Georgia Fishing Report: July 28, 2017

Well, summertime is dwindling, so be sure to plan just a few more quick fishing trips with the kids before they get back to reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic. 

Smallmouth

Georgia saw the 3rd angler succeed in getting a Georgia Bass Slam. Jon Hummel (photo to left) caught a largemouth, shoal, smallmouth, redeye, and a spotted bass. Congrats Jon!! More on the Georgia Bass Slam HERE.

TomClifford

Tom Clifford sent us a pic of a 10.4 lb largemouth he caught (and later released) on an 8-inch bone-colored Bull Shad lure in a Valdosta-area lake. Nice one Tom!

Don’t let summer get away from you without at least one good fish tale to tell – see you out on the water!

CENTRAL GEORGIA

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

(Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant). 

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair as the water temperatures continue to rise.  Bass fishing is best first thing in the morning.  Use the Rebel Pop R in shad and use light 8 pound test Sufix Elite line.  Use the Strike King Square Bill Crankbait in sexy shad and 1.5 ounce.  Top-water baits and medium diving crank baits seem to be the favorite baits early and then the plastics take over as the day heats up.  Bass are moving up on the rocky points to feed by late afternoon.  A crawfish color is an excellent choice during these periods.  Try the new Spybait lures for the suspended fish.  Also use the Ito Vision 110 jerk baits, Chug Bugs and Glass Shad Raps.   Jig and pig combinations and plastic 6 inch worms will still work. Continue to fish shallow submerged wood cover and the rocks. The bigger rocks are usually producing the better bass.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.1 FEET, 80’S

Bass fishing is slow.  The Zoom blue pumpkin lizard on a Texas rig has been taking only a few small bass on deep docks and points up lake.  There is no really decent pattern on these fish with the hot water.  Use a trick worm in greens and skip cast the baits under and around docks up lake and then let the bait sink out of sight.  Try a jig in black or browns and a crawfish Uncle Josh trailer in matching colors can get strikes, but fish the baits slowly.  The only crank bait worth fishing is a Rapala DT 14 crank bait in hot mustard and shad.  Have the frog on a 50-pound braid ready all day.  Use a black bait so the fish can see shadow of the lure.  Add a glass rattle in the bait too.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED TO MUDDY UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPRATURE 88-93

Bass: Bass fishing is poor.  Work the buzz bait at first light until the sun gets up.  Work the deeper docks and sea walls on the main lake.  There is also a shaky head bite under and around docks in the mid lake area.  Some fish are starting to move onto the deep water humps late in the day and you can catch them with a Carolina rig green worm. Also large crank baits fished off of the south end humps will produce.  Use your Lowrance to locate the humps with fish on them then target the hump with the Carolina rig or the crank bait.  You can also work the grass on the south end early and late with a frog and you might pick up some big fish.

Striper: (Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time service. Call 404-803-0741 reeltime@bellsouth.net) – Striper fishing is fair.  If Georgia Power is pulling water the pipe line is the place to be. Live bait as well as spoons, will produce good fish.  You can also find a good school of white bass on the humps up the lake if the water is moving.  There is also a good early morning bite at the dam.  Live bait as well as spoons will put fish in the live well.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is very good.  The fish are in full summer mode.  Look in the submerged timber from 10 to 20 feet deep.  Live bait as well as jigging will put lots of fish in your boat.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools in the timber and start catching.

WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, 80’S

Bass fishing is slow and finesse fishing is the way to go.  Focus on fishing mid to down lake in 15 to 25 feet of water.  Use a drop shot rig with a hand poured Robo worm in the Aaron’s Magic color.  The best areas are around deep rock and brush piles.  Other good area’s to try are around the bridges and roadbeds with deep water nearby.  A Carolina Rigged 10″ Yum worm is also working but bites are few and far between.  This week the best worm colors are green pumpkin, watermelon candy, red bug and blueberry candy.  Also if you have the patience use a Norman DD22 but make sure to use it as the water is generating for best results.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.5 FEET, CLEAR, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Top-water baits are still producing some larger fish during early morning.  Try main lake sea walls and rip rap near deep water.  Pop R’s, Spook’s, and buzz baits have all produced recently.  Work the baits fast and cover water quickly.  Have a weightless Zoom Fluke ready as a comeback bait for fish that strike and miss the top-water lure.  Throw the Fluke beyond where the strike occurred.  Retrieve with short jerks to the strike area, and then allow it to slowly sink.  Remember to use a sharp, wide gap hook such as a 3/0 Gamakatsu. Easy Cast Stern in 12-pound test works well with this rig.  Try a #5 crane swivel about 10 inches above the hook.  More fish are beginning to show up on the summer points, humps and ledges.  In the central and upper lake, try depths of 6 to 15 feet.  In the clearer water down lake, fish 12 to 25 feet deep.  Once a fish is caught, make sure to fish the area thoroughly with different baits and retrieves.  Try a Zoom Finesse worm on a Carolina rig.  Use 14 or 17 pound main line with a three foot leader of 12 pound test.  A ½ ounce weight will come through heavy cover more easily, but a ¾ or one ounce weight is best in current or deep water down the lake.  Chartreuse or shad pattern deep crank baits will also work, especially during power generation.  Try #6 and #7 Fat Free Shads, Poe’s #300 and #400, and Mann’s 15 and 20 Plus.  Down the lake, a Mann’s 30 Plus could work.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .94 FEET, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The lake is full of spotted bass and they are mostly small males on the banks right now.  Fish all the sea walls and any of the long points with a Carolina rigged Zoom finesse or a Zoom U tail worm.  For the bigger fish, go behind the old docks and flip a Stanley Jig in the 3/16 ounce Black/Chart and matching trailer by NetBoy and a Mag II zoom worm.  It’s hard to beat a green pumpkin Zoom Trick worm or same color Finesse worm for these fish with no weight on the rig.  Fish these baits from 3 feet to 15 feet deep on 12-pound Trilete line with a 24 to 36 inch leader and a ½ ounce weight seems to be working best.  On the major feeding periods, use the Bill Norman crank bait DD22 in a pearl and chartreuse on any rip rap at the bridges.  Keep a Zoom pearl Super Fluke rigged and use it everywhere you stop.

FLAT CREEK PFA

  • Surface Temperature: 30.6˚ F (87.1˚ C)
  • Water Level: 6’ 3” Below Full Pool
  • Water Visibility: 17.5”
  • Additional Flat Creek PFA information HERE.

The dog days of summer are here, named for that time of the year when it’s so hot that you can’t even call the dog from out of the comfort of the shade of the porch.  Sometimes fisherman feel the same when trying to lure a fish out of the comforts of the cooler depths.  Fortunately bream do not seem to care as much about the warmer temps but still prefer to hang out in the coolness of shade around the fishing pier or around cover, which is where most anglers interviewed have had success.  Bass fishing has been good for those who have been able to get their lures around the aerators where the Bass seem be feeding.  The large bream have been biting well during the full and new moon phases.  Catfish have been biting well.  Crappie fishing was last reported to be slow.

Bass: Boat anglers have had the upper hand the past couple months when compared to bank anglers.  Here’s what the successful anglers have suggested to catch bass: Candybug Zoom Trick Worm; plum or June Bug colored ‘Ol Monster worms by Zoom; Watermelon or Pumpkinseed Culprit worms; and Kalin’s Green Pumpkin Majic Wac-O-Worms.

Bream: Worms, meal worms, crickets and frozen Catalpa worms were the best things that were reported to be working on Bream.

Channel Catfish: Small slivers of Catfish are great for catching large Catfish. Frozen Catalpa worms and uncooked shrimp.

Crappie: Not enough info to report on.

MARBEN PFA

  • Water temps. : High 80’s or just plain HOT!
  • Additional Marben PFA Information HERE

Bass: August weather patterns will follow those experienced in July.  Patterns often bring afternoon showers that brings sudden changes to bass feeding behavior.   Anglers should look for bass feeding in early morning and late evening on schooling shad.  Despite the HOT days, anglers are targeting bass on lay downs in approximately 11 to 15 feet of water in early to mid-morning.  As the day warms up, anglers should target bass in deeper water.  Successful anglers mimic lethargic shad by casting jerk baits and crank baits.   Mid-day can produce some big bass but look for these big fish in deeper water (10-15 ft.).  Additional habitat to target is submerged timber and rock beds at Marben PFA.  Anglers need to be patient this time of year.  The water is hot and fish may take a little longer to chase.

Crappie: The crappie will slow a little as the hot days of summer begin to take a toll.  Crappie can still be found crowded around submerged timber in deeper water.  Anglers should see a slight change as crappie become a little less aggressive as the water warms.  Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs.  Try fishing cover approximately 10-12 feet throughout the day, especially in the evening.  Bennett and Fox Lakes remain favorites for anglers targeting crappie.

Bream: Bream fishing will be very slow in August.  Even with this drop in aggressiveness, bream will remain the most sought after fish at Marben PFA.  Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best in early morning and late even.  If anglers are patient a few bream can be caught even in the hottest part of the day.  Remember bream are shallow when spawning this time of year so to be successful anglers will have to shallow areas (4 to 5 ft.) in order to increase your chances.  Early morning is a great time to target bream at Marben PFA.

Catfish: Catfish will continue to slow this time of year.  Anglers will find catfish in 7-9 ft. of water and most aggressive in the morning and late evening.   Anglers should target days when it is sunny but patience is necessary when targeting these fish.  Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben.

