I know it is fall and all, but the only “pumpkin” something I want to see right now is one of these, how about you?  Well, take whatever lure or bait gives you the best trip and get out there! 

  • Last call for PFA Night Fishing anglers: This weekend is your last chance for night-fishing at a Public Fishing Area in 2018! This opportunity ends Sept. 30.
  • Do you have a kid who wants to learn to fish? Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center will be offering a Fish-N-Learn 1 class for children age 8-15 on Oct. 10-12. The class will cover the basics of fishing, equipment, casting, and how to clean your catch.

This week, we have reports from Central, North and Southeast Georgia. Enjoy and Go Fish Georgia!

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 3.63 FEET, CLEAR, 80S 

Bass fishing is slow.  It has been a slow week for anglers as the weather has staggered the action.  Sebile Swimmers, Flukes and Shad Raps are the best bet along the rocks just before day break but this lasts only an hour.  Add a black ¼ ounce buzz bait to the tackle at this time and work any wood in the shallows in the shadows.  Use the Zoom U tail and a Berkley Power worm on a light Texas rig around submerged wood in the deeper water.  Some smaller bass may bite in the Savannah River on top water baits like Rico’s or Pop R’s.  Check the Fish and Game Forecaster feeding tables before heading out.

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 2.83 FEET, 80S 

Bass fishing is fair.  Early in the morning fish the flats with Zoom Super Flukes and Skitter Walks then move to the ditches while using an X Rap and small crank bait like a Rapala DT6 or #5 Shad Rap.  By afternoon move to main lake humps and ledges and use Rapala DT10, DT14 and Carolina rigged plastics.  A slow presentation and a lot of determination will be necessary.  Any windblown area will work the best along with areas that sport the most shade. Take along a variety of colors.  During tough fishing conditions, color can sometimes be the one key factor for catching fish.

LAKE OCONEE IS DOWN ONE FOOT, 80S 

Lake Oconee is down one foot.  The water temperature is 83 to 85 degrees and the lake is clear even up the rivers.  With the shorter days the water temperature has stopped rising.

Bass: The bass have started to move out of the deep water and a few are chasing bait into the coves and creeks all over the lake.  A buzz bait at first light will still produce for the first hour of daylight.  Soft plastics fished under docks and around wood structure in the mouth of the coves mid lake will produce during daylight hrs.  Crank baits fished around bridge rip rap will also produce when Georgia Power is pulling water in the afternoons.

Striper: Striper fishing is poor.  Don’t look for much improvement in the striper fishing until fall.  I tell ever one the striper bite will start after the middle of October.

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.  Down lining crappie minnows into tree tops and on ledges on the main lake 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 DOWN 2.29 FEET, CLEAR & 80S 

Bass fishing is barely fair.  It is an early and late bite for most anglers.  Some fish will hit top water baits at first light on some mornings.  But this will not last.  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 around docks.  Soft plastics continue to be the best chance for success along with an occasional bite using small to medium crank baits and jigs.  Open water structure fishing has gotten tougher.  The hot weather has taken a toll on the anglers and the fish.  But, bass can still be caught around some points and ledges but head up the river.  Try the Zoom U Tale worm 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.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.45 FEET, STAINED, 80’S

Bass fishing is poor.  The heat is tough on anglers and the bass.  Be prepared for a tough week.  Try an Old Monster worm Texas rigged and a jig head and worm on shallow docks in the Optimist Island area of Little River.  Try a frog in the grass beds.  Try skipping a Fluke on a jig head under the docks up in Little River.  Focus on shallow water docks and points in the mouth of Rooty Creek, Crooked Creek and Beaver Dam Creek and use a ¼ ounce shad pattern Rat L Trap, a spinnerbait and Texas rigged worm.  A small ¼ ounce all-white buzz bait may fool the fish on any rip rap or on bridges this fall.

