Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Lake Russell (full, clear, low 70’s) – Bass fishing is good.  There are tons of bass shallow and most are small males after the full moon last weekend.  Since they are hungry, use a green trick worm all day.  Since so many of the bass are still shallow, catch them on the shallow flat shelves and around the spawning areas.  Shad and olive green X Raps are great colors.  Spotted bass are still roaming all over the lake and they are chasing shad, so don’t rule out a top water bite.  During the early part of spring, use a walk the dog style bait like the Skitter Walk.  Plastic worms are also working during the day.  Pay particular attention to any brush piles and any wood around or near spawning areas, these need to be fished this week.  Zoom finesse worms and small jigs will work the best.

Clarks Hill (full, low 70’s) – Bass fishing is good and the water is a light stain on the main lake, creeks are clear.  The shad spawn is in full swing and a lot of bass are shallow.  Start the day early fishing sea walls and rip rap banks.  Use a white or white and chartreuse spinner bait.  You can also use a small crank bait, in a shad pattern and fish the same areas.  As the sun gets up switch to a soft plastic.  Fish the same sea wall and also the docks.  A Carolina rig has been working well along with a shaky head.

Lake Oconee (full, is clear, 69-74) – Bass fishing is good.  At first light look for spawning shad around rip rap.  If you locate spawning shad small top water baits like a Pop R will draw a strike.  When the sun gets up look around any wood structure, or boat docks.  Spinner baits, worked around the wood or docks has been the best producer over the past few days.  White or white/chartreuse have been the best color.  Small crank baits fished around the docks will draw a strike.  A chrome Rat L Trap or a small Shad Rap number 5 or 7 in fire tiger, or shad color will work depending on water color.  A shaky head worked under the docks from the middle of the creeks to the back will also draw a few extra strikes.

Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service.  Call 404-803-0741

reeltime@bellsouth.net

Striper fishing is good.  Live bait fished on down lines and flat lines have been producing all week at the dam.  Some fish are deep and some are up on the points.  You will need to carry shad as well as shiners for the next week or two.  The umbrella rig bit is also starting to work on some of the south points.  Some of the fish have left the dam area and are moving up the lake staging on points and humps.

Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are in the creeks and large coves.  Long lines with double jigs trolled at 1 mph has been the best producer over the past week.  Jigs are still favorites and mix and match the colors during the day.

West Point Lake (down 1.89 feet stained & low 70’s) – Largemouth and spots are in the spawning mode with the full moon the end of the week.  Ninety percent of the spawn will occur during the next month from the April full moon to the May full moon.  The bass are back in the coves on shallow banks.  A great bait is a lizard that is rigged Carolina style and fished slow on the bottom.  There is some top water action starting.  The bass will move back out into 10 to 12 feet of water on humps and road beds.  Fish are congregating around the white shoal markers, so try fishing these markers for some spawning bass.  Fish are roaming the banks and later go to the ends of points.  They are shallow around any wood; cast baits to the shadows all day.  Use a gourd green Zoom u tail worm down lake on Texas rig with a brass and glass on the rig for more sound.  Look in the mid lake half way back in the creeks and hit any dock or on points.  Brush on the bank is worth at least 5 casts even in the stained water.  Up the river the fishing is good and use a 1/2 ounce all white spinner bait and add a large white trailer.

Lake Sinclair (down 1.4 feet stained, 70’s) – Bass fishing is very good and the fish are shallow.  Most fish are now in coves and protected bays, although a few remain along main lake banks.  Many different type baits have produced recently, although a few have been better than most.  Spinner baits have done especially well in the stained to muddy water.  Single spin baits with large Colorado blades have been good during early morning.  Seawalls and dock posts are prime targets for single spin models, which are less snag proof than double or tandem spin baits.  The single spin generates more vibration, which helps bass zero in on the target in dirty water.  Baits with double Colorado blades are especially good around wood cover such as lay downs, stumps, and brush piles.  Keep the Super Flukes ready and skip one under any dock for lots of bass.

Jackson Lake (down .60 feet, clearing & 60’s) – Bass fishing is good and anglers are scattered from one end to the other.  Fish the backs of the small creeks and coves with the cranks.  Largemouth are in post spawn as are the spots lake wide.  Small crank baits in the shallow running variety works and the crawfish color #7 Shad Rap and the mid running Rapala DT4 are working well in the shallow water.  Keep the line size down to the ten pound range and keep the bait in the water.  Top water is about to break loose so get the Pop R’s, the Chug Bugs and the Pop R’s and stay in the back of the coves for best results.  The spots are still hanging out on the points with an occasional big fish running about midway back into the creeks and coves.  The spots are hitting a few of the spinnerbaits but you will catch a lot more on the #5 Shad Raps and jointed Shad Raps.  Jigs are also working around a few of the boat docks but it has to have a lot of wood in and around them to hold the larger males.  A fair worm bite with an occasional two to three pounder are being caught.  Stay with the crank baits for the limits and then try the jig or plastic after the mid-day.

