If you want to fish the salt this holiday weekend, flounder are a great target. Gynni Hunter caught this keeper flatfish on Sunday from the St. Simons Pier.

Georgia Fishing Report: May 27, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Southwest Georgia

Central Georgia

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

Lake Russell (full, clear, 70’s) – Bass fishing is good.  Downsizing all the baits and even the line sizes will be the key during the warmer months.  Smaller crank baits like the #5 Shad Raps, small Flukes and small framed spinner baits will take the fish.  As the water temperature gets warmer, the bass will become less active and hold a little tighter to cover.  Any form of wood will be a good place to locate bass during the day.  During the nighttime, the spotted bass will venture out more and will be easier to catch.  Rocky points and steep rocky banks are excellent places to catch spotted bass during the dark of the night.  All black spinner baits and dark crank baits will be best after the sun sets.

Clarks Hill (down 1.7 feet, 70’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  This is an early bite all week.  Up Little River the water is a little cooler during the heat of the day.  Early in the morning the water is 75 degrees.  The bass are running to deeper water.  Some good bass are still hanging around the deeper water grass mats.  The best way to find these areas is either with Deep Diving Crank bait or a Carolina Rig.  When you come in contact with the grass, you will know it.  Isolate a couple of large mats and you will find the bass.  Fish three or four grassy areas switching back and forth all day long and make a lot of casts.  Up in the rivers, the bass will be holding a little tighter than normal to cover.  Several presentations in each area might be necessary to trigger a strike.  Use Bandit 200’s, Rapala X Raps, DT10’s, and Shad Raps and Carolina rigs. 

Lake Oconee (full, the lake is clear, temprature 75/81) – Bass fishing is good.  At first light fish a buzz bait on sea walls and rip rap from the middle of the coves and creeks to the back.  Then switch over to a spinner bait and fish the same areas.  White or white/chartreuse have been the best color.  Small crank baits fished around the docks will also draw a strike.  A chrome rattle trap, or a small shad rap number 5 or 7 in fire tiger, or shad color will work depending on water color.

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

reeltime@bellsouth.net

Striper fishing is good.  Look on the humps and points up the lake from the dam.  Live bait, umbrella rigs and spoons are all working well.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools on the humps then drop a live bait or a spoon down and hang on.

Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are starting to move into their summer locations.  Look on the creek ledges as well as in the deeper timber.  Once you locate the fish you can long line (troll) over them or drop a live bait into the school.

West Point Lake (down 3.6 feet, clear & 80’s) – Bass fishing has been good.  Numbers are beginning to pick up as fish are winding up their post spawn phase.  Just about anything is working right now, but better bites have come from fishing shaky heads and Carolina rigged trick worm.  The best colors for both have been a green pumpkin.  Spend your time fishing rocky points and roadbeds.  Look closely for water generation schedules as this will position fish for feeding.

SEE NOTICE FROM THE CORP OF ENGINEERS BELOW.

From the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Due to recent heavy rains, excess sediment deposits have pushed down from the Chattahoochee River leaving silt formations in the lake channel thus narrowing the navigation channel north of the Georgia Highway 219 river bridge.  This area is between Georgia Park and Ringer Park.  In addition, a large sandbar has formed along the west side of the river channel.  To properly mark the river channel, red and green buoys will be replaced with mid channel buoys (black and white vertically stripped) which identify the center of the channel.  Boaters should navigate near these buoys to ensure deeper water.  Shoal markers will be installed to identify the sandbar.  Boaters should proceed with caution in this stretch of river and always be on the lookout for floating debris.

Lake Sinclair (down .72 feet stained, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Use small all black buzz baits on the sea walls early.  Bass then head to the deeper waters off the deep points and it’s best to stay on the lower lake in the creeks.  Use the 1/2 ounce Stanley spinner bait with large silver willow leaf blades.  Slow roll this lure on the points and use a single Colorado blade and a chartreuse and white skirt.  Also up lake, work this same lure on thick bank cover.  The Zoom blue pumpkin lizard on a Texas rig has been fair on deep docks and points.  Add a glass rattle in the lizard.  Afternoons are better as the water warms up.  Later each day, use a trick worm in greens and cast around docks down lake and let it sink out of sight.  Also a dark Bulldog Rattle Back jig in black or browns and a crawfish Uncle Josh trailer, in matching colors can get strikes, but fish the baits slowly.

