Saltmarsh sparrow (Tim Keyes/DNR)

Shadowing Saltmarsh Sparrows to Help Save Them

DNR-led Study Tracks Rare Species from Georgia

By June, saltmarsh sparrows are gone from Georgia’s coast, flying from the southern rivers of grass where they winter to marshes from Virginia to Maine where they nest.

Although gone, however, they are not forgotten: They are followed.

Thanks to a tracking project by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this spring’s migration could help pinpoint where saltmarsh sparrows from Georgia breed. Such connections are considered vital to conserving a species that otherwise could go extinct in 50 years.

Continue reading “Shadowing Saltmarsh Sparrows to Help Save Them”

Eastern spotted skunk (Bob Gress)

A Search – and a Good Word – for Skunks

By Emily Ferrall

You can imagine the looks I received when I told people I worked with skunks for the past few months. Most reacted with dislike, but I’m hoping to change that opinion by providing information on these misunderstood creatures.

First, did you know that we have two species of skunks in Georgia? The more common striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) is the one many Georgians have seen. The eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) is unknown to most, but it is also a Georgia native!

As are all skunks, eastern spotteds are sometimes called polecats. But unlike other skunks, spotted skunks often display a unique behavior as a defensive measure when threatened: They do a handstand and spray their scent directly over their head!

EasternSpotted Skunk_Rabun_2017
Trail cam photo of eastern spotted skunk in Rabun County (DNR)

Continue reading “A Search – and a Good Word – for Skunks”

Georgia Fishing Report: June 23, 2017

Soooo, has it rained where you live this week? Ummm, maybe just a little? Hopefully, everyone stayed safe and we will dry out soon. In the meantime, what are your fishing plans for the weekend? 

Another angler has completed their Georgia Bass Slam! Keith Lott (photo of Keith and one of his catches below) of Midland, GA caught a largemouth, Suwannee, shoal, spotted and a Chattahoochee bass. Congratulations Keith! Find out more about the Georgia Bass Slam HERE. 

DSCN9898

Check out some brand new reports from NORTH and SOUTHEAST Georgia below – have a great weekend everyone!

NORTH GEORGIA

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

We’ve been busy around here recently, with no time for a long, slick intro, so let’s go right to the reports!  Notice that biologist John Damer has been on some good fish, both professionally via his standardized sampling, and personally via his Father’s Day kitchen pass to Trout Stream X.  Here we go:

TROUT

Blue Ridge Tailwater: We’ll attach the photo of Damer’s “little” brown here, but you can check out the big one, ‘Notchy,” in his Facebook post.

trout bnt 24in Toccoa TW Damer sample 6-15-17 small

Hooch Tailwater: Good reports are coming from the upper river; check out NGTO.  The lower river near Roswell is running a little warm, especially after a weekend of no generation from Buford Dam.  While the trout should survive, they might be a bit too warm and grumpy to have great appetites, so consider taking your trouting trips further upstream.

Mountain Stockers: Remember that our weekly stockings are posted here each Friday.  Lower elevation streams will be warming this summer, so start heading uphill.

Bluelines: These are still hot, with good stream flows due to consistent showers.  Again, the NGTO Small Streams forum has plenty of fishing reports and photos from headwater wild trout fans.

Father’s Day Fishing: (The following report comes from fisheries biologist John Damer) – I trout bnt4 Damer idbis creek June 2017fished my favorite wild brown trout stream on the Saturday before Father’s Day.  The weather was good, stream flows looked great with all the recent rain we’ve been getting, and I had the stream all to myself.  I started fishing around 10:30 and missed a fish on my first cast, but the action was a bit slow for a while after that.  I fished upstream, picking up a few fish here and there with an elk hair caddis, stopping around 2:00 for lunch.  My luck after lunch was much better.  I saw a few mayflies and small yellow stoneflies coming off in the afternoon, which probably helped get the fish looking up.  As was the case last time I fished here, I did not catch any small fish nor did I get any trophies.  They were all just good-sized fish in the 7-10 inch range.  I did not count, but imagine I landed 15 to 20 fish by the time I called it a day and left with a smile on my face.

LAKE ALLATOONA

Stripers/Hybrids: (This report comes from Shawn McNew, Owner Striper Soup Bait & Tackle) – Lake Allatoona is slightly above full pool due to consistent, soaking rains.  The Etowah, Little River, and Allatoona creek branches remain turbid while the vast majority of the lake is 5+ feet of clarity.  The surface temperature has struggled to break 80 degrees due to a recent cold snap, so we remain in a spring fishing pattern with many fish still in shallow water chasing bait.  The generators are still out of service, so the ACOE continues to sluice water at a steady rate.  This keeps the flow consistent in the lake so fishing patterns and locations are steady.

Until the water heats up, many fish will be in the backs of creeks and up in the Etowah in less than 10 feet of water.  Methods for catching the larger fish will be side planer boards and unweighted freelines trolled slowly in these areas.  Likely places to try are in Allatoona Cr. south of the I-75 bridge, Stamp Ck past Wilderness Camp Marina, and Little R. upstream from the Bells Ferry bridge.  As temperatures warm up throughout the month, expect the fish to retreat to deeper water.  When this begins to occur, switching methods to downlines rigged with 1.5-2 oz sinkers will produce fish.  Baits of choice will be 6-10 inch gizzard shad for the planer boards and freelines while most anglers prefer threadfin shad and small size gizzard shad for downlines.  Using fresh cut shad in areas where fish are finicky, or in the Etowah R. can also be very effective.

This time of year is typically when the threadfin shad finish spawning and head out to open water.  The initial spawn will be reaching a palatable size for hungry hybrid, striper, and white bass.  The abundance of bait over deeper water will result in surface feeding activity.  This is very exciting!  Actively feeding fish are easily caught on a wide variety of lures such as casting spoons, jigs, spinners, soft jerk baits, and surface plugs.  Keep your eyes peeled and rods rigged as this action can take place anywhere, anytime.  Likely areas to see feeding hybrid are: around Clark Cr./Glade Marina area, Iron Hill/Pass, Red Top/Bethany Bridge, in the vicinity of the dam, Clear Cr., Illinois Cr./Bartow Beach area, across from Kellogg Cr on the flat, Victoria Marina area, and in the S-turns.  Covering water and communicating with other boats on the lake are great ways to zero in on the fish.

Keep alert, stay safe, wear pfd’s and sunscreen, and come by Striper Soup for a full array of striper and hybrid specific bait and tackle including LIVE SHAD!

LAKE LANIER

Bass: (This Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley,770-542-7764) – The fishing on Lanier remains very good.  The lake level and water temps have remained fairly stable over the last week.  The topwater bite is still strong and as long as we don’t get consistently hot temps, it should stick around for awhile. Broken Record Alert: To sum it up, if it walks, pops, spits, wakes, chugs, or swims, it is a viable choice catch fish right now.  Focus on offshore structure with cover, such as brush on humps and points, for this approach. We are focusing on brush in 15-25 feet of water.  The bite seems to be better in the middle of the day than any other time, but we have are still seeing some good morning schooling activity again this week as well, for which the topwater lures have been excellent.  Just throw it in the action and hang on.  Wind-blown points have been the best places for this action.  The fluke has continued to produce well also in the same type places.  Work it fast and then kill it and let it settle. Vary the cadence until you find what the fish want.  The fluke can be a good option when there is no wind. Also the swimbait bite has returned and has been producing some good fish.  I have been using the Sweet Herring and a Sebile.  Same places as mentioned for the topwater bite. We are starting to get some drop-shot bites as well and we are going to this when the topwater bite slows.  I have been using the Lanier Baits offerings.  This has been a decent option for us when the fish will not come up to play.   Here are my upcoming open dates: June: 29(PM). July: 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.   Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun! Thanks to all and May God Bless.

Crappie: (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) – As expected, crappie fishing around this time of year is becoming fair at best with Water Temps around 86 degrees. Your best bet for catching fish is early in the morning, on deep docks and deep brush piles. Expect this pattern to remain the same until you see a combination of a change in the temperature and cooler rain. This will bring the fish to shallower structure, thus making them easier to catch. If you are interested, visit our website above where we have posted links to several YOU Tube videos on the subject.  This is a good time of the year to work on your brush piles, which will give you more spots to fish when the weather cools and the bite heats up!  Night fishing is good right now.  Target bridges such as Clark’s Bridge, Wahoo Bridge and Six Mile Bridge.  All have one good thing in common:  they are in sight of a boat ramp, which is convenient when launching.  You will need some type of twelve volt light such as a Hydro Glow.  For best results, keep the light a few feet away from your boat.  This can be accomplished by using a broom stick or some type of rod.  After submerging the light, attach the cord to the rod, leaving just enough slack in the cord for the light to stay submerged.  Place the other end in the rod holder.  This will keep the light several feet from the boat and give you better coverage, and keeps it from banging against the boat and spooking the fish.  Small or medium crappie minnows are your best bet for bait. Set your baits at different depths, and if you notice one depth is getting more action, adjust accordingly.  The bite is sporadic.  You may wait an hour or so for the fish to come after the bait and hit them good for thirty minutes or so, then you may wait another hour or so for another school to come by and start the bite again.  This requires patience, but is a great opportunity to kick back and relax during an evening on the water.

This will be last report for summer.  Around the end of August, when the fishing pattern begins to change, we will pick back up with Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Reports.  Enjoy your summer, and be safe on the water as the lake is now crowded! Wear your life jacket, it can save your life!

Stripers: Click HERE for a link to Capt. Mack’s reports.

LAKE CHATUGE 

Our hybrid stockings are working! Click HERE for more info.

