Lake Guntersville Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Guntersville Fishing Report

Check out these weekly updated reports for selected lakes in Georgia and Alabama Lakes Fishing Report. If any guides or fishermen do weekly reports and would like them published on my site please contact me: ronnie@fishing-about.com

Captain Mike with nice Guntersville bass

Captain Mike with nice Guntersville bass

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 6/16/18

After 3 months of just fantastic fishing the heat is slowing the bite some, its still very good
but the numbers of bites are not there as compared to the past few months. Have no fear
though as some things a getting better, the grass is growing, the fish are schooling up on the
ledges and when you find them it’s on!

It’s been a versatile week for baits as the deep bite 15 to 20 feet, when you find it, is all about
deep running SPRO DD Little John 90 crank baits, if your trying to get to the bottom in the
deep water we are fishing Picasso 2 oz. swim jigs with Missile bait Shock Wave swim baits,
Tight-line football jigs ¾ oz and when the bite is on top of the ledge we are throwing Missile
bait D-Bombs. The key is just getting a bite then sitting on your spot and working the fish
until you get the next bite; get the angle, the right bait and your catching fish!

Fishing is great, time on the water is key, we have some of the most experienced guides on
the lake; come fish with us no one will treat you better or work harder to see you have a
great day on the water. We fish with great sponsor products; Duckett rods and reels,
Lowrance Electronics, T&H Marine products, Ranger Boats, Vicious Line and more.

Email: bassguide@comcast.net
Phone: 256 759 2270
Captain Mike Gerry

Use the Right Fishing Line

The Right Fishing Line for Soft Plastics

Using the right fishing line will help you land fish


Your line is the crucial connection when using Carolina and Texas rigs

By David A. Rose
from The Fishing Wire

Every few years, one of the best bass-tournament pros in the nation sweeps the competition during a major derby, landing the largest limit of fish while rigging their favorite soft plastics in an innovative way. After that, what was once their secret technique suddenly becomes all the rage. The drop-shot rig, Neko rig and advances in wacky-rigging are just a few techniques that have come to the forefront during the past couple of decades after major tournament successes.

But when all is said and done, even after these fresh approaches have become widespread, two rigs still stand the test of time – both sticking out as must-use-when-all-else-is-failing techniques: the Carolina rig and the Texas rig.

Worms? Lizards? Tubes? Creature baits? It really doesn’t matter what your go-to bait is, as both Carolina and Texas rigs have been catching fish almost since soft plastics were first created.

But like any well-established technique (and I mean any,) the single most important connection between you and any fish is your line.

The Missing Link

Seaguar Pro Chris Zaldain is a 33-year-old Bassmaster Elite tournament angler from Laughlin, Nevada, who has taken top honors twice in Bassmaster Elite events, as well numerous top 20 finishes. This carries his winnings over the half-million-dollar mark since his start only 8 years ago.

“There’s no doubt, line is the most crucial link when using both Carolina and Texas rigs,” says the Seaguar pro. “I have been using Seaguar fluorocarbon since the early 2000’s, well before I wore their logo on my jersey [2010], and I’m here to tell you, I have literally spooled many, many miles of it on my reels since I started fishing.

“Seaguar fishing lines have helped me fool fish in the clear-water lakes I fished growing up, and it was InvizX that was my choice from the very day I started. And InvizX is still is a line I trust today because it’s super soft and allows me to cast any lure with ease. And I’ve never had a knot I’ve tied with it unravel.”

Everything’s Bigger When Texas-Rigging…Maybe

One of the most weedless/snagless methods of delivering a lure to a lunker is the Texas rig. Zaldain uses 1/4- to 3/8-ounce weights, pegging them to his hook and soft plastic with a bobber stop on 15-pound-test InvizX.

“That particular pound-test isn’t too light for most applications and hook-sets; yet, it’s not so heavy that it hinders the action of your bait,” Zaldain states. “And 15-pound test Seaguar InvizX is as strong as other manufacture’s 20-pound test, but with a smaller overall line diameter. And the thinner a line is, the more bites you’ll get.

“It boils down to the fact that the thinner the line, the more naturally a bait moves in the water. It just moves more like the real thing…period.”

Zaldain is never nervous about using InvizX for his Texas-rigged offerings for near-shore shallow-water fish, even amongst submerged trees or along steep, rocky bluffs; the line’s suppleness allows it to snake through limbs and around shale with ease. Moreover, it has plenty of abrasion resistance to pull even the heftiest largemouth from structure without worrying about getting nicked up and breaking off.

