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Georgia Fishing Report: February 17, 2017

Info About Featured Image Above with a Quick Tip: WRD Fisheries Technician Mark Bowen captured and released this 8-lb largemouth in the river just below one of the major dams in Northwest Georgia.  This healthy bass was found amongst thousands of small threadfin shad, and has the belly to prove it!  Now may be a great time to target such areas below large dams as both predator and prey species begin to migrate upstream with the approaching spring and warming temperatures.

Get Ready – Loading y’all up with Fishing Reports this week: Scroll down to see reports from Southwest, Southeast, Central, and Northeast Georgia

SOUTHWEST GEORGIA

(Fishing Report Courtesy of Rob Weller, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

FLINT RIVER – The Flint River remains high but things should be heating up in the tailrace below Lake Blackshear in Warwick and below Lake Worth in Albany. The increased flow attracts white bass, hybrids, striped bass as well as catfish. The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip.

The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:

LAKE SEMINOLE – According to Guide Steven Wells, the fishing on Lake Seminole is on fire. Both largemouth bass and crappie are beginning to bed and the bream have also moved shallow and are active. Sight fishing for bedded bass is always poplar on Lake Seminole and soft plastics such as lizards are a good bet. It took a four pound average to win last weekend’s very competitive Hog Wild bass tournament held out of Big Jim’s and a seven pound fish won big fish. Look for crappie to be bedding on the edges of the hydrilla or in areas with scattered hydrilla in 4-8 foot depths. Small plastic jigs and minnows under a cork are effective. If you haven’t already done so, it is time to dust off the boat and fishing gear and head to Lake Seminole.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

(Fishing Report Courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

Get ready because the best crappie and bass fishing of the whole season is about to bust wide open. The bass spawn will probably begin with the first push of fish during next week’s warm spell. Last quarter moon is February 18th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

ALTAMAHA RIVER – The river is still high and muddy. The non-tidal Altamaha isn’t a good option again this week, but the lower river is getting decent again. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that catfish in the 30 to 40-pound range were caught on bush hooks. Crappie were reported, as well (mostly from oxbow lakes). Donna at Altamaha Park said that the river is finally fishable again. Crappie were caught in good numbers on both jigs and minnows. Goldfish fooled some flathead catfish. A few bream were caught by angler fishing worms on the bottom, but no shellcrackers were reported yet. The river level was 9.0 feet and steady (59 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.5 feet and steady (59 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on February 14th.

SATILLA RIVER – Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that anglers caught crappie on minnows and dark colored jigs. Bass were eating topwater frogs fished around heavy cover. Catfish were fooled by bottom-fishermen using pink worms and rooster livers. The white catfish bite in the White Oak Creek and Woodbine areas should be excellent over the next few weeks with the dropping and warming water. The river level on February 14th at the Waycross gage was 10.9 feet and falling (61 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 10.0 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER – Another giant bass was landed this week. This time it was a 10.8-pound hawg that was weighed in during a tournament and then released. Catfish are tearing it up for those putting worms or rooster livers on the bottom. For the lucky anglers who found deep holes, big red wigglers on the bottom produced some nice bream and redbreasts. The river level at the MacClenny gage on February 14th was 2.3 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP – Swamp anglers have been almost non-existent lately, but the few folks who reported caught bowfin on the east side. The bite is about to turn on with the dropping water and warming temperatures. Expect the flier bite to pick up first (pitch pink or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies around wood and vegetation edges) and then the pickerel (minnow plugs and in-line spinners, such as Dura-Spins are hard to beat). Warm afternoons are the time to go.

BANKS LAKE (NEAR LAKELAND) – The bass reports have been great from the blackwater cypress-filled lake. Texas-rigged plastics pitched to the cypress trunks and knees have been producing 20 to 30 bass per trip by most accounts.

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LOCAL PONDS – Pond fishing was great again this week. Kenny McClain (seen in image at left) visited from Knoxville, Maryland and caught 8 nice bass between 3 and 4 pounds out of a Brunswick area lake. Half the fish ate a white River Rat spinnerbait, and the other half inhaled a black-blue flake Keitech Mad Wag worm. Chad Lee of Alma fished Alma area ponds on Friday and Monday and caught 6 and 20 fish, respectively. He caught them on Carolina-rigged Ol’ Monster worms, spinnerbaits, and a very unique lure for freshwater…….a Savage Gear TPE Shrimp. Yep, that was not a misprint. His 6 fish Friday and about half of his fish Monday were on the artificial shrimp. Whether they thought it was a crayfish or dying baitfish, they inhaled it! He didn’t have any monsters, but he had some solid 3 to 4-pounders on it! Way to think outside the box, Chad! Michael Winge reported that the crappie were tearing it up on Waycross area ponds. Minnows fished around the edges produced the best catches. The fish are starting to move shallow. Bass were caught with shiners and plastic worms.

SALTWATER (GA COAST) – A Waycross angler fished the Brunswick area Tuesday and landed 10 trout up to 20 inches. He also managed to hook, but lost 5 other trout. The fish bit weird and did not hook up as well as usual. His best presentations were Flashy Jigheads with Mama’s 14k and Slammin’ Chicken Sea Shads, chartreuse hard jerkbaits, and a prototype trout/redfish spinnerbait. Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught trout and redfish around low tide in the Brunswick area. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that whiting and sheepshead were caught from the pier this week. Dead shrimp also produced a few black drum. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

BEST BET: It is bass time……the big females are about to head shallow to spawn, and this is the best time of year to catch a trophy. Remember, you can release that big fish to spawn and still get a high-quality fiberglass replica of her for your wall. Some of the best big-bass baits are jigs (and crawfish trailers), spinnerbaits, and swimbaits. Buzzbaits are also hard to beat for giants, but it is probably a little early to get them to come to the top. Start in the early morning in deep water for crappie, but move to shallow cover in the warm afternoons to check for spawning slabs. Spider-rigging minnows out deep and casting 2-inch Curly Shads shallow will be a great 1-2 punch. In saltwater, trout and redfish are a good bet if the winds will allow you to get out.

EAST AND WEST-CENTRAL GEORGIA

(Fishing Report Courtesy of Steve Schleiger, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

(Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant. See   http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html for most recent updates.

LAKE RUSSELL (FULL, CLEAR, 50’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  The secondary points seem to be the pattern, but be sure to get to the backs of the coves that have the highest concentration of bait especially after mid-day.  Use shallow to medium diving crank baits on the secondary points lake-wide.  The best ones to fish will be the ones with rock and sand in combination.  The #5 Shad Raps along with a Rapala DT6 have been the best baits.  Some fish are after Chatter Baits in all white with a little chartreuse on the skirt.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will work very well even in 10 feet of water.  Anglers can cover 68 feet of bottom at 10 feet deep with the 455 frequency beam.  The bigger bass will go after the small cranks and fish any riprap.  Keep a Zoom Super Fluke ready in case there is any surface activity.  With any sunlight fish the rip rap at the 72 bridge with the Rapala RS Shad Raps and the Rapala DT10 in shad and baby bass patterns.

CLARKS HILL (DOWN 9.71 FEET, 50’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Main lake points near the mouth of the creeks and larger coves is a good place to look for bass.  Crank baits will be bait of choice and the Rapala DT10 and Rapala DT6 along with the RS Shad Raps and Ito Vision 110 jerk baits are catching bass.  Some spotted bass are being caught on secondary points on crank baits and Carolina rigs.  Lizards are a good choice to rig up with here.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will work very well even in 10 feet of water.  Anglers can cover 68 feet of bottom at 10 feet deep with the 455 frequency beam.  The key will be to throw in shallow water and work the cranks and lizards real slow.  Usually the bass are hitting the crank baits on the first couple of turns of the reel handle.

LAKE OCONEE (FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER, TEMPRATURE 51-57) – Bass fishing is fair.  Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the coves out to the main lake will produce.  You can also add fishing a rattle trap around any deep dock and around rip rap early.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will work very well even in 10 feet of water.  Anglers can cover 68 feet of bottom at 10 feet deep with the 455 frequency beam.  Jigs fished around wood structure have also produced some larger fish.  Some fish are starting to move into the creeks and coves so don’t be afraid to move in and out of the coves and pockets, fishing all depths of water.

Striper report by Mark Smith of Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741; reeltime@bellsouth.net

Striper fishing is good.  The fish are mid-lake around river bend.  Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait and the stripers will be close by. Look for the birds diving, if you see birds go fish them.  Live bait as well as spoons will produce large numbers of fish.

Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are moving into the creeks.  Long lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches.  Spider rigging will also catch some fish.  Some of the bigger fish are starting to show up in the rivers.

LAKE SINCLAIR (DOWN .86 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S) – Bass fishing is good as lots of bass are moving up shallow and starting to stage.  Fishing shallow has been best and will continue to get better.  Spinnerbaits, shallow crank baits, and jigs seem to be producing the best.  A 3/8-ounce chartreuse and white spinnerbait slow rolled around docks and seawalls near points seem to be producing the bigger bites.  When you catch one, turn around and fish the area again as these fish are moving up in schools.  The Spro Little John MD will catch numbers of fish as they move up on the flat points.  Fire tiger or chartreuse colors will work best as the lake remains stained.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will work very well even in 10 feet of water. Anglers can cover 68 feet of bottom at 10 feet deep with the 455 frequency beam.  Once you locate areas with fish on the spinner bait and crank bait, make sure you fish all the docks in that area with a black and blue jig.  Fish the walkways and backsides of docks as the shallow water will warm up these areas quickly.  The late afternoon bite is best right now since the shallows have had all day to warm up.

