(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)
It’s summer vacation!!! Well, at least for the kids, it is. Judging by the stories and photos we’ve already received, a portion of our younger crowd got an early jump on vacation and celebrated with some awesome fishing trips. It gets even better this week because the first week of June is always National Fishing and Boating Week.
https://www.takemefishing.org/how-to-fish/how-to-catch-fish/national-fishing-and-boating-week/. This celebration brings with it two FREE fishing days for Georgia residents, the two Saturdays of June 4th and 11th.
Based on recent reports we’ve seen, anyone who wants to learn how to fish and catch a big one needs to simply borrow a KID for their fishing guide! It’s been Kids’ Whopper Week around here, and we hope this trend continues right through the days ahead. If you haven’t fished before, give it a try.
If you’re an angling veteran, here’s your chance to give a little back to the sport and invite a friend or neighbor fishing, or help a kid at one of these rodeos. There’s plenty of supporting information on our GAWRD website (http://www.georgiawildlife.com/fishing), from the trout stocking list to reservoir fishing prospects to special events on our calendar (http://www.georgiawildlife.com/news/events).
Here we go with our “Summer Vacation Special:”
- National Fishing Week and KFE’s
- Here’s a great article by Steve Hudson: http://revueandnews.com/stories/Take-a-kid-fishing-during-National-Fishing-and-Boating-Week,92849
- Good north GA KFE’s to consider : Jones Bridge on the Hooch (6/4) (KFE Hooch Jones Bridge 2016 Kids Fishing Day flyer), Tallulah River in Rabun County (6/4), Vogel State Park in Union County (6/11), and Rolater Park in Floyd County (6/18). Each of these events will get a hefty dose of DNR trout to maximize success rates and smiles. A calendar of free kids fishing events is posted on our webpage at http://georgiawildlife.com/news/events/2016-06
- Kids with Whoppers!
- As the sun was rising on Lake Burton this morning (6/1), 14 year old Dylan Bailey was setting the hook into a 10 lb largemouth bass. This was Dylan’s biggest bass ever and his proud papa, Mark Lancaster, was coaching Dylan for the duration of the battle. Dylan and his papa were still shaking when they brought the fish to the scales for weighing. Yes, fishing is fun and the catch provides a good meal or maybe even a trophy for the wall, but the ultimate reward is in the memories that are made. Just ask Dylan and his papa about the lifetime memory they made together today. By the way, this was Dylan’s second big bass in two days! It appears that largemouths and spotted bass are feeding near the surface over open water around day break. Sounds like topwater time to me. National Fishing and Boating Week kicks off this Saturday and several free kids fishing events are being held around the state. Why not make some memories?
-Anthony Rabern Senior Fisheries Biologist Wildlife Resources Division (706) 947-1507
- Rodney Broome is an avid fishermen and has passed down his passion to his children. When Rodney took his kids on a fishing trip to Lake Burton with guide Wes Carlton last Friday (May 27), he could not have expected that his 9 year old daughter, Madison, would catch the fish of a lifetime. Using a live blueback herring, Madison hooked into an 8 lb, 12 oz walleye, which was quite an armful for this little lady! So, I guess you never know what can happen when you take a kid fishing. June 4-12 is National Fishing Week and June 4th and 11th are free fishing days in Georgia, where no license is required to fish.
- Youth Yakking Tournament Trail
- Info: https://www.facebook.com/Southeastern-Youth-Kayak-Fishing-1494895287426486/
- June 4 event: Chattahoochee Challenge – June 4th https://www.facebook.com/events/1711096145795398/
Agriculture & Natural Resources
County Extension Coordinator
University of Georgia Extension
Habersham County, Northeast District
(706) 754-2318 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Win Some, Lose Some
Guru invited Dredger over, after work last Thursday evening, for a Hooch shoal bass wade. The river was still muddy, but just clear enough for a shot at some fish. They each caught a couple of shoal bass to nine inches to celebrate the start of the summer yak/wade fishing season. Guru flung plastic worms on a spinner while Dredger waved a six-weight fly rod. As the sun set and Dredger made his way back toward the near bank, he tossed “one last cast” toward that sweet ledge at the tail of the pool. The black hairy fodder stopped. Although it seemed like a snag, the old guy instinctively set the hook. The rock moved. After a several minute battle, the biggest shoal bass of his wading career emerged from the chocolate milk. The angler began to count his chickens before they hatched, and looked around for the most scenic backdrop for his trophy grip-n-grin moment. He then reached down to lip the bass, which was at least 18 inches. It spied those ugly fingers, tore around him, shot down into the fast shoot thru the bedrock, turned back around, and opened its mouth. Pop! The fly sprung back at old Dredge. Fish 1- Angler 0. He waded to the bench (a grassy island), plopped his wet fanny down, and sulked over the loss.
