We hope you soon get a chance to smile as big as 5 year-old Colton Perry did on a spectacular day catching 15 crappie at Don Carter State Park on Lake Lanier.  

This week’s reports include Coastal (Freshwater), Southeast, Central and North Georgia.

If you need information on fishing regulations – be sure to check out our online resources – click HERE


(Fishing report courtesy of Joel Fleming, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)



Like most springs, the panfish and largemouth fishing in our coastal rivers is really starting to pick up.  However, one fishery that is really happening right now is the Ogeechee River striped bass fishery.  Following the drought that ended in spring of 2013, GA DNR fisheries managers have been supplementing the Ogeechee striper population with fish from our hatchery system.  Those stockings, along with a few years of excellent natural reproduction (thanks to great spring flows) have resulted in an abundant number of fish at a size to be harvested by anglers.  During the spring period, these fish can be found throughout the estuary and areas slightly upriver of the estuary, before they begin to spread out in search of summer refuge.  Really large fish, well over 20 pounds, can be found on sandbars as the pair up to spawn but catching large numbers of this sized fish is not likely.  Larger numbers of smaller fish between 2 to 10 pounds can be found on structure (docks, rip-rap, fallen trees, etc) and around the mouths of small tributary streams (old rice canal out-flows) in fairly swift current.  These fish can be caught on live bait (shrimp, mullet, etc.) beneath a cork or on artificial lures like paddle-tail swim baits, crankbaits and bucktail jigs.  Finding the right congregation of fish seems more important than the actual bait or lure.  When you find the fish, they tend to readily take a wide variety of baits. Obviously, when fighting a 10 pound fish in riverine current, fairly substantial tackle is a must.  A minimum of a medium-weight rod set-up is suggested and heavier equipment spooled with a quality braided type of line is highly recommended when fishing in dense structure.


  • Bidd Sand Lake (84-ac) – Bass fishing has been fairly steady as fish have moved off their spawning beds and go into more of their summer-time routine. Crappie fishermen have been finding success while trolling jigs and minnows in the deeper areas of the lake.  Good-size bluegills and red-ear (shell cracker) continue to be caught from the bank and pier.
  • Lake Longleaf (8-ac) –Channel catfish fishing has been excellent with many anglers catching limits using chicken livers on bottom rigs during the morning and late-afternoon periods. Large Bluegill are also being caught fishing from bridge and in the upper part of lake.
  • Lake Woody (30-ac) – Several anglers have been catching good numbers of fliers, catfish (mostly brown bullhead) and some red-ear (shell-cracker) averaging at ½ to ¾ lbs.



(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

I hope you each have a wonderful Easter! With the cold and rain, the number of reports was way down this week. The rains have brought the rivers up, which will extend the good fishing farther into the spring. Last quarter moon is April 19th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/rt.


Michael Deen and Justin Bythwood won a bass tournament for the second weekend in a row. This week it was out of Altamaha Park. The pair had a 14.40 pounds. Their kicker was a 4-pounder caught on a flat bladed buzzbait, and a couple of the other solid fish came on a copperfield Flashy Swim Jig. They had a bunch of small keepers on Texas-rigged speed craws. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that flathead catfish were caught on goldfish and shellcrackers were eating worms. Anglers reported catching 30 to 40 fish per trip. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the shellcracker bite was hot and heavy for those fishing pink worms in spawning areas (primarily willow-lined slackwater areas). Some bream were caught with crickets, minnows, and worms. Redbreast fishing picked up this week for those pitching crickets and casting crawfish Satilla Spins. White Satilla Spins produced some good crappie catches this week. Artificials should continue to improve as the water warms back up on the rebound from this past week’s cold temperatures. Catfish were fooled with cut bait in the shallows. The river level was 9.3 feet and cresting (68 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.9 feet and rising (67 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on April 11th.


Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the rising river and cold snap slowed the fishing from its red-hot status, but anglers still caught quite a few redbreasts on crickets and yellow beetle spins. Crappie were caught with minnows at the mouths of oxbows. The catfish bite was great on the rising river for those fishing pink worms on the bottom. The river level on April 11th at the Waycross gage was 8.6 feet and falling (66 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 6.5 feet and rising.


Bass fishing was good this week, as was bluegill fishing. Crickets worked well for almost everything. Catfishing was productive for anglers fishing worms and shrimp on the bottom. The river level at the MacClenny gage on April 11th was 4.3 feet and falling.


The wildfire is in the extreme southern end of the swamp (in Florida), and while there may be some smoke on some days, everything is open at the time of writing this. Reports were few this week from the swamp. The water level rise last week probably put the bite off a little bit for a few days, but it should be right back on by this weekend with the falling water and warmer temperatures. Pitching sallies will be the way to go for fliers and warmouth, while flinging in-line spinners like Dura-Spins will catch pickerel (jackfish) and bowfin (mudfish). Michael Winge said that reports were very good on the east side, and anglers were catching warmouth by pitching crickets.


Michael Winge reported that good numbers of bass were caught from Waycross area ponds by anglers pitching lizards to shallow cover and beds. Topwater frogs also produced some big fish. Bream were fooled with crickets.


The whiting bite on the beaches and in the sounds was the highlight in saltwater this

SE GA Garrett Page Whiting 2 17.png

Garrett Page caught this and several other nice whiting. Put a piece of shrimp on the bottom and something should eat it pretty quickly this weekend!

week. Some small sharks have been mixed in the catch. Putting small pieces of shrimp (or squid and shrimp) is the ticket for the tasty fish. A few tripletail have been caught off Jekyll Island. That bite will only improve as spring progresses. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that good catches of trout, flounder, black drum, cownose rays, sharks, and stingrays were made from the pier this week. Bottom fishing with shrimp or cut baitfish produced most bites. You can monitor the marine forecast at www.srh.noaa.gov/jax/.



The rivers are still a little high for prime panfishing, while the Altamaha bass fishing has been the most consistent in flowing water. Pitch swim jigs or Texas-rigged plastics for numbers of bass, but buzzbaits will be hard to beat for quality this week. In saltwater, whiting are the way to go on days when you can get out to the sounds. The Okefenokee will be a great destination for fliers and warmouth this week, and pitching yellow or pink sallies will catch the panfish. In ponds, you should be able to catch bream and bass again this weekend. Add some topwaters to your mix for bass, especially early and late in the day.


(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

Reservoir Fishing Reports by Ken Sturdivant (www.southernfishing.com/current-fishing-report.html) 


Largemouth Bass: Bass fishing is good.  The water continues to warm and bass are shallow.  Fish all the shallow bedding areas all day week and then find a deep ditch or channel ledge and fish the area with either a Rapala DT6 or a Rapala #5 Shad Rap.  The bass will strike at any aggressive crank bait now including Fat Free Shad and Wiggle Warts.  During the midday period fish any wood on the banks.  For the larger bass go to the swim jigs by Striker King and a light Texas rigged Zoom trick worm rigged with a pegged sinker.  Finding the right color will be the key but green pumpkin is your first choice.


Largemouth Bass: Bass fishing is fair to good.  Main lake points are best and if there is a pocket close by, even better along with the numerous boat docks.  An early top-water bite is still present on the points, especially those located near the river channel.  Try using a 3 1/4 inch Chug Bug in either a gizzard shad or Tennessee shad color.  A four-inch number 10 Husky Jerk in a Glass Blue Minnow and a Glass Perch color are working on the side of points.  Light jigs and Texas rigged worms are working around and underneath the boat docks.


Largemouth Bass: Bass fishing is good.  The shad spawn is in full swing.  Small crank baits fished along the side of the docks, sea walls, and riprap from the mouth of large coves and the major creeks to the back of the creeks has been producing.  You can also add fishing a rattle trap around any deep dock and around rip rap early.  Spinner baits fished on any bridge rip rap will also produce.  White and chartreuse have been the best color.  This bite is best early right at sun up.  Up the rivers the fish have been holding tight to wood cover, dark jigs have been working in this area of the lake.