Jackson Lake (down .66 feet, clearing & 70’s) – Bass fishing is good and the fish are still active early and late.  Fish the docks and channel ledges with anything that resembles a crawfish.  Start off the morning with the crawfish crank bait.  The DT10 or the Fat Rap in the brown crawdad and the smaller number five size for best results.  While cranking the channel ledges you can move up to the larger sizes but the docks and shallow water will work better with the smaller ones.  Perch is another great color and it’s just about time for these fish to be in the shallows getting ready to spawn.  Later on in the day if the boat traffic will allow, move out and throw a Carolina rigged six-inch worm in the green pumpkin or pumpkin seed color.  Added scent will help the bass to hold on to the bait a little longer so use it often.  Use some JJ’s Magic on the tail of any soft plastic in the chartreuse color.

Flat Creek PFA

Surface Temperature: 79.3˚ F (26.3˚ C)

Water Level: 6’ 8” Below Full Pool

Water Visibility: 17”

The fish at Flat Creek are still biting well, with anglers fishing during the full moon or before storms leaving very happy.  Bass fishing has been good for those who have been able to get their lures into that six to seven foot water depth where the Bass seem be hanging out.  The large bream have been getting close to shore and some anglers have been very excited over the sizes caught, and several bream fisherman have limited out.  Crappie fishing has finally started to slow down as they have started to spread out across the lake and a little more finesse is required to find them.

Bass: Plum colored ‘Ol Monstor worms by Zoom.  Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms.  White Buzz baits. Minnows and worms (Pinks).

Bream: Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig.  Worms on a Texas rig.  Near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon.

Channel Catfish: The last angler interviewed that was catching catfish had great success with worms fished on the bottom. Chicken livers have historically worked very well.

Crappie: Minnows, jigs (John Deere or yellow and white colored Triple Ripple, or June Bug colored Teaser Tail) and light tackle.  If you are bank fishing try dangling a minnow right in the corner of the pier to catch those Crappie in the shade created by the pier.  If on a boat try cover that creates shade (tree tops).

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

Marben PFA

Water temps. : 70’s

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

Crappie: The crappie continue to be most aggressive in early evening, crowded around submerged timber in deeper water.  Anglers should see a slight change as crappie become a little less aggressive as the water warms in the summer months.  Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs.  Try fishing cover approximately 10-12 feet throughout the day, especially in the evening.

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

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

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

McDuffie PFA

Average Morning Water Temperature:   78 ⁰F – 80 ⁰F and rising

Water Visibility:     17 – 54+ inches

Largemouth Bass:  Action is picking up.  Bass have continued biting over the past two weeks.  A few fishermen have caught nice bass in the 2.5 to 5 pound range from Jones, Breambuster and Beaverlodge. Willow Lake has not produced the same bass action as in previous years.  Rodbender, the trophy bass pond, will be open on 1st June and will close the evening of June 15th.  A supplemental stocking of goldfish have been added to Rodbender to increase the overall condition of the all-female bass.  This lake has been setup with multiple bait species for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.  Bass tags from Rodbender must be sent to the Thomson fisheries office (address on web) or use the drop box at Rodbender boat ramp.  Reward tags must be turned in for the reward to be sent to the fisherman.  Breambuster has a nice population of 2 to 5 pound bass with plenty of bank access, as is the case with most of McDuffie PFA lakes.

Bream:  Bream have been biting steady.  Bream are being caught near shore and by fishermen in boats who are fishing deeper.  Bream can still be found near shoreline structure and aquatic plants but also suspended over deep water.  These pan fish make their spawning beds near weeds and logs in shallow water which requires the fishermen to find the fish, so search for the bedding areas.

Channel Catfish:  Catfish in the 1-4 pound range are biting well in Willow,  Beaverlodge and Bridge and can be caught in all lakes except Rodbender.  The best fishing is on the bottom in deep water using chicken liver, worms, and stink-baits.   One local fisherman is using shrimp for catfish near a rock pile in Bridge left side of boat ramp and catching some good fryer-size catfish.  Of course, the catfish feed best early in the morning or just before sundown.

Striped Bass:  Stripers are biting well in Bridge Lake.  There have been no reports of Clubhouse stripers being caught.  Striped bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse Lakes.  Stripers are biting on cut bait and chicken liver fished on the bottom.  Umbrella rigs, diving crank baits and top-water plugs are very effective on McDuffie’s stripers.

