Georgia Fishing Report: September 22, 2017

Was it a good week? a tough week? However your week went…always know that fishing can probably make it better. 

One last friendly reminder that tomorrow, Sat. Sept. 23, Georgia will take part in celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day. On this day, there will be multiple outdoor-oriented events scheduled across the state. These are a great place to check out new activities or bring a friend that might be new to hunting or fishing. Check out information on National Hunting and Fishing Day HERE and a schedule of statewide events HERE. How about a Free Fishing Day too?

This week, we just have a brief report from Southeast Georgia. Here is to hoping you can get some fishing in this weekend! 

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

I will be taking teens on one-hour bass fishing excursions in a boat during the Outdoor Adventure Day this coming Saturday (September 23rd) at Paradise Public Fishing Area near Tifton. If you know of a teen (12-16 years old) who would like to sign up for one of the 10 slots and learn the details of bass fishing on a lake that has not been opened to the public before the event (the catch rates should be great), then call the Waycross Office (912-285-6094) to sign up.

Hurricane Irma’s aftermath is still wreaking havoc with the river and saltwater bites. The rivers are all still blown out, so don’t plan to fish them this week. The Okefenokee will be tough probably for the rest of this week as fish push out into the newly-flooded flats and concentrations of fish will be hard to find.

Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: September 22, 2017”

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Georgia Fishing Report: September 15, 2017

What a week. In all seriousness, I hope that you and yours survived Irma with minimal damage – if not to all your structures, at least to your ability to survive! 

As we think towards days with a little less “heavy” cares, how about a fishing report or two to brighten things up? 

Oh, and a reminder that on Sat. Sept. 23, Georgia will take part in celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day. On this day, there will be multiple outdoor-oriented events scheduled across the state. These are a great place to check out new activities or bring a friend that might be new to hunting or fishing. Check out information on National Hunting and Fishing Day HERE and a schedule of statewide events HERE. Oh, and did I happen to mention that if you pledge HERE to take someone hunting or fishing before Sept. 23, you could be entered into the running for a really sweet prize pack (Did someone say NASCAR?). Not enough? How about a Free Fishing Day too?

NHF Day logo

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has listed their “Best Places in Georgia to Fish” – Are any of these spots your personal favorite? 

Fishing Reports below include Central, Southeast and North Georgia.

CENTRAL (EAST AND WEST) GEORGIA

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

 Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.  

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 70’S

Bass fishing is good.  Zoom u tail worms in green pumpkin on a Texas rig can work as the bullet weight cannot move up and down the line.  The heavier the cover you can find the better.  Way up in the Savannah River and in Beaverdam Creek are favorites as the water goes onto transition.  Flip or pitch the jig into the cover and watch the line as it falls.  The lighter the weight you can use, the better the results will be.  Spotted bass along with largemouth are holding tight to cover during the day.  Down below the 72 Bridge use a #5 Shad Rap and DT6 to crank the waters just off the rocky points.  Fish the bridge too.  Bass are using these areas to feed and there is some current there most of the time.  Try using long casts and slow retrieves.  This is all it will take to trigger a strike.  Early in the mornings are the best times for using the crank baits.  Carolina and Texas rigs that are fished very slowly along the bottom are the best choice during the mid-day periods.  If you see a reef pole, use the Lowrance Structure Scan Technology and find the man-made brush plies that will be close by.  This is when the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock the key areas and actually “see” the fish.

Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: September 15, 2017”

Georgia Fishing Report: September 8, 2017

As Georgia makes preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irma, the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division staff hope that everyone is able to remain safe and on “high ground.”

Also, if you will, please keep DNR’s Wildlife and Law Enforcement Division staff in your thoughts and prayers, too, as they are asked to respond to needed areas across the state.

Should you need some fishing tips, let us be sure to share the latest information with you. Today, we have reports from North and Southeast Georgia.

NORTH GEORGIA

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

As we stay busy here with storm prep, fish hauling, and vacancy-filling, we hope everyone remains safe this weekend, and let’s all hope that Georgia is spared from Irma’s wrath.

trout stocking Colt at Smith DH 11-24-15 resized

But, if our state suffers, know that our game wardens, wildlife techs, and fisheries techs (including Leon Brotherton, Chris Looney, and Colt Martin) are ready to re-open major roads and help folks in need.  Our skilled sawyers and dozer drivers don’t simply clear a WMA road or drop trees for fish habitat in reservoirs and brookie streams.  They can also clear a blocked highway in minutes, so that emergency vehicles can respond to critical public needs.

Here we go:

TOCCOA TAILWATER WHOPPER

Have you seen this monster brown yet?

LAKE LANIER

Bass: (This report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley – Jimbo on Lanier ) – Water Temp – 78 bass spot Lanier JackB Aug 2017degrees, Water Level – 5.7 feet below full pool. Well, more changes in weather this week and every indication that an early fall is upon us.  I for one am not complaining.  The cool nights and mild high temps are definitely lowering the lake temperatures as we have now dropped into the 70’s.  Ideally, we will stay there awhile as this temperature range often leads to the best topwater and swimbait action!  The fishing has been good over the past few days, however each day is different, and the fish have different preferences in accordance.  Remain flexible in your approach.  You can catch fish from 15 feet all the way out to 40 and beyond depending on what techniques you prefer.  Some days, those bigger fish are out in deeper water (30+) and if you want quality, you need to spend the time out there with the likes of a dropshot or flutter spoon.  With all that said, we are still getting some quality fish around brush on off-shore structure such as points and humps. The schooling bite is still there on some days, but not every day.  If the wind is blowing in the morning, the schooling bite seems nearly nonexistent.  A smaller swimbait has continued to work well on the schooling fish.  Also, a Spybait is a good option as well when the fish are on the move but not eating your larger offerings. Throw that little thing out and let it sink to about a 10 count, then SLOWLY retrieve. On the topwater side, a pencil popper, gunfish, a whopper plopper, and a fluke have been my main choices for topwater, and a sebile for a swimbait. Also, new this week, try a jerkbait if the fish won’t come up. A Spro McStick should do nicely.  Focus on offshore structure with cover, such as brush on humps and points, for this approach. We are still concentrating on brush in 18-25 feet of water, but as I mentioned above, the deeper stuff, up to and including timber edges in 35-40 feet on the same type structure, is holding fish as well.   In general, focus on the areas that offer close proximity to much deeper water. Those areas will now hold the best numbers and size of fish. Also, with the cooler temps and wind coming this weekend, I could see a crankbait or spinnerbait being productive up shallow on wind blown banks.  Something to keep in mind.  I continue to use the Lanier Bait offerings with good success on the drop shot, and there are many good colors from which to choose.  Make sure to rig your drop-shot with 6 or 8 lbs test Seaguar Fluorocarbon in Invizx or Abrazx.  Here are my remaining available dates for September:  11, 16, 19, 25, 27, 28. Fall is coming and so will be that awesome topwater and swimbait bite.  Don’t miss it, schedule your trip now! Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun!  Thanks to all and May God Bless.

