Central Georgia

North Georgia

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)


Lake Russell (1.2 feet over full, clear & lower 50’s) – Bass fishing is slow.  The bass were up in the flats.  With the change in weather the fish moved back to the deeper water and are suspended.  These bass can still be caught with patience and the right technique.  Back off, locate the fish with the Lowrance Structure Scan technology and be sure there are bait schools close by.  Use a slow moving Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk, an Alabama rig and a spoon.  A slow presentation will still be necessary as long as the fish are suspended.  Lowrance sonar and down scan technology will make getting the baits to the right zone easier.  With these fish inactive the strike zone is very small so be prepared to make several presentations in the same area with your baits.  Be sure to use some Jack’s Juice on the soft plastics.

Clark Hill (down .65 ft, high 40’s) – Bass fishing is slow.  The cold air and dropping surface temperature has the bass holding tight to cover or suspended in deeper water.  Some anglers are using jigging spoons, under spins and Carolina rigs to catch a few bass.  Try fishing rip rap rock with small Rapala Shad Raps and Rapala DT6 early in the morning.  Try the hot mustard colors in any stained water and shad or parrot in clear water.  Both can work well and should continue to produce.  Continue to fish the points and any drop offs.  Fish the warmest water and try to fish shallow on any isolated stumps and wood cover.

Jimbo On Lanier BASS Seminar, January 30, 2016 in Cumming, Georgia www.jimboonlanier.com

STRIPER Seminar March 5, 2016 in Buford Georgia. See www.nutsandboltsfishing.com

Lake Oconee (full, stained but clearing, 47-51 degrees) – Bass fishing is slow.  The main lake is still very muddy.  The Richland Creek arm of the lake is not as stained as the main lake and the fishing is better in Richland Creek.  Spinner baits fished around wood and docks have been producing over the past week.  As the water clears the spoon bite on the deep humps will pick up.

Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time service. Call 404-803-0741 reeltime@bellsouth.net

Striper fishing is good.  The stripers are in the major coves and creeks looking for bait, and cleaner water.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools of bait in the creeks and drop a live bait down in to the fish.  The spoon bite has slowed down with the muddy water, as the water clears the spoon bite will pick back up.

Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are in the mouths of the creek and large coves.  Long lines with double jigs trolled at 1mph has been the best producer over the past week.  Any jig as long as the jig has chartreuse in it will work.  Some of the fish are also on the ledges in 15 to 20 feet of water and minnows fished on down lines will produce good catches.

Captain Mark Smith will be at the Great Outdoor Show in Perry February 5, 6 and 7 giving seminars on striper fishing and Lowrance technology.  Come by and say hi and let’s talk fishing and how to use your Lowrance.

West Point Lake (down 4.9 ft, heavy stain & high 40’s) – Bass fishing is slow but anglers are still after the bass with bright crank baits on the rocky banks and rip rap.  Fish these areas early and the fish might get a little more active with a warm break.  Use small Rapala Shad Raps and Fat Raps in bright colors fishing rocks.  Try secondary points in creeks and where sand met the rip rap along the bridges.  You can also catch a mixed bag of fish vertical jigging on the bottom.  Find the fish on your depth finder and then vertical jig using a 1/2 to 3/4 ounce spoon of your choice.

Ken Sturdivant, Lowrance Professional Fishing Staff will be conducting FREE Sonar Seminar at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Lawrenceville Georgia on Saturday March 26, 2016 at 2pm.  Seminar is subject to change without notice.  Be sure to see the NEW Lowrance machines coming on www.lowrance.com

Lake Sinclair (down 4.4 ft, stained, high 40’s) – Bass fishing is good.  The afternoon bite has been best when the sun has had a chance to warm up the rocky banks and concrete sea walls.  Jigs, shaky heads, Carolina rigs and crank baits have been producing some bites.  Fish a ¼ ounce black and blue jig and a 1/8 ounce spot sticker around the docks and brush piles.  Fish these baits as slow as possible.  The lighter weight jigs and shaky heads will allow the bait to fall slower, helping you fish slower in the wintertime.  A SPRO Little John or Little John MD crank bait will get a few bites in between the docks and around rocky points.  Chartreuse with black back or a red craw color will produce in the dirty water.  A football jig fished slowly around these offshore spots will get a few bites as well.

Jackson Lake (down 2.0 ft, stained & high 40’s) – Bass fishing is slow.  Start with jigs around boat docks and then go to spinnerbaits in the deeper water near the dam.  The Texas rigged worm and short Carolina rig seems to be the favorite in Yellow River.  The water is stained so have a Zoom u tail red shad worm rigged Texas style.  Throw right into or next to the wood and work the bait slowly stopping it every foot or so.  The bass are holding tight to the heavy cover.  The recent cold nights have driven these fish in tight so work each stump or log several times.  Try different angles and a good 14 pound or better test line is recommended.

