Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Sept. 19, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

(Deener’s reports can also be found in the Waycross Journal Herald on Thursdays)

Matt Thomas of Covington fished out of St. Marys in late August and caught this 42-inch redfish on a live pogy. The redfishing should pick up significantly over the next month.

Matt Thomas of Covington fished out of St. Marys in late August and caught this 42-inch redfish on a live pogy. The redfishing should pick up significantly over the next month.

Saltwater has produced the best reports this week. The Outdoor Adventure/J.A.K.E.S. Day will be held atParadise Public Fishing Area near Tifton on Sept. 27. I will be conducting free bass fishing trips to teach teens how to bass fish. Each person will fish for an hour from a boat and will learn how to cast artificial lures for largemouth bass. Pre-registration is required. To sign up a teen (ages 12-16), call the Waycross Fisheries Office at (912) 285-6094.  New Moon is Sept. 24. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – A group of anglers from Waycross fished for mullet out of Jaycees Landing in Jesup on Thursday afternoon. They didn’t catch mullet, but the redbreasts were biting… on the sandbars! Red wigglers and 1/8-oz. black-yellow Satilla Spins fooled 35 redbreasts and a couple of bluegills to 8 inches. They even caught a 13-inch bass on a Satilla Spin. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that crappie were around in good numbers, but it takes some hunting to find them. Once you get on them, stay in that area, as they are schooled up in the deeper areas. Minnows fooled most of the fish. Some bream, catfish, and bass were caught this week, as well. The mullet are everywhere in the lower sections of the river. Get at them for the next month or so before they move offshore to spawn. The river level was 3.0 feet and steady (84 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.3 feet and rising (84 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Sept. 16.

Satilla River – Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river came up  a couple of feet in the Waycross area, but the upper river is still very low. The water will be dirty, but you should be able to get a johnboat around well this week in the Waycross area of the Satilla. Wading is still the way to approach the upper river. The river level at the Waycross gage was 7.0 feet and falling (80 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.4 feet and rising (83 degrees) on Sept. 16.

St. Marys River –  The river is falling again, but is still very high. Fish another river, for now. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 12.8 feet and falling on Sept. 16

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – A couple of Waycross anglers fished from the bank on St. Simons Island on Saturday and caught some flounder. They cast-netted finger mullet and used them for bait. The numbers of small mullet washing out of tidal creeks was impressive. The bigger migratory mullet should start heading south any day now. Redfish were also caught from the bank over the weekend. Flounder and trout were caught in the creeks around St. Simons Island. Most of the trout were small, but some nice keepers were mixed in. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that from the pier, flounder, croaker, Spanish mackerel, and a few sheepshead were caught. The most impressive thing was the size of the fish – most (except the croaker) were over 18 inches. Stone crab numbers were up this week.

Best Bet – If the weather allows, trout fishing should pick up over the next few weeks. Redbreast and bream fishing on the Altamaha should really pick up as soon as we start getting cool nights. Fish the willows and blow-down trees with Beetle spins and Satilla Spins and hold on. Last fall the black-yellow and crawfish colors were best.

Categories: Fishing

North Georgia Fishing Report: Sept. 19, 2014

Info Provided by: Jeff Durniak, GA DNR North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor and North Georgia Region Fisheries staff

Fishing - pass it on!

Fishing – pass it on!

Not much has changed from last week, except for the cooler nighttime temperatures that are just starting to hit north Georgia.  They should drop trout stream temperatures enough to restore good fishing throughout most of the day, especially on our headwater streams.  For hillclimbers, take several degrees off the temperature gauge  for the Hooch in Helen to get a good idea of the thermal regime of your favorite headwater areas.  River bassin’ will still be good as long as these pop-up storms don’t muddy the rivers too badly.  Again, the USGS gauges and calls to local tackle shops will let you know if you want to burn the gas.

