First report of November, and for awhile there it felt like Fall, right? As you make your weekend plans, regardless of the weather, be sure to check out the following fishing reports for the latest and best news of what is biting and where!
Changing of the Guard: This week the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division bid farewell to Fisheries Chief John Biagi (who managed to grab his Georgia Bass Slam before he left) and welcomed in Matt Thomas as the new Chief. Congrats to both!!
This week we have reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia to get you prepared and ready to hit the water.
CENTRAL (EAST AND WEST) GEORGIA
(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Find Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.
LAKE RUSSELL IS DOWN .70 FEET, CLEAR, HIGH 60’S
Bass fishing is fair still slow. The rain has stopped for now and the daytime temperatures are rising into the low 90’s every day. The Rapala #5 Shad Raps is catching a bunch of small bass lake wide. Fish the smaller cuts and coves. Fish both the Balsa Wood and RS Models early in the morning and then again late in the day. The shad color seems to be working the best with the clear green water. After the sun comes up, finesse worms and trick worms on any wood or rocky points are working on a few bass as well. Use the Carolina rigs in deep water during the late morning until afternoon on the drop offs and channel ledges. Spend a little time looking at the points and underwater islands with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology to find baitfish in these areas before fishing. This will help narrow down where the fish are. Submerged structure in 18 to 25 feet of water seems to be the key.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 8.5 FEET, HIGH 60’S
Bass fishing is good. The shad and herring schools are now forming all over the lake. Good size blue backs have been spotted up on the flats and larger points and in the rivers. Locate the bigger bass by trolling slowly with Down Deep Husky Jerks along the channel ledges and just off the humps out on the main lake. The smaller bass are moving up into the shallows and a variety of baits are catching them. Keep a pearl Super Fluke ready all day. The Rapala #5 Shad Raps and Rapala DT6’s are working as the fish are feeding and busting the banks and points. Fish the Savannah River and hit every point and secondary point you come across. Spend a little time looking at the points and underwater islands with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology to find baitfish in these area before fishing. This will help narrow down where the fish are. Watch for schooling bait fish. A good top-water bait like a Chug Bug or Skitter Walk needs to be kept handy and ready to use at all times. The windy days will be the best days to fish. Crawfish are in big numbers now so take your time and pick your colors wisely. Rattling’ Raps are great baits to use up in the Little River. Find the rocks and make your casts up in the shallow water.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL 60’S
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. The fishing has slowed a little but if you are on the water early you can have a good day. Look for any top-water action and cast a Pop R in the area where the fish are surfacing. Fishing the rip rap at the bridges should bring you a few bites. Fish long points where you have deep water nearby. Fishing a Carolina rigged worm in the watermelon seed or watermelon candy colors with a 24-inch leader will be a good bait to use when the water is moving. A big crank bait fished on these points will also bring you a few bites. Another good area to fish are the underwater islands, where the top part of the island is in 10 to 12 foot of water cast your bait to the top part of the island and work your bait to deeper water. If you are able to flip your bait under dock there are some fish to be caught by working the docks near deep water. The main key is when Georgia Power is moving water. Spend a little time looking at the points and underwater islands with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology to find baitfish in these area before fishing. This will help narrow down where the fish are.
Striper: Striper fishing is fair at best. If Georgia Power is pumping back into the lake in the morning there is a good spoon bite at the dam. If not then the fishing is slow and poor. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools in the middle of the coves and you can catch them with spoons and live bait. It will get better as the water cools. We are seeing signs that the fall bite is on the way.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good to very good. The fish are still on the submerged timber from 5 to 15 feet deep. Use your Lowrance to locate the trees with the most fish on them and then drop live bait or jigs into the top of the tree. This will produce good catches of crappie.
