(Info provided by fisheries biologist Bert Deener and region fisheries staff)
No big report to share today, BUT we did want to show you this photo from last week where angler Chad Lee caught a nice 8 – pounder at a pond in Camden County. Nice work Chad!
(Info provided by fisheries biologist Rob Weller and region fisheries staff)
Lake Walter F George and Lower Chattahoochee River
According to several local sources the hybrid striped bass and white bass fishing has been good on George. Most anglers have been catching fish by trolling crankbaits including the Bomber 6A model in particular. The largemouth bass have moved shallower and are being caught between 8 and 12 feet. Crappie anglers have enjoyed a consistent deep water bite using minnows.
The recent rains have swollen the Flint and 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 and striped bass.
The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:
- Montezuma above Lake Blackshear http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv/?site_no=02349605&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00062
- Highway 32 below Lake Blackshear http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv/?site_no=02350512&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00062
- Lower Flint River below Albany http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv/?site_no=02353000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060,00062
According to Guide Steven Wells, the fishing prior to the recent storms was really heating up. A one day tournament last Saturday out of Big Jims was won with 29.9 pounds and second place was 22.0. The second place winners took shelter from the storm around noon and headed back out and caught 20 fish in the four pound range between 1:30 and 3:00 pm. All of these fish were caught on a topwater Ribbit Frog. Also, anglers have been noticing shellcracker beginning to stage in shallower water. The current heavy rains have stained the water but some clearer water can be found in the backwaters. If we don’t get any more large storms the fishing should continue to improve over the next week.
(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)
Whoa, what was that noise on my roof last weekend? By golly, it was raindrops! That’s welcome news to our drought-stricken north Georgia watersheds, where our reservoir levels are low and our streamflows even lower. We got about a half-inch, but that’s only a drop in the bucket. Last night’s rain hardly even bumped the graphs on our USGS streamflow gauges (https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02330450).
While the rain and possible stormy weather, including lightning, may present some short-term hassles for us anglers to deal with, let’s just go ahead and deal with it. We need the rain and every drop is welcome!
And, given our drought conditions, we can keep these “big rains” in proper perspective, and realize there will still be great fishing opportunities on either side of them. On reservoirs, for example, the warm, damp, cloudy weather is perfect for pulling shad, spots and stripers up shallow. Cloudy days sure beat bluebird skies in terms of a topwater bite on Lanier, Toona, or Nottely. Also, after the rain, we might be lucky enough to see some muddy water in the backs of creeks or in the main river channels. Yay for mudlines! When some sun hits that muddy water and warms it up more than the main lake, it will attract shad and bluebacks like a magnet, and we all know what follows the bait fish!
On trout streams, the warm gray skies also have fish looking up, rather than running for cover against herons and ospreys who can spot them in the sunshine. And those slugs of muddy water can be chow lines. It it’s warm, look down on the pavement and identify the hatch. Yep – earthworms. Toss a pink San Juan worm into the quiet eddies along the sides of flooded stream channels and hold on. Be sure to use heavier line. The fish won’t see it and you’re gonna need it to winch in trophies against flood flows. And even those alleged flood flows are relative. While that first flush of Chattooga runoff may be too muddy for a good trout bite, the slight clearing just behind the flood crest will be prime fishing water. Remember, a flood flow is relative. We’re so low right now that a 2-3 inch rain on the Chattooga may only bump river flows back up to NORMAL flow conditions for this date in history. Just look at those little yellow triangles on those flow graphs to see what the historic mean flows are. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02176930
So don’t let these rains scare you off. Understand them, appreciate them, work around them a bit, and let them work for you – all the way to the net and your grip-n-grin trophy photo!
Just remember on those trophies to “keep em wet.” https://www.keepemwet.org/#home Take good care of the fish, release then effectively, and hopefully more folks will enjoy similar trophy shots because of your stewardship.
So there you go. We have a nice dose of April continuing right now. Take advantage of it. You never know if we’ll get two straight months of true Februaries just ahead of us, and the fish will shut down due to frigid waters. Go get it while the getting’s good.
