Georgia Fishing Report: July 23, 2015

North Georgia

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

We have some “hot” news about a) a record bass and b) a new survey for you.  There are also some tips and trip reports on hot summer fishing opportunities across north Georgia, so read on.

Striper fishing

Some river and reservoir fish will also “squeeze” upstream to coldwater refuges in tributaries, so aim for Morgan Falls and the Etowah too.

The summer fishing pattern continues, and it is dominated by warm water effects on our respective target species.  For trout, anglers should tuck in behind the two big dams holding back winter water (Blue Ridge, Buford) or hike way up the mountain until their stream thermometer reads 66 degrees.

For lake bass, hit the deep humps and brush piles with the drop shot rig, after giving them a few first casts with a topwater plug.

 

For reservoir stripers and hybrids, the summer squeeze is on.  As the warm surface layer thickens and as the dissolved oxygen dies from the lake bottom upward, these coolwater species will start getting squeezed.  They’ll squeeze into that middle layer of water, down-lake toward the dam, where the combination of cooler water and high dissolved oxygen is found.  The squeeze means that they’re no longer scattered lake-wide and are now easier to find, if you know where to look.  Some river and reservoir fish will also “squeeze” upstream to coldwater refuges in tributaries, so aim for Morgan Falls and the Etowah, too.

Warmwater river anglers are approaching prime time, as river flows dwindle and bass and bream get squeezed into fewer prime habitats –slower, deeper water in the shade.  Terrestrial food sources are abundant, so many of your favorite river targets will be spending more time along the banks, looking up at the tree limbs and wishing for a stiff breeze.

Aim for Success – Your Input Desired

Please take about five minutes to watch a few brief videos and then complete this online survey regarding the proposed restructuring of our agency’s licenses and fees. This is a great opportunity for you, so take advantage of it.

Trout fishing

Staff recently stocked more than 40,000 fingerling rainbow trout into the Toccoa River below Blue Ridge Dam.

Fishing Reports and Links:

Good luck with your early rises from bed and some dawn fishing fun.  Toss your offerings into the streamside shade or onto that submerged hump for some summertime success, and send me some of your stories to share with our group.

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Big Lazer PFA Largemouth bass: Good – Bass fishing has slowed down a little because of the very hot temperatures.  However, they will still hang out in the upper 3 to 8 feet of the water column.  During the day fish for bass in and around heavy cover.  Feeding bass will be most active during the early morning and later in the evening.  Try bass fishing with shallow presentation of crank-baits and trick-worms.

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: Very Good – Bream fishing is very good.  Most bream are close-in to the banks and seeking shady cover to keep cool.  Crickets and worms are excellent live bait for bream.  Also, small grub like plastic jigs can work well anytime of the year; try black, white, and chartreuse colors.  Fishing with light tackle can make bream fishing more exciting.  However, make sure the hooks are small because the bream have small mouths.

Channel catfish: Very Good- The rocks along the dam are always a good spot to try and catch big channel cats.  However, catfishing has been good in deeper water over much of the lake.  Some catfish are being caught on cut bait and shrimp as well as worms and livers.

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

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

Clarks Hill Lake (down 1.6 feet, clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Alabama rigs are working early in the day.  Also use the 3/8 ounce Scrounger head and a Zoom Fluke.  Use the pearl white and the baby bass Flukes.  Crank-baits will work and use a Shad Rap and a small Bandit in shad patterns.  Try a Rat L Trap lipless crank-bait on the rocky banks and around the islands.  The 3/8 ounce and the ½ ounce sizes can work all day.  Cast up into shallow water and work the shallows where rock and the brush piles are located.  Switch colors often and find out which one is catching the larger bass.  Some anglers are fishing the grass beds with weightless worms.  Take a hot pink trick worm and rig it with a 3/0 Mustad hook.  Cast it right along the edge of the heavier matted grass and let it sink.  Count it down and try different depths to find out how deep the bass are.

Jackson Lake (down 1.9 feet, clear, 80s) – Bass fishing is a little slow and the bass are going to move up to the shallows later each day.  Use the ½ ounce Rat L Trap and throw it shallow.  Work as much water as possable and try to locate areas that contain the most rock.  Early in the morning is a good time to throw a buzz-bait or a Storm Chug bug off any point.  Small bass are taking these baits early and often during the early hours.  Also try a 1/4 or 3/8 ounce double willow leaf spinnerbait in either white/blue or all white.  Work the same areas as the top water baits and all blow-downs and brush piles that are present.  After the sun comes up, a 3/8 ounce black jig and pig with a pork trailer is working on isolated stumps and docks.  Green pumpkin worms on the Texas rig are also taking bass when thrown into brush piles and around docks.  Don’t forget about the Dam area for some late-day schoolers.

Marben PFA – Largemouth Bass: Fair due to hot weather – Willow is still giving up keeper bass but fishing has been spotty overall. Willow Lake remains the lake with most potential is for quality and quantity.  Most of the bass on the PFA are suspending in deep water settling into a summer pattern which means they are feeding before and just after sunrise and late evening.  The PFA’s shad population is still recovering from a winterkill with no big schools showing up yet in any of the seven lakes.  Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) is open from first through fifteen (1st-15th) of each month.  Rodbender will be closed at sunset on the 15th.  This lake has been setup for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.   Many of the PFA’s fishermen are trying new baits and falling back on the old standby plastic worms to catch aggressive bass.

Bream: Fair – Best ponds have been Beaverlodge, Willow, Clubhouse and Jones for good catches.  The Bream should be on bed during next full moon and can be found around structure and aquatic plants with firm sandy bottoms.  The best baits for catching bream are red wigglers and crickets under floats; use light tackle to make soft casts past the structure and pulling the bait rig back and stopping the bait will generate many more strikes.  Patience is the key when fishing for bream on beds.  Bream fishermen may also have success using small hard baits, jigs, and beetle spins on ultralight tackle during the dog-days of summer.

Channel Catfish: Good – Best ponds have been Jones, Beaverlodge, Willow, and Bridge in order of best catches reported or seen by area staff.   Catfish are feeding as they re-energize in post- spawn.  The best fishing is on the bottom in deep water using chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and crickets. Bream fishermen also report catching catfish while fishing with crickets in shallow water.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is just slow during mid-day but tends to pick up as late evening approaches.  Anglers using live minnows and yellow jigs are the most successful.  Try fishing cover approximately 8-10 feet.

  • Remember early morning and late evenings are the best times at Marben PFA.
  • Temperatures are extremely hot at Marben PFA.  Sunscreen and plenty of water are highly encouraged. Don’t forget the picnic lunch!!

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

McDuffie PFA – Largemouth Bass – Good: Hot ponds have been Willow, and Clubhouse.  Willow is still giving up keeper bass and many larger bass are being released by our fishermen.  In Jones bass fishing has slowed down but small bass will keep fishermen alert.  The lake with most potential is Willow for quality and quantity.  Willow Lake has big bass but fishermen must be prepared or risk being broken off in the underwater structure.  The bass have begun feeding on shad early in the mornings and late evenings in Willow and Breambuster.  Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) is open from first through fifteen (1st-15th) of each month.  Rodbender is open for the next 14 days but will close at sunset on the 15th. This lake has been setup for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.   June is usually an excellent top-water bait month with soft baits falling in the number two spot.

Bream:  Fair – Best ponds have been Beaverlodge, Willow, Clubhouse and Jones for good catches.   The Bream should be on bed during this full moon and can be found around structure and aquatic plants with firm sandy bottoms.  The best baits for catching bream are red wigglers and crickets under adjustable floats; using light tackle to make soft casts pass the structure and pulling the bait rig back and stopping the bait will generate many more strikes.  Patience is the key when fishing for bream on beds. Our local fly fishermen are catching aggressive bream on artificial nymphs, flies and bugs near shore and structure.

Channel Catfish:  Good – Best ponds have been Jones, Beaverlodge, Willow, and Bridge in order of best catches reported or seen by area staff.   Catfish are feeding as they re-energize in post- spawn.  The best fishing is on the bottom in deep water using chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and crickets. Bream fishermen also report catching catfish while fishing with crickets in shallow water.

Striped Bass:  Poor due to hot water temperatures.  Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse.  Smaller stripers will keep anglers busy in Bridge Lake and Clubhouse as fishermen fish for catfish and bream on the bottom using worms and chicken liver.

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

Lake Oconee (full, stained up rivers, light stain on main lake, 85-90 degrees) – Bass fishing is fair.  The rivers have a light stain and the main Lake is clear.  There is a good early morning top-water bite in the rivers around deep structure.  White old Nelly buzz-bait worked around structure in deep water will produce until the sun gets up.  When the sun gets up switch to a 6 in. watermelon Zoom u-tail worm on a Texas rig and work the same structure.  Down the lake there is still a deep water crank-bait bite on the ledges and humps on the south end of Richland Creek.  Work a Normans DD22 down the ledge into deeper water.  Use your Lowrance to locate the fish on the ledges, if you do not see any fish move to another ledge or hump until you find the fish.  Then work your DD22.  If you would like to try and beat the heat think about night fishing.  Look for lighted boat docks with structure.  You can work these docks with a crank-bait or a worm.  Use a big dark u-tail worm Texas rigged.  Remember to keep your boat lights on and look out for the other guy.

