Georgia Fishing Report: October 28, 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, 70’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  The bass are on the move up the rivers and in the creeks.  Try the Little River area with the Shad Raps and cast in tight to the banks and around wood.  Shad and silver are the choice colors.  Any wind can create a good crank bait bite.  Rapala shad colored DT6 lures work well along with the DT10 right alongside the Shad Raps.  Continue to fish the wind-blown points.  This pattern should continue to hold up for at least a couple of weeks.

Clarks Hill (down 8.3 feet, 70’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  The lake is low and many underwater areas that are shallow are not well marked so use caution.  The water clarity is good and the shad are still on the move and the bass are chasing them off the points and back into the coves and creeks.  Fish the Number 5 Jointed Shad Raps in the silver shad color.  Work the points and around the sides of the points and continue fishing into the coves.  Bass are around any source of wood that is available along the banks.  The key will be to fish the deeper side of the creeks and coves.  The bass are still relating to deeper water and they are using the ditches and channels as a highway to get to and from their feeding grounds. 

Lake Oconee (down 3 feet, the lake is clear, light stain up the lake into the river, temperature 69 to 74) – Bass fishing is good.  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.  Shaky heads fished under mid-cove docks have produced some of the larger fish over the past week.  Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the creeks will also produce.  White and chartreuse spinner baits fished on the sea walls and rip rap when Georgia Power is pulling water will also produce fish.  The fish are following the bait into the coves so you may have to move further into the coves for the crank baits to produce.

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

reeltime@bellsouth.net

Striper fishing is good.  There are some good hybrids feeding at the dam first thing in the morning.  Live bait and spoons will catch these fish.  As long as Georgia Power is pumping water in the lake this bite will be good.  Some fish are showing up in the river bend area of the lake.  Live bait is working best in these locations.  Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait moving into the back of the coves and creeks.  When you find the bait the stripers will be close by.  Use live shad to catch these fish.

Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are staging at the mouths of the creeks and coves.  Live bait fished on down lines or spider-rigged will catch a lot of fish.  Long lining jigs over the same fish will also produce good catches.

West Point Lake (down 5.8 feet, clear, 70’s) – Bass including the largemouth and the spots are moving into a fall and cooler weather pattern.  Go upriver in the area just below the Franklin Bridge.  Fish the stained upper reaches of the lake with Texas-rigged worms.  Flipping jigs is productive.  Spots are located down-lake in the mouths of main coves and are scattered in 10 to 18 feet of water.  Use Carolina-rigged worms in black, pumpkinseed, dark green and fish road beds; the McGee roadbed is always one of the best spots.  The Wilson Creek area off of Pyne Road Park is also a good area in the late afternoon, and the points in Whitewater Creek are always good spots to cast.

Lake Sinclair (down 1.3 feet, clear, 70’s) – Bass fishing is good.  Bass are still in shallow water.  Many fish are in the coves and creeks, but some still remain along main lake bank.  Top-water baits continue to produce a few fish, mainly during early morning and low light conditions.  Buzz baits, Pop R’s, Spooks, and Chug Bugs are all good choices.  If bass are hitting at but missing the bait, a comeback or backup bait needs to be found.  Simply grab the other bait and throw to where the strike was missed.  Some good choices for clear water are a Senko, Flukes and weightless trick worm.  In stained water, the same baits can work along with a spinner bait.  Spinner baits are also producing a few fish when used as the primary bait, mostly around wood cover and docks.  Try a chartreuse white 3/8 ounce bait of your choice with double Colorado blades in gold.

Jackson Lake (down 1.6 feet, clear, 70’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  At the dam fish the steeper banks with jigs and slow-moving dark colored u tale worms.  White spinnerbaits are catching a few when thrown right up next to the bank and slow rolling it back.  Up in the rivers use the spinnerbaits and Rat L Traps and fish real close to deep water banks and utilizing a slow retrieve.  Black or any dark color jigs worked close to cover is also producing a few good bites.  Some or most of the bass are spots and 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 a little scent every 6 to10 casts.

