By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist

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

Joshua Estrada of Richmond, Va., landed this 54-inch shark on Sunday evening and returned it to the surf after taking the photo. Sharks are commonly caught all summer on the Georgia coast.
Joshua Estrada of Richmond, Va., landed this 54-inch shark on Sunday evening and returned it to the surf after taking the photo. Sharks are commonly caught all summer on the Georgia coast.

The summer pattern has finally set in this week. Sea temperatures have now reached the typical 84 degrees for the first time this summer. Saltwater fishing has been excellent, and pond fishing has also been very good. The rivers are on their way to fishable, but rains forecasted could jeopardize that. New Moon is Aug. 6. To monitor all Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River –  Very few people have been fishing the river over the last couple of weeks (a good call with the extremely swift water), and I did not receive any reports this week. The Ocmulgee River is dropping quickly, so expect the river to be fishable soon. The river level was 11.7 feet, a record high for the date, and falling at the Baxley gage. The river was 10.7 feet and rising at the Doctortown gage on July 30.

Satilla River – Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said anglers fishing bush hooks and trotlines baited with rooster livers or shrimp caught some catfish. An angler reported catching some bluegill and redbreasts using jigs, despite the high water. The river level on July 30 at the Waycross gage was 10.7 feet and falling and the level at the Atkinson gage was 12.1 feet and falling.

Local Ponds –  Staff at Laura Walker State Park reported a pair of anglers catching several nice bluegills and other panfish. They also caught a small keeper bass. The anglers were fishing from the bank with pink worms. Michael Winge reported a good bream bite in Waycross area ponds. Worms, crickets and beetlespins fooled them. Some nice catfish were also caught using rooster liver and pink worms. Bass were reportedly caught on shiners and buzzbaits.

Okefenokee Swamp – I did not receive any reports from the swamp this week, but I am sure that the fliers are still biting. When the water recedes from the prairies, the fishing is going to be awesome.

Saltwater (Georgia Coast) –  Waycross saltwater anglers reported catching whiting, a few trout, and a few flounder in the Brunswick area. Brentz McGhin, Alex McGhin and Tim Bonvechio fished Friday out of Crooked River. They caught about a dozen trout, half of them being keepers. Their biggest, a 21-incher, ate a topwater plug. The rest of the trout were caught with plastic sea shads suspended beneath floats. Their best colors were Calcasieu brew and Texas roach. The showstopper was a 32-inch redfish that Brentz boated, photographed and released. Alex also broke off an even bigger one that got tangled in the trolling motor. Tim caught several throwback redfish.

Ed Zmarzly and Justin Bythwood fished around Jekyll Island on Saturday and landed and released a pair of nice redfish (their biggest was 31 inches) and several trout, all on Sea Shads. Calcasieu brew, Texas roach, and electric chicken fooled their fish.

Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout showed up in good numbers on Tuesday. They were caught on live shrimp and jighead/sea shads bounced along bottom. The flounder bite slowed a bit this week. Croaker, whiting and sharks were the most frequently caught species this week from the pier. Blue and stone crabs were caught in good numbers.

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