Central Georgia

Southeast 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 (full, clear, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  The bass are mostly small spots.  The small Shad Raps in shad patterns and blue back are working and use light 8-pound test Sufix line.  Fish for spots with smaller baits and anything green in a soft plastic is  a spotted bass favorite.  Fish the dam area and work the shallow ledges.  Use Poe’s 400 Cedar Shad crank baits and large u tail worms.  The larger worms will take the better fish and get the smaller fish out of the way.  Black and other dark colors are working and add some red dye with crawfish scent on the tail end of the worm.  Night fishing around lighted docks down lake with a June bug Zoom trick worm is fair and use a tiny weight.

Clarks Hill (down 1.7 feet, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Several baits and patterns are working.  With the wind that may be blowing, spinner baits in any color as long as white is the primary is working where the herring are present.  Your Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology is the ticket to locating these summertime fish.  Work the main lake rocks and weed beds and look for any signs of rising fish.  Check out the rip rap in early morning and use a Rapala #7 and a #5 Shad Rap in baby bass or shiner and the spinnerbait.  There has been a good bite up lake in the cooler water and Bush Hogs and green lizards on a light Texas rig is working on wood.  The points have been best in the middle of the day and also use a 200 all white Bandit.

Lake Oconee (full, the lake is clear, temperature 86-89) – Bass fishing is fair.  For the early bite look for mayflies along the banks.  Use a Hart Buzz Bait in the white or white/chartreuse color and work around the rocks and where ever you see the flies.  Also, use a ¼ ounce chrome and black Rat L Trap in this same area, once the top water bite has slowed.  After the morning bite back off to the long points and use a Carolina rigged Zoom finesse or u tail worm.  Using 12-pound Trilene line with a 24 to 36 inch leader of 10-pound Trilene line and a ½ ounce weight seem to work best.  Fish this bait on the long points 15 to 18 feet deep.  The best color worms to use on Oconee are green pumpkin, watermelon, and watermelon candy.  The points in the middle of the lake are producing a good number of fish.  If the day is overcast don’t overlook fishing around the docks in 5 to 7 foot of water using a small crank bait or spinnerbait.  Make sure you cast to the back of the walkway and sea walls.  The rip rap at Sugar Creek and the Hwy 44 Bridge are holding fish.

West Point Lake (down 3.6 feet, clear, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Bass have moved deep on road beds, humps, and points.  Up lake, Jackson Creek, Half Moon, and Yellow Jacket have been the prime creeks to fish.  Start by throwing Norman DD22’s, Poe’s 400, or Mann’s 20 Plus crank baits.  Good colors to use are shad patterns and my favorite the all new Sexy Shad color.  Fish are also in brush piles in 8 to 12 feet of water and can be caught in several other ways.  The 3/8 ounce Picasso football head jigs rigged with a Paca chunk and Carolina rigs are also just as hot.  With a Carolina rig fish a long fluorocarbon leader and 3/4 ounce weight.  Down lake, the patterns are similar but the top water bite is better because of the clearer water.  Good baits to try are a Pop R, Sammy, and a Storm Chug Bug.  Fish these over shallow brush for some good bites.  Also, a 1/4 ounce. Shakey head rigged with a finesse worm fished around the bridge columns has been producing some small Spots.


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 1.3 feet, clear, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  At day break, try a black Zoom Trick Worm around any grass or wood cover in the clearer water down lake.  Use a 2/0 Gamakatsu wide gap hook on a one foot leader with a swivel and no weight.  Line size should be from 10 to 14 pound test.  Cast into the cover and make a couple fast but short jerks and then let the bait settle for a few seconds.  Repeat until the bait has cleared the cover.  Retrieve and cast again.  Some fish are still hitting 1/4 or 3/8 ounce buzz baits and Pop R’s in the central and upper lake.  Try rip rap, grass, blow downs and rocky points.  After the early bite ends, fish the boat docks or points, humps, flats and creek bends.  On the docks, try a 6-inch Zoom Dead Ringer with a 3/16 ounce weight and twitch it near the posts.  June bug has been a good color.  For structure fishing in open water, look for a rough bottom with wood or rock.  During power generation and the first few hours each morning, most fish will be 6 to 10 feet deep.  Try a #6 Fat Free Shad, Poe’s 300 or Deep Little N.  Chartreuse and shad patterns are both working.  With no water movement, most fish will be 8 to 15 feet deep.  Use the next larger sizes of the same crank baits or throw Carolina rigged worms.  Try a June bug colored Zoom Trick worm on a 3 foot leader and 3/4 ounce weight.