Flat Creek PFA

Surface Temperature: 68.7˚ F (20.4˚ C)

Water Level: 13’ 2” Below Full Pool

Water Visibility: 20”

The lake is low, we are in a severe drought, the temperatures have remained hot through October and the thought of cooler daytime temperatures have been a mirage, but hopefully as we round the bend into November the longer nights will start to make fishing more enjoyable with some cooler daytime temperatures.  The fishing has still been good despite lower lake levels.  Catfish have really been biting, and bass fishing has also been good for those lucky enough to have a kayak or small boat to fish from.  Bream are still the fish most anglers reported catching.  Due to the lower level of the lake the boat ramp is unusable, and boats must be launched by hand.

Bass: Plum colored ‘Ol Monstor worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms.  Most dark colored worms.

Bream: Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig.  Near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon.  Crickets have not worked well.

Channel Catfish: Red Wiggler worms, Frozen Catalpa worms, and chicken livers.

Crappie: There is insufficient data at this time to report on Crappie.

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

McDuffie PFA

Falling water temperatures across McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Avg. 67 ⁰F

Water Visibility:     14 – 54 inches:

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

Largemouth Bass:  The Bass are responding to the cooler water temperatures and biting readily.  Fishermen are catching multiple fish with some keepers but most are under the 14 inch length limit.  Lake Willow has its second spawn of threadfin shad so match the size and color of the forage for some exciting surface or below action.  Rodbender, the trophy bass pond, will be re-opened the morning of November 1sth.  The bass action should be improving in Rodbender.  Bass tags from Rodbender must be sent to the Thomson Fisheries Office (address can be found on http://www.gofishgeorgia.com) or use the drop box at Rodbender boat ramp.  Reward tags must be turned in for the reward to be sent to the fisherman.

Bream:  Improving: Bream are being caught near shore this week near the docks fishing Louisiana Reds on the bottom. The water is cooler but the panfish are still biting

Channel Catfish:  The Catfish bite is excellent due six of the PFA’s lakes having received a supplemental stocking of catchable-size channel cats which have been providing the local fishermen a good stringer.  The best fishing is on the bottom in medium to deep water using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or homemade baits.

Striped Bass:  The Striper action is not hot yet but they are starting to be caught due to the cooling water temperature.  Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse Lakes.  Stripers are biting on chicken liver fished on the bottom while catfish fishermen are fishing for catfish.  Umbrella rigs, diving crank baits and top-water plugs are very effective on McDuffie’s stripers during the colder months.

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

Marben PFA

Water Temps – Lo/Mid 70’s

Largemouth Bass: Bass will show more aggressive behavior this time of year.  This aggressiveness is very beneficial for anglers seeking “lunkers.”  Bass are gorging on threadfin shad schooling in early morning.  Water temperatures are warmer than usual.  Expect bass to be in shallow water in early morning, moving to deeper water in the mid-day.  A variety of techniques can be used this time of year when targeting bass.  Texas rigs, crankbaits, slow and fast fishing, shallow and deep just about everything is working this time of year!  Bass will be occupying a variety of habitat from flooded timber to shallow points.  Schooling shad in the morning are often good targets while targeting rocky banks and points on windy days.  Four to six pounds are normal this time of year but hearing or even seeing a 10+ is not uncommon on Marben Lakes.

Crappie: Crappie will be the most aggressive fish at Marben through November.  Crappie can be found in 5 to 10 feet early morning until evening.  Submerged timber is a very popular target when targeting this fish.  Reports of anglers catching crappie ranging in size from one to two pounds are numerous this time of year.  Yellow jigs and live minnows remain the most popular baits for anglers targeting crappie.  This best thing about crappie this time of year is they remain aggressive throughout the day.  Fox and Bennett are the most popular targets for anglers targeting crappie.  Do not be surprised if the stringer fills quickly with these fish.

Bream: Look for bream fishing to remain relatively stable through November.  Anglers should really benefit from the warmer temperatures predicted for the month.   Anglers will find both bluegill and shellcracker exhibiting aggressive behavior preparing for the cold winter months.  Worms and crickets remain the bait choice by most anglers.  Bream can be caught throughout the day but midday has proven the best time.  Reports of shellcracker weighing over a pound are not uncommon this time of year at Marben.  If it is quiet on the lake, that means the fish are biting.  Rarely does one give up their favorite fishing spot!!