“Lineside fishing is fair.  The best way to find the fish is with the umbrella rig.  Run it about 20 feet deep.  We have seen fish up the river near the I-20 bridge.  These fish will continue to move up the rivers to find cooler water.  If you are working the main lake look in the river bend area.” – Cpt. Mark Smith, Reel Time Guide Service

Crappie fishing is fair.  Some fish are showing up in brush piles from 10 to15 feet.  The night bite in the timber is still the best producer.  Look for the fish to show up on your Lowrance and drop the live shiners down to the fish.

 

Lake Russell (full, clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is fair and there are several different crank baits that are working on light 10-pound test Sufix Elite line.  The Rapala DT 6 and Rapala DT 10 in either the hot tiger or shad colors and the #5 jointed Shad Rap in either the green crawdad or fire tiger will work.  Work the main lake and secondary points and the strikes will occur right at the edge of 10-foot line.  Top-water baits like the Pop R and the Chug Bug will work.  Work the Chug Bug fast and do not stop the popping noises as this attracts the spots thinking the bait is a fleeing bait fish.  Jigs fished around rocks and wood is another good choice this week.  The 3/8 ounce Strike King jig is a good choice and the colors need to be browns and greens.  Use the Lowrance Structure Scan down Scan technology to scan an area and you will see the fish.  Use the Ito Vision 110 jerk bait also.

Lake Sinclair (full, stained up river, main lake clear, 86 degrees) – “Bass fishing is good.  The mayflies are back on Lake Sinclair this week.  We had another big mayfly hatch which is turning on the shallow bite again.  This is one of the largest hatches of the year thus far and it covers much of the Oconee River arm.  Shallow grass beds, overhanging tree limbs, and dock walkways adjacent to the river channel should be your primary targets.  Top-water baits will produce both early and late each day and can continue throughout the day in overcast conditions.  A Spro Bronzeye Popping Frog in the Leopard color will produce many bites around the grass beds and around overhangs.  A black-buzz bait will also get a few bites around seawalls and grassy points.  A Spro Fat John square bill crank-bait will also produce in these same locations early and late when the fish are feeding.  The best way to fish this crank-bait is to parallel the sea walls or fish it through any shallow wood cover you can find.  When the mayflies are present the bass will be positioned right at the base of the sea wall.  Fishing the crank-bait as close as you can to the sea wall will result in more bites.  During the day, fish a Buckeye Mop Jig in a brown or green pumpkin color around dock walkways, sea walls, and around any wood cover that has some shade.  This is a great way to catch a big fish!  The deep bite is still decent lake-wide.  Deep diving crank baits, Carolina rigs, and drop shot rigs will all produce on the offshore structure near the river channel.  Concentrate your efforts in 18-25 feet of water when targeting these deep fish.  As always, the deep bite is best when Georgia Power is moving water.” – Matt Henry, Sinclair Marina

West Point Lake (full, clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is barely fair.  This time of year there is very little change in pattern.  Fish have committed to deep-water cover and will remain there for the next few weeks.  Go back to the deep hideouts they will often produce.  Once the sun is high focus on docks and lay-downs near the mouth of pockets with a green pumpkin Z Man floating worm or a Z Man Texas rigged Saw Tail Worm.  The Z Man floating worm will stand up on a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce shaky head so do not be afraid to let this bait soak to catch larger fish.  You can catch several fish off of one lay down so make several cast to productive cover.  Once the bite slows switch to an All Terrain 3/8 ounce black and blue jig tipped with a black and blue Z Man Chunkz.  The deep crank-bait bite is beginning to turn on in the afternoon during generating schedules.  Look for fish to begin stacking up on long points and roadbeds close to the main river channel.  Crank-baits are working best with multiple casts on cover close to the river channel.  Cover the twelve to eighteen feet depths with the Lowrance and you will see the fish on the bottom.  Turn back and fish these locations.  It takes time to find this ideal habitat, but once you do, several fish can be caught in this area.  The best points to search are from the 109 bridge north going up the river.  During generation periods use deep-diving crank-baits on humps and road beds.  You can load the boat quickly with some really heavy fish poundage during these periods of generation around this cover.

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

The bite is on again, even though many folks are not fishing in the heat. The Satilla is right, and lots of redbreasts should be caught this weekend. Flounder are still going strong at the coast, and tarpon are feasting on pogy pods. The Okefenokee is still producing some great catches. First quarter moon is July 24th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Scout Carter caught this giant bowfin last week on a prototype in-line spinnerbait. Bowfin are great targets during the dog-days of summer.

Scout Carter caught this giant bowfin last week on a prototype in-line spinnerbait. Bowfin are great targets during the dog-days of summer.

Altamaha River – The numbers of channel catfish caught from the river have been impressive. Those using rod and reel are catching about 80 percent channels and 20 percent flatheads, while the limb-liners are the opposite – 80 percent flatheads. The mullet catch has been low, only because very few people have been targeting them (those who went did well). Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that catfishing in the Jesup area was tops. Anglers reported catching nice flatheads on goldfish and channel and blue catfish on worms. The oxbows off the river also produced some good bream catches. Dannet at Altamaha Park said that the flathead bite has been best, with goldfish producing the most. The bream bite has been fair in feeder creeks and oxbows off the main flow. The river level was 2.3 feet and steady (88 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.6 feet and falling (86 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on July 21. I went over the Oconee River on the 21st, and the water had the usual summertime green color. The Ocmulgee and Altamaha rivers are muddier from recent rains.

Okefenokee Swamp – Craig James fished the east side several times this week with his family. Their best trip (by numbers) was Tuesday when he and his brother Trey landed 115 warmouth (releasing many of them) and some fliers. That day, yellow sallies out produced pink (although pink still fooled quite a few). After they had already caught a bunch, they decided to try something different, so they pitched a white grub and continued to spank the big warmouth. Some of their fish approached 12 inches! Some of their trips this week, pink worked best, while other trips yellow was tops. That goes to show you that you need to try different colors each day to determine the best offering.  Michael Winge said that the fishing on the east side slowed with the hot weather, but early and late were the best times. On the west side, warmouth, fliers, and pickerel (jackfish) were caught over the weekend. Jackfish ate popping plugs and king jack spinners. The new Duck Stamps (they provide yearly access to National Wildlife Refuges) have arrived, so make sure to get your new one if that is how you cover the access fee to Okefenokee. The new stamps are $25, and they are valid from July 1 to June 30th each year. You can get them at Okefenokee Adventures on the east side or from US Post Offices.

Satilla River – Danny Brown of Nevils (he often fishes the Ogeechee) came down to fish the Satilla this week, and he landed 20 redbreasts in the Waycross area. One of them was a whopper, and he is getting it mounted. He caught his fish on Satilla Spins (crawfish, stumpknocker, bruiser, and rainbow).  Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the Satilla is giving up big redbreasts and bream. Crickets, worms, and Satilla Spins (crawfish color) have been producing best. Beetlespins and Spin Dandy spinnerbaits are also producing fish. Rooster livers and pink worms produced catfish this week. Bright colored Trick Worms tricked bass. The river level  at the Waycross gage was 5.3 feet and falling (83 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.1 feet and falling on July 21.

St. Marys River – The redbreast and bream bites remained strong. Pink worms are still producing some shellcrackers. Redbreasts and bream were tearing up crickets. Catfish were still being caught everywhere along the river. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 2.1 feet and falling on July 21.

Local Ponds –  Chad Lee spanked the fish on Saturday morning, most with a Ribbit Frog. His biggest was almost 6 pounds. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds bream are hitting crickets and pink worms late in the evenings. Plastics and dark colored buzzbaits produced some good bass. An angler reported catching an 11-pound bass from a local pond this week. Worms and shiners accounted for most of the catfish reported.

Best Bet: The Satilla is getting perfect for a float trip. This time last year I did a float trip with Ron Johnson, and we used crawfish Satilla Spins to catch over 80 fish, mostly redbreasts. At the current level you should not have to drag much, if any. Flounder fishing has been strong at the coast, so that would be a good option. From a boat, fish around hard cover, creek mouths, and inlets. From the bank, pitch mudminnows or finger mullet to pilings or around rocks (anything that makes a current break). You have to let a flounder eat your offering. Typically, the fish will start swimming away once it has engulfed it. Setting the hook too early will usually just provide some teeth marks on your bait! (I have experience with that! Ha!) The Okefenokee is still great. Fish early and pitch yellow or pink sallies around wood for warmouth and around vegetation for fliers. If you want to catch a big fish, tie on an in-line spinner and cast for pickerel or bowfin.

Coastal Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

The saltwater bite was hit-and-miss this week. Flounder, sheepshead and whiting provided the best reports. Mudminnows and finger mullet fooled most of the flounder. Shrimp fished on bottom rigs produced whiting, while fiddlers accounted for most of the sheepshead. Michael Winge said that the Jekyll Island Pier produced lots of sheepshead and whiting over the last week. Our state record flounder came from the Jekyll Island Pier, so don’t overlook it as a destination for flatties. An angler reported catching a tarpon this week from a kayak at one of the inlets on our coast. I’m sure the giant fish gave him a ride! Tarpon numbers have been very good this week, and anglers are catching them. Cast net some pogies and throw out a spread with a live one under an oval Cajun Thunder float and others on bottom rigs. I like 100-lb. test mono leaders for abrasion resistence. The big bull reds have been chowing at the nearshore reefs. Expect them to be in the sounds spawning beginning next month. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the “Mack Attack” continued this week from the pier. The Spanish mackerel continued hitting spoons and Gotcha plugs. A 4-pound flounder was landed from the pier on Tuesday. Trout, whiting, and croakers were also plentiful. Monitor the marine forecast.