Lanier Profile: From Chris Looney with Fisheries Management) – Here are the latest dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles for Lake Lanier.

RIVER BASS

Rivers are dropping and clearing, so grab some small Texas-rigged worms or fly rod poppers and give it a go.  Don’t forget BLUE poppers to imitate the damselflies.  Dredger did some “personal research last weekend and confirmed their effectiveness.”

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Flyfishing Open House- Sept 9: info HERE.
  • Dahlonega Trailfest and free TU Membership- Sept 9: Info HERE 
  • Unicoi Outdoor Adventure Day – Sept 23: Info HERE and HERE.
  • US Forest Service Public Meetings: National forest fans –Attend a meeting , or just review the draft plan and submit your comments to USFS. If you hunt, fish, hike, or birdwatch, you should care enough to comment.

Here’s wishing everyone a safe and quiet weekend, with no despair or needed repair next week.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

All eyes are on major hurricane Irma as she churns up the Atlantic. Assuming the storm isn’t bearing down on us, I will be giving two seminars at the Douglas Outdoor Show this Saturday. I’ll be talking about saltwater fishing on the Georgia Coast at 10am and fishing the Okefenokee Swamp and southeast Georgia rivers at 11am. Last quarter moon is September 13th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

The report from Jaycees Landing is that catfish were caught in decent numbers by bottom fishing. A few crappie were caught in the oxbows, and good mullet catches were common. Fishing in the Altamaha Park area was good over the holiday weekend. Good-sized flatheads were caught on live baitfish. Crickets and Satilla Spins were tops for bream. Topwater plugs produced some nice bass catches. Mullet were numerous on worms. Minnows produced some nice crappie from the deeper holes. The river level was 2.1 feet and rising (85 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.3 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on September 5th.

SATILLA RIVER

The river is dropping out and getting hard to get around in a boat in the upper reaches. That didn’t stop Craig James from whacking a giant 7-pound bass on a buzzbait last Wednesday. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the buzzbait bite for bass was still on. Redbreasts were caught with Satilla Spins, and catfish were fooled with pink worms fished on the bottom.  The river level on September 5th at the Waycross gage was 4.8 feet and falling (81 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 5.2 feet and falling.

ST MARYS RIVER

The river is still high (but it is dropping), and catfish are your best option. The river level at the MacClenny gage on September 5th was 9.0 feet and falling (it was as high as 12 feet over the weekend).

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

I took my daughter (Ellie) and son (Timothy) to the east side of the swamp between church services on Sunday. We only got to fish an hour, but we managed 8 feisty bowfin (mudfish) and a gar during that short time. Our numbers were about half the usual catch rate per hour, but the size was larger than average. Our 4 largest bowfin weighed 4, 5, 5, and 6 pounds, and Ellie had an 8-pound class fish pull off at the boat. Our best colors of Dura-Spins were white and jackfish (red/white/yellow). The water was over a foot higher than last time we fished, and I think many of the fish were spread out over the flooded prairies.

LOCAL PONDS

Lots of effort was spent fishing ponds over the holiday weekend. Some of the better reports I received were from Julius Conner and Angelo Miles. They had around 100 bass up to a few pounds, and their hottest lure was a gold flash Keitech swimbait fished on a light (1/8-oz.) jighead with an exposed Gamakatsu hook. They also caught them on some other lures, but that little swimbait was hot. Chad Lee fished some ponds in the Alma area and caught 56 bass total for the week. Most of the fish were fooled with NED heads and small worms. His biggest, a 6.9-pounder, ate a Berkley Chigger Craw (black/blue). Several others of his bass ate ZOOM Ol’ Monster Worms. Michael Winge said that buzzbaits and topwater plugs continued to produced some nice bass. Pink worms fished on the bottom caught good numbers of catfish. Bream were caught around shoreline vegetation with crickets during the evening.

SE GA Jim Page Grass Carp IMGP5271
Jim Page of Blackshear landed this 20 lb grass carp using a piece of fish food by a feeder in a pond

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

A pair of Waycross anglers fished the St. Marys Jetties on Monday and landed a 5-lb., 8-oz. flounder and an oversized redfish by pitching bucktail jigs to the rocks. Another crew of anglers fishing inshore caught their limit of slot-sized redfish, a sheepshead, and a third of a cooler of flounder by dabbling mudminnows, finger mullet, and Berkley Swimming Minnows around current breaks and creek mouths. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that whiting, bull redfish, trout and flounder were caught from the pier. Blue crabs were also caught over the holiday weekend. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

Saltwater is probably not going to be a comfortable option this weekend, no matter which direction Hurricane Irma takes, and it might be downright dangerous. Protected waters like ponds and rivers are likely going to be the best options for fishing as the wind ramps up this weekend. If you want to stay inside, come listen to my tips on fishing the coast, the Okefenokee Swamp, and southeast Georgia Rivers at the outdoors show in Douglas. My talks will be 10am and 11am on Saturday.

 

Georgia Fishing Report: September 1, 2017

If you are someone who likes to make plans, go ahead and mark off Sept. 23 on your calendar to attend any of the free activities scheduled for National Hunting and Fishing Day.  Choose from events like Outdoor Adventure Days or Kids Fishing Events as we celebrate this occasion, first established in 1973, that recognizes generations of hunters and anglers for the time and money they donate to wildlife conservation programs. 

So far this year, 4 anglers have successfully completed the Georgia Bass Slam. David Hampton, the most recent “slammer” has caught NINE of the 10 designated bass species! Congratulations David – we thank you for participating and can’t wait to hear when you land species #10!

