Sooooo, as long as you aren’t planning on fishing at Camp Crystal Lake, Friday the 13th should be a great day to go fishing, right? 

We have A LOT of fishing news, information, tips, tricks and more to tell you about, including these 2 quick notes:

We have some awesome reports from our various parts of the state, including Southwest, Central, Southeast and North Georgia. Don’t let little ole Friday the 13th keep ya indoors – Go Fish Georgia!

SOUTHWEST GEORGIA

(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

Some crappie have moved out of the shallows and most have already spawned. However, fishing is still good for crappie, especially at night with lights. The largemouth bass fishing continues to be excellent. The fish are being caught in the shallows and are actively spawning in many locations. There are very good numbers of bass in the 3-5 pound range available to anglers. Soft plastics and spinnerbaits are currently the bait of choice. Hybrid and striped bass fishing has also been good in the open water and there have been several reports of hybrids being caught further downstream in both the tailrace below George and at the Columbia Lock and dam. A live shad or any lure resembling a shad should be effective for these aggressive predators. The catfish fishing has begun to heat up as well and anglers using noodles have been having good success.

LAKE SEMINOLE    

Most of the spawning activity at Seminole has ended but fishing still remains very good. There have been plenty reports of good bass catches. Largemouth bass anglers should concentrate their efforts along the edges of the hydrilla. The redear should be spawning or getting ready to spawn. A red wiggler fished under a cork is probably the most effective technique for catching bedded redear on Lake Seminole. There have also been reports of some good catches of channel catfish and hybrids. 

FLINT RIVER

The Flint River still remains a bit high and perhaps a little early to produce good catches of bream and bass. However, there have been reports of hybrid and striped bass in the tailraces below Lake Blackshear in Warwick and below Lake Worth in Albany. The increased flow attracts white bass, hybrids, striped bass as well as catfish. As soon as the water drops a bit and warms expect bream, bass, and catfish fishing to really heat up. The following USGS gauges of river level may be useful when planning your next fishing trip:

LAKE BLACKSHEAR

Both largemouth bass and crappie are spawning in Lake Blackshear. Good numbers of both are being caught. Fishing in or adjacent to shoreline vegetation is where you will find both of these species. Recent samples by DNR Fisheries showed that the crappie population is made up of some really nice fish. Seventy five percent of the fish sampled were over one pound and several two pound fish were seen. Minnow and small jigs are the favorite bait of anglers targeting spawning crappie on Lake Blackshear.

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 Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.  

LAKE RUSSELL IS DOWN .27 FEET, CLEAR, 60’S

Bass fishing is good.  The weather is warm and the fishing can be hot.  Most of the lake will be in a pre-spawn mode.  Fish the pre-spawn secondary points near deeper water.  Some bass will also be hanging around the shallows as the bluegill move up to spawn.  On the main lake points look for some good top water action as the blue back herring move up to spawn as well.  Fish the crank baits at various depths like the Rapala DT series and the Shad Rap crank baits.  Also use the Carolina rig and a trick worm in green pumpkin and fish it slowly.  The shaky head with a floating Robo Worm will also work.  Use the top water baits including the Pop R, Zara Spook and the Zara Spook Jr.  Try the small Red Fin in bone as a wake bait and can call bass up from deep water.  Always have a Zoom Super Fluke in baby bass to work around the points as well.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 2.5 FEET, 70’S

Bass fishing is good.  The full moon is soon and the fish are moving shallow.  Lots of bass are moving up and feeding.  Now is a good time to fish shallow flats, secondary points and any wood on the bank.  The bait fish are heading shallow too.  There are bass still in the shallow ditches especially those holding grass or near grassy areas.  Fluke’s in pearl and the Rapala DT10 crank baits in shad and the Number Ten X Raps in the olive green color are excellent baits.  Spinner baits are always a great spring favorite.  Get the Lucky Craft Redemption baits and rung and gun.  If all else fails, get out the Zoom lizard and rig up a full one-ounce sinker and go to the 3 foot leader.  Green pumpkin and pumpkinseed are regular favorites.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, MID 60’S

(Report from Captain Mark Smith of Reel Time Guide Service, 404-803-0741 reeltime@bellsouth.net)

Bass: Lake Oconee is full, the water temperature is 60-64.  Stained up the rivers, main lake is clear.  Richland creek is clear.  Bass fishing is good.  Most of the bass have spawned, and started to move out of the coves and pockets.  Spinner baits have been producing over the past week.  Fish them from the middle of the coves to the out.  Docks and wood structure have been the best producers.  Match your spinner bait color to the water color.   White/chartreus seem to be the best all-around.  The shad spawn has not started, but it is coming up soon.  When this happens the buzz bait bite will also pick up.

