EAST AND WEST CENTRAL GEORGIA
(Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant. See http://www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html for most recent updates.)
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 50’s
Bass fishing is slow and the cold fronts are back this week. Small jigs, lightweight Texas rigs and spinner baits are best on points half way in the backs of creek. Watch for any shad activity on the surface or on the Lowrance Down Scan technology. Bait is the key this week. Bass are showing up in deep water and some in large schools. Look for bass on the sides of main river points and flats. Jigging spoons like a ½ ounce Flex It, Hopkins Shorty 45 and Bomber slab spoon can work. Chrome, white, and chartreuse are the best colors to try along with gold during cloud cover. Crank baits can work later in the day but keep them small and use light lines. Take along a few jig-head and finesse worm, the Carolina rig and the drop shot rig as well as the jig and pig.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 9.44 FEET, 50’s
Bass fishing is slow but despite the tough weather conditions last week a few fish are biting. Fish up in the Little River near the Raysville area. A #5 Shad Rap can work as well as a jerk bait for spots and a few largemouth. When the crank bait bite dies off use a spinning reel and 8-pound test Sufix Elite line and a jig-head with a Fat Albert grub. If you plan to head up into the Little River be very careful. The water levels are low and trees are showing up everywhere. Look for schools of shad in the mouth of the coves and fish a Flex It spoon. Find the bait and find some bass. Fish this bait under the school of bait fish you find. The better bite is coming as the sun warms up the rock
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPERATURE 50-54
Bass fishing is fair. Spinner baits fished in the creeks and coves shallow will produce fish. White and chartreuse have been the best colors. When Georgia Power is pulling water the same spinner bait will work on the bridge riprap (they have been pulling early in the mornings). Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks in the middle of the coves out to the main lake will also produce. You can also add fishing a rattle trap around any deep dock and around riprap early. Jigs fished around wood structure have also produced some larger fish.
Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741, firstname.lastname@example.org
Striper fishing is good. The fish are mid-lake around river bend. Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait and the stripers will be close by. Look for the birds diving; if you see birds go fish them. Live bait as well as spoons will produce large numbers of fish. Watch for any shad activity on the surface or on the Lowrance Down Scan technology. Bait is the key this week.
Crappie fishing is fair. The fish are staging in the creeks. Long lining jigs over the fish will produce good catches. Spider rigging will also catch some fish.
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 4.5 FEET, CLEAR & 60’S
Bass fishing is fair and more cold weather will slow the action. The lake is coming up after some rain up north. Now, finesse fishing is still the way to go. Throw a Shakey head rigged with a 5-inch Senko in 12 to 18 feet of water on the river channels. Color doesn’t seem to matter but Watermelon has been the color of choice. Crank baits are still doing well but it seems like it has to be sunny and clear for the fish to really start eating it good. Watch for any shad activity on the surface or on the Lowrance Down Scan technology. Bait is the key this week. The crank bait will need to be a #5 Shad Rap or a Lucky Craft MR in the natural shad colors. Fish the rocks and any point that has red clay around them. This seems to be a little bit warmer around these areas. Jigging spoons are still working on the humps and road beds down lake. A silver ½ ounce spoon is the best bait this week.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.05 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S
Bass fishing is slow as the area took a hit this week with the cold weather state wide. A pattern or location today may not produce very well the next day. Riprap and other rocky banks are holding fish that are being caught with small to medium crank baits, jigs, and soft plastics. Any shallow rocks should be located very near much deeper water. Some good cranking choices are a Shad Rap RS #5, Thunder Shad, Deep Little N, Rapala DT10, and Fat Free Shad #5 & #6. Anglers should experiment with chartreuse, shad, and silver patterns. Jigs should be in the ¼ to 3/8 ounce sizes with a plastic or pork trailer. A Zoom Pro Chunk or a #11 Uncle Josh pork chunk will both work. For soft plastics, try a Zoom finesse worm with a 1/8 ounce weight rigged Texas style or the same worm on a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce jighead.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 1.16 FEET, 50’s
Bass fishing is slow. With the water temperatures ranging cold, finding bites is tough. Still, a small number of bass will bite as the spots are the best bet on the lake. Spots are more tolerant to the cold waters. Fish the lower lake and take a variety of baits. Worms and various other forms of plastic are best. Fish light line on sea walls and any wood and then after midday go to the deep diving crank baits while working points and deep ledges off the points. Wood will be the key as the colder waters are forcing them to hang tight. Suspending bass are located just off main lake or river points in 15 to 20 feet of water. Good lures to catch these suspending bass are the #5 jointed Shad Rap in the red crawfish color and the perch color Bandit. Some bass were caught last weekend on these baits. Any and all brush piles or stump beds that re holding fish need a good application of both the crank bait and Shakey head and worm combo.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA
Notice: The main parking area and boat ramp are temporarily unavailable due to a resurfacing project. The job should be completed by 12 Noon on Mon. Feb. 6. Detours to lake available, but the boat ramp will not be open until resurfacing is complete.
