Georgia River Fishing Information
Coosa River

The Coosa River begins in the City of Rome and flows 30.4 miles west-southwest, entering Lake Weiss at the Alabama state line. The Coosa is home to a robust, naturally reproducing land-locked striped bass population one of only a handful of such populations found in the nation. 

  Guide to Fishing the Coosa 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 Bets
WHITE BASS, STRIPED BASS, CATFISH & CRAPPIE
Black Bass
Prospect Largemouth are the dominant black bass species. The average largemouth will weigh 1-2 pounds, with larger catches in the 7 to 8-pound range possible. Spotted bass are less abundant than largemouth, but good forage in the river produces a fair number of 3 to 4+ pound spots each year. image
Technique Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastic worms and jigs will all bring bass bites at various times of the year. Fishing live minnows or shad can also make for a quality day of fishing on the Coosa River.
Target Look to the main river's bluff banks and creek mouths for spotted bass. Largemouth are typically found in low numbers along the shoreline of the main river channel. For largemouth, anglers should move into the sloughs and backwaters off the main stem of the river. Hit Brushy Branch (Big Cedar Creek), Kings Creek and Mt. Hope Creek for plenty of quality largemouth fishing. However, shallow water and numerous stumps and logs require boaters to navigate these areas with care.
White bass
Prospect Expect below average catches of white bass this spring. Larger females will run 2 pounds, while most males will average 3/4-pound. image
Technique Try small white or chartreuse jigs or 1/4 to 1/2-ounce shad-patterned crankbaits such as Rat-L-Traps, Rapalas or Bombers. Select crankbaits that run in the 8-10 foot depth range. From a boat, cast these baits as close to shore as possible to mimic a bait fish fleeing to deeper water. A steady retrieve is usually all that is needed to spark a strike. One can also use white, silver, or chartreuse 1/2 ounce spoons jigged just off the bottom to tempt white bass holding deeper in the river.
Target White bass make their annual spawning run into the Coosa River from Lake Weiss between late February and early May. Hunt these spawn run fish on the Coosa from the Old River Road boat ramp, upstream to Mayo's Lock and Dam Park. Target the inside bends of the river and creek mouths. Start fishing late morning, as warming daytime water temperatures often bring white bass shallow to feed.
Striped Bass
Prospect Most stripers will average 6-8 pounds. Trophy fish in the 30-pound range are available, but persistent severe drought conditions in 2007 and 2008 may have reduced their numbers. On the flip-side, smaller fish under 5 pounds may be more plentiful given good spring spawning conditions in recent years. image
Technique Stout fishing gear is imperative when fishing for these powerful fish. A bait caster fitted with 20 to 30-pound line and mounted on a stout 7 to 71/2-foot rod is a great all-around river striper rig. Fishing live or cut shad is preferred, but many can be fooled using artificial lures such as bucktail jigs, shad-colored crankbaits and large jerkbaits fished around swift water near fallen trees.
Target April through early June is prime for catching Coosa River stripers. Stripers may be caught throughout the river's length at this time, but the upper section from Rome, Georgia to several miles downstream is premier striped bass water. However, after the spring spawn the fish disperse to cool water refuge basin-wide. Once the summer heat sets in anglers will find very few striped bass in the mainstem Coosa river. In fall, stripers will move back toward Weiss Lake, where they can be found chasing shad on the main river. Target the lower sections of the river and into Lake Weiss during the winter months.
Catfish
Prospect Blue, channel and flathead catfish of all sizes are abundant. Larger blues can top 50 pounds in this river. Flathead cats tend to top out in the 20-30 pound range. Channels are abundant but most are under 5 pounds in size. image
Technique A variety of unsavory baits can be used, but most trophy cats prefer live or cut bait offerings of shad or bream. Channel cats and smaller blue cats can also be caught with regularity using traditional chicken liver, worms or prepared catfish baits.
Target Fish areas in and around the logjams common along the Coosa's banks, but don't overlook mid-channel areas with a bit more current, such as those created around bridge abutments and other structures. Actively feeding cats often frequent these areas in search of food. The deeper mid-channel areas near steep bluff banks, found in several locations of the lower Coosa River, are also good areas to try in the pursuit of big river catfish.
Crappie
Prospect Crappie numbers should be good this spring. While both black and white crappie inhabit these waters, black crappie dominate. The average crappie will be 2/3 of a pound, but 2-plus pound "papermouths" are not uncommon. image
Technique Small hair or plastic jigs, or live minnows fished below a bobber are classic approaches to catching crappie.
Target Look to the numerous tributary mouths and backwaters of the Coosa River during March and April to find spawning concentrations of crappie. A fair number are also caught during this period from the banks of the Mayo Lock and Dam Park near Rome, GA. Crappie move to deeper ledges and brush piles in summer and are often best pursued at night under a light. With the return of cooling fall temperatures, the crappie bite generally improves.
Other Species
Prospect Freshwater drum and gar abound in the Coosa River. Drum average 12 inches but some greater than 20 inches in length are available. Longnose and spotted gar average 3 feet from nose to tail, but 4 to 5-foot longnose gar are not out of the question.
Technique Pieces of shrimp, clams, muscles, worms, or minnows and small jigs fished along the river bottom may provoke strikes from drum. For gar, use 6 to 8-inch hookless minnow imitations made from frayed rope designed to entangle the numerous needle-like teeth of gar cruising near the waters surface. Be sure to wear gloves when removing this type lure from the pointed jaws of a gar.
Target Drum can be found throughout the river's main stem, but the Mayo Lock and Dam area can be a hotspot, especially in spring and early summer. Gar also can be found throughout the river, but will concentrate in large spawning schools from March through early April. Outside these months, gar can be found in smaller concentrations throughout much of the river and its backwaters.
Additional Information
Current river level and water temperature information for the Coosa River near the City of Rome are available at the following USGS Web site: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/?site_no=02397000&agency_cd=USGS

The historic Mayo Lock and Dam Park is a popular boat access and bank fishing location on the Coosa River. Information about the amenities this Floyd County facility offers can be found at: http://www.rfpra.com/park-lockndam.htm

The DNR lake sturgeon reintroduction program began in 2002. Since then, more than 130,000 sturgeon fingerlings have been released in the Coosa River basin. Anglers accidentally catching a lake sturgeon should immediately release the fish unharmed, so that a spawning stock can be built up. Fish hooked deep will often survive if anglers cut the line near the hook and release the fish with the hook. If you catch a sturgeon, please contact the Calhoun WRD office (ph. 706-624-1161) to report the location from which the sturgeon was caught. Such information is helpful to biologists assessing the survival and dispersal of these magnificent sport fish.
Best Fishing Times Key
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