Bass: (This Bass Fishing Report from Lake Oconee is from our former (now retired) Fisheries Chief John Biagi): I got out on Lake Oconee yesterday for some bass fishing.  It is that time of year when every bass angler is waiting for their favorite fish to move shallow to spawn.  Just like deer hunters anticipating the rut, bass anglers know their best chance for a double digit bass is coming up.  I headed out to Lake Oconee this week after seeing the weather forecast for a couple of days in the 70’s.  Springtime shallow water bass fishing is all about finding the warmest water on the lake.  Surface temps at the Armour Bridge ramp in the morning were around 59F.  Not what I was hoping for as I prepared for the trip.  Fortunately, I was able to find some warm water by the afternoon.  I found a few fish in the morning “junk” fishing.  That is, I was throwing everything in the boat at them to see what they would bite.  Caught a few on a chrome/blue back Rattletrap, Caroline rigged lizard, and a Texas rigged Z-craw.  Finally found a very small pocket with seawalls and docks that was out of the wind and in the sun.  Temperature there at noon was 64F.  I started pitching a Bert’s Jigs and Things 1/4 oz blue/watermelon jig with the small Keitech craw trailer.  The Keitech trailer has squid scent that had the bass holding on the bait long enough to get a hook in them.  I will warn you that these things might taste good to bass but they don’t smell good to people!  The key was all in the presentation.  The bass were like Olympic springboard diving judges and awarded splashless entries with a bite!  Caught 7 bass in about 30 minutes with the best one about 3 pounds.  All the fish were positioned in water less than 3 feet deep and next to some type of cover.  Small brush, dock post, seawall with a bigger than average chuck of rock, just anything that was different.  Watch the weather and look for the next warming trend.  As more of the lake warms, the bass will start piling into the shallows preparing for their springtime spawn.  Catch a bunch!

Striper: Striper fishing is good.  The best location has been around the dam.  Some fish can be found in other locations on the south end but the dam bite is going strong.  Find the bait with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology and the bass will be close by.  Live bait fished on flat lines have been the way to catch these fish.  We have been using bass minnows and shad.  Also pulling the Mini Umbrella rigs in the afternoon have been the best producer that time of day.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair.  The spawn is all but over and the fish are starting to move back out of the coves and pockets. Long-lining has been the best producer over the past week.  Any jig color will work as long as it has chartreuse in it.  The fish are deep so you need to make sure you are getting your bait down to the fish.

WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 2.5 FEET, STAINED & 70’S

Bass fishing is good.  Most any creek will produce bass and there are several patterns that seem to be working.  We have fish in pre-spawn and post spawn patterns.  Use a top water like a Pop R or Zara Spook to cover water and also add a pearl Senko.  Some bass have already spawned and moved out deeper and can be caught on a Carolina rigged trick worm or around a little deeper cover on a jig and pig.  The flooded grass is also holding fish and use a fluke or trick worm both weightless.  The shad spawn is on too.  Try a crank bait or spinnerbait in shad patterns around patches of rip rap rock near the bridges first in the morning.  Most reliable right now are the spotted bass.  A Carolina rigged Zoom green pumpkin finesse worm or a small crank bait will work.  Fish the mouths of the larger creeks.  Gravel points and shoal markers are a good place to start.  Fish the south end of the lake for the best results for spotted bass.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.45 FEET, STAINED, 70’S

Bass fishing is good and the fish are staging in the creeks and rivers up and down lake.  It has been a tough couple of weeks for the fish but they are still on the bank structure after the strange weather this month.  Cast anything you fish with around any structure no matter how small.  Any wood, stumps and the docks all have bass around them.  Fish the secondary point in the back of the cuts and on the rock walls.  There are fish biting early everyday so use slow moving baits like jigs, flukes and worms.  Wood and any of the stump rows on points in the creeks are holding pre-spawn bass. The all-black jig and eel in a 3/8 ounce size and a Culprit green shad worm on a Texas rig will be best.  Be sure to work baits slowly into and around any underwater structure.  Many anglers miss fish by only fishing to 8 or 10 feet depths.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .78 FEET OVER FULL, 70’S

