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 in the river's backwaters. The average largemouth will weigh 1-2 pounds, with larger catches in the 7 to 8-pound range being possible. Spotted bass are more abundant than largemouth along the main river channel. The average spot will run about a pound in size, but a fair number of 3 to 4+ pound spots are pulled from this river each year. || |
|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, especially in the fall and winter months when water levels can be low. |
|White bass |
|Prospect ||White bass fishing will remain good, but numbers may not be as high as experienced a couple years ago. Size quality should be above average, with larger females running around 2 pounds and males averaging 3/4-pound. || |
|Technique ||In the spring, 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, blue, silver, or chartreuse 1/2 ounce spoons jigged near the bottom to tempt white bass holding deeper in the river. Live minnows fished under a bobber, especially around tributary mouths, can also elicit strikes from these "mini linesides." In the late fall and winter months, jigs, spoons, and inline spinners (ex. Panther Martins) can be good bait choices for those seeking some cold water white bass action. |
|Target ||White bass make their annual spawning run from Lake Weiss into the Coosa River 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, creek mouths, and sandbars near the lock. Start fishing late morning, as warming daytime water temperatures often bring white bass shallow to feed. After the spawn, the majority of fish return to Lake Weiss. As such, few white bass will be found in the river during the summer months. With the return of cold weather (Nov.-Jan.), white bass can again be found in the lower reaches of the river between GA Power's Plant Hammond downstream to the GA/AL state line. |
|Striped Bass |
|Prospect ||The river's striped bass population is one of only a handful of naturally reproducing freshwater populations in the nation. DNR survey data indicates the 2012 years class of stripers is strong and should grow into the 8-10 pound size range in 2016. As such, anglers may encounter more of these mid-sized "linesides" on the end of their lines this year. The number of stripers from 10-20 pounds will be decent and similar to the levels of recent years. Trophy fish in the 30-pound range are available, but severe drought conditions in 2007 and 2008 likely reduced the numbers of these older, larger fish in the population. || |
|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 7 1/2-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 Lake Weiss, where they can be found chasing shad on the main river channel. Target the lower sections of the river and into Lake Weiss during the winter months. |
|Prospect ||This river offers excellent catfishing opportunities for anglers. Blue, channel and flathead catfish of all sizes are abundant. The typical blue cat runs 2-3 pounds in weight. Blues in the 20-30 pound range are not uncommon and larger trophy sized fish can top the 50 pound mark. Flathead catfish are fewer in number than blue cats, but heavy-weights are present. Several "flatties" in the 40 pound range were captured by anglers in 2015. Channel cats are abundant, but most are under 5 pounds in size. || |
|Technique ||A variety of unsavory baits can be used in the pursuit of catfish, 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 log jams 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, as 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. Catfish opportunities for the bank angler can be found at Mayo's Lock and Dam Park and Heritage Park in downtown Rome. |
|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. || |
|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 on the main river channel. Target areas immediately below log jams between GA Powers Plant Hammond and the GA/AL state line. |
|Other Species |
|Prospect ||Freshwater drum, smallmouth buffalo and gar abound in the Coosa River. Drum average 12 inches, but some greater than 20 inches in length are available. The smallmouth buffalo looks like a "grey" carp. Most run 3-5 pounds in size, but a few will tip scales over the 10-pound mark. Longnose and spotted gar average 3 feet from nose to tail, but 4 to 5-foot longnose gar are not out of the question in this river. |
|Technique ||Pieces of shrimp, clams, muscles, worms, or minnows and small jigs fished along the river bottom may provoke strikes from drum. Smallmouth buffalo can be enticed with worms, small bits of fish, and prepared carp baits. 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 toothy 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 hot-spot, especially in spring and early summer. Like drum, buffalo are found throughout the Coosa River's length. Gar can also be found throughout the river, but will concentrate in large spawning schools from March through early April. Look for relatively slow moving water downstream of log jams for these spawning congregations. Outside the spring 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 . |
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://issuu.com/rfpra/docs/l_dminimag .
The DNR lake sturgeon reintroduction program began in 2002. Since then, more than 190,000 sturgeon fingerlings have been released in the greater 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 |
|Excellent: Good: Fair: |