Archive

Posts Tagged ‘catfish’

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: June 16, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Carli Davidson of Waycross caught this 26-inch redfish in the Brunswick area the week of Memorial Day. Trout and redfish are picking up on the Georgia coast.

Carli Davidson of Waycross caught this 26-inch redfish in the Brunswick area the week of Memorial Day. Trout and redfish are picking up on the Georgia coast.

The Satilla River level has bounced around with last week’s rains, but the fishing has still been outstanding. The Altamaha panfish and saltwater cranked up last week, as well. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – The river was very fishable for last weekend’s panfish tournament out of Jaycee’s Landing. More details will be included in this week’s report. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that redbreasts, bream, and flatheads bit well this week. Goldfish produced most of the flatheads. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that catfish, bream, redbreasts, and shellcrackers were tops this week. Some of the shellcrackers are monsters (pushing 2 pounds!). The river level was 6.2 feet and falling (84 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.3 feet and rising (82 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 9.

Satilla River – The barrage of great reports continued this week. Again, I cannot begin to repeat every good story, but the biggest was a new state record spotted sunfish (stumpknocker) that is making its way through the certification process. The fish tied the current 10-oz. state record. The DNR folks certified about 6 additional angler award-sized redbreasts this week (that takes at least a 1-pound redbreast to qualify). Even with the rains this week, the middle river is now on fire too. The best report I heard was from Dane Clements and a friend on Thursday. They fished the upper river, catching and keeping 90 big redbreasts before catching and releasing more than 150 redbreasts, stumpknockers, bluegill, and crappie. They caught a couple dozen on red/white and black/yellow Satilla Spins, but for the second week in a row, crawfish 1/8-oz. models were tops for them. Almost everyone else reporting back to me said that 1/16-oz. black/yellow was their best color. As the water drops in the upper river, most anglers are switching over to 1/16-oz. models of the little spinnerbait.

Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said the redbreast bite has remained awesome this week. The best lures were Beetle Spins (black/chartreuse and white-red dot), Spin Dandys (any color), and Satilla Spins (“whatever color you can get”). Crickets and worms have also produced lots of redbreasts this week, but typically the artificials have been producing the bigger fish. The middle river section produced some great catches of crappie for anglers using minnows. Michael said that the big bluegills have fired up in the Atkinson area, also, and they ate crickets best. Catfish were eating worms in the deeper holes below sandbars. Bass hit baby bass colored Rattling Rogue jerkbaits. The river level at the Waycross gage was 6.9 feet and falling (79 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 7.3 feet and rising (82 degrees) on June 9.

St. Marys River – The river rose with significant rains in the swamp this week and slowed the panfish bite. The catfish bite has remained red hot, especially for limb-line anglers. Shrimp and pink worms worked best for them. Crickets fished around creek mouths accounted for most of the bluegills. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 9.8 feet and falling on June 9.

Local Ponds – Michael Winge reported that big bream are beginning to bed with the approaching full moon. Worms and crickets have worked best. Bass were fooled with shiners and topwater plugs. Anglers fishing their favorite catfish ponds bragged about catching 5-gallon buckets full of whiskerfish.

Okefenokee Swamp – I am going to let the yellow flies have the swamp in June. If you want to brave the bugs, the flier bite is great. You can pretty easily catch over 100 fliers per day by pitching sallies.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Capt. TJ Cheek reports that trout was the main inshore focus last week. He said the fish have been moving, and that’s a good idea for the anglers, as well. Change locations frequently until you find them. The Cumberland beach bite has been solid, but there are many ladyfish and crevalle jack mixed in with the trout. He said that they will eat you out of house and home (literally!) with shrimp being around $25 per quart. Nearshore, the tripletaill and shark bites have been good. Sharks have been thick, eating everything from pogies to cut bait.  Michael Winge reported that anglers fishing the Brunswick and Crooked River areas said that the trout bite has picked up. Assassin Sea Shads fished under Cajun Thunder Floats have produced quite a few trout and redfish. The whiting bite around St. Simons has remained strong on days when you can get out, but keep an eye to the sky for pop-up thunderstorms. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the flounder bite is in full swing on the pier. Finger mullet and mud minnows produced the most. Limits of flatfish from 14-18 inches have been reported. Spadefish, croakers, black sea bass, and whiting were also caught in good numbers. Last Sunday, a 32-inch redfish was caught on cut bait. A few sharks have been landed. Blue crabs were caught in good numbers.

Best Bet – The Satilla should continue to pump out some awesome catches of panfish again this week. Frequent small rains have kept the river level fishable longer than usual. Trout fishing out of Crooked River or Brunswick is a great saltwater option.

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: June 6, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Delani caught this nice bluegill over the weekend from the Ocmulgee River. Her sister, Destiny, didn’t want to stop fishing long enough to look the camera, but she gave her little sister a big “thumbs up!”

Delani caught this nice bluegill over the weekend from the Ocmulgee River. Her sister, Destiny, didn’t want to stop fishing long enough to look the camera, but she gave her little sister a big “thumbs up!”

