Georgia Fishing Report: March 24, 2017

Our cover photo brings the reminder that 70,000 trout “hit” North Georgia waters this week thanks to stocking efforts of Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division staff.  More on Georgia trout fishing found here.

This week, reports come from North Georgia, Southeast Georgia and Southwest 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)

Frozen Burton ponds…then 86 degrees…then hail…then 60 mph winds – gee, it must be March! 

In fact, it’s the end of March, and that means it must be trout and turkey “season.”  Yes, this Saturday is a big day as turkey season opens up and as we get all of our trout streams stocked for our traditional ‘opening’ weekend crowds.  Hopefully the weather will calm a little bit as we slide into April.  At least the ice is gone, and the water temps are creeping up toward the OPTIMAL range for our crappie, bass, stripers, and mountain trout.  This is the time of the year that we all live for.  Dodge a few spring showers that are delivering desperately needed rain, and go have a lot of fun in the mountains.  Real outdoorsy folks might even do a surf-and-turf weekend, with some dawn turkey hunting followed by some midday trouting.  The WMA’s are here for you, so do a little evening homework this week and plot your weekend trails to trek.  http://www.georgiawildlife.com/maps/hunting/region2

Here we go, in an agency effort to help you scribe those top secret plans:

TROUT

“Opening Day”: While we no longer have a closed season for trout fishing in Georgia, we still have a trout stocking season that honors Georgia’s traditional “Opening Day” of the last Saturday in March and stretches until Labor Day.  (The “offseason” trout hatchery space is used to grow this year’s fingerling (4-inch) trout up to catchable size for next season’s stockings.)  This week our state and federal hatchery staffs are releasing 70,000 trout to celebrate the beginning of our 2017 stocking season. http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Trout%20Stocking

We hope you have a chance to head to the mountains and celebrate this tradition once again.  It’s a special time, with many special memories. It was truly a highlight of my early years on the water, and likely influenced my career decision.  This narrative now has a few years on it, but it’s still a good read as we trouters prepare for the weekend celebration: https://georgiawildlife.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/974/  (Note to Jimmy with Savannah River TU- I dedicate that chain stringer paragraph to you!)

New Goody – Weekly “Trout Stocked” List: WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson worked with WRD-HQ web guru Chris Semerjian during the offseason, and they now present you with our weekly trout stocking list, online.  DNR’s longstanding policy trout rbt IDBIS Sautee 3-18-17 pic1prohibits the release of trout stocking information before the fish are stocked (in order to give everyone a fair shot at the fish).  These lists will be updated weekly, on Friday afternoons, as each week’s stocking is completed.  WRD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service do hope that this will lead to more fishing fun for you and your family. http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout

Toccoa DH Fishing Report: March 18th and 19thJeff, We had a large and diverse group on the DH this past weekend, including eight members of the North Paulding High School Fly Fishing Club. Unless we get some substantial rainfall expect the water conditions to be low flow and very clear. This makes wading easier but, it makes the fish spooky and selective. Results were varied in the group so start with 5x tippet and be prepared to go to 6x later in the day. Fly selection varied quite a bit from the standard DH types, y2ks, squirmy worms worked for some, others found the naturals to their liking such as; hare’s ears, pheasant tails and caddisfly larva patterns, smaller sizes of 14 and under for these, as well as black midge droppers in size 20 . There was a good hatch that occurred in the afternoon and evening, with Blue Winged Olives and Adams in size 18 being consistent producers. Lets hope for some big rain events to keep our streams healthy through the summer. Good fishing to you all! (From: Steve Westmoreland, Cohutta Chapter of Trout Unlimited, http://tucohutta.org/)

Ami DH: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112832&referrerid=9796

Tooga DH:

  • Video: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112835
  • Yellowstone buddy Alan from Bogart reported good action on the Chattooga DH.  In fact, he recently got into a heavy Quill Gordon hatch and caught a bunch of rainbows on top, with one hitting the sixteen inch mark. Folks heading that way will be smart to carry some of the April bugs- March browns, caddis, and cahills.  Details: google “Rabun TU-Tightlines.”

Bluelines:

  • Sautee’s Saturday Report: Shortly after lunch, when the sun broke free and the diamonds started sparkling across the riffles, the rainbows got curious and started looking up. It must have been the bright sunlight that confused them, but a #14 parachute Adams caught their attention. They ate like they were hungry and the color indicated spawning may not be completely over. Nothing like rising fish on a beautiful, sunny, early March afternoon. Things are definitely “looking up”.
  • http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112827

Smith DH Risers: While on their way to a friend’s house on Saturday evening, Dredger and furry sidekick Marley detoured into the Smith Creek parking area.  They snuck down to the creek and watched abundant rises at 7:30PM, with not an angler in sight.  The evening hatch is on at Smith DH!  Don’t leave early, folks.

Another Hooch Tailwater Monster: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112813

Buford Dam: “Rainbows that were not picky:” http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112863

Dry Fly How-to: Finally, it’s dry fly season for Georgia fly fishers!  Those fly rodders new to this surface game would benefit greatly from the Orvis Learning Center’s videos.  Take a look here: http://howtoflyfish.orvis.com/video-lessons/chapter-six-dry-fly-fishing

We’re Nationwide! The “Georgia Cube” reservoir fish attractor, designed by our own biologists and technicians, http://www.georgiawildlife.com/node/213 is getting some mileage in other states.  They attract a lot of fish, are easier to wrestle than Christmas trees, and last a whole lot longer!

https://afsfisheriesadministration.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/nc_sfr-award_didson_fish-attractor1.pdf

Tying-One-On For Education: Trout Unlimited members from around Georgia convened recently at the Lawrenceville Bass Pro Shops for “Tie-1-On,” the Georgia Council of Trout TU Tie1On 2017 smallUnlimited’s annual fundraiser. Proceeds from the event benefit educational programs at Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen and the 5 Rivers Programs at North Paulding High School, the University of Georgia, Rhinehart College and Young Harris College.

The 5 Rivers Program organizes campus clubs that teach students fly casting and tying along with volunteer stream conservation activities. Students in Trout Unlimited 5 Rivers Clubs have the opportunity to join a sponsoring chapter in their region, lend a young voice, and help shape the future of Trout Unlimited.

See the Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited website for additional information on the organization. http://georgiatu.org/wordpress/ (Photo: Georgia Council Trout Unlimited Vice Chairman Kathy Breithaupt and Chairman Carl Riggs).

LAKE LANIER

BASS: Jack Becker, weekend fishing manager at Academy Sports in Gainesville, told me that he and a buddy have been wearing out the spots on freelined shiners, trolled slowly behind their boat.  They were searching for stripers, but couldn’t find any because they ran out of bait on all the spots! http://www.academy.com/shop/storelocator/georgia/gainesville/store-0224

CRAPPIE(This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club, www.laniercrappieanglers.netWater temperature is about 54 degrees.  Although it is a little cooler than typical spawning water temps, the females are full of eggs and we think that we are at the very early stage of the spawn.  Normally, when the fish move to shallower water and you can catch them on blow-downs, that is an early sign of the spawn.  Two weeks ago, we were beginning to catch fish in shallow water, but the cold snap pushed them a little deeper.  As the water temperature gradually warms, they are slowly hitting the shallows again.  For the first time this week, I noticed that the turtles are sunning on blow downs, which is also an indicator of the spawn.  With the lake level down about 10 feet, the normal spawning ground that we are used to fishing is obviously now on dry land.  But you should still zero in on docks, blow-downs, and even shallow brush piles in 12 foot depths or less.  The wind has been a challenge, but that is typical for March.  Having said that, the early morning bite or late afternoon bite when it is less windy, is the optimum time right now for fishing, Obviously for dock shooters, jigs are the best option, such as Bobby Garland and Jiffy Jigs.  You can substitute a minnow, using a #6 long shank Eagle Claw hook if you prefer.  Use the smallest split shot you can, based on the wind to allow the bait to swim naturally.  Long line trolling in 12 foot depths or less remains a good option It is critical to use 4 lb. test or less on all your reels when crappie fishing.  It’s a great time to be fishing – Stay safe on the water and always wear a life jacket!

STRIPERS

  • Capt Mack’s Wisdom: http://www.captmacks.com/fishing/lake-lanier-fishing-reports/
  • Guru and Dredger snuck out last Friday night and hunted” for gulls and loons on the south end.  They found some scattered flocks, which signaled scattered fish schools.  There was a boil here and there, with no concentrations of predators on the baitfish.  Guru was still able to connect with a 6.5 pound striper to save the vessel from a striper lanier 6.5lb JH 3-17-17 smalldreaded skunk.  Last night (3/22), Guru and Athens buddy Alan got a last-cast striper as the sun set on their south side creek.   As always, the fly of choice was the Something Else.  Hint: tie a few without the dumbbell eyes, on smaller hooks, to imitate the tiny threadfins, too.  The original chef cooks one up here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QC2FCLWHY3o

LAKE ALLATOONA

BASS:

  • Toona’s Wacky Bass: Ron W said he’s been whacking the bass on Allatoona with a wacky worm rig while floating in his wacky yak rig.  He provided some photo evidence of his claim, too!
  • Toona White Bass: Senior biologist Jim Hakala just called me today (3/23 at 3:30pm) and said the whites have moved into Little River around Rope Mill Park.  Water temp was 54 degrees.

COOSA RIVER

WHITE BASS AND STRIPERS: WRD senior biologist Jim Hakala’s sampling this week showed that the white bass run is still a bit early, as river temperatures hovered around 60 degrees. A decent number of large female whites were found, along with the smaller males and also a few striped bass.  The migration of white bass out of Weiss should pick up speed over the next week or two, with stripers hitting their peak about two weeks later.  Best bets for the whites: the mile of river downstream from Mayo Lock and Dam.

LAKE NOTTELY

STRIPERS(From WRD Fisheries Biologist Pat Snellings) This week we had a chance to get on Lakes Lanier and Nottely for our annual spring striped bass electrofishing sample. The water temperatures were in the mid-50s on both reservoirs and the striped bass have been moving up into shallow water, especially in the early morning. We had our best success along clay banks and points, especially in locations where bait was present. There are good numbers of 6 to 10 lb stripers in both lakes with fish over 10 lbs common this time of year. This upcoming week we will be continuing our spring striped bass electrofishing on Lanier. If you plan on going out this weekend be safe and if you catch a trophy be sure to let us know! http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/AnglerAwards

WALLEYE(From WRD Senior Fisheries Biologist Anthony Rabern) North Georgia’s walleye fisheries are definitely growing in popularity thanks to a successful stocking program.  Over the past two weeks, approximately 40 female walleye were spawned at the Go Fish Center Hatchery, producing about one million eggs.  Once these eggs hatch, the fry will be stocked into hatchery ponds and then released into one of ten north Georgia reservoirs in late-April.

Our walleye surveys and angler reports this week indicated that walleye are still in the headwaters of many north Georgia lakes. The 8 lb fish pictured below was caught this past Thursday morning on Lake Tugalo. Walleye should soon be moving back down the lake and can be caught around downed trees in about 20-feet of water using worms and minnows slowly bounced along the bottom.

walleye Tugalo 8lb 3-23-17 pic1 small

Ken’s Reservoir Reports: Updated every Friday: http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html

USFS Foothills Project: Have you taken these opportunities yet to comment on 150,000 acres of your woods, wildlife, and water?  There are lots of trout streams and some small impoundments in this project area.  What would you like to see done there?  Reasons for you to care are listed on the bottom of this report: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112736

Foothills Landscape Workshop II: March 28: 9:00am – 3:00 pm and/or March 29: 5:00 – 8:00pm North Hall Community Center. 4175 Nopone Road, Gainesville, GA 30506

The US Forest Service: Beep! Beep! We are coming up on the next bus stop! This is the perfect time for you to jump on the bus and join us on this awesome Foothills Landscape collaborative roadtrip. During our second workshop we will: narrow the focus of the project by determining the greatest needs for restoration using the information harvested from Workshop I, turn the identified needs into specific, practical, reasonable and measurable goal statements, and frame what the Collaborative Community will recommend in Workshops III and IV.

Learning and Sharing: Visit www.tinyurl.com/FoothillsLandscape to keep up the conversations online. This online forum is the place to continue discussions, start new ones, post ideas and add comments on the restoration goals, treatment locations, and methods of treatment. The forum has been refreshed to build upon our recent conversations during Workshop I. You can still find last fall’s Community Conversations here. ***Do us a favor and REGISTER so we know how many to plan for***

Young Guns Need Your Money: http://www.georgiafoothills.org/2017/03/fly-fishing-film-tour.html My name is Liam Cunningham and I am the president of Young Harris College’s TU 5Rivers Fly Fishing Club. This is our first year as a program and we are trying to do our best to spread our love of fly fishing and conservation around our area. One of the ways we plan to do this is by bringing the Fly Fishing Film Tour to Young Harris. We are looking to attract people from all over North GA, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and surrounding areas to Young Harris to share the passion of fly fishing.

We invite you to join us on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at Young Harris College Rollins Campus Center for the 11th annual Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T). Participate in our casting competition, visit with area outfitters, guides and fellow fly fishing folk starting at 5:30pm. Dinner will be served at 6:30pm with films beginning at 7:00pm. Proceeds will benefit Healing Waters, Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition’s Corn Creek Project as well as YHC TU 5Rivers Fly Fishing Club.

Advanced tickets may be purchased on the Fly Fishing Film Tour website or at https://events.ticketprinting.com/event/22997 by April 4th and are $20 adult and $15 with a valid student ID. All tickets purchased at the door will be $30.

Please share our invitation with your club members and other fly-fishing enthusiasts. For more information please call or email Hayley Burch, YHC Events at 706-379-5016 / hcburch@yhc.edu or myself at 912-373-5250 / lacunningham@yhc.edu.

Our club would really appreciate your support. Come out, eat some food, enjoy great films and hangout with other fly fishers. We hope to see you there.

MORE UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Saturday Trout Tourney– Helen http://www.helenga.org/calendar/27th-annual-trout-tournament
  • Chattooga- Top to Bottom – March 28: Dredger will be telling some Rabunite fibs regarding The Border River to the Cohutta TU bunch on Tuesday, March 28. http://tucohutta.org/upcoming-chapter-events/
  • Trouting  Open House- April 1: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112753
  • April 8 Film Tour: See above.
  • April 22 Kids Class: Youths (ages 10 to 15) are invited to participate in the Sam Rizzio Youth Fly Fishing and Conservation Clinic Saturday, April 22, from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the Chattahoochee Nature Center (9135 Willeo Road, Roswell). The clinic is organized by the Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Advance registration is required. The clinic is designed for the beginning fly fisher and provides basic instruction in all phases of fly-fishing, including fly-casting, knot tying, insect identification and conservation. Students will be provided all necessary equipment. Certified instructors and mentors will work with the students to provide individual instruction and answer questions about fly-fishing. Upon completion, each student will be awarded a certificate and receive a box of flies. The registration fee of $20 includes lunch. For more information, go to http://bit.ly/1U2UAkd or contact Tom Hayes at 513.515.7954.
  • April 28 Troutfest: https://fannin.fetchyournews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/02/press-release-01-11-2017.pdf

Good luck as we celebrate the outdoorsmen and womens’ return of spring with the opening of trout stocking and turkey seasons.  The warming weather should turn the fish on, and the next six weeks will be our absolute best time of the year for fair-weather fishing success across north Georgia.  Check those licenses before you head out the door: https://www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com/, and have fun harvesting your trout and turkey for dinner fixin’s.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

The fishing has really picked up behind last week’s cold snap! River fishing is starting to crank up, but saltwater was a little sluggish. The Okefenokee and ponds are still producing good catches. New Moon is March 27th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that striped bass were caught this week. One of the bigger fish was 30 inches and 11.5 pounds. Crappie, bream, redbreasts and shellcrackers all picked up behind the cold snap. All species of catfish bit well for bottom fishermen. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the best bite was shellcrackers, and the most consistent presentation was pink worms on the bottom. Crappie were caught in creeks and oxbows off the main river on minnows and jigs. Rooster livers fooled channel catfish, while goldfish did a number on flatheads. The river level was 5.3 feet (record low for the date) and falling (63 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 7.7 feet and falling (60 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on March 21st.

SATILLA RIVER

I floated the upper river with my daughter Ellie and her friend Suzie on Saturday afternoon. While the main objective was paddling (we had 10 miles to cover and 5 hours in which to do it!), I could not help but make a few casts. First fish was a 10 1/2-inch bluegill that hammered a 1/16-oz. dreamsicle (orange/white with a white blade) Satilla Spin. The next 4 fish ate a 1/8-oz. red/white Satilla Spin. One of those 4 was a 10 1/2-inch redbreast, and another was a 14-inch bass. That was 5 more fish than I expected to catch in the swift, cold water, but the fish were fairly active. With the warm temperatures this week, I

SE GA Report BertDeener SatillaRedbreast
Panfish bite starting to crank up! Bert Deener caught his first redbreast of the year by casting a 1/8 oz red/white Satilla spin in the upper Satilla river.

suspect you could catch quite a few redbreasts this weekend on the little spinnerbaits. The water was surprisingly clear with last week’s rains, and it should only get clearer heading into the weekend. Craig James floated the upper river this week and managed to catch half a dozen bass averaging 2 pounds apiece on junebug and Okeechobee craw colored Bruiser Crazy Craws. A new river record crappie was submitted to Georgia Outdoor News this week. More details will be forthcoming if it is accepted as the new river record. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that crappie were still biting well on minnows. Bream and catfish were caught with worms fished on the bottom in deep holes. ZOOM Lizards in black and Trick Worms produced a good number of bass, as did shiners. The river level on March 21st at the Waycross gage was 7.0 feet and falling (61 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 5.9 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER

On Saturday a 2-day bass tournament was held out of Temple Landing. The heaviest stringer the first day was 17.8 pounds and the second day was 17.0 pounds. The 2-day winning aggregate weight was 24.9 pounds – stout for a blackwater river! Big fish was an 8-pounder, and all fish were released back in the river. Soft plastics were the most productive lures. Bream were also caught this week, and as usual, the catfish bite was great for anglers putting shrimp in any deep hole in the river. The river level at the MacClenny gage on March 21st was 1.7 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

I did not receive specific reports this week from friends, but I’m sure you can still whack the fliers at any of the swamp entrances, like when my daughter and I caught 136 fliers 2 Saturdays ago in under 3 hours of fishing. The warm afternoons will be the best time to fish this week. Michael Winge said that the warmouth bite has been good, and some bluegills are still being caught by anglers fishing worms on the bottom.

