(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)
Lake Russell (full, clear, 60’s) – Bass fishing is good. The bass have made their move now and are slowly committing themselves to find a good spawning area. Many of the bass are still staging up, but some are still being caught on the shallow, flat shelves and around the spawning areas. White spinnerbaits will be an excellent choice this week; also the #5 Sad Raps will work all day. Shad and Olive Green are great colors. Spotted bass are still roaming all over the lake chasing shad and a top-water bite shouldn’t be ruled out. Use a walk-the-dog style bait like a Skitter Walk. Keeping the bait moving without stopping works best. Some bass will follow the bait all the way to the boat. Plastic worms are also working during the day. Brush piles and any wood around or near spawning areas have to be fished this week. Trick worms in bright colors down lake are also fun and easy baits to use.
Clarks Hill (full, 60’s) – Bass fishing is good. The lake is clear towards the middle and slightly stained up in the rivers and creeks. The water temperature is 62 to 64 degrees. Use a lot of baits to catch these shallow bass. Chug Bugs are working on the cloudy days when a slight wind is present. On the points, the 3/8 ounce and 1/2 ounce spinnerbaits will work on the larger bass, but not as many. Bass are currently on the flats either on or around the bedding areas. Shad Raps and Bandits are great baits to use on these shallow water bass. Shallow Shad Raps will work for some quality fish. The bottom grass is continuing to grow and these are areas that always hold bass. Next week when bass will be on the beds Pink Trick worms will work. Also use the Rapala DT6 crank bait on the outer edges of the grass. Crawdad and shad are the best colors.
Lake Oconee (full, the main lake has a light stain and the creeks are clear, 63-67 degrees) – Bass fishing is good. The shad spawn has started. This means the fish will be feeding shallow around wood and rocks at first light. Look around any wood structure, or boat docks. Spinner baits, worked around the wood or docks has been the best producer over the past few days. White or white/chartreuse have been the best color. The Lowrance Structure Scan-Down Scan with new 3D technology can eliminate a ton of water to find the bait, the structure and the bass. Small crank baits fished around the docks will draw a strike. A chrome rattle trap, or a small shad rap number 5 or 7 in fire tiger, or shad color will work depending on water color. A shaky head worked under the docks from the middle of the creeks to the back will also draw a few extra strikes.
Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741, firstname.lastname@example.org
Striper fishing is good. The stripers have started their spring run to the dam and up the rivers. Live bait fished on down lines and flat lines have been producing all week at the dam. Some fish are deep and some are up on the points. You will need to carry shad as well as shiners for the next week or two.
Crappie fishing is good. The fish are in the creeks 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 bait has chartreuse in it will work.
West Point Lake (down 2.5 feet, stained & low 70’s) – Bass fishing for both spots and largemouth is fair as the full moon gets close. Largemouth bass are in pre-spawn to spawn so continue fishing primary and secondary points, coves and pockets on major creeks down lake. Use a Rat L Traps and buzz baits shallow with a double willow blade combination. Slow roll the spinnerbait around any cover on the points and in the coves and pockets. The important thing right now is to cover a lot of water. Trick worms and Super Flukes can work almost any time of the day and work the shallow wood cover and the shadows early and late.
From the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Due to recent heavy rains, excess sediment deposits have pushed down from the Chattahoochee River leaving silt formations in the lake channel thus narrowing the navigation channel north of the Georgia Highway 219 river bridge. This area is between Georgia Park and Ringer Park. In addition, a large sandbar has formed along the west side of the river channel. To properly mark the river channel, red and green buoys will be replaced with mid channel buoys (black and white vertically stripped) which identify the center of the channel. Boaters should navigate near these buoys to ensure deeper water. Shoal markers will be installed to identify the sandbar. Boaters should proceed with caution in this stretch of river and always be on the lookout for floating debris.
