Altamaha Ready for Waterfowl Season

The Altamaha Waterfowl Management Area is ready for the 2014-2015 season. Ducks have shown up in good numbers in the impoundments and hunters are excited about the season which begins this Saturday, Nov. 22 and runs through Nov.

An overview look of Rhetts Island, prescribed fire on West Champney Island, and a successful hunter on Butler Island.

An overview look of Rhetts Island, prescribed fire on West Champney Island, and a successful hunter on Butler Island.

30 before starting up again on Dec. 6. Butler Island is quota only and is open on Saturdays, Champney Island is open for walk in hunters Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays, while Rhetts Island is boat access only and is open Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays. Outside of the impoundments the rivers and swamps offer great hunting as well. Shooting hours are until noon. Please print out the late-season migratory bird seasons and regulations guide athttp://georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/Waterfowl for more information on the waterfowl season, and check out the information below for waterfowl hunting on Altamaha WMA.

Butler Island

There are three islands that are made up of impoundments on Altamaha WMA, Butler, Champney, and Rhetts Island.  Butler Island is a quota hunt that is offered every Saturday during the waterfowl season until noon. There are 25 blind areas ranging from 4 to 16 acres in size that are randomly selected through a lottery style drawing.  Each week, there are 25 blind areas reserved for the quota hunters.  Stand-by hunters draw for the blinds open by quota hunters that do not show up at the hunt.  These blind areas do not have physical duck blinds but are rather a mix of open water, potholes, emergent grasses, and trees. Hunters use the natural cover to hide themselves from approaching waterfowl.

Hunters on Butler Island should arrive at the check station, located one mile South of Darien, Georgia, between 4:30 and 4:45 a.m.  Quota and stand by hunters will need to go inside the check station and sign in with Game Management personnel upon arrival. Drawing for blinds for the quota hunters will begin at 5 a.m. The stand-by hunters will then be given the opportunity to draw for the remaining blind areas. Once the blinds are selected, hunters and their gear are loaded onto trailers pulled behind pick up trucks and are taken out to the hunting area. Hunters are dropped off at their blinds, where they will find a small boat. This boat is designed exclusively to get hunters and gear across a narrow perimeter ditch. Once this ditch is crossed, hunters can get out of the boat in waders and wade through the blind area. Water levels are normally between 8 and 24 inches deep in the impoundment. Hunters can put out decoys and hide in the natural cover in the blind area. Large decoy spreads are not needed on Butler Island. 6 to 12 decoys is appropriate. Pack wisely to minimize extra gear and bulky decoy bags. Other hunters on the trailers will appreciate it and it will make the walk easier when packing gear in and out of the blind areas.

Hunting ends at noon. Game Management staff will drive around the dikes and pick up hunters at 9 a.m. and noon.  Hunters can also walk to the cross dike. This is a central location in the center of the impoundment where the trailers are parked. Maps of this area are located in the check station. For those wishing to hunt until noon, DNR will pick those hunters up at their blinds where they were dropped off that morning.

Champney Island

Champney Island offers hunters a walk-in hunting opportunity on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays during waterfowl season until noon. This is a first come first serve area that can be very productive. Hunters will often try and draw a stand-by blind on Butler Island, but keep Champney Island as an option in case they are not drawn.

Champney Island is broken up into three huntable impoundments, New Snipe, Old Snipe, and West Champney. New Snipe and Old Snipe pools can be accessed from Champney Road or Massman Road, while West Champney can only be accessed by Massman Road. A canoe or small boat can be useful to get into the impoundments and to move around within the impoundments. Similar to Butler Island, hunters need to wear waders and can expect water levels to range between 8 – 24 inches across the impoundment.