Catfish: Catfish fishing will be comparable to previous months.  Like other fish, catfish can be found in a variety of habitat and can be caught throughout the day.  Anglers targeting rocky banks and submerged logs tend to be the most successful.  The best thing about catfish is this species is not too picky about the weather.  Stink baits, livers, and night crawlers are the most popular amongst anglers.

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

 

North Georgia

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

Ouch, another bone-dry week and another notch deeper into our drought!

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

The risk of wildfires is also sky-high, so we must all be careful with open flames and smoking supplies in order to protect our national forests, state parks, and coveted mountain retreats.

http://weather.gfc.state.ga.us/Maps/fd.gif

The low water is still making it tough on fish habitat, especially on streams and rivers and in our mountain trout hatcheries.  At least the water is cooler with these chilly nights, but the shrinking habitat is very tough as fish compete for limited space and groceries.  The little bit of good news is that cooler nights have helped trout stream temperatures to recover.  Now we just need the lower elevation trout populations to recover via stocking or some flood-induced displacements from upstream sanctuaries. 

Despite the drought adversity, dedicated north Georgia anglers are making the best of a tough situation with flows and lake levels.  At least the weather is absolutely perfect for outdoor activities.  After a long, hot summer, reservoir fish now have restored appetites and an urge to rise from the depths.   More stripers and hybrids should swim into the shallows, and the night bomber bite should start heating up (http://www.fishingpharmacy.com/the-long-a-bomber-ezp-2.html).  For the biggest fish, try the lower ends of the reservoirs, where the summer coolwater refuges occurred in the deepest water near the dam.  As those deep refuge fish now rise to the shallows, they’ll be hitting the closest points and reef markers in search of bluebacks and shad, especially after dark (http://www.bigfishonguide.com/lake-lanier-fishing-guide-articles/).   It will be a while until those downlake stripers have a good reason to migrate upstream in search of bait, so focus on the lower halves of our reservoirs.  Just remember that lower lake levels may limit ramp use and expose some navigation hazards, so cruise at lower speeds to be safe. (http://www.sam.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Recreation/Lake-Sidney-Lanier/Lake-Levels/)

Try Nottely for abundant stripers and Chatuge for some big hybrids.

Some high elevation trout streams are now fishing better because of lower temps.  Remember that Georgia angling opportunities on these headwater streams are now year-around, so mark some dates on your November calendar for some hiking and blueline fishing expeditions.  If the mornings are real cold at high elevations,

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/conf/home/?cid=fsm9_029107&width=full

the dry fly bite might be slow.  Consider arriving around lunch and fishing the afternoons.

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=108063

Georgia’s Delayed Harvest trouting opportunities will again kick off on Tuesday, November 1.  Those DH streams should be well stocked by lunch of that Opening Day, and they’re great places to take new trout anglers. (http://www.georgiafishingbooks.com/gadh/info.php, http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout, http://www.chattahoocheemedia.com/apps/webstore/products/show/6463325). 

Remember the strict regulations (catch/release, single hook artificials) in place to “recycle” those trout so they can provide many great memories for cool season anglers:  http://www.georgiawildlife.com/node/1307.  Another silver lining of the drought is that the larger DH streams are more easily waded and fished at low flows, so take advantage of this opportunity to try “new” waters, like the Toccoa (http://www.gon.com/fishing/new-toccoa-river-delayed-harvest, http://www.unicoioutfitters.com/toccoa-river-delayed-harvest.shtml).  But if you’re still hesitant about the bigger streams, give Smith Creek at Unicoi State Park a try (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVnkWGxW3M4). Flows will be low and fish will be packed into the pools.

On small, still waters, try the “stealth indicator” technique I described a few weeks ago.  And in bigger streams with shadowy depths and some decent current, try twitching a small (10 or 12) black or olive woolly bugger, or dead drifting peach egg flies or pink san juan worms.  Enjoy high catch rates while these naïve fish go thru their learning curve over the next week or two, before demand small imitations of natural stream bugs on perfect, drag-free drifts.