Lake Sinclair (down 1.2 feet, stained, 70’s) – Bass fishing is good, with most fish shallow in the coves and protected bays. With all the stained and muddy water, spinner baits have become the primary bait of choice. Seawalls, wood cover, grass, and walkways to docks are all holding fish at one to 5 feet deep. Try using a 3/8 to one ounce spinner bait with double Colorado blades. In muddy water or low light conditions, copper blades work well. Gold or silver blades are the ticket in stained water or with bright skies. A single spin bait with a large Colorado blade emits more vibration, which is well suited for muddy water. But this bait is less snag resistant and harder to retrieve through wood cover. A 5-inch Senko in June bug or green pumpkin has been good all day bait around the docks in Cedar Creek. If the bass miss other lures, use this bait and the bass will usually grab it right away. Crank baits and Rat L Traps are also still catching fish. A short leader Carolina rig with a lizard should be tried by anglers that would rather fish slowly.
Jackson Lake (down .70 feet, clearing, 60’s) – Bass fishing is good. Fishermen are scattered from one end to the other so go to the backs of the small creeks and coves with the crank baits. A lot of the spots and largemouth are moving shallow to bed or fixing to go to the bed and crank baits in the shallow running variety are effective; crawfish color #7 Shad Raps and the deeper running ones like the DT10 in the hot mustard work the best. Keep the line size down to the ten-pound range and keep the bait in the water. Top-water is coming soon so break out the Chug Bugs and Pop R’s. Stay in the back of the coves for best results. The spots are still hanging out on the points but the most spots are running midway back into the creeks and coves. These spots are hitting a few of the spinnerbaits but the #5 Shad Rap is a good choice. Jigs are also working around a few of the boat docks but it has to have a lot of wood in and around them to hold the larger males. A few fishermen are reporting a fair worm bite with an occasional two to three pounder being caught. Stay with the cranks for the limits and then try the jig or plastic after the midday point has arrived.
Big Lazer PFA
Surface water temperature: 68o F
Water visibility: Visibility is about 19”
Water level: back to Full Pool
Largemouth bass: Good– During our spring sampling, we collected several 3-4 pound fish about 5 to 8 feet off the bank and in 4 to 6 feet of water. Try using spinners and crank baits in 4 to 6 feet of water. Plastic-worms fished around the drop off point into deeper water by the picnic area and around the fishing pier may produce a few bites.
Crappie: Good- some crappie are still being caught on minnows. However, the crappie bite has cooled some since last month’s peak. Anglers may have to troll to locate schools of crappies. Trolling at varying depths with bright jigs may help locate bunched-up crappie. Fish for crappie in deeper water than bass; starting in about 6 feet of water and working into deeper areas.
Bream: Slow- Bream fishing has been slow but try pink and red worms around the fishing pier. Also, target areas that have structure like woody brush and blow downs associated with it. Most bream will be located in 3 to 5 feet of water or deeper but look for them to move shallower to begin spawning in late April and early May. Remember, the first full moon nearest Mother’s Day is traditionally a great time to fish for bream on bed.
Channel catfish: Slow but improving- Try using livers at or almost at the bottom and at several different locations around woody structures and the rocks around the dam. Fishing with two poles will increase your chances of getting a strike.
In general, April water temperatures at Big Lazer are warming up and so is the fishing. April is one of the best times to fish Big Lazer PFA because spawning fish move into shallower water. Also, spring is a great time to not only fish but also picnic at Big Lazer with the whole family. Finally, the repair work on the old wooden fishing pier concluded last fall. Some of the fishing pier’s upgrades include sitting benches, rod holders, shelves for tackle, and gaps in the railing for landing fish.
Average Morning Water Temperature: 68.4 ⁰F (20.2c) – 69.3 ⁰F (20.7c)
Water Visibility: 23 – 54+ inches
Largemouth Bass: Picking up. Bass are still biting slowly due to spring weather changes and spawning activity. Fishermen are still catching nice bass in the 1 to 5 pound range. Willow Lake bass have been biting very differently this year. Goldfish were stocked recently and golden shiners will be stocked within next two weeks. Rodbender, the trophy bass pond, will close this evening 15th April and will open the morning of May 1st. A supplemental stocking of Goldfish have been added to Rodbender to increase the overall condition of the all-female bass. Rodbender will also receive a stocking of golden shiners. This lake has been setup with multiple bait species for optimum feeding conditions for the all-female largemouth bass. Bass tags from Rodbender must be sent to the Thomson fisheries office (address on web) or use the drop box at Rodbender boat ramp. Reward tags must be turned in for the reward to be sent to the fisherman. Breambuster has a nice population of 2 to 5 pound bass with plenty of bank access, as is the case with most of McDuffie PFA lakes.
