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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

North Georgia Fishing Report: January 9, 2017

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

With the winter storm just hours away, we’re all bracing ourselves for some challenging conditions this weekend.  Given the slick roads and plummeting air and water temperatures, this will be the perfect weekend to stay (safe) at home and get our tackle ready for more hospitable days ahead.

https://www.facebook.com/ChattOconeeNF/posts/1326733804033075

We can overhaul our tackle boxes and fishing vests, getting rid of old, rusty stuff and restocking boxes with all of the new goodies that Santa brought.  While we look far into the future for spring’s magic, let’s also look just beyond our noses to the next winter warm spell.  A couple of days of warmer weather can reverse water temps and really turn the fish on.  Continue reading “North Georgia Fishing Report: January 9, 2017”

Deer Movement and Habitat

Have you ever had a deer wander right up to your stand? Maybe it’s luck, but it’s most likely the deer is motivated by food or procreation, the two main reasons deer move.

Unfortunately, as deer movement increases with the rut, they tend to cross roads more frequently and with less caution. Rut is the mating season for deer, and the deer hunting season is scheduled to overlap it. Bucks are most active during the rut. They have a slightly larger roaming range during this time so they can find does and maintain a diverse gene pool. Unfortunately during this three-month-long event, deer may roam into human developments, causing them harm. Hence the increase in deer-car collisions during the rut.

Extreme weather and drought can also cause deer to seek more supportive stomping grounds. Excellent native habitat Continue reading “Deer Movement and Habitat”

Deer Population

Currently, the estimated deer population in Georgia is 1.27 million. This may seem small compared to the 10.1 million people living in Georgia, but it does not account for an accurate number of deer in urban areas. Deer living in suburbs and areas not zoned for hunting are hard to monitor due to the fact that most of the data about the deer population is from hunters in more rural areas. Urban neighborhoods also provide safety and food which attract more deer and desensitize them to human activity. This can be dangerous for both the humans and the deer. It’s important to remember that deer are wildlife, with an emphasis on the “wild.”

Once a wildlife species has entered an urban area, others are sure to follow. In the worst case scenarios it is the predators that decide to join their prey. Predators such as coyotes, and in northern Georgia even bears, will wander into areas of high human population posting a threat to both humans and deer. This predatory threat contributes to the 22% decrease in the number of fawns per doe that survive to hunting season, also known as the fawn recruitment rate. This decrease in the fawn population must be balanced by decreasing the number of does that are allowed to be harvested each year. Decreasing the number of does increases the odds of fawns surviving because more fawns have the chance to be born.

Although coyotes can prove useful in maintaining other wildlife populations, too many can be a bad thing. Determining the extent of the coyote population is a job for trail camer
as. These motion detecting camouflaged cameras take pictures when something moves in front of it, and seems to be the most accurate way to estimate the number of any animal that may be present. If there is in fact a coyote infestation a heavy amount of trapping preceding and during fawning will yield the best results. However, the cunning nature of coyotes may prevent their capture with live traps, consequently making hunting the best and most effective option.

coyote-gadnr-wrd-stevekyles

Bears are also a predatory threat to fawns but less to adult deer. While this is a problem primarily in the northern region, it is a very complex issue that may include competition over habitat, clashing with other species, and supplementary predators. However, the exact reasons and circumstances are unclear and call for more research to gather accurate information for addressing this issue.

Georgia Fishing Report: December 30, 2016

Central Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

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

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

Georgia Fishing Report: December 23, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Fishing Report: December 16, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

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

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

Georgia Fishing Report: December 9, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Southwest Georgia

North Georgia

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

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

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