As Georgia makes preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irma, the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division staff hope that everyone is able to remain safe and on “high ground.”
Also, if you will, please keep DNR’s Wildlife and Law Enforcement Division staff in your thoughts and prayers, too, as they are asked to respond to needed areas across the state.
Should you need some fishing tips, let us be sure to share the latest information with you. Today, we have reports 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)
As we stay busy here with storm prep, fish hauling, and vacancy-filling, we hope everyone remains safe this weekend, and let’s all hope that Georgia is spared from Irma’s wrath.
But, if our state suffers, know that our game wardens, wildlife techs, and fisheries techs (including Leon Brotherton, Chris Looney, and Colt Martin) are ready to re-open major roads and help folks in need. Our skilled sawyers and dozer drivers don’t simply clear a WMA road or drop trees for fish habitat in reservoirs and brookie streams. They can also clear a blocked highway in minutes, so that emergency vehicles can respond to critical public needs.
Here we go:
TOCCOA TAILWATER WHOPPER
Have you seen this monster brown yet?
Bass: (This report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley – Jimbo on Lanier ) – Water Temp – 78 degrees, Water Level – 5.7 feet below full pool. Well, more changes in weather this week and every indication that an early fall is upon us. I for one am not complaining. The cool nights and mild high temps are definitely lowering the lake temperatures as we have now dropped into the 70’s. Ideally, we will stay there awhile as this temperature range often leads to the best topwater and swimbait action! The fishing has been good over the past few days, however each day is different, and the fish have different preferences in accordance. Remain flexible in your approach. You can catch fish from 15 feet all the way out to 40 and beyond depending on what techniques you prefer. Some days, those bigger fish are out in deeper water (30+) and if you want quality, you need to spend the time out there with the likes of a dropshot or flutter spoon. With all that said, we are still getting some quality fish around brush on off-shore structure such as points and humps. The schooling bite is still there on some days, but not every day. If the wind is blowing in the morning, the schooling bite seems nearly nonexistent. A smaller swimbait has continued to work well on the schooling fish. Also, a Spybait is a good option as well when the fish are on the move but not eating your larger offerings. Throw that little thing out and let it sink to about a 10 count, then SLOWLY retrieve. On the topwater side, a pencil popper, gunfish, a whopper plopper, and a fluke have been my main choices for topwater, and a sebile for a swimbait. Also, new this week, try a jerkbait if the fish won’t come up. A Spro McStick should do nicely. Focus on offshore structure with cover, such as brush on humps and points, for this approach. We are still concentrating on brush in 18-25 feet of water, but as I mentioned above, the deeper stuff, up to and including timber edges in 35-40 feet on the same type structure, is holding fish as well. In general, focus on the areas that offer close proximity to much deeper water. Those areas will now hold the best numbers and size of fish. Also, with the cooler temps and wind coming this weekend, I could see a crankbait or spinnerbait being productive up shallow on wind blown banks. Something to keep in mind. I continue to use the Lanier Bait offerings with good success on the drop shot, and there are many good colors from which to choose. Make sure to rig your drop-shot with 6 or 8 lbs test Seaguar Fluorocarbon in Invizx or Abrazx. Here are my remaining available dates for September: 11, 16, 19, 25, 27, 28. Fall is coming and so will be that awesome topwater and swimbait bite. Don’t miss it, schedule your trip now! Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun! Thanks to all and May God Bless.
Lanier Profile: From Chris Looney with Fisheries Management) – Here are the latest dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles for Lake Lanier.
Rivers are dropping and clearing, so grab some small Texas-rigged worms or fly rod poppers and give it a go. Don’t forget BLUE poppers to imitate the damselflies. Dredger did some “personal research last weekend and confirmed their effectiveness.”
- Flyfishing Open House- Sept 9: info HERE.
- Dahlonega Trailfest and free TU Membership- Sept 9: Info HERE
- Unicoi Outdoor Adventure Day – Sept 23: Info HERE and HERE.