Bream: Bream have already started biting steady. On April 9th, Fishermen were catching bream in Willow. Bream can still be found near shoreline structure and aquatic plants but also suspended over deep water. These pan fish make their spawning beds near weeds and logs in shallow water which requires the fishermen to find the fish, so search for the beds areas.
Channel Catfish: Catfish in the 2-5 pound range are biting well in Willow. Three days ago a local fishermen caught a 22 inch Albino channel catfish from Willow with pictures to prove it. Local catfish fishermen have reported their fishing line being popped due the size of the catfish they are hooking in Willow Lake. The best fishing is on the bottom in deep water using chicken liver, worms, and stink-baits. As water temperatures continue to warm, up catfish will begin feeding in preparation for the spring spawn. Jones Lake has been a hot spot for catfish during the last two weeks.
Striped Bass: Stripers are biting in Bridge Lake and there are no reports of Clubhouse stripers being caught. Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse Lakes. Stripers will be chasing available bait during early mornings and late evenings. Umbrella rigs, diving crank baits and top-water plugs are very effective on these stripers. Stripers also bite chicken liver on the bottom and small stripers (1-2 pound range) will also bite worms.
McDuffie Public Fishing Area and Warmwater Hatchery will host its next Kids Fishing Event on June 11th from 8 AM to 12 PM/ 4hours in duration. Kids ages 2 through 15 years old are allowed to fish during this Kids Fishing Event with parental/grandparent/family supervision and training.
(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)
Despite the cold weather, fishing was pretty darn good across north Georgia last week. And conditions are now improving! The combination of air temperatures, water temperatures, and stream flows,
is shaping this week up to be one of the best of the year. As lake waters warm, a lot of our favorite species follow bait fish to the shallows. Sometimes it happens during the day, especially early, late, or on cloudy days, and sometimes it’s after dark. On our trout streams, the spring insect hatches are now in full swing and, in Rabunite terms, the fish are looking up!
It is prime time to dust off your topwater gear and toss super flukes at spots, evening redfins and bombers at stripers, and hatch-matching dries at those trout noses poking up in river eddies. We did last weekend and had a blast, even with a couple of young rookie fly flingers in tow.
Don’t miss your chance to make some great fishing memories with friends and family. How long has it been since a dawn largemouth inhaled your Zara Spook, or a foot-long Chattooga brown sipped your parachute cahill at sunset? Here are the latest reports, tips, events, and fibs to fire you up. Go find some fish looking up!
- WRD Braggin’ Board
- Submit your photos here, and enjoy the successes of your fellow anglers: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153523574663388.1073741899.101012503387&type=3
- Spring Break Road Trip!
- While Mom stayed behind to slide in the snow on her way to work, Michigan spring-breakers Will and Mikey directed their driver (better known as Dad) to head south toward Uncle Dredger’s abode. Their whirlwind tour from Wednesday to Saturday included worm-dunking for stockers on Spoilcane and the Chattooga, a hike into the Ellicott Rock wilderness and some cool (Spoon Auger) waterfall photos, guided trophy trout fishing in Helen (thanks to Dad’s wallet), volunteer net-tossing to help WRD Fisheries Tech Colt Martin stock fish through Helen, BBQ feasts in Clarkesville and Helen, and Saturday farewell stops on the Nantahala DH for great trouting and the Cherokee visitors center for some up-close photos of two big gobblers and a young bull elk. The boys rated their road trip as “two thumbs up.”
Editor’s note: Their Friday Helen trip saw fish rising to small March browns all afternoon. The Saturday gorge trip protected the boys from the wind and gave them one more great shots at fish on top, with March brown and caddis dries taken readily. Young Mikey uncapped two big fish while dredging, too. Dredger expect a return visit from them soon.
- Chattooga – The Cahill Hat Trick
- Rabunites Dredger and Otter hit the Chattooga DH on Sunday (4/10) afternoon, once the water started to warm. It was still a chilly 46 degrees when they got in, but it warmed up some more and must have hit the magic fifty degree mark by midafternoon. Otter had a change of plans (something about a wet thermometer) and left early, but Dredger stuck around for his “me” day astream.