Upper Ocmulgee River – A fisherman and his son made several fishing trips to the Ocmulgee River over the last week and reported that shoal bass, largemouth and spots are all biting.  Soft plastics such as crawfish imitators and soft plastic swimbaits seemed to be working well.  Swimming a jig also is getting some action.  Water clarity is good with several feet of visibility.  Just make sure you check the USGS gage near Jackson for the latest water levels.  Levels at or below 5 feet seem to work best.

Flat Creek PFA

Surface Temperature: 70˚ F (21.1˚ C)

Water Level: 5’ 8” Below Full Pool

Water Visibility: 30”

As expected the warmer temperatures have been kicking off some great fishing at Flat Creek but the windy days of April have made fishing a challenge but many anglers are leaving with good catches.  The lake level is up a little from the last report.  Bass fishing has been good for those with a boat.  The large bream have been getting close to shore preparing to spawn.  Some anglers have been very excited over the sizes caught. There are several large brush piles along the west shoreline that are holding bream and bass.  Crappie fishing is the current buzz at Flat Creek and the 1.5-2 pound sizes have not been uncommon.

Bass: Motor oil colored worms.  White Buzz baits.  Soft bodied spinner baits.  Minnows and worms (Pinks).

Bream: Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig.  Worms on a Texas rig.  Crickets on a slip cork.

Channel Catfish: Most catfish caught has been bycatch while fishing for Bream or Bass.  Some have had limited success fishing chicken liver while worms seem to be the bait of choice.  The last angler interviewed that was catching catfish had great success with worms fished on the bottom.

Crappie: Minnows have been the go to bait, while jigs (John Deere or yellow and white colored Triple Ripple, or June Bug colored Teaser Tail) fished with light tackle to feel the slightest bite and trolled have been working very great!  If you are bank fishing try fishing near the pier.  If on a boat try cover (tree tops).

Marben PFA

Water temps. : Low 70’s

Largemouth Bass: May weather can be a little unstable at times.  Afternoon showers can bring sudden changes to bass feeding behavior.   The bass spawn is over so look for bass feeding in early morning and late evening on schooling shad.  According to some anglers, now is a great time to target bass at Marben PFA.   Threadfin are spawning this time of year so especially look for bass in early morning feeding on shad mostly around boat ramps.  Successful anglers mimic lethargic shad by casting jerk baits and crank baits.   Mid-day can produce some big bass but look for these big fish in deeper water (10-15 ft.).  Submerged timber and rock beds are good habitats to target when seeking bass at Marben PFA.  A fishermen reported this past week that he was catching lots of bass on top-water lures.

bassphoto.png

Crappie: The crappie are now most aggressive in early evening, crowded around submerged timber in deeper water.  Anglers should see a slight change as crappie become a little less aggressive then in April.  Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs.  Try fishing cover approximately 10-12 feet throughout the day, especially in the evening.

Bream: Bream fishing will start to pick up significantly in May.  Warmer water temperatures play a factor but overall this is just the best time of year.  Anglers really see a difference.  Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best throughout the day but a little slow when temperatures get really hot.  Remember that bream are shallow with spawning this time of year so to be successful anglers will have to cast to shallow areas (4 to 5 ft.) in order to increase your chances.

Catfish: Catfish will pick up significantly this time of year.  Anglers will find catfish in 7-9 ft. of water and really aggressive.   Anglers should target days when it is sunny but patience is necessary when targeting these fish.  Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben.

 

North Georgia

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

The excellent topwater action continues across north Georgia ponds, lakes, and large trout streams, especially during low light conditions.  Locales that seem dead during daytime roar back to life once the sun drops below the ridgeline.  Bugs come out, shad slide into the shallows, and predators rise from the depths.  And that’s great news for us!

Please notice in this week’s report that our higher elevation lakes are hitting their springtime peaks, so it might be worth the extra hour’s drive to hit bass, hybrids, and stripers at scenic spots like Tugalo, Burton, Nottely, and Carters.  Larger trout waters are entering their final phase of spring hatches, where cahills, caddis and especially YELLOW bugs (large yellow stones and small (size 16 and 180 yellow sallies) dominate the evening skies.

http://www.flyfishusa.com/flies/little-stones.htm

Stream temps have risen and wet-wading is now a viable option for most of us, especially when adorned with those quick-drying, nylon fishing pants.

http://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/magellan-outdoors-mens-back-country-zipoff-nylon-pant

Our hiking loads are much lighter without those heavy-duty waders that saved us last winter.

