Georgia Fishing Report: September 16, 2016

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 good.  Rocky points are great all day locations but be sure there are bait schools in the area.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can sweep these areas and show you the schools of bait and the fish close by.  Small crank baits and Super Flukes are working.  Also use any color worm in shades of green.  Also use the spinner bait along with a variety of crank baits and an occasional top-water bait all day.  Shad Raps up in the rivers where current is present or the windblown points and banks is good.  On the full moon, fish as early every day for a few days as possible.  Finding good and constant wind will be the number one key factor on catching quality bass on a crank bait.  On the really windy days use the Rapala natural color DT10.  Try to let the bait hit and bounce off the bottom rocks for the best results.

Clarks Hill (down 5.3 feet, 80’s) – Bass fishing is good.  Get in on the early morning top-water action.  Baits like Pop R’s, Chug Bug’s, Tiny Torpedo’s and buzz baits will be good choices.  A few fish are moving to the back of coves during the afternoon and feeding on shad schools.  Rat L Traps and small shallow crank baits in chrome blue and shad patterns will catch a few fish once they are located.  Watch for the bait fish on the surface.  Fish only the coves with an abundance of shad present.  Jigs and soft plastics are usually the best choices along with a set of Shad Raps.  Try skipping a Zoom Trick worm with a 1/16 ounce weight pegged against the head of the worm.  Skip the bait under docks and allow the slow falling rig to reach bottom.  Let it sit for a few seconds before moving it very slowly.  Try a 3/8 ounce jig with a Zoom Salty Pro Chunk in black blue or other dark colors.  Find some bass schools along main lake humps, points and ledges at 10 to 20 feet deep in the clearer water. 

Lake Oconee (full, the lake is clear, light stain up the lake into the river, 80’s) – Bass fishing is good.  Bass are just now starting to move up to the flats and out of the deeper water in the creeks and rivers.  Suspended fish are showing up all over the graph in about eight to 12 feet deep especially on points.  Medium to deep diving crank baits will get into this zone and catch you some keeper bass.  Use the 3/8 ounce chrome Rat L Traps on the flats early and then head out deeper with the larger crank baits like a DT10.  White 3/8 ounce spinner baits on the windblown points will catch some big bass, but the bait schools must be present to be effective.  Be sure there is some bait schools close by.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can sweep these areas and show you the schools of bait and the fish close by.  Also, use a Zoom pearl Super Fluke on a spinning rod with Sufix 832 braid in 30-pound test.  Now you make super long casts to the points and cover more water. 

West Point Lake (down 4.3 feet, clear, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  The best fishing has been mid lake and way up both rivers.  Up river, the bass will be on river ledges and off the points and heavy cover.  Working dark worms and jigs is the best tactic.  Stay on the heavy brush on points and docks on the lake.  Use the Stanley Bitsey bugs in black and blue or all black 1/2 ounce jig and a pork trailer by Uncle Josh.  The faster moving baits are best late afternoon.  Look on cover or stumps and bass are biting spinner baits. For spotted bass, use the small bright Rebel Deep Wee R or the Shad Rap crank baits worked on banks.  Use light line to get the baits deeper.  On the full moon, fish as early every day for a few days as possible.  On the worm rigs use the Weedless Wonder as the Texas rig and a Zoom green or natural blue worm.  Cast them on top of brush piles in 10 to 19 feet of water.  All white Rooster Tails will work on spots this month.

