North Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region Fisheries staff)


Spotted bass from Lake Lanier caught in December.

Spotted bass from Lake Lanier caught in December.


  • Whopper Largemouth
  • Spots – Here are a few that I’ve caught over the last few weeks on Lake Lanier.  Water temp ran from 50 to 52 degrees; water slightly stained in the upper sections of the lake.  Mostly caught on crankbaits, jigs and worms. Gotta use the electronics to locate and then spray a little magic juice on the soft plastics! I’m not catching big numbers but the quality of fish caught has been good.  See ya. Wally
  • Striper Bounty

Trouting How-To

Dredger’s recipes

A) Dry

  • 2x long dry fly hook, size 16 or 18
  • Black superfine dubbing- long thin body
  • Sparse, narrow downwing of gray elk hair
  • 3 wraps of gray hackle palmered around the head .
  • Reinforce hackle with a rib of 6x tippet if you want to.
  • Fish it dead drifted or skittered.

B) Wet

  • Same hook
  • Same body
  • No wing
  • Two wraps of starling for some soft hackles .
  • Swing and twitch it in the current, often as a thirty-inch dropper behind the dry if fish are near surface, or just a foot behind a small bugger when dredging.

Upcoming Events

2015 Atlanta Boat Show (thanks to Ken Sturdivant for the agenda)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

  • 2:00 pm Trophy Bass Fishing, Bass Tubs of Oklahoma
  • 3:00 pm Crappie Year Round, Al Bassett
  • 4:00 pm Bass Tactics, Rick Burns
  • 5:00 pm Stripers! Captain Ken West
  • 6:00 pm Lowrance HDS Technology, Ken Sturdivant
  • 7:00 pm Fly Fishing, Rene Hess CCI
  • 8:00 pm Lake Lanier Crappie, Dan Saknini

Friday, January 16, 2015

  • 1:00 pm Crank Baits for Bass, Ken Sturdivant
  • 2:00 pm Trophy Bass Fishing, Bass Tubs of Oklahoma
  • 3:00 pm Crappie Year Round, Al Bassett
  • 4:00 pm Fly Fishing, Rene Hess
  • 5:00 pm Lake Lanier Crappie, Dan Saknini
  • 5:30 pm Bass Fishing Lake Lanier, Jimbo Mathley
  • 6:00 pm Stripers! Captain Ken West
  • 7:00 pm Lowrance HDS Technology, Ken Sturdivant
  • 8:00 pm Lake Oconee, Captain Mark Smith

Saturday, January 17, 2015

  • 11:00 am Crappie Year Round, Mark Smith
  • Noon Fly Fishing, Rene Hess
  • 1:00 pm Stripers! Captain Ken West
  • 2:00 pm Crappie Year Round, Al Bassett
  • 2:30 pm Inshore Fishing in the waters near Savannah, Jack McGowan
  • 3:00 pm Peacock Bass, Randy Hancock
  • 3:30 pm Springtime Spotted Bass, Jim Mathley
  • 4:00 pm Lake Allatoona Bass, Matt Driver
  • 4:30 pm Trout on the Chattahoochee River, Chris Scalley
  • 5:00 pm Lowrance HDS Technology, Ken Sturdivant
  • 6:00 pm Bass Tactics, Rick Burns
  • 7:00 pm Lake Oconee, Captain Mark Smith
  • 8:00 pm Trophy Bass Fishing, Bass Tubs of Oklahoma

Sunday, January 17, 2015

  • 11 am Trophy Bass Fishing, Bass Tubs of Oklahoma
  • Noon Lake Oconee Crappie, Al Bassett
  • 1:00 pm Trout on the Chattahoochee River, Chris Scalley
  • 2:00 pm Lowrance HDS Technology, Ken Sturdivant
  • 3:00 pm Stripers! Captain Ken West
  • 4:00 pm Lake Allatoona Bass, Matt Driver

Big Trout Party (Jan. 24) – 300 fibbing trout anglers, barbecue, bluegrass, and raffle prizes sound like a good time.  It’s the 28th annual Rabun Rendezvous at Dillard House!

Additional Links

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff)

Clarks Hill (down 6.3 feet, clear, water temp. low 50s) – Bass fishing is slow and the surface temperatures will be a little lower by the time you hit the water this weekend. Anglers are fishing the edges of the grass mats. Most anglers are fishing South of Fort Gordon toward the dam and up into the Savannah River. Another cold snap is going to increase the feeding pattern and get the bass moving a little more. Look for signs of the dead bait fish as you use those deep water crank baits and spinner baits along the ledges and deeper water grass. Most, if not all, of the grass should be brown in color and come loose easily. Once you find the edges, mark it with buoy markers as the winds will have an effect on your boat position. – Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.

