Let’s get y’all ready to make the most of that Memorial Day weekend by giving you some awesome fishing reports with the latest news about when and where to throw out a line. Reports this week come from SOUTHWEST, CENTRAL and NORTH Georgia.
(Fishing report courtesy of Rob Weller, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
LAKE WALTER F GEORGE
The bass fishing at Lake George continues to be very good. The current hot bait seems to be frogs fished in the primrose and alligator weed. The quote I heard was “they are really chomping on the frogs.” One angler I spoke with last week was consistently catching bags of bass over 20 pounds and one bag in the 25 pound range on frogs. The frog bite is occurring primarily in the early morning but is lasting for several hours after sunrise. The winning wait for last weekend’s Eufaula Bass Trail tournament was 25 pounds. Bass can also be found on the ledges and can be caught with crankbaits and jigs. As usual catfish fishing continues to be excellent on George and bream should be biting crickets, worms and beetle spins.
Bass, bream and catfish should be available and willing. Most spawning has already occurred except perhaps for bream. Fish should be hungry and searching for something to eat. This holiday weekend should be a great one to get out on the flint whether pitching crickets for bream or throwing a worm for bass.
The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:
According to Lake Seminole fishing guide Steven Wells, the bass fishing is still going strong on Lake Seminole. It took over 27 pounds to a win a tournament last weekend and there were two other bags over 27 and two more over 26. Anglers are still catching fish shallow but many of the bass have moved to mid-range areas with depths between 8-12 feet. Anglers in these areas have been having success with speed worms. The bluegill fishing has really picked up after the last full moon and they are biting very well. In addition, the willow flies are still hatching. The channel catfish bite has turned on as well and there have been reports of several good catches of these tasty fish. Steven said the fishing should be great and there is a little bit of something available for everyone. He also wanted everybody to remember the reason for the holiday while you are out there enjoying Georgia’s great outdoors.
(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 Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. As summer patterns emerge, fishing can be very good one day and not so good the next day. Recent showers have created some small mud lines at the mouths of the creeks and secondary points. These mud lines will be excellent places to fish early in the morning and/or late in the evening. The #5 Glass Shad Raps on light line can get this bait a little deeper under the mud lines. The top-water bite is fair, but with the warming water temperatures don t expect to catch one every day when using top-water baits. Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can locate these areas. Set the Down scan in auto depth. Set the left and right beams to five times the depth. Zoom lizards in the four and 6 inch sizes rigged either Texas or Carolina -style around the deeper water wood will find quality bass. Bass are tight to cover while the smaller spotted bass can be seen roaming the banks all during the day. Deep water cranking is good with the Rapala DT 10, Deep We R s and Deep Down Husky Jerks. Isolated structure like stumps and rocks are excellent places and this is where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas. Set the Down scan in auto depth. Set the left and right beams to five times the depth.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.8 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Early in the morning, before the sun comes up isolated schools of small shad are breaking the surface. With the warm water and the small size of the shad, now is a good time to downsize your baits. Small Chug Bugs thrown directly at these rising shad will work. Fish along rocky, main lake points and the rocky banks between points. Stay on the top-water and crank bait pattern until mid-morning. As long as the fish are biting, don t change a thing. Isolated structure like stumps and rocks are excellent places and this is where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas. Set the Down scan in auto depth. Set the left and right beams to five times the depth. Colors may vary from day to day. Use the #5 Shad Raps in the shad and fire tiger color in two different sizes. As the sun pops out, the bass are moving out to deeper water in the 10 to 18 foot range. Go to the Carolina rig and deep diving crank baits. Use the Rapala D10 and DT14 and the #7 Shad Raps. Switch from shallow water cranking to deep water cranking lake points and channel ledges at this time.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED TO MUDDY UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPRATURE 73-77
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. You can catch a lot of fish just on the small side with worms under docks. Use a dark worm Texas rigged for best results. The buzz bait bite is just starting. Look along any sea wall from the middle of the creeks and coves to the back. You can also use a silver black or shad pattern shad rap. Some fish are starting to move onto the deep water humps late in the day and you can catch them with a Carolina rig green worm.