Surface Temperature: 60˚ F (15.6˚ C)
Water Level: 6’ 6” Below Full Pool
Water Visibility: 13”
With the heavy rain that we have had lately, the lake level is finally starting to rise up to previous levels. While the lake was down, numerous fish attractors were placed around the lake providing great habitat and opportunities to possibly catch fish. In between rains there have been several anglers catching crappie, and those fishing for catfish have not typically left disappointed with their catch. The bream like the largemouth bass have been a little sluggish, and have required a little patience and a slow retrieval.
- Bass – Plum colored ‘Ol Monstor worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms. Most dark colored worms.
- Bream – Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig. Near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon. Crickets have not worked well.
- Channel Catfish – Red Wiggler worms, Frozen Catalpa worms, and chicken livers.
- Crappie – Chartreuse/white teaser tails, or similar color pattern in Triple Ripple. Blue bodied teaser tail with a chartreuse tail and most brightly (not yellow) colored teaser tails with an inch or two of the tail trimmed have been very hot right now.
Additional information at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/PFA/FlatCreek
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA
Water temps. : High 40’s –Low 50’s
- Largemouth Bass – Historically, February brings unstable weather. Afternoon temperatures will vary and according to weather forecasts, it appears that February will also be wet. This does not mean to ignore all the opportunities that exist at Marben PFA. According to some anglers, now is a great time to target bass at Marben PFA. Their reason, as water temps drop into the 40’s threadfin shad become lethargic. Late February is a great time to target largemouth gorging on threadfin preparing for spring spawn. Successful anglers mimic lethargic shad by casting jerk baits and crank baits. Midday will be the best times to target bass giving the sun a little time to warm the water just a touch. Submerged timber and rock beds are good habitats to target when seeking bass at Marben PFA.
- Crappie – Crappie remain the most aggressive fish anglers will find at Marben this time of year and this will only increase as March approaches. However, do not expect to hook one with every cast. Finding them may require a little effort. Anglers should see a significant change as March gets closer. Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs. Try fishing cover approximately 6-8 feet throughout the day. Expect crappie to move into shallower water on warmer days in February.
- Bream – Bream fishing will start to pick up in late February but not nearly as much as in April and May. Cold water temperatures play a factor but a few warm days in February, anglers could really see a difference. Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best with midday temperatures. Remember that bream are deeper this time of year so to be successful anglers will have to target deeper water in order to increase your chances.
- Catfish – Catfish will remain sluggish this time of year. Patience is necessary if anglers are in pursuit of this fish. Anglers should target days when it is sunny which should warm the water in order to get catfish moving. Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben.
Additional Information: http://www.georgiawildlife.com/PFA/CharlieElliott
Licenses Required at a PFA:
- Anglers 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
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division)
Fishing reports were few this week with the bad storms and rains. Saltwater and ponds produced some good reports, but the rivers (other than the St Marys) are too high. The high water will help the panfish populations for the spring fishing. New Moon is January 27th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.
ALTAMAHA RIVER – The river is flooded at Baxley and much higher than I would fish it in the Jesup area. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that some crappie were caught in Morgan Lake (there is a ramp in the lake) by anglers using minnows. The Darien area is fishable, as the river spreads out in that area. You can catch channel, white, and blue catfish by putting cut baitfish or shrimp on the bottom. The river level was 13.5 feet (flood stage is 13ft) and rising (60 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 10.6 feet and rising (59 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on January 24th.
