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North Georgia Fishing Report: Oct. 24, 2014

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

This is a great time of year to go hunting for big fall brown trout.

Fisheries biologist Patrick O'Rouke with a nice 8-plus-pound brown trout collected while sampling the Chattahoochee River near Buford Dam on Monday.

Fisheries biologist Patrick O’Rouke with a nice 8-plus-pound brown trout collected while sampling the Chattahoochee River near Buford Dam on Monday.

With cooler water temperatures and the spawning urge beginning to stir in them, they’re on the move.  Serious stalkers should throw some baits, flies, or lures that have enough perceived calories to make it worth their while to come over and take a swipe.  Leave the midge patterns at home.   Remember that a good hunter searches carefully for his/her quarry before beginning their stalk.   Lesson- – scout (observe) and hunt (stalk) before you fish.

Also remember that this is the last hurrah for Georgia’s seasonal trout streams, which close on Nov. 1.  Take your “last shot” at those colorful headwater specks and rainbows while you can.  If the water’s a bit cold before lunch and the dry fly action is slow, drop a prince nymph or pheasant tail soft hackle two feet off the back of that dry.  Good luck as you try to beat the leaf fall and fit a few more casting trips in before hitting the sidelines for a week or so.  Stalk closer, cast shorter,  reduce the number of knots on your line (drop the dropper flies, limit the split shot), and retrieve with the stream flow, rather than against it,  to catch fewer leaves and more fish.   Once the majority of leaf fall has passed, our year-round north Georgia streams will again be easy to fish.  Don’t forget the camera to “shoot” both the trout and the scenery of north Georgia as both of these spectacles reach their peak of color in the next two weeks.

Call for Trout Volunteers – Nov. 1

“Rock Creek Workday

Sorry for the short notice but I just received word that we have a stream improvement workday on Saturday November 1.  We will be working in stream clearing some old structures and installing new structures as well.

Directions are below and are also available on the Coosa Valley TU website, coosavalley.tu.org.  Work will start at 9:00 am.

If you are available to help or have questions please email Jeff Walters, mjw1990@yahoo.com.  Once we know who is helping we can set up carpools to the worksite.

From Marietta- Take I 75 N to Hwy 411 North to Fairmount continue on 411 north.  Travel about 19 miles to stoplight at Ramhurst/Smyrna Rd turn right. Go about 250 yards turn right then and immediate left on to Old Federal Road.  Go 2.3 miles turn right on Peeples Lake Road. This is a long dirt road , after going about 5 miles look for signs directing you to the work site.

From Canton-Take I575/Hwy 515 north to GA Hwy 136 West to Hwy 411 North.  Go approx 8 miles  to stoplight at Ramhurst/Smyrna Rd turn right. Go about 250 yards turn right then and immediate left on to Old Federal Road.  Go 2.3 miles turn right on Peeples Lake Road. This is a long dirt road , after going about 5 miles look for signs directing you to the work site.

Thanks in advance for your help!”

Additional Links:

My First Brown Trout”

Hooch TailwaterReport 1, Report 2

Another Hefty Hooch Brown – Fisheries staff picked up this nice 8 3/4 pound brown trout while electrofishing in the Chattahoochee River near Buford Dam on Monday. After being measured and weighed, she was released to hopefully be caught again by a lucky Georgia angler. Fall is a great time to target large brown trout in the ‘Hooch with lures or flies imitating small trout or other baitfish.

George Daniel Here – Saturday

Roswell BanquetOct. 28

Trouting Open House – Nov. 1

Lanier Bass

Lanier Stripers Overdue

Allatoona Reports

Great Fall DestinationTry Tugalo Lake for a mixed bag, including walleye:

World Record Holder in Our MidstCongrats to Kevin!

Safety First! – Watch your step when speck fishing on steep mountain streams.  You want to hike back to the car rather than have our rangers copter you out!  Some of you may recognize the names of your northeast Georgia conservation rangers involved  in this rescue effort.

Be safe and have fun during a beautiful fall “hunting” season. With a little luck to complement your skills, maybe you’ll bag your own trophy brown trout, striper, or walleye.