NEW*****

McDuffie Public Fishing Area and Warmwater Hatchery will host its next Kids Fishing Event on June 11th from 8 AM to 12 PM/ 4hours in duration. Kids ages 2 through 15 years old are allowed to fish during this Kids Fishing Event with parental/grandparent/family supervision and training.

McDuffie Hatchery will host this year’s last Kids Fishing Event on September 24th during Outdoor Adventure Day.

Families are starting to camp out since school is out in the Dearing area.  They are also catching fish.

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

North Georgia

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

Welcome to the Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start to summer.  We all give thanks to those who served, made the ultimate sacrifice, and have given us our “freedom to fish’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day).  “Decoration Day” remembrance is noteworthy whenever I drive through Dahlonega at this time of the year and observe all of those flag-lined roadsides.

Spring is over and the vast majority of our reservoir “shocking and stocking” is done, so you’ll see fewer reservoir reports based on biologists’ samples (as the lake fish have dropped deeper than the effective range of our electricity).   We’ll all have to now rely on guides and tackle shops for the latest intel on lake fisheries.

We now welcome June which, like March, is a transition month for our favorite sport fish species – and our techniques for finding and catching them.  As we say goodbye to spring and aim toward the hot summer, rising water temperatures and lower streamflows will send most fish “down” for cooler water and/or shade.  On our impoundments, stripers, hybrids, spots, walleye, and even big bream will sink deeper to find their preferred temperatures, with adequate oxygen, as these lakes stratify for the summer. (scroll down to “lake turnover” in here: http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Hatcheries/Buford)

We’ll still be able to find some topwater action as long as water temps don’t jump into the eighties, but it will be best at dawn and will probably quit soon after sunup.

On our larger freestone rivers, trout will soon nose into cooler tributaries or swim upstream to find water temps below seventy degrees, thereby surviving the summer.   On our trout tailwaters, all of those residents will just keep living at home and celebrating the fact that those winter-stored waters in our huge reservoirs will maintain cold tailwater temperatures for miles downstream from the big dams.

In contrast, our warmwater species like redeye and shoal bass, bluegill and redbreast sunfish will rejoice over warmer environs and more summer groceries dropping off tree limbs and washing off the banks after showers.  Ant, beetle, earthworm, and yellow jacket snacks are cherished.  River catfish are “hot” after dark on worms, cut bait, and chicken livers.

The common denominator for all of these river fish, however, is avoidance of the high sun.  It paints a bullseye on their backs for their enemies: herons, kingfishers, and otters.  Regardless of your chosen species, aim for the shade or the shadows of early morning or late evening for your best hookup rates.  Wade over or paddle your kayak closer to the shadelines.  Cast from the sun back into those shady banks and be ready for action.

Headwater trout streams will soon come into their own.  The heavy forest cover and deep gorges fend off most of the sun’s rays.  Wild trout up here will be super-spooky due to low, clear water, but they’ll also be hungry as heck as the spring hatches of aquatic insects end.  They’ll also start piling into the best remaining pools and competing for the few groceries floating down to them.  The best “lure” in Georgia mountain streams is simply stealth; if those fish do not know that you, their latest predator, has snuck up on them, they’ll dart out and try to eat darn near anything they can fit their jaws around.  It’s hard to be a #16 elk hair caddis or parachute adams as great searching patterns.  Try a cricket or a grasshopper if you’re a bait fan.

As always, we’ll be stocking just about every stream on our approved trout stocking list to accommodate you weekend warriors, armed with an extra day for camping out.

http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Trout%20Stocking

Big streams will fish best during early morning, when the water is coolest.  A second spike in fishing success will happen near dark.  The Hooch-Helen gauge is a great indicator of daily fluctuations in air temperatures and their impacts on stream temps.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02330450

Stockers in small streams will eat all day, as long as the sun isn’t making them jittery.

Hillbilly hint- if the water is super-low and clear, and it’s hard to approach your quarry via your normal stalk from below them, try this method.   Take all your weight off your line, get out of the creek, sneak way upstream from your quarry’s suspected “address,” get back on the stream bank, open your bail, float your bait or fly far downstream, and knock on their front door.

Enough of the intro; on to the reports!

