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, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  There is a fair jig bite first thing in the morning just inside the mouth of Beaverdam Creek.  Use the 1/2 ounce jigs on a rocky bottom in ten to fifteen feet of water.  Have the Carolina rig ready and use it on the main lake points.  The south end of the lake is slow.  The Savannah River and Rocky River is the best area.  Finding structure on the ledges near deep water will be best.  Use the Lowrance Down Scan technology to find more fish spread out across the bottom.  An occasional top-water bite is not out of the question even with the warm water.  Fish east bank side of the rivers first.  As the sun comes up, this will be in the shade longer and hold more bass.

Clarks Hill (down 4.7 feet, 90’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Early in the mornings, head up into the rivers and bigger creeks.  Try downsizing small finesse worms on a drop shot rig and light Carolina rigs.  Fish along the channel ledges and use a #5 Shad Rap and along the banks from day break until around 9:30 a.m.  Fish shallow water and use a slow retrieve.  Use a finesse worm and small jigs.  Fish deep water structure during the heat and fish slowly with a Carolina rig.  Keep a Zoom Fluke on a light lead head as this will match up to the sizes of the baits the bass are eating.

Lake Oconee (full, the lake is clear, light stain up the lake into the river, temperature 87-91) – Bass fishing is fair.  At first light fish a buzz bait on sea walls and rip rap from the middle of the coves and creeks out to the main lake.  White or white/chartreuse have been the best color.  You can also find some fish up the rivers on wood structure on the deeper banks.  Use a dark color jig around and in blow downs.  This area is also a good place to work the buzz bait at first light.  As always during the summer, fish the rip rap around the bridges when Georgia Power is pulling water in the afternoons.  A rattle trap, spinner bait, or a small crank bait will all produce a strike.  Deep diving crank baits off the south end humps will also pick up as we move into summer.

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

reeltime@bellsouth.net

Striper fishing is poor.  There are some small fish feeding at the dam first thing in the morning.  Live bait and spoons will catch these small fish.  The next option is umbrella rigs on humps on the south end, but this is not very predictable.  Also catching a few up Richland Creek on live shad.

Crappie fishing is good.  The fish have moved into their summer locations.  Look on the creek ledges as well as in the deeper timber.  Use your Lowrance structure scan to locate the timber with the crappie in it.  Once you locate the fish you can use a jig or drop a live bait into the school.

West Point Lake (down 2.4 feet, clear, 80’s) – Bass fishing is slow.  The fish are suspended in 17 to 20 feet of water.  Use a Carolina rigged worm in black grape and June bug and dark blue.  It’s been tough all week so do not expect a good trip to the lake right now.  Fish in the mouths of the lower lake creeks.  Old road beds are good summer locations and cranking main lake and river points with a deep diving crank baits has been barely fair for early morning fishermen.  Try looking for this structure with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan machines and stop throwing at the bank this time of year.  Make sure you let the bait sink deep enough before starting to reel it in.  The bass might be just a foot or two deeper than you are fishing.  Spotted bass are taking all white Rooster Tails over mid lake humps and long points down lake.  If the water is moving, run the points down lake and use light line.  There will be some hybrids take these baits too.

Lake Sinclair (down 1.7 feet, clear, 90’s) – Bass fishing is slow with very few anglers on the water.  Top-water baits have just about stopped producing, but it’s probably still worth trying for the first hour after daybreak.  The best locations should be along main lake banks and a short distance inside the mouth of coves.  Seawalls and blow downs have been best, but grass can also produce, especially if the lake is less than one foot below full pool.  Baits like Pop R’s, Chug Bug’s, and Torpedo’s have produced most of the summer.  If the water is calm, also try a Spook Jr. or similar bait.  Rip rap along the bridges in Little River are still holding fish, but the angler will have to fish slow and thorough to catch a few.  Try a lightweight Texas rig and a jig head and worm.  Fish the underwater rocks from shallow to where they end in deep water.  Dock fishing is slow, but it’s still possible to catch a few fish from around or under them.  Dead sticking a Texas rig worm is probably the best chance for success.  Carolina rigs and crank baits are producing a few fish around humps, points, and ledges at 10 to over 20 feet deep.  If fish are located on or near the top of said structure use the crank bait like the Norman DD14, the DD22, and the Rapala DT10 and DT14 all in the chartreuse and shad patterns.  A Carolina rig is usually best when the fish are holding slightly deeper along the sides of the structures.  Try a Zoom Finesse worm on a 1/0 Mustad hook with a 3 foot leader and ½ to ¾ ounce weight.  