For our flatwater fans, small lakes and ponds will cool off faster than large reservoirs, so consider some trips to places like lakes Russell (near Cornelia), Unicoi,  Tralyta (Vogel State Park) and Winfield Scott for bass and bream.  Lastly, our smaller reservoirs at higher elevations will be cooling off quicker than our largest lakes, so plan on some road trips to scenic locales like Tugalo, Yonah, Nottely, and Carters in the next couple weeks as fall officially arrives and our fishing improves with declining water temperatures.

Here’s some more news:

This group is a great  “adoption agency” for new metro trouters.

  • Trouting best bets

Best bets this week will again be the two big tailwaters (Hooch, Blue Ridge) and the headwater, wild trout streams.  A few other, larger waters at high elevations should cool off, too.  It might be time to reconsider that hike back into the upper Chattooga or Jacks.

Kayak fishing on Unicoi.

Kayak fishing on Unicoi.

Watch Out for Elk! – These may be of interest to any road trippers who want to accelerate their  fall season NOW by simply driving north this weekend.

Ken’s Weekly Reservoir Reports

Lanier Lure How-to – Heard of “fish head spins?”

For All Bulldog Fans – I saw this photo and thought many of you Dawg fans would enjoy it, too.

Benefit Bassin’ for a Great Cause (this Saturday) – “Jeff as always good to see you this morning. Here is the info on the tournament being held this weekend to benefit the 3 guys hurt in the tower accident. Also a couple of links: 1.) Access North Georgia, 2.) GON Forum.” -B.J.

All right guys Yonah Mtn. Bass Club is putting on a Benefit Tournament for the 3 injured Firefighters from Hall County. Ya’ll come on out and have some fun, while helping out the guys while they recover. I work with and know these guys well ,all 3 are great guys and would (and have) gladly helped others in a time of need. Please spread the word so we can make a difference.

  • Laurel Park Ramp Lake Lanier, Sept. 20, 2014 from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. $50 per boat. Call Michael Meaders at 706-969-1613 for more info.

Shout Out – The north Georgia fishing community wishes a speedy recovery to our friend, Rabunite Ray.  For decades, Ray’s been at nearly every trout stream work project, Adventure Day, and kids fishing rodeo in his neck of the woods.  Annually, for many years, he has serviced and re-lined a hundred used reels donated by Pass Pro Shops.  He’s then given those reels as door prizes to Rabun County Girl and Boy scouts who attend his TU chapter’s annual “Scouts Fishing Picnic.”    He’s a great example of Georgia’s angler-conservationists and we wish him the best as he bounces back from a major tune-up job.  The fish are waiting on you, Ray.

ReminderDNR’s September 27 Events

Good luck to everyone as we finally slide into fall and enjoy the great opportunities of this new season.

Categories: Fishing

North Georgia Fishing Report: Sept. 12, 2014

Info Provided by: Jeff Durniak, GA DNR North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor and North Georgia Region Fisheries staff

Fisheries technician Mark Bowen with a monster 40-inch, 12-pound lake sturgeon collected on the Etowah River in Bartow County.

Fisheries technician Mark Bowen with a monster 40-inch, 12-pound lake sturgeon collected on the Etowah River in Bartow County.

It looks like we’ll finally start cooling off across north Georgia.  The chillier air should drop water temperatures a bit and wake our sport fish from their summer siestas.  Remember that mountain stream temperatures will drop a lot quicker than our large reservoirs, which are heat sinks.  Hopefully, over the next week or two, your catching should start to pick up.  There are some great early fall opportunities across the northern third of your state, so take advantage of them in between your coveted football games.  Here’s the latest news:

Looking Ahead On Our Lakes –“The 2013 year class of stocked stripers looks very healthy, based on some preliminary DNR sampling.  We had quality (plump) fish from the hatcheries, an excellent hatchery production year (numbers-wise), and excellent reservoir conditions at stocking (a nice green color means lots of zooplankton groceries for newly stocked fingerlings).  These fish are now in the 15-inch range.  As surface waters cool in our reservoirs, these young stripers should join the spots and start chasing shad, providing some great light tackle, topwater action for north Georgia anglers.  Get your light action spinning rods and six-weight fly rods ready now for the action to come.  Have plenty of line on those reels, since the strong 2011 year class of stripers may also show up, and these seven-pounders will take anglers for a ride on light tackle! http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Reservoirs”  – Biologist Patrick O’Rouke