LOCAL PONDS

Michael Winge reported that crappie were the best bite this week, and anglers are catching them by pitching minnows and jigs around shallow cover. Bass were caught in good numbers by anglers free-lining shiners and casting ZOOM Trick Worms. Worms and rooster livers produced some good catfish.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

Joshua and Shane Barber fished the Brunswick area on Friday and part of the day Saturday. They managed 25 seatrout, but all of them were throwbacks. Their fish ate chartreuse grubs fished on 1/8-oz. jigheads. Saturday afternoon they switched locations to the Darien River and tried their hand at stripers and catfish. Both bites were surprisingly slow, but they managed one striper and a few catfish up to 3 pounds. A couple of Waycross anglers fished out of Crooked River over the weekend. They managed about 20 trout, with 6 of them in the keeper range. Most of their fish were on natural colored (silver and gold glitter colors) Sea Shads fished underneath an Equalizer Float. The fish came up for the offering in the clear water. A few were fooled with Sea Shads fished on a Flashy Jighead. On the beaches, whiting are thick and are biting dead shrimp on the bottom. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle  said that the big news was a goliath grouper caught from the pier. The monster, estimated at about 100 pounds, was hooked on a whiting rig baited with dead shrimp, which is why the fish straightened the hook once it rolled to the surface then took off. Whiting fishing has been strong, with lots of the tasty fish clearing the rails of the pier. On Tuesday, a 9.4-pound sheepshead was caught dining on a fiddler crab, but then the next day was dined upon by his captor. Blue crabs were caught in good numbers.  You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

BEST BET

With the warmer weather this week, you can take your pick this weekend. The crappie bite should still be good in ponds and rivers. Redbreasts and bream should be chowing Satilla Spins, worms, and crickets since we did not get rain this week and have had warm weather. Bass are still shallow and eating well in ponds. Seatrout (although many are throwbacks) are cruising mud flats and shell mounds looking for shrimp or Sea Shads. Whiting are numerous in the sounds and on the beaches if the wind allows you to get to saltwater. Catfishing is picking up in ponds and rivers. You can hardly go wrong fishing 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 Fisheries Management Section of the Wildlife Resources Division began spring electofishing samples on Lake George this week. The bass and crappie have moved into the coves to spawn along with threadfin shad. Anglers should concentrate around weed lines for both bass and crappie. In addition, good numbers of crappie were observed around submerged woody debris in the back end of the coves. These seem to be the first wave of crappie to head shallow and more should continue to do so.

FLINT RIVER

The Lower Flint River is a bit low for this time of year but fishing should be good. The shoal bass have entered spawning shoals and areas where anglers have had success in the past should be good again this year. All other species should be picking up as well including striped bass, hybrids, white bass and channel catfish.

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

LAKE SEMINOLE

The fishing report for Lake Seminole is very short. According to Lake Seminole fishing guide Steven Wells, “fishing on Lake Seminole is on fire.”  The bass are spawning, redear sunfish are in the cutgrass and anglers are catching large numbers of bluegill pitching crickets and worms.

 

Georgia Fishing Report: March 17, 2017

Don’t let the cold keep you indoors! Check out these fishing reports to get you motivated to hit up some hot spots. 

This week, reports below come from North Georgia, Central Georgia, Southeast Georgia and Southwest 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)

Wow, winter returned!  And those cold, windy days made fishing a real challenge for the few hardy souls that still gave it a shot this past week.  Luckily, we have a warming trend starting today, and if those temperatures continue upward, it should be a great new week of fishing across north Georgia.  It will take several days to rewarm our waters, however, so I’d expect the recovery in our catch rates to have a slow start on Saturday, but to build with each passing day that exceeds sixty degrees.  Again, watch the weather, monitor the water temperatures, and time your trips to aim for thawed-out, hungry predators.

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

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

For the die-hards among us, last weekend was still pretty good.  We just had to resort to winter attire and tactics.  On Saturday, Dredger met new fly flinger Andrew Seitz on the Toccoa DH.  Dressed in fleece and waders and resembling Michelin Men, they still had a real big time catching recently released federal rainbows.  While the air temperature was 44 degrees and it sleeted twice, the water was still 46 degrees and gave them hope.  They caught a few stripping buggers, but that was a slow bite in the cool water.  When they turned around and began fishing upstream, deep, with squirmies and egg flies behind a BB split shot, it was game on.  The bottom-bumping technique had their strike indicators jumping upstream all afternoon, and they lost count on fish fondled.   Watch out Toccoa, Andrew’s got game!   Sunday afternoon brought a cloudy and fairly mild spell, and it was another good day, this time on Lanier.  Guru’s trip details are below.

The bottom line is to dress in layers and be versatile with your angling techniques.  Let the water temperature dictate your technique and cash in on these fish, soon to stir from their winter relapse.  It should only get better with each passing day next week, but don’t wait for optimal conditions.  Go when you can.  Andrew and the Guru are sure glad that they wet a line last weekend.  Maybe you’ll have a similar story for us next Monday.

Ken’s Lanier Reports, The Southern Fishing Report, www.southernfishing.com

LAKE LANIER IS DOWN 9.9 FEET, THE CREEKS ARE STAINED AND THE MAIN LAKE IS CLEAR & 50’s

  • BASS (This Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, jimboonlanier.com): Well it appears old man winter decided he wanted another crack at us this week. It has been blustery and cold this week and this will certainly change the fishing. Most of my trips this week have been postponed due to the extreme weather we have been experiencing. I would look more towards some very early pre spawn patterns out in deeper water to effectively fish this front. Look in the areas where you have been finding fish and follow the ditch or close drop out to deeper water. Look in and around likely holding areas like deeper brush piles, deeper docks as well standing timber in the 30-35 foot range. Also, with the cool down, you need to slow down. Work all of your baits slower and more deliberately, as well as more thoroughly. I believe the fish that have committed shallow for the spawn will stay in those general areas, they just may be much less active. The front will definitely negatively affect those fish that were close to spawning or fish that were just starting to move up. It is truly hard to say exactly what the prevailing pattern will be post front, but we will find out! I am including last week’s information as well so you can reference the baits and areas we had been focusing on making your adjustments from here. We are starting back in ditches early and have found a good early morning schooling bite in some of these areas. Fish are very active for about the first 45 minutes of daylight. This bite is somewhat random, but contained within the ditch. The fish can be busting in 4 feet or over 40 feet when they are chasing the bait aggressively. After the schooling bite slows, focus on the key features you find shallow near the ditches as well such as clay and rock points. We are starting in ditches and staying in them through the day as well as working shallow pockets just off the main lake or main creek channels. Most days we are focusing in 15 feet of water or less. A Spro McStick or McRip has been a good choice as far as jerk baits go, in addition to a Megabass Vision 110. A Pearl White or Blue/White combo have been the best colors. A watermelon candy finesse worm on a Picasso Shakedown Head or a Chattahoochee Jig has been a good alternative if the fish are not as aggressive. Check the shallower brush through the day as well, as we have been finding some fish staging around this brush. As the sun gets up, check the shallow docks in ditches and pockets for activity. Work a jerkbait and a soft plastic swimbait beside these shallow docks, as well as a jig and worm. These fish are already starting to stage in preparation for the spawn. You will find spots and largemouth in these places. This pattern definitely works better when the sun is out as opposed to cloudy conditions. The clouds make the fish scatter and often bottom locked as well. While they still remain close to the dock, they are often not directly under the docks. The fishing is definitely more random under cloud cover. I am now guiding in a Brand New Xpress Bass Boat – 21’3″ powered by a 250 Yamaha SHO and equipped with the latest Lowrance HDS Gen III units featuring 3D Structure Scan technology. Come take a ride in this beauty! This is a great time to learn the early spring bite on Lanier. They are up and moving! Here are the dates I have open in March: 20, 23, 27, 28, 29, and 30(PM) Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun! Thanks to all and May God Bless.
  • STRIPER (This Lake Lanier Striper report is from Captain Ken West bigfishonguide.com): Striper fishing is good despite the winter weather. We spent more time watching the wind blow this week than fishing. The water temperature dropped to the lowest level of the year; under 50 degrees. The good news is the forecast is for warmer temperatures into the 70’s. Look for the bite to change from small baits (medium minnows) to larger Blueback Herring and from an open water bite to points and humps as the water temperature continues to increase. Also look for the down rod and Umbrella bite to increase. The Sea Gulls should stick around for the next couple of weeks before leaving for their summer home on the New Jersey shore. We have found them to be a critical tool in locating Stripers. The sea Gulls on Lake Lanier are: 1.) Checking out an area by flying in a search pattern. 2.) Feeding on bait fish pushed to the surface by Stripers or Spotted Bass or Loons. 3.) Resting on the water or small island; usually a reef marker. If they are circling an area they are searching for bait fish. Pay attention to these searching Gulls as they will search areas where they have had success recently. These areas often hold inactive Stripers and can be “marked” using your Lowrance HDS. A group of diving Gulls feeding on bait fish is what gets a Striper fisherman’s adrenaline flowing! Before putting out baits approach the area slowly and look for Loons. If you see Loons odds are they are feeding on baits pushed up by the Loons. However, you may want to give these situations a quick check because there may be both Loons and Stripers feeding on a school of bait fish. If you have diving Gulls without Loons you have found feeding fish! If you see a group of Gulls sitting on an island it is almost always a social event; pay them no mind. If you see a group sitting on the water it could be a social event or they could be waiting for the Stripers to start feeding. Give these areas a quick check with your Lowrance HDS. There are Stripers lake wide with the area from mid lake and South outperforming the North end. The lake is 10 feet below full pool and the water is clear on the main lake and slightly stained in the back of the creeks. The water temperature is in the high 40’s to low 50’s. Call Big Fish On Guide Service at 404 561 2564 to schedule a guided fishing trip on Lake Lanier.
  • CRAPPIE (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club, laniercrappieanglers.net): March is definitely fickle! I was about to put away my warm clothes, but there you go! As usual, I checked in this week with my die hard fishing buddies to get some feedback, and everyone laughed! We do fish year round in cold weather, but this week the combination of the brutal winds and the crappie Lanier Mar2017 Landon on bankcold weather kept everyone off the water. Light tackle does not agree with heavy wind. To satisfy my curiosity about the water temp, I did lower my boat off my dock and turn my electronics on to check it out. Not surprisingly, water temp was 53 degrees in the middle of the day, after a cold but sunny morning. All that being said, over the next few days as it warms up and the winds die down a little, fishing should pick back up where we left off before this front moved in. This time of year, target the shallower docks in 5 to 15 feet of water. The fish should be suspended about halfway between the surface and the lake bottom. If they begin biting, they will shallow up quickly. My guess is the spawn will begin as soon as the weather warms and will continue into the next moon phase. Target blowdowns in the back pockets and watch for schools of bait fish. Where there is bait, there are fish. My plan is to be out on the water before the end of the week. It is definitely going to pick back up! Stay safe on the water, wear your life jacket!

Lanier Still Hot: Despite the cold weather, Lanier’s producing well for experienced anglers!

  • Striper video: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112765
  • Crappie: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=894130
  • Crappie: “Happy days.  I’m catching them right off the bank.  See the pic.”  Landon
  • Bass: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=894221
  • Yours Truly:  Guru invited Dredger out for a Sunday afternoon boat ride (3/11) and it was a good one.  Despite the cool air, the fishing was hot.  The cloud cover had the stripers running around in wolfpacks, busting bait in the back of a south end creek for over two hours.  The circling, screaming, diving gulls were great strike indicators, which could be seen a half-mile way.  The duo landed five stripers to 26 inches and one fat spot on their Something Else flies, and wished they had thrown an even smaller pattern to match the one-inch threadfins.  With snowsuits and fleece gloves and plenty of action, it was a great afternoon on Lanier!
  • Great Lanier Monthly Striper Intel: Check out Steve’s great tips here: https://teamlanier.wordpress.com/month-by-month/

LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 7.4 FEET, 50’S & CLEAR

  • BASS (This Bass fishing report is by Matt Driver) Bass fishing is good, but has slowed a bit due to the sharp drop in temperature. By the end of the weekend we will see the bite begin to improve as warmer temperatures prevail. With the weather dilemma we have had to change tactics slightly. The fish that have committed shallow for the spawn will stay in those general areas, they just may be much less active. The front will definitely negatively affect those fish that were close to spawning or fish that were just starting to move up. It is truly hard to say exactly what the prevailing pattern will be post front. The jerk bait bite is probably the best thing going currently. The Spro McStick in natural pattern finished super slow is getting good quality right now. Also the Big Bite suicide Shad finished on a quarter and ounce jig head and Sunline 12 pounds sniper Fluorocarbon fished on points it’s catching a few fish. Until the water stabilizes slow is the ticket. By the middle of next week we see things changing quite a bit and the soft plastic jerk by and wacky rig finesse worm bite getting good. I also think the crank bait Bite will get good. Bluff walls and points with large rock and boulders are great places to target with the Spro Little John DD and Fat Papa. Be expecting water tends to climb rapidly and the Spawn to begin in a few weeks.
  • STRIPER (This report is from Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service, 770 827 6282. firstbiteguideservice.com): Line side fishing is good. The south end of the lake is still holding fish. But not as many as weeks past. We have done really well mid lake this week. And have heard there has been a few good fish caught near the delta this week. The fish are still hitting flat line and planner board’s best early morning. By 930 am change over to down lines and umbrella rigs. The spring run has started. The white have already started running up the river. The top water bite is also starting to pick up. The flats at Little River and the Delta are starting to heat up at sun up and sun down. White Roster Tails are hard to beat when these fish are busting top water. April is one of the best months for Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Allatoona.

Special Event at Bass Pro Shops: Saturday, March 25, 2017 2pm, learn BASICS OF ELECTRONICS BY LOWRANCE PRO STAFF, KEN STURDIVANT

LAKE HARTWELL IS DOWN 9.91 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S

  • BASS (This bass fishing report is by Josh Panyard): Water Level is down 9.73 feet below full pool. The water temperatures are now back in the mid 50’s with this cold front. Before this front moved in we were still finding staging fish up shallow first thing in the morning. The fish that have committed shallow for the spawn will stay in those general areas, they just may be much less active. The front will definitely negatively affect those fish that were close to spawning or fish that were just starting to move up. It is truly hard to say exactly what the prevailing pattern will be post front. These fish have now moved back out deeper but have stayed in the same areas. As you move in towards the spawning areas pay attention to where the bait is it is still key to finding these fish. If there is wind we have been using a ChatterBait and jerk bait both of them in a white or pearl color to mimic the shad. We have also started off in the same areas using ether a Rapala DT6, #5 or #6 shad rap focusing on rock and clay or just rock depending on what area of the lake we are on. Look for the banks that the sun is hitting first as this water will warm up first thing. If there are high bright blue sky days use one of the crank baits mentioned above and when you find active fish slow down and start using a jig or Shakey head around brush and docks to catch some fish. Key for us was to continue to move throughout the day if we didn’t get bit within 10 minutes of fishing an area we picked up the trolling motor and moved on. When we got some bites we slowed down and worked the area with several baits before moving on to the next area. We will continue to work these areas throughout the pre and post spawn. With the warmer weather coming in the long range forecast look for these fish to move up again quickly and be right back where they were. Remember the lake is still low and there are a lot of objects sticking up out of the water and not marked. So be safe out there and we hope to see you on the water.

TROUT

trout rbt toccoa DH Mar2017 AndrewS 4

Good luck during the Great Thaw of 2017.  May you find screaming gulls and busting stripers in a Lanier cove, a pod of previously undiscovered stockers on Cooper or Tallulah, or the first big hatch of Quill Gordons on a remote section of the Chattooga.  Come back Spring, please!  http://midcurrent.com/techniques/spring-is-coming/.   We’ve missed you and sure are ready to celebrate your return. In fact, I’m gonna go celebrate on Lanier after work today.

As always thanks for buying or renewing your fishing licenses and TU car tags.  My staff and I appreciate the operating funds to keep your sport fisheries going.

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 (www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html):

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 50’s

Bass fishing is slow.  The recent cold snap has backed the black bass out into deeper water.  But they will rebound fast.  Once the warmer sunny days return, these bass will move up in search for food and shallow.  The fish that have committed shallow for the spawn will stay in those general areas; they just may be much less active.  The front will definitely negatively affect those fish that were close to spawning or fish that were just starting to move up.  It is truly hard to say exactly what the prevailing pattern will be post front.  The rip rap is a good place to find these fish after the sun comes up and the heat gets on the rocks.  The slight change in temperature, one to three degrees, will get the bait fish active.  If the water is stained, try throwing a #7 Shad Rap black/silver or black/gold Shad Rap in the suspending model.  Crank the bait down then let it stay still for three or four seconds then work it again in the same manner.  For the deeper rip rap near the channel, throw the Rapala DT10 in either fire tiger or black/silver.  Also use this bait to work the channel ledges and humps.  The Carolina rig is still a winter-time favorite on Russell while fishing in depths to 35 feet.  Use a 3/8 ounce or smaller sinker and throw a 4 1/2 inch Storm worm in the darker colors like red shad.  The bites will be slow but anglers are reporting good results and 3-4 pound bass are being caught on these patterns.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 9.9 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing is fair.  The fish that have committed shallow for the spawn will stay in those general areas; they just may be much less active.  The front will definitely negatively affect those fish that were close to spawning or fish that were just starting to move up.  It is truly hard to say exactly what the prevailing pattern will be post front.  But a rebound will happen fast.  Up in the rivers use a pearl white Shad Rap.  If that is not available, use the #7 Shad Rap in black/silver and work all the points and red clay banks that contain small rock.  Stay out as far as possible and make long casts into 4 to 5 feet of water.  Use a slow and steady retrieve and the stop and go retrieve and find out which the fish like best.  The best bait to use on the rocky points is any brand of crank bait with a dark red crawfish color.  A lipless crank is noted for catching the big boys on Clark Hill.  Use a Zoom small green pumpkin Bush Hog on a light Shakey Head or a light 3-foot Carolina rig on the southern part of the lake.  The old weed beds is a great place to start and watch your Lowrance for any stumps.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPRATURE 55-56.

  • Bass: Bass fishing is fair. The fish that have committed shallow for the spawn will stay in those general areas; they just may be much less active.  The front will definitely negatively affect those fish that were close to spawning or fish that were just starting to move up.  It is truly hard to say exactly what the prevailing pattern will be post front.  The best results over the past week have been on a Carolina rig with a worm in green or pumpkin, fished around sea walls in the middle of the big coves from 44 bridge south.  Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the coves out to the main lake will produce.  You can also add fishing a rattle trap around any deep dock and around rip rap early.  Jigs fished around wood structure up the lake have also produced some larger fish.  Some fish are starting to move into the creeks and coves so don’t be afraid to move in and out of the coves and pockets, fishing all depths of water.
  • Striper: (Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741, reeltime@bellsouth.net) Striper fishing is good. The fish are starting to move to the dam.  Live bait (bass minnows) have been the best over the past week.  There are still some fish in the river bend area of the lake; use your Lowrance to locate the schools of bait and the stripers will be close by.  Live bait and spoons are working to catch these fish.
  • Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. The fish are moving into the creeks.  Long-lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches.  Spider rigging will also catch some fish.  Some of the bigger fish are starting to show up in the rivers.

WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 3.5 FEET, CLEAR & 60’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Another set of cold fronts rolled over the south and the shallow fish retreated to the points in the coves.  The fish that have committed shallow for the spawn will stay in those general areas; they just may be much less active.  The front will definitely negatively affect those fish that were close to spawning or fish that were just starting to move up.  It is truly hard to say exactly what the prevailing pattern will be post front.  Look on these points as well in the lower lake deeper creeks for any warm water.  Look for them in 4 to 10 feet of water on gravel points and throw Shad Raps, Rat L Traps, and other small crank baits.  The point’s right off the main river at the rail road bridge are good early season areas and look for the gravel on the banks.  Right across from the Yellow Jacket access point is an old road bed that runs up and down the bank about 50 feet off the bank.  Run the Lowrance on and over this area and the road bed will show up.  Vertical jigging is still another good pattern for large mouths and spots.  Some are still deep and holding on the flats and road beds off the main lake.  Best baits are buck tails and 1/2 once spoons such as a Hopkins spoon.  The road bed in Whitewater Creek is a great deep water area.  Just run out on the road bed, watch for the fish and the bait and that is where you drop the spoons and old Little George’s.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.2 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S

Bass fishing is slow with the weather dropping cold fronts one after the other.  Fish in the central lake area from 2 to 10 feet deep.  The shallow fish may become active with a warm-up.  Fish are coming from several type places within the central lake.  Check main lake points with rocky bottoms, secondary points, docks, rip rap, grass, blow downs, stumps, and brush piles.  A few random fish are coming from shallow flat banks with little or no cover.  Small to medium size crank baits, Rat L Traps, Carolina rigs, jigs, and spinner baits have all produced recently.  Some crank bait choices are #5 and #7 Shad Raps, #4 and #5 RS Shad Raps, Bomber Models 5A, 6A, and 7A, and Fat Free Shads in sizes #5 and #6.  Some good colors are fire tiger, shad, chrome blue, and gold.  A Rat L Trap in the ¼ ounce size can be good on shallow flat banks and points, and near the back of coves.  Carolina rigs with a Zoom Finesse or Centipede worm are working well, especially on the points.  Use a half ounce weight with a 2 foot leader.  Good colors are green pumpkin, June bug, and red bug.  Lightweight jigs with pork or plastic trailers are catching some fish around docks, rip rap, and blow downs.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .80 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing is slow.  Another really cold front and the spotted bass are scattered.  The fish that have committed shallow for the spawn will stay in those general area;, they just may be much less active.  The front will definitely negatively affect those fish that were close to spawning or fish that were just starting to move up.  It is truly hard to say exactly what the prevailing pattern will be post front.  Can you say jigs?  Work a swim jig early around the main lake points but work the bait all the way back to the boat.  A few strikes are occurring within a few feet of the boat out in deeper water.  Use a green pumpkin Zoom finesse worm and work it in right in the brush pile or under the docks.  A slow presentation is a must.  Depths will be from 10 to 14 feet.  Small Fish Head Spins with the small Zoom Fluke slow rolled over the rocky points will work.

BIG LAZER PFA

  • Surface water temperature: 59o F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is about 27”
  • Water level: Water level is down 2” from full pool

In general, March water temperatures at Big Lazer are starting to warm up and so is the fishing.  Late March and early April are one of the best times to fish Big Lazer as pre-spawn largemouth bass start to move into shallower water followed by bream.  Good luck!

  • Largemouth bass: Fair but improving– the recent cold snap will slow the pre-spawn largemouth briefly. However, several nice largemouth have been caught.  Try using spinners and crank baits in 6 to 8 feet of water.  Plastic-worms fished around the deep water by the picnic area and around the fishing pier may produce a few bites.  Anglers need to be patient and fish baits slowly around heavy cover.
  • Crappie: Good- several good crappie have already been caught. Try minnows; most bites are still in deeper water of 8-10 feet of water.  Anglers may have to troll to locate schools of crappies.  Trolling at varying depths with bright jigs may help locate bunched-up crappie.
  • Bream: Slow- Bream fishing has been slow but a few have been caught with pink and red worms around the fishing pier. Also, target areas that have structure like woody brush and blow downs associated with it.  Most bream will be located in 4 to 6 feet of water or deeper but will be moving up shortly to begin spawning.
  • Channel catfish: Poor- however, you may get lucky using livers at or almost at the bottom and at several different locations around woody structures and the rocks around the dam.

MCDUFFIE PFA

  • McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Current range 52.5 – 55.76 ⁰F
  • Water Visibility: 27 – 54 inches
  • All Lake Water levels on McDuffie PFA are back to Full pool.

McDuffie PFA has started the spring fertilization program.

  • Largemouth Bass: Largemouth bass bite has slowed down due to cooler water temperatures.  On March 11th, McDuffie PFA hosted Augusta’s Wounded Warriors kayak anglers with one first fishermen and kayaker.  These anglers had a brisk morning and they caught multiple bass in Willow and Rodbender Lakes with one bass at 19.5 inches.  An angler reported seeing a new shad hatch in Willow Lake.  McDuffie PFA’s anglers are spreading the fishing pressure across the PFA lakes.  No reports of bass on spawning beds.  Rodbender, the trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one Bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.
  • Bream: On March 11th Anglers were catching bream and are being caught in shallow water across the PFA but mainly in Clubhouse. Rodbender also has bream, bluegill and redear.
  • Channel Catfish: On March 11th anglers were catching catfish in Clubhouse and Willow.  The best fishing is on the bottom using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made baits.  Later, in the spring catfish can also be caught in shallow water by fishing with worms or crickets under a bobber.  Catfish are being caught in Rodbender.
  • Striped Bass: On March 11th the stripers were biting in Clubhouse and no report of striper action in Bridge.  Boat anglers are catching stripers on small crank baits and Shad rap mid-lake or along the lake channel.  Stripers are biting on chicken liver fished on the bottom while anglers were targeting catfish.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FISHING AT GEORGIA PFAS: LICENSES AND MORE

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

Ponds and the Okefenokee produced some good catches over the weekend, but the cold has slowed the bite this week. Last quarter moon is March 20th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that crappie were tearing up minnows fished in treetops in the main river before the cold snap. Flatheads were eating goldfish. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the weekend crappie bite was great. Both minnows and light-colored jigs worked well. Shellcrackers were caught with pink worms fished around lily pads. Some bream were also caught on crickets and worms. Rooster livers and squid fooled nice channel catfish. Several flatheads were landed by anglers fishing goldfish in deep holes. The river level was 4.9 feet (record low for the date) and rising (57 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 7.0 feet and falling (60 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on March 14th.

SATILLA RIVER

Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that before the cold, the crappie bite was great. Some slab-sized fish were mixed in the creels, and both minnows and Tennessee shad grubs worked well. Bass were caught by anglers flinging crankbaits. In the Woodbine area, Craig James reported catching a few white catfish on shrimp skewered on Catfish Catcher Jigheads. One of them was just over 3 pounds and was 18 inches long! The high winds kept them from being able to fish very effectively, and they finally gave up on trying to control the boat in the whitecaps. The river level on March 14th at the Waycross gage was 7.1 feet and falling (60 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 6.2 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER

The bream and catfish bites were great before the cooldown. Crickets were catching bream, and shrimp and rooster livers were working for catfish. Soft plastics produced some nice bass again this weekend. The river level at the MacClenny gage on March 14th was 1.8 feet and rising.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

I took my daughter Ellie to the east side on Saturday evening, and we absolutely whacked the fliers. It was probably the most intense bite I’ve ever had. We caught and released 136 fliers up to 8 inches. We had the first 100 fish from just 3 spots and then she quit fishing and read a book. We explored for the last hour, and I still caught another 3 dozen fish.

SE GA Fishing Report Ellie Flier 3 17 - IMG_2662
Ellie Deener of Waycross holds one of the 136 fliers she and her father caught and released from the Okefenokee

During the hot bite, we caught them on pink and orange sallies fished under a small float (several fish inhaled the float, so you know they were active). Those were the only two colors we threw, but I think they would have eaten about any color, they were biting so well. The floating weeds were bad, and you had to keep an eye on your motor water stream to make sure it wasn’t clogged. It was some work fishing around the floating weeds, but we were rewarded with some FUN fishing, or should I say CATCHING! The fishing will probably be slow by the time you read this, but it will pick back up behind this cold snap. You should be able to catch quite a few beginning during the heat of the day Saturday afternoon. I would not recommend going on cold mornings, as the fish usually don’t wake up and start feeding until the sun starts warming the water. Michael Winge said that the warmouth bite and even the bream bite was picking up some before the cold snap. Crickets were producing both species.

PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (NEAR TIFTON)

During the warm spell, lots of bass were caught from the PFA. The biggest I saw photos of was a 7-pounder. Plastic worms and small swimbaits will usually produce some nice fish when they are shallow. Watermelon hues are great for small worms, while shad colored swimbaits have produced best for me in the past. The crappie fishing was great over the weekend for those pitching artificials. The crappie were bedding last weekend and will probably go back to bedding during the warm-up this weekend.

LOCAL PONDS

Brent and Isabelle Tatum fished a local pond and caught some nice bass. Their biggest looked like about a 4-pounder from the photo. Michael Winge reported that crappie and bass fishing have been best in Waycross area ponds. The most productive crappie presentation has been pitching minnows around shoreline cover for spawning fish. ZOOM Trick Worms were the best lure for bass. Some of the better catfish catches were reported by anglers fishing pink worms and shrimp on the bottom.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

Michael Winge said that nobody reported going to saltwater with the high winds this week. The sheepshead and whiting bites should pick up on the back side of this cold snap. From my experience, sheepshead are oblivious to weather changes. With the volatile weather we have had, they are a great species to chase! Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that whiting and black drum were caught this week from the pier by those using dead shrimp. Cut bait attracted some sharks. Over the weekend, some nice catches of blue crabs were trapped.  You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

BEST BET

This cold week will have knocked the fish on the head by the time you read this. The two bites that have been great for me in the past on the warm side of cold snaps have been sheepshead in saltwater and white catfish in tidal freshwater. Dabble fiddler crabs around pilings or any other hard structures for convictfish. White catfish will eat a shrimp put on the bottom in the lower tidal reaches of our rivers (my favorite location is White Oak Creek on the lower Satilla). Find a runout on the first half of the ebb tide and you have as close to a sure thing as you can get with the cold snap we’ve had. Ponds and the Okefenokee will heat up quickly with the warm afternoons forecasted for the weekend. Bass and crappie would be good targets in the afternoons on ponds, while fliers in the swamp will eat sallies pitched to vegetation edges.

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 dogwoods blooming across South Georgia is a sure sign of spring and good fishing on Lake George. A quote from an angler who fished earlier this week was “the bass have been chomping.” Anglers have been catching bass shallow in and around vegetation as well as around clay points. Angers have also reported catching good number of 2-2.5 pound spotted bass. The crappie fishing has been very good. However, the fish have not moved shallow in large numbers but should very soon. Anglers fishing in 12-18 feet of water have been reporting good catches.

FLINT RIVER

The Lower Flint River is back well within its banks and fishing should be heating up for all species including largemouth and shoal bass, bream, crappie and catfish. Worms fished on the bottom are a favorite of early season bream anglers but as the water continues to warm crickets and beetle spins will also become highly effective. Look for crappie to be hanging around downed trees, the bigger and brushier the better. Look for fallen timber close to deeper holes to find spawning crappie. Shoal bass tend to hang a bit deeper this time of year before heading to shallower spawning locations in shoals. A slow fished jig or worm fished in the deeper holes can be effective.

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

LAKE SEMINOLE

Both largemouth bass and crappie have moved shallow and are being cooperative. Both prespawn and spawning fishing techniques such as site fishing should be successful. The recent Costa FLW tournament last weekend was won with a 3-day 15 fish limit of 64 lbs. 11 oz. The recent windy conditions can make getting around and positioning the boat difficult and also makes site fishing more difficult but the fish are there if you are willing to go after them. Due to the warmer than usual winter the amount of hydrilla in the coves is more similar to the conditions during summer than early spring so, be prepared for more vegetation than would be usual for this time of year.

LAKE BLACKSHEAR

The largemouth bass and crappie on Lake Blackshear have moved shallow and are spawning. Large numbers of bass and crappie were sample by WRD this week during ectrofishing surveys. There were a lot of fish hanging around the base of the numerous cypress tress found in the coves of the Lake. In addition, both bass and crappie can be found around shoreline vegetation in less than 4 feet of water. Try pitching jigs and minnows for crappie in these areas.

SW GA JohnKilpatrick BlackshearCrappie

 

Georgia Fishing Report: March 3, 2017

Anglers – Check out the latest news, tips and information about angling from the experts! Central Georgia, Southeast Georgia and North Georgia information below.

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 Below Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant (http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 50’s

Bass fishing is good.  A lot of bass are roaming the shallows and almost anything can work.  It is hard to beast a #5 Shad Rap.  The bite is good if there is a slight breeze pushing into the sunny pockets.  Baits are migrating to these pockets during the day.  Fish several pockets to locate which ones are holding the baitfish and bass.  Small crank baits and jigs will work.  Add a Zoom Fluke and fish right in the centers of the coves and down the middle of these pockets.  As the water continues to warm, use a jerk bait to trigger a reaction strike.  Fish a Zoom Baby Brush Hog in green pumpkin and fish any wood as the bass will use this cover as they begin preparing for the spawn.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 9.81 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing is good.  The bite is turning on with the recent warm spell and moving fish well into their pre-spawn pattern.  Most bass are being found in ditches or flats with jerk baits and crankbaits in 15 feet of water or less.  On the warmer afternoons bass will be cruising in the backs of many pockets.  We’re certainly not done with all of the cold weather, but spring is now upon us.  Here are some things to keep handy as you fish this month: spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerk baits and jigs.  If the weather continues to stay moderate to warm, big female bass will cruise the shallows looking for an area that provides cover and food for the spawn.  Throw close to and into the thickest cover possible during the warmest days.  However, if the temperature stays cool back off the cover some and try slow rolling around the edges of spawning flats.  If the month does stay on the cool side jerk baits and crank baits that suspend and fish down the middle of the pockets.  The jig and pig will produce big bass now.  Try it on main and secondary points that are near spawning flats.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPRATURE 57-61

  • BASS: Bass fishing is fair.  Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the coves out to the main lake will produce. You can also add fishing a Rat L Trap around any deep dock and around rip rap early.  Jigs fished around wood structure have also produced some larger fish.  Some fish are starting to move into the creeks and coves so don’t be afraid to move in and out of the coves and pockets, fishing all depths of water.  Use the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology together to find the fish.  Use the down beam in auto depth and send the side beams five time the depth.
  • STRIPERS: (Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741 or reeltime@bellsouth.net) Striper fishing is good. The fish are mid-lake around river bend.  Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait and the stripers will be close by.  Look for the birds diving, if you see birds go fish them.  Live bait as well as spoons will produce large numbers of fish.
  • CRAPPIE: Crappie fishing is good. The fish are moving into the creeks.  Long lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches.  Spider rigging will also catch some fish.  Some of the bigger fish are starting to show up in the rivers.

WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 4.7 FEET, CLEAR & 60’S

Bass fishing is good.  It is spring in March.  Schools of spotted bass mixed with hybrids, white bass and stripers and even the occasional largemouth can still be caught on jigging spoons and drop shot rigs on deeper offshore structures.  A day producing a mixed bag of species fish is not uncommon.  Baits such as suspending jerk baits, Zoom Super Flukes, Senko’s and spinnerbaits are already catching shallow largemouth bass and spots.  Try to fish these baits in or near any shallow cover or around schools of baitfish in the back of pockets.  Fish the open water in the pockets with a 1/2 ounce Rat L Trap, a sexy shad crankbait or the Alabama rig.  Crankbaits on rip rap or chunk rock is also a good pattern for early spring.  The shallow bite will only get better as the water warms in March.  Remember that the creeks always warm first.  The pre spawn is just around the corner.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN .86 FEET, CLEAR, 60’S

Bass fishing is good.  Fish jerk baits on the lake like the Spro McSticks in Norman flake and spooky shad colors.  Fish main lake points and flats.  Be sure to work these baits around any dock and on any grass line.  Fish the flat-sided crankbaits such as Davis Fishco and Norman Flat Broke Baits in these same areas.  Anglers are also using the loaded Alabama rig and taking some good fish in the backs of any sandy pocket.  Any crawfish or shad patterns will do the job.  The jig bite is good mid-day after the sun warms the water.  Use the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology together to find the fish.  Use the down beam in auto depth and send the side beams five time the depth.  Pitch the docks in the upriver coves and swim it back after lunch.  Use 1/2 ounce jigs in green and brown around any wood cover too and add a Zoom salt trailer in matching colors.  Use the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology together to find the fish.  Use the down beam in auto depth and send the side beams five time the depth.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 1.1 FEET, 60’s

Bass fishing is good.  With much warmer weather lately, begin to look for fish to move to the back half of spawning coves.  You can just about throw any shallow running bait like the spinnerbaits, crank bait or swim bait and catch active fish that are feeding heavily.  The spawn might come much sooner than normal with higher than average water temperatures.  Use the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology together to find the fish.  Use the down beam in auto depth and send the side beams five time the depth.  Soft plastics like tubes and lizards will work well on bedding fish toward the end of the month.  Dipping the bait in JJ’s Magic will help increase the bites, with a little chartreuse on the tail.

FLAT CREEK PFA

  • Surface Temperature: 68.7˚ F (20.4˚ C)
  • Water Level: 5’ 11” Below Full Pool
  • Water Visibility: 19”

The lake level is rising, and the fish are biting.  It’s a great time to cast a line and try your luck at Flat Creek.  The warmer spring weather has caused the water to warm.  Fish have started to cruise the shallows.  Fisherman have been leaving quite happy reportedly catching lots of crappie and several bass (one angler even caught a nine pound largemouth).  If you are fishing from the bank try casting the edges of cover.  If you are fishing from boat try fishing near any of the fish attractors or the large rock piles.  Here is a list of fish and what has seemed to work the best for each species:

  • Bass: Plum colored ‘Ol Monstor worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms. Most dark colored worms.
  • Bream: Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig. Near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon.  Crickets have not worked well.
  • Channel Catfish: Red Wiggler worms, Frozen Catalpa worms, and chicken livers.
  • Crappie: Chartreuse/white teaser tails, or similar color pattern in Triple Ripple. Blue bodied teaser tail with a chartreuse tail and most brightly (not yellow) colored teaser tails with an inch or two of the tail trimmed have worked very well.

McDUFFIE PFA

  • Water Temperature: Rising 63.3 ⁰F
  • Water Visibility: 30 – 60 inches
  • McDuffie PFA has started the spring fertilization program.
  • All Lake Water levels on McDuffie PFA are back to Full pool.

Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth bass bite has been steadily improving.  Boat and kayak anglers are catching multiple bass with most of them under the fourteen (14) inch length limit.  Willow Lake still has some shad left which anglers target for fast action.  The Bass are responding to the warming water temperatures and have begun biting readily across all PFA’s lakes.  McDuffie PFA’s anglers are spreading the fishing pressure across the PFA lakes.  No reports of bass on spawning beds.  Rodbender, the trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one Bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.

Bream: Bream are biting and are being caught in shallow water across the PFA.  Rodbender also has bream, bluegill and redear.