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 4.8 FEET, HIGH 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Find the shad and this is when the Lowrance Structure Scan Side imaging technology can play a major role in successful fishing or not. Baitfish move into the creeks and bass follow them. Up lake, the water is clear. Use the #7 Shad Rap and any type of your favorite plastic worm. The best worm rig is a 1/8 ounce shakey head and the colors can be black or watermelon seed by Zoom. Fish have started moving in the backs of the deeper creeks so start your search at the mouth and work to the back. Fish in Half Moon Creek and up Yellow Jacket Creek. Down lake, fish are still on the points and shoal markers. Look for the brush piles to catch the bigger fish. Fish a medium running crankbait or a Carolina Rig.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.2 FEET, CLEAR, and HIGH 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. There is a top-water bite first thing in the morning, and after that, fish docks with shaky heads, Texas rigs and jigs. Fishing is going to improve as the water temps comes down. Look for a good seawall and grass bite to begin. Early, fish poppers and buzz baits. After that, crankbaits and Carolina rigs will work. Spend a little time looking at the points and underwater islands with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology to find baitfish in these area before fishing. This will help narrow down where the fish are. Top-water baits such as buzz baits, Whopper Plopper, Zara Spooks and Spro Poppin Frogs are effective for shallow fish, especially around shallow brush, grass beds and weeds. Have a jig handy to pitch into wood cover in these same areas. It is hard to beat a Zoom worm on a Shakey Head or just dragging a Carolina rigged Zoom finesse worm or mini lizard around sloping gravel banks. Also, try a small Texas rigged worm or a jig ’n pig around blowdowns. Try fishing around the bridges and bridge pilings with small crankbaits and jigs, especially during periods of water generation.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 1.55 FEET, HIGH 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Fish are on docks and sea walls looking for food. Early morning feeding periods may show some top-water action. Keep a top-water bait ready in the event that they feed. Bang A Lures, Pop R’s and floating Rapala’s are very good choices and use clear 8-pound Sufix line. Spinning reels are easy to use with these baits. The 4-inch Senko in bright colors on a Texas rig or with no weight is catching some very large spots mid-lake around docks. Pick the docks half way in the backs of major creek, skip the baits under the dock and be sure to have fresh line. Another bait that will fool the bigger spots is a ½ ounce Stanley jig and a twin tail trailer especially after dark. Down lake on rocks, the Fat Albert dark grubs on a 1/16 or 1/8 lead head and a single or twin tail grub can work on main lake structure. Points and long banks right in the mouth of the lower lake creek can produce some good action. Cast the baits right on the bank and reel them back with a straight steady motion. Occasionally drop the bait and the fish will strike.
APALACHEE RIVER (MORGAN COUNTY)
Redeye bass (Altamaha Bass) were biting well. A fisherman reported catching about 10 using 4” finesse worms on a 1/8oz shakey head. Fish seemed to be around structure in pool habitats. You are not fishing for monsters, with biggest going about ¾ lb. Most were 8” to 9” fish. Lots of fun to be had in a beautiful river.
- Surface Temperature: 21.3˚ F (70.3˚ C)
- Water Level: 4’ 10” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 21”
The water temperature has dropped ten degrees Fahrenheit in one month and the anglers at Flat Creek are really starting to see the difference. The bass, bream, catfish, and crappie have all been reported to be more aggressive, and easier to catch. The fall time, as the temperatures start to drop again, is an often overlooked great time of the year to get out and go fishing. If you do decide to come out and try your luck, most of the fish that have been caught were found around cover. Here’s a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had great success using for each of the following:
Bass: A Finesse Jig with Strike King’s Rage Tail Craw in a Green Pumpkinseed, White spinnerbait or Flukes. Shad Live Target Swimbaits. Plum or June Bug colored ‘Ol Monster worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumpkinseed Culprit worms. Savage Gear 3D Bluegill.
Bream: Worms, meal worms, crickets on a Carolina Rig
Channel Catfish: Livers and uncooked shrimp.
Crappie: Mister Twister Curly Tail Grubs in bright colors. Strike King Mr. Crappie Scizzor Shad Jig in any of the four available colors.