Categories: Fishing

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Oct. 24, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Patrick caught these nice trout and flounder from the St. Simons Pier last week. (Photo courtesy of St. Simons Bait and Tackle)

Patrick caught these nice trout and flounder from the St. Simons Pier last week. (Photo courtesy of St. Simons Bait and Tackle)

The crappie bite is the big news this week. Saltwater has been solid, but the bigger tides late this week will probably muddy the water and slow the trout. Redfish should still bite through the muddier water, though. New Moon is Oct. 23. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the crappie bite has been impressive. Folks are blistering them with minnows fished 5-6 feet deep underneath a float. Some catfish were caught on limb lines baited with goldfish. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that the crappie bite on the lower river has been awesome. Minnows were the bait of choice. Some big bream were caught on crickets, and the bass bite has been fair (no details on what they’re biting).  The river level was 3.1 feet and rising (71 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.4 feet and rising (72 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Oct. 21.

Satilla River – The river is getting tough to get around in a johnboat. It is float-trip or bank fishing time again. Bill of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said the fishing was good this week, with bream and redbreasts hitting Satilla Spins and Spin Dandy spinnerbaits, as well as pink worms and crickets. Pink worms and rooster livers fished on the bottom accounted for most of the catfish. Shrimp fished on limb lines worked for catfish, as well. The river level at the Waycross gage was 4.9 feet and falling (70 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.1 feet and falling on Oct. 21.

Okefenokee Swamp – On the east side, Okefenokee Adventures staff reported that nobody fished this week, so they did not know what was biting. On the west side, Stephen C. Foster State Park staff said effort was low, but anglers still caught about 25 catfish per trip. Nobody reported catching fliers, but I’m sure you can catch them if you try. I usually catch about 10-20 fliers per hour this time of year by pitching yellow or pink Okefenokee Swamp Sallies on bream buster poles.

Local Ponds – The crappie bite picked up significantly this week in ponds. Michael Winge said most anglers caught between 10 and 20 crappie from local ponds this week, and minnows worked best. Bream were caught with pink worms, crickets, and red wiggler worms. Bass were fooled with buzzbaits, plastic worms and shiners. The fish were not picky on plastic worm colors, as they pounced on “almost any color thrown at them.” The catfishing held up well in the cooler weather, with shrimp, rooster livers and pink worms producing the best catches.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Capt. TJ Cheek reported that trout fishing was great this week. Lots of slot reds were caught in the same places as the trout. He expects the trout to slow a little with the bigger tides late this week, but the reds should keep feeding. Most of the trout ate live shrimp, but he recommends switching to DOA shrimp when you find a concentration of trout, as you can put them in the boat more quickly and stay on them better with artificials. The bull redfish bite has remained good for him around the sand bars and sounds. Chunks of mullet, whiting, or live pogies produced the best. Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught whiting, black drum, and croaker ate dead shrimp fished on the bottom in the Brunswick area. Trout were caught in good numbers on live shrimp and Bass Assassin Sea Shads. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle (912-634-1888) said that the bite on the pier is on fire. Trout, reds, flounder, and Spanish mackerel were caught in good numbers this week. Gynni Hunter caught her first bull redfish, a 43 1/2-incher, from the pier on Monday evening. Congratulations, Gynni! Two local anglers fishing from the pier on Monday limited out on trout 14 inches and up. Whiting are still being caught on dead shrimp, and a few sharks are being caught on cut bait. Shrimp are thick under the lights at night, and cast-netters are catching them.

Best Bet – The bull redfish are a great option this weekend if the weather allows access to them. If it is rough, try them from a pier instead of a boat. Put a piece of cut mullet or whiting on the bottom and hold on. In freshwater, it will be hard to beat crappie fishing this weekend, unless a cold front rolls in right before your trip. Crappie usually shut down for a day or two after a strong cold front.

