(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)
It’s still hot and dry, despite some increased storm frequency across the mountains last week. The good news is that these brief storms cool off the streams a bit. The bad news is that the benefits of higher, cooler stormflows are fleeting.
The BIG news this week came from one of the cleanup batters on the Hooch Tailwater. These guys use big bats and swing for the fences. They often strike out, but when they connect, it’s usually a homer, far back into the upper deck. That happened on the Hooch tailwater, and the story of the big brown is in the first bullet, below.
Our summer pattern continues, so pick your preferences. Remember to check USGS gauges first to avoid chocolate milk, aim for shade, and be slow and patient with your offerings. “Warm” fish are slow to react in hot water, and will avoid the high sun if they suspect predators in their midst. Despite the continuing heat wave, there are still lots of opportunities for brave souls, armed with sunscreen and a gallon of drinking water, to make some fishing memories.
- Another Huge Hooch Brown
- Cold Hooch = Hot Fishing
- Daily Flyfishing Report
This one, based next to the Smokies, has a lot of information that also applies to north Georgia trout waters. It’s always worth a look for both entertainment and educational purposes.
- Guru’s Bluelining Secrets
- More Bluelining
Colors of the day: green and black.
- Dredger’s Summer Tips
The next fibbing session is set for Aug 2 with the Gold Rushers, who always welcome guests: http://goldrushtu.org/news/
- Stocker Best Bets
Burton hatchery Assistant manager Jeff Stewart points us in these weekend directions: Blue Ridge and Hooch tailwaters, Wildcat, Tallulah, Dicks, Rock, Cooper, Ami State Park, Hooch headwaters, and Stamp.
- Toona Report
- Lanier Bass
Water Temp: 85 degrees
Lake Level: 4.20 below full pool
This report brought to you by Jimbo On Lanier 770-542-7764 http://www.jimboonlanier.com
The fishing on Lake Lanier has been fair this past week. My apologies for the lack of a report last week, however, my house was hit by lightening, which fried all my electronics. Fun! In addition, I was ill. More fun. So, a report was just not possible last week. Thankfully, things are back to normal this week. The lake sets over 4 feet down currently and continues to drop as the Corp continues to pull water from the lake regularly. The afternoon rains have been coming a few times a week, which helps some, but the water is still going down at a pretty quick pace. The first hour or so of the day has been tough for the spots, so, we have been targeting Largemouth for the first 90 minutes or so. We have been focusing shallow in pockets for the most part for these fish and have enjoyed some good success. Topwater poppers and a swim jig have worked in these areas. As you would expect, the fish have been very shallow. After the early morning bite, we have been working humps and points with close access to deep water. Fish are typically around areas with brush, but not always. A drop shot presented to fish you see on your Lowrance has been effective, especially as the day progresses. Also, you can 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. 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 20-28 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 two dates open in July: 30(AM) and 31(AM). I also have the following dates open in early August: 1, 2, 10, 11, 12. 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
- Capt Mack’s Lanier Report
- Weekend TV Show- Lanier Stripers
Fyi from Henry C:
- Nice Yargo Bass
- Hidden Gem
A highly reliable source reported, thru the secure line, that now’s the time to toss big plugs or swimbaits into the Morgan Falls Tailwater. Dredger classifies this as “actionable intelligence.” The rest of the transmission was garbled, but it sounded something to the effect of west point migrants.
- Tooga Redeyes
Where? Millenials just need to click more than once to unearth the web’s abundant treasure maps
and maybe call Karl over here:
Don’t forget a PFD, a friend, a raincoat, and two flashlights.
- River Bass Specials
These bugs and techniques work on all species, from smallmouth to shoal to redeye.
- The Life of a “Game Warden”
Sometimes the job isn’t all that much fun. Please keep our LED folks in your thoughts as you take precautions and enjoy some safe trips in the Georgia woods and on its waters.
- Hall Scouts Need a Hand
- So Do Hooch Specks
- Rod Raffle Winner
And the winner is:
As always, thanks for buying your fishing licenses and brook trout license plates.