- Water Temps – Mid 60’s
Largemouth Bass: Bass will show more aggressive behavior this time of year. This aggressiveness is very beneficial for anglers seeking “lunkers.” Bass are gorging on threadfin shad schooling in early morning. Water temperatures are warmer than usual. Expect bass to be in shallow water in early morning (3-4 feet), moving to deeper water in the mid-day (6-10 feet). A variety of techniques can be used this time of year when targeting bass. Texas rigs, crankbaits, slow and fast fishing, shallow and deep just about everything is working this time of year! Bass will be occupying a variety of habitat from flooded timber to shallow points. Schooling shad in the morning are often good targets while targeting rocky banks and points on windy days. Four to six pounds are normal this time of year but hearing or even seeing a 10+ is not uncommon on Marben Lakes.
Crappie: Crappie will be the most aggressive fish at Marben through November. Crappie can be found in 5 to 10 feet early morning until evening. Submerged timber is a very popular target when targeting this fish. Reports of anglers catching crappie ranging in size from one to two pounds are numerous this time of year. Yellow jigs and live minnows remain the most popular baits for anglers targeting crappie. This best thing about crappie this time of year is they remain aggressive throughout the day. Fox and Bennett are the most popular targets for anglers targeting crappie. Shepard has a lot of bank access if you are willing to take a short walk. Do not be surprised if the stringer fills quickly with these fish.
Bream: Look for bream fishing to remain relatively stable through November. Anglers should really benefit from the warmer temperatures predicted for the month. Anglers will find both bluegill and shellcracker exhibiting aggressive behavior preparing for the cold winter months. Worms and crickets remain the bait of choice by most anglers. Bream can be caught throughout the day but midday have proven the best time. Reports of shellcracker weighing over a pound are not uncommon this time of year at Marben. If it is quiet on the lake, that means the fish are biting. Rarely does one give up their favorite fishing spot!!
Catfish:Catfish fishing will be comparable to previous months. Like other fish, catfish can be found in a variety of habitat and can be caught throughout the day. Anglers targeting rocky banks and submerged logs tend to be the most successful. The best thing about catfish is this species is not too picky about the weather. Stink baits, livers, and night crawlers are the most popular amongst anglers.
- McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Water temperature range across lakes: 66 ⁰F
- Water Visibility: 21 – 54 inches
Largemouth Bass: Bass fishing has remained steady across the PFA. The bass are chasing the shad in Lake Willow so increased feeding activity should translate into better fishing. The fall temperatures have settled in but the bass fishing has remained slow. Lake Rod Bender, the trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.
Bream: Steady. The PFA’s anglers have reported they are still catching some bluegill and shellcracker around the PFA. This action will slow-down as the water temperatures drop.
Channel Catfish: The Channel catfish bite has been hot. Catfish are biting exceptionally well in all PFA lakes. The Lakes that have received a supplemental fall stocking of catchable-sized channel catfish are Jones, Willow, Clubhouse, Breambuster, Bridge, and Beaverlodge.
Striped Bass: No reports of stripers being caught in Lake Clubhouse or Bridge. The water temperature on McDuffie PFA is below 70 degrees so the stripers should begin biting. Stripers are school feeders so if one striper is feeding they are all feeding.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The crappie bite was awesome again this week before the weekend cold front! Seatrout fishing was excellent by most reports, and the sheepshead bite picked up. Ponds and lakes produced some good bass fishing. The evening bite is hard to beat right now. Full Moon is November 4th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
The DNR staff finished their fall standardized electrofishing sampling this week. The electrofishing gear stuns the fish so that they can dip them, and then they hold them in a livewell. After identifying the fish, they take a length and weight and release the fish. The bass, bluegill, and crappie numbers were excellent on the river. The biggest bass they electrofished was around 7 pounds. Crappie numbers were great all along the river, while the bluegill numbers and quality were remarkable mostly in the lower, tidal areas. Redbreast numbers were lower than usual in all but the Jesup area. Heather at Jaycees Landing Bait and Tackle said that the crappie are biting minnows, and redbreasts ate crickets. On Friday night a 52-pound flathead catfish was caught with a goldfish fished on a limb line. At Altamaha Park, lots of crappie (most were on the small side) were caught with minnows. Crickets fooled some nice bream. Some flatheads, blues, and channel cats were also caught. The water came up two feet this week, so you should be able to get around well again, but the water will be a little stained. The river level was 3.8 feet and rising (62 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 5.4 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on October 31st.
Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that buzzbaits (parrot was the best color) were drawing vicious strikes late last week before the cold front. The water temperature dropped 10 degrees this week, and that triggered the crappie to feed during the more seasonable temperatures. Minnows and black-chartreuse jigs worked well. Jigs worked best in the deeper holes in the main river. A few bream ate crickets. The river level on October 31st at the Waycross gage was 4.7 feet and falling (64 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.8 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Catfish were caught anywhere you dropped a hook baited with pink worms or rooster livers, according to Winge’s Bait and Tackle staff. Some big bream were fooled with crickets. The river level at the MacClenny gage on October 31st was 4.7 feet and falling.
The area reopened to the public on Friday with a ceremony and some great fishing for bass, crappie, and bluegills. The lake was stocked with only female bass in order to produce trophy bass fishing, and the lake is managed under catch-and-release regulations for bass. While the bass numbers are low, the growth rates certainly are not. Most of the bass are only 1 1/2 years old and are already over 2 pounds. The largest bass reported was an almost 4-pounder (it was 2 1/2 years old). The first 10-pounder will likely be caught in about 2019, so put the lake on your radar if you like catching, photographing, and releasing big bass. One group reported catching 3 bass, another 8 bass, and another 19 bass the first day the lake was open. Gary and Shane Knight of Cadwell fished the opening day from sunrise until noon and landed 19 bass up to 19 inches, and that was the best report I heard. The bream fishing was great, as well. Louis Jordan of Warner Robins caught her limit of 15 bluegills in the first hour that the lake was open. I did not receive any reports on the crappie, but I’m sure some nice slabs were caught. Most of the crappie right now are 7 to 8 inches, but there are some original stocked fish pushing 14 and 15 inches.
The water is still high. You can give it a try if you want, but my time on the water will be spent elsewhere. It’s an absolutely beautiful place to boat around with all of the fall wildflowers and birds, but don’t expect to load the boat with fish right now.
Tommy Davis of Baxley fished an area pond on Friday and managed 19 keeper crappie. He had at least that many throwbacks, as well. He was spider-rigging black-chartreuse and Tennessee shad tinsel Specktacular Jigs tipped with minnows, and the Tennessee shad produced most of his fish. Saturday he caught a 1 1/2-pound slab crappie on a black-chartreuse tinsel Specktacular Jigs (that was the best color that day) tipped with a minnow. He ended up with 21 keepers and about 65 total fish, counting throwbacks. I took my daughter Ellie to an area pond on Saturday and we landed 53 crappie up to 3/4-pound (we kept 20 of them). We trolled 1/24-oz. jigheads rigged with chartreuse and sugar and spice Assassin Curly-Shads for 2/3 of our fish. A third of our fish were caught by using a 1/16 or 3/32-oz. marabou Specktacular Jig (popsicle was the best color) and jigging it while trolling. Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson had 30 bass this weekend from Alma area ponds. Most of their fish ate spinnerbaits and Rat-L-traps, and their biggest was 4 1/2 pounds. Michael Winge said that crappie were caught on minnows, and some big bass were hitting topwater plugs in Waycross area ponds. With the cold nights, expect the evening bite to be the best.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Late last week, a couple of anglers fished the St. Marys Jetties and caught 29 keeper trout, a keeper redfish, and an oversized redfish on live shrimp. The Crooked River area has been excellent for trout and redfish lately. Justin Bythwood and Ed Zmarzly fished out of Crooked River on Saturday and landed 90 seatrout up to 19 inches (they caught well over
2 limits of keepers, but kept 28 of them) and 3 redfish (2 were keepers and one was a 26-inch throwback). The best redfish lure was a hot chicken colored Assassin Sea Shad rigged on an 1/8-oz. Flashy Jighead. Trout were suckers for a silver mullet, Mississippi hippie, or candy corn colored Sea Shad suspended underneath a 3-inch cigar-shaped Equalizer Float. They worked shell beds and creek mouths in the river and along the Intracoastal Waterway for their catch. On Sunday in the howling winds, a group of Waycross anglers found some protected water in the Brunswick area and caught 13 sheepshead 1.5 to 7 pounds using crabs for bait. Joe Corley did an article with author Craig James about trout and redfishing at Crooked River for the current issue of Georgia Outdoor News. Check it out in the November issue if you want to learn Joe’s techniques for catching those species with artificials. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout, flounder, and whiting ate shrimp this week from the pier. Lots of bull reds and some sharks were also caught on cut bait. Buckets of blue crabs were caught, and the stone crabs started showing up this week. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
