Fishing Reports: November 10, 2016

  • East-West Central Georgia
  • Southwest Georgia
  • Southeast Georgia
  • North Georgia
  • BONUS North Georgia

East and West-Central Georgia

 (Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger)

Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.  See  ( for most recent updates. 


Bass fishing is good and seems to get getting better and better as the water cools down.  The bass are feeding and most of these spots are very fat.  Top-water baits are catching bass during the day way up in the Savannah River.  The water is very clear so scale down your lines and use some fluorocarbon line as it is all but invisible to the fish.  The bass will move up to feed on the shad and other bait fish that are still moving up to the warmer water.  The spotted bass are being caught all over the lake where wood and rock are present.  Catch a limit on everything from Shad Raps to finesse worms.  The bigger bass are still playing a little hard to catch.  A slower and persistent presentation will be necessary to coax that bigger bite.  Several casts with that crank bait and a slower presentation of that soft plastic is your best chance on catching those larger fish.  Submerged deep-water brush piles or stumps left as the lake was built is where the bigger fish are feeding.  Watch the Fish and Game Forecaster on Ken’s site and use the bigger baits when the peaks occur.


Bass fishing is fair.  The bass are aggressive and feeding heavily on the blue back herring.  During the early morning hours, anglers are relying on their top-water baits on main lake points to trigger strikes.  Spinner baits are always a favorite primary and secondary bait as the water cools down.  Find a school of blue backs and use the olive green jerk baits to catch a quick limit of bass.  Stay focused on the main lake points and the mouths of the feeder creeks while fishing.  Wind is also a factor during the fall and winter months, so make sure those trolling batteries are new and fully charged.  Riprap rock and long stretches of rocky banks are both always good places to find bass this time of the year. 


Bass fishing is fair and it is time for the bass to start moving back into the coves as they follow the shad.  The shad and other bait fish are starting to move back in to the coves and some can still be found out in the rivers and up around Ringers access and bridges.  Following the bait fish will be the key for a successful fishing trip this week.  The bass will be all bunched together and beginning to gather on points in the coves.  Fish Shad Raps and 6A shad Bombers in 6 to 12 feet of water.  This will catch a mix of largemouth, spots, whites and hybrids.  The fish are hitting top-water early and late and some gulls have returned to the lake.  Watch the gulls they will show anglers where the top-water action is taking place.  Small spoons and Fish Head Spins will work.  Add a small Fluke to the Fish Head Spin and dip the tail in red dye.  Use the jerk baits and some RS Shad Raps.  With the water good and clear, stay with the natural shad colors.  Watch the Fish and Game Forecaster on Ken’s site and use the bigger baits when the peaks occur.


Bass fishing is fair.  Look at shallow areas at 2 to 8 feet deep.  Most fish are located in coves and creeks all over the lake.  Top-water baits continue to produce a few fish on some mornings, although this bite has slowed somewhat.  Buzz baits, Pop R’s, Chug Bug’s, and Torpedo’s are good choices to find out if bass are eating on top.  Spinner baits have produced well recently especially in the dirtier water.  Use a Stanley in a 3/8 ounce size with double Colorado blades, one nickel and one gold.  A chartreuse and white bait works well, along with solid white or solid chartreuse.  Use a one ounce Rat L Trap to catch fish along seawalls and across shallow secondary points and flats.  Chrome blue is the best choice with the sun shining, while gold or a shad pattern is good during low light conditions.  This pattern also seems to work best with the wind blowing.  Docks and boat houses are holding fish that are hitting crank baits, jigs, and soft plastics.


Bass fishing is fair.  The fish are feeding and watch the Fish and Game Forecaster for the peaks periods.  For cranking use a Rapala Shad Rap in shad and chrome blue.  If bass won’t hit a steady retrieve, try stopping the bait beside dock posts and allowing it to suspend for 2 to 3 seconds.  Intentionally bump the dock posts with the bait too.  Use a Zoom U tale in green pumpkin or June bug with a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce weight.  Fish any dock walkway all the way to the bank.  If bass won’t hit the crank bait or worm, it may be a jig day.  Try a 3/8 ounce Strike King Pro Model in black blue with a Zoom Pro Chunk in green pumpkin.  Pitch the jig against a dock post and allow it fall vertically to the bottom.  Lift it slightly and allow it fall back.  If nothing happens, retrieve and try another post.  Swimming the jig with occasional twitches can be the trick at times.  Also try working the bait slowly along the bottom and through any cover.           

