Judy Hoyt of Atlanta caught this quality bass on Saturday using a junebug straight tail worm fished on an 1/8-oz. shaky head. She and her husband Walter also caught 10 other bass from a Brunswick area pond on Saturday using the same setup.

Georgia Fishing Report, February 5, 2016

Southeast Georgia

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

The crappie and bass bites have broken wide open this week with the warm-up. Don’t mess with the cold, high rivers (except the St. Marys) this weekend….spend your time on flat water. The full rivers will help the fish populations later this spring, so be patient.  New Moon is February 8th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – The river rose again this week and is still extremely high and swift. I talked with one person this week while filling my tow vehicle, and they had just fished the river that day. They did not catch anything. Expect a similar result if you go this week (I can’t say it any more diplomatically than that….). The only thing worth trying is to fish for crappie in Morgan Lake. A few were caught this week. The river level was 15.0 feet and falling (51 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.9 feet and rising (54 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on February 4th.

Satilla River – The upper and middle reaches are still high and Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report, February 5, 2016”


Georgia Fishing Report: January 29, 2016

Central Georgia

North 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 (1.2 feet over full, clear & lower 50’s) – Bass fishing is slow.  The bass were up in the flats.  With the change in weather the fish moved back to the deeper water and are suspended.  These bass can still be caught with patience and the right technique.  Back off, locate the fish with the Lowrance Structure Scan technology and be sure there are bait schools close by.  Use a slow moving Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk, an Alabama rig and a spoon.  A slow presentation will still be necessary as long as the fish are suspended.  Lowrance sonar and down scan technology will make getting the baits to the right zone easier.  With these fish inactive the strike zone is very small so be prepared to make several presentations in the same area with your baits.  Be sure to use some Jack’s Juice on the soft plastics.

Clark Hill (down .65 ft, high 40’s) – Bass fishing is slow.  The cold air and dropping surface temperature has the bass holding tight to cover or suspended in deeper water.  Some anglers are using jigging spoons, under spins and Carolina rigs to catch a few bass.  Try fishing rip rap rock with small Rapala Shad Raps and Rapala DT6 early in the morning.  Try the hot mustard colors in any stained water and shad or parrot in clear water.  Both can work well and should continue to produce.  Continue to fish the points and any drop offs.  Fish the warmest water and try to fish shallow on any isolated stumps and wood cover.

Jimbo On Lanier BASS Seminar, January 30, 2016 in Cumming, Georgia www.jimboonlanier.com

STRIPER Seminar March 5, 2016 in Buford Georgia. See www.nutsandboltsfishing.com

Lake Oconee (full, stained but clearing, 47-51 degrees) – Bass fishing is slow.  The main lake is still very muddy.  The Richland Creek arm of the lake is not as stained as the main lake and the fishing is better in Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: January 29, 2016”

trout bkt chattooga dh trey 1-10-16

Georgia Fishing Report: January 15, 2016

North Georgia

Central Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

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

As the weather finally improved last week, and as lakes and streams began their journey back toward normal conditions, the fish sure seemed to respond.  In fact, the big’uns seemed mighty happy and hungry!  Last week’s anglers who dressed right and followed weather & water conditions toward some fishing opportunities indeed had great trips.  Don’t believe me?  Read on, look at the pics, and decide whether or not to believe them.  And you might just decide to grab your long underwear and neglected fishing pole and give this winter gig a try!  Here we go:

New Year’s Resolve – O’Neill’s Appeal. Follow his advice and it just might pay off.  You’ll see some examples in this report.

Why Mentor? – Enjoy “the letter” by this young lady on page 4 of this newsletter:

US Forest Service Relevant Topics

Federal User Fees

Lanier Park/Ramp Closures http://www.sam.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Recreation/LakeSidneyLanier.aspx

Chattooga DH – The Good Luck Charm – Dredger saw lower flows on the two USGS river gauge websites and trekked north last Saturday for a rematch on the DH.  The flows were still high (2.5 on the Clayton gauge) but tolerable for the graying Rabunite.  He also saw the biggest strike indicator of his life: Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: January 15, 2016”

Georgia Fishing Report: January 5, 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 (down 3.2 feet, clear & upper 50’s) – Bass fishing is slow.  The bass will be tight in any shallow brush out to the ends of the points mid to lower lake.  Carolina rigs with green pumpkin Zoom lizard will work.  Use one rod with a 4-inch lizard and one rod with a 6-inch lizard and find out what the bass like.  Use the Lowrance CHIRP Sonar and the Lowrance Down beams to see the fish close to the bottom.  Run HIGH or MEDIUM CHIRP along with regular 200 kHz or 83 kHz beams to locate the schools of baitfish.  Find the bait fish, find the bass.  Look for the clouds of baitfish in the month of the creeks and at the opening of the coves.  Baitfish should also be found around the humps in the middle of the lake.  When you locate the baitfish, take a Flex It spoon in the 5/8 ounce size and drop the spoon under the baitfish.  Work the spoon up and down about 6 to 10 inches at a time and watch your line as the bait falls.  If you see slack in the line, set the hook.