LAKE JACKSON (DOWN 1.55 FEET, 50’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Head to the southern end of the lake around the dam and fish shallow.  Use crank baits along the bank and cast them in real tight.  The shallow water will clear up first and the bass will head there first.  Lipless baits like the Rattlin Raps along with Bandit or Red Eye Shad are a good choices for this kind of water.  Loads of vibration along with plenty of noise will be the key.  But never overlook the silent style crank baits for a different action in the water.  Expect the weather to break soon and the sun to shine.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will work very well even in 10 feet of water.  Anglers can cover 68 feet of bottom at 10 feet deep with the 455 frequency beam. Sunny weather will warm the water up some more and move the bass up closer to their springtime spawning areas.

BIG LAZER PFA

  • Surface water temperature: 59o F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is at 32”
  • Water level: Full pool

Largemouth bass: Fair – Fish plastic baits slow when the water temperatures are chilly.  Plastic-worms fished around the deep water locations like by the picnic area and around the fishing pier may produce a few bites.  Anglers can try fishing crankbaits slow around 10 feet of water; try lures that mimics crawfish.  Bass will soon move shallower for spawning in the next few weeks.

Crappie: Fair- Some crappie are beginning to bite on bright color jigs and spinners.  Also, fish for crappie in 8-10 feet of water with minnows.

Bream: Poor- Bream fishing is poor but try pink and red worms around the fishing pier.  Also, target areas that have structure like woody brush and blow downs associated with it.  This time of year, most bream will be located in 6 feet of water or deeper.

Channel catfish: Fair- A few catfish are being caught on shrimp, worms, and livers.  Fish for cats at or almost at the bottom and at several different locations around woody structures and the rocks around the dam.  Fishing with two poles will increase your chances of getting a strike.

In general, February fishing at Big Lazer is challenging.  Anglers have to be more patient and persistent to have a good day fishing.  On a good note, winter weather means less anglers are fishing; thus, less fishing pressure for the dedicated angler.  And, the PFA is again open 7 days a week.  Also, warmer temperatures are on the way, which means fish will start spawning in the next few weeks!

MCDUFFIE PFA

  • Falling water temperatures across McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Hovering 59 ⁰F
  • Water Visibility: 19 – 54+ inches: McDuffie PFA has not started the Spring fertilization program.
  • All Lake Water levels on McDuffie PFA are back to Full pool.

Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth bass bite has been slow from late January until last week. A kayak angler reported catching two Bass one (20) twenty inches and the other (15) fifteen inches and released them back into Willow Lake.  The Bass are responding to the warming water temperatures and have begun biting readily across the PFA’s lakes.   McDuffie PFA’s anglers are spreading the fishing pressure across the PFA lakes.  Anglers have continued fishing through the mild weather.  Lake Willow is still providing good bass action due to the threadfin shad so match the size and color of the forage for some exciting action. Rodbender, the trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one Bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.

Bream: Slowing down: No reports of Bream being harvest.

Channel Catfish:  The catfish bite has slowed down.  But as the water continues to warm up the catfish will begin to feed in preparation for the spring spawn.  The best fishing is on the bottom using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made baits.  Later, in the spring, catfish can also be caught in shallow water by fishing with crickets under a bobber.  An angler reported catching catfish in Rodbender

Striped Bass:  The stripers are biting in both Clubhouse and Bridge Lakes.  Boat anglers are catching stripers on small crank baits and Shad rap mid-lake / or along the lake channel.  Stripers are also biting on chicken liver fished on the bottom while anglers are targeting catfish.  Umbrella rigs, diving crank baits and top-water plugs are very effective on McDuffie’s stripers during the colder months.

What You Need to Know About Fishing at A PFA (Licenses, Hours, etc.)

NORTHEAST GEORGIA

(Fishing Report Courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

It’s Monster Month, that time of the year when seasoned north Georgia anglers aim for size over numbers.  The last few weeks of February and the start of March is always a hot time at our north Georgia WRD offices, as trophy hunters weigh-in their Georgia Angler Award catches.  Bass, stripers, walleye, crappie, and trout are all full of eggs, and their appetites increase as water temperatures start their springtime upswing.  Big rainbows will be migrating toward clean spawning gravels, and smart anglers know of upstream, public lands where those whoppers from downstream private fishing operations are heading for a date.  The Lanier Striper Bounty continues for Coastal Angler magazine fans.  Big largemouths often succumb to slow moving pig &jig combos or rainbow trout-colored swimbaits, and several fish over ten pounds from mountain reservoirs or state park lakes usually hit our certified scales at Lake Burton Hatchery.  And may I remind everyone that Wes’ new state record walleye was caught last February 19?  http://www.georgiawildlife.com/node/4083

With a warming weekend again aimed for us, give it a shot.  Maybe start with a big bait and swing for the fences for the first hour or so.  If you strike out, then downsize your offerings and go for the school-sized fish to save the day.  But take a least a few shots at a wall-hanger while they’re big, fat, and shallow in these next several weeks.  Here we go: 

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Craig Riendeau Shares Shot of 11 lb, 5 oz largemouth caught in a small subdivision lake

MEGA BASS (From Craig Riendeau, Off the Deep Edge Warm Water Fly Fishing, offthedeepedge.com) – This season is off to a fantastic start. I went fishing on small lake in my subdivision for my first trip of the year on the last day of January. My first bass of the year went nine inches, my second bass was an 11 lb. 5 oz. bruiser. I started last season with an eleven pounder on the fly too but that one cost me thousands and a flight to Mexico to get her. The irony that I got a bigger one for free in my backyard. Go fish Georgia!

ALLATOONA ATTRACTORS: (From Fisheries Biologist Jim Hakala) – The Lake Allatoona fishing jetty got a fresh dose of brush this month.  DNR personnel recently assisted Allatoona Corps of Engineer’s staff and local volunteers with the addition of new Christmas trees at the Galt’s Ferry Fishing Jetty.  Over 200 Christmas trees were anchored to the lake bottom near the jetty.  As lake levels rise this spring, the brush piles will be inundated with water – providing habitat for sport fish such as bass, bream, and catfish.  The brush piles are within easy casting distance from the jetty and will be in 10-12 feet of water when the lake is full.  Similar brush piles can also be found around the Proctor Landing, Blockhouse, Bethany Bridge, and Victoria Marina fishing jetties on Lake Allatoona.

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Christmas Trees/Brush (seen here on shore) Get a 2nd Life as Fish Attractors on Lake Allatoona at Galt’s Ferry Fishing Jetty

ALLATOONA CRAPPIE HAUL:

COOSA RIVER:

CARTERS LAKE: A thorough report for the walleye hunters out there: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=892489

LANIER BASS: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=892439

LANIER STRIPERS:

WALLEYE: WRD staffers have been out this week on early recons in our northern lakes, in preparation for broodstock collections.  No fish have been found yet in extreme NEGA reservoirs, as senior biologist Anthony Rabern reported 49 degree water temps.  The Lanier team of Snellings-Looney found four fish up the Hooch this week.  The drought makes river boat rides nearly impossible.  It looks like the spring runs are still ahead of us, but will likely happen early again this year because of the warm winter. You might try the upper ends of the reservoirs, where walleye should start staging soon for their upriver migrations (IF our rivers quit drying up).

More walleye tips here: http://www.georgiawildlife.com/sites/default/files/uploads/wildlife/fishing/pdfs/miscellaneous/Anglers%20Guide%20to%20Walleye%20Fishing%20in%20Georgia_HQ-APPROVED_02.18.11.pdf

TROUT 

Monday’s Bucket Brigade: Grab a kid, a bucket, and a fishing pole and come join us at Whitewater Creek Park on Monday (Feb 20). I hear the trout fishing will be really good…http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112438

Tuesday Trout Fibber: I’ll be the program speaker for Tuesday (2/21) night’s monthly meeting of the Mid-GA Chapter of TU.  The topic is “springtime dries and droppers” as I help these distant trouting fans prepare for their forthcoming forays to our mountains. http://georgiatu.org/wordpress/shortcodes/middle-georgia-chapter/

Hooch Hoot – March 11 in Helen: More BBQ, Bluegrass, and Raffle Prizes! http://www.georgiafoothills.org/2017/02/hoot-on-hooch-march-11_9.html 

Flyfishing 101: Wanna learn how?

Smith DH Success: Two groups of new fly-fishing folks assaulted Smith Creek over the weekend.  With a little help from some onstream veterans, both the Atlanta high school seniors and the Sylvester working mens’ group found some “first trout” on their fly poles.  Grips, grins, and high-fives signaled successful vacation treks to Unicoi State Park.  Hot flies were small buggers and tiny soft hackle droppers behind them.  Both rainbows and browns posed for quick Iphone shots and lasting memories (see some new happy grinning anglers below). 

Amicalola Delayed Harvest: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=887790

Chattooga Flow Calibrations:

Meanwhile, Up In The Forest: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112524

Buford Dam Trout: Big T’s Priceless Intel: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112506

March Madness: Are you looking ahead?

  • Ready for the trout bug hatches and dry fly action that are just about to happen?  Start stocking up on tiny black caddis, http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112280&page=3 #16 gray caddis, 12 quill gordons, and 14 March browns now.  Add some big (size 12 and 14 hare’s ear nymphs and soft hackles to the mix, also, for your droppers under those dries.  More intel from seasoned hillbillies can be found in past editions of “Tightlines,” the monthly newsletter of Rabun TU.
  • http://rabuntu.org/site/tight-lines/ Check the March and April 2016 editions for the hatch charts, which are predictors of your weeks to come, and start tying or buying ASAP!  Also check the Feb 21 event, above.

