Georgia Fishing Report: April 7, 2017

Check out these reports, and make the most of the sunshine this weekend!

This week, reports come from Southeast Georgia, Southwest Georgia and North Georgia.

Southeast Georgia

(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

At the time of writing this, the Satilla River is in great shape, but rains this week will determine how long that stays the case… Pond bass fishing has been excellent. In areas where weeds aren’t bad, the swamp is providing great fishing and the bugs are nonexistent. Saltwater is hit-and-miss. On days when winds allow, the whiting fishing has been good. Full Moon is April 11th. 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 striper fishing was good, with several fish caught this week. No details on the lures or bait or locations, but some were caught. Goldfish produced some good flatheads, and shellcrackers bit worms fished around willow trees. Donna at Altamaha Park said that crappie, shellcrackers, and bream were caught with crickets and worms. Bottom fishing produced some good catches of catfish, and worms were the most productive offering. The river level was 4.1 feet and rising (74 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 6.0 feet and cresting (70 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on April 4th.

Satilla River – Craig and Colt James fished the upper river and pitched Swamp Spiders. They managed some nice bluegill and redbreasts on Monday and then returned on Tuesday and caught a dozen more. About 6 of the redbreasts were roosters. They caught fish on all the colors, but the white version produced more of the big fish. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that redbreasts were caught in good numbers with Satilla Spins, beetlespins, and crickets. Lizards and Trick Worms fooled some good creels of bass. Shrimp and rooster livers accounted for most of the catfish caught this week, and there were plenty. Right now (Tuesday night) the river is in great shape, but Wednesday’s rains will dictate whether the good conditions will continue or the river will get muddy. The river level is low in the upper and middle river, and getting around is tricky. Plan on dragging a johnboat over some sandbars, but the bite is worth it. The river level on April 4th at the Waycross gage was 5.3 feet and falling (72 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.2 feet and falling.

St. Marys River – Catfish were plentiful this week for anglers bottom fishing with shrimp and livers. Most panfishing reports were 30 to 40 bream and redbreasts per trip. Bass in the 7 to 9-pound range were reported. The river level at the MacClenny gage on April 4th was 2.6 feet and rising.

Okefenokee Swamp – A group from the Waycross Fisheries Office took teens fishing at the Okefenokee Swamp as part of the Georgia Forestry Field Day. The students did their forestry skills tests then partook of various outdoor activities, including fishing. About 200 of the students fished, and many caught fish. A few even caught their first fish ever. About a half-dozen fliers ate pink sallies pitched with bream buster poles, but the best bite was bowfin (mudfish), and they ate Dura-Spins worked in the water column and worms fished on the bottom. It was work retrieving the in-line spinners around floating vegetation, but the students were rewarded with more than 50 bowfin that inhaled the spinners. The hot colors were jackfish (white/red/yellow) and fire tiger (lime/orange/chartreuse). Michael Winge said that the warmouth bite has been consistent, and some big bluegill were also caught.

Paradise Public Fishing Area (near Tifton) – The hybrid striped bass bite was still good in Lake Bobben. The best catch I heard of was a half-dozen fish. Catfish anglers fishing chicken livers on the bottom was still the most consistent bite. If you see them busting shad, cast a crankbait or underspin and small swimbait to them. Otherwise, soaking a liver on the bottom is the go-to presentation. Expect the fish to weigh up to 3 pounds.

Lake Blackshear (near Cordele) – Michael Deen and Justin Bythwood won a bass club tournament on Saturday at the lake. Two of their 5 keepers came on a shad colored (blue glimmer) buzzbait with a flat metal blade, while the other 3 were fooled with a copperfield Flashy Swim Jig (gold willow blade) with an Assassin Elite Shiner trailer in mama’s 14-K color. They had 12.76 pounds, not bad on a day when most folks struggled. They also had a few small keepers that did not help their cause by casting a 5-inch watermelon Senko