Channel Catfish:  The catfish bite has picked up and as the water continues to warm up the catfish will begin to feed in preparation for the spring spawn.  The best fishing is on the bottom using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made baits.  Later, in the spring catfish can also be caught in shallow water by fishing with worms or crickets under a bobber.  Catfish are being caught in Rodbender.

Striped Bass:  The stripers are biting in both Clubhouse and Bridge Lakes.  Boat anglers are catching stripers on small crank baits and shad rap mid-lake or along the lake channel.  Stripers are also biting on chicken liver fished on the bottom while anglers are targeting catfish.

MARBEN PFA

  • Water temps. : High 60’s

Largemouth Bass –   March weather can be a little unstable at times.  Temperature swings can bring sudden changes to bass feeding behavior.  Bass are still in deeper water but due to a warmer than average winter anglers could find bass in shallow water, especially on consecutive warmer days.   Mid-day can produce some big bass but look for these big fish in deeper water (10-15 ft.).  Submerged timber and rock beds are good habitats to target when seeking bass at Marben PFA.

Crappie –   Crappie are now the most aggressive in early afternoon and evening, crowded around submerged timber in deeper water.  Anglers should find this species dominating the catch.  When it is quiet at Marben, the crappie are usually biting.  Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs.  Try fishing cover approximately 10-12 feet throughout the day, especially in the evening.

Bream – Bream fishing will start to pick up but will not be as aggressive as crappie.  Warmer water temperatures play a factor but overall this is just the right time for anglers seeking quality bream.  Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best in mid-day but a little slow in early morning and evening.  Remember that bream are still a little sluggish so be patient when fishing this popular species.

Catfish – Catfish will remain sluggish this time of year.  Patience is necessary if anglers are in pursuit of this fish.  Anglers should target days when it is sunny which should warm the water in order to get catfish moving.  Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FISHING AT GEORGIA PFAS: LICENSES AND MORE

NORTH GEORGIA

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

Well, we survived the strong cold front Wednesday night.  While there was some hail in northwest Georgia, it looks like most of us came through the storm unscathed.  Actually, we could have used a lot more rainfall from it, but we’ll take the half-inch that we received.  We need every drop- for our wild trout streams, our reservoir fisheries, and especially for our trout hatcheries, where it’s very hard to grow fish without water. The drought continues up here, as well as our efforts to manage and to fish around it. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02178400

There are a lot of interesting events and activities coming up, so they’re leading off this week’s report.  Take a look and pick one or two to participate in; you’ll be glad you did. Shoot, you might even win the Dream Trip or an awesome runner-up prize! http://www.georgiafishingbooks.com/tailwater/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2017-Dream-Trip-Flyer.pdf

On the fishing front, this sudden dip in nighttime air temperatures might cool things off just a bit from the red-hot action induced by last week’s warmth (see Henry’s vid!), but it should still be very good.  Baitfish, stream bugs, and sportfish should re-acclimate after a day or two.  http://www.wsbtv.com/weather/5day

Bass and crappie are starting to head for the reservoir shallows, and are on fire in our ponds and small lakes, which warm much quicker each spring.  Gulls are pointing us at the shallow-water striper blitzes, and stripers and whites are also starting to head uplake in preparation for their late-month spawning attempts. http://www.gon.com/fishing/on-the-run-catch-white-bass-spawning-up-the-coosa

And walleye are around – somewhere.  They’re trickling into the tributary rivers as they prepare to spawn at midmonth, or maybe earlier if the warmer weather returns.  Our rivers are so low that even our jetboats may not be able to chase them all the way up to their spawning grounds, where we take only enough broodstock for our warmwater hatcheries.  They’ll produce another year’s worth of fingerlings to stock and sustain our sport fisheries (since natural reproduction is limited to nonexistent in our Georgia lakes).  Good luck in first finding them and then in convincing those darn walleye that a meal is more interesting than a date. http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Yonah

Here we go for the first of March:

  • Kudos on a Good Cause: March 11 – Hooch WMA Cleanup http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112544 Kudos to Kyle on his personal initiative!   I would bet that more volunteers would be welcome.  And all folks would also be welcomed at the evening BBQ and bluegrass event in Helen, below.

LAKE LANIER

Crappie: This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. www.laniercrappieanglers.net

As to be expected, fishing is good to excellent this time of the year.  Water temperature is between 57 and 60 degrees, varying between morning and afternoon. With the full moon about two weeks away, combined with warmer weather, the stage is being set for the spawn.  The combination of warm weather and a full moon will create ideal conditions.  The trolling bite is good, using double rigged curly tails in a variety of colors.  Try tipping some with minnows.  This technique will result in bagging bigger fish, and with the abundance of bait, will give you an edge.  For dock shooters, the bite has been consistent all day long, Target shallower docks, fifteen foot depths or less.  Don’t hesitate to try docks as shallow as 6-8 feet, as that is where the females will most likely be.  (Be mindful though, that the females are holding our future crappie stock, so catch and release this time of year is an excellent practice.)  As you start at a dock, you will notice you are catching the bigger fish.  As they tend to get smaller, move on to another dock.  As we mentioned in the past, you are competing with a large number of fishermen this time of year, so it is very important to keep moving if you are not getting bites.  The secret to putting a lot of fish in the boat is to simply cover a lot of water.  Keep moving!  Some fish are holding on the more shallow submerged brush piles, but the bigger fish have moved from brush piles to shallow docks with cover.  Four pound high visibility line is very important.  Your jig color should vary depending on the water color.  The more stain, the darker the jig should be.  Stay away from heavier jig heads.  1/24 ounce remains our number one choice unless the day is very windy.  As we mentioned in the past, keep asking your friendly bait store to carry that type jig head.  They tend to be difficult to find.  To target blowdowns, water temperatures need to be around 60 degrees for a few days in a row, which we’ve not consistently reached.  Watch for it though, it’s coming, and that will be the first sign of the spawn.  Another sign of fish moving to blowdowns is seeing turtles sunning on the exposed portions of blowdowns.  Once the water temperatures rise, the turtles will come out of hibernation.  Best blowdowns are the ones that have been submerged a year or longer, in the backs of pockets.  They’ve had a chance to build algae, which attracts the plankton, which attracts the bait…..you get the picture!  Stay safe on the water, always wear a life jacket!

SMALL LAKES STILL HOT (from angler Craig Riendeau)

Went back out to the small lake today and it was more of the same. Ended the day with a dozen nice bass topped by a 5 1/2 pounder. Surprisingly had to fish deeper to get them today. Got a bonus 2 lb 15 oz crappie on Wee Willy Wiggler. Fattest crappie I’ve ever seen. I hope everybody is getting out and taking advantage to all this warm weather.

WRD WALLEYE UPDATE

Today’s (3/2/17) “shocking” intel shows that it’s still too early for the main run. Some males are up on the spawning grounds, but females are sparse.  If it warms next week, abundance should increase.  Hakala’s craft found a 14 fish in Carters (52 degree water), while the Rabern flotilla found a half dozen  in Lanier, above Don Carter, in 52 degree water.  Lakes at higher elevations (Yonah, Tugalo, etc) should be even farther behind on their runs.  Lake levels in the Lanier headwaters are very low and dangerous, so try to intercept them farther downlake, where your boating is safer.

TROUT

Priceless Kid Pics http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=893450

Hooch Tailwater Lunker Hunt Wow!   http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112646

Spring Favorite- The Haystack. Tie these in gray for Gordons and hare’s ear for March Browns. http://randrflyfishing.com/2008/02/05/the-haystack-one-of-our-favorite-smoky-mountain-trout-flies/

Southern Trout Magazine: The latest edition has some good Georgia stories. http://www.southerntrout.com/

ne-ga-trout-rbt-stocker-and-smile-riley-b-2016
Check out that smile on Riley after a stocked trout catch-Priceless!

Stocker Supplies: Are you ready for the start of the 2017 Georgia trout stocking season?  State and federal hatchery trucks https://www.fws.gov/chattahoocheeforest/ will be rolling soon, and there will be more WRD news to come next week regarding the kickoff of our 2017 stocking season.  In the meantime, stock up for stockers now with new line, small hooks, shiny spinners, a fresh jar of salmon eggs, and maybe even a new cricket cage.  Remember to patch those hip boot holes from last year.  Nearly every one of us started with stockers to kick off our trouting careers, and they’re still fun.  Get your ultralight fishing tackle ready and check for openings in your kids’ school and soccer schedules.  It’s nearly trout time again in Georgia.  Ready, set, cast!

http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/fishing/2010/03/merwin-stocked-trout-are-ignorant-not-dumb

http://www.baitsoaker.com/fishing/trout/stocked/

ne-ga-summ-hat-trio-and-truck-load-apr-2016
Takes Strong Man to Stock Trout….

Good luck as we hope for a rebound in water temperatures and topwater action in the days ahead. Stock up this weekend for stocker season, soon to break.  Stay tuned for that trout transportation news, and send me your stories and photos to share with our internet angler group.  As always, thanks for your license and license plate sales – and renewals if you’re due!!!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

Pond fishing has been excellent this week, with big catches of crappie and bass reported. In saltwater, whiting were tops. Most rivers are starting to get fishable, although they are still a little high. First quarter moon is March 5th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

ALTAMAHA RIVER: The Ocmulgee River and upper Altamaha are starting to warm up and clear up. If we don’t get significant rains this week, it will probably be good bass fishing next week. I received one report from a catfish angler fishing the Jesup area last Wednesday, and he landed a 32-pound flathead. He also caught several channel and blue catfish up to 3 pounds. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that shellcrackers were caught on worms, and crappie ate minnows. Limb lines baited with goldfish caught some good catfish. Donna at Altamaha Park said that channel catfish were the best bite over the weekend, and the best bait was worms. Some crappie were caught with minnows dangled in the treetops. With the warming water temperatures, expect some big crappie to be caught in the backs of the oxbow lakes over the next few weeks. The river level was 6.3 feet and falling (65 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.5 feet and falling (62 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on February 28th.

SATILLA RIVER: The best report I heard all week was from a friend fishing the middle river. He texted me a photo of a half of a cooler full of crappie that he and a friend caught with minnows and jigs. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that some good-sized crappie were caught on minnows and dark colored jigs. The redbreast bite has started, with Satilla Spins and beetlespins producing some nice fish.  Bass were caught on plastic worms and lizards. The river level on February 28th at the Waycross gage was 8.5 feet and falling (64 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 8.2 feet and falling. If we don’t get rain this week, the river will drop like a stone with the leaves popping out.

ST. MARYS RIVER: Randy Hanson of Folkston caught some great crappie on the St. Marys this week. His fish were caught from the Trader’s Hill area of the river. Michael Winge reported that the bream, redbreast, and catfish bites were good. Crickets produced most of the bream, while beetlespins were the ticket for redbreasts. The extreme upper river is already difficult to get around, but the middle and lower river sections are fishable. The river level at the MacClenny gage on February 28th was 1.9 feet and falling.

se-ga-randy-hanson-st-marys-crappie-2-17
Randy Hanson of Folkston caught this and several other crappie at the Trader’s Hill area on St. Marys River

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP: I only received one report from the swamp this week, and that angler fished the Fargo side. He caught bowfin and a bass by throwing Dura-Spins. I’m sure the flier bite is wide open right now, but nobody has reported back to me. On the Folkston side, pitching yellow or pink sallies under a small balsa float with a bream buster pole is a sure bet for a cooler of fliers and some warmouth. By the time you read this, a cold front will have chilled the water temperatures, but the bite should pick back up with the warming temperatures late in the weekend.

LAKE GRACE (WAYNE COUNTY, NEAR ODUM): Staff from the Waycross Fisheries Office did their annual standardized electrofishing sampling at the lake this week and saw some whopper bass. They weighed and released a 10 1/2-pound bass and another over 9 pounds, along with quite a few smaller bass. The crappie population there is also good and is well-worth trolling some lures or minnows or pitching lures to shoreline cover. In the next few months, some good bream will be caught from the lake, and worms fished on the bottom will produce bullhead and channel catfish.

HUGH M. GILLIS PUBLIC FISHING AREA (NEAR DUBLIN): A couple of Blackshear anglers made the trek to the PFA to fish for bass. They were very successful, landing and releasing 14 bass up to 5 pounds with live bait. The area has a 16 to 24-inch protective slot limit (you can keep bass smaller than 16 inches, must release fish between 16 and 24 inches, and can keep one bass over 24 inches). The crappie fishing has been very good at the area this winter, as well. Most folks targeting crappie slow-troll minnows or long-line troll curly-tailed grubs.

LOCAL PONDS: Chad Lee pounded the bass this week in Alma area ponds. On Friday he caught 36 bass up to 4 pounds. They bit “everything he threw”, including Savage Gear Shrimp (no that is not a typo!), spinnerbaits, plastic worms, Rat-L-Traps, flukes, and Whopper Plopper topwater plugs. He followed it up on Monday with a 57-fish day. A watermelon candy fluke was the ticket during that trip. He had 10 fish that weighed 4 pounds apiece. He said that his hands were raw (and I can believe it!). Steven and Jerry Long had great trips on Friday to a Glynn County pond and Monday to a Wayne County pond. On Friday they mainly caught bass, while both bass and crappie bit for them on Monday. They fooled the bass with watermelon chartreuse colored ZOOM Trick Worms, while the crappie ate minnows and also white lightning colored Squirmin’ Squirt tube jigs. Michael Winge reported that crappie were biting well on minnows. Catfish were caught by anglers bottom fishing with worms. Crickets are starting to produce some good bream catches.

SALTWATER (GA COAST): The whiting bite is picking up. On days when the wind allows, fish the sounds with shrimp on the bottom, and you will do well for the tasty bottom dwellers. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that bull whiting, black drum, yellowtails, seatrout, and sharks were caught from the pier this week. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

BEST BET: The late-week cold front will keep the nighttime temperatures down, so the afternoon will probably be the best bite. Winds will again control if you can get out to the whiting or trout this weekend. The lower tide fluctuations this weekend should provide fairly clear water if winds are reasonable. Bass should be chasing moving lures and plastic worms in the afternoons this weekend in ponds. Ponds should also continue to produce some good catches of crappie, except the day after a cold front passes (they’re usually fickle biters right after a cold front).

Georgia Fishing Report: February 24, 2017

Terry and Mildred Miles fished at the Laura Walker State Park Lake on Tuesday and caught 3 fliers (one of them was an angler award-sized flier!)

Reports from Southwest, Southeast and Northeast Georgia this week.

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 – There have been several reports that the crappie fishing in Lake George is “on fire.” The fish have not moved shallow yet but limits are being caught in 12-18 feet of water. Anglers fishing shallower at night have been having some success particularly in Pataula Creek. The largemouth bass fishing has also been considered excellent. The fish are being caught in water 4-5 feet deep and even shallower. Soft plastics are currently the bait of choice. Bass anglers have also been reporting catching a few more spotted bass this year. However, the fish are very healthy and there seem to be a good number of 2-2.5 pound fish in the current spotted bass population.

FLINT RIVER – The Lower Flint River has dropped a fair amount in the last week or so and fishing for catfish and bass should be fair. Fishing should be good for white, hybrid and striped bass in the tailraces below Lake Blackshear in Warwick and below Lake Worth in Albany. The increased flow attracts white bass, hybrids, striped bass as well as catfish. The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip.

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

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

The pond fishing (primarily crappie and bass) is as good as it gets right now. We are beginning the first push of spawning bass, and it will continue for a month or so. The whiting bite is starting in saltwater. Most rivers are still a little high for peak fishing, but the Okefenokee is right. New Moon is February 26th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

ALTAMAHA RIVER – The river is still high and muddy, but it’s coming down. I’d give it another few weeks to warm up and come down before I would spend time fishing it.  Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that catfish were caught on limb lines in good numbers, and a few crappie were sporadically mixed in the creels. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the river is fishable, and crappie were caught with minnows and jigs. Bottom fishing produced some big bream, and goldfish accounted for some good flathead catfish. The river level was 8.0 feet and falling (60 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.1 feet and falling (60 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on February 21st.

SATILLA RIVER – Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the crappie fishing is on fire. The key is fishing the mouths of the sloughs with minnows. Some large bass were caught on artificial lizards and shiners as they moved to the shallows in preparation for the spawn. The river level on February 21st at the Waycross gage was 8.7 feet and falling (61 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 9.1 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER – Reports from the St. Marys were very good. Anglers reported catching a mix of 40 to 50 fish per trip. Species gracing the creels included bream, redbreasts, shellcrackers, warmouth, and bass. Pink worms were the most productive offering. Bass were caught shallow (mostly on plastics) as they began spawning. The river level at the MacClenny gage on February 21st was 2.0 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP – The bass fishing at the Sill on the west side has been good, with anglers catching them around the spillway and also in the swamp above the sill. On the west side, you can catch a few bass in Billy’s Lake, but the bowfin are so thick it is hard to get a bait past them. Some catfish were caught on the Fargo side this week, as well. Reportedly, a big bass was caught from the boat basin at the Folkston side and released. Fishing on the east side was almost non-existent again this week, except for some folks catching bowfin in the boat basin. Flier fishing should be great if you fish the Folkston side and pitch yellow or pink sallies under a small balsa float. Choose a warm afternoon with an approaching front (Friday or Saturday), and the bite should be silly good!

BANKS LAKE (NEAR LAKELAND) – The great bass bite continued this weekend at Banks Lake. A tournament held there attracted 33 boats, and about a third of them had their limits. Craig James and Joey Wildes of Waycross caught 9-lb.,2-oz., good enough for third place. Most of their fish ate crankbaits and Texas-rigged plastic crawfish. The biggest bass weighed in during the event was a 5-lb.,2-oz lunker, so the big girls are headed to the bank.

LOCAL PONDS – Pond fishing was awesome this week! On Thursday, a group of anglers fished a pond near Brunswick and caught 8 bass (biggest 3-lb., 10-oz.) on crankbaits and Texas-rigged Keitech Mad Wag Worms. They also caught a dozen channel catfish up to 3 pounds by pitching cut bluegill to shoreline trees with a 3/16-oz. Catfish Catcher Jighead. The Gamakatsu circle hook on the jighead was the deal for keeping the catfish hooked up. Another group of anglers fished Friday in the same pond and caught 35 bass, but most were less than 2 pounds on SPRO crankbaits. They did have one big bass, a 6-lb., 2-oz whopper. se-ga-fishing-report-terry-miles-flier-2-21-17.jpgTerry (seen in image at left) and Mildred Miles fished at the Laura Walker State Park Lake on Tuesday and caught 3 fliers (one of them was an angler award-sized flier!) and 5 crappie during the morning of fishing. The big flier ate a curly-tailed grub, while most of the other fish were fooled with minnows. Michael Winge reported that Memphis George caught two 8-pound bass on shiners out of his favorite honey-hole, an undisclosed Ware County Pond. Crappie were caught in good numbers from Waycross area ponds on both jigs and minnows.

