Trout originally were native to the Upper Chattahoochee and are now common there because of heavy stocking by DNR to support angler demand. However, they are not found in the Middle and Lower Watersheds due to a variety of reasons, water temperature being the primary one. Trout are a cold water fish and just a little south of Atlanta the Chattahoochee heats up too much for them to survive. Typically, trout do best in waters staying between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lake Harding is a man-made reservoir on the main stem of the Chattahoochee, formed by Bartlett’s Ferry Dam. The lake is south of Lagrange but north of Columbus and is not very deep so water temperatures stay fairly warm throughout the year. Due to the size of the reservoir, geographic location, and temperature of the waters, this is one of the last places you would expect an angler to catch a trout…but about two weeks ago, one did.
Unsure, but with a few ideas, I followed up with DNR Fisheries Biologist (and frequent Podcast guest) Amy Cottrell and we settled on a few likely options of how a trout could end up hooked by an angler on Lake Harding.
Regardless of how the trout ended up in Lake Harding, it is fascinating the fish was able to survive long enough to be hooked and landed by an angler. Congratulations to Steve Scott for a truly unique catch for this area of the river!
Riverbend is unlike any other sections of the Chattahoochee River. The individual qualities of this area all come to together to create an experience that, at times, can seem completely surreal. Downstream of Columbus and upstream of Florence Marina, the Riverbend area is characterized by natural shoreline, very little boat traffic, and a sense of stillness that is regularly interrupted by the chatter of machine guns, Blackhawk helicopters flying low over the water, paratroopers dropping from the sky, and the concussive explosions of tank training. The majority of the shoreline here is owned by Ft. Benning and Chattahoochee River Conservancy has gone through the proper channels to obtain permission to be working here.
Accessing this part of the Chattahoochee is best done through Riverbend Park in Cusseta, GA. Built by the Corps of Engineers and then later abandoned, the park has fallen under the care of Chattahoochee County Public Works. The county is extremely proud of this park and works diligently to maintain the grounds, boat ramp, restrooms, and camping area.
Just upstream of the boat ramp is a series of islands formed by the river changing course many times over it's history. These islands are inundated with trash and Chattahoochee River Conservancy started working to clean the islands in January of 2018. The trash is primarily single-use plastic and styrofoam items carelessly discarded by consumers in the Columbus, GA and Phenix City, AL communities.
On Thursday our organization led a team of volunteers and staff members from our partners Georgia Power and Columbus Water Works to begin the clean up effort on an island we had not yet worked on. Over the course of the morning, close to 400lbs of trash was collected from the island, bagged and loaded on boats, and carried downstream to Riverbend Park where pickup was arranged with Chattahoochee County Public Works.
Ongoing cleanup projects are not possible without partners such as Georgia Power and Columbus Water Works. Our nonprofit organization is able to maximize our effect because of partnerships with entities whose resources are far greater than our own. These partnerships are crucial to fulfilling our mission statement and we could not be more thankful for people within Columbus Water Works and Georgia Power who love the Chattahoochee River as much as we do.
Cleaning up in the Riverbend area is made possible by Chattahoochee County Public Works and their dedication to this part of the Chattahoochee River. Proper disposal of the trash collected is just as important as the cleanup effort and Chattahoochee County is always excited to have our team working on their part of the river.
Are you interested in joining our next cleanup? All volunteer activities are posted on our Facebook Event page for easy communication.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Executive Director Henry Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org