(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)
The heat continues and so do fair-weather anglers’ perceptions of limited fishing opportunities. Sure, it isn’t as easy nor as comfortable as April and May, but there’s plenty of summer fun to be found by “picnicking” in the right spots at the right times. These include daytime river float trips that combine fishing and swimming, dawn boat launches on local lakes, midnight jugging for catfish, early morning hikes along high elevation trout streams, dusk canoeing around pond perimeters, and evening wades through our favorite bass shoals. There’s still plenty of daylight to accommodate the entire range of north Georgia anglers, from early risers to nighthawks, so plan a picnic for the time and place that will make your summer vacation times memorable. We sure are. After all, when we slip and fall in right now, who cares? We dry out in ten minutes!
Grab your bug spray, nylon fishing attire, and sunglasses, and give it a go.
- Black and White for Bass
Dredger’s had a lot of fun with evening wet-wading trips for river bass of many flavors, from shoals and spots in-state, to redeyes on the eastern border, to smallies just to our north. He’s touting the successful contrast of “black and white for success.” During daylight hours he’s jigging and stripping a black woolly bugger of the appro size (4 for shoals, 8 for redeyes (Bartrams)). As the sun sets and shadows fall, he switches to a small (#8) white popper that’s big enough to tempt hefty bass, but small enough to hook larger river bream and jack up his final trip tallies. Light spinning rods or 5-6 weight fly rods are perfect armaments for these river trips, so grab that trout gear and just change the fly or lure at the end of the line. Just remember to fish the “frog” water and not the faster “trout” water for your best success. Depth, slow current, and overhead cover are the three top ingredients for this favorite picnic recipe of “river bass.”
- Lanier Bass
Water Temp: 83 degrees
Lake Level: 3.68 feet below full pool
This report brought to you by Jimbo On Lanier 770-542-7764 www.jimboonlanier.com
The fishing on Lake Lanier has been good this past week. The lake sets at nearly 3 and 3/4 feet down currently and continues to drop as the Corp continues to pull water from the lake regularly. We are starting to enjoy some afternoon rain storms which helps some, but it is still dropping. The early morning bite has been mainly a schooling bite. Catching these fish requires a precise cast to the area of activity. Set up your rigs to make long casts to be ready for these situations. We have been working humps and points with access to deep water for this bite. Fish are typically around areas with brush, but not always. A drop shot presented to fish you see on your Lowrance has been effective as well at this time of the day. The mid-day bite for spots has really been improving with a variety of baits to include topwater like a chug bug, as well as mechanical swimbaits like those offerings from the Sweet Bait Company. After the morning schooling bite, we have had good success running and gunning brush piles around the lake with the topwater and swimbaits. Work the topwater baits and swimbaits over the brush and expect a response from any active fish within the first few casts. If you get no response on top, switch to a SuperSpin and swim the bait around and over the brush. When the moving bait bite slows down, switch to a dropshot worm and work it vertically on fish you can see on your Lowrance. Focus on both main lake and creek mouth points and humps, and remember sometimes the fish are relating specifically to the brush, so make sure to work the brush thoroughly as well. Brush in 18-25 feet has been most productive this week. There are several fish that are positioned out deeper in the 35 foot range as well, on the first break out from the brush piles you will be targeting. These fish will eat a drop shot at times also. I still have the following dates open in July: 11, 12, 19, 27, 28, 29, 30(AM). Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun! Thanks to all and May God Bless.
Jim “JIMBO” Mathley
Spotted Bass Fishing Guide – Lake Lanier
Mobile – 770-542-7764
- Big Carters Striper
- Don’t Forget Gar!
- Stocker Best Bets
WRD stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson suggests these destinations for the 40K trout that exited state and federal hatcheries this week: Blue Ridge and Lanier tailwaters, Tallulah, Wildcat, Dicks, Boggs, Rock, Cooper, Smith above Unicoi Lake, and the Hooch on the WMA.
- Tips to Beat the Heat
- Tailwater Trophy Tips
The Blue Ridge Tailwater is too quiet. That means it’s worth a recon!
Match the current “hatch” with a four-inch rainbow trout pattern.
- Hooch Tailwater Reports
- Gift Idea
Keep this in mind for birthdays and holiday gifts.
- Tomorrow Morning- Dredger’s Summer Secrets
Maybe I’ll see some of you here: http://blueridgetu.com/
Good luck wrapping up your July 4th vacation week. We hope that a hefty river bass provides some evening fireworks on the end of your line.
(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)
The Satilla, St. Marys, and Altamaha rivers produced some great redbreasts and bream catches over the holiday weekend. The Okefenokee bowfin bite was still on fire. Saltwater trout, redfish, and tarpon fishing picked up. Early and late in the day are the most comfortable (and productive) times to fish. First quarter moon is July 11th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.
Altamaha River – Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle said that on Sunday a 60-pound flathead and 47-pound blue catfish were caught. Bream were killing crickets and Beetlespins. Even in the heat, crappie were caught in good numbers with minnows. Donna at Altamaha Park reported a fantastic mullet bite. She said they’re jumping in the boat they’re so numerous. Bream and bluegill were chowing on crickets and Satilla Spins. Some were giant bream. The river level was 2.7 feet and falling (90 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.8 feet and falling (83 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on July 5th.