Striper: (Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service. Call 404-803-0741 firstname.lastname@example.org) Striper fishing is good. 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. You can also pick up some fish on the pipeline with a spoon when Georgia Power is pulling water. Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas. Set the Down scan in auto depth. Set the left and right beams to five times the depth. The umbrella rig bite is just starting. It will pick up as we move into June.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is very good. The fish are moving into the timber on a early summer pattern. Long-lining jigs over timber from 8 to 15 feet deep have been the best producers over the past week. Match your color to the color of the water.
WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. There has been fair and some top-water action is there early. Use top water lures like a Pop R and all white buzz baits. All white seems to be the hot color in buzz baits. 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 for the deeper fish on the river. Lowrance Structure Scan technology can see these fish, just look for the dots. The bass are tight on the creek channels and drop off mid to lower lake. Isolated structure like stumps and rocks are excellent places and this is where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas. Set the Down scan in auto depth. Set the left and right beams to five times the depth. 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 Mega Strike scent will help the fish hold the baits longer. Head down the lake towards Maple Creek, but stop just short at marker 8 on the left hand side where Old Potts Road dumps into the lake. Fish between markers 6 and 8 and as the day warms up with the Carolina rig. Fish the road bed out in deeper water. First thing in the morning, fish up close with top-water and Shad Raps.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN .93 FEET, CLEAR, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Buzz baits, spinner baits and jigs are the best baits. Use the all-white buzz bait and get shallow. The Lucky Craft Redemption spinner baits are working well. The jigs are winning baits all year and the black and blue jigs are the best colors with June bug a close second. Bass love worms and a six to ten inch green pumpkin Zoom u Tail worm will work. Isolated structure like stumps and rocks are excellent places and this is where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas. Set the Down scan in auto depth. Set the left and right beams to five times the depth.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .80 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair to good and especially the morning bite. Be sure to fish hard and fast before the sun gets high. The fish have been on docks and wood all day. The shad are still spawning in certain areas so that always a plus in finding concentrations of fish. Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas. Set the Down scan in auto depth. Set the left and right beams to five times the depth. When then sun gets high things get real tough, go to shallow stick baits and small buzz baits and then around lunch go to shad and baby bass crank baits. The fish are slapping at the bait more than really taking it. Never overlook a Rapala in the baby bass and shad pattern but try the new Rapala DT10 in hot mustard and shad.
- Surface Temperature: 79.3˚ F (26.3˚ C)
- Water Level: 6’ 9” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 19”
The cold fronts have brought much needed rain to the area, and have also brought cooler temperatures which have caused several fish to be slow on the bite. Those fortunate to have been fishing the day before the rains have had great luck with numerous largemouth bass and bluegill being caught.
Bass: The bass have been biting really well especially for those in boats fishing amongst the brush in the upper part of the lake. All successful bass fishermen that were talked to for this report used a variety of the following to bring fish in. Plum or June Bug colored ‘Ol Monstor worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms. Kalin’s Green Pumkin Majic Wac-O-Worms. Crankbaits have not worked well.
Bream: The days leading up and following the full moon on June 9th should be a great time to be fishing for bream. Here’s what has worked: Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig. Tube jigs on a 1/8 oz. jig head. Crickets.
Channel Catfish: Insufficient data to report on. Last month one angler has had great success using uncooked shrimp and has limited out on numerous trips. Other great options are Red Wiggler worms, frozen Catalpa worms.
Crappie: Insufficient data to report on. The last time an angler was interviewed the crappie were biting well.
- Water temps. : Low 80’s
Largemouth Bass: June weather patterns often bring afternoon showers that brings sudden changes to bass feeding behavior. Anglers should look for bass feeding in early morning and late evening on schooling shad. Despite the warm days, anglers targeting bass should expect aggressive top water action in early to mid-morning. Anglers should target lay downs in approximately 5 to 10 feet of water mid-morning into early afternoon. As the day warms up, anglers should target bass in deeper water. Successful anglers mimic lethargic shad by casting jerk baits and crank baits. Mid-day can produce some big bass but look for these big fish in deeper water (10-15 ft.). Additional habitat to target is submerged timber and rock beds at Marben PFA.
Crappie: Crappie will be most aggressive in early evening, crowded around submerged timber in deeper water. Anglers should see a slight change as crappie become a little less aggressive as the water warms in the summer months. Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs. Try fishing cover approximately 5-10 feet throughout the day, especially in the evening.
