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Georgia Fishing Report: July 23, 2015

North Georgia

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

We have some “hot” news about a) a record bass and b) a new survey for you.  There are also some tips and trip reports on hot summer fishing opportunities across north Georgia, so read on.

Striper fishing

Some river and reservoir fish will also “squeeze” upstream to coldwater refuges in tributaries, so aim for Morgan Falls and the Etowah too.

The summer fishing pattern continues, and it is dominated by warm water effects on our respective target species.  For trout, anglers should tuck in behind the two big dams holding back winter water (Blue Ridge, Buford) or hike way up the mountain until their stream thermometer reads 66 degrees.

For lake bass, hit the deep humps and brush piles with the drop shot rig, after giving them a few first casts with a topwater plug.

 

For reservoir stripers and hybrids, the summer squeeze is on.  As the warm surface layer thickens and as the dissolved oxygen dies from the lake bottom upward, these coolwater species will start getting squeezed.  They’ll squeeze into that middle layer of water, down-lake toward the dam, where the combination of cooler water and high dissolved oxygen is found.  The squeeze means that they’re no longer scattered lake-wide and are now easier to find, if you know where to look.  Some river and reservoir fish will also “squeeze” upstream to coldwater refuges in tributaries, so aim for Morgan Falls and the Etowah, too.

Warmwater river anglers are approaching prime time, as river flows dwindle and bass and bream get squeezed into fewer prime habitats –slower, deeper water in the shade.  Terrestrial food sources are abundant, so many of your favorite river targets will be spending more time along the banks, looking up at the tree limbs and wishing for a stiff breeze.

Aim for Success – Your Input Desired

Please take about five minutes to watch a few brief videos and then complete this online survey regarding the proposed restructuring of our agency’s licenses and fees. This is a great opportunity for you, so take advantage of it.

Trout fishing

Staff recently stocked more than 40,000 fingerling rainbow trout into the Toccoa River below Blue Ridge Dam.

Fishing Reports and Links:

Good luck with your early rises from bed and some dawn fishing fun.  Toss your offerings into the streamside shade or onto that submerged hump for some summertime success, and send me some of your stories to share with our group.

Central Georgia

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

Big Lazer PFA Largemouth bass: Good – Bass fishing has slowed down a little because of the very hot temperatures.  However, they will still hang out in the upper 3 to 8 feet of the water column.  During the day fish for bass in and around heavy cover.  Feeding bass will be most active during the early morning and later in the evening.  Try bass fishing with shallow presentation of crank-baits and trick-worms.

Crappie: Poor- Because of warm summer temperatures crappie tend to move into deeper water as well as spread out over most of the lake.  Fishing deep around standing timber with live minnows is your best bet.

Bream: Very Good – Bream fishing is very good.  Most bream are close-in to the banks and seeking shady cover to keep cool.  Crickets and worms are excellent live bait for bream.  Also, small grub like plastic jigs can work well anytime of the year; try black, white, and chartreuse colors.  Fishing with light tackle can make bream fishing more exciting.  However, make sure the hooks are small because the bream have small mouths.

Channel catfish: Very Good- The rocks along the dam are always a good spot to try and catch big channel cats.  However, catfishing has been good in deeper water over much of the lake.  Some catfish are being caught on cut bait and shrimp as well as worms and livers.

In general, July and August temperatures at Big Lazer are hot.  Fish tend to hang out in shady cover during the hot days and feed in the mornings and evenings to stay cool.

Additional information at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/BigLazer

Clarks Hill Lake (down 1.6 feet, clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Alabama rigs are working early in the day.  Also use the 3/8 ounce Scrounger head and a Zoom Fluke.  Use the pearl white and the baby bass Flukes.  Crank-baits will work and use a Shad Rap and a small Bandit in shad patterns.  Try a Rat L Trap lipless crank-bait on the rocky banks and around the islands.  The 3/8 ounce and the ½ ounce sizes can work all day.  Cast up into shallow water and work the shallows where rock and the brush piles are located.  Switch colors often and find out which one is catching the larger bass.  Some anglers are fishing the grass beds with weightless worms.  Take a hot pink trick worm and rig it with a 3/0 Mustad hook.  Cast it right along the edge of the heavier matted grass and let it sink.  Count it down and try different depths to find out how deep the bass are.

Jackson Lake (down 1.9 feet, clear, 80s) – Bass fishing is a little slow and the bass are going to move up to the shallows later each day.  Use the ½ ounce Rat L Trap and throw it shallow.  Work as much water as possable and try to locate areas that contain the most rock.  Early in the morning is a good time to throw a buzz-bait or a Storm Chug bug off any point.  Small bass are taking these baits early and often during the early hours.  Also try a 1/4 or 3/8 ounce double willow leaf spinnerbait in either white/blue or all white.  Work the same areas as the top water baits and all blow-downs and brush piles that are present.  After the sun comes up, a 3/8 ounce black jig and pig with a pork trailer is working on isolated stumps and docks.  Green pumpkin worms on the Texas rig are also taking bass when thrown into brush piles and around docks.  Don’t forget about the Dam area for some late-day schoolers.

Marben PFA – Largemouth Bass: Fair due to hot weather – Willow is still giving up keeper bass but fishing has been spotty overall. Willow Lake remains the lake with most potential is for quality and quantity.  Most of the bass on the PFA are suspending in deep water settling into a summer pattern which means they are feeding before and just after sunrise and late evening.  The PFA’s shad population is still recovering from a winterkill with no big schools showing up yet in any of the seven lakes.  Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) is open from first through fifteen (1st-15th) of each month.  Rodbender will be closed at sunset on the 15th.  This lake has been setup for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.   Many of the PFA’s fishermen are trying new baits and falling back on the old standby plastic worms to catch aggressive bass.

Bream: Fair – Best ponds have been Beaverlodge, Willow, Clubhouse and Jones for good catches.  The Bream should be on bed during next full moon and can be found around structure and aquatic plants with firm sandy bottoms.  The best baits for catching bream are red wigglers and crickets under floats; use light tackle to make soft casts past the structure and pulling the bait rig back and stopping the bait will generate many more strikes.  Patience is the key when fishing for bream on beds.  Bream fishermen may also have success using small hard baits, jigs, and beetle spins on ultralight tackle during the dog-days of summer.

Channel Catfish: Good – Best ponds have been Jones, Beaverlodge, Willow, and Bridge in order of best catches reported or seen by area staff.   Catfish are feeding as they re-energize in post- spawn.  The best fishing is on the bottom in deep water using chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and crickets. Bream fishermen also report catching catfish while fishing with crickets in shallow water.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is just slow during mid-day but tends to pick up as late evening approaches.  Anglers using live minnows and yellow jigs are the most successful.  Try fishing cover approximately 8-10 feet.

  • Remember early morning and late evenings are the best times at Marben PFA.
  • Temperatures are extremely hot at Marben PFA.  Sunscreen and plenty of water are highly encouraged. Don’t forget the picnic lunch!!

Additional Information: http://www.georgiawildlife.org/PFA/CharlieElliott

McDuffie PFA – Largemouth Bass – Good: Hot ponds have been Willow, and Clubhouse.  Willow is still giving up keeper bass and many larger bass are being released by our fishermen.  In Jones bass fishing has slowed down but small bass will keep fishermen alert.  The lake with most potential is Willow for quality and quantity.  Willow Lake has big bass but fishermen must be prepared or risk being broken off in the underwater structure.  The bass have begun feeding on shad early in the mornings and late evenings in Willow and Breambuster.  Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) is open from first through fifteen (1st-15th) of each month.  Rodbender is open for the next 14 days but will close at sunset on the 15th. This lake has been setup for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.   June is usually an excellent top-water bait month with soft baits falling in the number two spot.

Bream:  Fair – Best ponds have been Beaverlodge, Willow, Clubhouse and Jones for good catches.   The Bream should be on bed during this full moon and can be found around structure and aquatic plants with firm sandy bottoms.  The best baits for catching bream are red wigglers and crickets under adjustable floats; using light tackle to make soft casts pass the structure and pulling the bait rig back and stopping the bait will generate many more strikes.  Patience is the key when fishing for bream on beds. Our local fly fishermen are catching aggressive bream on artificial nymphs, flies and bugs near shore and structure.

Channel Catfish:  Good – Best ponds have been Jones, Beaverlodge, Willow, and Bridge in order of best catches reported or seen by area staff.   Catfish are feeding as they re-energize in post- spawn.  The best fishing is on the bottom in deep water using chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and crickets. Bream fishermen also report catching catfish while fishing with crickets in shallow water.

Striped Bass:  Poor due to hot water temperatures.  Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse.  Smaller stripers will keep anglers busy in Bridge Lake and Clubhouse as fishermen fish for catfish and bream on the bottom using worms and chicken liver.

Additional Information: http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/McDuffie

Lake Oconee (full, stained up rivers, light stain on main lake, 85-90 degrees) – Bass fishing is fair.  The rivers have a light stain and the main Lake is clear.  There is a good early morning top-water bite in the rivers around deep structure.  White old Nelly buzz-bait worked around structure in deep water will produce until the sun gets up.  When the sun gets up switch to a 6 in. watermelon Zoom u-tail worm on a Texas rig and work the same structure.  Down the lake there is still a deep water crank-bait bite on the ledges and humps on the south end of Richland Creek.  Work a Normans DD22 down the ledge into deeper water.  Use your Lowrance to locate the fish on the ledges, if you do not see any fish move to another ledge or hump until you find the fish.  Then work your DD22.  If you would like to try and beat the heat think about night fishing.  Look for lighted boat docks with structure.  You can work these docks with a crank-bait or a worm.  Use a big dark u-tail worm Texas rigged.  Remember to keep your boat lights on and look out for the other guy.

“Lineside fishing is fair.  The best way to find the fish is with the umbrella rig.  Run it about 20 feet deep.  We have seen fish up the river near the I-20 bridge.  These fish will continue to move up the rivers to find cooler water.  If you are working the main lake look in the river bend area.” – Cpt. Mark Smith, Reel Time Guide Service

Crappie fishing is fair.  Some fish are showing up in brush piles from 10 to15 feet.  The night bite in the timber is still the best producer.  Look for the fish to show up on your Lowrance and drop the live shiners down to the fish.

 

Lake Russell (full, clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is fair and there are several different crank baits that are working on light 10-pound test Sufix Elite line.  The Rapala DT 6 and Rapala DT 10 in either the hot tiger or shad colors and the #5 jointed Shad Rap in either the green crawdad or fire tiger will work.  Work the main lake and secondary points and the strikes will occur right at the edge of 10-foot line.  Top-water baits like the Pop R and the Chug Bug will work.  Work the Chug Bug fast and do not stop the popping noises as this attracts the spots thinking the bait is a fleeing bait fish.  Jigs fished around rocks and wood is another good choice this week.  The 3/8 ounce Strike King jig is a good choice and the colors need to be browns and greens.  Use the Lowrance Structure Scan down Scan technology to scan an area and you will see the fish.  Use the Ito Vision 110 jerk bait also.

Lake Sinclair (full, stained up river, main lake clear, 86 degrees) – “Bass fishing is good.  The mayflies are back on Lake Sinclair this week.  We had another big mayfly hatch which is turning on the shallow bite again.  This is one of the largest hatches of the year thus far and it covers much of the Oconee River arm.  Shallow grass beds, overhanging tree limbs, and dock walkways adjacent to the river channel should be your primary targets.  Top-water baits will produce both early and late each day and can continue throughout the day in overcast conditions.  A Spro Bronzeye Popping Frog in the Leopard color will produce many bites around the grass beds and around overhangs.  A black-buzz bait will also get a few bites around seawalls and grassy points.  A Spro Fat John square bill crank-bait will also produce in these same locations early and late when the fish are feeding.  The best way to fish this crank-bait is to parallel the sea walls or fish it through any shallow wood cover you can find.  When the mayflies are present the bass will be positioned right at the base of the sea wall.  Fishing the crank-bait as close as you can to the sea wall will result in more bites.  During the day, fish a Buckeye Mop Jig in a brown or green pumpkin color around dock walkways, sea walls, and around any wood cover that has some shade.  This is a great way to catch a big fish!  The deep bite is still decent lake-wide.  Deep diving crank baits, Carolina rigs, and drop shot rigs will all produce on the offshore structure near the river channel.  Concentrate your efforts in 18-25 feet of water when targeting these deep fish.  As always, the deep bite is best when Georgia Power is moving water.” – Matt Henry, Sinclair Marina

West Point Lake (full, clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is barely fair.  This time of year there is very little change in pattern.  Fish have committed to deep-water cover and will remain there for the next few weeks.  Go back to the deep hideouts they will often produce.  Once the sun is high focus on docks and lay-downs near the mouth of pockets with a green pumpkin Z Man floating worm or a Z Man Texas rigged Saw Tail Worm.  The Z Man floating worm will stand up on a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce shaky head so do not be afraid to let this bait soak to catch larger fish.  You can catch several fish off of one lay down so make several cast to productive cover.  Once the bite slows switch to an All Terrain 3/8 ounce black and blue jig tipped with a black and blue Z Man Chunkz.  The deep crank-bait bite is beginning to turn on in the afternoon during generating schedules.  Look for fish to begin stacking up on long points and roadbeds close to the main river channel.  Crank-baits are working best with multiple casts on cover close to the river channel.  Cover the twelve to eighteen feet depths with the Lowrance and you will see the fish on the bottom.  Turn back and fish these locations.  It takes time to find this ideal habitat, but once you do, several fish can be caught in this area.  The best points to search are from the 109 bridge north going up the river.  During generation periods use deep-diving crank-baits on humps and road beds.  You can load the boat quickly with some really heavy fish poundage during these periods of generation around this cover.