Categories: Fishing

Watch What You Plant

By: Elliot Ambrose, Georgia DNR Public Affairs Intern

The war on Georgia’s invasive species: Part II

Growing native in Georgia

With their variety of colors, shapes and textures, exotic plants have taken root in the yards, and hearts, of many Georgia gardeners. Unfortunately, not all exotics stop there.

Those that escape cultivation and spread rapidly into the surrounding environment can cause devastating and long-lasting damage. Displacing native species and destroying the critical habitat they need, exotic invasive plants are one of the biggest threats to our natural heritage.

What can you do? Grow native! Help reestablish native plant populations in your area and stop the introduction of potentially harmful exotics by choosing native species for your lawn and garden.

The invasive Chinese Tallow  (by Rebekah Wallace, UGA)

The invasive Chinese Tallow (by Rebekah Wallace, UGA/bugwood.org)

Many of Georgia’s most destructive invasive plants, such as Chinese tallow and kudzu, started as exotic imports for use in landscaping and gardening. Not all non-native or exotic plants are invasive, of course. Many, like the crape myrtle, are easily controlled and have existed in the state for centuries without issue.

But the effect of exotics on the natural environment is not always readily apparent or easily predicted, according to Dr. Mincy Moffett, a DNR botanist and Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council board member.

“You never really know how an exotic plant is going to behave, so you’re taking a risk when you introduce them,” Moffett said. “Some never become a problem, while others turn out to be real bad actors.”

Also, past performance is not a reliable indicator of future behavior.

Chinese privet is one example. Introduced in the 1800s, this Asian exotic was widely used as an ornamental hedge until the early 20th century when, for reasons still not clear, it began expanding exponentially. Today, Chinese privet chokes bottomland forest habitat throughout Georgia and is a high priority for invasive species management. (Chinese privet even forms the famous hedges inside UGA’s Sanford Stadium, although some insist the plants are English privet.)

“It’s a lesson that we all need to remember because it means that anything could potentially become a problem at any time,” Moffett said. “Really, playing it safe would mean never planting anything but a native.”

Curbing exotic plant use statewide is a lofty goal, but growing native is something all can do. Fortunately, there are many attractive and unique native plants to choose from, and many benefits to using them.

Benefits of growing native

In addition to reducing the presence of invasive plants on your property and restoring the diversity of plant life in your area, there are a number of added benefits to gardening with native species.

Native vegetation is a great source of cover and food for wildlife and the right combination of plants can invite an assortment of garden visitors. For example, native perennials like the purple coneflower attract a range of pollinators, including beautiful monarch butterflies. Songbirds feed on the nuts of native trees and the caterpillars that live in their branches, while Georgia’s only native hummer species, the ruby-throated hummingbird, loves the nectar of indigenous vines like trumpet creeper.

Because they are more suited to the local climate, water and soil conditions, native plants are generally low maintenance and, once established, require less water and fertilizer than exotics. Native plants also have a natural resistance to pests and require less pesticide use. Furthermore, native plants are regionally adapted to episodes of extreme local weather like drought and deep freezes, conditions that often kill more delicate exotics.

None of these benefits come at the cost of beauty or variety. From trees and shrubs to grasses and wildflowers, there is a native alternative to rival even the most exquisite exotic. And by growing native you can feel good knowing that your choices are helping make a difference and not contributing to the spread of exotic invasive plants.

A landscape crafted to reflect the surrounding natural beauty, rather than stand out from it, can be a lovely addition to your property as well as a rewarding achievement and testament to your commitment to preserve Georgia’s environmental health.

While deciding what to plant and keep on your property is a personal choice, Georgia’s natural heritage and our role in protecting it is a shared responsibility, and everyone has a part to play.

History and experience have shown that introducing exotic species can have catastrophic results and that continued use of exotics may be, literally, planting the seeds for significant problems in the future.

So consider making some room in your own lawn or garden for the best and most beautiful plants Georgia has to offer, and choose to grow native. It’s a small action that can have a big impact in preserving Georgia’s natural resources, now and for future generations to come.

Invasive plant regulation

Nationwide, the sale and interstate transport of certain invasive plants is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. This agency evaluates the potential threat of plant species and proposes federal regulations for plants considered a significant risk.

Among the species on the Federal Noxious Weed List is cogongrass, an exotic invasive that has been the focus of rigorous control efforts in Georgia. Most states also have their own noxious weed lists that prohibit or restrict invasive plant use and help guide policies on the regional or county level.

Although many agencies and groups have compiled listings of high-priority invasive plants in Georgia, there is no state noxious weed list imposing regulations on these species. While such regulation can be controversial, a state noxious weed list could be a valuable asset in Georgia’s fight to control the spread of dangerous invasive plants.

Native alternatives and where to find them

The following are a few native alternatives to some of the most popular and widely used exotic plant species.

Invasive - Tree of Heaven (by Chuck Bargeron, UGA)

Invasive Tree of Heaven (by Chuck Bargeron, UGA/bugwood.org)

Instead of: Tree-of-heaven and mimosa/silk tree

Plant:

Southern sugar maple (Acer barbatum) – Although smaller and not as showy as its northern form (Acer saccharum), this fast-growing maple produces flower clusters in spring and yellow-orange foliage in the fall, adding color to any landscape.

American holly (Ilex opaca) – Not just for Christmas, this ornamental tree keeps its unique foliage year-round and attracts a variety of birds with its red, berry-like fruit.

Instead of: Japanese privet, Chinese privet or autumn olive

Plant:

Native - Sweetshrub at the Alcovy River (by Alan Cressler)

Sweetshrub at the Alcovy River (by Alan Cressler)

Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) –This aptly named shrub produces beautiful maroon flowers that give off a sweet, fruity fragrance.

Common witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) – Attractive in all seasons, this native shrub really comes to life in fall and winter when it displays fragrant yellow flowers and yellowish-orange foliage.

Instead of: English ivy, Japanese climbing fern and Chinese wisteria

Plant:

American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens and W. macrostachya) – Less aggressive than Asian species, this high-climber vine produces drooping bunches of aromatic flowers in shades of blue and purple.

American Wisteria (photo by Alan Cressler)

American Wisteria (photo by Alan Cressler)

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) – Suitable as a climbing vine or groundcover, this native exhibits brilliantly colored fall foliage and does not damage buildings or homes like other climbing vines.

For more native plant recommendations, the Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council provides a comprehensive list of alternatives.

Where to find native plants

As awareness of native landscaping has grown, so has the availability of native plants. Several nurseries offer native plants in Georgia, and numerous retailers online sell live plants and seeds. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas, provides a national directory of native plant and seed suppliers, landscape professionals, and environmental consultants.

More resources

USDA guides for the identification and management of invasive species in southern forests.

A guide to native landscaping in the coastal region from Coastal Wildscapes and the Georgia Native Plant Society.

A guide to native plants for Georgia gardens by the UGA extension.

(This is the second post in a multi-part series on invasive species in Georgia. Up next: controlling invaders at all cost. Also read part 1: We have seen the enemy …)

Categories: Conservation

Georgia Fishing Report: July 10, 2015

North Georgia

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

Lake Lanier largemouth bass

Largemouth bass caught by Tara Lane at Callaway Gardens this month.

Lanier Largemouth Bass We hope everyone has dried out from our soggy July 4th weekend.  Our streams have already recovered from the monsoons and our rivers are now nearly there, as well.  The upper Hooch had pretty good clarity last night.  The gar didn’t want to play, but two small shoal bass, a decent spot, and three big redbreasts did inhale my white stealth bomber.  If no more storms hit us before the weekend, the big rivers might just be a best bet again.  Here’s some other news that should make the summer heat tolerable, especially for those anglers who give it a shot early and late.

Contest for Bass Pro Shops Gift Card

Stocker ReportStill stocking too!

Stocker Best Bets – WRD trout stocking coordinator suggests these mid-July destinations: Lanier and Blue Ridge Tailwaters, Rock, Cooper, Wildcat, Tallulah, and the feeder streams to stocked lakes like Vogel, Winfield Scott, Black Rock, and Dockery.

Dukes on the 4th – With most rivers and even trout streams blown out, Dredger called Smithgall and landed an open afternoon opening from a cancelled reservation.  He adopted a new buddy in the parking lot and they wandered upstream with an impromptu practice session on the drag-free drift.  The water had already cleared substantially from the morning session, so big and bright flies were no longer working.  The duo still managed a half-dozen or so rainbows to 15 inches on dredged black fur ants and shell-pink san juans.  The brute of the day celebrated his early independence by shaking off a poor hookset by ole Dredge…

Carpin’ How-To

Mid-GA Bass – “Gentlemen: Check out two of the largemouth bass I caught last week down in Middle GA in Pine Mountain, GA.  Used crankbaits.  They were hitting like crazy!” – Tara

Lanier Bass GON Forum 1, GON Forum 2

Watch out for Birds! video

Drop Shot How-To

Good Summer Striper Article – Check out Mike& Ken’s article in GON: http://www.gon.com/

Lanier Profiles – See the attached data for Forebay and Browns Bridge from fisheries tech Chris Looney and assess where those stripers and walleye should be hanging out.

Jeff and Asher’s Trout Trek – “First, the disclaimer: I don’t normally send mass e-mails, and I don’t intend to establish a habit. I just didn’t know a better way to pass along word about something that I thought might be of interest to many of you.