Jackson Lake (down .61 feet, clear, 90’s) – Bass fishing is slow.  During the day, go to backs of the creeks early and work out toward the main lake.  Spots are after small top-water baits like the Pop R and the Zara Spook Jr. in shad patterns.  The best pattern on catching numbers of bass early and late is to stay up in the rivers.  The Alcovy River or the Yellow Jacket is fair and the bass are on the docks.  Docks with any structure are easy to find on Jackson with the Lowrance Structure Scan Down Scan technology.  Just ride and look under every dock until the best brush pile shows up.  Use a Zoom u tail worm on a Texas rig and use a light 3/16 ounce Tungsten sinker for the smaller profile.  Flip, pitch or cast the red shad color up under the dock starting with the areas nearest the bank.  Work the entire dock, both sides and the front, then move to the next one.  The brush piles between the docks as well as the lay down trees needs to be checked out as well.  The red shad color can be seen better in the stained water and lighter colors need not be considered.  The Texas rig will prevent hang ups in the brush piles and allow the built in rattle to work at peak performance.  Try the Weedless Wonder lead head with the worms.  The rivers will have current from the constant moving water so go no further than midway up for best results.

Flat Creek PFA

Surface Temperature: 90˚ F

Water Level: 11’ 5” Below Full Pool

Water Visibility: 14”

PFA’s are now open 7 days a week, sunrise to sunset!

As we progress into September hopefully the hot summer temperatures will abate, and we will finally have some enjoyable fishing weather.  The hot temperatures so far, have kept a lot of fishermen away, but for those few brave souls that endured the hot blast, many were happy with their catch.  The hot temperatures and very little rain has also led to the lower levels we are currently seeing at the lake.  Due to the lower level of the lake we are recommending that trailered boats do not use the ramp.  Those that have been able to make it into the lake via canoe, kayak or bank fishing have relayed to us that live bait options have not been as successful as their plastic companions.  They also said the one live bait that still remains successful for a variety of fish is the red wiggler worms.  Bass fishing has been good with several four-plus pounders being caught.  Bream remain the go-to fish for those wanting to catch a lot of fish. Crappie fishing has been hit or miss.

Bass: Plum colored ‘Ol Monstor worms by Zoom.  Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms.  Most dark colored worms. Lures that resemble a bream.  Minnows and worms.

Bream: Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig.  Near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon.  Catalpa worms.  Chicken cut into small pieces were working great for one angler.  Crickets have Not worked well.

Channel Catfish: Frozen Catalpa worms, chicken livers, Red wiggler worms.

Crappie: Try cover that creates shade (tree tops) or structure (gravel piles).  One angler reported that they had caught several Crappie near the air diffusion heads (where the bubbles come up) on small crank bait while fishing for bass.

Additional information at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/FlatCreek

McDuffie PFA

Falling water temperatures across Public fishing Area: 86.72 ⁰F – 87.26 ⁰F

Water Visibility:     17 – 54+ inches:

PFA’s are now open 7 days a week, sunrise to sunset!

Lake Water levels across McDuffie PFA are still down a foot or better but boats can still be launched at all ramps.

Largemouth Bass:  Action is picking up during early morning and late evening.  Bass have continued biting in several lakes on McDuffie.  A kayak fisherman reported catching a bass of twenty inches in Lake Willow.  Rodbender, the trophy bass pond will be open morning of September 1st and remain open until evening of the September 15th.  The bass action has been consistent in Rodbender.  This lake has been setup with multiple bait species for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass. Bass tags from Rodbender must be sent to the Thomson fisheries office (address on web) or use the drop box at Rodbender boat ramp.  Reward tags must be turned in for the reward to be sent to the fisherman.  Breambuster has a nice population of 2 to 5 pound bass with plenty of bank access like most of McDuffie PFA lakes.

Bream:  Improving.  Bream are being caught near shore this week but late in the evenings in Lake Willow.  Bream can still be found near shoreline structure and aquatic plants but also suspended over deep water.

Channel Catfish:  The Catfish bite is still going strong.  Jones and Willow is where the best bite is occurring.   The best fishing is on the bottom in medium to deep water using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made baits.  The catfish feed best early in the morning or just before sundown.