Also, InvizX fluorocarbon has less stretch than monofilament, which allows Zaldain to feel a strike the moment it occurs. This means he’s able to set the hook and pull a fish out of its snag-infested haunt before it even knows it being bit back.

Cover Me, I’m Going in… Carolina-Style

Along thick-and-gnarly structure in deep water is where Zaldain tends to employ the Carolina rig—which was devised to separate the weight from your offering so that the latter has a natural, horizontal free-swimming movement verses the more precise bottom-bouncing motion of a Texas-rigged bait.

“My line of choice with long-leader Carolina rig applications is Seaguar AbrazX because of its extreme abrasion resistance,” Zaldain states.

If structure isn’t extremely dense, Zaldain still uses 15-pound-test – rarely anything lighter. When the bass are utilizing extremely-thick cover, conversely, he will boost his leader to 20-pound test.

Complementing the lower stretch and sensitivity of fluorocarbon, Zaldain prefers what he calls “old-school” lead bullet-style weights over tungsten. With the former, he claims, he can feel what’s on bottom much better.

Telegraphed through the lead weight, line and then rod, he can sense the difference between gravel verses rock, for example, which lets him know when to lift his Carolina-rigged offering up and out of a snag. Zaldain starts with a 3/4-ounce bullet or egg-sinker weight above his bead and swivel, and then adjusts his rig from there.

Lessons Learned

Without a doubt, your line is the only link between you and any fish, whether you’re using the newest technique to hit the tournament trail or the most tried and true rigs ever created, like Texas and Carolina rigs.

Overall, use the lightest line you can get away with, but have different rods spooled with diverse pound test and toughness (abrasion resistance); because where you find fish may change with every cast.

Lake Jordan, Lake Russell and Spot Problems

Last week I went to Lake Jordan just outside Montgomery, Alabama, and Lake Russell near Elberton, Georgia. Both are about three hours from Griffin and both have spotted bass, but they are totally different fisheries.

Jordan is a Coosa River lake and is full of the famous Coosa spots. Its waters are very fertile, the water has a greenish hue from algae, and the shoreline is covered with grass. Grass cover for bass is important for several reasons, among them giving young bass a place to hide from predators and giving adult bass great feeding areas.

Twenty-pound five-fish stringers of spotted bass are common in tournaments there. The fertility and cover make them grow fast and fat, and current moving in the lake brings them easy food, so they don’t have to expend much energy to feed.

Spots are native to Jordan, so they are well adapted to that environment. The population is in balance, with predator and prey at the right levels for the environment. Largemouth are also fairly common in the lake since they fill a slightly different niche and, since the spot population is balanced, they do not over compete with them.

We had a disappointing trip although the conditions seemed perfect. Even though it was Memorial Day, the clouds and threat of rain kept pleasure boaters off the lake. And the low light conditions, combined with current moving in the lake that day, should have put the fish in a feeding mood.

We caught a few fish and they were fat and healthy. The fish did not do what we thought they should, which is not unusual when fishing!

Lake Russell was very different on last Friday. The only common thing was the lack of pleasure boaters.
Shoreline development is not allowed on Russell and it is not near a big city, so it was not crowded. We saw a dozen or so fishing boats but no pleasure boaters even though it was a warm, sunny day.

Russel is not fertile. Its waters are very clear and shoreline grass is rare. Dammed in 1984, Russell is the newest lake in Georgia. It does have current since it has power generators and a pump back system at the dam. Power is generated during the day, so water flows downstream, then at night the same water is pumped back from Clarks Hill immediately downstream.

Since the water is recirculated, it does not carry a nutrient load like the water flowing down the Coosa River. Moving water does give bass easier feeding opportunities on Russell, but there is less food to move.

Spots are not native to Russell. In its early days it took 20-pound limits of largemouth to place in most tournaments. But midnight stocking of spots by bucket biologists introduced them in the 1990s and they have overcrowded the lake. It is rare to catch a largemouth there now.

Some fishermen think they can transport spots to lakes where they are not native and they will do as well as they do at Lake Lanier, a premier spot fishery. But Lanier is very fertile from run-off from chicken processing plants and has more food that spots like. Spots have just about taken over from largemouth at Lanier, too, but they grow fat there.