Categories: Fishing

North Georgia Fishing Report: Oct. 17, 2014

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFall is here and so are the abundant angling opportunities associated with cooling waters, recharging rainfall, and lots of sport fish species trying to stock up on groceries before winter.  From headwater trout to reservoir stripers, a great menu of excursions awaits north Georgians during our “angling Octoberfest.”  The weekend weather report looks great and stream flows are falling after this week’s monsoons, so make some plans for Saturday.  Best bets: bluelining wild trout in the afternoons and chasing reservoir bass on top, early and late. Here’s the latest news…

Banker’s Smokies Specks“Here’s another trip report.  Oldest son and I had an amazing day in the Smokies in late September on an IDBIS brookie stream.  Consistent action all day from 11:00 on with dries, including almost two dozen between us out of one large waterfall pool!  First we cleaned out the tail / lip feeders with dries then hammered them in the main body of the pool with ant droppers using a new bead head sinking ant pattern I really like (bet we could have gotten 30 if we’d used green weenie droppers).   Small dries worked well all day – #16 peacock EHC and #16 Mr Rapidan Parachute (BWO colored) in the runs, pockets and pool tails.    Mid – afternoon saw some Cahills coming off, so a #14 trailing shuck parachute also worked well.  Then saw some spinners coming back late in the day and switched to orange spinners last hour finishing strong.  Water level and temp were about perfect.    Better than average size as well – many 8″ and a few up to 9″ and fat, which is pretty good by Smokies standards.   Fish have obviously been gorging on terrestrials all summer with all the rain.     Wish I could be on the water more right now because it’s going to be a great fall!”Banker

“Took Terry Rivers to IDBIS Creek  on Friday and we had another good day, if not quite as stellar as the mid-September trip with my son.   Fished some of the same water as before but also a 1/4 mi. section that we didn’t fish before after we saw another fisherman coming off it.   Dry fly action was good between noon and 3:00.  Small and dark worked best, same as before – #16 – 18 Mr. Rapidan Parachute (BWO imitation) worked best for me and #16 peacock EHC worked well for Terry.  I also used a new pattern that I copied from the Blue Ribbon Flies catalog that I have been wanting to try, a Royal Wulff cripple size 16 but with a blue krystal flash band instead of red.  Started the day with it and it was kinda slow at first but they started hitting it better as the morning wore on (the stream is at 4000 feet, so definitely late rising this time of year).    Biggest difference from last time was the weather.  Overcast all day but still mild temp.   A front came through about 4:00 and it got misty, then started raining on us as we were hiking out about 5:00.   Water temp when we started was 53 vs 55 before, and I’m sure it dropped after the front came through.  Everything pretty well shut down then, at least on dries.   Fishing a dropper PT nymph in the big waterfall pool that we did so well at before got no action.  Terry got a couple nice ones on the EHC though.   Fish were running same size as before – mostly 7 – 8 inches and full of color.  Terry has some good pics that I’m sure he will show you.  As soon as I can figure out how to download mine from my new camera, I’ll send those as well.  Spectacular early fall scenery and great fishing, a near perfect blueline afternoon.  Still sore from the rock climbing though.   I’m glad Terry got out without screwing up his other knee.    I’m sure we both slept in late Saturday.” – Banker

Headwater rainbows – “On my way back from Blue Ridge on Saturday (10/11), I hit one of the local WMA streams to see how the wild rainbows are biting.  I fished from about 1:00 to 4:00 and did pretty well on dries.  No monsters, as usual, but I fooled a couple 9-inchers among the 8-10 I landed.  Great colors on the wild fish right now.  Got one that reminded me of a cutthroat, due to the lack of spotting on its front half (see pic).  Some of the fish seemed to be fattening-up for the lean winter months to come.” – John Damer, Fisheries Biologist

Headwater RainbowsReport No. 2

Rainy Rainbows at Dukes – Congrats to Foothills TU’er Ricky Ozmar.  Net-man Dredger reports that this young flyfishing fanatic has really “got game” at Dukes Creek.  The eighth-grader took advantage of stained waters last Sunday to first toss big and bright patterns such as pink san jauns and Pat’s rubberlegs.  As the water cleared through the late afternoon, he scaled down to small pheasant tails and hares ears to stay in the game.  A nice handful of chunky rainbows to 19 inches was netted, while a monster was lost when Ricky’s dropper fly hung on a submerged limb.  I guess a rematch is in the making. PS – Google “October caddis” and carry a few of these big dries along with you to Georgia’s larger trout streams.