Striped Bass:  Stripers very slow due the hot weather.  The Striper action may not pick until Georgia gets cooler weather.  Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse Lakes.  Stripers are biting on cut bait and chicken liver fished on the bottom.  Umbrella rigs, diving crank baits and topwater plugs are very effective on McDuffie’s stripers during the colder months.

McDuffie Hatchery and Public Fishing Area will host its Kids Fishing Event on September 24th during Outdoor Adventure Day.  Starting at 8 AM to 12 PM/ 4hours in duration.  Kids ages 2 through 15 years old are allowed to fish during this Kids Fishing Event with parental/grandparent/family supervision and training.

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

Marben PFA

Water temps. : Still HOT!

PFA’s are now open 7 days a week, sunrise to sunset!

Largemouth Bass: Similar challenges for anglers targeting bass remain at least for the first part of September.  However, anglers willing to test the waters in early morning or right before sunset might be surprised with a bass being caught in the shallows.  Shad can be seen schooling on cloudy days.  Hot water techniques are still recommended if targeting bass until mid-September.  Popular lures anglers should try are crank baits and other deeper water lures.  Look for bass to be in the 6 – 10ft. even in early morning and moving deeper as mid-day approaches.  Early morning and late evenings are still the best times for anglers targeting bass.  As temperatures cool in the later part of September, look for bass to remain in the shallows longer and most importantly the “bite” to pick up.

Crappie: Crappie fishing remains slow and most likely will until October.  Anglers may see the crappie “bite” pick up as late evening approaches.  Even though the “bite” picks up, the window for catching crappie in the evening is small.  Anglers need to be prepared using live minnows and yellow jigs, as these tend to be the most popular.  Try fishing cover approximately 8-10 feet.  Remember, once the crappie start biting keep at it, this frenzy will be short-lived in these warm temperatures!

Bream: Bream are the most popular fish targeted at Marben PFA.  The best thing about bream is that this fish will hit a variety of bait.  Meal worms are proving the most successful bait.  However, do not be afraid to experiment, you never know what bream are targeting that day.  There have also been reports of anglers using micro lures to catch hand-sized bream.  Most of the bream caught have been in six to eight feet of water.

Catfish: When the other fish begin to slow, anglers will often turn their attention to catfish at Marben PFA.   Catfish are reported being caught throughout the day.  Based on angler reports, Bennett still remains the “hot” lake.  Anglers are most successful using worms, liver and stink bait.  A handy shade tree seems to be important too!

  • Remember early morning and late evenings remain the best times at Marben PFA.
  • Mid to late September expect the “bite” of all species to pick up
  • Temperatures remain hot at Marben PFA.   Sunscreen, plenty of water and ice are necessary. Don’t forget the picnic lunch!!

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

North Georgia

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

This report really should have been titled “relapse.”  My prior report had painted a hopeful picture of cooling days.  Then the last two weeks of reality hit, and we relapsed back into those sticky-hot August days that we had prayed to escape.  Oh well, I’m glad I became a biologist and not a meteorologist, since that career might have been shorter-lived.  Maybe now I’ll just stick to the fish. 

Along those “lines,” the fishing during the past two weeks has again paralleled the weather, with no changes to the summer dog day pattern.  Trouting high and low, deep reservoir predators, and river bass again led our opportunities for fishing success.   I’ve sprinkled in a few decent fishing reports among some interesting web information to beef up this blog enough for your perusal.  

And today is cool and windy, with promises of slightly lower temperatures and much lower humidity this weekend.  That bodes very well for our holiday fishing plans.   Maybe this coastal hurricane will clear out our summer weather, launch some early fall temperatures, and enhance the bite across north Georgia.  Thanks for bearing with me as we all await fall.

Sincerely,

Weather Channel – Not

  • Reservoir Profiles

Be on the lookout for lake temperature/dissolved oxygen profiles from our region staff members.  That combination of water quality items indeed aims savvy anglers directly at deep sportfish and a much better chance of summer angling success.  