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

The bite is on again, even though many folks are not fishing in the heat. The Satilla is right, and lots of redbreasts should be caught this weekend. Flounder are still going strong at the coast, and tarpon are feasting on pogy pods. The Okefenokee is still producing some great catches. First quarter moon is July 24th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Scout Carter caught this giant bowfin last week on a prototype in-line spinnerbait. Bowfin are great targets during the dog-days of summer.

Scout Carter caught this giant bowfin last week on a prototype in-line spinnerbait. Bowfin are great targets during the dog-days of summer.

Altamaha River – The numbers of channel catfish caught from the river have been impressive. Those using rod and reel are catching about 80 percent channels and 20 percent flatheads, while the limb-liners are the opposite – 80 percent flatheads. The mullet catch has been low, only because very few people have been targeting them (those who went did well). Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that catfishing in the Jesup area was tops. Anglers reported catching nice flatheads on goldfish and channel and blue catfish on worms. The oxbows off the river also produced some good bream catches. Dannet at Altamaha Park said that the flathead bite has been best, with goldfish producing the most. The bream bite has been fair in feeder creeks and oxbows off the main flow. The river level was 2.3 feet and steady (88 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.6 feet and falling (86 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on July 21. I went over the Oconee River on the 21st, and the water had the usual summertime green color. The Ocmulgee and Altamaha rivers are muddier from recent rains.

Okefenokee Swamp – Craig James fished the east side several times this week with his family. Their best trip (by numbers) was Tuesday when he and his brother Trey landed 115 warmouth (releasing many of them) and some fliers. That day, yellow sallies out produced pink (although pink still fooled quite a few). After they had already caught a bunch, they decided to try something different, so they pitched a white grub and continued to spank the big warmouth. Some of their fish approached 12 inches! Some of their trips this week, pink worked best, while other trips yellow was tops. That goes to show you that you need to try different colors each day to determine the best offering.  Michael Winge said that the fishing on the east side slowed with the hot weather, but early and late were the best times. On the west side, warmouth, fliers, and pickerel (jackfish) were caught over the weekend. Jackfish ate popping plugs and king jack spinners. The new Duck Stamps (they provide yearly access to National Wildlife Refuges) have arrived, so make sure to get your new one if that is how you cover the access fee to Okefenokee. The new stamps are $25, and they are valid from July 1 to June 30th each year. You can get them at Okefenokee Adventures on the east side or from US Post Offices.

Satilla River – Danny Brown of Nevils (he often fishes the Ogeechee) came down to fish the Satilla this week, and he landed 20 redbreasts in the Waycross area. One of them was a whopper, and he is getting it mounted. He caught his fish on Satilla Spins (crawfish, stumpknocker, bruiser, and rainbow).  Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the Satilla is giving up big redbreasts and bream. Crickets, worms, and Satilla Spins (crawfish color) have been producing best. Beetlespins and Spin Dandy spinnerbaits are also producing fish. Rooster livers and pink worms produced catfish this week. Bright colored Trick Worms tricked bass. The river level  at the Waycross gage was 5.3 feet and falling (83 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.1 feet and falling on July 21.

St. Marys River – The redbreast and bream bites remained strong. Pink worms are still producing some shellcrackers. Redbreasts and bream were tearing up crickets. Catfish were still being caught everywhere along the river. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 2.1 feet and falling on July 21.

Local Ponds –  Chad Lee spanked the fish on Saturday morning, most with a Ribbit Frog. His biggest was almost 6 pounds. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds bream are hitting crickets and pink worms late in the evenings. Plastics and dark colored buzzbaits produced some good bass. An angler reported catching an 11-pound bass from a local pond this week. Worms and shiners accounted for most of the catfish reported.

Best Bet: The Satilla is getting perfect for a float trip. This time last year I did a float trip with Ron Johnson, and we used crawfish Satilla Spins to catch over 80 fish, mostly redbreasts. At the current level you should not have to drag much, if any. Flounder fishing has been strong at the coast, so that would be a good option. From a boat, fish around hard cover, creek mouths, and inlets. From the bank, pitch mudminnows or finger mullet to pilings or around rocks (anything that makes a current break). You have to let a flounder eat your offering. Typically, the fish will start swimming away once it has engulfed it. Setting the hook too early will usually just provide some teeth marks on your bait! (I have experience with that! Ha!) The Okefenokee is still great. Fish early and pitch yellow or pink sallies around wood for warmouth and around vegetation for fliers. If you want to catch a big fish, tie on an in-line spinner and cast for pickerel or bowfin.

Coastal Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

The saltwater bite was hit-and-miss this week. Flounder, sheepshead and whiting provided the best reports. Mudminnows and finger mullet fooled most of the flounder. Shrimp fished on bottom rigs produced whiting, while fiddlers accounted for most of the sheepshead. Michael Winge said that the Jekyll Island Pier produced lots of sheepshead and whiting over the last week. Our state record flounder came from the Jekyll Island Pier, so don’t overlook it as a destination for flatties. An angler reported catching a tarpon this week from a kayak at one of the inlets on our coast. I’m sure the giant fish gave him a ride! Tarpon numbers have been very good this week, and anglers are catching them. Cast net some pogies and throw out a spread with a live one under an oval Cajun Thunder float and others on bottom rigs. I like 100-lb. test mono leaders for abrasion resistence. The big bull reds have been chowing at the nearshore reefs. Expect them to be in the sounds spawning beginning next month. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the “Mack Attack” continued this week from the pier. The Spanish mackerel continued hitting spoons and Gotcha plugs. A 4-pound flounder was landed from the pier on Tuesday. Trout, whiting, and croakers were also plentiful. Monitor the marine forecast.

Categories: Fishing

Georgia Fishing Report: July 10, 2015

North Georgia

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

Lake Lanier largemouth bass

Largemouth bass caught by Tara Lane at Callaway Gardens this month.

Lanier Largemouth Bass We hope everyone has dried out from our soggy July 4th weekend.  Our streams have already recovered from the monsoons and our rivers are now nearly there, as well.  The upper Hooch had pretty good clarity last night.  The gar didn’t want to play, but two small shoal bass, a decent spot, and three big redbreasts did inhale my white stealth bomber.  If no more storms hit us before the weekend, the big rivers might just be a best bet again.  Here’s some other news that should make the summer heat tolerable, especially for those anglers who give it a shot early and late.

Contest for Bass Pro Shops Gift Card

Stocker ReportStill stocking too!

Stocker Best Bets – WRD trout stocking coordinator suggests these mid-July destinations: Lanier and Blue Ridge Tailwaters, Rock, Cooper, Wildcat, Tallulah, and the feeder streams to stocked lakes like Vogel, Winfield Scott, Black Rock, and Dockery.

Dukes on the 4th – With most rivers and even trout streams blown out, Dredger called Smithgall and landed an open afternoon opening from a cancelled reservation.  He adopted a new buddy in the parking lot and they wandered upstream with an impromptu practice session on the drag-free drift.  The water had already cleared substantially from the morning session, so big and bright flies were no longer working.  The duo still managed a half-dozen or so rainbows to 15 inches on dredged black fur ants and shell-pink san juans.  The brute of the day celebrated his early independence by shaking off a poor hookset by ole Dredge…

Carpin’ How-To

Mid-GA Bass – “Gentlemen: Check out two of the largemouth bass I caught last week down in Middle GA in Pine Mountain, GA.  Used crankbaits.  They were hitting like crazy!” – Tara

Lanier Bass GON Forum 1, GON Forum 2

Watch out for Birds! video

Drop Shot How-To

Good Summer Striper Article – Check out Mike& Ken’s article in GON: http://www.gon.com/

Lanier Profiles – See the attached data for Forebay and Browns Bridge from fisheries tech Chris Looney and assess where those stripers and walleye should be hanging out.

Jeff and Asher’s Trout Trek – “First, the disclaimer: I don’t normally send mass e-mails, and I don’t intend to establish a habit. I just didn’t know a better way to pass along word about something that I thought might be of interest to many of you.

In less than two weeks, my 10-year-old son Asher and I will embark on a 3 1/2-week, cross country excursion to fish many of the West’s most acclaimed trout streams. We’ll travel approximately 8,000 miles and will end up fishing in nine different states. Fishing will take priority everywhere we visit and is the foundation of the plan, but we’ll also take time to check out waterfalls, watch wildlife, sample local flavors, roam through bait shops and more. It’s a storytelling journey, and we’ll share our experiences daily through blog posts, photos and videos on rebellures.com and the Rebel Lure Company Facebook page, plus our own blog sites (jeffsamsel.blogspot.com and ashersamselsblog.blogspot.com).

My hope, of course, is that some of you might want to follow or might share this with others who would like to follow. Many on this list are also outdoors media sorts. If any aspect of our trip interests you for a blog, column, podcast, radio show or whatever else, either now or during the trip, please don’t hesitate to call or email.

Trip dates are July 20 to August 11.” – Jeff Samsel, jeff.samsel.fishing@gmail.com – www.facebook.com/jeffsamselfishing

Free FF E-Mag – Our friend, Birmingham Brian, relocated to Bend, Oregon for a year, but he’s still producing a quality e-magazine.  See page 12 for another smilin’ Georgian, too.

Good luck during this fine wet-wading season.  Grab your small watercraft and give those bass, carp, and gar rivers a shot again.   Send me YOUR stories and photos to share with our angler community.

Southwest Georgia

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

Lake Blackshear – According to Rusty Parker, he caught 20 nice slab crappie under Smoak Bridge on Swift Creek. He caught them on minnows and was fishing very close to some structure. The recent heat has kept him off the lake recently but if you are brave enough to fish in this heat, he suggests fishing deep, “the crappie have definitely moved to the deep water hanging tight to structure.” The bass fishing has been fair recently with the early morning being the best time to go before things heat up too much.

Flint River – The water in the Flint is low and clear. There have been recent reports of good catches of shoal bass coming from around the Mitchell and Baker County regions of the River. Top water during the middle of the day is often an effective technique for catching these hard fighting bass. Bream fishing should be good. Try pitching crickets or a beetle spin near shoreline cover for bluegill and redbreast. Redbreast are typically found in the swifter areas and the bluegill will be located in calmer pockets of water. Try searching for bedding bream in 2-3 feet of water with low current. Fishing for channel catfish continues to be good with several reports of fish from 3 to 5 pounds being caught. The following links will provide you with river levels to help you plan your trip.

Lake Walter F. George – According to Rick Sacco with the “Friends of Lake Eufaula,” Reports from anglers targeting bluegill are favorable for both size and numbers. Also, it is taking about 19 lbs. to win a bass tournament.  In the last Eufaula Bass Trail in early June, Rick weighed in 16.86 lbs.  Nine places were paid out and he missed a check by 2 oz.  From that you can extrapolate that there were a lot of nice fish being weighed in.  A week later, Eufaula mayor Jack Tibbs weighed in 19 something to win the Alabama Children’s Classic.  These results are consistent, and are a good snapshot of the bass fishery. Keep in mind that the water levels have been fluctuating 2 to 3 feet down. The hydrilla on the south end is abundant and within a few feet of topping out. There are a few bass in the littoral vegetation were they are easier to target.  Based on the number of trot lines and “jug” fishermen Rick has been observing recently on the lake the catfishing appears to be very good.