Cool Spy Cameras: Is anyone else catching this TV series with amazing wildlife footage? http://www.gpb.org/television/shows/nature/episode/ed9636f5-774f-4a27-affd-b5c6715518e4

Good luck as winter continues its disappearing act and springtime temperatures convince fish to come up and play with you early this year.  Thanks for buying your fishing licenses, tackle, and TU brookie license plates. It’s gonna be another warm weekend, so go get ‘em, guys and gals.  You never know, you might just hook a monster, so bring a net, a camera, and a witness!

https://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/subpages/grantprograms/sfr/sfr.htm

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Georgia Fishing Report: February 10, 2017

This Week, Scroll down to see Reports from Northeast Georgia and Southeast Georgia.

NORTHEAST GEORGIA

(Fishing Report Courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

Ouch, that one hurt bad, REAL bad. Our wondrous weekend of fishing exploits and tall tales with our ATL Fly Show friends came crashing down in a late Sunday night meltdown.  I’ll bet many of you are still smarting, and also feeling bad for all of those fine Falcons that left their hearts, souls, sweat, and blood on that Houston field.  We all now suffer from BID (Brady-Induced Depression) and need a remedy, quick.  What to do?  What to do?

Thankfully, there is a treatment.  The secretive, yet empathetic Rabunites have shared a word from their medical manual on their prescription for zenlike peace.  It is “hydrotherapy.”

hy·dro·ther·a·py (hīdrōˈTHerəpē/) noun: hydrotherapy: Definition: Standing in the water, waving a stick.  This action waves off all the ills of the world and induces an extreme state of serenity in the patient.  It is only a treatment, since there is no cure.  Regular treatments, as often as 2-3 times per week, are strongly recommended for the patient to maintain a zenlike peace with his/her built environment and its bustling humanity.

So shelf those red jerseys, change into your weathered, olive drab, and head toward the lakes and streams. Your mental health depends on this treatment!  Our weather is on a warming trend, there’s a little more water in the channel, we have mudlines in reservoirs, crappie are schooling, and the WRD trout trucks just visited DH waters.  Conditions are ripe for your recovery, so Doctor Dredger prescribes hydrotherapy treatment for one and all Falcons fans.  Here are some Quick Care locations for you to receive your Rx:

TROUT

Trout Info Herehttp://georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout 

Building Brookie Habitat: Enjoy this video of WRD Fisheries staff in action. Leon “Brook Trout” Brotherton is as fine a narrator as he is a sawyer. https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR/videos/vb.101012503387/10154294699288388/?type=3&theater

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Blue Ridge Attractors: WRD Fisheries staff recently built and installed 20 new fish attractors at Blue Ridge Lake in Fannin County.  These “cube” style attractor units were deployed at two existing fish attractor sites.  See the photo of WRD Fisheries Technician Mark Bowen in action.  Man-made fish attractors like these have been added to many north Georgia reservoirs to replace natural habitat (stumps, logs, brush) that has been lost to natural processes like decay and sedimentation.  At Blue Ridge there are currently seven fish attractor sites.  If you want to target these sites or learn more about the fish attractor program at Blue Ridge, check out the map and other info at the following link: http://georgiawildlife.com/node/213.

Smith DH Date: We fished smith creek yesterday with quite a few folks on the creek! Andrea opted for old sneakers vs Waders on a semi warm Feb. day. (sound familiar?!) Gimpy tagged along to bark at other dogs and bird dog from the bank. We found a few different pods of fish willing to eat but could usually only manage 4-5 in each before needing to move on. Leech with micro san juan behind did most of the work with the “smart ones” needing a hares ear soft hackle to tempt. Enjoy the pics!

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Annette Showing off a Nice Catch from Smith Creek

Dukes Video: Hey Jeff, Hope all is well in your world! Here’s a little video from our trip last Sunday.  A#16 black tungsten stonefly was the ticket for me! Also got a couple on a #16 pheasant tail. Ron https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTV20CogphQ

Hooch DH: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112436

Amicalola DH “I Stopped Counting” http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112448 ;

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112430

NE GA Ami DH 53 scenic Feb 2017 pic1.jpg
Part of the Delayed Harvest Portion of the Amicalola

Where are Winter Trout? Well, all of the Orvis experts say that they’re here: http://www.orvis.com/news/fly-fishing/ask-experts-look-winter-trout/

Steelhead and Trout Tips: Good new Orvis podcast: http://orvisffguide.libsyn.com/

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Feb 20 -Hooch DH Bucket Brigade: It’s almost time for our President’s Day DH bucket stocking at Whitewater and we need some help from our incredible volunteers. Our last bucket brigade stocking of this DH season will be on President’s Day, Monday, February 20th and the stocking truck should be arriving around 10:30 am. Be sure to bring a 5-gallon bucket, waders, and a signed copy of the attached waiver release if you’re planning on attending. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112438 , Powdered wigs are optional, but we suggest bringing a rod if you want to catch a few freshly stocked trout afterwards. These events are a great way to introduce someone new to fishing or help a youngster develop a love of the outdoors. So, if you have a child who is out of school try to bring them along! We look forward to seeing you all on the 20th and a special thanks to everyone who came out to our Thanksgiving and Christmas stockings (no pun intended)! If anyone has questions, please contact our office at 770-535-5498.
  • S. Forest Service Feedback: The door is once again open to your comments regarding wild trout habitat, angler access, water quality, and any other interests or concerns on 140,000 acres of YOUR land: http://communityremarks.com/conf/

LAKE LANIER 

Crappie

  • Photo : http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=892232
  • Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Report February 8, 2017
  • (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website, laniercrappieanglers.net) : Water temperatures are in the low fifties, varying slightly from creek to creek.   Areas with more stain typically have slightly higher water temps.  I believe we are in the EARLY pre-spawn stage. However, cold spells will slow the process. The warm rains we are currently encountering will nudge the water temps up slightly.  The fish are starting to roam, and some are moving to shallower docks anticipating the spawn.  We are still several weeks away from the spawn, but signs are beginning to be seen, including females starting to fatten up with eggs.  Your trolling bite is now a good option to target the fish that are roaming, chasing bait.  Tight lining while trolling is another way to catch crappie now, using a jig tipped with minnows, ten feet below the surface. This will require rods ten to twelve in length, positioned parallel with the water, with up to four rods on each side of the trolling motor. Your line should be vertical while going at a very, very low speed. If your line is angled or horizontal, you are going too fast. Long lining is also working.  To long line, position the shortest rods (approximately four feet in length), one on each side in the back of the boat, following with two six foot rods, two eight foot rods and two ten to twelve foot rods in the bow of the boat.  Double rig each rod using multiple color curly tails, Bobby Garland 2” Hyper Grubs, or Bobby Garland 2.25” Minnow Mind’rs with a 1/16th ounce jig head on each.  If you notice that one color is working consistently better, substitute a few more lines with the same body.  Of course, shooting docks is still my favorite way to catch crappie, and it is working extremely well now.  This time of year, some docks are holding only smaller fish.  If you notice that you are catching only smaller fish, move on to another dock, where you may find bigger fish.  Stay safe on the water – wear your life jacket!

Bass

  • (This Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, jimboonlanier.com 770-542-7764); Water Temp – 51, Water Level – 10.08 feet below full pool: The bass fishing on Lake Lanier remains good, especially for early February! The lake has began to stabilize in terms of level.  We have set just below 10 feet below full pool for the past 2 weeks. The surface temperatures are still hovering in the low 50’s, which is incredible for early February.  We are finding the fish are really spread out as you might expect. We find them deep and shallow every day.  Shallow has probably been the most consistent bite (less than 15 feet deep), but we have had some good catches out in the timber as well. The ditch bite continues to be good and we are catching them using the traditional ditch fishing methods – SuperSpin, SPRO Jerkbait, SPRO Crankbait, Jig, and Picasso Shake E Head.  Start back shallow in these ditches early, and then move out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses.  Focus on the key features you find shallow near the ditches as well such as clay and rock points.  We are starting in these ditches first thing and remaining flexible as the days progress.  Some days we adjust to much deeper water within those ditches, and on others, we are finding the fish are staying shallow in and around those ditches as well as up around docks.  We are starting with a SuperSpin tipped with a boot-tail type trailer right in the ditch. Also, a Spro McStick or McRip has been a good choice as far as jerkbaits go. A Spro crankbait is never a bad choice either, both in the ditches and around rocky/clay points as well.  A finesse worm on a Picasso Shaky Football Head or a Chattahoochee Jig has been a good alternative if the fish are not as aggressive.  If the ditch bite does slow, we have been shifting to steeper rocky points and finding success with a jig and worm as well.   We have also continued to spoon up a few fish out of the timber, or near the timber, in creek arms/ditches in 30-50 feet. Check for bait and fish out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses.  If you see fish out deeper, a spoon, jig, or shaky head can be a great way to catch them, depending on how they are positioned. If the weather remains stable and warm, I look for the Largemouth to start showing up in a full blown pres-pawn mode very shortly.  More to come on this pattern emerges. It is still a great time to learn the ditch bite as well as the timber bite.  I am now guiding in a Brand New Xpress Bass Boat – 21’3″ powered by a 250 Yamaha SHO and equipped with the latest Lowrance HDS Gen III units featuring 3D Structure Scan technology.  Come take a ride in this beauty!    As I mentioned, if you are wanting to learn the deep timber bite and/or the ditch bite, now is the time!  Here are the dates I have open in February:   20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28  Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun!  Thanks to all and May God Bless.
  • Captain Mack’s Report – Fresh each Friday: http://www.captmacks.com/fishing/lake-lanier-fishing-reports/
  • Ken’s Reservoir Reports – http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html

Good luck healing as you pack up your red and black attire.  We have a nice, warm weekend ahead of us to help salve-up those pigskin wounds.  And before you know it, true spring will be here, too.  Get outside and take advantage of the diverse north Georgia fishing opportunities all around you.  Trust me; you’ll feel better.