Jackson Lake (down .52 feet, clear, 80’s) – Bass both spots and largemouth are fair but finding big fish has been tough.  The small fish are feeding on small 1/4 ounce Rat L Traps and #5 Shad Raps.  Shad colors are the best choices and use light line to get the extra action and depths from the baits.  Now head to the rocks, any rocks such as rip rap on the ramps, rocks on the bridges and on the points.  Now make lots of casts.  The fish early and late are aggressive and will chase baits but try a stop and go retrieve.  The best tip is to keep moving and cover a lot of water.  Small shad Zoom Flukes on a lead head will work and cast them and reel them back with a regular retrieve.  Rig a Zoom finesse worm in blue pumpkin on a split shot rig and swim it on the same rocks.

Flat Creek PFA

Surface Temperature: 88.0˚ F

Water Level: 8’ 8” Below Full Pool

Water Visibility: 17”

As the hot days have continued to warm the waters of Flat Creek the fish are seeking areas where they can remain cooler. This has produced more sluggish bites during the heat of the day. Those that start fishing early have had good luck catching fish with some even larger fish being caught. Bass fishing has been good for those who have been able to get their lures into that six to seven foot water depth where the Bass seem be hanging out. The large bream have been biting well during the full and new moon phases. Crappie fishing has started to slow down as they have started to spread out across the lake and a little more finesse is required to find them. A couple three plus pound Crappies were recently reported to have been caught.

Bass: Plum colored ‘Ol Monstor worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms. Minnows and worms.

Bream: Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig. Worms on a Texas rig. Near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon. Catalpa worms.

Channel Catfish: Fresh Catalpa worms are the go-to bait right now.

Crappie: Jigs (John Deere or yellow and white colored Triple Ripple, or June Bug colored Teaser Tail) and light tackle. If you are bank fishing try dangling a minnow right in the corner of the pier to catch those Crappie in the shade created by the pier. If on a boat try cover that creates shade (tree tops) or structure (gravel piles).

Additional information at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/FlatCreek

Marben PFA

Water temps. : mid 80’s

Largemouth Bass: July weather patterns often bring afternoon showers that brings sudden changes to bass feeding behavior.   Anglers should look for bass feeding in early morning and late evening on schooling shad.  Despite the warm days, anglers are targeting bass on lay downs in approximately 5 to 10 feet of water in early to mid-morning.  As the day warms up, anglers should target bass in deeper water.  Successful anglers mimic lethargic shad by casting jerk baits and crank baits.   Mid-day can produce some big bass but look for these big fish in deeper water (10-15 ft.).  Additional habitat to target is submerged timber and rock beds at Marben PFA.  Anglers need to be patient this time of year.  The water is warm and fish may take a little longer to chase.

Crappie: The crappie continue to be aggressive in early evening, crowded around submerged timber in deeper water.  Anglers should see a slight change as crappie become a little less aggressive as the water warms in the summer months.  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, especially in the evening.  Bennett Lake remains a hot spot for anglers targeting crappie.

Bream: Bream fishing will slow in July.  Look for the “bite” to continue to drop as late July approaches.  Even with this drop in aggressiveness, bream will remain the most sought after fish on Marben PFA.  Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best throughout the day but a little slow when temperatures get really hot.  Remember bream are shallow when spawning this time of year so to be successful anglers will have to shallow areas (4 to 5 ft.) in order to increase your chances.  Early morning is a great time to target bream at Marben PFA.

Catfish: Catfish will start to slow a little this time of year.  Anglers will find catfish in 7-9 ft. of water and most aggressive in the morning and late evening.   Anglers should target days when it is sunny but patience is necessary when targeting these fish.  Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben.

Additional Information:  http://www.georgiawildlife.com/PFA/CharlieElliott 


Average Morning Water Temperature:   Mid 80’s and rising

Water Visibility:     20 – 51+ inches

Largemouth Bass:  Action is picking up.  There is a shad hatch in Willow and the bass and catfish are feeding on them. Bass have continued biting over the past two weeks in several lakes on McDuffie.  Rodbender, the trophy bass pond will re-open on 1st July and will close the evening of July 15th.  The McDuffie staff have heard of two nice bass {7 + and an 8.2} caught and released in Rodbender.  These bass are also chasing shad.  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 been biting steady.  No reported hot spots on the area.  Bream are being caught near shore and by fishermen in boats who are fishing deeper.  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 bedding areas.