Crappie fishing should be off the chain in the afternoon and evenings late in the week with the stable warming trend and the cool nights. You should be able to catch them however you prefer to fish. I’ll be trolling and jigging, but many of my friends like spider-rigging. The forecast for the foreseeable future is exactly what I look for to catch a bunch of seatrout and redfish. I have done best with stable high pressure just like the forecast for the next 10 days. My favorite approach is casting Assassin Sea Shads suspended underneath Equalizer Floats to shell mounds and creek mouths around high tide, but live shrimp will also produce lots of fish. With the great weather forecast, hitch up the boat this weekend and chase whatever species you like to catch!
Highlighting some of the lakes at Evans County PFA.
Bidd Sand Lake (84-ac):
Bass: Bass fishing has been very productive over the last few weeks, with anglers catching quite a few fish from 2 to 4 pounds with the largest approaching 9 pounds. One angler was very successful catching bass while flipping a white Fluke around the Lilly-pads.
Bream: The bream fishing has been a little slower than usual, but anglers continue to catch average size bluegill and red-ear (shell cracker) from the bank. Area managers have also started feeding sinking catfish food around the dock helping to produce good catches of channel catfish for several anglers in that area.
Crappie: Several anglers have started crappie fishing and have run across a few fish. However, as water temperatures drop over the next month, crappie fishing should really pick up.
Lake Longleaf (8-ac): Channel catfishing has been excellent over the past few weeks. Fishing on the bottom using chicken livers, worms and cut bait seems to be the method of choice for most anglers.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
From pickups to stocking trucks, and from cooler-toting RTV’s and canoes to shocking boats and even copters, it’s been a very busy week up here for the North Georgia Region’s fisheries staff and its partners. A bunch of trout hit our Delayed Harvest waters, Savannah hybrids hit Carters, our fall monitoring found big bass in our mountain lakes and, to top it off, we even got a new state fisheries chief! Get set for a ton of news and ready your rods for some excellent fall action on the region’s lakes and streams. Here we go:
Delayed Harvest (DH) Trout Kickoff: All Georgia DH streams got an Opening Day dose of fish. Nearly 9,000 trout hit the Morgan Falls DH section this week at five river parks from Johnson’s Ferry ramp downstream to Paces Mill. Special thanks to our close partners for the November 1 distribution of trout throughout the DH sections for the benefit of our anglers. They include:
- Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery staff;
- Volunteers from the local chapters of Trout Unlimited for bucket and canoe brigades on their home waters;
- Unicoi Lodge staff and their adaptable RTV;
- SCDNR’s Walhalla Hatchery and the U.S. Forest Service for all the fine fish stocked into our border waters of the Chattooga DH, where our reciprocal license agreement honors fishing licenses from either state:
Our Delayed Harvest Trout Stocking Honor Roll:
- Toccoa DH and Georgia’s supply of Brookies: These folks and these folks
- Smith DH: How about these folks and these folks
- Amicalola DH: Don’t forget these folks
- Chattooga DH: and, of course, these folks and these folks
DH Fishing Tips: Early season anglers should remember to use attractor flies or small spinners and give them some movement. These naïve hatchery stockers will take several weeks to figure out real river vittles and start eyeballing your caddis and mayfly imitations, dead-drifted. It’s hard to beat a tiny woolly bugger, tossed downstream with a split shot ahead of it and twitched deep in the pools that got some November 1 bucketfuls of fish. Twitch more than strip to keep the fly in front of their noses. Take a kid, get them a dozen rainbows, and hook them into a lifetime of fishing fun! Where? DH stream maps are HERE.
