(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, 50’s) – Bass fishing is fair. Fish on the lower end of the lake near the dam as the water is clear and will warm faster. Use the small jigging spoons and a 1/4 ounce jig. Bass will usually strike a smaller bait in the winter months better than a larger one. The spotted bass are still roaming. They are more active than largemouth due to their small size and they ae more accustomed to cold deep waters. Find the rocks and catch those spots. Drop shot rigs and a small three or four inch grub or worm will catch a limit of those spotted bass, especially on those sun-beaten rocky points. Be sure to check out the rip rap for signs of small bait fish on those sunny days.
Clarks Hill (down 10.7 feet, 50’s) – Bass fishing good. Deep-diving crank baits along with Carolina rigs and jigging spoons are best. Bass are suspended along the ledges and over stump rolls along the bottom. Patience will still be the number one key factor while fishing for big winter bass. A slow moving Rapala DT14 bouncing off these stumps can trigger action from the bass. Try using the smaller Spybait rigs and pink seems to be a better color. Also try using a 1/4 ounce jig on light line for a little faster fall. Use the Carolina rig lizard or a Bush Hog on the stumps as well. Fishing is better down-lake so use the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology to find the bass and structure. Use the jigging spoons on the bass but be sure there is bait in the area.
Lake Oconee (1 ft. low, the lake is clear, light stain up the lake into the river, temperature 55-59) – Bass fishing is good. Spinner baits fished mid-creek and out will produce fish. White and chartreuse have been the best colors. Look for docks with structure under them. Use the Lowrance Down Scan technology to locate the schools of baitfish. This Lowrance Down Beam is 4 times wider that regular 200kHz sonar beams. Look for the clouds of baitfish in the mouth of the creeks and at the opening of the coves. When Georgia Power is pulling water the same spinner bait will work on the bridge rip rap (they have been pulling water early in the mornings). Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the coves out to the main lake will also produce. Some fish are starting to show up on humps on the south end of the lake. Use your Lowrance to locate the fish and drop a spoon down to the fish. This bite will improve as the water temperature continues to drop.
Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741
Striper fishing is very good. The fish are mid lake around river bend. Live bait is working best. Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait and the stripers will be close by. Look for the birds diving, if you see birds go fish them. Live bait as well as spoons will produce large numbers of fish.
Crappie fishing is good. The fish are staging in the creeks. Long-lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches. Spider rigging will also catch some fish.
West Point Lake (down 6.4 feet, clear, 60’s) – Bass fishing is fair. The spots are coming up to feed on the main lake points so look for them in 8 to 10 feet of water on gravel points and throw Sassy Shad, Rat L Traps crank baits. The points right off the main river at the rail road bridge are good cold weather areas and look for the gravel on the banks. Right across from the Yellow Jacket access point is an old road bed that runs up and down the bank about 50 feet off the bank. Run the Lowrance on and over this area and the road bed will show up. Vertical jigging is still another good pattern for largemouth and spots. Some are still deep and holding on the flats and road beds off the main lake in 25 to 27 feet of water. Best baits are buck tails, Fish Head Spins and 1/2 ounce Hopkins spoon. The road bed in Whitewater Creek is a great deep-water area. Just run out on the road bed, watch for the fish and the bait and that is where you drop the spoons and old Little George.
Lake Sinclair (down 2.3 feet, clear, 60’s) – Bass fishing is slow but there are a few fish biting afternoons. The cold fronts and the full moon has been tough on fishing. Use a Texas rig later on in the morning using soft plastics. Bass are relating to docks down-lake and they are in the middle of the lower lake creeks. Small ¼ ounce sinking Rat L Traps in blue and chromes or bright Shad Raps may attract a few strikes but do not expect hard hits. Use the Lowrance Down Scan technology to locate the schools of baitfish. This Down beam is 4 times wider than regular 200kHz sonar beams. This is usually a good Carolina rig lake but this week use a smaller bait like a baby Zoom Fluke in white or a small Zoom green lizard. Make long casts into the center of the coves with light line.
