Jacob Lee (right) caught this 11.6-pound catfish last Saturday from a pond while fishing with his dad, William. Hot dog was their go-to bait. Great job, Jacob!

Georgia Fishing Report: April 29, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Lake Russell (full, clear, low 70’s) – Bass fishing is good.  There are tons of bass shallow and most are small males after the full moon last weekend.  Since they are hungry, use a green trick worm all day.  Since so many of the bass are still shallow, catch them on the shallow flat shelves and around the spawning areas.  Shad and olive green X Raps are great colors.  Spotted bass are still roaming all over the lake and they are chasing shad, so don’t rule out a top water bite.  During the early part of spring, use a walk the dog style bait like the Skitter Walk.  Plastic worms are also working during the day.  Pay particular attention to any brush piles and any wood around or near spawning areas, these need to be fished this week.  Zoom finesse worms and small jigs will work the best.

Clarks Hill (full, low 70’s) – Bass fishing is good and the water is a light stain on the main lake, creeks are clear.  The shad spawn is in full swing and a lot of bass are shallow.  Start the day early fishing sea walls and rip rap banks.  Use a white or white and chartreuse spinner bait.  You can also use a small crank bait, in a shad pattern and fish the same areas.  As the sun gets up switch to a soft plastic.  Fish the same sea wall and also the docks.  A Carolina rig has been working well along with a shaky head.

Lake Oconee (full, is clear, 69-74) – Bass fishing is Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: April 29, 2016”

Lane Steedley caught this quality bluegill using a cricket in a McRae area pond. Bluegills should be chowing in area ponds and the St. Marys River this weekend.

Georgia Fishing Report: April 22, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)

This report should really be called “water temperature prime time” as reservoir temperatures reach the mid-sixties and our larger trout waters hover right around sixty degrees.  These are the perfect temperatures to draw fish into the shallows, where most of us, who are “fish-finder challenged” by the latest, greatest sonar technology, have a really good chance at a great fishing day by simply pounding the banks.  On trout waters, last week’s low flows and high sun had fish ducking for midday cover, where eagles, ospreys and otters couldn’t find them.  However, reports showed that low-light conditions at dawn and dusk, and at any time of the day on rhododendron-covered headwater “cricks’, produced some epic catches for mountain trouters.  Even when bug hatches were sparse, recent memories of prior evening feasts had those trout “looking up” for the next evening’s meals, and the drifted or skittered caddis and cahill dries were often hammered.

The forecasted rain tonight and Friday should help most lakes and many small streams by adding a little color to the water.  That means more food and less wariness for our shallow water targets, scared of ospreys and otters and the like.  Larger trout waters might be a bit muddy if the rain tallies 0.75 inches or so, but they should clear to fishable levels by Saturday evening or Sunday, depending on their watershed size. Don’t forget your USGS stream gauges and the local tackle shops for intel. Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: April 22, 2016”

crappie kathy Clark Hill Apr 2016

Georgia Fishing Report: April 15, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Southwest Georgia

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Lake Russell (full, clear, 60’s) – Bass fishing is good.  The bass have made their move now and are slowly committing themselves to find a good spawning area.  Many of the bass are still staging up, but some are still being caught on the shallow, flat shelves and around the spawning areas.  White spinnerbaits will be an excellent choice this week; also the #5 Sad Raps will work all day.  Shad and Olive Green are great colors.  Spotted bass are still roaming all over the lake chasing shad and a top-water bite shouldn’t be ruled out.  Use a walk-the-dog style bait like a Skitter Walk.  Keeping the bait moving without stopping works best.  Some bass will follow the bait all the way to the boat.  Plastic worms are also working during the day.  Brush piles and any wood around or near spawning areas have to be fished this week.  Trick worms in bright colors down lake are also fun and easy baits to use. 

Clarks Hill (full, 60’s) – Bass fishing is good.  The lake is clear towards the middle and Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: April 15, 2016”

striper lanier 33in 4-4-16 JD w Ken resized

Georgia Fishing Report: April 8, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)

April is having an identity crisis: it thinks it’s March!

These air and water temperature yo-yo’s are affecting the trout bugs, the reservoir forage fish, and our lake predators.  They’re up one day and down deep the next.  Even our sampling boats are experiencing these yo-yo catches that follow water temperature trends.  But the ups are compensating for the downs, as you’ll see from these fishing reports and tips.  It’s striper and hybrid week in north Georgia, as the spring spawning urge brings these fish up the rivers that feed our major reservoirs.  It is truly prime time for trophies, if we can catch the big females right before they drop their eggs.  For example, read about the Oostanaula river record broken last week.  Since nearly all of these reservoir “Morone” fisheries are dependent on WRD’s annual fingerling stocking program, lucky anglers should not feel guilty about taking that trophy home for mounting.  On the trout side, anglers will have to dredge when their jackets are on and then fling some afternoon dry flies when they’re in short sleeves.  Stockers are easy pickins’, since they’ll usually be huddled near the bottom and looking for anything edible.  Worms, salmon eggs, Powerbait, and slowly retrieved spinners are hard to beat.