  • Morgan Falls Tailwater

Pat Snellings said he and a buddy kayak-fished the Morgan Falls Tailwater last weekend.  Using swimbaits, each landed a respectable striper.  The phone pics he waved at me looked like solid proof.  He’s too busy helping the Buford Hatchery staff to stock trout in the Hooch tailwater today to write up a report.

trout stocking Markey Hooch TW 5-26-16 small

  • Stocker Best Bets

All the best waters on the weekly list (above) will have good stockings this week from state and federal trout hatcheries.  They’ll also host the biggest crowds.  Crowd-averse anglers should try: a) fishing at dawn, b) hiking in to remote reaches between easy stocking sites, or c) aiming toward the second tier of steams; those stocked twice a week.  They should be enough strays from two months’ of stocking to make some quick recons here worth your while.  Hint-cover a lot of water by casting only twice to each spot and moving upstream.

  • Fly-Flinging Dark-30’s
    • There are still enough insect hatches going on to tempt trout toward the surface at dusk.  Dredger had a very good Dark30 on Unnamed Border River last Saturday night.  It was a slow pick from six til eight, but some fish still came up to bust a #16 elk hair caddis that was cast downstream and skittered back up through the boulder pockets.  The switch turned on when the cahills came out to dance at eight.  The last of nearly a dozen wild browns was fondled at 8:50 pm.  Dredger remarked that while he had trouble connecting with caddis hatches this spring, it was one of the best cahill seasons he’s had in a long time.  The fun can be extended slightly longer with treks uphill and up north to locales like Nantahala DH and Smokies streams at higher elevations.
    • sunfish redbreast Hooch dark30 4-29-12 small
    • From: “Brian”Date: May 17, 2016 at 1:52:06 PM EDTSubject: Report

      Arrived a couple of hours before sunset at IDBIS and hiked upstream for 20 minutes. Dropped in and immediately got into wild browns.

      The first of the evening was also the biggest – 11 inches. Overall, brought a handful to the net (bounced a few others) – all wild browns, including a pretty 4-incher.trout bnt tooga JD 5-21-16 small

      All were FULL of energy.  Half came from the dropper, half came from the dry.

      The last to the net hit the dry at 8:39PM. On the hike out, the half moon allowed me to turn my light off in places and enjoy the enchanted light show provided by the innumerable fireflies.

      Switch?  Fondling?  IDBIS?   Don’t know local lingo?  Practice up:

      How to Speak Rabunite

      http://rabuntu.org/site/about/educational-programs/secrets/georgia-trouting-through-the-seasons/

  • Secret Speck Stream

Sounds like you’ll have to pay your dues before receiving this reward.

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=110410

  • Yak Fan

Hi Jeff,

You were kind enough to show me how to catch trout a while back. Haven’t caught many since, but did get this fellow from my fishing kayak. Pulled me around for awhile. 31″, and (guessing), 13 pounds or so.

striper Yak dohrm crawford May 2016

Dohrm Crawford (crawfish)

  • Mentoring Kudos

Enjoy the pics!

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=871711

  • Call for Hartwell Vols

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=871055

  • Toona

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=872174

  • Ken’s Reservoir Reports

http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html

Good luck this weekend.  Why go?  To get outside, of course!

https://vimeo.com/158051255

P.S.

This gold nugget was worth a quick blast to all of you weekenders.
http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=872436

Go early and leave early to avoid the holiday weekend boating crowds on lakes within striking distance of Atlanta.

