4 fishing holes worth getting up for

You can’t write a legitimate story about fishing in Cherokee County without first acknowledging the obvious elephant in the boat.


written and photographed by Jennifer Carter

Known as “Allatoona Lake” by the government road signs to get you there and “Lake Allatoona” to most everyone else, this vast body of water stretches across three counties (Cobb, Cherokee and Bartow) and covers over 12,000 acres. With that said, there are so many nooks, crannies, coves and so-called “secret” fishing holes that I would’ve felt lost without consulting an expert on the matter.

Rick Shoup, a native fisherman of Allatoona for thirty years and owner of Fish Allatoona Guide Service, was gracious enough to let me tag along on an expedition that he had planned with a group of KSU students who were desperate for a little lake-break from their studies.

He chose the Little River/Cherokee Mills boat ramp as our pre-dawn meeting place, and we were barely past the Bells Ferry Road bridge when, under Rick’s tutelage with bait and timing, crappie and the white bass began to practically jump in the boat with us. These two fish are prevalent during early spring, he explained, whereas striped and hybrid bass become the more sought-after fish during May, June and July.

The bass tend to prove elusive to those fishermen who are unfamiliar with migration patterns, according to the guide, but he recommends concentrating around the Iron Hill area (southern end of the lake) for best success. He also endorses threadfin shad as the best bait to use at Allatoona during the summer months.


INSIDE TIPS: Know Before You Go…

1. You must have a valid Georgia fishing license, which you may purchase online at http://www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes.

2. Striper Soup Bait & Tackle (located in downtown Acworth) is a great resource to buy threadfin shad on your way to the lake.

3. If you plan to park in a day-use area, be sure to bring along some cash.

4. If you’re new to Cherokee County or fishing in general, you might benefit from a professional guide service. Visit www.fishallatoona.com for rates, info, and fishing reports.

Allatoona Operations Management Office
1138 GA Highway 20 Spur
Cartersville, GA 30121

Lake Information: 770-386-0549

Email: Web.Allatoona@usace.army.mil
Georgia Department of Natural Resources: http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/Fishing/Allatoona

US Army Corps of Engineers: http://www.sam.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Recreation/AllatoonaLake/BoatingFishing.aspx

Fish Allatoona Guide Service:


INSIDE TIPS: Know Before You Go…

*Important Note: Lake Arrowhead is a private, gated community. Only residents and their guests are permitted to fish.

Sales Office: 2419 Lake Arrowhead Dr., Waleska, GA 30183
Phone: 770-720-2700
http://www.lakearrowheadga.com/ lake-arrowhead-lifestyle/the-lake/
For Boat Rentals and Sailing Lessons: K.Y.S.C Boathouse and Marina: 2015 Lake Arrowhead Dr, Waleska, GA 30183

Phone: 770-887-7966

1. The cleanliness of the water can be an asset for fostering healthy fish, but it can sometimes be a curse to a day-time fisherman. If you can see them, they can see you. Remember to be patient, especially when you can clearly see “the big one” who is avoiding you.

2. Be prepared to marvel at the natural beauty of the Lake Arrowhead community if you ever get a chance to visit. I arrived early enough to witness the sunrise, just as the morning fog was rolling over the water and the deer were still roaming the roadsides. I’ve heard that their sunsets are just as magnificent.

Let me disclose the seemingly unfortunate news first. Lake Arrowhead is a private, gated community whose entry is not generally open to the public unless you are a guest of a resident. But here’s the more hopeful news: this neighborhood’s pristine 540-acre lake entertains such a legendary fishing reputation that many anglers have been inspired to either buy property or – at the very least – make a good fishing buddy there just to experience it.

Located two miles southwest of Waleska in the mountainous region of Cherokee County, stream-fed Lake Arrowhead is home to teeming populations of bass, bream, crappie, and yellow perch. (The bass and bream are prime targets during summer months.)

Dr. Gary Strobl, who has fished there for over twelve years, revealed, “When you learn a few tricks for this lake, it can be very productive for both size and number of fish [you catch]. The fish are very healthy. All the fish have amazing color and fight. It is also one of the cleanest lakes in Georgia, so the fish are all very good to eat.”

He also added that while both live and artificial bait both work, minnows remain good all-around bait for the area.


INSIDE TIPS: Know Before You Go…

Entrance: 5436 Cowart Road in Dawsonville, GA 30534

Phone: 770-894-4356

Website: http://ccwsa.com/reservoir/

Hours: Winter Lake Hours: 8am-5pm until May 13th; Summer Lake Hours: 8 a.m. -8 p.m. from Saturday May 14th, 2016 to Sunday August 14th, 2016

Fee: There is a daily use fee of $5 dollars per vehicle, with on-site pay box and instructions. A yearly pass is also available and may be purchased at the Reservoir Office for $50 (check or cash).

1. No boats with gasoline motors are allowed, but electric motors are permissible.

2. No swimming.

3. All boats must be out of the water and loaded by 15 minutes prior to published closing time.

4. No alcohol is permitted. (Strictly enforced.)

5. The CCWSA (Cherokee Water and Sewerage Authority) office is conveniently located near the entrance/parking area if you have any questions or are in need of assistance.


INSIDE TIPS: Know Before You Go…

Address: 690 Olde Rope Mill Park Road, Woodstock

Phone: Parks and Recreation Department: 770-517-6788

Website: http://www.woodstockga.gov/index.aspx?NID=307

Hours: Open Daily 7:00 am – 11:00 pm

1. The weekends become extremely busy during the summer months, as Olde Rope Mill Park is known not only for its fishing, but also for its hiking, mountain biking, and as a great place to launch canoes and kayaks. Try to get there as early as you can to find a parking space in the designated parking areas. Parking along the roadside is prohibited in order to leave a proper thru-way for emergency vehicles.

You’d almost never know this recreational oasis exists if you aren’t paying close attention. Development has sprung up so completely around Olde Rope Mill Park in the last few years that you have to be diligent about finding it. Turn onto the unassuming Olde Rope Mill Park Road at the outlet malls, past the RaceTrac gas station, and drive all the way down until it dead-ends by the river.

There, flowing past the historical ruins of what was once Woodstock’s rope mill, the Little River runs through Cherokee County, bringing with it large quantities of bass and crappie in its wake. For best results, fish in the stiller water away from the rapids, as the rocks can cause your line to snag. The cooler mornings and evenings seem to be most fruitful, but anytime you can get away to fish here is worthwhile, whether they’re biting or not.


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