Thanks for buying your fishing licenses and TU brookie car tags.  We appreciate the operating funds and will put them to good use at your Quick Care fishing clinics!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division)

The crappie bite has been good, and bass fishing has been solid. The rivers are still high (except for the St Marys). Full Moon is February 10th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

ALTAMAHA RIVER – The river is still very high and muddy. The non-tidal Altamaha isn’t a good option again this week, but you should be able to catch a few catfish in the Darien area if you feel that you must fish the river. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that a few blue and channel catfish were caught in the high water.  Donna at Altamaha Park said that the river is still high, but folks are heading to the oxbow lakes and are catching catfish. Crappie were also caught in the backs of the lakes. The river level was 10.2 feet and falling (56 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.4 feet and falling (57 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on February 7th.

SATILLA RIVER – Fishing the upper Satilla with the high water this week is not a good plan. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that anglers fishing bush hooks caught a good number of catfish. The White Oak Creek area of the river is your best bet for white catfish. Put a piece of shrimp on the bottom near a creek mouth on the outgoing tide, and you should catch quite a few white catfish. The river level on February 7th at the Waycross gage was 10.6 feet and falling (58 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 13.0 feet (flood stage is 13 feet) and falling.

ST MARYS RIVER – This is most fishable river for the weekend. Some big bass were reported again this week. Worms fished on the bottom produced some good catfish, with most anglers catching 30 to 50 fish per trip. The river level at the MacClenny gage on February 7th was 2.3 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP – Essentially nobody is fishing the swamp right now, although the fliers should be biting. The only report I received is that the bowfin are still biting on the east side. Warm afternoons are the time to target fliers. Pitch pink or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies suspended under a small balsa float to shoreline vegetation and hold on. This time of year I usually catch about 12 to 20 fish per hour when pitching the small fly on a bream buster pole.

LOCAL PONDS – Pond fishing was tops this week. A couple of anglers fishing a Brunswick area pond on Tuesday caught 11 bass, with 6-lb.,10-oz and a 6-lb.,2-oz. whoppers besting  the bunch. Jigs and shaky heads produced the two big fish, and square-billed crankbaits also caught a few. Chad Lee of Alma fished an Alma area pond on Thursday and scratched out 3 bass on Ol’ Monster worms. Then in the cold on Saturday, he managed 6 more bass up to 3 1/2-pounds. Shaky head worms produced those fish. Bucky Buckner of Winge’s Bait and Tackle fished Lake Ware this week with minnows and shiners and caught a great mess of crappie and a few nice bass.

PARADISE PFA: The bullhead bite is on at paradise PFA, as seen in the header image above.

DODGE COUNTY PFA: Dodge County PFA had their parking lot resurfaced this week. Making improvements for anglers!

SE GA DodgePFA Resurfacing Parking Lot Completed.jpg

SALTWATER (GA Coast) – Michael Winge reported that anglers caught trout and redfish around the bridges in the St. Simons area. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that whiting and black drum were caught in decent numbers from the pier this week. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

BEST BET: Ponds should produce some good bass and crappie catches this weekend. In saltwater, whiting fishing should pick up any day (if winds allow you to get to the sounds). During warm afternoons, the Okefenokee Swamp would be a good location to pitch a sally.

se-ga-mike-harrell-crappie-2-17
Mike Harrell of Waycross caught these two nice crappie last weekend. Crappie fishing is a great option for this weekend!
allatoona-crappie-cooler-jan-2017

Georgia Fishing Report: February 3, 2017

EAST AND WEST CENTRAL GEORGIA

(Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.  See  http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html for most recent updates.)

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 50’s 

Bass fishing is slow and the cold fronts are back this week.  Small jigs, lightweight Texas rigs and spinner baits are best on points half way in the backs of creek.  Watch for any shad activity on the surface or on the Lowrance Down Scan technology.  Bait is the key this week.  Bass are showing up in deep water and some in large schools.  Look for bass on the sides of main river points and flats.  Jigging spoons like a ½ ounce Flex It, Hopkins Shorty 45 and Bomber slab spoon can work.  Chrome, white, and chartreuse are the best colors to try along with gold during cloud cover.  Crank baits can work later in the day but keep them small and use light lines.  Take along a few jig-head and finesse worm, the Carolina rig and the drop shot rig as well as the jig and pig.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 9.44 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing is slow but despite the tough weather conditions last week a few fish are biting.  Fish up in the Little River near the Raysville area.  A #5 Shad Rap can work as well as a jerk bait for spots and a few largemouth.  When the crank bait bite dies off use a spinning reel and 8-pound test Sufix Elite line and a jig-head with a Fat Albert grub.  If you plan to head up into the Little River be very careful.  The water levels are low and trees are showing up everywhere.  Look for schools of shad in the mouth of the coves and fish a Flex It spoon.  Find the bait and find some bass.  Fish this bait under the school of bait fish you find.  The better bite is coming as the sun warms up the rock

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPERATURE 50-54

Bass fishing is fair.  Spinner baits fished in the creeks and coves shallow will produce fish.  White and chartreuse have been the best colors.  When Georgia Power is pulling water the same spinner bait will work on the bridge riprap (they have been pulling early in the mornings).  Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the coves out to the main lake will also produce.  You can also add fishing a rattle trap around any deep dock and around riprap early.  Jigs fished around wood structure have also produced some larger fish.

Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service.  Call 404-803-0741, reeltime@bellsouth.net

Striper fishing is good.  The fish are mid-lake around river bend.  Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait and the stripers will be close by.  Look for the birds diving; if you see birds go fish them.  Live bait as well as spoons will produce large numbers of fish.  Watch for any shad activity on the surface or on the Lowrance Down Scan technology.  Bait is the key this week.

Crappie fishing is fair.  The fish are staging in the creeks.  Long lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches.  Spider rigging will also catch some fish.

WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 4.5 FEET, CLEAR & 60’S

Bass fishing is fair and more cold weather will slow the action.  The lake is coming up after some rain up north.  Now, finesse fishing is still the way to go.  Throw a Shakey head rigged with a 5-inch Senko in 12 to 18 feet of water on the river channels.  Color doesn’t seem to matter but Watermelon has been the color of choice.  Crank baits are still doing well but it seems like it has to be sunny and clear for the fish to really start eating it good.  Watch for any shad activity on the surface or on the Lowrance Down Scan technology.  Bait is the key this week.  The crank bait will need to be a #5 Shad Rap or a Lucky Craft MR in the natural shad colors.  Fish the rocks and any point that has red clay around them.  This seems to be a little bit warmer around these areas.  Jigging spoons are still working on the humps and road beds down lake.  A silver ½ ounce spoon is the best bait this week.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.05 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S

Bass fishing is slow as the area took a hit this week with the cold weather state wide.  A pattern or location today may not produce very well the next day.  Riprap and other rocky banks are holding fish that are being caught with small to medium crank baits, jigs, and soft plastics.  Any shallow rocks should be located very near much deeper water.  Some good cranking choices are a Shad Rap RS #5, Thunder Shad, Deep Little N, Rapala DT10, and Fat Free Shad #5 & #6.  Anglers should experiment with chartreuse, shad, and silver patterns.  Jigs should be in the ¼ to 3/8 ounce sizes with a plastic or pork trailer.  A Zoom Pro Chunk or a #11 Uncle Josh pork chunk will both work.  For soft plastics, try a Zoom finesse worm with a 1/8 ounce weight rigged Texas style or the same worm on a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce jighead.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 1.16 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing is slow.  With the water temperatures ranging cold, finding bites is tough.  Still, a small number of bass will bite as the spots are the best bet on the lake.  Spots are more tolerant to the cold waters.  Fish the lower lake and take a variety of baits.  Worms and various other forms of plastic are best.  Fish light line on sea walls and any wood and then after midday go to the deep diving crank baits while working points and deep ledges off the points.  Wood will be the key as the colder waters are forcing them to hang tight.  Suspending bass are located just off main lake or river points in 15 to 20 feet of water.  Good lures to catch these suspending bass are the #5 jointed Shad Rap in the red crawfish color and the perch color Bandit.  Some bass were caught last weekend on these baits.  Any and all brush piles or stump beds that re holding fish need a good application of both the crank bait and Shakey head and worm combo.

FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA

Notice: The main parking area and boat ramp are temporarily unavailable due to a resurfacing project. The job should be completed by 12 Noon on Mon. Feb. 6. Detours to lake available, but the boat ramp will not be open until resurfacing is complete.

fcpfa_paving_2-2-feb2017
Resurfacing project underway at Flat Creek PFA parking lot

Surface Temperature: 60˚ F (15.6˚ C)

Water Level: 6’ 6” Below Full Pool

Water Visibility: 13”

With the heavy rain that we have had lately, the lake level is finally starting to rise up to previous levels.  While the lake was down, numerous fish attractors were placed around the lake providing great habitat and opportunities to possibly catch fish.  In between rains there have been several anglers catching crappie, and those fishing for catfish have not typically left disappointed with their catch.  The bream like the largemouth bass have been a little sluggish, and have required a little patience and a slow retrieval.

  • Bass – Plum colored ‘Ol Monstor worms by Zoom.  Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms.  Most dark colored worms.
  • Bream  – Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig.  Near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon.  Crickets have not worked well.
  • Channel Catfish – Red Wiggler worms, Frozen Catalpa worms, and chicken livers.
  • Crappie – Chartreuse/white teaser tails, or similar color pattern in Triple Ripple.  Blue bodied teaser tail with a chartreuse tail and most brightly (not yellow) colored teaser tails with an inch or two of the tail trimmed have been very hot right now.