The Satilla River is the big story again this week. The upper and middle river areas produce some excellent catches this weekend. The first quarter moon is June 5. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – The river is approaching fishable, but could stand to drop another couple of feet. Bass have been biting jigs, buzzbaits, plastic worms, and crankbaits fished around cuts and the mouths of oxbow lakes. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that anglers caught redbreasts, bream, and some big flatheads this week. Crickets produced most of the panfish, while goldfish produced the flatheads. Dannett from Altamaha Park reported some huge shellcrackers were caught by anglers fishing pink worms over the weekend. Big bream and redbreasts ate beetle spins and crickets. Channel and flathead catfish were caught in good numbers with shiners and goldfish. The timing appears  perfect for a new panfish tournament sponsored by Iron Pigs Motorcycle Club scheduled for June 14. First place is a guaranteed $500. The tournament will be based out of Jaycees Landing in Jesup. The winner will be determined based on the weight of their biggest 10 panfish (bluegill, warmouth, redbreasts, and shellcrackers are the species to be weighed). The entry fee is a modest $20 per angler (children under 16 years of age can compete free of charge with a paying adult). For more information, contact the Wayne County Board of Tourism at 912-427-3233. The river level was 6.6 feet and falling (78 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.5 feet and falling (77 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 3.

Satilla River – I can’t begin to tell all the stories folks have told me this week about the awesome fishing on the Satilla. Most of the ramps I stopped by had at least a half-dozen trucks and trailers in the parking lot, even during the weekdays. The DNR folks certified four Angler Award-sized redbreasts this week (that takes at least a 1-pound redbreast to qualify). Many people say they’ve caught a 1-pound redbreast, but few have actually weighed them on certified scales. A 1-pounder is a MONSTER. The biggest this week was a 1-pound., 3-ounce “rooster.”  The rains late last week and during the weekend muddied the water from Waycross to Hwy 301, but folks still reported catching about 12-20 redbreasts per trip.

The best report I heard was from Dane Clements. Dane and his friend fished the river above Waycross on Sunday and caught almost 200 redbreasts, keeping 90 of the biggest fish. They started off catching them on crickets early while the temperatures were cool, but the redbreasts started eating artificials as the sun warmed the water. Dane whacked most of his fish on crawfish Satilla Spins fished around cover. Several of their fish came from cover and current breaks in the middle of the river, so make sure to not overlook unusual spots. Many of the other anglers reporting to me caught their fish on black/yellow Satilla Spins. Anglers in the upper river are switching over to 1/16-oz. models, primarily, while middle river anglers are still using the 1/8-oz. because of the stronger current. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the redbreast bite has been awesome. Beetlespins, Spin Dandys, Satilla Spins (red/white), crickets, and worms are producing the most fish. Bass are being caught on buzzbaits and baby bass colored Rattling Rogue jerkbaits. According to the DNR biologists, the electrofishing sampling is showing that the bass population is very high (compared to typical) in the Satilla. Catfish were caught in good numbers by those fishing bush hooks baited with shiners and those fishing bottom rigs baited with worms, rooster liver, or shrimp. The river level at the Waycross gage was 7.3 feet and falling (74 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 6.9 feet and steady (76 degrees) on June 3.

St. Marys River – Redbreasts, bream, and catfish are tearing it up, especially on the upper river. Worms, crickets, and beetlespins are working best. Some bass were reported from those fishing topwater plugs. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 6.5 feet and falling on June 3.

Local Ponds – Warren Budd continued whacking bluegills this past weekend on black/chartreuse Satilla Spins. His biggest was short of his monster last weekend, though he still landed some well over a pound. Michael Winge reported that bass were eating bubblegum Trick Worms. Most of the impressive bream catches were made by those fishing crickets.

Okefenokee Swamp – The yellow flies have picked up, and I typically let them have the swamp in June. If you want to brave the bugs, the flier bite is great. You can pretty easily catch over 100 fliers per day pitching sallies.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – The tripletail bite has remained decent this week during the fishable days. Hunt for them off the beaches of Jekyll Island. I heard one good report this week for the beach trout. They were using live shrimp. Another group of anglers fishing the Brunswick area got into some nice trout fishing artificials (Sea Shads). The water was fairly clear for them. Inshore, trout were caught this week from the St. Simons Island Causeway bridges. A Waycross angler landed a big (about 8 pounds) black drum from a Brunswick pier this weekend. On the beaches, whiting were the best bite, with dead shrimp producing the most. Michael Winge reported some good catches of whiting by Waycross anglers fishing around the King and Prince. Dead shrimp fished on the bottom was the deal for them. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the whiting bite has been on fire, with lots of full coolers leaving the pier. Most whiting have been 10-15 inches. Trout have been hitting live shrimp and artificials and a few flounder have been caught using mudminnows around the pilings. Sharks were fooled this week with cut bait. Blue crabs are increasing in numbers as the water warms.

Best Bet – The Winge’s/Coca-Cola/Georgia Wildlife Resources Division Kids’ Fishing Event will be held this Saturday at Brentz McGhin’s Pond in Blackshear. There will be lots of catfish caught and prizes given away. For more information, call the Waycross Fisheries Office at 912-285-6094. The Satilla River is on fire, and the middle river should get cranked up this weekend. The stained water of this week should be a thing of the past pretty much up and down the river. The upper river is getting to the point where a float trip will be your best option. In saltwater, the trout fishing on the Cumberland Island beach should be on fire, but you have to choose your days when the wind is from a westerly quadrant.

North Georgia Fishing Report: June 6, 2014

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

Kids Fishing Event on the Chattahoochee at Jones Bridge.

Kids Fishing Event on the Chattahoochee at Jones Bridge.

It’s National Fishing and Boating Week, and that means Kids Fishing Events and a couple of free fishing days for adults. Take advantage of the great family opportunities available during the next two weekends.

Kids Fishing Events – Here are some of the most popular June 7 events in the metro area and north Georgia. Each of these events will receive a truckload of WRD or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trout.

Free Fishing Days – Georgia residents are not required to have a fishing license to fish on June 7 and 14. Take a neighbor who has never fished before.

$100 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card ContestRound 2 has started. You’ll enjoy the smiles on the faces of these young anglers.  Enter your own photo soon!