SALTWATER (GA COAST) – On Friday some Waycross anglers fished the Brunswick area and caught a dozen seatrout and lost 4 others. A Flashy Jighead and Mama’s 24K Sea Shad and a Chug Bug produced their fish. On Saturday, Brentz and Alex McGhin fished with Jim and Garrett Page and whacked the whiting. They had 38 whiting and a keeper trout once the smoke cleared. Get ready because the whiting bite is just going to get better from here on out. On Sunday an angler fished the Brunswick area and caught 3 trout on Flashy Jigheads and Sea Shads. Michael Winge reported that some anglers managed to get offshore over the weekend and caught red snapper, black sea bass, amberjack, and red drum. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that fishing from the pier picked up this week. Trout, whiting, croaker, sheepshead, and sand tiger sharks were caught from the pier. Some nice catches of blue crabs were also made from the pier. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

BEST BET – Take your pick this weekend. The next cold front is forecasted for late Saturday, so bass and crappie should be biting well in your favorite pond. Fliers should be tearing it up in the Okefenokee ahead of the front on Friday and Saturday. Winds will dictate if you can get out to the whiting or trout this weekend.

NORTHEAST GEORGIA

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

BEST BETS this week: Bass and crappie.  Fishing for both is heating up in what may be the warmest February on record http://www.cbs46.com/story/34587853/february-is-warmest-on-record-in-atlanta-so-far

KEN STURDIVANT’S SOUTHERN RESERVOIR REPORTS:

http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html

LANIER BASS:

This Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, www.jimboonlanier.com  770-542-7764

Water Temp – 55

Water Level – 9.99 feet below full pool

The bass fishing on Lake Lanier remains good and is getting better. The lake level has been stable over the past week and the water temps are on the rise. The fish are ahead of schedule with all the warm weather we are having.   The fish have been shallow over the past week. We are starting back shallow in ditches early, and remain shallow to 15 feet or so through the day.  Focus on the key features you find shallow near the ditches as well such as clay and rock points.  We are starting in ditches and staying in them through the day as well as working shallow pockets just off the main lake or main creek channels. Most days we are focusing in 15 feet of water or less. We are starting with a SuperSpin tipped with a boot-tail type trailer right in the ditch. Also, a Spro McStick or McRip has been a good choice as far as jerkbaits go, in addition to a Megabass Vision 110.  A finesse worm on a Picasso Shake-E Football Head or a Chattahoochee Jig has been a good alternative if the fish are not as aggressive.  As the sun gets up, check the shallow docks in ditches and pockets for activity.  Work a jerkbait beside these shallow docks, as well as a jig and worm.  These fish are already starting to stage in preparation for the spawn.  You will find spots and largemouth in these places. This pattern definitely works better when the sun is out as opposed to cloudy conditions.  The clouds make the fish scatter.  While they still remain close to the dock, they are often not directly under the docks. The fishing is definitely more random under cloud cover.  I am now guiding in a Brand New Xpress Bass Boat – 21’3″ powered by a 250 Yamaha SHO and equipped with the latest Lowrance HDS Gen III units featuring 3D Structure Scan technology.  Come take a ride in this beauty!    This is a great time to learn the early spring bite on Lanier.  They are up and moving!  Here are the dates I have open in March: 1, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, 21, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31  Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun!  Thanks to all and May God Bless.

 

LANIER CRAPPIE:

Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Report February 22  2017

This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website, www.laniercrappieanglers.net

Current water temperature is 54 degrees, and on a warm and sunny day in the backs of creeks the afternoon water temp is reaching 57 degrees.  For this time of year, this is significant because we are in the pre-spawn.  If we do not have another cold snap, our best estimate for the spawn is that it will begin with the next full moon in about 2 ½ weeks.  The fish are roaming around their brush piles in pursuit of the abundance of bait.  The bite is excellent.  This is the time of year when we experiment with different color and types of crappie jigs to put them to the test.  If they don’t work now, they most likely will never work!  Having said that, in my opinion, how you present the jig is the most important factor in catching fish.  How you move it in the water is critical.  The majority of strikes occur when the jig is falling.  So when you reel in the jig, shake the tip of the rod while retrieving.  After every 2 or 3 cranks, pause for few seconds to allow the jig to fall. Watch your line carefully during the fall, and if you see slack in your line, set the hook.  The fish we are catching now are on or around docks.  Pay attention to the bait – they will lead you to the fish.  If you go in a pocket and don’t see bait, even if it is a favorite spot, don’t spend too much time on it, as they are really following the bait right now.  As the water temps rise in the next couple of weeks, the female fish should start checking their spawning grounds and moving to the blowdowns.  As of today, we have not seen any indications they have begun moving that direction.  Long line trolling remains a very effective way to catch fish, and the minnow bite is producing equally well.  Pick your favorite method and enjoy this early spring weather.  Boat traffic is increasing, so stay safe on the water and wear your life jacket!

 

GOOD LANIER MAPS:

http://www.sam.usace.army.mil/Portals/46/docs/recreation/OP-SL/Maps/LakeLanierMapBook%202005-09-19.pdf

 

ALLATOONA CRAPPIE:

Water temps in the mid-50’s and climbing!

Check out Jeff “Crappieman” Albright’s recent reports: https://www.facebook.com/CrappieMan-Allatoona-Lake-Guide-Fishing-202748466416645/

 

COOSA RIVER (FLOYD COUNTY):

2/23/17: Water temperatures 56-58F.  Warmer than normal water temperatures have white bass moving into the river between Mayo’s Lock and Dam park downstream to the state line.  DNR survey crews reported an abundance of male white bass have entered the river from Lake Weiss.  The larger female white bass are starting to trickle in, but it will likely be a couple more weeks before they show up in mass.  Best areas to target this weekend will be the mile or so river stretch immediately downstream of the lock and dam and farther downstream from Brushy Branch to the AL state line.

 Good numbers of crappie can be found around the lock and dam downstream to the Blacks Bluff Road Bridge.  Target the slack water behind downed shoreline trees and logs.  

NORTH GA WALLEYE:

The Snellings-Looney Duo only found four small males up the Hooch on 2/21, so it’s still a little early for the river run.  They did find a lot of small (2-8 pound) stripers in the vicinity of their launch site, Don Carter State Park, chowing down on small threadfins.  If you go, please be safe in navigating those shallow waters.

Angler Matt Elliott fished Lake Tugalo earlier this week and boated this jumbo yellow perch while trolling for walleye. 

perch021417

Carters’ Lake Walleye Fishing Report

http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=892851 

SMALL LAKE BASS:

Went fishing over the weekend to a new lake. Five casts into the day I got this 6lb 2oz beauty. Two casts later i got a 4 1/2 pounder. Finished the day with a five fish string of more than 23 lbs. Not bad for a fly fisherman. 

bass-lmb-craigr-small-lake-feb2017

CHATTAHOOCHEE DH:

Monday, February 20th was the final holiday bucket brigade stocking of the Chattahoochee River DH at NPS Palisades at Whitewater Creek. Over 40 youth and adult volunteers attended the stocking, most of which took the opportunity to wet a line to catch the freshly stocked trout afterward.

ChattahoocheeDH.JPG

AMI DH:

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112574

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112567

TOCCOA DH:

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112372

CHATTOOGA REPORT – QUILL GORDON’S LITTLE BROTHER:

Don’t forget a few blue quills in the north Georgia box.  They are small and dark, and plentiful this time of year.  If you see a small mayfly that’s bigger than a blue wing olive, but much smaller than the big Q Gordons, try tossing a #18 blue quill.  We saw a few on the Chattooga last weekend, so this hatch should heat up soon.  The Chattooga itself  (DH and 10 miles higher) was cold, low, and slow, with our few fish hitting small olive woolly buggers on the strip, or caddis imitations (ex: Walt’s worm) on the deep drift.  Nearly all fish were still in winter mode, hanging around in the deeper, slower pools.  Congrats to Kyle from Cleveland, who landed several nice rainbows on his first flyfishing trip to the Tooga!   Few trout were seen or caught in the riffles and runs.   Pool risers were fairly abundant, but the #30 cream midges were waaaay smaller than the smallest (#24) hook in Dredger’s midge box. C’mon spring and bigger bugs!

http://www.troutnut.com/specimen/683

http://www.flyfishingsmokymountains.com/journalmplr1403.html

ARE YOU CADDIS-READY?

Note the dates here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=O9Hq00edl8s

and here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNqunYBUWUU

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Coosa Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited to hold 8th Annual Trout Expo – 2/25/17.

Rome, GA http://coosavalley.tu.org/coosavalley/trout-expo-february-25-2017

Georgia Fishing Report: February 17, 2017

Info About Featured Image Above with a Quick Tip: WRD Fisheries Technician Mark Bowen captured and released this 8-lb largemouth in the river just below one of the major dams in Northwest Georgia.  This healthy bass was found amongst thousands of small threadfin shad, and has the belly to prove it!  Now may be a great time to target such areas below large dams as both predator and prey species begin to migrate upstream with the approaching spring and warming temperatures.

Get Ready – Loading y’all up with Fishing Reports this week: Scroll down to see reports from Southwest, Southeast, Central, and Northeast Georgia

SOUTHWEST GEORGIA

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

FLINT RIVER – The Flint River remains high but things should be heating up in the tailrace below Lake Blackshear in Warwick and below Lake Worth in Albany. The increased flow attracts white bass, hybrids, striped bass as well as catfish. The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip.

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

LAKE SEMINOLE – According to Guide Steven Wells, the fishing on Lake Seminole is on fire. Both largemouth bass and crappie are beginning to bed and the bream have also moved shallow and are active. Sight fishing for bedded bass is always poplar on Lake Seminole and soft plastics such as lizards are a good bet. It took a four pound average to win last weekend’s very competitive Hog Wild bass tournament held out of Big Jim’s and a seven pound fish won big fish. Look for crappie to be bedding on the edges of the hydrilla or in areas with scattered hydrilla in 4-8 foot depths. Small plastic jigs and minnows under a cork are effective. If you haven’t already done so, it is time to dust off the boat and fishing gear and head to Lake Seminole.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

Get ready because the best crappie and bass fishing of the whole season is about to bust wide open. The bass spawn will probably begin with the first push of fish during next week’s warm spell. Last quarter moon is February 18th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

ALTAMAHA RIVER – The river is still high and muddy. The non-tidal Altamaha isn’t a good option again this week, but the lower river is getting decent again. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that catfish in the 30 to 40-pound range were caught on bush hooks. Crappie were reported, as well (mostly from oxbow lakes). Donna at Altamaha Park said that the river is finally fishable again. Crappie were caught in good numbers on both jigs and minnows. Goldfish fooled some flathead catfish. A few bream were caught by angler fishing worms on the bottom, but no shellcrackers were reported yet. The river level was 9.0 feet and steady (59 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.5 feet and steady (59 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on February 14th.

SATILLA RIVER – Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that anglers caught crappie on minnows and dark colored jigs. Bass were eating topwater frogs fished around heavy cover. Catfish were fooled by bottom-fishermen using pink worms and rooster livers. The white catfish bite in the White Oak Creek and Woodbine areas should be excellent over the next few weeks with the dropping and warming water. The river level on February 14th at the Waycross gage was 10.9 feet and falling (61 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 10.0 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER – Another giant bass was landed this week. This time it was a 10.8-pound hawg that was weighed in during a tournament and then released. Catfish are tearing it up for those putting worms or rooster livers on the bottom. For the lucky anglers who found deep holes, big red wigglers on the bottom produced some nice bream and redbreasts. The river level at the MacClenny gage on February 14th was 2.3 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP – Swamp anglers have been almost non-existent lately, but the few folks who reported caught bowfin on the east side. The bite is about to turn on with the dropping water and warming temperatures. Expect the flier bite to pick up first (pitch pink or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies around wood and vegetation edges) and then the pickerel (minnow plugs and in-line spinners, such as Dura-Spins are hard to beat). Warm afternoons are the time to go.

BANKS LAKE (NEAR LAKELAND) – The bass reports have been great from the blackwater cypress-filled lake. Texas-rigged plastics pitched to the cypress trunks and knees have been producing 20 to 30 bass per trip by most accounts.

se-ga-fishing-report-kenny-mcclain-bass-2-11-17

LOCAL PONDS – Pond fishing was great again this week. Kenny McClain (seen in image at left) visited from Knoxville, Maryland and caught 8 nice bass between 3 and 4 pounds out of a Brunswick area lake. Half the fish ate a white River Rat spinnerbait, and the other half inhaled a black-blue flake Keitech Mad Wag worm. Chad Lee of Alma fished Alma area ponds on Friday and Monday and caught 6 and 20 fish, respectively. He caught them on Carolina-rigged Ol’ Monster worms, spinnerbaits, and a very unique lure for freshwater…….a Savage Gear TPE Shrimp. Yep, that was not a misprint. His 6 fish Friday and about half of his fish Monday were on the artificial shrimp. Whether they thought it was a crayfish or dying baitfish, they inhaled it! He didn’t have any monsters, but he had some solid 3 to 4-pounders on it! Way to think outside the box, Chad! Michael Winge reported that the crappie were tearing it up on Waycross area ponds. Minnows fished around the edges produced the best catches. The fish are starting to move shallow. Bass were caught with shiners and plastic worms.

SALTWATER (GA COAST) – A Waycross angler fished the Brunswick area Tuesday and landed 10 trout up to 20 inches. He also managed to hook, but lost 5 other trout. The fish bit weird and did not hook up as well as usual. His best presentations were Flashy Jigheads with Mama’s 14k and Slammin’ Chicken Sea Shads, chartreuse hard jerkbaits, and a prototype trout/redfish spinnerbait. Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught trout and redfish around low tide in the Brunswick area. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that whiting and sheepshead were caught from the pier this week. Dead shrimp also produced a few black drum. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

BEST BET: It is bass time……the big females are about to head shallow to spawn, and this is the best time of year to catch a trophy. Remember, you can release that big fish to spawn and still get a high-quality fiberglass replica of her for your wall. Some of the best big-bass baits are jigs (and crawfish trailers), spinnerbaits, and swimbaits. Buzzbaits are also hard to beat for giants, but it is probably a little early to get them to come to the top. Start in the early morning in deep water for crappie, but move to shallow cover in the warm afternoons to check for spawning slabs. Spider-rigging minnows out deep and casting 2-inch Curly Shads shallow will be a great 1-2 punch. In saltwater, trout and redfish are a good bet if the winds will allow you to get out.

EAST AND WEST-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. See   http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html for most recent updates.

LAKE RUSSELL (FULL, CLEAR, 50’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  The secondary points seem to be the pattern, but be sure to get to the backs of the coves that have the highest concentration of bait especially after mid-day.  Use shallow to medium diving crank baits on the secondary points lake-wide.  The best ones to fish will be the ones with rock and sand in combination.  The #5 Shad Raps along with a Rapala DT6 have been the best baits.  Some fish are after Chatter Baits in all white with a little chartreuse on the skirt.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will work very well even in 10 feet of water.  Anglers can cover 68 feet of bottom at 10 feet deep with the 455 frequency beam.  The bigger bass will go after the small cranks and fish any riprap.  Keep a Zoom Super Fluke ready in case there is any surface activity.  With any sunlight fish the rip rap at the 72 bridge with the Rapala RS Shad Raps and the Rapala DT10 in shad and baby bass patterns.

CLARKS HILL (DOWN 9.71 FEET, 50’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Main lake points near the mouth of the creeks and larger coves is a good place to look for bass.  Crank baits will be bait of choice and the Rapala DT10 and Rapala DT6 along with the RS Shad Raps and Ito Vision 110 jerk baits are catching bass.  Some spotted bass are being caught on secondary points on crank baits and Carolina rigs.  Lizards are a good choice to rig up with here.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will work very well even in 10 feet of water.  Anglers can cover 68 feet of bottom at 10 feet deep with the 455 frequency beam.  The key will be to throw in shallow water and work the cranks and lizards real slow.  Usually the bass are hitting the crank baits on the first couple of turns of the reel handle.

LAKE OCONEE (FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER, TEMPRATURE 51-57) – Bass fishing is fair.  Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the coves out to the main lake will produce.  You can also add fishing a rattle trap around any deep dock and around rip rap early.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will work very well even in 10 feet of water.  Anglers can cover 68 feet of bottom at 10 feet deep with the 455 frequency beam.  Jigs fished around wood structure have also produced some larger fish.  Some fish are starting to move into the creeks and coves so don’t be afraid to move in and out of the coves and pockets, fishing all depths of water.

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

Striper fishing is good.  The fish are mid-lake around river bend.  Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait and the stripers will be close by. Look for the birds diving, if you see birds go fish them.  Live bait as well as spoons will produce large numbers of fish.

Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are moving into the creeks.  Long lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches.  Spider rigging will also catch some fish.  Some of the bigger fish are starting to show up in the rivers.

LAKE SINCLAIR (DOWN .86 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S) – Bass fishing is good as lots of bass are moving up shallow and starting to stage.  Fishing shallow has been best and will continue to get better.  Spinnerbaits, shallow crank baits, and jigs seem to be producing the best.  A 3/8-ounce chartreuse and white spinnerbait slow rolled around docks and seawalls near points seem to be producing the bigger bites.  When you catch one, turn around and fish the area again as these fish are moving up in schools.  The Spro Little John MD will catch numbers of fish as they move up on the flat points.  Fire tiger or chartreuse colors will work best as the lake remains stained.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will work very well even in 10 feet of water. Anglers can cover 68 feet of bottom at 10 feet deep with the 455 frequency beam.  Once you locate areas with fish on the spinner bait and crank bait, make sure you fish all the docks in that area with a black and blue jig.  Fish the walkways and backsides of docks as the shallow water will warm up these areas quickly.  The late afternoon bite is best right now since the shallows have had all day to warm up.

LAKE JACKSON (DOWN 1.55 FEET, 50’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Head to the southern end of the lake around the dam and fish shallow.  Use crank baits along the bank and cast them in real tight.  The shallow water will clear up first and the bass will head there first.  Lipless baits like the Rattlin Raps along with Bandit or Red Eye Shad are a good choices for this kind of water.  Loads of vibration along with plenty of noise will be the key.  But never overlook the silent style crank baits for a different action in the water.  Expect the weather to break soon and the sun to shine.  The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will work very well even in 10 feet of water.  Anglers can cover 68 feet of bottom at 10 feet deep with the 455 frequency beam. Sunny weather will warm the water up some more and move the bass up closer to their springtime spawning areas.

BIG LAZER PFA

  • Surface water temperature: 59o F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is at 32”
  • Water level: Full pool

Largemouth bass: Fair – Fish plastic baits slow when the water temperatures are chilly.  Plastic-worms fished around the deep water locations like by the picnic area and around the fishing pier may produce a few bites.  Anglers can try fishing crankbaits slow around 10 feet of water; try lures that mimics crawfish.  Bass will soon move shallower for spawning in the next few weeks.

Crappie: Fair- Some crappie are beginning to bite on bright color jigs and spinners.  Also, fish for crappie in 8-10 feet of water with minnows.

Bream: Poor- Bream fishing is poor but try pink and red worms around the fishing pier.  Also, target areas that have structure like woody brush and blow downs associated with it.  This time of year, most bream will be located in 6 feet of water or deeper.

Channel catfish: Fair- A few catfish are being caught on shrimp, worms, and livers.  Fish for cats at or almost at the bottom and at several different locations around woody structures and the rocks around the dam.  Fishing with two poles will increase your chances of getting a strike.