- Nice Lanier Walleye
- Vogel Family Fun
- Wild Stream Whopper
- Tooga DH – Dry Fly Action
- Smith DH
- Ami DH
- Match the Hooch Tailwater Hatch – Remember that Patrick has already helped you figure out where those wild browns live and what they eat, so match the hatch:
- Hooch Tailwater Browns
- New Fishing Regulations Brochure: The 2017 regulations guide is now available. You can find a hard copy at your local DNR office or your favorite sporting goods store. The online version is right here. Thanks to David Cannon for his donation of a nice rainbow trout photo for the cover.
- Toona – Stripers on the Banks
Lanier – Crappie
Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Report January 18, 2017 (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website, www.laniercrappieanglers.net )
In comparison to a year ago when the water temps were in the low 40’s, the lake level was above full pool, and the water was heavily stained due to all the rain, today water temperatures rose to about 57 degrees by the time we stopped fishing shortly after lunch. In the back of Two Mile Creek, the water temp broke the 60 degree mark. The current lake levels are just over 10 ½ feet below full pool. Water clarity is good, with a slight stain in some of the northern creeks. Do you think the fish are confused? Maybe we should ask our biologist friends at the DNR. The warming trend has not seemed to bother the fish, in fact they are moving around, chasing bait around their brush piles, and feeding on the abundance of threadfin. With caution, it appears that the fish are pulling away from the deeper brush piles, going a little more shallow at 15 ft. or less depths. This is generally an indication of warmer spring weather and the crappie preparing for the pre-spawn. HOWEVER, there is probably a lot of cold weather yet to come, and with it, this trend will reverse. The channel docks remain excellent targets to use the shooting technique, or to get a minnow on a slip cork inside or close to a dock. Even with good fishing, it is still not smart to rely on one or two spots. We are catching a lot of fish, but we are also moving around a lot, what we call “run and gun”. We had a great day on the water enjoying mild weather, beautiful scenery, great fishing and had the lake almost to ourselves. Take advantage of this while it lasts! Stay safe on the water – wear your life jacket!
More on Lanier
“The Southern Fishing Report” (106 Hickory Ridge, www.southernfishing.com, 770 889 2654, Cumming, Georgia 30040)
Lake Lanier is Down 10.7 Feet, the Creeks Are Stained and the Main Lake is Clear and 50s
(The following Lanier report brought to you by Jimbo On Lanier 770 542 7764 www.jimboonlanier.com)
Bass fishing is good. The lake has started to drop again after a brief rise after last week’s rain. The surface temperatures are back on the way up with all this warm weather we are having and projected to have over the next several days. The ditch bite continues to be good and we are catching them using the traditional ditch fishing methods like the SuperSpin, SPRO Jerkbait, SPRO Crankbait, jig and Picasso Shake E Head. Start back shallow in these ditches early, and then move out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses. We are starting in these ditches first thing and remaining flexible as the day’s progress. Lowrance Down Scan technology can scan much wider areas with the narrow beams so anglers can see the bait, the structure and the fish four times better than with sonar. Find the bait and you will find the fish. Some days we adjust to much deeper water within those ditches, and on others, we are finding the fish are staying shallow in and around those ditches as well as up around docks. We are starting with a SuperSpin tipped with a boot tail type trailer right in the ditch. Also, a Spro McStick or McRip has been a good choice as far as jerk baits go. A Spro crankbait is never a bad choice either, both in the ditches and around rocky/clay points as well. A finesse worm on a Picasso Shaky Football Head or a Chattahoochee Jig has been a good alternative if the fish are not as aggressive. If the ditch bite does slow, we have been shifting to steeper rocky points and finding success with a jig and worm as well. We have also continued to spoon up a few fish out of the timber, or near the timber, in creek arms/ditches in 30 50 feet. Check for bait and fish out deeper in the ditches as the day progresses. If you see fish out deeper, a spoon, jig, or shaky head can be a great way to catch them, depending on how they are positioned.
The ditch bite is here and the fish are positioning around the timber. If you are wanting to learn the deep timber bite, now is the time. Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun! Thanks to all and May God Bless.
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!