Another Contest – Join the fun on the 2014 First Ever KeepAmericaFishing™ Day. Go fishing on June 7, and you just might win one of many exciting prizes.

We Support Summer Campers!Enjoy Sheila in action.

Teacher Grant ContestGeorgia Department of Natural Resources is offering a $1,000 grant to a third-, fourth- or fifth-grade public or private school teacher in Georgia who demonstrates exceptional energy and innovation in teaching life sciences.

Here we go…

Flathead collected near Clarks Bridge of Lake Lanier.

Flathead collected near Clarks Bridge of Lake Lanier.

Lanier Flatheads – Biologist Patrick O’Rouke and Technician Chris Looney sampled the Hooch above Lanier this week.  IN addition to a good population of spotted bass, they found a concentration of flathead catfish a couple miles upstream from Belton Bridge.  About 20-30 were seen, with the biggest around 30 pounds.  They’ve sampled even bigger ones in the Hooch arm of Lake Lanier this year (attached photo).  Patrick suggested to try the river channel with significant  structure (rock ledges or submerged trees).

Bass Report

Small Lakes – Guru’s five-kayak flotilla assaulted Unicoi Lake on Saturday evening as the sun set.  The gang caught a nice bunch of bluegill and redbreast sunfish by tossing small poppers against the bank.  Some of the redbreast were good-sized for north Georgia (as big as their hands), and were found bedding.  The group also caught some largemouth bass up to 14 inches on poppers for the flyrodders and Senkos for the spinfishers.

Stocked Trout – Best bets include:  Tallulah, Rock, and Jones Bridge after the KFE’s,  Johns, Boggs, Hooch on WMA, and West Fork Chattooga.

Headwater trout – Now is prime time!

Rivers -Be Careful on Toccoa Tailwater

  • Necessary TVA flow changes
  • Most of Jake D’s kayak fleet ventured to the Hooch near Highway 115 on Sunday evening and caught a mixed bag of spots, shoal bass, redeyes, redbreasts, bluegills, and even a couple of small stripers.  The river was still turbid from the week’s rains, but it had cleared enough for the fish to see and eat!
  • Kayaks and River Bass?
  • Chattooga DH holding on

BIG Browns(Video) -Here’s a good one to end on…  your dream of a fish of a lifetime.  Enjoy this and plan your next trip to trophy waters.

Good luck this week.  Take some time out for the kids and help WRD to grow the next generation of Georgia’s stream and lake stewards. Grab your neighbor’s family and introduce them to the outdoors.  You might just create some more fishing buddies and conservation partners.

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: May 8, 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 this giant 24-inch seatrout on Monday with a live baitfish suspended under a Back Bay Thunder Float. He was fishing with his grandfather, Herb Deener.

Timothy Deener (left) caught this giant 24-inch seatrout on Monday with a live baitfish suspended under a Back Bay Thunder Float. He was fishing with his grandfather, Herb Deener.

The rivers are getting in decent shape, and the fishing is picking up. Swamp and saltwater fishing has been outstanding. Check out several tournaments and family events listed below. The full oon is May 14. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Chris and Jennifer Swenson of Jesup were the big winners in the  Wayne County Catfish Tournament held on Saturday and Sunday out of Jaycees Landing in Jesup. They won overall 1st place ($10,000) with a total of 61.06 pounds plus overall big fish and women’s category big fish (Jennifer’s 31.86-pound flathead won those two categories). Great job under some tough fishing conditions! 2nd place was Tiff Thompson’s team with 42.42 pounds. 3rd was Albert Bennett’s team with 31.92 pounds. Cody Bennett won the kids’ category with a 17.12-pound flathead.  For more results and photos, visit the website www.waynecountycatfishtournament.com. Several panfish anglers reported to me that they were catching some nice redbreasts and bluegills up in the floodplain and in eddies behind trees by pitching crickets. The best photo I saw was a dozen nice redbreasts caught at the end of last week. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that anglers caught redbreasts on the down-river side of sandbars in about 5 feet of water. An angler fishing on Monday caught over a dozen of the biggest redbreasts he has caught in years by using crickets and this sandbar pattern. Dannett from Altamaha Park reported anglers catching redbreasts, crappie, and catfish. Bream were eating crickets fished in the eddy on the downstream side of trees. Blue catfish ate worms, rooster livers, and shrimp in the deep holes. Flatheads bit goldfish best. On Saturday, an angler reported catching 41 keeper redbreasts with crickets fished from the dock at the landing.  A new panfish tournament sponsored by Iron Pigs Motorcycle Club will be held on June 14th. First place is a guaranteed $500. The tournament will be based out of Jaycees Landing in Jesup. The winner will be determined based on the weight of their biggest 10 panfish (bluegillwarmouthredbreasts and shellcrackers are the species to be weighed). The entry fee is a modest $20 per angler (children under 16 years of age can compete free of charge with a paying adult). For more information, contact the Wayne County Board of Tourism at 912-427-3233. Check out my article on bream fishing the Altamaha in the May issue of Georgia Outdoor News if you want some details about panfishing the big river. Barring additional rains, it should be awesome fishing in another week. The river level was 9.8 feet and falling (71 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.0 feet and falling (69 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on May 6.

