It is almost the weekend – what fishing trip do you have planned? Not sure where to go or what species to pursue? We can help with that!
Georgia’s waters offer anglers some of the most diverse fishing opportunities in the southeast with more than 500,000 acres of reservoirs and 12,000 miles of warm water streams. The Georgia Wildlife Resources Division offers annually updated fishing prospects that give anglers of all skill levels in-depth information detailing 32 reservoirs and 18 rivers in one convenient location. Each fishing prospect guide includes best bets, technique tips, target recommendations and contact information. Find out more HERE.
And, now for up-to-the-week tips and information, be sure you are following this blog for our weekly fishing report! This week, we have a report from Southeast and North Georgia.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The crappie and bass bites have been great over the last week! Seatrout fishing was good even through the big New Moon tides. Altamaha bass fishing has been strong this week. Ponds and lakes produced some good bass and decent crappie fishing. Last quarter moon is November 10th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
Josh Hildebrandt of Savannah and a friend fished the Wayne County area of the Altamaha on Thursday and caught a total of 13 bass and a giant 10 1/2-pound bowfin. The best lures were Texas-rigged green pumpkin Keitech Crazy Flappers and black 6-inch curly-tailed worms. Their biggest bass was right at 3 pounds. On Monday, Chad Lee fished some Altamaha backwaters in the Jesup area and landed 18 nice bass from 2 to 5 pounds. He used a Capt. Bert’s NED head and 3-inch stick worms and plastic crayfish for his impressive catch. Heather at Jaycees Landing Bait and Tackle said that the catfishing was great this week. On Friday a group of anglers used goldfish to catch a cooler full of flathead, blue, and channel cats with trot lines. Saturday, an angler fishing the boat basin caught several species of catfish – enough for a good meal. Channel, blue, and white catfish were caught on the back side of sandbars (there is usually a deeper hole on the downstream end of bars). The redbreast bite has been great for those pitching crickets. Catches of 25-30 fish per trip were reported. A few crappie ate minnows, but that bite was slower this week. At Altamaha Park, bream, catfish, and bass were tops. Crickets and worms fooled the bream, while about any bait caught catfish. Some nice flatheads were caught with live bait. Bass were caught tight to cover with cotton candy worms. Crawdad Satilla Spins produced some nice catches of warmouth. The key was to get the lure tight to trees and roots. The river level was 3.1 feet and falling (70 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.9 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on November 7th.
Craig James caught 22 crappie on Tuesday morning by flinging a black-chartreuse curly-tail grub suspended under a small float to cover in deep bends in the middle river. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the buzzbait bite has continued during the warming trend. Big channel cats were fooled by anglers fishing shrimp or pink worms on the bottom. Some big bream were caught with crickets. Minnows and John Deere green colored jigs produced some good crappie catches. The river level on November 7th at the Waycross gage was 4.4 feet and falling (69 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.3 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The bream bite was really strong. Some anglers said you can drop a hook baited with a pink worm or cricket anywhere in the river and catch 15 to 25 large bream per trip. The catfishing was also very good. The river level at the MacClenny gage on November 7th was 3.9 feet and falling.
The water is still high, but it’s coming down. Fishing reports this week were that anglers were only catching bowfin. Very few folks went, but I imagine you could catch a few fliers again by pitching sallies around shoreline vegetation or in the boat basin. The Pioneer Days event is coming up November 18th. Check out the refuge website HERE for details.
Tom and Ed Zmarzly fished an area pond on Saturday and caught 30 crappie (12 keepers) by trolling curly-tailed grubs. The brighter colors worked better than subdued colors, even in the clearer water. Chad Lee caught a nice mess of crappie on minnows from an Alma area pond on Saturday. Daniel Johnson caught some 5-pound plus bass on Sunday. Michael Winge said that crappie were caught in good numbers on minnows. Pink worms on the bottom fooled channel cats. Topwater plugs and buzzbaits fooled some nice bass from Waycross area ponds.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
A group of Waycross anglers fished out of Crooked River on Saturday during the big 8.9 ft tide and caught 32 trout up to 18 1/2 inches. Their fish came on shad-colored and electric
chicken Assassin Sea Shads rigged on 1/8 and 1/4-oz. Flashy Jigheads suspended underneath 3-inch cigar-shaped Equalizer Floats. Shell beds and flats were the habitat they concentrated on most along the Intracoastal Waterway. Bull redfish were caught by surf anglers using cut bait. Joe Corley did an article with author Craig James about trout and redfishing at Crooked River for the current issue of Georgia Outdoor News. Check it out in the November issue if you want to learn Joe’s techniques for catching those species with artificials. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that black drum, bull reds, sheepshead, and trout were caught this week from the pier. Hunter Bechtel of Tifton fished the pier on Thursday and had an impressive catch including 2 big flounder (pushing 20 inches), 2 black drum, a sheepshead, a keeper redfish, a keeper weakfish (yellowmouth trout), a pair of whiting, a nice shark, and a mangrove snapper. Tom and Ed Zmarzly caught 2 sharks on Thursday. They had a 4-ft. lemon shark and a small blacktip on cut bait. Lots of blue crabs were caught this week. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
By the time you read this, a cold front will be plowing through our area. The bass and crappie will probably shut down immediately behind the cold front Friday, and strong winds will likely keep you off saltwater for the weekend. I believe you could catch crappie or bass again in area ponds on Saturday evening. If you have a protected area to fish, you should be able to catch some sheepshead during the falling water temperatures. By early next week, the bites should pick up again as temperatures stabilize. As soon as winds lay down to fishable, the seatrout and redfish bites should be great again in the Crooked River area. They will put the feed bag on again as the water temperatures cool back down into 60’s. I prefer casting Assassin Sea Shads suspended underneath Equalizer Floats to shell mounds and creek mouths around high tide, but live shrimp will also produce lots of fish.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
It’s cooled off nicely across north Georgia and that should mean some solid fall fishing patterns in the week ahead. Recent rains have streamflows in very good shape. What a difference a year makes, huh? This time last year, we had no water in our creeks, warm weather, smoky air to breathe or avoid, and scores of distant firefighters flown in to protect our favorite fishing spots, state parks, and even our homes from the flames.
