New Job Opens Eyes to Mussels

SouthernRainbow_Villosa_vibex
Southern rainbow mussels (Melissa Keneely/DNR)

By Melissa Keneely

When you think of rare animals, freshwater mussels are probably not the first animals that come to mind. Yet mussels rank as one of the most imperiled groups of animals on Earth. An estimated 70 percent of all known freshwater mussel species are considered at risk of extinction in the near future.

As a seasonal field technician working with DNR Nongame Conservation Section aquatic biologists, I’ve had the awesome job of working with these unique creatures all summer. (Nongame Conservation’s focus is conserving hundreds of rare animal and plant species throughout the state, plus the natural habitats they need and other native species not legally fished for or hunted.)

Mussels are especially interesting due to their unique life cycle. To develop, larval mussels must attach to the gills of a host fish. Once attached, the larvae grow into juvenile mussels. They then drop from the fish’s gills and settle into the substrate to mature into adults.

Continue reading “New Job Opens Eyes to Mussels”

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Georgia Fishing Report: September 1, 2017

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

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

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

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

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

ALTAMAHA RIVER

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

SATILLA RIVER

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

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

Georgia Fishing Report: August 25, 2017

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

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

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

CENTRAL (EAST AND WEST) GEORGIA

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

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

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 80’S

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

 

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.63 FEET, 80’S

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

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

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

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

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

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

So you think you know how to deer hunt? 5 tips that will ensure a more successful season

I always loved being in the outdoors as a child. I remember walking in the woods around the small streams on my families’ property, sifting through the pebbles and rocks in hopes of finding a lost arrow head or piece of flint. Picking up vibrant, fall blackgum leaves on the forest floor and getting lost in the deep yellow, red, and almost purple hues. While I always enjoyed my time in the woods, it wasn’t until my late teens when I started hunting that I really started to appreciate and care for what I was so deeply enthralled. Hunting really drove me to learn about the animals, plants, and ecology of it all. It provided me with a hobby that kept me in the woods and cleared my mind. I had a few mentors here and there and picked up tips and tricks whenever possible. There are many invaluable do and don’ts that every new hunter should know of, but also many tricks of the trade that might not be as obvious. Doing research, asking around, and learning from many passionate and dedicated hunters has been summed up in this list that should help any novice or experienced hunter have more success and excitement in the woods.

Continue reading “So you think you know how to deer hunt? 5 tips that will ensure a more successful season”

Dove Field Etiquette

Before going dove hunting this year, check out these 15 tips on how to mind your manners on the field! And don’t forget to purchase your Georgia Migratory Bird Stamp at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com.

  1. Mindfulness – The most important key to a successful dove hunt, for yourself and your neighbors on the field, is to be mindful of your surroundings. Be aware of gun safety, what your hunting party is doing and what the hunters around you are doing, even in all of the excitement. Things can happen quickly. Everyone is looking for birds and where birds went down. Keeping up your situational awareness will make for a better hunt for you and everyone around you.

 

  1. “Low Bird” – If you hear someone call, “low bird,” DON’T SHOOT! We all know what it sounds like, but it actually means that the bird is too low for a safe shot.

 

  1. Spacing – Establish with the hunters on either side of you who is shooting where, and give your fellow hunters their space. You don’t want to shoot at the same birds. Be aware of your zone of fire. You don’t have 180 degrees of fire if you have people on either side of you.

 

  1. Fields – Some public lands have more than one dove field. Dove fields will be marked on maps. If one field is crowded, try another.

 

  1. Dogs (Yours) – If you brought a dog to a dove shoot, be mindful of your dog, where they are and what birds they pick up. Some dogs are better on a leash. Dogs can’t tell which bird is which, so if your dog picks up another hunter’s bird, please return the bird to the hunter who shot it. Let them know, “Hey, my dog got your bird,” and return it to them.

 

  1. Dogs (Theirs) – Be mindful of any dog that might be out in the field so your shots are careful.

 

  1. Trash/Spent Shells – Clean up behind you. Be sure to pick up your trash and spent shotgun shells.

 

  1. Gun Safety – Know what’s behind where you’re shooting, and know where your shot will fall. Remember what you learned in hunter safety. Shotguns can still cause terrible accidents. You may be hunting near a lot of people, so muzzle control is key.