Bass fishing is good and the fish are shallow and taking a variety of baits from back in the pockets to the main lake.  Early and late, you might find spots schooling on rocky main lake points and sea walls.  They jumped on Sammy’s, Spooks, and Flukes this past week.  A Rapala DT 6 will work and it is a good bait to throw all over the lake and try the bluegill and shad pattern.  Bites are from 3 to 10 feet of water and the Rapala DT 6 will cover water very well.  Also cover water with a white spinnerbait, but the crank will take fish that are holding a bit deeper.  Use the nickel willow blades for clear water blade baiting.  In the pockets you want to pick apart the shallow wood cover and docks.  The shade of overhanging trees and docks will hold fish when the sun is up and fish are staying shallow.  Skip and pitch a green speed craw or jig and craw trailer.  A light Texas rigged lizard is also deadly and it could be a good choice early and midday.  Get a Texas rig and a small sinker and use the watermelon seed and red shad lizards. 

BIG LAZER PFA (More Information HERE)

  • Surface water temperature: 62o F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is about 48”
  • Water level: Down 3”
  • Management Note: We will begin adding liquid fertilizer to the lake soon, producing a green plankton bloom- the start of the food-chain. Fertilizing also produces more pounds of fish per acre for the angler!
  • On May 1, 2018, Big Lazer PFA will be open for night fishing. Please stop by sign in board for more information on this new angling opportunity.

Bass:  Fair to Good– Bass should be heading to the beds this month so try presenting spinners or crankbaits into 6-8 feet of water to entice a strike.  Also, plastics fished slowing near drop-offs may produce a bite.  Top water action around heavy cover areas may be a good thing to try as well for getting a bucket mouth to attack.

Crappie:  Fair –The crappie are going to be hard to pattern this month since the water temp has been up and down, but try casting brightly colored jigs up next to the bank and working them out slowly, to find out where the fish are hanging out.  Also, while you’re casting one, put another line out with a minnow under a cork; try different depths to produce a bite.  Remember, only two poles per person are allowed!

Bream:  Good – Have gotten reports of nice ones being caught lately near the fishing pier and earthen piers as well, so get some red worms or crickets and try your luck.  Remember to use small hooks for the bream because they have tiny mouths.   Bream fishing is a great way to introduce young anglers to the sport, so get a kid or two and take them fishing!  Kids under 16 do not need a license, but those under 14 must remain under your supervision.

Catfish:  Slow – Try weighting down some shrimp, liver or big red worms in the upper, shallower, part of the lake for cats.  Fishing on or near the bottom will be the best bet for enticing old whiskers! 

MCDUFFIE PFA (More Information HERE)

  • Lake Temperature lakes at 64-67 ⁰
  • Water Visibility: 20 – 54 inches
  • The fish cleaning station is open.
  • Lake Jones will be open for night fishing beginning May 1st so come out and wet a line!

Bass: Bass are Hot!  Anglers are catching bass in most of the PFA lakes.  One angler last Saturday caught and released 17 bass in the 2 to 4 pound range in one spot because bass were chasing shad.  The same angler caught several more bass on Sunday.  Anglers should match the forage like shiners, shad and goldfish so they could catch a big bass as the weather continues to warm up.  The largemouth bass are back on their spawning beds and angler should see bass fry hatches along the lake edges.  So, bass action should continue getting better. 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.  Anglers reported catching small bass in Rodbender. It was reported to MCPFA staff that an angler caught a bass that was 26 inches from Rodbender.  But DNR staff could not verify this report without weighing and seeing the bass.

Bream: Anglers were catching warmouth, bluegill and redear fishing worms on the bottom around structure near the shoreline in Bridge Lake.  This past Sunday two angler caught 19, hand-size bluegill in Breambuster.  The redear and bluegill should be bedding May full moon.

Channel Catfish:  April 12th, an angler caught a limit of catfish from Lake Willow.  The largest catfish was 6 to 7 pounds.  The catfish action should be steadily picking up as the water warms.  Catfish are in every lake on the PFA.