SMALL LAKES

(The following report comes from Dave Hampton) – Scratched the Largemouth off the Bass Slam list on Sunday at Lathem.  Caught all but one of the fish pictured on a LiveTarget Herring swimbait trolled about 75 yards behind the kayak in the coves.  Fish were busting bait fish on the surface all morning but just weren’t interested in the spook or Whopper Ploppers. Added the 15″ fish around noon on a Texas rigged Yamamoto Senko in watermelon magic.

bass LMB fatty Dave H HLathamRes June 2017 small

RIVER REPORTS 

Summer River Stripers: (The following report on river stripers comes from fisheries striper 37lb Etowah Damer shock June 2017biologist John Damer) – Striper fishing should be good right now on the Etowah River.  Fish like the 37-pounder shown here (captured and released 2 weeks ago) continue to find their way to this cool river as other rivers in the Coosa basin get a little warmer than most stripers prefer.  Your best bet for hooking up is still live shad, but you can also catch fish on cut shad or artificial lures like redfins, zara spooks, or swimbaits.  Please remember that you can only keep two stripers longer than 22 inches per person per day.

Biologist Pat Snellings also sampled Cochran Shoals recently and said the striper and shoal bass fishing should be very good.  Stripers over 20 pounds were common, and the biggest sampled and released tipped the scales at 26 pounds.  Evidently, West Point’s striper school is up the Hooch for summer vacation!

Cool Rivers: Dredger spent the last two weekends watching WSB interactive weather radar, checking water clarity from his nearby bridge, and then jumping into the Hooch between storm fronts.  Trip #1 was pretty darn good, with 8 shoalies landed in the 2.5 hours up til dark.  Nobody wanted to play on top, but they all jumped on a #4 black woolly bomber when it bounced past their noses.  Two hit the 16-inch mark.  Shoalies were sulking on Trip 2, but the redbreast kept the action going.  This time it was on top.  A small white popper tossed against the bankside logs and overhanging brush in deep, slow pockets, was the ticket.  One monster inhaled a chartreuse clouser meant for bass!  The spawning gar didn’t want to play, but they were still fun to cast toward. Anglers should remember to bring their gar flies. Watch those gauges.  Muddy water will absolutely kill the bite.  But if it’s clear, get your camera ready!

sunfish redbreast on clouser Hooch BS June 2017 small

Grab you wet wading or kayak-fishing stuff and go enjoy your summer vacation.  And remember- all this rain is good.  Ask any of your favorite sport fish!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

Fishing was great this Father’s Day weekend. The best reports came from ponds and the Okefenokee. Saltwater produced some good catches, and the rivers should have good bites in the upcoming weeks with the extra water. New Moon is June 23rd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Mullet fishing has picked up significantly, even with the stained water. Catfishing has been consistent this week, also. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that good numbers of catfish and bream were landed. The river level was 3.7 feet and falling (83 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 6.4 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on June 20th.

SATILLA RIVER

Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that some nice bass were caught by anglers using buzzbaits in the mouths of the sloughs. Quite a few catfish hit the coolers by anglers fishing pink worms on the bottom with a rod and reel or rooster livers fished on limb lines. The river level on June 20th at the Waycross gage was 6.0 feet and rising (81 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.5 feet and falling.

SE GA Maverick Ray - Chain Pickerel 6 17
Maverick Ray fished with his father (Michael) on the upper Satilla River last week and caught this beautiful chain pickerel (jackfish). The most interesting part of the story is that he caught this fish as it inhaled a bluegill on Maverick’s line. The jackfish refused to let the bluegill go, so he ended up flopping on the sandbar before finding his way to a cooler.

ST. MARYS RIVER

Redbreast and catfish were tops this week. The rains slowed the number of folks fishing, but not the bite. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 20th was 5.0 feet and rising.

SUWANNEE RIVER

There is finally some water back in the Suwannee River, and the anglers have been getting after them. There were reportedly 15 trucks with trailers at the Fargo ramp (Hwy 441 Bridge) on Saturday. Catfishing has been consistent, and some bass were caught in the river and along the Sill. Plastic worms and topwater plugs produced the bass, while shrimp and worms fished on the bottom produced most of the catfish. The river level at the Fargo gage on June 20th was 4.7 feet and rising (78 degrees).

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

I took my daughter Ellie to the Folkston entrance on Sunday after the church service. We threw mostly Dura-Spins and ended up catching 42 bowfin up to 5 pounds. Jackfish and white were our best colors, but we caught a few on several other colors, as well. We pitched pink sallies for a few minutes and caught 2 warmouth and a flier. The water level is still low (we kicked up peat just about everywhere we went), but we were able to get around ok. An interesting thing I noticed was that the alligators left us alone (usually they’ll closely trail you when bowfin fishing). I’m assuming that since anglers haven’t been in the swamp for several months that the gators have “forgotten” the connection between boats and fish slashing around at the surface. Please do not feed anything to the alligators. First of all it is ILLEGAL. Feeding them conditions them to come around anglers to “beg” for fish. They are wild animals, so let them find their own food. All entrances are open at this time, but call ahead of time to confirm that any entrances you plan to fish out of are still open. On the east side, you can all Okefenokee Adventures at 912-496-7156. Staff at Stephen C. Foster State Park on the west side can be reached at 912-637-5274.

LOCAL PONDS

Herb and Timothy Deener fished with me in a Brunswick area pond on Saturday and caught 58 channel catfish up to 3 pounds. We tight-lined Catfish Catcher Jigheads baited with cut bluegill. That Gamakatsu circle hook is the ticket for hooking them without them swallowing it. On Tuesday evening, Alex Carter of Alma caught a 6.9-pound bass on a ribbit frog. Way to go Alex! Michael Winge reported that bass were caught with live shiners and watermelon-red lizards this week from Waycross area ponds. Bream bit topwater flies. Pink worms fished on the bottom accounted for some good catfish creels.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

Shane and Joshua Barber fished on Saturday in the Brunswick area and caught 20 trout, but only 2 of them were keepers – a very different ratio from the week before when all of their trout were keepers at the St Marys Jetties. Most of their fish were caught with jigs, but a few were fooled with a live shrimp suspended underneath a popping cork. Brentz and Alex McGhin of Blackshear went crabbing on Saturday and caught a great mess of crabs (that were eaten by the end of the weekend….).  Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout, flounder, black drum, whiting, croaker, spadefish, spots, sharks, and Spanish mackerel were caught from the pier over Father’s Day weekend. Blue crabs were also caught in good numbers. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

Pond fishing has been great this week for bass, bream, and catfish. We have some water in the Satilla River again, and the bite ought to be good once the water starts to clear. Bugs fished on the surface, Satilla Spins fished around heavy cover, and crickets pitched around wood and deep banks should all score some nice redbreasts and bluegills when the water clarity gets right. The catfish bite in the rivers is another dependable bite. Mullet in the Altamaha would be a fun option during the hot days ahead. If winds allow, fishing on the Cumberland Beach ought to be the place to catch some quality seatrout.

Georgia Fishing Report: June 16, 2017

Did you see the photo of the Altamaha flathead catfish this week? What? How did GarryHarrellyou miss it? 

Garry Harrell of Douglas, GA boated this 101 lb, 55 1/2″ long flathead catfish from the Altamaha River on June 9. If this fish was caught on a rod/reel, it would have bested the current state record by 18 lb. As is, it is the 2nd largest flathead caught on a limb line (there was a 103-pounder caught on the Ocmulgee in 2009). More info on fishing the Altamaha found HERE. State Record Fish Information Found HERE.

Now, on to our Fishing Report: This week, we hear from CENTRAL Georgia.

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 IS FULL, CLEAR, 70’s

Bass fishing is fair.  Fish first thing in the morning and use the top-water baits and medium-diving crank baits.  Then the plastics take over as the day heats up.  Bass are up on the rocky points to feed during the major feeding periods as described in the Fish and Game Forecaster.  Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology unlocks the areas where the fish live.  A crawfish-color bait is an excellent choice during these periods.  Use a Chug Bugs, Skitter Props, Shad Raps jig and pig combinations and plastic 6-inch worms.  Continue to fish submerged wood cover and the rocks.  The bigger rocks are usually producing.  Keep a Fish Head Spin ready and add a small Zoom pearl fluke trailer and drag it across the bottom. 

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.5 FEET, 70’s

Bass fishing is fair.  Main lake points seem to be best and fish a few docks close to deeper water.  Try the early top-water bite on the points, especially those located near the river channel.  Try using a Chug Bug in either a gizzard shad or Tennessee shad color.  Shaky head with Net Bait Pac worm green pumpkin red will work very well on the rocky points and any wood.  Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology unlocks the areas where the fish live.  Zoom Super Flukes are always a good choice and baby bass is a good color now.  A four-inch number 10 Husky Jerk in a Glass Blue Minnow and a Rat L Traps are working.  If the actions slow down, use a Light jigs and Texas rigged worms around and underneath the boat docks. 

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED TO MUDDY UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPRATURE 78-82

Bass:

Bass fishing is fair.  The spinner bait bite has picked up this past week.  White or white and chartreuse fished along sea walls and rip rap from the middle of the creeks and coves out to the mouths has been producing.  You can catch a lot of fish just on the small side with worms under docks.  Use a dark worm Texas rigged for best results.  The buzz bait bite is just starting.  Look along any sea wall from the middle of the creeks and coves to the back.  You can also use a silver black or shad pattern shad rap.  Some fish are starting to move onto the deep water humps late in the day and you can catch them with a Carolina rig green worm.

Striper:

(Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741 reeltime@bellsouth.net) – Striper fishing is good.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools of fish in the mouths of the coves and on the humps on the south end of the lake.  Live bait (shad) have been the best over the past week.  You can also pick up some fish on the pipeline with a spoon when Georgia Power is pulling water.  The umbrella rig bite is just starting.  It will pick up as we move into June.

Crappie:

Crappie fishing is very good.  The fish are moving into the timber on an early summer pattern.  Long-lining jigs over timber from 8 to 15 ft. deep have been the best producers over the past week.  Match your color to the color of the water.

WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair on worms and crank baits.  The lake is full and this will help the bass spend the summer close to or under the deeper docks in very tight in cover.  The lake is clear main lake with a slight stain in the rivers and creeks.  Try a Robo worm 4 in black and blue on a Texas rig or a Carolina rig and use the one ounce egg sinker on 14-pound line and a Carolina Keeper.  Crank baits are fair and a Shad Rap is a good all day bait.  Use a red shad Culprit worm on a brass and glass Texas rig for the best bet on the docks.  For a big fish, head up the rivers and flip a dark jig and pig or a worm in the larger sizes on the downstream current pockets.  Never overlook a jig even for shallow bass on this lake up the rivers.  Blacks, blues and greens are good choices and add a Zoom salt trailer in matching colors.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN .72 FEET, CLEAR, 70’S

Bass fishing is good.  There are a lot of bass back in shallow water feeding.  Top-water baits and spinner baits have been especially good during the last few days.  Popping baits like Pop R’s and Chug Bug’s and prop baits like Torpedo’s and Devil Horse are working.  Start the morning in more clear water till the bite slows and then move to stained water and give it a try.  The top-water bite has lasted all day during a couple days recently.  Try the Strike King Redeye Shad Bait gold black back 0.25 ounce.  Spinner baits have done well on mornings with wind and a choppy surface.  Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology unlocks the areas where the fish live.  If the bite slows or stops, try using a lightweight Texas rig in the same areas around any cover present.  Rip rap along the roadway bridges are holding fish that are hitting crank baits, spinner baits, Texas rigs, and jig head and worm rigs.  Docks and boathouses are still holding bass that are mostly hitting Texas rigged worms.  Fish the summer humps, points and ledges.  Large crank baits like Norman DD22, Poe’s 400, and Fat Free Shads are good choices when the fish are real active, especially during power generation.  Carolina rigs and Texas rigs are the other primary choices for these deep fish.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .52 FEET, 70’s

Bass fishing is fair.  Boat traffic on the weekends make fishing tough so go early or fish after dark.  There is a fair top-water bite but by mid-morning the fish have to hide.  Fish hard clay banks and sea walls as well as on the ends of points.  The bass are shallow around any wood and cast baits to shadows all day.  Use a gourd green Berkley tail worms down lake on a Texas rig and use the brass and glass on the rig for more sound.  Look in the mid-lake half way back in the creeks and hit any dock or on points.  Brush is a must and the fish are on the shady sides of docks.  Up the river the fishing is slow.  Try a 1/2 ounce spinner bait.  Zoom Bush Hogs and dark worms in the u tail style in reds and grays will work fished slowly on wood and docks.  Use a Texas rig and fish all lures slowly and let them fall.  Zoom trick worms in pink or yellow are also fair around the docks in the shadows in the creeks.

BIG LAZER PFA

  • Surface water temperature: 83o F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is about 23” and the lake has its summertime bloom.
  • Water level: Full Pool

Largemouth bass:

Good – The post spawn bass fishing is pretty good.  Bass can be found in the upper 3 to 4 feet of the water column.  Because of hot temperatures, bass fishing will be at its best early in the morning and late in the day.  Top-water and shallow presentation of bait is your best bet this time of year.

Crappie:

Poor- Because of warm summer temperatures crappie tend to move into deeper water as well as spread out over most of the lake.  Fishing deep around standing timber with live minnows is your best bet.

Bream:

Good – Bream fishing has been good.  They have started spawning and will aggressively guard their beds, which improve your chances at catching several for the table.  Crickets and worms are good bait for spawning bream.  Also, small grub like plastic jigs can work well this time of year; try black, white, and yellow colors.  Fishing red or black headed jigs with or without a bobber works well.  However, make sure the hooks are small because the bream have small mouths.

Channel catfish:

Good- The rocks along the dam are always a good spot to try and catch big channel cats.  However, angling for catfish has also been good in deeper water over much of the lake.  Catfish are being caught on worms, livers, and sometimes shrimp.

In general, June and July temperatures at Big Lazer are getting hot.  Fish tend to hang out in shady cover during the hot days and feed in the mornings and evenings.

What You Need to Know About Fishing at PFAs: Licenses and More

MCDUFFIE PFA

  • McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Water temperature range across lakes: 83 ⁰F
  • Water Visibility: 16 – 54 inches

Largemouth Bass: 

The largemouth bass are biting and should continue to improve.  Anglers reported catching several bass three and four pound range and small bass.  One angler reportedly caught two small bass on both treble hooks on a shallow runner shad-type lure.  Willow Lake is still proving to be a producer of large bass and Jones Lake produced another twenty-inch bass this past week.

Rodbender, the trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one Bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.  This regulation is strictly enforced.

Anglers are fishing Rodbender morning and evening but no reports of a 22-incher being caught.

Bream:

Slow action.  Bream action, both Bluegill and redear are being caught in shallow water across the PFA.  On the next full moon anglers should be able to find spawning beds again.  Rodbender also has bragging-size bream both bluegill and redear.

Channel Catfish: 

The bite has slowed.  Catfish are biting in all PFA lakes.  Anglers are limiting out on eating-size catfish from Jones Lake, Willow Lake and Bridge Lake.  The best fishing is on the bottom using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made catfish bait concoctions.  Catfish can be found in shallow water less than two feet.

Striped Bass:

Stripers have been biting slowly in Bridge Lake and this week.  An angler caught a sixteen-inch striper in Clubhouse Lake.  Stripers are biting in Bridge Lake on chicken liver fished on the bottom while anglers were targeting catfish.

What You Need to Know About Fishing at PFAs: Licenses and More

Georgia Fishing Report: June 9, 2017

Low chances of rain, good amounts of sunshine and great places to fish – what was it you were doing this weekend?

 

June 3-11 is NATIONAL FISHING AND BOATING WEEK. This week, we encourage YOU to take a friend along next time you hit the water. June 3 and June 10 are FREE FISHING DAYS and there are lots of KIDS FISHING EVENTS taking place this week. Get out there and help someone else develop a love for fishing – just like you have!

If you fish or boat along the Flint River in Lee or Talbot Counties, there are two new and/or improved access areas. The Hwy. 32 boat ramp in Lee County has been re-done by the Georgia DOT. Big Lazer PFA/WMA (Talbot County) now has canoe steps, as well as a hand launch area off the newly renovated 5-vehicle parking area. 

Now, on to our Fishing Report: This week, we hear from SOUTHWEST and SOUTHEAST 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)

LAKE WALTER F GEORGE

The bass fishing at Lake George continues to be good. Anglers can catch largemouth in the shallows and they are also starting to show up on the ledges. The lake is currently at full pool and the bass will continue to remain shallow with the water at this level. Frogs seem to be the popular bait in the shallows while jigs and crankbaits are working in the deeper water. Bream and catfish fishing continue to be good if you are in the mood to dunk a cricket or worm. Jug fishing with swimming pool noodles is a popular technique for catching catfish on George. Please remember to keep track of your noodles and retrieve them when you are finished.

FLINT RIVER

Recent rains have caused the lower Flint to rise and become a bit turbid. Anglers may want to check one of the river gauges below before planning a trip. However, the River is well within the banks and fishing should be good for almost all species found in the Flint. A reminder that striped bass fishing is closed in the lower Flint River and its tributaries from May 1 – October 31.  The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:

LAKE SEMINOLE

According to Lake Seminole fishing guide Steven Wells, the bass are “still chomping” on Lake Seminole. Anglers are catching them on frogs, crankbaits and worms. Almost all techniques and methods have been successful recently. The bluegill fishing continues to be very good and the willow flies are still hatching. There have been reports of schools of bream feeding on these hatching insects. The channel catfish bite has turned on as well and there have been reports of several good catches of these tasty fish. There have also been a few reports of hybrids being caught near the dam.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

The fishing has been great this week, and the rains are going to help the low rivers in southeast Georgia. Full Moon is June 9th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

The 2017 Wayne County Catfish Tournament was held June 3rd and 4th and Tiff Thompson’s team won top honors ($7,500) with 82.6 pounds of catfish. Second was the team of Eddie and Edwin Hudson ($3,000 for 52.0 pounds of catfish), while Jacob and Greg Batten won the third place prize of $1,000 for 46.0 pounds. Tonya Yeomans caught the biggest catfish in the women’s category ($250 for a 13.75-pounders), and a 15.95-lb. catfish won Colin Lott big fish ($100) in the kid’s category. For more information, click HERE. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that other than catfish, bream were the best thing going. Crickets fooled them. The river level was 4.8 feet and rising (82 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 7.3 feet and falling (82 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 6th.

SATILLA RIVER

Will and Carter Steed won the Second Annual Camp Tatum Satilla River Showdown on Saturday. They beat out a total of 30 teams of anglers. The pair has been tearing up the panfish trail this spring. Congratulations, guys! This week’s rains should help the low river level situation, but we’ll have to wait to see just how much. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that crickets were working well on redbreasts. Lizards and shiners were the most productive offerings for bass. The river level on June 6th at the Waycross gage was 4.5 feet and falling (81 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.5 feet and rising.

ST. MARYS RIVER

A couple of anglers reported fishing on Saturday for under an hour and catching a dozen nice redbreasts by pitching a custom color of Satilla Spins (blue/chartreuse). The bream and catfish bites were the best reports from the river this week. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 6th was 1.6 feet and rising.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

The West Mims Fire was doused with a good bit of rain this week, and operations have scaled back somewhat with the lack of open flames. At the time of writing this. Kingfisher Landing is still open for day trips and SC Foster State Park and the refuge entrance in Folkston will allow boats as soon as water levels are high enough.  Because of the frequent changes, make sure to call ahead of time to make sure you will be allowed to do what you plan. On the east side, you can all Okefenokee Adventures at 912-496-7156. Staff at Stephen C. Foster State Park on the west side can be reached at 912-637-5274. Updates from the US Fish and Wildlife Service are available HERE.

LAKE CHEHAW (NEAR ALBANY)

Michael Deen and Justin Bythwood of Waycross fished a club tournament at Lake Chehaw on Saturday. The pair had never fished the lake before and still managed 12.40 pounds of bass and the first place check. Michael caught 3 bass, including the big fish of the tournament (5.6-pounder) on a chartreuse/white flat buzzbait. Justin added to their tally with a 3-pounder on a black/gold Flashy Swim Jig (gold blade). Their fifth fish was on a Bass Assassin Fat Job worm (watermelon-red) rigged on a Lock Tight Flipping Hook. Congratulations, guys, on quickly unlocking the code on a new lake!