Big Lazer PFA

Surface water temperature:   66o F

Water visibility:  Visibility is about 28”

Water level: Water level is down 30” from full pool

Largemouth bass: Slow – a few bass maybe caught on buzz-baits.   Also, plastic-worms fished in deeper water and around timber snags may produce a few good bites.  Remember to fish plastic baits slower now that water temperatures are a little cooler.

Crappie: Fair- A few crappie are being caught in deeper water at about 14 feet in the standing timber.  Live minnows and bright colored jigs work the best.

Bream: Slow- Bream fishing has been slow.  Target areas that have structure like woody brush and blow downs associated with it.  In the fall, the best strikes maybe in water 6 to 8 feet deep or more.  Crickets and small worms may produce a few late season bream.  Fishing with light tackle can make bream fishing more exciting.

Channel catfish: Slow- Not a lot of catfish being caught.  Try fishing livers at or almost at the bottom and at several different locations around woody structures and the rocks around the dam.

In general, the weather has finally turned a little colder and the bite has become less consistent.  Anglers have to be more patient and persistent to have a good catch.  However, fall weather means many anglers are hunting this time of year thus less fishing pressure for the dedicated angler.

Additional information at

McDuffie PFA

Falling water temperatures across McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Avg. 61 – 64 F

Water Visibility:     19 – 50 inches:

Lake Water levels across McDuffie PFA are still down a foot or more but boats can still be launched at all ramps.

Largemouth Bass:  Overall, the Largemouth bass bite will be picking up continually until water temperatures drop below 45 degrees.  Lake Willow has its second spawn of threadfin shad so match the size and color of the forage for some exciting surface or below surface action.  The bass are responding to the cooler water temperatures and biting readily.  Fishermen are catching multiple fish with most of them being caught and released.  Rodbender, the trophy bass pond, is open until the evening of the fifteenth of November.  The bass action should be improving in Rodbender because a recent stocking of Golden shiners were added to lake from the hatchery program.

Bream: Slowing down: The water is cooling but the panfish are still biting.  Bream are being caught near shore this week near the docks fishing Louisiana Reds on the bottom.

Channel Catfish:  The Catfish bite is still excellent due to a supplemental stocking of catchable size channel cats which have been providing the local fishermen with a good stringer.  The best fishing is on the bottom in medium to deep water using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made baits.

Striped Bass:  The small Stripers are biting in both Clubhouse and Bridge Lakes. Stripers are biting on chicken liver fished on the bottom while catfish fishermen are fishing for catfish.  Umbrella rigs, diving crank baits and top-water plugs are very effective on McDuffie’s stripers during the colder months.

Additional Information:

Licenses Required at a PFA


Angers 16 years and older must possess a current fishing license, AND a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) license to fish.

If you have either a Sportsman’s, Lifetime, Honorary (resident disability license or resident one-time veteran’s license), 3-day Hunting and Fishing License, or 3-day GORP Plus you are NOT required to have a WMA license to fish.

A WMA license is NOT required to fish at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area. 


To access a PFA for non-fishing activities, visitors age 16-64 must have one of the following (visitors under age 16 and/or over age 64 are exempt):

Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass (GORP)

3-day hunting/fishing license

WMA license

Sportsmen, Honorary (resident disability license or resident one-time veteran’s license) or Lifetime license

Southwest Georgia 

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Rob Weller)


The bass fishing on George has improved recently and could be considered good. It is taking about 20 pounds to win a one day tournament. However, most anglers are catching bags in the 10-12 pound range. Most fish are being caught near the edges of hydrilla beds. Fish can be caught on swim baits, jerk baits and spinner baits but a Texas rigged worm with ¼ oz. weight is currently producing more fish than any other bait. One angler I spoke with swears that the five inch Big Bite Fighting Frog is really doing the job. The crappie fishing is a bit on the slow side but should pick up as the water continues to cool. The water temperature is still in the low 70s. The bream are still biting but don’t expect big fish most will be well under half a pound.


