Low chances of rain, good amounts of sunshine and great places to fish – what was it you were doing this weekend?
June 3-11 is NATIONAL FISHING AND BOATING WEEK. This week, we encourage YOU to take a friend along next time you hit the water. June 3 and June 10 are FREE FISHING DAYS and there are lots of KIDS FISHING EVENTS taking place this week. Get out there and help someone else develop a love for fishing – just like you have!
If you fish or boat along the Flint River in Lee or Talbot Counties, there are two new and/or improved access areas. The Hwy. 32 boat ramp in Lee County has been re-done by the Georgia DOT. Big Lazer PFA/WMA (Talbot County) now has canoe steps, as well as a hand launch area off the newly renovated 5-vehicle parking area.
Now, on to our Fishing Report: This week, we hear from SOUTHWEST and SOUTHEAST 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 good. Anglers can catch largemouth in the shallows and they are also starting to show up on the ledges. The lake is currently at full pool and the bass will continue to remain shallow with the water at this level. Frogs seem to be the popular bait in the shallows while jigs and crankbaits are working in the deeper water. Bream and catfish fishing continue to be good if you are in the mood to dunk a cricket or worm. Jug fishing with swimming pool noodles is a popular technique for catching catfish on George. Please remember to keep track of your noodles and retrieve them when you are finished.
Recent rains have caused the lower Flint to rise and become a bit turbid. Anglers may want to check one of the river gauges below before planning a trip. However, the River is well within the banks and fishing should be good for almost all species found in the Flint. A reminder that striped bass fishing is closed in the lower Flint River and its tributaries from May 1 – October 31. 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 are “still chomping” on Lake Seminole. Anglers are catching them on frogs, crankbaits and worms. Almost all techniques and methods have been successful recently. The bluegill fishing continues to be very good and the willow flies are still hatching. There have been reports of schools of bream feeding on these hatching insects. The channel catfish bite has turned on as well and there have been reports of several good catches of these tasty fish. There have also been a few reports of hybrids being caught near the dam.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The fishing has been great this week, and the rains are going to help the low rivers in southeast Georgia. Full Moon is June 9th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
The 2017 Wayne County Catfish Tournament was held June 3rd and 4th and Tiff Thompson’s team won top honors ($7,500) with 82.6 pounds of catfish. Second was the team of Eddie and Edwin Hudson ($3,000 for 52.0 pounds of catfish), while Jacob and Greg Batten won the third place prize of $1,000 for 46.0 pounds. Tonya Yeomans caught the biggest catfish in the women’s category ($250 for a 13.75-pounders), and a 15.95-lb. catfish won Colin Lott big fish ($100) in the kid’s category. For more information, click HERE. Connie at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported that other than catfish, bream were the best thing going. Crickets fooled them. The river level was 4.8 feet and rising (82 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 7.3 feet and falling (82 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 6th.
Will and Carter Steed won the Second Annual Camp Tatum Satilla River Showdown on Saturday. They beat out a total of 30 teams of anglers. The pair has been tearing up the panfish trail this spring. Congratulations, guys! This week’s rains should help the low river level situation, but we’ll have to wait to see just how much. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that crickets were working well on redbreasts. Lizards and shiners were the most productive offerings for bass. The river level on June 6th at the Waycross gage was 4.5 feet and falling (81 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 2.5 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
A couple of anglers reported fishing on Saturday for under an hour and catching a dozen nice redbreasts by pitching a custom color of Satilla Spins (blue/chartreuse). The bream and catfish bites were the best reports from the river this week. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 6th was 1.6 feet and rising.
The West Mims Fire was doused with a good bit of rain this week, and operations have scaled back somewhat with the lack of open flames. At the time of writing this. Kingfisher Landing is still open for day trips and SC Foster State Park and the refuge entrance in Folkston will allow boats as soon as water levels are high enough. Because of the frequent changes, make sure to call ahead of time to make sure you will be allowed to do what you plan. 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 are available HERE.
LAKE CHEHAW (NEAR ALBANY)
Michael Deen and Justin Bythwood of Waycross fished a club tournament at Lake Chehaw on Saturday. The pair had never fished the lake before and still managed 12.40 pounds of bass and the first place check. Michael caught 3 bass, including the big fish of the tournament (5.6-pounder) on a chartreuse/white flat buzzbait. Justin added to their tally with a 3-pounder on a black/gold Flashy Swim Jig (gold blade). Their fifth fish was on a Bass Assassin Fat Job worm (watermelon-red) rigged on a Lock Tight Flipping Hook. Congratulations, guys, on quickly unlocking the code on a new lake!
Scout Carter and Wyatt Crews caught a half-dozen bass up to 2 pounds on Tuesday evening from a Ware County pond using buzzbaits. Wyatt used a white/chartreuse version with a red flat blade. Scout used his trusty watermelon haze with a black quad-blade version until a big bass inhaled it and broke him off. Michael Winge reported that bream hit topwater flies and crickets, and bass ate shiners and Trick Worms.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Flounder fishing has been great this week. Shane and Joshua Barber fished the St. Marys Jetties this weekend and landed 21 keepers, including 8 trout, a bluefish, and the rest flounder. All of the trout they caught were keepers. They caught their fish on curly-tailed grubs and Gulp minnows. Craig James and friends reported catching 20 nice flatties in the St. Simons area on mudminnows and Gulp minnows. The tripletail bite continued this week, but rains and storms reduced the number of days you could get on the beach. The shark bite picked up this week. Spanish mackerel were caught off the beaches, and the kingfish bite was good offshore. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that sharks, whiting, black drum, trout, and flounder were caught from the pier. Mullet were cast-netted, as well. Blue crabs were caught by folks dropping baskets from the pier. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
The Kiwanis Kids’ Fishing Event at Paradise Public Fishing Area near Tifton is a great place to introduce a kid to fishing this Saturday. For more information, call the Waycross Fisheries Office at 912-285-6094. For a trophy bass at an area pond, throw a buzzbait during low light conditions (or at night). In saltwater, take your pick of trout, flounder, whiting, or shark fishing if winds and storms allow you to get out in the brine.