hailei-williams-sheepshead-1-17-img_20170101_192450252

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report January 13, 2017

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Featured Image above: The sheepshead have been chowing! Hailei Williams (pictured) caught this pile of convictfish in the Brunswick area last weekend on fiddler crabs.

This past weekend’s frigid snap cooled the fishing along with the temperatures, but folks still caught some fish. The rivers are high again, except for the St. Marys. Full Moon is January 12th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – The cold and high water slowed the fishing. Look for the trophy channel catfish bite to pick up in the Darien portion of the river in the coming weeks. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that a few channel and flathead catfish were caught. The warm this weekend should have some crappie biting back in the oxbow lakes. The river level was 12.2 feet and rising (48 degrees – it was 60 degrees last week!) at the Baxley gage, and 9.6 feet and rising (53 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on January 3rd.

Satilla River – Staff at Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the cold, rising river slowed the fishing. Some crappie were caught with Tennessee Shad jigs. With the warming trend, they said that you should be able to catch some redbreasts on the old reliable live worm. Oxbows should also produce some crappie. Shiners and ZOOM worms produced some bass before the extreme weekend cold. The river level on January 3rd at the Waycross gage was 10.6 feet and rising (52 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 7.5 feet and rising.

St. Marys River – This is the river that is in the best shape for fishing. Not many folks fished in the cold, but those who did caught some nice crappie on minnows. Reports were between 20 and 30 fish per trip (most trips were before the cold front), with a few bream and shellcrackers in the mix. The river level at the MacClenny gage on January 3rd was 4.3 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – The bowfin (mudfish) were still biting anywhere you put a bait in the water before the front. Extreme cold usually knocks them on the head, but they should be biting again in the warmer weather this weekend. The fliers should also feed like crazy this weekend in the warming water. Pitching pink or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies suspended under a small balsa float is the way to go. These are the conditions when I’ve had excellent success. The shallow, blackwater swamp warms quickly during warm afternoons like we’ve had all week.

Local Ponds – Chad Lee fished hard but only came up with 10 bass this week. Several were over 4 pounds, but most were butterball 2-pounders. Winge’s Bait and Tackle staff said that in the cold weather, the crappie bite was the best. Minnows produced most of the fish. Spinnerbaits and ZOOM worms accounted for some good bass catches, even in the cold. Ponds should be the place to fish over the weekend.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Dane Clements, Hailei Williams, and Wayne Canady of Baxley fished the Brunswick area last weekend and spanked the sheepshead with fiddler crabs.  They ended up with 32 sheepshead, with the biggest over 8 pounds, one over 7 pounds, and several over 6 pounds. A couple of Waycross anglers fished the Brunswick area on Friday and caught some gator trout up to 19 inches. Almost all of their 20 seatrout were keepers. They used a single Assassin Sea Shad (Mama’s 14K) rigged on an 1/8-oz. Flashy Jighead the entire trip. The spring on that head locks the bait down and keeps it from tearing up. Staff at Winge’s Bait and Tackle reported that trout and redfish were caught in good numbers from the rivers around Brunswick, and the big trout were eating Bang-O-Lure plugs. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout, sheepshead, and whiting were landed from the pier. Shrimp were the best bait for whiting, fiddlers and barnacles fooled the sheepshead, while artificials produced many of the trout. Blue crabs were still around the pier in good numbers. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet: With the extended warm spell, ponds should heat up quickly and be on fire by the weekend. Minnows over deep water will fool crappie, as will 2-inch Curly Shads fished around cover or trolled in deeper water. Bass should feed well, especially in the late afternoons. Spinnerbaits, jigs, and plastic worms should work well. In saltwater, sheepshead fishing will be hard to beat. Dabble a fiddler around a piling and hold on. I hope you finished that “honey-do” list last weekend like I suggested, because you need to be fishing this weekend! At the time or writing this, there is no cold front even forecasted for the next 10 days. Assuming the forecast holds (that’s a big assumption!), this weekend will be the time to head to a south Georgia Public Fishing Area or lake for excellent crappie and bass fishing. A few years ago when we had an extended warm spell in January, the fishing was unbelievable.