In less than two weeks, my 10-year-old son Asher and I will embark on a 3 1/2-week, cross country excursion to fish many of the West’s most acclaimed trout streams. We’ll travel approximately 8,000 miles and will end up fishing in nine different states. Fishing will take priority everywhere we visit and is the foundation of the plan, but we’ll also take time to check out waterfalls, watch wildlife, sample local flavors, roam through bait shops and more. It’s a storytelling journey, and we’ll share our experiences daily through blog posts, photos and videos on rebellures.com and the Rebel Lure Company Facebook page, plus our own blog sites (jeffsamsel.blogspot.com and ashersamselsblog.blogspot.com).

My hope, of course, is that some of you might want to follow or might share this with others who would like to follow. Many on this list are also outdoors media sorts. If any aspect of our trip interests you for a blog, column, podcast, radio show or whatever else, either now or during the trip, please don’t hesitate to call or email.

Trip dates are July 20 to August 11.” – Jeff Samsel, jeff.samsel.fishing@gmail.com – www.facebook.com/jeffsamselfishing

Free FF E-Mag – Our friend, Birmingham Brian, relocated to Bend, Oregon for a year, but he’s still producing a quality e-magazine.  See page 12 for another smilin’ Georgian, too.

Good luck during this fine wet-wading season.  Grab your small watercraft and give those bass, carp, and gar rivers a shot again.   Send me YOUR stories and photos to share with our angler community.

Southwest Georgia

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

Lake Blackshear – According to Rusty Parker, he caught 20 nice slab crappie under Smoak Bridge on Swift Creek. He caught them on minnows and was fishing very close to some structure. The recent heat has kept him off the lake recently but if you are brave enough to fish in this heat, he suggests fishing deep, “the crappie have definitely moved to the deep water hanging tight to structure.” The bass fishing has been fair recently with the early morning being the best time to go before things heat up too much.

Flint River – The water in the Flint is low and clear. There have been recent reports of good catches of shoal bass coming from around the Mitchell and Baker County regions of the River. Top water during the middle of the day is often an effective technique for catching these hard fighting bass. Bream fishing should be good. Try pitching crickets or a beetle spin near shoreline cover for bluegill and redbreast. Redbreast are typically found in the swifter areas and the bluegill will be located in calmer pockets of water. Try searching for bedding bream in 2-3 feet of water with low current. Fishing for channel catfish continues to be good with several reports of fish from 3 to 5 pounds being caught. The following links will provide you with river levels to help you plan your trip.

Lake Walter F. George – According to Rick Sacco with the “Friends of Lake Eufaula,” Reports from anglers targeting bluegill are favorable for both size and numbers. Also, it is taking about 19 lbs. to win a bass tournament.  In the last Eufaula Bass Trail in early June, Rick weighed in 16.86 lbs.  Nine places were paid out and he missed a check by 2 oz.  From that you can extrapolate that there were a lot of nice fish being weighed in.  A week later, Eufaula mayor Jack Tibbs weighed in 19 something to win the Alabama Children’s Classic.  These results are consistent, and are a good snapshot of the bass fishery. Keep in mind that the water levels have been fluctuating 2 to 3 feet down. The hydrilla on the south end is abundant and within a few feet of topping out. There are a few bass in the littoral vegetation were they are easier to target.  Based on the number of trot lines and “jug” fishermen Rick has been observing recently on the lake the catfishing appears to be very good.

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Braxton Long caught this nice bass at a local pond!

Braxton Long caught this nice bass at a local pond!

The busy holiday weekend produced some great fishing reports from both fresh and saltwater. The rivers are all fishable, and the bite is worth the effort. Go early or late for the more comfortable temperatures, and recharge with a nap in the middle of the day. New Moon is July 15. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the flathead catfish bite is still on fire. Anglers reported catching fleatheads from 20 to 50 pounds on goldfish. The bream and redbreast bites were also good, while the bass bite was steady. Dannet at Altamaha Park said that the limb-liners reported catching some big flatheads this week. Fish from 30 to 60 pounds were reported by anglers baiting hooks with goldfish. Channel catfish averaging double-digits were also reported. The whiskerfish bite has turned on big-time in the big river. Bream and redbreasts were caught in numbers averaging 20 to 25 per trip. Soft plastics produced most of the bass. The mullet bite has turned on, as well. Little red wiggler worms fished around salt blocks and rabbit pellet bags produced most of the mullet. The river level was 3.3 feet and rising (87 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.7 feet and falling (83 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on July 7.

Okefenokee Swamp – I went to the east side with my son Timothy and Ron and Nathanael Johnson on Friday morning. We wanted to target bowfin (mudfish), but the fliers were eating up our sallies (pink fooled them all). We fished for a couple of hours in the late morning and landed 21 fliers, 4 bowfin to 6 1/2 –pounds, and a trophy chain pickerel (jackfish). Ron started us off with a 21-inch jackfish that inhaled a prototype in-line spinner. Timothy caught the biggest bowfin, while Nathanael landed our second biggest, a 4-pounder. Three bowfin ate a prototype in-line spinners, while one ate a 1/16oz. yellow Satilla Spin. You will probably think I’m lying, but the star of a seafood meal that evening was the…(drum roll)…bowfin! We fileted them fresh, sautéed them, mixed the meat with the spices and ingredients from our family’s favorite Maryland crab cake recipe, and then chilled the patties all afternoon. That evening we pan-fried the “bowfin cakes” in oil, and they were delicious. I even ate one as a sandwich the next day for lunch, and it was still awesome. I never thought I’d use the words awesome and bowfin in the same sentence….(at least while talking about food!). Other anglers fishing the swamp reported good catches of warmouth, fliers, and bowfin from all entrances. The catfishing has also been consistent at all entrances. Don’t use much weight on your bottom rig, as it will bury you up in the muck on the bottom. I like to use a small split-shot or no weight and let your offering settle slowly to the bottom. On the west side, with the stronger current, a split-shot is necessary. You should have a great trip if you decide to fish the swamp this weekend. Pink Okefenokee Swamp Sallies worked best from all of my reports this week, but you will want to have some yellow ones also in case the fish are finicky.

Satilla River – The redbreast bite was still on over the holiday weekend. The top report I received was from Jay Murray of Uvalda. He fished the upper Satilla and landed 126 panfish (mostly redbreasts), releasing most of them. Crawfish and fire tiger Satilla Spins produced all of his fish. The weekend rains kept the river up, and it should have plenty of water to get around in johnboats this weekend. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river fishing was great over the holiday weekend. Redbreasts and bream were killing Satilla Spins, beetle spins, and crickets. Anglers reported catching 30 to 40 fish per trip. The catfish bite was great, with lots of bullhead catfish (butter cats) eating rooster livers and shrimp fished on the bottom. A few crappie were caught on minnows fished in the deep holes. The middle and lower Satilla produced some nice creels of 30 to 40 fish this week, as well. The river level  at the Waycross gage was 7.3 feet and rising (80 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.9 feet and falling on July 7.

St. Marys River – The catfish bite was awesome, with folks catching them about everywhere they fished. Shrimp and rooster livers produced the most. One angler said the bite is so good that he “believes that they would bite on top of the river banks.” The bream and redbreast bite has remained strong, while the mullet are still running in good numbers. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 2.0 feet and falling on July 7.

Local Ponds –  The bass and bream provided most of the action this week in ponds.  Chad Lee was at it again this weekend in Alma area ponds. He caught 15 fish up to 4 pounds, but lost both 8-pound class fish that inhaled his baits. The best baits for him this weekend were Ribbit Frogs and Pop-R’s. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds bream fishing has been on fire. Crickets and worms produced most of them. Topwater plugs fished late in the day fooled some nice bass. After dark, black buzzbaits fooled bucketmouths. Live shiners fished under floats also fooled some bass. Channel catfish ate rooster livers and shrimp.

Coastal Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Anglers fishing from shore on Cumberland Island caught over a dozen quality whiting in about an hour of fishing on Wednesday. Small pieces of shrimp fooled them. Michael Winge said that Waycross anglers reported some great catches over the weekend. Big drum and redfish were caught in the sounds. Flounder and trout were caught in good numbers, but most of the trout were on the small side. An angler fishing the St. Marys area over the weekend caught over 60 trout on a Billy Bay Halo Shrimp. Most were undersized. “Tons” of whiting were caught in the Brunswick area. An angler reported catching an 11-foot shark in the Hampton River this weekend. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that dinner-plate-sized blue crabs were thick under the pier. Crabbers filled their coolers quickly, and bottom fishermen had to rebait frequently because of the bait-stealers. Flounder are eating mudminnows fished from the pier, with most fish between 16 and 18 inches. Croakers and whiting are abundant. Big sharks are around. A Waycross angler landed and released a 7-foot lemon shark over the weekend. The fish ate a kingfish head. The angler’s arms are still out of commission after the fight.

Best Bet – My top pick for the weekend would be redbreast fishing on the upper Satilla if the river drops back to 6 feet (at the Waycross gage) by the weekend. Next would be surf fishing or fishing the sounds from a boat for shark and tarpon. Both big fish are lurking around pogy pods. If you want to set the hook lots, throw any kind of bladed lure in the

Categories: Fishing

Georgia Fishing Report: July 2, 2015

North Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and Region Fisheries staff)

Lake Lanier catfish

Target some catfish this holiday weekend, like this one caught on Lake Lanier.

