The Chattahoochee River is home to Colorado-sized brown trout, and Chad Doughty of Winder, Ga., was fortunate enough to land one on July 27 to capture a new Peach State record.
Fishing below Buford Dam in a kayak, Doughty reeled in the 20-pound, 14-ounce brownie after a 45-minute frenzy that at one point had him jumping ship to stop his reel from running out of line.
Using a rooster tail spinner on a 6-pound test, Doughty’s 31.5-inch Georgia brown trout beat the standing record by 2 pounds, 8 ounces, caught by Charles E. Ford in 2001, also on the Chattahoochee.
Though Doughty intended to keep fishing after the catch, the angler’s friends encouraged him to find a Georgia Department of Agriculture certified scale when they believed their partner had just hooked a state record. Luckily for Doughty, his friends didn’t let a friend miss a state record opportunity.
“Congratulations to Mr. Doughty! What a tremendous catch and it just goes to show you never know what a day of fishing will get you until you get out on the water,” John Biagi, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division, told the Gwinnett Citizen. “That is two new state records and one record tied this summer—what are you waiting for folks, get outdoors and go fish Georgia!”
The 430-mile river, which runs from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Apalachicola Bay in the Gulf of Mexico, has made numerous appearances in popular culture, including country music artist Alan Jackson’s song “Chattahoochee,” which was the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year in 1993. Big fish like the one caught by Doughty will continue to keep the river in the record books for anglers and musicians alike.