LOCAL PONDS

Scout Carter and Wyatt Crews caught a half-dozen bass up to 2 pounds on Tuesday evening from a Ware County pond using buzzbaits. Wyatt used a white/chartreuse version with a red flat blade. Scout used his trusty watermelon haze with a black quad-blade version until a big bass inhaled it and broke him off. Michael Winge reported that bream hit topwater flies and crickets, and bass ate shiners and Trick Worms.

SE GA Audrey Freeman Bass - IMG_0615.
Audrey Freeman caught this really nice bass all by herself at a local pond this past weekend!

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

Flounder fishing has been great this week. Shane and Joshua Barber fished the St. Marys Jetties this weekend and landed 21 keepers, including 8 trout, a bluefish, and the rest flounder. All of the trout they caught were keepers. They caught their fish on curly-tailed grubs and Gulp minnows. Craig James and friends reported catching 20 nice flatties in the St. Simons area on mudminnows and Gulp minnows. The tripletail bite continued this week, but rains and storms reduced the number of days you could get on the beach. The shark bite picked up this week. Spanish mackerel were caught off the beaches, and the kingfish bite was good offshore.  Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that sharks, whiting, black drum, trout, and flounder were caught from the pier. Mullet were cast-netted, as well. Blue crabs were caught by folks dropping baskets from the pier. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

The Kiwanis Kids’ Fishing Event at Paradise Public Fishing Area near Tifton is a great place to introduce a kid to fishing this Saturday. For more information, call the Waycross Fisheries Office at 912-285-6094. For a trophy bass at an area pond, throw a buzzbait during low light conditions (or at night). In saltwater, take your pick of trout, flounder, whiting, or shark fishing if winds and storms allow you to get out in the brine.

A Quest To Quota

Okay, so I am thinking about applying for a quota hunt this year. I am a relatively new hunter, but in conversations with my more experienced hunting friends, I am told that a quota hunt might just help me land that deer I really want.

SheffieldWMA TrailCamImages Aug2016.JPG
Sheffield WMA Trail Cam Image

What is a Quota Hunt?

Quota hunts are defined by the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division as “a scheduled event at a Wildlife Management Area or other state-managed property where a limited number of hunters are allowed.  Quota levels are based upon the sound principles of wildlife management and public desires for a quality hunt.”

So, the day of the hunt, you have a limited number of people that have access to that particular wildlife management area. Less people to “compete” with for the game species you are targeting. Not to mention that wildlife management areas are, well, areas “managed” for wildlife.

While I am interested in deer, there are quota hunts on a variety of WMAs for many different game animals, including deer, waterfowl, alligator, quail, dove, rabbit and turkey. Additionally, there are quota opportunities for adults with children to pursue deer, dove, turkey, quail and waterfowl.

How Do You Pick a Quota Hunt Location?

Here is where it might be worth the time to invest a little research. Ask your friends, ask Facebook, ask anyone you might know in the “wildlife-related” world for their input on the best place to apply. You will probably get a lot of different answers. Wade through the information and decide on a location.

How Do I Apply For a Quota Hunt?

PauldingForestWMA TrailCamImage Aug2016
Paulding Forest WMA Trail Cam Image

Applying for a Quota Hunt is pretty simple. Click HERE and select “Quota Hunts.” Then, follow the steps to complete your application.  One of the most important things to remember is to make sure your email is current and correct in order to receive updates, confirmations or any notices about quota hunts.

The application date to start applying for quota hunts opened June 1 – so you can apply now!

Oh, and don’t forget the application deadlines! They vary depending on hunt type. The first deadlines are July 31 for Alligator, August 15 for Dove, and September 1 for all types of Deer Hunts. Complete quota application deadline list HERE.

What is a Priority Point and How Does It Work?

Hunters are awarded one priority point if not selected for a Quota Hunt. Each person listed on a group application not selected is awarded a priority point. Those priority points, which accumulate, may then be “wagered” on a future quota hunt application to increase the likelihood of selection.

So, since I have never applied for a quota hunt, I don’t have any priority points to wager. However, I have to start somewhere!

Some other “points” about Priority Points:

  • CATEGORY: Priority points wagered must be in the same category (deer, alligator, etc.) as the hunt for which you are applying.
  • MORE POINTS: Popular hunts and those offering less spots may require many years’ worth of priority points to increase selection chances (ex: alligator hunts).Click HERE to see how many priority points were wagered by applicants of past years’ hunts.
  • SELECTED? POINTS DEDUCTED: Any points you wager are subtracted from your points balance for that category.
  • NEW! ONLY POINTS NEEDED DEDUCTED: If you wager more points than needed for selection, ONLY the points that guaranteed selection are subtracted. The rest will be credited back to you.

Wish me luck this hunting season!

Georgia Fishing Report: June 2, 2017

We know that lovely holiday weekend is gone, but that doesn’t mean the fishing has Tyler BassSlam CertificateImageto stop, right? 

Tyler Lipham, our Georgia Bass Slam blogger, completed his Slam. Have you made plans to pursue yours? More info on the Georgia Bass Slam HERE. Read Tyler’s blog posts #1, #2, #3 and #4. Congrats Tyler!

June 3-11 is NATIONAL FISHING AND BOATING WEEK. This week, we encourage YOU to take a friend along next time you hit the water. June 3 and June 10 are FREE FISHING DAYS and there are lots of KIDS FISHING EVENTS taking place this week. Get out there and help someone else develop a love for fishing – just like you have!

Now, on to our report: This week, we have a fishing report from Southeast Georgia to share with you. Now, get busy making those plans!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

Grab a rod and go fishing this Saturday during one of Georgia’s free fishing days. No fishing licenses are required to fish public waters this Saturday (including Public Fishing Areas). If you have been considering fishing Paradise PFA in Tifton, this is the perfect weekend to give it a try! There are lots of tournaments and Kids’ Fishing Events going on all over the state this weekend. Check out some of the options below. First quarter moon is June 1st. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

The 2017 Wayne County Catfish Tournament will be held this weekend, June 3rd and 4th. Big bucks are on the line, as first place pays $7,500, depending upon the number of entries! Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported nice bream caught on crickets. Lots of catfish in the 10 to 12-pound range were also caught. A limit of those will likely put you in the money at the tournament this weekend but will probably not even be close to take big fish honors. Someone always catches a monster whiskerfish. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the mullet are still tearing it up on green worms. Shellcrackers up to 2 pounds were caught on pink worms. Bream ate Beetlespins and crickets. Goldfish were the best bait for flatheads, while pink worms produced some great channel catfish catches. The river level was 7.2 feet and falling (80 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.4 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on May 30th.

SATILLA RIVER

The Second Annual Camp Tatum Satilla River Showdown will be held this Saturday (June 3rd). First place for the 5 biggest redbreasts is $300 cash. There are many other cash and merchandise prizes available. Sign up at Bowman Outdoors in Waycross. For more information, contact Craig James (912-282-3838), Joey Wildes (912-614-5314) or Kevin Steedley (912-286-1439). With the low water continuing, I expect most folks to be floating and paddling in kayaks or simply wading the river. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that topwater flies were working well for anglers wading the river for redbreasts. Craig James texted me a photo of a nice bass he caught with one of his spiders pitched to cover on a deep bend. Yellow Beetlespins also produced well. Pink worms produced some good catfish creels when fished in the deep bends. Trick Worms and shiners were the most productive offerings for bass. The river level on May 30th at the Waycross gage was 3.9 feet and falling (80 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.6 feet and falling.

SE GA Image
This sounds like the best birthday ever! Case Snipes (far left) celebrated turning 11 with his Satilla River fishing buddies (L-R) Payton Bryant, Charles Byrd, and Zean Preston where they put together this impressive stringer of catfish. Happy Birthday Case! 

ST. MARYS RIVER

The bream and catfish bite has been on fire lately! Big bream were eating crickets like they were anticipating a cricket shortage. Shrimp and worms were the deal for catfish, and it did not really matter where you fished – they bit. The river level at the MacClenny gage on May 30th was 1.9 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

The West Mims Fire was over 152,000 acres burned (total area) and holding at the time of writing this. Kingfisher Landing is still open for day trips. SC Foster State Park is now reopened, but the water and trails are still closed (you can only fish from the bank in the boat basin). The Folkston entrance is still closed. Because of the uncertainty of the fires, make sure to call ahead of time to make sure any entrances you plan to fish out of are open. On the east side, you can all Okefenokee Adventures at 912-496-7156. Staff at Stephen C. Foster State Park on the west side can be reached at 912-637-5274. Updates from the US Fish and Wildlife Service available HERE.

LOCAL PONDS

Kids’ Fishing Events will be held all over the state this coming weekend. Check the SCHEDULE for events near you. In the Blackshear/Waycross area, the Coca-Cola/Winges/GA DNR event will be a blast at Brentz McGhin’s Pond. Call the Waycross Fisheries Office at 912-285-6094 for more information. Chad Lee caught an 8.2-pound whopper bass on a black flat-blade buzzbait on Saturday night. The buzzbait bite was hot over the holiday weekend, as Scout Carter and Wyatt Crews also caught big bass from a Ware County pond using quad-blade buzzbaits (black and watermelon haze colors). Michael Winge reported that bass were caught on lizards and good catches of bream were eating crickets.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

The tripletail bite is happening. Jim Page, Justin Bythwood, and Ed Zmarzly fished off Jekyll Island on Friday and saw almost 30, got in position for casts on almost 20 of them, and landed 6 fish on live bait. Those are about the percentages you can expect on an average day. It’s a hoot stalking these strange looking (and acting) fish. Blacktip sharks were caught on cut bait by surf anglers this week. Spanish mackerel were around, and they were about a mile off the beaches and sounds. Smaller redfish, along with trout and flounder, were caught in the inshore rivers and creeks. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout, flounder, black drum, and lots of sharks were caught from the pier over the weekend. Blue crabs were caught in decent numbers. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

The buzzbait bite for bass in ponds is top-shelf this week. In saltwater, shark fishing is heating up with the water temperatures. Put a piece of cut bait on the bottom from the surf or a pier and hold on. The slug of water coming down the Altamaha system will probably put off the mullet bite for this weekend, but it should pick right back up as the water starts to drop. Wading the Satilla River for redbreasts and bream is a fun time!