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Braxton Long caught this nice bass at a local pond!

Braxton Long caught this nice bass at a local pond!

The busy holiday weekend produced some great fishing reports from both fresh and saltwater. The rivers are all fishable, and the bite is worth the effort. Go early or late for the more comfortable temperatures, and recharge with a nap in the middle of the day. New Moon is July 15. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the flathead catfish bite is still on fire. Anglers reported catching fleatheads from 20 to 50 pounds on goldfish. The bream and redbreast bites were also good, while the bass bite was steady. Dannet at Altamaha Park said that the limb-liners reported catching some big flatheads this week. Fish from 30 to 60 pounds were reported by anglers baiting hooks with goldfish. Channel catfish averaging double-digits were also reported. The whiskerfish bite has turned on big-time in the big river. Bream and redbreasts were caught in numbers averaging 20 to 25 per trip. Soft plastics produced most of the bass. The mullet bite has turned on, as well. Little red wiggler worms fished around salt blocks and rabbit pellet bags produced most of the mullet. The river level was 3.3 feet and rising (87 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.7 feet and falling (83 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on July 7.

Okefenokee Swamp – I went to the east side with my son Timothy and Ron and Nathanael Johnson on Friday morning. We wanted to target bowfin (mudfish), but the fliers were eating up our sallies (pink fooled them all). We fished for a couple of hours in the late morning and landed 21 fliers, 4 bowfin to 6 1/2 –pounds, and a trophy chain pickerel (jackfish). Ron started us off with a 21-inch jackfish that inhaled a prototype in-line spinner. Timothy caught the biggest bowfin, while Nathanael landed our second biggest, a 4-pounder. Three bowfin ate a prototype in-line spinners, while one ate a 1/16oz. yellow Satilla Spin. You will probably think I’m lying, but the star of a seafood meal that evening was the…(drum roll)…bowfin! We fileted them fresh, sautéed them, mixed the meat with the spices and ingredients from our family’s favorite Maryland crab cake recipe, and then chilled the patties all afternoon. That evening we pan-fried the “bowfin cakes” in oil, and they were delicious. I even ate one as a sandwich the next day for lunch, and it was still awesome. I never thought I’d use the words awesome and bowfin in the same sentence….(at least while talking about food!). Other anglers fishing the swamp reported good catches of warmouth, fliers, and bowfin from all entrances. The catfishing has also been consistent at all entrances. Don’t use much weight on your bottom rig, as it will bury you up in the muck on the bottom. I like to use a small split-shot or no weight and let your offering settle slowly to the bottom. On the west side, with the stronger current, a split-shot is necessary. You should have a great trip if you decide to fish the swamp this weekend. Pink Okefenokee Swamp Sallies worked best from all of my reports this week, but you will want to have some yellow ones also in case the fish are finicky.

Satilla River – The redbreast bite was still on over the holiday weekend. The top report I received was from Jay Murray of Uvalda. He fished the upper Satilla and landed 126 panfish (mostly redbreasts), releasing most of them. Crawfish and fire tiger Satilla Spins produced all of his fish. The weekend rains kept the river up, and it should have plenty of water to get around in johnboats this weekend. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river fishing was great over the holiday weekend. Redbreasts and bream were killing Satilla Spins, beetle spins, and crickets. Anglers reported catching 30 to 40 fish per trip. The catfish bite was great, with lots of bullhead catfish (butter cats) eating rooster livers and shrimp fished on the bottom. A few crappie were caught on minnows fished in the deep holes. The middle and lower Satilla produced some nice creels of 30 to 40 fish this week, as well. The river level  at the Waycross gage was 7.3 feet and rising (80 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.9 feet and falling on July 7.

St. Marys River – The catfish bite was awesome, with folks catching them about everywhere they fished. Shrimp and rooster livers produced the most. One angler said the bite is so good that he “believes that they would bite on top of the river banks.” The bream and redbreast bite has remained strong, while the mullet are still running in good numbers. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 2.0 feet and falling on July 7.

Local Ponds –  The bass and bream provided most of the action this week in ponds.  Chad Lee was at it again this weekend in Alma area ponds. He caught 15 fish up to 4 pounds, but lost both 8-pound class fish that inhaled his baits. The best baits for him this weekend were Ribbit Frogs and Pop-R’s. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds bream fishing has been on fire. Crickets and worms produced most of them. Topwater plugs fished late in the day fooled some nice bass. After dark, black buzzbaits fooled bucketmouths. Live shiners fished under floats also fooled some bass. Channel catfish ate rooster livers and shrimp.

Coastal Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Anglers fishing from shore on Cumberland Island caught over a dozen quality whiting in about an hour of fishing on Wednesday. Small pieces of shrimp fooled them. Michael Winge said that Waycross anglers reported some great catches over the weekend. Big drum and redfish were caught in the sounds. Flounder and trout were caught in good numbers, but most of the trout were on the small side. An angler fishing the St. Marys area over the weekend caught over 60 trout on a Billy Bay Halo Shrimp. Most were undersized. “Tons” of whiting were caught in the Brunswick area. An angler reported catching an 11-foot shark in the Hampton River this weekend. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that dinner-plate-sized blue crabs were thick under the pier. Crabbers filled their coolers quickly, and bottom fishermen had to rebait frequently because of the bait-stealers. Flounder are eating mudminnows fished from the pier, with most fish between 16 and 18 inches. Croakers and whiting are abundant. Big sharks are around. A Waycross angler landed and released a 7-foot lemon shark over the weekend. The fish ate a kingfish head. The angler’s arms are still out of commission after the fight.

Best Bet – My top pick for the weekend would be redbreast fishing on the upper Satilla if the river drops back to 6 feet (at the Waycross gage) by the weekend. Next would be surf fishing or fishing the sounds from a boat for shark and tarpon. Both big fish are lurking around pogy pods. If you want to set the hook lots, throw any kind of bladed lure in the

Categories: Fishing

Georgia Fishing Report: July 2, 2015

North Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and Region Fisheries staff)

Lake Lanier catfish

Target some catfish this holiday weekend, like this one caught on Lake Lanier.

July 4th is here, so it’s time for all north Georgia anglers to launch into “full summer mode” with our angling techniques and targets. The controlling factors for our success is, first and foremost, water temperature, and secondly, reduced sunlight. For trout, we’ll head way up high in elevation or tuck in behind a really big dam (Buford or Blue Ridge) that has stored up winter water. We fish early, when the water is coldest, or at least hit the shade. Summer sport fish don’t like a high sun that paints a bulls-eye on their backs for predators like ospreys, herons, otters, and bigger fish. Instead of running away from summer showers, seasoned trouters run toward them to catch the cool, muddy water and the earthworm hatch. In fact, take a look at last year’s advice on warm weather “hatches” and give some of these tips a try again this summer. Remember to use heavier line when those trophies can’t see your line in the muddy water, and you’ll increase your odds of landing that trout of a lifetime. You’ll also play and land them quicker, which is good for summer fish health.

Better yet, we’ll turn away from trout for a little while! Try switching species and have a blast this summer. Here are some examples: river bass, river bream, carp, gar, summer stripers, pond catfish, bream, and bass.

Chattahoochee gar

Gar caught on a fly in the Chattahoochee.

River anglers must work around muddy water created by these heavy summer showers. Water clarity really seems to control the bass and bream bite. Watch the USGS streamflow gauges and call local shops for the latest intel on water clarity. Muddy rivers are basically shut down, except for catfish, but turbid waters, where visibility is a foot or two, can still fish well when anglers cast toward the shady shallows. Landon and the Guru have had some very successful prospecting for upper Hooch shoal bass in between these storms by employing the shady shallows technique. Guru reported seven bass to 16 inches Tuesday night on a chartreuse Boogle Bug popper. Dredger tossed a chartreuse Clouser into a turbid Hooch last week and connected with nine shoals to 16 inches. (Secret weapon was finn chartreuse raccoon)

Many seasoned trouters now switch targets completely and aim for these bass and bream, and even some other summer trophies like carp and gar. Dredger tossed a gar fly into the Hooch on Sunday evening and found a nice trophy that pulled hard and jumped a couple times. A three foot fish going airborne is a sight to behold! Grab a seven or eight weight rod and try tossing these miniature wet mops at the next school of gar you spot on the lake or up the river. If it pulls, it’s fun, right?

Savvy river anglers will also locate summer thermal refuges for migrating reservoir stripers and toss some big lures or baits (where legal) at dawn or dusk.

Small lake anglers should aim for mornings and evenings, and hit either the shady shallows or some deep structure. Overhanging limbs are bug factories, and some nice bream and bass will move under them early and late in the day to pick off the hapless bugs that plop onto the water surface. Kids, zebco’s, and crickets are a summer recipe for success. Some forked sticks, nightcrawlers or chicken livers, and an evening campfire might be another great way of enjoying a weekend night. The catfish fillets will be an added bonus as you make summer vacation memories with your family and friends. Try a Forest Service or state park lake near you soon.

Coldwater die-hards can still get a great trout fix. The Hooch and Blue Ridge tailwaters are still stocked and the water is cold. Some good reports continue from those two locales.

If it rains and the tribs muddy up the mainstream, head upstream and get close to the dam to discover clear water. Bluelines will fish great for small, wild fish as long as mountain anglers don their camo, grab a short rod, and employ their best stealth techniques. Stocker anglers have a bunch of streams to choose from, as DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stock nearly all of the waters on our master trout stocking list for July 4th holiday crowds.

Some helpful summer trouting hints include: fishing upstream reaches where the water is colder at high elevation, fishing the mouths of cold tributaries (especially in small, spring-stocked lakes that are now heating up) fishing the first couple hours after dawn, and downsizing baits, hooks, and line diameter to fool picky fish in low, clear water. One-third of a nightcrawler on a size 10 or 12 hook, attached to some four pound test fluoro with no split shot, is hard to beat. If they spook when you wade and fish upstream like you normally do, try slipping in quietly way above them, flip open the bail, and feed your bait or fly downstream to that prime debris jam. Big hoppers will high-grade your catch, as the smaller fish won’t be able to choke down a big hopper.

Reservoir anglers now have to dredge deep for most of their targets. Thermoclines are setting up and a lot of species are aiming for the depths providing their preferred combos of water temperature and dissolved oxygen. The guide reports in Ken’s weekly bulletin (below) do a great job of describing trends for deepwater prospecting, with a little bit of topwater tossed in too. Fish early to avoid the majority of recreational boaters that share our public lakes; most sleep in a bit and therefore give you a chance to fish those magic dawn hours.

If we pick our times, places, and techniques carefully, there will be some fishing fireworks on our horizon. Enjoy the weekend. May a bulldogging shoal bass or tailwalking gar make you glad you woke up early, slathered on the bug repellant and sunscreen, and said, “let’s Go Fish Georgia.”

Central Georgia

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

Clarks Hill Lake (clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Bass are relating to deep water and are coming up to feed during the major feeding times.  During the mid-day feeding period there is some surface activity.  Use the Pop R and the Rico in shad and take an olive green Shad Rap and work it with short jerks all the way back to the boat.  Some of these bass will break the surface in twenty to forty feet of water so don’t be afraid to cast off the other side of the boat into deeper water.  Locating a long narrow run-out point on your map will be a good place to start fishing the first thing in the morning.  Also continue to fish those stump rolls in twelve to twenty feet of water with big spinner baits, Rapala DT14, jigs or Carolina rigs.  Getting the crank baits down and letting them bounce off any structure will usually trigger a strike.

 

Jackson Lake (down 1.9 feet, clear, 80s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Fish deep structure in or near the main lake or seek cooler water up the rivers. Target main lake points the bluffs any hump at 12 to 15 feet with brush, bridge pilings and docks.  Put to use shaky heads, heavy compact jigs and deep running crank baits through the day.  Hot weather has many fish hunkered down in deep water, suspended, or roaming with shad in open water.  Early in the day, throw a Rico or other top-water bait on the deep sea walls or at open water opportunities.  We may see more Mayfly hatches resulting in shallow fishing opportunities.  Bream move up on the insects and big bass move up on the bream.  The hatches are off and on, but the possibility exists that we will see some more hatches.  When the hatch concentrates, it is a prime opportunity to catch quality fish in shallow warm water.  Many baits may catch them, but top-water fishing with a Rico or Pop R can be hard to beat.  Also try swimming a green jig.  Look up the rivers, late in the afternoon for possible hatches.  Good fish can bite at night on the lights.

