Happy (?) Friday the 13th. Maybe don’t take anyone named “Jason” fishing today, just to be safe. But otherwise, get out there and have a great weekend on the water!

  • THREE New Bass Slammers! Wow, we added 3 new anglers to the list of folks Central GA photothat have gotten a Georgia Bass Slam. Are you next? 
  • WINNER – We have our first winner of our new license buyer contest (Joshua Williams of Atlanta)! Will you be the 2nd winner in July? Between June 1 and July 31, all NEW license customers will be entered to win one of two amazing guided fishing trips! Find out more HERE.
  • Need more motivation to go fish? Check out this awesome 9+lb. bass (photo to the right) caught fresh out of Flat Creek Public Fishing Area THIS MORNING!

Need more? We have some great fishing reports for you this week, including North, Central and Southeast Georgia. Enjoy and get out there and Go Fish Georgia!

NORTH GEORGIA 

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

Summer’s heat and afternoon thunderstorms continue up here.  At least we have plenty of water to play in!  Reservoir sport fish are in summer mode, so go deep or arrive early (dawn) to catch a topwater bite before the sun drives fish into the depths.  Many rivers have been too high and muddy for much fishing, but when they have periodically cleared, the bass, bream and even the migratory striper bite has been good.  For trout, go high up the mountain or below a big dam to find cold water.  Low elevation trout streams are heating up and our stockings are limited or have ceased for the summer season.  See the stocker report, below, to understand our annual change at the July 4th “halftime” of our stocking year.  Here we go:

LAKE REPORTS

Lanier Bass: News HERE and HERE

Striper News: Check out Captain Mack’s Report about Deep Stripers

Lake Allatoona: Check out some news HERE and HERE. Hybrid striped bass fishing really heats up in the summer months at Allatoona.  The bite has been really good from Allatoona Dam southward to the I-75 bridge.  Live shad or minnows fished on downlines at depths of 15-20 feet are your best bet.  Look for schools of shad on the old river channel edges and hybrid striped bass will likely be close by.  Keep an eye out for surface activity in the early morning and late evening hours.  Hybrids feeding on shad pushed to the surface can often be caught by casting in-line spinners like Roostertails or spoons to these actively feeding fish.  White and silver lures are usually your best colors for “mimicking” a shad.

Walleye Fishing on Yonah_Dave Pedone_May2017Small Lakes Report on Walleye: (From Anthony Rabern, WRD Sr. Fisheries Biologist) – Dave Pedone is dialed in on the walleye in the small Georgia Power lakes on the Tallulah River.  A simple nightcrawler harness dragged super-slow on the main river channel ledges and across points is the ticket for the summertime pattern. More Walleye angling tips found HERE.

Ken’s Reservoir Reports: Check out current reservoir fishing reports with Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant

TROUT

Hooch Tailwater: All kinds of news, HERE, HERE, HERE and check out these maps HERE

Bluelines Still Great: “Sautee” reports that he’s still wearing out the little wild rainbowstrout fishing tex blueline April 2015 “somewhere above Helen.”  The bug of choice has been a #16 yellow elk hair caddis. More news to know, including this Trophy Speck, then check out HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.

Stocker Best Bets for the “Second Half”: Due to Georgia’s traditionally low, warm water in late summer streams and hatcheries, we always try to get 85% of each year’s stocked trout inventory out the door and into your streams by July 4th.  Despite this plan, there are still some very good streams and stocking rates available for second-half stocker fans.  The key is to watch those stocking lists closely, aim for higher elevation waters, and fish in the mornings or in the shade for the most comfortable (and hungry) trout.  So switch from spring to summer mode for stocker stalking in July and August.  Use lighter line (4-lb), small hooks (#10 or 12), less split shot, and more stealth.  Cover more ground and you’ll still fill your stringers.  WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson’s post-holiday best bets are: Hooch and Blue Ridge tailwaters, Dicks and Boggs, Rock, Cooper, Hooch on WMA, Soque, Tallulah, and Wildcat.

trout stocking Buford Dam anglers BH 7-11-18Speaking of Stocking: (From Pat Markey, Buford Trout Hatchery Manager) – As one of 10 sites stocked this week along the Lanier Tailwater portion of the Chattahoochee River, Buford Dam received 500 ten to thirteen-inch rainbow trout this morning, the 11th! Dissolved Oxygen is still adequate for trout at the Buford Dam, so consider fishing there during low flow conditions. To receive information concerning hydroelectric power flows at Buford Dam, call the US Army Corps of Engineers at 770-945-1466 for a recorded message on the current generation schedule. And remember, a life preserver must be worn by any angler in the water from Buford Dam downstream to the Hwy 20 Bridge.