Toccoa Tailwater Lunkers – You may recall seeing the photo of John Damer holding up a fifteen-pound brown that was sampled and released back into the Toccoa Tailwater.  John told me the rest of the story: three other trout of nine pounds or better were also captured, measured,  and released during his September sampling.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGeorgia’s Delayed Harvest Trout Streams (November 1) – Get ready for this annual program of catch-and-release trout fishing opportunities on selected Georgia streams.  Here are some tips to help you prepare for good times ahead. More tips from Orvis: How to make a water haul cast, and how to detect strikes when nymph fishing.

Additional Links:

Outdoor Adventrure Days Thanks!Thanks to all of you volunteers who helped at one of WRD’s events on September 27 to celebrate National Fishing and Hunting Day.  We had 92 volunteers at the Unicoi State Park event, with a total of 1,037 attendees.  Enjoy the photo of a father and son who had a great time at the park, due in large part to your help.

Good luck.  Layer up to start your day and then shed some clothes as the afternoon sun thaws you out.  Don’t forget the extra change of clothes in the car, in case you take a wrong (and cold) step while wading.

Categories: Fishing

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Oct. 10, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Tommy Davis from Baxley has been whacking the crappie over the last couple of weeks. This slab ate a minnow fished under a float.

Tommy Davis from Baxley has been whacking the crappie over the last couple of weeks. This slab ate a minnow fished under a float.

Ponds, the Altamaha River, and saltwater are all producing some great catches. The crappie bite is getting fired up for the fall and winter. Last quarter moon is Oct. 15. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the recent cooler weather is just what the doctor ordered to fire off the crappie bite. Minnows and jigs fooled some slabs this week. Shellcracker and bream were caught on the bottom in the deeper holes by those using worms. Dannett from Altamaha Park said big flatheads were caught on limb lines baited with goldfish. Crappie were eating minnows. Worms and crickets fooled redbreasts and bream. She said that mullet are jumping all over the river (they are migrating out to the ocean over the next couple of months) and some even jumped in boats. On Saturday, a bass club held a tournament out of the landing and had one of the best weigh-ins of the year. The river level was 1.9 feet and falling (74 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.4 feet and falling (73 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Oct. 7.

Satilla River – The river is still swollen, but you can catch a bunch of catfish, a few panfish, and bass at the current level. On Sunday evening some anglers fishing the bank from the Waycross portion of the river caught catfish by fishing worms and shrimp on the bottom. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the catfish bite has been great, with whiskerfish eating anything put in front of them. Pink worms, shrimp and rooster livers were the best rod and reel baits, while cut shiners worked well on limb lines. He reported that bream were caught in good numbers on black/yellow Satilla Spins, crickets, and worms. Crappie were eating both minnows and jigs. Michael expects the fishing to be good this weekend behind the mid-week full moon. The river level at the Waycross gage was 7.2 feet and falling (71 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 6.6 feet and rising (72 degrees) on Oct. 7.

St. Marys River –  The river is still high, and it would be hard to even get to a boat ramp at the current level. Wait another week or so. When the river drops back a few feet, the catfish bite should be excellent. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 11.3 feet and falling on Oct. 7.

Okefenokee Swamp – I did not receive any reports from the swamp this week, but the flier bite should still be going strong. They will eat up a pink or yellow sally pitched on a bream buster. After cold fronts, try a small balsa float, but during warm spells (like forecasted for later this week) leave the float off.