July 4th is here, so it’s time for all north Georgia anglers to launch into “full summer mode” with our angling techniques and targets. The controlling factors for our success is, first and foremost, water temperature, and secondly, reduced sunlight. For trout, we’ll head way up high in elevation or tuck in behind a really big dam (Buford or Blue Ridge) that has stored up winter water. We fish early, when the water is coldest, or at least hit the shade. Summer sport fish don’t like a high sun that paints a bulls-eye on their backs for predators like ospreys, herons, otters, and bigger fish. Instead of running away from summer showers, seasoned trouters run toward them to catch the cool, muddy water and the earthworm hatch. In fact, take a look at last year’s advice on warm weather “hatches” and give some of these tips a try again this summer. Remember to use heavier line when those trophies can’t see your line in the muddy water, and you’ll increase your odds of landing that trout of a lifetime. You’ll also play and land them quicker, which is good for summer fish health.

Better yet, we’ll turn away from trout for a little while! Try switching species and have a blast this summer. Here are some examples: river bass, river bream, carp, gar, summer stripers, pond catfish, bream, and bass.

Chattahoochee gar

Gar caught on a fly in the Chattahoochee.

River anglers must work around muddy water created by these heavy summer showers. Water clarity really seems to control the bass and bream bite. Watch the USGS streamflow gauges and call local shops for the latest intel on water clarity. Muddy rivers are basically shut down, except for catfish, but turbid waters, where visibility is a foot or two, can still fish well when anglers cast toward the shady shallows. Landon and the Guru have had some very successful prospecting for upper Hooch shoal bass in between these storms by employing the shady shallows technique. Guru reported seven bass to 16 inches Tuesday night on a chartreuse Boogle Bug popper. Dredger tossed a chartreuse Clouser into a turbid Hooch last week and connected with nine shoals to 16 inches. (Secret weapon was finn chartreuse raccoon)

Many seasoned trouters now switch targets completely and aim for these bass and bream, and even some other summer trophies like carp and gar. Dredger tossed a gar fly into the Hooch on Sunday evening and found a nice trophy that pulled hard and jumped a couple times. A three foot fish going airborne is a sight to behold! Grab a seven or eight weight rod and try tossing these miniature wet mops at the next school of gar you spot on the lake or up the river. If it pulls, it’s fun, right?

Savvy river anglers will also locate summer thermal refuges for migrating reservoir stripers and toss some big lures or baits (where legal) at dawn or dusk.

Small lake anglers should aim for mornings and evenings, and hit either the shady shallows or some deep structure. Overhanging limbs are bug factories, and some nice bream and bass will move under them early and late in the day to pick off the hapless bugs that plop onto the water surface. Kids, zebco’s, and crickets are a summer recipe for success. Some forked sticks, nightcrawlers or chicken livers, and an evening campfire might be another great way of enjoying a weekend night. The catfish fillets will be an added bonus as you make summer vacation memories with your family and friends. Try a Forest Service or state park lake near you soon.

Coldwater die-hards can still get a great trout fix. The Hooch and Blue Ridge tailwaters are still stocked and the water is cold. Some good reports continue from those two locales.

If it rains and the tribs muddy up the mainstream, head upstream and get close to the dam to discover clear water. Bluelines will fish great for small, wild fish as long as mountain anglers don their camo, grab a short rod, and employ their best stealth techniques. Stocker anglers have a bunch of streams to choose from, as DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stock nearly all of the waters on our master trout stocking list for July 4th holiday crowds.

Some helpful summer trouting hints include: fishing upstream reaches where the water is colder at high elevation, fishing the mouths of cold tributaries (especially in small, spring-stocked lakes that are now heating up) fishing the first couple hours after dawn, and downsizing baits, hooks, and line diameter to fool picky fish in low, clear water. One-third of a nightcrawler on a size 10 or 12 hook, attached to some four pound test fluoro with no split shot, is hard to beat. If they spook when you wade and fish upstream like you normally do, try slipping in quietly way above them, flip open the bail, and feed your bait or fly downstream to that prime debris jam. Big hoppers will high-grade your catch, as the smaller fish won’t be able to choke down a big hopper.

Reservoir anglers now have to dredge deep for most of their targets. Thermoclines are setting up and a lot of species are aiming for the depths providing their preferred combos of water temperature and dissolved oxygen. The guide reports in Ken’s weekly bulletin (below) do a great job of describing trends for deepwater prospecting, with a little bit of topwater tossed in too. Fish early to avoid the majority of recreational boaters that share our public lakes; most sleep in a bit and therefore give you a chance to fish those magic dawn hours.

If we pick our times, places, and techniques carefully, there will be some fishing fireworks on our horizon. Enjoy the weekend. May a bulldogging shoal bass or tailwalking gar make you glad you woke up early, slathered on the bug repellant and sunscreen, and said, “let’s Go Fish Georgia.”

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Clarks Hill Lake (clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Bass are relating to deep water and are coming up to feed during the major feeding times.  During the mid-day feeding period there is some surface activity.  Use the Pop R and the Rico in shad and take an olive green Shad Rap and work it with short jerks all the way back to the boat.  Some of these bass will break the surface in twenty to forty feet of water so don’t be afraid to cast off the other side of the boat into deeper water.  Locating a long narrow run-out point on your map will be a good place to start fishing the first thing in the morning.  Also continue to fish those stump rolls in twelve to twenty feet of water with big spinner baits, Rapala DT14, jigs or Carolina rigs.  Getting the crank baits down and letting them bounce off any structure will usually trigger a strike.

 

Jackson Lake (down 1.9 feet, clear, 80s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Fish deep structure in or near the main lake or seek cooler water up the rivers. Target main lake points the bluffs any hump at 12 to 15 feet with brush, bridge pilings and docks.  Put to use shaky heads, heavy compact jigs and deep running crank baits through the day.  Hot weather has many fish hunkered down in deep water, suspended, or roaming with shad in open water.  Early in the day, throw a Rico or other top-water bait on the deep sea walls or at open water opportunities.  We may see more Mayfly hatches resulting in shallow fishing opportunities.  Bream move up on the insects and big bass move up on the bream.  The hatches are off and on, but the possibility exists that we will see some more hatches.  When the hatch concentrates, it is a prime opportunity to catch quality fish in shallow warm water.  Many baits may catch them, but top-water fishing with a Rico or Pop R can be hard to beat.  Also try swimming a green jig.  Look up the rivers, late in the afternoon for possible hatches.  Good fish can bite at night on the lights.

Marben PFA – Largemouth Bass: July is the time of year when bass are moving into deep water and typically stay there most of the day.   However, anglers willing to test the waters in early morning or right before sunset might be surprised with a bass being caught in the shallows.  Anglers have been most successful with shaky head lures and top water baits in early morning and late evening.

Bream: Bream are the most popular fish targeted this time of year.  The best thing about bream is that this fish will hit a variety of bait.  Right now, meal worms are proving the most successful bait.  However, there have also been reports of anglers using micro lures to catch hand-sized bream.  Most of the bream caught have been in six to eight feet of water.

Catfish: When the other fish begin to slow, anglers will often turn their attention to catfish at Marben PFA.  Catfish are reported being caught throughout the day.  Based on angler reports, Bennett is the current “hot” lake.  Anglers are most successful using worms.  A handy shade tree seems to be important too!

Crappie: Crappie fishing is just slow during mid-day but tends to pick up as late evening approaches.  Anglers using live minnows and yellow jigs are the most successful.  Try fishing cover approximately 8-10 feet.

  • Remember early morning and late evenings are the best times at Marben PFA.
  • Temperatures are extremely hot at Marben PFA.  Sunscreen and plenty of water are highly encouraged. Don’t forget the picnic lunch!!

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

McDuffie PFA – Largemouth Bass – Good: Hot ponds have been Willow, and Clubhouse.  Willow is still giving up keeper bass and many larger bass are being released by our fishermen.  In Jones bass fishing has slowed down but small bass will keep fishermen alert.  The lake with most potential is Willow for quality and quantity.  Willow Lake has big bass but fishermen must be prepared or risk being broken off in the underwater structure.  The bass have begun feeding on shad early in the mornings and late evenings in Willow and Breambuster.  Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) is open from first through fifteen (1st-15th) of each month.  Rodbender is open for the next 14 days but will close at sunset on the 15th. This lake has been setup for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.   June is usually an excellent top-water bait month with soft baits falling in the number two spot.

Bream:  Good – Best ponds have been Beaverlodge, Willow, Clubhouse and Jones for good catches.   The Bream should be on bed during this full moon and can be found around structure and aquatic plants with firm sandy bottoms.  The best baits for catching bream are red wigglers and crickets under adjustable floats; using light tackle to make soft casts pass the structure and pulling the bait rig back and stopping the bait will generate many more strikes.  Patience is the key when fishing for bream on beds. Our local fly fishermen are catching aggressive bream on artificial nymphs, flies and bugs near shore and structure.

Channel Catfish:  Good – Best ponds have been Breambuster, Beaverlodge, Bridge, Willow and Jones.  Catfish are still feeding as they prepare to spawn and water has reached above 80 degrees.  The best fishing is on the bottom in deep areas using chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and crickets.

Striped Bass:  Fair – Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse.   Smaller stripers will keep anglers busy in Bridge Lake as fishermen fish for catfish and bream on the bottom using worms and chicken liver.  The stripers have not begun feeding on the shad near the surface.