Clark Hill (down 1.5 feet, upper 50’s) – Bass fishing is slow.  The super muddy water has slowed fishing but there are still options.  Some good fish are being caught in shallow water from 2 to 4 feet.  Look for current breaks at the mouths of both rivers but try to avoid heavy mud.  The fish are grouping up in the slack water behind islands and points on the main part of the rivers and in the backwaters.  Fish a Spro Little John in Old Fire tiger or Chartreuse with black back.  Use a slow retrieve, as the fish are a little finicky with the cold water.  If the cranking bite slows down, switch to a Texas rig in the same areas.  Use 20 pound fluorocarbon a good stiff and sensitive rod and 3/16 ounce black Tru Tungsten, a 4/0 offset shank Gamakatsu hook.  Add your favorite Zoom u tail or lizard in black.  Fish super slow in the areas where you find fish.  With the runoff dominating look for the grass to start dying off and the shallow cranking bite will turn on better.  At that time, use a Spro Aruku Shad 75 in Red Crawfish over the tops Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: January 5, 2016”

sturgeon etowah  37in shock Dec 2015 resized

Georgia Fishing Report: December 29, 2015

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

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

*Updated Reservoir Information December 31*

North Georgia reservoirs are extremely high, muddy, and full of floating debris from tributaries that presents significant boating safety risks.  For example, all of the floating logs in the open water at Lanier’s Laurel Park megaramp this morning looked like the Allied fleet on D-Day (photo).  Several Lake Lanier recreation areas and boat ramps have been closed by the Corps.  Think twice before launching a boat right now on our major reservoirs, especially on their upper ends where mud and floating debris present navigation hazards.

boat ramp Lanier Laurel Park 12-30-15
Laurel Park Boat Ramp
boat ramp Lanier ClarksBr 12-30-15.jpg
Clarks Bridge Boat Ramp
boat ramp Lanier EastBank 12-30-15.JPG
East Bank
boat ramp Lanier Little River 12-30-15
Little River Boat Ramp
Lanier WestBank 12-30-15 resized
West Bank

More info: Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: December 29, 2015”

Georgia Fishing Report: December 14, 2015

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

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

The December holidays are nearly here, which means that our target species will be approaching “full winter mode.”  Anglers will have to change their tactics to extend their success into the new year.  Water temperatures will continue to drive sport fish behavior and should also guide the locations and times of day that anglers choose to focus on.  Right now we have a nice string of warm days, which will help everyone’s catch rates as long as this stretch lasts.  But as we return to seasonally cooler air and water temperatures, we’ll have to slow down and sink those baits, lures, and flies in order to bump our intended targets in the nose.  Here we go:

Good Winter Trouting Advice –

Forlorn Trout Fishers – High flows in our larger streams, like the Hooch and Toccoa DH reaches, have a lot of our trout anglers frustrated.

High Water in the Smokies

Dredger’s advice: go with the flow.  Here are some alternatives:
1)       Fish smaller DH waters with smaller watersheds that return quickly to Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: December 14, 2015”

Georgia Fishing Report: December 4, 2015

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Saltwater (seatrout), flier, and crappie were the best bites reported over the holiday weekend. Expect more of the same this week, but the late week front may kick up the winds by the weekend. Last quarter moon is December 3rd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – Donna at Altamaha Park said that crappie and flathead catfish were tops this week. Fishing oxbows with minnows produced most of the crappie, while live bait fished in main river cover worked for flatheads. The river level was 8.8 feet  and falling (60 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.8 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on December 1st.

Satilla River – I took my son Timothy along with Ron and Nathanael Johnson to the Blackshear Bridge on Saturday, and the boys had a blast playing on sandbars. We fished a little while and only caught an 11-inch bass on an 1/8-oz. bruiser Satilla Spin, although we had quite a few other bites that did not hook up. When I launched the boat and saw the 54-degree water temperature I cringed, knowing the bite would be tough with the sharp temperature drop over the previous few days. After messing around on sandbars we decided to finish the day fishing at Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: December 4, 2015”

Georgia Fishing Report: November 25, 2015

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Saltwater (seatrout), the Okefenokee (fliers and bowfin), and ponds (crappie) have been producing great and are the bites to key on over the holiday weekend. Last quarter moon is December 3rd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – Donna at Altamaha Park said that the crappie bite was still ok if you got back in the oxbow lakes, but the river is high. You need to know the good high water spots to be successful – don’t just come and hope to find some. The upper river is still too high for effective fishing, but it is falling back out after the big slug of water from the upper basin. Channel and white catfish catches in the Darien area have slowed but are the best bet on the river. Put a piece of shrimp on the bottom for whiskerfish in the lower river. The river level was 12.9 feet and falling (58 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.7 feet and steady (64 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on November 24th.