Around 2PM the size 16 cahills started to pop and fish looked up consistently for 2 to 2.5 hours. Cahill dries, CDC cahill emergers, and the occasional #14 adams parachute picked off the risers. With each dimple or splash, Dredger would get their address, approach slowly, and then toss his fly just above the address. Many hit the dead-drift, but many others refused. Dredger then waded to the bank, slowly crept upstream, and waded back out, above each picky fish. He’d cast out and twitch or skitter the fly a foot or two upstream before dropping it back to the surface for a dead drift covering a few feet, before repeating the skitter. Another handful succumbed to the “twitch and skitter” technique,
and he ended up with the cahill hat trick of a brook, two browns, and a nice bunch of rainbows, all on top. The bug hatch’s “switch” turned off by five, but he was too stubborn to leave, and picked off a few stray fish til he froze and left at seven. He vowed to return soon, with both cahills and caddis in his pockets.
- Hooch DH Report
I fished Hooch DH just south of I-75 last Saturday April 2nd…
7 trouts 3 bows 4 browns (2 1/2 hours of fishing in the rain) slight stain on the water maybe 10 turbidity
What was working–
–pats rubber leg in brown sz 10 for browns
–red copper jon or 2 bit hooker red, dropper sz 16 for the bows
2 BB shots above pats rubber legs and used an indicator, that czech nymphing stuff can get boring…
Gave away all my red copper johns to the guys around me that weren’t having as good of a day.
Good times. I’ll be sweeping the Hooch at White water this weekend and fishing afterwards.
Have a good weekend.
jimboyyy on NGTO
- Hooch Tailwater Access and Flow Info
It’s hard to beat the Atlanta Flyfishing Club’s info page:
- Flyfishing Tips
- Dredger advises his stream fishing buddies that the “how” is more important than the “what.” The interpretation of this Rabunite lingo is that technique (reading water, angler positioning, and the drift of the fly) is often more important than the fly pattern. Here are some web goodies to help you perfect your technique and enjoy greater springtime success in this, the “dry fly prime time” for Georgia trout waters.PS- don’t forget some emergers to go along with your dries!
- April Hatch Chart (page 2): http://rabuntu.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/TL-April-2015.pdf
- Great Video: http://howtoflyfish.orvis.com/video-lessons/chapter-six-dry-fly-fishing
- Emerger Podcast: http://howtoflyfish.orvis.com/podcasts/general-fly-fishing/171-Six-Tips-on-Emergers-A-Black-Diamond-Episode
- Making Big Streams Small – These are great tips for bigger waters like our tailwaters, the Ami, and the Chattooga.
- Trout Treasure Maps – Here’s another great map source: http://www.georgiawildlife.com/maps/hunting/region2
- Rizzio Clinic for Kids – April 23
Last call for signups.
- Upcoming Events
- Summerville Outdoor Expo this weekend. Summerville Outdoor Expo Flyer
- Mark April 29-30 on your calendars. It’s the Blue Ridge Trout Fest. http://www.blueridgetroutfest.com/
- Lanier Crappie
- From: Dan Saknini
Wednesday, April 06, 2016 8:
To: Durniak, Jeff <Durniak@dnr.ga.gov>
Subject: Lake Lanier Slabs
Last Saturday’s catch- weighed in 11.47 lbs on best of 7. Big Fish was 2.07 lbs Hats off to you guys for your management (and us creating habitats for them)!
