The Coosa River is one of Alabama's most developed rivers. It begins at the confluence of the Oostanaula and Etowah Rivers in Rome, Georgia. Around 90% of the Coosa River's length is located in Alabama. The river starts in Rome, Georgia and ends just northeast of the Alabama state capital, Montgomery, where it joins the Tallapoosa River to form the Alabama River just south of Wetumpka. Coosa County, Alabama is located on the Coosa River.There are a total of seven dams between Georgia and the Coosas confluence with the Tallapoosa River which impound the Coosa River's natural flow for almost its entire length in Alabama. Hydroelectric power dams have proved very valuable to the citizens of Alabama, but costly to some species endemic to the mainstem of the Coosa River. In Alabama itself, most of the river has been impounded, with Alabama Power, a unit of the Southern Company, maintaining seven power dams on the Coosa River to this day.The Coosa River flows 30.4 miles west-southwest from Rome, Georgia entering Lake Weiss at the Alabama state line. Four concrete boat ramps on the river offer boaters easy access to the upper, middle, and lower portions of the river. The river is accessable by prop-boats over most of its length, though care is needed as floating debris is commonplace on the river.
From late February through early April, white bass pile up in the Coosa River as they make their annual spawning run from Lake Weiss. Numbers will be down this year as past years spawning success has been low due to persistent drought conditions. The river section between the River Road boat ramp near Coosa, upstream to the Mayo Lock and Dam Park is prime A territory for catching spawn run white bass. Males will typically be ¾ lb. and show up on the spawning ground first, while egg-laden females in the 1-2 lb. range show up later in the season. Key in on creek mouths and fallen trees with good water flow around them in the main river. Hungry white bass congregate in these areas waiting on food to pass by on the current. Anglers targeting white bass should try casting small jigs and crankbaits in shad patterns or use live bait. Most likely, anglers will catch a mixed bag of white bass and crappie using these techniques.The Coosa River is home to one of only a handful of naturally reproducing land-locked striped bass populations in the world. The average Coosa striper is 5-6 lbs., but linesides exceeding 30 lbs. are often caught during the spring spawning run in the area from the Mayo Lock and Dam upriver to Rome. Live or cut shad is the most popular bait, but a few stripers are fooled using artificial lures such as bucktail jigs, shad colored crankbaits, and large jerkbaits fished in swift water near fallen trees. After the spawn, stripers disperse all over the Coosa River basin in search of cool waters to beat the summer heat. These fish can be found hiding wherever there is cool water in the rivers and smaller tributaries of the Coosa River. Find one of these spots and striped bass could be on the menu all summer. When cooler fall temperatures arrive, stripers will begin moving back toward the main lake where anglers can find them chasing shad on the main river. From mid to late winter the lower sections of the Coosa River into Lake Weiss are good bets to find some winter striper action.Largemouth bass predominate, but spotted bass up to 4 lbs. occur in fair numbers around the main rivers bluff banks and creek mouths. To take advantage of an excellent largemouth bass fishery, anglers must move into the sloughs and backwaters off the main stem of the Coosa River. Areas like Brushy Branch (Big Cedar Creek), Kings Creek, and Mt. Hope Creek hold plenty of largemouth, but these stump-laden waters must be boated with care. The average bucketmouth will weigh 1-2 lbs., with larger individuals topping the 7-8 lb. range.Blue, channel and flathead catfish of all sizes are abundant. The larger blue catfish can top 50 lbs. Fish for these whiskered behemoths in and around log jams common along the river. Cats can be taken with a number of unsavory baits, but anglers should keep in mind most trophy cats are after live prey such as shad or bream.Freshwater drum, smallmouth buffalo, gar and suckers are abundant in the Coosa. The average drum is slightly over 12 inches, but prepare to hook into some bull drum over 20 inches in length. Bluegill, redbreast sunfish and redear sunfish round out the fishing opportunity in the Coosa River.