Lake Jackson (down .9 feet, 50’s) – Bass fishing is slow and the spoon and jig bite are the best bets. Fish the channel ledge and stay close to the deepest water and cast along the channel with a RS Shad Rap. Use the darker colors when the water is muddy. Use the Lowrance Down Scan technology to locate the schools of baitfish. This Down beam is 4 times wider that regular 200kHz sonar beams. Stay with the shad and blue shad colors in the clear water for the best results. Best bet is to stay in the Tussahaw creek all day. Afternoons, go to bright small crank baits and throw an occasional jig around the stumps and rocks when you come across them. On main lake points as the sunshine warms the shallows shad and bait fish are moving up into the warmer water.
Big Lazer PFA
Surface water temperature: 52o F
Water visibility: Visibility is about 24”
Water level: Water level is down 24” from full pool
Largemouth bass: Slow – a few small bass are being caught. Plastic-worms fished around the deep water by the picnic area and around the newly repaired fishing pier may produce a few good bites. Remember to fish plastic baits slower now that water temperatures are cooler.
Crappie: Poor- A few crappie are being caught but they are difficult to locate: try in 10-12 feet of water with minnows around standing timber.
Bream: Ok- Bream fishing has been ok lately on pink and red worms. Several are being caught around the new fishing pier. Also, target areas that have structure like woody brush and blowdowns associated with it. In the fall, the best strikes maybe in water 6 to 7 feet deep. Live bait may produce a few late season bream.
Channel catfish: Poor- the catfish bite has been slow even around the dam area. However, you may get lucky using livers at or almost at the bottom and at several different locations around woody structures and the rocks around the dam.
In general, the weather has turned colder and the bite has become less consistent. Anglers have to be more patient and persistent to have a good catch. However, fall weather means many anglers are hunting this time of year thus less fishing pressure for the dedicated angler.
Additional information at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/BigLazer
Falling water temperatures across McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Avg. 55 and falling ⁰F
Water Visibility: 19 – 50 inches:
Lake Water levels on the Eastside of the McDuffie PFA are still down over a foot but boats can still be launched at each ramp. The lakes on Westside of the PFA are full.
Largemouth Bass: Overall, the Largemouth bass bite will be picking up continually until water temperatures drop below 45 degrees. Lake Willow is still providing good bass action due to the threadfin shad so match the size and color of the forage for some exciting action. McDuffie PFA’s fishermen are still concentrating on this lake due to its potential to provide a lunker bass. The Bass are responding to the cooler water temperatures and biting readily while chasing the shad. Several hardcore fishermen are braving the cooler weather and are catching multiple fish with most of them being caught and released. Rodbender, the trophy bass pond, is closed and will reopen on the morning of the first of January, 2017. Bass activities on the other PFA lakes have not been reported.
Bream: Slowing down: The PFA’s water is cooling and the panfish should be migrating to deeper water as the water temperature drops.
Channel Catfish: The Catfish are still biting. The best fishing is on the bottom in deeper water using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made baits. A nice stringer of Channel catfish was photographed this past week on Willow Lake.
Striped Bass: The small Stripers are biting in both Clubhouse and Bridge 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
(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)
Here’s a brief report. It looks like a soggy but warm weekend ahead, so grab a raincoat and take advantage of a mild afternoon to wet a line before the holidays.
· Hooch Tailwater Browns
· Hooch DH
Sounds like the catches are slowing down a bit with the weather and resulting cooler, turbid waters:
That means it’s bottom-bumping time for our newer tailwater anglers. Read on.
· Decembrrr Mountain Trout
At this time of year it’s hard to beat an egg fly, Pats rubberlegs, or a leech as the lead fly with a tiny (#18) pheasant tail trailer, bumped along the bottom. Although the reports are sparse this week on Toccoa and Chattooga, this is the season when those river DH fish pile into the bottoms of slow pools. Dredging anglers can catch a dozen from one “perch” without moving, once they locate that “sweet spot” in the pool. Just get those flies deep enough! Leave the tapered leader at home, grab a long piece of 8 pound mono, and try the “winter chuck and duck” approach. Don’t be afraid to crimp a small shot (#4 or 6 dinsmore) in between the two flies, also, so that they both drift along the bottom at trout eyeball- level.