Satilla River – The river is fishable for the holiday weekend, and I hope to give it a try this weekend. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the bite was slow this week except for some catfish. He expects the bite to improve as the water continues to fall. The river level on November 24th at the Waycross gage was 7.6 feet and falling (61 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 8.0 feet and falling.

St. Marys River – Some big bream were caught with crickets and pink worms over the weekend. Crappie were also caught on minnows and jigs. The catfish bite is still as good as it gets. Shrimp and rooster livers fished on the bottom worked best. The river level at the MacClenny gage on November 24th was 2.6 feet and steady.

Elisabeth and Ellie with Flier- IMG_0947
Elisabeth (left) caught her first flier and bowfin while fishing in the Okefenokee with her friend Ellie on Saturday. Pink sallies were the top producer for fliers during their trip.

Okefenokee Swamp – I took my daughter Ellie and her friend Elisabeth to the refuge (Folkston entrance) on Saturday. We had a blast checking out the exhibits for Pioneer Day and then fished for a couple of hours in the boat before the off-water time of 4pm. We started by flinging Dura-Spins for big fish and were quickly rewarded. We boated 3 nice pickerel to 17 inches, 8 bowfin up to 5 pounds, and a gar as long as my arm. The disappointing thing was that I lost the biggest pickerel (jackfish) that I’ve had hooked in a couple of decades. The whopper was in the 28-29 inch class and jumped and spit the Dura-Spin back at me. Our best color of spinner was the new red/white/yellow version. After about an hour we switched to pitching sallies for fliers. We got very few bites without a float, so all 3 of us switched to using a small balsa float, and we all started catching fish. The most fun was the last 15 minutes when nice fliers were inhaling the fly on every pitch. Some came to the surface to eat it. Most of the fliers were 7-8 inches but our biggest was just shy of 9 inches. The best sally color was pink, and second best was yellow. When the smoke cleared, we had caught 43 fliers. Elisabeth caught her first flier and bowfin on the trip. An active bite is a great way to be introduced to fishing in the swamp! Check out Craig James’ article about warmouth fishing on the swamp in the November issue of Georgia Outdoor News.

Local Ponds – Chad Lee fished an area farm pond on Friday evening and caught 3 bass from 2 to 8 1/2 pounds. They crushed a ribbit frog fished through duckweed. On Saturday he caught 11 bass from 1 to 3 pounds on Rat-L-Traps and ZOOM Ultra-vibe Worms. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, the bass bite has picked up around the full moon for those free-lining shiners. Minnows and jigs produced some good crappie catches, as well.

Dodge County Public Fishing Area – An angler fishing on Thursday whacked the bass. He threw crankbaits around offshore structure and schools of shad to fool 45 bass. Plastic worms and jigs will also work if you cannot get them to chase a crankbait.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – A trio of Waycross anglers fished the Crooked River area on Saturday and caught 30 trout. They had 17 that were keepers. Voodoo shrimp fished under Cajun Thunder Floats did most of their damage, but they did catch a couple on topwaters. The water temperature was still 74 degrees where they fished!!! Michael Winge reported that Waycross angler Raymond West fished out of Blythe Island Regional Park on Monday by himself and loaded the boat. He caught 44 keeper whiting, threw back 14 small ones, and caught and released 9 undersized trout. He only fished 2 hours. What a teaser for the upcoming holiday weekend! Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the blue crabs have been thick under the pier. Trout were caught on both live shrimp and jigs. Sheepshead were around in good numbers and were eating fiddler crabs. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet: Trout fishing has to be my recommendation this weekend if the weather cooperates. Temperatures are supposed to be good, but the winds are the issue this time of year. Make sure to check the marine forecast closely before you plan a trip. Crappie should be biting well on warm afternoons. Expect them to eat your minnows or jigs best late in the afternoon as the sun dips below the trees. Swamp fishing should be excellent on warm afternoons. Pitch sallies under a float for fliers and cast Dura-Spins or other spinners and minnow plugs for both jackfish and mudfish.

North Georgia

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

I hope all of you have a chance to wet a line over the holidays with your families and friends.

Chattooga’s Healing Waters – I recently headed to the Chattooga DH with good friends Bill and Grace Egan, who had just returned from India where they train guides and fly fish for brown trout in the Himalayas of North India. They are in a transition as they are moving back to California after 12 years of living abroad, and part of the reason why they were coming home was to care for Bill’s aging father. Only two days after they returned home last week, Bill’s father passed away, but he did so after spending some great time with Bill and Grace and their three nearly-grown children.

Even though they’ve fished all over the world, their favorite spot on the planet is the Chattooga River. Those of you who have spent time there understand. We spent this past Friday there together, and enjoyed a lot of laughs, some high water, a few chunky fish, and Bill and Grace were even able to both mourn their recent loss and celebrate the life of Bill’s dad through telling stories about him on the drive and on the water. A few tears fell, which added ever-so-slightly to the river’s flow, but they were the tears of good memories of a great man who lived a full life; sweet tears, and not the tears of pain or regret.