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

Lake Oconee (full, stained up rivers, light stain on main lake, 87-92 degrees) – Bass fishing is fair.  A buzz-bait fished on the sea walls and rip rap at first light is still a good way to start your day.  Next move to the boat docks in water from 5ft. to 10 ft. deep and work a shaky head under these docks.  If Georgia Power starts pulling water move to the bridge rip raps with a crank bait or spinner bait and work the down-lake side of the bridge.  Some fish are starting to show up on the humps on the south end of the lake and in Richland Creek.  A Carolina rigged worm fished on these humps will draw a strike.  You can also use a large crank bait and work the down lake side of the humps.

Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are in the mouths of the creek and large coves.  They have moved into the timber and you can find them with your Lowrance in the top of the trees.  When you find them drop a live minnow into the school and start catching.

“Striper fishing is good.  There is a good top-water bite for the first two hours of day light.  Use a popping cork or an inline spinner.  When the top-water stops use your umbrella rigs on the main lake points and humps to pick up the larger fish.” – Cpt. Mark Smith, Reel Time Guide Service

Lake Russell (clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Now it is time to head offshore as the fish go to the usual summer pattern.  Top water Chug Bugs are still working early off the points and in the mouth of the larger coves.  Fish the upper end around Pickens Creek and look for some schooling fish.  In the very back of Pickens Creek and at the bridge at Sanders Ferry there are all spots.  Use the flukes and the 85 Sammy and anything in shad patterns.  Beaver Dam Creek from the mouth to about midway back is still producing nice bass.  Early in the morning start off with the top water Chug Bugs and alternate with suspending Shad Raps in the natural shad color.  One substitute for the RS Shad Rap will be the no. 5 jointed Shad Rap.  Either one is producing but make sure you throw the natural shad color.  Work the islands and all the points at the mouth of Beaver Dam and even up the Savannah under the RR Bridge for about a mile.  No need to travel any further than a couple of miles from the 72 ramp for some good fishing.  Later in the day use the Zoom finesse worms.  Rig them on a 3/16 ounce bullet weight Texas rig.

Lake Sinclair (full, stained up river, main lakeclear, 91 degrees) – “Bass fishing is fair.  The warm weather and increased boat traffic from the holiday weekend made things a little tough.  The best pattern right now is fishing deeper docks, brush piles, and offshore structure. Focus on water depths of 14 to 18 feet each day to be most successful.  A Buckeye spot remover shaky head with a black Zoom trick worm has worked really well this week.  Skip this shaky head under the docks or drag it slowly through deep brush piles.  Long points or brush covered humps that drop in the river channel have been productive as well.  A Spro Little John DD crankbait and a Buckeye football jig will produce fish on these offshore locations.  A top-water bait can still produce early and late or when you have low light conditions.  This bite can be incredible when the mayflies hatch. A great lure choice for top water would be a buzz-bait or a Spro Bronzeye frog.  As always on Lake Sinclair, the bite gets better when Georgia Power is generating current.” – Matt Henry, Sinclair Marina

West Point Lake (full, clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is good.  Fish are really spread out in two groups.  The top-water bite is on fire first thing in the morning on points and lay downs.  Buzz baits, Spooks, and Pop R’s are producing when cast very close to cover and then slowly worked back to the boat.  There are a few May fly’s left going up the river that are producing some better fish early in the day as well.   Pitch jigs close to over-hanging limbs with bream present.  These fish have been highly pressured so work the bait slowly.  The strike zone will be in the first five feet of the over-hanging limbs.  Once the sun is high focus on docks and lay-downs near the mouth of pockets with a green pumpkin Z-Man floating worm.  The Z-Man floating worm will stand up on a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce shaky head so do not be afraid to let this bait soak to catch larger fish.  The best points and lay-downs are from the 109 bridge north going up the river.  During generation periods use deep diving crank baits on humps and road beds.  You can load the boat quick with some really heavy weights during these periods of generation.

Categories: Fishing

Counting Quail – DNR completes breeding bird surveys

By: Dallas Ingram, Georgia DNR wildlife biologist

Wildlife biologists with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division recently completed breeding bird counts on several wildlife management areas (WMAs) and private properties that are part of Georgia’s Bobwhite Quail Initiative (BQI) focal landscapes. Biologists listen for male bobwhites and other species that use the same habitat as quail. These birds include Bachman’s sparrow, painted and indigo buntings, loggerhead shrike, prairie warbler and field sparrows.

Male birds call during the spring and summer in order to attract mates and announce their territories. Calling males are counted from designated locations and these numbers are used to generate a population index which allows biologists to track long term population trends.

In the video below, from the Albany Nursery WMA, you can hear two field sparrows and a male bobwhite quail. These birds were located along a fallow field border (comprised of native grasses/weeds/briars/shrubs) intentionally established along the edge of a crop field that’s managed for mourning doves. Management for bobwhites and many other game and nongame species can be successfully integrated into working farms and forests through planned management. Landowners can receive technical guidance and detailed management plans through BQI which is solely funded through the Bobwhite Quail license plate. For more information on Georgia’s quail focal areas, monitoring or how to manage for quail and other species on your property, go to www.georgiawildlife.com/bobwhite-quail or contact a WRD BQI biologist within BQI’s East Region (706-554-3745), Central Region (478-296-6176), or Southwest Region (229-420-1212).

Georgia Fishing Report: June 19, 2015

South Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologists Bert Deener and regional Fisheries staff)

5 and a half pound sea trout caught off Saint Simons Pier.

5 and a half pound sea trout caught off Saint Simons Pier.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the river is on a slight rise, but it has now slowed the bream bite in the backwaters. Crickets produced some big bream around treetops in the lakes. Dannet at Altamaha Park said that a bream tournament over the weekend had 140 anglers entered. The rising, stained water slowed the bite, and the anglers had to work for their fish. They did catch fish, and most were caught from the feeder creeks and backs of the lakes (that is where the clearest water was located). Most anglers caught between 5 and 30 bream. The river level was 6.1 feet and falling (86 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 7.5 feet and rising (83 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 16.

Okefenokee Swamp – Early in the morning anglers are catching warmouth and fliers on the east side. Bullhead catfish were caught in good numbers from all entrances. Even after pulling out thousands of fish from the boat basin on the east side, anglers are still catching a few warmouth and fliers there. They have even caught an occasional bream on crickets.

Satilla River – Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river fishing slowed with the high water and high heat, but the river is falling, and the bite is improving. A few fish were caught by anglers pitching crickets close to the bank cover. Satilla Spins (black/chartreuse and crawfish) fooled redbreasts and an occasional bass. Channel and bullhead catfish ate rooster livers and shrimp. Buzzbaits and ZOOM lizards and speed craws caught some nice bass. I spoke with an angler late last week who caught several bass up to 5 pounds in the Waycross area. The river level on June 16th at the Waycross gage was 7.7 feet and falling (80 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 8.3 feet and rising.

St. Marys River – The mullet run is in full swing. A piece of worm rigged on a #6 hook was the ticket. The catfish bite has been as hot as the air temperature. In the early morning before the heat, anglers reported catching some nice bream and redbreasts by pitching crickets. The river level on June 16th at the MacClenny gage was 2.1 feet and falling.

Local Ponds –  Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds bream fishing has been tops. Crickets and worms produced some nice fish on the new moon. Jigs, beetlespins, and copperfield Satilla Spins also produced good bream catches for those using artificials. Rooster livers were tops for catfish. Black buzzbaits produced some nice bass early in the morning, late in the evening, and after dark.

Coast (Saltwater)

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

I received reports of anglers catching tripletail this week from inshore channel markers. Live shrimp fished near the markers around slack tide has been the best way to catch them. Michael Winge said that Waycross anglers caught plenty of whiting in the sounds. Shrimp and squid both produced good catches of the tasty fish. A group of anglers fishing this past weekend reported catching a potpourri of fish including whiting, flounder, redfish, and trout. The Jekyll Island Pier produced some nice flatfish this week for those dragging mudminnows. Spanish mackerel and kingfish were caught in the channels and nearshore reefs. Tarpon should be here in good numbers any day. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the blue crabs are THICK under the pier. Crabbers are catching buckets-full of them, and they are really big. Croakers, spadefish, trout, sharks, whiting, and flounder also hit the deck this week. Monitor the marine forecast.

Best Bet – If the current heat wave stays (as it is predicted to), saltwater fishing should be the best bet. The whiting bite is still consistent in the sounds and deep holes in rivers. Seatrout are on the beach and will be biting for the next couple months as waves of fish head to the surf to spawn. I like throwing Assassin Sea Shads under the bigger oval Cajun Thunder Floats at them. If you need a little more weight for casting distance, pinch on a rubber core sinker (remove the rubber core first) below the brass beads.

Categories: Boating, Fishing

Georgia Fishing Report: June 5, 2015

North Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and Region Fisheries staff)

kids fishing event

Look for a kids fishing event near you next week.

National Fishing and Boating Week, a national celebration of fishing and boating, is the perfect reason to get out on the water and experience the joys of boating and fishing.  Coinciding with most states’ free fishing days, National Fishing and Boating Week occurs each year during the first full week of June.

Time spent fishing and boating is a great opportunity to talk, laugh, relax, reconnect and create good memories with friends and family.   How can you celebrate?

In Georgia, there are two FREE fishing days (June 6 and 13) held during National Fishing and Boating Week.