Rhetts Island

Rhetts Island is boat accessible only and is open to hunting Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and state holidays during waterfowl season until noon. It is a large impoundment broken up into three pools. Pool 1 is the western most pool and Pool 3 is the eastern most pool. Pool 1 has two access points into it from the Champney and Butler Rivers. The pull over sites allow hunters to cross the perimeter dike with a small boat to access the impoundment. Because the Champney and Butler Rivers are tidally influenced, there can 6-9 feet of difference between high and low tide depending on moon phase and wind. This can create a large mud flat in front of the pull over sites, so be aware of the tide stage when planning your trip. A push pole is a great tool to help navigate through the soupy mud that leads up to the pull-over points.

Consistent with the other impoundments, Rhetts Island has a perimeter ditch around each pool and water depths in Rhetts Island range from 8 – 24 inches deep. Hunters can hunt out of waders or out of their boat using natural cover in the impoundment as camouflage. Hunters are strongly advised to scout Rhetts Island in the daylight prior to making a trip over in the dark the morning of the hunt. This will help increase your chances for a safe and successful hunt.

Check out this video for the 2014-2015 forecast:

Categories: Hunting

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Nov. 20, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Clint Inman caught this and several dozen other keeper trout while fishing the Brunswick area last week. Trout fishing is on fire and should be for the next month.

Clint Inman caught this and several dozen other keeper trout while fishing the Brunswick area last week. Trout fishing is on fire and should be for the next month.

I’ve been amazed at how few people are fishing. It seems that if you want a great bite to yourself, all you have to do is hitch up the boat and head to a lake, river, pond, or saltwater. Saltwater is on fire right now with trout and redfish tearing it up. The crappie bite in ponds is very good, as well (and some of them have been true slabs!). New Moon is Nov. 22. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that crappie provided the best bite, and minnows were the bait of choice. Some bream were caught on Sunday afternoon by anglers fishing with crickets. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that crappie were still biting both minnows and curly-tailed grubs. Tennessee shad color was tops. Catfish bit shrimp fished on the bottom in the deeper holes. The river level was 1.6 feet and falling (55 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 2.3 feet and falling (60 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Nov. 18.

Satilla River – Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the crappie were hitting both minnows and jigs. Just like last week, Tennessee shad Jiffy Jigs worked best in shallow water, while John Deere Green was the top color in deeper water. Bass ate dark colored worms fished VERY slowly. An angler reported catching several 2-3 pound bass on Rattling Rogue minnow plugs. Bank anglers caught whiskerfish on pink worms fished on the bottom in deep holes. The river level at the Waycross gage was 4.7 feet and rising (60 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.7 feet and falling on Nov. 18.

St. Marys River – On the warmer days this week, anglers reported catching redbreasts, bream, and catfish on crickets and pink worms. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 3.2 feet and rising on Nov. 18.

Okefenokee Swamp – The effort was extremely low again this week on the swamp. Anglers are missing out on some great flier fishing. This is one of my favorite months for fliers. I typically start by pitching pink Okefenokee Swamp Sallies under a float. If I have several anglers in the boat, I will start each of us with a different color and change to whatever the fish prefer. With the cooler weather, suspending a sally underneath a small balsa float usually produces more strikes, as it keeps it in front of the fish a little longer than fishing it without the float.

Local Ponds – Chad Lee fished some Alma area ponds over the weekend and landed 33 nice slabs. From the photos, the biggest ones appeared to be a little over a pound, but most of them were in the pound range. He worked for them but fooled them with Assassin 2-inch Curly Shads. Michael Winge said that lots of crappie were caught on Tennessee shad Jiffy Jigs and minnows. On Lake Ware, nice-sized crappie bit minnows. Laura Walker State Park Lake is closed to boats, but a pair of local anglers walked the bank on Saturday evening and caught several big bowfin (up to 8 pounds) and a pickerel (jackfish).

