Don’t let the summer heat keep you from some great fishing! Southeast and North Georgia reports follow.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
River, and ocean fishing has been great, even in the heat! Rains should give us extended fishing time in the rivers. Pond fishing has been consistent. New Moon is July 23rd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.
Altamaha River – The river dropped out a little from its full-bank status last week and should be in decent shape for several species by the weekend. Catfish have been tops during the high water, but other species will start biting, especially in the backwaters. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that catfish were biting well over the weekend. Some anglers were also reporting bream and shellcrackers. Donna at Altamaha Park said that channel catfish were tops this week, and shrimp and rooster livers produced well. Some mullet were caught (sandbars are hard to find at this level, but you can catch them from a boat). The river level was 5.4 feet and falling (84 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.0 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on July 18th.
Satilla River – Craig James floated the middle river this week and caught 10 big roosters pitching spiders. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that good-sized bass were caught with buzzbaits again this week. Bream and redbreasts ate Satilla Spins and topwater flies. Redbreasts were also caught with swamp spiders. The river level July 18th at the Waycross gage was 5.0 feet and rising (82 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.4 feet and rising.
St. Marys River – Bream were caught from beds back in the creeks and sloughs. Catfish were caught from wherever you put a bait down, whether worms, shrimp, or rooster livers. The river level at the MacClenny gage on July 18th was 5.0 feet and rising.
Alapaha River – Ronnie Gaskins and his son Hunter fished the river over the weekend and did really well. Crawfish Satilla Spins produced a great mess of fish on Saturday, including some big ‘ol roosters. On Sunday, Ronnie and James Gore caught redbreasts and bluegills on crickets. The river level at the Statenville gage on July 18th was 3.2 feet and falling (82 degrees).
Okefenokee Swamp – A Hazlehurst angler walked the bank and pitched sallies to little pockets and did well for fliers and warmouth. Some of the fliers were bigger you’re your hand (good-sized fliers for this time of year). The warmouth were up to a half-pound. They even caught a few bullheads on the little fly. Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross reported that some anglers reported catching warmouth and fliers.
Local Ponds – Michael Winge said that bream were biting well on crickets. Bass ate Trick Worms. Some big bream were reported this week by anglers pitching light-n bugs after sunset. The “glow bug” bite has been on and off this summer. When it’s on it is a hoot!
Saltwater (GA Coast) – The St. Marys Jetties fishing remained great again this week. A group of Waycross anglers fished the rocks over the weekend and caught several nice flounder, a couple redfish pushing 40 inches, a couple Spanish mackerel, and some jacks. A big shark attacked one of the jacks and one of their redfish while they were fighting it. Jetty jigs with Assassin Sea Shads worked best for them. Other anglers fishing that day were doing well for flounder with both live mullet and mudminnows and artificials. Jim and Garrett Page fished the sound on Saturday and caught a nice mess of whiting on shrimp. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that Spanish mackerel are back at the pier. In fact, about all species are biting. Flounder, whiting, spadefish, and black drum were caught in the largest numbers. Big sharks ate cut bait fished on the bottom. Some short redfish were also caught and released by anglers fishing shrimp on the bottom. Hunter Bechtel and Taylor House fished the pier this weekend and landed 8 Spanish mackerel on live baitfish. Lots of blue crabs were caught this week from the pier. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.
Best Bet: The St. Marys Jetties are the place to be if you want to catch a BIG fish. You have a great shot at bull redfish, tarpon, and sharks. If you want to bring home good-eating fish, then flounder are your ticket at the rocks. The early high tide should have the tarpon chowing first thing Saturday morning. The Satilla is in great shape for a float trip. You will catch lots of panfish by pitching bugs, throwing Satilla Spins, or pitching crickets. Just choose your favorite way to catch them.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Welcome to the dog days of summer, when it just plain hurts to go outside in the afternoons. If the heat doesn’t kill you, either the humidity or the lightning bolt will surely finish you off. Okay, that’s the bad news. What’s the good news? There’s plenty. First, these frequent storms keep recharging our creeks and rivers. They cool off our mountain trout streams and keep more areas in those small tributaries deep enough to hold fish. That’s much better than the entire school of trout holed up in a few pools, competing for limited food and the few hiding places sheltering them from birds and otters. While heavy rains muddy our larger rivers, those places fish really well on either side of the turbidity spikes. If we can catch those storm flows as they first dirty up or finally start to clear up, that cloudy water has river bass feeling a lot more sheltered from overhead predators and willing to feed right through the day.
Storms will also knock the air temperature down significantly, so we have some extra hours on lakes and rivers when we aren’t baking more than fishing. Given the fact that we’re in full summer mode, it’s time to think of the best that summer fishing has to offer: high elevation trout, river and reservoir bass at dawn and dusk, deep drop-shotting for trophy spots, and hot striper fishing as they get squeezed down into their seasonal thermal refuges. And if you don’t know what that last one (squeeze) means, take a look at WRD Fish Tech Chris Looney’s Lanier profiles recently sent to you. Click on the tab called “striped bass conditions.” Chris and biologist Pat Snellings color-code where you should be dropping your blueback herring.
Here we go:
Note- they land a whopper at the end!
The Buddy System
It works! New anglers will catch a lot more fish by buddying-up to veterans via membership in fishing clubs or online message boards. From TU to the Atlanta Flyfishing Club to striper, bass, and crappie clubs,
and to online message boards like GON and NGTO, benevolent veterans will often adopt polite newcomers.