In general, February fishing at Big Lazer is challenging.  Anglers have to be more patient and persistent to have a good day fishing.  On a good note, winter weather means less anglers are fishing; thus, less fishing pressure for the dedicated angler.  And, the PFA is again open 7 days a week.  Also, warmer temperatures are on the way, which means fish will start spawning in the next few weeks!

MCDUFFIE PFA

  • Falling water temperatures across McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Hovering 59 ⁰F
  • Water Visibility: 19 – 54+ inches: McDuffie PFA has not started the Spring fertilization program.
  • All Lake Water levels on McDuffie PFA are back to Full pool.

Largemouth Bass:  Largemouth bass bite has been slow from late January until last week. A kayak angler reported catching two Bass one (20) twenty inches and the other (15) fifteen inches and released them back into Willow Lake.  The Bass are responding to the warming water temperatures and have begun biting readily across the PFA’s lakes.   McDuffie PFA’s anglers are spreading the fishing pressure across the PFA lakes.  Anglers have continued fishing through the mild weather.  Lake Willow is still providing good bass action due to the threadfin shad so match the size and color of the forage for some exciting action. Rodbender, the trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one Bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.

Bream: Slowing down: No reports of Bream being harvest.

Channel Catfish:  The catfish bite has slowed down.  But as the water continues to warm up the catfish will begin to feed in preparation for the spring spawn.  The best fishing is on the bottom using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made baits.  Later, in the spring, catfish can also be caught in shallow water by fishing with crickets under a bobber.  An angler reported catching catfish in Rodbender

Striped Bass:  The stripers are biting in both Clubhouse and Bridge Lakes.  Boat anglers are catching stripers on small crank baits and Shad rap mid-lake / or along the lake channel.  Stripers are also biting on chicken liver fished on the bottom while anglers are targeting catfish.  Umbrella rigs, diving crank baits and top-water plugs are very effective on McDuffie’s stripers during the colder months.

What You Need to Know About Fishing at A PFA (Licenses, Hours, etc.)

NORTHEAST GEORGIA

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

It’s Monster Month, that time of the year when seasoned north Georgia anglers aim for size over numbers.  The last few weeks of February and the start of March is always a hot time at our north Georgia WRD offices, as trophy hunters weigh-in their Georgia Angler Award catches.  Bass, stripers, walleye, crappie, and trout are all full of eggs, and their appetites increase as water temperatures start their springtime upswing.  Big rainbows will be migrating toward clean spawning gravels, and smart anglers know of upstream, public lands where those whoppers from downstream private fishing operations are heading for a date.  The Lanier Striper Bounty continues for Coastal Angler magazine fans.  Big largemouths often succumb to slow moving pig &jig combos or rainbow trout-colored swimbaits, and several fish over ten pounds from mountain reservoirs or state park lakes usually hit our certified scales at Lake Burton Hatchery.  And may I remind everyone that Wes’ new state record walleye was caught last February 19?  http://www.georgiawildlife.com/node/4083

With a warming weekend again aimed for us, give it a shot.  Maybe start with a big bait and swing for the fences for the first hour or so.  If you strike out, then downsize your offerings and go for the school-sized fish to save the day.  But take a least a few shots at a wall-hanger while they’re big, fat, and shallow in these next several weeks.  Here we go: 

bass-lmb-11-5-reaindeau-pond-feb-2017-small
Craig Riendeau Shares Shot of 11 lb, 5 oz largemouth caught in a small subdivision lake

MEGA BASS (From Craig Riendeau, Off the Deep Edge Warm Water Fly Fishing, offthedeepedge.com) – This season is off to a fantastic start. I went fishing on small lake in my subdivision for my first trip of the year on the last day of January. My first bass of the year went nine inches, my second bass was an 11 lb. 5 oz. bruiser. I started last season with an eleven pounder on the fly too but that one cost me thousands and a flight to Mexico to get her. The irony that I got a bigger one for free in my backyard. Go fish Georgia!

ALLATOONA ATTRACTORS: (From Fisheries Biologist Jim Hakala) – The Lake Allatoona fishing jetty got a fresh dose of brush this month.  DNR personnel recently assisted Allatoona Corps of Engineer’s staff and local volunteers with the addition of new Christmas trees at the Galt’s Ferry Fishing Jetty.  Over 200 Christmas trees were anchored to the lake bottom near the jetty.  As lake levels rise this spring, the brush piles will be inundated with water – providing habitat for sport fish such as bass, bream, and catfish.  The brush piles are within easy casting distance from the jetty and will be in 10-12 feet of water when the lake is full.  Similar brush piles can also be found around the Proctor Landing, Blockhouse, Bethany Bridge, and Victoria Marina fishing jetties on Lake Allatoona.

fish-attractors-toona-galts_ferry-feb-2017
Christmas Trees/Brush (seen here on shore) Get a 2nd Life as Fish Attractors on Lake Allatoona at Galt’s Ferry Fishing Jetty

ALLATOONA CRAPPIE HAUL:

COOSA RIVER:

CARTERS LAKE: A thorough report for the walleye hunters out there: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=892489

LANIER BASS: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=892439

LANIER STRIPERS:

WALLEYE: WRD staffers have been out this week on early recons in our northern lakes, in preparation for broodstock collections.  No fish have been found yet in extreme NEGA reservoirs, as senior biologist Anthony Rabern reported 49 degree water temps.  The Lanier team of Snellings-Looney found four fish up the Hooch this week.  The drought makes river boat rides nearly impossible.  It looks like the spring runs are still ahead of us, but will likely happen early again this year because of the warm winter. You might try the upper ends of the reservoirs, where walleye should start staging soon for their upriver migrations (IF our rivers quit drying up).

More walleye tips here: http://www.georgiawildlife.com/sites/default/files/uploads/wildlife/fishing/pdfs/miscellaneous/Anglers%20Guide%20to%20Walleye%20Fishing%20in%20Georgia_HQ-APPROVED_02.18.11.pdf

TROUT 

Monday’s Bucket Brigade: Grab a kid, a bucket, and a fishing pole and come join us at Whitewater Creek Park on Monday (Feb 20). I hear the trout fishing will be really good…http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112438

Tuesday Trout Fibber: I’ll be the program speaker for Tuesday (2/21) night’s monthly meeting of the Mid-GA Chapter of TU.  The topic is “springtime dries and droppers” as I help these distant trouting fans prepare for their forthcoming forays to our mountains. http://georgiatu.org/wordpress/shortcodes/middle-georgia-chapter/

Hooch Hoot – March 11 in Helen: More BBQ, Bluegrass, and Raffle Prizes! http://www.georgiafoothills.org/2017/02/hoot-on-hooch-march-11_9.html 

Flyfishing 101: Wanna learn how?

Smith DH Success: Two groups of new fly-fishing folks assaulted Smith Creek over the weekend.  With a little help from some onstream veterans, both the Atlanta high school seniors and the Sylvester working mens’ group found some “first trout” on their fly poles.  Grips, grins, and high-fives signaled successful vacation treks to Unicoi State Park.  Hot flies were small buggers and tiny soft hackle droppers behind them.  Both rainbows and browns posed for quick Iphone shots and lasting memories (see some new happy grinning anglers below). 

Amicalola Delayed Harvest: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=887790

Chattooga Flow Calibrations:

Meanwhile, Up In The Forest: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112524

Buford Dam Trout: Big T’s Priceless Intel: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112506

March Madness: Are you looking ahead?

  • Ready for the trout bug hatches and dry fly action that are just about to happen?  Start stocking up on tiny black caddis, http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112280&page=3 #16 gray caddis, 12 quill gordons, and 14 March browns now.  Add some big (size 12 and 14 hare’s ear nymphs and soft hackles to the mix, also, for your droppers under those dries.  More intel from seasoned hillbillies can be found in past editions of “Tightlines,” the monthly newsletter of Rabun TU.
  • http://rabuntu.org/site/tight-lines/ Check the March and April 2016 editions for the hatch charts, which are predictors of your weeks to come, and start tying or buying ASAP!  Also check the Feb 21 event, above.

Cool Spy Cameras: Is anyone else catching this TV series with amazing wildlife footage? http://www.gpb.org/television/shows/nature/episode/ed9636f5-774f-4a27-affd-b5c6715518e4

Good luck as winter continues its disappearing act and springtime temperatures convince fish to come up and play with you early this year.  Thanks for buying your fishing licenses, tackle, and TU brookie license plates. It’s gonna be another warm weekend, so go get ‘em, guys and gals.  You never know, you might just hook a monster, so bring a net, a camera, and a witness!

https://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/subpages/grantprograms/sfr/sfr.htm

Georgia Fishing Report: February 10, 2017

This Week, Scroll down to see Reports from Northeast Georgia and Southeast Georgia.

NORTHEAST GEORGIA

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

Ouch, that one hurt bad, REAL bad. Our wondrous weekend of fishing exploits and tall tales with our ATL Fly Show friends came crashing down in a late Sunday night meltdown.  I’ll bet many of you are still smarting, and also feeling bad for all of those fine Falcons that left their hearts, souls, sweat, and blood on that Houston field.  We all now suffer from BID (Brady-Induced Depression) and need a remedy, quick.  What to do?  What to do?

Thankfully, there is a treatment.  The secretive, yet empathetic Rabunites have shared a word from their medical manual on their prescription for zenlike peace.  It is “hydrotherapy.”

hy·dro·ther·a·py (hīdrōˈTHerəpē/) noun: hydrotherapy: Definition: Standing in the water, waving a stick.  This action waves off all the ills of the world and induces an extreme state of serenity in the patient.  It is only a treatment, since there is no cure.  Regular treatments, as often as 2-3 times per week, are strongly recommended for the patient to maintain a zenlike peace with his/her built environment and its bustling humanity.

So shelf those red jerseys, change into your weathered, olive drab, and head toward the lakes and streams. Your mental health depends on this treatment!  Our weather is on a warming trend, there’s a little more water in the channel, we have mudlines in reservoirs, crappie are schooling, and the WRD trout trucks just visited DH waters.  Conditions are ripe for your recovery, so Doctor Dredger prescribes hydrotherapy treatment for one and all Falcons fans.  Here are some Quick Care locations for you to receive your Rx:

TROUT

Trout Info Herehttp://georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout 

Building Brookie Habitat: Enjoy this video of WRD Fisheries staff in action. Leon “Brook Trout” Brotherton is as fine a narrator as he is a sawyer. https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR/videos/vb.101012503387/10154294699288388/?type=3&theater

ne-ga-fish-attractor-blue-ridge-feb-2017-pic2-small

Blue Ridge Attractors: WRD Fisheries staff recently built and installed 20 new fish attractors at Blue Ridge Lake in Fannin County.  These “cube” style attractor units were deployed at two existing fish attractor sites.  See the photo of WRD Fisheries Technician Mark Bowen in action.  Man-made fish attractors like these have been added to many north Georgia reservoirs to replace natural habitat (stumps, logs, brush) that has been lost to natural processes like decay and sedimentation.  At Blue Ridge there are currently seven fish attractor sites.  If you want to target these sites or learn more about the fish attractor program at Blue Ridge, check out the map and other info at the following link: http://georgiawildlife.com/node/213.

Smith DH Date: We fished smith creek yesterday with quite a few folks on the creek! Andrea opted for old sneakers vs Waders on a semi warm Feb. day. (sound familiar?!) Gimpy tagged along to bark at other dogs and bird dog from the bank. We found a few different pods of fish willing to eat but could usually only manage 4-5 in each before needing to move on. Leech with micro san juan behind did most of the work with the “smart ones” needing a hares ear soft hackle to tempt. Enjoy the pics!

NE GA trout rbt smith DH annette 2-4-17.jpg
Annette Showing off a Nice Catch from Smith Creek

Dukes Video: Hey Jeff, Hope all is well in your world! Here’s a little video from our trip last Sunday.  A#16 black tungsten stonefly was the ticket for me! Also got a couple on a #16 pheasant tail. Ron https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTV20CogphQ

Hooch DH: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112436

Amicalola DH “I Stopped Counting” http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112448 ;

http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112430

NE GA Ami DH 53 scenic Feb 2017 pic1.jpg
Part of the Delayed Harvest Portion of the Amicalola

Where are Winter Trout? Well, all of the Orvis experts say that they’re here: http://www.orvis.com/news/fly-fishing/ask-experts-look-winter-trout/

Steelhead and Trout Tips: Good new Orvis podcast: http://orvisffguide.libsyn.com/

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Feb 20 -Hooch DH Bucket Brigade: It’s almost time for our President’s Day DH bucket stocking at Whitewater and we need some help from our incredible volunteers. Our last bucket brigade stocking of this DH season will be on President’s Day, Monday, February 20th and the stocking truck should be arriving around 10:30 am. Be sure to bring a 5-gallon bucket, waders, and a signed copy of the attached waiver release if you’re planning on attending. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112438 , Powdered wigs are optional, but we suggest bringing a rod if you want to catch a few freshly stocked trout afterwards. These events are a great way to introduce someone new to fishing or help a youngster develop a love of the outdoors. So, if you have a child who is out of school try to bring them along! We look forward to seeing you all on the 20th and a special thanks to everyone who came out to our Thanksgiving and Christmas stockings (no pun intended)! If anyone has questions, please contact our office at 770-535-5498.
  • S. Forest Service Feedback: The door is once again open to your comments regarding wild trout habitat, angler access, water quality, and any other interests or concerns on 140,000 acres of YOUR land: http://communityremarks.com/conf/

LAKE LANIER 

Crappie

  • Photo : http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=892232
  • Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Report February 8, 2017
  • (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website, laniercrappieanglers.net) : Water temperatures are in the low fifties, varying slightly from creek to creek.   Areas with more stain typically have slightly higher water temps.  I believe we are in the EARLY pre-spawn stage. However, cold spells will slow the process. The warm rains we are currently encountering will nudge the water temps up slightly.  The fish are starting to roam, and some are moving to shallower docks anticipating the spawn.  We are still several weeks away from the spawn, but signs are beginning to be seen, including females starting to fatten up with eggs.  Your trolling bite is now a good option to target the fish that are roaming, chasing bait.  Tight lining while trolling is another way to catch crappie now, using a jig tipped with minnows, ten feet below the surface. This will require rods ten to twelve in length, positioned parallel with the water, with up to four rods on each side of the trolling motor. Your line should be vertical while going at a very, very low speed. If your line is angled or horizontal, you are going too fast. Long lining is also working.  To long line, position the shortest rods (approximately four feet in length), one on each side in the back of the boat, following with two six foot rods, two eight foot rods and two ten to twelve foot rods in the bow of the boat.  Double rig each rod using multiple color curly tails, Bobby Garland 2” Hyper Grubs, or Bobby Garland 2.25” Minnow Mind’rs with a 1/16th ounce jig head on each.  If you notice that one color is working consistently better, substitute a few more lines with the same body.  Of course, shooting docks is still my favorite way to catch crappie, and it is working extremely well now.  This time of year, some docks are holding only smaller fish.  If you notice that you are catching only smaller fish, move on to another dock, where you may find bigger fish.  Stay safe on the water – wear your life jacket!

Bass

  • (This Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, jimboonlanier.com 770-542-7764); Water Temp – 51, Water Level – 10.08 feet below full pool: The bass fishing on Lake Lanier remains good, especially for early February! The lake has began to stabilize in terms of level.  We have set just below 10 feet below full pool for the past 2 weeks. The surface temperatures are still hovering in the low 50’s, which is incredible for early February.  We are finding the fish are really spread out as you might expect. We find them deep and shallow every day.  Shallow has probably been the most consistent bite (less than 15 feet deep), but we have had some good catches out in the timber as well. The ditch bite continues to be good and we are catching them using the traditional ditch fishing methods – SuperSpin, SPRO Jerkbait, SPRO Crankbait, Jig, and Picasso Shake E Head.  Start back shallow in these ditches early, and then move out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses.  Focus on the key features you find shallow near the ditches as well such as clay and rock points.  We are starting in these ditches first thing and remaining flexible as the days progress.  Some days we adjust to much deeper water within those ditches, and on others, we are finding the fish are staying shallow in and around those ditches as well as up around docks.  We are starting with a SuperSpin tipped with a boot-tail type trailer right in the ditch. Also, a Spro McStick or McRip has been a good choice as far as jerkbaits go. A Spro crankbait is never a bad choice either, both in the ditches and around rocky/clay points as well.  A finesse worm on a Picasso Shaky Football Head or a Chattahoochee Jig has been a good alternative if the fish are not as aggressive.  If the ditch bite does slow, we have been shifting to steeper rocky points and finding success with a jig and worm as well.   We have also continued to spoon up a few fish out of the timber, or near the timber, in creek arms/ditches in 30-50 feet. Check for bait and fish out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses.  If you see fish out deeper, a spoon, jig, or shaky head can be a great way to catch them, depending on how they are positioned. If the weather remains stable and warm, I look for the Largemouth to start showing up in a full blown pres-pawn mode very shortly.  More to come on this pattern emerges. It is still a great time to learn the ditch bite as well as the timber bite.  I am now guiding in a Brand New Xpress Bass Boat – 21’3″ powered by a 250 Yamaha SHO and equipped with the latest Lowrance HDS Gen III units featuring 3D Structure Scan technology.  Come take a ride in this beauty!    As I mentioned, if you are wanting to learn the deep timber bite and/or the ditch bite, now is the time!  Here are the dates I have open in February:   20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28  Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun!  Thanks to all and May God Bless.
  • Captain Mack’s Report – Fresh each Friday: http://www.captmacks.com/fishing/lake-lanier-fishing-reports/
  • Ken’s Reservoir Reports – http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html

Good luck healing as you pack up your red and black attire.  We have a nice, warm weekend ahead of us to help salve-up those pigskin wounds.  And before you know it, true spring will be here, too.  Get outside and take advantage of the diverse north Georgia fishing opportunities all around you.  Trust me; you’ll feel better.

Thanks for buying your fishing licenses and TU brookie car tags.  We appreciate the operating funds and will put them to good use at your Quick Care fishing clinics!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division)

The crappie bite has been good, and bass fishing has been solid. The rivers are still high (except for the St Marys). Full Moon is February 10th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

ALTAMAHA RIVER – The river is still very high and muddy. The non-tidal Altamaha isn’t a good option again this week, but you should be able to catch a few catfish in the Darien area if you feel that you must fish the river. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that a few blue and channel catfish were caught in the high water.  Donna at Altamaha Park said that the river is still high, but folks are heading to the oxbow lakes and are catching catfish. Crappie were also caught in the backs of the lakes. The river level was 10.2 feet and falling (56 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.4 feet and falling (57 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on February 7th.

SATILLA RIVER – Fishing the upper Satilla with the high water this week is not a good plan. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that anglers fishing bush hooks caught a good number of catfish. The White Oak Creek area of the river is your best bet for white catfish. Put a piece of shrimp on the bottom near a creek mouth on the outgoing tide, and you should catch quite a few white catfish. The river level on February 7th at the Waycross gage was 10.6 feet and falling (58 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 13.0 feet (flood stage is 13 feet) and falling.