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) –  I fished out of Crooked River on Thursday with Wyatt Crews and Don Baldwin. We caught 49 trout and a yellowtail, all on artificials. Our best rig was an Assassin Sea Shad rigged underneath a 3-inch Equalizer Float. We caught a few trout by swimming Flashy Jigheads without the float and also with the same bladed jighead suspended underneath an Equalizer. Our best colors were goldfish in clear water and Calcasieu brew in stained water. The most productive color so far this year (Texas roach) would not even draw strikes, but a very similar color, morning glory, produced well during the last of the outgoing. That trip is a great example of why you keep changing colors until you dial in what they want. Check out the December issue of Georgia Outdoor News for an article detailing my approach to fishing artificials for seatrout. On that same day, another group of Waycross anglers fished live shrimp while fishing out of Crooked River and caught over 100 trout, keeping their limit. They also caught a few trout on the new Voodoo Mullet lure. Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught trout well in the St. Marys area on electric chicken Assassin Sea Shads. Another angler reported good catches of trout on goldfish Sea Shads fished on electric chicken jigheads. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that sheepshead, whiting, a few trout, and good numbers of blue crabs were caught from the pier. On Sunday an angler caught 31 yellowtails on shrimp. Some legal redfish and flounder were also landed. The torrid bull red bite has slowed, but they are still around.

Best Bet - Wind can be a tough thing this time of year, but trout fishing is your best option on days when winds are light. Crappie fishing will likely be tops again this weekend in area ponds. With schools being out next week in many counties, load up a kid and take them crappie fishing to a local pond or lake. A bucket of minnows and some floats, hooks, and split-shot weights are all that is needed. Catching fliers on the Okefenokee should be an easy option over the weekend with the forecasted warming trend. Look for the catfish bite to pick up on the lower Altamaha (Darien area) during the winter months.

WMA Improvements in Northwest Georgia

By: Adam Hammond, GA DNR Wildlife Biologist

Improvements to the check station at Cohutta WMA.

Improvements to the check station at Cohutta WMA.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division has been working to make improvements to many of our wildlife management areas. Here’s a look  at some of the improvements being made to WMAs in northwest Georgia.

Game Management recently renovated the exterior of the Holly Creek Check Station at Cohutta WMA. Additionally, damaged wood has been replaced at the weigh shed, a hand rail to the steps has been added, and the exterior wood siding has been stained.  Similar work was done recently to the check stations at Rich Mountain WMA and on to the West Cowpen Check Station of Cohutta WMA.  Among the improvements  is an updated WMA entrance sign for Rich Mountain WMA which was installed on the Owltown Tract.

Cohutta WMA is over 96,500 acres of land that is managed cooperatively with the U.S. Forest Service as part of our WMA system.  Cohutta WMA is over 150 square miles in size and is larger than three of Georgia’s 159 counties! The WMA is approximately 98-percent national forest land (part of the Chattahoochee National Forest) and 2-percent privately-owned land that we lease.  Cohutta WMA is located in the Appalachian mountains of north Georgia in Fannin, Murray, and Gilmer counties.

New sign at Rich Mountain WMA.

New sign at Rich Mountain WMA.

Rich Mountain WMA consists of nearly 23,000 acres of land in Gilmer and Fannin counties in the north Georgia mountains.  The Owltown and Cartecay tracts are state-owned lands located just outside of Ellijay totaling 5,062 acres.  The Cartecay Tract is an archery-only tract just south of HWY 52 along the Cartecay River.  The Owltown Tract in combination with approximately 18,000 acres of land that is part of the Chattahoochee National Forest, make up the remainder of the Rich Mountain WMA.

Categories: Hunting

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Nov. 14, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

(L to R) Timothy Deener, Ron Johnson, and Nathanael Johnson hold a few of their 24 white catfish they caught on Saturday from White Oak Creek on the lower Satilla River.

(L to R) Timothy Deener, Ron Johnson, and Nathanael Johnson hold a few of their 24 white catfish they caught on Saturday from White Oak Creek on the lower Satilla River.