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

 What great fishing we’ve had heading into the big holiday weekend. The rivers are getting right again after last week’s rains. Saltwater fishing picked up markedly this week with the lower winds and warm temperatures. Ponds and the swamp are still red hot. Just pick what you want to do for this weekend! Get ready for great fishing opportunities on June 4th. The annual Coke/Winge’s Bait and Tackle/DNR kids’ fishing event will be held at Brentz McGhin’s pond (for more information call 912-285-6094) and the annual Wayne County Catfish Tournament will be held out of Jaycees Landing on the Altamaha River in Jesup. For more information, visit the website http://waynetourism.com/catfish-tournament.html.  Last quarter moon is May 29th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – My son Timothy and I made our maiden voyage with our new kayaks to an oxbow off the Altamaha on Saturday. We threw Satilla Spins for panfish and Dura-Spins for bowfin and pickerel. We ended up with 8 species, including largemouth bass, bowfin (mudfish), bluegill, redbreast sunfish, chain pickerel (jackfish), flier, warmouth, and crappie. The hot Satilla Spin color was a prototype dreamsicle color, while fire tiger was the most productive Dura-Spin color. The most notable fish was my 10 1/4-inch flier which earned me an angler award (certificate and embroidered hat) from the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division. For all the rules of the program go to www.gofishgeorgia.com and click on angler resources, then angler awards. The most impressive catfish I heard of this week was a 38-pounder caught by Dave Roland on a trot line baited with catalpa worms. He was fishing the upper river when the behemoth ate the small bait. The river is about to fall after last week’s slug of rain, and the water is still dingy. Nonetheless, Justin Bythwood and Michael Deen caught bass in the river on Saturday by throwing spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, and plastics. Their biggest fish was a 3 1/2-pounder that inhaled a gold-bladed spinnerbait. Some really good panfish reports came in again this week. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle said that redbreasts and bream were caught in good numbers . The flathead bite heated up this week. Catfish in the 20 pound range were reported. Goldfish were the best flathead bait. Donna at Altamaha Park said that everything was biting. Big bream and redbreasts were caught, and the catch is swinging more toward bluegills than shellcrackers. Crickets and worms produced most of the panfish. Crappie were caught with minnows. More warmouth than usual were caught this week, and worms produced most of them. Goldfish produced flatheads, and shiners and worms accounted for good creels of channel and blue catfish. The river level was 6.8 feet and steady at the Baxley gage, and 7.8 feet and rising (74 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on May 24th.

Satilla River – Last week’s rains raised the river a couple of feet and muddied the river. The catfish bite has been the best option with the higher, muddier water. But, the level should good by the weekend and the stable temps in the mid-70’s should have the panfish chowing. Craig James of Waycross caught 25 catfish in the Woodbine area while fishing with his wife Brandy on Saturday. They used Catfish Catcher Jigheads baited with shrimp for their catch, which was mostly white catfish, but included 8 channel cats and a flathead. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said the river fishing was good primarily for catfish. Rooster livers and pink worms produced most of the catfish out of the deeper holes. Some redbreasts reportedly were caught with Satilla Spins and beetlespins. Bream were caught with crickets. Spinnerbaits and plastics produced most of the bass caught this week. The river level on May 24th at the Waycross gage was 7.0 feet and falling (75 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 5.6 feet and falling.

St. Marys River – Fishing in the lower river has been great. Big bream are eating crickets. Upriver, redbreasts are on fire. Bass were caught with soft plastics, and the catfishing has been excellent for those fishing shrimp or worms on the bottom. The river level at the MacClenny gage on May 24th was 2.2 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – Out of the Folkston entrance, the warmouth bite has slowed, but those willing to work for them caught about 20 per trip. Staff at Okefenokee Adventures said that very few people have been fishing.

Local Ponds – Julius Connor and Angelo Miles fished local ponds this week and caught some nice bass. Julius landed his personal best, a 5-pounder, on a Chatterbait and both young men caught some bass on buzzbaits, as well. Michael Winge said that Waycross area ponds produced some good bream reports. Crickets and worms fooled good creels of quality-sized bluegills. Bass ate shiners free-lined, topwaters, and speed craws.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Justin Bythwood and Gynni Hunter caught 3 quality flounder over 13 inches long from the St. Simons pier on Sunday. Michael Winge reported that the black drum bite has remained good, with dead shrimp working best. Whiting on the small side were caught from creeks around Brunswick. Redfish and trout were caught with Sea Shads from around oyster bars in the creeks in the Brunswick area. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that flounder, whiting, black drum, and a few trout were caught from the pier this week. A few redfish were caught late in the evening and quite a few small sharks were landed on cut bait. On Sunday night a 6 1/2-foot shark was caught on cut bait. Blue crabs were still around in good numbers. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet:  You can fish about anywhere you want this holiday weekend and do well. The bites I would concentrate on are: rivers for redbreasts, the Okefenokee for warmouth and bowfin, any river for catfish, and saltwater for flounder. It is forecasted to be dry between now and the weekend, so the rivers should be very fishable. Fling artificials or pitch crickets for redbreasts. Bruised banana gold and dreamsicle Satilla Spins produced the best catches I heard of this week. In the swamp, dabble crayfish or pink sallies around cypress knees and blowdown trees for warmouth and cast in-line spinners down the canal for bowfin. The bugs aren’t too bad yet, so go to the swamp before they take over next month. Put a shrimp on the bottom in any of the rivers and you should catch a catfish in short order. Drag a mudminnow or finger mullet around cover in the brine, and a flounder should inhale it. The flatfish numbers have picked up substantially over the last couple of weeks.