Additional information at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/FlatCreek

MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA 

Water temps. : High 40’s –Low 50’s

  • Largemouth Bass – Historically, February brings unstable weather.  Afternoon temperatures will vary and according to weather forecasts, it appears that February will also be wet.  This does not mean to ignore all the opportunities that exist at Marben PFA.  According to some anglers, now is a great time to target bass at Marben PFA.   Their reason, as water temps drop into the 40’s threadfin shad become lethargic.  Late February is a great time to target largemouth gorging on threadfin preparing for spring spawn.  Successful anglers mimic lethargic shad by casting jerk baits and crank baits.   Midday will be the best times to target bass giving the sun a little time to warm the water just a touch.  Submerged timber and rock beds are good habitats to target when seeking bass at Marben PFA.
  • Crappie –  Crappie remain the most aggressive fish anglers will find at Marben this time of year and this will only increase as March approaches.  However, do not expect to hook one with every cast.  Finding them may require a little effort.  Anglers should see a significant change as March gets closer.  Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs.  Try fishing cover approximately 6-8 feet throughout the day.  Expect crappie to move into shallower water on warmer days in February.
  • Bream – Bream fishing will start to pick up in late February but not nearly as much as in April and May.  Cold water temperatures play a factor but a few warm days in February, anglers could really see a difference.  Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best with midday temperatures.  Remember that bream are deeper this time of year so to be successful anglers will have to target deeper water in order to increase your chances.
  • Catfish – Catfish will remain sluggish this time of year.  Patience is necessary if anglers are in pursuit of this fish.  Anglers should target days when it is sunny which should warm the water in order to get catfish moving.  Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben. 

Additional Information:  http://www.georgiawildlife.com/PFA/CharlieElliott 

Licenses Required at a PFA:

FISHING

  • Anglers 16 years and older must possess a current fishing license, AND a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) license to fish.
  • If you have either a Sportsman’s, Lifetime, Honorary (resident disability license or resident one-time veteran’s license), 3-day Hunting and Fishing License, or 3-day GORP Plus you are NOT required to have a WMA license to fish.
  • A WMA license is NOT required to fish at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area.

GENERAL ACCESS

To access a PFA for non-fishing activities, visitors age 16-64 must have one of the following (visitors under age 16 and/or over age 64 are exempt):

BUY A FISHING LICENSE HERE!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division)

Fishing reports were few this week with the bad storms and rains. Saltwater and ponds produced some good reports, but the rivers (other than the St Marys) are too high. The high water will help the panfish populations for the spring fishing. New Moon is January 27th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

ALTAMAHA RIVER – The river is flooded at Baxley and much higher than I would fish it in the Jesup area. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that some crappie were caught in Morgan Lake (there is a ramp in the lake) by anglers using minnows. The Darien area is fishable, as the river spreads out in that area. You can catch channel, white, and blue catfish by putting cut baitfish or shrimp on the bottom. The river level was 13.5 feet (flood stage is 13ft) and rising (60 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.6 feet and rising (59 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on January 24th.

SATILLA RIVER – The river is well into the floodplain. Don’t try it this week. Brentz McGhin went before the rains (the river was 8 feet at Waycross), and pitched minnows to land 9 bass (6 keepers to 3 1/2 pounds) and a big crappie. He also pitched crickets for a little while and caught 3 redbreasts and 4 bream. The river level on January 24th at the Waycross gage was 14.0 feet and rising (61 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 10.6 feet and rising.

ST. MARYS RIVER – This is the only river in pretty good shape. The few anglers that reported back (they fished on Tuesday) caught bream, catfish, and a few crappie. If you want to fish a river this weekend, the St. Marys is your best bet. To catch about anything put worms on the bottom. If you want to target catfish exclusively, shrimp will probably produce a little better. The river level at the MacClenny gage on January 24th was 4.0 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP – With the quickly rising water, I would stay away from the swamp this weekend. Usually the fish spread out and don’t bite well after a quick rise, but after it stabilizes another few days they will bite again. During next week’s warm afternoons, expect the fliers to eat pink or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies suspended under a small balsa float and pitched with a bream buster pole. Fish the connections between the prairies and the canal, as the fish use these connections like a highway.

LOCAL PONDS– Pond fishing was great this week. Chad Lee of Alma fished Friday and caught 12 bass. Two of them were over 5 pounds, but most were just over a pound. He caught only 2 on Saturday, and then landed a nice 6-pounder on Tuesday evening. Most of his fish were caught on a ZOOM Ol’ Monster worm, but several, including Tuesday’s 6-pounder, inhaled a spinnerbait. Andy Trocheck figured out the big bass on Tuesday. He dragged shiners around the pond and casted a sexy shad colored Capt. Bert’s Swim Jig while waiting for a shiner to flush. He ended up catching 11 bass, with the biggest (an 8.9-pounder) eating the swim jig. He said “Tuesday was an awesome day to be bass fishing!” Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the crappie bite was good below pond spillways. The spillway at Lake Ware was especially productive. Anglers fishing there also caught bream, catfish, and bass. Bass will stack up in the spillways and hammer anything worked past them, but spinnerbaits and worms lead the list.

sega-andy-trocheck-8-9-bass-1-24-17
Andy Trocheck caught this 8.9 lb bass in a Tifton area pond on Tuesday using a Swim Jig (sexy shad color)

SALTWATER (GA Coast) – A couple of Waycross anglers fished the Brunswick area between storms on Saturday and landed almost 30 seatrout. They were casting Mama’s 14K Sea Shads skewered on Flashy Jigheads to catch their fish. This time of year you need to slow-roll the lures near the bottom, and the trout slam it when they commit. Michael Winge reported that nobody reported fishing during the storms this weekend. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout and sheepshead were caught around the pier and under bridges, but the bad weather kept almost everyone away. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

BEST BET: Winter has returned, and pond fishing will likely be your best bet. With the cold mornings, the afternoon bite will likely be best. Fish a plastic worm or spinnerbait deep in a pond to catch a nice bass. Crappie should still bite minnows under float if you drag them around the deepest parts of the pond. If you want to fish a river, catfishing on the St Marys should be a good bet.

 

NORTHEAST GEORGIA

(Report provided by Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division)

Rise Up!  We have a couple of big shows and some decent fishing weather this weekend, so you have a lot of great activities to choose from.  Remember the Gwinnett fly show on Friday and Saturday, and the Big Show – the Falcons on Super Bowl Sunday.  Reservoir and trout stream fans should have some better water temperatures and improved chances at catching fish this weekend, when compared to last week’s cold, windy conditions.  Here we go with this weekend’s menu:

ALLATOONA

Water levels: http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/actframe.htm

  • Lineside: Captain Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service (http://www.firstbiteguideservice.com/) reports fishing is good.  Water temps are a good 6 degrees warmer then it was last year at this time and the fish are eating like its early December.  The Hybrids can been found busting top water most mornings near the “S-turns”. These fish are finicky – some days live bait is the ticket and the next day it maybe a spoon. Mid-lake seems to be holding better numbers of fish than the south or north-ends of the lake.  However, I think all the creeks on the lake will produce linesides right now. Shiners fished on free-lines and planner boards are producing better than live trout or shad right now. Remember to down size your hooks to match your shiners for more strikes. After the sun comes up switch to pulling umbrella rigs. I have had my best luck this week pulling my rigs 145 feet behind the boat at 3.1 to 3.4 miles . As the lake starts to clears the umbrella rig bite will improve.
  • CrappieReport provided by guide Jeff “Crappieman” Albright (https://www.facebook.com/CrappieMan-Allatoona-Lake-Guide-Fishing-202748466416645/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE)
    •  1/28/17: Had a pretty good morning boated 37 and kept 26 – couple real nice ones.  Caught on slider jigs tipped with minnows (see photo). Water temps are down from last week (46-51 F). We were trolling 0.6 – 1 mph.  Do not let the wind keep you off the water.  Get 2, 5 gallon buckets, a 10 ft. piece of rope to tie them off to your boat.  Drop them in behind you and you will be surprised how much they will slow you down. Good buddy of mine told me about this many years ago.allatoona-crappie-jigs-jan-2017
    • 1/29/17: What an amazing day on Toona today.  We boated 60 and brought home 53 in 3 1/2 hours.  Thanks Brian for joining me today!  All were caught on slider jigs tipped with minnows. Fish were still biting when we left.  Looks like we got a pattern starting.  Just what I have been waiting for. Water temps were 45-47.

LANIER

Better Lanier Angler, Note the gulls and swirls! http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=891697

  • Striper: Lanier Striper Strikeout – Guru and Dredger gave it a shot last Saturday morning.  It was cold and windy, but there was a ton of bait and a big flock of gulls way back in Little River.  Alas, no hookups.  Maybe the stormy weather and muddy water had put the predators down for a day or two.   It was still nice to give it a shot with the eight-weights, and even nicer to settle in at Longstreet Café to enjoy a nice hot lunch!  (Hint: try the country-fried steak) Maybe this week’s warm spell will turn that striper switch back on. More Lanier Striper Intel https://teamlanier.wordpress.com/
  • CrappieThis Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club.  See club website, www.laniercrappieanglers.netWater temps have fallen into the low fifties.  Some of the creeks at the north end of the lake still have moderate stain.  At present, the crappie have abandoned both the deep and shallower brush piles and have headed to docks, preferring docks with cover below.  The cover could be some type of brush like a Christmas tree that has been placed below the dock by the owner or even a piece of deck furniture blown off the dock.  Crappie relate to structure, and need cover.  That’s their living room.  Your Hummingbird side scan imagery can be very helpful in locating cover under the docks, as well as fish in the cover.  Hopefully that can eliminate docks that are less likely to produce results.  Covered docks, docks with pontoon boats, and docks with boat lifts are great targets.  Always study the dock, looking for the darkest spots within.  Fish those spots from different angles.  The best way to get the bait to the fish in these conditions is to utilize the dock shooting technique.  Your preferred jigs are 1/24 or 1/16 ounce jig heads with a 2 inch Bobby Garland soft body baby shad.  The colors that worked well for us today were Electric Chicken, Blue Ghost, and one of my favorites, Twilight.  These jigs skip on top of the water well, which will assist in getting the bait to your target.  If you prefer live bait, a 10 foot or even a 12 foot pole will help you place the minnow as close as possible to the area you are trying to target.  This can be awkward, but is a good method to produce results with live bait.  Channel docks in 15 to 30 foot depths are good targets. We had the lake to ourselves today, and it was a crisp but pleasant morning. Stay safe on the water – wear your life jacket!