Jackson Lake (down 2.2 feet, stained, water temp. low 50s) – Bass fishing is fair. Fish are biting a small finesse worm on a Carolina rig but also use the same bait on a Texas rig. Smoke and pearl are the color of choices here. Use a small bright fire tiger Rapala DT10 in either the silver or shad color. Hot mustard will also work as more rain moves in and makes the water a little muddy. Work the ledges down lake and any of the smaller channels as they make sharp turns at or near a major point. Good current will be the helping factor here.

Marben Public Fishing Area (Dec. 31, 2014, 36-plus inches of visibility, water temp. low 50s)Largemouth Bass – We have received several reports of good Largemouth catches on schooling threadfin shad.  Most any lure that mimics a shad will work.  Also white spinner baits and spoons have been successful.  Slowly working a jig on submerged structure has paid off for some anglers.

Bream and Channel Catfish – The bite for these species is slow.  Your best bet is to fish on or near the bottom using worms.

Black Crappie – The crappie are still off the bank.  Try jigs and minnows at various depths around deep water habitat that has lot of limbs.  Typically crappie will occupy a small area.  You may have to spend a good bit of time finding the crappie this time of the year.  If you are fortunate enough to do so you should fill your creel easily.

Addtitional information:

McDuffie Public Fishing Area (Jan. 6, 2015, 40-plus inches of visibility, water temp. 50 degrees)  – Largemouth Bass – Excellent.  Best ponds have been Willow, Clubhouse and Breambuster.  Catches of 4-5 pound bass in Willow have been reported.  Best fishing times are middle to late afternoon.  Fishing on the downwind side of the pond (especially in Willow) has been very productive.  Variations of threadfin shad imitations (1”-4”), pumpkin-seed finesse worms, swimbait lures, jerkbait lures and frogs have proven to be successful.  In Willow, Clubhouse and Breambuster, bass are schooling and feeding heavily on balls of threadfin shad on or near the surface throughout the day.  To locate the shad, look for where the seagulls are circling and feeding.  Seagulls have recently migrated into the area and should be present throughout the winter.  Generally, seagulls are excellent indicators of where to fish for largemouth bass.  Rodbender, our trophy bass pond, is open through the 15th during our normal hours.

Bream –  Good.  Best ponds have been Jones, Willow and Clubhouse.  As the water cools, expect bream (both bluegill and shellcracker) to be found in deeper water and be heavily related to structure.  Many large fish continue to be caught using beetle spins, red wigglers and crickets.

Channel Catfish –  Good.  Best ponds have been Jones, Willow, and Breambuster.  Fish on the bottom in deep areas using worms, stinkbait and crickets.

Striped Bass – Good to Fair.  Striped Bass are only in Bridge and Clubhouse.  Bigger fish are being caught late afternoon using chicken liver (Bridge) and light colored suspending minnows (especially in Clubhouse).

Additional Information:

Lake Oconee (full, water temp. low 50s) – Bass fishing is fair. The lake is full, heave stain up the rivers clearing down the lake. The water temperature is 49-54 (F). There is a lot of trash that has been washed into the lake with all the rain so keep an eye out as you move up and down the lake. Look for the fish around the docks in the mouths of the creeks. Use a small crank bait that will make a lot of noise. Rattle traps are a good pick to fish around these docks. Fish it as slow as you can around the dock poles. Spinner baits with large blades fish around the same dock poles will also produce.

Striper fishing is good. Some fish are coming on spoons fished from the river bend area to the dam. Use your Lowrance to find the schools and then drop the spoon down to the fish. Live bait will also bring a few fish to the boat. When you see the birds working on the water cast a small jig head with a shad body attached. This works best on overcast days. Striper fishing has been very good over the past few weeks and now would be a good time to take a child fishing as the action is fast. – Striper/hybrid report by Mark Smith of Reel Time Guide Service (404-803-0741 or

Crappie fishing is slow. There are some fish in the mouth of Lick creek, minnows fished on down lines into the schools will produce. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools and drop your minnow down to the school. Keep moving until you find active fish.