The Flint River remains very low and clear. However, Crisp County Power has begun to drawdown Lake Blackshear so there is currently a bit more water in the Lower River below the dam. There have not been many reports of fishing activity but shoal bass and catfish should still be very active. This weekend might be a good time to visit either the tailrace below Lake Blackshear or below Lake Worth in Albany as the increased flow should attract white bass, hybrids, striped bass and catfish. The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip.

The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:

Montezuma above Lake Blackshear,00060,00062

Highway 32 below Lake Blackshear,00060,00062

Lower Flint River below Albany,00060,00062 


According to Lake Seminole fishing guide Steven Wells the fishing for bass has picked up considerably. It is taking close to 40 pounds to win a two day tournament on the lake. The water is low and clear and the bass are being caught using several different techniques including frogs and senko worms. Crappie fishing is still slow but should pick up as water temperatures continue to decrease. The water temperature is in the low 70s, which is warm for this time of year. Bream are still being caught but will probably begin slowing down as water temperatures decrease. Steven mentioned that a lot of coots and a few ducks have arrived on the lake which signals that fall has arrived along with improved fishing for bass after a slow October.

Southeast Georgia 

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Bert Deener)

Only a few people fished this week, but those who did caught a bunch of fish. The pond and lake crappie bite, saltwater trout bite, and river bass bites shined this week. The “Supermoon” Full Moon is November 14th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website

Altamaha River – The bass fishing remained good in the upper river and its tributaries. A pair of anglers from Waycross fished the Ocmulgee on Saturday and caught 21 bass during the afternoon (the day after a strong cold front!). Most of their fish came on green pumpkin jigs, flukes, and Texas-rigged plastics. Their biggest was a 3-pounder, but they also broke off several fish. Another group of anglers fished the Ocmulgee on Monday and caught 7 bass on plastics. A Texas-rigged Keitech Crazy Flapper (crayfish imitation) was their go-to bait. Black-blue flake produced the most, but they caught a couple on watermelon-red flake. The fish did not bite for them until the water started warming in the afternoon. The water is as clear as it gets on the Altamaha and its tributaries. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that the crappie bite is the big news. On Sunday a group of anglers caught 47 big crappie on minnows. Flathead fishing with goldfish was fair. The river level was 1.1 feet and rising (65 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 1.2 feet and steady (72 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on November 8th.

Satilla River – The river is still really low, and you will be dragging your craft a bunch right now, but the fish will still bite. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that anglers reported shellcrackers biting pink worms fished on the bottom by bank anglers. The redbreast bite downriver has been good, and pitching crickets, beetlespins, and Satilla Spins did the best. In the Waycross area, anglers wading to their favorite holes caught some nice crappie using minnows in deeper areas. Catfish were caught with worms fished on the bottom. The river level on November 8th at the Waycross gage was 4.0 feet and falling (68 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.8 feet and falling.

St. Marys River – Panfishing has been slow with the low water level. Very few anglers have been fishing. Those who went caught a few bream on crickets and a bunch of catfish on shrimp. The river level at the MacClenny gage on November 8th was 1.6 feet and falling.

Okefenokee Swamp – Very few anglers have been fishing, but those who did caught fliers, pickerel (jackfish), and bowfin (mudfish). Pitch yellow sallies (under a small balsa float) for fliers or fling Dura-Spins down the middle of the canal for pickerel and bowfin. Fire tiger has been a consistent color for that spinner. The boat basins at both sides should produce some warmouth if you dabble crayfish, worms, or crickets around the pilings. 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.