Bullheads: Speckled-catfish a.k.a. bullheads are located in Willow and Clubhouse mainly. The old 6E that is located on east-side of Willow has a good population.

Striped Bass: Anglers are catching stripers mainly in Bridge Lake by fishing with chicken liver on the bottom at Bridge Lake. The stripers will continue to feed during spring and summer.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA

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

If you don’t like the current weather, just wait a couple of days. This week has been a see-saw from 80’s to 50’s and back here in Waycross. Bass have been most consistent, but bream fishing was great on the warm days. In saltwater, whiting were tearing it up again on days the wind allowed folks to get out. New Moon is April 15th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Heather at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported a few flathead catfish being caught on goldfish. Crickets and worms produced some redbreasts and bream. Donald at Altamaha Park said that over the weekend the crappie bit well. Minnows fished in the feeder creeks off the main river were the most productive areas. A few shellcrackers have started biting worms. Look for that bite to take off when we get another extended warm spell. The river level was 6.7 feet and falling at the Baxley gage, and 8.1 feet and falling (64 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on April 10th.

SATILLA RIVER

The Satilla Riverkeeper is holding its annual Satilla River fishing tournament on Saturday, May 5th. For more information, check their website at www.satillariverkeeper.org and then click on Fishing Tournament. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that anglers caught some redbreasts in the extreme upper river (Millwood area) on crickets and Satilla Spins. Catfish ate shrimp and rooster livers fished in the deeper holes. They reported that black buzzbaits and Rattling Rogues produced some big bass. Craig James wrote an article about fishing the Satilla in the April issue of the Georgia Outdoor News, so check it out. The river level on April 10th at the Waycross gage was 6.3 feet and falling (65 degrees) and at the Atkinson gage was 5.3 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER

Anglers reported catching coolers of catfish this week during the warm periods. Shrimp, worms, and rooster livers all produced. Some of the bigger channel cats pushed 20 pounds. On Saturday a group fishing crickets and worms caught big redbreasts and bream in the tidewater area. The river level at the MacClenny gage on April 10th was 5.0 feet and rising.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

The catfish bite on the west side was the best I heard of. Shrimp fished on the bottom in the boat basin, in Billy’s Lake, and at the Sill all caught whiskerfish. Flier fishing was great again this week at all entrances on warm afternoons for those pitching sallies. The warmouth bite slowed some this week from folks reporting back to me, but there were some caught on crickets and worms.

LOCAL PONDS

An angler fishing the Homerville area threw Dura-Spins for pickerel (jackfish), but he ended up catching a limit of 10 nice bass. His best colors were black/chartreuse (chartreuse blade) and red/white (silver blade). I got my first report of some friends night fishing for bass. They had 4 total up to a few pounds – nothing big. I heard of bass being caught on a topwater mouse, Whopper Plopper, spinnerbaits, and plastic lures this week. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, crickets produced a bunch of bream over the weekend. During the warm spell late last week, bass were chowing topwater frogs.

PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (NEAR TIFTON) – More Info HERE

Bream were tearing it up on Friday just ahead of the front. Each group of anglers I talked with had at least a half-dozen mostly bluegills up to a limit (15 per person). The average panfish was 1/4 to 1/3-pound. One angler fishing the bank for bass had several 3-pounders. Plastics produced most of the bass, while crickets and worms accounted for the bream and catfish. The piers at Lake Patrick were tops, but anglers also reported catching fish from Lake Paradise (bass are catch-and-release, but you can keep panfish and catfish), Bobben, and several of the horseshoe series lakes. With the changes in license requirements, a Wildlife Management Area Stamp is no longer required to fish the area. A fishing license is all that is required, so give the area’s 60+ ponds and lakes a try this weekend.

LAKE BLACKSHEAR (NEAR CORDELE)

Steve Phillips of Douglas won an ABA tournament over the weekend on the lake. It took 21 pounds to win. The numbers of bass caught should ramp up as the fish move through the spawn and start feeding with reckless abandon until the summer heat sets in.