Stocker Best Bets – Early fall’s best bets for stocked trout are led by the two big tailwaters (Hooch and Blue Ridge).  Larger mountain streams that received lots of fish during our March-Labor Day stocking season should also have some leftovers for anglers willing to get away from the road and cover a lot of water.  Try the pocket water in the boulder fields.  Also target the woody debris jams that scare away many anglers who are concerned about snagging tree limbs and breaking off their favorite Rooster Tails.  Try: Holly, Rock, Cooper, Dicks, West Fork Chattooga, Chattooga well below Burrells Ford, Wildcat in the gorge, the upper Hooch on the WMA below the Forest Service campground, lower Warwoman, and maybe Panther well below 441.

Colorful Wild Fish – Wild trouting should be fun, but challenging in the super-clear fall waters.  You’ll need to bring your A-game regarding stealth: drab colors, slow movements, and little casting.  The brooks and browns should start coloring up for their fall dating season, while the rainbows are pretty year-around.  A lot of the summer vacation crowds are now gone from the national forest, so parking spots and campsites are easier to come by.  Fall is a great time to blue-line and discover new creeks that are worth returning to.  Just  grab a national forest map, this book, and a short rod, and have at it.  You have about a month until leaf drop will sideline you for about 7-10 days before resuming your leaf-free casting.  These fish await you now.

Sturgeon ShortyEnjoy this photo from Damer. That Summerville shorty will hopefully grow a lot bigger in the years to come as our agency reestablishes a healthy population and a sport fishery for this longtime Georgia resident.

WRD News

Good luck this fall.   It’s just about time to find that long sleeve camo shirt in the back of your closet!  The morning lows on the mountain ridges will soon be a bit chilly.  And  we all are looking forward to them!

Categories: Fishing

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Sept. 12, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

(Deener’s reports can also be found in the Waycross Journal Herald on Thursdays)

Timothy Deener (left) caught the first fish of the trip while fishing the Okefenokee last Monday with his dad, Bert.

Timothy Deener (left) caught the first fish of the trip while fishing the Okefenokee last Monday with his dad, Bert.

The recent rains have brought the rivers up some – the St. Marys WAY up. We should have another shot at the rivers (using boats) during the next couple of weeks. Saltwater fishing was tough this week because of the poor weather, but the catches will be strong on days when you can get out. The Outdoor Adventure/J.A.K.E.S. Day will be held at Paradise Public Fishing Area near Tifton on Sept. 27. I will be conducting free bass fishing trips to teach teens how to bass fish. Each person will fish for an hour from a boat and will learn how to cast artificial lures for largemouth bass. Pre-registration is required. To sign up a teen (ages 12-16), call the Waycross Fisheries Office at (912) 285-6094.  Last quarter moon is Sept.15. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the flathead bite was still good, and the crappie bite has picked up for those using minnows. With the rising water, expect the catfish bite to be the best during the next week. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that bream have been caught by anglers fishing on the bottom at the mouths of sloughs. Pink worms worked best. The catfish bite was great in the lower river over the weekend with the rising water and full moon. The river level was 2.4 feet and rising (84 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.0 feet and rising (83 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Sept. 9.

Satilla River – Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the rains throughout the basin have brought the river up, and small boats will be able to get around again. Before the rains, plenty of catfish were caught from the deeper holes by those using shrimp and rooster livers. Anglers wading the upper river caught bream and redbreasts on crickets and worms. The river level at the Waycross gage was 5.4 feet and falling (79 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.4 feet and falling (82 degrees) on Sept. 9.

St. Marys River –  The torrential rains over the weekend shot the river up over 12 feet at the MacClenny gage, and it is still rising at the time of writing this. Fish another river, for now. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 14.8 feet and ris­ing on Sept. 9.