Lake Sinclair (down 1.3 feet, clear, 80’s) – Bass fishing is good.  Top-water baits should work again real soon.  Look for coves and creeks with an abundance of shad and try a 1/8 ounce chartreuse and white buzz bait.  Fish the banks and docks and cast the buzz bait or other top-water lure to blow-downs, docks, stumps, rocks, and brush piles.  Other good choices are a Pop R, Chug Bug, and Baby Torpedo.  Bass are also coming from docks and boathouses using plastic worms and jigs.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can sweep these areas and show you the schools of bait and the fish close by.  Try a Zoom Trick worm with a 1/8 ounce weight and 3/0 Gamakatsu wide gap hook.  Some good colors are June bug, green pumpkin, and red bug.  On the full moon, fish as early every day for a few days as possible.  Pay attention to the area of each dock where a fish is caught.  Then concentrate fishing time on the same areas in relation to each dock.  Some fish are also hitting jigs on the docks.  Try a Stanley 5/16 ounce rattling jig with a Baby Brush Hog trailer.  Some fish are hitting small crank baits and Rat L Traps near the back of coves.  Two good choices are a ½ or ¼ ounce Rat L Trap and #5 Shad Rap RS.  With the sun shining, try both baits in chrome blue and fire tiger and a shad pattern with cloud cover.

Jackson Lake (down .23 feet, clear, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  At the dam, try fishing the steeper banks with jigs and slow moving dark colored Zoom green pumpkin u tale worms.  White spinner baits are catching a few when thrown right up next to the bank and slow rolling it back.  Up in the rivers use a spinner bait and medium Rat L Traps and cast them close to deep water banks.  Black or any dark color jigs worked close to cover is also producing.  Most of the bass are spots and they are small.  Stay with the jig and work heavy cover in shallow water slow and good.  Several casts might be necessary before the bass strike.  Add some Jacks Juice in the bags of all your soft plastics. 

Big Lazer PFA

Surface water temperature:   82o F

Water visibility:  Visibility is about 28”

Water level: Water level is down 16” from full pool

Largemouth bass: Slow – Bass fishing has been slow because of the very hot temperatures.  However, fall is finally here.  Because of the cooler fall weather, bass feeding will increase before they head into the winter.  Anglers should try shad, look alike, baits at several depths.  Also, plastic-worms and crankbaits fished just off the channels in the upper end have produced several good bites.

Crappie: Poor- A few Crappies are being caught but they are difficult to locate and target.  For Crappie, try fishing deep around standing timber with live minnows or try bright colored jigs fished at several depths.

Bream: Good – Bream fishing is good and improving with the cooler water temperatures.  Target shallower areas that also have some woody brush associated with it.  Crickets and worms are excellent live bait for bream.  Also, small grubs like plastic jigs can work well anytime of the year; try black, white, and chartreuse colors.  Fishing with light tackle can make bream fishing more exciting.  However, make sure the hooks are small because the bream have small mouths.

Channel catfish: Fair- The rocks along the dam are always a good spot to try and catch big channel cats.  However, catfish are also located throughout much of the lake.  Some catfish are being caught on cut bait, worms, and livers.  Try fishing both on the bottom as well as suspended higher up in the water column.

In general, the hot summer weather will be replaced by cooler nights during September and October.  The cooling water temperatures cause the fish to increase their feeding before the winter months.  Therefore, now is an excellent time to grab the family and head outdoors for some fall fishing at Big Lazer PFA.  Also, Big Lazer PFA will be hosting a kids fishing event on September 24 from 8:00 to 11:00 am for children age 15 or younger.

McDuffie PFA

Average Morning Water Temperature:   82.94 ⁰F – 83.5 ⁰F and falling

Water Visibility:     14 – 54+ inches

Largemouth Bass: Action is picking up due to falling water temperatures across the PFA lakes but especially early in morning and evening.  There is a shad hatch in Willow and the bass and catfish are actively feeding on them.  Bass have continued biting in several lakes on McDuffie.  A fisherman reported being broken off in Jones Lake while fishing for bass.  Lake Willow is still producing very nice bass.  Bass in Lake Clubhouse in the 1-2-pound range are biting well for anglers using a pumpkinseed and yellow plastic worm.  Rodbender, the trophy bass pond, will close September 15th and re-open on October first (1st).  The bass action has been consistent in Rodbender with bass up to 5 pounds being caught and released using dark colored worms.  A fishermen reported being broken off in the remaining timber in the deeper pool of the lake.  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, as is the case with most of McDuffie PFA lakes.