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .74 FEET, CLEAR 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The spots are more active than the largemouth down lake.  Fish out on the points out to the 15 foot depth range.  Actively feeding fish are holding in 8 to 3 foot of water.  Bluegill and crawfish seem to be preferred forage.  Try a Bandit 200, in some variety of chartreuse, if natural patterns are slow to produce.  Work your crank through wood, rocks, and around the docks.  Always take the opportunity to work the wood and docks more thoroughly with your plastic and jig of choice.  Use the shaky head rig for all around plastic fishing and trick worms in watermelon seed will work.  Throw the rig in the blow downs and be sure to let it soak a while before working it up and out through the tree limbs.  Try fishing early morning with a chartreuse buzz bait, but you may find a preference for spinner baits or shallow running cranks.  Start fishing main lake banks and points, but continue back into the creeks and pockets from there.  Work docks, brush piles, riprap, rocky banks, and blow downs with a mix of plastic and crank baits.  You should find fish at least half way back in many pockets, if they have favorable depth.  Cover water quickly for best results and crank the shallower diving Bandit 100 during the early hour.  Also all the lakes deeper sea walls are good targets as well as any rip rap and rocky areas close by.

FLAT CREEK PFA (More Info HERE)

  • Surface Temperature: 8 F (˚28.2 C)
  • Water Level: 5’ 1” Below Full Pool
  • Water Visibility: 20”
  • Guide to Fishing at Flat Creek PFA Found HERE

We are deeply grateful to our Anglers that not only enjoy fishing at Flat Creek PFA but enjoy passing on their tips to help other fishermen have the same joy of catching fish!

Anglers that have taken advantage of the cooler evenings have been catching several nice-size crappie, bass and catfish.  Anglers that have fished in the early morning have reported catching several nice bass, fewer crappie and some nice bream.  Anglers fishing the hottest part of the day have still had some luck fishing the shade cover provides, with a slow retrieval or live bait under a bobber, and were typically catching bass and bream.  Below is info from our regulars on what is currently working for the following species:

Bass: Sexy Shad 1.5 Strike King KVD HC Square Bill Silent Crankbait, 5” Black Red Silver Flake Laminate Yamamoto Senko Worms, six-seven foot of water near cover.

Bream: Crickets or worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks).  Fished near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon.  For larger redear try blue/black or white/yellow 2” Rage Tail grubs with the tail cut down 75%.

Channel Catfish: Frozen uncooked shrimp, chicken livers secured to hook with thread.

Crappie: Live minnows are the best at about 5-feet at the dock. Less weight and four-pound test line.  Let the minnows swim freely.  Watch the line carefully.  When the minnow becomes active you will know the crappie are close.  Yellow Mr. Crappie line is a must.  Change the depth of your minnow between five feet and the bottom.  The bigger   rappie are near the bottom.  Many 7 and 8-inch  crappie are at the five-foot depth.

MCDUFFIE PFA (More info found HERE)

  • Temperature range is hovering between 81-82⁰.
  • Water Visibility: 13 – 60+ inches
  • Fish Cleaning Station is open. Please inform MCDPFA staff (706-595-1684) if it’s not working.
  • Night Fishing –opportunity ends Sept. 30. All parking is outside of MCDPFA main gate at Jones Lake for night fishing.

Bass: Bass action has picked up.  On Lake Willow, this past Sunday [22nd] during a local Kayak fishing tournament, two different anglers caught a 23-inch bass and a bass 23.75 inch but it released itself from measuring board and may have been 24 inches.  Also, other nice bass was caught during the competition.  The Bass are feeding on shad early mornings and late evenings in Willow, Jones, Clubhouse, Bridge and Breambuster Lakes.  In Lake Rodbender, the bass activity is still slow. The Bass are in their fall pattern feedings throughout the day. The trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer.

Bream: Bream action has slowed down. But anglers can still catch bluegill and redear fishing worms on the bottom around structure near the shoreline in Beaverlodge, Bridge Lake, Jones Lake, Willow Lake and Breambuster.  Bream should continue feeding good until the water temperatures drop below 60 degrees.

Channel Catfish:  Catfish are being caught across the PFA!  The catfish action is steady with anglers catching catfish in every lake. Night fishing at Jones Lake stops on September 30th. Anglers who want fish in the coolest part of the day are fishing at night.  The fish feeders feed 5 times day, 6 AM, 9 AM, 12 PM, 9 PM, and 12 AM

Striped Bass: No reports of stripers being caught this week.  Each angler can keep (15) xtripers 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.