ST MARYS RIVER – This is most fishable river for the weekend. Some big bass were reported again this week. Worms fished on the bottom produced some good catfish, with most anglers catching 30 to 50 fish per trip. The river level at the MacClenny gage on February 7th was 2.3 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP – Essentially nobody is fishing the swamp right now, although the fliers should be biting. The only report I received is that the bowfin are still biting on the east side. Warm afternoons are the time to target fliers. Pitch pink or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies suspended under a small balsa float to shoreline vegetation and hold on. This time of year I usually catch about 12 to 20 fish per hour when pitching the small fly on a bream buster pole.

LOCAL PONDS – Pond fishing was tops this week. A couple of anglers fishing a Brunswick area pond on Tuesday caught 11 bass, with 6-lb.,10-oz and a 6-lb.,2-oz. whoppers besting  the bunch. Jigs and shaky heads produced the two big fish, and square-billed crankbaits also caught a few. Chad Lee of Alma fished an Alma area pond on Thursday and scratched out 3 bass on Ol’ Monster worms. Then in the cold on Saturday, he managed 6 more bass up to 3 1/2-pounds. Shaky head worms produced those fish. Bucky Buckner of Winge’s Bait and Tackle fished Lake Ware this week with minnows and shiners and caught a great mess of crappie and a few nice bass.

PARADISE PFA: The bullhead bite is on at paradise PFA, as seen in the header image above.

DODGE COUNTY PFA: Dodge County PFA had their parking lot resurfaced this week. Making improvements for anglers!

SE GA DodgePFA Resurfacing Parking Lot Completed.jpg

SALTWATER (GA Coast) – Michael Winge reported that anglers caught trout and redfish around the bridges in the St. Simons area. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that whiting and black drum were caught in decent numbers from the pier this week. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

BEST BET: Ponds should produce some good bass and crappie catches this weekend. In saltwater, whiting fishing should pick up any day (if winds allow you to get to the sounds). During warm afternoons, the Okefenokee Swamp would be a good location to pitch a sally.

se-ga-mike-harrell-crappie-2-17
Mike Harrell of Waycross caught these two nice crappie last weekend. Crappie fishing is a great option for this weekend!

Georgia Fishing Report: February 3, 2017

EAST AND WEST CENTRAL GEORGIA

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

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 50’s 

Bass fishing is slow and the cold fronts are back this week.  Small jigs, lightweight Texas rigs and spinner baits are best on points half way in the backs of creek.  Watch for any shad activity on the surface or on the Lowrance Down Scan technology.  Bait is the key this week.  Bass are showing up in deep water and some in large schools.  Look for bass on the sides of main river points and flats.  Jigging spoons like a ½ ounce Flex It, Hopkins Shorty 45 and Bomber slab spoon can work.  Chrome, white, and chartreuse are the best colors to try along with gold during cloud cover.  Crank baits can work later in the day but keep them small and use light lines.  Take along a few jig-head and finesse worm, the Carolina rig and the drop shot rig as well as the jig and pig.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 9.44 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing is slow but despite the tough weather conditions last week a few fish are biting.  Fish up in the Little River near the Raysville area.  A #5 Shad Rap can work as well as a jerk bait for spots and a few largemouth.  When the crank bait bite dies off use a spinning reel and 8-pound test Sufix Elite line and a jig-head with a Fat Albert grub.  If you plan to head up into the Little River be very careful.  The water levels are low and trees are showing up everywhere.  Look for schools of shad in the mouth of the coves and fish a Flex It spoon.  Find the bait and find some bass.  Fish this bait under the school of bait fish you find.  The better bite is coming as the sun warms up the rock

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPERATURE 50-54

Bass fishing is fair.  Spinner baits fished in the creeks and coves shallow will produce fish.  White and chartreuse have been the best colors.  When Georgia Power is pulling water the same spinner bait will work on the bridge riprap (they have been pulling early in the mornings).  Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the coves out to the main lake will also produce.  You can also add fishing a rattle trap around any deep dock and around riprap early.  Jigs fished around wood structure have also produced some larger fish.

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

Striper fishing is good.  The fish are mid-lake around river bend.  Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait and the stripers will be close by.  Look for the birds diving; if you see birds go fish them.  Live bait as well as spoons will produce large numbers of fish.  Watch for any shad activity on the surface or on the Lowrance Down Scan technology.  Bait is the key this week.

Crappie fishing is fair.  The fish are staging in the creeks.  Long lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches.  Spider rigging will also catch some fish.

WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 4.5 FEET, CLEAR & 60’S

Bass fishing is fair and more cold weather will slow the action.  The lake is coming up after some rain up north.  Now, finesse fishing is still the way to go.  Throw a Shakey head rigged with a 5-inch Senko in 12 to 18 feet of water on the river channels.  Color doesn’t seem to matter but Watermelon has been the color of choice.  Crank baits are still doing well but it seems like it has to be sunny and clear for the fish to really start eating it good.  Watch for any shad activity on the surface or on the Lowrance Down Scan technology.  Bait is the key this week.  The crank bait will need to be a #5 Shad Rap or a Lucky Craft MR in the natural shad colors.  Fish the rocks and any point that has red clay around them.  This seems to be a little bit warmer around these areas.  Jigging spoons are still working on the humps and road beds down lake.  A silver ½ ounce spoon is the best bait this week.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.05 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S

Bass fishing is slow as the area took a hit this week with the cold weather state wide.  A pattern or location today may not produce very well the next day.  Riprap and other rocky banks are holding fish that are being caught with small to medium crank baits, jigs, and soft plastics.  Any shallow rocks should be located very near much deeper water.  Some good cranking choices are a Shad Rap RS #5, Thunder Shad, Deep Little N, Rapala DT10, and Fat Free Shad #5 & #6.  Anglers should experiment with chartreuse, shad, and silver patterns.  Jigs should be in the ¼ to 3/8 ounce sizes with a plastic or pork trailer.  A Zoom Pro Chunk or a #11 Uncle Josh pork chunk will both work.  For soft plastics, try a Zoom finesse worm with a 1/8 ounce weight rigged Texas style or the same worm on a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce jighead.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 1.16 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing is slow.  With the water temperatures ranging cold, finding bites is tough.  Still, a small number of bass will bite as the spots are the best bet on the lake.  Spots are more tolerant to the cold waters.  Fish the lower lake and take a variety of baits.  Worms and various other forms of plastic are best.  Fish light line on sea walls and any wood and then after midday go to the deep diving crank baits while working points and deep ledges off the points.  Wood will be the key as the colder waters are forcing them to hang tight.  Suspending bass are located just off main lake or river points in 15 to 20 feet of water.  Good lures to catch these suspending bass are the #5 jointed Shad Rap in the red crawfish color and the perch color Bandit.  Some bass were caught last weekend on these baits.  Any and all brush piles or stump beds that re holding fish need a good application of both the crank bait and Shakey head and worm combo.

FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA

Notice: The main parking area and boat ramp are temporarily unavailable due to a resurfacing project. The job should be completed by 12 Noon on Mon. Feb. 6. Detours to lake available, but the boat ramp will not be open until resurfacing is complete.

fcpfa_paving_2-2-feb2017
Resurfacing project underway at Flat Creek PFA parking lot

Surface Temperature: 60˚ F (15.6˚ C)

Water Level: 6’ 6” Below Full Pool

Water Visibility: 13”

With the heavy rain that we have had lately, the lake level is finally starting to rise up to previous levels.  While the lake was down, numerous fish attractors were placed around the lake providing great habitat and opportunities to possibly catch fish.  In between rains there have been several anglers catching crappie, and those fishing for catfish have not typically left disappointed with their catch.  The bream like the largemouth bass have been a little sluggish, and have required a little patience and a slow retrieval.

  • Bass – Plum colored ‘Ol Monstor worms by Zoom.  Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms.  Most dark colored worms.
  • Bream  – Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig.  Near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon.  Crickets have not worked well.
  • Channel Catfish – Red Wiggler worms, Frozen Catalpa worms, and chicken livers.
  • Crappie – Chartreuse/white teaser tails, or similar color pattern in Triple Ripple.  Blue bodied teaser tail with a chartreuse tail and most brightly (not yellow) colored teaser tails with an inch or two of the tail trimmed have been very hot right now.

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

MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA 

Water temps. : High 40’s –Low 50’s

  • Largemouth Bass – Historically, February brings unstable weather.  Afternoon temperatures will vary and according to weather forecasts, it appears that February will also be wet.  This does not mean to ignore all the opportunities that exist at Marben PFA.  According to some anglers, now is a great time to target bass at Marben PFA.   Their reason, as water temps drop into the 40’s threadfin shad become lethargic.  Late February is a great time to target largemouth gorging on threadfin preparing for spring spawn.  Successful anglers mimic lethargic shad by casting jerk baits and crank baits.   Midday will be the best times to target bass giving the sun a little time to warm the water just a touch.  Submerged timber and rock beds are good habitats to target when seeking bass at Marben PFA.
  • Crappie –  Crappie remain the most aggressive fish anglers will find at Marben this time of year and this will only increase as March approaches.  However, do not expect to hook one with every cast.  Finding them may require a little effort.  Anglers should see a significant change as March gets closer.  Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs.  Try fishing cover approximately 6-8 feet throughout the day.  Expect crappie to move into shallower water on warmer days in February.
  • Bream – Bream fishing will start to pick up in late February but not nearly as much as in April and May.  Cold water temperatures play a factor but a few warm days in February, anglers could really see a difference.  Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best with midday temperatures.  Remember that bream are deeper this time of year so to be successful anglers will have to target deeper water in order to increase your chances.
  • Catfish – Catfish will remain sluggish this time of year.  Patience is necessary if anglers are in pursuit of this fish.  Anglers should target days when it is sunny which should warm the water in order to get catfish moving.  Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben. 

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

Licenses Required at a PFA:

FISHING

  • Anglers 16 years and older must possess a current fishing license, AND a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) license to fish.
  • If you have either a Sportsman’s, Lifetime, Honorary (resident disability license or resident one-time veteran’s license), 3-day Hunting and Fishing License, or 3-day GORP Plus you are NOT required to have a WMA license to fish.
  • A WMA license is NOT required to fish at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area.

GENERAL ACCESS

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

BUY A FISHING LICENSE HERE!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division)

Fishing reports were few this week with the bad storms and rains. Saltwater and ponds produced some good reports, but the rivers (other than the St Marys) are too high. The high water will help the panfish populations for the spring fishing. New Moon is January 27th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

ALTAMAHA RIVER – The river is flooded at Baxley and much higher than I would fish it in the Jesup area. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that some crappie were caught in Morgan Lake (there is a ramp in the lake) by anglers using minnows. The Darien area is fishable, as the river spreads out in that area. You can catch channel, white, and blue catfish by putting cut baitfish or shrimp on the bottom. The river level was 13.5 feet (flood stage is 13ft) and rising (60 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.6 feet and rising (59 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on January 24th.

SATILLA RIVER – The river is well into the floodplain. Don’t try it this week. Brentz McGhin went before the rains (the river was 8 feet at Waycross), and pitched minnows to land 9 bass (6 keepers to 3 1/2 pounds) and a big crappie. He also pitched crickets for a little while and caught 3 redbreasts and 4 bream. The river level on January 24th at the Waycross gage was 14.0 feet and rising (61 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 10.6 feet and rising.

ST. MARYS RIVER – This is the only river in pretty good shape. The few anglers that reported back (they fished on Tuesday) caught bream, catfish, and a few crappie. If you want to fish a river this weekend, the St. Marys is your best bet. To catch about anything put worms on the bottom. If you want to target catfish exclusively, shrimp will probably produce a little better. The river level at the MacClenny gage on January 24th was 4.0 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP – With the quickly rising water, I would stay away from the swamp this weekend. Usually the fish spread out and don’t bite well after a quick rise, but after it stabilizes another few days they will bite again. During next week’s warm afternoons, expect the fliers to eat pink or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies suspended under a small balsa float and pitched with a bream buster pole. Fish the connections between the prairies and the canal, as the fish use these connections like a highway.

LOCAL PONDS– Pond fishing was great this week. Chad Lee of Alma fished Friday and caught 12 bass. Two of them were over 5 pounds, but most were just over a pound. He caught only 2 on Saturday, and then landed a nice 6-pounder on Tuesday evening. Most of his fish were caught on a ZOOM Ol’ Monster worm, but several, including Tuesday’s 6-pounder, inhaled a spinnerbait. Andy Trocheck figured out the big bass on Tuesday. He dragged shiners around the pond and casted a sexy shad colored Capt. Bert’s Swim Jig while waiting for a shiner to flush. He ended up catching 11 bass, with the biggest (an 8.9-pounder) eating the swim jig. He said “Tuesday was an awesome day to be bass fishing!” Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the crappie bite was good below pond spillways. The spillway at Lake Ware was especially productive. Anglers fishing there also caught bream, catfish, and bass. Bass will stack up in the spillways and hammer anything worked past them, but spinnerbaits and worms lead the list.

sega-andy-trocheck-8-9-bass-1-24-17
Andy Trocheck caught this 8.9 lb bass in a Tifton area pond on Tuesday using a Swim Jig (sexy shad color)

SALTWATER (GA Coast) – A couple of Waycross anglers fished the Brunswick area between storms on Saturday and landed almost 30 seatrout. They were casting Mama’s 14K Sea Shads skewered on Flashy Jigheads to catch their fish. This time of year you need to slow-roll the lures near the bottom, and the trout slam it when they commit. Michael Winge reported that nobody reported fishing during the storms this weekend. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout and sheepshead were caught around the pier and under bridges, but the bad weather kept almost everyone away. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

BEST BET: Winter has returned, and pond fishing will likely be your best bet. With the cold mornings, the afternoon bite will likely be best. Fish a plastic worm or spinnerbait deep in a pond to catch a nice bass. Crappie should still bite minnows under float if you drag them around the deepest parts of the pond. If you want to fish a river, catfishing on the St Marys should be a good bet.

 

NORTHEAST GEORGIA

(Report provided by Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division)

Rise Up!  We have a couple of big shows and some decent fishing weather this weekend, so you have a lot of great activities to choose from.  Remember the Gwinnett fly show on Friday and Saturday, and the Big Show – the Falcons on Super Bowl Sunday.  Reservoir and trout stream fans should have some better water temperatures and improved chances at catching fish this weekend, when compared to last week’s cold, windy conditions.  Here we go with this weekend’s menu:

ALLATOONA

Water levels: http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/actframe.htm

  • Lineside: Captain Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service (http://www.firstbiteguideservice.com/) reports fishing is good.  Water temps are a good 6 degrees warmer then it was last year at this time and the fish are eating like its early December.  The Hybrids can been found busting top water most mornings near the “S-turns”. These fish are finicky – some days live bait is the ticket and the next day it maybe a spoon. Mid-lake seems to be holding better numbers of fish than the south or north-ends of the lake.  However, I think all the creeks on the lake will produce linesides right now. Shiners fished on free-lines and planner boards are producing better than live trout or shad right now. Remember to down size your hooks to match your shiners for more strikes. After the sun comes up switch to pulling umbrella rigs. I have had my best luck this week pulling my rigs 145 feet behind the boat at 3.1 to 3.4 miles . As the lake starts to clears the umbrella rig bite will improve.
  • CrappieReport provided by guide Jeff “Crappieman” Albright (https://www.facebook.com/CrappieMan-Allatoona-Lake-Guide-Fishing-202748466416645/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE)
    •  1/28/17: Had a pretty good morning boated 37 and kept 26 – couple real nice ones.  Caught on slider jigs tipped with minnows (see photo). Water temps are down from last week (46-51 F). We were trolling 0.6 – 1 mph.  Do not let the wind keep you off the water.  Get 2, 5 gallon buckets, a 10 ft. piece of rope to tie them off to your boat.  Drop them in behind you and you will be surprised how much they will slow you down. Good buddy of mine told me about this many years ago.allatoona-crappie-jigs-jan-2017
    • 1/29/17: What an amazing day on Toona today.  We boated 60 and brought home 53 in 3 1/2 hours.  Thanks Brian for joining me today!  All were caught on slider jigs tipped with minnows. Fish were still biting when we left.  Looks like we got a pattern starting.  Just what I have been waiting for. Water temps were 45-47.

LANIER

Better Lanier Angler, Note the gulls and swirls! http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=891697

  • Striper: Lanier Striper Strikeout – Guru and Dredger gave it a shot last Saturday morning.  It was cold and windy, but there was a ton of bait and a big flock of gulls way back in Little River.  Alas, no hookups.  Maybe the stormy weather and muddy water had put the predators down for a day or two.   It was still nice to give it a shot with the eight-weights, and even nicer to settle in at Longstreet Café to enjoy a nice hot lunch!  (Hint: try the country-fried steak) Maybe this week’s warm spell will turn that striper switch back on. More Lanier Striper Intel https://teamlanier.wordpress.com/
  • CrappieThis Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club.  See club website, www.laniercrappieanglers.netWater temps have fallen into the low fifties.  Some of the creeks at the north end of the lake still have moderate stain.  At present, the crappie have abandoned both the deep and shallower brush piles and have headed to docks, preferring docks with cover below.  The cover could be some type of brush like a Christmas tree that has been placed below the dock by the owner or even a piece of deck furniture blown off the dock.  Crappie relate to structure, and need cover.  That’s their living room.  Your Hummingbird side scan imagery can be very helpful in locating cover under the docks, as well as fish in the cover.  Hopefully that can eliminate docks that are less likely to produce results.  Covered docks, docks with pontoon boats, and docks with boat lifts are great targets.  Always study the dock, looking for the darkest spots within.  Fish those spots from different angles.  The best way to get the bait to the fish in these conditions is to utilize the dock shooting technique.  Your preferred jigs are 1/24 or 1/16 ounce jig heads with a 2 inch Bobby Garland soft body baby shad.  The colors that worked well for us today were Electric Chicken, Blue Ghost, and one of my favorites, Twilight.  These jigs skip on top of the water well, which will assist in getting the bait to your target.  If you prefer live bait, a 10 foot or even a 12 foot pole will help you place the minnow as close as possible to the area you are trying to target.  This can be awkward, but is a good method to produce results with live bait.  Channel docks in 15 to 30 foot depths are good targets. We had the lake to ourselves today, and it was a crisp but pleasant morning. Stay safe on the water – wear your life jacket!

DELAYED HARVEST – TROUT

Hmmm, it’s the first of the month.  GAWRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson hinted that truck engines are idling at our state and federal trout hatcheries,

https://www.facebook.com/ChattahoocheeForestNFH/photos/pcb.782909565180542/782907808514051/?type=3&theater

and that Y2K’s and woolly buggers might be even more effective for weekend warriors on Georgia’s DH streams…and Lake Tralyta, too.

trout-stocking-smith-dh

trout-fishing-toccoa-dh-4-17-10-monty-pic2
Trout Fishing on the Delayed Harvest Portion of Toccoa River

Good luck.  May you score an improved fly cast from a Friday fly show instructor, a coolerful of Toona crappie on Saturday, and a Super Sunday with a Falcons win.  Have fun as you Rise Up to all of the wintertime opportunities here in north Georgia.  As always, thanks for buying your fishing licenses and TU car tags.