Bream: Bream are being caught near shore and by fishermen in boats who are fishing deeper.  Bream can still be found near shoreline structure and aquatic plants but also suspended over deep water.  Bluegill are biting in Lake Willow on Catawba worms fished from shore.  Redear / Shell crackers are biting on red worms on the bottom.

Channel Catfish: Catfish in the 4 to 6-pound range are also chasing the shad in Willow.  Jones, Willow, and Bridge are known to have some catfish capable of busting heavy tackle.  Bullheads are biting much better in Lake Willow with fish in the 1 to 4-pound range being harvested.  Clubhouse is producing good eating-size catfish fishing chicken livers on the bottom.  Lake Bream-buster has just received a fresh stocking of catchable size catfish.  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.  Willow and Jones has been big catfish hot spots.

Striped Bass: Stripers bite has started to pick up due to the weather cooling down in both Bridge and Clubhouse.  Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse Lakes.  Stripers are biting on cut bait and chicken liver fished on the bottom.  Fall and winter months are great times to fish umbrella rigs, bigs swim-tails jigs, deep-diving crank baits and top-water plugs on McDuffie PFA.

NEW*****

McDuffie Hatchery will host this year’s last 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.

There are opportunities to participate in archery and laser shooting as well.

 

North Georgia

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

High and dry!  That’s what we are in north Georgia. 

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/Home/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?GA 

After some brief hope of regular rainfall and dropping nighttime temperatures, we’ve slid back into this significant drought up here. The low, hot water has put the damper on many of our sport fisheries, as both anglers and their finned targets are still lethargic. Terry, at Sherry’s Bait and BBQ, says that a lot of the Lanier striper boats watch ‘window shoppers” on their graphs. The deep stripers will come up and inspect baits, but not a lot are eating right now.  He also said that the cooperative fish have been on the humps on the lower end of the lake, right at the depths where the WRD lake profile data show good combinations of temperature and dissolved oxygen.

I don’t see any relief in next week’s weather forecast, so we’ll just have to make do with what we have.  Our best bets this week will be river bass and tailwater trout.  Low river flows now pack the bass, bream, and even some stripers into the best remaining habitat, which means that your hunting is easier is in the low, clear water.  While the hunting is easier, the harvesting might not.  That clarity is a double-edged sword: it allows fish to see your baits, especially the topwater flavors, from a mile away.  On the down side, the low, clear water makes this fish spooky as heck.  While their food can be spotted, they are easily spotted as easy meals for herons and otters, ospreys and anglers.  River bass are constantly weighing the costs of their demise versus the benefits of groceries, from crayfish to cicadas.  That’s why your fishing is better under the trees, at dawn, or at dark, when that shaded water presents a safer environment for your target species.

On the trout front, our seasonal stockings are now over and it’s slim pickins’ for stockers.  Wild fish will be spooky in the very low, very clear water of our national forest streams at high elevation.  You’ll still have a chance, but you’ll have to move very slow and toss a long, light line into those shrinking pools with the only available water depth that remains up there.  Best bets are the two tailwaters, where the Hooch now has some color from lake stratification and the Blue Ridge Tailwater appears to have more consistent flows and lower temperatures, possibly from completion of TVA turbine repairs at the dam (we’re trying to confirm this).

https://www.tva.gov/Environment/Lake-Levels/Blue-Ridge

There is still some reservoir action for those fans.  Just expect continued “August” fishing right now, instead of the hoped-for “October”  experiences.  Hopefully they’ll come soon.  Read this report to the end to ‘catch” your chance at a free lifetime license.  Here we go:

  • River Bass

Our duo went out last night for an hour and a half, and only landed three between us.  I was flinging a stealth bomber, while Guru did his best Bill Dance imitation and tossed some kind of jig-headed plastic lobster into the deep pools.  While the catching was slim, the fishing still beat sitting at home, watching nothing good on TV.