- Crappie Fishing Report April 13, 2016
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
The combination of cool temperatures and high winds is maintaining the water temperature in the low sixties. The wind has been a big challenge while fishing. However, even with these conditions, fishing is good to excellent. As mentioned previously, we are fishing both the pre-spawn as well as the post-spawn,with some fish having already spawned and some fish waiting to spawn. Both have one thing in common: crappie ALWAYS relate to structure. They may leave their habitat in pursuit of bait, but they always return. That is why you can target fish using different methods. If you prefer using crappie minnows under a cork, the blowdowns and brush piles close to docks in shallower water are going to be your best bet. Blowdowns are beginning to produce quality fish. Do not overrule using a jig. In my opinion, it may work better. As stated in the past, some of these blowdowns are in 10 feet of water, but some are in 20 feet of water, depending on the size of the tree. Look at the size of the trunk, compare to nearby trees and estimate the height of the similar trees. Also look at the slope of the bank. All these factors will help you determine the location and depth of the tree in the water. Make sure you fish the blowdown at every possible angle before moving on. After you finish fishing a blowdown, ride over it with your Lowrance downscan and it will give you the accurate depth of the tree as a reference for your next trip. You may also want to mark a waypoint on your electronics if the spot was a good producer. Hair jigs and soft body jigs are working well. Long line trolling, is also working well. The fish chasing bait are the targets of this method. If you are a dock shooter, game on! We are catching them in docks at various depths with structure (both deep and shallow). Use your Lowrance side scan to locate brush inside docks. Warmer days together with good fishing is a great recipe for an awesome time on the lake. Wear your life jacket it can save your life!
- Lanier Bass
Water Temp: 60
Lake Level: .61 below full pool
This report brought to you by Jimbo On Lanier 770-542-7764 http://www.jimboonlanier.com
The fishing on Lake Lanier this past week has again been excellent. A wake bait or a bomber has been our first choice in the mornings. The focus with these baits should be fairly shallow on flats and shallower rocky points and humps as well. A steady slow retrieve has been best for these baits. When the wake bait/bomber bite slows down, switch to a worm on a 1/8 oz Davis Shaky Head in these same areas, if the wind will allow. Focus on points at the mouths of spawning pockets and on secondary points as well. A drop shot rig with a 4″ worm cast to steep rock banks and points has again been productive this past week. Work the rig like a shaky head and watch for light bites. Long running flat points are holding fish as well. Often these fish can be found in the 8-10 foot depth ranges or shallower on top of these points. A jerkbait and a swimbait, along with a spinnerbait have been productive on these shallower rocky points as well. Try a straight retrieve with both the swimbait and the jerkbait as well as the spinnerbait. Again, other than early morning, wind is important for this bite. The Largemouth are up shallow all around the lake. Look in the backs of creeks and pockets to find these critters. Docks in these areas are a good bet for these fish. A number of lures can work depending on the conditions, but all the normal fare are good choices. Thanks for all the calls – I am completely booked for April. Here is what I have open in early May: 2, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13 The spots are on fire! Don’t miss out! Give me a call and let’s go fishing! Thanks to all and May God Bless.
Jim “JIMBO” Mathley
Spotted Bass Fishing Guide – Lake Lanier
Mobile – 770-542-7764
- The Snellings Report
This week we had a chance to get out on Stone Mountain Lake and Cedar Creek Reservoir in Hall County to do our standardized spring electrofishing. If you’re looking for a place to bass fish with great scenery you can’t beat Stone Mountain Lake. During our sample we found good numbers of quality largemouth bass pushing 2lbs with several fish 3lbs or greater. These bass were found shallow and at this time of year they should be susceptible to most of your fishing arsenal. As for other species Stone Mountain Lake has good populations of bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcracker), as well as, crappie which weren’t thick in numbers but they were good quality over one-half pound. Fishing is permitted on the lake from 6:00 a.m. until Midnight and outboard motors in excess of 10 hp are not allowed on the lake, unless the propeller is removed from the motor and not onboard the vessel.
Cedar Creek Reservoir in Hall County is a great place to take a young angler fishing and drown a few worms. Largemouth bass are in high abundance but due to low productivity and high population numbers there are numerous smaller fish around one pound. This scenario isn’t all bad though, as some of the sunfish and crappie that have escaped being eaten have grown to larger sizes over ¾ lb. If you’re an angler looking to have a fish fry these 12” largemouth bass are great to keep and by harvesting some it will free up more food for the remaining bass allowing them to grow bigger. If you plan on fishing Cedar Creek Reservoir know that boats must be non-motorized with electric trolling motors only, may have a gas engine but must not be in the water, and no outboard motors are permitted.
