How are those resolutions going? Still sticking to them? Hopefully, one of those was getting out to go fish more often!
Some fun ways to talk about fish, without venturing out into the cold listed below:
- Jan 20 : Rabun Rendezvous
- Jan. 18-21: Atlanta Boat Show (be sure to visit the “Let’s Go Fishing” Center for hourly seminars)
- Feb. 2-3: The Fly Fishing Show (Gwinnett Co.)
On to our reports: Today, we have reports from Central and North Georgia. Have a great holiday weekend!
(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.
LAKE RUSSELL IS DOWN 1.8 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. The weather is still taking us on a roller coaster ride with cold winds and colder days mixed together all through the week. The rivers are still good bass producers, however, the bass aren’t really big in size. Smaller spotted bass with a few largemouth are being caught in Beaverdam Creek, Rocky River, and up on the northern end of the Savannah River. Carolina Rigs can be found in just about every boat along with a couple of deeper diving crank baits and drop shot rigs. Submerged stumps can be found in small patches all over the lake. You can find these by using your Navionics lake map and the Lowrance Down Scan technology can see fish laying on the bottom. Start off by fishing a Rapala DT10 over the tops of these stumps and then follow up with a Carolina Rig. On the channel ledges, break out a drop shot rig and downsize everything from your hook to your line. This includes whatever bait you choose as well. A slow presentation will be the key on whatever you do so be patient. We have another very cold weather front this week. Air temperatures are very cold and the fish will react to the weather by not feeding and relating to heavy structure with the very cold temperatures and high pressure. Any warm water you can find can have active bass. They still have to eat.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN .27 FEET, 50’S
We have another very cold weather front this week. Air temperatures are very cold and the fish will react to the weather by not feeding and relating to heavy structure with the very cold temperatures and high pressure. Any warm water you can find can have active bass. They still have to eat. Bass fishing is slow but they are biting. The water is cold and stained. Use the jigs in black and blue or all black 1/2 ounce jig and a larger Pro Pork Trailer by Uncle Josh, on the heavy cover. Spoons are great all day baits and the Lowrance Sonar can help you find them. Use the 200 kHz and the 455 Down beams; this Down beam is much wider and a lot more powerful. You can see the bass on the bottom, so drop the bait to them. The bass can be tight in cover and the Zoom lizards in pumpkinseed colors is fair. In the creeks on points close to the current, use the dark jig and pig combination, fishing tight in any cover on the bank as far out as 15 feet. Use some Real Craw scent and use it often casting to the same location.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 50’S
Black bass fishing is fair. With the warmer water there are a good number of fish that have moved back shallow. Using a spinnerbait fished on the main lake shore line, cast into small pockets or small coves; this is your best bet. Make sure that you have deep water nearby. Flipping under docks with a jig and pig would be a way to also get a few bites. You need to work the docks that are near deep water. Also look for docks that have brush on them and fish with a shaky head worm. Use a zoom watermelon or watermelon candy worm dipping your bait in the JJ Magic can really help you catch more fish. Spoons are great all day baits and the Lowrance Sonar can help you find them. Use the 200 kHz and the 455 Down beams and this Down beam; this beam is much wider and a lot more powerful. You can see the bass on the bottom, so drop the bait to them. We have another very cold weather front this week. Air temperatures are very cold and the fish will react to the weather by not feeding and relating toheavy structure with the very cold temperatures and high pressure. Any warm water you can find can have active bass. They still have to eat.