Gynni Hunter Flounder 5 16
If you want to fish the salt this holiday weekend, flounder are a great target. Gynni Hunter caught this keeper flatfish on Sunday from the St. Simons Pier.

Southwest Georgia

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

Lake Walter F. George – Recent reports say that the bass fishing on George is on fire. It took over 25 pounds to win a Lake Eufaula bass trail tournament last Saturday and all five of the top weights were over 20 pounds and the big fish weighed 8.25 pounds! The water level is up a bit and the shoreline grass is submerged and that is where the bass are. Most fish were caught on soft plastics and hollow frogs. The crappie have moved deeper but can still be caught on ledges and other submerged structure. The redear or shell cracker spawn appears to be over and the fish have moved slightly deeper but are still biting. Fishing for both channel and blue cats continues to be very good with many anglers reporting catching as many as they want to clean.

Flint River – The lower Flint River is well within its banks and is in good shape for a fishing trip. There have reports of good fishing for bream, largemouth bass, shoal bass and catfish. Anglers have also reported success catching white bass and hybrids below the dam at Lake Blackshear. Fishing from the wall, as well as, near the boat ramp and just downstream of the ramp have been productive. Try tossing white jigs or small silver spoons or spinners to entice one of these hard fighting fish to strike. The water level in the lower Flint has been fluctuating a great bit due to the hydroelectric operations at Lake Blackshear so you will need to plan your trip accordingly. The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful for doing so.

Worth_RES.jpeg

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

Montezuma above Lake Blackshear

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv/?site_no=02349605&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00062

Highway 32 below Lake Blackshear

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv/?site_no=02350512&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00062

Lower Flint River below Albany

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv/?site_no=02353000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00062

 Lake Seminole – According to Lake Seminole fishing guide Steven Well the fishing as well as the recent weather has been “hot” at Lake Seminole. The bass fishing continues to be good and some 8 plus pound fish have been brought to the scales in recent tournaments. There are still a few reports of catches of bedding redear sunfish but most of the shell cracker spawn is over. There have been some reports of good bream fishing with one pair of anglers catching over a 100 fish on beetle spins. The crappie should be getting into their summer pattern and can be found in deeper water near cover along the river channel in both the Flint and Chattahoochee arms of the Lake.

striper Dennis_McKeon_Carters_Lake

Georgia Fishing Report: May 20, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Southwest Georgia

Central Georgia

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

 Lake Russell (full, clear, 70’s) – Bass fishing is excellent.  First thing in the morning bass are on shallow clay banks and any rip rap or rocks all over the lake feeding on the shad that are spawning.  A small buzz bait, a small spinner bait or a ¼ ounce Rat L Trap will work all day.  If there is any wind, work the windblown banks with a small crank bait, like a ¼ ounce Rat T Trap in the chrome and black or a number 5 Shad Rap in sliver/black colors.  After the shad have moved to the deeper water as the sun comes up move to points and flats with 5 to 7 foot of water and use a zoom finesse worm or a 5-inch lizard in the watermelon seed color fished on a Carolina rig with a 24 inch leader.  There are also some good fish being caught off the summer-time points and under water islands around the lake.  A Carolina rig fished in these areas will get a lot of fish but most will be small.

 Clarks Hill (full, 70’s) – Bass fishing is very good.  The bass are chasing schooling bait fish and the top-water bite is really good.  Bass will be heavy hanging around the grassy areas.  Fish the white spinnerbaits and the soft and hard jerk baits.  Zoom pearl Super Flukes are working but take some of these same baits in baby bass as well.  All are working along with worms and plastic lizards.  The key will be to finding the right patch of grass and the right piece of structure.  Use the plastic worms, jigs, jerk baits and Rapala’s in the # 5 AND #7 Shad Raps and also use the Rapala jerk baits in the Olive green and purple ghost.

Lake Oconee (full, the lake is clear, temperature 73-77) – Bass fishing is Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: May 20, 2016”

Danny Smith, a 50-year state employee, works as an equipment operator and mechanic in southwest Georgia for the Nongame Conservation Section. (Phil Spivey/DNR)

Man at Work: DNR’s Danny Smith Marks 50 Years with State

As part of Public Service Recognition Week, here’s a look at one of Wildlife Resources’ many exemplary employees.

Danny Smith tried retiring once. It didn’t last.