At the start of the day, the water was too high to allow a river crossing in most spots. So we hiked in on the Georgia-side road and hiked downstream a bit before working our way back upriver. Bill quickly landed four rainbows and two browns on egg patterns dredged deep in the slowest water he could find. Grace also landed one nice rainbow. In the meantime, I landed two chunky rainbows – one 12” and the other 14” – working a seam between a sandy bank and a deep-green run. Later in the day I added another chunky rainbow, a nice male brook trout, and a standard-sized brown trout that came up for a big foam hopper dry fly that I was really just using as an indicator for the lightning bug nymph I had dropped off of it.

Interestingly enough, the other four fish I landed that day all took one of several variations of the good-ole woolly bugger that I had tied off of about a six-inch tag end of a surgeons knot, which was a few feet above what would normally be my main fly. I had learned this technique the evening before at the Rabun TU meeting in a great presentation on rigging leaders by Steve Hudson. Two of the fish hit the fly when I had a butt section that was tapered down to 20-pound test! That’s what the bugger was tied on to, and they still smashed it!

As a trio we only landed 14 fish all day, and all of those were worked for as we casted multi-fly rigs with plenty of split shot and big indicators to effectively work the high, turbid water. So while the catching wasn’t as active as we had hoped, it was still a great day in a special place with some good friends.

David Cannon

More Chattooga DH Fans – Trouter23 and Dredger waded carefully along the sides of a high (Clayton gauge=2.3), clear river on Saturday afternoon and had a ball with chunky rainbows to 13 inches.  A couple of browns added a little spice to their haul.  The fish were in any good flood refuge with a little depth and cover: bedrock ledges, side eddies, and deep pools.  They smashed “legs and eggs” and olive buggers all afternoon long in the 49 degree water.  The key to this trip was arriving late (at lunchtime), once the water warmed a bit and the flow dropped a little more, and then getting the flies down via long leaders and weight, if necessary (bb shot or tungsten head flies).  They each did their own thing: Dredger had his steelhead bobber on,
while T23 used his fluorescent Euro rig.  And each caught more than enough good’uns throughout the day.  The fish switch turned off around 430PM as the sun fell behind the ridge and the water temperature reversed course.  A hearty supper at a warm Clayton locale ended one fine day of trouting on the high and mighty Chattooga.
Hot flies for inquiring DH neophytes:
1) http://www.intheriffle.com/fishing-videos/fly-tying/pats-rubberlegs/
2) http://rabuntu.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Tight-Lines-Rabun-TU-Jan.pdf
3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ku1-lnkKzI

Holiday Spices – In anticipation of heavy fishing pressure associated with the upcoming holiday, WRD Fisheries Section employees in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will stock the delayed harvest trout streams, Vogel State Park and the Lanier Tailwaters. The stockings during the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving will distribute 10,000 trout in North Georgia. The timing of these stockings will hopefully lead to higher catch rates and happy holiday anglers!

John Lee Thomson
Trout Stocking Coordinator, Fisheries
Wildlife Resources Division
(706) 947-1508

Hooch Helper Thanks – Buford Hatchery manager Pat Markey and Gainesville Fisheries Tech Chris Looney want to thank the SEVENTY-FIVE volunteers who came out yesterday (11/24) and assisted with stocking the Hooch DH at Whitewater Park (NPS Palisades East Unit).  The high flows should spread the fish out well.  Hopefully tailwater flows and turbidity will subside in time for some good weekend fishing.  Check on flows before you go, and maybe have a small stream Plan B ready in case the river is still raging Yoohoo.

Arrowhead Bassin’ Report – Dredger,
We cancelled our mountain trout trip last weekend due to high water and the desire to sleep in for once.  I ended up going up to Lake Arrowhead to help my Uncle fix his dock. After work was complete, I wound up fishing off the boat at the dock for a few hours.  I lost an absolute monster who took my Senko on the sink. Never had a bass jerk and run with my line like that before. He went deep and under the boat and then popped my 10LB test.  I ended up with one lone bass in the 2-3# range on wacky rigged Pumpkin Senko.  There are some absolute giants up there! I’ve personally seen a school of 5-6  8-10# bass on a few different occasions working baitfish while making s-turns from shallow to deep!

I have an open pass up there so if you ever want to take the Kayak up there to chase some “green fish”, let me know!

–          Ron “BigBrowns” Wilson

Shallow Nighttime Stripers – Have been getting out afternoons after work. Fishing from bank on the upper end of Lanier but have been seeing sporadic topwater at last light and after dark. Fish are keying in on 3 inch shad and hitting hard. Lots of fun on a fly rod, just have to pay your dues and scout to find out where!
(Ed note: he who now is gainfully employed!!!!)

