So, have you been enticed by the longer hours in the afternoon to get out on the water? I have visions of longer days, warm weather, sunshine and blue water…how about you? 

Have you seen our info about the Georgia Bass Slam? This program was introduced in 2017, and 15 anglers managed to get a Slam last year. Will you get one in 2018? Want to make a Bartram’s bass one of your catches? Check out this blog post by former Chief of Fisheries (now retired) John Biagi.

On to the reports: Today, we have reports from North, Central and Southeast Georgia. Enjoy and get outside!

NORTH GEORGIA 

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

Those of us who knew how to ride the “yo-yo” had some great times last weekend, as we fished around the rain and cold temperatures.  This week looks a little better, in terms of fewer showers and warmer air temperatures.  I see more sixties than thirties in the forecast!

And a dedicated hunter, who has stalked his quarry for weeks, maybe even months, and has shot and missed… Well, he hit the mark this week.  Enjoy his victory tale to start this week’s report.  And what’s a little rain, anyway?  Both Alex and Bradley show us that rainy days can pay!

LAKE LANIER

 

Crappie: (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) –Water temperatures are in the low 50’s and the water is moderately stained.  Best advice we can give you is to go out and fish!  Don’t use the cool temperature as an excuse, because you will be missing out.  To my surprise, I only saw one bass fisherman today on the lake.  Wow!  What happened to the die-hard fishermen?  As we predicted last week, the cool temps pushed the crappie to slightly deeper water, at 12 to 20 foot depths. We are mainly targeting docks in that depth range.  You will notice that after catching a few fish at deeper depths, the school tends to shallow up, waiting to pounce on your jig when it falls.  Bobby Garland soft body jigs are working equally as well as hair jigs.  If you prefer crappie minnows under a cork, try to pitch it in the darkest part of the dock.  Using a 12 foot pole may help you get it in the right spot easier.  Long line trolling is also effective this time of year. You might as well avoid the blow-downs until the water temps rise to the mid-50’s or above, as they are not producing at all right now.  We are targeting the bigger fish, so we are moving around a lot to cover as many docks as we can.  Layer up and get out on the water – you will be rewarded with a great catch!  Stay safe on the water and wear your life jacket!

More Lanier Info:

TROUT

trout bnt 15lb Hooch TW Alex Green Mar 2018 pic2 smallHuge Hooch Brown: Congrats to trophy hunter Browniez on his awesome catch.  And his release!  Here’s his story, as told to his buddy, GAWRD’s Hooch Tailwater biologist Pat Snellings: “Pat, I’m attaching a couple of photos here, and I am also putting a Dropbox link to the release video in case you wanted to Facebook post it. Attachment was too big to just attach.  My fiancée was fishing with me, and she had finally had enough of the rain and cold. Instead of pulling the boat out, I made the decision to let her take the truck and run about 8 miles back upriver, Good Decision! I was fishing a mudline off of an inside bend about 7 P.M. This trout was set up on the shelf of the inside bend, picking off young of the year browns as they were feeding in the muddling. He was using the shelf as the ambush point. I saw him flash twice the first time I drifted by, figured out that he was feeding. I put down the big bait, downsized a little, and changed colors. I swung back around and made the cast. He chased it down about 20 feet and hit mid-river. Probably a 2 minute fight or so. Rainy Day fishing can pay!”

 

Blue Ridge Tailwater: Prowler’s cleaning up!

Nantahala DH (NC):

  • Lumis’ Hat Trick: HERE
  • Dredger also found blue quills there last Saturday as he drove north, “into” the approaching storm front in hopes of having it pass by quicker, thereby leaving more dry, daylit hours behind it.  After Euro-nymphing a nice handful of stockers and wilds before lunch, he headed toward a long flat pool and discovered a nice hatch after the rain subsided and the water warmed.  Surface action lasted nearly three hours.  Most fish to hand were the wily, wild rainbows from 7 to 10 inches long.  What they lacked in size, they made up with beauty and tenacity.  A size 18 blue quill was the ticket.  The chamois and Frog’s Fanny had to work overtime to keep the fly in the game!