DELAYED HARVEST – TROUT

Hmmm, it’s the first of the month.  GAWRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson hinted that truck engines are idling at our state and federal trout hatcheries,

https://www.facebook.com/ChattahoocheeForestNFH/photos/pcb.782909565180542/782907808514051/?type=3&theater

and that Y2K’s and woolly buggers might be even more effective for weekend warriors on Georgia’s DH streams…and Lake Tralyta, too.

trout-stocking-smith-dh

trout-fishing-toccoa-dh-4-17-10-monty-pic2
Trout Fishing on the Delayed Harvest Portion of Toccoa River

Good luck.  May you score an improved fly cast from a Friday fly show instructor, a coolerful of Toona crappie on Saturday, and a Super Sunday with a Falcons win.  Have fun as you Rise Up to all of the wintertime opportunities here in north Georgia.  As always, thanks for buying your fishing licenses and TU car tags.

cover-photo-game-check

Georgia Game Check Recap

Statewide Statistics:

Total Reported Deer

Bucks

88,925

Does

93,673

Total

182,598

 

Reported Deer by Date

dates-checked

 

 County Statistics:

Top 10 Counties – Reported Deer

Burke

3,672

Hancock

3,307

Meriwether

2,842

Washington

2,759

Wilkes

2,732

Laurens

2,550

Stewart

2,541

Sumter

2,531

Oglethorpe

2,485

Emanuel

2,413

 

Bucks Reported by County: 

Total Bucks Reported

Reported Bucks/sqmi

Burke

1,541 Madison 3.1

Wilkes

1,342

Jackson

2.9

Washington 1,316 Pike

2.8

bucks-sqmi

 

Does Reported by County:

Total Does Reported

Reported Does/sqmi

Burke

2,131 Hancock 4.5

Hancock

2,107

Lee

3.9

Meriwether 1,697 Schley

3.7

does-sqmi

 

 

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Georgia Fishing Report: January 24, 2017

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener and region fisheries staff)

No big report to share today, BUT we did want to show you this photo from last week where angler Chad Lee caught a nice 8 – pounder at a pond in Camden County. Nice work Chad!

se-ga-bdeener-chad-lee-8lb-bass-p1240994

SOUTHWEST GEORGIA

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Rob Weller and region fisheries staff)

Lake Walter F George and Lower Chattahoochee River

According to several local sources the hybrid striped bass and white bass fishing has been good on George. Most anglers have been catching fish by trolling crankbaits including the Bomber 6A model in particular. The largemouth bass have moved shallower and are being caught between 8 and 12 feet. Crappie anglers have enjoyed a consistent deep water bite using minnows.

Flint River

The recent rains have swollen the Flint and this weekend might be a good time to visit either the tailrace below Lake Blackshear or below Lake Worth in Albany as the increased flow should attract white bass, hybrids and striped bass.

The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:

Lake Seminole

According to Guide Steven Wells, the fishing prior to the recent storms was really heating up. A one day tournament last Saturday out of Big Jims was won with 29.9 pounds and second place was 22.0. The second place winners took shelter from the storm around noon and headed back out and caught 20 fish in the four pound range between 1:30 and 3:00 pm. All of these fish were caught on a topwater Ribbit Frog. Also, anglers have been noticing shellcracker beginning to stage in shallower water. The current heavy rains have stained the water but some clearer water can be found in the backwaters. If we don’t get any more large storms the fishing should continue to improve over the next week.

NORTHEAST GEORGIA

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)

Whoa, what was that noise on my roof last weekend?  By golly, it was raindrops!  That’s welcome news to our drought-stricken north Georgia watersheds, where our reservoir levels are low and our streamflows even lower.  We got about a half-inch, but that’s only a drop in the bucket.  Last night’s rain hardly even bumped the graphs on our USGS streamflow gauges (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02330450).

While the rain and possible stormy weather, including lightning, may present some short-term hassles for us anglers to deal with, let’s just go ahead and deal with it.  We need the rain and every drop is welcome!

And, given our drought conditions, we can keep these “big rains” in proper perspective, and realize there will still be great fishing opportunities on either side of them.  On reservoirs, for example, the warm, damp, cloudy weather is perfect for pulling shad, spots and stripers up shallow.  Cloudy days sure beat bluebird skies in terms of a topwater bite on Lanier, Toona, or Nottely.  Also, after the rain, we might be lucky enough to see some muddy water in the backs of creeks or in the main river channels.  Yay for mudlines!  When some sun hits that muddy water and warms it up more than the main lake, it will attract shad and bluebacks like a magnet, and we all know what follows the bait fish!

On trout streams, the warm gray skies also have fish looking up, rather than running for cover against herons and ospreys who can spot them in the sunshine.  And those slugs of muddy water can be chow lines.  It it’s warm, look down on the pavement and identify the hatch.  Yep – earthworms.  Toss a pink San Juan worm into the quiet eddies along the sides of flooded stream channels and hold on.  Be sure to use heavier line.  The fish won’t see it and you’re gonna need it to winch in trophies against flood flows.  And even those alleged flood flows are relative.  While that first flush of Chattooga runoff may be too muddy for a good trout bite, the slight clearing just behind the flood crest will be prime fishing water.  Remember, a flood flow is relative.  We’re so low right now that a 2-3 inch rain on the Chattooga may only bump river flows back up to NORMAL flow conditions for this date in history.  Just look at those little yellow triangles on those flow graphs to see what the historic mean flows are. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02176930

So don’t let these rains scare you off.  Understand them, appreciate them, work around them a bit, and let them work for you – all the way to the net and your grip-n-grin trophy photo!

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Lots of rain can work to your advantage when you let it!

Just remember on those trophies to “keep em wet.” https://www.keepemwet.org/#home  Take good care of the fish, release then effectively, and hopefully more folks will enjoy similar trophy shots because of your stewardship.

So there you go.  We have a nice dose of April continuing right now.  Take advantage of it.  You never know if we’ll get two straight months of true Februaries just ahead of us, and the fish will shut down due to frigid waters.  Go get it while the getting’s good.

Lanier – Crappie

Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Report January 18, 2017 (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club.  See our club’s website, www.laniercrappieanglers.net )

In comparison to a year ago when the water temps were in the low 40’s, the lake level was above full pool, and the water was heavily stained due to all the rain, today water temperatures rose to about 57 degrees by the time we stopped fishing shortly after lunch.  In the back of Two Mile Creek, the water temp broke the 60 degree mark.  The current lake levels are just over 10 ½ feet below full pool.  Water clarity is good, with a slight stain in some of the northern creeks.  Do you think the fish are confused?  Maybe we should ask our biologist friends at the DNR.  The warming trend has not seemed to bother the fish, in fact they are moving around, chasing bait around their brush piles, and feeding on the abundance of threadfin. With caution, it appears that the fish are pulling away from the deeper brush piles, going a little more shallow at 15 ft. or less depths.  This is generally an indication of warmer spring weather and the crappie preparing for the pre-spawn.  HOWEVER, there is probably a lot of cold weather yet to come, and with it, this trend will reverse.  The channel docks remain excellent targets to use the shooting technique, or to get a minnow on a slip cork inside or close to a dock.  Even with good fishing, it is still not smart to rely on one or two spots.  We are catching a lot of fish, but we are also moving around a lot, what we call “run and gun”.  We had a great day on the water enjoying mild weather, beautiful scenery, great fishing and had the lake almost to ourselves.  Take advantage of this while it lasts!    Stay safe on the water – wear your life jacket!

More on Lanier

“The Southern Fishing Report” (106 Hickory Ridge, www.southernfishing.com, 770 889 2654, Cumming, Georgia 30040)

Lake Lanier is Down 10.7 Feet, the Creeks Are Stained and the Main Lake is Clear and 50s

(The following Lanier report brought to you by Jimbo On Lanier 770 542 7764 www.jimboonlanier.com)

Bass fishing is good. The lake has started to drop again after a brief rise after last week’s rain. The surface temperatures are back on the way up with all this warm weather we are having and projected to have over the next several days. The ditch bite continues to be good and we are catching them using the traditional ditch fishing methods like the SuperSpin, SPRO Jerkbait, SPRO Crankbait, jig and Picasso Shake E Head. Start back shallow in these ditches early, and then move out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses. We are starting in these ditches first thing and remaining flexible as the day’s progress. Lowrance Down Scan technology can scan much wider areas with the narrow beams so anglers can see the bait, the structure and the fish four times better than with sonar. Find the bait and you will find the fish. Some days we adjust to much deeper water within those ditches, and on others, we are finding the fish are staying shallow in and around those ditches as well as up around docks. We are starting with a SuperSpin tipped with a boot tail type trailer right in the ditch. Also, a Spro McStick or McRip has been a good choice as far as jerk baits go. A Spro crankbait is never a bad choice either, both in the ditches and around rocky/clay points as well. A finesse worm on a Picasso Shaky Football Head or a Chattahoochee Jig has been a good alternative if the fish are not as aggressive. If the ditch bite does slow, we have been shifting to steeper rocky points and finding success with a jig and worm as well. We have also continued to spoon up a few fish out of the timber, or near the timber, in creek arms/ditches in 30 50 feet. Check for bait and fish out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses. If you see fish out deeper, a spoon, jig, or shaky head can be a great way to catch them, depending on how they are positioned.