It should be another great week across north Georgia.  And the best part of the week is that the days are LONG, too!  Not only is there time for a nice weekend outing, but the long evenings allow for some fine after-work trips to local waters.  While Carters’ trophy spots might be on your weekend radar screen, don’t pass up weekday shots at spawning bream in your subdivision lake.  Grab the Zebco, some crickets, a kid who has finished her homework, and a camera.  Impromptu, after-dinner outings often have the most memorable results!  And if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to flyfish, a small popper tossed at a school of hungry pond bream is THE place to start.

Here we go:

  • Nottely is Hot
    • This Monday we had the chance to get up to the mountains for our standardized spring electrofishing on Lake Nottely. Electrofishing was slow at times but we found many big fish to be caught in this mountain reservoir.

If you’re looking to catch a few Spotted or Largemouth Bass we found concentrations of them on rocky points and on cover with access to deeper water. The bigger bass, however, were found suspended on standing timber located on steep rock bluff banks where Blueback Herring could be found. One of these laydowns produced our biggest bass on Monday, a pair of female Largemouth weighing 7.5 and 8.5 pounds.

bass lmb big duo Nottely shock Apr 2016 small

Electrofishing requires that the fish be in shallow water approximately 8ft deep or less, so Striped Bass are not easily sampled this time of year using that technique. Despite this fact we did find a 36lb giant cruising the shallows in less than 4’ of water Monday, showcasing how good the Striped Bass fishery on Nottely can be. We will be concluding our annual spring sampling on Nottely this week and will be hitting Lake Chatuge next week so stayed tuned!

striper Nottely 36lb sample Apr 2016 small

With numerous fish up shallow and ready to feed this is a great time to introduce new anglers especially kids to the sport. So if you have a chance this weekend take a kid fishing and get him or her hooked!  If you plan on going out this weekend be safe and if you catch a trophy be sure to let us know! http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/AnglerAwards

Good luck and tight lines,

-Pat Snellings, GA WRD Fisheries Biologist, Gainesville

  • Lanier Topwater Tuesday

Great video:   http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=870515

  • Lanier Crappie

Crappie Fishing Report April 27, 2016

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

Water temperature is 72 degrees and rising.  I suspect that the majority of the crappie have spawned.  However, there are a few big fish being caught in docks that are at 10 feet depths or less, which indicates a few have not completed their spawn.  One good thing about fishing the post-spawn is that most of the fish have headed back to their original habitat.  You can catch them on stand-alone submerged brush piles in 25 foot depths or shallower, or you can catch them on deeper docks with structure.  Use your Lowrance down scan and side scan to locate.  These fish tend to be the bigger fish.  If size does not matter to you, the docks with structure in more shallow water and brush piles and blow downs in more shallow water can produce the numbers.  The fish in more shallow water (especially those in blow downs) tend to darken in color and are mostly male.  Keep in mind that the majority of the crappie in Lake Lanier are the black crappie species which change color throughout the year, depending on their depth and water temperature.

Fishing is good to excellent, and the fish are willing to bite live minnows, hair jigs, and soft body jigs.  If you are fishing the deeper brush piles, use 1/16 oz jig heads, especially on a windy day.  When we fish deeper blow downs, we also double rig with 1/24 ounce jig heads.  The trolling bite is good in the early morning and late afternoon/early evening, whether long line trolling with 2 curly tail jigs or tight line trolling with crappie minnows and a 3/8 ounce double swivel sinker in a Carolina rig.  Take advantage of the good fishing and great weather and enjoy the lake before it gets too hot and too crowded!  Wear your life jacket it can save your life!

  • Hybrids Hitting Our Waters

Most of our other staffers are too busy “shocking and stocking” this week to swing by their offices and write some fishing reports. The Rabern and Hakala work crews got some fine hybrid fingerlings stocked into Hartwell, Chatuge, and Toona.  Many thanks to our south Georgia WRD hatcheries for these fish crops.  The spring busy season continues for our reservoir guys.