SE GA Photo
Bobby Thompson and his faithful retriever, Sapelo, caught a great mess of whiting from the Georgia coast on Saturday. Whiting fishing is great right now on days when the wind allows you to get out.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

The whiting bite was excellent again this week. Bobby Thompson headed to the Sapelo Sound on Saturday and caught several dozen whiting with some big bulls mixed in. Several other anglers also reported catching lots of whiting from the pier and from the sounds by putting shrimp or squid on the bottom. In the creeks behind St. Simons Island, trout, reds, and a few flounder were caught. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that whiting were tops from the pier. A few bull redfish and sheepshead were also caught from the pier. Crabbers did well on the calmer days. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

This weekend is supposed to be fairly warm, so bass and bream should still be chowing. The Satilla redbreast bite should begin this weekend since we didn’t get too much rain. Whiting fishing should still be great if winds are fishable. If it’s breezy, just hop up on a pier to catch the tasty saltwater panfish.

NORTH GEORGIA 

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

Spring has kept playing peekaboo right through the beginning of April, and the cold spells have maintained the inconsistencies we all endured through March.  There is still enough good weather and water conditions out there to provide some great trips for forecast-savvy anglers.  Many folks took full advantage of the spring break to take some time off and wet some lines.  Between their trip reports and our “shocking” WRD intel, there is some great fishing fodder this week to help you plan your next trips and even another weekday “fishing flu” event.

TROUT

Epic Hooch Tailwater: Check out THIS and THIS

bass shoal 17in hooch 3-29-18 smallSpring Breakin’: Dredger took the spring break week off to allegedly “scout” and then host his best buddy, “Michigan Ski” and Ski’s two teenage sons, Will and Mikey.  Before their touchdown, Dredger hit some shoal bass in the upper Hooch, whites in the lower Hooch (Belton Bridge) on the Guru’s boat, and some great caddis emergers (#18, slate) all afternoon on a quiet Monday afternoon on the Nan DH.  The visiting trio arrived on Tuesday night.  The kids were treated to a guided trip on private waters, Nan DH risers all afternoon (#18 brown mayfly), Hooch stockers, NE GA waterfall hikes, and unlimited Georgia mountain BBQ from our best sites.   The Michigan trio said it was a great trip, and regretted their “return to reality” as they exited the plane in Chicago and drove home in 26-degree weather.  Uncle Dredger topped the week off with another dose of “me” time, with upper Hooch trout and a few cold cahills (#14 tan) tempting brown and rainbow risers on the Chattooga DH last Friday evening.  Enjoy the pics and video.  By the way, Dredger badmouthed his big Hooch bass.  He was using a “bobber/fodder” rig of a big airlock strike indicator to float his #4, dumbbell-eyed hairy fodder fly thru a slow, ledge-filled pool via a dead drift with an occasional twitch.  He was surprised and even splashed when the bass ate his bobber ten feet away from him! Somehow, the fish ended up with the fodder fly hooked inside its mouth, so he’s still calling it a catch.  Hey, we just report; you decide!

Stocker Streams: (Ed note: are you catching some bigger fish, a result of your license increase funds?) Nice catches seen HERE, and HERE and HERE

Stockers: WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson said he plans to stock trout loading for MF DH April 2018 pic3smallabout 53,000 trout into more than 80 waters this week.  Best bets for the weekend: Wildcat, Tallulah, Rock, Cooper, Winfield Scott, Middle Broad, Black Rock Lake, and Ami (DH and upstream). JLT reminds us that weekly trout stocking lists are updated here each Friday afternoon, and interested anglers can sign up to receive these lists directly via email or text.

Wild Trout: Click HERE

Deadly Damer’s Dry Fly Adventure: Here’s a quick report/pics from a recent trip to Notellum Creek: I spent a few hours on a local wild rainbow stream on Sunday.  Air temps started in the 30s that morning so I did not rush getting to the stream.  Finally arrived and ate my lunch streamside around noon before making my first cast.  Water temp was 46 degrees.  Flows were about normal for this time of year.  Kept a bushy #14 EHC on all day.  Missed several fish at the beginning, but then my hooking percentage went up.  Landed around a dozen beautifully colored rainbow jewels.  All of them were small, with the largest maybe approaching 9 inches.  Seems like now is a great time to hit some of the headwater streams like this one, now that things are warming up and the fish are hungry.

stream structures CutHemlocks_WalnutFork_TonyAnderson_03.29.18small

More Trout Habitat: (Ed note: thanks for your TU license plate funds.  They allow us to buy good stuff like chain saws!) WRD fisheries technician Tony Anderson is shown after dropping a dead hemlock tree into Walnut Fork Creek in Rabun County.  In time, this dead tree will serve brook trout and other aquatic organisms with much needed overhead cover from predators and a slow-water shelter from flood events.  For our wild trout resource on the Chattahoochee National Forest, wood is good!