Don’t believe me?  Check out these two credible angling reports, which mentioned the use of WRD profile data.  Then the reservoir fans among you can watch for forthcoming emails with our lake profiles. 

o   Example #1:  http://www.captmacks.com/fishing/lake-lanier-fishing-reports/ (Click on “read more”)

o   Ex #2: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=879015

  • Mountain Trouting

o   http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=111151

o   WRD Fisheries Tech Leon Brotherton caught and released a nice 18 inch Noontootla brown during recent sampling efforts on the WMA.  Enjoy the pic.  Good luck getting this big boy to eat; you’ll need it.

trout bnt 18in sampling Noon Aug2016 pic2 small

o   Where?

https://www.amazon.com/Trout-Fishing-North-Georgia-Comprehensive/dp/1561454036

http://rabuntu.org/site/about/educational-programs/secrets/fishing-in-the-drought/

  • Holiday Weekend Stockers

WRD stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson said state and federal hatcheries are cleaning out their summer supplies and trying to hit his annual quotas for stocked trout waters.  His holiday best bets include:  Hooch and Blue Ridge tailwaters, Johns, Little Cedar, Mountaintown, Dicks and Boggs, Rock, Cooper, Hooch high on WMA, Wildcat, Tallulah, and West Fork Chattooga.

  • Great Smokies Show

Has everyone seen the new NatGeo TV show on the Smokies?  In between all the bear footage, don’t miss the chubs nest-building in here:

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/americas-national-parks/videos/best-of-great-smoky-mountains-national-park/

How do you combat stream sedimentation?  Just build your nest above it! 

It’s almost time for elk-bugling, too, so make plans for a day trip to Cataloochee Valley this September.  Remember, it’s a national park, so all of you own the place!

  • Another Tailwater Whopper

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=111127 

  • Sobering Reminder to Clean Your Gear

http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/headlines/nr_4277.html

http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Diseases?cat=2

  • Lanier Stripers

o   http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=870862&page=6

  • Sturgeon Catch and Release

Check out this 32.5-inch lake sturgeon that was caught last Saturday by 7-year-old Zander Carroll on the Coosa River in Floyd County. 

Sturgeon Zander Carroll 32.5in Coosa 8_20_16 1

Zander and his dad were fishing for catfish with local guide Alan Short (also pictured) when this fish hit a piece of cut shad on the bottom.  After Zander muscled this impressive specimen to the boat, the fish was quickly measured, photographed, and released unharmed as you must do with any lake sturgeon caught in Georgia (harvesting a lake sturgeon is illegal).  Congratulations on the catch, Zander!  We know this catch is one you will never forget. 

John Damer

Fisheries Biologist

Wildlife Resources Division

  • River Bassin’

Gainesville’s kayakin’ Alex W recently caught and released a whopper shoal bass from the upper Hooch, “somewhere above Lanier.”  He brought us photos and data for an angler award application.  A plastic worm did the trick and y’all can enjoy the pic!

bass shoal 20.5in angleraward Alex W Aug2016

Also, here’s a good link to a smallmouth story that has lots of application to Georgia’s river basses:

http://wp.thenewflyfisher.com/index.php/2016/07/21/5-topwater-secrets-for-smallmouth-bass/

  • Cowen’s Carpcast

Here’s a nice 30 -minute discussion of flyfishing for Hooch carp, the inland redfish:

http://www.fishingwithafly.com/podcast/henry-cowen-on-fly-fishing-for-carp

  • Brain Therapy

Look, hydrotherapy is proven to relieve stress. Tell your boss or spouse that you must go wet a line to live a long and healthy life.  Doctor D has prescribed it!

http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/fly-fishing-and-brain

(thanks to midcurrent.com for these story leads)

  • Make Plans for Sept 24

CELEBRATE NATIONAL HUNTING AND FISHING DAY WITH FUN, FREE EVENTS!

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (Aug. 30, 2016) –Each year, the fourth Sunday of September brings National Hunting and Fishing Day.  On this day, celebrated Sept. 24 this year, everyone can enjoy any of 10 FREE scheduled celebratory events, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. 

“I encourage you to bring friends and family to a National Hunting and Fishing Day event,” said Rusty Garrison, Director of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.  “These are family-oriented, with fun and educational hands-on activities that everyone will enjoy. It is a great way to introduce youth and newcomers to outdoor sports while teaching them about the important role that hunting and fishing have for Georgia’s wildlife conservation programs.”

What is National Hunting and Fishing Day? The U.S. Congress and President Richard Nixon established this day in 1973 to recognize generations of hunters and anglers for the time and money they donate to wildlife conservation programs. 

Events offered in Georgia include kids’ fishing events and Outdoor Adventure Days.  Activities will differ at each event – but some highlights include archery and air rifle shooting, trout fishing, snake shows, wildlife programs, exhibits and more.  These events are spread out across the whole state – meaning that one is probably near you!