MORE NEWS

History Lesson: Your national forest wasn’t always here for your enjoyment.

River Bassin’ Blowouts: This is a real short report: it rained some more! All of these summer storms have stymied Dredger and other north Georgia river bassin’ fans.  High water is one thing, but muddy water really shuts down the bass bite.  The good news is that plenty of rain has kept our streams and rivers running full.  The bad news is that alternate fishing sites have had to save the day for rained-out river fans this summer. USGS Real Time river gauges are crucial to trip planning, and saving our gas bucks by preventing trips in vain to muddy waters.

Pond Plan B’s: A whiny Dredger, dislocated from his beloved upper Hooch by a storm spike, went on a Plan B Thursday night after work.  His yak-attack unit (a Feelfree in a Tacoma) aimed for Unicoi Lake, where he was pleasantly surprised to find some fat bream on the beds and small, hungry largemouths circling their perimeter.  The fly flavor likely didn’t matter, but his choice was a firetiger-colored, homemade Hipps soft popper (Description, How To Video), which is indestructible. At dark, he switched to a meatier, size 4 white stealth bomber and convinced one real chunky largemouth to leave his tree-limb lair and inhale the dry fly.  It was a great two hours of five-weight flinging and remedied his muddy Hooch despair.

James H. “Sloppy” Floyd State Park (Chattooga Co.): Assistant Park Manager Luke Daniels reported that bass fishing have been good in both park lakes.  Catfishing has also been decent for anglers fishing the upper lake.  Beat the summer heat by fishing the early morning and late evening hours when fish are more actively feeding.  Learn more about this rural northwest Georgia park HERE.

More Plan B’s: There are plenty of small lake Plan B’s distributed across north Georgia.  Look around, call your county Game Warden, or research some of our spring fishing reports for more of these sites.

Birthday/Xmas Hint: Check out a Fenwick Aetos. It won’t break the bank and is stiff enough to toss most bass and bream bugs. It can double up as a nice winter trout rod, too.  Dredger likes his.

striper JH upper Hooch July 2018smallSummer River Stripers: Rumors and some timely intel indicate that many of these reservoir residents are now on summer vacation, up in their cooler, tributary rivers. Find some clear-water days and give them a try. Check out this Personal Best Striper; these archived reports HERE and HERE, and how about a Map of West Palisades on the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area?

 

 

BASS in 2019: The pros are coming to north GA!

Good luck as everyone fishes in the dead of summer.  We give thanks for high mountains, abundant shade, and plenty of water this year to get us north Georgians through the heat.

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 FULL, CLEAR, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Fish are moving to the points and creek bends all over the lake. They are roaming on any wood all day and a crank bait cast through the wood will draw a strike.  Use a bright color crank bait like the Rapala DT 10 in hot mustard and spinner baits cast on the bank cover.  Mid-day spinner baits down lake in the creeks are fair on cover using Stanley spinner baits with bright blades.  Late look for shallow strikes as the bass move to the creek banks and points during the day.  Do not start fishing until you see the bait schools on the Lowrance Structure Scan side imaging technology.  Bait is the key.  The Zoom water melon seed lizards on a Carolina rig, has been fair later each day.  Be sure to fish baits very slowly.  Also on creeks on old channels, use a Culprit red shad worm on a Texas rig with the brass and glass combination.  Work baits right on the bank around any cover.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 1.84 FEET, 80’S