Local Ponds – The cooler weather as of late has put the temperatures in the prime range for almost all pond fishes. Expect the bass to break out of the summertime slump and feed with reckless abandon over the next couple of months. An Assassin Fat Job Worm rigged on an 1/8-oz. Wacky Head will be hard to beat with the water temperatures in the 70s. Try topwaters early and late, and hold on tightly to your rod or they may yank it out of your hands. Michael Winge said that Memphis George caught two 5-gallon buckets of big bream while using crickets in a local, very secret pond in Ware County. Crappie started hitting minnows fished in the deep holes in some of the better crappie ponds around Waycross and Blackshear. They are still in their summertime pattern, but they should spread out some over the next month.

Okefenokee Swamp – With the amount of rain that fell over the swamp, it would be a good idea to wait a week or two before fishing it. Typically, fish spread out when the swamp rises quickly, and they are hard to find. If you go, keep moving until you catch fish and then slow down and fish that area thoroughly.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Capt. TJ Cheek reported that the redfish inshore were eating it up around the flood tides when you could dodge the storms and winds. Much of his fishing was nixed this week because of one (or both) of those two natural aggravations. He said that he has done best around the bigger tides (new and full moon) for tarpon and bull redfish, so the big tides should not scare you away from fishing for those two species. He said that the bull reds and inshore redfishing should be great over the next month. By the end of September, you should be able to find trout in any likely looking spot (creek mouths, oyster beds, and the like). The mullet run should start soon, and that will fire off the redfish bite in the sounds. He loves September fishing, as inshore will fire off, but the big boys of summer are still around. Flounder were still caught this week at the St. Marys Jetties when the weather would let you get out there. Trout bit well in the Crooked River area for those fishing live shrimp. Oversized bull redfish were caught this week on East Beach. Offshore, the cobia bite was good. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle (912-634-1888) said that from the pier, flounder fishing was very good. A 5-pounder was caught on Saturday. More 5-pounders were caught on Monday, and 4 and 6-pounders were caught Tuesday. Sheepshead started to bite around the pilings. The whiting bite was fair, and some Spanish mackerel were caught. Stone crabs and shrimp were caught in good numbers.

Best Bet – Catfishing on the Altamaha and Satilla rivers is a good option this weekend. If the weather allows, the trout bite should fire off with the lower tides and clearer water. My favorite location is the saltwater rivers and creeks around Crooked River State Park in St. Marys, but trout will tear it up all along our coast. Check out the mud flats around low tide for redfish if you fish saltwater this weekend.

Categories: Fishing

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Sept. 4, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

(Deener’s reports can also be found in the Waycross Journal Herald on Thursdays)

On Friday, Justin Bythwood of Waycross whacked this 33-inch redfish at the St. Marys Jetties.

On Friday, Justin Bythwood of Waycross whacked this 33-inch redfish at the St. Marys Jetties.

Saltwater fishing produced the best reports again this week, and that will likely be the case for the next couple of months. In freshwater, the lower Altamaha River produced the best reports. The Outdoor Adventure/J.A.K.E.S. Day will be held at Paradise Public Fishing Area near Tifton on Sept. 27. I will be conducting free bass fishing trips to teach teens how to bass fish. Each person will fish for an hour from a boat and will learn how to cast artificial lures for largemouth bass. Pre-registration is required. To sign up a teen (ages 12-16), call the Waycross Fisheries Office at (912) 285-6094.  Full Moon is Sept. 8. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the flathead bite was good over the weekend, and goldfish produced best. Bream and redbreasts were also caught on crickets. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that limb-lines baited with goldfish were producing nice flathead catches. A group of Waycross anglers caught over 300 fish from Saturday morning through Monday morning. Bream, redbreasts, and warmouth made up their creel. Crickets fooled the bream and redbreasts, while worms were the ticket for warmouth. Many of the warmouth were in the 11 to 12-inch range. The river level was 1.8 feet and falling (87 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.4 feet and rising (85 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Sept. 2.

