The lure of the river
Soque, Chattahoochee waterways offer fishing, kayaking
As the temperature continues to get warmer and the days grow longer, the waters of the Soque and Chattahoochee rivers will offer a way for folks to cool off.
The Soque River, a 30-mile stretch of water - with portions running alongside state Route 197 North in Clarkesville - is home to numerous fish, but the ones most people drop a line for are trout.
Blackhawk Fly Fishing, which operates out of Clarkesville, is a well-known and popular outlet for fly fishing on the Soque River.
"We've been open 21 years," said Abby Jackson, co-owner of Blackhawk Fly Fishing. "We get people from all over the world that fish with us."
Recently, Jackson said one angler traveled all the way from Canada to fish the Soque with Blackhawk.
"We're known for fly-fishing - catch-and-release only," she said. "We have two miles of prominent stream on 125 acres on the Soque [River]. We have a fly-shop and we're full-destination."
Blackhawk Fly Fishing offers customers guided fishing tours, a farmhouse for overnight lodging and more.
Those who may be interested in Blackhawk's services may need to book their trips soon, as the busy season has already begun.
"We're in the busy season right now," Jackson said. ìWe go all year except for July and August. There have been summers where we did fish [July and August], it just depends on the water temperature."
When the temperature gets too hot, the water heats up as well and can deprive trout of the oxygen levels needed to survive. When the water is nice and cool, anglers can expect to reel in both rainbow and brown trout, ranging from three to 15 pounds.
If fishing isn't your thing, consider enjoying the waters of the Chattahoochee River atop a kayak.
Carl Kirkpatrick, who runs Wildwood Outfitters in Cleveland, said business will begin to boom as soon as children are out of school.
"The busy time is just regular summer vacation," Kirkpatrick said. "Memorial Day, really, through June and July."
Wildwood Outfitters has been in business since 1972 and offers customers kayak rentals, canoe rentals and rafts. With kayaking becoming more popular these days, Kirkpatrick said business has been "up-and-down."
"I've been here a long time," he said. ìItís just up-and-down; it's just been kind of steady. I'd say there are more private boaters now, more folks that are buying their own boats than there used to be."
While fishing is popular on both the Soque and Chattahoochee rivers, kayaking and canoeing is only allowed on the Chattahoochee.
"The Soque is pretty well locked down," Kirkpatrick said. "They don't let us on there. We operate on the Chattahoochee. There are 25 miles of river you can paddle on the Chattahoochee, with six axis points, and all of those are open 24 hours a day."