Georgia Fishing Report: April 17, 2015

North Georgia

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

Sampling survey at Ft. Yargo State Park.
Sampling survey at Ft. Yargo State Park.

Anglers working around the weather have had some great trips this past week.  Good catches should continue for several more weeks as water temperatures remain in the optimal zone for many of our favorite species.  This introduction will be short because biologist Patrick O’Rouke and I just returned from a productive sampling trip to Lake Marbury at Fort Yargo State Park.  Details follow.

Ft. Yargo Bass – Kayak anglers and jonboaters oughta slip over to Fort Yargo State Park real soon to chase the largemouths, now coming shallow to spawn.  Patrick, yours truly, and park manager Doug Chambers sampled the shoreline this morning (4/17) and found a good number of largemouths along the bank, including several over six pounds.  The best habitat was the deeper shoreline with abundant cover (submerged treetops or piers).  The shore along Will-A-Way held several lunkers, while the riprap along the dam held few adult bass.  Crappie were sparse along the bank in today’s sample.  All fish captured were measured, weighed, and released alive for park anglers to pursue.

Bear Creek Reservoir Bass

DNR Lanier Striper Sampling Video

Ken’s Detailed Reservoir Reports

BIG Lanier Stripers

Kudos to Lanier Volunteer Fishing Guides – Outdoors Without Limits (great photos)

Trout fishing at Dicks Creek.
Trout fishing at Dicks Creek.

Lanier Crappie

Carters Mixed Bag

AllatoonaVideo

Sturgeon – Fish Release (video) – This is where Georgia’s sturgeon eggs come from; check out the live river cams.

Hefty Lake Burton Brown

Stocker Best Bets – WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson thinks these hotspots will produce this weekend: Black Rock, Dockery, and Rock Creek lakes, Holly, Rock, Cooper, Panther, Tallulah, and Wildcat.

Dicks Creek Trophy

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff)

McDuffie PFA (16-65 inches of visibility, avg. water temp. 73.4degrees) – Largemouth Bass: Good, due to spawning activities – Best ponds have been Willow, Breambuster, and Clubhouse. Willow is still giving up keeper bass and many larger bass are being released my fishermen. Bass in 3 to 9 pound range are being caught near shore, around submerged timber and underwater humps near deep water. In Jones the bass fishing has slowed down. The lakes with the more potential are Willow for quality and Breambuster for quantity.  Both of the lakes have a balanced fish population. Several fishermen of Willow Lake have reported missing big bass or being broken off. By the end of April the bass will be in a post-spawn mode and should be feeding on new baitfish. Breambuster has really cooled off for bass fishing and the schools of threadfin shad have not shown up yet. Electrofishing sampling proved several quality bass make Breambuster home like the 6 lb. 15 oz. bass reported in March still exist. As the water temperature continues to rise the fishing should steadily improve.  Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) is open from first through fifteen (1st-15th) of each month. Rodbender was hot; several fishermen have reported on our survey form that the fish are fat. One bass of bragging size was caught, weighed and released.  The smaller fat “football” fish which represents optimum feeding conditions along with the larger bass should be feeding on the several forage species in the pond. In Clubhouse, bass can continue to be caught on shad imitations, specifically a Super Spot lipless crankbait.  Quality bass are still present in Clubhouse and we found them around the structure in the lake during sampling. Bass are waiting on the shad hatch but other forage species should be available. Bass in 3 to 7 pound range are being caught near shore, around submerged timber and underwater humps near deep water. In addition to shad imitations, variations of soft -plastics on shaky-head jigs in pumpkin-seed are great lures. As the weather warms up the water temperatures will rise and the top-water action should be great going into May.

Bream:  Good – Best ponds have been Willow and Clubhouse.  The bream (both bluegill and shellcracker) are on beds now in shallow water for their April spawn. Bream can be found around structure and aquatic plants with firm sandy bottoms which make the best spawning habitat. The best baits for catching bream are red wigglers and crickets under adjustable floats, using light tackle make soft casts pass the bream bed and pulling the bait rig back over the beds and stopping the bait will generate many more strikes. Later in April, using beetle-spins with slow or fast retrieves and crickets and worms under floats or on the bottom will work.  Our local fly fishermen are catching aggressive bream on bugs on top of the water near structure.

Channel Catfish:  Good – Best ponds have been Breambuster, Beaverlodge, Bridge and Jones.  Catfish are feeding up as they prepare to spawn when water temperatures reach between 70-75 degrees. Several large catfish were distributed to the PFA lakes from the hatchery stock and were seen in the recent electrofishing sampling on the lakes. Catfish will begin biting in all lakes as water continues to warm. The best fishing is on the bottom in deep areas using chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and crickets.

Striped Bass:  Excellent – Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse.  A large striper (5 lbs.) was recently seen during electrofishing in Clubhouse near shore and structure. The stripers are waiting on the shad hatch like the largemouth bass. The stripers will actively feed on the shad during early morning and late evening hours.  Imitate the threadfin shad and excellent fishing for striped bass is just a cast away.  Smaller stripers will keep anglers busy in Bridge Lake as fishermen fish for catfish and bream on the bottom using worms and chicken liver.

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

South Georgia

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

Flint River – Fishing has continued to improve below both the Albany Dam below Lake Worth and the Warwick Dam below Lake Blackshear. live shad, spoons, and large bucktail jigs are popular baits for these fish. There have also been several reports of large bream being harvested below the Warwick dam. The main Flint River water is cloudy due to the recent rains so fishing for shoal bass and bream has been slow. However, the channel catfish bite is doing very well.

Chattahoochee River – There have been several reports of limits of both striped and hybrid striped bass being caught below the Columbia lock and dam on the lower Chattahoochee River. Fish are being caught by shore at night using crayfish or shad. If fishing from a boat try anchoring immediately below the bouy line. Expect some hybrids to be over five pounds and the chance for a striper over 20 pounds is pretty good.

Lake Walter F. George – According to Rick Sacco with the “Friends of Lake Eufaula,” water  levels have been low, but the range of fluctuation has been small. The lake has been low but stable, which should facilitate a good bass spawn.  Bass fishermen should look for fish in shallow brush piles, stump rows, rocky contours, shallow humps, and deeper weed lines of pad stems, water primrose, and alligator weed. Target 2 to 8 feet; if required, back off the bank to get in good water. Recent electrofishing samples support Rick’s report. Both bass and crappie have moved shallow is Lake George and several crappie over a pound have been sampled with the greatest number being collected in the Tobanannee Creek sample.

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