Lake Russell (lake is full, clear, water temp. low 50s) – Bass fishing is fair. Wind-blown points are favorite areas along with short stretches of red clay banks mixed with chunk rock. The points as well as the banks need to have deep water or a channel that runs close by. The bass are holding in the deeper water for the most part and move in and out on these areas to feed during the day. Even when the bass are holding in ten to fifteen feet of water and more, they will still hit deep diving crank baits like the Rapala DT10 and DT14. Also, use the Glass Shad Rap in the number 7 size. Make long casts with the DT10 into shallow water and work them all the way back to the boat. Now is the time to get the most out of the two Lowrance sonar frequencies. Learn how to split the screen and put 200 kHz on one side and 83 kHz on the other. These two frequencies will all anglers to see more of the bottom with the 83 kHz frequency. For those anglers that just love to use deep water jigging spoons, some nice bass along with a variety of other fish are being caught using this method. Find the fish and the structure and have at it. Most fishermen are concentrating their efforts in water anywhere from 25 to 45 feet. – Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.

The Forsyth County Parks and Recreation department will host an “Outdoor Fun Festival 2015” on April 25, 2015. The location will be the Caney Road Park in south Forsyth County off Highway 141. See the web site at or email Carrie Toth at for all the details and vendor options.

Lake Sinclair (full, stained up river, main lake clear, water temp. low 50s) – Bass fishing is fair. The recent heavy rain will slow the fishing. The rivers are heavily stained making it difficult to get a bite. You can still catch a few fish in the rivers but your best bet is to find clearer water down lake. Shallow to medium diving crank baits fished from the mid lake area down to Sinclair Dam have been productive. Short pockets and rocky points will be best for the crank bait bite. A chartreuse colored Spro Little John or Little John MD will catch fish right now. A jig and a shaky head will also catch fish on the same rocky points and on the docks in the short pockets. A ¼ ounce black and blue Buckeye Mop Jig with a pork trailer are a good bet for quality fish this time of year. The light weight and the pork trailer allow the jig to fall slower. This makes you have to slow down when you fish, and it keeps the bait in the strike zone longer when it is falling. I like to throw a 1/8 ounce Buckeye Spot Remover shaky head for the same reason. Focus your efforts in 12 feet of water or less most days. On warm days, go shallow and look for dark colored rocks on a sunny bank. A shaky head will also pull a fish from brush piles right now if you need an extra bite or two throughout the day. There are also a few deep fish to be found with your Lowrance electronics. These fish can be found on deep structure in the mouths of the creeks. Once located, you can catch them dropping a gold spoon through them.

West Point Lake (down 6.7 feet, clear, water temp. low 50s) – Bass fishing is fair. This week drop shot rigs, spoons, Carolina rigs and Shakey heads are the best set of baits with the cold weather and the runoff. Fish these ranges from 8 to 12 feet deep with finesse worms in green pumpkin, June bug and watermelon seed. Up lake and mid lake are the better area. Start at Whitewater Creek, Wehadkee Creek and no name pockets just below the railroad. The best places to target include the most important thing this time of year and that is finding the shad. Shad play such a major role in winter you have to follow the bait or you won’t be catching the fish. The jerk bait bite is also working and shad patterns are best. Try a spinner bait bite in a 3/8 ounce blue herring double Colorado Strike King model. – Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant. Lake levels from

South Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologists Bert Deener and Rob Weller and regional Fisheries staff)

Altamaha River – The lower river around Darien will produce some good catfish catches this time of year, but the upper river is too high to fish. Shad fishing has started off very slowly, so don’t expect to find a fisherman to get bait from quite yet. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that nobody has been fishing with the high water upriver. Dannett from Altamaha Park said that the big slug of water has arrived there and has things churned up. She expects the catfish bite to be the first to fire back up when it gets back down. The river level was 11.9 feet and falling (54 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.9 feet and falling (56 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on Jan. 6.

Wyatt Crews of Waycross caught his first chain pickerel in the Okefenokee on Tuesday. It ate a 2.8-inch gold flash Keitech swimbait fished on a Glider Head.

Wyatt Crews of Waycross caught his first chain pickerel in the Okefenokee on Tuesday. It ate a 2.8-inch gold flash Keitech swimbait fished on a Glider Head.

Lake Blackshear – The lake is back to full pool after the drawdown that was started in October. However the recent heavy rains that have filled the lake have also made the water stained and difficult to fish. High water conditions combined with the recent cold weather have slowed fishing considerably. As weather conditions and water levels stabilize in the coming days the fishing should begin to pick up for crappie, white bass, and hybrid striped bass.