Georgia Fishing Report: May 26, 2017

Let’s get y’all ready to make the most of that Memorial Day weekend by giving you some awesome fishing reports with the latest news about when and where to throw out a line.  Reports this week come from SOUTHWEST, CENTRAL and NORTH 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)

 LAKE WALTER F GEORGE

The bass fishing at Lake George continues to be very good. The current hot bait seems to be frogs fished in the primrose and alligator weed. The quote I heard was “they are really chomping on the frogs.” One angler I spoke with last week was consistently catching bags of bass over 20 pounds and one bag in the 25 pound range on frogs. The frog bite is occurring primarily in the early morning but is lasting for several hours after sunrise. The winning wait for last weekend’s Eufaula Bass Trail tournament was 25 pounds. Bass can also be found on the ledges and can be caught with crankbaits and jigs. As usual catfish fishing continues to be excellent on George and bream should be biting crickets, worms and beetle spins.

FLINT RIVER

Bass, bream and catfish should be available and willing. Most spawning has already occurred except perhaps for bream. Fish should be hungry and searching for something to eat. This holiday weekend should be a great one to get out on the flint whether pitching crickets for bream or throwing a worm for bass.

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

LAKE SEMINOLE

According to Lake Seminole fishing guide Steven Wells, the bass fishing is still going strong on Lake Seminole. It took over 27 pounds to a win a tournament last weekend and there were two other bags over 27 and two more over 26.  Anglers are still catching fish shallow but many of the bass have moved to mid-range areas with depths between 8-12 feet. Anglers in these areas have been having success with speed worms. The bluegill fishing has really picked up after the last full moon and they are biting very well. In addition, the willow flies are still hatching. The channel catfish bite has turned on as well and there have been reports of several good catches of these tasty fish. Steven said the fishing should be great and there is a little bit of something available for everyone. He also wanted everybody to remember the reason for the holiday while you are out there enjoying Georgia’s great outdoors.

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.  

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair.  As summer patterns emerge, fishing can be very good one day and not so good the next day.  Recent showers have created some small mud lines at the mouths of the creeks and secondary points.  These mud lines will be excellent places to fish early in the morning and/or late in the evening.  The #5 Glass Shad Raps on light line can get this bait a little deeper under the mud lines.  The top-water bite is fair, but with the warming water temperatures don t expect to catch one every day when using top-water baits.  Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can locate these areas.  Set the Down scan in auto depth.  Set the left and right beams to five times the depth.  Zoom lizards in the four and 6 inch sizes rigged either Texas or Carolina -style around the deeper water wood will find quality bass.  Bass are tight to cover while the smaller spotted bass can be seen roaming the banks all during the day.  Deep water cranking is good with the Rapala DT 10, Deep We R s and Deep Down Husky Jerks.  Isolated structure like stumps and rocks are excellent places and this is where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas.  Set the Down scan in auto depth.  Set the left and right beams to five times the depth. 

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.8 FEET, 70’S

Bass fishing is good.  Early in the morning, before the sun comes up isolated schools of small shad are breaking the surface.  With the warm water and the small size of the shad, now is a good time to downsize your baits.  Small Chug Bugs thrown directly at these rising shad will work.  Fish along rocky, main lake points and the rocky banks between points.  Stay on the top-water and crank bait pattern until mid-morning.  As long as the fish are biting, don t change a thing.  Isolated structure like stumps and rocks are excellent places and this is where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas.   Set the Down scan in auto depth.  Set the left and right beams to five times the depth.   Colors may vary from day to day.   Use the #5 Shad Raps in the shad and fire tiger color in two different sizes.   As the sun pops out, the bass are moving out to deeper water in the 10 to 18 foot range.  Go to the Carolina rig and deep diving crank baits.  Use the Rapala D10 and DT14 and the #7 Shad Raps.  Switch from shallow water cranking to deep water cranking lake points and channel ledges at this time. 

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED TO MUDDY UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPRATURE 73-77

Bass: Bass fishing is fair.  You can catch a lot of fish just on the small side with worms under docks.  Use a dark worm Texas rigged for best results.  The buzz bait bite is just starting.  Look along any sea wall from the middle of the creeks and coves to the back.  You can also use a silver black or shad pattern shad rap.  Some fish are starting to move onto the deep water humps late in the day and you can catch them with a Carolina rig green worm.

Striper: (Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741 reeltime@bellsouth.net) Striper fishing is good.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools of fish in the mouths of the coves and on the humps on the south end of the lake.  Live bait (shad) have been the best over the past week.  You can also pick up some fish on the pipeline with a spoon when Georgia Power is pulling water.  Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas.  Set the Down scan in auto depth.  Set the left and right beams to five times the depth.  The umbrella rig bite is just starting.  It will pick up as we move into June.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is very good.  The fish are moving into the timber on a early summer pattern.  Long-lining jigs over timber from 8 to 15 feet deep have been the best producers over the past week.  Match your color to the color of the water.

WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair.  There has been fair and some top-water action is there early. Use top water lures like a Pop R and all white buzz baits. All white seems to be the hot color in buzz baits. These baits have been taking some really good fish early in the day. After the sun gets up, slow rolling spinner baits and large crank baits for the deeper fish on the river. Lowrance Structure Scan technology can see these fish, just look for the dots. The bass are tight on the creek channels and drop off mid to lower lake. Isolated structure like stumps and rocks are excellent places and this is where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas.  Set the Down scan in auto depth.  Set the left and right beams to five times the depth.  Carolina rigged Zoom green pumpkin Trick worms or the same color in the Zoom lizard in the six inch size will work.  Add some extra Mega Strike scent will help the fish hold the baits longer.  Head down the lake towards Maple Creek, but stop just short at marker 8 on the left hand side where Old Potts Road dumps into the lake.  Fish between markers 6 and 8 and as the day warms up with the Carolina rig.  Fish the road bed out in deeper water.  First thing in the morning, fish up close with top-water and Shad Raps.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN .93 FEET, CLEAR, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Buzz baits, spinner baits and jigs are the best baits.  Use the all-white buzz bait and get shallow.  The Lucky Craft Redemption spinner baits are working well.  The jigs are winning baits all year and the black and blue jigs are the best colors with June bug a close second.  Bass love worms and a six to ten inch green pumpkin Zoom u Tail worm will work.  Isolated structure like stumps and rocks are excellent places and this is where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas.  Set the Down scan in auto depth.  Set the left and right beams to five times the depth.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .80 FEET, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair to good and especially the morning bite.  Be sure to fish hard and fast before the sun gets high.  The fish have been on docks and wood all day.  The shad are still spawning in certain areas so that always a plus in finding concentrations of fish.  Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas.  Set the Down scan in auto depth.  Set the left and right beams to five times the depth.  When then sun gets high things get real tough, go to shallow stick baits and small buzz baits and then around lunch go to shad and baby bass crank baits.  The fish are slapping at the bait more than really taking it.  Never overlook a Rapala in the baby bass and shad pattern but try the new Rapala DT10 in hot mustard and shad. 

FLAT CREEK PFA

  • Surface Temperature: 79.3˚ F (26.3˚ C)
  • Water Level: 6’ 9” Below Full Pool
  • Water Visibility: 19”

The cold fronts have brought much needed rain to the area, and have also brought cooler temperatures which have caused several fish to be slow on the bite.  Those fortunate to have been fishing the day before the rains have had great luck with numerous largemouth bass and bluegill being caught. 

Bass: The bass have been biting really well especially for those in boats fishing amongst the brush in the upper part of the lake.  All successful bass fishermen that were talked to for this report used a variety of the following to bring fish in.  Plum or June Bug colored ‘Ol Monstor worms by Zoom.  Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms.  Kalin’s Green Pumkin Majic Wac-O-Worms.  Crankbaits have not worked well. 

Bream:  The days leading up and following the full moon on June 9th should be a great time to be fishing for bream.  Here’s what has worked: Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig. Tube jigs on a 1/8 oz. jig head.  Crickets. 

Channel Catfish: Insufficient data to report on.  Last month one angler has had great success using uncooked shrimp and has limited out on numerous trips.  Other great options are Red Wiggler worms, frozen Catalpa worms. 

Crappie: Insufficient data to report on.  The last time an angler was interviewed the crappie were biting well.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FISHING AT PFAS: Licenses and More

MARBEN PFA

  • Water temps. : Low 80’s 

Largemouth Bass: June weather patterns often bring afternoon showers that brings sudden changes to bass feeding behavior.   Anglers should look for bass feeding in early morning and late evening on schooling shad.  Despite the warm days, anglers targeting bass should expect aggressive top water action in early to mid-morning.  Anglers should target lay downs in approximately 5 to 10 feet of water mid-morning into early afternoon.  As the day warms up, anglers should target bass in deeper water.  Successful anglers mimic lethargic shad by casting jerk baits and crank baits.   Mid-day can produce some big bass but look for these big fish in deeper water (10-15 ft.).  Additional habitat to target is submerged timber and rock beds at Marben PFA. 

Crappie: Crappie will be most aggressive in early evening, crowded around submerged timber in deeper water.  Anglers should see a slight change as crappie become a little less aggressive as the water warms in the summer months.  Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs.  Try fishing cover approximately 5-10 feet throughout the day, especially in the evening.  

Bream: Bream fishing will continue to be excellent in early June.  Look for the “bite” to drop a little in the later weeks in June.  Warmer water temperatures play a factor but overall this is just the best time of year.  Anglers really see a difference.  Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best throughout the day but a little slow when temperatures get really hot.  Remember bream are shallow when spawning this time of year so to be successful, anglers will have to fish shallow areas (4 to 5 ft.) in order to increase your chances.  Early morning is a great time to target bream at Marben PFA.  