Not on Russell. We caught a lot of spots, but most were 11 to 13 inches long. You can easily catch 100 spots a day there but if your best five weigh 10 pounds you have caught a good limit of spots, and that weight would place in most tournaments.

Those little spots are fun to catch and good to eat. There is no size limit on spots anywhere in Georgia except Lake Lanier, to encourage fishermen to keep them. A trip to Russell to keep ten spots a day to eat is not only fun and good eating, it will not hurt the fishery.

Closer to home, Lake Jackson was an incredible fishery for big largemouth until the 1990s when spots started taking over. Fishermen put them in the lake and they have badly overpopulated it. We saw the first spots in our tournaments there in the early 1990s but they were rare. Now most of the fish we weigh in are spots.

Spots are more aggressive than largemouth and bed deeper, so they are not as affected by changes in the lake as much. But they do not grow as big as largemouth. An acre of lake can support only so many bass.

Where an acre of water at Jackson used to have, say 100 pounds of largemouth, ranging from one to five pounds or more, now it has 100 spots weighing a pound each.

If you catch spots on any of our lakes except Lanier and a couple of other far north Georgia lakes where they do well, keep a limit to eat.

Trout Unlimited New Science Promotes Trout Recovery

New Science Promotes Trout Recovery

By Chris Wood, CEO/President
Trout Unlimited
from The Fishing Wire

Some define conservation as overseeing loss. Loss of wetlands; loss of open space; loss of water quality; loss of species. Aldo Leopold harkened to this when he wrote in the Sand County Almanac that “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”

One of the things that Trout Unlimited does so well is to re-frame the question of overseeing loss to one of advancing recovery. Trout and salmon are remarkably resilient creatures. They have survived for millennia, and if given half a chance will respond to restoration. This fact makes a new tool developed by TU scientists and university, state and federal partners so exciting.

Almost every western native trout, and many forms of Pacific salmon and steelhead have been proposed or are listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The historic focus of the ESA is to keep species from becoming extinct. Because resources are so limited, when recovery efforts do occur they often lack the data necessary to evaluate extinction risks and the benefits of management activities based on quantitative information.

Thanks to a grant from NASA, TU scientists, working with universities and state and federal partners, developed a new method of looking across broad landscapes to make informed judgments about where extinction is likely to occur, and how to take concrete steps to improve the security of existing populations and, in some cases, enable successful reintroductions.

Lahonan cutthroat trout, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, are coming back to their native watersheds thanks state-of-the-art techniques used by TU scientists to map and model suitable habitat.
The scientists aggregated 30 years worth of data on Lahontan cutthroat trout—a threatened species under the ESA—across all 211 streams where Lahontans exist, or historically existed, into a searchable database. They then developed advanced modeling and mapping techniques to 1) evaluate extinction risks for Lahontans in each occupied water; 2) evaluate the benefits of removing non-native trout from these streams; and 3) evaluate the likely success of reintroducing Lahontans into waters where they previously existed.

Importantly, they have developed a population simulator that allows partners with fish and wildlife agencies from Nevada, Oregon and California, the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to see the model results and explore impacts of various management actions in terms of how they decrease extinction risks. An equally broad array of partners is looking to use a similar recovery planning tool under development for Bonneville cutthroat trout and redband trout—two other imperiled native trout species.

The scientists call the new approach the Multiple Population Viability Analysis—MPVA. Its wonky name aside it is a game-changing innovation that will allow state and federal agencies and organizations such as TU to begin to think less about overseeing loss and more about recovering imperiled native trout species across broad landscapes. That is incredibly exciting and in keeping with the fact that conservation is not about overseeing loss. Conservation—the notion that we can take specific actions today to leave our children a healthier world—is the single most affirmative, optimistic idea that America ever gave the rest of the world.

Chris Wood is the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. He lives in Washington, D.C., and works from TU’s Arlington, Va., headquarters.

Read more about Trout Unlimited

Jobs Jobs Everywhere

I get to travel all over Georgia and Alabama doing “research” for my Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News articles. Two things stand out from those trips. One I realized several years ago. Alabama lakes, in general, have better bass fishing than Georgia lakes.

There are a variety of reasons, from water fertility to current flow, that make this true.

The second thing has become obvious the last couple of months. Everywhere I go, “help wanted” and “now hiring” signs are posted on businesses from small communities to large cities. From grocery stores and fast food places to trucking and welding firms, there are a lot of jobs out there.