Local Ponds – An angler spider-rigged an area lake with minnows on Thursday evening and caught 25 nice crappie and a few bass up to 3 pounds. His biggest slab was just under 2 pounds. On Friday morning, a couple of anglers caught (many were released) over 100 crappie. One was spider-rigging minnows and the other trolled 2-inch Assassin Curly Shads, curly-tailed grubs, and Magnum Satilla Spins. The best plastic color was popsicle, while a lavender shad Magnum Satilla Spin worked best. Michael Winge said that local ponds produced great crappie fishing after the recent cool snap. Most ate minnows. The bream fishing was still strong, and most ate crickets or worms. Some nice bass were reported by anglers fishing live shiners.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Capt. TJ Cheek reported that the bull reds are what he has been chasing the most, and he’s been finding them about everywhere around the sounds. Inshore trout fishing has been improving, but he expects it to slack a little this weekend with the bigger tides. Around Crooked River, trout fishing picked up, with most anglers catching 10 to 15 trout per trip. New Penny and electric chicken Assassin Sea Shads worked well for Waycross anglers. Neil Aldridge boated 14 trout and lots of “trash fish” this weekend out of Crooked River State Park. His best color Sea Shad was pearl-chartreuse tail, but he caught a few on new penny. He fished his Sea Shad under an Equalizer Float. Michael Winge reported that late last week when the wind laid down, trout, reds, flounder, whiting, and black drum were caught in the Brunswick area. On Friday, an angler reported catching over 100 trout on new penny Bass Assassin Sea Shads. He said the fish were not on the bank but were in the middle of the river that he was fishing. He had 16 keepers, and the rest were short. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that it is redfish by day and redfish by night (under the lights) from the pier. The size has ranged from 12 to 48 inches, and cut bait has been the best. On Monday morning a 45-incher was landed and released. Trout, flounder, whiting, and black drum were also caught. Cast-netters are catching limits of shrimp.

Best Bet – If the weather is too rough for saltwater, crappie fishing at a local pond or lake is a great option. Flinging crickets or small spinnerbaits on the Altamaha will also fool a good mess of panfish. If weather allows, giant redfish are catchable from the piers or in the sounds. Trout fishing is picking up, but the big tides this weekend will probably have the bite condensed to a few hours around the mid-day high tides while the water is the clearest.

Categories: Fishing

North Georgia Fishing Report: Sept. 26, 2104

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

Brook trout from John Damer.

Brook trout from John Damer.

Many thanks to the scores of you scheduled to join WRD staff across the state on Saturday, Sept. 27, to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day.  WRD has an impressive roster of events that are designed to introduce Georgians to the outdoor sports.     We couldn’t do this without all of you, our conservation partners willing to give up this Saturday for the future of your sport.  Invite your friends and neighbors to join us and learn how to catch a trout, draw a bow, experience native wildlife, and shoot skeet.  If they can’t make to our distant events like the Adventure Days at Sloppy Floyd and Unicoi state parks, consider the closer choice of the kids fishing event just below Buford Dam.

In return, here are some of the latest tips on north Georgia fisheries.  Fall has arrived and the fish are beginning to respond.  It was 54 degrees when I left home in Cleveland this morning.  The weather’s fantastic, the sourwood leaves are showing some red hues, and our quarry is beginning to pack on the groceries to get through the coming winter.  Come on up and wet a line soon.  Here we go:

Lanier Stripers – GON Forum Report 1, GON Forum Report 2

Lanier bassGON Forum Report, AnglerWorld.com Report

Carters Lake Prospects

Allatoona Prospects

Bluelines – Pick Your Flavor (Specks, NGTO)

Deadly Damer – “Yesterday, while my wife and daughter were at a baby shower, I snuck away to my favorite brookie stream (hee-hee).  The fishing gods must have been smiling on me (knowing that I don’t have too many free weekends left until the new baby arrives), because I had a great day.   I spent the day crawling through the rhododendron sneaking up on lots of colorful brookies.  I’m guessing I managed 15-20, with a surprising number of solid 9-inchers.  The DNR/USFS/TU stream structures seem to be doing a great job of producing better-than-average specks.  Better tell your angler contacts to fish these brookie streams soon before most of them close for the season!  They are hot right now.” – John Damer, Fisheries Biologist

Rainbow trout from "the Guru."

Rainbow trout from “the Guru.”