Marben PFA – Largemouth Bass: July is the time of year when bass are moving into deep water and typically stay there most of the day.   However, anglers willing to test the waters in early morning or right before sunset might be surprised with a bass being caught in the shallows.  Anglers have been most successful with shaky head lures and top water baits in early morning and late evening.

Bream: Bream are the most popular fish targeted this time of year.  The best thing about bream is that this fish will hit a variety of bait.  Right now, meal worms are proving the most successful bait.  However, there have also been reports of anglers using micro lures to catch hand-sized bream.  Most of the bream caught have been in six to eight feet of water.

Catfish: When the other fish begin to slow, anglers will often turn their attention to catfish at Marben PFA.  Catfish are reported being caught throughout the day.  Based on angler reports, Bennett is the current “hot” lake.  Anglers are most successful using worms.  A handy shade tree seems to be important too!

Crappie: Crappie fishing is just slow during mid-day but tends to pick up as late evening approaches.  Anglers using live minnows and yellow jigs are the most successful.  Try fishing cover approximately 8-10 feet.

  • Remember early morning and late evenings are the best times at Marben PFA.
  • Temperatures are extremely hot at Marben PFA.  Sunscreen and plenty of water are highly encouraged. Don’t forget the picnic lunch!!

Additional Information: http://www.georgiawildlife.org/PFA/CharlieElliott

McDuffie PFA – Largemouth Bass – Good: Hot ponds have been Willow, and Clubhouse.  Willow is still giving up keeper bass and many larger bass are being released by our fishermen.  In Jones bass fishing has slowed down but small bass will keep fishermen alert.  The lake with most potential is Willow for quality and quantity.  Willow Lake has big bass but fishermen must be prepared or risk being broken off in the underwater structure.  The bass have begun feeding on shad early in the mornings and late evenings in Willow and Breambuster.  Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) is open from first through fifteen (1st-15th) of each month.  Rodbender is open for the next 14 days but will close at sunset on the 15th. This lake has been setup for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.   June is usually an excellent top-water bait month with soft baits falling in the number two spot.

Bream:  Good – Best ponds have been Beaverlodge, Willow, Clubhouse and Jones for good catches.   The Bream should be on bed during this full moon and can be found around structure and aquatic plants with firm sandy bottoms.  The best baits for catching bream are red wigglers and crickets under adjustable floats; using light tackle to make soft casts pass the structure and pulling the bait rig back and stopping the bait will generate many more strikes.  Patience is the key when fishing for bream on beds. Our local fly fishermen are catching aggressive bream on artificial nymphs, flies and bugs near shore and structure.

Channel Catfish:  Good – Best ponds have been Breambuster, Beaverlodge, Bridge, Willow and Jones.  Catfish are still feeding as they prepare to spawn and water has reached above 80 degrees.  The best fishing is on the bottom in deep areas using chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and crickets.

Striped Bass:  Fair – Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse.   Smaller stripers will keep anglers busy in Bridge Lake as fishermen fish for catfish and bream on the bottom using worms and chicken liver.  The stripers have not begun feeding on the shad near the surface.

Additional Information: http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/McDuffie

Lake Oconee (full, stained up rivers, light stain on main lake, 87-92 degrees) – Bass fishing is fair.  A buzz-bait fished on the sea walls and rip rap at first light is still a good way to start your day.  Next move to the boat docks in water from 5ft. to 10 ft. deep and work a shaky head under these docks.  If Georgia Power starts pulling water move to the bridge rip raps with a crank bait or spinner bait and work the down-lake side of the bridge.  Some fish are starting to show up on the humps on the south end of the lake and in Richland Creek.  A Carolina rigged worm fished on these humps will draw a strike.  You can also use a large crank bait and work the down lake side of the humps.

Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are in the mouths of the creek and large coves.  They have moved into the timber and you can find them with your Lowrance in the top of the trees.  When you find them drop a live minnow into the school and start catching.

“Striper fishing is good.  There is a good top-water bite for the first two hours of day light.  Use a popping cork or an inline spinner.  When the top-water stops use your umbrella rigs on the main lake points and humps to pick up the larger fish.” – Cpt. Mark Smith, Reel Time Guide Service

Lake Russell (clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Now it is time to head offshore as the fish go to the usual summer pattern.  Top water Chug Bugs are still working early off the points and in the mouth of the larger coves.  Fish the upper end around Pickens Creek and look for some schooling fish.  In the very back of Pickens Creek and at the bridge at Sanders Ferry there are all spots.  Use the flukes and the 85 Sammy and anything in shad patterns.  Beaver Dam Creek from the mouth to about midway back is still producing nice bass.  Early in the morning start off with the top water Chug Bugs and alternate with suspending Shad Raps in the natural shad color.  One substitute for the RS Shad Rap will be the no. 5 jointed Shad Rap.  Either one is producing but make sure you throw the natural shad color.  Work the islands and all the points at the mouth of Beaver Dam and even up the Savannah under the RR Bridge for about a mile.  No need to travel any further than a couple of miles from the 72 ramp for some good fishing.  Later in the day use the Zoom finesse worms.  Rig them on a 3/16 ounce bullet weight Texas rig.

Lake Sinclair (full, stained up river, main lakeclear, 91 degrees) – “Bass fishing is fair.  The warm weather and increased boat traffic from the holiday weekend made things a little tough.  The best pattern right now is fishing deeper docks, brush piles, and offshore structure. Focus on water depths of 14 to 18 feet each day to be most successful.  A Buckeye spot remover shaky head with a black Zoom trick worm has worked really well this week.  Skip this shaky head under the docks or drag it slowly through deep brush piles.  Long points or brush covered humps that drop in the river channel have been productive as well.  A Spro Little John DD crankbait and a Buckeye football jig will produce fish on these offshore locations.  A top-water bait can still produce early and late or when you have low light conditions.  This bite can be incredible when the mayflies hatch. A great lure choice for top water would be a buzz-bait or a Spro Bronzeye frog.  As always on Lake Sinclair, the bite gets better when Georgia Power is generating current.” – Matt Henry, Sinclair Marina

West Point Lake (full, clear, mid 80s) – Bass fishing is good.  Fish are really spread out in two groups.  The top-water bite is on fire first thing in the morning on points and lay downs.  Buzz baits, Spooks, and Pop R’s are producing when cast very close to cover and then slowly worked back to the boat.  There are a few May fly’s left going up the river that are producing some better fish early in the day as well.   Pitch jigs close to over-hanging limbs with bream present.  These fish have been highly pressured so work the bait slowly.  The strike zone will be in the first five feet of the over-hanging limbs.  Once the sun is high focus on docks and lay-downs near the mouth of pockets with a green pumpkin Z-Man floating worm.  The Z-Man floating worm will stand up on a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce shaky head so do not be afraid to let this bait soak to catch larger fish.  The best points and lay-downs are from the 109 bridge north going up the river.  During generation periods use deep diving crank baits on humps and road beds.  You can load the boat quick with some really heavy weights during these periods of generation.

Categories: Fishing

Georgia Fishing Report: June 19, 2015

South Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologists Bert Deener and regional Fisheries staff)

5 and a half pound sea trout caught off Saint Simons Pier.

5 and a half pound sea trout caught off Saint Simons Pier.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the river is on a slight rise, but it has now slowed the bream bite in the backwaters. Crickets produced some big bream around treetops in the lakes. Dannet at Altamaha Park said that a bream tournament over the weekend had 140 anglers entered. The rising, stained water slowed the bite, and the anglers had to work for their fish. They did catch fish, and most were caught from the feeder creeks and backs of the lakes (that is where the clearest water was located). Most anglers caught between 5 and 30 bream. The river level was 6.1 feet and falling (86 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 7.5 feet and rising (83 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 16.

Okefenokee Swamp – Early in the morning anglers are catching warmouth and fliers on the east side. Bullhead catfish were caught in good numbers from all entrances. Even after pulling out thousands of fish from the boat basin on the east side, anglers are still catching a few warmouth and fliers there. They have even caught an occasional bream on crickets.

Satilla River – Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river fishing slowed with the high water and high heat, but the river is falling, and the bite is improving. A few fish were caught by anglers pitching crickets close to the bank cover. Satilla Spins (black/chartreuse and crawfish) fooled redbreasts and an occasional bass. Channel and bullhead catfish ate rooster livers and shrimp. Buzzbaits and ZOOM lizards and speed craws caught some nice bass. I spoke with an angler late last week who caught several bass up to 5 pounds in the Waycross area. The river level on June 16th at the Waycross gage was 7.7 feet and falling (80 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 8.3 feet and rising.

St. Marys River – The mullet run is in full swing. A piece of worm rigged on a #6 hook was the ticket. The catfish bite has been as hot as the air temperature. In the early morning before the heat, anglers reported catching some nice bream and redbreasts by pitching crickets. The river level on June 16th at the MacClenny gage was 2.1 feet and falling.

Local Ponds –  Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds bream fishing has been tops. Crickets and worms produced some nice fish on the new moon. Jigs, beetlespins, and copperfield Satilla Spins also produced good bream catches for those using artificials. Rooster livers were tops for catfish. Black buzzbaits produced some nice bass early in the morning, late in the evening, and after dark.

Coast (Saltwater)

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

I received reports of anglers catching tripletail this week from inshore channel markers. Live shrimp fished near the markers around slack tide has been the best way to catch them. Michael Winge said that Waycross anglers caught plenty of whiting in the sounds. Shrimp and squid both produced good catches of the tasty fish. A group of anglers fishing this past weekend reported catching a potpourri of fish including whiting, flounder, redfish, and trout. The Jekyll Island Pier produced some nice flatfish this week for those dragging mudminnows. Spanish mackerel and kingfish were caught in the channels and nearshore reefs. Tarpon should be here in good numbers any day. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the blue crabs are THICK under the pier. Crabbers are catching buckets-full of them, and they are really big. Croakers, spadefish, trout, sharks, whiting, and flounder also hit the deck this week. Monitor the marine forecast.

Best Bet – If the current heat wave stays (as it is predicted to), saltwater fishing should be the best bet. The whiting bite is still consistent in the sounds and deep holes in rivers. Seatrout are on the beach and will be biting for the next couple months as waves of fish head to the surf to spawn. I like throwing Assassin Sea Shads under the bigger oval Cajun Thunder Floats at them. If you need a little more weight for casting distance, pinch on a rubber core sinker (remove the rubber core first) below the brass beads.

Categories: Boating, Fishing

Georgia Fishing Report: June 5, 2015

North Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and Region Fisheries staff)

kids fishing event

Look for a kids fishing event near you next week.

National Fishing and Boating Week, a national celebration of fishing and boating, is the perfect reason to get out on the water and experience the joys of boating and fishing.  Coinciding with most states’ free fishing days, National Fishing and Boating Week occurs each year during the first full week of June.

Time spent fishing and boating is a great opportunity to talk, laugh, relax, reconnect and create good memories with friends and family.   How can you celebrate?

In Georgia, there are two FREE fishing days (June 6 and 13) held during National Fishing and Boating Week.

Additionally, there are dozens of kids fishing events held this week, especially on the weekend. Take your child to one of these events, especially if you or your child, is new to fishing. Great way to meet people, get expert advice and spend time together.

National Fishing and Boating Week was initiated by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Take Me Fishing program.  Click here for more information.

Apprentice Trout Stockers – Buford Hatchery Fisheries Technician Andy Wentworth transported trout to Stamp Creek on Pine Log Wildlife Management Area on Wednesday, June 3.  He was met upon arrival by his able stocking assistants, the kids from the Cherokee County Parks & Recreation Department’s “Fishing Camp.”  The weeklong camp teaches fishing skills and the highlight of the camp is always Stamp Creek stocking day with Buford Hatchery. For more information on this special summer camp, visit: http://www.crpa.net/page/fishing-camp

Striper Stockers Spotted

Lanier Bass  – “Nice bass I caught on Lanier on May 4.  Trolling with umbrella rig with yellow jigs.  Enjoy the photo.”  – Tara

Ken’s Lake Reports

Nottely Bass

Worth the Hike In – “Fished the IDBIS River yesterday in the XXX mtns. It was a bright blue sky day, which may have made things tougher. I caught 14-15 wild RB’s. Missed a few more. All small but really fun. Had a decent sized fish (for that water) on for a bit but he spit out the hook or something. It was probably 12-13 inches.  David G, a very good caster who has been fishing these waters for decades, got only 2 fish and a few misses, but he limited himself to one dry fly. I had a caddis and one or two tiny nymph droppers and only got one catch and three strikes or refusals at the dry. We saw a cahill about size 12 and some other big mayfly about size 8. Only saw one cahill and two of the other big bug.  There were tons of midges swarming and a couple caddis size 16 flitting about. I did not see a fish rise all day.