Satilla River – Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that bream and redbreasts were caught by those wading the upper river this weekend. Crickets and worms fooled most of the fish. In the middle river (Brantley County portion), Satilla Spins were producing nice redbreast catches over the holiday. ZOOM Trick Worms and Horny Toads fooled bass this week. The river level at the Waycross gage was 4.3 feet and falling (82 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.8 feet and rising (87 degrees) on Sept. 2.

St. Marys River –  The holiday weekend saw good bream, redbreasts, and catfish catches. With the flush of fresh water after evening thunderstorms, expect the catfishing to be strong at the mouths of feeder creeks after deluges. Eat supper and then go out the last few hours of daylight after the storms clear. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 2.3 feet and fall­ing on Sept. 2.

Local Ponds – We lost a trophy bass fishing legend this week. Pat Cullen of Valdosta passed away at age 70. He caught more than 1,300 bass over 10 pounds in his more than 40 years of chasing trophies. Black buzzbaits produced the majority of his catches, while live bait accounted for the balance. He reeled the topwater lures all night long during hot summer nights just like we are experiencing right now. He will be sorely missed by friends and family. Michael Winge said that local ponds produced consistent catches of bream, catfish, and bass. Crickets fooled the bream, rooster livers duped the catfish, and topwaters were the ticket late in the evenings for bass.

Okefenokee Swamp – I am convinced that I am not supposed to fish the swamp for whatever reason. My family and I loaded up and headed to the east side on Monday evening to catch the last few hours of daylight. The clear radar when we left gave way to some questionable clouds when we launched. Then, as we made our way out to our first spot and started pitching sallies, it was clear that there was a storm building… right over us. My son set the hook first and landed a nice flier. Even with the 93-degree water temperatures, the fliers were active. As the rain started, we were able to catch four fliers in about 15 minutes on pink sallies before it was evident that we needed to head in. Waiting an hour in the truck did not improve anything, so we went home. It was a great time anyway, and I believe you could make a phenomenal catch of fliers if the weather will allow you (I’m about to give up after my last two rained out trips…okay, no I’m not). Pink sallies were the best color for us, but we did not have enough time either of the last two trips to evaluate colors.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Will Ricks of Brunswick fished the St. Andrews Sound for tarpon on Friday and went 1 for 3. I fished with Matt Thomas of Covington and Justin Bythwood of Waycross on Friday, and we were targeting tarpon out of St. Marys. We were not successful in landing a silver king, but our consolation prizes were catching and releasing a pair of redfish measuring 42 and 33 inches. Throw in three sharks and a decent trout, and our strings were stretched throughout the day. The big redfish ate a pogy, while the 33-incher ate a Texas roach Sea Shad fished on a 5/8-oz. Jetty Jig. The flounder report from the St. Marys Jetties has been very strong. Mudminnows and finger mullet produced the best catches. A pair of anglers fishing Friday caught 29 flatties by fishing the inside on the incoming tide and the outside during the ebb. They caught fish in both areas. In Hampton River, lots of flounder were caught on mudminnows and finger mullet. Anglers fishing out of Two-Way caught some redfish all the way up to the I-95 Bridge this week. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that from the pier, flounder, sheepshead, and trout were the best bites. Most flounder ranged from 15 to 18 inches. The sheepshead bite just turned on over the weekend, and it should be great all winter. Sharks and whiting were occasionally caught. On Tuesday the bluefish bite was strong. Stone crabs were caught in good numbers. Cast-netters made good catches of big shrimp at night under the pier lights.

Best Bet – If the weather will allow, the big bull redfish are chowing in the different sounds. For the next month, the brutes will be eating artificials, live bait, and cut bait fished on or near the bottom. Coming from a bass fishing background, my favorite approach is to skewer a Sea Shad on a Jetty Jig and work it along the bottom. My most productive colors of Sea Shads for redfish in the sounds have been Texas roach, Calcasieu brew, and candy corn. The Okefenokee will be hard to beat over the next few months with all of the fish crowded into the canals.

