Hot. It’s just Hot. Does complaining about the heat make it better? Asking for a friend.
Some quick news:
- Want to win a lifetime license? Signing up to auto-renew your license gives you that chance! More info HERE.
- Have you got a local bass pond? Did you know that you should be harvesting fish from it in order to promote growth for bigger bass? Check out this interview of GA WRD Fisheries Technician Zack Brock with WMAZ Ch. 13 Macon reporter Suzanne Lawler.
This week, we have reports from North and Southeast Georgia – enjoy, and Go Fish Georgia!!
(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
According to our calendars, summer has officially arrived. According to our home air conditioning bills, it’s already been here at least a week or two! North Georgia is finally drying out from TS Alberto’s gift of four to fourteen inches of rain per county, so that’s some great news for fishing fans of our tailwaters, bass rivers, and larger trout streams as they finally drop to fishable levels. The only challenges now are the heat and humidity but, hey, we’re used to that. It’s simply time to shed our spring tactics and dive into full summer mode. That means fishing in the shade, the shadows of early morning and late evening, or even after dark. Well sun-screened folks can still fish in the middle of the day if tough and prepared, or if in the rhododendron tunnels of headwater trout streams. It sounds like Lanier’s spots will chase midday herring and provide surface action for dedicated anglers who can handle the heat and boat traffic. Midday river floats are also good if anglers toss their lures toward shady banks or into deeper, darker waters. Boaters can always take a dip between paddles to cool off. Our larger trout streams are still flowing well because of all the spring rain. Although they are finally heating up a bit in the afternoons,
they are still providing some great opportunities, especially before lunchtime. Also, on the good news front, we have a rescheduled kids fishing event on the Tallulah River. Flood conditions are gone and the US Forest Service hopes to flood the river with kids this Saturday (June 23). Grab yours and add to the wave. See event details below or HERE.
- Afternoon Spybaiting Video
- It was a Drop Shot Spybait and Swimbait Morning
- Lanier Video Game Fishing
- Monday was HOT!
“HOT” SUMMER BASSIN’ TECHNIQUES
Check out these Allatoona Pics
- An evening Outing
- The Lake Winfield Scott whopper (see photo to the right) caught last week was released to fight another day. Several of these small mountain lakes in north Georgia, which are stocked with trout, occasionally produce these magnum largemouth bass for skilled anglers.
- Small Lake Boating Reminder
Headwaters: Sautee and Dredger hit a midsized Hooch basin tributary, high in the WMA, two Saturdays ago. While the catching was slim, the fishing was still a lot of fun, and a handful of wild rainbows were caught on dry flies. Although the flies were labeled as “dry,” they weren’t always fished that way. Dredger found a couple of gnarly debris jams on top of prime pools, apparently deposited by the recent floods. There was no way to cast upstream into the prime lies, so he improvised. He’s calling this technique the Stimmy Strip. He circled uphill, got upstream from the debris jam, and slowly paid out line downstream to let the #14 stimulator drift down amongst the rhododendron branches. Then he twitched and stripped the fly just under the surface, back and forth across the top of the pool, under the branches. The rainbows nailed it. They didn’t care that the fly wasn’t dry. It still looked like a big gob of leggy calories in these food limited streams, where the fodder is now limited to stray ants and beetles and maybe an occasional nymph. And that subsurface bug sandwich was trying to escape. Bam!
The duo walked out the two miles together on the gated WMA road and got drenched by an afternoon shower. They enjoyed the cool water so much, they didn’t even put on their packable raincoats.
Their fishing day was topped off by a juvenile delinquent. As they finally made it out to the paved county road and were just a mile from the highway, they rounded a sharp curve that separated the steep, vegetated mountain on the right from the grassed field and houses on the left. And there he was, big-eyed, frozen in the middle of the road, thinking about his forthcoming conversion into a rug. Their jeep skidded on the slick road toward him. He was caught, likely heading toward a fine Saturday evening of dumpster diving. He shook off his fright and hi-tailed it back up the mountain where he belonged.
It’s late spring, the time when Momma parts ways with her kids, and all the Big Boys run the juveniles out of their turf. And the juveniles seek their own territories for foraging and mating. Some stay in the mountains, a few find some crops and gardens, and a few delinquents dumpster-dive or wander the river corridors waaaay downstream to create Atlanta subdivision stirs. More info about bears (including what to do/not to do if you see one) can be found HERE.
