Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area

Park Regulations & Safety

  • Glass containers of any kind are not allowed while on the river. Broken glass can cause serious injury to river users and damages personal equipment. Drinking alcohol impairs coordination and judgment and is illegal to consume if operating a power boat.

  • U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices are REQUIRED TO BE WORN if you are boating, tube floating, or wading in river areas between (1) Buford Dam and the GA 20 highway bridge and (2) between Morgan Falls Dam and the Morgan Falls boat ramp. On all other river sections in the park, you must have a wearable, appropriately sized, U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device on board all vessels for each person. Additionally, all children under the age of 10 MUST WEAR a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device when the vessel is underway.

  • Always be cautious of rising river water levels due to dam releases or rainfall. Flash floods do occur on the Chattahoochee River. Check the water release schedule before entering the water directly below dams. For water release schedules, call Buford Dam at 770-945-1466 or Morgan Falls Dam at 404-329-1455. Check to see what the water levels are at three locations along the river by visiting the National Weather Service website.

  • Water released from Buford Dam comes from the bottom of Lake Sidney Lanier and is approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This cold water is great for trout, but dangerous for you. Beware of Hypothermia -- the severe lowering of the body's temperature. When exposed to these low temperatures, exhaustion or unconsciousness can occur in less that 30 minutes. If you fall into this cold water, get out quickly and warm yourself. Hypothermia can occur even in the warmest summer months.

  • Watch weather and water conditions and head for shore if bad weather threatens. If lightning occurs, get out of the water, stay away from trees, and seek low shelter. Lightweight, quick-drying clothing is adequate in the summer. During cooler seasons wear clothes of natural and synthetic fiber blends. For cold weather wear wool or synthetic fibers -- they retain heat even when wet. Always wear appropriate footwear.

  • Never dive or jump in the river. There are dangers in the form of submerged rocks, murky water, and fluctuating water levels that can cause serious injury.

  • Know your planned fishing spots and tell others your plans. Paces Mill is the last take-out point in the park. It is located a short distance downstream from the I-75 Highway underpass on the West side of the river.

  • Bring fresh drinking water and non-perishable food or snacks. Drink and eat periodically to avoid dehydration and keep your energy levels high. Do not drink the river water.

  • Please remember a $3.00 daily or $25.00 annual Parking Pass is required on parked vehicles in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Information on purchasing a Park Pass is available in all parking lots at the self-service fee stations, by calling 678-538-1200, or you can print out and mail in an application by clicking here (Requires Adobe Reader.)

Fishing Regulations

Within the park, there are three special regulation sections. The first concerns live bait-fish. Live bait-fish may only be used downstream of the GA 9 highway bridge, except at certain times in the delayed harvest section (see more information below). The seining of bait-fish is not allowed at any time.

The next allows artificial lures only year-round. This fifteen mile section is located from GA 20 highway to the boat ramp at Medlock Bridge just upstream of the GA 141 highway bridge. In this artificial lure section, it is unlawful to use or possess any other type of bait.

The last section covers delayed harvest. This five mile section is located from Sope Creek (off Columns Drive) downstream to U.S. Hwy 41 (Cobb Parkway). Anglers must release all trout immediately and use and possess only artificial lures with single hooks from November 1 through May 14 annually. Anglers fishing for species other than trout must abide by the artificial lure only regulation while fishing in the delayed harvest section. These restrictions do not apply in this delayed harvest section from May 15 to October 31 of each year.

U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices are REQUIRED TO BE WORN if you are boating, tube floating, or wading in river areas between (1) Buford Dam and the GA 20 highway bridge and (2) between Morgan Falls Dam and the boat ramp at Morgan Falls parking lot. On all other river sections in the park, you must have a wearable, appropriately sized, U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device on board all vessels for each person. Additionally, all children under age 10 MUST WEAR a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device when the vessel is underway.