It’s hot and rainy y’all…Summer in Georgia. Put it on repeat. Hopefully, you are still able to get out there and cast out anyway – I mean, fishing makes any day better, no matter how hot or rainy, right?
Mr. Norman Moneypenny did not let the heat keep him from fishing, and look at his reward. This awesome 11 lb+ bass from Flat Creek PFA. Congrats!
Looking for an opportunity to give back? How about offering a chance to fish, kayak, and relax to those who serve us (veterans and first responders)? Check out a recent “Heroes on the Water” event held at McDuffie PFA. More images below.
On to our weekly reports. This week, we have reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia. Enjoy and Go Fish 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 the main lake points and pockets with buzz baits, frogs and number #7 Shad Rap. The first three hours of the day seem to be the best. The Carolina rigged lizard and worm are still working in the deeper water and some bass are still chasing tiny schooling thread fin shad. One way to mimic the tiny bait the fish are after is to tie on a clear Zara Spook and add a three foot leader of 6-pound fluorocarbon and a small white fly. Just work the Spook and the fly will dance. Use of the Chug Bugs and Skitter Pops are fair. For the best worm rig get the 1/8 ounce Weedless Wonder lead head and add a Zoom green pumpkin finesse worm and hit the reef markers rip rap, and rocky point.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN .98 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The best bite is up-lake during the day and down-lake afternoons. Early top-water actions has been fair up the rivers. At daylight the bass head to the shallows and are feeding on small thread fin shad. This shallow action will last until the sun makes its way onto the water. Start the day with an all-white buzz baits; cast all white, spinner baits and small chrome Rat L Traps. The chrome and black Crazy Shad silver top-water lures right on the banks as well as white Lunker Lure buzz baits are drawing strikes from bass. The fish are shallow at and before daylight and it’s best to be on the water as early each morning as possible. These bass are after recently hatched small shad and small sunfish right on banks both up and down lake. After the morning action head to the up-lake creeks. Cast Zoom u tail worms in June bug and gourd green on a Texas rig on the bank cover. Keep baits in the structure as long as possible. The bone and parrot Deep Wee R crank baits in the rivers and creeks are good choices and again cast these lures right on the bank. All lures should be worked in a stop and go technique and move around often. A green Zoom trick worm with a # 2/0 Mustad wide gap hook on a spinning reel will get the fish out from under docks. Skip this bait far into cover and into docks.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 80’S
(This report comes from Capt. Mark Smith of Reel Time Guide Service)
Bass: Bass fishing is slow. The lake is full. Stained up the rivers, the main lake is clear. Richland creek is clear. Some fish are showing up on the lower lake humps. Large crank baits fished off the side of the humps in 15ft of water will produce some fish. The buzz bait bite is producing the first hour of daylight as well as the last hr. in the evenings. White and chartreuse seem to be the best all-around color. Frogs will also produce on the south end in the grass flats early in the mornings.
Striper: Striper fishing is slow. The early morning pump back bite at the dam is the best thing going and it is only fair at best. Spoons, live shad, small crank baits, popping corks are all working. This bite will work as long as Georgia Power is pumping back into the lake. The only other bite is going on with the umbrella rig fished off the usual location on humps and points from the pipe line to the dam. The onygen levels in the lake are dropping fast and the fish are heading up the rivers for the summer.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair to good. This is the best fishing on Oconee during these dog days of summer. Some days you can catch big slabs and other days only the small fish will bite. Long lining (trolling) will produce some nice catches. You will need to run your jigs about 10 to 12 feet deep. Dow- lining crappie minnows into tree tops at 12 to 15 feet deep will also produce a lot of fish. Use your Lowrance to locate the fish in the tree tops and then drop your bait down to the fish.
WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, STAINED & 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The early top-water bite on a Pop R in bone color or a 3/8 ounce Lunker Lure Buzz bait is fair. Fishing around shallow grass and blow downs is best. The top-water bite is working until late morning so don’t stop fishing these baits when the sun pops over the trees. Most of the top-water fish are in Highland Marina’s Cove and the small pockets up Yellow Jacket Creek. As the day gets hotter go to the Weedless Wonder head in a 1/8 ounce size and use a Net bait T Mac in the Bamboo color. Fish this bait around the same areas but just out a little deeper. Shakey heads are working lakeside but this week the north end of the lake has been better because the water has been more stained with all the rain and runoff. A deep-diving Rapala DT10 shad or parrot crank bait has been working but they have to be pulling water so the afternoon has been the best time for this bait.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.36 FEET, STAINED, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. A few fish continue to hit top-water baits at first light on some mornings. Try baits like a Pop R, Chug Bug, and Tiny Torpedo along Main River and creek banks that drop quickly into deep water. A few more fish are beginning to feed around docks and boat houses, especially those with good depth and brush present. Soft plastics continue to be the best chance for success along with an occasional bite using small to medium crank baits and jigs. Carolina rigs and crank baits are proven choices, but lightweight Texas rigs and jig head and worm rigs are better on some days. A Zoom U Tale worm works great rigged Texas style with a 1/8 to ¼ ounce weight. Also try a finesse worm rigged on a 1/16 to 3/16 ounce jig head like a Spotsticker. For either of these worm rigs, use the lightest weight possible, with wind or current dictating the size. These same rigs are also producing a few fish along rip rap and bridge supports. When fishing rip rap, retrieve either bait slowly along bottom all the way out to where the rip rap ends at 15 or 20 feet deep. For the bridge supports, try 2 different methods with the same rigs. First, cast right beside each support and allow the bait to fall vertically on a slack line to 20 feet deep or more. If the bait suddenly quits falling, set the hook. Also, try slowly swimming the bait horizontally beside each support after first counting it down on each cast.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 1.35 FEET, CLEAR, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Top-water action is limited so target shallow fish in the early morning. Look down lake on main lake riprap and seawalls. Also look for fish feeding on open water shad during the early morning and in overcast conditions. Fish shallow on rocky points very early and late in the day. Fish can also be found in the main lake blow downs without fishing particularly deep. While the fishing can be hit and miss, quality fish are being caught out to 15 feet and deeper. Fishing for reaction strikes with the crank bait can be a good strategy. Use Shad Raps to take fish out to 8 foot of water. Jigs work well for catching fish in all depth ranges, particularly on wood and other structure targets. If the top-water bite isn’t happening in the early morning, throw jigs, shaky heads, and crank baits instead. Cranks will cover water and jigs or worms will take fish from specific shallow structure and sea walls. Work the points, humps, blow downs, brush, docks, and rocks. Drop Shot rigs are particularly productive this time of year and use the finesse worms for fish passing directly under boat on the Lowrance. Also use the rig on short casts to fish holding deep on the bottom.
BIG LAZER PFA (More Info HERE)
- Surface water temperature: 86 F
- Water visibility: Visibility is about 30”
- Water level: Down -6”
- Management Note: The washed out road has been repaired!! So bring your camping gear on down and take advantage of the site located just past the dam on Bunkham Rd.
- Night Fishing Remains Open Through Sept. 30.
Bass: Fair– Summer patterns are upon us! 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. Also, if you can locate schools of baitfish, the bass will be close!
Crappie: Poor – Have not heard any reports of catches lately, 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, six feet or less. Try worms, crickets, or small spinner-type lures to entice a bite. Remember to use smaller hooks for bream species. Also, fishing for bream is a great way to introduce young anglers to the sport, and although school has started back, there’s still a good bit of daylight between homework and bed time, 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 be cautious motoring around in the dark (IDLE SPEED ONLY), lots of old tree tops and stumps just below the surface!
MCDUFFIE PFA (More Info HERE)
- Temperature range is hovering between 85 & 86⁰.
- Water Visibility: 18 – 54+ inches
- The Fish Cleaning Station is open. Please inform MCDPFA staff (706-595-1684) if it’s not working.
- Night Fishing is open through September 30. 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 requires smaller lures! Many anglers have down-sized to small plastic worms, small top-water plugs and crankbaits to continue catching Bass. One angler reported catching and releasing five bass on Wednesday before 1100 in Lake Willow. Anglers, Breambuster has good opportunities for catching bass because the bass are feeding on shad early mornings and late evenings. Anglers are using finesse worms and fishing them slowly, while other anglers are using Jerk baits in shad patterns. An angler reported missing a large bass that struck at a Jerkbait at the lake edge. In Lake Rodbender, the bass activity has been very slow. The trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer. Bass activity is slow in Rodbender.
Bream: Bream may be on beds during August full moon. 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 with hook and worm with no lead on the bottom. Crickets are also a good bream bait and both bluegill and redear will take them. Breambuster Lake has redear bigger than 10 inches on beds but they are especially spooky so a soft presentation will get them to bite. Anglers are catching bluegill and redear fishing worms on the bottom around structure near the shoreline in Beaverlodge, Bridge Lake, Jones Lake, Willow Lake and Breambuster.
