Georgia Fishing Report: February 26, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

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

You may recall that last week’s fishing report ended with these words:

“In the meantime, find a warm afternoon to work a bait slowly and hold on.  You might just catch an egg-laden wall-hanger!”

By golly, Wes Carlton did!  See the first bullet, below, for the story of Wes’ huge walleye.  In addition to Wes, many other anglers ventured forth last weekend to take advantage of the good weather, and most were glad they did.  From walleye to crappie to trout, the warmer weather turned the fish-catching switch to the “on” position for these early season species!  Enjoy the fish stories that follow.

“Trophy walleye fishing is starting to warm up in North Georgia! On the heels of the new state record being caught on Lake Rabun, an impressive 7 pound, 12 ounce walleye was caught out of Lake Lanier this weekend by Cabe Harrison. Angler awards are available for trophy sport fish of many species in the state of Georgia. For a full list of species and size requirements visit gofishgeorgia.com/Fishing/AnglerAwards”

Pat Snellings

Fisheries Biologist

WRD- Gainesville

(770) 535-5498

 

  • First Sign of Spring – Chattooga Caddis

Dredger got a late start to the Chattooga DH on Sunday afternoon, but was glad he went.  The main treat was enough #18 gray caddis fluttering around to chum some fish to the top.  He got two on dries and the rest, equally split between browns and rainbows, on swung leeches.  Water temp was 49 degrees, warm enough to pop up some caddis and  a little dry fly action while the sun was highest.

trout rbt on caddis dry chattooga dh 2-21-16

Hit the hooch yesterday with my friend and caught a sweet brown. I’ll attach pictures.

Ryan H

trout bnt Hooch TW Ryan H Feb 2016

  • Lanier Crappie

Crappie Fishing Report February 24, 2016

This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website, http://www.laniercrappieanglers.net

Water temperatures are inching into the fifties.  For this time of year, that means we are in the pre-spawn stage.  The warm rains we are currently encountering will nudge the water temps up slightly.  The fish are starting to roam, and some are moving to shallower docks anticipating the spawn.  We are still several weeks away from the spawn, but signs are beginning to be seen, including females starting to fatten up with eggs.  Your trolling bite is now a good option to target the fish that are roaming, chasing bait.  Tight lining while trolling is another way to catch crappie now, using a jig tipped with minnows, ten feet below the surface. This will require rods ten to twelve in length, positioned parallel with the water, with up to four rods on each side of the trolling motor. Your line should be vertical while going at a very, very low speed. If your line is angled or horizontal, you are going too fast. Your Lowrance downscan will help you find the brush piles and let you determine the depth of the fish suspended on the brush.  Long lining is also working.  To long line, position the shortest rods (approximately four feet in length), one on each side in the back of the boat, following with two six foot rods, two eight foot rods and two ten to twelve foot rods in the bow of the boat.  Double rig each rod using multiple color curly tails, Bobby Garland 2” Hyper Grubs, or Bobby Garland 2.25” Minnow Mind’rs with a 1/16th ounce jig head on each.  If you notice that one color is working consistently better, substitute a few more lines with the same body.  Of course, shooting docks is still my favorite way to catch crappie, and it is working extremely well now.  This time of year, some docks are holding only smaller fish.  If you notice that you are catching only smaller fish, move on to another dock, where you may find bigger fish.

With spring around the corner, we are beginning to see more fishermen on the lake.  This coming weekend, there is a major bass tournament on the lake, so expect to see above normal boat traffic.  So, stay safe on the water and wear your life jacket!

  • Chatuge Spots

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=865701 (nice video)

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=865666

  • Lanier Stripers

I saw Capt Clay at Bass Pro Shops last weekend.  He said he’s still finding most of his fish real deep on the south end of the lake, but the shallow water bite should start with the next upswing in water temperatures.

https://www.facebook.com/CatchingNotFishing/

  • Nice Carters Stripers

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=865693

The heavy rains this week complicate things a bit,

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

but should simply be an investment in good fishing to come.  As soon as some sunshine hits those muddy reservoir inflows, shad and bluebacks will be attracted to the warming waters.  Lake anglers should hunt the mudlines to find the predators, waiting to ambush their prey in these transition zones between clear and muddy waters.