Stripers (Note: This Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time service. Call 404-803-0741, reeltime@bellsouth.net): Striper fishing is good.  The fish are starting to move away from the dam.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools of fish in the mouths of the coves and on the humps on the south end of the lake.  Live bait (shad) have been the best over the past week.  As seen below, the Giddens Family boys sure did have fun catching stripers and hybrids on a recent Lake Oconee trip!

Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair.  The fish are scattered from shallow to already moving into the timber on a summer pattern.  You need to be versatile and be ready to fish jigs in the back of creeks to dropping minnows into the deep timber.


Largemouth Bass: Bass fishing is good.  Some top-water action is there early and until 10 am.  Use big top-water bait like the Devil’s Horse and all white buzz baits.  All white seems to be the hot colors with a little green in the skirts.  These baits have been taking some really good fish early in the day.  After the sun gets up, slow rolling spinner baits and large crank baits has been the best way to get to the deeper fish on the river.  The bass are tight on the creek channels half way into any of the creeks as they stage for spawning.  Carolina rigged Zoom green pumpkin Trick worms or the same color in the Zoom lizard in the six-inch size will work.  Add some extra Jack’s Juice garlic into the bags of all the soft plastics.  This scent will make the fish hold the baits longer.  Spots will take a #5 and #7 Shad Rap all day.


Largemouth Bass: Bass fishing is very good.  There are tons of shallow fish.  Top-water baits and spinner baits have been especially good during the last few days.  Popping baits like Pop R’s and Chug Bug’s, and prop baits like Torpedo’s are producing numbers and quality of fish.  Start the morning in the clearer water till the bite slows and then move to stained water and give it a try.  Spinner baits will work with winds and a choppy surface.  If the bite slows or stops, try using a lightweight Texas rig in the same areas around any cover present.  Rip rap along the roadway bridges are holding fish that are hitting crank baits, spinner baits, Texas rigs, and jig head and worm rigs.  Docks and boathouses are still holding bass that are mostly hitting Texas rigged worms.  The normal summer humps, points, and ledges have slowed to a crawl, but should again hold lots of fish once the sun shines for a couple days.  Large crank baits like Norman DD22, Poe’s 40 and Fat Free Shads are good choices when the fish are real active, especially during power generation.  Carolina rigs and Texas rigs are the other primary choices for these deep fish.


Largemouth bass: Bass fishing is fair.  Some small bass are roaming the banks as well as on the ends of points.  The bass are shallow around any wood and cast baits to shadows all day.  Use a gourd green Berkley tail worms down lake on Texas rig and use the brass and glass on the rig for more sound.  Look in the mid lake half-way back in the creeks and hit any dock or on points.  Brush is a must and the fish are on the shady sides of docks.  Up the river the fishing is fair.  Use a buzz bait in all black and then use a Lucky Craft Redemption spinner bait and add a large trailer.  Zoom Bush Hogs and dark worms in the u-tail style in reds and grays will work fished slowly on wood and docks.  Use a Texas rig and fish all lures slowly and let them fall.  Zoom trick worms in pink or yellow are also fair around the docks in the shadows in the creeks.

Upcoming Event: On April 29, 2017 in Blue Ridge Georgia, the Blue Ridge Trout Festival & Outdoor Adventures will be there for their second year. Vendors, seminars and much more are planned. http://blueridgetroutfest.com/


  • Surface water temperature: 67o F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is about 36”
  • Water level: At Full Pool

Largemouth bass: Fair but improving– we sampled many bass 5-10 feet off the bank.  Try using spinners and crank baits in 4 to 6 feet of water.   Try using spinners and crank baits fished parallel to bank.  Also, plastic-worms and lizard fished around bass beds should produce some good bites.