Lake Mayers (near Baxley) – The water cooled from 76 to 70 degrees over the last week, but fish still bit. On Monday evening a couple of anglers caught 30 crappie in an hour of dragging minnows around the mid-lake area. Some of their poles were rigged with tan shad Specktacular Jigs and some with plain hooks. The advantage of the jig-minnow combination is that if a fish steals your bait you are not “fishing on credit” and can still get bites. The fish averaged about 10 inches and ranged from 9 to 11 inches. My favorite approach for crappie at that lake is to fish 3 or 4 rods rigged with Assassin 2-inch Curly Shads out the back of my boat and troll at about 1 mph. Shad or chartreuse hues typically produce the best catches. Look for an article on crappie fishing at Lake Mayers in the December issue of Georgia Outdoor News (GON).

Local Ponds – A couple of anglers fished a local pond for a couple of hours Sunday evening and landed 6 bass on black buzzbaits and unweighted stick worms. The fish were crashing buzzbaits next to cypress trees the last hour of daylight. Chad Lee caught 17 bass over the weekend. Most of the bass were 1 to 2 pounds, but at one point he caught 4-pounders on back-to-back casts with a Whopper Plopper topwater. Crankbaits produced most of his fish. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds the waxing moon has the crappie tearing it up. Minnows have been working best for the larger fish. Channel catfish were also caught with livers and worms. Dark buzzbaits and bubblegum Trick Worms produced some good bass catches. This time of year with cold mornings, I typically catch more fish in the afternoons.

Saltwater (GA Coast) – Michael Winge reported that trout fishing was still “on” with reports of lots of keeper trout on both live shrimp and Assassin Sea Shads. The number of slot redfish caught this week was also high. A few flounder were caught along with the other inshore species. Dead shrimp fished on the bottom produced some quality whiting catches. The docks and bridges along the St. Simons Causeway produced good catches of sheepshead. Over the weekend fish in the 6 to 10 pound class were being fooled with fiddler crabs. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout are being caught at night at the edge of the shadows produced by the pier lights. They caught them on both live shrimp and jigs. Bull redfish were around and ate cut baitfish. A few sharks were still landed this week. Bull whiting were eating dead shrimp fished on the bottom during the day. You can monitor the marine forecast at

Best Bet:  Another Friday night cold front is forecasted. If it comes to fruition, the winds will probably be high behind it on Saturday. Because of this forecast, it would be a good weekend to fish protected waters, such as ponds or rivers. With the crisp fall weather and changing maple and cypress leaves along the waterways, this might be the weekend for a float trip on your favorite river. Make sure you are ready to drag if you choose this option, but it will be a beautiful and productive float. Crappie fishing in your favorite pond is a low-cost option, but might also be low productivity for Saturday, as crappie usually get lockjaw behind a front. As temperatures moderate, the fish will start biting again. 


Bob Lee of Blairsville fished with friends over the weekend and caught this 6-pound bass, the biggest of their trip, on a topwater prop bait

North Georgia

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

The drought continues, unfortunately, but the dry weather and cooling air temperatures do create excellent conditions for anglers to get out and enjoy some fall fishing.  We all have to be a bit more cautious these days, given the drought.  First, folks with respiratory problems should first check on prevailing winds and smoke conditions, due to forest fires in north Georgia and North Carolina, before traveling north.  We’ve smelled smoke at home this week in White and Habersham counties, and Rabun County had a thick, smoky haze up the Highway 441 corridor from Clayton due to the Nantahala forest fires.  Second, boaters need to throttle down and be aware of navigation hazards as some of our lake levels recede.  We nearly beached on a long, shallow point Friday night on Lanier, but thankfully were idling slowly.

Despite these challenges, there are some great fall angling opportunities that continue across north Georgia.  This week’s menu includes Delayed Harvest trout, run-and-gun for reservoir stripers and spots, deep brush for crappie and walleye, and shrinking mountain creeks full of hungry wild trout.  Let’s get to this week’s reports and tips.

  • Lanier Run and Gun

In response to this video and other “reliable sources,” Guru and Dredger hit the big pond twice last weekend.  They spent Friday and Sunday evenings running around the upper lake, trying to spot striper schools on top or on the graph.  Except for one chunky spotted bass that nailed a bomber after dark, they struck out on Friday, but it was still a beautiful, calm evening on the lake.  They had three blowups behind the Zara Spook, but no takers.  IPhone “guide” Henry C chastised the duo for using baits that were too big.