Carters – FYI – Spotted bass fishing is “phenomenal” at Carters Lake, according to guide Louie Bartenfield.  Attached is a 4 pounder stuffed into a “3-pounder’s” body.  Louie sez:
“Spotted bass: jerk baits early on points.  Drop shots and jigging spoons later in the day.  Live bait fished 25-30 ft. down will tempt both spotted bass and stripers right now.” https://www.facebook.com/Carters-Lake-Guide-Service-170317873014004/

James Hakala
Senior Fisheries Biologist
GA Wildlife Resources Division
(706) 624-1161

Toona White Fish Intel – Looking for some Allatoona “white fish” action this Thanksgiving Holiday?

Survey data this week found hybrid striped bass and striped bass holding in the clear water from Allatoona Dam upstream to the Galt’s Ferry Boat Ramp.  Fishing down or free-lined live shad around schooling baitfish should entice lineside bites in this segment of the lake.  The survey data also detected a good year class of young stripers in the 1.5-3.0 pound size range.  These up-start stripers are mixed in with the hybrids.

White bass are again abundant in Allatoona.  Those looking to downsize for these “mini-linesides” should target the narrow Harbortown Marina to Kellogg Creek area of the lake.  For the south side angler, decent white bass concentrations were also found from Allatoona Pass (Iron Hill) south towards Glade Marina.

Allatoona surface water temperatures are running around 55F.  The “mudline” starts to stain the water around Victoria Marina and intensifies as you head upstream towards Little River and the Etowah River flats.  Lineside numbers were low in these stained waters, so focus your efforts where water visibility is good.
–          WRD biologist James Hakala

New Fulton County Outdoors Columnhttp://newslink.northfulton.com/stories/Rivers-Lakes-Trout-Fishing-and-Fun,85068

In fact, Steve just “hatched” a brand new program called, “The Line on Leaders.”  If your fishing club needs a program speaker, give Steve a holler!

December 12 Shrimp Partyhttp://tucohutta.org/current-newsletter/

Ten Dollar Stocking Stuffer – Yes, Virginia, you can stuff a Yellowstone fishing vacation into a Christmas stocking!

Good luck.  Sleep off the turkey and then cast a bomber into the Lanier shallows after dark.  Check your drag first to ensure you have holiday cheers instead of tears.  And remember to set your parking brake, too (link courtesy of midcurrent.com):

Happy Thanksgiving from the WRD fish folks.

Georgia Fishing Report: November 24, 2015

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: Slow – a few bass are being caught on buzz baits.   Also, plastic worms fished around the deep-water by the picnic area and around the newly repaired fishing pier may produce a few good bites.  Remember to fish plastic baits slower now that water temperatures are cooler.

Crappie: Poor- A few crappie are being caught in deeper water but they are difficult to locate and target.   Live minnows and bright colored jigs work the best.

Bream: Slow- Bream fishing has been slow.  Target areas that have structure like woody brush and blow downs associated with it.  In the fall, the best strikes may be in water 6 to 8 feet deep.  Crickets and small worms may produce a few late season bream.  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: Slow- A few catfish are still being caught on livers.  Fish the livers at or almost at the bottom and at several different locations around woody structures and the rocks around the dam.

In general, the weather has turned colder and the bite has become less consistent.  Anglers have to be more patient and persistent to have a good catch.  However, fall weather means many anglers are hunting this time of year thus less fishing pressure for the dedicated angler.  Finally, the repair work on the old wooden fishing pier has concluded and is ready for use.  Some of the fishing pier’s upgrades include sitting benches, rod holders, shelves for tackle, and gaps in the railing for landing fish.

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

McDuffie PFA Largemouth Bass: Fair. Overall, Bass fishing has started to improve due to cooler water temperatures. A fisherman reported he caught and released a chunky 3-pound bass in Lake Willow.  Willow Lake remains the lake with most potential for quality and quantity, followed by Breambuster which also has chunky bass. Rodbender (our trophy bass pond) closed at sundown on November 15th. This lake has been setup with multiple bait species for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.  The shad spawn was weak and no big schools of shad have been seen on any of the lakes. The hardcore bass fishermen are still fishing with hopes of hooking into a McDuffie PFA lunker. All legal Bass on McDuffie PFA must be 14 inches in length to be kept my anglers.

Bream:  Fair.  Best ponds have been Bridge and Jones for good catches. Fishermen were catching bream on the dam of Lake Bridge by bottom-fishing. The Bream can still be found around structure and aquatic plants as the weather cools but the bite will slow down as winter approaches. The best baits for catching bream are still red wigglers/worms fished deep in the lake channels as the water cools.  Patience and finding the bream locations is the key catching bream during cold weather.

Channel Catfish:  Bite is good!  All lakes with the exception of Rodbender have been restocked with catchable-size channel catfish.  Catfish are biting well but fishermen must find the right lake. The catfish bite should be good until water temperatures drop below 50 degrees.  Fishermen reported the catfish bite well during last hours of daylight.  The best fishing is on the bottom in shallow to deep water using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits.

Striped Bass:  Stripers like cooler temperatures and the cooler the better.  Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse Lakes.  There has not been much striper activity seen but they will be chasing forage species in the coming winter months.