Scout Carter caught this quality bass on a tan shad colored Specktacular Jig on Monday evening while crappie fishing with ultralight gear. What a fight!

Georgia Fishing Report: December 30, 2016

Central Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

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

Lake Russell (full, clear, 50’s) – Bass fishing is good.  The cooler water and wind have turned the bass very active.  The windblown banks up the rivers and the occasional stained water combined with the cooler water temperatures has the fish feeding.  Pick any windblown bank and spotted and largemouth bass are sure to be there.  Pick up the Striker King all white 3/8 ounce spinner bait.  Baby bass crank baits and the silver shiner are working also.   Work red clay banks and any small rocky points and watch Lowrance Down Scan technology and you will see the fish.  Fish the small bowl areas and don’t be afraid to throw back across a small point.  Any wood and large rocky structure that might be present needs Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: December 30, 2016”

trout-stocking-ami-elves-12-20-16

Georgia Fishing Report: December 23, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

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

Best wishes for a great holiday season.  Maybe the weather and your family schedules will even allow for a little time afield during your days off.  The ten-day forecast looks fairly promising, with some warm temperatures and fairly low rainfall totals. 

http://www.intellicast.com/Local/Weather.aspx?location=USGA0267

Overcast and warm is a great combo for reservoir striper chasers, and moderate overnight temperatures

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02176930

give midday stream trouters a great chance to score in the double digits, especially if they bottom-bounce their favorite winter recipes.
Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: December 23, 2016”

ned-albright-crappie-img_1159-jpg

Georgia Fishing Report: December 16, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

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

Lake Russell (full, clear, 50’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Fish on the lower end of the lake near the dam as the water is clear and will warm faster.  Use the small jigging spoons and a 1/4 ounce jig.  Bass will usually strike a smaller bait in the winter months better than a larger one.  The spotted bass are still roaming.  They are more active than largemouth due to Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: December 16, 2016”

Winter is sheepshead time. Ed Zmarzly of Waycross caught these beauties (the 7-pounder on the left is his personal best!) from the St Simons Pier.

Georgia Fishing Report: December 9, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Southwest Georgia

North Georgia

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

It’s December and the Georgia weather has finally caught up to the calendar.  Get ready for some chilly days and frosty nights to come. http://www.intellicast.com/Local/Weather.aspx?location=USGA0267 

What does this mean?  Answer:   “Low and slow!”  Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: December 9, 2016”

trout-rbt5-toccoa-dh-11-15-16

Georgia Fishing Report: December 2, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

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

Lake Russell (down 2.1 feet, clear 60’s) – Bass fishing is good.  Any wind will be an angler’s best friend as the water cools down.  The fishing pressure has lessened and should continue as Christmas approaches.  Now is the time to get out and catch some Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: December 2, 2016”

burton-hat-morning-smoke-11-15-16-resized

Georgia Fishing Report: November 18, 2016

Fishing Reports: November 18, 2016

  • Central Georgia
  • North Georgia

Central Georgia

Mark your calendars for some post-Thanksgiving Day fishing fun! While most anglers go-fish-edu-centerknow that you will not find a trout in natural habitat below the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, the stocking of approximately 800 catchable trout in the Go Fish Education Center fishing pond provides a special wintertime treat to those that visit this Middle Georgia destination.  Visitors to the Center will be able to start catching trout on Fri. Nov. 25. For more information, visit www.gofisheducationcenter.com.

North Georgia

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

The big story up here continues to be wildfires and especially their smoke  (Tallulah copter video: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/photos/GACHF/2016-11-13-1208-Rock-Mountain-Fire/picts/2016_11_16-15.42.51.504-CSh264.mp4).  A contingent of WRD staff was dispatched yesterday to assist the Georgia Forestry Commission with wildfire fighting and mop-up operations in far northwest Georgia.  We wish safe travels and timely returns for all of north Georgia’s federal, state, and local firefighters this fall.