NORTH GEORGIA 

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

After a very busy week, hopefully we’ll all have a little more time for ourselves this coming weekend.  While it’s still been warmer than average, at least there is a slight cooling trend and that will help fishing conditions across north Georgia.  Here’s our latest news and a heartfelt WRD thanks to all of you who helped our staff make National Hunting and Fishing Day so special for many families last Saturday.  Here we go:

TROUT

Standing Room Only: It was standing room only for Wes McElroy’s small stream trouting program to a packed crowd of Rabun TU members last Tuesday in Dillard. The program was so popular, the crowd started to overflow into the parking lot of Rabun Gap Presbyterian Church.  Enjoy the photo (below) of Wes’ furry fan who was denied a seat in the church fellowship hall. Something about not paying his annual TU dues…

Bear Dillard 9-18-18

Stocked Trout Leftovers: Per our annual plan, most of our catchable trout stocking is now complete for 2018.

We do have nice fish remaining in our hatcheries and programmed for this fall’s Lake Burton and Delayed Harvest fisheries.  Some slow-growers are also on station and will be stocked this fall, with most in conjunction with some of our WMA youth hunts. Be on the lookout for the Friday stocking reports. More on trout fishing found HERE.

Right now, the majority of the raceway (concrete vat) space at our state and federal hatcheries is dedicated to growing next year’s crop of catchables.   Stocker fans will still do well, however, in the weeks ahead by targeting some of the bigger waters that were stocked for Labor Day or for last weekend’s National Hunting and Fishing Day events.  Best bets include: Hooch and Blue Ridge tailwaters, Wildcat Creek, upper Smith Creek above Unicoi Lake, the remote reaches of the Hooch in the WMA and West Fork Chattooga, Tallulah River, and Cooper Creek.  Cover a lot of water to find and catch these scattered survivors of your summer onslaughts.

Headwater Trout: Recent rains have improved streamflows a bit, while cooler nights have dropped water temperatures a bit.  Brooks and browns should be on the feed as they get ready for fall spawning.  This is a great time to hit the small mountain streams with short rods and light lines.  You have about a month until leaf fall gets in the way of your flies and lures for a week or two, so make plans soon for bluelining before your late fall timeout.  Good bets now: tan caddis, adams parachute, parachute black ants, small hoppers and beetles.  If it’s a cold morning with no surface sippers, drop a #16 pheasant tail or prince nymph 18 inches off the hook bend of the dry fly.  Don’t forget that camera. Trout Map found HERE.

 

Hooch Tailwater: News HERE

Toccoa Cleanup: Here is one more example of the power of partnerships, courtesy of WRD fisheries biologist John Damer. WRD Fisheries staff (Damer and Bowen) partnered with the Blue Ridge Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the City of McCaysville, Fannin County Chamber of Commerce, and other local volunteers to clean up the Toccoa River on Sept 25.  The group removed thousands of pounds of trash including car chassis, axles, tires, mufflers, chairs, and a refrigerator door.  We removed over 1,000 pounds of tires alone!  Thanks to all involved for making the Toccoa a cleaner and safer place for fishing and boating.

One-Stop Shopping for New Flyfishers! Big shout-out to fishing buddy Patrick for this newbie hit list. Enjoy.  At the least, you’ll be entertained. At most, you’ll learn something and catch more fish this fall!  Nice job, Rabunite.

NATIONAL HUNTING AND FISHING DAY STORIES 

Saturday’s Success Stories: Our region Fisheries staff would like to thank all of our cooperators who helped sponsor and staff the National Hunting and Fishing Day events. Enjoy a few stories and pics.

  • This link is from the Jones Bridge KFE on Saturday:
  • The Foothillsbillies and their Project Healing Waters friends helped me scatter some Smith Creek fish.
  • Jim Hakala shared this narrative on GADNR’s highly successful Sloppy Floyd State Park Adventure Day: Armuchee Fisheries staff helped Region 1 Game Mgt staff host another hugely popular Outdoor Adventure Day at Sloppy Floyd State Park, with an estimated 1,875 people in attendance.  A total of 2,700 harvestable size channel catfish were stocked by DNR ahead of the event (thanks South GA hatcheries!).  Of those fish, 1,500 were estimated to be caught by event-goers. Five year old Ryland Dooley hoists five channel catfish he caught while fishing at OAD.  One of the five fish he landed was his first fish ever caught. Way to go Ryland! The big bass was a hit with children and adults alike at this year’s event.  Each year WRD staff collect fish for public display at the event from one of park’s two lakes.  The display allows event-goers to see the types of fish that call the lakes at the park “home”.   This year the sample crew successfully captured an 8.25 pound largemouth bass to go along with the bluegill, shellcrackers and catfish also displayed.  “It was a great opportunity for people to be able to see a fish of that size up-close”, said Fisheries Biologist Jim Hakala.  The trophy sized fish was on display all day and was released back to the lake with the help of a number of “wide-eyed” children at the end of the event.