  • Great Park Opportunity

Don Carter State Park, on the upper end of Lanier, is a fine place for anglers of all flavors- bank, motorboat, kayak, and kayak wannabe’s.  Try the park’s ramp, fishing pier, bank access, and even their kayak rental program!

http://gastateparks.org/DonCarter

  • Delayed Harvest Last Hurrahs

Remember that Georgia DH catch-and-release regulations end on May 14.  Fly-flingers should get their last licks in on the Georgia DH streams soon.  Catching has been a bit slow during midday, but very good at dark.  Don’t give up on these streams yet, just go late and stay late.  Dredger, whining about his weekend on-call duties, remembered that his cell phone still worked at Smith DH.  He arm-twisted fishing buddy Rabunite Ray with a home-commuting phone call on Friday, and the two met in the parking lot around 6.  They had a good evening by either swinging small buggers underneath the downed trees or by dredging red squirmies in the deep, shadowy holes.  As dusk fell, the large cahill spinners danced and the duo caught several bonus fish on top.  Their dusk tally woulda been much higher had they not feared for their lives and took apart their graphite rods before the lightning bolts made it south, across Tray Mountain.  Their dry rides home in waders sure beat a parking lot drenching.

trout bnt Smith DH Dark30 RayG 4-22-16 small

Dredger had so much fun that he went back on Saturday night and, supposedly, “cleaned up” on caddis and cahill dries in that last hour before slap-dark.  His final fish came to net at 8:43. He noted that he shared the whole stream with not one other soul during that magic hour.  He asks us all:  “Got tan caddis (#16), cahills (#14), and Frogs Fanny?”

Most active weekend yet!  I was afraid that the water would be too high, fast and murky from Friday rain but by afternoon the Toccoa was just right.  Caught one on my first cast!  Used pink Power Bait this time.  Still some folks around me were not catching.  I found an area where some rapids fell over the rocks into a shaded hole.  Then went over to Cooper Creek where it was more fishing than catching.  =)  We only got one over there.  The good news is that the colossal tree that had fallen and had been blocking fish these past two years from getting farther down the creek is no longer there so my old fishing hole does have fish in it but only caught one on Coopers.  Toccoa produced quickly, though.

Trout stockers 4-23-16 North GA Tara L small

Kind regards,

Tara L

  • Stocker Best Bets

GAWRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson points us in these weekend directions: Blue Ridge and Lanier tailwaters, Little Cedar, West Armuchee, Johns, Panther, Nottely, Cooper, Wildcat, and Tallulah

  • Lake Winfield Scott News

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=10528&actid=29

  • An Easier Knot

Equals more fishing time: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=108872

  • Weekend Trout Festival

The Blue Ridge Blowout is this weekend! https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR/posts/10153556377353388

  • May 7 Kids Event

https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR/posts/10153545001618388

Summer’s knocking on your doors, so pack your shades and sunscreen.  Better yet, hit your favorite waters at dawn, dusk, or after dark.  Stick one of these on your favorite fishing hat and you’ll be all set for May action:

http://www.amazon.com/Petzl-TIKKINA-Headlamp-Lumens-Black/dp/B00YZ3UWQK/ref=lp_3401361_1_12?s=outdoor-recreation&ie=UTF8&qid=1461866263&sr=1-12

Thanks for buying your licenses and renewing your Trout Unlimited brook trout license plates.

http://www.tu.org/blog-posts/tag-fee-changes-give-georgias-wildlife-a-better-chance

Good luck this weekend as you pursue some returns on your investments.   Don’t forget your  topwater plugs and yellow bugs!

 

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Ponds are on fire and the Okefenokee Swamp bite is also excellent. Saltwater is hit-and-miss when the wind allows you to go at all. The rivers (other than St Marys) are still a little high but will be fishable before you know it. The second annual Satilla Riverkeeper fishing tournament (the A.J. Strickland King of the River Tournament) will be held May 7th, and contestants can fish anywhere on the Satilla River proper or its tributaries. The biggest payout categories are the “slam category” ($300 for the 3 heaviest of 3 different species sponsored by the A.J. Strickland family) and the 3 heaviest redbreasts ($300 – sponsored by Capt. Bert’s Satilla Spins). There are prizes in many other categories for both adults and youth. For more information, check out flyers in area tackle shops or the riverkeeper website at www.satillariverkeeper.org. Last quarter moon is April 29th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – The river is still high, muddy, and swift, but it is fishable. Lots of catfish were caught from all landings this week. Bush hooks and trotlines produced well, and rod-and-reel anglers also caught a bunch. A very high percentage were blue catfish, but flatheads and channels also graced the creels. I was surprised to learn that the mullet bite started this weekend. I saw a group of anglers in the Deens Landing area of the river catch two mullet as I drove the boat by them this weekend. When I stopped later to ask how they were doing, they said that they had a “good mess” of mullet, and they were big ones. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the shellcracker bite is on. Worms fished on the bottom filled creels in the 20 to 30 fish range for most anglers, and some fish were pushing 2 pounds apiece. The bream bite was good, with crickets being the best bait. Crappie fishing has been “crazy good” with both minnows and jigs producing the catches. Several catfish in the 20 pound range were caught this week, and most anglers reported good numbers. The river level was 7.9 feet and falling (70 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.1 feet and falling (67 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on April 26th.

