Happy Fall Y’all! While the highly anticipated opening day of firearms deer hunting season is tomorrow (Oct. 20), we hope you round out the weekend with a little additional time on the water. This week we have fishing reports from North and Southeast Georgia. 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)

LAKE TUGALO

WRD’s fisheries biologist Anthony Rabern says “We caught this nice bass on Lake Tugalo today and it spit up the shad that I’m holding.” More from Anthony: The cooler days of fall are a great time for bass fishing in Georgia. Bass are gorging on small shad, herring and bream. Fisheries staff across the state are surveying fish populations this fall.

NGA AR_TugaloBass+Shad_10.18.18

Get great lake reports at Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant. Be sure to visit his website for more information! www.southernfishing.com

LAKE LANIER IS DOWN 1.3 FEET, THE CREEKS ARE STAINED AND THE MAIN LAKE IS CLEAR THE RIVERS AND UP LAKE COVES ARE STAINED. 70’S DEGREES

(This report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley Jimbo on Lanier) — The lake is clear on the lower end, and starting to show some initial signs of turnover at and above Brown’s Bridge. Overall, the lake is in good shape and starting to cool. The fish are really in their fall patterns now and we have enjoyed some great results in the last few of weeks. The top water and swimbait bite has been strong of late for both spots and now some stripers. Traditional humps and points with brush in the 20 foot range have been a good option for this approach. When the wind is up, we have also found fish fairly shallow on windblown rocky points on the main lake as well as in the mouths of the creeks. Walking baits, Whopper Ploppers, a fluke and a Sebile have been our best options overall, which is no surprise. That’s about all I’m going to have on my deck for the next month. I may add in a jerk bait and a SuperSpin when the water cools some more. And maybe a crankbait for the early morning rock bite that will strengthen as the cooler weather arrives as well. In addition, don’t forget a spinnerbait on the windy days. I am really seeing lots of bait starting to move back into the mouths of the creeks recently, and a lot of schooling going on both in the main channel as well as in the mouths of the creeks. October/November/December are some of my favorite months on the lake. I hope you will make plans to come join me.

Striper: (This striper report is from Big Fish on Guide ServiceStriper fishing is good. The lake stabilized this week with the water temperatures stuck in the mid to high 70’s. Consequently, the majority of the Stripers did not move shallow and were perfectly happy to hang out at 40 to 50 feet over a 100 foot bottom. The good news is the forecast is for temperatures in the low 50’s and highs in the 60’s which will quickly lower the water temperature below 70 degrees which will fire up the top water bite. Look for the Stripers to start feeding aggressively on the shallow bait this week. Keep your eyes on the water looking for surface activity. Carry several spinning rods with the basic top water baits tied on including Chug Bugs, Red Fins and Spooks and a 1/2 ounce buck tail jig with a small fluke. Focus on reef markers and long sloping points with your top water baits and live bait. Vary the free line distance for your planner boards and the boat from 20 feet to 100 feet. Use split shots to weight some of your free lines. The umbrella rigs will work when pulled shallow over points and reef markers. Stripers will also start to move north and from the mouth of the creeks to the middle of the creeks. We have been fishing the south end of the Lake but the fish will be on the move this week and can be anywhere. Fish the areas where you find a large concentration of bait fish. The water temperature is in the high to mid 70’s but should quickly drop into the high 60’s this week. The water is lightly stained in the creeks and clear on the main lake. The lake is 1.3 feet below full pool. To book your guide trip call us at 404 561 2564 or contact us on our website.

LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 5.39 FEET, 70S, CLEAR

(This Bass Fishing report is from Captain Todd Wynn) — Bass fishing is good. Fall is finally here. With the cooler weather comes some great fishing. Look for schools of bass chasing schools of shad. Key places include deep docks, deep brush piles, points and humps. Look for the bass pushing the bait to the surface. The best techniques are throwing top water baits such as poppers, pencil baits and walking baits. Also small jerk baits, flukes and spy baits can be very affective. Use your electronics to find the bait and bass and fish over the top of them.

LAKE HARTWELL IS DOWN 1.35 FEET, CLEAR, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair. The cooler days are here. Bass are active early on shady areas especially in Wehadkee Creek. The Rapala DT6 crank baits will work along with the #5 Shad Raps in the shad color on light 6 pound Sufix line. Concentrate casts on the points. Fish both sides and especially on the front. Cast across the points and retrieve your crank bait from deeper to shallow and back to deeper water again. Bass will be there on one side or the other. This is when the Lowrance Structure Scan technology can pinpoint these fish without having to ride over the fish. Weather should hold through the first of the week. Wiggle Warts in shad or Silver Shiner colors will also work in these same areas. During the slow periods use a variety of jigs and plastics.