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

Lake Russell (full, clear, low 60’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Early morning buzz baits and spinner baits are working along with top water baits.  The crank bait bite is not really good yet, but this will improve very soon.  Number Ten X Raps are working with good results on the main lake points during the windy part of the day.  The key will be to fish the sunny points first.  At high noon, switch to jigs, worms and tubes to finish up the day.  Be sure to have a Super Fluke and a Senko rigged for the afternoon bite around the rocks on the bridges and on reef makers.

Clark Hill (over full, low 60’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  A top-water bite is occurring early along with a decent spinner bait bite.  The main lake points are still getting a lot of attention at this lake.  The best bite is coming off the #7 Shad Rap in and around these areas.  The key will be to fish a point or drop off thoroughly before moving on to your next location.  Try a variety of baits before moving on to another location.  Long points are still the best bet.  Good baits to pack before heading out include the 3/8 ounce Strike King spinnerbait in white or chartreuse, the DT10 Shad Rapala as well as the olive green or glass ghost for the early morning feed.  Don’t be afraid to use a jig or Carolina rig on the submerged wood, tree tops or stumps.  There are some good bass being caught off various forms of wood especially low to up-lake.

Lake Oconee (full, the main lake is heavaly stained, clearing on the south end) & Richland Creek (lightly stained, 60-66 degrees) – Bass fishing is fair.  The backs of the creeks like Lick and Sugar have been the most productive over the past week.  A spinnerbait fished along sea walls and docks can work so fish to the back of the creeks.  Chartreuse has been the best color.  A low running crank bait fished around the docks and wood structure have also been productive.  Jigs fished along the riprap in these creeks is also working when Georgia Power is pulling water.

Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741 reeltime@bellsouth.net

Striper fishing is good.  The stripers are in the major coves and creeks looking for bait, and cleaner water.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools of bait in the creeks and drop a live bait down in to the fish.  Live bait and spoons have both been producing over the past week.

Crappie fishing is fair.  The fish are in the mouths of the creeks 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.  Some fish are also coming on jigs trolled at a depth of 10 ft. over the same timber.

West Point Lake (down 1.4 feet, stained & low 60’s) – Bass fishing has been fair.  Spotted bass have been biting well lake-wide and depth dependent on water clarity.  The northern end has a little more stain with the clearest water being on the southern end.  Largemouth have been scattered which is unusual this time of year.  A little rain fall should pull the larger fish up and hold on wood.  The best pattern has been on shallow wood in three to five feet of water in the pockets.  The best pockets have been from the railroad trestle to the 219 bridge.  Use a 3/8 ounce All Terrain AT jig in black/blue with a Z man chunz.  Also use the shaky head with a Z Man floating worm in green pumpkin.  On cloudy days with an approaching front use a 3/8 ounce white buzz bait in the same areas.

Lake Sinclair (down 3.7 feet, low 70’s) – Bass fishing is fair and top-water baits continue to produce a few bites on most mornings and during low light conditions.  Buzz baits to ½ ounce in black, chartreuse or white have been producing well.  Other lures like Pop R’s, Chug Bug’s, and Torpedo’s have also enticed a few bites.  Most active fish are now located in coves and creeks where they’ve followed large numbers of shad.  For the last few days, soft plastics and jigs have been the most successful baits, with crank baits and spinnerbaits catching a few fish.  Try a Zoom U Tale worm in green pumpkin, red bug, or June bug, with a 1/8 ounce weight rigged Texas style on 12 to 15 pound line.  Cast these baits right on bank or sea wall and slowly retrieve it a short distance before reeling in and casting again.  A 3/8 ounce jig with a Zoom Super Chunk will work too.  Fish the stumps, blow downs, brush, and docks.  Later in the day use a short leader Carolina rig.  Crank baits like Shad Raps, Thunder Shads and Bandits can catch fish also.  Fish a spinnerbait, especially around wood cover and during early morning.  Riprap along the Little River channel continues to yield a few fish, mainly during power generation.  Various crank baits will produce a few bites when the fish are active.

Jackson Lake (down 1.3 feet, stained & low 60’s) – Bass fishing is good.  Quality size bass have moved into the pockets following the movement of bait fish.  Focus more of your fishing in the pockets rather than the main lake.  Long deep pockets may be most productive.  We have been through a full moon phase and the bite after dark has been good, particularly for larger bass.  A green jig/craw combo is ideal for targeting larger fish.  Probe docks, brush, and other structure as you work the pockets.  Texas rigged Finesse worms are also good for a bite and crankbaits should certainly be tried.  A Bandit 200 and a #7 Shad Rap are good choices.  Spinnerbaits and a small shad crank bait are good choices early and late.  Use a white buzz bait on sea walls around shallow cover.  Work your crank through wood, rocks, and around the docks.  Always take the opportunity to work the wood cover and docks more thoroughly with your plastic and jig.  Fish the shaky head rig for all-around plastic fishing, but Texas-rigged baits are preferable for working brushy cover.  Finesse worms and crawfish patterns have been working on shallower rock, dock, and wood structure.  Trick worms in watermelon seed will work on the shaky head.  Throw the plastic baits and jigs into the wood cover and let it soak a while before working it up and out through the tree limbs.  Shad are primary forage for good numbers of schooling bass.  Look for seasonal congregations of bait in the deep pockets.  Target the feeding bass with a crank bait and vertical presentations such as a spoon or plastic on a drop shot rig.