Bass fishing has been fair.  In the mornings before 9:30 and after 6:00 in the afternoon up until dark get the top-water baits out.  In the mornings throw a buzz bait until the suns starts to pop up on main lake points and around humps.  Once the sun pops up over the trees, go for the schooling fish and use small all chrome Rat L Traps.  Some bass are schooling around the main lake humps.  Afternoons, use a green pumpkin Zoom lizard on a light Texas rig in the grass from 7 to 14 feet deep.  Do not start fishing until you see the bait schools on the Lowrance Structure Scan side imaging technology.  Bait is the key.  Fish the Hydrilla which is deeper than the other weeds.  The bigger fish seem to relate to the hydrilla.  Right before dark try a white or shad buzz bait or a Super Spook Jr. around the grass and on humps.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  At times, especially during power generation, crank baits will produce.  Use the #7 Fat Free Shad, Poe’s 400, Mann’s 20 Plus and a Norman DD22.  Both shad and chartreuse patterns will work.  Some are also coming from boat docks in the clear water in Richland Creek.  The best areas seem to change quite often.  Last week, the central area may have been the best.  Do not start fishing until the bait schools show up on the Lowrance Structure Scan side imaging technology.  Bait is the key.  For the last few days, some fish have been caught from docks with additional cover.  For morning, try a June bug colored 6-inch Zoom Dead Ringer with a 1/8 or 3/16 weight.  Later on use a Zoom Trick worm with a 1/16 ounce weight.  A Zoom Super Fluke in pearl can get bites just let it sink until it goes out of sight and pull it back with jerks with the rod tip.

WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, STAINED & 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The best fishing is early morning or mid to late afternoon.  Fish main lake points and underwater humps.  Fish these areas with a Carolina rig and a Zoom finesse or u tail worm in the green pumpkin or watermelon color.  Fish these baits on 12-pound test Trilene line with a 2 to 3 foot leader using 10-pound test line.  Try the new Spy Baits on 6-pound fluorocarbon line and work these baits over any structure.  Be sure to work this bait very slowly.  Fish the deep-water brush piles, old road beds and old pond dams in 15 to 20 foot of water and fish a Texas rigged worm in the brush.  Down-size line, weight, and fish slow in the brush.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.47 FEET, STAINED, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The top-water bite has really slowed down.  Some are still being caught on top, but it’s hit or miss.  The best places seem to be sea walls.  Most are taking a Pop R or Tiny Torpedo right against the wall.  After the early bite, the best method is Carolina rigs on the side of points and flats.  In the central and upper lake, most are 8 to 15 feet deep.  Down lake fish 12 to 20 feet deep.  A good rig is a Zoom Trick worm or U Tale on a 1/0 or 2/0 Mustad offset worm hook with a three foot leader.  A ¾ ounce weight, bead and swivel are tied to 14 or 17 pound line with a 12 pound leader.  Fish the bait slow and when the cover gets heavy, slow down even more.  Use the Zoom worms in June bug, red bug and green pumpkin.

LAKE JACKSON IS 1.05 FEET OVER FULL, 80’S

Bass fishing is slow.  Boat activity and high water temperatures have pushed the fish deep and not biting.  But, a few spots are biting.  Use a Weedless Wonder and a Zoom dark green or natural blue worm.  Cast them right on top of any brush pile in 10 to 20 feet of water.  Zoom’s finesse worms are your best bet and also try a light-weight Carolina rig to the tackle.  The best technique will be to work these baits in tight deep cover.  The Texas rig is the best choice and slow presentations will be necessary.  Stay in contact with the brush and also use a live night crawler.  Small 2 1/2 inch chartreuse curly tail grubs on a 1/8 ounce jig head on the rock ledges will be fair.  Night fishing with a big dark crank bait is barely fair around lighted docks. 

BIG LAZER PFA (More Info Found HERE)

  • Surface water temperature: 83o F @ 9AM
  • Water visibility: Visibility is about 25”
  • Water level: Down -4”
  • Night Fishing Available Through September 30
  • Management Note – Road Issue: The road was washed out just past the dam during recent flooding. The Flint River, Big Lazer Creek, Camping Areas, and Shooting Range can only be accessed by using the entrance off Rising Sun Rd. Talbot Co. Road Dept. should start repairing the wash-out this Month.

Bass:  Fair– The bass are feeding in shallower water during the night and early morning hours then moving out some during the heat of the day, so try casting top-water lures and spinners into water 3 to 8 feet deep for the more aggressive fish, and later on in the day try deeper running crank baits or plastics near underwater structure or heavy cover to attract some suspended fish action.