Satilla River – This Saturday, May 10, is the first annual Satilla Riverkeeper fishing tournament. The river is going to be a little high but will be fishable by Saturday. Last week’s rains were enough to keep the river level about the same for an additional few days, but at least it will not be flooding again from those rains. For more information visit www.satillariverkeeper.org. I am predicting that the tournament will be won by someone fishing one of the many tributaries of the Satilla. I received several reports this week from anglers catching lots of redbreasts and bluegills in the tributaries to the Satilla with beetlespins and crickets. “Trout Magnet” caught several dozen silver dollar-sized fliers from his favorite spot in Big Creek on his namesake little jig. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the upper river redbreasts are getting feisty. He said that they are killing crickets and Satilla Spins with a vengeance. The catfish bite has been great, with limb and trotliners catching fish on rooster livers and shrimp. Bass have been biting during the falling river, with topwaters (such as Pop-R’s and buzzbaits) producing the most strikes. Get your fishing gear ready – it’s about to bust wide open. The river level  at the Waycross gage was 11.6 feet and falling (68 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 11.8 feet and falling (71 degrees) on May 6.

St. Marys River – Catfish, bream, and redbreasts were caught this week in good numbers. The upper river will be excellent for redbreasts shortly as the level continues to fall. Catfishing will be good this weekend all up and down the river. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 8.7 feet and falling on May 6.

Local Ponds – Michael Winge reported that the bream fishing was best this week. Crickets fooled some giants from beds and also shoreline cover and vegetation. Catfish were fooled with pink worms fished on the bottom. Black Trick Worms and Finesse Worms fooled quality bass this week.

Okefenokee Swamp – Warmouth, catfish, and fliers were reported from the east (Folkston) side this week. From the west (Fargo) side, anglers reported catching bream, catfish, and even a few bass. The oxygen was low in the Sill canal near SC Foster State Park after several cloudy days last week, and a few warmouth, pickerel, and bass died from the naturally-caused oxygen sag. The oxygen rebounded with the recent sunny conditions, but if you fish the Sill area, concentrate your effort from the first spillway outward. Lots of catfish were caught by anglers fishing on the bottom with worms and shrimp near both spillways. Okefenokee Swamp Sallies in yellow and pink produced the best flier catches. All of the creeks crossing Swamp Road (south of Waycross) produced good catches of catfish again this week. That bite will likely slow this week as the flows decrease and folks catch the fish in the pools by the bridge crossings.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – The whiting bite has turned on again after last week’s super-windy conditions. Dead shrimp and squid produced the best catches. A few trout caught with live shrimp were reported from Crooked River. The tackle shop in the parking lot by the state park ramp is now open. The 3rd annual Family Fun Day and C’Mos Kids saltwater tournament will be held this Saturday (May 10th). For more information about the events and tournament check out www.cmoskids.org or call the State Park at 912-882-5256. Lots of tripletail were caught in the rivers in the Brunswick area this week. In the creeks around St. Simons Island, trout and redfishing was strong, and a few flounder were mixed in the catches. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that from the pier the bull whiting were caught by the truckloads. They might be slightly exaggerating, but the bite was strong. The average angler caught from 25 to 30 whiting. Dead shrimp were the ticket. Lots of small sharks are around, and a few trout and flounder were also caught. On Saturday night, a 28 and 47-inch redfish were caught on cut bait. On Sunday, a 25-pound black drum came over the rails. It ate dead shrimp fished on bottom.

Best Bet – You will have a blast this Saturday fishing the Satilla River Fishing Tournament hosted by the Satilla Riverkeeper or the Family Fun Day at Crooked River State Park hosted by C’Mo’s Kids. Both events will be top-notch family activities. River fishing is not quite right, but the fishing is picking up. Ponds and saltwater should be on fire this weekend. Whiting fishing all along the coast should be great this weekend. Take your pick, and you can hardly go wrong by fishing for about anything this weekend.

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: April 17, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

The bull redfish have shown up at the St. Simons Pier. This 43-incher and another smaller fish were caught on Saturday evening on cut whiting (photo courtesy of St. Simons Bait and Tackle).

The bull redfish have shown up at the St. Simons Pier. This 43-incher and another smaller fish were caught on Saturday evening on cut whiting (photo courtesy of St. Simons Bait and Tackle).

Pond fishing and saltwater have been awesome this week. Bass in ponds and whiting in the ocean have been the top bites. The Okefenokee should be good once the water level stabilizes again. Forget the rivers this week due to flooding, but when they finally come back down it will be awesome fishing! The last quarter moon is April 22. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River  – Forget it this weekend! The big rains are making their way down the river. The annual Wayne County Catfish Tournament will be held May 3-4 out of Jaycees Landing in Jesup. First place will pay $10,000 (NOT a misprint)!  For more information, visit the website www.waynecountycatfishtournament.com. A new panfish tournament sponsored by Iron Pigs Motorcycle Club was recently announced for June 14. First place is a guaranteed $500. The tournament will also be based out of Jaycees Landing in Jesup. The winner will be determined based on the weight of their biggest 10 panfish (bluegill, warmouth, redbreasts and shellcrackers are the species to be weighed). The entry fee is a modest $20 per angler, and children under 16 years of age can compete free of charge with a paying adult. For more information, contact the Wayne County Board of Tourism at 912-427-3233. The river level was 13.9 feet and rising (66 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 11.2 feet and rising (66 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on April 15.

Satilla River – Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said the deluge put off the fishing, except for a few folks who caught catfish on limb lines in the upper river. Give it a couple weeks for the river to get back down in the banks. For more detailed information about fishing the Satilla River, check out my article in the April issue of Georgia Outdoor News. The Satilla Riverkeeper recently announced they will sponsor a fishing tournament on the Satilla River on Saturday, May 10. The river should be fishable by then, unless we continue to get significant rains. Look for more information about the tournament in the weeks to come. The river level at the Waycross gage was 15.4 feet and falling (67 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 15.7 feet and rising (68 degrees) on April 15.