Georgia Fishing Report: January 24, 2017

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener and region fisheries staff)

No big report to share today, BUT we did want to show you this photo from last week where angler Chad Lee caught a nice 8 – pounder at a pond in Camden County. Nice work Chad!

se-ga-bdeener-chad-lee-8lb-bass-p1240994

SOUTHWEST GEORGIA

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

Lake Walter F George and Lower Chattahoochee River

According to several local sources the hybrid striped bass and white bass fishing has been good on George. Most anglers have been catching fish by trolling crankbaits including the Bomber 6A model in particular. The largemouth bass have moved shallower and are being caught between 8 and 12 feet. Crappie anglers have enjoyed a consistent deep water bite using minnows.

Flint River

The recent rains have swollen the Flint and this weekend might be a good time to visit either the tailrace below Lake Blackshear or below Lake Worth in Albany as the increased flow should attract white bass, hybrids and striped bass.

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

Lake Seminole

According to Guide Steven Wells, the fishing prior to the recent storms was really heating up. A one day tournament last Saturday out of Big Jims was won with 29.9 pounds and second place was 22.0. The second place winners took shelter from the storm around noon and headed back out and caught 20 fish in the four pound range between 1:30 and 3:00 pm. All of these fish were caught on a topwater Ribbit Frog. Also, anglers have been noticing shellcracker beginning to stage in shallower water. The current heavy rains have stained the water but some clearer water can be found in the backwaters. If we don’t get any more large storms the fishing should continue to improve over the next week.

NORTHEAST GEORGIA

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

Whoa, what was that noise on my roof last weekend?  By golly, it was raindrops!  That’s welcome news to our drought-stricken north Georgia watersheds, where our reservoir levels are low and our streamflows even lower.  We got about a half-inch, but that’s only a drop in the bucket.  Last night’s rain hardly even bumped the graphs on our USGS streamflow gauges (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02330450).

While the rain and possible stormy weather, including lightning, may present some short-term hassles for us anglers to deal with, let’s just go ahead and deal with it.  We need the rain and every drop is welcome!

And, given our drought conditions, we can keep these “big rains” in proper perspective, and realize there will still be great fishing opportunities on either side of them.  On reservoirs, for example, the warm, damp, cloudy weather is perfect for pulling shad, spots and stripers up shallow.  Cloudy days sure beat bluebird skies in terms of a topwater bite on Lanier, Toona, or Nottely.  Also, after the rain, we might be lucky enough to see some muddy water in the backs of creeks or in the main river channels.  Yay for mudlines!  When some sun hits that muddy water and warms it up more than the main lake, it will attract shad and bluebacks like a magnet, and we all know what follows the bait fish!

On trout streams, the warm gray skies also have fish looking up, rather than running for cover against herons and ospreys who can spot them in the sunshine.  And those slugs of muddy water can be chow lines.  It it’s warm, look down on the pavement and identify the hatch.  Yep – earthworms.  Toss a pink San Juan worm into the quiet eddies along the sides of flooded stream channels and hold on.  Be sure to use heavier line.  The fish won’t see it and you’re gonna need it to winch in trophies against flood flows.  And even those alleged flood flows are relative.  While that first flush of Chattooga runoff may be too muddy for a good trout bite, the slight clearing just behind the flood crest will be prime fishing water.  Remember, a flood flow is relative.  We’re so low right now that a 2-3 inch rain on the Chattooga may only bump river flows back up to NORMAL flow conditions for this date in history.  Just look at those little yellow triangles on those flow graphs to see what the historic mean flows are. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02176930

So don’t let these rains scare you off.  Understand them, appreciate them, work around them a bit, and let them work for you – all the way to the net and your grip-n-grin trophy photo!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Lots of rain can work to your advantage when you let it!

Just remember on those trophies to “keep em wet.” https://www.keepemwet.org/#home  Take good care of the fish, release then effectively, and hopefully more folks will enjoy similar trophy shots because of your stewardship.

So there you go.  We have a nice dose of April continuing right now.  Take advantage of it.  You never know if we’ll get two straight months of true Februaries just ahead of us, and the fish will shut down due to frigid waters.  Go get it while the getting’s good.

Lanier – Crappie

Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Report January 18, 2017 (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club.  See our club’s website, www.laniercrappieanglers.net )

In comparison to a year ago when the water temps were in the low 40’s, the lake level was above full pool, and the water was heavily stained due to all the rain, today water temperatures rose to about 57 degrees by the time we stopped fishing shortly after lunch.  In the back of Two Mile Creek, the water temp broke the 60 degree mark.  The current lake levels are just over 10 ½ feet below full pool.  Water clarity is good, with a slight stain in some of the northern creeks.  Do you think the fish are confused?  Maybe we should ask our biologist friends at the DNR.  The warming trend has not seemed to bother the fish, in fact they are moving around, chasing bait around their brush piles, and feeding on the abundance of threadfin. With caution, it appears that the fish are pulling away from the deeper brush piles, going a little more shallow at 15 ft. or less depths.  This is generally an indication of warmer spring weather and the crappie preparing for the pre-spawn.  HOWEVER, there is probably a lot of cold weather yet to come, and with it, this trend will reverse.  The channel docks remain excellent targets to use the shooting technique, or to get a minnow on a slip cork inside or close to a dock.  Even with good fishing, it is still not smart to rely on one or two spots.  We are catching a lot of fish, but we are also moving around a lot, what we call “run and gun”.  We had a great day on the water enjoying mild weather, beautiful scenery, great fishing and had the lake almost to ourselves.  Take advantage of this while it lasts!    Stay safe on the water – wear your life jacket!

More on Lanier

“The Southern Fishing Report” (106 Hickory Ridge, www.southernfishing.com, 770 889 2654, Cumming, Georgia 30040)

Lake Lanier is Down 10.7 Feet, the Creeks Are Stained and the Main Lake is Clear and 50s

(The following Lanier report brought to you by Jimbo On Lanier 770 542 7764 www.jimboonlanier.com)

Bass fishing is good. The lake has started to drop again after a brief rise after last week’s rain. The surface temperatures are back on the way up with all this warm weather we are having and projected to have over the next several days. The ditch bite continues to be good and we are catching them using the traditional ditch fishing methods like the SuperSpin, SPRO Jerkbait, SPRO Crankbait, jig and Picasso Shake E Head. Start back shallow in these ditches early, and then move out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses. We are starting in these ditches first thing and remaining flexible as the day’s progress. Lowrance Down Scan technology can scan much wider areas with the narrow beams so anglers can see the bait, the structure and the fish four times better than with sonar. Find the bait and you will find the fish. Some days we adjust to much deeper water within those ditches, and on others, we are finding the fish are staying shallow in and around those ditches as well as up around docks. We are starting with a SuperSpin tipped with a boot tail type trailer right in the ditch. Also, a Spro McStick or McRip has been a good choice as far as jerk baits go. A Spro crankbait is never a bad choice either, both in the ditches and around rocky/clay points as well. A finesse worm on a Picasso Shaky Football Head or a Chattahoochee Jig has been a good alternative if the fish are not as aggressive. If the ditch bite does slow, we have been shifting to steeper rocky points and finding success with a jig and worm as well. We have also continued to spoon up a few fish out of the timber, or near the timber, in creek arms/ditches in 30 50 feet. Check for bait and fish out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses. If you see fish out deeper, a spoon, jig, or shaky head can be a great way to catch them, depending on how they are positioned.

The ditch bite is here and the fish are positioning around the timber. If you are wanting to learn the deep timber bite, now is the time. Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun! Thanks to all and May God Bless.

I am now guiding in a Brand New Xpress Bass Boat – 21’3″ powered by a 250 Yamaha SHO and equipped with the latest Lowrance HDS Gen III units featuring 3D Structure Scan technology. Come take a ride in this beauty!

Lanier – Stripers

(The following Lake Lanier Striper report is from Captain Ken West 404 561 2564. Contact us on our web site. www.bigfishonguide.com)

Striper fishing is good. We have seen some consistency in temperatures over the last week with a corresponding improvement in fishing conditions. The bait and the fish have moved shallow and into the backs of the creeks. Start your day with unweighted free lines 50 to 70 feet behind the boat. Deploy planner boards with bank side planner at 20 feet behind the board and 50 to 70 feet on the deeper water planner board. We continue to use a combination or medium minnows and Blueback Herring with 12 pound test fluorocarbon 5 foot leaders. As always match your hook size to the size of the bait. We are using a #2 Gamakatsu Octopus hook for the medium minnows and a #1 or #1/0 for the Herring. As the day progresses move to deeper water from 25 to 50 feet and weight your free lines. Deploy several down rods and fish as close to the bottom as possible. As always keep someone on the front deck casting a ½ ounce bucktail jig. This pattern should continue to produce as long as the weather remains consistent. We are also seeing some top water action. Keep your eyes on the water and resistant the temptation to “plow” into a school of feeding fish with the big motor. The creeks on the south end of the lake are holding fish. Bald Ridge Creek, Shoal Creek, Flat Creek and Big Creek are good places to start. The lake is 10.7 feet below full pool. The water temperature is in the low 50’s. Call Big Fish On Guide Service at 404 561 2564 to schedule a guided fishing trip on Lake Lanier.

striper-lanier-12-24-16-pic4
Testing the Waters of Lanier for Stripers 

Allatoona

(Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html)

LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 14.8 FEET, 50’S & CLEAR

Spotted bass fishing is fair. On the main lake look for stumps and brush in 8 feet of water especially around points and humps that have deep water access. Small jigs in green pumpkin or Try the ¼ oz. in watermelon gold any other color that looks like green pumpkin will work and put a matching Zoom trailer. Check those creeks and pockets for water with some color to it. Fish the numerous shallow brush piles with the jig. Some fish are surprisingly still shallow. On sunny days the dingy water will warm faster and attract bait fish so bass are likely to be there as well. The deep clear water naturally will be colder and the fish will be deeper. If you see shad flipping on top whip out that favorite crank bait, the one that looks like a ¼ ounce Rat L Trap chrome with a blue back. Nice spotted bass have been schooling and busting the shad.

Hartwell

(Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html)

LAKE HARTWELL IS DOWN 10.4 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S

Bass fishing is fair. Fish in the Tugaloo river area both north and south of the 85 bridge. In the first part of the mornings we have been working the back part of the creek arms and main lake pockets with a crank bait. We have been using more of a flat sided crank bait in deeper water in the 8 to 12 foot zone to catch them. As always this time of year you want to look for the areas the sun is on first. This water as you know warms the quickest and can be very productive. Some of the very backs of the creek arms are muddy and have not been that productive. But if it is a light stain that will help keep some of these fish shallower than normal specially the areas that are getting more sun. Continue to look for the bait as this continues to be key as it always is during the winter months. So take the time to find the bait and fish these areas thoroughly. Some key areas have been the clay and rock especially areas that have deeper water nearby this allows those fish to move up and down in the water column with little effort. Key baits that we have been throwing with these weather changes have been a flat sided crank bait, jig, and a shaky head. For our jig and shaky head anything in a green pumpkin color is good this time of year. Key for us was to continue to move throughout the day if we didn’t get bit within 10 minutes of fishing an area we picked up the trolling motor and moved on. When we got some bites we slowed down and worked the area with several baits before moving on to the next area. We did work some of the main lake areas but have not had much success at this time. We will continue to work the main lake area as the winter moves on to see what we can find. Remember the lake is close to 11ft low and there are a lot of objects sticking up out of the water and not yet marked.

Classroom Kudos: Nice article on Trout in the Classroom: http://www.gon.com/news/trout-in-the-classroom-2

Upcoming Events:

The Flyfishing Show – Gwinnett (Feb 3-4): An all-star lineup of seminar speakers and fly tiers has been booked.  http://flyfishingshow.com/atlanta/  Click on the “programs and speakers” tab.

Good luck during this soggy weekend, which we welcome with open arms.  Many of us can fish right through it, given some Goretex.  Others among us will stay indoors, but still enjoy some great events like the Rabun Rendezvous and the Falcons victory.  Let it rain, let it rain.  Fish need water.  Let it rain!

Central Georgia Fishing Report: January 20, 2017

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

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 50’s

Bass fishing is slow.  The cold air and dropping surface temperature have bass holding tight to cover or suspended in deeper water.  Some anglers are using jigging spoons and Carolina rigs to catch a few Bass.  Others are still fishing rip rap rock with Rapala Shad Raps and small Rapala DT10 crank baits after mid-morning.  Both will work well and should continue to produce for a couple more weeks.  Continue to fish the points and any drop offs.  In middle of the lower lake creeks, fish any isolated stumps and wood cover for the best results.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 8.7 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing slowed down from the previous weeks with the cold weather moving in strong by the middle of the week.  The fish were up in the flats looking like they wanted to start a pre-spawn mode.  With the change in weather, the bass simply moved back to the deeper water and suspended themselves.  The bass can still be caught with patience and the right technique.  Back off, locate the fish and use a slow moving Jerk bait and the Rapala DT14 use the parrot color Rapala crank baits.  A slow presentation will still be necessary as long as the bass are suspended.  Remember, now active bass have a smaller strike zone, so be prepared to make several presentations in the same area with your baits.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR, LIGHT STAIN UP THE LAKE. STAINED UP THE RIVER TEMPERATURE 52-55

Bass fishing is good.  The best bite has been the spoon bite on the humps on the south end of the lake.  White and chartreuse have been the best colors.  Spinner baits fished in the creeks and coves shallow will produce fish.  White and chartreuse have been the best colors.  When Georgia Power is pulling water the same spinner bait will work on the bridge rip rap (they have been pulling early in the mornings), Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the coves out to the main lake will also produce.  You can also add fishing a rattle trap around any deep dock and around rip rap early.

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

Striper fishing is good.  The fish are mid-lake around river bend.  Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait and the stripers will be close by.  Look for the birds diving; if you see birds go fish them.  Live bait as well as spoons will produce large numbers of fish.

Crappie fishing is fair.  The fish are staging in the creeks.  Long lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches.  Spider rigging will also catch some fish.

WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 5.5 FEET, CLEAR & 60’S

Bass fishing is fair and crank baits are working.  Bright crank baits on the rocky banks and rip rap is fair early but its gets better as the water warms.  Use small Rapala Shad Raps and DT 10 lures in bright colors and fish any rocks, secondary points in creeks, and where sand meets the rip rap along the bridges.  The lake is going to stay low until the middle of January and then will rise slightly.  Use the vertical jigging spoons on the bottom.  Find the fish on your depth finder and then vertical jig using a 1/2 to 3/4 ounce spoon of your choice.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN .96 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The fish are ready to migrate back to main river and creek structures, although some do remain in coves and the upper halves of creeks.  Cranking had been the primary means of success for much of the last few weeks, but this has mostly changed.  More subtle and slow moving baits like Carolina rigs, jigs, and jig head and worm rigs have been the best choices recently.  Even the fish that remain in coves are now hitting finesse baits better.  Look for most of the remaining cove fish to be located in or near the basin or ditch at 10 to over 20 feet deep.  Don’t waste time in coves that aren’t showing lots of bait on the depth finder.  More of the larger groups or schools of fish are holding along main river or creek points and humps.  Generally, the fish are deeper down the lake and progressively shallower farther up the lake.  Try a Carolina rig with a Zoom finesse worm on a 3 foot leader of 12 pound line with a half-ounce weight on 15 to 20 pound main line.  Try the green pumpkin, June bug, red bug and natural blue colors on the SpotSticker jig head from 1/16 to one ounce, although it’s best to use the lightest possible and maintain bottom contact.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .70 FEET, 50’s

Bass fishing is fair even with the cold water.  Start with jigs around boat docks and then go to spinnerbaits in the deeper water near the dam.  The Texas rigged worm and short Carolina rig seems to be the favorite in Yellow River.  The water is stained so have a Zoom u tail red shad worm rigged Texas style.  Throw right into or next to the wood and work the bait slowly stopping it every foot or so.  The bass are holding tight to the heavy cover.  The recent cold nights have driven these fish in tight so work each stump or log several times. Try different angles and a good 14-pound or better test line is recommended.

BIG LAZER PFA

Surface water temperature:   50o F

Water visibility:  Visibility is about 27” (stained)

Water level: Recent rains have raised water level back to full pool

  • Largemouth bass: Slow – Fish plastic baits slow now that water temperatures are chilly.  Plastic-worms fished around the deep water by the picnic area and around the newly repaired fishing pier may produce a few good bites.
  • Crappie: Poor- crappie fishing has been poor but their spawning season will start soon, until warmer temperatures fish for crappie in 10-12 feet of water with minnows.
  • Bream: Slow- Bream fishing is also slow but try pink and red worms around the new fishing pier.  Also, target areas that have structure like woody brush and blow downs associated with it.  This time of year, most bream will be located in deeper water.  Still, live bait will be your best bet for bream.  However, make sure the hooks are small because the bream have small mouths.
  • Channel catfish: Poor- Fishing for cold cats has been slow even around the dam area.  However, you may get lucky using livers at or almost at the bottom and at several different locations around woody structures and the rocks around the dam.  Fishing with two poles will increase your chances of catching a keeper.
  • In general, the weather is cold and the bite has become less consistent.  Anglers have to be more patient and persistent to have a good day fishing.  However, winter weather means less anglers are fishing; thus, less fishing pressure for the dedicated angler.

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

MCDUFFIE PFA

Average Morning Water Temperature:   50 – 52 ⁰F

Water Visibility:     24 – 54+ inches

All PFA lakes are full and flowing into next lake.  All boat ramps are useable.

  • Largemouth Bass:  Fair. Bass are biting slowly.  Fishermen are actively pursuing bass most days. New***Rodbender, the trophy bass lake is open year round starting this month.  Anglers may harvest one bass 22 inches or longer if they desire.
  • Signage will be installed around the lake to notify the anglers.  This lake has been setup with multiple bait species for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass.  Bass fishermen are fishing Rodbender today but no catches reported.
  • Bream:  Fair. Bream fishing has slowed dramatically due to cold water temperature.  Bream can still be found around structure and aquatic plants suspended over deep water.  The best baits for catching bream are still meal worms/red wigglers/worms fished deep in the lake channels as the water cools.
  • Channel Catfish:  Fair. Catfish are still biting but slowing down due to falling water temperatures.  The best fishing is on the bottom in deep water using chicken liver, worms, and stink-baits.
  • Striped Bass:  Stripers like cooler temperatures, however, no catches have been reported.  Striped bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse Lakes. Stripers will be chasing available bait during winter months, particularly on warm days.

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

Licenses Required at a PFA:

FISHING

  • Anglers 16 years and older must possess a current fishing license, AND a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) license to fish.
  • If you have either a Sportsman’s, Lifetime, Honorary (resident disability license or resident one-time veteran’s license), 3-day Hunting and Fishing License, or 3-day GORP Plus you are NOT required to have a WMA license to fish.
  • A WMA license is NOT required to fish at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area.

GENERAL ACCESS

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

BUY A FISHING LICENSE HERE!

Southeast Georgia Fishing Report January 13, 2017

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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