Trout fishing is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Atlanta, but maybe it should be. Thanks to a bottom release from the Buford Dam on Lake Lanier, some 45 miles of ice-cold Chattahoochee River runs from northern Georgia through “Hotlanta.” The Hooch, as it’s known to locals, just might be the best trout water in the Deep South. The river wends it way through leafy woodlands, beneath the shadows of office parks, and under interstates, and has up to 5,000 rainbows and browns per mile.

Wading is an option, but a drift boat is a better bet for covering the water and taking in the scenery, like the prehistoric fishing weirs that were first built by the native Cherokee and Creek Indians. Spring is one of the best times to be on the river, when caddisflies blanket the water, and the blooming azaleas and dogwoods on the banks rival that of the famous golf course in Augusta. Guide Ken Louko says that good fishing is available all year long. One of his favorite spots is the pool below the bridge of I-75, where fat rainbows sip bluewing olives as commuters zip by on the highway above. Contact Spring Creek Anglers, 404-664-4823;