For two minutes. And then he got up and flung some more.
Win some, lose some. But we can’t win if we don’t play the game. Get in the game, guys and gals!
- Gar Arrival
- Before his Hooch heartbreak, Dredger saw numerous beaks breaking the surface. He removed the fodder special and tossed his five-inch rope fly to no avail, but vowed to return. Ever caught a four foot, cartwheeling gar on a fly rod? Try it, you’ll be hooked! Gar fly? http://www.orvis.com/news/fly-fishing/Longnose-gar-on-the-Fly/
- Photoshopped??? http://waltersflyrods.blogspot.com/2015/07/jeff-durniak-gar-on-fly.html
- Toona Gar Report: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=872504
- Toona Tag Team Lands a Whopper
What a great lead towards Father’s Day:
- Lanier Topwater
- Acting on some intel from “Hank the Yank” of the O’Neill radio show fame, Guru summoned first mate Dredger and the duo launched at dawn last Saturday on the lower end of Lanier. They hit some point and reef markers near XXXX with redfins and spooks. There were scattered, sporadic splashes as school stripers and bigger spots chased bluebacks right out of the water. The duo had several blowups but only one hookup, as a three pound striper crushed Guru’s spook about fifteen feet from the boat. Back at the ramp, several groups of more experienced chasers said they had some good catches. Overall, it was a fun morning on Lanier, and an early lunch at Rabbittown Café capped off a nice fishing trip to start the long holiday weekend.
- Lanier Trophy Striper
Thanks for dining with us tonight. Below is the link to our Facebook page – specifically the posted picture of our customer with his 37 lb. striper and our new certified scale.
Sherry’s Bait & BBQ
2807 Dawsonville Highway
Gainesville, GA 30506
- Lanier Crappie
Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Report June 1, 2016
This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website, www.laniercrappieanglers.net
Water temperatures are in the low eighties. For the avid crappie fishermen who don’t mind dodging the traffic on the lake, crappie fishing remains good. The early morning bite is best, from thirty minutes before daylight to about 9:30, longer if cloudy. Target deeper docks with structure below the surface, especially if you can find a dock with a sizeable brush pile just outside it, which is an added bonus. The docks that are producing have twenty to thirty foot depths, and are closer to the main creek channels. With this condition, these fish have the best of both worlds – the cover of the brush pile, then the shade of the dock during the middle of the day. If you can find a dock with an active beaver, that is even better, as fresh vegetation is continuous. Look for limbs and branches sticking out of a dock. Also target submerged brush piles in at least twenty to thirty feet of water. Fish the brush pile from all angles. This time of year, the fish are holding tight on the brush. Soft body and hair jigs are producing fish. Because the fish are deep, the sensitivity of the bite seems less, so watching your line is VERY important. If you see or sense any unusual movement, set the hook! For the night owls, bridge fishing is picking up. The sign of a good bridge is if you see dangling ropes from above. That typically means it is being fished by regular night fishermen. You will need a fishing light, and it can easily take an hour or two for the light to draw the bait and the bait to draw the crappie. So be patient, stay safe on the water, and wear your life jacket!
- Hooch Tailwater
- Stocker Best Bets
WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson suggests these waters: Johns, Holly, Middle Broad, Cooper, Rock, West Fork Chattooga, Ami State park, Hooch on the WMA, Tallulah, and the Hooch and Blue Ridge tailwaters.
- Last Call – Trout Dark-30’s
- A sleep-deprived Dredger met his Direct TV serviceman on Saturday afternoon. Service dude ran his meter across the property and pronounced it unfit for reception til Dredger called his arborist. Appointment terminated early. Hmmm, what to do? He grabbed more coffee and ran north to Nantahala DH to try and extend dry fly season. The trip was successful, as all three species ate a #16 tan elk hair caddis, dead-drifted from 5:30 pm til dark. Trip highlight was the unexpected nose of a 16-ich wild brown inhaling that caddis in skinny water. After three leaps and an extended, ugly fight, the fish was fondled. Dredger’s note to self: don’t forget the net next time, stooopid.
