Info Provided by: Jeff Durniak, GA DNR North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor and North Georgia Region Fisheries staff
We’re on the tail end of spring and the fishing is still pretty darn good. The high 80-degree days that have visited us about a month earlier than normal have been offset by several cool ones, which have kept water temperatures to the liking of most of our target species. There is probably a week or two left of this great spring fishing weather, so take a ride to your favorite pond or reservoir soon to take advantage of the excellent shallow water action.
The same holds true for our larger trout streams. Water temps have bumped into the upper 60s on several afternoons, but they’re still declining overnight and on cloudy, rainy days. The fish are still comfortable and so are wet-wading anglers. Check stream flows before you go.
Some great aquatic insect hatches are still coming off (personal experience of cahills popping like popcorn, reported below), but their days are numbered. Go soon for that one last “spring fix” on our larger trout streams.
After the next week or two, you’ll have to hike up the mountain to smaller, high elevation streams, or slide in below a big dam like Buford or Blue Ridge to find the best trouting temperatures as we welcome summer.
It looks like we have 1-2 inches of rain coming our way by Thursday, so check those USGS river flow gauges to see which streams drop back down to fishable levels by the weekend.
Here we go…
Headwaters Trout – “Sautee” reported a fine Saturday day afternoon of bluelining for little wild rainbows on an unnamed Hooch trib, high in the mountains above Helen. He had great action on small dries such as tan elk hair caddis and light cahills.
Stocked Trout Best Bets – Try these locales: DH streams on or after May 15 (when harvest is allowed), Lanier Tailwater, Holly, Rock, Cooper, Toccoa River, Long Swamp, West Fork Chattooga, Panther, Wildcat, and Tallulah. The “how-to” is described in the brief narrative on the side of your Georgia trout stream map. Need a map? Call Olivia at our office number, below.
Hooch Bass Float – “Hey Jeff. We fished the upper hooch above Lanier recently, doing an overnight camping/floating trip. We started late Saturday and floated a mile downstream to our camping destination. We set up camp and hit the long shoal upstream of us for “dark 30” shoal bass fishing. I caught several on top with a white stealth bomber or a dahlberg diver. Sunday found us up early and floating downstream and stopping to fish every now and then. Fishing was good in the morning for shoal bass with topwater really early and then with hairy fodders but slowed down through the heat of the day. However we caught a TON of small 1-2 lb stripers though on sinking lines with smaller Clousers. We spotted several of their larger cousins as we were drifting but kept our fly offerings small to avoid getting our 6 weight rods snapped. We rushed the last leg of the float a bit so didn’t get any good topwater fishing again in the afternoon but who can complain with the overall numbers of fish caught! It was a fun trip and one we plan on doing again very soon!” – Landonh
More Great Lanier Fodder (thanks Eric!) – “Hello Jeff. Hope all is well. If you ever wish to have another fishing report then feel free to use the one I do for the Gainesville Times on Fridays. I always write a recent report every Friday so the conditions are up to date. I think this link will work every week. I enjoy your other reports so keep sending them!” – ric S. Aldrich
Nottely – Biologist Patrick O’Rouke said that his annual spring sampling last week showed good numbers of spots and largemouths up shallow, but he expects them to start sliding off the bank soon as water temperatures rise. Bass were most abundant along steeper banks that had rocks (bedrock, boulders), downed trees, or both. A few nice crappie were also found in the treetops. Stripers were already out of reach of the electric probes, but they should be providing good fishing at the 15 to 20 foot depths, and shallower at first light. Nottely Fishing Prospects.
Great Walleye Year – Walleye are grown and stocked annually in Georgia, but this year saw a bumper crop produced by WRD fish farmers! Congrats to the Go Fish Center and to Walton, Summerville, and Burton hatcheries for Georgia walleye broodstock collection, spawning, and pond fingerling production. During the last two weeks, nearly 900,000 fingerling (one-inch) walleye were stocked into lakes Antioch (Rocky Mtn PFA), Carters, Lanier, Hartwell, Rabun, Seed, Tugalo, and Yonah. The fish that survive to prey on shad and blueback herring should provide some nice catches for Georgia anglers in 2-3 years. Video and extra info.
Kids Fishing Events, Coming Soon – The first week of June is National Fishing and Boating Week, with a couple of free fishing days tossed in. Make your family plans now to take advantage of these kids events.
Bass Pro Shops gift card anyone? Check out our 2014 Facebook Fishing Photo Contest!
Good luck with your last shots at spring. You still have plenty of options to choose from as May draws to a close.