In my opinion, anyone that can work can find a job if they want one.

New Catch Limit for Red Drum

New catch limit for red drum to address overfishing
from The Fishing Wire
(Editor’s Note: South Carolina, like some other southeastern states, is seeing a decline in red drum numbers in recent years. Here’s a report from SCDNR on the issues involved, and what the state is doing about them.)

South Carolina Red Drum


Red drum caught by SCDNR fish surveys are tagged and measured, allowing biologists to track their numbers over time. (Photo: E. Weeks/SCDNR)
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Red drum, redfish, spottail, channel bass – South Carolina’s most popular saltwater gamefish goes by many names and plays a key role in the coastal economy and ecosystems.

In recent years, state biologists have documented a declining trend in the state’s red drum population, which has been underscored by reports from longtime local anglers. These concerns prompted the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to take a closer look at the species last year, culminating in an assessment that found South Carolina’s red drum population was experiencing overfishing.

The South Carolina General Assembly responded by passing a new law intended to reverse overfishing, which Governor Henry McMaster recently signed. The new catch limit allows two fish per person per day and no more than six fish per boat per day, effective July 1, 2018. The previous catch limit was three fish per person per day, with no boat limit. The slot limit (15-23 inches) remains unchanged.

“We’ve been monitoring red drum populations across the state using the same techniques for nearly 30 years, and what we’ve seen over the last 10-15 years is concerning,” said assistant marine scientist Dr. Joey Ballenger, who oversees SCDNR’s red drum research. “Across the state, we’ve seen declines in abundance of the juvenile fish most commonly targeted by anglers.”

Red drum are renowned for their beautiful copper color and characteristic black tail spots. Red drum reach several feet in length and can be found in all of South Carolina’s coastal waters at different stages of their lives. SCDNR research has shown that the fish reach maturity around four years of age, although adults may live to 40 years old. A healthy population of these adult red drum is critical to the success of the fishery, as the larger a fish is, the greater its contribution of spawn to the next generation of young fish.

Adult red drum spawn in the fall, producing an annual “crop” of new fish. Recently, the crop has been relatively small. Young red drum (1-4 years old), which make up the foundation of fishing in South Carolina’s creeks and rivers, have not been plentiful over the last decade.

Research at SCDNR shows that poor reproductive years are not necessarily unusual for these long-lived species – Ballenger notes that large crops of red drum fish are only produced about twice a decade. However, Ballenger’s team has also discovered that not as many red drum are surviving from one year to the next as in previous generations. The reasons for this poor survival are unclear, but the impact has translated into fewer fish within the slot size limit, which is ultimately expected to mean fewer adult fish annually entering the spawning population.

“Not only are we seeing declines in the annual crop of fish produced by adults, we are seeing that those produced are experiencing higher mortality rates,” Dr. Ballenger said. “Over time, this translates to fewer and fewer adult fish being around to produce the next crop, resulting in a feedback loop that continues the process.”

At the same time these ecological fluctuations have occurred, fishing pressure has increased in South Carolina, especially on large adult fish.

Adult red drum are already protected from harvest in South Carolina. Under current legislation, the fish are only legal to harvest when they fall between 15-23 inches in length – a size range that they reach for a little more than a year of their life.

As a result, the red drum fishery in South Carolina is defined by catch and release – 80% of red drum caught by anglers are released. But even under ideal conditions, studies estimate that 8-16% of caught-and-released fish die after release. Minimizing the death of released adult fish is critical to maintaining good fishing.

The red drum from South Carolina to Florida are managed as a single population, and the status of regional management is currently unclear. This left SCDNR staff with questions about the status of the species in South Carolina, given the declines seen in catch rates of young fish. The agency therefore initiated an assessment of red drum just in South Carolina to better understand the health of this important species in local waters.

The assessment determined that with a three fish per person per day bag limit, not enough red drum are surviving to sustain the population over the long-term.

The study also found that a modest shift in regulations – from three to two fish per person per day – would be enough, in time, to improve the number of fish recruiting into the adult population.

Companion bills codifying new catch limits (two fish per person per day and six fish per boat per day) were introduced in the S.C. Senate and House in early 2018 and received near-unanimous support on both sides of the Assembly. The Coastal Conservation Association of South Carolina played played a key role in advocating the passage of the legislative changes.

The new regulations will take effect on July 1, 2018.