But there’s always something magical about seeing a wild bear in the north Georgia mountains. And this jet-black, 100-pounder reminded us of the great wildlife habitat on the Chattahoochee National Forest. Sometimes a great fishing trip isn’t measured in the size or numbers of fish caught. It’s often measured by special experiences with good friends. Hit the national forest headwaters soon and make some lifetime memories with your own bestest fishing buddies. And watch out for those juvenile delinquents!
PS- remember the bugger, I mean the Stimmy Strip technique for those tight spaces.
Smokies Trip: Report and Pics
Trout Stocking: State and federal hatchery trout stocking is back in full-swing. We have a long list this week and an even longer one next week in preparation for your July 4th holiday. Check here each Friday afternoon, or just go ahead and sign up for weekly stocking list delivery to you via text or email. WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson’s best bets for this weekend are: Tallulah after the kids’ event, the two trout tailwaters, Nottely River, Holcomb, Holly, Johns, Middle Broad, Rock, Wildcat, and Cooper.
USFS- Tallulah River Kids Fishing Rodeo- Saturday, June 23: This Saturday is the makeup day for this awesome Kids Fishing Rodeo (originally scheduled for June 2 –but was postponed due to flooding). Fill out the registration form beforehand, grab the kids, and head north early on Saturday!
Lumpkin Crowds and Forest Service Road Closures: It may be crowded for a few weeks on the national forest near Dahlonega. Fans of Jones, Nimblewill, and the upper Etowah may wish to aim for alternate waters during this period. Stay up-to-date with info HERE and HERE.
Good Use of Your Used Equipment! Gainesville Fisheries Tech 3 Chris Looney participated in a photo opportunity at Bass Pro Shops- Lawrenceville and received our yearly share of the store’s used rods and reels, collected annually during their spring sale. Anglers are given discount coupons for their donated, old tackle. WRD and other partners put that old equipment to good use. In Region 1 the rods and reels are distributed among a) Habersham County extension agent Steven Patrick’s 4H youth fishing program, b) Rabun Trout Unlimited’s annual fishing picnic and reel giveaway to that county’s Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and c) the region’s own loaner pole program at its offices and at participating state parks.
The Original Flyfishing Explorer: This April Vokey podcast on exploratory fly angler Joe Brooks was very entertaining. FYI for those of you “American Sportsman” era fans who followed Curt Gowdy, and especially for our new generations of fly flingers. Turn this on while turning in to the sack for the night.
NEWS AND MORE NEWS
Receding Rivers: Landon caught a mixed bag of bass and bream on the Ami last weekend (see photos below). His sage advice for hot topwater action: find the shade!
Jeff Currier’s GA Travels: Enjoy this international celebrity’s Georgia blogs:
Ken’s Reservoir Reports: Be sure to catch up on some great fishing reports with Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant
Win a Guided Fishing trip: Reminder – Don’t Miss Your Chance to WIN
Thank You! Thanks for your support of the hunting and fishing license bill, HB208. Enhanced revenues from your license purchases allowed us to upgrade our river intake pumps and motors at Buford Trout Hatchery, which grows trout for the north GA stream stocking program, Delayed Harvest waters, and Lake Burton’s annual fall stockings of browns. Enjoy the photo of your fishing license dollars in action.
Good luck this week as our air and water temperatures soar. Thanks for buying your licenses and TU vehicle license plates. Don’t forget your hydration, sunscreen, and light rain jackets for those intense, pop-up thunderstorms. Have a camera ready, too, since you never know what you’ll see around that next bend in the road or river.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Saltwater fishing has been good for most folks. Pond fishing has been consistent, especially for bass. The Okefenokee is fishable, and warmouth have been tops. The rivers are going up and down with the rains every couple of days. First quarter moon is June 20th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
The water is coming down as is in the banks in most places. Brittany at Jaycee Landing Bait and Tackle reported catfish as the top bite this week. Both channels and flatheads were caught. Donald at Altamaha Park said that lots of mullet were caught again this week. Flatheads, channels, and blue catfish were caught in good numbers. On Tuesday morning, an angler using goldfish for bait caught a 34-pound flathead. The river level was 6.4 feet and falling at the Baxley gage, and 9.3 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on June 19th.
Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the catfish bite was good in the upper river for limb-liners using shiners for bait. Redbreasts started biting crickets fished in the Highway 158 Bridge area this week. The river level on June 19th at the Waycross gage was 10.4 feet and falling (78 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 9.6 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The Dylan Browning benefit tournament held Saturday by the Shady Bream Tournament Trail was a big success. They raised over $1,000 to benefit the little fellow and his family. Way to go, everyone! First place in the artificials category was Travis Sikes and Kyle Higginbotham with 8.4 pounds (10 fish). First place in the live bait division was Robbie McInvale with 2.3 pounds. Check out the tournament trail on Facebook for more information on their artificials-only panfish tournaments. The river has been like a see-saw up and down with the daily afternoon rains. Catfish are still being caught by anglers fishing shrimp and rooster liver on the bottom. Bream were caught with crickets and artificials, but you have to work for them. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 19th was 6.5 feet and rising.
On Wednesday, Michael Fowler caught 2 nice jackfish on artificials at the Sill on the west side. The warmouth bite has been pretty good this week at the east (Folkston) entrance. Anglers reported catching them on sallies, worms, and jigs. The numbers have been lower than usual because the fish are spread out over the prairies. When the water recedes back into the canals, it’s going to be awesome. The key right now is to target the areas that connect the prairies with the canals. Those little areas are like highways for the fish to come and go between the two habitats.
LAKE GRACE (WAYNE COUNTY)
The bass bite has turned on. Anglers reported catching some quality fish on soft plastics and topwaters.
Glen Solomon had a great week in a Tift County pond. He used a gold flash 4.8-inch Keitech Fat Swing Impact swimbait on a Flashy Swimbait Head to catch an 8.4-lb. and a 5.1-lb. bass. He also had some brown bullheads up to 3 1/2 pounds inhale peanut butter and jelly colored stick worms fished on NED heads. A group of Brunswick anglers fished a pond for a few hours on Saturday morning and had a great bass bite. They had 27 bass up to 7 pounds on several different baits. Their best were Keitech Mad Wag worms, shad-colored crankbaits, and chatterbaits. Their biggest 5 fish weighed right at 25 pounds. Chad Lee continued marauding bass this week. He caught bass at several places, including Paradise Public Fishing Area. He had a nice one Sunday afternoon on a spinnerbait fished in Lake Paradise (the catch-and-release trophy bass pond). Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, big bream were caught on crickets. Soft plastics accounted for some nice bass. In Lake Ware, anglers using crickets reported some big bream being caught late in the afternoon.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Ed Zmarzly and Justin Bythwood fished the St. Marys Jetties on Sunday, and Justin caught one of his biggest redfish to date, a 43-incher that inhaled a chartreuse Capt. Bert’s Bucktail Jig. They also had a 3.8-pound Spanish mackerel that slammed a spoon, 5 jack
crevalle up to 5-lb., 2-oz. that ate Badonkadonk topwaters, and 5 trout that chowed on electric buzzard Assassin Sea Shads. Several anglers reported catching limits of trout on live shrimp at the St. Marys Jetties. The flounder bite at the Jekyll Pier was slow this past weekend with the big tides and muddy water. Still, several were caught on mudminnows. Steve Hampton had a solid keeper flounder and a 27-inch redfish (he released it) from the Jekyll Pier on Friday. Daniel Malcomb caught several whiting using shrimp on the beach near the pier. Glen Solomon fished for trout and caught 10 nice ones on electric chicken Sea Shads fished on a 1/4-oz. red Premium Jighead. Tiger sharks are around offshore. A group of Brunswick anglers caught 3 of them up to 8 feet and released them on Friday. I wrote an article for Georgia Outdoor News about Crooked River State Park and fishing in the area. Check it out in the June issue if you are interested in the details. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that it’s Flounder Pounder Time! Flounder with doormat proportions were caught from the pier by anglers using finger mullet. Flatties up to 22 inches were reported. Spanish mackerel were also around in good numbers. A few trout and big whiting were landed. Dead shrimp and squid were best for the whiting. Croakers and sharks rounded out the pier catches. Lots of blue crabs were caught under the pier. Cut mullet was reportedly one of the better baits for them. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
Saltwater and ponds will likely be your best options again this weekend. In saltwater, flounder and whiting are your most reliable bites. Put a cut bait on the bottom and you should be able to catch a shark or redfish. Bass are your best bet in ponds. Fish early and late for a good bite. Topwaters (buzzbaits and walking baits) should score while the sun is below the trees. Worms, swimbaits, or crankbaits are great options once the sun is up.