The ditch bite is here and the fish are positioning around the timber. If you are wanting to learn the deep timber bite, now is the time. Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun! Thanks to all and May God Bless.

I am now guiding in a Brand New Xpress Bass Boat – 21’3″ powered by a 250 Yamaha SHO and equipped with the latest Lowrance HDS Gen III units featuring 3D Structure Scan technology. Come take a ride in this beauty!

Lanier – Stripers

(The following Lake Lanier Striper report is from Captain Ken West 404 561 2564. Contact us on our web site. www.bigfishonguide.com)

Striper fishing is good. We have seen some consistency in temperatures over the last week with a corresponding improvement in fishing conditions. The bait and the fish have moved shallow and into the backs of the creeks. Start your day with unweighted free lines 50 to 70 feet behind the boat. Deploy planner boards with bank side planner at 20 feet behind the board and 50 to 70 feet on the deeper water planner board. We continue to use a combination or medium minnows and Blueback Herring with 12 pound test fluorocarbon 5 foot leaders. As always match your hook size to the size of the bait. We are using a #2 Gamakatsu Octopus hook for the medium minnows and a #1 or #1/0 for the Herring. As the day progresses move to deeper water from 25 to 50 feet and weight your free lines. Deploy several down rods and fish as close to the bottom as possible. As always keep someone on the front deck casting a ½ ounce bucktail jig. This pattern should continue to produce as long as the weather remains consistent. We are also seeing some top water action. Keep your eyes on the water and resistant the temptation to “plow” into a school of feeding fish with the big motor. The creeks on the south end of the lake are holding fish. Bald Ridge Creek, Shoal Creek, Flat Creek and Big Creek are good places to start. The lake is 10.7 feet below full pool. The water temperature is in the low 50’s. Call Big Fish On Guide Service at 404 561 2564 to schedule a guided fishing trip on Lake Lanier.

striper-lanier-12-24-16-pic4
Testing the Waters of Lanier for Stripers 

Allatoona

(Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html)

LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 14.8 FEET, 50’S & CLEAR

Spotted bass fishing is fair. On the main lake look for stumps and brush in 8 feet of water especially around points and humps that have deep water access. Small jigs in green pumpkin or Try the ¼ oz. in watermelon gold any other color that looks like green pumpkin will work and put a matching Zoom trailer. Check those creeks and pockets for water with some color to it. Fish the numerous shallow brush piles with the jig. Some fish are surprisingly still shallow. On sunny days the dingy water will warm faster and attract bait fish so bass are likely to be there as well. The deep clear water naturally will be colder and the fish will be deeper. If you see shad flipping on top whip out that favorite crank bait, the one that looks like a ¼ ounce Rat L Trap chrome with a blue back. Nice spotted bass have been schooling and busting the shad.

Hartwell

(Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html)

LAKE HARTWELL IS DOWN 10.4 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S

Bass fishing is fair. Fish in the Tugaloo river area both north and south of the 85 bridge. In the first part of the mornings we have been working the back part of the creek arms and main lake pockets with a crank bait. We have been using more of a flat sided crank bait in deeper water in the 8 to 12 foot zone to catch them. As always this time of year you want to look for the areas the sun is on first. This water as you know warms the quickest and can be very productive. Some of the very backs of the creek arms are muddy and have not been that productive. But if it is a light stain that will help keep some of these fish shallower than normal specially the areas that are getting more sun. Continue to look for the bait as this continues to be key as it always is during the winter months. So take the time to find the bait and fish these areas thoroughly. Some key areas have been the clay and rock especially areas that have deeper water nearby this allows those fish to move up and down in the water column with little effort. Key baits that we have been throwing with these weather changes have been a flat sided crank bait, jig, and a shaky head. For our jig and shaky head anything in a green pumpkin color is good this time of year. Key for us was to continue to move throughout the day if we didn’t get bit within 10 minutes of fishing an area we picked up the trolling motor and moved on. When we got some bites we slowed down and worked the area with several baits before moving on to the next area. We did work some of the main lake areas but have not had much success at this time. We will continue to work the main lake area as the winter moves on to see what we can find. Remember the lake is close to 11ft low and there are a lot of objects sticking up out of the water and not yet marked.

Classroom Kudos: Nice article on Trout in the Classroom: http://www.gon.com/news/trout-in-the-classroom-2

Upcoming Events:

The Flyfishing Show – Gwinnett (Feb 3-4): An all-star lineup of seminar speakers and fly tiers has been booked.  http://flyfishingshow.com/atlanta/  Click on the “programs and speakers” tab.

Good luck during this soggy weekend, which we welcome with open arms.  Many of us can fish right through it, given some Goretex.  Others among us will stay indoors, but still enjoy some great events like the Rabun Rendezvous and the Falcons victory.  Let it rain, let it rain.  Fish need water.  Let it rain!

Anglers Visiting Big Lazer Public Fishing Area

Central Georgia Fishing Report: January 20, 2017

Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.  See  (http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html) for most recent updates.

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 50’s

Bass fishing is slow.  The cold air and dropping surface temperature have bass holding tight to cover or suspended in deeper water.  Some anglers are using jigging spoons and Carolina rigs to catch a few Bass.  Others are still fishing rip rap rock with Rapala Shad Raps and small Rapala DT10 crank baits after mid-morning.  Both will work well and should continue to produce for a couple more weeks.  Continue to fish the points and any drop offs.  In middle of the lower lake creeks, fish any isolated stumps and wood cover for the best results.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 8.7 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing slowed down from the previous weeks with the cold weather moving in strong by the middle of the week.  The fish were up in the flats looking like they wanted to start a pre-spawn mode.  With the change in weather, the bass simply moved back to the deeper water and suspended themselves.  The bass can still be caught with patience and the right technique.  Back off, locate the fish and use a slow moving Jerk bait and the Rapala DT14 use the parrot color Rapala crank baits.  A slow presentation will still be necessary as long as the bass are suspended.  Remember, now active bass have a smaller strike zone, so be prepared to make several presentations in the same area with your baits.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR, LIGHT STAIN UP THE LAKE. STAINED UP THE RIVER TEMPERATURE 52-55

Bass fishing is good.  The best bite has been the spoon bite on the humps on the south end of the lake.  White and chartreuse have been the best colors.  Spinner baits fished in the creeks and coves shallow will produce fish.  White and chartreuse have been the best colors.  When Georgia Power is pulling water the same spinner bait will work on the bridge rip rap (they have been pulling early in the mornings), Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the coves out to the main lake will also produce.  You can also add fishing a rattle trap around any deep dock and around rip rap early.

Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741 or reeltime@bellsouth.net

Striper fishing is good.  The fish are mid-lake around river bend.  Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait and the stripers will be close by.  Look for the birds diving; if you see birds go fish them.  Live bait as well as spoons will produce large numbers of fish.

Crappie fishing is fair.  The fish are staging in the creeks.  Long lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches.  Spider rigging will also catch some fish.

WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 5.5 FEET, CLEAR & 60’S

Bass fishing is fair and crank baits are working.  Bright crank baits on the rocky banks and rip rap is fair early but its gets better as the water warms.  Use small Rapala Shad Raps and DT 10 lures in bright colors and fish any rocks, secondary points in creeks, and where sand meets the rip rap along the bridges.  The lake is going to stay low until the middle of January and then will rise slightly.  Use the vertical jigging spoons on the bottom.  Find the fish on your depth finder and then vertical jig using a 1/2 to 3/4 ounce spoon of your choice.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN .96 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The fish are ready to migrate back to main river and creek structures, although some do remain in coves and the upper halves of creeks.  Cranking had been the primary means of success for much of the last few weeks, but this has mostly changed.  More subtle and slow moving baits like Carolina rigs, jigs, and jig head and worm rigs have been the best choices recently.  Even the fish that remain in coves are now hitting finesse baits better.  Look for most of the remaining cove fish to be located in or near the basin or ditch at 10 to over 20 feet deep.  Don’t waste time in coves that aren’t showing lots of bait on the depth finder.  More of the larger groups or schools of fish are holding along main river or creek points and humps.  Generally, the fish are deeper down the lake and progressively shallower farther up the lake.  Try a Carolina rig with a Zoom finesse worm on a 3 foot leader of 12 pound line with a half-ounce weight on 15 to 20 pound main line.  Try the green pumpkin, June bug, red bug and natural blue colors on the SpotSticker jig head from 1/16 to one ounce, although it’s best to use the lightest possible and maintain bottom contact.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .70 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing is fair even with the cold water.  Start with jigs around boat docks and then go to spinnerbaits in the deeper water near the dam.  The Texas rigged worm and short Carolina rig seems to be the favorite in Yellow River.  The water is stained so have a Zoom u tail red shad worm rigged Texas style.  Throw right into or next to the wood and work the bait slowly stopping it every foot or so.  The bass are holding tight to the heavy cover.  The recent cold nights have driven these fish in tight so work each stump or log several times. Try different angles and a good 14-pound or better test line is recommended.

BIG LAZER PFA

Surface water temperature:   50o F

Water visibility:  Visibility is about 27” (stained)

Water level: Recent rains have raised water level back to full pool

  • Largemouth bass: Slow – Fish plastic baits slow now that water temperatures are chilly.  Plastic-worms fished around the deep water by the picnic area and around the newly repaired fishing pier may produce a few good bites.
  • Crappie: Poor- crappie fishing has been poor but their spawning season will start soon, until warmer temperatures fish for crappie in 10-12 feet of water with minnows.
  • Bream: Slow- Bream fishing is also slow but try pink and red worms around the new fishing pier.  Also, target areas that have structure like woody brush and blow downs associated with it.  This time of year, most bream will be located in deeper water.  Still, live bait will be your best bet for bream.  However, make sure the hooks are small because the bream have small mouths.
  • Channel catfish: Poor- Fishing for cold cats has been slow even around the dam area.  However, you may get lucky using livers at or almost at the bottom and at several different locations around woody structures and the rocks around the dam.  Fishing with two poles will increase your chances of catching a keeper.
  • In general, the weather is cold and the bite has become less consistent.  Anglers have to be more patient and persistent to have a good day fishing.  However, winter weather means less anglers are fishing; thus, less fishing pressure for the dedicated angler.