Channel Catfish: Catfish are still biting but slower across the PFA! The catfish action is steady with anglers catching catfish in every lake. Anglers are catching limits of catfish across PFA but must move around sometimes to catch their limits. Jones Lake is still producing eating-size catfish. Night fishing is still drawing anglers who want fish in the coolest part of the evenings. There’s room for more anglers. The fish feeders feed 5 times day, 6 AM, 9 AM, 12 PM, 9 PM, and 12 AM.
Speckled-catfish: a.k.a. bullheads are in Willow and Clubhouse mainly. The old 6E that is located on the East-side of PFA/ Willow Lake also has a good bullhead/speckled catfish population.
Striped Bass: No reports of stripers being caught this week. Each angler can keep (15) stripers but only two of them can be over 22 inches; that means if all stripers are under 22 inches all 15 stripers can be kept.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Last week’s rains are still making their way down the rivers. All the rivers are still high and essentially unfishable. Ponds and saltwater provided the best reports again this week. New Moon is August 11th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
Very few people fished this week, and nobody reported back. New Life Church in Jesup is holding a bush hook tournament on August 18th-19th. It will be run out of Jaycees Landing in Jesup. For more information, check out the church website at newlifejesup.com. The river level was 8.4 feet and rising (85 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.5 feet and rising at the Doctortown gage on August 2nd.
The river is very high and nobody reported this week. The river level on August 2nd at the Waycross gage was 13.1 feet and falling (79 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 14.4 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Forget it this week. The river is still flooded. The river level at the MacClenny gage on August 2nd was 11.2 feet and falling.
The swamp level is over 120 feet, and good fishing is in the 119 feet range. You can probably catch a few catfish on the west side if you want to try. On the east side, the water will be spread out over the prairies, and fishing will likely be very tough.
Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson fooled almost a dozen bass up to 5 pounds this weekend. Most of their fish inhaled Rat-L-traps or jigs with crawfish trailers. Chad caught the biggest fish during the heat of the day while Daniel was moving between spots with the trolling motor wide open. The fish slammed his jig and almost snatched the rod out of his hands. On evenings after big rains (like Monday night on the west side of town), the best fishing is often in the spillway of the pond. If you can safely access the spillway, give it a try, as the flow from the pond attracts fish upstream to the base of the dam. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, the people who went caught some bass early and late on buzzbaits and bream on crickets.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
On Friday, an angler fished a short time in the middle of the day in the Brunswick area and caught two 17-inch flounder. One ate a live shrimp fished on a stand-up head, while the other ate a rainbow shad Sea Shad fished on an 1/8-oz Flashy Jighead. Michael Deen and Justin Bythwood fished the St. Marys Jetties on Saturday morning and caught a 32-inch redfish and a couple dozen black sea bass and other species by pitching bucktail jigs and Assassin Sea Shads on 3/4-oz. jigheads to the rocks. The best color bucktail was electric chicken, but they caught black sea bass on several other colors. On Sunday a couple of Waycross anglers fished the St. Simons Pier and a few other bank accesses around St. Simons Island and landed 6 keeper flounder, 2 keeper black drum, and 5 throwback black drum. Both finger mullet and shrimp produced their fish. Capt. Tim Cutting caught a big black drum this week while fishing inshore. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that crabbing has remained great this week. Trout, whiting, flounder, some small Spanish mackerel, and lots of sharks were caught from the pier. Cut bait was the ticket for the sharks. An angler fishing on Sunday caught 8 keeper flounder on mudminnows. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
If the weather cooperates, bottom fishing in the sounds for whiting or putting a big piece of cut bait on the bottom for sharks will be your best bet for catching fish. Bass and bream fishing will likely be your best option in freshwater.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
We’re catching up around here. After a busy spring of “stocking and shocking,” some of our folks are finally catching up at work and even taking some time off to enjoy a little vacation time with family and friends. I hopped a flight to catch up with my best fishing buddy, Mom, now in a superb nursing home with caring staff and awesome chefs. In her day, she led her two young, pre-teen sons on trouting treks thru the Muskie and South Branch Raritan. Clad in hip boots and armed with Mepps spinners and salmon eggs, the trio was deadly on Jersey stockers as they began their trouting careers. And she enjoyed our four decades of predawn trips to Sandy Hook, Point Pleasant, and Seaside, casting “metal” and poppers into the surf in search of bass and blues. When she still had her faculties, this retired RN even found the place, spoke RN-ese to the nurses on station, and pronounced, “This is where we’re putting Dad. And if I ever need that level of care, you boys put ME here, too.” And we honored her word. Little Nursing Home, you folks rock!