Now, let’s get to it. Reports today come from Southeast, Central and North Georgia. Let’s get out there and Go FISH!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

Effort has remained low this week, but it is picking up a little. Saltwater effort was almost nonexistent over the weekend because of the high winds. Full Moon is September 6th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

A pair of Blackshear anglers fished the Jesup area of the river in the wind on Saturday and caught a nice bass, a big bream, and several bowfin. It was a little slow for them, but they had a blast. Other reports from Jaycees Landing were that crickets produced some crappie, and catfishing was consistent. One angler fishing the upper river caught a cooler full of channel catfish by using stinkbait on sponge hooks. Reports from Altamaha Park were that the mullet fishing picked up significantly this week (several folks had full coolers). Jolly green giant worms and red wigglers produced best. Some big flatheads were caught again this week on live baitfish. Bream fishing was most effective with crickets and Satilla Spins, according to reports. Minnows produced some nice crappie from the deeper holes. The river is dropping out well, and the greenish color is starting in the upper tributaries. The river level was 2.4 feet and falling (82 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.2 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on August 29th.

SATILLA RIVER

Effort was low, but Craig James fished the upper river with his Gold Digger buzzbait over the weekend and had a nice what appeared to be a 4-lb class bass from the photo. The river is getting low, so getting around in a motorboat will be a challenge in the upper river. The level on Tuesday when I crossed the river was perfect for a float trip. The river level on August 29th at the Waycross gage was 4.5 feet and falling (81 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.0 feet and falling.The river is getting really low, so getting around in a motorboat will be a challenge in the upper river. The level on Tuesday when I crossed the river was perfect for a float trip. Craig James fished the upper river with his Gold Digger buzzbait over the weekend and had a nice what appeared to be a 4-lb class bass. The river level on August 29th at the Waycross gage was 4.5 feet and falling (81 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.0 feet and falling.

Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: September 1, 2017”

Georgia Fishing Report: August 25, 2017

Well,  did you get outside and experience some of the fun surrounding the eclipse? What a great opportunity to get outside with your friends and family.  

Need another excuse to get outside? How about take somebody fishing this weekend? You can find all sorts of information on the WRD website, including places to go (like public fishing areas), tips on fishing with kids and lake and river information.

Below, you will find new fishing reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia. Now, be sure you take all this information and put it to good use!

CENTRAL (EAST AND WEST) GEORGIA

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

Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant. Note: Ken has 2 upcoming special appearances at Bass Pro Shops in Lawrenceville (Sept. 23 12 Noon-5 pm; Sept. 30 2 pm).

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Look on points in the creeks and the main lake reef markers for active bass that will be very close to deeper cooler waters midday.  Most crank baits are slow but a Shad Rap in the #5 silver black back is a fair choice if it is overcast.  Up the river use the 3/8 ounce Lucky Craft Redemption spinner bait with all silver blades, and slow this bait on the wood on the banks.  Shad Raps in the #7 size in shad color right on the bank cover later each day can draw strikes.  Use the medium crank baits and shad and green tiger colors are fair.  Cast parallel to the main lake ledges and use a slow to moderate retrieve once you achieve the ten foot depth.  Go small with a light weight Carolina Rig on ten-pound test line and a 1/4 to 3/8 ounce weight.  The leader needs to be 18 to 20 inches long.  Use a pearl or smoke color Zoom Finesse worm or a Zoom baby Fluke in Albino.

 

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.63 FEET, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The best advice is to go shallow.  On the rocks, wood or good weed beds, some nice bass are hanging nearby.  Start off the morning with a medium Chug Bug and work it at a medium pace after making a long cast in and around these areas.  Look for the herring and if they are present, don’t leave the area.  Long run out points in the rivers is a good place to start.  Next go to the medium diving wiggle wart and work the sides and the drop off areas in the same place.  Go over the area first and watch your Lowrance Down Scan and Side Scanning technology for the bait fish.  Anglers are using the Spy Baits and light 8-pound test Sufix Elite line on a spinning outfit to get the inactive or non feeding fish to bite.  A steady slow retrieve will work just fine and don’t stop moving the bait.  The Rapala #5 and #7 Shad Raps are also working either in the Balsa wood or the suspending models.  The late evening bite seems to be the best.  The smaller Husky jerk baits are also catching bass when worked along the ditches leading into the bigger creeks.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED TO MUDDY UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPERATURE 87-92

Bass: Bass fishing is fair.  The buzz bait at first light until the sun gets up is working well.  Work the deeper docks and sea walls on the main lake.  Make sure you have chartreuse in your buzz bait.  Use your Lowrance to locate the humps on the south end with fish on them then target the hump with the Carolina rig or the crank bait.  You can also work the grass on the south end early and late with a frog and you might pick up some big fish.

Striper: (Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741) – Striper fishing is poor/fair.  The dam at first light is the place to be.  Live bait, spoons, popping corks and 1/4 ounce jigs with a 3-inch curly tail will produce.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are in full summer mode.  Look in the submerged timber from 10 to 20 feet deep.  Live bait as well as jigging will put lots of fish in your boat.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools in the timber and start catching.

Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: August 25, 2017”

Georgia Fishing Report: August 18, 2017

Was this week long for anyone else? Whew – glad to see the Friday afternoon horizon peeking at us. Hopefully your weekend involves wetting a line somewhere!

This week, we have fresh reports from North and Southeast Georgia to help you out and/or get you motivated to visit your local fishing hole.

First, let me tell you about a new boat ramp on Lake Chatuge that “officially” opened this past Monday. The Mayor’s Park Boat Landing in Hiawassee, GA will be sure to be a well-used ramp for residents and visitors alike to this beautiful lake. This ramp is part of a larger area planned for development by the City, and is expected to include a pavilion, restrooms, a dog park and more. Looking to fish on Chatuge? Check out this information first!

 

NORTH GEORGIA

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

Hopeful Eclipse Survivors,

Here’s a brief report from north Georgia, where many of us will hunker down until the visiting crowds exit our environs after Monday’s event.

Not much has changed on the fishing front, which always parallels our north Georgia weather.  We’re still dodging afternoon thunderstorms and chasing water that is clear enough to fish.  Last weekend we were forced to go to Plan B, small lakes, but still had a good time.  The good news now is that the larger rivers are clearing and starting to recede, so we’ll have renewed shots at river bass, bream, and stripers.

