The Flint River literally begins in aqueducts beneath Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Finally around the town of Woolsey it becomes floatable to kayak and canoe fisherman (unless we are in a major drought!). It is home to Georgia’s unofficial state fish – the shoal bass. Shoal bass were once even called, by some, Flint River Bass. Aside from the shoal bass the river is unique in many other ways. It is also home to the rare and endangered spider lilly and numerous rare species of turtles and mussels.
Gentle shoals from the headwaters down to the confluence with Auchumpkee creek, where there is one last set of granite shoals. Most people refer to that section as the upper Flint. The only truly dangerous set of rapids on the upper Flint is Yellow Jacket Shoals, which is located just below HWY 36. Rated at a class III, it can be very technical and has a big drop and wave. It should also be mentioned that Yellow Jacket Shoals is posted to fishing from the point that the posted signs start until just after the big drop. From the 128 bridge down to Lake Blackshear is a windy river with a lot of sandbars on the inside of the bends and rock and falen timber on the outside. This section is referred to by most people as the middle Flint. The lower Flint is any portion of the river below Lake Blackshear down to Lake Seminole. Once below Lake Blackshear the river occasionally will roll over gentle limestone shoals until it reaches Lake Worth (Chehaw). However, in downtown Albany there is one shoal that is rated as high as a class II. From Lake Blackshear down to Lake Worth is approximately 16 river miles. Below Worth to Seminole is near 50 miles of river filled with limestone shoals and rock walls.
Rapids/Obstacles to beware of:
As mentioned above, just Yellow Jacket Shoals poses a big threat to any beginning kayaker. Many class II’s are present but can be portaged and/or run with no real danger even if one were to flip over.
Optimum Gauge Height:
If you are fishing the upper Flint you can use the USGS Carsonville gauge to determine if the river is fishable. You would prefer it to be below 5ft and above 2ft. Or, if you are fishing further upstream you can use the gauge at Griffin. It should be 3ft to 6ft for best results. For the middle Flint I would use the gauge at Montezuma and just make sure it is not over 3ft. For the lower Flint you’ll need to check one of two gauges depending on what section you are floating. If you are fishing the section below Lake Blackshear then use the HWY 32 bridge gauge and make sure it is not over 4.5ft or 1500 CFS. Fishing from Warwick Dam down to Lake Seminole you’ll want to the see the gauge at Albany under 4.5 ft.