Additionally, there are dozens of kids fishing events held this week, especially on the weekend. Take your child to one of these events, especially if you or your child, is new to fishing. Great way to meet people, get expert advice and spend time together.

National Fishing and Boating Week was initiated by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Take Me Fishing program.  Click here for more information.

Apprentice Trout Stockers – Buford Hatchery Fisheries Technician Andy Wentworth transported trout to Stamp Creek on Pine Log Wildlife Management Area on Wednesday, June 3.  He was met upon arrival by his able stocking assistants, the kids from the Cherokee County Parks & Recreation Department’s “Fishing Camp.”  The weeklong camp teaches fishing skills and the highlight of the camp is always Stamp Creek stocking day with Buford Hatchery. For more information on this special summer camp, visit: http://www.crpa.net/page/fishing-camp

Striper Stockers Spotted

Lanier Bass  – “Nice bass I caught on Lanier on May 4.  Trolling with umbrella rig with yellow jigs.  Enjoy the photo.”  – Tara

Ken’s Lake Reports

Nottely Bass

Worth the Hike In – “Fished the IDBIS River yesterday in the XXX mtns. It was a bright blue sky day, which may have made things tougher. I caught 14-15 wild RB’s. Missed a few more. All small but really fun. Had a decent sized fish (for that water) on for a bit but he spit out the hook or something. It was probably 12-13 inches.  David G, a very good caster who has been fishing these waters for decades, got only 2 fish and a few misses, but he limited himself to one dry fly. I had a caddis and one or two tiny nymph droppers and only got one catch and three strikes or refusals at the dry. We saw a cahill about size 12 and some other big mayfly about size 8. Only saw one cahill and two of the other big bug.  There were tons of midges swarming and a couple caddis size 16 flitting about. I did not see a fish rise all day.

It took an hour  and a half to drive to the trail head at IDBIS Creek, and 40 minutes to hike to the river. But fishing was nil at that area, so we got out and hiked another 45 minutes to Notellum Creek and got back in the river above that confluence. That meant after fishing upstream for three hours we had an hour and almost 45 minutes hike out. Left home 8 am and got home 8 pm.  But I did enjoy it.  Beautiful small stream.” – Ralph A.

Bluelines are Best Bets – Early summer is a great time to head up the mountain and fish Georgia’s smaller trout streams, known as “bluelines” by savvy anglers searching for secret spots on topo maps. Bluelines shed stormflows quickly and return to fishable conditions within a day, if not several hours, after a summer storm.  Turbidity is relatively low because of the stable watersheds and limited disturbance on national forest lands. (Report and blueline how-to)

Trout stockers – John Lee suggests this week’s hotspots: Hooch and Toccoa tailwaters at the dams, Hooch in Helen before the 10am tuber hatch, Nimblewill, Holly, Cooper, Tallulah, and West Fork Chattooga.

Wait on the Bass Rivers – This week’s storms have many of north Georgia’s warmwater rivers blown out for several days.  Check river gauges and call local tackle shops before taking your next float trip.  While flows may drop, turbidities will run high for several more days.

This is a great week to introduce new families to the fun of recreational fishing.  Take a little time out of your own schedule to pass on your love of the sport and help cultivate the next generation of Georgia’s aquatic conservationists.

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Clarks Hill Lake (full, clear, upper 70s) – Bass fishing is good. The bigger, more active bass have begun to move back to the primary lake points with some holding on to the secondary points in the larger coves. Use the #5 Jointed Shad Rap and the DT6 and fish any wood and rocks during this period. Boat docks are still holding bass during the mid day period when the sun is out and the sky is blue. A slow presentation seems to be working the best during these hard to fish periods. Expect a good early morning bite and it will slow down as the sun comes over the treetops. All black buzz baits work in the middle of the day.

Flat Creek PFA Catfish and bream are the two species that have been biting the best right now. During the cooler hours of morning and evening the fish have been more responsive, and during the heat of the day the fish are sluggish with their strikes. Those fishing in deeper, cooler water are still having success even in the hotter parts of the day. There will be less visibility in the lake as a planktonic algal bloom continues to develop. As you notice the visibility diminishing, a switch in baits to darker colors will be a better option for all fish.

Bass: Success – Watermelon Zoom Trick Worms, Watermelon Zoom Centipede worms, fished shallow (2-3’) and silver spoons, and lipless crank baits fished in 6-8 foot of water.

Bream: Success – Worms (Red Wigglers, Glow worms, and Pinks) on a Carolina rig.

Crappie: Success – Red &Black Hal-Flies (5’ of water), Chartreuse glow-in-the-dark jigs by Carolina Hookers fished with a glow-in-the-dark Rat Finkee jig head (#6 & #8) fished in 8 foot of water. The Crappie fishing has slowed down considerably but anglers have been catching some nice crappie off the fishing pier on minnows.

Channel Catfish: Success – Chicken livers tied with sewing thread and then placed on the hook will prevent the fish from stealing the bait and has proved very successful. Worms fished on a Carolina Rig.

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

Jackson Lake (up 1.7 feet, clear, 80s) –Bass fishing is good. Much of the lake is clear and top water tactics are fishing as well as ever. Many bass are holding shallow and can be found on the main lake and in the pockets. Better quality fish seem to be on the main lake and the first half of the pockets. Shallow fish will often be found relating to sea walls and riprap. Particularly in the early morning, fish will use these areas to feed on spawning shad. Some fish are slightly deeper with structure in the 5 to 7 foot range being good to target. Work the main lake points for some good fishing as well. Spinner baits, jigs, hard baits, and plastics can all fish well. Spinner baits, flukes and top water are among some of the baits that will work well on sea walls and rip rap. The Senko continues to be a good bait when the sun is shining. Use 5″ baits on a 4/0 offset shank hook or a wacky rig. Fish it just about anywhere, but docks can fish very well with Senko and other baits presented underneath. Top water action is hard to beat right now. The Pop R bite is hot on the seawalls. Cast and fish as close to the wall as possible. Shallow and parallel presentations can be very productive on the walls, but it often pays to work long perpendicular casts all the way to the boat. Particularly on flat contoured banks, top water baits will call up deeper fish that are holding well off the wall. Commit to top water baits early and late in the day. Throw them all day long under overcast conditions or on banks with shade offered by the tree line.

Marben PFA – Largemouth Bass: June is typically the time of year when bass are moving into deep water.  This often indicates that bass fishing is beginning to slow as the warmer summer months begin.  However, anglers willing to test the waters in early morning might be surprised with a bass being caught in the shallows.  Anglers should try truck worms and top water baits in early morning.

Bream: Bream are the most popular fish targeted this time of year.  The best thing about bream is that this fish will hit a variety of bait.  The most popular are worms and crickets fished in 4 to six feet of water.  Bream will hit throughout the day and will most likely be found hanging around submerged, woody cover.  Anglers may have to follow the shade this time of year to avoid the sun.  If patient, anglers will be successful in June.

Catfish: When the other fish begin to slow, anglers will often turn their attention to catfish at Marben PFA.  Catfish are reported being caught in early or late evening as well as in the hottest time of the day.  Chicken livers, stink bait, and worms are the most popular when targeting catfish.  A handy shade tree seems to be important too!

Crappie: Crappie are showing similar patterns to largemouth bass.  Successful anglers are finding good numbers in deeper water.  Live minnows are still the most popular bait when targeting crappie at Marben PFA.  Margery Lake has been a popular spot with the most success at the dam.  Early mornings, as well as late evening are popular times for anglers targeting crappie.

Bream: Bream are the most popular fish targeted this time of year.  The best thing about bream is that this fish will hit a variety of bait.  The most popular are worms and crickets fished in 4 to six feet of water.  Bream will hit throughout the day and will most likely be found hanging around submerged, woody cover.  Anglers may have to follow the shade this time of year to avoid the sun.  If patient, anglers will be successful in June.

Catfish: When the other fish begin to slow, anglers will often turn their attention to catfish at Marben PFA.  Catfish are reported being caught in early or late evening as well as in the hottest time of the day.  Chicken livers, stink bait, and worms are the most popular when targeting catfish.  A handy shade tree seems to be important too!

Despite warm temperatures, Marben PFA can be a relaxing place to visit.  Sunscreen and plenty of water are highly encouraged. Don’t forget the picnic lunch and your stringer!

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

McDuffie PFA – Largemouth Bass – Good:  Hot ponds have been Willow, and Clubhouse. Willow is still giving up keeper bass and many larger bass are being released by our fishermen. In Jones bass fishing has slowed down but small bass will keep fishermen alert. The lake with most potential is Willow for quality and quantity.  Willow Lake has big bass but fishermen must be prepared or risk being broken off in the underwater structure. The bass have begun feeding on shad early in the mornings and late evenings in Willow and Breambuster.  Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) is open from first through fifteen (1st-15th) of each month. Rodbender is open for the next 14 days but will close at sunset on the 15th. This lake has been setup for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.  June is usually an excellent top-water bait month with soft baits falling in the number two spot.

Bream:  Good – Best ponds have been Beaverlodge, Willow, Clubhouse and Jones for good catches.  The Bream should be on bed during this full moon and can be found around structure and aquatic plants with firm sandy bottoms. The best baits for catching bream are red wigglers and crickets under adjustable floats; using light tackle to make soft casts pass the structure and pulling the bait rig back and stopping the bait will generate many more strikes. Patience is the key when fishing for bream on beds. Our local fly fishermen are catching aggressive bream on artificial nymphs, flies and bugs near shore and structure.

