With the Thanksgiving holidays coming up, we know everyone is thinking of turkey and dressing…but a fish fry would not be turned down at most southern tables, right? 

Today, we have reports from North, Southeast and Central Georgia. Hope your holidays include a fishing trip or two to your favorite pond, river or lake!

NORTH GEORGIA

(Fishing report courtesy of Jim Hakala, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

Weatherman is forecasting a weekend split.  Mild temps and rain late Saturday ahead of a cold front.  The cold front will pass through Saturday night, ushering in a mix of clouds and sun with noticeably cooler air temps for your Sunday.  Fish one or both days, but there is some excellent fall fishing to be had across north Georgia this pre-Turkey Day weekend!  Let’s check it out:

First things first……A nice tribute to retired Fisheries Chief, John Biagi.

LAKE ALLATOONA

Allatoona Angler Reports:

LAKES TUGALO AND YONAH

N GA Perch YellowPerch_Tugalo_11.08.17 (002)Big Perch: (Report brought to you by Fisheries Biologist Anthony Rabern) – Yellow perch in lakes Tugalo and Yonah frequently top 2lb.  The trophy perch in these two northeast Georgia mountain lakes is due to DNR’s walleye stocking program, which thins down the perch population and allows the survivors to grow big!  Fisheries biologist Anthony Rabern believes that record-sized perch reside in both lakes and that a new state record is ready to be set.  Perch typically occur in schools that hug close to the bottom of the lake.  Perch prefer weedy bottoms and woody structure and are easy to catch on live baits like nightcrawlers and small minnows.

TROUT

Hooch DH Stockings

DH Fishing Reports

Good News for Helen Area Trouters: Fans of Smith DH, Dukes at Smithgall, the Hooch and other Helen area headwater streams, take notice.  Dredger learned last Sunday that new restaurant owner Matt Harper plans to keep his North GA BBQ restaurant open on weekends thru winter.  This is a great stop after a fun, but cold day trouting in White County.  Don’t miss the nanner’ pudding!

Upper Hooch Tailwater:

Angler Honesty: Read about it HERE

LAKE LANIER

Lanier Bass: Good info HERE

Lake Report: (This Lake Lanier report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley – Jimbo on Lanier) – Water Temp – 63 degrees, Water Level – 5.3 feet below full pool. We have dropped in surface temperature about 3 degrees since my last report, and the lake has came up slightly.  The areas around Browns Bridge and above are continuing to show signs of turnover.  The lower lake from about 6 mile north looks like it is starting to turn as well.  The areas down around Baldridge and Shoal still look clear in the main body and in the main river channels, however the creek arms are starting to show some stain.  The fish are still spread out both in the mouths of the creeks and further back in as well.  The schooling bite has tapered off some since last week.  If the fish do school and are chasing smaller bait fish, or you are having a hard time getting the fish to commit to swimbait or jerkbait offerings, try a spy bait.  Count it down and work it slowly.  A Picasso ShakeDown Head with a finesse worm and a jig are still good for some bites on clay and rock points as well as in the brush.  I spool my ShakeDown heads with 8 lbs test Seaguar and throw it on a GLoomis NRX Shaky Head Rod, with a Shimano CI4 spinning reel.  The spoon bite has continued to pick up.  We are finding spoon fish out in 35-40 ft at the mouths of ditches, as well as further back in some cases.  The lake is definitely in transition now.  Junk fishing is encouraged as many different techniques, presentations, and locations can work now.  I have not covered everything that is viable in this report, so be willing to experiment.  Deep, shallow, docks, slow, fast – all of it can work, it just depends on the day.  If you would like to learn how to “Fish The Day”, now is a great time.  Practicing this approach can really sharpen your game and tournament fishing as well.  Here is a list of my remaining open dates in November:  20, 22, 24, 28, 29, 30.   Give me a call and let’s get out and have some fun!   Thanks to all and May God Bless.

More Lanier Species: Check out this information

Birdwatching on Lanier: Lanier regular DavidD reports that our favorite strike indicators, gulls, have arrived at Lanier, so go birdwatching to catch more stripers and spots.

