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Allatoona Lake

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Description: 

Allatoona Lake is a Reservoir in Bartow, Georgia.

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Have you fished Allatoona Lake? Help your fellow anglers out by giving a fishing report, some fishing tips or general information about Allatoona Lake.
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Do you have a question about Allatoona Lake, ask it here.

This 11,860-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) impoundment of the Etowah River is 30 miles north of Atlanta on I-75. The lake receives heavy use by boaters, skiers and anglers given its close proximity to Atlanta. Fishing early and late daylight hours, and at night, are effective ways to avoid the crowds and catch wary fish.

Fishing Description: 

When it comes to black bass, angler catch rates in Allatoona continue to be better than most Georgia reservoirs, yet average bass size tends to be smaller. One reason is that spotted bass, which attain smaller adult size than largemouth bass, dominate the black bass fishery, making-up approximately 80-90 percent of the black bass population. The average spot will be 10-12 inches in 2008, while older fish will measure out in the high teens and low twenties. The less abundant largemouth bass will typically weigh in at around 1.25 lbs, but a few more over 5 pounds may be caught in 2008. Target largemouth in the Little River and Etowah arms of the reservoir, as this is where the best largemouth habitat exists. You also may find largemouth in the 400+shoreline trees toppled into the lake last year for fish habitat - a program that will continue in 2008.

Spotted bass tend to remain in deeper habitats than largemouth. Drop shot and spooning are both good ways to target these fish. Anglers should try both techniques in and around the 36+ deepwater locations that WRD and COE has placed in the reservoir. These locations are typically in 25-30 feet of water at full pool and best fished from fall through spring.

Fishing Tips, Tactics, How-To info: 

LARGEMOUTH BASS:
Though less abundant than spotted bass, largemouth will typically weigh-in at a larger size. The average fish will be around 1.25 pounds, with a few reaching more than 5 pounds in size in 2009. The numbers of largemouth fluctuate little in Allatoona from year to year, so expect similar numbers to past years.

Baits vary from season to season, but a good arsenal of spinnerbaits, crankbaits, swimbaits or plastic worms are all good baits to start with.

Target the coves and backwaters of the Little River, Etowah and Allatoona Creek areas of the reservoir. This is where some of the better largemouth habitat is found. Largemouth may also be found holding in the numerous shoreline habitat improvement sites scattered around the lake. More than 700 shoreline trees have been toppled at these sites since 2007.

SPOTTED BASS:
Spotted bass are the dominant black bass species, making up 80 to 90 percent of the black bass population in Allatoona. The average spot in 2009 will remain around 12-inches in length, while older, less numerous spots will measure more than 20 inches in length and 4-5 pounds in size.

Drop-shot rigs with small baits like a 4-inch zoom tiny fluke or robo worm, or vertical jigging spoons (flex-it or hopkins shorty's) are both excellent approaches to targeting spots year-round. In the cooler months, when spots can be feeding aggressively, use more reactive baits like shallow to medium diving crankbaits, such as lucky craft’s flat mini, spinnerbaits, or even larger swimbaits. Live minnows are also a great means for consistently hooking up with Allatoona's spotted bass.

Spotted bass tend to remain in deeper habitats than largemouth. Spots will however, move to shallow depths during their April-May spawning period. In summer, try fishing in and around the more than 36 deepwater fish attractor locations placed in the reservoir by the DNR and the COE. These fish attractors are best fished from fall through spring.

STRIPED BASS:
Between 30 and 60 thousand striped bass fingerlings are annually stocked in Allatoona. Higher than normal stocking rates in 2007 led to an abundance of young stripers last year. Anglers should expect members of this large year-class to be 17-20 inches long in 2009. Due to persistent severe drought conditions in the region, anglers can expect fewer catches of larger stripers this year.

Though striper fishing techniques abound, slow trolling live shad on free-lines or weighted down-line rigs is a favored approach to consistent catches at Allatoona. Striper fishing is best from October-June when water temperatures are relatively cool. Though stripers may feed at anytime, concentrate your efforts during the early to mid-morning hours to maximize your chance of encountering actively feeding fish.

In winter, stripers will be in the main body of the lake, but will migrate to the upper reaches during their spring spawning run. As summer heats up, smaller stripers (less than 10 lbs) will remain in the main lake, while most larger linesides will migrate up the Etowah River seeking coolwater in which to beat the summer heat. Then, with the onset of fall and cooling lake waters, these large stripers migrate back into the main lake, again feeding voraciously as they pack on pounds lost during the hot summer months.

HYBRID BASS
Increased hybrid striped bass stocking rates in recent years continue to be a success on Allatoona. The average hybrid will weigh around 2 pounds, but numerous 5-8 pound fish will be available.

