(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)
The summer heat continues and, like the weather, this week’s fishing report sounds like a broken record. Headwater trout, tailwater trout, and deep stripers (see Ken’s reports) are our best bets. Reservoir bass are decent if you go early, or run around the lake and drop-shot brushy humps to find the few in each school with appetites. River bass are good during those clear windows between the muddy water slugs from afternoon thunderstorms. The good news is that our lawns are once again green. The bad news is that we have to cut them, after a month-long break from that chore. The best news follows.
Look! There are glimmers of hope shining through, suggesting that an end to this hot summer is in sight. The days are shorter, the nights longer and a bit cooler, the storms more frequent, and our daytime highs in the mountains are starting to fall below 90 degrees.
Think about stirring from your summer siestas soon, at least to prepare your gear and plan your trips to take advantage of the great fall weather just around the corner. In the meantime, there is still a decent menu to whet the appetites of north Georgia’s die-hard anglers. Here we go.
- Forest Service Site Facelift
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests
DEEP HOLE RECREATION AREA GETS NEW CANOE LAUNCH, TEMPORARILY CLOSES CAMPSITES
GAINESVILLE (August 10, 2016) – Deep Hole Recreation Area on the Chattahoochee National Forest will be getting a new, improved canoe launch this fall. The site, just north of Suches, Ga., is the put-in for the Toccoa River Canoe Trail. The construction of the new launch will require closure of a fishing deck and several campsites from August 29 – November 27, 2016.
“We understand this is an inconvenience for our late summer and fall visitors, but we are excited to be making this much needed upgrade to this really special site,” says Towdy Tipton, recreation program manager for the Blue Ridge Ranger District. “We can’t wait for the new launch to open, and I hope lots of people will come take full advantage of it when it does.”
The project at Deep Hole includes removing and replacing the canoe launch, adding room for loading and unloading of boats, and improving drainage in the campground. Campsites numbered 5, 6, 7 and 8 will be closed during construction. Other campsites and picnic areas will remain open.
Located along the banks of the Toccoa River, Deep Hole Recreation Area offers camping, boating, picnicking and fishing. The Toccoa River is a popular place to fish for rock and smallmouth bass, and rainbow and brown trout. The small campground has 8 campsites when fully open, equipped with tent pads, picnic tables and grill, but no water or electric hook-ups.
The Toccoa River Canoe trail starts at the Deep Hole Recreation Area and flows 13.8 miles to the take-out at Toccoa River Sandy Bottoms Recreation Area. Beautiful views along with great fishing and small rapids make this a perfect canoe trip. It’s ideal for beginners and those who enjoy a more leisurely paddle on a north Georgia mountain river. For more information about Deep Hole Recreation Area, visit http://go.usa.gov/xT4GG.
To learn more about this and other recreation sites on Georgia’s national forests, download the official free mobile app for your smartphone or tablet, or visit us on the web at www.fs.usda.gov/conf. You can also get the latest forest news by ‘liking’ us on Facebook and following us on twitter @ChattOconeeNF .
The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests provide the finest outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resources in Georgia. Featuring nearly 867,000 acres across 26 counties, thousands of miles of clear-running streams and rivers, approximately 850 miles of recreation trails, and dozens of campgrounds, picnic areas, and other recreation activity opportunities, these lands are rich in natural scenery, history and culture. The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
- Federal Hatchery Funding News
Tailwater fingerlings that grow into “wild” fish?
If so, then see page 16: http://rabuntu.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/TL-August-2016.pdf
(Also, see page 15 about a new Forest Service trout fishing pier in the works)
- Eagle Tag
RETURN OF ICONIC EAGLE LICENSE PLATE AIMED AT HELPING WILDLIFE
SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (Aug. 18, 2016) – If birds are singing in your yard and frogs are leaping in the local pond, it could be because one of Georgia’s most popular wildlife license plates is making a comeback.
A redesigned plate featuring a bald eagle and the U.S. flag is now available through county tag offices, the state Department of Natural Resources announced today.
This iconic combo is a throw-back to DNR’s smaller eagle-and-flag design that sold by the thousands from 2004 to 2013. Those tags, still common on cars and trucks, raised millions to conserve Georgia wildlife not legally hunted or fished for, as well as rare plants and natural habitats statewide.
Like DNR’s other five plates, the new eagle tag costs only $25 more than a standard plate to buy or renew. Most of those fees – up to 80 percent – are dedicated to wildlife. DNR eagle and hummingbird tags benefit the Georgia Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund, used to acquire habitat and conserve species, such as bald eagles. The number of eagle nests in Georgia has surged from zero in 1970 to more than 200 this year.
