The fishing news is flying to ya – check out the latest reports below from Southwest, Southeast, Central and North Georgia.
Hope to see you out on the water this weekend!
(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 has settled into the typical summer time pattern for this reservoir. Topwater for the first couple of hours of the day has been good but the action has slowing considerably once the sun is fully up. Frogs continue to be the popular bait in the shallows. Catfish fishing continue to be good and almost any type of bait seems to be working. Some anglers have good success this time of year anchoring on flats and using dog food inside an old onion bag to bait up the cats. Jug fishing is also a great way to relax and catch some dinner during the summer months. Most anglers use swimming pool noodles cut into one to two foot lengths for catching catfish with this technique. Please remember to keep track of your noodles or jugs and retrieve them when you are finished.
Click HERE to take you the Army Corps of Engineers website which has lots of useful information about access, fishing attractors, camping and more.
The Lower Flint River continues to be higher and more turbid than usual. The wildlife Resources Division recently completed our annual standardized catfish electrofishing samples on the Lower Flint. The river above Lake Blackshear near highway 27 and the river section between Lake Worth and Abram shoals had both good numbers and big fish when compared to the other portions of the Lower Flint River sampled. Anglers should concentrate on deep holes during the daylight hours and areas immediately adjacent to these holes when fishing at night. Remember, flathead catfish prefer live fish for food and a large bream makes a great bait. Limb lines are another good technique for catching summer time flathead catfish. 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:
The bass bite on Lake Seminole has settled into a typical summer pattern. Anglers are catching them on frogs on top water early but the bite slows down later in the day. Anglers are having success working the grass edges. This is a good time of year to fish top water after dark to beat the heat and find some actively feeding fish. There have been reports of bass being caught along the river channel near schools of shad. The lake is at full pool due to all of the recent rains and also the main Flint arm is a bit more stained than usual for this time of year. Channel catfish are biting well and 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 back-to-school lull in fishing effort hit this week, but those who went did well, especially those bass fishing in ponds and flathead fishing in the Altamaha. Last quarter moon is August 14th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
The river is getting close to good shape, and folks have done well bass and catfishing this week. The numbers of flathead caught on limb lines have been impressive. Some folks reported landing hundreds of pounds (which with flatheads doesn’t have to be that many fish….) of fish in just a night of fishing lines. Live bait was the ticket for limb lines. A bass tournament held out of Williamsburg Landing on Saturday produced quite a few bass, but most were on the small side. The water was still a little swift and muddy, but the fish bit. Out of 15 boats, it took a limit weighing 7.42 pounds to win. Second was 7.04 pounds. Anglers I talked with caught fish on a variety of lures, including senko stick-worms and Texas-rigged Speed Worms (black-red flake). Look for the mullet bite to pick up this week, unless the river rises and muddies up again. The river level was 2.8 feet and rising (87 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.9 feet and rising at the Doctortown gage on August 8th.
Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the best report was that bass ate buzzbaits well. With the rising river, I would expect catfishing to be decent this week. The river level on August 8th at the Waycross gage was 6.4 feet and rising (82 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 8.3 feet and rising.