The topwater bite for river bass seems to have slowed, but midlevel lures and bottom bouncers should still do the trick while water temperatures are in the mid-fifties or higher. With low flows, warm afternoons, and beautiful fall foliage, it’s still a great time for these unexpected bonus trips with the canoes and yaks.  Do it soon, or you’ll have to delay til May (https://georgiawildlife.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/upper-chattahoochee-river-fishing-and-public-access-points/).

Here we go, without campfires:

  • River Bass

After two weeks of “on-call” sequestration, Dredger was ready for a wading overdose. He knew that Thursday night’s windy, cold front, which dropped water temperatures like a rock,

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

would shock summer-acclimated stream fishes and curb their hunger. Still, he thought that any day in waders would still be a good day fishing, so he took his time and hit his favorite bass river as the Saturday (10/22) afternoon sun warmed it slightly to sixty degrees.  Nobody was interested in his white stealth bomber, but he still managed to hook a dozen and land half of them on the deep dropper below the “dry fly.”  Flavors of the day were a black woolly bugger and a brown Hipps helcraw.  Big fish of the day launched itself skyward and rudely deposited that helcraw at Dredger’s feet.  But even in defeat, the sun shined, the leaves turned colors, and the cell phone was out of tower range, so Dredge pronounced it as a great day astream.

  • North GA Trout Report

Hey, Jeff!  Hope you’re well.  See attached photo. 

trout-stringer-tara-l-toccoa-r-fall2016

Been going to the Suches area every weekend and the lower water levels have really presented some challenges.  Not only low water levels but less movement/current in the water and you really have to search for the few deeper, shaded pools.  Have found a few holed up in there but definitely slower going than years past where I’d fill up my stringer.  I’m still catching but just not in numbers.  Also, whereas you used to see trucks just lining the roads there are fewer people fishing because they know the conditions aren’t ideal.  Water has also been almost too clear if that makes sense.  I tend to catch more when the water is not too clear but not too cloudy, either.  Hoping for some rain and then a break for the cloudiness to dissipate but as long as I’m catching dinner it beats sitting around my house in Atlanta with the fish I bought from Kroger.  =)  Hope you’re well. 

Kind regards,

Tara L

  • Article – Small U.S. Forest Service Lakes

http://www.aboutnorthgeorgia.com/ang/Forgotten_Lakes_of_the_Chattahoochee_National_Forest 

  • Tough but Rewarding Tooga Browns

Still suffering for an angling deficit, Dredger took his own advice (https://georgiawildlife.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/georgia-fishing-report-september-30-2016/#northga), and trekked north last Sunday afternoon (10/23).  Hiking into the Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area, he tossed a chubby  #12 October caddis into the growing shadows from four til slap-dark at 7PM. He got about a dozen looks and ended with half of them fondled.

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

Biggest fish was only about ten inches, but they were all beautiful, wild, spunky, and survivors of our drought!

trout-bnt-tooga-erwa-10-23-16-pic1

Dredger offered these tips to hopeful tourists.  First, read the water and find deeper runs.  He found no fish in the skinny riffles.  He saw some goodun’s rising at the tails of big, slow pools, but hooked none.  He tried and had a few bumps on the big caddis, but no hookups.  He thought he lacked the skills of long 7X tippets and no-see-um sized midge patterns on glassy water, and he darn sure knew he didn’t have the patience (and brains?) to stand there and match wits with big, slick water sippers. His Seal Team 6 approach (Guru’s term) to stream trouting was more conducive to running waters. 

He covered a lot of stream in prospecting for those deep runs and boulder pockets, and was rewarded with enough rises to make it a fun afternoon.  It would have been an even better day iffin’ he had landed the biggest sipper. Alas, he was still in river bass mode, and his “reel down, yank backward” plastic worm hookset wasn’t kind to the 5X tippet.  After that heartbreak, along with a few fresh caddis left high in overhanging poplars, he finally realized that he was back in the world of delicate trout waters again.   Live and learn, live and learn….

Remember the deep runs with bubble lines….

And TWO flashlights for the hike out.

  • Good DH Tip

Scout the big DH streams’ bottom contours now, like you would scout reservoirs and take notes during major drawdowns.

