Common fish species in the Etowah River include: carp, smallmouth buffalo, redhorse suckers, blue catfish, channel catfish, striped bass, redbreast sunfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, redeye bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass and freshwater drum.
Etowah River Fishing Tips
Catfish are common in the river with channel catfish being the most abundant and blue catfish next in abundance. A few flathead catfish are also occasionally caught. Catfish up to 10 pounds are commonplace.
Anglers fishing for catfish may catch a lake sturgeon but they must be released unharmed immediately after being caught. Lake sturgeons are being reintroduced by the DNR into the Coosa River system and cannot be harvested. Sturgeon can be identified by its rounded snout, a toothless mouth on the bottom of its head, four “whiskers” in front of its mouth; bony plates on the side of its body and its shark-like tail. Striped bass use the river in the summer as a cool water refuge. A few fish may be found year-round in the Carters re-regulation dam tailrace but most stripers leave the river once the water cools in the fall. The best fishing is from June through September.
Bass, bream and crappie inhabit the river year round but fishing is best in the cooler waters of spring and fall. Spotted bass are the most prevalent black bass species, however, there are also fair numbers of redeye and largemouth bass present. Bluegill are the most abundant pan fish but there are also good numbers of redbreast sunfish, green sunfish, and redear sunfish.
Freshwater drum are abundant in the river, although few Georgians pursue them. This species is popular in other parts of the country and is an underutilized fishery in the Coosawattee. Anglers can best catch drum using live worms, crayfish or small minnows fished on the bottom.