The Alcovy River starts in eastern Gwinnett County
and winds southward through Walton and Newton counties before tumbling
spectacularly across Factory Shoals and into Lake Jackson, where it
meets the Yellow and South Rivers to form the Ocmulgee. In Gwinnett and
Walton Counties, the Alcovy is rather small and suffers from a fair
amount of development in these fast-growing suburbs. Numerous deadfalls
make the river unattractive for boating, but wading opportunities
abound. North of I-20, the Alcovy transforms into a lowland swamp, and
stays swampy for about 4 miles south of Covington before the banks rise
and the Alcovy resumes the nature of a Piedmont stream.
The swampy sections of the Alcovy
occasionally allow anglers the chance to fish between dragging over
There are tons of fish in the swampy sections of
the Alcovy; big ones that probably never see a lure. The problem,
unfortunately, is reaching these fish. The stretch of river just south
of Covington is absolutely littered with deadfalls, and anyone
attempting to float this stretch better be prepared to spend as much
time hauling your vessel over trees as fishing. The rewards can be
immense, however, for those willing to put forth the effort. The
largemouths in the swamp are big, mean, and stupid and I'm willing to
bet that the bluegill, crappie, and channel cats are no different.
Another pleasing aspect of this stretch is the lack of any signs of man.
The swampy section of the Alcovy also contains an ecological anomaly:
vast stands of tupelo gums. The tupelo gum normally appears in the
coastal plain, and ecologists are stumped as to why this stand of tupelo
exists 60 miles further north than any other.
The Louisiana bayou is a wonderful
place to... Wait a minute! This isn't the bayou! It's the Alcovy River
an hour or so from Atlanta!
Fishing the Alcovy is a fairly straightforward
proposition. Largemouth bass, bluegill, redbreast, crappie, and channel
cats are the primary species and tend to hole up in the slower, deeper
stretches of the river. In the swampy section, it would be wise to use
stout tackle, but pretty much any tackle will work in the 10 or so river
miles between the swamp and Lake Jackson. The Alcovy runs a little more
clear than either the Yellow or South rivers and doesn't muddy up as
badly after storms.
A jon boat or canoe is fine for floating the
river, since there are no major rapids until just above the lake. The
Alcovy maintains a width of 50-75 feet for most of it's length before
widening a good bit at the shoals. GRF recommends avoiding both Factory
and White Shoals by either portaging around them or wading through the
slower spots. These shoals can be dangerous at high water and extremely
tricky the rest of the time.
Make mine a double! No, this angler
did not catch two bass on one cast from the Alcovy. The guy taking the
picture caught one of them at the same time. The bigger one if memory
While the Alcovy just north of
Lake Jackson is not as interesting or as desolate as the swampy section,
it is probably a better bet for the average fisherman. The crappie
fishing is surprisingly good for a river and I always manage to catch a
channel cat or two while bass fishing. Fishing pressure is almost
nonexistent and the fish run a bit larger than normal. There are few
deadfalls and no major rapids until the wild and woolly half mile prior
to reaching the lake. During the spring, anglers report catching decent
numbers of whites, hybrids, and crappie motoring upstream from Lake
Jackson towards the base of the Factory Shoals.