Crappie fishing is tops in freshwater, while trout and redfishing has been good in the brine. Last quarter moon is Nov. 14. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – William Tate of Atlanta and a friend fished around Upper Wayne County Landing on Thursday and caught a mixed bag of panfish and catfish. They had 15 fish, consisting of channel catfish, bluegills, shellcrackers, and redbreasts. William caught the trophy fish, a one-pound shellcracker. Worms fished on the bottom worked well, and they caught a couple of the panfish on 1/16oz. black/yellow Satilla Spins. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that anglers are “whacking” the crappie. The average fish ranged between 8 and 10 inches. On Sunday, anglers caught good numbers of warmouth and bream by fishing pink worms on the bottom. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that crappie ate minnows well over the last week. Pink worms and crickets fooled bream. Trot lines baited with rooster livers produced both bullheads and channel catfish. Flathead catfish were caught with goldfish. Over the weekend, an angler caught 17 flathead catfish ranging from 17 to 38 pounds. The mullet are still around, and folks caught them on green giant worms and red wigglers. The river level was 1.6 feet and falling (62 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 2.4 feet and falling (64 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Nov. 11.

Satilla River – I fished with my son (Timothy) and Ron and Nathanael Johnson on the lower Satilla (White Oak Creek) on Saturday. We put shrimp and worms on the bottom and caught 24 white catfish. Timothy landed our biggest at about 2 pounds. Both Carolina Rigs and my new Gamakatsu circle hook jigheads caught fish. The boys are developing into some skilled anglers! Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the crappie fishing was good this week, with slabs eating both minnows and jigs. Tennessee shad Jiffy Jigs worked best in shallow water, while John Deere Green was the top color in deeper water. White Satilla Spins fooled some crappie, as well. Bass bit darker colored worms and shiners fished in deep, slow-moving water. The deep holes are also producing channel catfish for those fishing shrimp and rooster livers on the bottom. Bream were eating pink worms.  The river level at the Waycross gage was 4.2 feet and falling (63 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.9 feet and falling on Nov. 11.

St. Marys River – Redbreasts, bream, and catfish were caught on crickets and pink worms. A few crappie (average 6 to 8 inches) were caught on minnows. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 3.1 feet and falling on Nov. 11.

Okefenokee Swamp – I didn’t hear any reports of anglers fishing in the swamp this week.  November is one of my favorite months for numbers of fliers. I typically start by pitching pink Okefenokee Swamp Sallies under a float. If I have several anglers in the boat, I will start each of us with a different color and change to whatever the fish prefer. With the cooler weather, suspending a sally underneath a small balsa float usually produces more strikes, as it keeps it in front of the fish a little longer than fishing it without the float.

Local Ponds – Michael Winge said that crappie, bass, and bream ate well this week. Bass were fooled with shiners. Crappie ate minnows, jigs, and white Satilla Spins. Bream were caught with crickets on the warmer afternoons. Pink worms also fooled a few of them.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) –  Jerome and Clint Inman of Waycross fished the Brunswick area on Saturday and got on a bunch of trout. They were a little surprised the bite was so good, considering the high tidal fluctuation. They caught about 50 trout and brought home 25 keeper trout and a flounder.  Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught trout about anywhere they fished with live shrimp and Assassin Sea Shads. Whiting reports were mixed with some folks catching them on shrimp and squid, while others didn’t catch many. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that blue crabs are still thick under the pier. On Sunday afternoon, a crabber caught 54 crabs over 5 inches. Trout, flounder, and sheepshead were caught in good numbers this week from the pier. Flounder averaged 17 inches. The big bull reds were still caught after dark with cut bait.

Best Bet – In saltwater it will be hard to beat trout fishing, although the weather is iffy this weekend. The lower tidal fluctuation and clearer water will be a positive, but the low temperatures and potentially high winds will prevent folks from comfortably getting out to the trout. In freshwater, bass and crappie fishing in local ponds and lakes will be great options. Bream fishing on the Altamaha is a good option, but take your time motoring around with the low river levels.

Categories: Fishing

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Nov. 7, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Joady Johnson admires this nice crappie over the weekend. It was one of about 40 that he and a friend caught on the cold, windy Saturday from an Alma area pond.

Joady Johnson admires this nice crappie over the weekend. It was one of about 40 that he and a friend caught on the cold, windy Saturday from an Alma area pond.