LAKE NEWS

Bassmasters: Check out Chatuge Results HERE

Lanier Bassin’ Improving: News HERE and HERE.

Hartwell Fish Habitat: Last week WRD’s Burton Fisheries District and Hatchery staffs planted about 1,000 aquatic plants in Lake Hartwell at the Bruce Creek fishing trail.   Plans are to add another 600 plants this week.   This nearshore vegetation should provide great habitat in the future for bass, crappie, and sunfish. The aquatic plants were supplied by WRD’s Walton District Office greenhouse, which was built with funding from the Yamaha Corporation.  The Bruce Creek Trail was built with Lake Hartwell PCB Settlement funds allocated to GADNR, which provided Georgians with fishing enhancements such as this trail, the Hartwell Dam fishing pier, and two large boating facilities at Tugalo State Park and Gum Branch Access.  Stephens County Recreation Department operates and maintains the Bruce Creek Trail for the benefit of Lake Hartwell recreationists. For more information on fishing Lake Hartwell, click HERE and HERE.

Ken’s Reservoir Reports: Check out Ken’s lake reports HERE.

bass lmb Unicoi Lake 9-21-18smallSmall Lakes: North Georgia’s small lakes are still a best bet, especially when the sun sets and the shadows fall.  Try the west bank first, where the shadows start.  During daylight, fish deep along the bank’s submerged trees with soft plastics.  Then, an hour before dark, toss a white popper right up against the bank, and let it sit there without popping it.   Dredger had some recent fun by tossing a Texas-rigged worm into the limbs of sunken trees along the bank of Unicoi Lake.  Biggest bass was only 15 inches, but it was a nice evening getaway to cooling local waters. The fishing should only get better as water temperatures subside quicker in our smaller lakes and ponds than in our big reservoirs. More news HERE, HERE and HERE.

 

Free Fishing Classes In OctoberKen Sturdivant will be hosting FREE Fishing classes at Forsyth County Library Branches. These seminars will cover Bass Fishing, Striper Fishing, Crappie Fishing, Fly Fishing and Sonar. Anglers DO NOT need to pre-register. Please come to the event 30 minutes prior to start time. All events are subjects to change without notice.

  • Thursday, October 4, 2018: Post Road Branch (5010 Post Road, Cumming, GA 30040): 7 pm, The Basics of Striper fishing.
  • Sunday October 14, 2018: Hampton Park Branch (5345 Settingdown Road, Cumming, GA 30041), 2 to 4 pm, Basics of SONAR.
  • Sunday, October 21, 2018: Sharon Forks Branch (2820 Old Atlanta Road, Cumming, GA 30041), 2 to 4 pm, Basic Bass lures.

Thanks again to everyone who helped with last weekend’s fishing festivities.  Good luck this week on your favorite fall waters.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA 

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

River fishing has been excellent with the water falling out and clearing up. Saltwater has been consistent, and pond fishing has been very good, as well. Last quarter moon is October 2nd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Shane and Joshua Barber fished the lower Altamaha on Saturday and caught 8 bass, 6 that were keepers Plastic worms produced the majority of their fish. Pretty much all species are biting since the river is at a great level for fishing. The crappie bite picked up all along the river, with minnows fooling most of the fish. The river level was 1.9 feet and falling (84 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.6 feet and steady (80 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on September 25th.