In addition to the legislative changes, SCDNR seeks to address increasing pressure on adult red drum by working with anglers to implement best handling practices. Valuable adult fish are highly susceptible to predators, disease, and exhaustion after release, making proper handling a matter of life or death.

SCDNR urges anglers who target adult red drum to use the following best practices for release:

Use a rig that minimizes the chance of hook damage (short leader, fixed sinker weighing 3 oz. or more, and barbless, non-offset and non-stainless hook)

Use gear that shortens the fight time (20-lb and higher test line)

Keep the fish in the water (take photographs of the fish while during revival and release)

March West Point Tournament

The last Sunday in March 15 members and guests of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our February tournament at West Point. The unusually warm weather had the fish feeding. We landed 66 keeper bass weighing about 101 pounds. All but 8 of the keepers were spotted bass. There were 11 limits, and no one zeroed.

I won with five weighing 12.22 pounds and my 5.35 pound largemouth was big fish. Robert Proctor came in second with five at 11.09 pounds, Billy Roberts placed third with five weighing 9.40 pounds and Javin English was fourth with five at 8.87 pounds.

I went over on Wednesday trying to find some kind of pattern. Thursday afternoon, after catching some bass, I cast a shaky head worm to a rocky point and got a thump. When I set the hook, my rod bowed up and the fish pulled my boat around the small creek for 15 minutes before I was finally able to land a 22-pound flathead catfish. That was a highlight of the trip.

I thought I had a good plan, but Sunday morning started very frustrating. I lost two keepers before finally landing a small keeper at 9:15. At 10:35 I went to the point where William Scott and I had missed a bunch of bites the weekend before and put my fifth keeper in the live well ten minutes later. I was able to hook almost every fish that bit there and had ten keepers in the livewell at 11:15.

After getting my limit I started casting a jig and pig, hoping to catch a big fish, and the big one hit on a nearby point at 11:30. After that I really relaxed, and fished some new places, trying for another big one, but caught only one more keeper the rest of the day.

Jig Fishing

Tips for Jig Fishing in Northern Lakes
By Tony Roach, Northland Tackle
from The Fishing Wire

Walleye caught on jig


Few baits will ever be as successful as the plain lead-head jig like the Northland Current Cutter. As a bait-delivery method or a stand-alone option, it excels for multiple species throughout the country, moving water or stagnant, stained or clear. It can be swam, hopped, plopped, dropped, dragged, shook, pitched, and fished vertically, among other presentations. No matter how you choose to fish it, there’s a species that’ll eat it on every water body near you. However, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy to fish, and it can be downright challenging if you’ve never been much for jig-fishing.

I learned to fish jigs on a river system in current, which is quite the curveball compared to natural lakes. With moving water, you need to take into account more variables like sweep, casting angle, mono vs. braid, among others. However, with a few pointers, anyone can catch fish with jigs. Here’s a few to get you started in the right direction.

Use the Right Tools for the Job – Start with a lightweight, high-quality carbon-fiber (no fiberglass) rod in an Extra Fast (XF) action, along with a featherweight reel combination. Jig-fishing, perhaps more than any other technique relies heavily on feel, and you simply can’t feel much with poor equipment. While there are techniques that don’t require you to spend as much on a rod and reel, here’s one instance where you really get what you pay for, and better tech quite simply leads to more fish.

Line – Start with braid and a fluorocarbon leader of a few feet in length, joined by an Albright Special or Uni-to-Uni knot. This offers you the best ability to feel the jig, while still having some stealth with the nearly translucent fluorocarbon line up against the jig itself. Mono can excel in certain situations, especially in current where the sweep and way it cuts through the water presents the jig differently, but braid offers you the best feel overall.

Map the Bottom – Your first couple of casts should be an exploratory mission, as you decipher clues that are telegraphed back to your rod-hand. Cast out and let the jig settle to bottom. Then slowly drag it back to you, hopping or with mixed-in quicker pulls along the way. You’re actively figuring out substrate at distance, such that you can understand the big picture and where fish will be holding. Like any experiment, start with a “control” retrieve, and compare various types of retrieves thereafter.

No Cross-Wind Casting – No matter the orientation of shore or where you’re pitching, wind could be the single largest inhibitor to your catch-total for the day. Position your back to the wind, or directly face it to enjoy far better direct contact with what your jig is doing. Drift into a crosswind, and every fish in the lake could hit your bait on a single retrieve, and you’d never know it because of the huge bow in your line. Wind triggers many fish species up shallow, so on these days, mitigate the effect by keeping your rod-tip close to the water and off to one side of the boat to reduce that problem.