Conversely, Landon went two days ago and either a) had an epic day or b) lied badly to get us out there and humbled.  Based on his numerous photos, which had no evidence of photoshopping, I’ll have to assume “A.”  Moral of the story:

we should have been there yesterday! 

Here’s a few more tips from our young expert, who majored in Fishing in college:

Stealth Bombers on a long leader down to 4 lb mono. Fish were leader shy but length kept them interested. Subsurface was subpar but fishes’ eyes were looking up with the damselflies fluttering. A small stealth bomber brought 21 to hand with a lot of splashy refusals. Location: IDBIS!”

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Outfitters:

http://wildwoodoutfitters.com/

http://www.canoegeorgia.com/

  • Ken’s Lake Reports

LAKE LANIER IS DOWN 5.5 FEET, THE CREEKS ARE STAINED AND THE MAIN LAKE IS CLEAR & 80’S                       

This report brought to you by Jimbo On Lanier 770 542 7764 www.jimboonlanier.com

Bass fishing is good. The water temperatures and level continue to drop as the nights are getting a bit cooler and the Corp of Engineers continues to pull water. Look for a great fall fishing experience if the lake continues to drop. Not much has changed in terms of our approach since last week, the fishing has just gotten better. We have still been targeting Largemouth for the first 90 minutes or so of the day. We have been focusing shallow in pockets and on points for these fish. Topwater poppers, a Prop Bait, a swim jig, and a small shallow diving Spro crankbait have all worked in these areas. As you would expect, the fish have been very shallow. After the early morning bite, we have been working humps and points with close access to deep water. Fish are typically around areas with brush, but not always. The better fish are often in the 30 feet range or deeper. Also, you can work the topwater baits and swimbaits over the brush and expect a response from any active fish within the first few casts. If you get no response on top, switch to a SuperSpin and swim the bait around and over the brush. Focus on both main lake and creek mouth points and humps, and remember sometimes the fish are relating specifically to the brush, so make sure to work the brush thoroughly as well. Brush in 20 to 30 feet has been most productive this week. There are even more fish that are positioned out deeper in the 35 to 40 foot range as well, on the first break out from the brush piles you will be targeting. The spots have really started to spread out in these deeper areas, and you will often find them relating to timber tops and edges. A SuperSpin and a big flutter spoon can be effective to catch these fish when they are active. September is here and some great fishing lies ahead!

This report is from Big Fish On Guide Service and Captain Ken West, 404 561 2564.

www.bigfishonguide.com

Striper fishing is good but has slowed a little in comparison to previous weeks. A lot of the Stripers have moved up in the water column and are strung out in the 30 to 40 foot range. These fish have developed a case of lock jaw and are difficult to make bite. There is no single technique that works well all the time. The best advice I can give is to try everything! Live Blueback Herring on down rods, trolling with lead core and Umbrella rigs and Power reeling with Herring or Ben Parker spoons. If you can find a school of Stripers vertical in the water column from 80 to 30 feet then down rod fishing with Blueback Herring has been working. Trolling with lead core line and umbrella rigs is a good way to cover a lot of water. Set your lead core line 8 to 9 colors back with a 1 ounce buck tail jig and a 50 foot leader. Try tipping your jigs with live Herring, and different color shad bodies. If you have a specific question concerning Striped Bass fishing on Lake Lanier send us an email and if possible we will address it in a future fishing report. Six Mile Creek, Four Mile Creek, Flowery Branch, Big Creek Shoal Creek, Baldridge Creek and the river channel are all good places to start. The water temperature is in the mid 80’s. The water is lightly stained in the creeks and clear on the main lake. To book your guide trip call us at 404 561 2564 or contact us on our web site.

LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 2.3 FEET, 80’S & CLEAR

Bass fishing is good. Start the day on the main lake with the Sammy 115 in American Shad. Cast it long distances to any schooling fish once they surface. Be ready as a line side may show up too. Use a spinnerbait by burning it just under the surface. Be sure to use a good trailer hook because those schoolers can be finicky and often short strike. Once the sun gets up and the schooling comes to an end, find a brush piles in the 25 foot range and put your boat right over the brush and irritate the fish by keeping your bait in the vicinity of the brush and just shaking it. On the full moon, fish as early every day for a few days as possible. The bluff wall Senko bite is also starting. Try the 4 inch Senko’s in blue pearl color rigged on 10 pound Sufix Elite line and a 4/0 Mustad offset worm hook. Just twitch the Senko up near the surface and let it fall about 10 feet then work it back up toward the surface and then start the process over on the next cast. 

This striper and hybrid report fishing report has been brought to you exclusively by Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service, 770 827 6282. www.firstbiteguideservice.com eidson6260@gmail.com 

Lineside fishing is fair. The fish have moved out over the river channel and they are schooling in depths between 20 to 40 feet deep. Trolling seems to be your best bet right now. Live bait will also catch you a few fish. Down line your bait over the river channels between 20 to 40 feet deep. Make sure you use long leaders 6 to 8 feet long. White bass fishing is still the best bite on the lake. These fish are schooling on top from sun up to sun down. Just ride until you find them on the mid lake area. A Zara Spook Jr. is working these little line sides. Trolling is by far the best bite right now. Troll your umbrella rigs right in the middle of the river channel. We are using a four arm loaded with nine all white jigs 120 feet back at 2.4 miles per hour.

LAKE HARTWELL IS DOWN 5.2 FEET, CLEAR, 80’S

This bass fishing report is from Josh Panyard.

Bass fishing is fair. We have seen water temps come up a degree or two with the warmer weather but that looks to stabilize with the long range forecast. In the upper river areas we have found 80 degree water temps and in the Main River and main lake areas we are seeing 82 degrees first thing in the morning warming to 84 to 85 in the midafternoon. The lake is now down 5.02 feet and continues to fall daily with a little bit of rain and cooler weather coming in the next 15 days hopefully this will slow down. Here is what has been working for us: Early in the morning try the mouths of the creek channels and any pockets close by. Look for small thread fin in these areas as we have still seen fish schooling there. Be ready as these fish will quickly disappear. As the sun starts to get high start working your way out to the deeper areas as that is where the bait moves to. When the wind has been up we have been using small swim baits on 1/4 ounce ball head jigs casting over brush on points and humps in 20 to 25 feet of water on the main lake. When there is no wind fish the same areas with finesse style worms in any green pumpkin color on a 3/16 ounce shaky head and slowly work the bait back to the boat. We have only been catching a couple fish from each area so when the bite slows pick up the trolling motor and move to the next. Throughout the day come back to the same areas where you got your bites as you may be able to pick up another fish or two. 

WEISS LAKE IS AT 2 FOOT 2 INCHES BELOW FULL POOL AND CLEAR AND 84 to 86 DEGREE’S

Bass fishing is good. There is a good bite at daylight until 9am. After mid morning, the bass slow down. Look for these fish at 8 to 12 feet deep on structure. At dusk, try the shallow docks and points and use a pig and jig and a short Carolina rigged Zoom green lizard. The Weedless Wonder worm rig and a Zoom pumpkin seed lizard will get bites. Die hard crank bait anglers are working Rapala DT 10 crank baits in shad and fire tiger. Be sure there is bait around.