Flint River – Recent heavy rain fall has made fishing in the Flint River for shoal bass, bream and catfish difficult. However, high water will draw striped bass, hybrid striped bass and white bass to the tailraces below the Warwick Dam on Lake Blackshear and below the Albany dam at Lake Worth. Try throwing large white bucktail jigs, lipless crank baits or spoons for stripers and smaller jigs to entice white bass. You can check out the following USGS gauges on the Flint River to determine water level and rainfall amounts before planning a fishing trip – Montezuma above Lake BlackshearHighway 32 below Lake BlackshearLower Flint River below Albany.

Okefenokee Swamp – Bert Deener fished with Wyatt Crews and Daniel Hampton of Waycross out of the Folkston entrance on Tuesday. Considering the super-high water level and cold night before we went, the fish bit decently. We ended up catching 76 fliers (up to 8 1/2 inches), 2 bowfin (mudfish), a 20-inch pickerel (jackfish), and a catfish. Orange sallies were best later in the afternoon, pink was better earlier in the afternoon, and yellow caught fish scattered throughout the day. We did pick up on a pattern that the poles rigged with the float and a super-small split shot produced many more fish than the poles with just a fly and float. That is typical in the winter, as the sinker keeps the fly down in their face. Later in the year when it warms, the float-fly (no split shot) will usually work better. Wyatt and Daniel both caught their first flier during the trip, and Wyatt also caught his first jackfish. The jackfish ate a 2.8-inch gold flash Keitech swimbait fished on a Glider Head.

Satilla River – The upper river is still too high to fish. The white catfish bite in White Oak Creek has even slowed. A couple of anglers went to the Woodbine area on Saturday and could only manage 3 white catfish on shrimp. That bite should fire back up when the river drops. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river is still too high to fish, but look for the catfish to pick back up first once the water drops. The river level at the Waycross gage was 13.5 feet and falling (58 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 14.3 feet and falling on Jan. 6.

Lake Seminole – The recent cold weather and rainfall has resulted in fluctuating water levels and stained water conditions that have slowed the fishing on Lake Seminole. However, there were reports of crappie being caught in the coves off the main river channels around Christmas, probably due to the unusually warm weather we had during December. These fish will most likely move back to the deeper channels but will begin to return to the coves as the water temperature approaches sixty degrees. Look for largemouth bass also in deeper waters due to the colder weather. A slow presentation will be your best bet this time of year. This USGS gauge located in Bainbridge provides an approximate water temperature for the main lake. The water temperature in the coves will be a few degrees warmer.

St. Marys River – The upper river is flooded, so don’t try it again this week. The lower, tidal portion produced some great catfish catches. Shrimp, rooster livers, and worms worked. Some crappie were caught on minnows from the lower river backwaters. The river level at the MacClenny gage was 7.4 feet and falling on Jan. 6.

Local Ponds –  I rung in the New Year by fishing an Alma area pond with Chad Lee of Alma. He caught the first fish of the day on a minnow at 7:15 on January 1st, while I caught my first fish of the year at 7:40am. Mine ate an Arkansas shiner colored 1 1/2-inch Assassin Tiny Shad fished 2 feet under a float. We ended up catching 21 crappie in 2 1/2 hours of fishing. Chad caught the majority on minnows, while I caught 7 on Assassin Tiny Shads (gold pepper shiner was the best color) suspended under a float. Our biggest fish was 1 1/4-pounds. We only had 2 throwbacks, with most of the fish between 10 and 12 inches (great filleting size!). What a way to ring in the new year! A Valdosta angler rung in the new year by fishing swimbaits around grass on a Valdosta area lake. He caught 2 fish in the first few minutes with swimbaits and ended up with 11 bass for the day. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, crappie have been tearing up minnows. Some were also caught with Tennessee shad Jiffy Jigs and straight-tailed Assassin shads. On the back side of spillways, catfish were caught in good numbers.

Coast (Saltwater)

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Dane Clements and Wayne Canady whacked a cooler full of sheepshead, trout, and redfish in the St. Simons area on Saturday using fiddler crabs. They caught several sheepshead and 3 redfish on Sheepshead Jigs (a hook attached directly to a weight). The head is more sensitive than having a leader between your hook and sinker. Their biggest sheepshead was 6 pounds. Their trout (up to 16 inches) ate a white DOA shrimp fished across the open water of the creek. A group of Waycross anglers fished out of kayaks on Friday in the Brunswick area and dabbled bait around pilings to catch 28 sheepshead. Their biggest was a 3-pounder. Michael Winge said that trout and sheepshead were reported by Waycross anglers fishing on the warmer days. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the sheepshead bite remained great from the pier, with fiddler crabs luring them to the dinner plate. Monitor the marine forecast.