T’s Timely Trouting Tips: HERE
Copter Stocking: More info HERE . Although there is a little dust on this copter stocking video, it’s always fun to resurrect it annually. Benevolent river anglers among you report subscribers can contribute to the Chattooga copter stocking account through your fishing clubs (TU chapters, GA Women Flyfishers, Atlanta Flyfishing Club) or directly, HERE. Remember my appeals this fall- if you’ve enjoyed your GA fishing opportunities, have you found ways to give back to your sport and to the aquatic resources that support it?
WRD’s Stocking List: Click HERE
Licenses and Passes Update: Please recall the 2017 legislative changes to our licensing system, which was simplified. The WMA stamp and the GORP pass are now both history, which should be great news to Amicalola Creek (Dawson Forest WMA) trout fishers, among others. Anglers now just need a fishing license and, if pursuing trout, a trout license to pursue their sport. More info HERE and HERE.
Recall that certain state and federal parks may still have parking fees that affect you:
- Chattahoochee River NRA
- Chattahoochee National Forest
- America The Beautiful (federal interagency pass)
Leaf Watch: Many mountain visitors come up here for the aesthetics as well as the fishing. Here’s a good guide, and also a warning about potentially clogged weekend roads from leaf-lookers. Have your alternate departure times and routes at the ready! Helen bypass hint: Hwy 75 to Asbestos Road to Hwy75A to Smith DH, Dukes, and many mountain streams via 180 and 75. More info HERE and HERE.
Chilly Bluelines: Click HERE.
Awesome Speck Pics: This beats Leafwatch 2017!
October Caddis Report: Click HERE
Dukes (Reservations: 706-878-3087): Click Here for a Report.
Upper Hooch TW: Click HERE
USFS- Foothills Project: Anglers, hunters and other national forest fans should look over the draft proposal and provide their comments to the Forest Service by its December 22 deadline. To comment, see the “comment” link on the right side of this page. Quick reference guide: Items of interest to north Georgia anglers include hemlock restoration (page 14), stream improvement (16), lake habitat (17), aquatic habitat (25), Chattooga River and Holly Creek (26) and stream sediment reduction (29). Take a moment to comment back to USFS on the proposed actions that you like or don’t like. It’s your forest, so use your “votes!”
Ten Dollar Yellowstone Dream Trip: Proceeds from this fund GATU’s annual trout camp for kids and other conservation projects.