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 6.1 FEET, STAINED & 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. The upper end of the lake is silty right now so go south to fish. The dam area up to the Maple Creek area is the best fishing spot right now for all fish. All of the fish are bunched up together in 25 to 30 feet of water, and you can catch a mixed bag of fish with vertical jigging on the bottom. Find the fish on the Lowrance Down Scan and Sonar technology and then vertical jig using a 1/2 to 3/4 ounce spoon of your choice. The bass, whites, spots, hybrids and crappie are all bunched together. Fish along the edge of tree lines and flats. This will be the pattern until the water begins to rise and warm. We have another very cold weather front this week. Air temperatures are very cold and the fish will react to the weather by not feeding and relating to heavy structure with the very cold temperatures and high pressure. Any warm water you can find can have active bass. They still have to eat.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.4 FEET, CLEAR, 50’S
Bass are slow to fair in shallow and deep water. Some anglers are still catching fish from shallow water using mainly crank baits and jigs. Most are coming from main river banks that drop quickly into deep water. Some crank baits producing recent success are Rapala DT10, Shad Rap RS #5, Thunder Shad, and Deep Little N. For the jig, try a Stanley 5/16 ounce in black blue with a Zoom Chunk in black blue or green pumpkin. Riprap along the roads in Little River is still producing bass using crank baits and jigs. There are now quite a number of main river points and flats that are holding deeper fish. The area from Nancy Branch to Sandy Run Creek on the Oconee River has been best lately. Most fish are holding on the sides of these structures at 15 to 25 feet deep. The best baits are varying daily or even hourly. On some days, an angler may catch only one or two fish per bait. But a good catch is still possible by catching one or more fish on three or four baits. Spoons have probably been the best overall. Some good spoons are a Flex it .6, Bomber Slab spoon, and Hopkins Shorty 45. Chrome, white, and chartreuse have all produced. With the colder water, a short hop of 12 to 18 inches off bottom has been better than a higher jigged spoon. Carolina rigs are working well at times using a very slow retrieve. Little George’s and Rocket Shad’s can also be good at times. Use a very slow retrieve trying to make the bait slowly slide along bottom or just a few inches off bottom. A drop shot rig should also be tried. Another good bait that is not very popular is a jig head and worm. Use a 1/8 to ¼ ounce darter head with a Zoom Finesse worm. Like the drop shot rig, the jig head and worm is more easily fished using spinning tackle with 8 or 10 pound line. This rig should also be slowly slid across the bottom without trying to impart any action on the bait. We have another very cold weather front this week. Air temperatures are very cold and the fish will react to the weather by not feeding and relating to heavy structure with the very cold temperatures and high pressure. Any warm water you can find can have active bass since they still have to eat.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .55 FEET, 50’S
Bass fishing is fair but not a lot of anglers are on the lake. Head towards the dam and the old river channel that comes real close to this large rounded point. Think small for now. Small jigs, small spoons and small crank baits. Light line too. T ube baits like the Rattle Tube by Storm is an excellent choice for such a place. Rig it on a Carolina rig and one on a Texas rig. Smoke and pearl are the color of choices here. Another bait is a Rapala DT10 in either the silver or shad color. Hot mustard is a good all day color but reel it back slowly. Fish will be dead on the bottom and the Lowrance Down Scan beams can see them one inch off the bottom. Work the points with these lures and work them slowly. Other areas where the channel makes a sharp turn at or near a major point are good places to check out this week. We have another very cold weather front this week. Air temperatures are very cold and the fish will react to the weather by not feeding and relating the heavy structure with the very cold temperatures and high pressure. Any warm water you can find can have active bass. They still have to eat.
BIG LAZER PFA (click HERE for more info)
- Surface water temperature: 43o F
- Water visibility: Visibility is about 38”
- Water level: Full pool
Bass: Good – The water temperature drop has gotten the bass hungry. Try locating schools of shad and send down a jigging spoon or blade to mimic the bait fish. The bass are fairly deep now so fishing near their main food source should get your lines tightened!
Crappie: Fair – The water is cold now! Dropping minnows and/or brightly colored jigs around the standing timber or along deeper banks will be your best bet for connecting with a Big Lazer Slab. Also, trolling some of the above mentioned baits just outside the standing timber may help you locate some as well. Don’t forget the fishing pier where there are artificial attractors in easy casting distance.
Bream & Channel catfish: Slow – Not many anglers targeting these species right now, but if you are looking for some table fare from either, try hooking on some fat worms under a float near deeper structure and be patient.
