The Alcovy River is a tributary of the Ocmulgee River, about 50 mi (80 km) long, in north-central Georgia in the United States. Via the Ocmulgee River, it is part of the watershed of the Altamaha River, which flows to the Atlantic Ocean. The Alcovy River rises in eastern Gwinnett County, 5 mi (8 km) northeast of Lawrenceville and flows generally south-southeastwardly through Walton, Newton and Jasper Counties. The river is used to define portions of the boundary between Newton and Jasper Counties. It joins the Yellow and South Rivers to form the Ocmulgee River as part of the Lake Jackson reservoir, which is formed by a dam on the Ocmulgee.
An easily accessible Piedmont stream rich in beauty and diverse in flora and wildlife, the Alcovy is born in Gwinnett County near Lawrenceville and flows south to drain Walton and Newton Counties before spilling into Lake Jackson where it meets the Yellow and South Rivers to form the Ocmulgee. The rivers course offers a little of something for everyone. The upper section near the headwaters is a short, difficult, steep creek run. Farther downstream, the river becomes a full-fledged swamp in the middle section. For most of the lower section, the rivers character is mild, with only one shoal mid-runbut it ends with a bang at a long series of rapids that build in intensity to a Class III (IV) finish. This last rapid, or the mostly flatwater section proceeding it, is easily omitted by using the access points above the bridge near the top of the drop.
Numerous deadfalls make the river unattractive for boating, but wading opportunities abound. North of I-20, the Alcovy transforms into a lowland swamp, and stays swampy for about 4 miles south of Covington before the banks rise and the Alcovy resumes the nature of a Piedmont stream.
There are tons of fish in the swampy sections of the Alcovy; big ones that probably never see a lure. The problem, unfortunately, is reaching these fish. The stretch of river just south of Covington is absolutely littered with deadfalls, and anyone attempting to float this stretch better be prepared to spend as much time hauling your vessel over trees as fishing. The rewards can be immense, however, for those willing to put forth the effort. The largemouths in the swamp are big, mean, and stupid and I'm willing to bet that the bluegill, crappie, and channel cats are no different. Another pleasing aspect of this stretch is the lack of any signs of man. The swampy section of the Alcovy also contains an ecological anomaly: vast stands of tupelo gums. The tupelo gum normally appears in the coastal plain, and ecologists are stumped as to why this stand of tupelo exists 60 miles further north than any other.
Logjams, shoals, brush.
Fishing the Alcovy is a fairly straightforward proposition. Largemouth bass, bluegill, redbreast, crappie, and channel cats are the primary species and tend to hole up in the slower, deeper stretches of the river. In the swampy section, it would be wise to use stout tackle, but pretty much any tackle will work in the 10 or so river miles between the swamp and Lake Jackson. The Alcovy runs a little more clear than either the Yellow or South rivers and doesn't muddy up as badly after storms. A jon boat or canoe is fine for floating the river, since there are no major rapids until just above the lake. The Alcovy maintains a width of 50-75 feet for most of it's length before widening a good bit at the shoals. GRF recommends avoiding both Factory and White Shoals by either portaging around them or wading through the slower spots. These shoals can be dangerous at high water and extremely tricky the rest of the time.While the Alcovy just north of Lake Jackson is not as interesting or as desolate as the swampy section, it is probably a better bet for the average fisherman. The crappie fishing is surprisingly good for a river and I always manage to catch a channel cat or two while bass fishing. Fishing pressure is almost nonexistent and the fish run a bit larger than normal. There are few deadfalls and no major rapids until the wild and woolly half mile prior to reaching the lake. During the spring, anglers report catching decent numbers of whites, hybrids, and crappie motoring upstream from Lake Jackson towards the base of the Factory Shoals.