Catfish: Catfish will pick up significantly this time of year.  Anglers will find catfish in 7-9 ft. of water and really aggressive.   Anglers should target days when it is sunny but patience is necessary when targeting these fish.  Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and sunscreen!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FISHING AT PFAS: Licenses and More

 

BoatRamp
McDuffie PFA Boat Ramp – just waiting for you to drop your boat here!

McDUFFIE PFA

  • McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Water temperature range across lakes: 77.9 – 79.2 ⁰F
  • Water Visibility: 18 – 54 inches
  • McDuffie PFA’s Fish cleaning is now open. 

Bass:  The largemouth bass are biting and should continue to improve.  Anglers are catching bass of various sizes some in the three and four pound range.  Lakes Willow and Jones produced two nice bass with one being caught on a Catawba worm fished on the bottom.  McDuffie PFA has a 14-inch length minimum on largemouth bass, so measure the bass with a tape or ruler. Rodbender, the trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one Bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.  This regulation is strictly enforced. 

Bream: Steady bream action, both bluegill and redear are being caught in shallow water across the PFA.  On the next full moon anglers should be able to find spawning beds again.  Rodbender also has bragging-size bream both bluegill and redear. 

Channel Catfish:  Catfish are biting in all PFA lakes.  Anglers are limiting out on eating-size catfish from Jones Lake, Willow Lake and Bridge Lake.  The best fishing is on the bottom using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made baits.  An angler found catfish in shallow water less than two feet under a log and caught the catfish on crickets under a bobber. 

Striped Bass:  Stripers are biting in Bridge Lake.  Clubhouse Lake stripers are not biting.  Stripers are biting on chicken liver fished on the bottom while anglers were targeting catfish.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FISHING AT PFAS: Licenses and More

NORTH GEORGIA

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

The soaking storm this week dumped a big bucket of rain across north Georgia, with more than four inches hitting the Hooch in Helen and over five inches filling up the Chattooga. Overall, that’s some very good news!  While the large rivers likely won’t be fishable for this holiday weekend, the recharging of our streams, ground water, and even the lakes is great news.  It looks like Lanier even came up a foot or so!  http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/gage/acf/prob1.txthttp://water.sam.usace.army.mil/acfframe.htm , but it still has quite a way to go to exit from the Corps of Engineers drought management response: http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/zones.htm

Best bets in north Georgia for this weekend will be stocked and wild trout in the mountains and some early or nighttime bass and stripers on the big lakes, when the boaters and jet skiers are off the water.

LANIER

Bass:

  • Lanier Topwater: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=898357
  • (This Bass fishing report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, jimboonlanier.com 770-542-7764) -The lake is on the rise again with the rain we have received this week. The rain has cooled off the surface temps a bit, which is a good thing. We love it when Mother Nature preserves the 70 degree water temps, ensuring us a longer lasting top water bite. The top water bite remains dominant and we are chasing it every day, all day. We have had good success with a chug bug and a pencil popper this week. Focus on offshore structure with cover, such as brush on humps and points, for this approach. The bite seems to be better in the middle of the day than any other time, but we have seen some good morning schooling activity this week as well, for which the top water lures have been excellent. Just throw it in the action and hang on. Wind-blown points have been the best places for this action. The fluke has continued to produce well also in the same type places. Work it fast and then kill it and let it settle. Vary the cadence until you find what the fish want. The fluke can be a good option when there is no wind. The only other thing we are throwing with any consistency is a SuperSpin. We are using this bait in the same areas as we do for the top water as another option if the fish won’t come up. Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas. Set the Down scan in auto depth. Set the left and right beams to five times the depth.

Stripers:

  • http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=898481
  • (This report from Steve Scott) – With the summertime bite upon us in May already, my sister Capt Lynn Gregory and I started our striper search in open water near the channel mid lake near Browns Bridge. We only saw a loner or two every now and then. Certainly nothing to drop any baits on. After boating for about three hours with the hordes of cabin cruisers, jet skis and other pleasure craft we headed far north above River Forks. We finally came up on something worthy of dropping some bait. While sitting over a sixty foot bottom and seeing small bait balls and some arches we put out a combination of Downlines to 30 and 40 feet and Flatlines out 85 to 100 feet weighted of course with two #7 round shot using Blueback Herring as the bait. Just that quick we started getting hit bringing in one 26 ½” striper and then another on the same Flatline 85′ back that was 24”. We stayed there a while going back and forth along the bank about 100′ away as other striper boats kept getting closer to us as we were getting a lot of hits. That area soon became a washing machine as more and more waves were crashing over the bow. We decided to take our memories and pictures with us and leave the area to the other boats. After battling the rest of the lake boaters and all the waves heading back to the launch we called it a day. A few high fives with Capt Lynn and we got off the lake before the impending storms that were coming in later in the day.
  • (This Lake Lanier Striper report is from Captain Ken West 404-561-2564, bigfishon.com) – Striper fishing is good but the fish continue to move and can be a challenge to find. The majority of the stripers have moved to deeper water and are in the creek mouths lake wide. There continues to be a top water bite early and we have seen fish surfacing early. Chug Bugs were the top produce last week. Free lines and down rods are both working. There are still a lot or fish from Holly Park to Gainesville Marina but mid lake from Chestatee River to Browns Bridge is picking up. The “North End Fish” are starting to move south looking for better oxygen levels in deeper water. Deploy unweighted free lines in the morning and start weighting them with split shots as the sun gets up. Always keep a couple of down rods deployed as you are pulling live Herring. Pitching a Herring to a point is a blast as you never know what you might catch. Spotted bass, stripers and catfish are mixed in on points and brush piles. The umbrella rig is back this week and will work on those suspended fish. However with the Lake down 7 feet; be prepared to get hung up as you have to go deep with 120 to 140 feet of line out. Keep your eyes on your Lowrance HDS and when you see a shallow (20 foot or less) tree, power up and “jump” your rigs over the trees. We use 1 ounce buck tail jigs on a 3 ounce 4 arm frame. Pearl or chartreuse worms or chad bodies are the preferred trailers. Vary your speed between 2.7 to 3.4 MPH. The lake is 6.9 feet below full pool and the water is lightly stained on the main lake and heavily stained in the back of the creeks. The water temperature has risen to the high 70’s this week. To book your guide trip call us at 404-561-2564 or contact us on our web site:  www.bigfishonguide.com

Crappie: (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, Lanier Crappie Anglers Club) – Water temperatures are in the upper seventies. With the rains we’ve had the last several days, we expect the lake level to rise and the water clarity to show moderate to heavy stain in the backs of creeks. For the avid crappie fishermen who don t mind dodging the traffic on the lake, crappie fishing remains good. The early morning bite is best, from thirty minutes before daylight to about 9:30 a.m., later if cloudy. Target deeper docks with structure below the surface, especially if you can find a dock with a sizable brush pile just outside it, which is an added bonus. The docks that are producing have twenty to thirty foot depths, and are closer to the main creek channels. With this condition, these fish have the best of both worlds, the cover of the brush pile, then the shade of the dock during the middle of the day. If you can find a dock with an active beaver, that is even better, as fresh vegetation is continuous. Look for limbs and branches sticking out of a dock. Also target submerged brush piles in at least twenty to thirty feet of water. Fish the brush pile from all angles. This time of year, the fish are holding tight on the brush. Soft body and hair jigs are producing fish. Because the fish are deep, the sensitivity of the bite seems less, so watching your line is VERY important. If you see or sense any unusual movement, set the hook! For the night owls, bridge fishing is picking up. The sign of a good bridge is if you see dangling ropes from above. That typically means it is being fished by regular night fishermen. You will need a fishing light, and it can easily take an hour or two for the light to draw the bait and the bait to draw the crappie. So be patient, stay safe on the water, and Wear Your Life Jacket.

ALLATOONA

Bass: (This report brought to you by Ken’s Allatoona Report) – Spotted bass fishing is fair. They continue to move shallow early and late and back off during the day. Best bet is top water early and a fluke thrown right to the bank on mid lake points and pockets. Mid-day go a little deeper with Zoom Finesse worms on a jig head around brush piles. Green pumpkin will work of course but try some of the many similar colors available. Find docks with brush try ¼ ounce mini jig, use it with a matching Zoom Trailer in green Pumpkin. Keep a Zoom Super Fluke is pearl rigged all day for any action on the surface. As always use the Lowrance Structure Scan technology can unlock areas and see fish that traditional sonar cannot see. Long points as well, back off a bit and throw a Carolina rigged lizard in green pumpkin. Also, the deeper diving Bill Norman crank baits are beginning to catch quite a few. The key is bouncing them off deep rocks.