So at 71 and with 50 years of service as a state employee to his record, Smith is still on the job, helping DNR’s Nongame Conservation Section restore and manage habitats across his home state.

“If they find me lying in the woods one day, that’s okay,” Smith recently told nongame program manager Bob Sargent. “They can say that he died doing what he wanted to do.”

Smith grew up on his family’s farm west of Albany, spending much of his youth working odd jobs on an adjacent quail hunting plantation. He later served in the Army, and in 1969 as an Army Reservist helped Mississippi communities devastated by Hurricane Camille. During those weeks in Camille’s wake Smith said he witnessed the most horrible things he has ever seen.

He hired on with the state on May 2, 1966, working for the Georgia Forestry Commission first as a county chief ranger in Dougherty County and then a district mechanic. Using mechanical skills learned from his father, Smith repaired all types of heavy equipment for the Forestry Commission.

They can use you in DNR.

In 1997, he retired with visions of going fishing. But when he went into the Human Resources office one day to take care of paperwork, the office staff told him, Continue reading “Man at Work: DNR’s Danny Smith Marks 50 Years with State”

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Georgia Fishing Report: May 6, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

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

  • Mountain Lakes Bass and Shellcrackers

This week we were on Lake Chatuge finishing our annual spring reservoir sampling. If you’re looking for a time to target bass in our mountain lakes this is it. Water temps are in the low 70s and water clarity is about 6ft which is perfect for sight fishing for big Largemouth Bass in shallow water. We found numerous bass on beds in shallow water and some post spawn fish suspended on cover with access to deeper water.

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If you’re looking for something other than bass the big Shellcrackers (Redear Sunfish) are bedding up in Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: May 6, 2016”

Jacob Lee (right) caught this 11.6-pound catfish last Saturday from a pond while fishing with his dad, William. Hot dog was their go-to bait. Great job, Jacob!

Georgia Fishing Report: April 29, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

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

Lake Russell (full, clear, low 70’s) – Bass fishing is good.  There are tons of bass shallow and most are small males after the full moon last weekend.  Since they are hungry, use a green trick worm all day.  Since so many of the bass are still shallow, catch them on the shallow flat shelves and around the spawning areas.  Shad and olive green X Raps are great colors.  Spotted bass are still roaming all over the lake and they are chasing shad, so don’t rule out a top water bite.  During the early part of spring, use a walk the dog style bait like the Skitter Walk.  Plastic worms are also working during the day.  Pay particular attention to any brush piles and any wood around or near spawning areas, these need to be fished this week.  Zoom finesse worms and small jigs will work the best.

Clarks Hill (full, low 70’s) – Bass fishing is good and the water is a light stain on the main lake, creeks are clear.  The shad spawn is in full swing and a lot of bass are shallow.  Start the day early fishing sea walls and rip rap banks.  Use a white or white and chartreuse spinner bait.  You can also use a small crank bait, in a shad pattern and fish the same areas.  As the sun gets up switch to a soft plastic.  Fish the same sea wall and also the docks.  A Carolina rig has been working well along with a shaky head.

Lake Oconee (full, is clear, 69-74) – Bass fishing is Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: April 29, 2016”

Lane Steedley caught this quality bluegill using a cricket in a McRae area pond. Bluegills should be chowing in area ponds and the St. Marys River this weekend.

Georgia Fishing Report: April 22, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

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

This report should really be called “water temperature prime time” as reservoir temperatures reach the mid-sixties and our larger trout waters hover right around sixty degrees.  These are the perfect temperatures to draw fish into the shallows, where most of us, who are “fish-finder challenged” by the latest, greatest sonar technology, have a really good chance at a great fishing day by simply pounding the banks.  On trout waters, last week’s low flows and high sun had fish ducking for midday cover, where eagles, ospreys and otters couldn’t find them.  However, reports showed that low-light conditions at dawn and dusk, and at any time of the day on rhododendron-covered headwater “cricks’, produced some epic catches for mountain trouters.  Even when bug hatches were sparse, recent memories of prior evening feasts had those trout “looking up” for the next evening’s meals, and the drifted or skittered caddis and cahill dries were often hammered.