North Georgia Fishing Report: Aug. 28, 2014

Info Provided by: Jeff Durniak, GA DNR North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor and North Georgia Region Fisheries staff

Jeff Durniak recently returned from Montana, where he caught this brown trout.

Jeff Durniak recently returned from Montana, where he caught this brown trout.

Enjoy the Labor Day weekend on a north Georgia lake or stream of your  choice.  Although the weather will be warm, there are still some great fishing opportunities available, especially if you avoid the midday heat.  Here are some best bets for your consideration.

River bass and bream – The rivers are low and clear and the fish are looking up, so don’t miss these great chances! We had a good two-hour wade trip on the Hooch above Lanier  after work on Monday.  Small shoal bass and redbreast sunfish were very cooperative on surface poppers and dredged soft plastics as dusk approached.  It looks like some big fish are also hungry, based on these pics and video.

Try the Chestatee, Hooch, Etowah, or the Chattooga before the next big rain. Hints: 1) Duncan to Mossy, 2) Mossy to Belton.

Trout tailwaters (Hooch and Blue Ridge) should fish well.  Blue Ridge Dam repairs have been completed.  Check reservoir release schedules before getting into the rivers. GON Forum Report 1, North Georgia Trout Online Forum Report

Lake Burton brown trout should be packed into the lower thermocline. Try the area from Billy Goat Island down to the dam.

These stocked trout streams should fish well, especially before the sun gets high and water temperatures soar.  Camo, light lines, and small hooks are in order.  This is the last week of catchable trout stocking for north Geogia “put-and-take” trout waters, as our hatcheries  now need the raceway space to grow their supplies of four-inch fingerlings to catchable size for next year’s trout season.  Stocker best bets are: Hooch (tailwater and WMA), Johns, Holly, Little Cedar, Soapstone, Holcomb, Dicks, Rock, Cooper, Wildcat, and Tallulah.

Lanier topwater spots have heated up recently.  You may have to go early to dodge some holiday boat traffic.

The deepwater reservoir bite continues on our reservoirs like Lanier, Hartwell, and Carters. Pot luck includes stripers, hybrids, spots, and even some walleye.

For the adventurous, a longer trip can really pay off.  Enjoy the pics of a recent trek to somewhere far “west of Summerville,” where the sights were grand and the hopper/dropper bite was decent.  Don’t forget your three bucks – – – and a fishing buddy who runs slower than you when casting to cutts in the home of the griz.

Good luck.  Enjoy  the three-day weekend “laboring” with a rod in your hand and sunscreen on your cheeks.

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Aug. 28, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

(Deener’s reports can also be found in the Waycross Journal Herald on Thursdays)

This angler was fishing with Cricket Mobley of Altamaha Trading Company on Saturday and caught this 19-pound tripletail. (Photo courtesy of Cricket Mobley)

This angler was fishing with Cricket Mobley of Altamaha Trading Company on Saturday and caught this 19-pound tripletail. (Photo courtesy of Cricket Mobley)

Saltwater fishing produced the best reports this week. In freshwater, the Altamaha River was tops. The Outdoor Adventure/J.A.K.E.S. Day will be held at Paradise Public Fishing Area near Tifton on Sept. 27. I will be conducting free bass fishing trips to teach teens how to target bass. Each person will fish for an hour from a boat and will learn how to cast artificial lures for largemouth bass. Pre-registration is required. To sign up a teen (ages 12-16), or for more information about the event, call the Waycross Fisheries Office at (912) 285-6094.  First quarter moon is Sept. 2. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that some big flatheads were caught this week. From late evening through dark was the best period to catch them. On Saturday night, a couple was fishing with goldfish on the back side of a sandbar and caught a 45-pounder. Redbreasts were biting crickets fished in the mouths of sloughs. Warmouth were caught in good numbers on worms fished on the bottom. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that limb line anglers caught a bunch of flatheads by baiting their hooks with goldfish. The crappie bite was still strong for those fishing minnows in the deeper oxbow lakes. Bream and redbreasts were caught in good numbers on crickets. The river level was 2.0 feet and falling (85 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.3 feet and falling (85 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Aug. 26.

