Buddy Wade with his 8 pound, 9 ounce Lake Lanier walleye.

Buddy Wade with his 8 pound, 9 ounce Lake Lanier walleye.

The time for trophy walleye is nearly here.  For anglers like Lake Lanier’s Buddy Wade, the time has already come.

Wade was deep jigging a spoon on a midlake hump 37 foot deep in Lanier Sunday, Jan. 20, when he hooked an 8 pound, 9 ounce walleye from the depths. Not surprisingly, Wade didn’t hesitate to submit a Georgia Angler Award application to the Wildlife Resources Division.

While Wade’s whopper walleye is not a state record, it may qualify as a Lake Lanier record according to Georgia Outdoor News, which tracks lake records. The state-record walleye is 11 pounds, 6 ounces and was caught by Neal Watson on Richard B. Russell Lake in 1995.

This monster catch is a reminder that great opportunities for such trophy walleye are right around the corner.

“Large, egg-laden females will begin their journeys uplake, in preparation for early March spawning in tributary rivers,” said Anthony Rabern, a senior fisheries biologist with the Wildlife Resources Division. “Late winter may provide Georgia anglers with their best chances at catching a lake-record or even a state-record walleye!”

Rabern offers some tips for success:

  • In February, adult walleye will migrate from the main lake into pre-spawn staging areas in the upper reaches of reservoirs — before the lakes take on a more river-like appearance.
  • Walleye will most likely be holding close to the bottom.
  • For bait, a nightcrawler bounced very slowly on the bottom is all you need. For artificial bait enthusiasts, trolling a deep-diving crank bait in fire tiger, yellow perch, crayfish or other similar color patterns can be effective.

Georgia anglers can expect some great fishing in the coming months, so plan a February “hunt” for trophy walleyes soon! Visit http://georgiawildlife.com/Fisheries/Walleye  for more information on north Georgia walleye, including a fishing guide prepared by senior fisheries biologist Anthony Rabern. Also, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/AnglerAwards to learn more about the Angler Award Program and how to apply for an Angler Award.