Georgia Fishing Report: June 23, 2017

Soooo, has it rained where you live this week? Ummm, maybe just a little? Hopefully, everyone stayed safe and we will dry out soon. In the meantime, what are your fishing plans for the weekend? 

Another angler has completed their Georgia Bass Slam! Keith Lott (photo of Keith and one of his catches below) of Midland, GA caught a largemouth, Suwannee, shoal, spotted and a Chattahoochee bass. Congratulations Keith! Find out more about the Georgia Bass Slam HERE. 

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Check out some brand new reports from NORTH and SOUTHEAST Georgia below – have a great weekend everyone!

NORTH GEORGIA

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

We’ve been busy around here recently, with no time for a long, slick intro, so let’s go right to the reports!  Notice that biologist John Damer has been on some good fish, both professionally via his standardized sampling, and personally via his Father’s Day kitchen pass to Trout Stream X.  Here we go:

TROUT

Blue Ridge Tailwater: We’ll attach the photo of Damer’s “little” brown here, but you can check out the big one, ‘Notchy,” in his Facebook post.

trout bnt 24in Toccoa TW Damer sample 6-15-17 small

Hooch Tailwater: Good reports are coming from the upper river; check out NGTO.  The lower river near Roswell is running a little warm, especially after a weekend of no generation from Buford Dam.  While the trout should survive, they might be a bit too warm and grumpy to have great appetites, so consider taking your trouting trips further upstream.

Mountain Stockers: Remember that our weekly stockings are posted here each Friday.  Lower elevation streams will be warming this summer, so start heading uphill.

Bluelines: These are still hot, with good stream flows due to consistent showers.  Again, the NGTO Small Streams forum has plenty of fishing reports and photos from headwater wild trout fans.

Father’s Day Fishing: (The following report comes from fisheries biologist John Damer) – I trout bnt4 Damer idbis creek June 2017fished my favorite wild brown trout stream on the Saturday before Father’s Day.  The weather was good, stream flows looked great with all the recent rain we’ve been getting, and I had the stream all to myself.  I started fishing around 10:30 and missed a fish on my first cast, but the action was a bit slow for a while after that.  I fished upstream, picking up a few fish here and there with an elk hair caddis, stopping around 2:00 for lunch.  My luck after lunch was much better.  I saw a few mayflies and small yellow stoneflies coming off in the afternoon, which probably helped get the fish looking up.  As was the case last time I fished here, I did not catch any small fish nor did I get any trophies.  They were all just good-sized fish in the 7-10 inch range.  I did not count, but imagine I landed 15 to 20 fish by the time I called it a day and left with a smile on my face.

LAKE ALLATOONA

Stripers/Hybrids: (This report comes from Shawn McNew, Owner Striper Soup Bait & Tackle) – Lake Allatoona is slightly above full pool due to consistent, soaking rains.  The Etowah, Little River, and Allatoona creek branches remain turbid while the vast majority of the lake is 5+ feet of clarity.  The surface temperature has struggled to break 80 degrees due to a recent cold snap, so we remain in a spring fishing pattern with many fish still in shallow water chasing bait.  The generators are still out of service, so the ACOE continues to sluice water at a steady rate.  This keeps the flow consistent in the lake so fishing patterns and locations are steady.

Until the water heats up, many fish will be in the backs of creeks and up in the Etowah in less than 10 feet of water.  Methods for catching the larger fish will be side planer boards and unweighted freelines trolled slowly in these areas.  Likely places to try are in Allatoona Cr. south of the I-75 bridge, Stamp Ck past Wilderness Camp Marina, and Little R. upstream from the Bells Ferry bridge.  As temperatures warm up throughout the month, expect the fish to retreat to deeper water.  When this begins to occur, switching methods to downlines rigged with 1.5-2 oz sinkers will produce fish.  Baits of choice will be 6-10 inch gizzard shad for the planer boards and freelines while most anglers prefer threadfin shad and small size gizzard shad for downlines.  Using fresh cut shad in areas where fish are finicky, or in the Etowah R. can also be very effective.

This time of year is typically when the threadfin shad finish spawning and head out to open water.  The initial spawn will be reaching a palatable size for hungry hybrid, striper, and white bass.  The abundance of bait over deeper water will result in surface feeding activity.  This is very exciting!  Actively feeding fish are easily caught on a wide variety of lures such as casting spoons, jigs, spinners, soft jerk baits, and surface plugs.  Keep your eyes peeled and rods rigged as this action can take place anywhere, anytime.  Likely areas to see feeding hybrid are: around Clark Cr./Glade Marina area, Iron Hill/Pass, Red Top/Bethany Bridge, in the vicinity of the dam, Clear Cr., Illinois Cr./Bartow Beach area, across from Kellogg Cr on the flat, Victoria Marina area, and in the S-turns.  Covering water and communicating with other boats on the lake are great ways to zero in on the fish.

Keep alert, stay safe, wear pfd’s and sunscreen, and come by Striper Soup for a full array of striper and hybrid specific bait and tackle including LIVE SHAD!