The cold snap last weekend dropped the water temperature as much as 10 degrees in some systems, but the bite should rebound with the warming trend late this week. Crappie should be eating it up with the warming trend, and redfish never stopped eating. Trout fishing should be off the chain next week when the water clears again. Full Moon is November 6th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – The DNR Fisheries staff completed their standardized electrofishing sampling on the Altamaha over the past week. The upper river had average size panfish that were generally in slightly poor shape (to be expected with the low water we’ve had lately). The case was not the same on the middle to lower river (below Jesup). The numbers of panfish (primarily bluegill and redbreasts) were higher than usual, and the fish were in a little bit better condition (fatter) than the fish upriver. This is likely due to the extensive backwaters in the lower river providing more food. It will be a good fall for panfish, so get out there and cast at them. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle  reported that the wind over the weekend kept most anglers away. Crappie graced the creels of the few anglers who fished. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that very few folks fished over the windy, cold weekend. A couple of diehard Waycross anglers fished about 6 hours on Saturday and whacked a mixed creel of 60 keeper fish. They caught 45 crappie averaging 10 inches using both minnows and jigs. They had a few bream, warmouth, and catfish, as well. The key was to fish in the wind where the water was white-capping. When they fished the calm areas, they could not get bites. The river level was 1.8 feet and rising (60 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 2.7 feet and steady (62 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on November 4th.

Satilla River – Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the crappie bite was tops. Anglers fishing both minnows and jigs reported averaging between 30 and 40 keepers per trip. The lower river was producing good numbers and some real slabs. Some bass were caught by anglers fishing shiners.  The river level on November 4th at the Waycross gage was 4.6 feet and falling (68 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.6 feet and falling.

St. Marys River – Before the cold snap, redbreasts and bream were hitting crickets and worms. The catfish bite has been great, even through the cold snap. Reports improved on Tuesday for all species as the water began the warm-up. The river level on November 4th at the MacClenny gage was 3.6 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – Almost nobody fished any of the entrances. When folks go, we will have some really good reports, as November is one of my favorite months for numbers of fliers. I typically start by pitching pink Okefenokee Swamp Sallies under a float. If I have several anglers in the boat, I will start each of us with a different color and change to whatever the fish prefer. With the cooler weather, suspending a sally underneath a small balsa float usually produces more strikes, as it keeps it in front of the fish a little longer than fishing it without the float.

Local Ponds – Before the cold front, crappie were chowing. After a few cold days, the bite slowed, but it should pick back up after several warm days heading into the weekend. Chad Lee of Alma and his fishing buddy Joady Johnson had the report of the week from Alma area ponds. On Saturday, they bundled up like Eskimos and caught 40 crappie, some bluegills, a shellcracker, and a 5-pound bass on minnows and crystal shad colored Panfish Assassins. Joady took at least 5 minutes to land the 5-pounder on an ultralight Shakepeare outfit and 4-pound test line. On Sunday morning, Chad caught a 7-pound bass at about 6am on a crawfish colored jig and beaver-style trailer. He ended up with about 10 bass during the morning. Michael Winge said that the bass bite was good in area ponds for those fishing ZOOM U-tail worms and speed craws. Shiners were also producing some decent bass catches. Crappie were caught in good numbers with minnows, Jiffy Jigs, and white Satilla Spins. Laura Walker State Park Lake is drawn down for improvements and is currently closed.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) –  Capt. TJ Cheek reported that the trout fishing was awesome early in the week. He caught over 100 trout (of course, he released many of them, but very few were under the legal 13” minimum size limit) great this week. They also caught 20 redfish from the slot up to 26 inches. His anglers had some sore arms after that day! The key for him has been to find the finger mullet. When he does, he catches a bunch of fish, and when he fishes places without the mullet, he catches very few. “Nontarget species” have been chowing on live shrimp, so he has been successful keeping them at bay by using finger mullet for bait. His charters have also been using DOA shrimp and minnow imitations to score. Even with the awful weather this past weekend, the bull redfish bit from the St. Simons Pier. Ed Zmarzly and Justin Bythwood caught and released 5 bull redfish and a few other species on Sunday. Apparently, the big redfish running in the channel did not care about the cold front. Trout fishing has been very good in the Crooked River area for those pitching artificials under Cajun Thunder Floats and fishing live shrimp around oyster mounds. Sheephead fishing around treetops has been consistent during the colder weather.  Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught lots of trout anywhere they threw shrimp in the Brunswick area. They also caught a bunch on Assassin Sea Shads. Before the cold front, squid and shrimp were producing good whiting catches. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that lots of big blue crabs were caught from the pier by crabbers. They were the most and largest crabs caught from the pier so far this year. On Monday, bluefish were thick under the pier. Gotcha plugs are deadly for bluefish. Trout, reds, flounder, and sharks were also caught from the pier. The shrimping should pick up any day as the bigger shrimp “fall out” of the rivers and into the ocean after the cold weather.