Satilla River – I crossed the river on Highway 158 on Tuesday, and it is low. The best approach is to float or wade the river during the holiday weekend. Expect to drag if you float it. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that crickets and worms were catching redbreasts and bream for those wading the upper river. Bubblegum ZOOM Trick Worms fooled some bass this week. Fish the worm unweighted, and throw it right into a blowdown tree and work it back out slowly. I imagine that you could get a reflex strike from a big bass by throwing a buzzbait early or late. The river level at the Waycross gage was 4.2 feet and falling (82 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.1 feet and falling (84 degrees) on Aug. 26.

St. Marys River –  Bream, redbreasts, and lots of catfish were caught this week. The panfish were caught with crickets, while shrimp, worms, and rooster livers duped the catfish. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 2.6 feet and rising on Aug. 26.

Local Ponds – Warren Budd fished a blackwater pond this past weekend and whacked almost 40 bluegills on crawfish Satilla Spins. He managed two over a pound, and one of them weighed 1-pound, 12-ounces (his second of the year that was that weight). Michael Winge said bream have been bedding around the new moon, and the bite has been steady. Crickets and worms fooled them around beds. Memphis George went to a Waycross area pond on Sunday and caught a bucket full of “grown” bream on crickets. Channel catfish have been biting worms, shrimp, and rooster livers fished on the bottom. Fire tiger-colored Rapala minnows fished around shoreline cover produced some nice bass.

Okefenokee Swamp – The torrid warmouth bite on the west side slowed a little this week, but some nice ones were still caught. The bowfin (mudfish) bite was good on both sides of the swamp. While most would argue that they are not very good eating, they are a blast to catch. If you want to learn some tricks for catching bowfin, check out my article in the August issue of Georgia Outdoor News. I would imagine that the flier bite is excellent, but I did not receive any specific reports this week. As the water drops and concentrates the fliers in the canals, the catch rates can approach the silly range! Pitch yellow, pink, or orange sallies on a bream buster and hold on.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Capt. TJ Cheek reported that the tarpon bite was still going strong, but the hurricane currently spinning offshore (and the winds and waves associated with it) will probably put the bite off a couple of days. Finding them once the blow is over is going to be the key. Inshore fishing has been strong for trout, but most fish are small. Right now, his charters are catching about four throwbacks for every keeper. Cricket Mobley of Altamaha Trading Company out of Two-Way Fish Camp got on a bunch of tripletail this weekend. On Saturday, two anglers caught 15 tripletail. They kept three and threw back a dozen (five of those were keeper-sized!). Two of the fish they kept were 19 and 14 pounds. Ed Zmarzly and Scott Hamlin fished the St. Marys Jetties and Cumberland Island Beach on Saturday and Sunday and whacked the sharks and jumped a tarpon. They were using pogies free-lined around pogy pods and Sea Shads fished on Jetty Jigs. Flounder were caught at Gould’s Inlet by those fishing mudminnows and finger mullet. Trout were caught in good numbers from Village Creek. Sheepshead were caught under the bridges around the Brunswick area. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that from the pier, flounder and trout were the best bites. On Saturday, an angler caught a limit of flatties over 18” on mudminnows. Some Spanish mackerel were still around, along with whiting and croakers. Shrimping from the pier has started picking up. Most “mudbugs” were medium-sized. A few blue crabs and stone crabs were caught from the pier.

Best Bet - For the holiday weekend, there are several good options. In saltwater it will be hard to make a bad choice, as Hurricane Cristobal should be out of the picture. Whether fishing for flounder from the St. Simons Pier, sheepshead under a bridge, trout at Crooked River, or tarpon at the St. Marys Jetties, you should have success. The marine forecast for the weekend is good at this time, but check it closer to the weekend in case it changes. The Altamaha River and ponds are your best bets in freshwater. Bluegill and catfishing should be great options on the big river. In ponds, fish early and late for bluegills, catfish or bass.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 52 other followers