Attention: Waterfowl Hunters are allowed to hunt the PFA Wednesdays & Saturdays until noon during the season. See Hunting Regs for more details. Hunters & Anglers remember Hypothermia can be a Killer so be safe out there!
MCDUFFIE PFA (click HERE for more info)
- Water temperature range across lakes: Approx. 50⁰.
- Water Visibility: 18 – 54 inches
Bass: Bass fishing pressure has slowed down on PFA. However, a 6.14 lb. bass was caught in Lake Willow. Anglers are reporting bass fishing is very slow and the very cold weather affects bass activity. The cold weather has started killing the shad in Lake Willow. Seagulls are the signal that a die-off is occurring. In December, Rodbender and Willow Lakes have received a stocking of golden shiners and goldfish forage so if anglers match the forage they could catch a big bass in either lake during this winter. Lake Rodbender, the trophy bass pond, is open year-round and anglers can harvest one Bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer. No reports of any big bass being caught in Rodbender.
Bream: 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 dropping temperatures. Channel Catfish can be caught during winter months but they must be located in each lake. Catfish are not always in deep water during winter months. The Lakes Clubhouse, Breambuster and Willow have received some large channel catfish to add some surprises when they are caught. Some of the area’s anglers have caught and released some of these large catfish.
Striped Bass: Very slow bite. No reports of stripers being caught in Bridge Lake or Clubhouse. Stripers are school feeders so if one striper is feeding they are all feeding.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The bad news of the week had to be our sleep-deprived Monday night and its heartbreaking last play. Hey, #2 in the entire nation is not a bad perch to be sitting on at season’s end. But that’s now history and we all have to look ahead, to new college football and fishing seasons. And I almost forgot that the Falcons are still hanging on to entertain this weekend’s fair weather anglers, still hesitant to venture beyond their recliners. Our current theme has been the cold and ice that curtailed a lot of fishing trips last week; you’ll notice a lean weekly report that reflects the weather’s impacts on Georgia angler initiative.
But there’s still some good news for the dedicated anglers among us. We’ve finally warmed up a bit to tolerable conditions, so the fishing and catching should both be on the upswing with rising air and water temperatures for at least two more days, before turning cold again.
I’ve seen more boats on Lanier this week than I did for the last two, combined. Late winter and very early spring are also the times when a lot of trophy fish, now full of eggs, swing by WRD’s certified scales for Georgia Angler Awards. Notice this walleye photo from 2013; it was caught on January 20.
Remember also that the dead of winter is “show season,” so make sure you’re aware of all the indoor events (as listed in the intro above) that will be more comfortable, and as informative as a cold, slow day on the lake or in the trout stream. Here we go:
Toccoa DH Ice Skating: Jeff,On Sunday January 7th, three antique anglers from the Cohutta Chapter of TU mounted an expedition to the frozen wasteland near Dial. After a quick stop at a local outpost for a calorie boost, the three were back on their way. Upon arriving at the river the amount of ice both from the bank and flowing downstream exceeded expectations. There were ice shelves extending to twenty feet into the current and continuous flows of thin ice sheets coming all day. But, there were fish to be seen in the crystal water and the trio geared up and sallied forth. The most adventurous of the group used a float tube to reach the far shore on a short but exciting float. With all the flowing ice and freezing rod guides, fly lines and leaders the fishing was challenging. The moving ice refused to let the heavily weighted rigs stay on the bottom, where the speckled beauties were kissing the rocks. A few brook and rainbows were caught and released unharmed but, slightly confused. Wooly Buggers, green and pink as well as the naughty y2k proved successful. Warmer weather this week will not doubt melt the flowing stuff, the shelf ice will probably be there a while. The best part, the three had the entire river to themselves! Sincerely, Steve Westmoreland. Ed note: Cohutta TU is a great adoption agency for new trouters. Check out their monthly outings: Cohutta TU
Nantahala DH Redirection: Ice sheets on the DH section sent this dedicated duo downstream, to the tailwater. Enjoy the pic.