Bass fishing in area ponds was excellent again this week! Daniel Johnson of Alma
whacked the bass in Alma area ponds, and Christie Craw plastics were tops for him. His catch of the week was a 7-lb., 10-oz. whopper he landed on Saturday. Way to go, Daniel! Bryce Thigpen, an avid bass angler, caught a nice 4-pounder on a Keitech Crazy Flapper crawfish in a Pearson area pond. Wyatt Crews and Scout Carter fished a Waycross area pond on Monday night and flung black buzzbaits until early morning. They had 7 nice blowups and landed several nice fish up to about 4 pounds. Their biggest (Wyatt described it as like hooking a wall) pulled off. John and Isaiah Bittle fished a Brunswick area pond last Wednesday and caught 4 quality bass up to 4-lbs., 4-oz. That biggest one inhaled a buzzbait, while the others ate Assassin Fat Job Worms and Keitech Mad Wag Worms. They also dropped cut bluegill down to the bottom with Catfish Catcher Jigheads (3/16-oz.) and filled a 54-qt cooler with channel catfish.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Reports were nil this week from the brine, except an angler caught a good mess of flounder from the Jekyll Pier on mudminnows. Fishing from the St. Simons Pier was slow this weekend. A few flounder, sharks, and whiting were landed, based on the one report I received. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
(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. Click HERE for most recent updates.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, CLEAR, 80’S
Bass fishing is slow. The spotted bass will bite early in the morning and then again in early evening. Jointed Shad Raps in the Number 4 and 5 sizes on the numerous rocky points will catch these roaming spots. Stay off the points and make long casts into 8 to 13 feet of water. Start off with a very slow retrieve and increase it until you find the speed the bass want. During the hot daytime hours, Carolina rigged plastics fished over the stumps in 20 to 25 feet of water and deeper seems to be the only way to get a strike. Best bet is to go early or late.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 7.0 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is slow. The dog days of summer have locked in and the bass along with the fishermen have responded along with it. A recent tournament resulted in only two keeper bass at the scales taking second place and a check. Best bet will still be to head up in the rivers. Fish the Little River up at Raysville, and start off the morning with top water baits. The Skitter Walk and Chug Bugs fished around structure is drawing 13 and 14 inch Bass out of the cover. Deep cranking with Rapala DT10 along the channel ledges are finding bigger bass, but be patient. Make long casts and crank it slow once you get the bait down. The DT’s will stay in the strike zone for 80% of the retrieve. Shad and Green Tiger are great choices for colors.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, THE LAKE IS CLEAR ON THE SOUTH END STAINED TO MUDDY UP THE LAKE AND INTO THE RIVER TEMPERATURE 84-87 DEGREES
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. Try a buzz bait at first light until the sun gets up. Work the deeper docks and sea walls on the main lake. Spooks worked along sea wall and rip rap will also produce early in the mornings. Use your Lowrance to locate the humps on the south end with fish on them then target the hump with the Carolina rig or the crank bait. You can also work the grass on the south end early and late with a frog and you might pick up some big fish.
Striper: (Striper report by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time guide service, Call 404-803-0741) – Striper fishing is good. The dam at first light is the place to be. Live bait, spoons, popping corks and 1/4 ounce jigs with a 3 in. curly tail will produce. If Georgia Power is pulling water the pipe line is the place to be. Live bait and spoons will produce the best on the pipe line.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is very good. The fish are in full summer mode. Look in the submerged timber from 10 to 20 feet deep. Live bait as well as jigging will put lots of fish in your boat. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools in the timber and start catching.
WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The largemouth and spots are feeding sporadically from Highland Marina up the Chattahoochee to above the Hwy 219 Bridge. They are on the main river points and are holding on the sides of the points. They run up on the points and feed and then move back to the sides of the points. Use a Carolina rigged worm in any color or a medium diving crank bait and fish at a depth of 14 to 16 feet. The largemouth bass and the spots are holding in brush piles in 15 to 18 feet of water. A pig and jig or Texas rigged worm are the best baits.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.2 FEET, CLEAR, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. There are some fish biting early and late. Go bass shallow down lake early and then go up in the rivers. The rivers are producing some bass if you concentrate your efforts on the docks. Docks and heavy structure will be the place for the bite this week. These places are easy to find with the Lowrance HDS Structure Scan technology. Drop shot rigs, flutter spoons and football jigs will all produce on these offshore structures. Use a Zoom trick worm in June bug and a 3/16 or ¼ ounce weight rigged Texas style. Flip, pitch or cast the red shad color up under the dock starting with the areas nearest the bank. Work the entire dock both sides and the front and then move to the next one. The brush piles between the docks as well as the lay down trees needs to be checked out as well. The red shad color can be seen better in the stained water and lighter colors need not be considered. The Texas rig will prevent hang ups in the brush piles and allow the built-in rattle to work at peak performance. The rivers will have current from the constant moving water so go no further than midway up for best results.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .61 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is slow. A few fish continue to hit top water baits at first light on some mornings. Use a Pop R, Chug Bug, and Tiny Torpedo along main river and creek banks that drop quickly into deep water. A few more fish are beginning to feed around docks and boat houses, especially those with good depth and brush present. Soft plastics continue to be the best chance for success along with an occasional bite using small to medium crank baits and jigs. If a normal presentation isn’t producing, try “dead sticking” the bait, allowing it to sit motionless for 10 to 30 seconds before moving slightly. Open water structure fishing is slow, but bass can still be caught around some points and ledges, especially up both rivers. Depths are mostly 6 to 15 feet deep up the lake. Carolina rigs and crank baits are proven choices, but lightweight Texas rigs and jig head and worm rigs are better on some days. A Zoom U Tale worm works great rigged Texas style with a 1/8 to ¼ ounce weight.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Summer continues, but those awesome, low-humidity days of last week have been replaced by monsoon season. Welcome to the rain forest of the southern Appalachian mountains! While this week’s downpours may muddy the bigger rivers, they’re helping many of our trout populations to survive the summer via cooler water temperatures, better flows, and more instream habitat. Our mountain trout hatchery managers are cheering with each storm cell that passes through the watershed above their trout raceways. They’re sitting on a big bunch of four-inch fingerlings that will grow into next spring’s stockers, and those fish need cool flows.