- Landon acted on the texted Dredger intel and slipped up to Nan DH on Sunday. He said it was very good, but that the fish preferred his emerger four-to-one over the caddis lead fly. The magic emerger was the puff daddy (hey, I don’t make this stuff up: http://southholstonriverflyshop.com/reports/2013/07/20/blake-boyds-puff-daddy/). This pattern is so easy to tie, even a state government employee can do it!
- Guru, Sautee, and Dredger had a great Sunday (5/30) afternoon on Unnamed Border River. The first two went upstream and found a few wild browns to sip their dries, before leaving at 8:30 for family commitments. Guru even tried his Tenkara rod up there and pronounced it as “fun.” The other two gave him a strange look and wondered how a cane pole with no reel could be any fun, especially if a trophy was hooked. To each, his own.
- Dredger went the other way, instead doing a downstream olive bugger strip during a river recon. He found about a dozen rainbow addresses and marked them for Rabunite buddies planning some kind of covert Tuesday mission. Then he turned around, walked the trail a mile upstream, and enjoyed a heckuva Dark30 for wild browns to 10 inches, as the switch turned on at eight. He had lotsa looks, about half of them ate, and half of that half were hooked. A dozen fish came to hand in the hour before “slap dark” at 9PM. The best fish was left with a cahill in its lip, as Dredger blamed Guru and his striper spooks for ruining his trout touch. The long walk out was enjoyable as he reminisced on all the action, and took comfort in knowing that his sore feet and aching casting shoulder had the Monday holiday to rest.
- Rabunite Wannabe “DZ” of GPB show fame (http://www.anglersandappetites.com/) joined the Rabunites for three days of fishing and eating this week. One ole Rabunite took him to IDBIS River on Tuesday night and put him and his woolly bugger on the dozen Sunday addresses. DZ had about ten raisdums, five uncaps, and four rainbows fondled. The buzzing cahills, crystal clear water, gray boulders, and rosy sunset hopefully made for some great footage. Stay tuned for show times!
- Down the Hall
Do wildlife openings work? Here’s a neat game camera video from our Game Management staff down the hall. What do you think?
Enjoy summer vacation with the kids. We’re all kids at heart, especially when we have a fishing pole in our hands and smiles on our faces. Good luck making new lifetime memories with friends and family, and especially with introducing new people to the sport. Save them from electronics, show them the outdoors, and earn yourselves another teammate in your efforts to protect and conserve your favorite wild places. And we all like a good story, so feel free to share yours with me for our upcoming north Georgia fishing reports. Good luck. May you get in the game and win more than you lose!
Barbie Pole Fan
(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)
Pretty much everyone I talked with had a good to great fishing trip this week in everything from the swamp to the saltwater. The weather was awesome this holiday weekend, and the fish cooperated. Get ready for great fishing opportunities this Saturday, June 4th. The annual Coke/Winge’s Bait and Tackle/DNR kids’ fishing event will be held at Brentz McGhin’s pond (for more information call 912-285-6094) and the annual Wayne County Catfish Tournament will be held out of Jaycees Landing on the Altamaha River in Jesup. For more information, visit the website http://waynetourism.com/catfish-tournament.html. New Moon is June 4th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.
Altamaha River – The bream fishing was awesome on the big river this holiday weekend. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle said that the fishing and boating traffic was heavy over the weekend, and anglers caught all species. Bream were tops, and they ate primarily crickets in the backwaters and oxbow lakes. At night, catfish to 30 pounds were caught with goldfish. Some quality bass were also caught. The mullet bite is picking up and should improve as the river falls. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the park was full over the long weekend, and the flathead fishing was on fire. On Friday night an 80-plus pound flathead was caught on a limb line. On Saturday and Sunday nights lots of 5 to 35 pound flatheads were caught on goldfish. Lots of fishing took place, but the best anglers from Waycross outfished all others. In 3 days of fishing, one group caught over 150 keeper bream, redbreasts, and shellcrackers. Crickets did the job for the first 2 days in the backwaters off the main river. On Monday, fishing the same areas pitching Satilla Spins, they caught 17 bluegills weighing over 20 pounds. Good job pawpaw and river rat! But the best news is they did not have to seek medical attention… The river level was 4.4 feet and falling at the Baxley gage, and 6.9 feet and falling (75 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on May 31st.