I had a chance to fish Lake Lanier this weekend and the bass are shallow and ready to feed. We caught several largemouth bass with the largest being 4.7 lbs on xr-50 lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits in the back of creeks. A lot of these fish were sitting in shallow <3’ of water around boat docks.
If you plan on going out this weekend be safe and if you catch a trophy be sure to let us know! http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/AnglerAwards
Good luck and tight lines,
-Pat Snellings, GA WRD Fisheries Biologist Gainesville
- The Hakala Report
Cool temperatures are keeping both black bass and stripers deep (>20 ft.). Recent electrofishing survey work found very few bass or stripers in less than 10 ft. of water. The few spotted bass observed shallow were generally found holding around downed trees and woody debris. I expect the fish to begin to move shallower over the next week given the warming trend forecast.
The walleye spawn is all but over, but decent numbers of walleye can still be found where the Coosawattee River enters the lake. Post-spawn walleye that have returned to the lake can be found on deep woody structure and some rocky points in the upper portions of the lake. Outside of early morning and evening, look for walleye to be holding deep and in close proximity to bait fish.
This year’s white bass river run has been below average in terms of numbers. The spawn continues as evidenced by the presence of egg-flowing and spent females observed during an electrofishing survey earlier this week. Better numbers of white bass were observed in the mouth of clear water tributaries and the inside river bends from the power plant upstream for about a mile. Smaller yellow bass are also spawning in the river and far outnumber the white bass still present. Scaled-downed tackle and lures such as white rooster tails and crappie jigs are good bets for catching these yellow-linesides.
Stripers, stripers and more stripers continue to pour into this river on their annual spawning run. Most are 5-10 pound males, but the numbers of 10-20 and even 30 lb. females are building. Hunt these river behemoths from the lower reaches of the river in Rome upstream to Calhoun. Shoals, river islands and woody debris with good water flow around it are good locals to focus your efforts. Typically, live or cut shad are an angler’s best bet at getting in on the striper action over the next few weeks.
WRD senior fisheries biologist Jim Hakala
- The Rabern Report
Electro fishing on Lake Hartwell indicated a lot of shallow water spawning activity. Everything seems to be in shallow right now including bass, crappie, shad, herring and even gar and carp. WRD Fisheries Tech Tony Anderson displays two nice fish we sampled and released today. More stable and warmer weather ought to produce some fantastic shallow water bites over the next week!
– WRD senior fisheries biologist Anthony Rabern
- Clark Hill Reunion
My sister Kathy Durden and I went on our annual back-home fishing trip to Clark Hill this Saturday. We lived on the lake when my dad was a park ranger there. The wind was terrible, and we turned back from going on the main lake. Ended up putting in at Keg Creek, and caught 6 species: Largemouth, crappie, longnose gar, channel catfish, chain pickerel, and yellow perch! Fishing was hard in the wind, and had most success with live minnows drifting across points. Great time!
Region 2 Supervisor, Game Management
This Lake Allatoona Fishing Guides Report has been brought to you exclusively by Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service, 770 827-6282. http://www.firstbiteguideservice.com
Line-sides- Good !!! .. The spawn run is in a holding pattern right now do to the rain and multiple cold fronts with have had the last two weeks, Most of the fish are still on the main lake And are on a holding pattern waiting for the up coming run.. Big schools of Hybrids can be found anywhere from the S-turns to as far south as Tanyard Creek. The down rod bite is the most productive bite going on the lake right now. Fishing live shad at depths from 20 – 30 feet is producing for our boats from one end of the lake to the other. Our bait of choose has been big Thread Fins with small gizzards running a close second. These fish can be found on your #Lowrance on or around most points, humps and flats. Good electronics can be a big help during the summer months.
- New Buck Shoals WMA (upper Hooch) Planning
Note April 19 public meeting.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROPOSED REGULATIONS FOR THE NEW BUCK SHOALS WMA AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC REVIEW; PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULED
SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (April 13, 2016) – Hunters and other interested citizens are encouraged to review proposed hunting regulations for the 2016-2017 season at the new Buck Shoals Wildlife Management Area and make plans to attend a scheduled public hearing.
