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Etowah River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Day Trip Report
Trip Dates: July 30, 2009
Nearest City: Cartersville, GA
Difficulty: Easy
Submitted by: BrooksGayton

Description:

Allatoona Dam all the way to Euharlee Bridge

We were paddling a Mad River Canoe Adventure 16 for our first major day trip since we bought the boat. We put in at the boat ramp at Riverside Park off of Allatoona Dam Road in Emerson and paddled down river. The portion of the river from the boat ramp to the Thompson-Weinman Dam about 3 miles down river was very calm and flat. There were several beavers that we saw and fish jumping occasionally. There was also a couple of Blue Herons searching for a bite to eat.

We passed under Highway 75, and then the old Civil War Railroad Bridge Pillars that were part of the "Great Locomotive Chase," and then under Highway 41, then the new railroad bridge and finally under Highway 293 or "Tennessee Street" south of Cartersville. After 293, we came upon Thompson-Weinman Dam and could hear the water gushing over the spillway. There was a portage route to the left of the dam and ABSOLUTELY NO ACCESS AROUND THE RIGHT SIDE!!! There was a nice "cove" where you could get out of the river to portage with a Telephone Pole to tie the boat to, if you wanted to scout the other side or fish or whatever.

The fishing at the bottom of this spillway is fantastic when the Allatoona Dam is generating, however, the river is dangerous during these times and you DO NOT WANT TO GO OVER THIS SPILLWAY!!! THERE IS REBAR STICKING OUT OF THE BOTTOM FACING UPRIVER TO CATCH DEBRIS...VERY DANGEROUS!!! The fishing was awful inbetween Allatoona Dam and Thompson-Weinman Dam, but it picked up once we were on the bottom of the spillway.

The Etowah is shallow when you first get back in, but it picks back up after you leave the dam. You travel behind Chemical Products Corporation and then the Waterford Subdivision and then the Etowah Indian Mounds. The water here is beautiful! All behind the waterford, up until you get to the Etowah Indian Mounds, the water is crystal clear and the floor of the river is a huge slab of rock. You can see all the way to the bottom (about 2-3 feet when they are not generating, as deep as 10 when they are...and much muddier). It is a great place to stop and take a swim.

When you get to the Indian Mounds, you need to go to the left to avoid an ancient fish weir used by the native Americans a few hundred years ago. They actually still work!!! We pulled a 12 pound Striped Bass and had an awesome dinner that night! After the Indian Mounds, you pass under Douthit Ferry Road and there is a long stretch before your next take-out point. The fishing between Douthit Ferry Road and Higway 113 is FANTASTIC. The water levels here get the deepest of any point on the river when they are not generating (12-15 ft.) and the larger stripes and catfish use these holes as homes until the next time Allatoona Dam is released. They are biting fresh chicken liver and light colored swim baits right now.

After you pass under Highway 113, there are a couple of shoals that are manageable when they are not generating, but very shallow. After you pass through the shoals, you will come up on a semi-private campground and boat ramp. The land is privately owned, but he has built campsites and this boat ramp off of Euharlee Road for people to access the Etowah as there was nowhere else to do this in the area! Thanks to that man, whoever you are! It is a VERY LONG STRETCH from this boat ramp to the next takeout point at Euharlee Bridge 4-5 hours if you don't paddle. There are several shoals through this area that again are manageable, but shallow when they are not generating.

The fishing picks up after you pass the shoals on about a mile straightaway just before you can see Georgia Power's Plant Bowen. The water is deep and this appears to be another larger area where the big fish congregate in between generating periods. As you leave, this area there are some houses on the right and an island in the middle of the river with a picnic table on it. It is a fantastic spot for a bit to eat...thank you to the people across the river who put it there! After this there are another couple of shoals before the water opens up into an almost lake-like area next to Plant Bowen where the fishing again picks up, then it is just a quarter mile or so before you arrive at Euharlee bridge. The take-out is on the right bank, just before you go under the bridge. There is a road, but it is rutted out and uphill to the road, so you are probably going to carry your boat out up to the parking area. There are usually people fishing in this area.

This was a VERY LONG TRIP!!! From Dawn to Dusk for the entire trip. We packed a lot of fluids and two sack lunches. The trip could be broken up into two separate trips from the Allatoona Dam to the Boat Ramp after 113, and then from the Boat Ramp to the Euharlee Bridge. Overall the trip is very fun, very easy to manage, and very beautiful scenery to take in.

I am planning to make the trip from the Euharlee Bridge to the Highway 411/20 bridge later this summer. I will leave a report on this trip as well. Anyone interested in taking this trip and looking for company, I would love to make it again!

Accommodations:

Riverside Park: Very nice facility. Camp sites, eating pavilion, grilling area, very nice bathrooms.
No other bathroom stops until you get to the Etowah Indian Mounds and they are only open certain days of the week. When they are open they have very nice facilities as well.
The Semi-Private campground and boat ramp does NOT have any bathroom facilities and it is intended for primitive camping only (tents only).
The exit point at Euharlee bridge is accessible, but no bathrooms are present here either.

Fees:

There were no fees associated with this trip, but Riverside Park does close at 9 PM and if you don't get back to get your vehicle, they will lock up and you will have to wait until the morning!

Directions:

Starting point: Take the Red Top Mountain Road Exit off Highway 75 just south of Cartersville and go towards Highway 41. When you get to 41, turn right and go down about a mile and a half where you will be turning right again onto Allatoona Dam Road just before the water treatment plant. Follow it all the way into Riverside Park. Take the first left after the check in building and the first left again on that road which leads you to the boat ramp.

Take Out Point: Euharlee Road in between Cartersville and Euharlee. Heading out of Cartersville on Highway 113 take a right at the red light just after Ladds Farm Supply and go down about a mile to reach the Semi-Private Boat Ramp or about 5 miles down to reach Euharlee Bridge just past the BP Gas station. The parking lot is on the left.

Resources:

I did use a map that I found online by searching on google for "Lower Etowah River Map." It gives you the mileage for the Etowah River from the Allatoona Dam all the way to Rome, GA


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