Satilla River – The river is still too high for a really good panfish bite. The lower landings are still flooded, but it is falling fast enough that the river will likely be fishable next week (if we don’t get significant rains). Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said the river fishing is heating up. Crappie hit minnows and bream ate pink worms fished on the bottom. Bass ate shiners, topwater plugs, and buzzbaits in the backwaters. The catfish bite is on fire. Worms fished on the bottom and rooster livers fished on trot lines produced the best catches. The river level on April 26th at the Waycross gage was 10.8 feet and falling (68 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 11.4 feet and rising.

St. Marys River – The river dropped back out after last week’s small slug of water, and is clearing up. The bite has improved with the dropping and clearing water. In the middle river, creels of 25 to 30 quality panfish were reported by those fishing crickets and worms. With the warming temperatures, the Satilla Spin bite should fire off this weekend. Bruised banana gold, orange/chartreuse, black/chartreuse, and crawfish have produced the best reports so far this spring. Catfishing has been great, and some bass were caught with topwater plugs. The river level at the MacClenny gage on April 26th was 3.8 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – The panfish bite was surprisingly slow on the east side on Saturday, with most anglers reporting a half-dozen to a dozen warmouth and fliers. But, the bowfin (mudfish) and pickerel (jackfish) fishing was excellent. The Earth Day celebration on Saturday had 3 anglers catching “angler award” sized bowfin and pickerel. The trophy bowfin were caught with Texas-rigged finesse worms and rooster-tail spinners, while a 26-inch jackfish was caught on a black/chartreuse Dura-Spin. The warmouth bite was consistent early this week on the east side for those fishing crickets and crayfish, while fliers were fooled with yellow sallies. Going early or late in the day was the key for most of the warmouth and flier catches. On the west side over the last week, the warmouth bite was excellent in the state park boat basin for those fishing worms. Yellow sallies produced LOTS of fliers. Of course, bullhead catfish were also caught in big numbers by those putting shrimp on the bottom.

Local Ponds – Pond catches of all species were strong this week. William Lee and his son Jacob whacked the catfish in Alma area ponds on Saturday. They had 11.6, 7.1 and 4- pounders that Jacob caught on a hot dog. Congratulations, Jacob! Michael Winge said that pond fishing in Waycross was on fire. Big bream were eating pink worms and crickets. Catfish inhaled rooster livers, shrimp, and worms. Bass ate anything thrown at them from spinnerbaits to plastics.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Winds were strong over the weekend, but folks still went. Jim Page and Brian Carter tried their hand at the early tripletail on Sunday and saw 28 fish floating in the Brunswick area. They had a shot at a couple dozen, but most would not take their live shrimp. They were only able to manage to land one 18 1/2-incher that actually ate their offering. That unique fishery will pick up over the next couple of months. Brentz McGhin and Bryant Bowen fished out of Crooked River on Monday and managed 5 keeper trout (and a few more throwbacks), a sheepshead, 2 whiting, and 4 black drum. They also lost a big redfish. All of their fish ate live shrimp. Michael Winge reported that Waycross area anglers caught some nice whiting on squid and dead shrimp in the Brunswick area. Another angler wading in the Brunswick area caught some flounder (up to 16 1/2 inches), bluefish, and trout on Sea Shads and Flashy Jigheads, as well as live finger mullet. Anglers fishing the Hampton River reported some nice trout catches (lots of keepers) on jigs and live shrimp. In the Intracoastal Waterway and sounds some anglers caught tripletail. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported a good whiting, flounder, and black drum bite over the weekend from the pier. Big redfish were also caught late in the evening with cut bait. Small sharks are abundant under the pier. Blue crabs are still in good numbers. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet:  For redbreasts and bluegills, the St. Marys River is hard to beat this weekend. The fish should chase artificials like Beetlespins and Satilla Spins by this weekend. If you want to try some early mullet fishing, find a sandbar on the Altamaha and put out a salt block with a chum sack baited with rabbit pellets or your favorite concoction to attract them.  Ponds should produce some consistent bass, bluegill, and catfish catches over the weekend. Whiting are a great option in saltwater if the weather allows you to get out there.

Jacob and William Lee Catfish 4 16
Jacob Lee (right) caught this 11.6-pound catfish last Saturday from a pond while fishing with his dad, William. Hot dog was their go-to bait. Great job, Jacob!
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