Their second shot on Sunday evening was a bit better.  After 2.5 hours of a “scenic boat ride” circuit from the Hooch/Little River confluence down to Gainesville Marina and back, they struck gold right before dark.  Where?  Well, right in front of their parked vehicle at Holly Park.  The stripers boiled briefly and the duo boated 2 and 6 pound fish before the school vanished.  Hot flies were the Henry C recommendations, of course, to match the hatch: the Something Else and the Cowen’s baitfish.  Both of them imitate the very small threadfins that the striper school was keying on.


Lake Lanier Striper

Spin and cast angler tip: try running a small fly or jig as a dropper, off a three way swivel, while casting your bigger lures like spooks, bombers, or jig-headed super flukes.  With this setup, you can match either hatch, big bluebacks or small threadfins.  Our Yankee friends call them “teaser rigs.”

Double up your chances at success.

  • Redfin Run and Gun TV Show

How to work a redfin: see the 19-minute mark.

  • Lanier Crappie

Crappie Fishing Report November 9, 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 about 69 degrees. You will notice cooler water temperatures the further north you go in the rivers. Fishing is good and getting better. The pattern is simple: submerged stand alone brush piles in fifteen to twenty five feet should be your main targets. The main river channel north of Laurel Park on the Chattahoochee side and the main river channel in the Chestatee are both are producing well. Having said that, don’t overrule the middle of creeks to the backs of creeks, staying in fifteen foot or greater depths. We are also noticing that some fish are moving to deeper docks in main river channels.  If you want to fish the south side of the lake, you may want to consider Four Mile Creek.  You will notice a slight change in the color of the water as you go further north. This should work to your advantage as crappie prefer slightly stained water. Jiffy Jigs, Bobby Garland, Mr. Crappie and Panfish Assassins have all been working well. If you prefer fishing with live bait, minnows are also working with a number six long shank hook and a slip cork. If you’re not familiar with slip corks, instructions on how to use will be on the package. Tight lining while trolling is another way to catch crappie on brush, using a jig tipped with minnows ten feet below the surface. This will require ten to twelve foot rods parallel with the water, with up to four rods on each side of the trolling motor. Your line should be vertical while going at a very, very low speed. If your line is angled or horizontal, you are going too fast.  The lake level continues to drop, exposing new hazards.  We are currently just over 9 feet below full pool, so be vigilant.

Enjoy fishing among the fall colors on the lake, stay safe on the water and wear your life jacket!

  • Lanier Bass

Water Temp: 68 degrees

Water Level: 9.07 feet below full pool

This report brought to you by Jimbo On Lanier  770-542-7764

The fishing on Lake Lanier has again been good this past week! The water temperatures have started to drop with the cooler nights and more seasonable high temperatures. We sit around 68 degrees and falling, and the water level continues to drop as the corp continues to pull water.  We now sit over 9 feet down from full pool.  I look for the topwater bite to slow down again as we get a cold front this weekend, and the jig/worm bite to pick up.  I also look for the jerkbait bite to get stronger, and potentially the SuperSpin bite as well. The topwater bite returned this week with strength.  We have found lots of schooling fish this week as well as fish that will come up for topwater baits worked over brush piles on structure such as points and humps.  With the lake down, I look for a great ditch bite as the water continues to get cooler, so keep an eye out for the bait making their way into the creek arms. That will be the indication to shift your areas of focus.  When the schooling bite I referenced above is slow, we have been heading out to main lake humps early in the morning and working a jig and shaky head for some solid fish. 8-12 feet seems to be the magic depth this past week.  As the day progresses and the sun starts to get up, we have been working humps and long running points with brush.  The fish have been relating to brush in 12-18 feet of water on most sunny days.  The topwater and swimbait bite over the brush has been good this week – make sure to check out the pictures on my Website or my FaceBook account – Jimbo On Lanier.  If you get no response on top, switch to a SuperSpin and Spro Jerkbait around and over the brush. Also a Picasso Swim Jig slow-reeled over the brush has been a good option.  The jig bite has continued to stay strong this week, and as I mentioned above, it should get stronger with another cold front coming in this weekend. I am now guiding in a Brand New Xpress Bass Boat – 21’3″ powered by a 250 Yamaha SHO and equipped with the latest Lowrance HDS Gen III units featuring 3D Structure Scan technology.  Come take a ride in this beauty!   Here are the dates I have open in November:  25, 26, 28, 29, 30. I am also booking for December, which should be the peak of the ditch bite. Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun! If you have been waiting for the fall bite, its here, and its time to FISH! Thanks to all and May God Bless.

