Georgia River Fishing Information
Oostanaula River

The Oostanaula winds nearly 50 miles from Calhoun to the city of Rome where it meets with the Etowah to form the larger Coosa River. The Oostanaula is a small boat river and anglers should be extra cautious when navigating, especially in the low water period during the summer. 

 "Guide to Fishing the Oostanaula River" in PDF (658 kB). This document contains access and fishing tip information and a color map with river-mile designations.

Prospects and Fishing Tips
Best Bets
CATFISH, STRIPED BASS & WHITE BASS
Black Bass
Prospect The muddy waters of the Oostanaula provide only fair bass fishing opportunities for largemouth and spotted bass. Spots dominate the population and average 7-8 inches in length, but good numbers of fat 2+ pound fish can be caught in the spring months. Less common largemouth average 12 inches and just over 1 pound. Few big largemouth call this river home. image
Technique The traditional plastic worm and grub are effective, but anglers should consider throwing jigs, crank or buzzbaits to cover more water in search of actively feeding bass. If a slower approach is preferred, fishing live minnows or shad can make for a quality day on the river.
Target Target the shoals within the 3-mile stretch above and below Highway 140 for spotted bass. Also look to creek mouths, debris jams and around overhanging vegetation and fallen trees. Creek mouths can hold good numbers of spotted bass, especially in the spring months. Largemouth can be found in the lower slack-water reaches of the river around shoreline cover.
White bass
Prospect Spring brings white bass into the river to spawn. The smaller and more abundant males will average 3/4-pound, while the larger, less abundant, females will be in the 2-pound range. Outside of March and April, anglers should expect to find very few white bass in this river. image
Technique Concentrated schools of spawn-run fish can be caught using small jigs and 1/4 to 1/2 ounce shad patterned crankbaits, such as Rat-L-Traps. Hit the water later in the morning when you'll find more white bass in the warming shallows along the riverbank.
Target Target the lowest reaches of the Oostanaula from March through April. Inside river bends with cover are typically more productive than straight river sections or the deeper water found in the outside bends of the river.
Striped Bass
Prospect The best striper fishing will be April through May. Spawn-run stripers migrate into this river each spring. Most stripers will average 6-8 pounds, but trophy fish weighing 30 or more pounds can be caught. In fact, a 40 pound female striper was captured and released in this river by DNR personnel in spring 2013. Though bigger stripers are available, severe drought conditions six years ago have likely reduced their numbers. However, good spring spawning conditions in recent years may improve small striper abundance this year. image
Technique In the spring, bucktails and live or cut shad are good choices. Stout fishing gear is imperative for these powerful fish. A 7 to 7 1/2 foot rod fitted with a baitcaster spooled with 20 to 30-pound line is recommended.
Target During the spring migration, striped bass may be encountered anywhere in this river, but will concentrate in swift water habitats around islands or shoals. Downed trees or log jams in such areas will likely hold good numbers of fish.
Catfish
Prospect Blue, channel and flathead catfish are available to anglers in this river. Expect good numbers of blues and channel cats over this river's entire length. Blues average 2-3 pounds, but larger individuals between 5-8 pounds remain common. Trophy blues are less common but some can top 30 pounds. Channel cats from 3/4 to 1 pound are the norm. Flatheads are least common, but 10 to 15 pound fish can be caught. image
Technique Channels and smaller blue cats can be caught on bottom rigs using chicken livers, catalpa worms or prepared catfish baits. This variety of unsavory baits will produce consistent catches, but most trophy cats prefer live or cut bait offerings of shad or bream.
Target Find catfish in deep pools, beneath undercut banks or in logjams, especially those with good flow around them. However, don't overlook swifter waters below shoals, as catfish frequent these areas to feed, especially at dusk.
Bream
Prospect Expect low to moderate numbers of bluegill and even fewer numbers of redbreast and redear sunfish. Bluegill will average 5 inches and fish over 7 inches are rare. image
Technique Crickets or worms work best, though small jigs and spinners also are effective techniques.
Target Look for bream in slow water areas around creek mouths and the slack-water behind debris jams during the spring and summer months.
Other Species
Prospect Look for crappie during the spring spawning run, though numbers are typically low in most areas. Other species available include smallmouth buffalo, freshwater drum, carp and suckers - all of which are quite abundant in this relatively slow moving river. Drum will average 12 inches with larger "bull" drum exceeding 20 inches.
Technique Crappie can be enticed with white or chartreuse jigs as well as live minnows fished below a float. For drum, try crayfish, cut shrimp, or small white jigs bumped along the river bottom. Buffalo, carp and sucker species are often coaxed to bite using worms or prepared carp baits.
Target Crappie can be found schooling in creek mouths during the spring months. For drum, target the swifter waters around shoal areas. Buffalo, carp and sucker species may be found just about anywhere in the river.
Additional Information
Keep abreast of real-time river level and flow conditions for the Oostanaula River near the city of Rome at the following USGS Website: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02388500

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. The species grows slowly and does not mature for 12-15 years, so it is important to protect them from harvest until they can reproduce and once again support some limited harvest. Anglers accidentally catching a lake sturgeon should immediately release the fish unharmed. 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 fish.
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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