Bream: Bream fishing will continue to be excellent in early June. Look for the “bite” to drop a little in the later weeks in June. Warmer water temperatures play a factor but overall this is just the best time of year. Anglers really see a difference. Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best throughout the day but a little slow when temperatures get really hot. Remember bream are shallow when spawning this time of year so to be successful, anglers will have to fish shallow areas (4 to 5 ft.) in order to increase your chances. Early morning is a great time to target bream at Marben PFA.
Catfish: Catfish will pick up significantly this time of year. Anglers will find catfish in 7-9 ft. of water and really aggressive. Anglers should target days when it is sunny but patience is necessary when targeting these fish. Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben.
Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and sunscreen!
- McDuffie Public Fishing Area: Water temperature range across lakes: 77.9 – 79.2 ⁰F
- Water Visibility: 18 – 54 inches
- McDuffie PFA’s Fish cleaning is now open.
Bass: The largemouth bass are biting and should continue to improve. Anglers are catching bass of various sizes some in the three and four pound range. Lakes Willow and Jones produced two nice bass with one being caught on a Catawba worm fished on the bottom. McDuffie PFA has a 14-inch length minimum on largemouth bass, so measure the bass with a tape or ruler. 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: Steady bream action, both bluegill and redear are being caught in shallow water across the PFA. On the next full moon anglers should be able to find spawning beds again. Rodbender also has bragging-size bream both bluegill and redear.
Channel Catfish: Catfish are biting in all PFA lakes. Anglers are limiting out on eating-size catfish from Jones Lake, Willow Lake and Bridge Lake. The best fishing is on the bottom using chicken liver, worms, stink-baits, or home made baits. An angler found catfish in shallow water less than two feet under a log and caught the catfish on crickets under a bobber.
Striped Bass: Stripers are biting in Bridge Lake. Clubhouse Lake stripers are not biting. 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 soaking storm this week dumped a big bucket of rain across north Georgia, with more than four inches hitting the Hooch in Helen and over five inches filling up the Chattooga. Overall, that’s some very good news! While the large rivers likely won’t be fishable for this holiday weekend, the recharging of our streams, ground water, and even the lakes is great news. It looks like Lanier even came up a foot or so! http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/gage/acf/prob1.txt, http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/acfframe.htm , but it still has quite a way to go to exit from the Corps of Engineers drought management response: http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/zones.htm
Best bets in north Georgia for this weekend will be stocked and wild trout in the mountains and some early or nighttime bass and stripers on the big lakes, when the boaters and jet skiers are off the water.
- Lanier Topwater: http://forum.gon.com/showthread.php?t=898357
- (This Bass fishing report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley, jimboonlanier.com 770-542-7764) -The lake is on the rise again with the rain we have received this week. The rain has cooled off the surface temps a bit, which is a good thing. We love it when Mother Nature preserves the 70 degree water temps, ensuring us a longer lasting top water bite. The top water bite remains dominant and we are chasing it every day, all day. 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 top water 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 top water as another option if the fish won’t come up. Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can unlock these areas. Set the Down scan in auto depth. Set the left and right beams to five times the depth.
- (This report from Steve Scott) – With the summertime bite upon us in May already, my sister Capt Lynn Gregory and I started our striper search in open water near the channel mid lake near Browns Bridge. We only saw a loner or two every now and then. Certainly nothing to drop any baits on. After boating for about three hours with the hordes of cabin cruisers, jet skis and other pleasure craft we headed far north above River Forks. We finally came up on something worthy of dropping some bait. While sitting over a sixty foot bottom and seeing small bait balls and some arches we put out a combination of Downlines to 30 and 40 feet and Flatlines out 85 to 100 feet weighted of course with two #7 round shot using Blueback Herring as the bait. Just that quick we started getting hit bringing in one 26 ½” striper and then another on the same Flatline 85′ back that was 24”. We stayed there a while going back and forth along the bank about 100′ away as other striper boats kept getting closer to us as we were getting a lot of hits. That area soon became a washing machine as more and more waves were crashing over the bow. We decided to take our memories and pictures with us and leave the area to the other boats. After battling the rest of the lake boaters and all the waves heading back to the launch we called it a day. A few high fives with Capt Lynn and we got off the lake before the impending storms that were coming in later in the day.