This week’s cold, wet weather brought zero complaints from the Dredger’s Cleveland household, surrounded on all sides by forest. Let it rain, let it rain!
Most of us have been away from our office this week, so this opening narrative is short. Let’s get right to the reports.
Rabern’s Reservoir Reports: (From Anthony Rabern, Senior Fisheries Biologist) – The mountain lakes in northeast Georgia are known for their trophy spotted bass fishing. During this week of sampling, we collected several spotted bass weighing over 4 lb, like the one pictured from Lake Rabun. Spots are busting herring at the surface in the mornings and can also be found on deeper points in about 25-feet of water during the day.
Walleye are stocked by DNR into several north Georgia lakes. This week’s sampling in the mountain lakes found that walleyes are bunching up in downed tree tops in about 30-feet of water. Coincidentally, crappie are hanging out in the same structure. Submerged tree tops are easy to find by simply scanning the shoreline for large white pines with broken out tops. My suggestion would be to fish a medium-sized shiner slowly around the submerged branches. If you are lucky, you will come out with a double bonus – crappie and walleye!
Crappie: (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) – Water temperature is about 67 degrees. As to be expected, you will notice cooler water temperatures the further north you go in the rivers. Fishing is good and getting better. The pattern is simple: submerged stand alone brush piles in fifteen to twenty five feet should be your main targets. The main river channel north of Laurel Park on the Chattahoochee side and the main river channel in the Chestatee are both are producing well. Having said that, don’t overrule Four Mile and Six Mile Creek, staying in fifteen foot or greater depths. We are also noticing that some fish are moving to deeper docks in main river channels. You will notice a slight change in the color of the water as you go further north. This should work to your advantage as crappie prefer slightly stained water. Jiffy Jigs, Bobby Garland, Mr. Crappie and Panfish Assassins have all been working well. If you prefer fishing with live bait, minnows are also working with a number six long shank hook and a slip cork. If you’re not familiar with slip corks, instructions on how to use them will be on the package. Tight lining while trolling is another way to catch crappie on brush, using a jig tipped with minnows ten feet below the surface. This will require ten to twelve foot rods parallel with the water, with up to four rods on each side of the trolling motor. Your line should be vertical while going at a very, very low speed. If your line is angled or horizontal, you are going too fast. Enjoy fishing among the fall colors that have finally arrived on the lake. Stay safe on the water and wear your life jacket!
DH Streams are Best Bets
- Hooch – Best bets: Paces, Palisades West, and Cochran. Remember the Nov 21 bucket brigade, too. Details in last week’s report.
- Smith: Landon reports good fishing here on small, bright attractor nymphs. He and the girlfriend would catch a few on a pattern and then the fish would turn their noses at it. When they switched to another flashy pattern, it was, again, game on.
- Toccoa: Young “DialDrew” shared this intel in his first fishing report for GAWRD. We sure hope there are plenty more to come! The streamer bite on the upper Toccoa was great. The fish have just been stocked so they need something in front of them that says “I can eat it and it looks good”. I fished a black rabbit Zonker with Orange dubbing, but they seemed to favor the olive color more. I was letting it dead drift above me keeping my line almost tight. When it got below me where I thought the fish would be, I started stripping it back with long slow strips, and pauses in between 3-4 sets of strips. In the end it’s always fun to catch fish and just enjoy being on the water!
DH Fishing Tips: Dredger will be sharing his fall DH fishing tips with the GA Foothills TU gang in Clarkesville tonite at 630PM.
DH Nymphing Tips: Thanks to midcurrent.com for this LINK.
Bluelines: Check This Out
Cohutta Results: Check This Out Too
Shoalies: Dredger snuck out to the upper Hooch on Sunday afternoon for another shot at shoalies. Alas, the water was too cold to wet wade, so he broke down and donned the waders for the first time this fall. After twenty fruitless minutes with a white popper, he admitted surface defeat and went down and dirty with a brown hairy fodder. He only landed three fish, but they were all chunky, hard-fighting 11-12 inchers that put a nice bend in his five-weight Aetos. After a long Saturday on the road to the Buford Fling and a Perry retirement, Sunday’s brief hydrotherapy session was refreshing. And he packed up his poppers til next spring.
CHECK THIS OUT
Kids Stocking Sturgeon: Enjoy our latest video on young conservationists in action!
Good luck this week. Don’t forget to dress warmer and watch those stream temperatures. Afternoon catching will be a bit better as water temperatures rise with the midday sun.