 

  • Big Rocky PFA Bass

Have you seen this story and picture yet?

https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR/photos/a.107070953387.96574.101012503387/10153509901733388/?type=3&theater

  • Coosa/Oostanaula Rivers

Striped bass continue to move into both rivers on their annual spawning run from Lake Weiss.  The fish are really starting to fill into the Oostanaula River from the islands near the Rome Braves stadium, upstream to the city of Calhoun.  Recent electrofishing surveys indicate some of the early female striper arrivals have started to spawn.  Fish in the 30+ pound range were also observed during these surveys.  Earlier this week, Calhoun angler Phillip Lanier, landed a 36 pound 3 ounce striped bass from the Oostanaula River – crushing the previous river record of 22 pounds 11 ounces.  Congratulations to Phillip on a great catch – – – and release of his trophy!

striper 36lb 3 oz OOSTANAULA_STRIPED_BASS_RECORD_PHILLIP LANIER_4_4_16 resized.jpg

The striped bass run should continue into the early part of May.  Live shad are best, but cut bait and lures will produce stripers too.  Target the current breaks provided Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: April 8, 2016”

Trout bnt 34in Hooch TW release McCloskey Nov 2015 2

Georgia Fishing Report: March 31, 2016

Central Georgia

Go Fish Center

Coastal Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Southwest Georgia

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Lake Russell (full, clear, 60’s) – Bass is good and the fish are in transition from pre-spawn to spawn.  Fish the primary and secondary points, coves and pockets in any of the major creeks lake wide.  Use ½ ounce spinnerbait in a white and chartreuse with a double willow blade combination.  Slow roll the spinnerbait around any cover on the points and in the coves and pockets.  The important thing right now is to cover a lot of water.  Zoom Super Flukes in baby bass and pearl are also all day lures.  Use a 2/0 Mustad offset worm hook and a spinning reel with 10-pound test line.

Clark Hill (down .52 feet, 60’s) – Bass fishing is good.  The fish have made their move now and are slowly committing themselves to find a good spawning area.  A lot of the fish are still staging up, but many are being caught on the shallow flat shelves and around spawning areas.  Spinnerbaits will work almost all day.  Use the Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: March 31, 2016”

Raymond West of Waycross caught this “double” of bull whiting this winter. The whiting bite is about to fire up, so get your bottom rigs ready.

Georgia Fishing Report: March 25, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Southwest Georgia

North Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)

The last Saturday in March was always the traditional “opening day” for seasonal trout streams in Georgia.  While DNR changed the regulations last year, based on significant public input (7,000 responses; http://www.georgiawildlife.com/fishing/proposedregulations?cat=2)

and now allows year-around trout fishing, there is still a fishing tradition associated with the last Saturday of March.  One again our stocking trucks are rolling, and anglers are getting ready for this weekend.  Join me in celebrating one of the great spring traditions for Georgia sportsmen and women, trout fishing.

trout stocking 3 Burton trucks 3-21-16.jpg

  • WARM SPRING WEATHER SIGNIFIES TROUT STOCKING TIME

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (Mar. 18, 2016) –Make sure you put a trout fishing trip on your list of things to do this spring, especially since it is the time of year when trout raised in Georgia hatcheries start hitting the water.  The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to stock more than 80,000 trout during the last full week of March, with more than one million trout scheduled Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: March 25, 2016”

Brandy James White Catfish 3 16 - 20160312_125109 2

Georgia Fishing Report: March 18, 2016

North Georgia

Central Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)

The unusually warm weather has all of our north Georgia fisheries on a fast track.  In normal years, the walleye spawn is just hitting its peak right now, but this year the peak has already passed.  Stripers have been up shallow early, but they’re going down quickly to deeper waters as the sun rises and the shallows warm.  Crappie and bass are doing well.  Wild trout streams will be a best bet as those cold headwaters get above the fifty-degree mark, and there should be enough stocked fish around from last week to continue providing some fun and fresh suppers.

The catch might slow down just a bit with the weekend cold snap,

https://weather.com/weather/5day/l/USGA0267:1:US

but it should pick right up after those chilly mornings pass.  It’s another great week to get outside with your rod, reel, and kids in tow.  Enjoy these reports and tips.

  • A Shocking Lanier Experience

o   Enjoy this first-hand account of life aboard a DNR electrofishing boat.