“The Buck Shoals property, located in White County, recently was acquired by the Wildlife Resources Division from Georgia State Parks,” said John Bowers, chief of the Game Management Section. “Our vision is to operate the area as the state’s first youth-focused wildlife management area, and we are seeking comments on our proposed hunting regulations for the area.”
The public notice and synopsis of proposed rule changes are available on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division webpage at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/Hunting/RegulationChanges .
Hunting on the area will include deer, turkey, dove, and squirrel youth hunts. Some of the opportunities will be “Hunt & Learn” events designed for the novice hunter, while others will be adult-child quota hunts.
A public hearing is scheduled to provide the public an opportunity to share comments on the proposed hunting regulations. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the White County Senior Center, 1239 Helen Hwy., Cleveland, GA on April 19, 2016.
Any participant at the meeting may present data, make a statement or comment, or offer a viewpoint or argument, either orally or in writing. Statements should be concise to permit everyone an opportunity to speak. Participants must register upon arrival and notify the registering official of their intent to give a statement. Those unable to attend a meeting may submit input either electronically or in written statement form. Input must be received by close of business (4:30 p.m.) on April 29, 2016.
Written statements should be mailed to: GA DNR/Wildlife Resources Division/Game Management Section; Attn: Don McGowan; 2070 U.S. Highway 278, S.E.; Social Circle, Georgia 30025.
Statements may be electronically submitted at: www.georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/Regulations/SubmitComments
These meeting sites are accessible to people with physical disabilities. To request sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids, contact Don McGowan at (770) 918-6404 no later than 4:30 p.m. on April 18, 2016.
For more information or to view the proposed regulation changes, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com/Hunting/RegulationChanges .
Spring is here and fish are looking up. We report; you decide.
I know what I’ll be doing this weekend, maybe even both days. And it isn’t grass-cutting…
Good luck as you Go Fish Georgia!
(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)
The St Marys is getting fishable again, but the other rivers are still blown out. Ponds and the Okefenokee have been the places to go, as winds have made saltwater practically unfishable this week. The Okefenokee Outdoor Expo hosted by the Georgia Hunting and Fishing Federation will be held Friday and Saturday at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds in Waycross. Hours are 2pm-8pm Friday and 9am-8pm Saturday. The second annual Satilla Riverkeeper fishing tournament will be held May 7th, and contestants can fish anywhere on the Satilla River proper or its tributaries. For more information, check out flyers in area tackle shops or the riverkeeper website at www.satillariverkeeper.org (click on “Fishing Tournament” on the right). Full Moon is April 22nd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.
Altamaha River – Nope – forget the upper river again this week. Be patient – it will be awesome fishing when the river drops. The only thing happening is a few catfish being caught on trot lines and limb lines below Altamaha Park. The river level was 16.7 feet (flood stage is 13 feet) and falling (64 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 11.9 feet and rising (64 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on April 12th.
Satilla River – Forget it again this week – the river has crested but is still too high to fish. It might be fishable next week if we don’t get much rain out of the forecasted bad weather late in the week. The river level on April 12th at the Waycross gage was 13.6 feet and falling (64 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 15.1 feet (flood stage is 13 feet) and falling.
St. Marys River – I received a couple of reports of decent fishing this week. Brentz and Alex McGhin fished out of Temple Landing and caught some nice panfish, and Alex landed a few quality bass on Rogue jerkbaits. An angler fishing out of the Camp Pinckney Landing on Monday caught 35 redbreasts and bream of which 15 were big “keepers”. Crickets produced his fish. The upper river (above tidewater) panfishing was slow, but it is dropping to fishable levels again. Some nice panfish catches should begin again if we don’t get much rain late in the week. On our upriver trips before the rains, Satilla Spins in bright colors like bruised banana gold and orange/chartreuse produced the best catches. Crickets will produce fish on the small side and artificials will usually produce the bigger panfish, especially when the water warms into the 70’s. Catfishing is still awesome, and they will bite just about anything put on the bottom. Shrimp is the usual offering, though. The river level at the MacClenny gage on Tuesday evening was 4.7 feet and falling.