Good luck working around high temperatures and low flows. There are still some great opportunities to play Chipper, step up to the plate with a BIG bait, and launch one into the bleachers. Just ask our latest Hooch hero. Touch ‘em all as you round the bases!
(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)
The Okefenokee bowfin bite is still on fire (100 fish mornings are not uncommon). River fishing has been great for those wading or floating. Saltwater has been dominated by catches of sharks and whiting, but tarpon are also around. Last quarter moon is July 26th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.
Altamaha River – Warren Budd fished with his grandson Andrew Rich and a friend on the lower Altamaha on Monday. Andrew started the morning with a monster bluegill that inhaled an 1/8-oz. black/chartreuse Satilla Spin. Crawfish and stumpknocker Satilla Spins also produced redbreasts, stumpknockers, and channel catfish during the morning. Shady areas were key to their bite. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle said that all species were being caught in the Jesup area. The flathead bite is hot for those using goldfish. Some from 40 to 60 pounds were caught. The deeper holes in the main river and the back sides of sandbars are the places to catch them. Limits of crappie were caught with minnows and bream with crickets. There will be a frog catching tournament on July 30th at the landing. Call Connie (912-588-9222) for more information. Donna at Altamaha Park reported that fishermen are killing the mullet from sandbars. Bream were chowing crickets. On Monday a group of younger anglers fishing off the dock at the landing caught 45 bluegills on crickets. Some decent flatheads were landed with goldfish, and a few blue catfish were fooled with dead shrimp and worms. The bass bite was fair over the weekend. On Saturday a couple anglers landed 11 bass with one over 5 pounds. The river level was 2.3 feet and falling (90 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.0 feet and rising (84 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on July 19th.
Satilla River – The Camp Tatum Satilla River Showdown benefit tournament will be held August 6th. Proceeds will go to help offset medical expenses of Camp’s family. Many businesses and individuals around Waycross have pitched in to sponsor the tournament. For more information, pick up forms at Winge’s Bait and Tackle, Clayton Homes, Hog-N-Bones, Lee Hardware, or Yarbrough Printing in Waycross. Water on the upper Satilla is good for float trips or wading. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river fishing was good. Redbreats ate crickets, red wigglers, pink worms, and spinnerbaits. Topwaters and spinnerbaits produced most of the bass reported this week. In the Burnt Fort area on Sunday, an angler reported that the fishing had slowed from the last couple of weeks, but they still managed to catch 11 bream and redbreasts that they couldn’t get their hand around. The river level on July 19th at the Waycross gage was 4.3 feet and falling (82 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.5 feet and falling.
St. Marys River – The river is a little stained from the heavy afternoon thunderstorms, but it did not stop the bream from biting. On Monday an angler fishing below Folkston caught 21 big bream on crickets. He pitched his offering around logs and fallen treetops. Catfish can still be caught about anywhere by dropping dead shrimp or rooster livers to the bottom. The river level at the MacClenny gage on July 19th was 1.9 feet and falling.
Okefenokee Swamp – When the weather is hot, bowfin provide constant action in the Okefenokee. My relatives John and Isaiah Bittle visited from West Virginia this weekend. We fished out of the Folkston entrance for 4 1/4 hours and ended up catching 104 bowfin, 3 gar, and a 21-inch chain pickerel (jackfish). Our biggest bowfin was 6-lb., 2-oz. At least a few fish ate whatever color of Dura-Spin we threw, but jackfish and fire tiger were definitely the most productive colors. We spent more time taking fish off the hook than in trying to coerce another fish into biting. I challenge you to find a more productive bite during a 100-degree day than catching 20 to 25 bowfin per hour. It is one of the easiest presentations I’ve ever used. We simply used a spinning outfit and flung a Dura-Spin in-line spinner right down the middle of the canal. Using a steady retrieve, the bait was usually inhaled before you worked it half-way back to the boat. For the second trip in a row, a MONSTER 10lb-plus fish inhaled the bait right at the boat, and we lost it before we could get a net under it. Biting insects were almost non-existent all morning. If you want to put kids on fish during the dog-days and you don’t have a boat, you can fish in the boat basin right at the refuge and catch several bowfin per hour throwing in-line spinners.
