Lesson Plan

Chattahoochee's Cold Water Fisheries

Fisherman knee deep in the Chattahoochee River with autumn leaves falling.
Fisherman knee deep in the Chattahoochee River with autumn leaves falling.
NPS VIP/Tom Wilson


Trout streams are particularly susceptible to thermal pollution, because they need to maintain cold temperatures year round. Trout streams are either well shaded or receive cold groundwater inputs. Artificial tailwater fisheries may be created at the outflow from large dams, where the size of the reservoir creates a steep temperature difference, with colder water stored at the bottom of the reservoir near the outlet. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is an example of a tailwater fishery.


 Student will know….

  • The three species of trout that exist in Georgia/Chattahoochee
  • What a cold water fishery is
  • How a food web works and the frailty of a food web
  • The effects of global warming on cold water fisheries
  • What macro invertebrates are

Student will be able to…

  • Name the species of trout found in Georgia/Chattahoochee
  • Define Cold water fishery
  • Predict what will happen in a food web when organisms begin to disappear
  • Compare/contrast tail waters to natural trout streams
  • Describe the effects of global warming on cold water fisheries
  • Explain why macro invertebrates are important to trout


  • Stream thermometers
  • Lamotte Test kit
  • Trout Models
  • Storage Box
  • Catch the Critter game


 1. Pre-Trip lesson will be sent to school prior to scheduled Field Trip.

2. Once group is assembled, random questions will be asked to check for prior 


3. Power point presentation “Cold Water Fisheries”.

4. “Catch the Critter” game

5. “Web of Life” game

6. Interpretive tour and stream work on Island Ford trails & Scavenger Hunt.

7. Power point Quiz to check for mastery of the standard. Answers can be written or 


8. Self-Assessment/Post Trip Activity.


At the conclusion of the field trip, ask students to write a letter to a future student in the class, family member, friend, etc., explaining what they learned on the Chattahoochee NRA field trip. This assignment provides useful feedback on student thinking and learning while promoting reflection on learning.