This will be the ideal year for anglers to hit the Toccoa DH. The low water makes it extremely wadable unlike years past. Also with the water being low someone could take advantage of learning the runs and undercuts in a stream they otherwise are “guessing”

Tight Lines Joe of North Georgia on Facebook. Checkout and like my page. I am constantly updating it with new content.”

  • Trout Tailwaters

The two tailwaters should fish decently, and their resident browns should be putting on weight and “date colors” for their November spawning dances.  The little guys will eat midges and small stones, while the trophies will be looking for meat.  Big jerkbaits and articulated streamers in rainbow trout attire may chum you up a wall-hanger. Check out the pic from biologist John Damer’s Blue Ridge sampling run this week!

trout-bnt1-blue-ridge-tw-oct-2016-jpg

 Load ‘em up and move ‘em out! Thanks to TU tag money, Lake Burton Hatchery was able to purchase our new Polaris Ranger. Its maneuverability and size will facilitate a multitude of tasks around the hatchery, from stocking and grading fish to hauling/towing equipment and materials to and from the hatchery grounds. We are certainly grateful for the new addition to our work unit. Burton hatchery produces trout for the statewide put & take program, Lake Burton brown trout stocking, and Delayed Harvest stockings.  It also produces fingerling walleye each spring for reservoir stocking.    Thanks “loads” for the Polaris!

burton-hat-new-utv-oct-2016-resized

Jeff Stewart

Asst. Hatchery Manager, Fisheries Section

  • Lanier Stripers

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

  •  Lanier Bass and Stripers

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=883737

http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/section/29/article/119782/

  • Ken Sturdivant’s Detailed Reservoir Reports

They are updated each Friday:

http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html

  • Fish for the Kids!

On Thursday (10/27), WRD Fish Tech Chris Looney delivered a nice batch of 5,000 six-inch channel catfish from WRD’s Walton Hatchery to the kids ponds at Buck Shoals Wildlife Management Area. 

With some TLC and feeding by WMA staff, these fish should be ready for the monthly kids fishing events next summer.  Looney checked the ID of an excited Game Management Region Supervisor Ken Riddleberger and disqualified him from fishing in the kids pond!  And while Chris drove north, fisheries biologist Pat Snellings diverted west, to the Army Corps of Engineers kids pond near its Lake Lanier HQ.  That catfish redose should also help with the Corps’ kids fishing rodeos next summer. 

Thanks very much for renewing your fishing licenses and TU trout license plates.

http://www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes

http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Conservation/Support 

Good luck as you hunt your finned, furred, or feathered quarry.  Enjoy this photo:

https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR/photos/a.10150581592923388.377455.101012503387/10153994285158388/?type=3&theater, and make the best of a warm, pretty, and very dry fall in Georgia’s great outdoors. 

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

As many folks put their fishing rods in the corner and exchange them for deer rifles and time in the woods, they miss some of the best fishing of the year. If you are willing to drag some (ok, a lot), the Satilla bite is awesome. Crappie fishing in lakes and ponds is also good, as is fishing in the Okefenokee. Seatrout fishing is going to be peak for the next month. New Moon is October 30th. 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 the catfish bite was still going strong. Anglers using goldfish caught some nice flatheads. Bream were caught on crickets and worms. Crappie ate minnows, with creels ranging between 30 and 50 fish per boat. A 5-pound bass was landed over the weekend, and quite a few bass in the 2 to 3-pound range were reported. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the bream fishing overall slowed, but you can still catch them if you are patient. Over the weekend a group of anglers caught 30 big bream on crickets fished in a creek off the main river. Crappie were still caught with minnows fished in the eddies and deep holes along the river. A group using minnows caught 45 on one of the trips. A 55-pound flathead catfish was the biggest reported this week. It was caught Friday night by a rod-and-reel angler using goldfish for bait. Other flatheads in the 30-pound range were also landed. The river level was 1.2 feet and falling (70 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 1.7 feet and falling (71 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on October 25th.