Okefenokee Swamp – Reports from the west side were excellent. Anglers caught lots of fliers, bowfin, and warmouth. Fliers were eating yellow sallies both from in the boat basin and in Billy’s Lake. Shrimp on the bottom produced most of the catfish, while bowfin ate anything thrown at them. The warmouth bite on the east side was great. Anglers caught limits early and late in the day with crickets. On Sunday, 2 anglers fished one of the deep interior lakes and caught 96 keeper warmouth on crickets and were back home by noon. In the canal out of the Folkston entrance, an angler pitching crickets for warmouth landed and released a 2 1/2-pound largemouth bass (very rare on the east side for many decades!).
Local Ponds – Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson continued their bass onslaught this week in Alma area ponds. Trick worms continued to produce lots of fish for them. Their most notable hookset was Chad’s when he laid back into and landed an 8.4-pounder this weekend. Michael Winge said that crappie were still eating minnows fished over deep holes and ledges. Dark colored jigs also produced some fish. Bream ate crickets, while catfish ate worms fished on the bottom. I received a report of some giant bream being caught on crickets at Lake Ware. Also at Lake Ware, the spillway produced some great catches of big bluegills and shellcrackers for those fishing pink worms. Michael reported that trick worms produced some good bass catches in Waycross area ponds.
Saltwater (GA Coast) – Winds were terrible this week almost every day. Nonetheless, a few anglers caught trout at the St. Marys Jetties when the winds allowed. Anglers reported catching some whiting in Crooked River and creeks behind Cumberland Island. The usual whiting spots in the sounds were unfishable practically all week due to high winds. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the whiting and black drum were biting well this week from the pier. Some flounder were caught from among the pier pilings by those fishing mudminnows. Blue crabs were caught in big numbers. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.
Best Bet: The forecast is iffy due to winds behind a forecasted Friday cold front. If winds are bad, fish in sheltered waters of a pond or the St. Marys River. Pond fishing should be good for bass, crappie, bream, or catfish – take your pick. Catfishing in the St. Marys is your most reliable bite, but if you need a panfish fix, you should be able to catch a few redbreasts and bluegills. Stop by the Okefenokee Outdoor Expo at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds in Waycross before or after heading to the turkey woods or waters this Friday and Saturday.
(Info provided by fisheries biologist Rob Weller and region fisheries staff)
Lake Walter F. George – Fisheries Staff completed their annual standardized electrofishing survey on Lake Walter F. George this week. The numbers of bass in the 2-4 pound range are very plentiful and can now be found in the shallows both in preparation of the spawn and some fish were showing signs of spawning. Most fish were found along the edge of alligator weed and hyacinth in 2-6 feet of water. Also, bass were found around the points of the many creek mouths entering the lake. Fisheries staff also noticed a lot of channel catfish in the 5 pound range in almost all of the bays and creeks sampled around the lake. According to recent reports, the bass fishing has recently been a little slow. Tournament winners have been catching most of their fish off brush piles instead of in the grass. The crappie fishing has been hit and miss recently with reports of both good and poor catches coming in. However, the size of the crappie being reported have been fairly large with most fish being over 10 inches and fish up to 1.5 pounds being caught. The shellcracker fishing has been pretty good and the average size of the fish being caught has been about a ½ pound with larger fish also being occasionally caught.
Flint River – The lower Flint River is currently very high and muddy. The recent rains have made the river rise several feet in the last week. The best bet on the flint at this time is the tailraces below the Blackshear and Albany dams. High water typically results in fish being drawn to these areas particularly striped bass and hybrid striped bass.
The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:
Montezuma above Lake Blackshear
Highway 32 below Lake Blackshear
Lower Flint River below Albany
Lake Seminole – According to Lake Seminole fishing guide Steven Wells, the fishing for shellcracker is starting to get really good. The fish can be found back in the sawgrass and the turbid water from the recent rains does not seem to be having any kind of negative impact on their willingness to bite. The bass fishing has been a little bit slower recently probably due to the heavy rains and cool weather. However, males are guarding nests and should be pretty easy to catch if you can find them on both Carolina and Texas rigs. The recent ABA tournament last Friday was won with only 15 pound and the fish were caught on a buzz bait.
Capt Doug Goode
I really appreciate the fishing report. The best thing done for outdoors folks in a while.
Keep up the good work Georgia Wildlife Division.