CARTERS LAKE

LAKE LANIER

Walleye: More than 150,000 one-inch fingerling walleye hit the waters of Lake Lanier yesterday, April 11, as the WRD warmwater fish production season kicks off.  While the mainstay of our pond walleye production, Walton Hatchery, is offline this year for a complete renovation, other WRD hatcheries have come to the rescue.  Yesterday’s two batches of Lanier fish came in separate trucks from Richmond Hill and McDuffie hatcheries.  Those two hatchery staffs did great rearing a new species for them.  More than 88,000 Richmond Hill walleye hit Lanier at the Toto Creek ramp around 2PM.   McDuffie District fisheries technician Greg Abercrombie is shown in this photo releasing another 64,000 walleye at the Clarks Bridge ramp at 7:30 last night.  And Greg had a long night!  He then left Clarks Bridge to meet Burton District fisheries technician Tony Anderson to stock another 42,000 walleye into Lake Hartwell at Holcombs Landing, before returning to McDuffie hatchery.  That scene will be repeated today, tomorrow, and for the next week or so across north Georgia. More on fishing for walleye, HERE.

Bass: News HERE 

Crappie: (This Lake Lanier Crappie fishing report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) — Water Temperature is right around 60 degrees, a few degrees cooler in the early morning.  Lake level is just below full pool, and the moon is waning.  Three boats from our club went out on Tuesday.  All fished in different parts of the lake and all reported great catches.  The fish that we caught were on docks at 15-20 foot depths.  The day was partly cloudy and wind was relatively calm.  The water in the backs of creeks is moderately to heavily stained.  Both the Chestatee and the Chattahoochee are performing equally well.  Bobby Garland and Jiffy Jigs worked well.  We saw plenty of bait, and marked lots of roaming fish.  That means that long line trolling should be very effective, using 1/16 oz. jigs with curly tails.  We feel that on most of the docks we fished that a crappie minnow would work just as well as jig.  There was hardly any traffic on the water, but that will almost certainly change as the weather warms up.  Helpful tip:  do not use any line heavier than 4 lb. test, and nothing heavier wear it sign pfd Webb Chatuge new ramp Apr 2018than 1/24 or 1/32 oz jig heads tied directly to the line (no swivels).  It appears that the fish we caught had completed their spawn, as their bellies were not as fat as they were a month ago.  We are checking our stand-alone brush piles but have not found fish on them yet, so we are still concentrating on shooting docks. If you need to brush up on dock shooting techniques, check out last week’s report on our Club’s website.  Fishing should continue to be strong for the next couple of months, so, call a friend, get out on the water, and enjoy fishing!  Wear your life jacket – it can save your life!

bass spot magnum Lanier TRichards 4-10-18smallHot Lanier Intel: I just returned from a lunch “takeout” trip today (4/11) to Sherry’s Bait and BBQ, where Terry Richards said the fishing has finally heated up with some warm weather.  He went yesterday and is going back this afternoon.  He and his customers report catching smaller stripers and magnum spots by freelining and planer boarding in the backs of coves.  He backed up his story with Iphone pics of his huge spots from yesterday.  Terry said the fish are spooky and the baits need to be fished away from the boats.  Terry said the smaller baits (“shiners, herring, and smaller shad”) are working much better right now than any large baits like trout and big gizzard shad. Yesterday he caught fish all day long, until 7PM.  As I walked out, Clay Cunningham walked in for a sandwich and confirmed Terry’s report.  Clay said that it was a long, tough month of cold weather, but the Lanier fishing is now, finally taking off. How’s that for a fresh fishing report?   Pass the slaw….

LAKE HARTWELL

Crappie: (From Anthony Rabern, Fisheries Biologist) – Lake Hartwell is finally at full poolcrappie hartwell sample Brotherton Apr 2018 for the first time in nearly two years and the crappie are loving it!  This week, water temperatures were hovering around 60 degrees and good-sized crappie were stacked into the flooded vegetation that lines most shoreline cove pockets.  The two crappie in the picture were collected near the back of Gum Log Creek on the back side of Tugalo State Park.  Crappie fishing should continue to improve over the next two weeks as water temperatures stabilize above the magic 60 degree mark.