Chattooga DH: Second-generation Rabunite “Treyman” and an accomplice saw a break in the Sunday afternoon radar screen’s projected rainfall and decided to head east to the Chattooga DH.  They timed their trip perfectly, as the rain quit upon their noon arrival.  They were the ONLY CAR IN THE PARKING LOT and had the river all to themselves!   The young Rabunite got a quick lesson in Euronymphing and put it to immediate use, landing a couple of rainbows and a brown on a sexy Walt’s worm (anchor)/tungsten surveyor (dropper) fly combo while the water was still a cold 45 degrees.   Advancing upstream as the afternoon progressed, he noticed a few bugs and felt slightly warmer water, and put five more rainbows in the net before the sun dropped, the air cooled, and the river turned silent in the misty rain.  Hot afternoon dries were the #14 Quill Gordon with a #16 gray caddis dropper.  Treyman now suffers from a serious springtime Saturday dilemma: trout or turkeys???

NOTE for Rabunite “wannabe’s”: You can learn a lot right HERE to enhance springtime success.

rbt blueline Sautee 3-10-18 pic1North GA Blueline: Notellum Creek survivor Sautee reported a great Saturday afternoon trip to his favorite blueline, IDBIS Creek, with two dozen wild rainbows up to 9.5 inches landed on only one pattern, the trusty parachute Adams, in sizes 14 and 16.  With some possible warming in north Georgia’s near future, it might be time to try the bluelines again, since their residents are gullible right now  a) after a long winter nap and b) before the fair-weather angler onslaught.

Sign Up for Stockings: Reminder: sign up HERE for the trout stocking list via email or text. Brookie fans might aim for Ami and Smith DH streams, while stocker fans might enjoy some of the really chunky rainbows coming out of Buford, Burton, and Chattahoochee trout hatcheries.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Hooch Tailwater Trout Intel in Rome- March 15: Northwesterners have a chance to interrogate a metro trout expert here, with River through Atlanta Guide Aaron Tyre as the guest speaker. The meeting will be Thursday March 15th at 6:30 pm at the Rome Floyd ECO River education Center at Ridge Ferry Park in Rome.

Hoot on the Hooch- March 24: “FishWillie” politely scolded me on the error of my ways in last week’s report.  The correct date for this BBQ/Bluegrass/Tall Trout Tale banquet in Helen is Saturday, March 24.

Newnan Angler Meeting  –  April 10- Shoal Bass! The Flint River Chapter of Trout Unlimited will conduct a meeting on Tuesday April 10th 6:30 til 8:30 at Sprayberry’s BBQ located at 1060 Hwy 34 East in Newnan. All conservation and fishing minded Individuals are invited to come. The meeting will include organizational discussion, guest speaker Kent Edmonds on Shoal Bass Fishing the Flint River and really good raffle items. Please contact Carl Riggs at 678-371-7191 to rsvp.

“Flies and Fly Water” program at Smithgall WoodsHappening TOMORROW: As part of the program, Unicoi Outfitters resident guru, Jimmy Harris, will give an onstream presentation on reading the water. The $5 program price is mighty nice too!

Rest In Peace: The flyfishing world lost one of its icons on March 14.  After a 93-year long, truly amazing life, Lefty Kreh passed away.  Many Georgia fly flingers knew Lefty from his numerous appearances at Atlanta fishing shows.  Locally, we express our condolences to national author and Lanier fishing guide Henry Cowen on the loss of his dear friend.  To read more on the life of Lefty, from the Battle of the Bulge to Anthrax to a US postage stamp, see this NY Times article. Lefty, thanks for all the tips. We enjoy the sport much more because of you.  Good luck scouting out those smallmouth bass honey holes. As Rabunites say, we’ll fish with you again, “around the bend,” when it is our time.

 

Good luck this week as both the fish and fishers thaw out a little, hopefully.   Watch the weather radar and the USGS stream gages, and pick out those peaks of warm water for your best chances of success.  And if it’s still raining, fish on.  You might be glad you did.  Just ask Alex and Bradley.