Channel Catfish:  Good – Best ponds have been Breambuster, Beaverlodge, Bridge, Willow and Jones.  Catfish are still feeding as they prepare to spawn and water has reached above 80 degrees. The best fishing is on the bottom in deep areas using chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and crickets.

Striped Bass:  Fair – Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse.  Smaller stripers will keep anglers busy in Bridge Lake as fishermen fish for catfish and bream on the bottom using worms and chicken liver. The stripers have not begun feeding on the shad near the surface.

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

Lake Oconee (full, stained up rivers, light stain on main lake, 79-81 degrees) – Bass fishing is fair. Start your day with a buzz bait fished along sea walls and rip rap. After the sun gets up switch to boat docks from the middle of the creeks and big coves out to the main lake. Use a shaky head under the docks and around the dock poles. You can also use a small shallow running crank bait around the same docks. As the day heats up move to the bridge rip raps when Georgia Power starts pulling water. Use a white/chartreuse spinner bait or a small crank bait and fish the down lake side with these two bait. Keep an eye on the water movement while fishing, if you see current movement then go the bridges. Over the past week this has been late in the afternoon.

Crappie fishing is good. The fish are in the mouths of the creek and large coves. They are suspended above the timber. Long lining just over the fish in 6 to 10 ft. of water will draw a strike. If you are fishing muddy water use a dark jig. Stained water use a jig with chartreuse in it. Some fish are starting to stage in the timber and live bait fished into the tree will catch these fish.

“Striper fishing is good. Most of the fish have moved to the humps and points from mid lake to the dam. We are still catching some fish on live shad fished on down lines on the humps and points. Most of the fish are coming on the umbrella rig. The umbrella rig bite has taken off over the past week. We fish a 4 arm, 9 jig rig at 3 mph 100 feet behind the boat to target these fish.” Cpt. Mark Smith, Reel Time Guide Service

Lake Russell (full, clear, upper 70s) – Bass fishing is good. A lot of post spawn bass are being caught right now as they continue to feed heavily. The top water bite is still really good and jerk baits remain a good follow up bait along with flukes. Main lake points and secondary points continue to produce good size bass, but don’t forget to fish the sides of these points as well. The Carolina rig is another good method that has been very productive this past week. Don’t spend too much time in one area as anglers are having to move about the lake to catch a good limit. No more than two good keepers are coming from one point or area, so keep this in mind while fishing.

Lake Sinclair (full, muddy up river, main lake stained, 82 degrees) – Bass fishing is good. Top water lures and spinner baits are producing during early morning from shallow cover such as blow downs, docks, rip rap, grass, and shallow points. Anglers should experiment with varying types of baits because the best lure today may not produce tomorrow. Some excellent choices are: Super Spook Jr., Pop R, Chug Bug, Spin Bang a Lure, buzz baits, and Baby Torpedo. Spinner baits and weightless Flukes and Trick worms can also be the best on some mornings. Try bulging the surface with a 3/8 or ½ ounce spinner bait with double Colorado blades. A weightless yellow Trick worm worked well on one recent morning. When using spinning tackle, make sure to use a swivel about 8 10 inches above the worm to control line twist. Most shad have finished spawning except for a few scattered areas. If shad are seen spawning, try the fore mentioned top water baits plus a small white spinner bait. Although some bass are still around shallow docks, more are now on deeper docks, especially those that have brush under or around them. Catches from docks have come mostly on soft plastics; with jigs, crank baits, and spinner baits fooling a few fish.

West Point Lake (full, clear, low 80s) – Bass fishing has been good. The fish are now heading to the flats, points and reef markers. This has been a week for the soft plastics. On open shallow flats and pockets fan cast shaky head trick worms and creature baits to isolated cover and depressions. These fish are relating to small ditches. A light Carolina rig can also be effective in these same areas. My best areas have been from Wehadkee creek north to the 109 bridge.

South Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologists Bert Deener and regional Fisheries staff)

John Biagi with redbreast

John Biagi of Covington made a trip south last week to fish the Satilla River. He and his partner, Bryant Bowen, landed this quality redbreast and 66 other nice fish on crawfish Satilla Spins in the Waycross area of the river.

Altamaha River – I heard a couple great reports of panfishing on the river this week, with the best report of almost 40 quality bluegills and redbreasts. The rains upcountry have muddied the water as it has risen, so the bite will likely slow some this week in the main river. The oxbows should still produce good catches this weekend. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the fishing was as good as it gets for all species over the weekend. Big bream were caught on crickets, channel and blue cats were caught in the flow on rooster livers, and flatheads ate goldfish in the deeper holes. Soft plastics and crankbaits produced some good bass catches. Dannet at Altamaha Park said the shellcracker bite is still going strong. Some big bluegills were mixed in with the catch, as well. Pink worms fished on the bottom produced the most of both species. The channel cats were holding in the creeks feeding the river and were eating worms. Channel and flathead catfishing should be strong this weekend on the rising river. The river level was 5.2 feet and rising (82 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 6.3 feet and rising (79 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 2.

Okefenokee Swamp – The warmouth and flier fishing has been awesome as the water has pulled off the flats, but the yellow flies have picked up. Wear long pants and long sleeve fishing shirts, and you can do pretty well keeping the pests off of you. The fishing is good enough to warrant fighting some flies. On the east side, I heard of a group of 3 anglers catching a limit of warmouth from the boat basin by using crickets and crawfish. A few nice bream were caught by anglers fishing crickets, but that bite slowed a little this week. On the east side, fliers ate yellow sallies well. On the west side, the catfish bite has been awesome. On the north side of the swamp, the feeder creeks draining into the swamp produced great catches of catfish. Worms worked best.

Satilla River – The excellent reports continued from the river this week. From my feedback, crawfish Satilla Spins were the best color…again. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river fishing was on fire this week, with redbreasts and bream topping the catches. Crickets worked great this week, as did artificials, such as Satilla Spins, Spin Dandy spinnerbaits, and beetlespins. Reports were that they were eating it like “they would never have another chance to eat again” (and for many of them, they didn’t get another chance!). On Saturday, an angler fishing with his son north of the Hwy 121 Bridge caught 35 big redbreasts and bream in less than 2 hours of fishing using crickets and worms. Crankbaits and ZOOM worms produced some nice bass catches. Catfish ate shrimp and rooster livers fished on the bottom in deep holes. The river level at the Waycross gage was 6.5 feet and falling (76 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.6 feet and steady on June 2.

St. Marys River – Redbreasts have started bedding lately, and some true “roosters” and big bream were caught around beds with crickets and worms this week. Beetlespins produced good catches around blowdown trees and sandbars. Catfishing remained great with folks catching them about anywhere they dropped a hook. Shrimp, worms, and rooster livers baited them in. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 2.1 feet and falling on June 2.

Local Ponds –  A couple of anglers fishing a Valdosta area pond on Sunday had a double-header of double-digit bass. They had a 10-lb., 10-oz. and another just over 10 pounds hooked up at the same time. Live bait fooled their whoppers. Several other anglers reported catching nice bass from Waycross area lakes. Topwaters fished early and plastics and swimbaits fished after the sun came up seemed to be the standard. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds anglers whacked the bream this week by pitching crickets. Frogs and buzzbaits produced some great bass catches late in the evening.

Best Bet: Redbreast fishing on the Satilla is a great option this weekend. The local rains have brought the river level up enough to get around, but the river is still in decent shape. For the biggest redbreasts, throw spinnerbaits around sandbars for the pre-spawn fish. For numbers, pitch crickets around shoreline cover. On the Altamaha, the rains came just as the panfish bite was firing up. You should still be able to catch some nice bream in the oxbows this weekend, but the main river redbreast bite will probably be slower. Catfishing on any river is an excellent option this weekend. In saltwater, whiting are your best target for numbers, while big redfish at the jetties or sharks in the inlets are your best bets for monster fish.

Coast (Saltwater)

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Flounder were caught in good numbers by those fishing finger mullet and mudminnows. Whiting were caught in the sounds. Dead shrimp fished around structure produced some good black drum catches. Live shrimp produced keeper trout around oyster mounds and creek mouths. Look for the beach trout bite to fire off any day, but I have not heard of anyone going yet. Tripletail have been caught around inshore markers and buoys. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the flounder were tops from the pier. Most fish were from 13 to 18 inches. Gulp swimming mullets (chartreuse or white), finger mullet, and mudminnows produced the flatties. Live shrimp and mudminnows produced some nice trout catches from the deck. Dead shrimp fished on the bottom fooled whiting, croakers, and yellowtails. There have been some unique catches from the pier this spring. That continued on Thursday, with an angler landing a 36-inch cobia on a finger mullet. Lots of sharks are eating cut bait. Blue crabs are getting thick under the pier. Monitor the marine forecast.

Licenses Required at a PFA

FISHING

Angers 16 years and older must possess a current fishing license, AND a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) license to fish.

If you have either a Sportsman’s, Lifetime, Honorary (resident disability license or resident one-time veteran’s license), 3-day Hunting and Fishing License, or 3-day GORP Plus you are NOT required to have a WMA license to fish.

A WMA license is NOT required to fish at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area.

GENERAL ACCESS

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

Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass (GORP)

3-day hunting/fishing license

WMA license

Sportsman’s, Honorary (resident disability license or resident one-time veteran’s license) or Lifetime license

Categories: Fishing
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