Crappie:  Poor – However, night fishing with submersible lights may produce some good-sized crappie.  Try to find the depth fish are hanging out in and drop down some minnows.  Remember, only two poles per person are allowed!

Bream:  Good – Bream are bedding now, so all around the lake fish will be in shallower water.  Try worms, crickets, or small spinner-type lures to entice a bite.    Remember to use smaller hooks for bream… they have tiny mouths.  Fishing for bream is a great way to introduce young anglers to the sport, so get a kid or two and take them fishing!  Kids 16 and under do not need a license, but children 13 and younger must remain under your supervision while on the public fishing area.

Catfish:  Good – Cats like the warmer water, so try anchoring out near the channel in the upper, shallower, part of the lake and send down some liver, shrimp or stink bait near the bottom.  Also, the rip rap along the dam is a good spot for summer-time cats.  Same thing for night anglers, but please take caution motoring around in the dark (IDLE SPEED ONLY), lots of old tree tops and stumps just below the surface!

MCDUFFIE PFA (More Info Found HERE)

  • Temperature range is 87 – 88.5 ⁰.
  • Water Visibility: 22 – 54+ inches
  • The Fish Cleaning Station is open. Please inform MCDPFA staff if it’s not working. 706-595-1684
  • Night Fishing starts May 1st until September 30th.  Jones Lake is the only lake open to night fishing on McDuffie PFA.  All parking is outside of MCDPFA main gate at Jones Lake.

Bass: Bass action has slowed down due to hot daytime temperatures! Bass anglers are watching for the bass feeding on shad during early mornings and late evenings and following the bass around. Lake Willow and Breambuster have shad and the bass are chasing them.  Anglers are using Finesse worms and fishing them slowly, while other anglers are using Jerk baits in shad patterns. Lake Rod Bender, the bass activity has been slow.  The trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.  Bass action remains spotty.

Bream: Action is still good!  Memorable bluegill and redear are being caught across the PFA and limits of 15 are being caught.  One angler said his success is based on patience and fishing slow.  Breambuster has redear bigger than 10 inches but when they are on beds they are especially spooky.  Anglers are catching bluegill and redear fishing worms on the bottom around structure near the shoreline in Bridge Lake, Jones Lake, Willow Lake and Breambuster.

Channel Catfish:  Catfish are feeding hard early in the mornings.  The catfish action has been very steady with anglers catching catfish in every lake except Rodbender.  Anglers are catching limits of catfish across PFA. Jones Lake is still producing eating-size catfish.  Night fishing is still drawing anglers who want to fish in the cool.  There’s room for more anglers. Speckled-catfish a.k.a. bullheads are in Willow and Clubhouse mainly.  The old 6E that is located on the East-side of Willow also has a good speckled catfish population.

Striped Bass: Striper action has been slow.  When anglers are catching stripers its usually in Bridge Lake fishing chicken liver on the bottom.  The stripers feed during spring and summer but mostly during low light or cooler periods of the day.

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 dog-days of summer are upon us, and the fish are in their summer patterns. Your best bet for river fishing is the Altamaha, and it is still a little higher than ideal. The best reports I heard this week were from saltwater, where Jake Smith and Bennie Ray Altman caught a great mess of whiting and trout along the Cumberland beaches. Even with the high, muddy water, Jay Murray caught 16 redbreasts up to 12 ounces flinging crawfish Satilla Spins in the upper Satilla River. That bodes well for upcoming fishing once the river drops out! With the slow reports, I’ll run some of the extra photos I’ve received lately. Enjoy! To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

SE GA Hannah Dinkins - Scalloped Hammerhead Shark 5 18
Hannah Dinkins landed this interesting scalloped hammerhead shark from the St. Simons Pier.
SE GA Hunter Bechtel Tripletail 4 18
Hunter Bechtel fished the St. Simons Pier to land this keeper tripletail.
SE GAGarret Page Tripletail 6 18 - IMG_1556
Garrett Page caught this tripletail while casting live shrimp off of Jekyll Island.
SE GAMichael Deen 9lb Bass 5 18 - IMG_2521
Michael Deen landed this 9-pound bass on a plastic craw fished in the Altamaha River.