Crappie: Good- There are a few big crappie for the taking for the dedicated angler.  Minnows as bait should provide your best chance at a strike.  Also, anglers may have to troll to locate schools of crappies.  Trolling at varying depths while alternating between both bright jigs and live minnows may help locate bunched-up crappie.

Bream: Good- Bream fishing has improved.  Some good fish are being caught around the fishing pier and woody structure. Best chance at a bite is with pink and red worms as well as crickets.  Bream will soon be moving up to begin spawning.  When they do, look for bream beds in the backs of shallow coves.

Channel catfish: Slow- however, you may get lucky using livers at or almost at the bottom and at several different locations around woody structures and the rocks around the dam.

In general, bass and bream fishing will continue to improve.  Also, spring is a great time to fish and picnic at Big Lazer PFA with the whole family.  Also, our spring kids fishing event is coming up on June the 3rd.  Good luck!


  • McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Water temperature range across lakes: 70.34 – 71.6 ⁰F
  • Water Visibility: 21 – 54+ inches
  • McDuffie PFA’s Fish cleaning station is now open.

Largemouth Bass: The lunker-size largemouth bass have slowed down due to bedding activities. Anglers are still catching small bass and some bass in the three and four pound range.  McDuffie PFA’s anglers are spreading the fishing pressure across the seven PFA lakes.  An angler reported catching six bass on April 13th.   McDuffie PFA has a 14-inch length minimum on largemouth bass. Rodbender, the trophy bass pond, is open year-round and anglers can harvest one Bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.  This regulation is strictly enforced.

Bream: Full moon of April.  Bream, both bluegill and redear are being caught in shallow water across the PFA.  Willow Lake is producing nice shellcrackers and anglers are finding the spawning beds.  Rodbender also has bream both bluegill and redear.  An angler at Bridge Lake was catching nice bluegill with crickets under a float along shoreline.

Channel Catfish: Catfish are biting in all PFA lakes with Willow being the hot spot.  Anglers are limiting out on eating-size catfish from Willow Lake.  Anglers fishing Rodbender have reported several five and six pound channel catfish being caught.  The best fishing is on the bottom using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made baits.  Later, in the spring catfish can also be caught in shallow water by fishing with worms or crickets under a bobber.

Striped Bass: Stripers were biting in Bridge Lake and no reports of stripers being caught in Clubhouse.   Stripers are biting on chicken liver fished on the bottom while anglers were targeting catfish.



(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

The hot April action continues across north Georgia, as warmer air draws lake and stream temperatures up to their optimal ranges for our target species.  Take a look at this week’s headliner: a lucky young man and his Nottely monster striper!


Stripers: (From Fisheries Biologist Pat Snellings) – This week we completed our annual Striped Bass spring electrofishing sample on Lake Lanier. Images from sampling efforts seen below. Each year, we go out in the spring when the Striped Bass move into shallow water and use electrofishing gear to get a representative sample of the population. These data help us determine out how strong the year classes are and help evaluate stocking rates. For each fish we measure the length, weight, sex, and take a scale from the fish to later determine its age. This year we saw good numbers of fish in the 2-4, 5-7, and 8-10 pound range. This indicates strong 2015, 2014, and 2013 year classes respectively. Typically, the biggest and smallest Striped Bass aren’t easily susceptible to electrofishing gear. However, this year we found above average numbers of Striped Bass less than 12”, which indicates good survival of our 2016-year class. Our best success this year were along gently sloping clay banks and points in Ada Creek, below Thompson Bridge, and around Laurel Park. Our best day this year was shocking clay points below Thompson Bridge on Wednesday (4/12), which yielded 60 Striped Bass. This upcoming week we will begin our annual spring Black Bass electrofishing sample on Lake Lanier, followed by Lakes Nottely and Chatuge.

If you plan on going out this weekend be safe and if you catch a trophy be sure to let us know! http://www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/AnglerAwards, Good luck and tight lines.