Local Ponds – Scout Carter and Wyatt Crews fished a Waycross area pond on Monday evening. They only fished a couple of hours and caught 4 bass up to 3 pounds. Their fish ate Keitech swimbaits, topwater prop baits, and pink Trick Worms. Chad Lee got after the bass in Alma area ponds this weekend, catching 4 nice fish up to about 5 pounds. But, the ones that got away were the ones he really wanted to land. On Saturday night he and Daniel Johnson were throwing black quad-blade buzzbaits. After fishing a couple hours without a bite, one blew up, and Chad said it “sounded like someone dropped a bowling ball in the pond.” They had 3 giant bites in 4 hours of fishing, but didn’t land any of the monsters. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, topwater plugs and buzzbaits produced some good bass catches. Catfish ate shiners, pink worms, and rooster livers. Pinks, red wigglers, and panfish-sized spinnerbaits produced quality bream.
Saltwater (GA Coast) – Tarpon and shark fishing in the sounds has been solid, with several silver kings landed this week. Look for pogy pods and fish around them, especially if they are tightly schooled. Michael Winge reported that Waycross anglers caught lots of whiting in the Brunswick area on dead shrimp and squid. Black drum ate live shrimp, while flounder inhaled mudminnows. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that flounder, trout, croakers, Spanish mackerel, and whiting bit from the pier. Flounder were running over 14 inches. Trout ate live shrimp under the lights at night. Whiting ate dead shrimp any time during the day, and mackerel bit Clark Spoons cast from the pier during afternoons. A pair of Waycross anglers caught 2 large Spanish mackerel from the pier on Friday using live finger mullet. Sharks were caught anytime from the pier using cut bait. Blue crabs were very numerous from both the St. Simons and Jekyll Piers this weekend. Tim, Kim, Hannah, and Lily Bonvechio of Blackshear caught 24 big crabs from the Jekyll Island Pier on Friday. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.
Best Bet: Bowfin (mudfish) fishing is off the chain in the canals at the Okefenokee Swamp. Catching 20 fish per hour is as simple as casting an in-line spinner down the middle of the canal and reeling it back in. In saltwater, whiting fishing on the bottom is a good bet. In the rivers, put a shrimp or worm on the bottom in the deep holes to catch catfish. Trophy bass fishing should be good at night for those casting black buzzbaits over the deepest water in the pond. It usually takes hundreds of casts before you get a bite, but the fish you catch will be the largest in the pond.
(Info provided by fisheries biologist Rob Weller and region fisheries staff)
Lake Walter F. George – The summer heat has definitely settled over South Georgia which often results in slow fishing except for catfish and bream. However, if targeting bass there have been reports of anglers catching bass on 6 inch flutter spoons in water as deep as 40-45 feet and commonly in depths as great as 30 feet. This pattern is not just in the southern end of the reservoir towards the dam but anglers are catching bass using this technique around the causeway and railroad bridge.
Flint River – There have reports of good fishing for bream, shoal bass and catfish. The water level in the southern portion of the Flint is low and there has been little fluctuation. The low stable clear water should be excellent for shoal bass fishing. Unlike some other species of fish, shoal bass are almost strictly sight predators so fishing during the middle of the day when the sun is overhead is often the best time to catch these fish. It is also the time when other fish are being less cooperative. The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your fishing trip.
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 has been excellent for bream. The bream (bluegill) are bedding all over the lake and can be found in any sandy location. Try in front of Sealeys or around the islands near the duck refuge. There have been reports of limits being caught within a few hours. Steven took two clients last Saturday and they caught 61 fish before lunch. The average size of the bream has been approximately ¼ pound or slightly larger. The heat of summer in South Georgia has slowed down the bass bite and few fish are being caught. A persistent angler willing to hit the water at dawn should still be able to catch some fish and hopefully beat the heat as well.