Nov 21 Hooch Bucket Brigade: Register HERE to be a WRD volunteer and locate all WRD events and their details (on the map, the bucket tote event is the red balloon over the town of Alpharetta)
Bass: (This report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley – Jimbo on Lanier) – Moody Lanier Bass – The cooler weather has dropped the surface temperatures 3 degrees and the lake has came up .2 feet since my last report. The fishing has improved since last week, which is great news for all of us! The stable weather projected over the next 10 days should really make for some consistent fishing in the upcoming days. The fish are still spread out both in the mouths of the creeks and further back in as well. The schooling bite has been strong this week both just after daylight and near dusk in the creek mouths and further back in these areas as well. Most of the activity appears to be around points and humps, but there is also plenty of over-the-channel schooling as well. After the schooling subsides, we are still running some points and humps with brush, but they are not holding fish nearly as well as they had been. We have started to work some steeper rock as well as docks in the creek pockets for some bites. A Sebile and a Vixen are working pretty well on the schooling fish. If the fish are chasing smaller bait fish or you are having a hard time getting the fish to commit to your topwater and swimbait offerings, try a spy bait. Count it down and work it slowly. A chug bug has worked for topwater on some days as well. A Picasso ShakeDown Head with a finesse worm is starting to produce; and I’m happy to report a jig bite is starting as well. I do love a jig bite. With the warmer weather once again upon us, we should see the schooling bite hang around for awhile, which is fun! Here is a list of my upcoming open dates in November: 8, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30. Also, if you want a trip over Thanksgiving Week, please contact me NOW. Those dates always go fast. 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) – Current water temperature is around 68 degrees. This is ideal for crappie fishing. Many of our club members are taking advantage of the comfortable temperatures and have been sending us excellent reports and pictures of their catches. At every meeting, we share information and tips, and our newer members are capitalizing on that and seeing great results. It’s all about time on the water, and networking will help you improve your catches. Our catches are mainly coming from deeper, stand-alone brush piles, from the middle of the creeks all the way to the backs of the creeks. A helpful tip: when you are looking at your electronics, pay attention to the concentration of bait in these pockets. The bait will lead you to the fish. On a calm day, use the lightest jig you can, as low as one thirty second ounce jig heads. When the wind starts to pick up, use a heavier jig head, up to one sixteenth ounce. If you know that there are fish on the brush piles and you feel that they are not cooperating, ease up directly above the brush pile with your electric motor on the lowest speed setting, and practice vertical jigging. Let your jig fall into the brush pile and start reeling slowly. Yes, you will lose a few jigs, but it can be very rewarding. This time of year, use the jig color you have the most confidence in, as color does not seem to matter, rather the presentation of the jig.
Lanier Striper Strikeout: Guru and Dredger confirmed the scattered nature of October stripers in their last two trips. On Saturday morning, they hit the south end of the lake. It was dead to start, but the clouds and drizzle ahead of the big noon storm front gave them hope, since low light encourages surfacing stripers. Finally, around ten, they found breaking fish, along with a couple other boats. The schools were up and down quickly and the Skipper/Gilligan duo had to motor fast to have any shots at them with their fly rods. They had about five good shots in the next hour, and Guru managed to land one small (four pound), but fat and strong striper. Those schools were so close that the duo could count the stripes on their sides! Henry C, nearby, gave them a friendly ribbing on their lack of hookups and then some advice. They listened, since he had put ten in the boat for his clients that same morning.
Last nite (11/2) the duo had just a couple hours of daylight remaining after work, so they hit the closer, upper end of Lanier. And struck out. They ran from Thomson Bridge down to Sardis and back a few times and saw endless schools of tiny threadfins, but had only one, one-minute shot at a small school of stripers off Holly Park. No hookups. But at least the Sherry’s BBQ sandwiches were great and the warm evening on a calm lake provided a great boat ride. And that’s how they justified their skunking.
- There are still more stripers below Browns Bridge than above;
- Try the unleaded (no dumbbell eyes) version of the small shad flies to let them stay near the surface longer;
- Do what Henry sez and pause for a count of 3 or 4 after a couple strips, then repeat;
- Keep praying that the gulls and loons show up soon and help these two clueless dudes find more fish.
Fall/Winter Striper Intel: Here’s some great reading and listening that might help fellow, struggling reservoir striper fans to find a few more fish this season.