Good luck this week navigating the roads and rivers in our “path of totality.”  Here we go:

LAKE LANIER

Bass: (Lanier Bass Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, 770-542-7764) – We’ve had some rain this week and the lake levels are trending upwards once again as a result.  The warmer weather has returned as well which has brought an increase to the surface temperatures. The report for this week has not changed much from last week as in general, the patterns remain about the same.  Each day is different however, and fish have different preferences in accordance.  Remain flexible in your approach.  You can catch fish from 15 feet all the way out to 40 and beyond depending on what techniques you prefer.  We had some outstanding days last week on swimbaits and topwater for both numbers and size.  That is not always the case however.  Some days, those bigger fish are out in deeper water (30+) and if you want quality, you need to spend the time out there with the likes of a dropshot or flutter spoon.  With all that said, we are still getting some quality fish around brush on off-shore structure such as points and humps. We are still seeing a good schooling bite most mornings and it has been lasting upwards of 2 hours.  A smaller swimbait has worked well this week on the schooling fish. Also, a Spybait is a good option as well when the fish are on the move but not eating your larger offerings. Throw that little thing out and let it sink to about a 10 count, then SLOWLY retrieve. On the topwater side, a chug bug, a gunfish, a whopper plopper, and a fluke have been my main choices for topwater, and a sebile for a swimbait.  Focus on offshore structure with cover, such as brush on humps and points, for this approach. We are still concentrating on brush in 18-25 feet of water, but as I mentioned above, the deeper stuff, up to and including timber edges in 35-40 feet on the same type structure, is holding fish as well.   In general, focus on the areas that offer close proximity to much deeper water. Those areas will now hold the best numbers and size of fish.   I continue to use the Lanier Bait offerings with good success on the drop shot.  Apparently Fruity Worms do rule!  Make sure to rig your drop-shot with 6 or 8 lbs test Seaguar Fluorocarbon in Invizx or Abrazx.  Here are my remaining August available dates: 21, 22, 26, 29, 30. Now is a great time to learn off-shore fishing for summer bass on Lanier!  Deep humps, hidden points, and ledges are a focus now – Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun!  Thanks to all and May God Bless.

Stripers: Deep Stripers – Good video

SMALL LAKES

Lake Russell: With their bass rivers blown out, Guru and Dredger changed directions.  They waited out Saturday afternoon’s storms and then put their kayaks in to 100-acre Lake Russell, near Mt Airy.  The fishing was slow during the first hour due to two main reasons: a) they tried the upper end of the lake, which was shallow and weed-choked and b) the sun was high.   They still managed a Kodak Moment by capturing a cool pic of a post-storm rainbow in the lake’s background.  Enjoy.  The fishing picked up as the sun went down and the nearshore water depth increased.  At 8PM, the switch turned on and the duo landed a nice batch of bream and small bass.  Guru’s hot fly was a blue popper, colored the same as the abundant damselflies.  Dredger nailed small bream on a small white popper, and then switched to a white stealth bomber and high-graded bigger bream and cookie-cutter, twelve-inch bass. The best part of the trip is that each yakker had fifty acres of the lake to himself, as the two were the only anglers there on Saturday evening. Give this secluded jewel a try soon.

Unicoi Lake: After Saturday’s fun, the duo grabbed another yak for fishing buddy Sautee and assaulted Unicoi Lake on Sunday evening.  The fishing was slow for flyrodders Sautee and Dredger, who managed small handfuls of small bream, and then a couple of dinky bass on top at dusk.  Cheater Guru snuck in a spinning rod with a six-inch pumpkinseed worm on a shaky head, and he put a licking on his buddies.  Every other downed tree produced a chunky bass for the former flyrodder, who has now slipped to the dark side, complete with lead bullet sinkers.  Out of sheer bitterness, his former buddies plan to report him to Orvis Quality Control reps…And bring spinning rods themselves next time.

RIVER BASS

Chattooga: Landon said he braved last week’s high, stained  water on the Chattooga by a) wearing PFD and b) only wading at the edge, and he caught a half dozen Bartram bass on small soft plastics (Yum crawdad), bounced in the slow eddies.

Hooch Tailwater:

TROUT

Trout Stocking List: As out late season stragglers finally grow large enough to stock, this sneak-previewer knows that WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson will have a longer list of Eclipse Weekend destinations for you.  The weekly “trout stocked” list is usually posted by mid-afternoon each Friday, once JLT knows the fish have hit the water. You’ll find it HERE.

Wetfly’s Far (!!!) Eastern Trip: Fishing buddy Moe usually take a trip home, far-east of Atlanta each summer, and finds some time to wet a line in some of the most scenic waters I’ve ever seen in a photo.  Enjoy Moe’s annual photo essay HERE.

MORE GOOD STUFF

Toccoa Good Deeds: WRD Fisheries staff joined members of the Fannin County Chamber of Commerce and volunteers from Trout Unlimited to help clean up the Toccoa River on Tuesday (8/15).  Together, the group removed around 3,500 pounds of junk from the river bottom behind the Chamber’s new office location in downtown McCaysville.  Old tires, engine parts, lawnmowers, school desks, shoes, propane tanks, and kids’ toys were among the items that filled the dumpster when the day was done. HERE is a link to the Chamber’s Facebook post about the cleanup.

TU Blueridge Toccoa Cleanup Aug 2017

Looking for Volunteers! Unicoi Outdoor Adventure Day: I still need a bunch of volunteers to help kids cast a fly rod and tie a pink san juan worm.  Please contact me if you’re willing to give up Saturday, September 23, for the sake of your sport and the future of conservation in Georgia.  Help save our kids from Iphones and lethargy!

Ken’s Reservoir Reports: Fresh on Fridays

Good luck as we all patiently await September’s cooling nights.  As always, thanks for buying your fishing licenses and TU brookie license plates! We hope you survive the Monday blackout and “eclipse” your own personal best shoal bass or striper soon.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

Saltwater fishing was good this week, and pond fishing has been consistent. New Moon is August 21st. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Waycross Fisheries Office staff have been doing their annual standardized catfish electrofishing sampling at 10 stations along the river. They have been dipping, measuring, and releasing lots of channel, blue, and flathead catfish. The population for all three species is high, so go catch you some! The river is swollen and swift, but you should be able to find some backwaters or sloughs to fish. At Jaycees Landing, bream, bass, mullet, and catfish were caught over the weekend. Reports from Altamaha Park were that the bream fishing has been very good, even with the rising water. Crickets, bettlespins, and Satilla Spins produced some good catches. Big numbers of catfish were also caught. Flatheads ate goldfish, while pink worms and shrimp fished on the bottom fooled channels and blues. Buzzbaits and merthiolate Trick Worms fooled some good bass. I heard of a tournament that took 16 pounds to win, and third place was still in the 14-pound range. The bass bit way better this weekend on the river than last weekend. The mullet run picked up this week, with fish being caught on small pieces of green giant worms fished on number 6 or 8 hooks. In the extreme downstream areas, some undersized redfish were mixed in the bass catches. The river level was 6.2 feet and falling (87 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 7.5 feet and rising at the Doctortown gage on August 15th.

