Copyright 2019 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Chattahoochee River
The Chattahoochee River begins from tiny streams in
the high Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia and
flows down through the little resort town of Helena,
Georgia. It is a typical, beautiful Southern Appalachian
freestone mountain stream that flows around many large
The uppermost part of the stream, or Upper
Cattahoochee River, and its headwater tributaries,
contain small brook trout. They are protected from the
rainbows and brown trout by a natural waterfall just
above the confluence of Henson Creek. Most of the
lower section of this river is just off of state highway #75.
The middle section of the river is located along road #44
in the Wildlife Management Area.
You will find both stocked and wild trout in the river. The
lower area near Helen has plenty of public water but the
fish are mostly stocked trout. There's not much natural
reproduction of trout in the lower section of the river.
The section of the river that is in the Chattahoochee
Wildlife Management Area is probably the best section
of the stream to fish. Both hatchery and wild trout exist in
this part of the river. The area above Henson Creek is
strictly brook trout fishing.
This freestone river has a good population of aquatic
insects. The wild trout rely on them from birth and it is
usually necessary to pay attention to what the trout are
eating at any given time. They can become selective,
especially when substantial numbers of insects are
available in the larval or adult stages of life for them to
Chattahoochee River Georgia
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
You can fish the stream anytime of the year.
Spring is the best time of year to fish the
The best fishing is confined to the brook
Chattahoochee River Fly Fishing Guide
Fly fishing the Cattahoochee River is strictly small
stream fishing. It is a pure freestone stream that depends
entirely on rain and melting snow for its water. Rainfall
can drastically affect its levels and directly affect the fly
Most of the stream consist of pocket water. There are
some pools connected by short riffles and runs but most
of the fishing should be done in the pocket water, runs
and riffles. Fish are found in the pools but always much
harder to catch. The water flows smoother and the trout
can get a much better look at your fly than they can in
the faster moving pocket water, runs and riffles.
It is always better to make short, upstream cast. It helps
to get a drag-free drift. The more fly line you have laying
on the surface of the water, the higher the chances of
drag. Keep as much fly line out of the water as you can
by making relatively short, upstream cast.
High sticking the runs is an effective nymph fishing
method. Much of the time, nymph fishing will outproduce
dry fly fishing. We suggest you stick with the nymph until
you see something hatch, and then fish dry flies.
Fly pattern is far more important when you fishing for wild
trout than newly stocked trout. Fly pattern is important for
catching the larger holdover trout. The stream has some
large browns that aren't easily fooled and presentation
and fly selection is very important for them.
Cattahoochee River Hatches and
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and nymphs,
not guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop
trout flies, we have specific imitations of all
the insects in the Upper Cattahoochee River
and in all stages of life that are applicable to
fishing. If you want to fish better, more
realistic trout flies, have a much higher
degree of success, give us a call. We not
only will help you with selections, you will
learn why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92% of
the thousands of our customers will use
nothing else. 1-800-594-4726
The river has a lot of different insects but
most of them are relatively moderate to low in
quantities. The first insects to hatch at the
start of a new year in January are the little
Winter Stoneflies. Imitations of the nymph
work good during the cold winter. About the
time these stop hatching you will see the Little
Brown Stoneflies start to hatch. They will last
until the end of April.
Blue-winged Olive are the most consistent
hatch throughout the year. You will start to
see some hatches about the middle of
February and they will continue off and on
throughout the entire year. These include the
baetis species along with the Eastern BWOs,
Little BWOs and Small BWOs consisting of
about 10 different species, some of which are
The little Blue Quills will start to hatch about
the middle of February and last into the first
of April. They are usually very large hatches
that are very consistent. About the same time
you will begin to see the Quill Gordons. They
hatch until as late as the first week of April in
the higher elevations.
Mid February will also bring about one of the
largest caddisfly hatches of the year - the
Little Black Caddis or Brachcentrus species.
The Hendricksons start hatching near the last
week of March. They are short lived, hatching
for only about a month to six weeks at the
most. It is moderate and only occurs in
Around the middle of April, March Browns will
begin to hatch. These mayflies are just about
everywhere you fish but they hatch
inconsistently until around the first week of
June. Much more consistent are the Light
Cahills. They start about a week or two after
the March Browns and last as long as three
weeks, depending on the elevation.
The middle of April will bring about a hatch of
the Short-horned Sedges. These are very
small black caddisflies that are quite
abundant. About the same time you should
notice the first hatches of the Green Sedges.
They hatch everywhere there is fast water for
over two months but never in large quantities.
At the same time the first hatches of
Cinnamon Caddis show up.
Around the second week of May, Eastern
Pale Evening Duns will start hatching. Most
anglers call these Sulphurs but the true
Sulphurs will not start to hatch for another
couple of weeks.
The first of May the Giant Black Stoneflies will
start hatching. These hatch at night and
deposit their eggs at night. Nymphs work well
in the late afternoons.
The Little Yellow Stoneflies, called Yellow
Sallies and one of the best hatches, will
start around the first of May and last until
From the middle of May until the middle of
November, a long period
of time, you will find hatches of Slate
Drakes occurring. These mayflies hatch
out of the water but never in large
quantities. Imitations of the nymphs and
spinners can be important.
The Great Autumn Brown Sedges, start
hatching at night by the first of October
and last into the first of December.
During the month of June, grasshoppers,
beetles, ants and inch worms, all
terrestrial insects, become important food
items for the trout. There are few hatches
occurring, so most anglers start using
imitations of these terrestrials. The inch
worms, or moth larvae, are especially
important due to the large numbers of
them in the forest of the park.
In addition to the terrestrial and aquatic
insects, theres a lot of other food for the
trout. Small Crawfish is one of those
items. The brown trout are especially fond
of them. Another one is Sculpin. These
small fish are abundant in most of the
stream. Imitations of them can be very
effective. The Black Nose Dace is another
baitfish that is important. Streamers
imitating these and other minnows work
great especially when the water is slightly
Craneflies are everywhere water exist in
the park. The larva and adults are
important insects to imitate.
Hellgrammites, or the larva stage of the
Dobsonfly, is another abundant insect.
We recommend our own "Perfect Fly"
imitations. They are the best, most
effective flies you can purchase and use
anywhere trout exist. Please give them a
try. You'll be glad you did.
The last week of June through the month
of August you will find some Cream
Cahills. These are sparse but important
at that time of year. By the middle of
August hatches of Little Yellow Quills will
start to occur mostly in the higher
elevations. This is a very good hatch that
last until the end of October. By the
middle of August, hatches of Mahogany
Duns will begin to occur. This hatch last
for as long as two months depending on
Also by the middle of August you should
start seeing some Needle Stoneflies.
These hatch in fairly large numbers until
as late as November, especially in the
higher elevations. Many anglers take
them for caddisflies which they resemble
Another hatch also called Yellow Sallies,
but different species, starts again about
September and last for about six weeks.
The Golden Stoneflies start hatching
around the first of June and last about
five weeks. The Little Green Stoneflies
start about the last week of May and last
Autumn is a great time to fish. The fall
foliage along the stream is beautiful.
Warm days can provide decent trout
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
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|More Georgia Trout Streams:
We have Perfect Fly website pages on
each of these other fine trout streams.
Click the links for fly fishing information
including descriptions of the streams,
access, location, species of fish, a fly
fishing guide, a fly fishing report, hatches
and recommended trout flies, fly fishing
gear and equipment, USGS stream data,
local weather and much, much more
Headlines: The river is flowing at
a normal level with clear water.
There are still some good hatches
taking place and our customers
continue to send in good reports.
Keep track of the latest
information by clicking the above
link to our weekly updated fishing