Lanier – Stripers
(The following Lake Lanier Striper report is from Captain Ken West 404 561 2564. Contact us on our web site. www.bigfishonguide.com)
Striper fishing is good. We have seen some consistency in temperatures over the last week with a corresponding improvement in fishing conditions. The bait and the fish have moved shallow and into the backs of the creeks. Start your day with unweighted free lines 50 to 70 feet behind the boat. Deploy planner boards with bank side planner at 20 feet behind the board and 50 to 70 feet on the deeper water planner board. We continue to use a combination or medium minnows and Blueback Herring with 12 pound test fluorocarbon 5 foot leaders. As always match your hook size to the size of the bait. We are using a #2 Gamakatsu Octopus hook for the medium minnows and a #1 or #1/0 for the Herring. As the day progresses move to deeper water from 25 to 50 feet and weight your free lines. Deploy several down rods and fish as close to the bottom as possible. As always keep someone on the front deck casting a ½ ounce bucktail jig. This pattern should continue to produce as long as the weather remains consistent. We are also seeing some top water action. Keep your eyes on the water and resistant the temptation to “plow” into a school of feeding fish with the big motor. The creeks on the south end of the lake are holding fish. Bald Ridge Creek, Shoal Creek, Flat Creek and Big Creek are good places to start. The lake is 10.7 feet below full pool. The water temperature is in the low 50’s. Call Big Fish On Guide Service at 404 561 2564 to schedule a guided fishing trip on Lake Lanier.
(Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html)
LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 14.8 FEET, 50’S & CLEAR
Spotted bass fishing is fair. On the main lake look for stumps and brush in 8 feet of water especially around points and humps that have deep water access. Small jigs in green pumpkin or Try the ¼ oz. in watermelon gold any other color that looks like green pumpkin will work and put a matching Zoom trailer. Check those creeks and pockets for water with some color to it. Fish the numerous shallow brush piles with the jig. Some fish are surprisingly still shallow. On sunny days the dingy water will warm faster and attract bait fish so bass are likely to be there as well. The deep clear water naturally will be colder and the fish will be deeper. If you see shad flipping on top whip out that favorite crank bait, the one that looks like a ¼ ounce Rat L Trap chrome with a blue back. Nice spotted bass have been schooling and busting the shad.
(Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html)
LAKE HARTWELL IS DOWN 10.4 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. Fish in the Tugaloo river area both north and south of the 85 bridge. In the first part of the mornings we have been working the back part of the creek arms and main lake pockets with a crank bait. We have been using more of a flat sided crank bait in deeper water in the 8 to 12 foot zone to catch them. As always this time of year you want to look for the areas the sun is on first. This water as you know warms the quickest and can be very productive. Some of the very backs of the creek arms are muddy and have not been that productive. But if it is a light stain that will help keep some of these fish shallower than normal specially the areas that are getting more sun. Continue to look for the bait as this continues to be key as it always is during the winter months. So take the time to find the bait and fish these areas thoroughly. Some key areas have been the clay and rock especially areas that have deeper water nearby this allows those fish to move up and down in the water column with little effort. Key baits that we have been throwing with these weather changes have been a flat sided crank bait, jig, and a shaky head. For our jig and shaky head anything in a green pumpkin color is good this time of year. Key for us was to continue to move throughout the day if we didn’t get bit within 10 minutes of fishing an area we picked up the trolling motor and moved on. When we got some bites we slowed down and worked the area with several baits before moving on to the next area. We did work some of the main lake areas but have not had much success at this time. We will continue to work the main lake area as the winter moves on to see what we can find. Remember the lake is close to 11ft low and there are a lot of objects sticking up out of the water and not yet marked.
Classroom Kudos: Nice article on Trout in the Classroom: http://www.gon.com/news/trout-in-the-classroom-2
The Flyfishing Show – Gwinnett (Feb 3-4): An all-star lineup of seminar speakers and fly tiers has been booked. http://flyfishingshow.com/atlanta/ Click on the “programs and speakers” tab.
Good luck during this soggy weekend, which we welcome with open arms. Many of us can fish right through it, given some Goretex. Others among us will stay indoors, but still enjoy some great events like the Rabun Rendezvous and the Falcons victory. Let it rain, let it rain. Fish need water. Let it rain!