SATILLA RIVER

Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that buzzbaits continued to do damage this week for bass. Some quality fish were caught with chartreuse versions. The bream and redbreast bite picked up for those pitching crickets. Bush hooks and anglers fishing with rod and reel and pink worms for bait caught very good stringers of catfish. The river level on August 15th at the Waycross gage was 5.9 feet and falling (83 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 8.8 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER

The river is still out of its banks. The only real option is catfish, but it’s best to fish elsewhere again this week. The river level at the MacClenny gage on August 15th was 10.6 feet and rising.

SE GA John Biagi Redfish IMGP5155
John Biagi caught this 33 1/2″ redfish while pitching a 1/2 oz electric chicken bucktail rig to the St. Marys jetties on Friday.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

On the west side, SC Foster State Park staff said that anglers have been fishing the boat basin with success. Catfish have been the primary catch, and shrimp or worms on the bottom have been consistent bets. Okefenokee Adventures staff reported that essentially nobody has been fishing on the east side this week. They did have a 5-pound class chain pickerel (jackfish) jump in their tour boat this week, though. So, the fish are there, just nobody is fishing for them. If you want to simply catch fish (and lots of them), take an in-line spinner and cast down the middle of the canal or cast around the boat basin. Bowfin (mudfish) will inhale spinners during the heat of summer, and it is possible to catch dozens of the hard-fighting fish per hour. Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross reported that very few folks fished the swamp, but a few caught warmouth in their honey-holes.

LOCAL PONDS

Wyatt Crews and a friend fished a local pond on Saturday night and caught 5 bass – 4 on black flat-blade buzzbaits with black blades and one on a black jitterbug. They saw over 30 shooting stars, also (there was a meteor shower on Saturday night). Chad Lee fished Alma area ponds and caught 20 bass over the weekend. Most were on YUM crawfish, but one of the biggest (a 4-pounder) inhaled a Pop-R topwater plug. Daniel Johnson and Logan Deen fished along with Chad Lee on Tuesday evening and caught a few nice bass. Logan’s 2 1/2-pounder that inhaled a rage craw was their largest. Michael Winge said that Whopper Plopper plugs were fooling some nice bass in Waycross area ponds. Shiners and topwater frogs also produced some bass strikes.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

The St. Marys Jetties were rough on Friday when John Biagi fished with a friend. The wind was blowing in some big swells from the east, but they still managed to catch a 33 1/2-inch redfish, a 17-inch flounder, a couple jack crevalle, and several black sea bass around the rocks. All of their fish ate electric chicken 1/2-oz bucktail jigs, even though they tried other colors. When the tide got up, they came inshore and fished the marshes and creeks around St. Marys and landed a half-dozen seatrout up to 18 inches, 3 small redfish (one was a small keeper), and a 4 to 5-foot bonnethead shark. Their inshore fish came on limetreuse and Texas roach Assassin Sea Shads suspended underneath Equalizer Floats. Steve and Brenda Hampton have been fishing the coast all summer and have been doing really well on flounder. Most of the their fish have come from the Jekyll Pier on mudminnows or finger mullet. They caught their biggest so far this year, a 21-inch doormat, this past weekend. During their trips, they have caught from a couple to 18 flatties per trip. Some tarpon were reported from St. Simons area inshore rivers. Lots of bull redfish have shown up on the beaches. A big chunk of mullet on a surf rod is a great way to target them. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simon’s Bait & Tackle said that sharks, trout, flounder, whiting, jack crevalle, and croakers were caught from the pier. Bait, including finger mullet and pogies, were also cast-netted from the pier in good numbers. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

Flounder fishing has been very good this week at multiple locations. The size of the flounder has really picked up over the last couple of weeks, and that should continue as we head into the fall. The St. Marys Jetties is my favorite place to fish, and I love to pitch artificials to them. I’m usually pitching a Jetty Jig and Assassin Sea Shad or a bucktail jig. Along with flounder, you have a great shot at a bull redfish, tarpon, or shark. Seatrout fishing should be decent around the daylight high tide, but the afternoon will probably be fairly muddy with the big new moon tides. Bass fishing either at night or early in the morning is a good option in local ponds. Topwaters or swimbaits at first light should get crushed. Slow down with unweighted stickworms or Texas-rigged plastics once the sun gets up.

Georgia Fishing Report: August 11, 2017

The fishing news is flying to ya – check out the latest reports below from Southwest, Southeast, Central and North Georgia.

Hope to see you out on the water this weekend!

SOUTHWEST GEORGIA

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

LAKE WALTER F GEORGE

The bass fishing at Lake George has settled into the typical summer time pattern for this reservoir. Topwater for the first couple of hours of the day has been good but the action has slowing considerably once the sun is fully up. Frogs continue to be the popular bait in the shallows. Catfish fishing continue to be good and almost any type of bait seems to be working. Some anglers have good success this time of year anchoring on flats and using dog food inside an old onion bag to bait up the cats. Jug fishing is also a great way to relax and catch some dinner during the summer months. Most anglers use swimming pool noodles cut into one to two foot lengths for catching catfish with this technique. Please remember to keep track of your noodles or jugs and retrieve them when you are finished.

Click HERE to take you the Army Corps of Engineers website which has lots of useful information about access, fishing attractors, camping and more.

 

FLINT RIVER

The Lower Flint River continues to be higher and more turbid than usual. The wildlife Resources Division recently completed our annual standardized catfish electrofishing samples on the Lower Flint. The river above Lake Blackshear near highway 27 and the river section between Lake Worth and Abram shoals had both good numbers and big fish when compared to the other portions of the Lower Flint River sampled. Anglers should concentrate on deep holes during the daylight hours and areas immediately adjacent to these holes when fishing at night. Remember, flathead catfish prefer live fish for food and a large bream makes a great bait. Limb lines are another good technique for catching summer time flathead catfish. A reminder that striped bass fishing is closed in the lower Flint River and its tributaries from May 1 – October 31.

Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: August 11, 2017”

Georgia Fishing Report: July 28, 2017

Well, summertime is dwindling, so be sure to plan just a few more quick fishing trips with the kids before they get back to reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic. 

Smallmouth

Georgia saw the 3rd angler succeed in getting a Georgia Bass Slam. Jon Hummel (photo to left) caught a largemouth, shoal, smallmouth, redeye, and a spotted bass. Congrats Jon!! More on the Georgia Bass Slam HERE.