Georgia Fishing Report: November 20, 2015

North Georgia

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

Hopefully all of us survived this last monsoon and are anxiously awaiting river and stream flows to drop to sane levels. Smaller watersheds will “shed” water much more quickly, so keep that fact in mind as we peruse USGS Real Time stream flow gauges for Georgia and plot our weekend strategies. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt

Lakes aren’t affected as badly, except for the strong high pressure fronts and bluebird skies that follow the storms.  Finned reservoir targets should have their appetites restored within a day or two of these big blows.  Just watch for muddy waters from reservoir tribs and maybe fish downlake from the mud, unless you’re tossing some big, bright, loud largemouth bass lures.

Here we go.

Chattooga DH Report – 

trout fishing Chattooga DH Nov 2015 Trey1

Rabunites Treyman and Dredger hit the DH last Sunday afternoon to  break in young dude’s new fly rod, a recent birthday gift.  The water was cold (46F) and the  duo resorted to a classic winter recipe of “legs and eggs.”  They caught a decent handful of rainbows up to eleven inches, primarily on the infamous “Oreck egg,” with a few fish having a taste for the brown Pat’s rubberlegs.  Treyman perfected his new skills of dredging with a half-pound (slight exaggeration) of split shot to get down to the frozen fish on the bottom. It was a great afternoon of fishing and fibbing between two generations of Rabunites.  Dredger suggested that visiting flatlanders consider switching to winter mode just a bit earlier than normal this year:

Smith Creek Success – Flyfishing noob “Anna,” under the tutelage of her buddy, Suzy, enjoyed last Saturday’s GA Women Flyfishers outing to Smith Creek DH at Unicoi State Park.  Anna learned a little of this “dredging” stuff from a local troll, gave it a shot,  and caught her first trout ever!  The duo had a big time and planned more trouting trips to north GA.

NOTE: Interested gals oughta get adopted like Anna did.  Lookie here at her grip-n-grin moment: http://www.georgiawomenflyfishing.com/

That could be you, so consider joining the Women Fly-flingers!

Epic Battle – Enjoy this tall trouting tale: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=108757

Hudson at Hammonds – Saturday

hammonds flyer Hudson Nov 2015

Hi folks!

I wanted to let you know about a special fishing event this Saturday — “Trout Fishing Day” at Hammond’s Fishing Center in Cumming, just east of Ga. 400!

I’ve been asked to present three workshops that day focusing on various aspects of trout fishing — one an introduction to fly fishing, one an introduction to fly tying, and one a program on Georgia’s Delayed Harvest streams. I’d love to have you come by for any or all of these. They’ll be fun…and they’re free!

I’m attaching a copy of the flyer which describes the event.

If you’re looking for something to do (yourself or with your family) this Saturday, by all means check these out. It should be a LOT of fun!

Hope to see you there!





Lanier Stripers – Henry’s How-to: http://coastalanglermag.com/emags/atlanta/#p=30


Lanier Bait Sources – If you’re looking for Lanier fishing news, hot lures, or lively baits, here are some great local leads:

Ken’s Detailed Reservoir Reports – http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html

WRD Walleye Whereabouts – http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Yonah

FYI- LWCF Reauthorization Hearings – http://lwcfcoalition.org/about-lwcf.html

Flight of the Magnum Trout Bird – In response to recent citizen reports, expert analysis was done on existing photographic data and eyewitness accounts,



and the results are now in: http://rabuntu.org/site/2013/11/11/helicopter-stocking-the-chattooga/

The SCDNR fish went in last week and our Georgia contribution took its ride this week, according to this reliable source:

“On November 16th, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service stocked nearly 10,000 trout with the aid of a helicopter. This effort was made in order to stock fish in remote areas that are inaccessible to our stocking trucks. Funding for this stocking was provided by the U.S. Forest Service and Trout Unlimited.”

trout stocking copter GADNR-USFS 11_16_2015 resized


John Lee Thomson

Trout Stocking Coordinator

GA Wildlife Resources Division


Note how YOU can help ensure further Chattooga UFO sightings:


Be a part of the success story.

Whether you’re of the spin or fly persuasion, good luck!



(Astute fishing report readers picked up a hint last week.)

Reminder- Nov 24 – Atlanta Bucket Toters Wanted – Calling all kids with buckets and fishing poles:


The Power of Barbie – How about this video to send us toward the holiday with a positive spirit and love for family?


Once again, dry out and get out there.  The Chattooga bird has flown and the Lanier stripers are making guest appearances on top, so the rest is now up to you.  Before you know it, winter will scare you back into those warm living room chairs, so go soon.