Stripers: (This Lake Allatoona Fishing Guides Report has been brought to you by Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service, 770-827-6282) – Line side fishing is great. The fish are setting up on a summer pattern. Big schools of hybrids can be found anywhere from the S turns to as far south as Tanyard Creek. The down rod bite is the most productive bite going on the lake right now. Fishing live shad at depths from 20 to 30 feet is producing for our boats from one end of the lake to the other. Our bait of choose has been big thread fin shad. These fish can be found on your Lowrance on or around most points, humps and flats. Good electronics can be a big help during the summer months. Summer time is awesome for numbers on Lake Allatoona give us a call at 770 827 6282 and let’s take the kids fishing,

HARTWELL

Bass: (This bass fishing report is by Josh Panyard) – Water Level is down 6.60 feet below full pool. The water temperatures are in the mid to upper 70 s with the recent warming trend we have had. The fish are still in the recovery phase and feeding up. We have been focusing both in the Tugaloo River area and the main lake area where the Tugaloo and Seneca River meet. In the mornings we have been focusing on the top water and fluke bite. Our key baits for the top water bite have been a chug bug or KVD splash and a poppin frog. The chug bug and KVD splash bait have been our multipurpose baits being able to fish them both shallow and over deeper water on Main River and main lake points. The poppin frog has been a good shallow bait for us and we have been focusing in pockets around the docks specially the walk ways where the bream have been hanging out. When the top water bite was slow we would break out the fluke and put it to work. Color depended on the whether or not it was cloudy or clear skies. If the bite slowed down we would switch to a shakey head in the same areas to help get some bites. We’ve gotten questions about guys having problems catching largemouth out on the main lake and only being able to find spotted bass. Two things to answer that right now, first focus on main lake pockets shallow a lot of these largemouth are still shallow recovering from the spawn this is also true on the points as well they will still be a little shallower than the spotted bass. Secondly those big largemouth will start to move out deeper and start really feeding up roaming with the bait and the spotted bass. The other key to this is that the largemouth will use the brush a little more than the spotted bass and wait for the bait to come to them so if you find brush in that 5 15 foot range spend some time working it with not only top water but a shakey head or a jig. Also one other thing to really start looking for is bream beds as you are working the shallow areas. If you find them pay close attention to those areas as you will see small wolf packs of bass cruising these areas and keying in on those bream. Good baits for these fish are a prop bait, chug bug, pop r style bait, and the frog. Key is to continue to move throughout the day if we didn’t 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 will continue to work these areas and start moving deeper with the fish as the summer patterns approach. With this warmer weather look for the water temperatures to continue to rise and the top water bite to continue to get even better. Remember the lake is still low and there are a lot of objects sticking up out of the water and not marked. Also, with the recent rise in water look for objects floating in the water as you are running. So be safe out there and we hope to see you on the water.

RIVERS

River Bass and Stripers:

  • Our big rains this week in northeast Georgia have our larger rivers high and off color, so anglers may have to wait until next week for fishable conditions.
  • (From John Damer, GA DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Biologist) – We continue to monitor the striped bass run on the rivers of northwest Georgia.  The spawn is now completely over, and very few fish are left hanging around in the Oostanaula River where water temps have gotten warm.  You can still find some on the Coosa as they move back downstream toward Lake Weiss.   But, the better option would be to hit the Etowah River which has cooler water thanks to flows from the depths of Lake Allatoona.  We’ve seen some impressive spotted bass on the Etowah as well, which can make for a fun day if the stripers aren’t cooperating.
  • (From Pat Snellings, GA DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Biologist) – Shoalie Stocking: Last week we stocked nearly 5,000 shoal bass fingerlings into the Morgan Falls Tailwater.  Tailwater temperatures here are too cool for successful natural reproduction, but our stocked shoal bass grow well and help to reclaim a bit of their natural range in the Hooch basin.  Check out THIS VIDEO of us loading up before heading north to Morgan Falls.

TROUT

Bluelines:

Stockers: Check HERE on Friday afternoon for our long list of streams stocked with more than 60,000 trout for the Memorial Day weekend.

Buford Dam competing anglers 5-26-17
Anglers of all types (feathered or not) competing for the best catch of the day at Buford Dam

Toccoa Tailwater: See Trout Man Joe’s report HERE.

Hooch Tailwater: Note: watch out for your competition!  See the photo.

Good luck during this holiday week, as north Georgia dries out and heads back toward summertime air temperatures.  May we all enjoy ourselves, while also taking time out to honor the reason for our extra “free” day on Monday as we visit America’s great outdoors.

Georgia Fishing Report: May 19, 2017

Before we begin, a quick shout-out and congratulations to Jimmy Jacobs! OutdoorsJimmyJacobs writer and friend of Georgia Wildlife Resources Division since….let’s just say a long time, right Jimmy? On Aug. 26, 2017, he will be inducted into the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians Hall of Fame. Article found HERE. Jimmy was also honored at the recently held Georgia Outdoor Writers Association annual meeting with “Best Corporate Sponsor Story in the Excellence in Craft”-1st Place; and “Best Miscellaneous Outdoor Story in the Excellence in Craft”-3rd Place.  Find out more about Jimmy and his adventures HERE.

Now, on to those juicy reports that give you the latest news about when and where to throw out a line.  Reports this week come from NORTH and SOUTHEAST Georgia.

NORTH GEORGIA

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

We’re winding up the spring weather and its associated, great fishing opportunities.  There are still some bass on the banks, especially in our high elevation lakes like Chatuge, and hungry stockers in our trout streams, where water temperatures are still tolerable in most of the larger waters.  On both lakes and streams, morning fishing is gonna be better than the hot afternoons with high sun. Just look at the Hooch-Helen water temperatures and you can figure out the time of the day for the best trout bite.

NGA trout stocking spring 2017 JLT pic1

Our Delayed Harvest waters are now in their “catch and keep” phase, so take advantage of this “new” opportunity this week.  And if you want to trophy hunt, toss some big lures in the Hooch and Blue Ridge tailwaters.  For inspiration, see the brute brown photo.

Pond bream should are still a best bet for those lucky enough to have access and permission to some prime farm ponds and subdivision lakes.  Tip: put a hook in a small bream and freeline it at dusk.  You might just find a trophy bass.

We’ll transition to summer fishing mode over the next couple of weeks.  Take advantage of the remaining cool water here in May for some better catches, since it will likely be a lot less productive in June.  And if you have kids, visit JAKES Day at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center this Saturday!  Here we go:

TROUT

Lanier Tailwater:

Bluelines:

 

LAKE CHATUGE

(Report below from Pat Snellings, Fisheries Biologist) – This week we finally finished our spring reservoir sampling in north Georgia and if you have a rod and reel handy the results are promising!

Bass: On Lake Chatuge the Largemouth Bass are moving off into deeper water intoNGA bass lmb and spot sample Chatuge 5-17-17 small typical post spawn patterns, as the Spotted Bass move up shallow to spawn. There are a lot of big fish in this transition zone which is perfect for anglers looking to hook into a big one! We found good numbers of bass shallow, mostly holding on submerged woody debris. Our biggest fish were a 7 1/3 lb Largemouth and 4 ½ lb Spotted Bass.

Bream: If you’re looking for bream Chatuge is a great destination as many sunfish are ready to spawn. We found numerous redear shallow on flats holding tight to any cover they can find. Most of these fish are hand sized or larger and put up a great fight.

Catfish: The catfish are spawning on Chatuge as well. They can be targeted just off rip rap banks and causeways where they are using crevices in the rock to spawn.

This is a great time of year to take a youngster fishing and get them hooked on the sport. All it takes is a Zebco, a tube of crickets, a bobber, and a willing teacher to give them the gift of a lifetime; a love for the outdoors. If you plan on going out this weekend be safe and if you catch a trophy be sure to let us know (Georgia Angler Award)!

ALLATOONA

Check out these 2 Allatoona reports:

LANIER

Bass:

  • http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=897978
  • http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=897825
  • (This Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, www.jimboonlanier.com 770-542-7764) – Water Temp – 73, Water Level – 7.90 feet below full pool – I think we can pretty much declare the spawn to be over, and that can only mean one thing – topwater time!  While I’m sure there are other patterns working, I don’t care, lol.  When the topwater bite is on, we chase it.  And folks, it is on.  We have had good success with a chug bug and a pencil popper this week.  Focus on offshore structure with cover, such as brush on humps and points, for this approach.  The bite seems to be better in the middle of the day than any other time, but we have seen some good morning schooling activity this week as well, for which the topwater lures have been excellent.  Just throw it in the action and hang on.  Wind-blown points have been the best places for this action.  The fluke has continued to produce well also in the same type places.  Work it fast and then kill it and let it settle. Vary the cadence until you find what the fish want.  The fluke can be a good option when there is no wind. The only other thing we are throwing with any consistency is a SuperSpin.  We are using this bait in the same areas as we do for the topwater as another option if the fish won’t come up. In May I only have 23 (AM) open.  Here are a few of my available June dates: 2, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.  Father’s Day is coming up!  What better gift to give Dad than a fishing trip with Jimbo!

Stripers: (Report from Steve Scott – see his striper reports in Angler Magazine) – “Lanier Striper Club takes Gwinnett County Police Striper Fishing Today” – Six boats picked up 23 officers at 7 am this morning at Little Hall park. I took two with me in my boat. We set out toward the Ground Hog looking for schools of stripers on the Chestatee River side catching only one 18” striper on a Planer Board using a medium shiner about 30′ from the board. It was Adam’s first striper catching it to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song Otherside. We left that area heading towards the Hooch and Adam noticed surfacing fish along the Chattahoochee side of the island that was marked C2 & C4 on the Chestatee side. We set out Planer Boards weighted and unweighted, Freelines weighted and unweighted and a right side directional bobber weighted all using medium shiners and it was Fish On. The next bite was John’s first striper at 18”. At one point we had a triple. Stripers and Spotted Bass were hitting all our lines at once. We were boating some fish while others got away. At one point we caught a big fish but we took too much time to apply more drag until he got in the trees and it was over. We could still feel this fish pulling but could not unsnag him from those trees. At one point I got the counter clicker out just to keep track of how many we were catching. We kept the bigger fish and let the smaller ones go. All in all it was a fun time with Adam and John.

Crappie: (Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) – Water temperature is in the mid seventies, and a few degrees higher in the afternoon.  The month of May remains strong for Crappie fishing on Lake Lanier.  The secret to catching crappie this time of year is to use the method of “run and gun” (targeting as many docks with structure as possible).   Using your downscan and sidescan will greatly assist in finding these spots.  There are a lot of fishermen on the lake, and it is getting busier with recreational boaters as well.  We’ve been catching good numbers of quality fish on deeper docks, especially targeting the channel docks in fifteen to twenty five feet of water.  When you start catching smaller fish, move on.  The fish on submerged brush piles in fifteen to twenty feet of water are greater in number, but smaller in size.  The brush piles with tops about 10 feet below the surface are producing best.  Your electronics will help you determine whether there are fish on the brush piles or not.  If there are, throw a marker buoy and fish the whole brush pile by circling your buoy to find the best angles.  Stay off the brush about thirty feet, cast your jig past the brush pile and retrieve slowly while shaking your rod.  This will give the jig more action.  You will get most of your bites ten feet below the surface either directly over or slightly to the side of the brush pile.  Our preferred bait is still one twenty fourth ounce soft body jigs or hair jigs.  If you prefer using a crappie minnow under a slip cork, it will work just as well.  Fish are aggressive, so the color doesn’t seem to matter, but if the bite slows, switch colors.  The night fishing bite is still not producing well.  Once the nights are consistently warmer, that bite will pick up.  Be safe on the water!  Wear your life jacket, it can save your life!