It took an hour  and a half to drive to the trail head at IDBIS Creek, and 40 minutes to hike to the river. But fishing was nil at that area, so we got out and hiked another 45 minutes to Notellum Creek and got back in the river above that confluence. That meant after fishing upstream for three hours we had an hour and almost 45 minutes hike out. Left home 8 am and got home 8 pm.  But I did enjoy it.  Beautiful small stream.” – Ralph A.

Bluelines are Best Bets – Early summer is a great time to head up the mountain and fish Georgia’s smaller trout streams, known as “bluelines” by savvy anglers searching for secret spots on topo maps. Bluelines shed stormflows quickly and return to fishable conditions within a day, if not several hours, after a summer storm.  Turbidity is relatively low because of the stable watersheds and limited disturbance on national forest lands. (Report and blueline how-to)

Trout stockers – John Lee suggests this week’s hotspots: Hooch and Toccoa tailwaters at the dams, Hooch in Helen before the 10am tuber hatch, Nimblewill, Holly, Cooper, Tallulah, and West Fork Chattooga.

Wait on the Bass Rivers – This week’s storms have many of north Georgia’s warmwater rivers blown out for several days.  Check river gauges and call local tackle shops before taking your next float trip.  While flows may drop, turbidities will run high for several more days.

This is a great week to introduce new families to the fun of recreational fishing.  Take a little time out of your own schedule to pass on your love of the sport and help cultivate the next generation of Georgia’s aquatic conservationists.

Central Georgia

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

Clarks Hill Lake (full, clear, upper 70s) – Bass fishing is good. The bigger, more active bass have begun to move back to the primary lake points with some holding on to the secondary points in the larger coves. Use the #5 Jointed Shad Rap and the DT6 and fish any wood and rocks during this period. Boat docks are still holding bass during the mid day period when the sun is out and the sky is blue. A slow presentation seems to be working the best during these hard to fish periods. Expect a good early morning bite and it will slow down as the sun comes over the treetops. All black buzz baits work in the middle of the day.

Flat Creek PFA Catfish and bream are the two species that have been biting the best right now. During the cooler hours of morning and evening the fish have been more responsive, and during the heat of the day the fish are sluggish with their strikes. Those fishing in deeper, cooler water are still having success even in the hotter parts of the day. There will be less visibility in the lake as a planktonic algal bloom continues to develop. As you notice the visibility diminishing, a switch in baits to darker colors will be a better option for all fish.

Bass: Success – Watermelon Zoom Trick Worms, Watermelon Zoom Centipede worms, fished shallow (2-3’) and silver spoons, and lipless crank baits fished in 6-8 foot of water.

Bream: Success – Worms (Red Wigglers, Glow worms, and Pinks) on a Carolina rig.

Crappie: Success – Red &Black Hal-Flies (5’ of water), Chartreuse glow-in-the-dark jigs by Carolina Hookers fished with a glow-in-the-dark Rat Finkee jig head (#6 & #8) fished in 8 foot of water. The Crappie fishing has slowed down considerably but anglers have been catching some nice crappie off the fishing pier on minnows.

Channel Catfish: Success – Chicken livers tied with sewing thread and then placed on the hook will prevent the fish from stealing the bait and has proved very successful. Worms fished on a Carolina Rig.

Additional information at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/FlatCreek

Jackson Lake (up 1.7 feet, clear, 80s) –Bass fishing is good. Much of the lake is clear and top water tactics are fishing as well as ever. Many bass are holding shallow and can be found on the main lake and in the pockets. Better quality fish seem to be on the main lake and the first half of the pockets. Shallow fish will often be found relating to sea walls and riprap. Particularly in the early morning, fish will use these areas to feed on spawning shad. Some fish are slightly deeper with structure in the 5 to 7 foot range being good to target. Work the main lake points for some good fishing as well. Spinner baits, jigs, hard baits, and plastics can all fish well. Spinner baits, flukes and top water are among some of the baits that will work well on sea walls and rip rap. The Senko continues to be a good bait when the sun is shining. Use 5″ baits on a 4/0 offset shank hook or a wacky rig. Fish it just about anywhere, but docks can fish very well with Senko and other baits presented underneath. Top water action is hard to beat right now. The Pop R bite is hot on the seawalls. Cast and fish as close to the wall as possible. Shallow and parallel presentations can be very productive on the walls, but it often pays to work long perpendicular casts all the way to the boat. Particularly on flat contoured banks, top water baits will call up deeper fish that are holding well off the wall. Commit to top water baits early and late in the day. Throw them all day long under overcast conditions or on banks with shade offered by the tree line.

Marben PFA – Largemouth Bass: June is typically the time of year when bass are moving into deep water.  This often indicates that bass fishing is beginning to slow as the warmer summer months begin.  However, anglers willing to test the waters in early morning might be surprised with a bass being caught in the shallows.  Anglers should try truck worms and top water baits in early morning.

Bream: Bream are the most popular fish targeted this time of year.  The best thing about bream is that this fish will hit a variety of bait.  The most popular are worms and crickets fished in 4 to six feet of water.  Bream will hit throughout the day and will most likely be found hanging around submerged, woody cover.  Anglers may have to follow the shade this time of year to avoid the sun.  If patient, anglers will be successful in June.

Catfish: When the other fish begin to slow, anglers will often turn their attention to catfish at Marben PFA.  Catfish are reported being caught in early or late evening as well as in the hottest time of the day.  Chicken livers, stink bait, and worms are the most popular when targeting catfish.  A handy shade tree seems to be important too!

Crappie: Crappie are showing similar patterns to largemouth bass.  Successful anglers are finding good numbers in deeper water.  Live minnows are still the most popular bait when targeting crappie at Marben PFA.  Margery Lake has been a popular spot with the most success at the dam.  Early mornings, as well as late evening are popular times for anglers targeting crappie.

Bream: Bream are the most popular fish targeted this time of year.  The best thing about bream is that this fish will hit a variety of bait.  The most popular are worms and crickets fished in 4 to six feet of water.  Bream will hit throughout the day and will most likely be found hanging around submerged, woody cover.  Anglers may have to follow the shade this time of year to avoid the sun.  If patient, anglers will be successful in June.

Catfish: When the other fish begin to slow, anglers will often turn their attention to catfish at Marben PFA.  Catfish are reported being caught in early or late evening as well as in the hottest time of the day.  Chicken livers, stink bait, and worms are the most popular when targeting catfish.  A handy shade tree seems to be important too!

Despite warm temperatures, Marben PFA can be a relaxing place to visit.  Sunscreen and plenty of water are highly encouraged. Don’t forget the picnic lunch and your stringer!

Additional Information: http://www.georgiawildlife.org/PFA/CharlieElliott

McDuffie PFA – Largemouth Bass – Good:  Hot ponds have been Willow, and Clubhouse. Willow is still giving up keeper bass and many larger bass are being released by our fishermen. In Jones bass fishing has slowed down but small bass will keep fishermen alert. The lake with most potential is Willow for quality and quantity.  Willow Lake has big bass but fishermen must be prepared or risk being broken off in the underwater structure. The bass have begun feeding on shad early in the mornings and late evenings in Willow and Breambuster.  Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) is open from first through fifteen (1st-15th) of each month. Rodbender is open for the next 14 days but will close at sunset on the 15th. This lake has been setup for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.  June is usually an excellent top-water bait month with soft baits falling in the number two spot.

Bream:  Good – Best ponds have been Beaverlodge, Willow, Clubhouse and Jones for good catches.  The Bream should be on bed during this full moon and can be found around structure and aquatic plants with firm sandy bottoms. The best baits for catching bream are red wigglers and crickets under adjustable floats; using light tackle to make soft casts pass the structure and pulling the bait rig back and stopping the bait will generate many more strikes. Patience is the key when fishing for bream on beds. Our local fly fishermen are catching aggressive bream on artificial nymphs, flies and bugs near shore and structure.

Channel Catfish:  Good – Best ponds have been Breambuster, Beaverlodge, Bridge, Willow and Jones.  Catfish are still feeding as they prepare to spawn and water has reached above 80 degrees. The best fishing is on the bottom in deep areas using chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and crickets.

Striped Bass:  Fair – Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse.  Smaller stripers will keep anglers busy in Bridge Lake as fishermen fish for catfish and bream on the bottom using worms and chicken liver. The stripers have not begun feeding on the shad near the surface.

Additional Information: http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/McDuffie

Lake Oconee (full, stained up rivers, light stain on main lake, 79-81 degrees) – Bass fishing is fair. Start your day with a buzz bait fished along sea walls and rip rap. After the sun gets up switch to boat docks from the middle of the creeks and big coves out to the main lake. Use a shaky head under the docks and around the dock poles. You can also use a small shallow running crank bait around the same docks. As the day heats up move to the bridge rip raps when Georgia Power starts pulling water. Use a white/chartreuse spinner bait or a small crank bait and fish the down lake side with these two bait. Keep an eye on the water movement while fishing, if you see current movement then go the bridges. Over the past week this has been late in the afternoon.

Crappie fishing is good. The fish are in the mouths of the creek and large coves. They are suspended above the timber. Long lining just over the fish in 6 to 10 ft. of water will draw a strike. If you are fishing muddy water use a dark jig. Stained water use a jig with chartreuse in it. Some fish are starting to stage in the timber and live bait fished into the tree will catch these fish.

“Striper fishing is good. Most of the fish have moved to the humps and points from mid lake to the dam. We are still catching some fish on live shad fished on down lines on the humps and points. Most of the fish are coming on the umbrella rig. The umbrella rig bite has taken off over the past week. We fish a 4 arm, 9 jig rig at 3 mph 100 feet behind the boat to target these fish.” Cpt. Mark Smith, Reel Time Guide Service

Lake Russell (full, clear, upper 70s) – Bass fishing is good. A lot of post spawn bass are being caught right now as they continue to feed heavily. The top water bite is still really good and jerk baits remain a good follow up bait along with flukes. Main lake points and secondary points continue to produce good size bass, but don’t forget to fish the sides of these points as well. The Carolina rig is another good method that has been very productive this past week. Don’t spend too much time in one area as anglers are having to move about the lake to catch a good limit. No more than two good keepers are coming from one point or area, so keep this in mind while fishing.

Lake Sinclair (full, muddy up river, main lake stained, 82 degrees) – Bass fishing is good. Top water lures and spinner baits are producing during early morning from shallow cover such as blow downs, docks, rip rap, grass, and shallow points. Anglers should experiment with varying types of baits because the best lure today may not produce tomorrow. Some excellent choices are: Super Spook Jr., Pop R, Chug Bug, Spin Bang a Lure, buzz baits, and Baby Torpedo. Spinner baits and weightless Flukes and Trick worms can also be the best on some mornings. Try bulging the surface with a 3/8 or ½ ounce spinner bait with double Colorado blades. A weightless yellow Trick worm worked well on one recent morning. When using spinning tackle, make sure to use a swivel about 8 10 inches above the worm to control line twist. Most shad have finished spawning except for a few scattered areas. If shad are seen spawning, try the fore mentioned top water baits plus a small white spinner bait. Although some bass are still around shallow docks, more are now on deeper docks, especially those that have brush under or around them. Catches from docks have come mostly on soft plastics; with jigs, crank baits, and spinner baits fooling a few fish.

West Point Lake (full, clear, low 80s) – Bass fishing has been good. The fish are now heading to the flats, points and reef markers. This has been a week for the soft plastics. On open shallow flats and pockets fan cast shaky head trick worms and creature baits to isolated cover and depressions. These fish are relating to small ditches. A light Carolina rig can also be effective in these same areas. My best areas have been from Wehadkee creek north to the 109 bridge.

South Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologists Bert Deener and regional Fisheries staff)

John Biagi with redbreast

John Biagi of Covington made a trip south last week to fish the Satilla River. He and his partner, Bryant Bowen, landed this quality redbreast and 66 other nice fish on crawfish Satilla Spins in the Waycross area of the river.