Jim “JIMBO” Mathley, Spotted Bass Fishing Guide – Lake Lanier, Mobile – 770-542-7764,

  • Reminder – Anthony’s Walleye Tips

This handy sheet should complement our recent north Georgia reservoir reports (Chatuge, Rabun, Yonah) featuring walleye catches in our sample nets.

  • Bluelines

Editor’s note: with cooler weather now upon us, your best bet for topwater action may be in the afternoons, as water temps rise. Secrets to success: stealth, long and light leaders, and a #16 elk hair caddis.

  • Enjoy this great video, “borrowed” from Mark via his NGTO post:

  • “Sautee’s” Saturday Report (11/5)

Another gorgeous day panning north Georgia blue lines for precious gems. As the water warmed they started looking up. Again, #16 yellow elk hair caddies brought them to the surface. Low clear water had them in deep refugia but they exhibited quite an appetite when softly presented flies hit the surface. In 3 hours, 18 fish to hand up to 8″. Wish there had been company but many happy hikers kept the day interesting while they took photos and asked me how the fishing was going.

  • The Damer Report

I spent a few hours on my favorite wild brown trout steam today (11/8).  Water levels were very low, but not quite as bad as I expected.  I think the newly fallen leaves have plugged up a lot of holes and kept water levels up, somewhat.  Water temperature was looking good at 53 degrees.  Water was super clear and the fish were very spooky, meaning I needed 5x and delicate presentations for success.  I stuck with a 16 elk hair caddis all day and it enticed some enthusiastic strikes.  The largest fish went to 11 inches, and it pulled hard enough to partially straighten my hook when it dove under a submerged log.  Normally, I would have expected to see some fish getting ready to spawn at this time of year, but saw no signs of spawning activity yet in this unusually warm fall.  Wild trout streams like this one should continue to fish well until water temps drop into the 40s, so get out there now and make the most of this unbelievable weather!


Pretty little brown trout caught Nov. 8

  • Delayed Harvest Trout Reports

Newly stocked fish and low flows in our big waters equals good catch rates at most, if not all, DH streams:

Also, around the campfire Saturday night, several Rabunites admitted they had very good trips to the Chattooga DH.

  • Hooch DH Fishing Show

Enjoy this blast from the past, and get your kids out there to Paces Mill Park while the weather is still warm.

  • Hooch Bucket Brigades Announced

Calling all vols, preferably those with kids in tow:

  • Hooch NRA Maps

These will put metro trouters right on the good spots!

  • Changing Trebles to Single Hooks

Check out this great advice from Windknot that will help spin fishers adapt their favorite lures to the single hook standard required on our Delayed harvest streams.  Grab a kid and a single hook spinner and have a blast with newly stocked DH trout.

  • Reminder – Hooch Tailwater Flow Times and Fishing Tips

  • Mentoring Kudos!

Here’s a big DNR thanks to NGTO’ers Fishbreath and Big T

for last Saturday’s instream lessons to 20 new fly flingers.  That duo and a handful of mentors taught about twenty new anglers how to drift their flies properly to catch more trout.  The free lesson was part of an outstanding NGTO Fall Fling at Buford Hatchery.  Folks who missed the lesson can still review the “drag free drift” cheat sheet, here:

Thanks to Landon, Stephen, and their assistants, we’ll hopefully welcome dozen or more new folks to our angler/conservationist ranks!