How? Hints are here:
and the “what:”
(The Oreck Easy Egg recipe is on page 3)
o Blueline Dry Fly Story:
§ Dredger says thanks to Smith DH expert “Andy,” who donated tackle and tips to a trio of Smith DH newbies on Saturday afternoon. All three caught fish and smiles! Andy’s hot flies were very small eggs and midge larva. A bugger also worked in the deep, past part of the road culvert pool.
§ B.O.F .knows his stuff, http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=111982, so pay close attention to his reports and tips.
“Jeff, wanted to let you know that I took your advice and hauled my jon boat up to Vogel State Park Sunday. The weather was cold and windy but the fishing was hot! Had a great time. Thanks for all that DNR fisheries does!”
Rodney D. Tumlin
AP Environmental Science Teacher, Paulding County High School
Fly Fishing & Cold Water Conservation Club Sponsor
Bass Fishing Team Coach
· Lanier Bass
Water Temp: 55 degrees
Water Level: 10.11 below full pool
The bass fishing on Lake Lanier is very good! The ditch bite is continuing to get stronger and we are catching them using the traditional ditch fishing methods – SuperSpin, Jerkbait, Crankbait, Jig, and Shaky Head. The water temps have finally got right and the bait has moved back shallow in these ditches early, and then migrating out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses. We are starting in these ditches first thing and riding out the bite through the day. Some days we adjust to much deeper water, others, we are finding the fish are staying shallow in and around those ditches as well as up around docks. We are starting with a SuperSpin tipped with a boot-tail type trailer right in the ditch. Also, a Spro McStick or McRip has been a good choice as far as jerkbaits go. A Spro crankbait is never a bad choice either, both in the ditches and around rocky points as well. A finesse worm on a Picasso Shaky Football Head or a Chattahoochee Jig has been a good alternative if the fish are not as aggressive. When the ditch bite does start to slow, we have been shifting to steeper rocky points and finding success with a jig and worm as well. Keep that in mind if you start to struggle. We have also started to spoon up some fish out of the timber, or near the timber, in creek arms/ditches in 30-40 feet. Check for bait and fish out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses. If you see fish out deeper, a spoon, jig, or shaky head can be a great way to catch them, depending on how they are positioned. We have a great early winter experience in store folks! Thanks to all and May God Bless.
Jim “JIMBO” Mathley
Spotted Bass Fishing Guide – Lake Lanier
Mobile – 770-542-7764
· Lanier Stripers
· Lanier Crappie
This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website, www.laniercrappieanglers.net
Crappie fishing remains strong. With the drop in water temperature, the fish have pulled away from the backs of creeks into deeper water, where water temps are a few degrees higher (52-53 degrees vs high 40’s). They are holding tight to the brush piles located in 20-30 feet of water, At times, to trigger a bite, we had to ease up directly above the brush and drop straight down, with the jig making contact with the brush to get their attention. The crappie are biting aggressively, but only if the bait is presented directly in the strike zone. Bobby Garland “Twilight” and “Monkey Milk” along with “Tiny Shad” by Panfish Assassin,“ worked well today. We managed to bag our limit, with most being sizeable. There was plenty of bait around the fish we caught, which is another indication of where to find them. Channel docks remain an excellent option if you enjoy shooting docks. If you prefer live bait under a slip cork, that should work as well. Helpful tip: since water temperatures vary right now, staying in areas where water temps are above 50 degrees will work to your advantage.
Be safe on the water and wear your life jacket, it can save your life! See you on the water!
· Hooch DH Bucket Brigade Reminder – December 20
See this prior report for details.
Good luck this week!