The forecasted rain tonight and Friday should help most lakes and many small streams by adding a little color to the water.  That means more food and less wariness for our shallow water targets, scared of ospreys and otters and the like.  Larger trout waters might be a bit muddy if the rain tallies 0.75 inches or so, but they should clear to fishable levels by Saturday evening or Sunday, depending on their watershed size. Don’t forget your USGS stream gauges and the local tackle shops for intel. Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: April 22, 2016”

Doerun Pitcherplant Bog Natural Area (Rick Lavender, DNR)

Georgia Botanical Society’s ‘Year of the Bog’ Raises Profile of Coastal Plain Bogs

Coastal Plain herbaceous bogs have been described as small, rare jewels – one of the highest-priority habitats for rare plant conservation in Georgia.

These bogs have unique plant assemblages that thrive in the unusual soggy, acidic, open conditions. Carnivorous plants, such as pitcherplants, butterworts and sundews, trap and ingest insects, obtaining nitrogen and other nutrients that are sparse in bog soils. There are beautiful orchids. Colorfully named plants are also common: hatpins, colic-roots and yellowed-eyed grasses. The Natural Communities of Georgia calls them “some of the showiest natural gardens” of Continue reading “Georgia Botanical Society’s ‘Year of the Bog’ Raises Profile of Coastal Plain Bogs”

crappie kathy Clark Hill Apr 2016

Georgia Fishing Report: April 15, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Southwest Georgia

Central Georgia

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

Lake Russell (full, clear, 60’s) – Bass fishing is good.  The bass have made their move now and are slowly committing themselves to find a good spawning area.  Many of the bass are still staging up, but some are still being caught on the shallow, flat shelves and around the spawning areas.  White spinnerbaits will be an excellent choice this week; also the #5 Sad Raps will work all day.  Shad and Olive Green are great colors.  Spotted bass are still roaming all over the lake chasing shad and a top-water bite shouldn’t be ruled out.  Use a walk-the-dog style bait like a Skitter Walk.  Keeping the bait moving without stopping works best.  Some bass will follow the bait all the way to the boat.  Plastic worms are also working during the day.  Brush piles and any wood around or near spawning areas have to be fished this week.  Trick worms in bright colors down lake are also fun and easy baits to use. 

Clarks Hill (full, 60’s) – Bass fishing is good.  The lake is clear towards the middle and Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: April 15, 2016”

striper lanier 33in 4-4-16 JD w Ken resized

Georgia Fishing Report: April 8, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

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

April is having an identity crisis: it thinks it’s March!

These air and water temperature yo-yo’s are affecting the trout bugs, the reservoir forage fish, and our lake predators.  They’re up one day and down deep the next.  Even our sampling boats are experiencing these yo-yo catches that follow water temperature trends.  But the ups are compensating for the downs, as you’ll see from these fishing reports and tips.  It’s striper and hybrid week in north Georgia, as the spring spawning urge brings these fish up the rivers that feed our major reservoirs.  It is truly prime time for trophies, if we can catch the big females right before they drop their eggs.  For example, read about the Oostanaula river record broken last week.  Since nearly all of these reservoir “Morone” fisheries are dependent on WRD’s annual fingerling stocking program, lucky anglers should not feel guilty about taking that trophy home for mounting.  On the trout side, anglers will have to dredge when their jackets are on and then fling some afternoon dry flies when they’re in short sleeves.  Stockers are easy pickins’, since they’ll usually be huddled near the bottom and looking for anything edible.  Worms, salmon eggs, Powerbait, and slowly retrieved spinners are hard to beat.

 

  • Big Rocky PFA Bass

Have you seen this story and picture yet?

https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR/photos/a.107070953387.96574.101012503387/10153509901733388/?type=3&theater

  • Coosa/Oostanaula Rivers

Striped bass continue to move into both rivers on their annual spawning run from Lake Weiss.  The fish are really starting to fill into the Oostanaula River from the islands near the Rome Braves stadium, upstream to the city of Calhoun.  Recent electrofishing surveys indicate some of the early female striper arrivals have started to spawn.  Fish in the 30+ pound range were also observed during these surveys.  Earlier this week, Calhoun angler Phillip Lanier, landed a 36 pound 3 ounce striped bass from the Oostanaula River – crushing the previous river record of 22 pounds 11 ounces.  Congratulations to Phillip on a great catch – – – and release of his trophy!

striper 36lb 3 oz OOSTANAULA_STRIPED_BASS_RECORD_PHILLIP LANIER_4_4_16 resized.jpg

The striped bass run should continue into the early part of May.  Live shad are best, but cut bait and lures will produce stripers too.  Target the current breaks provided Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: April 8, 2016”