North Georgia Fishing Report: Feb. 20, 2014

Info Provided by: Jeff Durniak, GA DNR North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor and North Georgia Region Fisheries staff

Wildlife Resources assistant director Mark Whitney found some time to go fish the Delayed Harvest section of the Chattooga this past weekend.
Wildlife Resources assistant director Mark Whitney found some time to go fish the Delayed Harvest section of the Chattooga this past weekend.

This week sure beats last week!  Although winter isn’t over yet, we’re having some very nice previews of spring weather that should make your outdoor trips much more enjoyable.   At least right now, water temperatures are on the rise and north Georgia game fish are beginning to stir from their winter hibernation. Just watch USGS stream flow gauges carefully, as the storms of spring can quickly blow out larger streams and rivers.  Make sure they are clear enough and have flows that will allow your wading or boating before you take the drive north.  It’s a real good time to call tackle shops and fishing buddies near your favorite waters to first confirm their “fishability” before you head out.

On the reservoirs, some of the best spots are what we call the “mudlines,” which are the zones of cloudy water between the very muddy river inflows and the clear waters of the main lake.  These mudlines are great ambush zones for predators like spots and stripers to intercept shad, which sneak into the stained waters as they absorb more sunlight and warm quicker.  If the mudlines are hotspots for our electrofishing sample boats, they ought to be good spots for your bucktail jigs, livelined trout and flukes too!

By the way, it was cold last week, but nobody told the fish.  Anglers who bundled up and took a shot at them had a lot of success.  Don’t believe “Dink” or me?  Check out the attached photos.  Better yet, just ask the ten-your old who landed a striper that’s a trophy in anyone’s book!

Here we go:

Crappie

Stripers

Bass

Trout

Important Reminders – Wade Safely!

Winter specks: 2-19-14 report

“Jeff,

When it’s as warm as it has been the last few days, you sure do start getting some crazy ideas in the back of your head. I’ve been jonesing for a wild brook trout for about a month or so. Air temps and water temps haven’t been ideal but at least the first half of the equation cooperated today. I went “up and over” toward my favorite year round wild  stream and then took off up the mountain a ways more before hitting the speck water. This stream is very small and tight but there’s great holding water and and good size diversity of fish. I hit my usual parking spot about 1 PM and then hit the trail. I started with a single dry fly, a  size 16 parachute adams. The first good plunge pool I fished produced a little guy on the dry and was my curse for the next hour or so. I threw my dry into usual likely spots with nary another rise for the rest of the day. Reluctantly I added a small nymph (pink hot spot hares ear) 24 inches below my dry fly while fishing the dry on a tag of tippet. I caught 5 more in an hour and a half and called it a day, with one chunky fish about seven inches or so. The best part about today? I left the waders at home and wet waded. The water was chilly but the air temperature made up for it and kept me pretty comfortable so long as I didn’t sit too long. Not too bad considering we were just under 2.5 inches of snow last week.”

-College Boy

Dredger’s Chattooga Delayed Harvest (DH) Report (2/15/14)

“The DH fished well for our duo this afternoon, once we trudged through the snow and hit the stream.  It should only get better as air temps rise over the next several days. Hope folks can go!

Leeches, eggs, and rubberlegs were good anchor flies, but most fish hit the #16 black soft hackle dropper that likely imitated winter stones.  Flies were nailed on both the deep, dead drift and on the swing.  Astute anglers will put a few stonefly dries in their pockets, too, and pray for even more sunshine to bring out some adult flies, which we didn’t see today in the forty degree water temps.

Hope this brief, quick report helps cure some of your cabin fever! Sautee and Dredgers’ fevers have subsided greatly after today’s treatment.”

Great video – Toccoa Delayed Harvest Husband and Wife Success

Dedication! (…or addiction?)

Used Rods & Reels  – Put to Good Re-Use!

The Bass Pro Shops flyer in my mailbox yesterday said its Spring Fishing Classic is just around the corner.

Please note the store’s reel turn-in program (Feb. 28-March 5) and rod turn-in program (March 7-11).  The used equipment you turn in for store credit is boxed up and given to worthy conservation organizations, including Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources! We, in turn, pass along the used equipment to clubs that promote youth fishing.  Two great examples are Habersham County extension agent Steven Patrick’s 4-H fishing program for kids, and Rabun Trout Unlimited’s outreach to the county’s Boy and Girl Scouts.  Your used equipment ends up in the hands of those kids, who are our next generation of conservationists.  Thanks in advance for any of your “turn-ins” that might just “turn-on” a youngster to the outdoors!  Our thanks to Lawrenceville store leaders Jackie, Mike G., and Jeff S. for continuing this great program for nearly a decade!

Take Better Photos

Kudos to North Paulding High Schoolers!

Interesting Swap Meet

A lot occurs throughout the year that can affect your recreational interests and the lands and waters which support them.  Are you on the sidelines or in the game?  Get involved in conservation organizations of your choice and help determine your own future, and that of your grandkids.

Good luck this weekend as you awaken your own desire to get outside. As you reopen your tackle closets and boat wells to dust off the fishing equipment, remember to toss your used rods and reels at Bass Pro Shops.  We’ll help the store put it to very good re-use!

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