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 DOWN .57 FEET, CLEAR, 60’S

Bass fishing is good.  Even after the last cold front the bass are really moving to the creeks and pockets.  The lake surface temperature continues to rise and the bass become more active.  A lot of spotted bass are still being caught all over the lake and up in the creeks.  The spots are chasing bait fish up to the rocky areas, but some are feeding out in open water.  Keep the Fish Head Sn and the Zoom Super Fluke ready for any bait action on the surface.  We are not far from a Chug Bug or Skitter Walk bite, just watch for 62 degree water temperatures.  The best pattern is a jerk bait for all day bites.  McSticks, X Raps and Husky Jerks are being fished both shallow and deep.  Temperatures will warm up nicely this weekend and there has been no shortage of wind this past week.  Bunches of small bass are running the banks up shallow, so fish the 5 to 12 foot range for bigger fish.  Just use a Number 5 Shad Rap in shad and pearl on 8-pound test and cast to any structure on the bank.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 3.8 FEET, 60’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The recent cold front pushed the bass out to the first structure they can find and will hold there until the April full moon.  Carolina rigged lizards are starting to catch fish and green pumpkin was the key color.  Use the Number 10 X Raps and Ito Vision 110 jerk baits.  The olive green and glass ghost colors are getting more action and this bite will improve daily for at least another week.  No spawning bass in numbers as the water is still too cold and the full moon has passed already this month.  Next month it will be big time top-water action April 1.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 50’S TO 60’S  

(Report from Captain Mark Smith of Reel Time Service, 404-803-0741) – Lake Oconee is full, the water temperature is 55 to 60.  There is a heavy stain up the rivers, then stained to the river bend area of the lake.  Richland creek is clear.  The cold rain and wind have slowed the largemouth bite.  The same patterns are still working, but the cold fronts have slowed the bite down.  Spinner baits have been the best producers over the past week.  Fish them from the middle of the coves to the back.  Docks and wood structure have been the best producers.  Match your spinner bait color to the water color.  White/chartreus seems to be the best all around.  Jigs fished under docks will also draw a few strikes.  Texas rigged worms in green or pumpkin (or a combination) fished under docks on the Richland Creek side of the lake are catching fish.  Most of these docks are in the middle of the coves to the back of the coves.

Striper: Striper fishing is good.  The best location has been around the jumping rock area on the south end in the afternoon.  Live bait fished on flat lines have been the way to catch these fish.  The fish are hard to see on your graph because they are so high in the water column. Fishermen have been using bass minnows but shad will also work.  The dam bite has not happened as of today but it is on the way.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good.  The fish have started to move into the creeks.  Long lining has been the best producer over the past week.  Any jig color will work as long as it has chartreuse in it.  The fish are deep so you need to make sure you are getting your bait down to the fish.  These fish are in water depth form 10 to 15 feet deep.  Heavy jigs are the ticket.

WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 8.3 FEET, STAINED & 60’S

Black bass and the spots are feeding lake-wide.  This is an early spring pattern and the bass are on the secondary points and back into the backs of coves.  They are aggressively feeding on shad early in the morning and late in the afternoon.  During midday the bass move out into the middle of the pockets and cruise.  Jerk baits like a sinking Rapala, McStick or the 100 Lucky Craft suspending minnow and other suspend baits that can be fished shallow are the lures to use.  The best pattern to catch bass is to fish from 3/4 of the way in to a cove to the back of the cove looking for feeding fish.  Carolina rigged worms and shad colored deep-diving crank baits have also been catching some fish.  You cannot beat a #5 Shad Rap on the lake the rest of the year.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.1 FEET, STAINED, 60’S

Bass fishing is good.  With the warming trend the spotted bass and largemouth have moved to secondary points and shallow cover in the spawning bays off the main lake and in the mid to lower lake.  Use a Red Eye Shad and the Bandit 100 series crank bait in solid white, Rat L Traps in chrome and blue and chrome and green are working.  Use the Texas rig with a Zoom Dead Ringer in June bug or green pumpkin.  Start with the deeper end of the points and work the crank baits first and then work back to the shallow sandy flats and grass beds to find where the fish are holding.  Fishing a Zoom 6-inch Lizard around shallow brush and stumps is producing some good fish.