Rainbows – “Saturday morning found pleasant pre-fall weather and lots of folks out enjoying it.  Thankfully, for me, every one of them were hikers.  Not an angler in the crowd.  Met Sautee on the creek about 9:30 that morning as I had a brief business affair to take care of.  His daylight report was good and all on dries.  Not even a dropper was needed.  What better report can you get than that!  So I tied on a size 16 PMD Parachute and headed for the creek.  My first legitimate cast resulted in a nice 6″ wild rainbow.  Life is good!  We fished upstream for a couple of hours, regularly catching fish on various dry flies; yellow body elk hair caddis, parachute adams and even light cahills.  The fish in these small streams are too hungry to be very picky and that’s a good thing for the angler.  Sautee planned to leave around 11:00 to satisfy a barbeque craving he was having but I stayed on.  Right before he left, we were at one of the best pools on the creek so I encouraged him to fish it.  Which he did, pulling a beautiful 6 or 7 inch rainbow from it.  He then stepped back and offered the pool to me.  It was tightly enclosed with rhododendron and casting the length of it was pretty tricky but after five or six tries I finally got my roll cast to drop the fly at the head of the pool.  Almost instantly it was attacked and taken straight to the bottom.  My little 7′ 4 wt. rod bent and danced over the surface of the pool as my wide-eyed expression told Sautee to hang around.  After what seemed like an eternity, I worked the fished to the back of the pool and over the small waterfall where I was standing.  As I swung the rod to bring the rainbow to my hand, the bright red stripe down its side jumped out at us.  The 10″ rainbow was a trophy for this stream and as beautiful as any I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.  I could have walked out satisfied with Sautee right then, but I didn’t.  I kept on fishing.” – The Guru

Watersheds – By the way, always keep an eye on the watershed above you.

Bigger Trout Water – “Great Day from Chattooga River Fly Shop! The weather has cooled off tremendously here (51 degrees Sept. 24) and the water is cooling off as well.  This will have the fish moving from the depths and off the bottom.  The forecast is for the same weather pattern for the next week and fishing will continue to get much better!  We will start to see the Fall Cahills and the October Caddis soon!!

We are excited to be a part of the Wilderness & River Celebration with the Forest Service this weekend!!  We will be at the HWY 76 Bridge, on the river, from 1:00pm-4:00pm, having hands on casting, drifting techniques, and fly selections.  Here is a link for the other events going on throughout the day.  The is also a dinner ($7-$10) with a Blue Grass Band at the Chattooga Belle Farm starting at 3 p.m.  Please come out and join us!” – Karl, Karen, Bud & Tom, Chattooga River Fly Shop

River Bass – Dredger went prospecting on Sunday afternoon.  He noticed on his Iphone that his first choice, Tooga redeyes, might be iffy due to a Friday spike in the USGS flow gauge – and the likelihood of stained waters on the lower river.  So he rode another hour north to find some smallmouthed cousins.  As expected, the blue-sky bite was slow on dredged  black leeches, but as the sun began to set at seven, that last hour of surface action made up for the first three of sparse pickins.’  In total, about a dozen smallmouth to eleven inches came to hand, along with some rock bass, redbreast, and a lone bluegill.  The evening wade, while tossing a white stealth bomber, was a great end to a fine weekend in the mountains.

Ready for the Fall Bite? Enjoy Henry’s video.

Good luck this weekend, whether you’re with your own kids or entertaining a friend’s family.  Please join our DNR staff in introducing many new Georgians to the outdoor sports on National Hunting and Fishing Day!  And then fish yourself during the last two hours of daylight.  You’ll be glad you did.

Sincerely,

At the Unicoi OAD Fishing Tent on Saturday

Categories: Fishing

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Sept. 26, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Bill Hickox of Waycross fished an Alma pond over the weekend and caught this whopper largemouth bass.

Bill Hickox of Waycross fished an Alma pond over the weekend and caught this whopper largemouth bass.