Local Ponds – Mike Czaplinski and Harry Bardroff from New Jersey fished a Brunswick pond with a friend on Friday and hammered the bass. They started out with a variety of swimbaits, plastics, and spinnerbaits, but it did not take long to dial in that the bass wanted a Texas-rigged Keitech Mad Wag worm. After they figured that out, they annihilated the bass. As dark set in, they boated their 50th bass and headed in. Most of the fish were 2 to 4 pounds, and their biggest was a 5.69-pounder. They went through every bag of Mad Wags they had and caught fish on every color. They kept switching back and forth to other lures, but the fish were dialed in to the Texas-rigged worm, so they kept going back to it. Their arms were sore, but they had big smiles on their faces as they drove back to the cold and snow in New Jersey on Saturday.  Michael Winge reported that big numbers of bass were caught on plastic lizards. Crickets produced a bunch of bream.  Rutland Farms in Tifton is going to host a children’s tournament ($20 covers an adult and a child, $5 for each additional child) this Saturday. For more information, check out their webpage or look them up on Facebook.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that flounder, black drum, bull redfish, and bull whiting were all landed from the pier this week. Blue crabs and stone crabs were also caught from the pier.  You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet: Bass fishing is crazy good right now. The spawn is winding down, and the fish are feasting before the heat arrives. Keitech swimbaits on Flashy Swimbait Heads are great lures when the fish are chasing, and wacky-rigged Assassin Fat Job stick worms are hard to beat when they are neutral. As the water warms, a buzzbait is a great presentation, especially early and late in the day. Quad-blade buzzbaits allow you to slow your retrieve to a crawl, while metal blades put out lots of squeak. Try a variety of retrieves until you figure out what triggers a bite best on that day. Redbreasts are tearing it up on the Satilla, whether you pitch bugs, throw Satilla Spins, or pitch crickets. If we don’t get much rain out of Wednesday’s front, the fish should be chowing on the warm-up before the next front. Bass and bream fishing in ponds should be great late in the weekend and into next week. The winds are forecasted to be high early in the weekend, but check the latest forecast to see if you can get out for whiting or trout.

Mike Czaplinski Bass - 3 31 17 IMGP4783.JPG
Mike Czaplinski from New Jersey fished a Brunswick area pond on Friday to catch this 5-pounder. He and friends also caught 49 other bass, primarily on Keitech Mad Wag Worms

Southwest Georgia

(Fishing Report Courtesy of Rob Weller, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

LAKE WALTER F GEORGE – The bass and crappie are shallow and good catches of both continue at Lake George. Anglers should concentrate around weed lines for both bass and crappie. In addition, good numbers of crappie have been caught around submerged woody debris in the back end of the coves. The recent stormy weather and slightly cooler temperatures may cause the bite to slow down a bit but should pick up again by the weekend. Anglers should also be prepared for stained or muddy water in some coves due to these recent storms.

FLINT RIVER – The recent rains have swollen and muddied the Lower Flint which may slow down the  bream and shoal bass fishing but not the catfish or striped bass, hybrid, and white bass. When the river levels rise fish are drawn to the tailraces below Lake Blackshear and Lake Worth.

The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:

Montezuma above Lake Blackshear

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv/?site_no=02349605&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00062

Highway 32 below Lake Blackshear

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv/?site_no=02350512&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00062

Lower Flint River below Albany

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv/?site_no=02353000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00062

LAKE SEMINOLE – According to Lake Seminole fishing guide Steven Wells, “fishing on Lake Seminole is still on fire. The bass and redear sunfish are spawning and the fishing can’t be any better.” Anglers interested in a guided fishing trip for bass or bream should give Steven a call at 229-254-6863.

North Georgia

(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

This week’s reports to our Gainesville region office showed that lake bass fishing really picked up, as north Georgia waters warmed and the spots and largemouths began their first wave of spawning.  Yesterday’s big storm front will likely push those fish back a couple days, but watch for the reservoir bite to heat up again with each new warm day ahead of us.  Recall last week’s report so that you don’t miss the striper spawning runs up the major rivers, which now have enough water in them to keep some fish backs wet for a while. 

On the mountain stream topic, our stocking program is in full swing.  The great news is that these high flows should scatter the stockers a bit better and make the fishing a lot more fun than “drought trouting,” defined as simply sitting on the big pool at the Forest Service bridge crossing.  And way up the mountain, our little wild trout are thawed out, spawned out, hungry, and naive from a winter without you. 

trout stocking wildcat cr 5-1-15 pic6

It’s April.  The grass isn’t that high yet, the big winds and hail missed you, and your favorite waters now beckon you.  Count your blessings and heed the call. 

Toona Bass

http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Allatoona

Hey Jeff,

Took the yak, aka “The Battle Barge”  out to Galts Ferry this evening for a little Sunset paddle. The spots were willing to play and seemed to love the Wacky Rig. Seems like bass everywhere love the Wacky Rig!  Anyways, bass seem to be in full pre-spawn mode and are moving up shallow! Its a great time to folks to get out there and get after them!