TomClifford

Tom Clifford sent us a pic of a 10.4 lb largemouth he caught (and later released) on an 8-inch bone-colored Bull Shad lure in a Valdosta-area lake. Nice one Tom!

Don’t let summer get away from you without at least one good fish tale to tell – see you out on the water!

CENTRAL GEORGIA

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

(Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant). 

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair as the water temperatures continue to rise.  Bass fishing is best first thing in the morning.  Use the Rebel Pop R in shad and use light 8 pound test Sufix Elite line.  Use the Strike King Square Bill Crankbait in sexy shad and 1.5 ounce.  Top-water baits and medium diving crank baits seem to be the favorite baits early and then the plastics take over as the day heats up.  Bass are moving up on the rocky points to feed by late afternoon.  A crawfish color is an excellent choice during these periods.  Try the new Spybait lures for the suspended fish.  Also use the Ito Vision 110 jerk baits, Chug Bugs and Glass Shad Raps.   Jig and pig combinations and plastic 6 inch worms will still work. Continue to fish shallow submerged wood cover and the rocks. The bigger rocks are usually producing the better bass.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.1 FEET, 80’S

Bass fishing is slow.  The Zoom blue pumpkin lizard on a Texas rig has been taking only a few small bass on deep docks and points up lake.  There is no really decent pattern on these fish with the hot water.  Use a trick worm in greens and skip cast the baits under and around docks up lake and then let the bait sink out of sight.  Try a jig in black or browns and a crawfish Uncle Josh trailer in matching colors can get strikes, but fish the baits slowly.  The only crank bait worth fishing is a Rapala DT 14 crank bait in hot mustard and shad.  Have the frog on a 50-pound braid ready all day.  Use a black bait so the fish can see shadow of the lure.  Add a glass rattle in the bait too.

Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: July 28, 2017”

Georgia Fishing Report: July 21, 2017

Don’t let the summer heat keep you from some great fishing! Southeast and North Georgia reports follow.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA 

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

River, and ocean fishing has been great, even in the heat! Rains should give us extended fishing time in the rivers. Pond fishing has been consistent. New Moon is July 23rd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – The river dropped out a little from its full-bank status last week and should be in decent shape for several species by the weekend. Catfish have been tops during the high water, but other species will start biting, especially in the backwaters. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that catfish were biting well over the weekend. Some anglers were also reporting bream and shellcrackers. Donna at Altamaha Park said that channel catfish were tops this week, and shrimp and rooster livers produced well. Some mullet were caught (sandbars are hard to find at this level, but you can catch them from a boat). The river level was 5.4 feet and falling (84 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.0 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on July 18th.

Satilla River – Craig James floated the middle river this week and caught 10 big roosters pitching spiders. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that good-sized bass were caught with buzzbaits again this week. Bream and redbreasts ate Satilla Spins and topwater flies. Redbreasts were also caught with swamp spiders.  The river level July 18th at the Waycross gage was 5.0 feet and rising (82 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.4 feet and rising.

St. Marys River – Bream were caught from beds back in the creeks and sloughs. Catfish were caught from wherever you put a bait down, whether worms, shrimp, or rooster livers. The river level at the MacClenny gage on July 18th was 5.0 feet and rising.

Alapaha River – Ronnie Gaskins and his son Hunter fished the river over the weekend and did really well. Crawfish Satilla Spins produced a great mess of fish on Saturday, including some big ‘ol roosters. On Sunday, Ronnie and James Gore caught redbreasts and bluegills on crickets. The river level at the Statenville gage on July 18th was 3.2 feet and falling (82 degrees).

Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: July 21, 2017”

Georgia Fishing Report: July 14, 2017

We have fresh fishing reports! Be sure to check them out for the latest on what is biting and where! 

Here is some news for you smallmouth bass anglers – A smallmouth bass stocking program (collaborative effort between GaDNR and the US Fish and Wildlife Service) recently began at Blue Ridge Lake in Fannin County. This lake is the last major reservoir in Georgia that holds a fish-able smallmouth population which, unfortunately, has declined due to the illegal introduction of spotted bass. in other former smallmouth lakes in Georgia, spotted bass have completely wiped out the smallmouth population. More info on fishing Blue Ridge Lake HERE. 

Coming to you this week – reports from Central, Southwest and Southeast Georgia. Grab that pole and tackle box and hang up your sign that says “Gone Fishing!”

CENTRAL (WEST AND EAST) GEORGIA

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

 (Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The bass are out of the main lake up and half way into the creeks and rivers.  Slow rolling a 1/2 ounce spinner bait is working on a few bass, but the better bite is coming off the Ito Vision 110 jerks baits, Glass Shad Raps and DT Baits.  Try a Booyah Pond Magic Craw 3/16 ounce Tandem Senko Worm 5 watermelon and black.  This is a good bait to try after the sun is up.  A crawfish color, or type bait, is an excellent choice during these periods.  Good baits to use this week include Ito Vision 110 jerk baits, Chug Bugs, jig and pig combinations and plastic 6 inch worms.  Continue to fish submerged wood cover and the rocks.  The bigger rocks are usually producing the better bass.  Fish any bank structure, main lake points and secondary points.  The afternoon bite is picking up.  Work Carolina rigs on the channel ridges and any area where the bottom makes a sharp drop into deeper water.  The best strikes are occurring somewhere between three to ten feet of water.  Spots are after any #5 Shad Raps and the perch color has been very good.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.0 FEET, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair as the water temperatures continue to rise.  Bass fishing is best first thing in the morning.  Top-water baits and medium diving crank baits seem to be the favorite baits early and then the plastics take over as the day heats up.  Bass are moving up on the rocky points to feed by late afternoon.  The fish are on the move and most have pulled out a little as well as the bait fish.  The Lowrance CHIRP sonar is seeing the bass at the 10 to 15 foot range. Be sure to have the Spro McStick in ghost minnow and go with a more aggressive retrieve than past weeks.  Fish can also be caught in that same depth range on bluff walls with a jig head worm and big bite green pumpkin Zoom Finesse worm.  The south end bite has been the best this past week.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED TO MUDDY UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPERATURE 84-88

Bass: Bass fishing is fair.  The buzz bait bite is in full swing.  Work the deeper docks and sea walls on the main lake.  You can still catch a lot of fish under docks with a Texas rigged worm.  They will be on the smaller side but a lot of fun to catch.  There is also a shaky head bite under and around docks in the mid lake area.  Some fish are starting to move onto the deep water humps late in the day and you can catch them with a Carolina rig green worm.  Also large crank baits fished off of the south end humps will produce.  Use your Lowrance to locate the humps with fish on them then target the hump with the Carolina rig or the crank bait.  You can also work the grass on the south end early and late with a frog and you might pick up some big fish.