 

  1. Equipment/Structures – Be aware of equipment, buildings or irrigation structures near a field so you can avoid damaging them, especially if someone was kind enough to let you hunt on their property.

 

  1. ATVs – Ask yourself if you’re primarily hunting, or if you’re primarily riding on an ATV. Try to keep vehicles hidden, and be courteous to other hunters. Don’t drive an ATV through the middle of a shoot!

 

  1. Hunter Orange – Birds can see color. If you’re hunting near someone else and wear hunter orange in the field, you could scare the birds away for both of you.

 

  1. Kids – Dove hunts are a great opportunity to teach kids how to hunt. It’s a great situation where the adults can keep track of what’s going on. If there are kids on the hunt, even if they’re not in your group, go ahead and let them go and have fun. If a kid wants to pick what you thought was a good spot, let them, even if you wanted it. Let the kids run out on the field to pick up their birds first. Let it be a good, fun day for everyone.

 

  1. Birds – If the birds are flying in thick, you might want to continue shooting before heading out into the fields to pick up your birds.

 

  1. Water — September dove hunting is HOT in Georgia! Bring plenty of water so you are comfortable and well-hydrated in the field. If you brought a dog, they can get overheated on dove fields, so be sure to bring water for your four-legged hunting buddy, too.

 

  1. Last, but by no means least: Close the gate behind you – If you’re allowed to hunt on someone’s property, honor the requests they make. Go only where you have permission to go. Be respectful of what you have permission to do and where you’re supposed to be. Be respectful of the property and the person who is giving you permission to be there.

Georgia Fishing Report: August 18, 2017

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

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

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

 

NORTH GEORGIA

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

Hopeful Eclipse Survivors,

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

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

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

LAKE LANIER

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

Stripers: Deep Stripers – Good video

SMALL LAKES

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

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

RIVER BASS

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

Hooch Tailwater:

TROUT

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

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

MORE GOOD STUFF

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

TU Blueridge Toccoa Cleanup Aug 2017

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

Ken’s Reservoir Reports: Fresh on Fridays

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

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

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

ALTAMAHA RIVER

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

SATILLA RIVER

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

ST. MARYS RIVER

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

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

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

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

LOCAL PONDS

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

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

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

BEST BET

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

Georgia Fishing Report: August 11, 2017

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

Hope to see you out on the water this weekend!

SOUTHWEST GEORGIA

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

LAKE WALTER F GEORGE

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

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

 

FLINT RIVER

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

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

Hunt and Learn Opportunities

        Hunt and Learn events give young hunters (ages 10-17) and their supervisors hands-on experience learning important skills and conservation knowledge. These classes are geared toward all experience levels and are set up in three tiers: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Every Hunt and Learn event accommodates all three experience levels. Classes include the basics of squirrel, deer, rabbit, quail, falconry or turkey hunting. Participants learn the biology and history of the animal and how to dress and care for harvested game.

Continue reading “Hunt and Learn Opportunities”

Georgia Fishing Report: July 28, 2017

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

Smallmouth

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

TomClifford

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

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

CENTRAL GEORGIA

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

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

LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 80’S

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

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.1 FEET, 80’S

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

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

Gopher Tortoise - Kathleen Allen

A Day in the Life of a Gopher Tortoise Technician

Kathleen Allen is a seasonal staff member working with the DNR’s Nongame Conservation section.

When I tell people I work as a gopher tortoise technician, they either nod their heads knowingly or stare at me with a look that says, “I think I may have misheard you.” I have to explain a gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) is the state reptile of Georgia, and my team, the Tortoise Crew—as we are affectionately known around the office—surveys lands suspected to have viable gopher tortoise populations. A viable population means there are enough individuals in the area to guarantee the survival of the population. An area needs, at minimum, 250 adult tortoises to be viable.

Continue reading “A Day in the Life of a Gopher Tortoise Technician”