North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)

It’s been a busy week, so here is a real quick North Georgia report. 

Summer reared its hot, ugly head again this week, but maybe it left last night and won’t return until next June. Our air temps are diving today as the wind rushes in, so that’s good news. The continuing bummer is no rain, so this week’s fishing report is really a rerun of last week’s story: headwater and tailwater trout, river bass and bream, and reservoir bass and smaller stripers in the shallows. Also, be very careful with open flames, due to the fire danger. Here we go. 

Try the Hooch (McGinnis, Abbotts , Medlock, Jones, and Island Ford) and Blue Ridge tailwaters and the upper Chattooga.  The tailwaters were spiced up during the last week, and SCDNR has begun its fall trout stocking program, which includes our border water, the Toog.

Our WRD-Gainesville duo of Snellings & Looney sampled yesterday (10/20) from Buford Dam down to Abbotts.  They found good populations of both browns and rainbows (the leftover 9/24 kids event fish) at the dam, but the seasonally low DO right below Buford Dam may make those fish a bit slow to bite.  DO improves with oxygenation through the shoals, so downstream sites might have happier, hungrier fish, and the water clarity improves somewhat with distance downstream.   Settles had good numbers of chunky (12 inch) browns, and only a few rainbows, since it’s quite a distance from a WRD stocking site.  Abbotts had a good rainbow population, with a few browns mixed in.

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Wild fish fans can still trek high in the mountains and fish very low water for spooky residents.  How low?  REAL low! 

NC’s DH streams and the Smokies NP streams are still in drought mode, but at least their  water temperatures are low.

  • Instream Help for New Trouters – Nov 5

Check out the free clinic at the NGTO fall fling.  I also hope that our experienced anglers, who received help when they first started fly-flinging, will now help as mentors.  Pass it on, folks!

  • Hartwell Fall Bass

  • Chatuge Attractors

We just added 75 more fish attractors in Bell Ck. on Chatuge and have 75 more for this area to help the crappie fishery. 

attractors chatuge TVA 2016 pic1.jpg

     -Kemmy G with TVA

Crappie Fishing Report October 20, 2016

This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club.  See our club’s website,

Water temperature is in the low seventies.  With the cool nights and hot days, we are seeing a greater variation in water temps as the day progresses.  Fishing remains excellent.  Your main targets should be stand-alone brush piles.  This is a great time to put your Humminbird side scan and down scan to good use.  Find brush piles located in the mid-sections of creeks.  Zero in on 15 to 25 foot depths.  Spending time locating these brush piles will pay off, especially if your electronics mark fish on them.  Throw your marker over the brush pile; give the fish a few minutes to settle back in, then start fishing.  You can go to our website to view photos of down scan screen shots with fish on, taken in the last few days.   Crappie in these areas can be caught using a variety of techniques.  My all-time favorite is using a hair jiffy jig or a Bobby Garland soft body jig on a 1/24 ounce jig head.  The jigs should be tied directly to a four pound test line without additional weights or swivels.  Watch for ANY movement in the line, and then set the hook.  If you like to use crappie minnows, a #6 Eagle Claw long shank hook with a slip cork is working well.  Your bite should start ten feet below the surface early in the morning, and will be deeper as the day progresses.  If you’re in to trolling, tight lining is a good option right now, using a 3/8 ounce double swivel egg sinker with a 2 foot leader.  Once you locate the brush pile, move over it SLOWLY to allow your line to drift in an almost vertical position over and around the brush.  If your line flattens out, you are moving too fast. 

Take advantage of Indian Summer and enjoy the fall colors on the lake while they last and the fishing is great.  Be safe on the water!  Wear your life jacket, it can save your life!

  • North GA Crappie Club Weigh-In

Dredger attended last Saturday’s weigh in at Sherry’s Bait and BBQ.  Club members had a big time and caught some decent numbers and sizes of fish.  The best part of their Saturday event appeared to be the club lunch (BBQ) after the weigh-in!  New anglers in the Lanier area should pay a visit to a fishing club like this one.  Get adopted, make new friends, and learn the lake secrets much more quickly with your mentor.  Then “pass it on” to the next struggling new angler that you meet.

  • National Forest Comments Welcomed

FYI for all forest users.

Online means for your comments:

Good luck this weekend as we cool off and hope that fall stays this time!