Last Friday on Lanier: It was slow fishing but the jerk bait managed to trick a few. Yes,N GA catfish chan jerkbait Lanier WallyW Nov2107 that is indeed a catfish and yes it did take the jerk bait!  Going tomorrow with my son in law to try again. This cold front won’t do us any favors but he really wants to go. How could I possibly turn down that enthusiasm?! Check out these two articles HERE and HERE.

Crappie: (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, Member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) -Water temperature is 50 degrees and falling .   This sudden drop in water temperature will definitely slow the bite down, but crappie like cold water, and they will adjust in a few days.   High temperatures toward the end of the week should be in the high fifties to sixties, which should increase the bite.  It will also be more pleasant fishing weather! Your best bet will be fishing brush piles in twenty five feet of water.  Make sure you fish it from different angles, and if that doesn’t trigger a bite, try positioning the boat directly above the brush pile and jig vertically.  As you approach, make sure you set your trolling motor speed on the lowest setting to avoid spooking the fish.  Crappie minnows should work as well as jigs.  If you are a dock shooter, you will most likely catch the bigger fish in this manner at twenty to thirty foot depth.  The fish need to fatten up for the winter, so should be biting well after adjusting to the colder water temperatures. Be safe on the water and wear your life jacket, it can save your life!  See you on the water!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)

The winds and cold front kept most anglers off the water over the weekend, but the crappie and bass were chowing late last week before the front. Ponds and lakes produced most of the good bass and crappie catches. Seatrout fishing has been good on days you can get out.  New Moon is November 18th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Heather at Jaycees Landing Bait and Tackle said that the bad weather over the weekend slowed the fishing, but those who went caught a few decent crappie on minnows. Just before the front, some nice flatheads were caught with goldfish. At Altamaha Park, local anglers fishing Friday and Saturday caught flatheads on goldfish. They also said that the crappie fishing was a little slow, but the ones they caught were huge. They were using minnows. The bass bite was good for anglers using shiners. Most of the bass were in the 14 to 18-inch range. The river level was 3.6 feet and rising (62 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.5 feet and rising at the Doctortown gage on November 14th.

SATILLA RIVER

A pair of anglers fishing the lower river caught a throwback striper by pitching bucktail jigs to pilings. That bite was good last year but hasn’t materialized yet this winter that I’m aware of. Almost all of the stripers will be undersized and must be released, but they are fun to catch. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that anglers were catching crappie on minnows and jigs. On Sunday afternoon, bass were reportedly hitting topwaters. On Thursday and Friday an angler fishing the middle river (Nahunta area) caught a total creel (both days) of 66 hand-sized and larger redbreasts on crickets. Redbreasts and bream were biting in other areas of the river on crickets before the cold front. The river level on November 14th at the Waycross gage was 4.6 feet and rising (65 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 3.2 feet and rising.

ST. MARYS RIVER

Over the weekend, the catfish bite was fast and furious, even in the cold and wind. Shrimp and worms would barely hit the bottom before a catfish inhaled it. Reports were good all along the river, and fish were averaging 10 to 18 inches. Charlton County staff were able to fix the dock at Traders Hill that was damaged by recent high water, so that access is back up and fully operational. The river level at the MacClenny gage on November 14th was 3.5 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

I didn’t receive any reports this week, but I suspect you could catch some bowfin on spinners and fliers on yellow, pink, or orange sallies. Catch a warming trend, and you should be able to find fish in the cuts between the canals and expansive flats. The fish use those areas as “highways” when moving between flats and canals. The Pioneer Days event is coming up this weekend, November 18th. Check out the refuge website HERE for details.

SE GA Prince Preston Ogeechee Pickerel 10 15 17
Prince Preston fished the Ogeechee River last month and caught this big pickerel (jackfish). Jackfishing is just getting going for the winter in the Okefenokee and south Georgia rivers.