EXTRA INFO 

shoalbass17 TylerLipham
Tyler Lipham blogs about his pursuit of the Georgia Bass Slam

Slamming Bass: Cool blog from Tyler Lipham 

The Real Shoalie Expert: It’s not Jimmy; it’s his Better Half, Kathy!

Ken and Mack’s Reservoir Reports:

JAKES Day at Charlie Elliott (Saturday May 20)  Fun, Free, Food and all Outdoors

JAKESDay WildlifePresentations.JPG

US Forest Service – Foothills Project Meetings (May 23 & 24) – In Clayton; details HERE: Forest users can still add comments online – scroll to the bottom of this page and click on “Managing Healthy Forests, Fish, and Wildlife Habitats.” Read other user comments and then add your own to the conversation. Donald Davis referred to my agency’s list of desirable fisheries actions on these 140,000 project acres, so you may wish to take a look at that list as you develop and share your own thoughts.

Need a License or Boat Registration? Head to the “Go Outdoors Georgia” website:

Good luck this week as we wrap up spring and start thinking about our summertime opportunities and strategies.   Please take five minutes to get online and tell the Forest Service what you’d like to see on a chunk of your public lands.  As always, thanks for your purchases of fishing licenses and trout license plates.  Don’t forget your sunglasses and your sunscreen as summer starts to creep up on you!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

The Satilla Riverkeeper “A.J. Strickland King of the River Fishing Tournament” was well-attended for the extremely low water and stormy weather forecast on Saturday. The Altamaha River produced some decent catches this weekend. Whiting and trout were tops in saltwater. Pond bass and bluegill fishing has been very consistent. New Moon is May 25th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Justin Bythwood and Blake Yarbrough won an Altamaha tournament out of Jaycees Landing on Saturday. The pair caught almost all of their bass (13.15 pounds) pitching Texas-rigged plastics, and an Assassin Fat Job stick worm was key to their win. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported some large bass caught on buzzbaits. Catfish, bream, and mullet fishing were all good this week.  Donna at Altamaha Park said that the mullet bite is on fire. Anglers fishing from sandbars on Sunday reported catching buckets of the tasty fish on red wiggler worms. On Saturday, the annual Altamaha Park panfish tournament was held. Some of the redbreasts were over a pound, while a shellcracker approaching 2 pounds won the big fish prize. The river level was 2.9 feet and falling (80 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.8 feet and falling (76 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on May 16th.

SATILLA RIVER

The Satilla Riverkeeper organization’s 3rd annual “A.J. Strickland King of the River Fishing Tournament” on the Satilla River was a success on Saturday. The focus species this year was a bowfin (mudfish), and the largest, weighing 7.15 pounds, was caught by Jeremy and Mallory Robertson. The biggest redbreast (0.70 pounds) and biggest redbreast stringer (3 fish – 2.00 pounds) were won by Carter and William Steed. The largest panfish (other than a redbreast) weighed 0.90-pounds and was caught by Team River Men – Stephen Tyre and Jay Minshew. The largest native catfish (1.95 pounds), largemouth bass (3.70 pounds), and 3-species grand slam (11.05 pounds) were caught by Team Lee and Johnson, consisting of James Lee and Chad and Dalton Johnson. For more wrap-up information, go to satillariverkeeper.org. With the low water, most folks were floating and paddling in kayaks or simply wading the river. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that redbreasts were numerous in creels this week, with crickets, crawfish-colored Satilla Spins, and white-red dot Beetlespins producing best. With the low river, floating or wading is the way to go. The river level on May 16th at the Waycross gage was 4.1 feet and falling (77 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.6 feet and falling.

SE GA Carter Steed - Middle -   IMG_0104.JPG
Carter and William Steed won biggest redbreast and biggest stringer at the Satilla Riverkeeper Fishing Tournament this past weekend. Here they are being congratulated by Laura Early from the Satilla Riverkeeper.

ST. MARYS RIVER

Bass were caught on Trick Worms and bluegills and catfish were fooled with pink worms and crickets. Check the West Mims Fire information (see Okefenokee Swamp report below) for the latest information on road closures if you want to fish the upper river. The river level at the MacClenny gage on May 16th was 1.4 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

The West Mims Fire was over 152,000 acres burned (total area) at the time of writing this. Kingfisher Landing is still open, but the Fargo and Folkston entrances are closed. Because of the uncertainty of the fires, make sure to call ahead of time to make sure any entrances you plan to fish out of are open. On the east side, you can all Okefenokee Adventures at 912-496-7156. Staff at Stephen C. Foster State Park on the west side can be reached at 912-637-5274. Updates from the US Fish and Wildlife Service available HERE.

LOCAL PONDS

Chad Lee had a great weekend at Alma area ponds. The night fishing bite has started. He SE GA Chad Lee Bass - IMG955860and Daniel Johnson fished Saturday night and missed and caught some nice fish. Daniel missed several nice topwater fish before redeeming himself with a fat 4 1/2-pounder that he fooled with a SPRO black Pop ‘N Frog. Chad’s biggest was a 4-pounder that inhaled a black quad-blade buzzbait (see photo to the right). Michael Winge reported lots of bass caught this week on plastic lizards and buzzbaits.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that 2 to 3-pound trout were caught on live shrimp over the weekend. Flounder (some in the doormat 4 to 5-pound range) were caught in good numbers, also. Whiting, sharks, and black drum also hit the deck this week. Baskets baited with chicken necks lured a bunch of blue crabs to the steamer over the weekend. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

Ponds are producing some nice bass early and late and even at night. Buzzbaits or other topwaters are the deal during low light, and plastics get the nod when the sun is up. In saltwater, whiting are your best bottom fishing option, while seatrout on the beach should be good if winds will allow you to get out there. Mullet fishing on the lower Altamaha is a good option on a hot afternoon.

In Pursuit of the Georgia Bass Slam: Will Perseverance Pay Off?

In this blog series, join angler Tyler Lipham as he posts about his pursuit of the Georgia Bass Slam. Need to catch up? Read Blog Entry #1 HERE, Blog Entry #2 HERE and Blog Entry #3 HERE.

I knew from the start of this adventure that I wanted to fish the Flint River. I had floated it once before and there’s nothing in Georgia waters quite like getting a popper slammed by a shoal bass in the deep eddies created by the plentiful shoals on the upper Flint.

Adventures are more fun with friends, but finding good friends who also are as obsessive about fish as you is even tougher.  Fortunately, Kyle is one of those friends! I consider him to be trustworthy and someone that I can count on to join me in an adventure, AND it just so happens that he recently fished the stretch of water I was targeting, and had raved about all the good bass he caught.

At 5:30 am, we got our mugs full of coffee and headed for the Hwy. 36 put in. Our GRsnake TylerLiphamoptimism was off the charts, and we decided to throw the biggest flies and lures we had to seduce some record-setting fish. However, as the float began, we quickly realized this was not going to be as easy as we had thought. The bite was dull. We put in just after 7 am, but by noon, we had only a couple of shoal bass to show for it, both caught by Kyle. I had tied and retied every fly that I had stashed in my fishing vest: Poppers, clousers, crayfish, and a big white bait fish pattern. Nothing was getting strikes. I did manage to stay occupied by enjoying the abundance of wildlife on the river, including a rough green snake saved from the swift current. He took a fancy to my fly rod and hung out with me for a short stretch of water until I released him back into a young sycamore tree.

Finally, the bite fired up around 12:30, well, for Kyle anyway, who was pulling them into the boat one after another, but I couldn’t get a hook set to save my life. I counted 9 consecutive fish that got off my line between 12:30 and 2 that day. I was distraught. Finally, an 11-inch shoalie made it into my net. I was pumped until I remembered that only regulation fish (at least 15 inches for the upper Flint) count.  About ten minutes later, as I pulled my kayak up onto an island with a frown on my face, I hopelessly threw out a cast using a yellow popper into the tail end of a slow-moving pool, just as I had done countless times that day. GULP! A hungry mouth devoured my large yellow popper, and I set the hook cleanly. I wasn’t sure how large the fish was, but when I ripped drag from my reel for the first five seconds of the fight, I had a feeling this was the shoal bass I needed. After an exquisite display of acrobatics and muscle, the shoalie made it into my net.  I WAS ECSTATIC. I was screaming for Kyle to come measure it – 17 inches! I now had my sixth species on the board.

shoalbass17 TylerLipham

Special Note on this River: For those who have never floated Yellow Jacket Shoals, I forewarn you now, it’s a gnarly float. The water is swift and has a tendency to drop you off a mini-waterfall every now and again. I would highly recommend doing this stretch with someone who has done it before. But that said, if you are looking to float the most beautiful stretch of water in the Georgia Piedmont – this might be it. In May, the Shoal Spider Lilies are in full bloom. That alone might be reason enough to risk getting dumped from your kayak to get a first person view of this incredible landscape.

shoallilies TylerLipham.jpg

I think one reason I love fishing so much is that it goes hand-in-hand with so many important life lessons. The lesson today was perseverance. I had all but given up on catching a shoal bass, but when I finally did, it made the reward that much sweeter. Here’s to bass, the best of teachers.

For those keeping tabs: Georgia Bass Slam summary – so far:

  • Caught: 6 (Bartram’s, Smallmouth, Largemouth, Spotted, Chattahoochee, Shoal)
  • Failed: 1 (Suwannee) – but will try again!
  • Remaining: 3 (Tallapoosa, Coosa, Altamaha)

Available Resources: Fishing Tips and Other Info: Upper Flint; Lower Flint

Tyler Lipham, 4th year student at the Dental College of Georgia, previously graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from the Warnell School of Forestry. In his free time, he enjoys any and all things dealing with wild waters and woods.