Our best bets right now are the high elevation wild trout streams, the two trout tailwaters, and some deep reservoir bass, stripers, and hybrids. There may be an occasional window of opportunity at the bass rivers, but those anglers will have to watch river gauges closely and talk to local tackle shops to determine whether they’re clear enough to fish. One hint- fish the shallow edges and tails of pools, where fish can look up through two feet of visibility and find your bait, lure, or fly.
Now back to winter’s water…
The winter-stored waters give us those Lanier stripers, a functioning Buford Trout Hatchery, and even naturally reproducing browns in the cold tailwater below the dam. Winter water also fuels Lake Burton’s big browns, Yonah and Tugalo walleye, Carters stripers and walleye, Blue Ridge Tailwater’s trophy browns, Chatuge’s ten-pound hybrids, and Nottely’s abundant stripers.
As reservoir stratification strengthens through August and biological oxygen demand hits those bottom waters hard, coolwater fish in those lakes start getting “squeezed” into the limited zone of cool water with adequate oxygen. So, unlike November, when we have to search all 38,000 acres of Lanier for them, the stripers start stacking up in that prime habitat on the lower third of Lanier, near the dam. If you haven’t paid attention to them before, you may want to glance at these reservoir profiles sent monthly by our great fisheries technicians. Knowing where those temperature/oxygen combos are best will put you on more fish. Just ask the north Georgia fishing guides who enjoy receiving these profiles.
Let’s take a look back at several great articles describing this winter water “fuel” and its effects on sport fish populations and our angling success. Anglers armed with this knowledge can target preferred summer habitats and CATCH MORE FISH.
- “Winter water” by Lanier biologist Pat Snellings
- “Where are the fish?” by former WRD biologist and current Georgia Power Company fisheries biologist Patrick O’Rouke
- “Lanier turnover facts” by retired WRD biologists Reggie Weaver (Lanier) and Bill Couch (Buford Hatchery manager)
Our August days are still very long, so take some local trips after work and fish til 9 pm while you still can. Toss a popper along the pond banks for bass and bream, or hit the Hooch for wild browns and stocker rainbows as the sun sets. On our reservoirs, remember the winter water, watch those temp/DO profiles and identify prime depths, and drop your live bait or spoon down into the strike zone. Lots of sunlight also means that our weekend days are still very long, too, so you can double-dip. Attend your kids’ soccer games or get the lawn cut before lunch and you’ll still have time to travel to distant honey holes and enjoy a long evening of action.
Here are the latest reports I know about:
- Trout Stocking Ride-Along: Great story by author Steve Hudson after his fish-flinging journey
- July’s Chattooga Shocking
- Ken’s Reservoir Reports
- Carson Report
- Capt Mack
- (From Steve Scott-TEAM Lanier) – The bite was on between 6-8 am down-lining 30-45′ over a 70′ bottom in the mouth of Young Deer creek. Water temperature was 84.7 most of the morning. Look for 3-5 stripers grouped together and be ready to drop on them quickly. With these high temperatures you should replace your bluebacks every 15 minutes regardless if they are alive. You want lively bait. After 8 am you should look for singles dropping your baits and a Ben Parker spoon technique if for nothing else to attract other stripers to your baits. Another technique that worked was pulling Lead Core adjacent to the river channel along the shorelines in 100′ depths out 7-9 colors with small paddle tail trailers. This was a good approach from Young Deer to Shady Grove. Remember pink for sunny days and sexy shad for cloudy days.