While we have several active fires in Georgia (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/11/), North Carolina has it worse right now  (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/34/0/).    Details on each fire can be read by clicking on the individual incident name within these websites.    Both sets of fires can deliver some very aggravating smoke levels across north Georgia.  Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: November 18, 2016”

tony-beck

Beck Casts for Bass Nation Title

Tony Beck, manager of the Walton Fish Hatchery, not only knows how to raise fish, he’s really good at catching them!

Tony competes in bass tournaments throughout the Southeast as a member of the B.A.S.S. Nation and Lake Oconee Bassmasters. He has posted some exceptional tournament results this past year and has qualified to compete in the 2016 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on Lake Conroe, Texas this week — Nov. 17-19. Qualifying for this event is no small task, as only one boating angler is chosen from each state.

Fishing has always been a part of Tony’s life. When he was 12, he started entering fishing tournaments with his brother and thrived off the competition. His competitive streak led him to take up baseball, but when his baseball career ended after high school, he returned to fishing tournaments as a way to continue competing in a sport he loves.

Tony also has long been interested in working with wildlife. During his studies at the University of Georgia, he realized he wanted to work specifically in fisheries management. He’s been with DNR for 15 years. As manager of the Walton Fish Hatchery near Social Circle, by day Tony raises fish that are distributed to lakes and rivers across Georgia. On the weekends, he’s competing in tournaments across the state and Southeast to reel in the biggest catch!

The 2016 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship will have more than 100 anglers competing from 47 states and nine nations. The pressure is high: The top three finishers will earn a spot to fish in the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic, set for March 24-26 at Lake Conroe. The Classic is the pinnacle of competitive bass fishing and the dream of every bass tournament angler.

Congratulations to Tony on this great accomplishment! Georgia will be cheering for you as you chase your life-long dream!

Tournament updates and angler profiles at http://www.bassmaster.com/Nation

rabun_walcrappie_11-03-16

Georgia Fishing Report: November 10, 2016

Fishing Reports: November 10, 2016

  • East-West Central Georgia
  • Southwest Georgia
  • Southeast Georgia
  • North Georgia
  • BONUS North Georgia

East and West-Central Georgia

 (Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger)

Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.  See  (http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html) for most recent updates. 

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 60’S

Bass fishing is good and seems to get getting better and better as the water cools down.  The bass are feeding and most of these spots are very fat.  Top-water baits are catching bass during the day way up in the Savannah River.  The water is very clear so scale down your lines and use some fluorocarbon line as it is all but invisible to the fish.  The bass will move up to feed on the shad and other bait fish that are still moving up to the warmer water.  The spotted bass are being caught all over the lake where wood and rock are present.  Catch a limit on everything from Shad Raps to finesse worms.  The bigger bass are still playing a little hard to catch.  A slower and persistent presentation will be necessary to coax that bigger bite.  Several casts with that crank bait and a slower presentation of that soft plastic is your best chance on catching those larger fish.  Submerged deep-water brush piles or stumps left as the lake was built is where the bigger fish are feeding.  Watch the Fish and Game Forecaster on Ken’s site and use the bigger baits when the peaks occur.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 8.7 FEET, 60’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The bass are aggressive and feeding heavily on Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: November 10, 2016”

Tommy Davis of Baxley holds up one of a limit of crappie he caught while fishing with a friend on Friday evening at Lake Mayers. This one ate a tan shad-colored “Speck”tacular Jig.

Georgia Fishing Report: November 4, 2016

 

Coastal Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Coastal Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries Biologists Tim Barrett and Joel Fleming, and region Fisheries staff)

Savannah River:

Striped bass:  Late fall and early winter is a great time to go out and catch a few stripers in the lower Savannah River.  These fish, particular the large ones, over-summer in the upriver sections of the Savannah during the summer in order to find cooler waters during the summer’s heat.  As temperatures start falling, Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: November 4, 2016”