ADDITIONAL LAKE AND STREAM REPORTS
Cooler fall temperatures have the fish active, as well as, Wildlife Resources Division north Georgia fisheries staff as we look to complete our annual fall reservoir sampling. This week we trekked over the mountain to collect data on one of our mountain reservoirs, Lake Chatuge. For those that aren’t familiar, Lake Chatuge is a 7,500-acre impoundment of the Hiwassee River that boasts an incredible bass fishery, hybrid striped bass, and a budding walleye fishery for those who know how to catch them. In an effort to increase access opportunities on the Lake Chatuge, Georgia Wildlife Resources Division opened Mayor’s Park Boat Ramp Landing this year in partnership with the City of Hiawassee and Tennessee Valley Authority. Our annual fall sampling on Chatuge includes ten night-electrofishing sites to monitor littoral species such as largemouth bass and sunfish, and ten gill net sites to monitor pelagic species such as hybrid striped bass and walleye. Early results from these two samples show very promising results. We found several trophy largemouth bass in our night-electrofishing sample which included an 8 ¼lb kicker! Most of the bigger bass were found on shallow woody debris with access to deeper water. On one of these fallen trees we found three largemouth bass over 6lbs including one over 8lbs. If you’re looking for a mountain lake trophy this is a great time to go! Gill net results were very promising for the future of the hybrid fishery on Chatuge. We found numerous fish that were stocked this spring which are now pushing 12”. There were also good numbers of hybrids ranging from 2-6lbs as well. Although our sampling gear doesn’t target the biggest fish we have numerous reports of hybrids over 8lbs in the lake. We appreciate the guys down at our Richmond Hill hatchery for all their hard work to ensure we get these fish in the lake annually. For those of you looking for a unique fishing opportunity the Lake Chatuge walleye population is coming on strong. Our sampling efforts indicated a large proportion of catchable size fish which are in the 2-4lb range. Walleye aren’t the easiest fish to catch but for those who figure them out the table fare is worth it. Lastly, you’re a fan of professional bass fishing, get ready to see the top Bassmaster pros on our north Georgia lakes in 2018. Lake Chatuge has been chosen to host the 2018 Toyota Angler of the Year Championship on September 20-23, 2018. This event will boast the top 50 pros competing for $100,000 with an overall payout of $1 million. If you plan on going out this weekend be safe and if you catch a trophy be sure to let us know – Go for that Angler Award!
Biologist Jim Hakala’s (706-295-6105) third year of experimental fall hybrid stocking totaled 13,000 seven-inch fish, released on November 1. Fall stocking of larger hybrids is intended to increase their survival rates, as reservoir pH at this time of year is better for them. Many thanks to Richmond Hill Hatchery and region staff for four truckloads of fish and their very long drive yesterday from Savannah through Atlanta and up to Carters Lake. Program details provided in last year’s report, HERE. Check out info on the Richmond Hill Hatchery HERE.
A LITTLE MORE FOR YA
The Kayak Vol Corps: WRD Fisheries Management in north Georgia has teamed with the Southeast Aquatic Resource Partnership and UGA’s Cooperative Extension Service to identify the ranges, genetics, species compositions and movements of shoal, Chattahoochee and other black bass species in the Chattahoochee and its tributaries above Lake Lanier. But these streams are too small to boat and too large to wade, meaning conventional fisheries sampling gear can’t be used. Instead, project leaders have turned to volunteer anglers in kayaks and canoes. When a volunteer catches a bass — such as the hefty shoal bass above — WRD staff identify the species and measure, weigh, photograph and take a fin clip for genetic analysis. Each bass also is tagged so recaptures can be identified. More than 200 bass have been caught, processed and released, contributing valuable data to the conservation and management of north Georgia’s native basses and engaging anglers in WRD’s work.
Big BASS News for North Georgia: This says something for our spots, doesn’t it?
The License Plate Rapper is Back: Need a chuckle?
Good luck during this awesome stretch of perfect fall weather. What’s a rake? “Leave” the leaves alone til December and get on your favorite river or reservoir NOW, while the getting is very good. Don’t forget a good friend with great photography skills. You need him or her, for sure, to capture your lifetime memories on their SD card. And be sure not to follow a boat aptly named the Blind Squirrel, lest you enjoy boat rides and BBQ more than boating fish.