Best Bet – The saltwater fishing has been outstanding during good weather days, but the high tidal fluctuation will likely have the bite turned off with the muddier water this weekend. Even with the big tides, there are so many trout around that you will catch some if you go. The best bet would be crappie in the rivers and lakes. Troll with Assassin Curly Shads or spider-rig with minnows to make some great catches. Bass fishing in ponds should be very good, as well. Pitch jigs or plastic worms to shoreline cover or throw jerkbaits or spinnerbaits to offshore structure to get bites.

Categories: Fishing

North Georgia Fishing Report: Nov. 11, 2014

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

Fisheries staff stocked 24,000 11-inch brown trout into Lake Burton during the last two weeks of October. Over 5,000 brown trout were dispersed by boat.

Fisheries staff stocked 24,000 11-inch brown trout into Lake Burton during the last two weeks of October. Over 5,000 brown trout were dispersed by boat.

Your north Georgia fisheries benefit from some great teamwork among state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and even private organizations.  Trout stream habitat benefits from the partnership among WRD, the U.S. Forest Service, and Georgia Trout Unlimited.  Reservoir fish habitat is enhanced by the co-op of WRD, power companies like the Army Corps of Engineers, TVA, and Georgia Power, and local fishing clubs like the Marietta Bassmasters.  Hatchery trout production and tailwater trout management are close partnerships between WRD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with some nice donations from folks like NGTO, TU, and local fly and tackle shops.  On our border waters, SCDNR  often steps in as our quarterback (see below).   This “team’ approach pays real dividends as we combine staffs, operating funds, donations, and volunteer sweat equity to benefit fish habitat and angling opportunities for all of you who fish these public waters, from Forest Service streams to Army Corps reservoirs.  Thanks to each of you who has helped, from bucket-stocking Ami DH trout  to recycling a Christmas tree at an Allatoona attractor site, and from donating prizes for Outdoor Adventure Day to buying a TU license plate.  Working together, we’ve hopefully made the sport and the habitat a bit better for all anglers visiting these hills above Atlanta.  And for those of you who aren’t yet members, take a look around.  You’ll find a comfortable position on this team and enjoy knowing you’ve played a role in our big wins.  Come on and join in.

With some cold fall weather finally here and the water temperatures dropping, it is officially “topwater time” on our ponds and reservoirs. Grab your Sammy or Spook and start tossing at bass, hybrids,  and stripers at sunrise and sunset.  Beware a windy Saturday’s waves on the lakes and a heavy leaf fall into the streams.  Watch the weather report and pick some good windows of opportunity to wet a line in the week ahead.

http://www.intellicast.com/Local/Weather.aspx?location=USGA0267

November RemindersGeorgia’s Delayed Harvest trout streams reopen for catch-and-release business on Nov. 1. Reliable sources indicate the fishing should be good by mid-morning Saturday.

Federal Hatchery Partners – We are cheering on our teammates at Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery as they completely rebuild half of their trout raceways. Details, photos, and video here.

Sturgeon Video – Enjoy Damer’s mentoring efforts with his “minor leaguers” at local schools. By the way, congratulations are in order for Mr. and Mrs. John Damer, who welcomed their second daughter, Ava, into this world last Wednesday. John is our biologist leading the Coosa River sturgeon restoration effort.

