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

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