Water Levels


Altamaha River

The Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers come together just west of Uvalda, GA, to form the mighty Altamaha River. Named for a Yamasee Indian chief, Alatamaha, the Altamaha is the largest river of the GA coast and the second largest river basin in the eastern United States. The river winds for 137 miles from the forks to the Atlantic ocean and is relatively undisturbed except for a few fishing villages and vacation houses. 
The river is home to the endangered wood stork, as well as the southern bald eagle. The West Indian manatee and the shortnose sturgeon, and seven species of pearly mussels found nowhere else in the world live in and visit the river. There are several rare plants found alone the river. A rare flowering shrub, Franklin alatamaha, named after Benjamin Franklin, may still survive alone the river. Radford's Dicerandra, a recently discovered mint; grows nowhere on earth but on the rivers sand ridges.
Wide, big, and slow, the Altamaha's flow is quite different from that of the area's smaller rivers and streams. With the rains of spring and early summer the Altamaha can flood with its waters sometimes reaching as far as a mile or more into the hardwood swamps and bottomlands that line both sides of the Altamaha River. This is a great time to paddle to these swamps, which at other times of the year is only accessible with difficult hiking. Lewis Island Natural Area, located five up river from Darien, is a mass of canoe trails and waterways. The Altamaha on one side and Buffalo Swamp on the other, it is accessible only by boat. The island contains the largest known groves of virgin tidewater cypress and tupelo gum trees in Georgia. The Island is a great example of what forested swamps in the tidal areas of the eastern United States once looked like.
Late summer and winter is the best time to paddle the main channel of the river. The water is low and clear and sandbars around every corner makes an over night camping trip very relaxing and enjoyable. This is also a great time for fishing. Largemouth bass and big catfish swim in the waters of the Altamaha. The world record largemouth bass was caught in a lake on the Ocmulgee River, a tributary of the Altamaha. So make sure to bring alone fishing gear on this trip.
The Altamaha is good river for day trips and overnight trips. For the adventurous spirit take a week and do the entire river. If that is not enough add one of it's tributaries and do 2 weeks or more.