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Discussion Starter #1
This year is going to be the first year I have fished the Choctawhatchee River, or any river at that. I have a 1448 all weld with 25 hp and tend to live life on the safe side. I know rivers can be dangerous at times when the water is up, therefore, I have been trying to figure out the river level chart before I start exploring...link below. I searched the net and believe I now understand the stages (action, minor, moderate) but at what point below action, less than 10 ft, is it unsafe to be on in the type of boat I have? Why does the chart only go down to 7 ft and not lower? What level is the river considered to be "Low"? If it matters, I'll primarily be launching at the ramp on HWY 20 or ones further down river. Any and all explanations are greatly appreciated.

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=tae&gage=BRUF1
 

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I've never fished that river but just be advised that a river can be dangerous when it's low too. There can be stumps, etc. that can take out the foot of your outboard.
 

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The chart will show a lower rang in stage as the river comes down. Around 6 foot (give or take) is a good height for the Bruce area. You can check the river stage in the Caryville area to get a good estimate as to where the river will be in a couple of days. 10 foot is fish-able but you may want to try the lower end around Black Creek when you have high water conditions around Bruce. I fish a small boat also and have never had issues with high water but as said above low water conditions can be very dangerous if your unfamiliar with the area (that's any body of water)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The chart will show a lower rang in stage as the river comes down. Around 6 foot (give or take) is a good height for the Bruce area. You can check the river stage in the Caryville area to get a good estimate as to where the river will be in a couple of days. 10 foot is fish-able but you may want to try the lower end around Black Creek when you have high water conditions around Bruce. I fish a small boat also and have never had issues with high water but as said above low water conditions can be very dangerous if your unfamiliar with the area (that's any body of water)
Yeah, I understand the lower water conditions can be just as dangerous as high levels. So would it be far to say, for the Bruce area, anything lower than 6 feet the river is "Low"? I would assume fishing the river at high levels would make it difficult due to the fish moving into flooded timber. What would be the idle level to fish it from Bruce southbound...8-6 ft?
 

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6 foot for me..I wouldn't call it that low until it gets under 4 foot. Further upstream you go smaller the river will be and more logs to hit.
 

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Anything under 7' and I am gonna idle. Granted I am running in the dark to hunting spots. Right now its nice. 9-10' is very comfortable. But you will not catch me running wide open period when it is 7 and under.

However, you're in a 1448. I am in a bass boat. If I had a 1448, I wouldn't hesitate to run it at 6. But you better have ran it before. I wouldn't go out there and open it up on day 1. Be careful in some of the creeks when you approach near houseboats. There are 3-4 that I know of that have cables just below that water line.

I primarily hunt the Bruce/Ebro area.

The chart will show below 7 when it approaches that range.
 

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This is just my opinion-I have been fishing at Ebro for about 20years and I don't pay any attention to the river readings. Once summer rolls around and river fishing begins-I keep an eye on how much rain we get in south Alabama which results in a lot of run off from those red clay peanut fields into the Pea and Choct-thus resulting in a stained river. As long as there are no plentiful amounts of rainfall 7-9 days before you will be ok. Of course don't fish it when the water is in the woods, when its low you just have to cruise at a lower speed until you "learn the river" but all in all its pretty easy to read the run of it-although there are a few hidden stumps here and there. There can be some good numbers pulled out of this river-and you can also get skunked. Learning a new area is the funnest part, and you cant catch them sitting at home. Goodluck and pm me come late April if you want to tag along on some.
 

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EAT-SLEEP-GO FISHING
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A lot of responses here for Jarrod578. As indicated in many it depends on many factors as to water conditions and what part of the river you want to fish. In some areas 3.5 to 4 on the Caryville gage is considered just right for areas below hwy 90. Personally, I use the Caryvlle gage and rarely look at the Ebro gage except when river is near flood stage. There are a great many variables to deal with and the only way to get a good feel is fish as often as you can in all water conditions and then narrow it down to what you like. Personally, I'm not worth a flip in high water when the river is all out in the swamp while other get back in the woods and kill 'em. As suggest by one poster....try to find a buddy to fish with a few times. That will certainly reduce the learning curve.
 

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most of us that have been around the rivers all our life usual have a bridge or 2 we drive by in our day to day chores. We just know what it will look like for the area we like to fish or hunt. But if you don't have that option try getting out and running the river not to exceed the conditions and look up on the chart so you know what the river is doing in your area you want to fish. And before long you will start knowing more areas that you can get to or where you will need to stay away from. You can get a good deal of information on what the river does by fellow boaters on the river. They will mostly all help you out but will never let you know where they fish. Good luck and be safe out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, I do not drive over a Choctaw river bridge daily or even weekly since I live further west of the river. I'll get out there and slowly explore it...I mean that is the only way I'll learn it. I haven't lived in the area to terribly long and most everyone I know fishes the bay and offshore. Personally, I'd rather pitch a soft plastic around a fallen tree in search of that trophy largemouth...but that's me. Anyways, from what I can gather, anything lower than 10 ft is safe to run it and always, no mater the level, use extreme caution...but that anywhere always.
 
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