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Georgia River Fishing Information
Conasauga River

From its confluence with the Coosawattee River, upstream to its origin deep within the Cohutta Wilderness area of Fannin County, the Conasauga extends about 95 miles through rural north Georgia and southern Tennessee.

  Guide to Fishing the Conasauga River  in PDF (645 kB). This document contains access and fishing tip information and a color map with river-mile designations.  

Prospects and Fishing Tips
Best Bet
Black Bass
Prospect Black bass fishing is considered fair, with spotted, largemouth and redeye bass all available to anglers fishing this river. WRD sample data indicate spots comprise the majority of the black bass population. In general, most bass are under a pound in size, so fish weighing greater than 2-3 pounds are considered good catches in this river. image
Technique Drift fishing live minnows, worms, or even hellgrammites are certainly good techniques to employ on the river. However, jigs, shallow running hard baits (like Rapalas) and buzz or spinner baits will allow you to cover more water in search of actively feeding bass. Fly-fishing with minnow imitations or dry terrestrial insect patterns also have their place in an angler's arsenal.
Target Black bass will strike nearly anywhere on the river below the Tennessee state line. Target downed trees, undercut banks and rock outcrops in close proximity to the main channel current.
Prospect Blue and channel cats account for the bulk of the catfish population, but fair numbers of moderately sized flatheads are present. Blue cats average 20 inches and 2 1/2 pounds, while channel cats typically measure around 14 inches and 1 pound in size. Flathead catfish average around 20 inches, with occasional catches topping 30-inches and weighing 20+ pounds. image
Technique Channel cats can be coaxed to bite using fresh cut baits, chicken livers, and catalpa worms. For flatheads and blue cats, use live fish to draw strikes from these larger, predatory species. Medium to medium-heavy fishing rods and reels with 10-12 pound test are more than adequate for the average catfish found in the river. Reels spooled with 20-25 pound line are likely more suited for anglers searching for trophy river cats.
Target For blues and flatheads, focus efforts in the lower section of the river below Highway 76 in the Looper's bend area of the river. For channel cats, target the lengthy area from the Tennessee state line downstream to the city of Calhoun. In-stream cover, such as fallen trees and logs near deepwater are likely catfish haunts.
Prospect Redear sunfish (shellcrackers), bluegill and redbreast sunfish are available to anglers. Though lesser-known species like spotted, longear, and green sunfish are also relatively abundant in the river. Expect most bream to be in the 5-6 inch range, with some bigger, less abundant individuals topping out in the 8-9 inch range. image
Technique Artificial flies, small jigs and live bait such as crickets or worms, fished in river pools near fallen trees, should produce a variety of bream species for river anglers.
Target You can find bluegill and redear sunfish throughout much of the river below the Tennessee state line. Redbreast and longear sunfish tend to be concentrated more so in the narrow waters upstream of Highway 76 between the towns of Dalton and Chatsworth, Georgia.
Prospect The upper river reaches are home to rainbow, brown, and brook trout. Rainbows and browns generally range from 6-14 inches, with the occasional brown trout topping 20 inches. Brook trout up to 8 inches can be found in the skinny headwaters and smaller tributaries at elevations typically above 2,500 feet. Trout fishing is expected to be below average this year, given the severe drought conditions experienced regionally last year. image
Technique Match the hatch for fly anglers. Spin casters can do well casting worms or small silver, white, or black in-line spinners such as Roostertails. Check state fishing regulations for artificial lure restrictions in portions of this river and its tributaries. Trout are not currently stocked, so an element of stealth is required for consistent catches of these wild fish.
Target The best trout fishing opportunity on the Conasauga and its tributaries, is generally found upstream of the rivers confluence with Little Rough Creek in the rugged Cohutta Wilderness Area.
Other Species
Prospect Freshwater drum, smallmouth buffalo, carp and a variety of suckers are common in the river. Drum are likely the largest and most abundant of this group and average 12-inches in length. Some thicker-bodied drum topping the 20-inch, 5-plus pound mark are also available. Most smallmouth buffalo will be in the 2-3 pound range, but 10+ pound fish are not uncommon. Common carp will be slightly larger than the buffalo encountered. Most sucker species will be in the 1-2 pound range.
Technique Try small jigs, live crawfish, cut mussels or shrimp fished on the bottom to entice drum. Prepared baits, corn, or worms are all classic carp baits. Buffalo and the various sucker species can be enticed with worms and small cut bait offerings.
Target For drum, concentrate on the "runs" of the river, which are generally 2-3 feet in depth at normal river flows, with relatively swift water flow. Fish runs along undercut banks and near fallen trees where actively feeding drum are often found. Pools and other slow moving river sections around the cities of Dalton and Calhoun are your best bet for carp. Smallmouth buffalo are found throughout the river. Those targeting sucker species should consider fishing the river section above Highway 76.
Additional Information
Current USGS river gauge data for the Conasauga River at Tilton Bridge is available at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=02387000.

Lake sturgeon, once resident to the Coosa River system, were eliminated from the river in the 1960s. With improving water conditions in recent decades, stocking efforts by the DNR were started, as a means of re-establishing this large native fish species. Since 2002, nearly 200,000 fingerlings have been released into the greater Coosa River Basin, which includes the Conasauga River. If accidentally caught, release sturgeon immediately. 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) 295-6102 if you catch or see a sturgeon.
Best Fishing Times Key
Excellent:   image     Good:   image   Fair:   image