In addition to these events, a FREE fishing day is offered to all Georgia residents on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016.  On this day, residents do NOT need a fishing license or a trout license to fish on any public waters in the state including lakes, streams, ponds and public fishing areas (PFA).  In addition, residents do not need to obtain a wildlife management area (WMA) license to fish on a PFA, WMA or on Waters Creek on this day.  

For more information on NHF Day in Georgia, including a complete listing of all events in the state, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/get-involved/nhfday .    

  • 9/24 Help Still Needed

I’m still in great need of fly tiers, fly casters, registrars, and hook-baiters for DNR’s 15th annual Unicoi Outdoor Adventure Day at that state park on September 24.  Email me (jeff.durniak@dnr.ga.gov) or call my associate, William, here 770-535-5498 to sign up.  C’mon, take one Saturday and give a little back to your sport.  We can’t hold this event without a hundred volunteers.   I need you to step up to the plate.

  • More Days on PFA’s!

NO LABOR, JUST LONG LINES IN THE WATER: Starting Labor Day Monday-Georgia Public Fishing Areas Once Again Open 7 Days/Week 

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (Aug. 24, 2016) – Do your Labor Day plans include throwing out some fishing line for your favorite catch? We have great news for you! For the first time in five years, Georgia Public Fishing Areas (PFAs) are scheduled to be open every Monday and Tuesday, beginning Labor Day Mon. Sept. 5, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.  This means that they are open 7 days a week for your fishing fun!

“We are thrilled that we have reached a point where we can make PFAs accessible 7 days a week,” says John Biagi, Chief of Fisheries Management of the Wildlife Resources Division. “And while fishing is the main attraction for most visitors, Georgia PFAs also offer other family-friendly activities such as hiking, bird watching, picnicking and camping.” 

Waters on PFAs vary from lakes several hundred acres in size to ponds less than one acre with some designated as kids-only fishing ponds. Anglers can fish from a boat, along the shoreline or from a pier at most locations. Many areas have picnic tables, nature and wildlife observation trails, fish cleaning stations and restroom facilities. Some offer primitive campsites for those wishing to stay overnight on the area, and many facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.

PFAs located around Georgia include:

•             Rocky Mountain PFA (Floyd County)

•             McDuffie County PFA (McDuffie County)

•             Big Lazer Creek PFA (Talbot County)

•             Marben Farms PFA (Jasper/Newton counties)

•             Dodge County PFA (Dodge County)

•             Evans County PFA (Evans County)

•             Flat Creek PFA (Houston County)

•             Hugh M. Gillis PFA (Laurens County)

•             Paradise PFA (Berrien County)

•             Ocmulgee PFA (Bleckley County) – Note: this PFA currently is closed for renovation, but keep an eye out for information about it re-opening in the near future.

Need information about what type of recreational license is needed before visiting? Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/PFA/WhatToKnow .  Licenses may be bought online or find a list of retail license vendors at www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.

For more information on PFAs in Georgia or for detailed PFA guides and maps, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/fishing/public-fishing-areas .  To find PFAs or other outdoor recreation areas close to you, visit www.georgiaoutdoormap.com . 

  • It’s a Small World, After All!

Here’s a priceless story from the Wyoming national forest, with deep Georgia roots in Doug, Charlie, Jim and Kyle!  C’mon, be a part of our national conservation community.

http://www.tu.org/blog-posts/it-is-community-not-coincidence 

Good luck as we dodge the major hurricane bands, while enjoying a little bit of wind, clouds, cooler temps, and raindrops.  Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.  I’ll swap fishing stories with y’all next week.  And if you go to the Smokies, watch y0ur backcasts!

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Fishing has been very good for those who went, but very few people fished this week. Ponds produced the best reports. New Moon is September 1st. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that bream, catfish, and bass were caught in the Jesup area. Bream were fooled with crickets, beetle spins, and Satilla Spins. Catfish (primarily blues and flatheads) were biting well. Soft plastics fooled some quality bass in the 3 to 5 pound range. Quite a few mullet were caught with red wigglers. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the warmouth and bream bites were tops. Crickets were the best baits. Crappie fishing was still strong for those using minnows. Fair numbers of flathead catfish were landed. I got a report of an angler using limb lines to catch 3 flatheads up to 25 pounds on Tuesday out of Altamaha Park. The river level was 2.2 feet and falling (87 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.0 feet and falling (83 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on August 30th.