I also caught up with a great young friend. I can’t call him a kid any more, since he’s as big as I am and a lot stronger and faster than me. Despite a U of Vermont Fisheries degree, he’s loving life as an urbanite and public protector, following his father’s hallowed footprints.
But once upon a time, Pat was a scrawny little dude that loved fishing. So his Rabunite buddies would take him fishing each spring, when he flew down here on school breaks. Favorite Flatlander Henry C motored him around Lanier, tossing Something Elses at spots and stripers. And on my own trips home to see my folks, we’d try our best to fit in a fishing trip to a “Joisey” beach or trout stream.
And while we caught up on life last week, he got the itch again. So we walked the length Ken Lockwood Gorge to scratch that itch. Hopefully he’ll return there soon, with his four-weight instead of his striper stick, and with a hare’s ear instead of a live menhaden. And his Rabunite stealth technique, learned from hillbilly masters such as Doug Adams and Jimmy Harris, will again connect him to some scrappy salmonids.
Yes, indeed, it was fun “catching up” last week. Now let’s get back into the flow down here and catch up on some “JoJa” news:
Hartwell Profile: Check out the latest profile for Hartwell HERE
Small Lakes: Dredger hit Unicoi Lake again and got into some decent bluegills, including one whopper that inhaled the #4 stealth bomber that was aimed for bass (check out the photo!). While the bass were scarce, the chunky bream more than made up for them.
From our friend at Academy Sports – Academy Jack: Jeff, the cold water below Buford Dam was good to me this week. Fished from the bank & caught my limit of rainbows. All nice size & my first Brown Trout. What beautiful color! I released it.
Blue Ridge Tailwater: News HERE
Bluelines: Hint: big bugs. Veteran blueliners are “plopping” down beetles and hoppers right now to entice the good’uns. Try a bigger bug in a favorite summer flavor: black or yellow, and use a heavier tippet to avoid the dreaded tippet twist. More news HERE and HERE.
Stockers: John Lee Thomson’s best bets this week are: Hartwell, Lanier, and Blue Ridge tailwaters, Tallulah, Rock, Dicks, upper Toccoa, Wildcat, Cooper, and Hooch on WMA. Get the latest trout info or sign up for the weekly trout stocking report HERE.
Thomson also sent in this report and photo on a satisfied Hooch customer, Luke G from
south Georgia, with some stockers he caught on the Chattahoochee WMA.
John, A huge thanks for all your help. We had a blast and caught plenty of nice fish. We fished the Chattahoochee above and below the bridge and fished Smith creek too. Many thanks again and we appreciate all that you and your team do for the fishery in North Georgia!!! I attached a few pics of my son’s catch. Best Regards, Dominic and Luke
Good North GA Fishing Blog: Take some time to read HERE.
The New Chipper: Okay, okay, the old Chipper is now in the Hall of Fame. Yay! Now we welcome the new Chipper: With our first pick in the 2018 fisheries biologist draft, the North Georgia Region Fisheries Team selects Hunter Roop from the University of Georgia. Hunter has both a BS and MS degree from that institution. He’ll fill the Gainesville biologist slot vacated by Pat Snellings last spring, when Pat opted for free agency with Humminbird Corporation. Hunter will work on Lanier, the Lanier Tailwater, and many other waters as he assists our region’s other four biologists. Please welcome Hunter and give him a chance to read our region play book and get his swing down. Soon he’ll have a hall of fame batting average in managing these important fisheries resources for you. Hunter can be reached at our office number (770-535-5498) or via email at Hunter.Roop@dnr.ga.gov.
Free Magazine Provides Tips/Reports: Great local articles found in Coastal Angler Magazine. You can pick up a free copy of this magazine at many tackle shops and small businesses in metro Atlanta and across north Georgia. Bob Rice and his cast of north Georgia authors do a fine job of sharing fishing tips and reports on our favorite waters. Their Facebook page also has some great pics and stories. Have you seen this one? Who’s fish is it, anyway?
Agroforestry and Wildlife Field Day: 30 Topics, including bees, hogs, trees and wildlife at this upcoming awesome educational opportunity featuring speakers from multiple federal and state agencies accompanied with “real-world” examples of demonstration sites. Lunch and hat included in the registration cost.
Good luck this week with your own catching up, with friends, family, and favorite places. Make some memories that will last a lifetime. You’ll be glad you did.