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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

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.

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