Altamaha River – I heard a couple great reports of panfishing on the river this week, with the best report of almost 40 quality bluegills and redbreasts. The rains upcountry have muddied the water as it has risen, so the bite will likely slow some this week in the main river. The oxbows should still produce good catches this weekend. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the fishing was as good as it gets for all species over the weekend. Big bream were caught on crickets, channel and blue cats were caught in the flow on rooster livers, and flatheads ate goldfish in the deeper holes. Soft plastics and crankbaits produced some good bass catches. Dannet at Altamaha Park said the shellcracker bite is still going strong. Some big bluegills were mixed in with the catch, as well. Pink worms fished on the bottom produced the most of both species. The channel cats were holding in the creeks feeding the river and were eating worms. Channel and flathead catfishing should be strong this weekend on the rising river. The river level was 5.2 feet and rising (82 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 6.3 feet and rising (79 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 2.

Okefenokee Swamp – The warmouth and flier fishing has been awesome as the water has pulled off the flats, but the yellow flies have picked up. Wear long pants and long sleeve fishing shirts, and you can do pretty well keeping the pests off of you. The fishing is good enough to warrant fighting some flies. On the east side, I heard of a group of 3 anglers catching a limit of warmouth from the boat basin by using crickets and crawfish. A few nice bream were caught by anglers fishing crickets, but that bite slowed a little this week. On the east side, fliers ate yellow sallies well. On the west side, the catfish bite has been awesome. On the north side of the swamp, the feeder creeks draining into the swamp produced great catches of catfish. Worms worked best.

Satilla River – The excellent reports continued from the river this week. From my feedback, crawfish Satilla Spins were the best color…again. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river fishing was on fire this week, with redbreasts and bream topping the catches. Crickets worked great this week, as did artificials, such as Satilla Spins, Spin Dandy spinnerbaits, and beetlespins. Reports were that they were eating it like “they would never have another chance to eat again” (and for many of them, they didn’t get another chance!). On Saturday, an angler fishing with his son north of the Hwy 121 Bridge caught 35 big redbreasts and bream in less than 2 hours of fishing using crickets and worms. Crankbaits and ZOOM worms produced some nice bass catches. Catfish ate shrimp and rooster livers fished on the bottom in deep holes. The river level at the Waycross gage was 6.5 feet and falling (76 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.6 feet and steady on June 2.

St. Marys River – Redbreasts have started bedding lately, and some true “roosters” and big bream were caught around beds with crickets and worms this week. Beetlespins produced good catches around blowdown trees and sandbars. Catfishing remained great with folks catching them about anywhere they dropped a hook. Shrimp, worms, and rooster livers baited them in. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 2.1 feet and falling on June 2.

Local Ponds –  A couple of anglers fishing a Valdosta area pond on Sunday had a double-header of double-digit bass. They had a 10-lb., 10-oz. and another just over 10 pounds hooked up at the same time. Live bait fooled their whoppers. Several other anglers reported catching nice bass from Waycross area lakes. Topwaters fished early and plastics and swimbaits fished after the sun came up seemed to be the standard. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds anglers whacked the bream this week by pitching crickets. Frogs and buzzbaits produced some great bass catches late in the evening.

Best Bet: Redbreast fishing on the Satilla is a great option this weekend. The local rains have brought the river level up enough to get around, but the river is still in decent shape. For the biggest redbreasts, throw spinnerbaits around sandbars for the pre-spawn fish. For numbers, pitch crickets around shoreline cover. On the Altamaha, the rains came just as the panfish bite was firing up. You should still be able to catch some nice bream in the oxbows this weekend, but the main river redbreast bite will probably be slower. Catfishing on any river is an excellent option this weekend. In saltwater, whiting are your best target for numbers, while big redfish at the jetties or sharks in the inlets are your best bets for monster fish.

Coast (Saltwater)

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Flounder were caught in good numbers by those fishing finger mullet and mudminnows. Whiting were caught in the sounds. Dead shrimp fished around structure produced some good black drum catches. Live shrimp produced keeper trout around oyster mounds and creek mouths. Look for the beach trout bite to fire off any day, but I have not heard of anyone going yet. Tripletail have been caught around inshore markers and buoys. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the flounder were tops from the pier. Most fish were from 13 to 18 inches. Gulp swimming mullets (chartreuse or white), finger mullet, and mudminnows produced the flatties. Live shrimp and mudminnows produced some nice trout catches from the deck. Dead shrimp fished on the bottom fooled whiting, croakers, and yellowtails. There have been some unique catches from the pier this spring. That continued on Thursday, with an angler landing a 36-inch cobia on a finger mullet. Lots of sharks are eating cut bait. Blue crabs are getting thick under the pier. Monitor the marine forecast.

Licenses Required at a PFA

FISHING

Angers 16 years and older must possess a current fishing license, AND a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) license to fish.

If you have either a Sportsman’s, Lifetime, Honorary (resident disability license or resident one-time veteran’s license), 3-day Hunting and Fishing License, or 3-day GORP Plus you are NOT required to have a WMA license to fish.

A WMA license is NOT required to fish at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area.

GENERAL ACCESS

To access a PFA for non-fishing activities, visitors age 16-64 must have one of the following (visitors under age 16 and/or over age 64 are exempt):

Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass (GORP)

3-day hunting/fishing license

WMA license

Sportsman’s, Honorary (resident disability license or resident one-time veteran’s license) or Lifetime license

Categories: Fishing

Georgia Fishing Report: May 22, 2015

North Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and Region Fisheries staff)

The long weekend is just ahead of us and the weather looks pretty darn good.  We may have to dodge a few pop-up thunderstorms, which are really needed to boost stream flows and reduce water temperatures, but they should not be deal-breakers.  While they might muddy our favorite bass rivers, remaining streams have smaller watersheds and will clear to fishable conditions within a day or so.  Stay connected to USGS river flow gauges and your favorite local tackle shops for current conditions on your targeted waters.  Except for our larger trout waters, which are warming with these air temps in the 80’s, most other fishing opportunities should still be very good. On major reservoirs, fish early or after dark to avoid all other boaters and water skiers enjoying their aquatic playtime, too.   Above all, be safe on the water!

We have an extensive weekend menu to choose from, so take a peek and make a plan.

Heavy Trout StockingDNR and USFWS trout stocking trucks have covered a lot of miles this week to prepare for the hefty weekend crowds. Remember, the DNR list of trout-stocked waters is here. And if your agility isn’t what it used to be, try one of these spots.

To avoid the large crowds at our most popular streams, stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson suggests these lesser known and lighter stocked locales: lower Warwoman, Timpson on USFS land, Wildcat in the gorge below the campgrounds, Winfield Scott and Rock Creek lakes from a canoe or float tube, Upper Soapstone on USFS land, Panther a half mile below 441, upper Toccoa on USFS land, Holcomb below Overflow Road, West Fork Chattooga at 3Forks (take a buddy for safety) Hooch below the USFS head of river campground, Chattooga a mile below Burrells Ford, and Cooper Creek in the Scenic Area.

Trout Tailwaters ‘Heating Up’ – Another Hooch trophy

Toccoa Trip report – Saw your weekly report and the zero dark thirty fishing.  I went out on the Toccoa Tailwater last night (May 14) for the first time in a couple months because of constant flows to get the lake level down. They generated 5-6 pm. I got to water at 7, which was about 15-30 minutes too soon for lowest flows at my place. Nymphing was surprisingly non-productive, so I thought if I was going to not catch fish I might as well be not catching fish on dries. I went back to the Polaris and got the three weight pre-rigged with stimulator, parachute sulphur, and baetis emerger and started the dry fly fishing earlier than I had planned. Well, the fish cooperated from the get-go.  Not sure if it was the switch to dries or if they were just starting to eat. I got a few nice standard stocker sized fish and missed some too. All were on emerger and sulphur. Then a surprising swoosh just before it got dark brought me a nice 20 inch female rainbow… very silver in color with a little rouge on her cheek. Luckily she hit the stimmie, because the 5x and 6x tippet to the droppers would have been a major challenge.  A couple casts after release another swoosh, turn and departure of the fish with my bottom two flies. Bigger than the sister?  I like to think so as I walk back to my Polaris in the dark.

Water temp was 45 degrees when I got in. I was very happy to see that, even though I am relatively close to the dam and the water level had just receded from generation. There were quite a few bugs: caddis, midges, and toward dark mayfly duns size 16-18 or so. Too dark to ID. – Ralph A.

Lake Lanier catfish stringer.

Lake Lanier catfish stringer.

Lake Lanier

Lake Allatoona

Ken’s Lake Reports (updated on Fridays)

Striper Sprinkling Continues – Stocking continues in a “day in the life” of our Fisheries staff, as striped bass are being stocked in reservoirs across the state. Earlier this week, fisheries biologist Patrick O’Rouke, technician Chris Looney and technician Greg Abercrombie stocked 75,000 one-inch striper fingerlings from McDuffie Hatchery into Lake Lanier. These efforts will continue over the next week as striped bass are harvested at McDuffie, Richmond Hill, and Bowens Mill hatcheries and transported for stocking at Lanier and other lakes across the state.

River Ramblings

  • GON Forum
  • Fly Fishing Shoal Bass (video)
  • Dredger waded some Hooch bedrock last night and coaxed four shoal bass to hand with a four inch watermelon worm, Texas-rigged behind a 1/8 ounce bullet on 6 lb test. They were a blast on the ultralight at sunset.
  • Need a boat?

Small Lakes

Late spring is a great time of the year to hit our small lakes, either from the bank or from a canoe or kayak. See the attached lake list.  Go toss some garden worms for bream or catfish, or even stocked trout in Rock Creek Lake, Black Rock, Vogel, Nancytown, or Winfield Scott.  Learn how to flyfish by subtracting moving water and rhododendron complications from your maiden trips.  Tie a nymph dropper on 4 pound test line two feet behind your bream popper, and toss this popper/dropper combo toward submerged trees or boat docks.  Even young kids can give this technique a shot.  It’s a numbers game with beginners, so find a school of small, competitive bream and be the “hero ” to the newbie.

Prime Destination

School’s Out Soon – What to Do?

Don’t despair, there are KFE’s around the corner!  Plan your north Georgia day trips to coincide with one of the many kids fishing events during National Fishing and Boating Week, the first full week of June – http://www.georgiawildlife.com/news/events

“Goldfish” and Gravel Mounds – It’s that time of the year for calls to our north Georgia offices.  What are they?  Chub nests with other species, like the colored-up yellowfin shiners, looking for a easy ride on a silt-free spawning substrate. All aquatic critters, game and nongame, are important components to our aquatic ecosystems.

Attagirl Ann! Your White County conservation ranger’s recent award.

Unanticipated Copter Ride – Again, your county rangers in action

More Gorge News Special Guests

Aim for Success – Reminder, here’s your chance: http://georgiawildlife.com/aimforsuccess

May we all enjoy the  long weekend and pay tribute to our vets on Monday. Tight lines and flag salutes to everyone.

South Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologists Bert Deener, Rob Weller and regional Fisheries staff)

Wyatt Crews with a crappie caught on May 15.

Wyatt Crews with a crappie caught on May 15.

Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the shellcracker fishing is wide open. Worms worked best for them. Redbreasts were caught off the back sides of sandbars. Some big bream were caught by those fishing crickets around treetops and other cover along the bank. Goldfish fooled channel and flathead catfish. Bass fishing has been great, with plenty of 3 to 5-pounders reported. A few mullet were caught from the river above Jesup. Dannet at Altamaha Park said that the shellcracker bite is on fire, with some caught last weekend approaching a pound. Most anglers brought in 30 to 40 fish. Blue, channel, and flathead catfish were caught in good numbers, as well. The river level was 4.3 feet and falling (83 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 6.9 feet and falling (77 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on May 19.

Flint River – The water in the Flint is beginning to clear from the recent rains so fishing for shoal bass and bream should be picking up. Both top water and jig fishing for shoal bass around shallow and deep shoals should be productive. Try pitching crickets or a beetle spin near shoreline cover for bluegill and redbreast. Redbreast are typically found in the swifter areas and the bluegill will be located in calmer pockets of water. Try searching for bedding bream in 2-3 feet of water with low current. Fishing for channel catfish continues to be good with several reports of fish from 3 to 5 pounds being caught on limb lines.

Water levels:

Okefenokee Swamp – Last week, Colin Meeks and his friends Kenny and Morris Smith caught a total of 200 fish from the west side. They had 150 catfish, 25 warmouth, and 25 fliers, along with countless mudfish. They were using crawfish and cut fliers for bait. The flier bite is wide open! I took my family to the east side on Friday evening, and we caught 38 fliers in just over an hour of fishing. All of them ate Okefenokee Swamp Sallies, with yellow being the overall best color. We caught some on pink as the sun got lower on the horizon, but yellow worked the entire time. Michael Winge said that reports from the Folkston entrance were slower than last week because of hot daytime temperatures. Early morning produced the best catches. Warmouth and fliers made up most of the reports. On the west side (Fargo entrance) warmouth were eating crickets and worms. Tons of catfish were caught on worms. Yellow sallies produced most of the fliers.