LAKE LANIER

Bass: (This Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley,770-542-7764) – The fishing on Lanier remains very good.  The lake level and water temps have remained fairly stable over the last week.  The topwater bite is still strong and as long as we don’t get consistently hot temps, it should stick around for awhile. Broken Record Alert: To sum it up, if it walks, pops, spits, wakes, chugs, or swims, it is a viable choice catch fish right now.  Focus on offshore structure with cover, such as brush on humps and points, for this approach. We are focusing on brush in 15-25 feet of water.  The bite seems to be better in the middle of the day than any other time, but we have are still seeing some good morning schooling activity again this week as well, for which the topwater lures have been excellent.  Just throw it in the action and hang on.  Wind-blown points have been the best places for this action.  The fluke has continued to produce well also in the same type places.  Work it fast and then kill it and let it settle. Vary the cadence until you find what the fish want.  The fluke can be a good option when there is no wind. Also the swimbait bite has returned and has been producing some good fish.  I have been using the Sweet Herring and a Sebile.  Same places as mentioned for the topwater bite. We are starting to get some drop-shot bites as well and we are going to this when the topwater bite slows.  I have been using the Lanier Baits offerings.  This has been a decent option for us when the fish will not come up to play.   Here are my upcoming open dates: June: 29(PM). July: 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.   Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun! Thanks to all and May God Bless.

Crappie: (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) – As expected, crappie fishing around this time of year is becoming fair at best with Water Temps around 86 degrees. Your best bet for catching fish is early in the morning, on deep docks and deep brush piles. Expect this pattern to remain the same until you see a combination of a change in the temperature and cooler rain. This will bring the fish to shallower structure, thus making them easier to catch. If you are interested, visit our website above where we have posted links to several YOU Tube videos on the subject.  This is a good time of the year to work on your brush piles, which will give you more spots to fish when the weather cools and the bite heats up!  Night fishing is good right now.  Target bridges such as Clark’s Bridge, Wahoo Bridge and Six Mile Bridge.  All have one good thing in common:  they are in sight of a boat ramp, which is convenient when launching.  You will need some type of twelve volt light such as a Hydro Glow.  For best results, keep the light a few feet away from your boat.  This can be accomplished by using a broom stick or some type of rod.  After submerging the light, attach the cord to the rod, leaving just enough slack in the cord for the light to stay submerged.  Place the other end in the rod holder.  This will keep the light several feet from the boat and give you better coverage, and keeps it from banging against the boat and spooking the fish.  Small or medium crappie minnows are your best bet for bait. Set your baits at different depths, and if you notice one depth is getting more action, adjust accordingly.  The bite is sporadic.  You may wait an hour or so for the fish to come after the bait and hit them good for thirty minutes or so, then you may wait another hour or so for another school to come by and start the bite again.  This requires patience, but is a great opportunity to kick back and relax during an evening on the water.

This will be last report for summer.  Around the end of August, when the fishing pattern begins to change, we will pick back up with Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Reports.  Enjoy your summer, and be safe on the water as the lake is now crowded! Wear your life jacket, it can save your life!

Stripers: Click HERE for a link to Capt. Mack’s reports.

LAKE CHATUGE 

Our hybrid stockings are working! Click HERE for more info.

SMALL LAKES

(The following report comes from Dave Hampton) – Scratched the Largemouth off the Bass Slam list on Sunday at Lathem.  Caught all but one of the fish pictured on a LiveTarget Herring swimbait trolled about 75 yards behind the kayak in the coves.  Fish were busting bait fish on the surface all morning but just weren’t interested in the spook or Whopper Ploppers. Added the 15″ fish around noon on a Texas rigged Yamamoto Senko in watermelon magic.

bass LMB fatty Dave H HLathamRes June 2017 small

RIVER REPORTS 

Summer River Stripers: (The following report on river stripers comes from fisheries striper 37lb Etowah Damer shock June 2017biologist John Damer) – Striper fishing should be good right now on the Etowah River.  Fish like the 37-pounder shown here (captured and released 2 weeks ago) continue to find their way to this cool river as other rivers in the Coosa basin get a little warmer than most stripers prefer.  Your best bet for hooking up is still live shad, but you can also catch fish on cut shad or artificial lures like redfins, zara spooks, or swimbaits.  Please remember that you can only keep two stripers longer than 22 inches per person per day.

Biologist Pat Snellings also sampled Cochran Shoals recently and said the striper and shoal bass fishing should be very good.  Stripers over 20 pounds were common, and the biggest sampled and released tipped the scales at 26 pounds.  Evidently, West Point’s striper school is up the Hooch for summer vacation!