SATILLA RIVER – The river is well into the floodplain. Don’t try it this week. Brentz McGhin went before the rains (the river was 8 feet at Waycross), and pitched minnows to land 9 bass (6 keepers to 3 1/2 pounds) and a big crappie. He also pitched crickets for a little while and caught 3 redbreasts and 4 bream. The river level on January 24th at the Waycross gage was 14.0 feet and rising (61 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 10.6 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER – This is the only river in pretty good shape. The few anglers that reported back (they fished on Tuesday) caught bream, catfish, and a few crappie. If you want to fish a river this weekend, the St. Marys is your best bet. To catch about anything put worms on the bottom. If you want to target catfish exclusively, shrimp will probably produce a little better. The river level at the MacClenny gage on January 24th was 4.0 feet and falling.
OKEFENOKEE SWAMP – With the quickly rising water, I would stay away from the swamp this weekend. Usually the fish spread out and don’t bite well after a quick rise, but after it stabilizes another few days they will bite again. During next week’s warm afternoons, expect the fliers to eat pink or yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies suspended under a small balsa float and pitched with a bream buster pole. Fish the connections between the prairies and the canal, as the fish use these connections like a highway.
LOCAL PONDS– Pond fishing was great this week. Chad Lee of Alma fished Friday and caught 12 bass. Two of them were over 5 pounds, but most were just over a pound. He caught only 2 on Saturday, and then landed a nice 6-pounder on Tuesday evening. Most of his fish were caught on a ZOOM Ol’ Monster worm, but several, including Tuesday’s 6-pounder, inhaled a spinnerbait. Andy Trocheck figured out the big bass on Tuesday. He dragged shiners around the pond and casted a sexy shad colored Capt. Bert’s Swim Jig while waiting for a shiner to flush. He ended up catching 11 bass, with the biggest (an 8.9-pounder) eating the swim jig. He said “Tuesday was an awesome day to be bass fishing!” Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the crappie bite was good below pond spillways. The spillway at Lake Ware was especially productive. Anglers fishing there also caught bream, catfish, and bass. Bass will stack up in the spillways and hammer anything worked past them, but spinnerbaits and worms lead the list.
SALTWATER (GA Coast) – A couple of Waycross anglers fished the Brunswick area between storms on Saturday and landed almost 30 seatrout. They were casting Mama’s 14K Sea Shads skewered on Flashy Jigheads to catch their fish. This time of year you need to slow-roll the lures near the bottom, and the trout slam it when they commit. Michael Winge reported that nobody reported fishing during the storms this weekend. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout and sheepshead were caught around the pier and under bridges, but the bad weather kept almost everyone away. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.
BEST BET: Winter has returned, and pond fishing will likely be your best bet. With the cold mornings, the afternoon bite will likely be best. Fish a plastic worm or spinnerbait deep in a pond to catch a nice bass. Crappie should still bite minnows under float if you drag them around the deepest parts of the pond. If you want to fish a river, catfishing on the St Marys should be a good bet.
(Report provided by Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division)
Rise Up! We have a couple of big shows and some decent fishing weather this weekend, so you have a lot of great activities to choose from. Remember the Gwinnett fly show on Friday and Saturday, and the Big Show – the Falcons on Super Bowl Sunday. Reservoir and trout stream fans should have some better water temperatures and improved chances at catching fish this weekend, when compared to last week’s cold, windy conditions. Here we go with this weekend’s menu:
- Fly Fishing Show (Friday and Saturday): http://flyfishingshow.com/atlanta/ , The show was in NJ last weekend, and Henry C just shared this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mdFf7CJq7w&feature=youtu.be. I will help staff the GAWRD booth at the Atlanta show on Saturday. Come on by and we’ll swap fish stories, or I’ll mark a couple of good spots for you on your Georgia trout stream map.
- Scenic Savannah River Vdeo: http://www.orvis.com/flyfishingvideos/warmwater/fly-fishing-savannah-river/
Water levels: http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/actframe.htm
- Lineside: Captain Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service (http://www.firstbiteguideservice.com/) reports fishing is good. Water temps are a good 6 degrees warmer then it was last year at this time and the fish are eating like its early December. The Hybrids can been found busting top water most mornings near the “S-turns”. These fish are finicky – some days live bait is the ticket and the next day it maybe a spoon. Mid-lake seems to be holding better numbers of fish than the south or north-ends of the lake. However, I think all the creeks on the lake will produce linesides right now. Shiners fished on free-lines and planner boards are producing better than live trout or shad right now. Remember to down size your hooks to match your shiners for more strikes. After the sun comes up switch to pulling umbrella rigs. I have had my best luck this week pulling my rigs 145 feet behind the boat at 3.1 to 3.4 miles . As the lake starts to clears the umbrella rig bite will improve.
- Crappie: Report provided by guide Jeff “Crappieman” Albright (https://www.facebook.com/CrappieMan-Allatoona-Lake-Guide-Fishing-202748466416645/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE)
- 1/28/17: Had a pretty good morning boated 37 and kept 26 – couple real nice ones. Caught on slider jigs tipped with minnows (see photo). Water temps are down from last week (46-51 F). We were trolling 0.6 – 1 mph. Do not let the wind keep you off the water. Get 2, 5 gallon buckets, a 10 ft. piece of rope to tie them off to your boat. Drop them in behind you and you will be surprised how much they will slow you down. Good buddy of mine told me about this many years ago.
- 1/29/17: What an amazing day on Toona today. We boated 60 and brought home 53 in 3 1/2 hours. Thanks Brian for joining me today! All were caught on slider jigs tipped with minnows. Fish were still biting when we left. Looks like we got a pattern starting. Just what I have been waiting for. Water temps were 45-47.
Better Lanier Angler, Note the gulls and swirls! http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=891697
- Striper: Lanier Striper Strikeout – Guru and Dredger gave it a shot last Saturday morning. It was cold and windy, but there was a ton of bait and a big flock of gulls way back in Little River. Alas, no hookups. Maybe the stormy weather and muddy water had put the predators down for a day or two. It was still nice to give it a shot with the eight-weights, and even nicer to settle in at Longstreet Café to enjoy a nice hot lunch! (Hint: try the country-fried steak) Maybe this week’s warm spell will turn that striper switch back on. More Lanier Striper Intel https://teamlanier.wordpress.com/
- Crappie: This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See club website, www.laniercrappieanglers.net. Water temps have fallen into the low fifties. Some of the creeks at the north end of the lake still have moderate stain. At present, the crappie have abandoned both the deep and shallower brush piles and have headed to docks, preferring docks with cover below. The cover could be some type of brush like a Christmas tree that has been placed below the dock by the owner or even a piece of deck furniture blown off the dock. Crappie relate to structure, and need cover. That’s their living room. Your Hummingbird side scan imagery can be very helpful in locating cover under the docks, as well as fish in the cover. Hopefully that can eliminate docks that are less likely to produce results. Covered docks, docks with pontoon boats, and docks with boat lifts are great targets. Always study the dock, looking for the darkest spots within. Fish those spots from different angles. The best way to get the bait to the fish in these conditions is to utilize the dock shooting technique. Your preferred jigs are 1/24 or 1/16 ounce jig heads with a 2 inch Bobby Garland soft body baby shad. The colors that worked well for us today were Electric Chicken, Blue Ghost, and one of my favorites, Twilight. These jigs skip on top of the water well, which will assist in getting the bait to your target. If you prefer live bait, a 10 foot or even a 12 foot pole will help you place the minnow as close as possible to the area you are trying to target. This can be awkward, but is a good method to produce results with live bait. Channel docks in 15 to 30 foot depths are good targets. We had the lake to ourselves today, and it was a crisp but pleasant morning. Stay safe on the water – wear your life jacket!
DELAYED HARVEST – TROUT
Hmmm, it’s the first of the month. GAWRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson hinted that truck engines are idling at our state and federal trout hatcheries,
and that Y2K’s and woolly buggers might be even more effective for weekend warriors on Georgia’s DH streams…and Lake Tralyta, too.
- Best bets: Smith DH for the young and old; Toccoa DH for the nimble. http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112372
- Ami DH Get it deep! http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112373, http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112370
- Upper Hooch Tailwater http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=112382
- Calling All Lanier Captains http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=891626
Good luck. May you score an improved fly cast from a Friday fly show instructor, a coolerful of Toona crappie on Saturday, and a Super Sunday with a Falcons win. Have fun as you Rise Up to all of the wintertime opportunities here in north Georgia. As always, thanks for buying your fishing licenses and TU car tags.