LOCAL PONDS

An angler fishing a Brunswick area pond on Friday struggled to control the boat in the wind but had a great catch. He fished by himself and had 2 bass in the 2-pound range on 4-inch worms and 6 other bass between 17 and 20 inches. His best 5 bass went 14 pounds. The half-dozen larger fish all inhaled a green pumpkin 4.4-inch Keitech Crazy Flapper Texas-rigged with a 1/4-oz weight. The bass were REALLY tight to trees and he had to make multiple casts to get them to bite. Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson had a slow weekend by their standards. The few they caught ate Christy Craws (black/blue). On Monday an angler fished a pond with NED heads and small stick worms and landed 4 bass in the one-pound range during his lunch break. Not a bad hour! Michael Winge said that crappie were the ticket in Waycross area ponds, and minnows were the best bait.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

The strong winds behind cold fronts shut down the bigwater fishing this weekend. Before the blow, lots of trout and reds were caught. 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 the winds slowed the fishing, but anglers still caught some black drum and whiting from the pier. Surprisingly, the bull reds disappeared the last couple weeks. TONS of blue crabs were caught this week from the pier. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

At the time of writing this, another cold front is forecasted to come through our area on Saturday night. Late this week and on Saturday we should have a good crappie and bass bite in area ponds and rivers. If the winds allow, the seatrout bite should be good, but you will have to deal with big New Moon tides (and probably muddy water, especially on the outgoing tide) again by late in the week.

CENTRAL GEORGIA

(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 Below Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.  

LAKE RUSSELL IS DOWN .40 FEET, CLEAR, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Crank baits, jerk baits and an occasional spinnerbait are working.  The fish are very scattered.  Bottom fishing is fair but still only one to two fish are being caught at each location.  Spend a little time looking at the points and underwater islands with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology to find baitfish in these area before fishing.  This will help narrow down where the fish are.  Remember this time of year is all about the bait; find it and you are more than likely going to find the fish.  Crank bait and jerk baits are the main running gunning lures for now.  Anglers are having to cover a lot of water.  This lipless crank bait in the larger sizes can catch the bass while this smaller sizes will produce more spots.  Fish the points and ledges varying the speed and depth and make long casts for the best results.  Use the 1/2 ounce black and blue football jig and try to key in on the deeper submerged stumps and smaller brush piles.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 9.1 FEET, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Bass are feeding on very small baits that recently hatched, so think small.  Small crank baits, small worms and even small in-line spinners like small white Rooter Tail.  Cut a trick worm down to 5 inches and try the white ice color and fish it on a light lead head jig and 8 or 6 pound test Sufix line.  Remember this time of year is all about the bait; find it and you are more than likely going to find the fish.  Spend a little time looking at the points and underwater islands with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology to find baitfish in these area before fishing.  This will help narrow down where the fish are.  On this technology the fish will look like small white dots.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 60’S 

Bass: Bass fishing is fair.  Most of the lake is clear with some stain up the rivers.  Up the Oconee River flipping blow downs with a 1/2 ounce black jig can catch a big fish but only get a few bites a day.  Fish brush piles down lake in 15 to 20 foot of water using a Senko.  Fish the bait on a Texas rig and work thru the brush very slow.  Remember this time of year is all about the bait; find it and you are more than likely going to find the fish.  Flipping a zoom crawfish in the watermelon color under docks where deep water is nearby will also bring you a few bites.  Work all areas around the docks until you find where the fish are holding.  With the Lowrance Structure Scan technology anglers can look under the docks found on many lakes and count the fish.  Not all docks have bass on them.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good to very good.  The fish are still on the submerged timber from 5 to 15 feet deep.  Use your Lowrance to locate the trees with the most fish on them and then drop live bait or jigs into the top of the tree.  This will produce good catches of crappie.

WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 6.1 FEET, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The lake is dropping fast and this will pull the bait and the bass out to the long narrow points mid to lower lake.  Small jerk baits and split shot rigged finesse worms like the white ice trick worm are fair.  From mid lake down, start the morning on the rip rap with a #5 and a #7 Shad Rap in the perch or natural shad color.  The bass are looking for small baits up on the rocks and are feeding on them.  Look for shad on the surface near rip rap or any rocky point.  Remember this time of year is all about the bait; find it and you are more than likely going to find the fish.  Anglers can see these bait clouds with the Lowrance Structure Scan Side imaging technology and the bass will show up too, close by.  The bass may be super shallow in only a foot or two feet deep.  Spend a little time looking at the points and underwater islands with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology to find baitfish in these area before fishing.  This will help narrow down where the fish are.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.4 FEET, CLEAR, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Bass are being caught in Rocky Creek and Island Creek on Bitsy Flip Jigs black and blue with any small trailer.  Target the grass beds on the south end of the lake with a Scrounger Head Swimming jig with a Zoom Fluke Jr. for both numbers and a good kicker fish or two.  Main lake points from Little River Marina are holding fish that can be caught on a variety of crank baits.  Use the Rapala #5 and #7 Shad Raps, Bomber Flat A’s, and Bandit 200’s.  Make sure the crank baits are bouncing and bumping on the bottom, a set of rocks, stumps or rocks to trigger strikes.  Spend a little time looking at the points and underwater islands with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology to find baitfish in these area before fishing.  This will help narrow down where the fish are.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 1.55 FEET, HIGH 60’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Fish are on docks and sea walls looking for food.  Early morning feeding periods may show some top water action.  Keep a top water bait ready in the event that they feed.  Bang A Lures, Pop R’s and floating Rapala’s are very good choices and use clear 8-pound Sufix line.  Spinning reels are easy to us with these baits.  The 4-inch Senko in bright colors on a Texas rig or with no weight is catching some very large spots mid lake around docks.  Pick the docks half way in the backs of major creeks, skip the baits under the dock and be sure to have fresh line.  Another bait that will fool the bigger spots is a ½ ounce Stanley jig and a twin tail trailer especially after dark.  Down lake on rocks, the Fat Albert dark grubs on a 1/16 or 1/8 lead head and a single or twin tail grub can work on main lake structure.  Points and long banks right in the mouth of the lower lake creek can produce some good action.  Cast the baits right on the bank and reel back with a straight steady motion.  Occasionally drop the bait and the fish will strike.

BIG LAZER PFA – Click HERE

  • Surface water temperature: 62o F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is about 33”
  • Water level: Down about 12” from full pool

Bass: Fair – Some bass are being caught on plastic-worms fished in deeper water and around timber near the island.  Remember to fish plastic baits slower now that water temperatures are cooler.  Also, crank baits may produce a strike near underwater structure along deep edges, shad, and crawfish colors should work well.

Crappie: Good – The water has started to cool off, and the crappie are getting ready for winter, so try some minnows and/or brightly colored jigs around the standing timber or along deeper banks to get some slabs.  We got a report last week from the Sign-In Board that an angler caught a limit of 30!

Bream: Slow – Bream fishing has slowed down since spawning season is over, but you can still find them around structure like woody brush and blow downs. In the fall, try fishing worms or crickets under a cork in water 6’or less.  Also, try a beetle spin rig in those same areas.  Bream have little mouths, so use smaller hooks for best results.

Channel catfish: Slow – But the upper-end of the lake should be your best bet since the water will be warmer in the shallower part of the lake for a little bit longer.  Try chicken livers, shrimp or commercial type stink bait fished near the bottom to attract old whiskers.

Fall has finally arrived!!  For the dedicated angler, now is the best time to be on the lake since pressure will be much lower due to hunting season.  Plans are to keep the fish cleaning station open as long as possible for our customers, until sub-freezing temps arrive, so get outside, catch some fish and enjoy a good Fall Fish Fry.

Attention:  Waterfowl Hunters are allowed to hunt the PFA Wednesdays & Saturdays until noon during the season.  See Hunting Regs for more details.  

MCDUFFIE PFA – Click HERE

  • Water temperature range across lakes: 66⁰ and falling.
  • Water Visibility: 21 – 54 inches

Bass:   No reports of any big bass being caught.  Bass fishing has remained steady across the PFA.  The bass are chasing the shad in Lake Willow so increased feeding activity should translate into better fishing.  The falling temperatures are here but the bass fishing has remained slow and steady. Lake Rod bender, the trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one Bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.

Bream: Slow. The PFA’s anglers have not reported catching bluegill or redear since last fishing report.

Channel Catfish:  The channel catfish bite has slowed down due to temperature changes.  The catfish were biting exceptionally well in all PFA lakes.  Catfish can be caught during winter months but they must be located in each lake. The lakes that have received a supplemental fall stocking of catchable-sized channel catfish are Jones, Willow, Clubhouse, Breambuster, Bridge, and Beaverlodge. 

Striped bass: No reports of stripers being caught in Lake Clubhouse or Bridge Lakes. The water temperature on McDuffie PFA is below 66 degrees so the stripers should begin biting.  Stripers are school feeders so if one striper is feeding they are all feeding.