  • Rocky PFA

Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area (PFA):

Bass are active in the mornings chasing shad in the coves, best baits are shad colored top water lures early and small crankbaits later in the morning.  Most of the shallow fish are small but fun to catch and with the right wind and weather you can have a day! After the sun gets up look for structure in 10 to 14 ft. of water.  Plastic worms and crankbaits are your best baits and slow down to catch bigger fish.   Catfish are starting to bite too.  Best bait is cut shad in 6-8 ft. of water.

bass-lmb-rocky-pfa-largemouth-sept-2016

Find more photos and info on recreational opportunities at the PFA, by following Rocky Mountain PFA on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Rocky-Mountain-Recreation-and-Public-Fishing-Area-1647655465552161/ 

          Rocky PFA Manager and angler, Dennis Shiley.

  • Hollis Latham

Hey Jeff,

I wanted to send you a little report from Hollis Q Lathem Resoivoir on the Cherokee/Dawson County line. I fished from around 8am to 1pm on Sunday and had a pretty good day of summer bass fishing.  I caught some nice chunky bass around timber on everything from a Fluke, to a wacky rig and my new favorite swimming crawfish pattern. The bass are stacked up on the trees, especially on the ones  in close proximity to deeper water, like along the channel line or around timber on lake points. I broke out the flyrod, started stripping a olive wooly bugger and hooked up with a very aggressive and large 8″ bluegill. No large bass on the fly yet…I may need to invest in a sinking line:) 

As I was paddling back to the ramp to call it a day,  I heard a loud splashing noise. I looked around and saw a large baitball being pushed to the surface across the lake from where I was at. I quickly paddled over and through a Zara spook into the action and….boom! A nice little 3lber to end the day!

This was only my 2nd time here but certainly not the last! This place has all the makings of a really good fishery!!!

          Ron B.

bass-lmb-latham-res-ronb-sept-2016

  • Lanier Bass

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=880388

  • Whopper Lanier Cat

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=880343

  • Hooch Tailwater

A little color enhances the catching, as the increased turbidity from strong lake stratification has the upper tailater’s wild browns feeling a little safer, and venturing farther during the day.

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=111305

  • Stocker Report

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=111279

  • Nice OAD Article

Thanks Steve!  Hopefully we’ll entertain lots of families next Saturday.

http://northfulton.com/stories/Outdoor-Adventure-Day-Saturday-Sept-24,96694

  • The Million Dollar Duck!

Great TV show on the duck stamp program and the power of sportsman conservation, which benefits a lot of wildlife species.  Hopefully they’ll rerun the show soon.

http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/the-million-dollar-duck/about/

  •  Hunt and Fish for Free for Life

Enter the contest ASAP.

https://georgia-lifetime-license.pgtb.me/L1MrLP 

Good luck as we survive July, I mean anticipate October.  Grab the kayaks and make the most out of your extended summers, while praying, “C’mon cold front!!!”

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

 

Craig and Brandy James had the best trip I heard of this week, as they caught over 100 white catfish and kept 79 in the lower Satilla on Saturday. Check out the Satilla Section for more details. Saltwater fishing was also a shining star this week. Very few people went in freshwater, but those fishing ponds did well. Full Moon is September 16th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – Shane and Joshua Barber caught 45 blue and channel catfish in the Darien area last Saturday. They fooled them with shrimp, and Shane said that is a great trip to take a kid. I concur, whether it is the lower Altamaha, Satilla, or St. Marys! Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the water is low, but a few bream and catfish were caught over the weekend. Some crappie were also caught with minnows. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the crappie bite is starting to heat up in the tidewater. Minnows produced creels between 14 and 20 fish per trip. Shellcrackers have also turned on. The key was to fish the deeper holes with pink worms. Reports of bream creels from 25 to 30 per trip were common. Crickets fished in the creek mouths worked best. The catfish bite was good, with the biggest weighed in (a flathead) topping the scales at 20 pounds. The mullet run slowed this week. The river level was 1.8 feet and rising at the Baxley gage, and 2.7 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on September 13th.