White or shad patterned spinners, spoons, jigs or crankbaits will produce hybrids, but serious hybrid anglers should slow troll with 4-6 inch live shad on simple free-line or down-line rigs. During fall, winter and spring, live shad remain very effective techniques, but trolling umbrella rigs or vertical jigging with spoons can make for a good striper outing. For the bank fisherman, winter hybrids in and around the dam area can be hooked using cut shad fished on the bottom.

Hybrid fishing is available year-round, but is best for numbers during the heat of summer. Low summer dissolved oxygen in Allatoona’s depths typically concentrates hybrids in the 20-30 foot range. While summer is good for numbers, winter hybrid fishing is typically characterized by catches of larger individuals. Though possibly found anywhere in the lake chasing shad, the mile of lake above and below Galt's Ferry boat ramp is a year-round hot spot for hybrids.

CRAPPIE
Crappie fishing should be consistent with years past in terms of numbers. The average fish should measure around 10 inches, and weigh about ½ pound, but larger 1 to 2 pound slab crappie are available.

Small jigs or live minnows fished beneath bobbers are both proven methods for catching crappie. Trolling jigs is a good way to cover a lot of water and locate actively feeding schools of fish.

Target spring spawn crappie from March to April in the shallows of Kellogg, Illinois, Stamp Creeks and Etowah River areas of the lake. During summer, seek deeper brush piles or other fish attractors located on humps and channel ledges, as crappie will concentrate in deeper habitat during this time. Also try night fishing with lights and light tackle around docks and bridges. During fall and winter, target crappie near old river channel edges in Allatoona's many coves.

CATFISH
Channel and flathead catfish are both found in Allatoona. Channel catfish are more abundant while flatheads tend to grow much larger in size. The typical channel cat is around 13 inches and ¾ pound. Larger channels will tip scales in the 5 pound range. Flatheads are less numerous, but most caught will be 5 to 10 pounds or larger.

Use chicken livers or cut bait for channel cats and live bait, such as bream or shad, for flatheads. Both baits should be fished on the bottom.

Pursue both species on the rocky bedrock banks in the Etowah River arm of the lake. The numerous rip-rapped shoreline banks are also good areas to target large catfish. Such habitats are common around bridges and fishing jetties. Catfish may also be found in the recesses of woody debris jams often found in the very backs of Allatoona’s coves.

BREAM
Bluegill, redbreast sunfish and redear sunfish are all present. Bluegill are the most abundant of the three. They average 5 inches in length, with few being more than 7 inches. Though fewer in number, redear tend to be larger than either bluegill or redbreast sunfish. Larger redear will top 9- nches in length.

Crickets or worms fished under a bobber, as well as micro-jigs or flies are all common tactics for successful bream fishing.

From early to mid-summer, bream speckle the bottom of shallow coves with their circular nests. These nests are commonly visible to anglers, and nesting often occurs in the same general area year-after-year. The best locations often are associated with some type of woody debris that offers nesting fish a place to escape danger.

OTHER SPECIES
Carp and gar are numerous. Carp are widely distributed and grow to moderately large sizes. Most will be around 5 pounds, and the biggest common carp will usually weigh no more than 15 pounds. Gar, though not very tasty are strong fighters and abundant around Allatoona. Gar 3 feet in length aretypical, but 4-footers also can be found.

Carp should be fished for using bottom rigs with offerings of prepared “dough” baits, corn or worms. For gar, live shad or minnows fished just below a bobber, or sight fishing with hookless handmade lures constructed from 6-8 inch pieces of frayed cotton rope will work well.

Target carp in shallow flats and in the backs of coves, especially around submerged timber. Gar are often seen cruising shallow flats and tributary mouths, but can also be found ambushing prey on rocky main lake points.

Recreational Activities: 

Hiking and Biking - 12.5 miles of wooded trails, 3/4-mile paved accessible trail
Biking -- 4-mile Iron Hill Trail
Boating and Skiing - marina, 2 ramps, 2 docks
Picnicking
Swimming
Ranger Programs
Miniature Golf ($3)

Facilities and Parks: 

Numerous COE facilities and a Georgia State Park located around the lake provide anglers convenient boat ramp access and parking, as well as camping opportunities.

Camping: 

Red Top Mountain State Park and Lodge
50 Lodge Rd SE
Cartersville , GA 30121
Reservations (800) 864-7275
Lodge Reservations (800) 573-9658
Park (770) 975-4226

92 Tent, Trailer, RV Sites ($23-$25)
1 Yurt ($55)
18 Cottages ($105-$135) -- #17 and #18 are dog friendly ($40 per dog, limit 2)
33-Room ($75-$130) Lodge & Conference Center (Wireless Internet Service)
7 Picnic Shelters ($40)
2 Group Shelters (seat 100 and 250, $230-$250)
Pioneer Campground ($25 and up)

Clark Creek North Campground
24 campsites, all sites have 50 amp electrical and water hookups, dump station, coin laundry, hot showers, attendant on duty. Site Fees $26 per night (subject to change). 14 day stay limit.
Directions: I-75 to exit 278, go north on Glade Road and follow signs.