Channel Catfish:  Catfish in the 1-4 pound range are biting well in Willow, Beaverlodge, Jones and Bridge and can be caught in all lakes except Rodbender.  A fisherman reported being broken off by a catfish in Jones.  A fisherman reported losing a large channel catfish at the shoreline in Willow Lake.  The best fishing is on the bottom in deep water using chicken liver, worms, and stink-baits.  Of course, the catfish feed best early in the morning or just before sundown.

Striped Bass:  Stripers are biting well in Bridge Lake. There have been no reports of Clubhouse stripers being caught.  Striped Bass are located only in Bridge and Clubhouse Lakes.  Stripers are biting on cut bait and chicken liver fished on the bottom.  Umbrella rigs, diving crank baits and topwater plugs are very effective on McDuffie’s stripers during the colder months.


McDuffie Hatchery will host this year’s last Kids Fishing Event on September 24th during Outdoor Adventure Day.

Families are starting to camp out since school is out in the Dearing area. They are also catching fish.

Additional Information:    http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/McDuffie



 Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

The upper Satilla redbreasts and bass, Okefenokee bowfin and fliers, Altamaha panfish, and saltwater trout and flounder have been great this week and are going to be the bites to concentrate on over the holiday weekend. The key for most bites is going to be fish early or late and find some air conditioning during the middle of the day! New Moon is July 4th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.

Altamaha River – The panfish bite has been solid this week. Steven and Jerry Long have fished some oxbow lakes off the Altamaha the last 2 Fridays and have caught good numbers of warmouth, bream, and shellcrackers. Crickets and bruised banana gold Satilla Spins produced their fish. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle said that bream and crappie were the best bites this week. Crickets produced most of the bream, while minnows worked best for crappie. Mullet are jumping on red wigglers fished off sandbars. Flathead catfish were caught, but most were on the small side. The bass bite was fair. Donna at Altamaha Park reported great bream and shellcracker fishing. Crickets and pink worms produced the catches, including some limits. Goldfish worked well for flatheads in the 15 to 25 pound range. Mullet are everywhere and are being caught by the bucketfuls. The river level was 2.5 feet and falling (89 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.6 feet and falling (82 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 28th.

Satilla River – Craig James fished the upper river last Thursday in his kayak and whacked the bass, redbreasts, and bream. He caught 5 bass on pink Trick Worms and then the bite just shut off. He switched to crawfish 1/8-oz. Satilla Spins and “the redbreasts kept his rod doubled over”. When the dust settled, he had caught 18 redbreasts and bream with several back-to-back hookups in just a few hours of fishing. He also caught an 8-pound bowfin (mudfish) on the spinnerbait. He made a return trip to a different landing on the Satilla on Tuesday evening and caught 5 bass up to 16 inches on pink Trick Worms before being run off by a thunderstorm after fishing barely over an hour. Other reports I received were folks catching good numbers of redbreasts and bream from the upper and middle river on crawfish and bruised banana gold Satilla Spins. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the redbreasts are eating crickets, Satilla Spins, and beetlespins. Bass were caught on Trick Worms and Banjo Lures (someone must have been digging deep in their tackle box….). Shrimp and rooster livers produced most of the catfish, and lots of catfish were reported. Two anglers from Folkston caught 43 huge bream on crickets from the Burnt Fort area of the river. On a down note, the biologists and technicians out of the Waycross Fisheries Office electrofished almost 75 exotic blue catfish from the extreme lower river while they were removing the another exotic, flathead catfish, this week. Blue catfish likely came around the Intracoastal Waterway during a flood event and represent the second exotic catfish to threaten the native fishes in the Satilla. The river level on June 28th at the Waycross gage was 5.9 feet and rising (82 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.7 feet and falling.

St. Marys River – In the lower river from Camp Pinckney downstream, anglers are catching creels of “belly-sized” (so big you have to put them against your belly to get the hook out). The average creels were 25 to 30 fish, and crickets fooled the most. The bass bite is fair early in the morning for those pitching soft plastics. Catfish bit great again (that’s been the norm for a couple of years now!), with rooster livers and shrimp producing coolers full. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 28th was 1.5 feet and falling. At that level you will want to fish below Trader’s Hill near Folkston if you are fishing from a motorboat (or plan on dragging…a lot!).

