Whether you're fishing for trout, bass, or catfish, Johns Creek is an angler's dream, with 13 miles of the Chattahoochee River, and one of the best fishing lakes in the U.S. – Lake Lanier – just 20 miles away.
The "Hooch" offers some of the best trout water in the south, with 5,000 trout per mile of the river from the south end of Buford Dam, passing along the city of Johns Creek, and ending just north of Atlanta.
The cold waters released by the dam from the bottom of Lake Lanier support brown and rainbow trout, along with bass, catfish and other species, stocked by the state's Department of Natural Resources. The river stays cool year-round, rarely getting warmer than 50 degrees Fahrenheit, making for sometimes frigid conditions even on hot southern days.
The "Hooch's" average width is 50 yards and has numerous remote stretches for trophy trout via float tubes or drift boats.
Public access is available through five park units of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area located in or immediately adjacent to Johns Creek (see map).
The national park is open for fishing from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Night fishing is not permitted in the park. Review all park fishing regulations.
Fishing is allowed year-round, but late autumn and winter are a great time to hit the Hooch, when river flows are more predictable.
Just 20 miles north of Johns Creek in the foothills of Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Lanier offers 692 miles of shoreline and 38,000 surface acres of year-round recreation to over 7.5 million visitors annually.
It also offers some of the best bass fishing in the U.S., which is why it's often the site for professional bass tournaments such as the Professional Angler Association's Bassmaster Classic and Forrest Wood Cup. The lake's legendary bass population includes striped, white, spotted and largemouth.
Created in the 1950s by the construction of Buford Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Lanier is a multi-purpose lake that provides for flood protection, power production, water supply, navigation, recreation, and fish and wildlife management.
The Corps, in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, manages the fish habitat on the lake.
The Corps also controls water levels on both the lake and downstream on the Chattahoochee, through releases from Buford Dam.
At depths of 130 feet, cool water is released through the dam's tail race gates. Scheduled low-flow releases – typically 700 cubic feet per second – can be waded safely with either a wading staff or float tube. Moderate and high flows of 5,000 to 10,000 CFP are best fished from water craft such as pontoon or drift boats.
Note of caution: Whether fishing on Lake Lanier, or downstream on the Chattahoochee, everyone is urged to use extreme caution.
Call the Corps ahead of time at 770-945-1466 (toll free 1-855-DAM-FLOW), or listen to 1610 AM on the radio to find out Buford Dam's water release schedule. Check this chart to determine how long it will take the water to reach your location. Read more.