Local Ponds – Bass fishing has been awesome according to most accounts. On Monday, Warren Budd of Newnan fished a Cochran area lake with a friend and caught 76 bass on Satilla Spins and Flashy Jigheads rigged with 2-inch Assassin Curly Shads (crystal shad was the best color). The pair was targeting smaller bass for a fish fry and had a blast with ultralight tackle. An angler fishing a wacky-rigged (watermelonseed) Senko worm landed and released a 9-pound bass on Monday morning. Monday evening, James Woolsey of Perry fished a Eastman pond with Flashy Swimbait Heads and Keitech swimbaits and caught 24 bass up to 4 pounds. The fish were chowing ahead of the front, and swimbait color did not matter. The bluegill bite picked up over the weekend ahead of the front. Anglers reported catching most of them on crickets rigged under a float. Michael Winge reported anglers catching crappie on minnows and bream on crickets and worms. Some nice bass were caught with bubblegum ZOOM Trick Worms (rigged unweighted) and also moccassin and red shad Culprit worms (Texas-rigged). Catfish anglers caught them on pink worms over the weekend. Anglers fishing spillways below ponds in the Homerville area reported catching big stringers of warmouth this week. I saw the impressive photos!

Laura Walker State Park Lake – Staff reported some very good catches of mostly bluegills and bass over the last week. The lake was closed to boats due to the big rains last week, but reopened Saturday. Bass were fooled with plastic worms and topwaters. Some anglers fishing on the bottom reported catching some nice catfish, a bunch of bream, and a big warmouth on Monday.

Okefenokee Swamp – The best reports this week came from the east side (Folkston entrance). Some big bream were caught with beetle spins. Fliers were also eating yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies fished under a float. Anglers fishing shrimp on the bottom caught catfish. The warmouth bite should fire off any day for those dabbling crawfish around the old cypress stumps on the west side. Anglers fishing all of the tributaries flowing into the swamp on all sides have reported catching lots of catfish and warmouth. Just find some flowing water, pitch a bait in (crickets under a float or worms or shrimp on the bottom), and hold on.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – The whiting bite is on fire on days when the winds allow you to fish. Dead shrimp fished on the bottom has been the ticket. Anglers fishing the Jekyll Island Pier have reported catching 50-60 whiting per day. Some sheepshead and a few big black drum were caught at the St. Marys Jetties. Some red drum (redfish) were also mixed in the catch. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said it has been whiting, whiting, and more whiting from the pier. On Saturday night, two big redfish were caught and released from the pier. The biggest was a 43-incher. On Sunday, two giant black drum were landed. One was 40 pounds and the other was 65 pounds! A few flounder and trout were also caught.

Best Bet – The wind forecast is iffy right now for the weekend, so check it late in the week before planning a trip to the brine. If it’s fishable, the whiting bite will be hard to beat in saltwater. Bass and bluegill fishing will be excellent this weekend in ponds. With the cooler mornings late in the week, expect the afternoon bite to be better. Bass coming off the spawn have been chasing down lures, so expect swimbaits and spinnerbaits to work well. Use plastic worms or lizards if the fish won’t chase your lures down. Wacky rigged worms should start fooling them for the next couple of months.

Southeast Fishing Report: March 27, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Mike Harrell caught this whopper 17-inch crappie on Lake George (Eufaula) on Sunday.

Mike Harrell caught this whopper 17-inch crappie on Lake George (Eufaula) on Sunday.

The rivers are still all too high, but ponds and lakes are absolutely on fire! The swamp bite has been excellent too. Congratulations to Tommy Sweeney and Mark Middleton who won an open tournament on Lake Blackshear over the weekend! The new moon is March 30. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – The upstate rains have arrived and pushed the river another couple feet higher into the floodplain. Don’t bother on the upper river. Dannet at Altamaha Park said that a few catfish of various species were caught, but that the fishing has been overall slow. The river level was 13.4 feet and rising (60 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.8 feet and steady (60 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on March 25.

Satilla River – Forget it! The river has started dropping at the Highway 158 Bridge, but it’s still unfishable. That didn’t stop the three people I saw launching on Friday while I ate a sandwich for lunch at the Blackshear Bridge. Don’t do it, folks. A flooded river is much swifter than you can imagine. The river level at the Waycross gage was 14.6 feet and falling (61 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 13.8 feet and rising (62 degrees) on March 25.

Suwannee River – Dickie Winge reported a fantastic catfish bite on the river. Anglers have reported catching anywhere between 40 and 150 catfish. Worms and shrimp have been the best baits.

Local Ponds – Bass are on beds big-time! Wyatt Crews got a great bite on a local pond Saturday evening and caught 11 bass in a half-hour. None were smaller than 2 pounds. He caught them on a Keitech swimbait rigged on a 1/8-oz. Flashy Swimbait Head. I was told the biggest bass was a 9-lb. 14-oz. behemoth caught from a Blackshear pond. The angler pitched in and caught the buck, and then the female inhaled the senko worm shortly thereafter. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle said that ponds are where it is happening around Waycross. Good catches of crappie were reported by those fishing both minnows and jigs. Bream ate worms fished on the bottom this week. On the warmer days, anglers reported catching them on crickets, as well. Bass bit buzzbaits and shiners, while rooster livers and worms accounted for most of the catfish.