Satilla River – The guys wading the upper Satilla continued catching bass late last week. Trick worms have been the deal for them. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that redbreasts were eating Satilla Spins and crickets. Some big bream were also caught by anglers pitching crickets under overhanging trees. ZOOM Trick Worms produced some good bass from the deeper holes. Catfish were landed using pink worms by those fishing on the bottom in deep holes. The bite in the Burnt Fort area picked up. An angler fishing Saturday morning with crickets caught 28 big bream and shellcrackers. The river level on August 30th at the Waycross gage was 4.9 feet and rising (83 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.6 feet and rising.

St. Marys River – Creels of 20 to 30 panfish per trip were reported. Most of the catching happened shortly after daylight or late in the evening. Bream were most numerous, but some redbreasts also inhaled crickets. Beetlespins produced some fish as long as they were equipped with gold spinners. Catfish ate any offering fished on the bottom. Some shellcrackers were also caught by anglers fishing pink worms on the bottom. The river level at the MacClenny gage on August 30th was 1.9 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – The best report I received was from anglers fishing the bridges out Swamp Road. They caught lots of catfish on pink worms. In talking to one of the staff members at Okefenokee Adventures, she said that she has worked all week and has not seen ANYONE fishing out of the Suwannee Canal ramp. That’s a shame, as friends and I have caught fliers and bowfin at will this summer. In fact, our last trip to that access a few weeks ago produced the most bowfin (123) I’ve ever caught in a trip, and we fished less than 4 hours. You can pitch sallies or throw in-line spinners down the middle of the canal and catch lots of fish this holiday weekend.

Local Ponds – Chad Lee of Alma caught 14 bass over the weekend, with a 4-pounder topping his catch. He caught them on topwater plugs, ribbit frogs, plastic worms, and crankbaits. He followed the weekend up with a 5-pounder that sucked down a ribbit frog on Monday evening. A group of friends fished a Brunswick area pond with jugs (pool noodles) for catfish on Friday. They chased the noodles around the pond for 1 1/2 hours and caught 49 channel cats up to 3 pounds. They were using cut bluegill for bait. Michael Winge said that bream fishing was still the best option. Crickets have been fooling hand-sized bream and even some warmouth in Waycross area ponds. Bass ate free-lined shiners and Trick Worms pitched into the shadows. Lake Ware produced some nice bream for those using crickets and catfish for anglers bottom fishing with shrimp.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Flounder fishing has been the most consistent. The storm late this week will have things churned up, but the coast should be fishable again by the weekend. Redfish are the first species I plan to chase after the blow, and I will be pitching bucktails and Jetty Jigs with Sea Shads to the rocks at the St. Marys Jetties. Michael Winge reported that flounder were caught in decent numbers with mudminnows. Kayakers fishing behind the islands during flood tides caught limits of redfish on Gulp swimming mullet lures. The white color produced best. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that the new moon and east winds have kept things muddy and chopped up. The whiting bite was best this week. Squid and shrimp produced most of the whiting. Justin Bythwood caught 3 flounder in a few hours of fishing on Friday using finger mullet. His biggest was 14 inches, and all 3 were keepers. A giant 9-foot-class lemon shark was brought to the pier Saturday, and it broke off pierside. A bunch of blue crabs were caught, and a few stone crabs showed up this week. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet:  For the holiday weekend, local ponds are a great place to fish and get away from the public waters crowds. Bream, bass, and catfish are great targets in ponds. If you have a set of catfish “jugs” and a good catfish pond, you will enjoy chasing the pool noodles around the pond (and the catfish fry afterward!). Saltwater is iffy, but flounder and whiting fishing could pick up behind the forecasted storm if it moves through quickly. Rainfall totals from the storm will dictate the quality of river fishing. If we don’t get much rain, the Altamaha system should stay clear, and you can catch bream and bass from the willows and blowdown trees. Expect to drag your boat over sandbars on the Altamaha and Ocmulgee rivers, but it is worth it.

Bonvechio Family Crabbing 7 15 16 -IMG_2171.JPG
Crabbing is a fun family pursuit for the holiday weekend. The Bonvechio family (left to right: Lily, Tim, Hannah and Kim – the photographer) loves catching crabs with hand-lines on the Georgia coast.

 

Advertisements