On trout waters, watch the USGS real time stream gauges to identify fishable flows, and then focus on two areas: a) flood refuges and b) the heads of pools right below “bug factories.”

http://rabuntu.org/site/about/educational-programs/for-beginners-a-rabunite-101-primer/how-to-speak-rabunite/

Be on the lookout for caddis:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9Hq00edl8s

But don’t be afraid to toss a big, rainbow trout-colored streamer if you want to swing for the fences:

https://www.facebook.com/BlueRidgeFlyFishingCompany

Of course, if you’d like to dunk powerbait with the kids, Nancytown and Vogel should be on your menu: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=109538

Good luck this weekend.  Send me your own stories and photos, even one claiming a state record.  You never know, it could be true.   Just ask Wes!

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Crappie fishing is picking up significantly here in southeast Georgia. Saltwater has been good for seatrout and sheepshead. Pond and swamp fishing have both ramped up, and the biggest bass of the year will likely be caught in the next couple of weeks. Last quarter moon is March 1st. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River Nope…not this week again in the upper river. The shad catches (by commercial fishermen) were still great, but the only thing going on for anglers was a few catfish this week. The river level was 11.4 feet and falling (59 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.6 feet and falling (57 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on February 23rd.

Satilla River The river is still high and swift, but Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that anglers have started running limb lines and catching catfish. It took about an hour set to produce fish. Shrimp and rooster livers worked best for bait. The river level on February 23rd at the Waycross gage was 13.8 feet and falling (60 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 12.1 feet and falling.

St. Marys River Catfish are being caught in very good numbers with pink worms and Georgia Giant worms fished on the bottom. A few big bream were also caught if anglers could keep the catfish off the bait long enough for the bream to find it. On Saturday an angler fishing with his son caught 42 catfish ranging between 2 and 6 pounds. The river level at the MacClenny gage on February 23rd was 5.5 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp On the east side, the warmouth bite started for those fishing Georgia Giant worms. A Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop was held on the west side out of SC Foster State Park over the weekend. Ladies from around the state (and a few from out of state) learned hunting and fishing techniques in and around the “Land of the Trembling Earth”. Several ladies caught their first fish, while others honed their fishing skills. Catfish, fliers, and bowfin were caught during the weekend. Pink Okefenokee Swamp Sallies fished under a float were the ticket for the fliers. Shrimp fished on catfish catcher jigheads fooled the catfish, and Texas-rigged plastic worms were tops for bowfin. Since we didn’t get much rain from the mid-week system, the swamp fishing should be great over the weekend and into next week.

Local Ponds The bass and crappie bites have been great in area ponds. Todd Walker fished a Broxton area pond and caught some quality bass over the weekend. His biggest was an 8-pounder that inhaled a Texas-rigged Senko. Chad Lee whacked more than 50 bass over the weekend, with his best bite being on Monday. That day he landed a 7 1/2-pounder to anchor his 20-bass day. Four of his fish were over 4 pounds. Most of the bigger fish ate shallow crankbaits, while the balance was caught with black sapphire ZOOM speed worms. Michael Winge said that Waycross area ponds produced great catches of crappie, as the slabs had moved to shallow cover to spawn. Tennessee shad jigs and blue jigs worked well, as did minnows. Bass were caught with shiners, and they have also started hitting topwaters. Some bream were fooled with crickets.

Saltwater (GA Coast) Justin Bythwood of Waycross fished from the bank in the Brunswick area over the weekend and had a couple of great trips. He landed more than a dozen seatrout and a couple bluefish on Momma’s 24-karat Sea Shads fished on Flashy Jigheads and also live bait fished on a Carolina rig. He had trout over 20 inches each trip. In the inland rivers and creeks, trout and reds were caught under the bridges and some sheepshead also graced the creels. Michael Winge reported some trout being caught on Assassin Sea Shads and a few whiting being caught on shrimp and squid. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that fishing from the pier was very good if you like whiting. Buckets of the tasty fish were caught by those fishing shrimp on the bottom. Whiting were also caught by anglers fishing the beach. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet:  There is a slight cooldown forecasted for the weekend, but it will start warming again by Sunday. Since we did not get much rain mid-week, the swamp should be awesome fishing. Ponds will also be a top choice for the weekend. The best options in the swamp are fliers at all 3 entrances (pitch sallies under a float) and warmouth and fliers on the east side. In saltwater, you should be able to catch sheepshead during the cooler times, and the seatrout should fire back up when it warms early next week.

Sarah Gamer Flier 2 16
Sarah Gamer of Atlanta fished the Okefenokee over the weekend and caught her first fish ever (this flier) while participating in a Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop held out of SC Foster State Park. Congratulations, Sarah!
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