Okefenokee Swamp – I took Paul and Will Fryer from Bainbridge to the east side on Thursday. Paul bid on a trip I donated to the Flint Riverkeeper…thanks, Paul! We had a blast for a few hours in the afternoon warmth. The fliers started off a little slow, but the pace picked up as the afternoon went on and the guys got the hang of that subtle bite.  The float barely twitches when a flier inhales the fly. Pink #8 and yellow #10 Okefenokee Swamp Sallies did the trick. We caught the most fish on the pink without a float, but the biggest, an 8 1/2-incher inhaled the fly suspended under a float, and that was Will’s first flier! Based on the number of bigger fish we caught, I believe the spawn is winding down, and the bigger fish are moving out of the thick stuff and back into the canals where we can catch them better. About 1/4 of the fish we caught were decent sized. We ended up catching 53 fliers during the afternoon. On the west side, I heard that the anglers are tearing up the catfish. I did not ask, but I imagine shrimp fished on the bottom is working best, as that is the traditional Fargo catfish presentation.

Walter F. George Reservoir (Lake Eufaula) – Mike Harrell and Jim Hickox of Waycross fished the lake over the weekend and early this week and whacked the crappie. Mike caught a 2.6-pound slab by swimming a 2-inch grub. He brought it by the Waycross Fisheries Office and had it certified as an Angler Award on Tuesday. Congratulations, Mike!

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Brentz and Alex McGhin caught 50 beautiful whiting from St. Simons on Saturday before running out of bait. They brought three poles with them, but the bite was so hot that Alex kept reeling them in and all Brentz could do was keep baiting hooks! I can vouch for the catch, as they made a great lunch on Monday! Boats fishing off the King and Prince on St. Simons continued to make good whiting catches. Most anglers reported catching between 15 and 20 fish, and fish were typically 14 to 16 inches. In the rivers around Brunswick sheepshead, trout, and redfish were caught. The Jekyll Pier produced some good whiting catches. Anglers reported catching trout on electric chicken, chicken-on-a-chain, and Texas roach Assassin Sea Shads. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the whiting onslaught continued. The average size was 12 to 13 inches. Black sea bass from 10 to 12 inches (undersized) were caught on dead shrimp.

Best Bet – Take your pick this weekend. After the mid-week cool weather, it is supposed to warm right back up. Whiting will be your best bet in saltwater, while bass fishing will be hard to top in freshwater. Fish at your favorite pond or Paradise Public Fishing Area near Tifton for some exciting action and a shot at a real trophy bass as they move shallow to spawn.

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: March 20, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

The bass bite is hot right now. Jacob Henderson of Waycross caught his biggest bass, this 6-pounder, on Wednesday from a Blackshear pond.

The bass bite is hot right now. Jacob Henderson of Waycross caught his biggest bass, this 6-pounder, on Wednesday from a Blackshear pond.

Ponds and lakes are the places to fish right now. The rivers will be way up in the floodplains after the recent rains make their way through the systems. The swamp bite was excellent before the rains. The last quarter moon is March 24. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – The Altamaha will be rising once the upstate rains arrive (it has already started rising at Baxley). Dannet at Altamaha Park said the only thing reported this week was a few flathead catfish caught on goldfish and channel cats caught downstream toward the Champney River. The river level was 11.8 feet and rising (58 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.8 feet and falling (58 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on March 18.

Satilla River – The river is now FAR out in the floodplain after a couple of more inches of rain over the weekend and early this week. The river was almost fishable when the rains came. Seems like a repeat of last summer! Anglers caught some catfish, bream, and redbreasts before the river came up. It will be at least a couple more weeks before the Satilla is fishable again. The river level at the Waycross gage was 13.3 feet and rising (59 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 11.4 feet and rising (60 degrees) on March 18.

St. Marys River – The catfish bite has been decent, but now the St. Marys River is flooded, also. The river level at the MacClenny gage on March 18th was 14.0 feet and rising.

Local Ponds – Bass are on beds in many ponds, and crappie are shallow now, as well. B.A.S.S. professional angler Patrick Pierce of Jacksonville used a plastic craw to sight fish some nice bass from their beds on Tuesday. His biggest was about 4 pounds, but there were lots of bedding fish. On Wednesday, Jacob Henderson of Waycross whacked a big bass right at sunset from a local pond. A group of anglers on Monday and Tuesday caught a bunch of bass. The hottest lure both days was a Keitech swimbait (3.8”) rigged on a Flashy Swimbait head. The surprise bite happened when the bass seemed to get lockjaw during mid-day on both days. Anglers started flinging small Bass Assassin 2-inch Curly Shads (crystal shad color) fished on a Flashy Jigheads (1/8-oz.) and using ultralight gear, and bass immediately started eating the miniscule offering. This tiny outfit accounted for over 25 bass up to 3 pounds. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle said that ponds are where the best reports in Waycross originated. Bream, catfish, crappie, and bass were caught this weekend.  Crickets and worms produced most of the bream, minnows and jigs fooled the crappie, and shrimp and rooster livers duped the catfish, while plastic worms and shiners accounted for the bass.

Okefenokee Swamp – The big rains from early this week will spread the swamp far out into the prairies, and the bite will likely slow for a week or so. Once the water level stabilizes and starts pulling back into the canals, the bite will pick up again. On the west side, you can still catch fliers and catfish in the boat basin. Fliers should eat the usual orange, pink, or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies pitched with a bream buster pole around lily pads. This week’s warmer weather will make the fish actively eat, especially on warm afternoons. I would expect a float to work best, as the water temperatures are unusually cool for this point in the spring. Once the water warms to summertime temperatures (I am not trying to rush the season!), pitching a sally without the float will usually work just as well or better than with a float.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – The saltwater bite is improving with the warmer temperatures. Waycross area anglers caught whiting in the usual holes, with Michael Winge reporting the average catch to be 30 to 40 fish per trip. Jekyll Pier continued to be a hot-spot for local anglers. A few sheepshead  and black drum were reported by those fishing around Brunswick. Nearhore reefs have been producing tons of black sea bass, but many are under-sized. On Tuesday, an angler brought in a 14-inch “green head” sea bass to St. Simons Bait and Tackle. A few flounder were caught this week over the mud flats near creek mouths. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle (912-634-1888) said that the coolers were full of whiting this week. Dead shrimp fished on bottom fooled them. On Sunday, a few trout and black drum were also caught from the pier.