        Ron W

Hollis Latham Bass

http://ccwsa.com/reservoir/

Hey Jeff,

I went out to Hollis again last Saturday and wasn’t disappointed. I had my single best day of “catching” ever while bass fishing! It was also my best day ever fishing from the Kayak. I landed 34 bass and 1 lone bluegill, who was the only fish taken on the fly. All but 5 of the 34 bass came on the wacky rig, the rest were on the new to me, Ned Rig.

There were plenty of good fish, several in the 3lb range, with the last fish of the day being 22″ and around 6lbs. I thought that was as good as any time to call it a day! It’s not too often I call it a day at 3:30 🙂

bass LMB HLatham Res RonW Apr2017 small

        Ron W

Subject: Lanier Bass Report

Water Temp – 60

Water Level – 8.86 feet below full pool 

WOW!  We have certainly had some changes since last week’s report.  The lake has came up more than a foot with all the rain, and is still on the rise.  The creeks are stained to muddy and the main lake and pockets are stained as well.  The water temps dropped some with the rain and cooler weather and sit at around 60 degrees currently.  I don’t think the rains will change the pattern too much as we found them post-front today in the same areas as pre-front.  Some of the largemouth are definitely spawning but will be hard to find with the muddy water in the backs of the creeks and pockets.  Some of the spots have started the process as well, but we are still mainly dealing with pre-spawn spotted bass.  We have continued to have some great days for both numbers and size.  We have been focusing on main and secondary clay/rock points and sandy pockets in 15 feet of water or less for the majority of this past week.  A finesse worm on a Picasso Shakedown Head has been money this week for the majority of our catches.  We are working the Shakedown Head on 8 lbs test Seaguar Abrazx fluorocarbon.  I believe the lighter line leads to more bites on this bait as it helps allow the baits to present more naturally.  Look also for the shallower brush on points and in pockets through the day as well, as we have been finding some fish staging around this brush – again in the 15-18 foot range. A new swimbait called the Sweet Herring from the Sweet Bait Company has worked well on some days in these areas also.  The Sweet Herring swimbait has also been good on the windblown rocky points and banks. A Spro MD in Red Craw worked well post-rain in the stained water this morning back in the pockets and on secondary points.   As the sun gets up, check the shallow docks in ditches and pockets for activity.  Work a jerkbait and a soft plastic swimbait beside these shallow docks, as well as a jig and worm.  These fish back in the creeks are also staging in preparation for the spawn.  You will find spots and largemouth in these places. This pattern definitely works better when the sun is out as opposed to cloudy conditions.  The clouds make the fish scatter and often bottom locked as well.  While they still remain close to the dock, they are often not directly under the docks. With the stain in the water, I look for the spinnerbait and crankbait fishing to pick up back in these areas. Perhaps even a buzzbait on the warmer mornings.  This is a great time to learn the pre-spawn bite on Lanier.  They are up and moving!  Here are the dates I have open now through April:  17, 19(PM), 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.  Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun!  Thanks to all and May God Bless.

Jim “JIMBO” Mathley

Spotted Bass Fishing Guide – Lake Lanier

Mobile – 770-542-7764

www.jimboonlanier.com

Lotsa Lanier Bass!

An online quote: “I agree with the great fishing right now. We fished yesterday & caught over 40 on crankbaits.” Nothing bigger than 3 lbs. but it was a lot of fun!

Lake Burton Pot Luck

It was a breezy day on Burton today with a crisp 9 mph wind out of the NW. We all had dreams of catching Lake Trout today but ended up with a myriad of species. 58 fish were caught by 14 anglers using techniques from planer boards to downlining in the mouths of creeks to the dam. Some caught more than others but the group as a whole enjoyed catching Spotted Bass, Largemouth Bass, Chain Pickerel and Yellow Perch.

Pics: https://teamlanier.wordpress.com/ 

        Steve Scott

(See my Striper reports in the Angler magazine and in the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division blog.) 