Chattahoochee: Dredger couldn’t find a buddy for an after-work trip last week, so he went solo. He tried the Guru method of a popper on top, but it was real slow, with only two bass and a few small bream landed. He still rationalized the trip by saying the weather was great, the wet-wade was refreshing, the spotted fawn that crossed the trail on his hike in was neat scenery, and he was fishing on a work day! That “slow” all changed with one cast of the lobster. Right before dark, he gave up on the dry and went down and dirty. He knotted a brown hairy fodder to his tippet and chucked it in front of a big ledge, ponding up some slow, deep water in front of it. He stripped it three short spurts to imitate a fleeing crawdad, and it stopped.
And then moved sideways. He set the hook once, twice and thrice. His cardiac system held through two jumps, four strong runs, and then three missed shots at a thumb-grip before finally lipping the lower jaw of his personal best shoalie. Its tail slid just past the twenty-inch mark of thread wrap on the old 6-weight rod he had built. Moral of the story- it only takes one cast to go from Zero to Hero. Don’t ever give up! And try hard to bring a photographer with you, too.
Chattooga: Before the monsoon season started, Dredger slid east for a different flavor of bass. Arriving at the Highway 76 bridge around seven, he was stoked for an evening of battling the spunky little border water Bartram’s bass. And he caught zip, nada, nothing.
Til about 8PM, when the switch turned on. As darkness fell and those river bass and bream no longer feared the herons, they looked up. And he had a grab of his small, chartreuse popper in just about every calm spot behind a boulder or in front of a ledge. He looked for those “slicks” and foam lines, https://www.montanaangler.com/madison-river-fly-fishing/large-rocks outside the heavy main flow, and the dinner bell was on til slap dark, just after nine. He landed around eight bass to nine inches and a small handful of redbreast. Again, it was another nice way of ending a work day. “Shadows and slicks” are a great recipe for river bassin’ success. Start your Georgia Bass Slam soon with this INFO.
- Tailwaters: Click HERE
- THE Hot Lure or Fly Is the one with hooks that hold: Don’t forget one of these, especially if you dredge along rocky bottoms!
Lake Blue Ridge Gets More Bass: WRD staff continue to stock smallmouth bass fingerlings into Blue Ridge Lake. These important game fish are being produced at the GoFish Center and at USFWS Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery. The most recent lot of 2,465 fish were produced at Warm Springs and stocked last week. These fish were delivered to ideal rearing habitat on the upper part of the lake via boat to ensure a high survival rate.
Mountain Lake Tip: Gainesville fish tech Chris Looney gave me some great intel after his lake profile trips last week. Armed with better sonar on his work boat, he was able to watch his water quality probe sink to each meter of water depth as he took his temp and DO readings. On both lakes, as that probe neared primo striper/hybrid habitat, he watched fish on the graph rise up to inspect his probe. One Nottely striper even smacked it! Chris thought that a savvy angler would take this Ben Parker spoon technique, the current rage on Lanier, and aim for those mountain fish that haven’t seen it yet. Now there’s some hot WRD intel for all of you fishing license holders!
Eclipse Traffic: Beware the “path of totality!” Please expect extra folks from around the world to be on northeast Georgia roads and in our hotels, restaurants and campsites on the days leading up to Eclipse Day, August 21. If you’re planning a north Georgia fishing trip, be ready with your alternative driving routes and lodging sites.
Good luck dodging the storms and finding fishable waters. Winter water will help you catch some really nice summer fish. We hope somebody takes these tips on coolwater habitat and deep spooning, and submits those Nottely angler awards soon! Don’t forget to sharpen your hooks before you aim for that wall-hanger. We want heroes, not zeroes.