By: Bert Deener, GA DNR Fisheries Biologist
(Deener’s reports can also be found in the Waycross Journal Herald on Thursdays)
Crappie fishing is tops in freshwater, while trout and redfishing has been good in the brine. Last quarter moon is Nov. 14. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website.
Altamaha River – William Tate of Atlanta and a friend fished around Upper Wayne County Landing on Thursday and caught a mixed bag of panfish and catfish. They had 15 fish, consisting of channel catfish, bluegills, shellcrackers, and redbreasts. William caught the trophy fish, a one-pound shellcracker. Worms fished on the bottom worked well, and they caught a couple of the panfish on 1/16oz. black/yellow Satilla Spins. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that anglers are “whacking” the crappie. The average fish ranged between 8 and 10 inches. On Sunday, anglers caught good numbers of warmouth and bream by fishing pink worms on the bottom. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that crappie ate minnows well over the last week. Pink worms and crickets fooled bream. Trot lines baited with rooster livers produced both bullheads and channel catfish. Flathead catfish were caught with goldfish. Over the weekend, an angler caught 17 flathead catfish ranging from 17 to 38 pounds. The mullet are still around, and folks caught them on green giant worms and red wigglers. The river level was 1.6 feet and falling (62 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 2.4 feet and falling (64 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Nov. 11.
Satilla River – I fished with my son (Timothy) and Ron and Nathanael Johnson on the lower Satilla (White Oak Creek) on Saturday. We put shrimp and worms on the bottom and caught 24 white catfish. Timothy landed our biggest at about 2 pounds. Both Carolina Rigs and my new Gamakatsu circle hook jigheads caught fish. The boys are developing into some skilled anglers! Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the crappie fishing was good this week, with slabs eating both minnows and jigs. Tennessee shad Jiffy Jigs worked best in shallow water, while John Deere Green was the top color in deeper water. White Satilla Spins fooled some crappie, as well. Bass bit darker colored worms and shiners fished in deep, slow-moving water. The deep holes are also producing channel catfish for those fishing shrimp and rooster livers on the bottom. Bream were eating pink worms. The river level at the Waycross gage was 4.2 feet and falling (63 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.9 feet and falling on Nov. 11.
St. Marys River – Redbreasts, bream, and catfish were caught on crickets and pink worms. A few crappie (average 6 to 8 inches) were caught on minnows. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 3.1 feet and falling on Nov. 11.
Okefenokee Swamp – I didn’t hear any reports of anglers fishing in the swamp this week. November is one of my favorite months for numbers of fliers. I typically start by pitching pink Okefenokee Swamp Sallies under a float. If I have several anglers in the boat, I will start each of us with a different color and change to whatever the fish prefer. With the cooler weather, suspending a sally underneath a small balsa float usually produces more strikes, as it keeps it in front of the fish a little longer than fishing it without the float.
Local Ponds – Michael Winge said that crappie, bass, and bream ate well this week. Bass were fooled with shiners. Crappie ate minnows, jigs, and white Satilla Spins. Bream were caught with crickets on the warmer afternoons. Pink worms also fooled a few of them.
Saltwater (Georgia Coast) – Jerome and Clint Inman of Waycross fished the Brunswick area on Saturday and got on a bunch of trout. They were a little surprised the bite was so good, considering the high tidal fluctuation. They caught about 50 trout and brought home 25 keeper trout and a flounder. Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught trout about anywhere they fished with live shrimp and Assassin Sea Shads. Whiting reports were mixed with some folks catching them on shrimp and squid, while others didn’t catch many. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that blue crabs are still thick under the pier. On Sunday afternoon, a crabber caught 54 crabs over 5 inches. Trout, flounder, and sheepshead were caught in good numbers this week from the pier. Flounder averaged 17 inches. The big bull reds were still caught after dark with cut bait.
Best Bet – In saltwater it will be hard to beat trout fishing, although the weather is iffy this weekend. The lower tidal fluctuation and clearer water will be a positive, but the low temperatures and potentially high winds will prevent folks from comfortably getting out to the trout. In freshwater, bass and crappie fishing in local ponds and lakes will be great options. Bream fishing on the Altamaha is a good option, but take your time motoring around with the low river levels.