with split-shot and fished along the river bottom. |
|Target ||Fish the three-mile river stretch below the Carters' re-regulation dam. Concentrate on deep slack water behind river obstacles such as rocks, root wads or fallen trees. |
|Other Species |
|Prospect ||Freshwater drum round out the Coosawattee's fishing opportunities. These silvery fish can be found throughout the river in good numbers. The average fish will be 11 inches, but 20-plus inch "humpback-drum" are available. |
|Technique ||Try small hair jigs bumped along moderately deep flowing river sections. Live crawfish, cut mussels, worms and even shrimp fished on the bottom are also good choices for enticing freshwater drum. |
|Target ||Drum prefer to feed in moderately deep flowing river sections. These "run" of the river habitats can be found throughout much of the lower Coosawattee River. However, one drum fishing hot spot can be found in the few hundred-yard river section below the Carters' re-regulation dam. DNR electrofishing surveys have shown this area holds large numbers of drum in the late summer and fall months. |
|Additional Information |
|Current river flow conditions on the Coosawattee River near Pine Chapel, Georgia can be viewed at the following USGS Web site: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?02383500 . |
The water release schedule at Carters Dam can be obtained from the COE - Carters Project office at: ph. (706) 334-2248.
Lake sturgeon, once resident to the Coosa River system, were eliminated from the river in the 1960s. With improving water conditions, stocking efforts were started as a means of re-establishing this large, native fish species. Since 2002, more than 190,000 lake sturgeon fingerlings have been released into the greater Coosa River basin to include the Coosawattee River. If accidentally caught, anglers should release sturgeon immediately so that a spawning stock can be created. For deep-hooked fish, cut the line close to the hook to increase survival chances after release. To aid in this long-term restoration process, please contact the Wildlife Resources Division Calhoun Fisheries office at (706) 624-1161 if you catch or see a sturgeon.
|Best Fishing Times Key |
|Excellent: Good: Fair: |