Striper: (Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service Call 404-803-0741) Striper fishing is good.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools of fish in the mouths of the coves and on the humps on the south end of the lake.  Live bait (shad) have been the best over the past week.  You can also pick up some fish on the pipeline with a spoon when Georgia Power is pulling water.  Early morning the spoon bite at the dam has started along with the top-water bite on popping corks.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is very good.  The fish are moving into the timber on an early summer pattern.  Long lining jigs over timber from 8 to 15 feet deep have been the best producers over the past week.  Match your color to the color of the water.

WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Fish early and avoid the main lake boat traffic.  There are still some fish shallow in the coves mid lake.  Look for any shad activity and throw a shad imitation lure.  Rooster Tails, Shad Raps, Rat L Traps and small crank baits are the best lures. Fish Rat L Traps shallow off the deeper points and then on old creek bends early.  Bass are tight and still a little deeper on cover.  Whitewater Creek is a good area and use the black and red Stanley 1/2 ounce jig and a larger Pro Pork Trailer by Uncle Josh.  Work the larger stump rows and old creek ditches.  Work jigs slowly over cover as the bass settle to the sharper drops on creek banks and points.  The fish are hungry and the fish are in pockets looking for shad.  Reel the baits with a medium retrieve and use at least a 1/2 ounce bait and cast it on the banks down lake.  Zoom Flukes in pearl on a 1/8 ounce lead head will get the spots to bite.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.4 FEET, CLEAR, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair to good.  The shoreline grass hasn’t had a chance to get going yet so a lot of it is still brown and floating.  Spinnerbaits and jigs are going to be heavy favorites.  With a stained lake, use the chartreuse and white skirts and the baits need to have bright Colorado blade.  The best bite is to fish 10 to 12 foot brush piles in the creeks.  The Rapala DT10 in fire tiger is working and take along the Rat L Traps and just cast to the banks.  Try the Rapala Ultra Light crank baits and forget larger lures.  The 1.5 inch Rapala Ultra Light crank bait is a perfect baitfish imitator that can sink to the bottom and get to the fish tight on the bottom.  Be sure to use the Lowrance DOWN scan technology to cover 4 times more water than conventional sonar.  Be sure to look for the “dots”.  With the expanded range it make this much easier to cover more water faster.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .85 FEET, 80’S

Bass fishing is good.  Start in the middle of the creeks and work to the back as the sun heats the water.  The fish are following the bait in the creeks.  A Rat L Trap fire tiger in stained water a chrome black in clear water. Fish the Rat L Trap around docks and wood as well as sea walls.  A number 7 Shad Rap is also producing in the same areas.  Be sure to use the Lowrance DOWN scan technology to cover 4 times more water than conventional sonar.  Be sure to look for the “dots”.  With the expanded range it make this much easier to cover more water faster.  Early try the chartreuse spinner bait fished on bridge rip rap and also use the Shad Raps.  These fish are moving as the water heats so keep moving until you find active fish.  Bait schools need to be in the area.

BIG LAZER PFA

  • Surface water temperature: 86o F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is about 23”
  • Water level: Water level is down 3” from full pool

Largemouth bass: Good– Bass fishing has slowed some due to the high temperatures.  Try locating bass in the upper 3 to 8 feet of water.  During the heat of the day, fish for bass in and around heavy cover, like the standing timber near the island.  Feeding bass will be more active during the early morning or later in the evenings.  Remember the lake is only open for fishing from sunrise to sunset, so if you can get an early start, the better your chances will be for getting that * trophy bass!

Crappie: Poor- Because of the warm summer temperatures crappie tend to move into deeper water as well as scatter themselves over much of lake.  Try easing through the standing timber presenting live minnows and/or brightly colored jigs at different depths; this may be your best bet for catching some slabs.

Bream: Good- Many bream are close-in to the banks during spawning season.  Crickets, as well as pink and red worms are excellent live bait for bream.  Also, small, brightly colored spinning lures will be hard for those spawning fish to resist.  Fishing with light tackle can make bream fishing more exciting especially for kids.  However, bream have small mouths so fish with small hooks for the best results.

Channel catfish: Good- Chicken livers, night crawlers, or shrimp fished at or almost at the bottom near woody structures and the rocks around the dam should produce a good bite.  You may also want to try catching some small bream and use them as cut bait, some good-size cats have been caught using this method.

*We are looking for a certified lake record Largemouth Bass.  Check out the information we have available at the sign in kiosk.  The fish should be either 26” long or over 10 lb to qualify, good luck!

MCDUFFIE PFA

  • Water temperature range across lakes: 86 ⁰F
  • Water Visibility: 10 – 54 inches

Largemouth Bass:  Overall, bass fishing has been steady with most of the catch being bass less than 14 inches.  Willow Lake has great shad hatches which provide some steady action.  Beaverlodge has produced a nice bass and the angler reported he was using a purple worm with no weight. Rodbender, the trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one Bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.  Anglers are still catching and releasing bass caught in Rod bender.  This regulation is strictly enforced.

Bream: Slow action.  Both bluegill and redear are being caught in shallow water across the PFA but no lake is a hot spot currently.  On the next full moon anglers should be able to find spawning beds again.  Rodbender also has bragging-size bream both bluegill and redear.

Channel Catfish:  The channel catfish bite has really picked up.  Catfish are biting in all PFA lakes but Lake Willow and Jones are the hot spots.  Anglers are limiting out on eating-size catfish using stink bait on the bottom.  One angler said they were using stink bait called “Hogwild” and had caught over 30 pounds and released them.  The best time to catch catfish is early morning or late evening on the bottom using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made catfish bait concoctions.  Catfish can be caught in shallow water less than two feet using a bobber and crickets.

Striped Bass: Stripers have been biting slowly in Bridge Lake and Clubhouse Lake.

SOUTHWEST GEORGIA 

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

LAKE WALTER F GEORGE

The bass fishing at Lake George has settled into the typical summer time pattern for this reservoir. The fish are still biting and can be found on the ledges and in the grass shallows early in the morning. Anglers have been catching fish in the 12-20 foot range using large spoons and football head jigs. Frogs continue to be the popular bait in the shallows. Bream and catfish fishing continue to be good if you are in the mood to dunk a cricket or worm. Jug fishing is a great way to relax and catch some dinner during the summer months. Most anglers use swimming pool noodles cut into one to two foot lengths for catching catfish with this technique. Almost any catfish bait will work. Please remember to keep track of your noodles or jugs and retrieve them when you are finished.