Stay Back in Clear Water – Jig fishing can only be productive in the clear shallows when you’re not driving over fish. In hyper-clear water bodies like Mille Lacs, this means fish spook in 10FOW or even more, meaning you have to stay over deep water and simply pitch a little bit further up to the zones you’d like to cover.

Fish From the Outside In – When fish are schooled up near cover, it pays to work your casts from the outside in. As you pick off fish after fish from the outside, you have less chance of disturbing an entire school by casting up to the center of the most prime piece of cover.

When Vertical, Stay That Way – Vertical jigging works really well in deeper water, but only if you keep your rod tip directly over the top of the bait. Poor boat control when fishing vertically leads to baits off bottom, and less ability to detect bites, especially when the bait is under the boat.

Re-Bait – Whether plastics or live-bait, degraded or destroyed additions to a jig hinder the action and direct appeal. Resist the temptation to leave it on for “one-more-cast” and put your best bait forward. It’s amazing how selective fish can be at times, and at the end of the day you may only use a handful more minnows or plastic grubs. Call that cheap insurance to a successful bite.

Focus – Probably the single biggest deterrent to catching fish on a jig is distracted fishing. If you prefer to doze off, drink coffee, or otherwise just relax, start trolling or bobber fishing. The best jig anglers I know are machines. They’re casting, processing bottom content, hooking walleyes, and positioning the boat for the next cast. They’re mentally engaged nearly all of the time, as they pick apart pieces of structure bit-by-bit. While it’s true that the more you pay attention for any fishing scenario, the more you’ll catch, with jig-fishing it’s absolutely critical.

Fishing Lake Eufaula In March

Bass Statue in Eufaula[/caption]

I had a great trip to Lake Eufaula in March. I met Eufaula, Alabama mayor Jack Tibbs to go fishing and get information for a Georgia and Alabama Outdoor News article. And when my club went back in May, I won on some of the places that will be in the August article – they were good in March, good in May and will be good in August!! Jack has been fishing all his life and fishes many tournaments on Eufaula. He came up with an idea for a spinnerbait designed to fish deep ledges on Lake Eufaula, the Ledgebuster, and developed a tackle company from that start.

Strike Zone Lures now makes all kinds of lures, including spinnerbaits, jigs, worms and others. It is very successful nationwide.

We landed about a dozen bass on Wednesday and the biggest five weighed between 20 and 21 pounds. Although Jack caught most of the fish, I landed the biggest, just under six pounds, and Jack had one about five pounds. I also had one at about four and one-half pounds. All the largemouth hit in three feet of water or less on spinnerbaits, swim jigs and even topwater frogs.

The town of Eufaula is historic, with many antebellum mansions and historic sites. I stayed at beautiful Lakepoint State Park Lodge in a spacious room with a nice view of the lake and marina. Thursday morning before heading home, I relaxed on my private deck, drinking coffee while watching squirrels and more than a dozen different kinds of birds looking for breakfast.

The two nights I was there I enjoyed excellent food. The first night I met Jack and his wife at El Jalisco Mexican Restaurant on Broad Street downtown. I got there first and the owner met me at the door. She was friendly and helpful, explaining some of the menu items.

When Jack arrived, he was greeted by almost everyone in the front of the restaurant and the owner was surprised he was the person I was meeting for dinner. We had to sit in the very back booth, so Jack and I could talk. Otherwise we would have never been able to talk due to all the people coming up to our table to speak to him.

Service was good and the food excellent. I had my favorite, Chili Relleno, and, although a little different than what I am used to, it was very good.

The next night we went to the Cajun Corner Grill, on the corner of Broad Street and Highway 431. Although busy, service was good and I really enjoyed the Gumbo and fried scallops. The salad that came with the meal was a surprise, not the usual bland house salad. It had good cheese, cranberrys, orange slices and mushrooms on it.

One highlight of the trip was a visit to the big bass monument. Since becoming mayor, Jack has pushed to take advantage of the biggest resource of the area, the lake. Fishermen come from all over the US to fish Eufaula and bring in a lot of money to the local economy.