Good luck, and thanks for buying your licenses!

Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Saltwater is on fire right now, especially for seatrout. Unfortunately, November is a month you can typically only fish the big water a couple days per week because of high winds. Get the boat ready to go so that you can get out on the good weather days. Pond fishing has really picked up for crappie. Full Moon is November 25th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – Donna at Altamaha Park said that the crappie bite was still really good before the river started rising. On Friday a 2-person crew caught crappie and big bream in lakes off the river. A white Satilla Spin landed most of their crappie, while Georgia Giant worms fooled many of the bream. On Saturday the bite came to a screeching halt with the dropping temperatures, rising water, and wind. The upper river is too high for effective fishing with the big slug of water making its way to us from the upper basin. Channel and white catfish catches have been good and will continue throughout the winter in the Darien area. Put shrimp on the bottom to connect. The river level was 12.5 feet (a record high level for the date) and rising (60 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.8 feet and rising (66 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on November 17th.

Satilla River – The river came up fast this week but is heading back down again. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the best bet this week is the Hwy 158 area of the river, as it is falling fast there. The catfish bite has been good for the anglers who went in the upper river. A few folks caught crappie and bass while the river was rising. Buzzbaits fished fast fooled the bass, while minnows duped the crappie.  The river level on November 17th at the Waycross gage was 10.0 feet and falling (62 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 8.4 feet and rising.

St. Marys River – The St.Marys is still very fishable. With the warm temperatures this week, the bream have been killing crickets. Anglers reported creels of around 20 fish per trip this week. Some crappie were caught on minnows, and catfish are still being caught about wherever you drop a shrimp, rooster liver, or pink worm. The river level at the MacClenny gage on November 17th was 2.4 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – Anglers reported catching some warmouth this week on the Folkston side. Expect the flier bite to pick up with the cooler temperatures this weekend. Pitch yellow or pink sallies with a bream-buster pole, and suspend the little fly underneath a small balsa float to keep it in their face. Check out Craig James’ article about warmouth fishing on the swamp in the November issue of Georgia Outdoor News.

Local Ponds – Chad Lee caught 4 nice bass up to 4 pounds this weekend on chrome Rat-L-Traps. He also broke a big one off and could hear it shaking its head under the boat for what seemed like forever. That’s a bad feeling! He also added a nice mess of crappie to the creel by throwing jigs. Michael Winge said that Waycross area ponds were producing good catches of crappie and bass. Both minnows and jigs fooled the crappie, while free-lined shiners worked best for bass.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Herb Deener, my dad, and I fished with Justin Bythwood last Wednesday at Crooked River to celebrate their birthdays. What a celebration it was! We landed 58 seatrout and a bluefish, all on artificials. Early in the day, a Sea Shad suspended under an Equalizer Float fooled them best. Panhandle moon, copperhead, glitterbug, Texas roach, and sexy shad worked on the first of the outgoing tide around shell mounds. The fish were not too picky about color, but wanted you to place it near the shell mounds. Late in the trip as the tide got low, Justin put it on my dad and me. He threw a copperhead Sea Shad on an 1/8-oz. Flashy Jighead and whacked them. He caught and released our biggest fish of the day, a 21-incher on the rig. I threw a larger red Flashy Jighead and could not fool them. They wanted that little, subtle bait fished on a steady retrieve. We ended up bringing home 36 trout, although we had our limit of 45 that were legal size. We caught fish everywhere we stopped, but the first of the outgoing and just before low tide were the most concentrated bites. The trout bite was excellent for another group of Waycross anglers who fished on Monday and brought home 17 nice seatrout from the Brunswick area. Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught lots of sheepshead from jetties, pilings, and bridges. Fiddler crabs were the best bait. He also reported good catches of trout, redfish, and whiting from the Brunswick and St. Marys areas. The Hampton River area produced good catches of trout, redfish, and flounder. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that sheepshead averaging 3 to 5 pounds were caught in big numbers from the pier this week. Creels of 6 to 12 fish were the norm. Big bull reds to 54 inches were caught again this week at night. On Tuesday, anglers landed a few trout. Nice-sized blue crabs were still around. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet: Trout fishing has been excellent, but keep a close eye on the winds before deciding to go. This weekend’s forecasted cold front should get the crappie biting. Try to fish before the front for the best bite, as the fish will likely turn off for a day or so after the front. Ponds are a great place to get away from the winds this weekend. Fish late in the afternoon for your best shot at a good bite. Catfishing on the lower St. Marys River or White Oak Creek on the lower Satilla is an excellent bet if the winds aren’t too high. Put shrimp on the bottom at the mouth of creeks during the outgoing tide and hold on.

Justin 21 inch trout IMG_0919
Justin Bythwood caught and released this 21-inch trout on Wednesday while fishing out of Crooked River. It inhaled a copperhead Sea Shad fished on an 1/8-oz. rootbeer Flashy Jighead cast across a mud flat.