McKaskey Creek Campground
51 campsites, 32 sites have 50 amp electrical and water hookups, dump station available, coin laundry, hot showers, boat ramp, playground, swimming beach, attendant on duty. Site Fees $16-$26 per night (subject to change). 14 day stay limit. Directions: I-75 to exit 290, go east 50 yards, turn right onto GA Spur 20 and follow signs.

McKinney Campground
150 campsites, all sites have 50 amp electrical and water hookups, dump station, coin laundry, hot showers, boat ramp, swimming beaches, attendant on duty. Open all year. $22-$26 per night (subject to change). 14 day stay limit. Directions: I-75 to exit 278, go north on Glade Road, turn left at the second 4-way stop onto King's Camp Road and follow signs.

Old Hwy 41 # 3 Campground
50 campsites, all sites have 50 amp electrical and water hookups, dump station, coin laundry, hot showers, boat ramp, attendant on duty. Site Fees $22-$52 per night(subject to change). 14 day limit. Directions: I-75 to exit 283, go west on Sandtown Road, take Hwy 293 south and follow signs.

Payne Campground
60 campsites, 49 sites have 50 amp electrical and water hookups, 2 with sewer hookups, dump station, coin laundry, hot showers, boat ramp, swimming beach, attendant on duty. Site fees $16-$52 per night (subject to change). 14 day stay limit. Directions: I-75 to exit 277, go east on Hwy 92, turn left on Kellogg Creek Road and follow signs.

Sweetwater Campground
151 campsites, 118 sites have 50 amp electrical and water hookups, 2 with sewer hookups, dump station, coin laundry, hot showers, boat ramp, swimming beach, playgrounds, nine-site group camp area which includes group shelter $220 per night, attendant on duty. Site Fees $16-$52 per night (subject to change). 14 day stay limit. Directions: I-75 to exit 290, go east on GA Hwy 20, approx. 12 miles Right on Fields Chapel Road and follow signs.

Upper Stamp Creek Campground
20 campsites, 18 sites have 50 amp electrical and water hookups, dump station available, hot showers, boat ramp, swimming beach on duty. Site fees $16 - $ 26 per night (subject to change). Directions: I -75 to Exit 290, go east on GA Hwy 20 approx. 4 miles, turn right onto Wilderness Camp Road for approx 1 mile and follow signs.

Victoria Campground
74 campsites, all sites have 50 amp electrical and water hookups, dump station, coin laundry, hot showers, swimming beach, playground, boat ramp nearby, attendant on duty. Site fees $22-$28 per night (subject to change). 14 day stay limit. Directions: I-75 to exit 290, go east on Hwy. 20, go 12 miles and turn right on Butterworth Rd., go to 4-way stop and turn right then follow signs.

Boat Ramp: 

There are 26 Army Corps of Engineers (COE), state, county and city boat ramps on this lake. Many corps facilities have boat launch fees, user fees or both.

MARINAS* at ALLATOONA LAKE
Wilderness Camp 770-386-2170
Little River Marina 770-345-2900
Victoria Harbour 770-926-7718
Harbor Town Marina 770-974-6422
Park Marina 770-974-6063
Glade Marina 770-975-7000
Holiday Harbor Marina 770-974-2575
Allatoona Landing 770-974-6089

Other: 

In late 2008, DNR began stocking lake sturgeon in Allatoona in an effort to reestablish this native fish to the upper Etowah River system. Anglers accidentally catching a lake sturgeon should release the fish immediately. Fish hooked deep will often survive if anglers cut the line near the hook and release the fish with the hook. Those wondering what impact sturgeon will have on their favorite game species can rest easy. Because of its low reproductive potential, the fish does not establish itself as a prominent species making its impacts to other fish negligible. If you catch or otherwise see a sturgeon, please contact the Calhoun DNR office (706-624-1161) to report the location from which the sturgeon was caught. Such information is valuable to biologists assessing the survival and dispersal of these magnificent fish.

Directions to Lake: 

45 minutes north of Atlanta near Cartersville, 1.5 miles east of I-75 exit #285.

Name: 
Allatoona Lake
Waterbody type: 
Reservoir
County: 
Bartow
State: 
Georgia
Country: 
United States
Surface area: 
11860.00
Standard elevation: 
244
Latitude: 
34.141
Longitude: 
-84.659