Allatoona Mixed Bag

Chatuge: Shallow Largemouth Bass – “Chris and I were up on Lake Chatuge over the past week completing our annual fall electrofishing samples.  The bigger spots are now down around 8-10 feet or deeper.  Largemouths are a little shallower.  With lake levels dropping, much of the downed timber is now out of the water, so look for any areas that still have timber in 6+ feet of water to find the good largemouths.” – Patrick O’Rouke, Fisheries Biologist

Lanier Topwater

Lake Burton Browns – “During the last two weeks of October, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Section stocked 24,000 eleven-inch brown trout into Lake Burton. Over 5,000 brown trout were dispersed by boat. The fish were reared at Buford and Lake Burton trout hatcheries and transported to the lake in a refreshed fleet of stocking trucks, thanks to the revenues generated by purchasers of  Trout Unlimited license plates.   These fish will prey on the blueback herring population and provide a reservoir trout fishing opportunity for the state’s anglers.  Trout that feast on bluebacks can grow two pounds per year, says WRD senior fisheries biologist Anthony Rabern. Trophy trout up to eleven pounds have been caught by skilled Lake Burton anglers. More on fishing Lake Burton. Get your fishing license and trout license.” – John Lee Thomson, Lake Burton Fish Hatchery Manager and Stocking Coordinator

Chattooga Delayed Harvest – Ever wondered where most of these fish come from?  You’ll enjoy this video, from the egg to the copter drop. You may also remember prior videos on the copter operation, and some satisfied customers. Weather permitting, the 2014 copter should fly soon in November, the start of the contract (and that’s a specific as I will get…).  Thanks to all of you who have contributed toward this program through its years of operation. It’s been a great team effort.

Toccoa TailwaterLooks like some federal hatchery gifts recently hit those waters.

Dukes – With the clear water, you’d better bring you’re A-game.  Reservations: 706-878-3087.  NOTE: New anglers will do better on our DH streams.

Trout for Supper – The last time I looked, DH stockers weren’t very good at reading signs. Astute anglers might line up in year-around waters above or below the special regulation zones and aim for strays. Hints: Hooch below the mouth of Smith, Amicalola below 53, Chattooga below 28, Hooch above Sope.  If they’re beyond the DH field of play, they’re fair game for harvesters.

Neat Article – Pick up a copy of American Angler magazine at your tackle shop and enjoy the article on Georgia’s own Goodwill Guides. Here’s a great team helping our vets.  By the way, this magazine is an outstanding resource for beginning and intermediate flyfishers.  For example, see the article by Jason Randall about strike indicators.

Help Georgia Trout Management- Buy a License Plate!

Upcoming EventDukes Help Wanted- Nov. 15. Kudos to our teammates at NGTO, Foothills TU, and Friends of Smithgall Woods.

Good luck this week.  Thanks very much to all of you teammates contributing to our winning ways on north Georgia waters.

Categories: Fishing

Improvements to Oaky Woods WMA

By: Wildlife Biologist Bobby Bond, and Wildlife Technicians Randy Wood and Tommy Shover

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division has made some recent improvements for hunters on Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Area.

  • There is a new kiosk at the fork coming into the WMA. This makes picking up a map or  a copy of the Hunting Regulations more convenient if you’re not stopping by the check station.  This was completed for an Eagle Scout project with the Boy Scouts of America.

kiosk

  • The cut-through road has been re-opened for the first time in nearly a decade …

cut-through crossing

  • … with repairs made to the breach in the crossing with a new culvert.

Cut-through culvert

  • Rusted out culverts on the Loop Road at the Big Grocery crossing have been replaced.

Loop Crossing culverts

  • The campground has been expanded and improved.

campground

  • Some roads that have been closed to vehicle traffic for years have been opened and graveled.

open road

  • New permanent firebreaks can be used for hunter access and areas to hunt.

firebreak

Categories: Hunting
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