- (This Lake Lanier Striper report is from Captain Ken West 404-561-2564, bigfishon.com) – Striper fishing is good but the fish continue to move and can be a challenge to find. The majority of the stripers have moved to deeper water and are in the creek mouths lake wide. There continues to be a top water bite early and we have seen fish surfacing early. Chug Bugs were the top produce last week. Free lines and down rods are both working. There are still a lot or fish from Holly Park to Gainesville Marina but mid lake from Chestatee River to Browns Bridge is picking up. The “North End Fish” are starting to move south looking for better oxygen levels in deeper water. Deploy unweighted free lines in the morning and start weighting them with split shots as the sun gets up. Always keep a couple of down rods deployed as you are pulling live Herring. Pitching a Herring to a point is a blast as you never know what you might catch. Spotted bass, stripers and catfish are mixed in on points and brush piles. The umbrella rig is back this week and will work on those suspended fish. However with the Lake down 7 feet; be prepared to get hung up as you have to go deep with 120 to 140 feet of line out. Keep your eyes on your Lowrance HDS and when you see a shallow (20 foot or less) tree, power up and “jump” your rigs over the trees. We use 1 ounce buck tail jigs on a 3 ounce 4 arm frame. Pearl or chartreuse worms or chad bodies are the preferred trailers. Vary your speed between 2.7 to 3.4 MPH. The lake is 6.9 feet below full pool and the water is lightly stained on the main lake and heavily stained in the back of the creeks. The water temperature has risen to the high 70’s this week. To book your guide trip call us at 404-561-2564 or contact us on our web site: www.bigfishonguide.com
Crappie: (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, Lanier Crappie Anglers Club) – Water temperatures are in the upper seventies. With the rains we’ve had the last several days, we expect the lake level to rise and the water clarity to show moderate to heavy stain in the backs of creeks. For the avid crappie fishermen who don t mind dodging the traffic on the lake, crappie fishing remains good. The early morning bite is best, from thirty minutes before daylight to about 9:30 a.m., later if cloudy. Target deeper docks with structure below the surface, especially if you can find a dock with a sizable brush pile just outside it, which is an added bonus. The docks that are producing have twenty to thirty foot depths, and are closer to the main creek channels. With this condition, these fish have the best of both worlds, the cover of the brush pile, then the shade of the dock during the middle of the day. If you can find a dock with an active beaver, that is even better, as fresh vegetation is continuous. Look for limbs and branches sticking out of a dock. Also target submerged brush piles in at least twenty to thirty feet of water. Fish the brush pile from all angles. This time of year, the fish are holding tight on the brush. Soft body and hair jigs are producing fish. Because the fish are deep, the sensitivity of the bite seems less, so watching your line is VERY important. If you see or sense any unusual movement, set the hook! For the night owls, bridge fishing is picking up. The sign of a good bridge is if you see dangling ropes from above. That typically means it is being fished by regular night fishermen. You will need a fishing light, and it can easily take an hour or two for the light to draw the bait and the bait to draw the crappie. So be patient, stay safe on the water, and Wear Your Life Jacket.
Bass: (This report brought to you by Ken’s Allatoona Report) – Spotted bass fishing is fair. They continue to move shallow early and late and back off during the day. Best bet is top water early and a fluke thrown right to the bank on mid lake points and pockets. Mid-day go a little deeper with Zoom Finesse worms on a jig head around brush piles. Green pumpkin will work of course but try some of the many similar colors available. Find docks with brush try ¼ ounce mini jig, use it with a matching Zoom Trailer in green Pumpkin. Keep a Zoom Super Fluke is pearl rigged all day for any action on the surface. As always use the Lowrance Structure Scan technology can unlock areas and see fish that traditional sonar cannot see. Long points as well, back off a bit and throw a Carolina rigged lizard in green pumpkin. Also, the deeper diving Bill Norman crank baits are beginning to catch quite a few. The key is bouncing them off deep rocks.
