The Apalachee River has something to offer just about
anyone. The bass, crappie, white bass, catfish, and bream fishing can be
spectacular (even more so once you've figured out the best stretches to fish)!
The Apalachee also contains plenty of exciting rapids for whitewater enthusiasts
and some swampy areas that I doubt have ever been seriously fished. The Apalachee can be a
source of frustration, however, for those who attempt the wrong float. Read on
and GRF will try to steer you to the type of water your looking for.
The Apalachee provided dinner in the
form of some nice crappie on this early spring trip.
The Apalachee starts in Gwinnett County and forms the
border between Gwinnett, Walton, Barrow, Oconee, Greene, and Morgan Counties on
it's journey to Lake Oconee, where it joins up with the Oconee River. While
sections of the Apalachee north of GA 78 are canoeable, the river's small size,
abundance of downed trees, and stretches of swamp make the upper river more
suitable for wading.
Between GA 78 and Lake Oconee, there are three dams that
boaters should be aware of. One is just north of Snow's Mill Road and the other
two are just above and just below GA 186 in the town of North High Shoals. All
of these dams are a pain to portage, but nobody ever said this was going to be
easy. The dams provide an opportunity for fishermen, however, because they back
up the river's flow, creating hotspots for crappie and all the other species
that prefer slacker water.
There are also a few rapids that deserve special mention.
The first is immediately below the dam located south of GA 186 at the town of
North high Shoals. Don't even think of trying to run these rapids, because the
last one is a doozy, a 15-foot slide down High Shoals Falls. The next big rapid
occurs just upstream of Price Mill Road. Price Mill Shoals can reach Class III
levels at high water and are pretty challenging any time. The last big shoals
(The Rocks) occur just downstream of GA 441 and can also reach Class III. If you
plan on fishing a section of the Apalachee that may require a portage or a good
bit of maneuvering, take a canoe. A jon boat will work fine for most parts of
The Apalachee provides some nice rapids and
some nice sunsets!
About two miles below the GA 441 bridge, the Apalachee
gets really swampy and pretty much remains this way all the way to Lake Oconee.
The river seems to keep splitting until you run out of water and it is common to
spend more time carrying your boat through here than paddling it. Despite the
hassle, some of this water is as bassy looking as you'll ever see!
Yes, the Apalachee can be a real pain. The fishing can
help ease some of that pain, however. The springtime crappie fishing on the
Apalachee can be tough to beat, and the white bass and hybrid runs are
underrated. People catch lots of bream and catfish and a friend and I once
caught 14 keeper bass in two hours on a January float trip!
Find the right parts of the Apalachee
and you can find some nice bass, too. Happy hunting!
The Apalachee generally runs about 45-60 feet wide and the water
is normally a bit stained. The current is generally moderate but can vary from
almost slack to faster than most people want to go. Development on the river
downstream of GA 78 is sparse, but the river still has siltation problems due
mainly to messy development in the Apalachee's upper reaches. I wouldn't
recommend this river after a heavy rain.
Finding the best fishing holes on the Apalachee can take a
few trips, and fishermen and boaters who neglect to do their homework can find
themselves in a mess (I know this firsthand). Before you make this trip, look
over some good maps and check out a few access points in person. Use the
information here and elsewhere on Georgia River Fishing to figure out which
stretch of the Apalachee best suits your purposes.