Flat Creek PFA – Rain has helped to maintain the lake levels and anglers have reported the Crappie fishing to be fairly good considering the cooler lake temperatures. Even though we have more water the fish still remain in deeper pockets of warmer water and have a light bite with a lazy pursuit of a lure.  As we transition to spring and the temperatures start to warm the fish will be hungry and will start to be more aggressive.

Bass: June bug or watermelon colored Zoom Trick Worms, and Zoom Centipede worms with a slow retrieval have caught fish.  Worms fished on the bottom have been catching some fish.

Bream: Try worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig or worms on a Texas rig.

Channel Catfish: Fishing for catfish has slowed down though worms fished on the bottom and chicken livers were working during the last interview with someone targeting catfish.  Catfish has of late been a by-catch from people targeting bream or bass with worms fished on the bottom.

Crappie: Minnows have been the go to bait, while jigs fished with light tackle to feel the slightest bite and trolled have been working very well!

Marben PFA:

Largemouth Bass: February brings unstable weather.  Afternoon temperatures will vary and according to weather forecasts, it appears that February will also be wet.  This does not mean to ignore all the opportunities that exist at Marben PFA.  According to some anglers, now is a great time to target bass at Marben PFA.   As water temps drop into the 40’s threadfin shad become lethargic.  February is a great time to target largemouth gorging on threadfin preparing for spring spawn.  Successful anglers mimic lethargic shad by casting jerk baits and crank baits.   Mid-day will be the best times to target bass giving the sun a little time to warm the water just a touch.  Submerged timber and rock beds are good habitats to target when seeking bass at Marben PFA.

Crappie: Crappie remain the most aggressive fish anglers will find at Marben this time of year and this will only increase as March approaches.  However, do not expect to hook one with every cast.  Finding them may require a little effort.  Anglers should see a significant change as March gets closer.  Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs.  Try fishing cover approximately 10-12 feet throughout the day.  Expect crappie to move into shallower water on warmer days in February.

Bream: Bream fishing will start to pick up in late February but not nearly as much as in April and May.  Coldwater temperatures play a factor but a few warm days in February, anglers could really see a difference.  Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best with mid-day temperatures.  Remember that bream are deeper this time of year so to be successful anglers will have to target deeper water in order to increase your chances.

Catfish: Catfish will remain sluggish this time of year.  Patience is necessary if anglers are in pursuit of this fish.  Anglers should target days when it is sunny which should warm the water in order to get catfish moving.  Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben.

North Georgia

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

Welcome to the Great Thaw.  The storm wasn’t too bad last weekend and the warmer, drier weather this week has returned most of our waters to more inviting conditions.  So you’re invited!  Take off the snow shoes and put on your waders or boat shoes.  This warming trend http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?cb_00065=on&cb_00060=on&cb_00045=on&cb_00010=on&format=gif_default&site_no=02176930&period=14&begin_date=2016-01-20&end_date=2016-01-27 should awaken our target species from hibernation, at least for a short while, and give you a decent shot at them.  Don’t miss this excellent midwinter opportunity to treat your cabin fever.  While tailwater flows still present major angling obstacles due to basin flood management plans, freestone streams, reservoirs, and smaller, sunlit lakes give us some nice weekend targets to shoot at, from trout to crappie to stripers.

Our New Team Member – Please join me in welcoming Patrick “Pat” Snellings to the Region 1 FM team up here in the thawing hills of north Georgia.  Pat’s fresh out of grad school, but he’s no rookie.  A native of Fredericksburg, VA, he holds a BS degree from Virginia Tech (already scoring major brownie points with his new boss!) and a MS degree from Auburn University.  More importantly, he spent several years as a fisheries technician with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He’s well prepared to relate to his constituents, too, as he worked as a fishing and firearm sales rep for Gander Mountain, founded the Virginia Tech chapter of Trout Unlimited, served as president of  the Auburn University Bass Fishing Team, and writes popular fishing articles in his spare time.


Working with Chris Looney, he’ll take on this Gainesville district job that includes the management of lakes Lanier, Nottely and Chatuge and the Lake Lanier Tailwater trout fishery.  He’s excited to be a part of GAWRD and is already impressed with the breadth of our fisheries programs.  You can reach him here at the Gainesville office.