Additional information at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/BigLazer

MCDUFFIE PFA

Average Morning Water Temperature:   50 – 52 ⁰F

Water Visibility:     24 – 54+ inches

All PFA lakes are full and flowing into next lake.  All boat ramps are useable.

  • Largemouth Bass:  Fair. Bass are biting slowly.  Fishermen are actively pursuing bass most days. New***Rodbender, the trophy bass lake is open year round starting this month.  Anglers may harvest one bass 22 inches or longer if they desire.
  • Signage will be installed around the lake to notify the anglers.  This lake has been setup with multiple bait species for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.  Bass fishermen are fishing Rodbender today but no catches reported.
  • Bream:  Fair. Bream fishing has slowed dramatically due to cold water temperature.  Bream can still be found around structure and aquatic plants suspended over deep water.  The best baits for catching bream are still meal worms/red wigglers/worms fished deep in the lake channels as the water cools.
  • Channel Catfish:  Fair. Catfish are still biting but slowing down due to falling water temperatures.  The best fishing is on the bottom in deep water using chicken liver, worms, and stink-baits.
  • Striped Bass:  Stripers like cooler temperatures, however, no catches have been reported.  Striped bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse Lakes. Stripers will be chasing available bait during winter months, particularly on warm days.

Additional Information:    http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/McDuffie

Licenses Required at a PFA:

FISHING

  • Anglers 16 years and older must possess a current fishing license, AND a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) license to fish.
  • If you have either a Sportsman’s, Lifetime, Honorary (resident disability license or resident one-time veteran’s license), 3-day Hunting and Fishing License, or 3-day GORP Plus you are NOT required to have a WMA license to fish.
  • A WMA license is NOT required to fish at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area.

GENERAL ACCESS

To access a PFA for non-fishing activities, visitors age 16-64 must have one of the following (visitors under age 16 and/or over age 64 are exempt):

BUY A FISHING LICENSE HERE!

hailei-williams-sheepshead-1-17-img_20170101_192450252

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report January 13, 2017

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Featured Image above: The sheepshead have been chowing! Hailei Williams (pictured) caught this pile of convictfish in the Brunswick area last weekend on fiddler crabs.

This past weekend’s frigid snap cooled the fishing along with the temperatures, but folks still caught some fish. The rivers are high again, except for the St. Marys. Full Moon is January 12th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – The cold and high water slowed the fishing. Look for the trophy channel catfish bite to pick up in the Darien portion of the river in the coming weeks. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that a few channel and flathead catfish were caught. The warm this weekend should have some crappie biting back in the oxbow lakes. The river level was 12.2 feet and rising (48 degrees – it was 60 degrees last week!) at the Baxley gage, and 9.6 feet and rising (53 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on January 3rd.

Satilla River – Staff at Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the cold, rising river slowed the fishing. Some crappie were caught with Tennessee Shad jigs. With the warming trend, they said that you should be able to catch some redbreasts on the old reliable live worm. Oxbows should also produce some crappie. Shiners and ZOOM worms produced some bass before the extreme weekend cold. The river level on January 3rd at the Waycross gage was 10.6 feet and rising (52 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 7.5 feet and rising.

St. Marys River – This is the river that is in the best shape for fishing. Not many folks fished in the cold, but those who did caught some nice crappie on minnows. Reports were between 20 and 30 fish per trip (most trips were before the cold front), with a few bream and shellcrackers in the mix. The river level at the MacClenny gage on January 3rd was 4.3 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – The bowfin (mudfish) were still biting anywhere you put a bait in the water before the front. Extreme cold usually knocks them on the head, but they should be biting again in the warmer weather this weekend. The fliers should also feed like crazy this weekend in the warming water. Pitching pink or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies suspended under a small balsa float is the way to go. These are the conditions when I’ve had excellent success. The shallow, blackwater swamp warms quickly during warm afternoons like we’ve had all week.

Local Ponds – Chad Lee fished hard but only came up with 10 bass this week. Several were over 4 pounds, but most were butterball 2-pounders. Winge’s Bait and Tackle staff said that in the cold weather, the crappie bite was the best. Minnows produced most of the fish. Spinnerbaits and ZOOM worms accounted for some good bass catches, even in the cold. Ponds should be the place to fish over the weekend.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Dane Clements, Hailei Williams, and Wayne Canady of Baxley fished the Brunswick area last weekend and spanked the sheepshead with fiddler crabs.  They ended up with 32 sheepshead, with the biggest over 8 pounds, one over 7 pounds, and several over 6 pounds. A couple of Waycross anglers fished the Brunswick area on Friday and caught some gator trout up to 19 inches. Almost all of their 20 seatrout were keepers. They used a single Assassin Sea Shad (Mama’s 14K) rigged on an 1/8-oz. Flashy Jighead the entire trip. The spring on that head locks the bait down and keeps it from tearing up. Staff at Winge’s Bait and Tackle reported that trout and redfish were caught in good numbers from the rivers around Brunswick, and the big trout were eating Bang-O-Lure plugs. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout, sheepshead, and whiting were landed from the pier. Shrimp were the best bait for whiting, fiddlers and barnacles fooled the sheepshead, while artificials produced many of the trout. Blue crabs were still around the pier in good numbers. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet: With the extended warm spell, ponds should heat up quickly and be on fire by the weekend. Minnows over deep water will fool crappie, as will 2-inch Curly Shads fished around cover or trolled in deeper water. Bass should feed well, especially in the late afternoons. Spinnerbaits, jigs, and plastic worms should work well. In saltwater, sheepshead fishing will be hard to beat. Dabble a fiddler around a piling and hold on. I hope you finished that “honey-do” list last weekend like I suggested, because you need to be fishing this weekend! At the time or writing this, there is no cold front even forecasted for the next 10 days. Assuming the forecast holds (that’s a big assumption!), this weekend will be the time to head to a south Georgia Public Fishing Area or lake for excellent crappie and bass fishing. A few years ago when we had an extended warm spell in January, the fishing was unbelievable.

striper-lanier-15lb-on-fly-dec2016

North Georgia Fishing Report: January 9, 2017

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)

With the winter storm just hours away, we’re all bracing ourselves for some challenging conditions this weekend.  Given the slick roads and plummeting air and water temperatures, this will be the perfect weekend to stay (safe) at home and get our tackle ready for more hospitable days ahead.

https://www.facebook.com/ChattOconeeNF/posts/1326733804033075

We can overhaul our tackle boxes and fishing vests, getting rid of old, rusty stuff and restocking boxes with all of the new goodies that Santa brought.  While we look far into the future for spring’s magic, let’s also look just beyond our noses to the next winter warm spell.  A couple of days of warmer weather can reverse water temps and really turn the fish on.  Continue reading “North Georgia Fishing Report: January 9, 2017”

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Deer Movement and Habitat

Have you ever had a deer wander right up to your stand? Maybe it’s luck, but it’s most likely the deer is motivated by food or procreation, the two main reasons deer move.

Unfortunately, as deer movement increases with the rut, they tend to cross roads more frequently and with less caution. Rut is the mating season for deer, and the deer hunting season is scheduled to overlap it. Bucks are most active during the rut. They have a slightly larger roaming range during this time so they can find does and maintain a diverse gene pool. Unfortunately during this three-month-long event, deer may roam into human developments, causing them harm. Hence the increase in deer-car collisions during the rut.

Extreme weather and drought can also cause deer to seek more supportive stomping grounds. Excellent native habitat Continue reading “Deer Movement and Habitat”

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Deer Population

Currently, the estimated deer population in Georgia is 1.27 million. This may seem small compared to the 10.1 million people living in Georgia, but it does not account for an accurate number of deer in urban areas. Deer living in suburbs and areas not zoned for hunting are hard to monitor due to the fact that most of the data about the deer population is from hunters in more rural areas. Urban neighborhoods also provide safety and food which attract more deer and desensitize them to human activity. This can be dangerous for both the humans and the deer. It’s important to remember that deer are wildlife, with an emphasis on the “wild.”

Once a wildlife species has entered an urban area, others are sure to follow. In the worst case scenarios it is the predators that decide to join their prey. Predators such as coyotes, and in northern Georgia even bears, will wander into areas of high human population posting a threat to both humans and deer. This predatory threat contributes to the 22% decrease in the number of fawns per doe that survive to hunting season, also known as the fawn recruitment rate. This decrease in the fawn population must be balanced by decreasing the number of does that are allowed to be harvested each year. Decreasing the number of does increases the odds of fawns surviving because more fawns have the chance to be born.

Although coyotes can prove useful in maintaining other wildlife populations, too many can be a bad thing. Determining the extent of the coyote population is a job for trail camer
as. These motion detecting camouflaged cameras take pictures when something moves in front of it, and seems to be the most accurate way to estimate the number of any animal that may be present. If there is in fact a coyote infestation a heavy amount of trapping preceding and during fawning will yield the best results. However, the cunning nature of coyotes may prevent their capture with live traps, consequently making hunting the best and most effective option.

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Bears are also a predatory threat to fawns but less to adult deer. While this is a problem primarily in the northern region, it is a very complex issue that may include competition over habitat, clashing with other species, and supplementary predators. However, the exact reasons and circumstances are unclear and call for more research to gather accurate information for addressing this issue.