Best Bet – Bass fishing will be peak over the next couple of weeks as the biggest fish of the year move shallow. Area ponds will produce a bunch of bass and bluegills this weekend. Forget about the rivers (because of high water) at this point, even though they are usually the place to go this time of year. In saltwater, the whiting bite is cranking up. With the more stable weather predicted this week, whiting would be a good bet. Make sure to check the marine forecast late in the week before planning a trip, though. Put a small piece of shrimp on the bottom to fool them.

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Feb. 20, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Wyatt Crews of Waycross fished at Bienville Plantation this week and hammered some big crappie.

Wyatt Crews of Waycross fished at Bienville Plantation this week and hammered some big crappie.

This warming trend is just what those of us with cabin fever needed! Ponds and lakes are on fire right now, especially for crappie and bass. Last quarter moon is Feb. 22. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – The flush of water from upcountry has arrived, and you should only consider fishing in the lower river where the water velocity is lower. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle said the crappie bite has slowed with the rising river, but the commercial shad fishermen have been doing pretty well. Dannet at Altamaha Park said crappie, bream and catfish bit this week. An angler reported a mixed bag of 46 bluegill and catfish. Catfish and bream ate pink worms, while crappie were mostly caught with minnows. The mouths of sloughs and creeks produced best. The river level was 14.1 feet and rising (almost 7 feet higher than last week!) at the Baxley gage, and 11.2 feet and rising (51 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Feb. 18.

Satilla River – Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that a few catfish and crappie were caught this week. The cats ate shiners and shrimp fished on limb lines and trot lines. A few anglers fooled crappie in the backs of oxbow lakes. The river has crested at around 10 feet at the Highway 158 Bridge. The river level at the Waycross gage was 11.6 feet and rising (52 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 9.9 feet and rising (54 degrees) on Feb. 18.

St. Marys River – The St. Marys river is not in bad shape, and the catfishing should be pretty good during the upcoming warm weekend. Put shrimp or worms on the bottom for the best chance at success. This past week, anglers reported catching crappie with minnows in slackwater areas. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 7.1 feet and falling on Feb. 18.

Local Ponds – Several high schoolers held their own tournament on a Waycross pond on Monday during their day off of school, and they caught a bunch of bass. The winning team had 11 bass up to about 3 pounds, mostly caught on minnow plugs (green back/silver belly and black back/gold). An angler from Waycross and another from Valdosta fished a Tifton area pond on Tuesday, and they had a couple nice crappie by swimming a curly-tailed grub (Tennessee shad color) and several bass up to 4 pounds on swimming worms. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle said that lots of big crappie were reported this week from area ponds. Both minnows and jigs fooled them. During the cold snap, folks were fishing jigs in deeper holes for the best results. By the end of this week, expect fish to move to shallow cover.

Okefenokee Swamp – This weekend’s warming trend should fire off the flier bite again. Pitch sallies under a small balsa float to weed edges. The big females should push to the cuts adjoining prairies by late in the week. Expect to catch some of the biggest fliers of the year during the next couple of weeks. Based on reports, yellow and pink Okefenokee Swamp Sallies have produced the best so far this winter.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Sheepshead and some whiting were caught on Sunday after the previous windy day in the Brunswick area. Even in the cold weather this past week, trout and reds were caught by those fishing around bridge pilings in the Brunswick area. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle (912-634-1888) said that croakers and whiting were still biting at the pier. A few trout were also caught with shrimp during the last week of cold weather.

Best Bet – Crappie or bass fishing should be excellent late in the week and through the weekend. The swamp flier bite should also be fantastic. The big female fliers will be shallow and eating sallies over the next few weeks.

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Feb. 13, 2014

By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Mike Harrell of Waycross shows a pair of slab crappie that he caught on artificials during the last warm spell.

Mike Harrell of Waycross shows a pair of slab crappie that he caught on artificials during the last warm spell.

The fishing really picked up this week. Pond reports for bass and crappie were the big news. We are on the cusp of some of the best freshwater fishing of the year! Full moon is Feb. 14. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle said that the crappie bite is improving for those fishing minnows. The best success has been from those fishing around treetops and other cover in the backwaters. Dannet at Altamaha Park said that the crappie, bream and catfish bites all improved this week. The river level was 7.8 feet and falling (52 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.5 feet and rising (54 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Feb. 11.

Satilla River – I received a report from an angler who fished bush hooks in the upper river and caught just shy of a dozen catfish, all over 5 pounds, and some approaching 10 pounds. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that crappie, bream, redbreasts, and catfish were reported from the river this week. Good numbers of crappie were caught, and most were fooled with minnows. Anglers also reported catching crappie on black/yellow Satilla Spins. Satilla Spins also accounted for some good bream and redbreast catches this week, but they were caught with the red/white version of the little spinnerbait. Most of the channel cats were caught with rooster livers and shiners. The river level at the Waycross gage was 9.2 feet and falling (56 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 9.1 feet and cresting (56 degrees) on Feb. 11.