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=867605

o   And this first-hand account from the boat skipper:

On Lake Lanier we are continuing to collect our spring striped bass electrofishing data. The strong 2013 year class has been well represented in our collections at the lake with a large number of striped bass in the 4 to 6lb range. With water temperatures swelling into the 60’s fish are moving Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: March 18, 2016”

stripers shock Lanier Pat S resized 3-9-16

Georgia Fishing Report: March 11, 2016

Southwest Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Southwest Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Rob Weller and region fisheries staff)

Lake Walter F. George – According to Richard Sacco with the Friends of Lake Eufaula, it is crappie time at Lake George! Anglers are catching good numbers of fish from 0.5 pounds to fish larger than a pound. The fish are being caught in the shallows near vegetation with small jigs. The bass fishing is also very good at this time. The winning weight from a local bass club tournament last Saturday required almost 27 pounds to win. That is not a bad stringer of bass. Richard said that catching a limit of fish greater than the 14 inch minimum size should not be a problem. The current hot bait for bass is the Big Bite Biting Frogs in the 5 inch size with a ¾ oz. football head jig. The catfish bite continues to be very good on George and many anglers are catching them incidentally while fishing for crappie. If you have not gotten over to Lake George yet this year it is definitely time to plan a trip.

Flint River – The Lower Flint River is still high and turbid but the current river conditions are still good for catfish. There have been reports of channel catfish being caught with worms fished on the bottom. The first catches of bream have been getting reported by anglers fishing worms on the bottom as well. Fishing deep and slow this time of year is the key to catching bream. As water temperatures in the Flint River continue to Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: March 11, 2016”

Picture1

Georgia Fishing Report: March 4, 2016

Central Georgia

Coastal Georgia

Southwest Georgia

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Lake Russell (full, clear & lower 50’s) – Bass fishing is fair but cold.  All over the lake spoons and jigs are the only baits getting strikes.  Be sure to have the drop shot rigs with a small Bass Trix rigged and checkout any point you pass at 30 feet or less.  Keep the spoons to 1/2 ounce and work the humps and old road beds all over the lake.  The best tip is to keep moving until the active fish are found.  It’s cold all over the lake and the bass are just not active.  Watch for a warm up to get the fish moving.  Slow presentations are required.  Use smoke or green worms, lizards and dark jigs.  Small Rat L Traps in bleeding shiner and #5 Shad Raps are fair on points on light line.  Do not be afraid to fish very shallow.  The New Lowrance 3D Technology can shoot all the way to the bank and we can see these shallow fish.  Fish any rip rap on the bridges as the sun warms this water and the shad will spawn there.  Work crank baits on points, inner creek humps, and old road beds all over the lake.  In Beaver Dam Creek spend some time on the bridge right at the ramp.  There is a lot of deep water close by and in front and behind the bridge there are huge stands of trees.  Spooning and worms can make the fish bite.

Clark Hill (down 1.1 feet high 40’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Use your Lowrance depth finder to locate schools of bait fish.  Find the schools of bait fish before you start fishing so spend the time riding the mouth of the creeks and pockets looking.  When you find a school use a ½ ounce Flex It Spoon or the drop shot rig with a small finesse worm in sand and drop the bait just under the bait fish.  Move your rod tip up 6 to 8 inches then let the bait fall back down.  Watch your line as it falls.  Bites will come as the bait falls back down.  Fish this bait on 10-pound Sufix Elite line and add a swivel to your spoon.  This type of fishing will last a few more weeks with the cold water so spend some time learning how to use a depth finder and a spoon to be able to catch a few Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: March 4, 2016”

Wes Carlton and his state record-breaking 14 lb 2 oz walleye

New Record Walleye Catch Years in the Making

Catching a trophy fish is a thrill. Catching a state record fish is fantastic. But smashing the old state record is indescribable. On February 19, 2016, Wes Carlton experienced all these emotions when he caught a new state record walleye. Wes’ fish weighed 14 lb 2 oz, which smashed the old record of 11 lb 6 oz by a staggering 2 lb 12 oz. The old record was set in 1995. So what’s changed in Georgia to allow a walleye to grow so much bigger?

About 12 years ago—threatened by an invasive species and the loss of spawning habitat—native walleye were almost nonexistent in Georgia. Blueback herring had been illegally introduced into North Georgia waters, and populations were emerging in many North Georgia mountain lakes.

Although blueback herring can have a negative impact on the spawning success of many fish species, they also provide an abundant and calorie-rich food source when compared to traditional walleye prey items like yellow perch and bluegill. So the Georgia WRD began an aggressive restocking program. From 2002-2004, walleye fry Continue reading “New Record Walleye Catch Years in the Making”