** Bring plenty of water and sunscreen when visiting Marben PFA.

** Be patient this time of year

McDUFFIE PFA

  • Water temperature range across lakes: 85 ⁰F
  • Water Visibility: 14 – 54 inches
  • Additional McDuffie PFA information HERE

Bass: Bass fishing has slowed down across the area.  Most of the catch being bass less than 14 inches with a few larger fish being taken.  Willow Lake has outstanding shad hatch and may be the cause for the bass being hard to catch.  Fishing pressure has dropped due to the high daytime temperatures. Rodbender, the trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer. Anglers are still catching and releasing bass caught in Rod bender.  This regulation is strictly enforced.

Bream: Steady. Both bluegill and redear are being caught in shallow water across the PFA but no lake is a hot spot currently.  Anglers are catching bream in Bridge Lake using red worms on the bottom.  On the next full moon anglers should be able to find spawning beds again.  Rodbender also has bragging size bream both bluegill and redear.

Channel Catfish:  The channel catfish bite has remained steady.  Catfish are biting in all PFA lakes but Lake Willow and Jones are the hot spots.  Anglers are limiting out on eating-size catfish using stink bait on the bottom.  The best time to catch catfish is early morning or late evening on the bottom using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made catfish bait concoctions.

Striped Bass: No reports of stripers being caught.

NORTH GEORGIA

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

Summer’s dog days continue, and so does our dodging – of the midday heat and afternoon storms.  Successful dodgers are still having some productive trips, so learn the tactics of a) river gauge reading, b) radar monitoring, and c) casting in waning daylight, and you’ll have some great trips, too.  This is a very good time of the year to grab some kids and focus on bream, especially along the tree-lined banks of ponds and rivers.  They’re in the slow, deep water with boulders or downed timber, especially under the shade of overhanging branches.  Those branches are like a McDonald’s takeout window, as they deliver beetles and ants after every strong breeze.  We have an abundance of ponds and small lakes on U.S. Forest Service and Georgia State park properties, so grab a canoe or kayak and give them a shot before school restarts.  Best times will be at daylight and dusk, when the sun is low.   You can also float or wade several of the large rivers here, if they’re not running red from a sudden shower and muddy runoff.  And when you find one nice redbreast or bluegill, you’ll usually discover a whole school.  Try some popper-tossing at fishy-looking shadows underneath the branches soon, and see if it isn’t a ton of fun.

Here we go:

LAKE CHATUGE

Click HERE for a Facebook post from Shane Goebel of Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service of a guided trip on Chatuge for Hybrids and Spots.

For more on Lake Chatuge fishing, including its trophy hybrids, click HERE

LAKE LANIER

Bass: Water Temp – 86; Water Level – 5.4 feet below full pool; (This Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, www.jimboonlanier.com  770-542-7764) – The fishing on Lanier remains good and we are still getting some quality fish around brush on off-shore structure such as points and humps. Not much change in the approach over the past week.  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, a whopper plopper, 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.  Focus on the areas that offer close proximity to much deeper water.   We are still seeing a good schooling bite most mornings.  What they will bite changes from day to day.  Bring it all with you.  LOL. 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 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. Remember, Fruity Worms Rule!  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.   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 next open dates:  August 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.  Now is a great time to learn off-shore fishing for summer bass on Lanier!  Deep humps, hidden points, and ledges are a focus now – Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun!  Thanks to all and May God Bless.

Deep Lanier Bass: Click HERE and HERE .

Ken’s Reservoir Reports: Fresh every Friday: Click HERE.

RIVER REPORTS

Guru invited Dredger out for a late weekend wade trip.  The duo watched the WSB interactive weather radar on their Iphones, let the dark storm clouds pass, and then hopped into the upper Hooch at 7pm.  They each landed a half-dozen or so shoal bass and a couple bream in the next two hours.  True to their respective genetic makeup, Dredger scraped bottom with a brown hairy fodder, while Guru elegantly cast his dries.  Both methods worked well.  What worked best, though, was the fact that the weekend storms generally bypassed the upper Hooch and gave them some clear water opportunities to cast.

Big Hooch Trout:

  • Nice pic of BIG brown: Click HERE
  • Another good report and video: Click HERE

Buford Dam Water Quality and Summer Tailwater Trouting Success: Hint: aim for the middle section, a) below Bowman’s, where the dissolved oxygen rise after instream turbulence, and b) above Island Ford, where tailwater temperatures are still cold enough to give the trout decent appetites.  Here’s why: Click HERE and HERE.

Summer River Stripers: Don’t forget these opportunities at lake vacationers seeking cooler water:

QUICK NEWS

Summer Fly-fishing Tips for North Georgia: Click HERE and click on “summer fly flinging” for some timely Rabunite intel. I hear that the dude who wrote this indeed fishes a lot.