Satilla River – Jonathan Guy and a friend fished the middle river last Monday and caught 68 redbreasts on yellow and bruised banana gold Satilla Spins. A couple of Waycross anglers fished the upper river after the church service on Sunday and caught a bass and a mudfish on Trick Worms. The upper river was great for getting around over the holiday weekend, and lots of folks took advantage of the water clearing. Most reports I received were of a couple of dozen redbreasts per trip. Some roosters were also caught by those pitching bugs. Craig James took a Satilla-developed lure (the Satilla Spin) to the mountains and caught rainbow trout and redbreasts from mountain streams and rivers. The bruiser color outfished his friends fishing rooster tail spinners 5 to 1 (for redbreasts in the larger streams). Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the redbreasts are being caught on red-white Beetlespins and crawfish Satilla Spins. Bass are still being caught on lizards and speed craws. Anglers reported catching lots of channel catfish on pink worms fished in the deeper holes. Flatheads weighing in the middle 40’s were caught along with 15 to 20-pounders in the Bullhead Bluff portion of the river below Burnt Fort. The river level on July 5th at the Waycross gage was 5.8 feet and falling (83 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 7.2 feet and rising. The middle Satilla got 6-plus inches of rain in some places, so the creeks are pumping water to the river.
St. Marys River – The bream bite was still tops this week. Anglers reported catching between 30 and 40 fish per trip, mainly on crickets. Lots of them were “belly-sized” (so big you have to put them against your belly to get the hook out) again this week. A few redbreasts were mixed in the catches, but bluegills dominated the creel. The area below the US 1 Bridge has produced the best this week. Catfish were everywhere again, and those dropping rooster liver or shrimp to the bottom were rewarded. Bass fishing has slowed, but a few were caught from the upper river early in the mornings. The river level at the MacClenny gage on Tuesday evening was 2.0 feet and falling.
Ocmulgee River – Some Waycross anglers fished the Ocmulgee over the weekend and caught some really nice largemouth bass. Their biggest was out of their first spot they stopped, and it weighed 8 1/2 pounds. They also had a 5 1/2-pounder and several 2 to 5-pounders. They pounded shoreline cover with buzzbaits, plastic crayfish, jigs, and stick worms for their fish. The river has its greenish summertime tint. I love skipping floating worms under willows when it gets like that. The river level at the Abbeville gage on July 5th was 1.2 feet and falling. Expect to drag your boat over sandbars at this level.
Okefenokee Swamp – Alan Thomas took his nephews Kyle and Alex Witt visiting from South Carolina to the Folkston entrance last Thursday. They hammered the bowfin, catching about 25 in 3 hours of fishing. Their biggest got away right at the boat, and it was about 6 pounds. Their others were mostly from 2 to 3 1/2 pounds. They used spinners of all shapes and sizes from an old tackle box. Bowfin are a great way to use up old lures! Both gold and silver blades worked for them. The boys had sore muscles and lots of fun memories at the end of the day. On the West side, the recent rains helped the bite. Catfish, pickerel (jackfish), and warmouth were caught in decent numbers. The yellow flies are not bad right now, and they should not be 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 awesome. A group went on Friday to a Brunswick area pond and caught 102 channel catfish during the morning by fishing pool noodles and trot lines. They baited their hooks with bluegills and pogies. Hill Fort fished an Americus area pond on Friday and caught some giant bluegills. They caught a few on red/white Satilla Spins, but the color of the day was black/yellow. They “whacked them”. Tim Williams of Alma caught an 8 1/2-pound bass on July 4th using a frog-colored torpedo topwater. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, big bream ate crickets and bass inhaled shiners late in the day. Catfish were caught from some ponds by anglers putting pink worms on the bottom.
Saltwater (GA Coast) – Don and Lisa Harrison of Waycross fished out of Crooked River on the 4th and caught some nice trout on Equalizer Floats and Sea Shads. They had 9 trout and 2 redfish. One of their redfish was oversized and the other was in the “keeper” slot. Electric chicken was their most effective Sea Shad color. Most of their fish came from creeks and shell mounds along the Intracoastal Waterway. Tarpon have arrived in big numbers. A group fishing St. Andrews Sound on Thursday went 3 for 6 on tarpon. Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught whiting and flounder from the Jekyll Island Pier over the holiday weekend. Dead shrimp produced both species (it’s rare for flounder to eat a dead offering!). Trout and flounder were abundant in inland creek mouths. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that croakers were numerous, as were nice flounder up to 18 inches from the pier. Dead shrimp produced some flatfish here, also. A few trout were caught from the pier. Live shrimp on shade lines is the best presentation at night. Blue crab catches were crazy again this week. They were reportedly “crawling up the pilings to get in the crabbers buckets”. While that is a stretch, lots of buckets of crabs were the guests of honor at boils over the weekend. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.
Best Bet: Saltwater fishing should be great this weekend with the lower tides and favorable winds at the time of writing this. Expect tarpon fishing to be good around the inlets on the incoming tide as the pogies push into the sounds. Trout fishing should be good on the beach if winds allow you to fish. Make sure to check the marine forecast late in the week before planning a trip to big water. In freshwater, fish the main rivers for bass, as the majority of the population moves out of the backwaters during the dog-days. Pitch jigs and plastics or cast buzzbaits around shoreline cover to score. In the Okefenokee, you can be guaranteed to catch big, feisty bowfin by casting in-line spinners down the middle of the canals. It’s about the only bite I can guarantee you fish…and lots of them… in triple-digit temperatures.