Satilla River – The river has fallen like a stone, and it is in good shape about everywhere. It has dropped so quickly that it is float trip time in the extreme upper river. If forecasted mid-week rains materialize, the upper river may be boatable again by the holiday weekend. You can hardly go wrong by fishing the river this weekend. Any species you want to catch should bite with the good fishing conditions. The water has cleared to its “coffee without creamer” appearance in the upper river, and the fish have responded well. The DNR staff continued their standardized sampling at sites along the river this week (they stun the fish with electricity, measure and weigh them, and then release them), and they continued seeing a strong redbreast and bluegill population in their samples. I received many reports of great panfish catches this week, with most catches in the 40 to 50 fish range. Crawfish Satilla Spins were the best lures from the reports I heard. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river fishing is as good as it gets right now. Some anglers reported catching crappie on minnows and jigs, which is unusual to have happen at the same time as the redbreast bite is on fire. Many anglers reported catching limits of redbreasts and bream this week. Worms, crickets, and spinnerbaits were fooling them. On Tuesday, an honorable Waycross angler fishing out of the Hwy 121 area caught 19 redbreasts weighing about a pound apiece on a black/chartreuse 1/32-oz. Beetlespin. Crankbaits fooled some good bass this week. Shrimp and rooster livers produced some nice catfish catches. The river level at the Waycross gage was 6.5 feet and falling (77 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 5.6 feet and falling on May 19.

Lake Seminole – The crappie have lockjaw on the rivers, however, a few are being caught in Spring Creek and in Fishpond Drain. There are plenty of shell crackers and bream on bed and there have been reports of several fine catches and/or limits. The lake is currently low so be on the lookout for stump and hazards.

St. Marys River – The best reports originated from the Traders Hill area of the river this week. Anglers caught redbreasts, bream, bass, warmouth, and channel catfish in big numbers. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 2.5 feet and falling on May 19.

Lake Walter F. George – According to Rick Sacco with the “Friends of Lake Eufaula,” This year’s redear spawn was a bonanza for anglers. The fish were averaging at least 12oz with some specimens around 1.5 lbs. The Corps added an additional 11,000 grass carp, all on the south end of the lake on April 15. Rick is still seeing plenty of  hydrilla on his sonar so he is hoping the carp don’t eradicate it. The largemouth fishery continues to improve. This past Saturday, the Eufaula bass trail ran 50 boats. The top four weighed in 18 – 19 lbs., which was a little low for that group. There is a lot of tournament pressure and the Corps dropped the water level and pulled fish from the littoral grass. Military Bass had a two day event on Thursday and Friday and FLW is in town this week. Lakepoint has maxed out on room for Saturday tournaments. A lot of clubs are holding Sunday tournaments as a result. Rick expects to see a few double digit fish to show up soon at a weigh-in.

Local Ponds –  The bass bite remained strong this week by all accounts. A couple of Waycross anglers fished a local pond on Saturday morning and caught 14 bass to 2 pounds. They caught them on several versions of plastic worms, topwaters, and swimbaits. They even caught one punching a crayfish through vegetation. Chad Lee had another strong week, catching some quality bass on jigs, buzzbaits, and Pop-R’s. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds big bream were the ticket. Worms and crickets fooled most of them, but artificials are starting to produce some nice pond fish. Bass have been eating shiners and topwater frog baits fished around lily pads and other vegetation.

Best Bet – The Satilla River is the place to be this holiday weekend if you like catching redbreasts. The big roosters will be fooled by anglers pitching crickets and casting spinnerbaits, such as Satilla Spins, Spin Dandy spinnerbaits, and Beetlespins.  The lower tides should produce a good bite for trout and flounder around inshore oyster mounds and creek mouths. I like casting Assassin Sea Shads suspended under Equalizer or Cajun Thunder Floats, but live shrimp will also catch plenty of trout. Flier fishing in the swamp will be great this weekend as the fish get concentrated in the canals. Pitch yellow or pink Okefenokee Swamp Sallies (without a float) around vegetation and wood cover. Pond fishing will produce a great trip for a few hours early in the morning and late in the evening. For bass, throw topwaters, while crickets and spinnerbaits should produce bream.

Coast (Saltwater)

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Whiting were caught just about everywhere people fished this last week. Croakers and flounder bit, as well. Shrimp produced most of the whiting and croakers, while mudminnows were the ticket for flounder. Inshore, oyster bars produced good catches of trout, redfish, and flounder. On the nearshore reefs, anglers have been hammering quality black sea bass. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that croakers were everywhere around the pier. Bottom fishing with shrimp was key to catching them. Trout, flounder, and whiting were also caught in good numbers. Blue crabs showed up around the pier this week. Monitor the marine forecast.

Categories: Fishing

Georgia Fishing Report: May 18, 2015

North Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and Region Fisheries staff)

The superb spring fishing continued last week and might hold out just a bit longer as north Georgia air and water temperatures soon rise beyond optimal levels.  Topwater bassing was very good, with some stripers mixed in.  Evening trouting was off the charts for crusty vets who knew to stay late enough to fling in the dark.  And Senator Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Valley Authority, its state and federal wildlife agency partners, and its stakeholders (including Carl Riggs of Georgia TU and Jan Hackett of the Fannin County C of C) gave Southeastern trouters something really big to cheer about this week.  Here we go:

Great Trout News! – North Georgia trout fans, especially all of you Toccoa Tailwater aficionados, can rejoice. See the bottom of this note and this website.

Stocker Best Bets – Trout stocking coordinator  John Lee Thomson advises stocker fans to aim for the Toccoa and Lanier tailwaters, Hooch in Helen, Middle Broad, Warwoman, West Fork Chattooga, Dicks, Cooper, and Georgia’s Delayed Harvest streams, whose “delay” is now over and whose harvest begins today.

Green drake

Green drake

Trout – Awesome Dark-Thirty’s! – A sleep-deprived Dredger reports that last week was simply awesome.  Three out of four of his dark-30 trout trips were memorable, while the last trip to Chattooga DH was slow because of warming water and fewer bugs.   He shared some trip reports, which follow.

As some of our larger, lower elevation streams warm toward 70 degrees, their action is waning.  However, the upstream reaches are still on fire.  Follow the dark-30 dry fly action uphill (in elevation) over the next week or so.  Don’t forget your thermometer and at least two flashlights. And watch out for those olive and white helicopters!

Chattooga DH (5/8/15) – Hiked in and wet a line at 7.  #14 Cahill duns started dancing  around 7:30. #18 Cahill hatch at 8. Trout species hat trick by 8:30. Added bonus of two redeyes along the way.  Last two trout on the swing thru the darkness at 9 p.m. Fairies lit the walk out.  Cold drink, stars, and bluegrass back at the car at 9:30.

Not a bad ending to a work day!

Chatooga DH (5/9/15) – By the way, cahills back out from about 7:30 to 9. Switch turned on at 8. Fish preferred the 14’s over the smaller versions.  Hares ear soft hackle worked while sun was still up.   Had to work the fish. Some ate on the dead drift, while many others were chummed up with the skitter.  True for both dries and wets.  Fish were lined up in main flows, ready to intercept the evening drift of nymphs.  Scattered stoneflies flew by, too, but I kept the same beaten Friday Cahill on my line til its hackle-shedding demise on the last fish of the evening.  May it rest  in peace after bringing two dozen in for a fondle.

Fairies lit the way out again, while the owl somewhere in the wildlife opening conversed while I shucked my waders in the parking lot and gazed up into a crystal clear, star-filled sky.  Not quite Wyoming, but darn close and much more convenient.  Hope this puts some folks on fish.

Chattooga DH (5/11/15) – Dark30 slow as our trio found 69 degree water and fewer cahills a-flyin’.  Some thin, half-hearted rainbows and a brown still slowly rose to inhale the cahills. At least the fairies came out again at the upstream end of the SC opening and entertained first-timer Kathy (Mrs. Guru). It might be time to start heading upstream.

Awesome Trek North (5/12/15)

Others agreed with Dredge

Wild Trout Treasures – This NC jewel might help your drive north to chase the dark-30 hatches. And don’t forget this time-tested GA gold nugget for your uphill hikes.

Lake Allatoona (full, clear, upper 70s) – “Bass fishing is good. The shad spawn is more prevalent now and is it more locations on the lake. Soft plastic jerk baits, Rooster Tails, poppers and even jerk baits are working great in the morning. I have found schools of fish on serval rock banks and P gravel shorelines. This bot only last for a few hours and once it goes away fish move out just a little bit and can be called on jig heads, Carolina rig and crank baits. The top water bottle is still really good and will only continue to get better for the rest of the month. Water temperatures are little slower to rise this year and I believe that the Shad bone will actually last a little longer than normal.” – Matt Driver, www.proanglerradio.com

“Lines side fishing is good. The bite up the river has returned and there are some very good numbers of hybrids being caught up the Etowah River. These fish are feeding best on live shad fished on the bottom. The main lake bite is also very good. My clients have caught very good numbers aboard our boats this week fishing main lake creek mouths as far north as Little River and as far south as Clark’s Creek. Our best bite has been on thread fin shad fished on down lines and free lines. Main lake points and humps are also holding some decent schools of hybrids. Trolling has been very good for me this week. We are pulling umbrella rigs 50 to 70 feet behind the boat and have had as many as 5 fish at a time. The trolling bite is really starting to heat up and will only get better as we enter summer. The overall bite is really good. We still have plenty of openings aboard our boats.” – Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service

Lake Hartwell (full, clear, upper 70s) – Bass fishing is good. If the wind blows a little all day, the fishing seems to be a little better. There were large waves of bass bedding and some are done and some are not. Bass are still staging up on the points leading into the creeks and coves. The bass are on the shallow flats and on rocky points. Have the Alabama rig ready and fish it on the small points in the backs of the creek and run it real shallow. Use the small Zoom Flukes on 3/16 lead heads and be sure the baits are pearl colors. Use the number 8 Husky Jerk in the glass minnow on the points and the olive green X Rap up in the shallows.

Lake Lanier (full, mostly clear, some pollen, mid 70s)

“The spotted bass fishing on Lanier remains very good. There are many options out there right now. There are still plenty of spots on bed and still a few more to come. A 1/8 ounce Davis Shaky head with a 4 inch worm fished on a GLoomis NRX 822 Shaky Head Rod with Seaguar 8 pound test fluorocarbon is a great way to catch these fish. Work the Shaky Head slowly and look for the bites to be light, which makes a rod like the 822 so important. A fluke is great tool to locate these fish. A spot on the bed will almost always rise up to at least look at a fluke if not eat it. Work the fluke slowly and give the bait plenty of time to fall on a slack line. Watch your fluke and your line for indications of a bite. If they don’t eat the fluke and only swing at it, follow with the worm for a sure bite. A Senko is a good bet on these fish as well. Look for spot beds on hard clay banks and points with sandy areas being strong as well. Look for the prespawn females to be on steeper rocky points near these spawning areas. The same baits will work, but others will catch the prespawners as well. The herring spawn is going now and offers some great early morning action. A spinnerbait, a wake bait, and a swim bait have all been good on the rocky and shallow sandy areas where the herring generally spawn. The floating Spro BBZ1 Swim bait is a great choice as well. Top water, like poppers and walkers are starting to work on these fish also. After the sun gets up, move out deeper with your offerings and hit the brush for some top water action as well.”  – Jimbo Mathley

“Striper fishing remains good as the water temperatures continue to rise. The water temperature increased 10 degrees in a little over a week and the Stripers are in post spawn. Despite the water temperature change the pattern has not changed as the shallow water bite in the creeks on points, flats and reef markers continues. Un weighted free lines set 50 to 70 feet behind the boat with Herring is your best bet early. As the sun gets high, weight your lines and move to deeper water. Also set out a couple of down rods while you are pulling free lines. Keep your eye on your Lowrance depth finder and set your down lines based on water depth. The top water bite is picking up and you can catch both Spotted Bass and Stripers in the same area. It is always a good idea to keep someone on the front deck casting a Red Fin, Chug Bug, Spook or a buck tail jig while you are pulling bait. The umbrella rig bite is working when pulled at 70 to 80 feet behind the boat and speed at 3.0 MPH. Target a 30 to 40 foot bottom when pulling the Umbrella rig early and move to deeper water as the sun get high in the sky. Look for the Stripers to begin moving towards the mouth of the creeks and onto the main lake points this coming week. The down rod bite has been slow but will improve as the water continues to warm. There are fish in the creeks and the river channel lake wide. The south end of the Lake is starting to pick up with reports of fish being caught in Flowery Branch, Big Creek and Two Mile Creek. The water temperature is in the low to mid 70’s during the day on the South end of the lake and the high 70’s on the North end. The water is stained in the creeks and clear on the main lake. The lake is at full pool.” – Captain Ken West and Captain Mike Maddalena

“Crappie fishing patterns continue to hold, remaining good to excellent around docks with structure and on submerged brush piles from the middle to the backs of creeks. If you have favorite crappie fishing spots, they should be producing well now. Just keep in mind that there are a lot of fishermen fishing this time of year, so if you don’t catch fish quickly, move on, as that spot may have just been fished. Jig colors still do not matter. For the night fishermen, this is the time of the year to consider fishing under bridges, using Hydra glow lights with crappie minnows. Six Mile Bridge, Wahoo Creek Bridge, and Clarks’ Bridge are our favorites. All 3 are in deep water, within sight of boat ramps, and are holding fish. For those that like bluegill fishing, they are still on bed and biting well. The smaller fish are aggressive, though, and are getting to the bait before the larger fish that are still on bed. Crickets are the best bait for bluegill. Take advantage of the month of May. This is one of our favorite times to fish! Stay safe on the water, wear your lifejacket!” – Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club

Our “On the Water” Schools are Rods, Reels and Lures for Bass, SONAR and we have a Striper schools. Learn how to use the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology. Call 770 889 2654 or see the details on our web site for more info and dates.