DNR Wildlife Resources Division Director Rusty Garrison said the new license plate will generate funds that enable the agency to better manage wildlife and serve constituents.
“Our mission is to conserve, enhance and promote Georgia’s wildlife resources, and this tag is going to help us do just that,” Garrison said.
The eagle-and-flag tag, created by DNR graphic artist Ryan Holt, replaces the flying eagle version, one of three DNR plates introduced in 2013 with designs that covered the full license plate. The flying eagle plates are still sold at county tag offices that have them in stock, but supplies are limited. Check with your office on availability.
Go to www.georgiawildlife.com/conservation/support to learn more about the new eagle license plate. Upgrade to a DNR wildlife plate and show your support!
- Trout Tag Thanks!
Thanks very much for everyone’s purchases of the Trout Unlimited License plate, better known as the TU brook trout tag.
The FY16 funds generated from your tag buys and renewals helped us to purchase a new pickup truck for Fisheries Technician Leon Brotherton, hire a summer seasonal worker (UGA’s Alex’s Kiser), and supply Senior Biologist Anthony Rabern’s work unit for summer wild trout stream sampling and habitat assessment. Enjoy the photo of Leon’s new work truck, his well-supplied sidekick, Alex, and a brook trout habitat structure on Stream X.
Thank you all brookie tag buyers!
- Ken’s Lake Reports
- Striper Nation
- Lanier Stripers and Walleye
- Mike Maddalena reports: Asher Lalo, age 7 of Cumming Georgia catches the biggest striper of his whole life. It was a 14lber, caught on a down rod herring. Asher is already an accomplished angler; he hooks his own Herring, deploys the rods and reels them! All on his own, while a proud Papa Captain Ken cheers him on!!
- River Shoalies
Kinda slow. Maybe 9 to hand in 3 hours. Clousers/fodders for two hours with minimal results early. Topwater last half hour. Lots of short strikes. Could never figure ‘em out!
– Landon – somewhere on the upper Hooch
- Stocker Best Bets
WRD Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson’s list is dwindling as we approach the end of the 2016 stocking season for most streams. He’s aimed us toward these weekend targets: Blue Ridge and Lanier tailwaters, Rock, Cooper, Dicks, Wildcat, and Tallulah.
Hint: light (4lb) line, small (#10 or 12) hooks, one third of a nightcrawler, no weights, and drifting it way downstream below you, via an open bail, into that logjam or rhododendron ticket.
- Bluelines Banging Along
- Toccoa Tailwater Report
- Hooch Tailwater
- Remember that trout are happiest in cold water and their appetites decrease as temperatures rise toward 70 degrees. The lower end of the Buford tailwater, in the Roswell area, may not fish as well on the last half of a hot weekend with little generation to “refresh” water temperatures. Head upriver a bit for better appetites and higher catch rates until that next cold slug from Buford Dam arrives. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?cb_00010=on&cb_00060=on&cb_00065=on&format=gif_default&site_no=02335450&period=30&begin_date=2016-07-29&end_date=2016-08-19
- Darn Good at Dam – http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=111110
- Great Public Access Podcast
This one’s worth listening to!
“Where can I legally fish?”
- Dredger’s Summer Secrets – August 27
The next installment of “North GA Flyfishing’s Best Bets in Summer” will be here on August 27. It looks like a RSVP event, so contact the TU gang if you’d like to come.
UCCTU First Annual Summer Picnic
Saturday, August 27th, 2016 – 12:00pm to Saturday, August 27th, 2016 – 4:00pm
Mark Down New Date, Time and Site for August Meeting—Saturday, August 27, Island Ford Park
That’s right – we’re holding our August chapter meeting on Saturday, August 27 at beautiful Island Ford Park in Roswell. This special event is designed for members and their families. We’ll have a great BBQ lunch followed by a special presentation by Jeff Durniak of the GA DNR. Following Jeff’s remarks we’ll have games and activities for the kids with some special prizes.
Don’t miss our first summer chapter meeting and BBQ event. The lunch starts at noon so come hungry. More details will be shared at the June chapter meeting and in our August Newsline.
- Youth Kayak Fishing Tournament – August 27th
- Got Quads?
Saw this on midcurrent.com. Blueliners and turkey hunters might really enjoy this source of free topo maps.
- Help Wanted
I’m still in great need of fly tiers, fly casters, registrars, and hook-baiters for DNR’s 15th annual Unicoi Outdoor Adventure Day at that state park on September 24. Email me (email@example.com) or call my associate, William, here 770-535-5498 to sign up. C’mon, take one Saturday and give a little back to your sport. We can’t hold this event without a hundred volunteers. I need you to step up to the plate.