Nottely

Don’t forget this place for April bass and some BIG stripers.  These mountain lakes are also much smaller than Lanier, Hartwell, and even Allatoona, so your hunts for big fish and prime habitats are much easier.

striper and hybrid Nottely sample 3-21-17

http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Nottely

Huge Bass

Did all of you see #17 on Georgia’s all-time greatest list?

https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR/posts/10154437231518388

Lanier Crappie

Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Report April 5 2017

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

Water temperature is about 65 degrees, with higher temps in the shallows, especially in stained water.  Crappie fishing remains strong. Although we thought the spawn was going to be early this year because of the mild winter, the cold snap in March slowed everything down and we are now in the middle of the spawn at almost exactly the same time as last year. Some fish remain staged in shallow docks10 feet deep or less, waiting to move in to the banks to spawn.  Others have completed their spawn and are heading back to the docks.  Some of the fish we are catching on the shallow docks appear to have already spawned, while some on same docks still have their eggs.  Long line trolling works well this time of year since the fish are roaming back and forth to the shallows.  However, pretty much everything is working. Some blow downs are holding fish in pockets and middle to backs of creeks. Shooting docks remains the best method of catching the bigger fish. You should be ten feet or so away from the dock, with a five-to six foot medium action rod, and four pound test high visibility line. Release a length of line about two-thirds the length of your rod, and leave the bail in the open position while you are holding the line with one finger. Grab the curve of the hook (below the barb) and bring it toward your body. Keep the base of the rod parallel to the water while pulling the line toward you to sharply bow the tip of the rod. Release the jig and the line at the same time, while aiming toward your target.  Target docks in ten feet of water or less that have some type structure below. Your side scan imagery can be very helpful in locating structure. We’ve been catching fish on docks and brush piles near docks pretty much all day long. Blow downs are doing better in the mornings and late in the day. Jiffy jigs or Bobby Garland soft body grubs with 1/24 ounce or 1/32 ounce jig heads remain our number one choice. For those who prefer live bait, a slip cork and a trusty crappie minnow should put a few fish in the boat. We feel that the majority of the females will be completing their spawn by the full moon, so get out there and fish while fishing is good and before the lake gets busier in the summer.  Stay safe on the water and always wear a life jacket. 

Special thanks to DNR fish biologists Pat Snelling and Chris Looney for updating us at our meeting last week on Lake Lanier’s walleye, crappie and white bass fisheries.  Awesome meeting!

Hak’s River Reports

He is “shockingly” successful and sharing this week’s intel with all of you. 

Coosa River:

The white bass are still spawning in the Coosa River, but water flows are high following this week’s rains.  River conditions should improve over the weekend and into next week.  The spawning run appears weak this year, but the fish present are of good size quality.  The Mayo’s Lock and Dam and tributary mouths still remain the best areas to target these spawn run fish. 

Striped bass are migrating upstream from Lake Weiss and can found throughout the Coosa River.  Live shad, cut bait and shad imitating artificial baits are all good bets for those looking to catch striped bass.  Fish around downed trees and log jams with good current near them.  The typical striper will be 5-8 pounds in size, but fish pushing over the thirty pound mark can be found in the river. 

Oostanaula River:

Spawn-run striped bass are pouring into the entire length of the Oostanaula River.  Numbers are good and some of the early arrivals have already started to spawn.  Fishing should be good over the next several weeks as more fish move into the river.  Find out more about fishing the Oostanaula River by going to: http://www.georgiawildlife.org/Fishing/Oostanaula

        WRD senior fisheries biologist Jim Hakala

Family-friendly Stocker Success

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=895598

Trout Stocking

Reminder- the weekly stocking list is updated each Friday, so all of you can name your own “best bets.” All streams, except for our largest trout rivers, should recede to fishable levels by the weekend.

http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout

Tallulah gauge: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02178400

Holly: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=02385800

Little Wild Trout

Headwater fans are tearing it up right now.  Quote: “ I am beyond excited right now.”

Chattooga

Quote: “All I can think about now is how I want to get back out there.”

Note some wild brown vulnerability in the stained waters.  And I’ve even attached a spring gold nugget for all of you spring dry fly fans.

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=113001

http://rabuntu.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/TU-program-Dredger-Spring-Dries-Droppers-March-2016.pdf

trout bnt Tex caddis skitter tooga dh 3-15-15

Toccoa Tailwater

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=113006

Hooch Tailwater

Muddy Water Trout Tips

The latest Orvis podcast features Colorado fishing guide Landon Mayer, with tips on fishing the high, muddy rivers of spring.  Since rain has once again decided to revisit north Georgia, these are timely tips for big-water fans.

http://www.orvis.com/news/fly-fishing/podcast-fishing-high-water-spring-runoff-trout-landon-mayer/

Good luck this week as we dry out, watch the rivers recede, and start warming back up to spring’s seventy-degree days.  It will get real good, real quick again over the weekend. As always, thanks for purchasing or renewing your fishing licenses and Trout Unlimited vehicle license plates.

https://www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com/  Go fish Georgia soon and share your fish tales with us.

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