(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)
Crappie fishing on the rivers and lakes took top honors this week. Last quarter moon is December 20th. 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 fishing has slowed this week with the rising water, but some crappie were still caught in the oxbows off the main river. Jigs and minnows both produced fish. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the crappie bite was great for anglers fishing over the weekend. Deeper, slow-moving water was where the slabs were hanging out. Minnows produced best, but a few fish were caught on jigs. The catfish bite was very good for both channel and blue cats. Squid, shrimp, and rooster livers were deadly baits. A few smaller flathead catfish were landed with goldfish. The river level was 3.3 feet and steady (57 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 6.3 feet and falling (57 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on December 13th.
Satilla River – Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the catfish bite was tops, and the limb-liners have done really well on the rising river. Channel and bullhead (speckled cats) catfish ate shiners and rooster livers. The higher water has also helped folks get to the crappie. Hand-sized and bigger fish were caught on both jigs and minnows. A few bass fooled with Trick Worms were reported. The river level on December 13th at the Waycross gage was 8.0 feet and rising (57 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 6.1 feet and rising.
St. Marys River – Catfishing was good again this week. Shrimp, rooster livers, and worms all produced whiskerfish. Some bream were also caught on crickets. A few crappie were caught with minnows fished in the still water areas. The river level at the MacClenny gage on December 13th was 2.0 feet and falling.
Ogeechee River – Crappie fishing was tops this week. Prince Preston and Ned Albright fished Tuesday afternoon and landed a great mess of slabs by soaking minnows and pitching plastics on yellow jigheads. The river level at the Midville gage on December 13th was 2.4 feet and falling.
Okefenokee Swamp – The guys from the Waycross Fisheries Office did their yearly electrofishing survey out of the Fargo entrance this week. They collected and released a bunch of fliers, warmouth, and bowfin. Quite a few of the warmouth are bigger than hand-size, so expect a great bite this coming spring. Bowfin are about everywhere, so stock up on in-line spinners if you like fishing for them. Chain pickerel (jackfish) populations are a little lower than usual, but they are still around. A few largemouth bass and bluegills are even mixed in the population, so don’t be surprised if one grabs your offering. The water level in the swamp should be coming back up, but check with SC Foster State Park (912-637-5274) before going if you want to fish that entrance.
Local Ponds – Chad Lee caught 7 bass during the weekend. Five of them were on Saturday morning in 31-degree air temperatures! Keitech crawfish fooled the cold-water bass, and his best color was Okeechobee Craw. He also caught his first fish ever on the new Neko Rigs. Michael Winge said that local Waycross area ponds produced lots of crappie. Fish ate both minnows and jigs, and several of the fish weighed in at over a pound. Before the weekend cooldown, bream were caught with crickets.
Saltwater (GA Coast) – The best report I got this week from the brine was a pair of Waycross anglers who fished the turn of the tide from the pier and caught 5 nice sheepshead, with their biggest 2 at 4lb-4oz. and 3lb-11oz. Michael Winge reported that several limits of seatrout and redfish were reported this week. Live shrimp and Sea Shads both produced. Sheepshead were caught around the St. Simons Causeway bridges by those using fiddler crabs. Black drum were landed from the deep holes by anglers using dead shrimp on the bottom. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the trout, black drum, whiting, and sheepshead bites were still going strong. Some anglers reported limits of seatrout on jigs and live shrimp. A few flounder flopped on the deck for anglers casting white Gulp curly-tails bounced on the bottom. Dead shrimp produced some bull whiting. A few sharks and bull redfish were also caught. Crabbing was productive, with good numbers of the blue crabs under the pier. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.
Best Bet: Crappie fishing should be great over the weekend. Stock up on hooks, floats, jigs, and minnows, and head to your favorite lake or river. Seatrout should be eating it up this weekend with the lower tide heights. The mid-morning high tide should have the fish chowing on Sea Shads fished under Equalizer or Cajun Thunder Floats fished over shell mounds and around creek mouths.