Participate! – Georgia DNR wants to “aim for success” and is asking for your input regarding the concept of a license fee restructure.  Take the time to read this information and take part in this public process, including a two-minute survey to start things off.  Maybe I’ll see you at one of the June public meetings, too. – www.georgiawildlife.com/aimforsuccess

Good luck this week. It looks like some much-needed rain is on the way. That should be good for water temperatures and flows, and maybe even reset the clock for a few days on our excellent spring fishing season.  Give our mountain lakes a try as the lowland reservoirs start to heat up.   http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Reservoirs

Have fun as this topwater season draws to a close, and remember your opportunities to participate in fish and wildlife management topics.  Aren’t we glad that Carl and Jan did?

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff)

Big Lazer PFA (down 4 inches, 30 inches of visibility, 72 degrees) – Largemouth bass: Fair – Bass fishing is improving as more fish creep up into shallower water to feed on newly spawned bream.  The cool spring rains seem to be over but water temperatures are still below average.  These conditions can cause bass feeding patterns to be unpredictable.  However, a few anglers have reported catching a few bass on plastic worms and lizards as well as rooster tails.  Also, this month bait fish become more available: try fishing for bass with minnow-type lures that mimic shad and bream.

Crappie: Poor – The cool rains and lower than average water temperatures have made targeting crappie difficult all spring.  Plus, this time of year crappie tend to spread out over the whole lake and hold at different depths, which makes crappie fishing even more challenging.  Crappie should be a little shallower than they were earlier in the spring; try starting around 10 feet and work your way up.  As usual, jigs and live minnows are still your best bet for crappie.

Bream: Fair – Bream fishing is improving.  As bream start spawning, they will aggressively guard their beds, which improve your chances at catching several for the table.  Crickets and worms are good bait for spawning bream.  Also, small grub like plastic jigs can work well this time of year; try black, white, and yellow colors.  However, make sure the hooks are small because bream have small mouths.

Channel catfish: Good – Several catfish are being caught off the dam.  Also, catfish are being caught on worms and livers in deeper spots over much of the lake.

In general, May and June temperatures at Big Lazer are heating up and so is the fishing.  Also of note, the Talbotton Chamber of Commerce is having their annual Kids Fishing Event at Big Lazer on June, 6th.  So, make plans to bring out your kids for a morning of fun and catching catfish.

Additional information at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/BigLazer

Clarks Hill Lake (full, clear, upper 70s) – Bass fishing is very good.  The bass are chasing schooling bait fish and the top water bite is really good. Bass will be heavy on the beds by the end of next week and others are hanging around the grassy areas.  The weather is expected to continue to improve and get a little warmer as the week goes on.  Fish the white spinner-baits and the soft and hard jerk baits.  Zoom pearl Super Flukes are working but take some of these same baits in baby bass as well.  All are working along with worms and plastic lizards.  The key will be to finding the right patch of grass and the right piece of structure.  Good baits to take along this week include plastic worms and jigs.

Jackson Lake (down 2.1 feet, clear, upper 70s) – Bass fishing is good.  A bright crawfish red or brown Rat L Trap or a big jig and pig can draw strikes.  Look for the clearer waters down lake.  Float a large green u tail worm on and over any shallow wood after mid-day.  The bass are tight under the docks and any wood in the water and use a large 10 inch Culprit green shad worm in the cover.  For the river bass, head into the cuts and creeks that have any clearing waters.  Spinner baits and large red shad Culprit worms will work or grass beds later in the day.  The Rat L Traps in the bleeding shiner or red crawfish will work for the bass.  Spinner baits and flat sided bright crank baits will work after the sun warms shallows in the backs of the creeks.  The Flat A Bomber in Gable green or lime as well as orange colors has been fair.  Use this bait in the mouths of the creeks right off the river.

McDuffie PFA (21-42 inches of visibility, 82 degrees) – Largemouth Bass: Good –  Hot ponds have been Willow, and Clubhouse. Willow is still giving up keeper bass and many larger bass are being released by our fishermen. Bass in 3 to 9 pound range are being caught near shore, around submerged timber and underwater humps near deep water. In Jones bass fishing has slowed down but small bass will keep fishermen alert. The lakes with most potential are Willow for quality and Clubhouse and Breambuster for quantity.  These three lakes have balanced fish populations.  Willow Lake has big bass but fishermen must be prepared or risk being broken off in the underwater structure. The bass should be feeding on baitfish to replenish their bodies. Recent electrofishing sampling showed several quality bass make Breambuster home so keep fishing. As the water temperature continues to rise the bass fishing should steadily improve because fish metabolism increases with water temperature and the need for food also increases.  Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) is open from first through fifteen (1st-15th) of each month. Rodbender is open now but will close at sunset on the 15th; the fish are fat in every size and should provide a good battle when hooked.  This lake has optimum feeding conditions for the smaller fat “football” fish.  Two (2) keeper Bass were caught in Clubhouse this morning by an area fishermen. Overall, bass in 3 to 7 pound range are being caught near shore, around submerged timber and underwater humps near deep water in all of the lakes. May is usually an excellent top-water bait month but remember to try spinner baits as well.

Bream: Good – Best ponds have been Willow, Clubhouse and Jones in order of best catches.  The bream (both bluegill and shell-cracker) were on beds on the tenth (10) and several nice stringers of bream were seen by PFA staff. Bream can be found around structure and aquatic plants with firm sandy bottoms. The best baits for catching bream are red wigglers and crickets under adjustable floats; using light tackle to make soft casts pass the structure and pulling the bait rig back and stopping the bait will generate many more strikes. Patience is the key when fishing for bream on beds. Fishermen should try beetle-spins with slow and fast retrieves while crickets and worms under floats or on the bottom will also work.  Our local fly fishermen are catching aggressive bream on artificial nymphs, flies and bugs on top of the water near structure.

Channel Catfish: Good – Best ponds have been Beaverlodge, Bridge and Jones.  Catfish are still feeding as they prepare to spawn and water has reached 82 degrees. Several large catfish were caught in Jones by two of the PFA’s fishermen. One albino Catfish was caught by a lucky angler. The best fishing is on the bottom in deep areas using chicken liver, worms, stinkbait and crickets. Thursday 14th of May, PFA staff saw an exception this, an angler had a channel catfish which struck a yellow spinner bait in Breambuster.

Striped Bass: Fair – Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse.  A large striper (5 lbs.) was recently seen during electrofishing in Clubhouse near shore and structure. The stripers have not begun feeding on the shad near the surface. Imitate the threadfin shad and excellent fishing for striped bass is just a cast away.  Smaller stripers will keep anglers busy in Bridge Lake as fishermen fish for catfish and bream on the bottom using worms and chicken liver.

Additional Information: http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/McDuffie

Lake Oconee (full, stained up rivers, light stain on main lake, 79-83 degrees) – Bass fishing is good.  The lake is full. The shad spawn is in full swing. At daylight the bass will be close to bank looking for the spawning bait.  Use a spinner bait fished along sea walls and rip rap to target these fish. Work the middle of the coves and main lake creeks.  After the sun gets up switch to boat docks in the same areas.  Use a shaky head under the docks and around the dock poles.  You can also use a small shallow running crank bait around the same docks.  Some bigger fish are showing up on wood structure in the mouths of the Oconee and Appalachia Rivers.  Use a dark jig and trailer fished into the wood structure.

Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are in the mouths of the creek and large coves.  They are suspended above the timber.  Long lining just over the fish in 6 to 10 ft. of water will draw a strike.  If you are fishing muddy water use a dark jig.  Stained water use a jig with chartreuse in it.

“Striper fishing is good.  Most of the fish have move to the humps up the lake from the dam and some are still up the rivers.  The water quality is good all over the lake so the fish are not in one place. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools on different humps and points. When you find them drop a live shad down to them and they will eat it. Down lines have been the best producers.  Over the past few days the umbrella rig bite has started to heat up.  This bite should last for the next month.” – Cpt. Mark Smith, Reel Time Guide Service

Lake Russell (full, clear, upper 70s) – Bass fishing is very good.  First thing in the morning bass are on shallow clay banks and any rip rap or rocks all over the lake feeding on the shad that are spawning.  A small buzz bait, a small spinner bait or a ¼ ounce Rat L Trap will work all day. If there is any wind, work the windblown banks with a small crank bait, like a ¼ ounce Rat T Trap in the chrome and black or a number 5 Shad Rap in sliver/black colors. After the shad have moved to the deeper water as the sun come up move to points and flats with 5 to 7 foot of water and use a zoom finesse worm or a 5 inch lizard in the watermelon seed color fished on a Carolina rig with a 24 inch leader.  There are also some good fish being caught off the summer time points and under water islands around the lake.  A Carolina rig fished in these areas will get a lot of fish but most will be small.

Lake Sinclair (full, muddy up river, main lake stained, 79 degrees) – “Bass fishing is great.  Early mornings have been best for both numbers and quality.  Start the morning with moving baits and cover water.  Top water baits, such as a white buzz bait or white popper, have been great around concrete sea walls and wood targets in the Oconee River.  A weightless trick worm has also been good up shallow around wood cover, sea walls, and docks in the Oconee River.  Later in the morning and throughout the day, try a chartreuse and white Buckeye Lures spinner-bait or a Spro Little John crank bait in these same areas.  Continue using these moving baits all day if it remains cloudy. If the sun comes out, start flipping a Texas rigged Zoom baby brush hog in June bug color around logs and docks.  When Georgia Power is moving water, run to Crooked Creek Bridge or Little River Bridge and toss Spro Little John crank baits and light Texas rigs to the rip rap banks.  Take advantage of the current by fishing the rip rap points and bridge pilings as post spawn fish try to fatten back up after the spawn.   Numbers of smaller fish can also be caught in the clearer creeks on the lower end of the lake by fishing shaky head worms in green pumpkin color and Zoom Super Flukes around the docks.” – Matt Henry, www.sinclairmarina.com

West Point Lake (down 2.3 feet, clear, low 80s) – Bass fishing for both spots and largemouth has been very good.  Fish for both on primary and secondary points, coves and pockets in the major creeks.  Use the Strike King Redemption 3/8 ounce and Bass Pro buzz baits shallow.  On the spinner-baits the double willow blade combination.  Slow roll the spinner-bait around any cover on the points and in the coves and pockets.  The important thing is to cover a lot of water.  Fish shallow using very large baits in bright colors.  Spots are still spawning and shallow.  The spots are holding on shoal markers, humps, and underwater road beds in 0 to 5 feet of water.  Several good baits are a green pumpkin or June bug lizard, rigged Carolina style and trick worms.  Top water action is starting using a Bang O Lures, Rapala’s, Pop R’s.  The bass will be shallow for at least two weeks and then they will head to the 10 to 12 foot depths on humps and road beds up in the creeks.

Categories: Fishing
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