Cool Rivers: Dredger spent the last two weekends watching WSB interactive weather radar, checking water clarity from his nearby bridge, and then jumping into the Hooch between storm fronts.  Trip #1 was pretty darn good, with 8 shoalies landed in the 2.5 hours up til dark.  Nobody wanted to play on top, but they all jumped on a #4 black woolly bomber when it bounced past their noses.  Two hit the 16-inch mark.  Shoalies were sulking on Trip 2, but the redbreast kept the action going.  This time it was on top.  A small white popper tossed against the bankside logs and overhanging brush in deep, slow pockets, was the ticket.  One monster inhaled a chartreuse clouser meant for bass!  The spawning gar didn’t want to play, but they were still fun to cast toward. Anglers should remember to bring their gar flies. Watch those gauges.  Muddy water will absolutely kill the bite.  But if it’s clear, get your camera ready!

sunfish redbreast on clouser Hooch BS June 2017 small

Grab you wet wading or kayak-fishing stuff and go enjoy your summer vacation.  And remember- all this rain is good.  Ask any of your favorite sport fish!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

Fishing was great this Father’s Day weekend. The best reports came from ponds and the Okefenokee. Saltwater produced some good catches, and the rivers should have good bites in the upcoming weeks with the extra water. New Moon is June 23rd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Mullet fishing has picked up significantly, even with the stained water. Catfishing has been consistent this week, also. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that good numbers of catfish and bream were landed. The river level was 3.7 feet and falling (83 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 6.4 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on June 20th.

SATILLA RIVER

Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that some nice bass were caught by anglers using buzzbaits in the mouths of the sloughs. Quite a few catfish hit the coolers by anglers fishing pink worms on the bottom with a rod and reel or rooster livers fished on limb lines. The river level on June 20th at the Waycross gage was 6.0 feet and rising (81 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.5 feet and falling.

SE GA Maverick Ray - Chain Pickerel 6 17
Maverick Ray fished with his father (Michael) on the upper Satilla River last week and caught this beautiful chain pickerel (jackfish). The most interesting part of the story is that he caught this fish as it inhaled a bluegill on Maverick’s line. The jackfish refused to let the bluegill go, so he ended up flopping on the sandbar before finding his way to a cooler.

ST. MARYS RIVER

Redbreast and catfish were tops this week. The rains slowed the number of folks fishing, but not the bite. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 20th was 5.0 feet and rising.

SUWANNEE RIVER

There is finally some water back in the Suwannee River, and the anglers have been getting after them. There were reportedly 15 trucks with trailers at the Fargo ramp (Hwy 441 Bridge) on Saturday. Catfishing has been consistent, and some bass were caught in the river and along the Sill. Plastic worms and topwater plugs produced the bass, while shrimp and worms fished on the bottom produced most of the catfish. The river level at the Fargo gage on June 20th was 4.7 feet and rising (78 degrees).

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

I took my daughter Ellie to the Folkston entrance on Sunday after the church service. We threw mostly Dura-Spins and ended up catching 42 bowfin up to 5 pounds. Jackfish and white were our best colors, but we caught a few on several other colors, as well. We pitched pink sallies for a few minutes and caught 2 warmouth and a flier. The water level is still low (we kicked up peat just about everywhere we went), but we were able to get around ok. An interesting thing I noticed was that the alligators left us alone (usually they’ll closely trail you when bowfin fishing). I’m assuming that since anglers haven’t been in the swamp for several months that the gators have “forgotten” the connection between boats and fish slashing around at the surface. Please do not feed anything to the alligators. First of all it is ILLEGAL. Feeding them conditions them to come around anglers to “beg” for fish. They are wild animals, so let them find their own food. All entrances are open at this time, but call ahead of time to confirm that any entrances you plan to fish out of are still open. On the east side, you can all Okefenokee Adventures at 912-496-7156. Staff at Stephen C. Foster State Park on the west side can be reached at 912-637-5274.

LOCAL PONDS

Herb and Timothy Deener fished with me in a Brunswick area pond on Saturday and caught 58 channel catfish up to 3 pounds. We tight-lined Catfish Catcher Jigheads baited with cut bluegill. That Gamakatsu circle hook is the ticket for hooking them without them swallowing it. On Tuesday evening, Alex Carter of Alma caught a 6.9-pound bass on a ribbit frog. Way to go Alex! Michael Winge reported that bass were caught with live shiners and watermelon-red lizards this week from Waycross area ponds. Bream bit topwater flies. Pink worms fished on the bottom accounted for some good catfish creels.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

Shane and Joshua Barber fished on Saturday in the Brunswick area and caught 20 trout, but only 2 of them were keepers – a very different ratio from the week before when all of their trout were keepers at the St Marys Jetties. Most of their fish were caught with jigs, but a few were fooled with a live shrimp suspended underneath a popping cork. Brentz and Alex McGhin of Blackshear went crabbing on Saturday and caught a great mess of crabs (that were eaten by the end of the weekend….).  Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout, flounder, black drum, whiting, croaker, spadefish, spots, sharks, and Spanish mackerel were caught from the pier over Father’s Day weekend. Blue crabs were also caught in good numbers. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

Pond fishing has been great this week for bass, bream, and catfish. We have some water in the Satilla River again, and the bite ought to be good once the water starts to clear. Bugs fished on the surface, Satilla Spins fished around heavy cover, and crickets pitched around wood and deep banks should all score some nice redbreasts and bluegills when the water clarity gets right. The catfish bite in the rivers is another dependable bite. Mullet in the Altamaha would be a fun option during the hot days ahead. If winds allow, fishing on the Cumberland Beach ought to be the place to catch some quality seatrout.

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