Thanks a bunch for hanging in there this summer. Let’s hope the evening showers and longer nights start cooling things off a bit for all of us and our fish communities. Thanks, as always, for your purchases of licenses and trout tags. We appreciate the operating funds.
I need some more pics and stories, so good luck and share your weekend tales!
(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)
We are in the “heat of summer right after school starts back” fishing lull. Reports were few, but folks who went did well. Saltwater fishing produced the best reports this week, with trout, redfish, sharks, and flounder catches being the most impressive. River fishing has been good, but getting around is tough with the water levels low. Full Moon is August 18th. 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 folks caught every species this week. Redbreasts, bream, crappie, bass, and catfish were landed. Over the weekend, a 50-pound flathead was caught by an angler using goldfish on a rod-and-reel. The river level was 2.3 feet and rising (89 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 2.5 feet and falling (84 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on August 16th.
Satilla River – Craig James and several other friends waded the upper Satilla on Thursday evening and caught 4 nice bass on floating worms. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the number of folks fishing this week slowed down. Those willing to work for their fish caught a fair number of hand-sized bream and redbreasts on crickets and worms. In the Burnt Fort area, creels of 30 to 50 fish were caught. Bream and warmouth were the most numerous in the creels, and crickets and worms were the best baits. One warmouth was pushing 1 1/2 pounds. The river level on August 16th at the Waycross gage was 4.0 feet and falling (83 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.2 feet and rising. At these levels, be ready to drag over sandbars no matter what craft you fish from.
St. Marys River – The number of folks fishing slowed this week, but the die-hards caught bream and a few redbreasts on crickets. Creels were running 20 to 25 decent fish in a morning trip. Catfish were still biting about anywhere you dropped a shrimp or rooster liver on the bottom. The river level at the MacClenny gage on August 16th was 3.8 feet and falling.
Okefenokee Swamp – On the east side, anglers fishing late in the afternoon caught some warmouth in the boat basin. Although I didn’t hear any bowfin (mudfish) reports, I’m sure they are still tearing up in-line spinners at any of the swamp entrances. Fire tiger and jackfish have been the best two colors on my recent trips. On the west side, you can catch a nice mess of catfish by fishing shrimp on the bottom.
Local Ponds – I fished Laura Walker State Park Lake on Saturday evening for 15 minutes after taking my family tubing. In that short amount of time, I was still able to fool a 12-inch crappie by casting a 1/64oz. jighead and pink 1-inch curly-tailed grub. I talked with another angler who had caught 20 bluegills while fishing the afternoon. Michael Winge said that the bream fishing was tops in Waycross area ponds this week with the approaching full moon. The fish were more active, and crickets, worms, and Satilla Spins produced fish up to a pound. Bass fishing has also been good in the late evening and after dark with black buzzbaits working best.
Saltwater (GA Coast) – Shane and Joshua Barber fished the South Brunswick River on Saturday and had a blast. They landed 15 trout (4 keepers) and a bunch of bottom fish in the windy conditions. They caught their trout on jigs and said that it didn’t appear that the trout are up in the creeks yet. Their bottom fish came on shrimp. The tarpon bite has cooled off lately, with very few of them being hooked. The silver nomads are iffy, but they are a blast when you find the bait and the schools of predators! Bull reds are moving into the sounds in higher numbers each day. That bite will be wide open before you know it. Michael Winge reported that saltwater fishing has remained good. Anglers did best for trout and flounder in the Brunswick area creeks and rivers around oyster bars. Lots of croaker are also being caught along with whiting on dead shrimp and squid fished on the bottom. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that Spanish mackerel are being caught early in the morning with Clark Spoons. Flounder, trout, whiting, and croakers were also caught in good numbers. At night, some nice sized sharks were landed, as were some bull redfish. Cut bait produced both species. Big blue crabs were still abundant around the pier. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.
Best Bet: Saltwater should be the place to go in the heat this weekend. If you like to fish from the bank, one of Georgia’s piers is a great option for Spanish mackerel (if you like to cast lures) or whiting and croakers (if you like to soak shrimp). From a boat, the sounds are a great place to start looking for bull redfish to show up if the weather will allow you to get out in the big water. I like to pitch bucktails to the St. Marys Jetties, but you can also catch them by putting cut bait on the bottom. In freshwater, the bream bite should be strong in your favorite pond. Wading the rivers for panfish is a fun trip, as well.