Satilla River – The best report I received this week was from Craig James of Waycross. He floated the upper Satilla, flinging his old, trusty crawfish Satilla Spin (the same one he has been using since last summer!). When the smoke cleared, he had caught (and released most of them) 92 panfish, including redbreasts, bream, stumpknockers, crappie, and even a shellcracker. He had about 20 redbreasts that were 10 inches or longer. Late in the trip he picked up another pole with a bruised banana gold version of the spinnerbait, and the fish continued to hit that one, as well. Early in the trip he flung a Mister-Twister chartreuse curly-tailed grub and 1/16-oz. head and caught a couple crappie from some creek mouths. But, the crawfish Satilla Spin did almost all of his damage. He has caught hundreds of panfish (and even some brown trout in north Georgia) off of that one lure! Way to go, Craig! Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that anglers were catching fish, primarily in the Brantley County section where there is still enough water to use a boat. Crickets and spinnerbaits were producing 10 to 20 fish per trip by most accounts. In the Waycross area bank anglers reported catching bream and redbreasts on crickets and pink worms. Catfish also ate those same offerings. In the Burnt Fort area, redbreasts and bream were reported by those fishing crickets and worms. Bass were fooled with shiners. The river level on October 25th at the Waycross gage was 4.2 feet and falling (69 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.0 feet and falling.

St. Marys River – The tidal river is in great shape for fishing. The few who went did well for bream and redbreasts by pitching crickets and worms. Most trips produced 20 to 25 panfish. The catfish bite, as it has been for years, is still on. It really doesn’t matter where you put your bait down, you will catch catfish. Some places are just better than others. Rooster livers and shrimp produced best.  The river level at the MacClenny gage on October 25th was 1.9 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – Very few anglers fished, but those who did caught them. Late in the afternoons, anglers fishing the boat basin caught fliers and some warmouth by fishing crickets or yellow sallies. From boats, anglers caught bowfin (mudfish) at will on Dura-Spins. On the west side, the catfish bite is still steady for those putting shrimp on the bottom. If you want to learn the finer details of swamp fishing, attend the Pioneer Days Celebration at the Folkston entrance and participate in the fishing opportunity. The event will be held from 9am to 2pm on November 19th and there is no cost, except the refuge entry fee.

Lake Mayers (near Baxley) – The crappie bite is on. An angler reported catching a limit of crappie by spider-rigging minnows in the deeper water on Monday afternoon. I like to fish 3 or 4 rods rigged with Assassin 2-inch Curly Shads out the back of my boat and troll at about 1 mph (try different speeds until you dial in what they want that particular day). Whether you spider-rig, drift, or troll, crappie fishing at the lake will be fun all winter and into the spring.

Local Ponds – Chad Lee had a couple memorable trips to Alma-area ponds over the weekend. He landed 16 bass Saturday morning with several 4-pounders and the biggest a 7-pounder. The bigger fish ate crawfish crankbaits. He missed a couple other big ones on topwaters. That evening he landed 6 more bass up to 5.9 pounds. An angler reported that the fall umbrella rig bite is on. He threw the little bladed rig on Tuesday and landed an 8-pound class bass. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds bream were caught on crickets, while minnows and jigs produced crappie. Soft plastics and buzzbaits fooled most of the bass. Channel catfish ate worms and rooster livers.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Michael Winge reported that in the Brunswick area anglers caught some good messes of trout by fishing live shrimp and Assassin Sea Shads. Whiting ate shrimp and squid. Flounder inhaled mudminnows. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that the trout are under the pier. Anglers caught keepers on live shrimp and jigs. Bull reds were landed and released on cut bait and crabs. Crabbing is still great under the pier. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet:  Crappie fishing is picking up wherever you decide to chase them. I like to pitch to heavy trash piles in rivers and long-line troll with Assassin 2-inch Curly Shads in lakes and ponds. If you like to spider-rig or drift minnows, you can’t go wrong, either. Seatrout fishing will be excellent this week before the big tides show up again. In the Okefenokee, it is a blast to fling in-line spinners and pull on pickerel (jackfish) and bowfin. Or, if you want to work by dragging a canoe, kayak, or small boat, you can whack the panfish by doing a float trip on the Satilla (I’ve had several days in the fall where I have caught and released over 100 panfish).

craig-james-big-redbreast-10-25-16-jpg
Craig James of Waycross hammered the panfish on the upper Satilla on Tuesday. This rooster was one of 92 panfish he caught (and released most of them). Almost all of them ate crawfish Satilla Spins.
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