Satilla River – The best report of the week came from Craig and Brandy James who fished Saturday in the Woodbine area and spanked the white catfish. They put pieces of shrimp on the bottom with Catfish Catcher Jigheads and caught fish after fish. They fished the ditches and creek mouths on the outgoing tide and moved whenever the bite slowed. At one point they had 7 poles out because it was a little slow. Craig said it looked like they were “spider-rigging” for crappie. About that time a school came through and doubled all 7 of their rods. They caught all 7 courtesy of the circle hooks on their jigheads. They ended up the day catching over 100 white cats and keeping 79 of them. That bite will continue into the winter until the temperatures bottom out.  A couple of Waycross anglers fished the upper river on Tuesday and caught a handful of small bass on tiny buzzbaits. The fish were active, but the size was small. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the catfish bite is on. Shiners fished on bush hooks produced some nice channel cats in the Waycross area. A few crappie were caught on minnows fished in the oxbow lakes above Jamestown Landing. Two of Waycross’s most accomplished beetle-spinners ventured into the high waters of the middle river on Tuesday, and they caught a few rooster redbreasts and big bream between the afternoon rain showers. Some bass were fooled with trick worms in the backwaters. The river level on September 13th at the Waycross gage was 7.1 feet and falling and at the Atkinson gage was 7.4 feet and rising.

St. Marys River – The river is up and stained, and it put a screeching halt to the fishing. Even the catfish reports tailed off this week. The river level at the MacClenny gage on September 13th was 5.9 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – I didn’t receive any reports from the swamp again this week, but I’m sure you can catch fliers and warmouth by pitching yellow sallies and bowfin by casting in-line spinners down the middle of the canal.

Local Ponds – Wyatt Crews fished with a friend at a local pond on Thursday for just a couple hours, and Wyatt landed a quality 5-pound bass on a buzzbait. They also missed several fish on topwaters. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds the catfish bite was good with pink worms, and bream were caught in shallow vegetation with crickets suspended about 8 inches deep under a float. The bass bite has been active late in the afternoons on shiners and black buzzbaits.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Michael Winge reported that most everything was biting in saltwater over the weekend. Whiting, croakers, trout, reds, sheepshead, and flounder all made their way to coolers in the Brunswick and St. Marys areas. Sheepshead were fooled with fiddler crabs around bridge and dock pilings in the Brunswick area. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that the flounder are thick under the pier. Flatties from 14 to 23 inches were flopping on the deck frequently over the weekend. Shrimp and mudminnows produced most of them, but a few of the bigger fish ate 3-inch white Gulp swimming mullet. Black drum and spadefish were caught. Big bull redfish and sharks were landed by anglers soaking cut bait on the bottom. Crabbing slowed, but a few were caught. A couple of Waycross anglers fished the pier on Sunday and Monday. On Sunday they caught 2 bull redfish, 6 sharks, and 4 sheepshead. On Monday, they managed 7 sheepshead and a keeper red. Their biggest sheepshead was an impressive 5-pounder. An occasional Spanish mackerel was caught, but they were not as numerous as the last few weeks. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet:  The lower Satilla at Woodbine and White Oak Creek are great places to catch a mess of great-eating white catfish this weekend. Simply put a piece of shrimp on the bottom near a creek or ditch on the outgoing tide and hold on. You can use either a Carolina-rig or a Catfish Catcher Jighead to tight-line your offering behind the boat. Bass fishing is a good option in the upper Altamaha (unless we get significant rains that bring the river level up) and local ponds. In saltwater, trout fishing should be picking up after the upper 8-foot tides predicted for late in the weekend and early next week. Bull redfish, sheepshead, and flounder are good options from the St. Simons Pier over the weekend, but big tides will have the water muddier than the last week.

craig-james-white-catfish-3-16-20160312_145122-jpg
Craig James (pictured) and his wife Brandy fished the Woodbine area of the Satilla over the weekend and caught more than 100 white catfish by rigging shrimp on Catfish Catcher Jigheads and tight-lining them behind the boat.

 

 

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