Don’t believe me? Read this recent trouter’s testimonial:
- Spybait: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=886421
- Landon said he’s been doing well on Lanier spots early, on top. He reported catching two dozen in a recent morning on his Boogle Bug popper.
Water Temp – 83
Water Level – 5.71 feet below full pool
This Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, http://www.jimboonlanier.com 770-542-7764
The lake levels have remained stable over the past week, and the water temps are on the rise as we get into the heart of summer. The fishing on Lanier remains good, although it is starting to change as the fish seem to be trending more toward their mid-summer patterns. The topwater bite is still decent albeit more inconsistent. Most days will offer periods of good topwater fishing, but count on having to do some other things during parts of the day to get bit. On the topwater side, a chug bug, a sammy, and a fluke have been my main choices for topwater, and a sebile for a swimbait. Focus on offshore structure with cover, such as brush on humps and points, for this approach. We are still focusing on brush in 18-25 feet of water, but start looking at the deeper stuff as well, up to and including timber edges in 35 feet on the same type structure. For the past week, we have seen a good early morning schooling bite, and then a slow down mid-morning, which is consistent with current moon phase. The topwater bite has been returning in the afternoon. When the fish are schooling, pay attention to the size of bait they are chasing. Match the size of your topwater to the size of the bait on which the fish are focused. The drop shot bite continues to improve and it is proving to be a good option when the topwater bite slows. I have been using the Lanier Baits offerings. Candy has seemed to again be the best color this week. Also, look for the SuperSpin bite to really improve over the next few weeks as the fish become less and less willing to come to the surface. Also, start experimenting with a Picasso Swim Jig over and around the brush as well – this bite should get stronger in the coming weeks as well. Work these baits around points and humps with brush and vary the areas of the water column you work until you find the sweet spot. Here are my open July Dates: 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 31. I am also starting to book August trips as well. Now is a great time to learn off-shore fishing for mid-summer bass on Lanier! Deep humps, hidden points, and ledges are a focus now – Give me a call and see what that is all about! And I’m sure we will have some fun along the way! Thanks to all and May God Bless.
Jim “JIMBO” Mathley
Spotted Bass Fishing Guide – Lake Lanier
Mobile – 770-542-7764
- Dredger Report
Constant storms and a red river knocked Dredger off the upper Hooch last weekend. But he glanced at gauges just to the north, in smallie country, and felt like he had a shot at some clear or slightly dingy water. So he took the long drive…
And was glad he did. In between two BOOMing thunderstorms, when he took shelter in the car, he managed a couple dozen smallmouths to 12 inches. He went thru three techniques during the day to match the water conditions, which changed through time and distance (he drove up and downstream to find water clear enough to fish). Before the first monsoon, he did well on a dry/dropper rig, with a #8 black Pat’s rubberlegs dropped three feet below his white stealth bomber. Between and right after the storms, he did well in the stained water on a brown hairy fodder, bounced along the bottom like a fleeing crawdad. And at Dark-30, he did well in the waning daylight on the dry alone, the trusty stealth bomber on a dead drift through shallow flats. He watched those river gauges, the weather radar, and water clarity, and adapted to conditions to enjoy one fine Saturday. And then he suffered, with a smile, through sore-shoulder Sunday. He’s thinking about changing his angler handle to “Motrin.”
Dredger likes “guide flies:” cheap, easy and quick to tie. Loved by fish. Easy and affordable enough to toss at struggling new anglers who, with some enhanced angling success, will then join our conservation ranks. While Craig ties much prettier ones,
Dredger simplifies them into this “cheap and quick” fodder recipe:
- Mustad 3366 hook, size 4.
- Dumbbell eyes near hook eye
- 8 brown sili legs off the rear.
- Finish with three turns of (brown or black) zonker strip, palmered from the legs up to the dumbbell eyes.
- Tie off head, glue, and dry.
- Then cast, catch, grip, and grin.
Give some of Craig’s Hairy Fodders a try real soon for the Southeast’s lobster-loving river bass!
Hot Reservoir Stripers
Consistent afternoon storms keep recharging our mountain streams. Those water at higher elevations are still fishing very well!
Take Aim at Unicoi Park
Now you can cast and blast in the same park.
Summer Fishing Fun at Hatchery Ponds
Hint: take the kids early, before the sun melts you! A small chuck of hot dog is a great catfish bait.
It’s sea turtle week at WRD.
Enjoy this video and the other facebook posts highlighting turtle nesting on your coast.
Please join me in congratulating Ethan Franklin on his recent graduation from the GADNR Law Enforcement Academy. Ethan earned this position. He went to college, served as one of our summer brook trout interns, working with Fisheries Tech Leon Brotherton to build stream structures and sample brook trout populations, then served as a Game Management Seasonal Utility worker, competed successfully for a Game Management Technician position, and then competed successfully for a LED ranger position. We are proud of Ethan!
And nobody is more proud of Ethan than his parents, Roger and Shari. Many of know may know that Shari is our Region 1 Fisheries administrative operations coordinator. She keeps our books (and me) straight here in Gainesville. And she now has a game warden in her family!
Thanks for helping to restore our purchasing power as we begin a new fiscal year.
Good luck avoiding the squeeze between summer’s heat and thunderstorms. If you can work around or between them, the getting is mighty good. And while we’re a bit warm, most of us will take this hot weather over being stuck inside, without power, during a 33-degree ice storm with impassable roads.
So we’ve covered the where and who. The only thing left is the “who.”
And the who is YOU. Grab your sunscreen, raincoats, and canoes and go get ‘em, guys and gals. Enjoy the last half of summer vacation while you can.