Crappie: (Lake Lanier Crappie report from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club, www.laniercrappieanglers.net) – This time of year we often hear the comment “if the dogwoods are blooming, the crappie are biting”.  There is truth in that, but fish need to eat all year, so we target them all year using various methods.  Current water temps are in the mid-sixties.  Fishing is good to excellent.  We are still fishing both the pre-spawn as well as the post-spawn, with some fish having already spawned and some fish waiting to spawn.  Both have one thing in common:  crappie ALWAYS relate to structure.  They may leave their habitat in pursuit of bait, but they always return.  That is why you can target fish using several different methods right now.  If you prefer using crappie minnows under a cork, the blowdowns and brush piles close to docks in shallower water along with areas nearby are still going to be your best bet.  Blowdowns are beginning to produce quality fish, especially if you see a few surrounding weeds.  Do not overrule using a jig.  In my opinion, it may work better.  As stated in the past, some of these blowdowns are in 10 feet of water, but some are in 20 feet of water, depending on the size of the tree.  Look at the size of the trunk, compare to nearby trees and estimate the height of the similar trees.  Also look at the slope of the bank.  All these factors will help you determine the location and depth of the tree below the surface.  Make sure you fish the blowdown at every possible angle before moving on.  After you finish fishing a blowdown, ride over it with your downscan and it will give you the accurate depth of the tree as a reference for your next trip.  You may also want to mark a waypoint on your electronics if the spot was a good producer.  Hair jigs and soft body jigs are working well.  Long line trolling, is also working well.  The fish chasing bait are the targets of this method.  If you are a dock shooter, game on!  We are catching them inside docks at various depths with structure (both deep and shallow) and getting photos of impressive catches from our members.  Warmer days together with good fishing is a great recipe for an awesome time on the lake.

Be sure to check out that featured image at the beginning of the Georgia Fishing Report for April 14: 5 year-old Colton Perry holds up just one of the 15 crappie recently caught during a fun fishing day at Don Carter State Park on Lanier. What a Smile!

Wear your life jacket it can save your life!


(From Fisheries Biologist Pat Snellings) – This week we completed our biannual sample of Bear Creek Reservoir in Jackson County. Water temperatures are in the mid 60’s which is when many fish species move shallow to spawn and are often easier to catch. Largemouth Bass are abundant in Bear Creek Reservoir, with majority of the bass being around 12”. We found good numbers of Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker) spawning in shallow water as well. Fishing for Largemouth Bass and Shellcracker is a great way to get a young fisherman or woman hooked on the sport.  They are easily targeted this time of year in shallow pockets and coves using nightcrawlers and crickets. Crappie were also prevalent in our sample with several fish over a pound. Majority of these crappie were found along woody structure in the water such as downed trees. For those interested in fishing Bear Creek, more information can be found at http://www.bearcreekwtp.com/.


I went back out to Hollis Q Lathem on Sunday. It was an absolutely great day to be on the water, even better to share it with a great friend! It was around 40 degrees when we met up at 7:30, so I figured it would take a few hours for things to turn on and wake the bass up!  Like I thought, the catching was slow until the sun was high in the sky! A few bass were caught early on a Spook….after that it was wacky rigs, all day long! It’s hard to throw anything else when the Wacky Rig produces as well as it does!  It’s like my not to be named “confidence fly” in fly fishing, the Wacky Rig has become my go to setup!

After about 1pm, the switch turned on and the green fish decided to play! Fish are still being caught shallow, between 2’-6′ of water. This is a great little reservoir that folks need to check out.  If you have a canoe, YAK or Jon boat, load it up and get out there.  Parking is $5 and it’s electric only!

Here’s a little video made from the day….Ron W: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbRt38mHals


Headwater Trout:


(From “Alan from Athens”) – The weather with blue skies, bright sunshine, and mild temperatures may not have been ideal “catching” conditions for a day on the Chattooga DH, but it made for a really pleasant day on the river. The rain last week in North Georgia had raised the river level up to the best level I had seen in what seemed like months with good wading conditions (water where there had been sand and rocks a few weeks ago).