True Dukes Trophy: Click HERE
Smith DH: Click HERE
Hooch Butter: Click HERE
The Next Hooch DH Bucket Brigade- Feb 19: Gainesville fisheries staff will hold their annual Presidents Day bucket stocking at Whitewater Creek on February 19, 2018. The stocking truck should be arriving around 10:00 AM and this is a great time to bring your kids to stock trout and then hook a few on rod and reel afterwards. We encourage everyone that wishes to participate to bring waders or rubber boots and a five-gallon bucket. We look forward to seeing you all there!
- To preregister as a volunteer for the event please click HERE
- For directions to the parking lot, click HERE
- The parking lot is site EP 28 on the National Park Service Map, click HERE
Crappie: (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) –The weather got better, and we hit the ground running to lake! Current water temperature is 46 degrees, a little colder in the upper reaches of the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers. I was asked a great question several days ago – to clarify the definition of “channel docks”. There are 2 main river channels on Lanier, the Chestatee and the Chattahoochee. The docks entering and beyond the mouths of the creeks are NOT channel docks. We typically refer to these as “docks from the mouth to the backs of creeks”. The docks we refer to as “channel docks” are on the main channels of the Chestatee and the Chattahoochee. They are usually docks with deeper water, and are currently your best choice for catching crappie now. 1/16 oz jig head is a good choice with Mr. Crappie, Bobby Garland or Jiffy Jigs. This is a heavier jig than we normally use, and will sink faster. If you can locate fish close to those docks on your downscan, try dropping a minnow with a number 6 long shank Eagle Claw hook, but substitute a 1/16 oz jig in lieu of a split shot. With the jig on the top about 16” above the hook, you may get lucky and double up. The fish are still holding tight to the structure and are not willing to chase the bait. Your presentation must be in their face to get the bite. Deer season is nearing the end, so you may see more fishermen on the lake. Stay safe on the water and wear your life jacket!
Bass: (This report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley – Jimbo on Lanier) — Well, we have been tasting some winter over the past week or so. Brrrrrr! The surface temperatures are down to around 49 degrees in the lower lake. There is still some stain in the creeks in some areas, but overall the water on the lower end looks good. We have been seeing some more ditch activity this week – both deep and shallow. Out deep, the timber edges in and around 40 feet have been productive with a Picasso Shake Down Head and worm combo. We have been dropping directly on the fish we are seeing on the Lowrance electronics. Casting in these areas can also be effective, but the drop down has been best. Try the SPRO McStick in shallower areas in the ditch, particularly in the mornings. The steeper rock points and banks on the main lake and in the creeks have been productive as well. The Picasso Shake Down head/green pumpkin worm combo along with a Chattahoochee Jig have done well in these areas. We have been presenting these baits very slowly in these steep rock areas. We have caught fish this week from 10 feet deep all the way out to 60 feet. It just depends on the spot and the activity level of the fish. Cloudy weather seems to push them out deeper, but when the sun is out, they seem to be up shallower. So, stay flexible. When the wind is up, try your SPRO Little John DD on the rocks as well for some fish. Don’t expect alot of bites, but some good ones. Don’t miss the opportunity to throw a SuperSpin in the same places as well. It’s a great time to learn winter fishing and the ditch bite! Following is a list of my upcoming open dates January: 15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25. Give me a call and let’s get out and catch some fish! Thanks to all and May God Bless!
Ken’s Lake Reports: Fresh every Friday
WANT TO BE A GAME WARDEN?
Game Wardens Wanted: Want a career protecting the state’s natural resources? Click HERE for more info.
Good luck finding some life in the “dead of winter.” It’s really not dead; it’s just slow. Dress right, watch the weather and water temperatures, and give it a go for an afternoon. Once you thaw out at home, you’ll be glad you did. As always, thanks for buying or renewing your fishing licenses and TU brookie car tags.