This year the city unveiled the bass monument, with the town’s motto “The bass capitol of the world” on it. That self-proclaimed motto is hard to argue with since Eufaula is known for its quality bass fishing, but people flock to the lake to catch crappie, too.

Eufaula is about 2.5 hours away and is worth a trip for the food and sights, but the fishing is always the highlight.

Top River Trips

Top River Trips on America’s Public Waters
From the U.S. Department of the Interior
from The Fishing Wire

Looking to hit the water? We’ve got you covered.

With approximately 3.6 million miles of streams — including 12,734 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers — the United States has some incredible stretches of water. They’re the perfect place for a quiet float trip, a heart-pumping whitewater adventure or the chance to catch a big one.

Whether it’s a day trip or overnight, below are some of the best river trips on America’s public waters to help you get started in your search for the perfect river adventure. Flow levels, weather and other factors can change the level of skill required to ply the waters or any other river segment. Check local conditions before venturing out. And for those who are unsure of their skills or who want to relax and let others do the planning, professional outfitters offer guided trips on many rivers.

So fasten your life jackets, grab your paddle and #FindYourWay on one of these awesome river trips!

Deschutes Wild and Scenic River


Deschutes Wild and Scenic River in Oregon
Type of river trip: Whitewater
Trip length: Day trip

Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.

Located in central Oregon, the Deschutes Wild and Scenic River is a playground for outdoor recreation and a great place for your next whitewater trip. Thousands of people visit each year to enjoy its exciting whitewater, beautiful scenery and incredible fishing. The river offers a variety of opportunities for both day and overnight trips. A trip on the river will take you through a rimrock-lined canyon that ranges from 900-2,600 feet in depth. Within this canyon, you will experience an incredible geologic and cultural history, and a diverse community of fish, wildlife and vegetation. Be sure to add it to your bucket list today!

Beartrap Canyon Madison River

Beartrap Canyon Madison River in Montana
Type of river trip: Fishing-boating combo
Trip length: Day trip

Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.
One of four sections that make up Montana’s Lee Metcalf Wilderness, Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness is an ideal spot for a fishing and boating trip. The 6,347-acre area offers beautiful wilderness scenery — plus exciting whitewater rafting featuring the famous Class IV – V “Kitchen Sink” rapid. The Madison River is one of Montana’s most coveted fly-fishing destinations, as it’s one of the most productive streams in Montana for brown trout, rainbow trout and mountain whitefish. As you travel the river and cast your line, be sure to look up. The 1,500-foot cliffs that border the canyon provide a breathtaking backdrop.

Lab?y?r?i?nth Canyon on the lower Green River in Utah
Type of river trip: Flatwater
Trip length: Overnight

Labyrinth Canyon


Photo by Bureau of Land Management.
For a great flatwater trip, head to Labyrinth Canyon on the lower Green River. An easy stretch suitable for canoes kayaks and rafts of all types, Labyrinth Canyon can be enjoyed spring through fall with the most popular times between Easter and Labor Day. Here, you’ll float through Utah’s red-rock canyons, tracing the path of Major John Wesley Powell through 44 miles of this calm and scenic portion of the Green River. The Lab?y?r?i?nth Canyon section is perfect for a two-night trip, and if you want to float the longer stretch from Green River to Mineral Bottom, you can spend four days or more on the river. Word of warning: The area is remote and services and cell phone service are non-existent. You must be self-contained and self-reliant to deal with emergencies and plan to carry all your drinking water. And be sure to get a permit.

Gulkana Wild and Scenic River in Alaska
Type of river trip: Whitewater
Trip length: 3-day weekend

Photo by Jeremy Matlock, Bureau of Land Management.
Closely flanked by low, rolling hills with the Wrangell Mountains and Alaska Range in the background, the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River is perfect for those who are ready for an adventure. One of 208 river segments of the Wild and Scenic River system, the Gulkana offers excellent three to four day float trips through meandering waters with numerous riffles, and a short stretch of Class III rapids with convenient put-in and take out points at each end accessed from Alaska’s Richardson Highway. It is also one of the most popular sport fishing rivers in the state, providing rich habitat for rainbow trout, king and red salmon, and more. Along the way on your trip, you’ll see stunning views and a wide range of wildlife. There are more than 33 species of mammals and 59 species of birds known to live in the Gulkana River basin. Although by Alaska standards, this river offers convenient access, it flows through roadless areas and visitors must be self-reliant.