LAKE JACKSON IS UP .88 FEET OVER FULL, 60’S

Bass fishing is good.  Spinner baits are working with a slow presentation around rocky areas and sea walls.  Some fish are already moving back in the pockets, many were holed-up on flats and points.  Look in the backs of the pockets as the water has warmed again and largemouth roam shallow spawning areas.  Keep a Red Eye Shad bait and a Zoom Super Fluke ready all day.  Depend on spinner baits to cover the water and you may be able to graduate to a slightly faster retrieve.  Work the shallow wood cover and invest a little extra time to probe wood with plastic or jigs.  Use a Zoom Speed Craw with a jig and craw trailer.  Cast it close to cover and let the bait sit while the water settles.  Twitch and pause the bait allowing the fish to see and react to the bait.

BIG LAZER PFA (More Info HERE)

  • Surface water temperature: 54o F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is about 38”
  • Water level: Full pool

Bass:  Fair – but it should start to improve if some warmer weather comes in soon.  The recent cool snap may slow the pre-spawn largemouth for a brief time.  Try presenting spinners or crankbaits into 6-8 feet of water to entice a strike.  Also, plastics fished slowing near the borrow pit, next to picnic area, may produce a bite.  Heavy cover areas around the lake should be holding some bass as well. 

Crappie:  Fair –the crappie should have started spawning some last month, but with the latest cool snap, more may be heading into the shallow areas of the lake, so try casting brightly colored jigs up next to the bank and working them out slowly, to find out where the fish are hanging out.  Also, while you’re casting one, put another line out with a minnow under a cork; try different depths to produce a bite.  Remember, only two poles per person are allowed! 

Bream:  Good – we have gotten reports of limits being caught lately near the fishing pier and earthen piers as well, so get some worms and crickets and try your luck.  Remember to use small hooks for the bream because they have tiny mouths.   Bream fishing is a great way to introduce young anglers to the sport, so get a kid or two and take them fishing!  Kids under 16 do not need a license, but those under 14 must remain under supervision. 

Catfish:  Poor – the cats are still in the “slow” stage, but they will still bite a good chunk of liver or a big tasty worm if you can put it in close proximity to them.  Try the upper, shallower, part of the lake for cats.  Fishing on or near the bottom will be the best bet for enticing old whiskers!

MCDUFFIE PFA (More Info HERE)

  • Lake temperature at last reading lakes was 55 ⁰.
  • Wind and rain have dropped water temperature.
  • Water Visibility: 16 – 54 inches
  • MCDPFA’s anglers can now use the fish cleaning station.

Bass: Bass have slowed down across MCDPFA.  An angler in Willow Lake reported catching several bass over 15 inches during the past two weeks.  An angler reported catching a “nice bass” in Beaverlodge Lake.  The shad have sounded due to the cooler water.  Anglers should match the forage like shiners, shad and goldfish so they could catch a big bass.  The bass were pushed off of spawning beds due to the colder weather.  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.  No reports of a keeper bass being caught in Rodbender.

Bream: Anglers were catching bluegill and redear fishing worms on the bottom and crickets under floats but cool water temperatures has slowed the bite down.

Channel Catfish:  Anglers were catching channel catfish in Jones Lake this past weekend with the biggest catfish being almost 5 pounds.

Striped Bass: Anglers have been catching stripers in Lake Clubhouse and in Bridge Lake at the ADA piers.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA 

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

I’m going to catch up a little bit on photos this week. With the cold snap we’ve been through, the main bites have been crappie, bass, and whiting. Crappie have been caught mostly from ponds with both minnows and jigs. Bass fishing has been a little slow, but there have been some whoppers caught lately. The biggest I heard of was a 12.54-pound monster that inhaled a big junebug worm fished by Davis Summerlin. Chad Lee and friends have been whacking fish with 3.8-inch Keitech Fat Swing Impact swimbaits fished on 1/8-oz. Flashy Jigheads. The whiting fish is what has really shined this week, as catches of 50 fish from the St. Simons Island Pier and 60 fish from the St. Simons area were made this weekend (before the wind!). That bite is going to be great during the next warming trend.  Zion Hill Church is holding a bass tournament March 24th. The entry fee is $50 per team of 2. This is a benefit tournament for Mattie’s Mission. For more information call Sammy Story at (912) 393-4528, Drew Barber at (912) 816-6149, or Rob Goble at (912) 282-6800. New Moon is March 17th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

Enjoy the photos!

 

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