Satilla River – The fishing picked up markedly this week. The biggest bass I heard of was a 9.1-pounder caught by Hagen Zachary on Sunday with a pink Trick Worm. Craig James fished several days, catching between 15 and 20 per trip. His best trip was with David Tucker, and the pair whacked around 40 big panfish. Their 13 biggest fish were over 3/4 of a pound and were caught on bugs and bruised banana gold Satilla Spins. David had a 17-oz. bluegill and redbreast. Craig also celebrated his 30th birthday this week by fishing the Satilla. Happy Birthday, Craig! I floated the middle river with my wife and 2 kids, and we had a blast. We watched 7 swallowtail kites feeding, swam in the river, and saw awesome groups of spider lilies. We made a few casts and caught bluegills, stumpknockers, bowfin, and gar, but fishing was not the goal for the day. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the redbreast fishing is on fire. Big rooster redbreasts are eating crickets, worms, beetle spins, and Satilla Spins. Topwaters and soft plastics fooled bass. Worms, shrimp and rooster livers produced good messes of whiskerfish. The river level on May 31st at the Waycross gage was 5.2 feet and falling (78 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 4.3 feet and falling.
St. Marys River – There was some great bream fishing this week early in the mornings until about 10am when the jet skis cranked up. On Saturday morning, a group caught 30 huge bream and redbreasts on crickets. All you had to do to catch catfish was drop a hook in the water. Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite that easy, but my reports said it was…. The river level at the MacClenny gage on May 31st was 1.7 feet and falling.
Okefenokee Swamp – Out of the Folkston entrance, a group of anglers fishing 2 days caught their limit of warmouths by pitching crickets. A few fliers were also caught on yellow sallies, but that bite was slower than usual for this time of year.
Local Ponds – Wyatt Crews topped his personal best bass with a 7-pounder he caught on a Capt. Bert’s chartreuse quad-blade buzzbait. Congratulations, Wyatt! Chad Lee and his fishing partners had a stellar weekend catching over 100 bass. He started fishing Saturday with his buddy Tim Mills. They landed about 50 bass up to 3 1/2-pounds on ribbit frogs. Most disheartening was first thing in the morning when each of them lost a fish in the 10-pound class. Just before dark, he went back out throwing a black quad-blade buzzbait and whacked them, catching 20 up to 5 pounds. He went back at it Sunday afternoon with his buddy Lanny Carter and caught 17 more bass up to 4 pounds on buzzbaits and ribbit frogs. On Monday he caught 20 more bass in the 2 to 3 pound range on the same lures. I guarantee he had sore arms and roughed up thumbs when he went back to work Tuesday! Michael Winge said that bream in Waycross area ponds were sucking up crickets and pink worms. The weekend trips produced especially good numbers. Bass were caught on pink trick worms and speed craws. Ponds with channel catfish produced coolers-full of the whiskerfish.
Saltwater (GA Coast) – The weekend storm offshore slowed the fishing early in the weekend, but Michael Winge reported that by Monday the whiting bite was on. Dead shrimp produced most of them. Flounder were caught around the sand flats and oyster mounds with mudminnows. Justin Bythwood got out Sunday evening in the Brunswick area and caught some flounder on Flashy Jigheads and Sea Shads. Tripletail were caught from around markers and buoys in the Intracoastal Waterway. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that cobia have arrived at the pier. Anglers reported seeing keepers and smaller fish hanging out around the pilings. Spanish mackerel were caught with Clark Spoons. Flounder, trout, whiting, and black drum were also caught from the pier this week. Lots of blue crabs were caught over the holiday weekend. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.
Best Bet: With the smaller crowds this weekend, you can fish about wherever you want without as much fishing and pleasure boat pressure. The Kids’ Fishing Events sponsored by the Georgia DNR are numerous this weekend, so take a kid (or several) fishing this Saturday. If you are a hard-core angler, you will be hard-pressed to find a bigger money tournament than the Wayne County Catfish Tournament, which will be held out of Jaycees Landing on the Altamaha River in Jesup. The panfishing on the lower St. Marys, entire Satilla, and Altamaha rivers will be hard to beat.