Click HERE to take you the Army Corps of Engineers website which has lots of useful information about access, fishing attractors, camping and more.

FLINT RIVER

The Lower Flint River continues to be higher and more turbid than usual. Anglers may want to check one of the river gauges below before planning a trip. However, the River is well within the banks and fishing should be good for almost all species found in the Flint. A recent sample by WRD Fisheries in the Albany area noted good numbers and sizes for shellcracker and some hand sized redbreast. Beetle spins, crickets and worms are all successful techniques for catching summer time bream in the Flint. A reminder that striped bass fishing is closed in the lower Flint River and its tributaries from May 1 – October 31.

The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:

LAKE SEMINOLE

The bass are still biting on Lake Seminole as we settle down into the heat of summer. Anglers are catching them on frogs, crankbaits and worms. Anglers are having success working the grass edges and the morning top water bite is still effective. This is a good time of year to fish top water after dark to beat the heat and find some actively feeding fish. The lake is at full pool due to all of the recent rains and also the main Flint arm is a bit more stained than usual for this time of year. Channel catfish are biting well and there have also been a few reports of hybrids being caught near the dam. Click HERE for Ken Sturdivant’s Lake Seminole Fishing report.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

I’m going to take a different approach this week. Instead of describing what happened on the water this past week, I am going to give a quick description of the peak bites during the dog-days of summer. You can go out there to your favorite place where you usually catch them in the spring and fall and do your usual things and you will likely catch a few fish. But, if you pay attention to the peak bite, you can absolutely whack the fish right now…. if you are not picky about what you catch. Last quarter moon is July 16th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

REDFISH, TARPON, TROUT, AND FLOUNDER AT THE COAST

The fishing around 4th of July weekend was about as good as it gets at the St. Marys Jetties, and it should continue throughout the summer. As water temperatures hit the SE GA IMG_0115mid-80’s the summertime bite is in full swing. Being from a bass fishing background, my favorite way to fool them is to pitch bucktail jigs or Jetty Jigs (heavy jigheads) rigged with Assassin Sea Shads to the St. Marys Jetties. I cast near the rocks and let it fall on a slack line (keep an eye on your line and set the hook if it twitches or stops earlier than it should) and then work it slowly back along the bottom. The bite is usually like a Texas-rigged worm bite, just a tick. But, sometimes the fish smoke it as you pick it up off the bottom. To fish this way, big tackle and lures are a must. I like flipping stick – sized gear (Abu-Garcia Veritas Toro 7ft 9in) and 20-30-lb. test braid on a stout reel (Abu-Garcia Revo ALX). I try to stay as light at possible so the line cuts through the water better and doesn’t allow as much bow in the line. But, when trying to tug on 40 to 150-pound fish, you don’t want to go too light. In the swift current at the jetties, you will want larger jigs – at least 1/2-oz. bucktails and jigheads and as heavy as 1-oz. if the current is really ripping. If there is almost any wind blowing, the jetties can get very choppy, so pay attention to conditions. On the half of the jetties closest to the beach, you can scale down your gear and lure size and chase trout and flounder around the rocks. I use a 7 1/2-foot medium action Ugly Stik Inshore Rod paired with a Penn Battle reel and spool it with 17-lb. test Nanofil braided line. I use the same lures (Sea Shads) but on smaller heads or even Flashy Jigheads that have a little willow blade (flounder like bling!). Cast to any nook and cranny and expect your jig to get inhaled.

BOWFIN (MUDFISH) IN THE OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

The fishing in the swamp was non-existent due to the fires, so the fish have seen very little pressure. With the recent rains, the water level has come back up, and you can get around well. The flier and warmouth bites have been a little slower in the heat, but the bowfin have been tearing it up. While most folks would argue they don’t eat well (although they’re not bad if you ice them immediately and eat them the same evening you catch them), they make up for it in their battle. Bowfin fishing is REALLY simple and extremely productive. My daughter went bowfin fishing with me on the east side for Father’s Day, and we landed dozens of the feisty fish in just a couple of hours of fishing. Get in the middle of the canal on the east side or near a lily pad field on the west side and cast an in-line spinner. Retrieve the lures slowly so that it is near the bottom half of the water column, and a bowfin will jump on it. Braided line helps you feel the fish, but make sure to not set the hook too early. I like to just keep reeling – don’t set the hook until the fish actually takes off and goes the other direction. Change colors if you are not catching them. Silver blades typically works best when it is sunny, while chartreuse or white blades have worked in all light conditions. Make sure to take a lip-gripping tool to attempt to subdue the fish and pliers to remove treble hooks (you definitely don’t want to forget pliers while fishing for bowfin!). It typically takes longer to unhook a bowfin than it does to throw out and hook another one.

MULLET FISHING ON THE ALTAMAHA

At the time of writing this, the Ocmulgee and Altamaha rivers are high, but they will probably fall back out again this summer. Mullet are the ultimate angling experience for triple-digit temperatures. Why? Because you get right in the water with your quarry. Put out a salt block (like the ones for cows – you can get them at feed stores and farm equipment stores) and a bag of rabbit chow (some folks prefer pig pellets) in about 3 feet of water on the back side of a sandbar. Choose an area with just a tiny bit of current. Let the concoction sit for a half-hour or so while you get everything ready to fish. Then, wade out near the salt block (I usually put the chow in a mesh bag and hang it from a PVC pole so I can tell where the salt block is located.  For outfitting, I use a crappie jig pole, which has a spinning reel that will give and take line. Many folks use bream busters, but big fish will often break off. My rig consists of a small hook, then a split-shot a foot above, then a small balsa float. I usually use a #8 or 10 Mullet Master Hook (that 2x hook will not bend as easily as an aberdeen hook, so you can actually land a big catfish that inhales your worm). The most popular bait for mullet is a red wiggler worm. Skewer the whole thing on your hook (or maybe even two of them if they are small). Pitch your offering behind the bait station (try to get it close to the salt block, as the fish will sometimes be nosed right up to the block) and look for a slight wobble of your float (mullet bite softly). Jaycees Landing in Jesup and Altamaha Park in Everett are two of the most popular landings from which to chase mullet. You can catch mullet from a boat while the water is up, but the best fishing is when the river level is below about 4 feet at the Doctortown gage and the water starts to clear up.

Don’t just stay in the house because of the heat this summer. Try these ideas if you want to get on a peak bite.