  • Lake Winfield Scott Fix

  • Reminder- Extreme Drought

Do your part to save our forests.  Please continue to be careful with any open flames until we get some rain and reduce the fire risk in north Georgia.  And if you’re driving north, be ready to deal with smoke.  It was even smoky in Clayton, GA as I drove thru last Saturday afternoon.

NC Fires:

GA status – Notice the greater restrictions:

TOTAL FIRE BAN on Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests: Date(s): Nov 8, 2016

A total fire ban for both the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests is now in effect. This ban is in place until January 14, 2016. uilding, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire anywhere on the national forest (including fire rings in developed campsites) is prohibited. The potential for wildfire activity is very high across much of Georgia where severe to exceptional drought conditions are being experienced. Commercially available fuel stoves (camp stoves) are excluded from this restriction.

View the order:

Drought Map:

Good luck this week as our air and water temperatures start their downward slide toward winter.  Take your kids to a DH stream or the lake at Vogel State Park and go catch their first trout!  You’ll make lifetime memories together.

BONUS REPORT! North Georgia

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

Here’s some extra report fodder, courtesy of our busy biologists providing week-ending reports of their annual sampling results.  We hope you enjoy these updates and tips from their lakeside Iphones.

Thanks very much for buying your fishing licenses and tackle.  Funds from those purchases fuel our fisheries management programs.

Your “second scoop” of this week’s fishing intel follows.


Blue Ridge White Bass From Gill Net Surveys

  • TVA Lake Blue Ridge

We completed our annual fall gillnet sampling at Blue Ridge Lake this week.  Water temp was around 67 lakewide.  We found lots of spotted bass up shallow, along with good numbers of walleye and white bass.  As is typical of Blue Ridge, most of the white bass were huge.  Fish of all species were most plentiful upriver in the Toccoa arm.  We also saw several fish chasing bait at the surface and expect top water action should be good right now.  Anglers should take advantage of this awesome weather and hit any of the TVA lakes because the fishing should be good.   How long will it last… who knows!  This fall weather has been anything but typical.  For more fishing information on Lake Blue Ridge, visit:

  • John Damer, WRD Fisheries Biologist, Armuchee (706) 295-6102
  • TVA Lakes Chatuge and Nottely

This week we had the chance to sample lakes Nottely and Chatuge in north Georgia with gill nets and preliminary results were promising! We saw results of our White Bass stocking this spring in Lake Nottely, picking up young-of-year White Bass along with young-of-year Striped Bass. In Lake Chatuge we saw generous returns from North Carolina’s new walleye stocking program, finding numerous fish around two pounds. Quality Hybrid Striped Bass were also prevalent in our samples, which is an excellent sign for good fishing on Lake Chatuge in 2017. We saw numerous schools of fish moving shallow as water temperatures continue to drop on Nottely and Chatuge.   Fishing should only get better in the days ahead as air and water temperatures drop.

If you plan on going out this weekend be safe and if you catch a trophy be sure to let us know!

Good luck and tight lines, Pat Snellings, WRD Fisheries Biologist, Gainesville, 770-535-5498

  • Georgia Power Lakes

“Think Like a Crappie”

Now that temperatures are finally cooling down in the Northeast Georgia mountain lakes, fish are becoming more active and aggressive.  This week’s biggest tip for those who want to catch walleye is to think like a crappie!  Yes, think like a crappie.  We collected a number of walleye in our annual gill net sampling this week.  We also noticed that every time our nets were snagged in a tree branch lying on the bottom of the lake that we caught several crappie and walleye.  So, if you think like a crappie then you might just catch a walleye, too.  Search for the tree tops and branches lying on the lake bottom in 20 to 30-feet of water, especially on points.  Work every nook and cranky of the limbs with crappie minnows, night crawlers or even crappie minnows.  Most of the walleye we collected this week weighed about 3 lb and most of the crappie that were next to them approached 2 lb.  Best bets are Rabun and Yonah.  Tugalo has an excellent sport fish population, too, but lake drawdown is limiting boating access right now.   For more information on these lakes, visit:

Anthony Rabern, WRD Senior Fisheries Biologist, Burton Hatchery (706) 947-1507

Good luck on the Georgia mountain lakes this fall!