Animals

Discover 15 Amazing Fish Living in Lake Allatoona

The tenth-largest lake in Georgia, Lake Allatoona is home to a diverse range of fish and wildlife. At a maximum depth of 145 feet, Lake Allatoona is relatively deep, though not nearly as deep as Lake Lanier or Carters Lake.

Many different species of fish and other animals can be found in the lake. It is a highly sought-after location for leisure and fishing, and it is frequently replenished. Because of this, many fishermen choose to fish at night, when the lake is often a little quieter. Discover the numerous fascinating fish species that call Lake Allatoona home by reading on!

Bass: Largemouth and Spotted

Approximately 85% of the several kinds of bass found in Lake Allatoona are spotted bass. Spotted bass typically reach a length of 12 inches, with older fish reaching up to or beyond 20 inches. Although largemouth bass typically weigh 1.25 pounds, they are often slightly larger than spotted bass.

The type of bait that bass pursue varies according on the season. Use reactive baits such as spinnerbaits or shallow-diving crankbaits during the cooler months. Throughout the winter and into April and May, when spotted bass are spawning, you should remain shallower.

Typically, largemouth bass inhabit areas near the coast where there are fallen trees or other debris that serves as a habitat for them. Check the backwater, shallower areas of the Little River, Allatoona Creek, and Etowah.

Generally speaking, spotted bass are found in deeper water than their largemouth cousins. When plastic worms and a ⅛ or ¼ ounce drop shot weight are used, many fishermen have luck capturing spotted bass during the warmer months. But as the weather warms up in late May, you should head for deeper lake areas. The greatest time to fish is from late summer to early spring at any one of the more than 36 deepwater fish attractor locations located underneath.

Bass: Striped and Hybrid

Although spotted and largemouth bass are more prevalent than striped bass, you can still catch one if you put in the effort. You should use either weighted or free lines to slow troll live shad. Fall to late April is the ideal season to capture stripers. In the upper parts of Lake Allatoona, stripers can be caught in the early spring, when they are spawning. Then, in the summer, follow their migration course up to the Etowah River.

Although hybrid bass are best fished in the summer, you can catch them almost any time of year. At that time, they are typically in colder, deeper water. To capture stripers, you could attempt trolling with live shad using the same technique. The 20 to 30 foot depth range is the optimum range for finding hybrid bass.

Crappie

Another smaller species in Lake Allatoona is called crappies, often called speckled bass or specks. Larger fish can reach up to two pounds, although they typically weigh around half that. In 2022, 3 pounds 7 ounces of black crappie was the biggest ever recorded on Allatoona. That same year, a catch of 3 pounds, 4 ounces broke the record for the largest white crappie.

You should go fishing in the springtime near the Illinois, Kellog, and Stamp Creeks as well as the Etowah River. To cover more water, you can troll with jigs, or you can follow the fish by moving every few minutes. To guarantee a bite, live minnows and small jibs on bobbers work well. In the summer, you should search the fish attractor for crappie, just like you would for bass. Deeper water and lower temperatures are typically where they gather. They can be found in warmer areas, such as the riverbanks, from fall to winter.

Bream includes Redear, Bluegill, and Redbreast sunfish.

Lake Allatoona is home to a sizable population of bluegills in addition to redear and redbreast sunfish. These fish are about 5 to 7 inches long on average, significantly smaller than crappie and bass. Out of the three, redear are the biggest, with some specimens growing up to 9 inches in length. We suggest using minnows or worms as live bait because bream are particularly fond of them. To cover additional ground, you can troll your bait on bobbers.

Smallmouth Buffalo

Although they are classified as belonging to a distinct family by scientists, smallmouth buffalos are a species of giant, long-lived fish that resemble carps. These fish, which have a lifespan of about 20 years, can grow to be very large because they reside in the Etowah River. You should use a circle hook with a ball of dough or corn on the end to catch them. For this species, some people also bowfish, especially at night.

Blue, Channel, and Flathead Catfish

For their flavor and for frying, flathead, blue, and channel catfish are much sought for. Of the three, blue catfish are often the heaviest; as of 2020, the record on Lake Allatoona stood at 52 pounds, 1 ounce. On a night in October, angler Aaron Churchwell captured the massive record-breaker. He used parts of a two-pound catfish he had captured earlier in the day as bait. You can find lots of cats on the cliffs around the bridge and close to Little River. Since they like to live in more rugged environments, you can often locate them near islands.

Longnose Gar and Alligator Gar

The lake record was recently broken in the summer of 2023, so you can be certain that Lake Allatoona is teeming with gar. In June, Caleb McClure grabbed a roughly 5-foot-long, 27-pound, 4-ounce longnose gar that dwarfs many other lake species.

The majority of the lake’s gars are between three and four feet long, however you can’t count on always landing one that large. To capture these beasts, you’ll want to utilize live shad or minnows on bobbers.

Carp.

Carp can grow to be as big as 15 pounds, just like gar. You can bait bottom rigs with worms, dough, or maize, or you can bow fish for them. They inhabit places where there are fallen trees and submerged plants. Check out the coves and backwaters past the neighboring island and surrounding Stamp Creek.

Alligators in Lake Allatoona

Although they are not usually found this far north, alligators have been observed in Lake Allatoona on occasion. In 1989, the Northwest Region Game and Fish Division captured a four-foot alligator in Allatoona, and in less than a year, they caught a six-foot alligator there as well.

Georgia can be divided into North and South by a line known as the Fall Line. The East Coast was mostly submerged under the sea thousands of years ago, and the states’ land area was significantly less. The northern “Piedmont” region and the southern “Coastal Plain” are divided by a rocky barrier formed where the water and land meet.

Above the “Fall Line,” alligators have difficulty surviving. This is due to the fact that reptiles cannot withstand the bitter cold of Atlanta’s winters. Sid Painter, a wildlife biologist, believes that the alligator from 1989 most likely traveled to Lake Allatoona “as a passenger in someone’s car.” When exotic animals grow too big for their owners to handle, many people who adopt them as pets eventually have to release them.

Additional Wildlife in Lake Allatoona

Lake Allatoona is home to a variety of non-venomous snake species, such as the plain-bellied water snake and the common water snake. On the other hand, ordinary water snakes resemble cottonmouths quite a little. Before you get too alarmed, take a good look at the slithering creatures and remember that it is against the law in Georgia to kill non-venomous snakes.

One of the six poisonous snake species in Georgia (there are 47 total state species) is the copperhead, which can be found around Lake Allatoona and its environs. As you make your way through the leaves and undergrowth, pay attention.