Stepped into the River at 10:30 am and decided to fish a dry/dropper set-up (parachute adams and small bead head pheasant tail. After about 30 minutes landed a 10” brown that was positioned in the shadow of a ledge that darted out and inhaled the adams. This turned out to be a common theme with the first three fish I landed all being browns and all were holding in similar areas, it was great watching them in the clear water come up and take the dry (clipped off the pheasant tail and tied on a small caddis dry after the second fish).

Brought two rainbows to hand that were holding in deeper runs and a couple more browns throughout the early afternoon. Started to see more small caddis and mayflies in the late afternoon and saw a few rises to the naturals, definitely seemed to get the fish looking up and landed several larger fish including the best fish of the day a 15.5” brown with great color.

Had landed 14 fish as I walked out of the river at 6:30 pm, only saw two other people fishing as I left. It was a great day on the Chattooga.

Delayed Harvest Trout:

GA’s DH streams got redosed last week and the spring bug hatches are on. It’s a great time to visit one or more of the Georgia and North Carolina DH streams. http://www.georgiawildlife.org/Fishing/Trout


Web page reminder- see “weekly stocking report.” http://www.georgiawildlife.org/Fishing/Trout, Feel free to call our secretary, William, (770-535-5498) if you would like a printed copy of the GA trout stream map.

Featured Site of the Week: West Fork Chattooga watershed


Remember that the immediate reaches right below Buford and Blue Ridge dams are “clear water” sanctuaries during muddy storm events in the watershed.

Smithgall Partnership:

(From Park Manager Will Wagner) – We at Smithgall Woods are grateful to the Georgia Foothills TU Chapter for their donation of a mounted Brook Trout for our Discovery Room.  The new fish enhances our display and showcases our mission of protecting the Dukes Creek watershed.  We are very privileged to have such a wonderful relationship with our local chapter, and volunteers, as we work toward conservation and education together. https://www.facebook.com/gafoothills/photos/pb.521801561299933.-2207520000.1491574873./1100664953413588/?type=3&theater

USFS Wants You:

It’s sooooo easy.  Go to this map: https://www.communityremarks.com/conf//dynamic_map_view.php?fullscreen=yes

Click to create a comment box, write a few comments on what you’d like to see done on 150,000 acres of your public lands, and you’re done.  And you’re part of the national forest planning process.  Go ahead, give it a shot.  Are your national forest trout streams like Chattooga, Warwoman, Etowah, Jones, and Mountaintown worth FIVE minutes of your time?

Upcoming Events:

  • April 18: Summer Flyfishing Tips: Dredger will provide summer intel at the monthly meeting of Rabun TU, 7PM at Rabun Gap Presbyterian Church.
  • April 22- Youth Class: Youths (ages 10 to 15) are invited to participate in the Sam Rizzio Youth Fly Fishing and Conservation Clinic Saturday, April 22, from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the Chattahoochee Nature Center (9135 Willeo Road, Roswell). The clinic is organized by the Upper Chattahoochee Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Advance registration is required. The clinic is designed for the beginning fly fisher and provides basic instruction in all phases of fly-fishing, including fly-casting, knot tying, insect identification and conservation. Students will be provided all necessary equipment.  Certified instructors and mentors will work with the students to provide individual instruction and answer questions about fly-fishing. Upon completion, each student will be awarded a certificate and receive a box of flies. The registration fee of $20 includes lunch. For more information, go to http://bit.ly/1U2UAkd or contact Tom Hayes at 513.515.7954.

You’ve waited all year for the weather and water conditions to align perfectly.  Well they have, http://www.intellicast.com/Local/Weather.aspx?location=USGA0267 , so the rest is up to y’all.   Go fish Georgia soon!