The Outdoor Adventure/J.A.K.E.S. Day will be held at Paradise Public Fishing Area near Tifton this Saturday, Sept. 27 on National Hunting and Fishing Day. 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, and there was still one slot open as of Wednesday. To sign up a teen (ages 12-16), call the Waycross Fisheries Office at (912) 285-6094. Saltwater fishing has been very good this week, as have the rivers and ponds. The cooler nights have fish feeding, and it should only improve over the next month. First quarter moon is October 1st. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the crappie bite picked up this week for those fishing minnows. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that lots of crappie were caught on minnows, even during the rain storms this weekend. Bream and redbreasts were caught on worms. The catch of the week, though, was made by a young man fishing from the dock. He cast a pumpkinseed tube lure and brought back a 2 1/2-pound flounder! Boy was he surprised! While typically a saltwater species, the flatfish can wander up into the freshwater. I’m aware of them being caught as far upriver as Jesup on the Altamaha. The river level was 3.1 feet and falling (79 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 5.1 feet and falling (80 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Sept. 23.

Satilla River – A group of anglers fished out of an upriver landing late last week and caught just shy of 60 redbreasts, 19 bream, and two crappie. Crickets worked well for them. Some of their fish were true “roosters.”  Another group of anglers fishing upriver caught several bass on topwaters. Their biggest was just over 3 pounds. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river fishing has been excellent for those fishing from the Blackshear Bridge and above. Crickets and worms produced most of the bream and redbreasts. Bass catches were good, with fire tiger Rattling Rogues working. The crappie bite picked up this week with the cooler temperatures, and the usual minnows worked best. The river level at the Waycross gage was 5.4 feet and falling (78 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 6.2 feet and falling (78 degrees) on Sept. 23.

St. Marys River –  The river is fishable again after flood conditions over the last couple weeks, and the catfishing is your best bet. Put a shrimp on the bottom to fool a good mess of whiskerfish. Rooster livers fished on limb lines and trot lines have been producing catfish, as well. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 8.6 feet and falling on Sept. 23.

Okefenokee Swamp – The cooler nights are exactly what we need to fire off the flier bite. Pitching pink or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies on bream buster poles is my favorite way to catch them. I usually do best in September without a float, but after the first major cold front, I start using small balsa floats more frequently. On the west side, the catfish bite is still strong. Shrimp fished on the bottom is the best presentation.

Local Ponds – Bill Hickox of Waycross caught an 8-pound, 3-ounce trophy bass over the weekend from a pond near Alma. He caught it on an artificial lure. Michael Winge said that a fair number of crappie were caught during early morning hours on minnows. The catfish and bream bites were good for those fishing worms.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Saltwater fishing has been excellent for most anglers this week. A couple of Waycross anglers fished from the St. Simons Pier on Friday night in the nasty weather and caught five bull redfish up to 42 inches. They also caught some sharks, stingrays, and Spanish mackerel (before dark). Other anglers that same day caught a cooler full of Spanish mackerel on Gotcha Plugs during the middle of the day.  A group of Waycross anglers reported catching 40 flounder with mudminnows in the Brunswick area. The sheepshead bite has improved. A couple of anglers brought home 13 nice sheepshead to 4 pounds and various other bottom fish on Thursday. They were using fiddler crabs for bait. The Village Creek and Hampton River area has been good this week for flounder and trout. Tripletail were caught inshore on live shrimp fished around Intracoastal Waterway markers. Look for the shrimping to pick up with the cooler temperatures. Practice throwing your cast net to make sure you are prepared when they arrive. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle (912-634-1888) said that from the pier, it was a redfish weekend. Bull reds from 30 to 45 inches were caught on cut bait (remember, you have to release redfish over 23 inches). Trout and flounder were caught with live shrimp and mudminnows. Lots of Spanish mackerel were caught all week, and on Tuesday the whiting bite was good for those fishing dead shrimp on the bottom.

Best Bet: The Outdoor Adventure/ J.A.K.E.S. Day at Paradise PFA near Tifton is an excellent event. Gather up the kids in your neighborhood and introduce them to fishing, shooting sports, and lots more outdoor fun. For more information, call the Waycross Fisheries Office at (912) 285-6094. This Saturday is the National Hunting and Fishing Day, and there are lots of events spread around the area. Fishing licenses are not required this Saturday, so it is a great day to fish at a Public Fishing Area (PFA), such as Paradise PFA, without the need to purchase a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) stamp. Once you fish on one of Georgia’s awesome PFA’s, you will want to go ahead and purchase the stamp so that you can fish there all year.

Categories: Fishing

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
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