When I asked him if he needed help shopping for an apartment down here, he politely corrected me and said he was looking for a house with a carport- to fit his pickup truck and bass boat.  Good answer.  It seems as if we entered the DNR draft and got a great power forward for our Region 1 FM team.  Congratulations and welcome, Pat.   We’re glad to have you.

URGENT:  Clean Your Trouting Stuff before Returning to GA!

Didymo found in the Tuck:


Responsible angler actions:



Hatchery Survived the Snowstorm – https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR/posts/10153342522323388

Saturday Banquet – http://rabuntu.org/site/2015/09/13/jan-23-2016-rabun-rendezvous/

Some of the loot is displayed here: http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=109200&page=2

Kids Flyfishing Clinic – Signup – http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=109329

Dukes Report – Nice rainbow trout pic and story from Landon here:


GA DH Streams – A little birdie said they might get spiced in advance of the good weekend weather.

Burton Hatchery JS and ML loading Jan 2016 resized.jpg

The birdie’s tweet should be posted here tonight: https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR

Flyfishing Hot Stove League

If the weather’s bad this winter, pass a little time by reading this note and excavating down into its valuable links, like Tim Flagler’s winter fishing tips. The last bullet might help you to land one of those Dukes Creek trophies that Landon knows on a first-name basis.


Samsel’s High Water Trout – http://www.rebellures.com/journal/High-Water-Trout/

Kevin’s High Water Advice – NC’s Mr. Howell is a true expert and a very nice guy.


Fly Casting with Weight – Remember the Horseshoe – Take a look at page 50 of February’s Fly Fisherman magazine for a great tip on casting weight- either split shot or sinking line- without tangles or head trauma.  Lefty and Ed J remind us all to move the fly rod thru the cast in a “horseshoe” pattern.

Car Tag Help Appreciated! – https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeResourcesDivisionGADNR/photos/a.107070953387.96574.101012503387/10153317897168388/?type=3&theater

April Help Wanted- Buddies with Boats –http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=863222

Big Cat Likes Toona – http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=860937

Toona & Carters Buffet! – http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=863042



Crappie are Stirring – This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website, http://www.laniercrappieanglers.net

Water Temperature is 48 degrees in the lower parts of the Chattahoochee and Chestatee.  If you go above Laurel Park on the Chattahoochee side or north of Thompson Creek on the Chestatee you will notice that the water is more stained as you get into the “S” turns.  Also, the water temperature drops significantly, as much as to 44 degrees and below.  Floating debris in these areas, such as large logs, can become hazardous.  So, my advice is to head south on the lake.  The river channel docks with warmer water temperatures at 46 to 48 degrees will be your best options.  The bait is between twenty and thirty feet deep, and the fish are holding on the deeper docks.  Our dock shooting technique is producing well.  We’ve been catching better quality fish on the Chattahoochee side of the lake, however if you want to catch greater numbers, the Chestatee side of the lake will be your best option.  The bite is starting deeper at fifteen to twenty feet, but it is amazing how quickly the entire school will shallow up if they decide to feed, sometimes up to eight feet below the surface.  The best advice is to pay attention to your Lowrance, noting the depth the fish are suspended and work the jig directly above their heads.  The way the eyes are positioned on the crappies’ heads, they are always looking up.  Therefore, if the jig is below them it is difficult for them to see and respond to it.  Jiffy jigs in a variety of colors and hair jigs are working well, but the soft body Bobby Garland jigs tend to skip the water easier.  This will assist you in getting your jig all the way to the back of the dock.  My preference is, however, is still the darker color jigs right now. The fish are holding tight to the structure and it is very critical to keep the jig in their strike zone.  With the colder temperatures, their metabolism has slowed and they are not willing to chase your jig.  You will also notice that the color of the crappie has turned to pale white, which is an indication they have gone to deeper pockets.  The females have begun to develop eggs and you will see their bellies starting to become distended, even though the spawn is still a good distance away.   The bait will lead you to the fish, so pay attention to your graph.  Threadfins are the bait of choice for crappie.

Stay safe on the water and wear your life jacket!

Lanier Buffet – Fresh from Capt Mack:


Cooper Creek Watershed Project- Request for Public Comments

U.S. Forest Service proposal – forest and wildlife management actions.

  • To Comment (deadline  Feb 6)



Good luck this weekend.  Instead of three feet of snow to shovel, like our neighbors to the north, you have trout and stripers, and barbecue and bluegrass to chase.  Go wet a line this weekend, the one that is “free” from Super Bowl mania, and enjoy this brief relief from the dead of winter.  When we’re shoveling our share in February, we’ll look back with great satisfaction for taking this January detour to our favorite waters.  Go fish Georgia.