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, Doughtyâ€™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 anglerâ€™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 didnâ€™t let a friend miss a state record opportunity.
â€śCongratulations 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,â€ť John Biagi, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division, told the Gwinnett Citizen. â€śThat is two new state records and one record tied this summerâ€”what are you waiting for folks, get outdoors and go fish Georgia!â€ť
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 Jacksonâ€™s song â€śChattahoochee,â€ť which was the Country Music Associationâ€™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.