Southeast Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Saltwater is picking back up after the hurricane, and the rivers are getting low again. The Okefenokee bowfin bite is still on fire. Ponds produced some consistent crappie and bream catches. Last quarter moon is October 22nd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website

Altamaha River – The upper Altamaha and Ocmulgee panfish reports were better than the bass reports this week. On Thursday a couple of anglers caught some bluegills and redbreasts on crawfish Satilla Spins. Their biggest was a 10-inch rooster – a whopper for the Altamaha system. On Monday an angler pitching crickets to shady shoreline cover caught a limit of 50 bream. On Tuesday, a group of 3 anglers caught a dozen assorted panfish by pitching crickets, minnows, and crawfish Satilla Spins. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the catfish were still going strong this week. Flatheads were caught on goldfish, while channels and blues bit cut bait, pink worms, and shrimp. The crappie bite was good this week for those fishing minnows. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the channel catfish bite has been the best since the park returned to operation after the storm. The river level was 1.3 feet and falling (77 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 2.5 feet and rising (74 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on October 18th.

Satilla River – Brentz and Alex McGhin and Greg Nelms made the trip of the month so far to the lower Satilla (White Oak Creek) last Tuesday. They ended up catching and releasing 12 striped bass up to 19 inches (all were beneath the legal minimum size). They caught most of them by casting yellow 4-inch Saltwater Assassin curly-tailed grubs to busting fish, but their biggest came on a broken-back rebel minnow plug. Alex and Greg caught their first stripers on the trip. They also put shrimp on the bottom and caught 29 white catfish that went in the cooler. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that in the upper river the redbreast fishing turned on this week. Anglers reported catching some nice fish on crickets, Satilla Spins, and beetlespins. Quite a few bream were mixed in with the redbreasts. Bass were fooled with an assortment of soft plastics. Shrimp and livers produced some nice creels of catfish. The river level on October 18th at the Waycross gage was 4.6 feet and falling (74 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 6.8 feet and falling.

St. Marys River – The panfish bite was improving this week, with anglers reporting catching 20 to 25 panfish per trip on crickets. Catfish chowed on shrimp and pink worms fished on the bottom. The river level at the MacClenny gage on October 18th was 2.3 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – Once the refuge reopened after the hurricane, Craig James whacked a bunch of bowfin (mudfish) on Thursday using white Dura-Spins with silver blades. He landed 31 of them from 1 to 4 pounds. While many of the bass fisheries are in the fall “slump”, the swamp bowfin and pickerel (jackfish) bites are well-worth fishing. Michael Winge reported that you can wear yourself out flinging Dura-Spins and catching bowfin if you like something pulling on your line. An angler reported catching 60 bowfin in a 3 1/2-hour trip by throwing Dura-Spins at the east entrance (Folkston). Warmouth are spotty right now, but a few bit worms. If you want to learn the finer details of swamp fishing, attend the Pioneer Days Celebration at the Folkston entrance and participate in the fishing opportunity. The event will be held from 9am to 2pm on November 19th and there is no cost, except the refuge entry fee.

Local Ponds – Stevie Young caught the biggest bass I heard of this week, an 11-lb., 8-oz. behemoth that inhaled a spinnerbait on Sunday afternoon. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds the bream bite was good over the weekend due to the full moon. Crickets and worms were the most consistent baits. The crappie bite was also solid, with minnows producing best.  With the warm daytime temperatures, buzzbaits continued to produce some quality-sized bass.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Michael Winge reported good trout catches from the Brunswick area by those using live shrimp and Assassin Sea Shads. A few flounder were caught on mudminnows, as well. The whiting bite is improving after Hurricane Matthew.  Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported that they finally got the bait shop back open last Thursday. Fishing has been slow (the number of people going, not the catches) with the ongoing clean-up from the storm. The few who went did really well catching crabs from the pier. On Monday, a crabber caught 24 crabs in less than an hour of crabbing with only one net. A few bull reds were caught by anglers using crab halves for bait. You can monitor the marine forecast at

Best Bet:  Trout fishing should be great out of Crooked River late in the weekend and early next week as we drop under an 8ft high tide. Choose a day with winds 10mph or less and fling Sea Shad/Equalizer rigs or your favorite live shrimp rig around oyster bars and creek mouths, and you should bring home a cooler of tasty trout and redfish. I usually start my rig with an 18 to 24-inch leader made of 20-lb. test fluorocarbon and adjust it longer or shorter depending upon conditions. In freshwater, it will be hard to beat the Okefenokee this weekend. You can toss in-line spinners for jackfish or mudfish or pitch sallies to shoreline vegetation for fliers.


Stevie Young caught this 11-lb., 8-oz. monster bass from a Valdosta area pond using a spinnerbait on Sunday afternoon.


Greg Nelms caught and released this 19-inch striper while fishing the lower Satilla River (White Oak Creek). He threw a broken-back Rebel minnow plug at breaking fish to catch it.