Gunnison Gorge on the Gunnison River in Colorado
Type of river trip: Fishing-boating combo
Trip length: Overnight

Gunnison Gorge


Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.
Just north of Montrose in west-central Colorado lies the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, a diverse landscape ranging from adobe badlands to rugged pinyon and juniper-covered slopes. At the heart of it is the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness Area with a spectacular black granite and red sandstone double canyon formed by the crystal-clear waters of the Gunnison River. Anglers come for the gold-medal trout waters, while skilled rafters, kayakers and whitewater canoeists come for a true wilderness whitewater float through the 3,000 foot deep canyon. Every float begins with a mile-long hike into the gorge. Outfitters offer guide and packing services.

Delaware Wild and Scenic River in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Type of river trip: Flatwater with riffles
Trip length: Day trip

Delaware Wild and Scenic River


Photo by Julia Bell, National Park Service.
Flowing along the Pennsylvania and New Jersey border, the Delaware Wild and Scenic River is a spectacular spot for a day-long kayaking or canoeing trip with options to extend to an overnight trip. Divided in three sections (the Upper, Middle and Lower Delaware), the river takes you along a tour of the region’s diverse habitats and history. Sheer cliffs rise 400 feet above the river with a desert-like ecosystem on the southern-facing side and flora and fauna usually found only in arctic-alpine climates on north-facing cliffs. From an historic viewpoint, the river is one of the most significant corridors in the nation. The corridor contains buildings used during Washington’s famous crossing, historic navigation canals, Native American and colonial era archaeological sites and mills.

North Fork of the American River in California
Type of river trip: Whitewater
Trip length: Overnight trip

North Fork


Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management
Arguably the most challenging and spectacular fork of the American is the North Fork, with its emerald green waters and huge granite boulders. Best known for its thrilling class IV and V whitewater, it was designated as one of the nation’s Wild and Scenic Rivers. This awe-inspiring river canyon offers a remote exhilarating experience for those up to the challenge. Hikers and fishing enthusiasts can choose from a number of trails to access the river canyon, most of them dropping steeply from the canyon rim down to the water. Bring your gold pan and you are likely to find some color. Walls tower 2,000-4,000 feet above the river, creating a majestic backdrop for cascading waterfalls, brightly colored wildflowers and the bright, clear water of the river itself. Looking for a more sublime experience? Head downstream where the American softens to a lazy stretch through an urban greenway — you won’t believe you are within the city limits of Sacramento as anglers cast for trout and salmon along cottonwood lined banks — or head up to the South Fork with its easy-access moderate rapids. This California gem truly offers something for everyone looking for an overnight trip.

North Platte River in Wyoming
Type of river trip: Fishing-boating combo
Trip length: Day trip

North Platte Rive


Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management.
Mention Wyoming’s North Platte River to someone who’s fished there, and you’re guaranteed to get an earful of tales of the big browns, rainbows and cutthroats that they have fought on this legendary Wyoming stream. Even though they might not share their secret spots, this river offers plenty of public access points to the best fishing segments. The aptly named Miracle Mile and Grey Reef are just two popular segments — drift boats and shore anglers can both enjoy its waters. The numerous boat launches allow for a variety of trip lengths ranging from an hour or two to the entire day. The popular Bessemer Bend Recreation Site offers fishing, picnicking and interpretive displays discussing the significance of the site as a major crossing for the California, Oregon and Mormon Pioneer National Historic trails. Several public campgrounds are located along the corridor. The North Platte is a true gem of central Wyoming, and a top destination in the state for a fishing and boating trip.

Chattooga Wild and Scenic River in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia
Type of river trip: Whitewater
Trip length: Day trip

Chattooga Wild and Scenic River


Photo courtesy of Tim Palmer.
Flowing through three states and the Ellicott Rock Wilderness, the Chattooga is recognized as one of the Southeast’s premier whitewater rivers. It begins in mountainous North Carolina as small rivulets, nourished by springs and abundant rainfall. High on the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains is the start of a 50-mile journey that ends at Lake Tugaloo between South Carolina and Georgia, dropping almost 1/2-mile in elevation. The Chattooga offers outstanding scenery, ranging from thundering falls and twisting rock-choked channels to narrow, cliff-enclosed deep pools. The setting is primitive — dense forests and undeveloped shorelines characterize the primitive nature of the area — so travelers have to rely on their own skills and strength.

Check out more awesome river trips on America’s Wild and Scenic Rivers.