Local Ponds – Pond reports fired up this week, especially for bass. On Friday, a Blackshear angler fished a local pond with shiners and caught four bass, a 2-pounder, a 5-pounder, a 9 3/4-pounder, and a 10-pound., 1-ounce trophy. He released the three biggest fish to fight again another day. A pair of high-schoolers fished a local pond on Tuesday after school and caught 15 bass to 4 pounds. The most remarkable thing was that they caught them ALL on buzzbaits and frogs, even in the cool weather. They hung a monster, but it broke their line. That goes to show you that it is often worth experimenting with lures that go “against the grain” for the conditions you are facing. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle said that ponds were producing some great crappie reports. Lots of crappie, and some big ones were reported from area lakes on both minnows and John Deere green Jiffy Jigs. Some bream and catfish were caught by bottom fishing with pink worms. Lake Ware anglers reported catching big crappie this week on minnows and white jigs.

Okefenokee Swamp – This weekend’s warming trend should fire off the flier bite again. Pitch sallies under a small balsa float to weed edges. On sunny afternoons, throw an in-line spinner to fool pickerel (jackfish).

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Reports were sparse, but folks caught whiting, sheepshead, black drum and trout in the Brunswick and St. Marys areas this week. In Brunswick, the sheepshead bite was on fire for those fishing around bridge pilings, with folks reporting limits of the convict fish. Also in the Brunswick area, redfish and trout were fooled over mud flats on the incoming tide. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the best bites from the pier were croakers and whiting. A few huge blue crabs were caught again this week.

Best Bet – If the forecasted warming trend comes to fruition this weekend and on into next week, take your pick! Flier fishing will be awesome in the swamp, pond fishing for bass and crappie should be fantastic, and even the panfishing in the rivers should be good. The potential glitch is the rain from the mid-week storm moving in at the time of writing this. If we get a lot of rain, scratch the rivers and even the swamp (if we get rains measured in inches instead of fractions of an inch). If that happens, then ponds will be the places to fish this weekend.

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report: Jan. 23, 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) holds one of the nice fliers that Nathanael Johnson (right) caught in the Okefenokee on Monday.

Timothy Deener (left) holds one of the nice fliers that Nathanael Johnson (right) caught in the Okefenokee on Monday.

The reports were pretty good from ponds and the swamp this week. Crappie and fliers were tops this week in freshwater. In saltwater, trout and sheepshead are in their winter pattern and are biting.  New moon is Jan. 30, the second new moon this month. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – The river level is headed back up after another round of mid-state rains.  Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that some long-time shad fishermen caught the most catfish they had seen in years in their mid-river nets.  When the river drops out this spring, catfish catches by rod and reel should be excellent. The Darien area could produce some channel catfish by fishing cut shad or other baitfish, worms, shrimp or chicken livers on the bottom in deep holes. Expect to catch quite a few white catfish too. Channel cats have deeply-forked tails and spots, while white cats don’t have spots and have a less deeply-forked tail. The river level was 14.8 feet (well-over flood stage and 47 degrees) and rising at the Baxley gage, and 11.0 feet and rising (50 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Jan. 21.

Satilla River – At the current rate of drop, the river should be within the banks by the weekend if we don’t get any more rain.  It’s still too high and cold for good chances of success, except for crappie.  Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said some crappie bit in the oxbows and mouths of sloughs, especially in the upriver areas (Jamestown and above) this week. Minnows were the best bait. The river level at the Waycross gage was 10.8 feet and falling (49 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 10.8 feet and falling (49 degrees) on Jan. 21.

Local Ponds – Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle said that crappie in Waycross area ponds were tops.  Some slabs were caught this week on minnows, especially on sunny, warm afternoons. Jigs (mostly curly-tail grubs) also fooled some crappie. With the cold forecasted for late in the week, trolling curly-tail grubs in the deepest part of the pond will likely produce the most because the technique covers lots of water to help you find active fish.

Okefenokee Swamp – I’ve been forecasting good swamp fishing, but no one has reported since before Christmas.  I quit waiting for others to report back and took my son (Timothy) and brother-in-law and nephew (Ron and Nathanael Johnson) to the east side on Monday afternoon. We fished a little less than two hours and caught 46 fliers in 48-degree water temperatures. Our biggest was 8 inches. It was a great bite on the sunny afternoon, and the fliers ate sallies up even in the cold water. Ron and Nathanael caught some on Ellie’s super worms (red wigglers grown by my daughter), but most ate pink Okefenokee Sallies. We tried yellow sallies and had to work hard to get 2 fish to eat them, so we switched back to pink and started catching them again. The water clarity was good, and the level was high enough so that getting around was easy. You could tell that the trail cutter was used last year and that we’ve had some hard freezes, as the vegetation was knocked back significantly.  Some additional hard freezes this week should do nothing but continue to improve the weed situation.  The canals should stay relatively clear of weeds through mid-summer.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Capt. Andy Gowen has been putting it on the trout, redfish and black drum in the St. Marys area. The fish are upriver in their typical wintertime haunts. He caught several redfish and black drum this week on Elaztec lures skewered on a jighead and bounced along bottom. The pogy oil in the lures must be strong if black drum ate them. Anglers fishing the Brunswick area reported catching a few redfish and black drum and good numbers of sheepshead by fishing pilings and rocks. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that pier fishing has been slow, as few anglers were fishing. A few croakers were caught over the weekend. They said the better bet was to fish for trout and redfish under the pilings and bridges along the causeway. Lots of both species were caught this week.

Best Bet - Another cold snap is headed our way late in the week, but temperatures are forecasted as moderate by the weekend. Expect the morning bites to be slow, but the afternoons should have some fish looking for a meal. In freshwater, fliers in the Okefenokee would be a good bet on sunny afternoons. Pink sallies worked last weekend in the cold water, so I would start with them and switch colors if need be. Crappie in ponds is a good bet this weekend. Fish the deepest water, trolling with curly-tail grubs or fishing minnows deep. Sheepshead and trout fishing will likely be your best bet in saltwater.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers