Before we begin, a quick shout-out and congratulations to Jimmy Jacobs! Outdoors writer and friend of Georgia Wildlife Resources Division since….let’s just say a long time, right Jimmy? On Aug. 26, 2017, he will be inducted into the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians Hall of Fame. Article found HERE. Jimmy was also honored at the recently held Georgia Outdoor Writers Association annual meeting with “Best Corporate Sponsor Story in the Excellence in Craft”-1st Place; and “Best Miscellaneous Outdoor Story in the Excellence in Craft”-3rd Place. Find out more about Jimmy and his adventures HERE.
Now, on to those juicy reports that give you the latest news about when and where to throw out a line. Reports this week come from NORTH and SOUTHEAST Georgia.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
We’re winding up the spring weather and its associated, great fishing opportunities. There are still some bass on the banks, especially in our high elevation lakes like Chatuge, and hungry stockers in our trout streams, where water temperatures are still tolerable in most of the larger waters. On both lakes and streams, morning fishing is gonna be better than the hot afternoons with high sun. Just look at the Hooch-Helen water temperatures and you can figure out the time of the day for the best trout bite.
Our Delayed Harvest waters are now in their “catch and keep” phase, so take advantage of this “new” opportunity this week. And if you want to trophy hunt, toss some big lures in the Hooch and Blue Ridge tailwaters. For inspiration, see the brute brown photo.
Pond bream should are still a best bet for those lucky enough to have access and permission to some prime farm ponds and subdivision lakes. Tip: put a hook in a small bream and freeline it at dusk. You might just find a trophy bass.
We’ll transition to summer fishing mode over the next couple of weeks. Take advantage of the remaining cool water here in May for some better catches, since it will likely be a lot less productive in June. And if you have kids, visit JAKES Day at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center this Saturday! Here we go:
- Tooga Trouting Video
- No More Delay to the Harvest: Go get the Georgia DH trout before summer’s warm water gets them. That’s why the program is called Delayed Harvest. It optimizes trouting catch rates during the cooler months on marginal reaches of trout waters, and promotes harvest before those fish are lost in hot water. It’s a win-win for both of our valued trout angler groups, the releasers and the harvesters.
(Report below from Pat Snellings, Fisheries Biologist) – This week we finally finished our spring reservoir sampling in north Georgia and if you have a rod and reel handy the results are promising!
Bass: On Lake Chatuge the Largemouth Bass are moving off into deeper water into typical post spawn patterns, as the Spotted Bass move up shallow to spawn. There are a lot of big fish in this transition zone which is perfect for anglers looking to hook into a big one! We found good numbers of bass shallow, mostly holding on submerged woody debris. Our biggest fish were a 7 1/3 lb Largemouth and 4 ½ lb Spotted Bass.
Bream: If you’re looking for bream Chatuge is a great destination as many sunfish are ready to spawn. We found numerous redear shallow on flats holding tight to any cover they can find. Most of these fish are hand sized or larger and put up a great fight.
Catfish: The catfish are spawning on Chatuge as well. They can be targeted just off rip rap banks and causeways where they are using crevices in the rock to spawn.
This is a great time of year to take a youngster fishing and get them hooked on the sport. All it takes is a Zebco, a tube of crickets, a bobber, and a willing teacher to give them the gift of a lifetime; a love for the outdoors. If you plan on going out this weekend be safe and if you catch a trophy be sure to let us know (Georgia Angler Award)!
Check out these 2 Allatoona reports:
- (This Report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, www.jimboonlanier.com 770-542-7764) – Water Temp – 73, Water Level – 7.90 feet below full pool – I think we can pretty much declare the spawn to be over, and that can only mean one thing – topwater time! While I’m sure there are other patterns working, I don’t care, lol. When the topwater bite is on, we chase it. And folks, it is on. We have had good success with a chug bug and a pencil popper this week. Focus on offshore structure with cover, such as brush on humps and points, for this approach. The bite seems to be better in the middle of the day than any other time, but we have seen some good morning schooling activity this week as well, for which the topwater lures have been excellent. Just throw it in the action and hang on. Wind-blown points have been the best places for this action. The fluke has continued to produce well also in the same type places. Work it fast and then kill it and let it settle. Vary the cadence until you find what the fish want. The fluke can be a good option when there is no wind. The only other thing we are throwing with any consistency is a SuperSpin. We are using this bait in the same areas as we do for the topwater as another option if the fish won’t come up. In May I only have 23 (AM) open. Here are a few of my available June dates: 2, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. Father’s Day is coming up! What better gift to give Dad than a fishing trip with Jimbo!
Stripers: (Report from Steve Scott – see his striper reports in Angler Magazine) – “Lanier Striper Club takes Gwinnett County Police Striper Fishing Today” – Six boats picked up 23 officers at 7 am this morning at Little Hall park. I took two with me in my boat. We set out toward the Ground Hog looking for schools of stripers on the Chestatee River side catching only one 18” striper on a Planer Board using a medium shiner about 30′ from the board. It was Adam’s first striper catching it to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song Otherside. We left that area heading towards the Hooch and Adam noticed surfacing fish along the Chattahoochee side of the island that was marked C2 & C4 on the Chestatee side. We set out Planer Boards weighted and unweighted, Freelines weighted and unweighted and a right side directional bobber weighted all using medium shiners and it was Fish On. The next bite was John’s first striper at 18”. At one point we had a triple. Stripers and Spotted Bass were hitting all our lines at once. We were boating some fish while others got away. At one point we caught a big fish but we took too much time to apply more drag until he got in the trees and it was over. We could still feel this fish pulling but could not unsnag him from those trees. At one point I got the counter clicker out just to keep track of how many we were catching. We kept the bigger fish and let the smaller ones go. All in all it was a fun time with Adam and John.
Crappie: (Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) – Water temperature is in the mid seventies, and a few degrees higher in the afternoon. The month of May remains strong for Crappie fishing on Lake Lanier. The secret to catching crappie this time of year is to use the method of “run and gun” (targeting as many docks with structure as possible). Using your downscan and sidescan will greatly assist in finding these spots. There are a lot of fishermen on the lake, and it is getting busier with recreational boaters as well. We’ve been catching good numbers of quality fish on deeper docks, especially targeting the channel docks in fifteen to twenty five feet of water. When you start catching smaller fish, move on. The fish on submerged brush piles in fifteen to twenty feet of water are greater in number, but smaller in size. The brush piles with tops about 10 feet below the surface are producing best. Your electronics will help you determine whether there are fish on the brush piles or not. If there are, throw a marker buoy and fish the whole brush pile by circling your buoy to find the best angles. Stay off the brush about thirty feet, cast your jig past the brush pile and retrieve slowly while shaking your rod. This will give the jig more action. You will get most of your bites ten feet below the surface either directly over or slightly to the side of the brush pile. Our preferred bait is still one twenty fourth ounce soft body jigs or hair jigs. If you prefer using a crappie minnow under a slip cork, it will work just as well. Fish are aggressive, so the color doesn’t seem to matter, but if the bite slows, switch colors. The night fishing bite is still not producing well. Once the nights are consistently warmer, that bite will pick up. Be safe on the water! Wear your life jacket, it can save your life!
Slamming Bass: Cool blog from Tyler Lipham
The Real Shoalie Expert: It’s not Jimmy; it’s his Better Half, Kathy!
Ken and Mack’s Reservoir Reports:
JAKES Day at Charlie Elliott (Saturday May 20) – Fun, Free, Food and all Outdoors
US Forest Service – Foothills Project Meetings (May 23 & 24) – In Clayton; details HERE: Forest users can still add comments online – scroll to the bottom of this page and click on “Managing Healthy Forests, Fish, and Wildlife Habitats.” Read other user comments and then add your own to the conversation. Donald Davis referred to my agency’s list of desirable fisheries actions on these 140,000 project acres, so you may wish to take a look at that list as you develop and share your own thoughts.
Need a License or Boat Registration? Head to the “Go Outdoors Georgia” website:
Good luck this week as we wrap up spring and start thinking about our summertime opportunities and strategies. Please take five minutes to get online and tell the Forest Service what you’d like to see on a chunk of your public lands. As always, thanks for your purchases of fishing licenses and trout license plates. Don’t forget your sunglasses and your sunscreen as summer starts to creep up on you!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The Satilla Riverkeeper “A.J. Strickland King of the River Fishing Tournament” was well-attended for the extremely low water and stormy weather forecast on Saturday. The Altamaha River produced some decent catches this weekend. Whiting and trout were tops in saltwater. Pond bass and bluegill fishing has been very consistent. New Moon is May 25th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
Justin Bythwood and Blake Yarbrough won an Altamaha tournament out of Jaycees Landing on Saturday. The pair caught almost all of their bass (13.15 pounds) pitching Texas-rigged plastics, and an Assassin Fat Job stick worm was key to their win. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported some large bass caught on buzzbaits. Catfish, bream, and mullet fishing were all good this week. Donna at Altamaha Park said that the mullet bite is on fire. Anglers fishing from sandbars on Sunday reported catching buckets of the tasty fish on red wiggler worms. On Saturday, the annual Altamaha Park panfish tournament was held. Some of the redbreasts were over a pound, while a shellcracker approaching 2 pounds won the big fish prize. The river level was 2.9 feet and falling (80 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.8 feet and falling (76 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on May 16th.
The Satilla Riverkeeper organization’s 3rd annual “A.J. Strickland King of the River Fishing Tournament” on the Satilla River was a success on Saturday. The focus species this year was a bowfin (mudfish), and the largest, weighing 7.15 pounds, was caught by Jeremy and Mallory Robertson. The biggest redbreast (0.70 pounds) and biggest redbreast stringer (3 fish – 2.00 pounds) were won by Carter and William Steed. The largest panfish (other than a redbreast) weighed 0.90-pounds and was caught by Team River Men – Stephen Tyre and Jay Minshew. The largest native catfish (1.95 pounds), largemouth bass (3.70 pounds), and 3-species grand slam (11.05 pounds) were caught by Team Lee and Johnson, consisting of James Lee and Chad and Dalton Johnson. For more wrap-up information, go to satillariverkeeper.org. With the low water, most folks were floating and paddling in kayaks or simply wading the river. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that redbreasts were numerous in creels this week, with crickets, crawfish-colored Satilla Spins, and white-red dot Beetlespins producing best. With the low river, floating or wading is the way to go. The river level on May 16th at the Waycross gage was 4.1 feet and falling (77 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.6 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Bass were caught on Trick Worms and bluegills and catfish were fooled with pink worms and crickets. Check the West Mims Fire information (see Okefenokee Swamp report below) for the latest information on road closures if you want to fish the upper river. The river level at the MacClenny gage on May 16th was 1.4 feet and falling.
The West Mims Fire was over 152,000 acres burned (total area) at the time of writing this. Kingfisher Landing is still open, but the Fargo and Folkston entrances are closed. Because of the uncertainty of the fires, make sure to call ahead of time to make sure any entrances you plan to fish out of are open. On the east side, you can all Okefenokee Adventures at 912-496-7156. Staff at Stephen C. Foster State Park on the west side can be reached at 912-637-5274. Updates from the US Fish and Wildlife Service available HERE.
Chad Lee had a great weekend at Alma area ponds. The night fishing bite has started. He and Daniel Johnson fished Saturday night and missed and caught some nice fish. Daniel missed several nice topwater fish before redeeming himself with a fat 4 1/2-pounder that he fooled with a SPRO black Pop ‘N Frog. Chad’s biggest was a 4-pounder that inhaled a black quad-blade buzzbait (see photo to the right). Michael Winge reported lots of bass caught this week on plastic lizards and buzzbaits.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that 2 to 3-pound trout were caught on live shrimp over the weekend. Flounder (some in the doormat 4 to 5-pound range) were caught in good numbers, also. Whiting, sharks, and black drum also hit the deck this week. Baskets baited with chicken necks lured a bunch of blue crabs to the steamer over the weekend. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
Ponds are producing some nice bass early and late and even at night. Buzzbaits or other topwaters are the deal during low light, and plastics get the nod when the sun is up. In saltwater, whiting are your best bottom fishing option, while seatrout on the beach should be good if winds will allow you to get out there. Mullet fishing on the lower Altamaha is a good option on a hot afternoon.