- US Forest Service Public Meetings: National forest fans –Attend a meeting , or just review the draft plan and submit your comments to USFS. If you hunt, fish, hike, or birdwatch, you should care enough to comment.
Here’s wishing everyone a safe and quiet weekend, with no despair or needed repair next week.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
All eyes are on major hurricane Irma as she churns up the Atlantic. Assuming the storm isn’t bearing down on us, I will be giving two seminars at the Douglas Outdoor Show this Saturday. I’ll be talking about saltwater fishing on the Georgia Coast at 10am and fishing the Okefenokee Swamp and southeast Georgia rivers at 11am. Last quarter moon is September 13th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
The report from Jaycees Landing is that catfish were caught in decent numbers by bottom fishing. A few crappie were caught in the oxbows, and good mullet catches were common. Fishing in the Altamaha Park area was good over the holiday weekend. Good-sized flatheads were caught on live baitfish. Crickets and Satilla Spins were tops for bream. Topwater plugs produced some nice bass catches. Mullet were numerous on worms. Minnows produced some nice crappie from the deeper holes. The river level was 2.1 feet and rising (85 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.3 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on September 5th.
The river is dropping out and getting hard to get around in a boat in the upper reaches. That didn’t stop Craig James from whacking a giant 7-pound bass on a buzzbait last Wednesday. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the buzzbait bite for bass was still on. Redbreasts were caught with Satilla Spins, and catfish were fooled with pink worms fished on the bottom. The river level on September 5th at the Waycross gage was 4.8 feet and falling (81 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 5.2 feet and falling.
ST MARYS RIVER
The river is still high (but it is dropping), and catfish are your best option. The river level at the MacClenny gage on September 5th was 9.0 feet and falling (it was as high as 12 feet over the weekend).
I took my daughter (Ellie) and son (Timothy) to the east side of the swamp between church services on Sunday. We only got to fish an hour, but we managed 8 feisty bowfin (mudfish) and a gar during that short time. Our numbers were about half the usual catch rate per hour, but the size was larger than average. Our 4 largest bowfin weighed 4, 5, 5, and 6 pounds, and Ellie had an 8-pound class fish pull off at the boat. Our best colors of Dura-Spins were white and jackfish (red/white/yellow). The water was over a foot higher than last time we fished, and I think many of the fish were spread out over the flooded prairies.
Lots of effort was spent fishing ponds over the holiday weekend. Some of the better reports I received were from Julius Conner and Angelo Miles. They had around 100 bass up to a few pounds, and their hottest lure was a gold flash Keitech swimbait fished on a light (1/8-oz.) jighead with an exposed Gamakatsu hook. They also caught them on some other lures, but that little swimbait was hot. Chad Lee fished some ponds in the Alma area and caught 56 bass total for the week. Most of the fish were fooled with NED heads and small worms. His biggest, a 6.9-pounder, ate a Berkley Chigger Craw (black/blue). Several others of his bass ate ZOOM Ol’ Monster Worms. Michael Winge said that buzzbaits and topwater plugs continued to produced some nice bass. Pink worms fished on the bottom caught good numbers of catfish. Bream were caught around shoreline vegetation with crickets during the evening.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
A pair of Waycross anglers fished the St. Marys Jetties on Monday and landed a 5-lb., 8-oz. flounder and an oversized redfish by pitching bucktail jigs to the rocks. Another crew of anglers fishing inshore caught their limit of slot-sized redfish, a sheepshead, and a third of a cooler of flounder by dabbling mudminnows, finger mullet, and Berkley Swimming Minnows around current breaks and creek mouths. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that whiting, bull redfish, trout and flounder were caught from the pier. Blue crabs were also caught over the holiday weekend. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
Saltwater is probably not going to be a comfortable option this weekend, no matter which direction Hurricane Irma takes, and it might be downright dangerous. Protected waters like ponds and rivers are likely going to be the best options for fishing as the wind ramps up this weekend. If you want to stay inside, come listen to my tips on fishing the coast, the Okefenokee Swamp, and southeast Georgia Rivers at the outdoors show in Douglas. My talks will be 10am and 11am on Saturday.