SATILLA RIVER

Jonathan Guy came down from central Georgia to fish the middle Satilla on Friday and landed 50 nice redbreasts. Most of his fish were on crawfish Satilla Spins and crickets. He tried bright color Satilla Spins like yellow, catalpa, and even copperfield with no luck, but they keyed in on the crawfish color. On Monday, Dane Clements fished the middle river and caught well over 100 redbreasts, bluegills, and stumpknockers, with about half on crawfish 1/8-oz. spins and half on crickets. He said that the crickets worked best early in the day, and the spinnerbaits worked best in the middle of the day.  His biggest bluegill was a whopping 1-lb. 2-oz. on a certified scale. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the redbreast and bream bites are hot, especially in the Atkinson area. Lots of crappie (on the small side) were caught with minnows. The river level on September 25th at the Waycross gage was 5.3 feet and falling (80 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 5.2 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER

Good catches of nice redbreasts and bream were made in the tidal portion of the river out of the Folkston area. Catfishing was great again this week, as well. The upper river in the St. George area is getting low for motorboats, and float trips should be the perfect approach this weekend. The river level at the MacClenny gage on September 25th was 4.2 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

The water level on the east side is 120.74 feet, and I do best with it below 120ft. Staff at Okefenokee Adventures on the east side said that almost nobody has been fishing lately. The west side (Fargo) has dropped out more, and some catfish have been biting shrimp decently, along with a few warmouth and fliers.

LOCAL PONDS

Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson had a great weekend, catching some big bass in Alma area ponds. On Friday, Daniel caught a 7 and 4-pounder on a bluegill spinnerbait, while Chad landed a 5-lb., 11-oz. fish on a hollow-bodied frog. Chad also caught a 6-pounder on a Rat-L-trap this weekend. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, bass and bream were the best bites. Topwaters early produced some nice bass, while crickets fished along shoreline cover and vegetation worked for bluegills.

PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Tifton, more info HERE)

SE GA Trent - 23 inch Bass - IMGP0106
On Saturday, Trent caught this 23-inch bass at Paradise Public Fishing Area on an Assassin Elite Shiner (mama’s 14K color) rigged on an 1/8-oz. jighead.

The J.A.K.E.S./Outdoor Adventure Day on Saturday went GREAT! There were 600 kids and 1,500 total attendees for the event. The biggest bass caught on the teen bass excursions was by Trent, who was also celebrating his birthday that evening. He caught a 23-inch bass as an early birthday present. It bit a mama’s 14K-colored Assassin Elite Shiner fished on an 1/8-oz. jighead with a 3/0 Gamakatsu hook. During the teen bass excursions, the bass bite was slow for the first couple hours, with anglers only catching a few fish on male perch-colored Keitech 3.8-inch Fat Swing Impact Swimbaits on 1/8-oz. Flashy Swimbait Heads. The fish got more active during the late morning and started eating better. The last 2 groups caught 11 bass on Assassin Elite Shiners, plastic lizards (green pumpkin), NED rigged stick-worms, and Keitech 3.8” swimbaits. Some anglers fishing for bluegill on Saturday used worms and crickets in Tacklebuster (the catch-and-release trophy panfish lake) and caught (and released) over 40 bluegills, including a half-dozen hand-sized or bigger. They then fished Lake Paradise and caught another 50 bluegills and shellcrackers. Worms fished on the bottom caught most of them, but the biggest bluegill ate a cricket. The catfish bite in Horseshoe 2 Lake was good this week. Most were caught on worms, livers, or mullet gut (for those who could get some).

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

In the Brunswick area, anglers fishing piers reported catching nice messes of sheepshead and black drum up to 6 pounds on fiddler crabs. Steve and Brenda Hampton of Waycross fished the Jekyll Island Pier over the weekend and caught 15 flounder, with 2 being keepers. Their doormats were 18 3/4 inches and 21 inches. One ate a white Gulp Swimming Minnow and the other a live finger mullet. Their throwbacks ate both mullet and artificials. An angler fishing the Brunswick area on Saturday and Sunday limited out on slot redfish. Flounder gigging improved this week with reports of lots of nice flatties. On the St. Simons Pier, the big bull redfish are around. An angler reported catching and releasing 9 of them during a tide cycle this week. Cut bait has worked best. The mullet run is wide open, so cast-netting bait should be no problem from either pier. Some big trout were caught with live shrimp fished from the St. Simons Pier. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

You really can’t go wrong again this weekend. Fishing has been good just about everywhere. On the Satilla, I would fish the middle river for redbreasts and bluegills. Fishing the upper river will be best accomplished from a paddle craft. The St. Marys should be great bluegill and catfishing in the area between Folkston and the coast. The Altamaha will provide great bass, bluegill, and catfishing. Look for the crappie bite to pick up early and late in the day, while bass and bream should be good throughout the day in ponds. In saltwater, the trout bite should be good inshore, while the inlets will have whiting, flounder, and redfish available.