Summer Bream: Kayak Bluegill Vid, Ron was kind enough to share THIS VIDEO.

Kids Bream: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=113875

Small Lake Opportunities:

 Pledge to Pitch It!  (No, it’s not the Braves…): Keep America Fishing, Jackall Lures and numerous B.A.S.S. Nation chapters around the country have joined forces to expand the ‘Pledge to Pitch It’ campaign.

A nationwide effort, the Pledge to Pitch It program encourages anglers to properly dispose of, or even recycle, worn out and used soft plastic baits. Since its launch in 2014, the campaign continues to grow in strength and prominence.

Read the rest of the release HERE and then www.PledgeToPitchIt.org.

Good luck as our summer bake continues.  Dodging the high sun and dark storm clouds can still reward us with some great times afield.    Give your dodging skills a try soon and enhance your fishing memories from Summer Vacation ’17.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA 

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

The effort has dropped off with the heat, but anglers who went still did really well, especially in ponds, the Okefenokee, and saltwater. First quarter moon is July 30th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

SE GA Gracie Page Trout 6 30 17
While not caught in South Georgia, Gracie Page sure did have a great time landing this trout on her family vacation in the mountains a few weeks ago!

ALTAMAHA RIVER

The river is still muddy but has dropped some over the week. Catfish and a few bass were all that have been biting in the Hazlehurst area, according to Lamar Googe of Googe’s Bait and Tackle. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that a few bream were caught in the slower backwaters, and channel and flathead catfish were also caught. Limb lines produced quite a few of the flatheads in the 10 to 30-pound range. The river level was 4.4 feet and falling (87 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 7.3 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on July 25th.

SATILLA RIVER

The river level was getting perfect in the upper river until the most recent rains. It has risen and will probably muddy up by the weekend. Before the rains, Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that bass were caught on Trick Worms and buzzbaits. Some decent catches of redbreasts were made before the rains. The river level on July 25th at the Waycross gage was 6.9 feet and rising (83 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 5.0 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER

The reports I received were that the catfish bite was good, and some bream and redbreasts were also caught. The river level at the MacClenny gage on July 25th was 7.6 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

Glen Solomon fished the east side this week and flung Dura-Spins. He landed 64 bowfin, with the biggest weighing 6.3 pounds. Jackfish, crawfish, black/chartreuse, and red/white (in that order) were his best colors. He said that every one of them had inhaled the lure (the blade was INSIDE their mouths), so make sure to bring a good pair (or two!) of piers with you! On the west side not many people fished, but a few catfish and fliers were caught. Michael Winge reported that a few warmouth were caught from the east side.

LOCAL PONDS

Scott and Stacey Klingel fished a Statesboro area pond one evening last week for just a short time and caught a 7-pound bass, a 6-pounder, two 5’s, and several 2-4-pounders. All of them ate Pop-R topwater plugs. What a bite! Chad Lee fished for bass in an Alma area pond over the weekend and ended up catching 10 bass up to 3 1/2 pounds. He tried moving baits with no success and ended up catching all of them on a ZOOM Ol’ Monster worm (junebug-red flake) fished really slowly. He lost a couple larger bass that swam at him, so he didn’t get a good hookset before they jumped and spit the worm back at him. His bite was over as soon as the sun got bright. Daniel Johnson caught a 4-pounder this week from an Alma area pond by flinging an 1/8-oz. white quad-blade buzzbait. Michael Winge said that crickets produced some bream and bass were eating shiners.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

The bigger tides slowed the fishing at the St. Marys Jetties this week. Brentz and Alex McGhin fished the jetties on Wednesday and caught a handful of whiting, several jack crevalle, and lots of short black sea bass. They fished shrimp and cut bait on the bottom. Redfish and tarpon were caught in the sounds and creeks around St. Simons Island. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that whiting, flounder, trout, and stone crabs were caught from the pier this week. Hunter Bechtel fished the pier this weekend and landed 5 keeper flounder, a few short flatfish, and a keeper trout on live baitfish. He saw quite a few whiting and croakers caught by other anglers. He said that lots of blue crabs were caught again this week from the pier, also. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

The St. Marys Jetties are the place to be for fish that will take your drag. Big redfish, tarpon, sharks, and jack crevalle will give your muscles a workout. Flounder and trout are your best options to provide filets to stink the grease. Ponds should produce a great bass bite at first light, or you should be able to catch some bream by fishing shoreline vegetation with crickets or artificials.

SE GA Scott Klingel 7lb Bass 7 17
Scott Klingel caught this nice 7 lb, 1 oz bass from a Statesboro area pond while tossing a Pop-R plug
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