By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist
(Deener’s reports can also be found in the Waycross Journal Herald on Thursdays)
These last two weeks have been as different as night and day. Last week’s frigid temperatures gave way over the weekend to almost balmy temperatures. Many systems warmed more than 10 degrees this week. Fishing in the shallower, blackwater systems really picked up, especially for crappie. The rivers are still high and cold, but they are warming. First quarter moon is Feb. 6. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.
Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle said that very few people fished, but those who did caught crappie in the oxbow lakes. The fish are suspended in the blowdown trees near the mouths of the lakes. As the water warms, expect them to move to the backs of the pockets. Most fish were caught on minnows. At Altamaha Park, the crappie were also biting minnows, and a few catfish were caught. The river level was 7.8 feet and falling (50 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.6 feet and falling (50 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Feb. 4.
Satilla River – Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river is in great shape for catching crappie. Anglers reported catching them on the ends of the sandbars with minnows. Fish the downstream side of the sandbar where the water forms an eddy. Some bass were caught on worms fished S-L-O-W-L-Y in the mouths of the cuts. The river level at the Waycross gage was 9.4 feet and rising (54 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 8.8 feet and falling (55 degrees) on Feb. 4.
Local Ponds – Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle said that lots of crappie were caught from local ponds. Some folks reported filling a stringer with slabs. Minnows were the best baits, but a few were caught on artificials.
Okefenokee Swamp – This weekend’s cooler temperatures will likely slow down the bite a bit, but they will likely still bite during the afternoons. The pickerel and warmouth bites will likely be slow with the cooler temperatures, but fliers will still eat. Fish a pink, orange, or yellow sally under a small balsa float to weed edges.
Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Although few anglers fished the brine, those who did in the Brunswick area reported catching trout, redfish, and black drum. Most were caught around structure, such as bridges, docks, and pilings. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the “granddaddy-sized” blue crabs stole the show this week. Anglers caught some croakers and a few whiting from the pier.
Best Bet – With the cooler weather forecasted for the weekend, the crappie bite will likely slow some, but should still be good. The fliers in the swamp should also bite pretty well.
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