Okefenokee Swamp – Thom Litts of Covington visited our area and fished the east side for a couple of hours on Thursday evening. He and a friend pitched yellow and pink sallies under a float to catch 11 fliers. Two of their fish were over 8 1/2-inches. They also flung Dura-Spins for pickerel and bowfin. They didn’t catch pickerel, but 5 bowfin up to 3 pounds inhaled their black/chartreuse with a chartreuse blade in-line spinner. On the west side, John and Blake Kilpatrick stayed in the state park cabins and fished out of the park with some of their friends. They hammered the warmouth, bowfin, fliers. The warmouth and fliers ate pink and yellow sallies, while Dura-Spins produced their bowfin. They caught enough warmouth one evening to have a great supper of the tasty panfish for the whole group. The yellow flies have significantly dwindled, and both groups reported seeing essentially no yellow flies. I’m glad to hear that the little nasties are done for the year. Bugs (other than mosquitoes around dusk) usually aren’t bad for the rest of the year. Don’t forget that Federal Duck Stamps expire at the end of June, so secure your new Duck Stamp if that is what you use to access the swamp.

Local Ponds – “Jugging” for catfish is still off the chain. I had a report of one group catching several dozen on pool noodles in just an hour, and another group reported fishing a couple of hours and catching 90 channel cats on trot lines and pool noodles. Whether you fish them at night or during the day, chasing pool noodles around a pond is a HOOT! Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, big bream ate crickets with a vengeance. A few crappie caught with minnows were reported. Shiners and ZOOM lizards produced some good bass catches during the daytime. At night, black buzzbaits fooled some big bass.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – I heard a couple good trout reports from anglers fishing the beach on days when the winds allowed. Live shrimp produced their fish, but my favorite presentation is a Sea Shad suspended underneath an oval Cajun Thunder Float. Tarpon and bull reds are around the inlets and jetties. A 31-inch redfish that I tagged and released last December (as part of the Coastal Resources Division angler tagging program) was recaught and released (it was 33 inches) from the St. Mary Jetties by an angler last week. Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught good numbers of whiting, flounder, and trout. On Sunday morning before the thunder boomers started, Raymond West of Waycross and David Burgess of Nahunta fished out of Blythe Island. Raymond said, “We fished from 7:30 until 9:45 and brought home 6 trout from 16 to 19 inches. We threw back about a dozen trout and several short redfish. David caught 5 of the keepers, and we never got wet.” Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that the crab catches were tops again this week from the pier. It’s time to dust off your crab traps if you want some tasty crustaceans for a holiday feast. Whiting were caught in good numbers using dead shrimp. Some really good news is that trout and flounder were caught in good numbers from the pier on live bait. Spanish mackerel schools have been hit-and-miss this week, but lots are caught on flashy lures when the schools move through. Sharks ate cut bait fished from the pier. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.

Best Bet:  For the holiday weekend, panfishing will be hard to beat on the Altamaha. The levels and temperatures are right for redbreasts and bream. You should be able to catch them in both the oxbows and main river (fish the willows and blowdown trees to determine where they are that day). I love throwing little spinnerbaits on ultralight gear, but lots of other lures will work, or you can pitch crickets. Warmouth and bowfin (mudfish) fishing in the Okefenokee is off the chain, and the yellow flies have dropped off. Pitch sallies or crickets around shoreline cover (blowdown trees or cypress stumps) for warmouth and fling an in-line spinner right down the middle of the canal for bowfin. Seatrout are spawning on the beaches, and a trip to Cumberland Island should produce a nice mess of trout on days when the wind allows. Don’t try it if the winds are from an easterly quadrant – wait for a westerly wind. You might also encounter tarpon, jack crevalle, or big sharks if you find some pogy pods.                         

Blake Kilpatrick Warmouth 6 16

Blake Kilpatrick caught this nice warmouth in the Okefenokee over the weekend. He and his dad and friends caught lots of bowfin, warmouth, and fliers.

David Burgess Trout 6 16- IMG_0520

David Burgess of Nahunta caught this keeper trout out of Blythe Island Regional Park on Sunday before the storms. The trout bite should be good over the holiday weekend.