RIVER REPORTS

Chattahoochee: This is no April Fools joke – White Bass on Chattahoochee

River Striper Runs: WRD-Gainesville fisheries tech Chris Looney said it’s been slow up both the Chestatee and the Hooch, with very few decent sized stripers shocked in the 53-degree water of the last two weeks.  Chris said the rivers need to hit that magic 60 degree mark to pull up the fish from the lake.  That should happen in the next couple of days.  Even his lake sampling was slow the last two weeks due to cold water (56 degrees and only 10 fish sampled today, April 11), but he managed to catch and release a real nice 34 pounder in the back of Thompson Creek last week. West-siders Hakala and Damer are on fish right now in the upper Coosa, and it’s time to go fishing over there!  Jim called in after hitting the rivers today and said he found good numbers of fish from two to 20 pounds in the Oostanaula between the Highway 140 and 156 ramps.  He would expect to see similar results from the lower Etowah and recommends live shad, cut bait, and artificials for bait, in that order.

bass whiite and yellow Coosa Paul D Apr 2018Coosa Report: (Here’s an excerpt from Coosa Valley TU’s Paul Diprima’s weekly outdoors column) – White Bass and Yellow Bass update-Easter afternoon Charles Murphy and I floated a tributary of the Coosa and found an abundance of yellow bass and a few white bass. That day we caught and released over two hundred and fifty fish. Mixed in with the white and yellow bass were two juvenile striped bass, a red eye and a spotted bass. I kept one large white about three pounds and a yellow that was nearly a pound. Yellow bass are tastier than the white bass. Charles and I returned the following Sunday with Rodney Tumlin and Ken Bradshaw fishing the same area. The fish were less abundant than Easter afternoon but when we found some schools fishing was fast paced. Sometimes we caught ten fish or more in as many casts. Rodney, Director of the TU Trout Camp for Kids caught at least a dozen on a fly rod. Don’t miss the fun, find a creek near where it feeds into a river and put a bend in your pole. The spawning run is almost over so “times a wasting”. Currently there is no limit on the number of Yellow bass that can be kept in Georgia so feel free to fill the freezer.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Information HERE)

Jim also called in a Rocky report, based on his sampling this week.  Largemouths have mover up shallow in preparation for going on the bed. Most fish were found in 3-6 feet of water, associated with cover- wood or the rocks on the riprapped banks.  Water temp 60F.  recommended baits are shallow crankbaits, chatterbaits, and flukes.  Crappie and bigger bream were about absent from shoreline sampling, so they must be deep.

JUST A LITTLE EXTRA

Game Warden In Action: Hey Jeff,  I saw the email from the NGTO thread about catching over the limit and such on the river and slinging hooks and sinkers at folks. I will continue to work these types of complaints the best I can. I appreciate you forwarding the information. I caught a guy last Sunday just above Hwy 20 bridge on the big rock who was doing exactly what it said in thread- he had caught his 8 and was continuing to catch fish and place them on his partner’s stringer. Once they each had “their limit” they left…at which point Mr. Game Warden (myself) emerged from the bushes and had a little talk about it!  Needless to say, tickets were issued and fish were seized! You never know when the Game Warden is concealed on the bank conducting surveillance…even in the cold and rain! You can let any fishermen you talk to in Gwinnett/Forsyth corridor know that we’re making cases!  They should continue to report violations directly to LED via the contact info below. Ranger Chris Hall, Game Warden, Region II LED (More info on the Ranger Hotline HERE)

Shoutout to Splateks: Here’s a tip of Dredger’s ole fishing cap to Big and Little Splatek for their awesome “guide” service.  I hope that everyone takes the time this spring to be a hero to a new angler.  Get them on fish and you’ll soon get them into conservation, and we’ll all benefit!

 O’Neill is Tag Wild! – Find out what we mean HERE.

UPCOMING EVENTS

It’s spring, WRD Fisheries staffs are busy, and they’re productive, thanksto your purchases of fishing licenses and tackle tax rebates through the Sport Fish Restoration Program!