Stripers: (This Lake Allatoona Fishing Guides Report has been brought to you by Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service, 770-827-6282) – Line side fishing is great. The fish are setting up on a summer pattern. Big schools of hybrids can be found anywhere from the S turns to as far south as Tanyard Creek. The down rod bite is the most productive bite going on the lake right now. Fishing live shad at depths from 20 to 30 feet is producing for our boats from one end of the lake to the other. Our bait of choose has been big thread fin shad. These fish can be found on your Lowrance on or around most points, humps and flats. Good electronics can be a big help during the summer months. Summer time is awesome for numbers on Lake Allatoona give us a call at 770 827 6282 and let’s take the kids fishing,
- Ken’s Hartwell Report: https://www.southernfishing.com/
Bass: (This bass fishing report is by Josh Panyard) – Water Level is down 6.60 feet below full pool. The water temperatures are in the mid to upper 70 s with the recent warming trend we have had. The fish are still in the recovery phase and feeding up. We have been focusing both in the Tugaloo River area and the main lake area where the Tugaloo and Seneca River meet. In the mornings we have been focusing on the top water and fluke bite. Our key baits for the top water bite have been a chug bug or KVD splash and a poppin frog. The chug bug and KVD splash bait have been our multipurpose baits being able to fish them both shallow and over deeper water on Main River and main lake points. The poppin frog has been a good shallow bait for us and we have been focusing in pockets around the docks specially the walk ways where the bream have been hanging out. When the top water bite was slow we would break out the fluke and put it to work. Color depended on the whether or not it was cloudy or clear skies. If the bite slowed down we would switch to a shakey head in the same areas to help get some bites. We’ve gotten questions about guys having problems catching largemouth out on the main lake and only being able to find spotted bass. Two things to answer that right now, first focus on main lake pockets shallow a lot of these largemouth are still shallow recovering from the spawn this is also true on the points as well they will still be a little shallower than the spotted bass. Secondly those big largemouth will start to move out deeper and start really feeding up roaming with the bait and the spotted bass. The other key to this is that the largemouth will use the brush a little more than the spotted bass and wait for the bait to come to them so if you find brush in that 5 15 foot range spend some time working it with not only top water but a shakey head or a jig. Also one other thing to really start looking for is bream beds as you are working the shallow areas. If you find them pay close attention to those areas as you will see small wolf packs of bass cruising these areas and keying in on those bream. Good baits for these fish are a prop bait, chug bug, pop r style bait, and the frog. Key is to continue to move throughout the day if we didn’t 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 will continue to work these areas and start moving deeper with the fish as the summer patterns approach. With this warmer weather look for the water temperatures to continue to rise and the top water bite to continue to get even better. Remember the lake is still low and there are a lot of objects sticking up out of the water and not marked. Also, with the recent rise in water look for objects floating in the water as you are running. So be safe out there and we hope to see you on the water.
River Bass and Stripers:
- Our big rains this week in northeast Georgia have our larger rivers high and off color, so anglers may have to wait until next week for fishable conditions.
- (From John Damer, GA DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Biologist) – We continue to monitor the striped bass run on the rivers of northwest Georgia. The spawn is now completely over, and very few fish are left hanging around in the Oostanaula River where water temps have gotten warm. You can still find some on the Coosa as they move back downstream toward Lake Weiss. But, the better option would be to hit the Etowah River which has cooler water thanks to flows from the depths of Lake Allatoona. We’ve seen some impressive spotted bass on the Etowah as well, which can make for a fun day if the stripers aren’t cooperating.
- (From Pat Snellings, GA DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Biologist) – Shoalie Stocking: Last week we stocked nearly 5,000 shoal bass fingerlings into the Morgan Falls Tailwater. Tailwater temperatures here are too cool for successful natural reproduction, but our stocked shoal bass grow well and help to reclaim a bit of their natural range in the Hooch basin. Check out THIS VIDEO of us loading up before heading north to Morgan Falls.
- Guru and Sautee played “hooky above Helen” one afternoon this week and had a big time. They leapfrogged thru the pools of a small stream and ended up with about three dozen little rainbows between them. Small rods and some bushy #16 elk hair caddis dries did the trick.
Stockers: Check HERE on Friday afternoon for our long list of streams stocked with more than 60,000 trout for the Memorial Day weekend.
Toccoa Tailwater: See Trout Man Joe’s report HERE.
Hooch Tailwater: Note: watch out for your competition! See the photo.
Good luck during this holiday week, as north Georgia dries out and heads back toward summertime air temperatures. May we all enjoy ourselves, while also taking time out to honor the reason for our extra “free” day on Monday as we visit America’s great outdoors.