WEISS LAKE IS AT 2 FEET 1 INCHES BELOW FULL POOL AND CLEAR AND 70 72 DEGREE’S

(This report is brought to you by Mark Collins Service) — mark@markcollins service.com

Bass: Bass fishing is fair. A lot of bass are starting to move shallow on a fall pattern, Rat L Traps and shallow running crank baits are catching fish.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair and most fish are on the creek and river channels ledges. Spider rigging with live minnows is the way to catch these summer fish. Look for the Fishing to get better, after this cool front.

Proven GPS Waypoints! Now available for sale 50 proven GPS waypoints for off shore structure for Bass and Crappie fishing on Weiss Lake. For more info contact Ken Sturdivant.

FREE FISHING CLASS IN OCTOBER

Ken Sturdivant will be hosting a FREE Fishing class at Forsyth County Library. 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.

  • Sunday, October 21, 2018: Sharon Forks Branch (2820 Old Atlanta Road, Cumming, GA 30041), 2 to 4 pm, Basic Bass lures.

TROUT

Trout Fishing Reports: News you need to know HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA 

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

We were very blessed here in Waycross, but many of our brothers and sisters in the southwestern part of the state weren’t so fortunate during the storm. There is a lot of damage in that part of the state. Full Moon is October 24th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

A couple of anglers fished the upper Wayne County area of the river on Saturday

SE GA 36-inch redfish on limb line Altamaha 10 18 - IMG_1104
No, this isn’t a St. Simons Pier or St. Marys Jetties redfish. It was caught many miles upriver in the Altamaha River on a limb line baited with goldfish (intended for catfish). The Waycross anglers photographed and released the 36-inch trophy redfish.   

afternoon and caught a 2-pound bass, a 3-pound bowfin, and lost several other fish in an hour of fishing. They caught their fish on black Texas-rigged Bass Assassin worms fished in oxbows.  J.J. at Altamaha Park said that fishing was great over the weekend. On Friday evening, a group of Waycross anglers had a surprise on a limb line baited with goldfish. They caught a 36-inch redfish that wandered way upstream and ate their catfish bait. They snapped a photo before releasing it. They also landed 4 flatheads and a blue cat. On Saturday, they caught redbreasts and bream on crickets and worms. Their best fishing was on the incoming tide until half of the outgoing. They also added crappie to their creels, landing 20 slabs on minnows. Shiners produced some nice bass this week, with the best catch reported at 6 bass up to 14 inches. Other anglers reported catching redbreasts and bream on crickets fished under floats and worms fished on the bottom. The mullet bite was in full swing, with green dyed worms producing the best catches around salt blocks and feed bags. The river level was 5.5 feet and rising (77 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 6.2 feet and rising (78 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on October 16th.

SATILLA RIVER

Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the river fishing has heated up with the falling water. Crappie bit minnows well in the early morning and late afternoon. Bream and redbreasts were caught in good numbers, while buzzbaits have continued to fool bass during the unusually warm weather. Catfish were caught on shrimp and rooster liver. In the middle river (Atkinson area), big bream and redbreasts were caught with crickets and worms. Spinnerbaits and topwater plugs produced some good bass. The river level on October 16th at the Waycross gage was 5.4 feet and falling (76 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 5.2 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER

Anglers reported catching creels of 25 to 30 bream and redbreasts by pitching crickets around deep banks. Catfish, as usual, were caught about anywhere you dropped a rooster liver or shrimp. The river level at the MacClenny gage on October 16th was 3.5 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

The east side is still too high for good fishing, while the west side is fishable. Catfish are your best option there, but you can catch some fliers and warmouth. Put a piece of shrimp on the bottom for catfish and pitch a yellow or pink sally to lily pads to catch fliers and warmouth. Dabble a crayfish around a cypress stump for your highest probability of catching a warmouth.

LOCAL PONDS

Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, bream and crappie were the best bites. Crickets fooled the bream, and minnows were tops for crappie. In Lake Ware, some big bream were caught on crickets, and catfish bit worms.

DODGE COUNTY PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Eastman, more info HERE)

Before the hurricane, a group of anglers fishing from a pier landed 3 channel cats topping the scales at over 8 pounds apiece.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

Some tripletail up to 23 inches were landed in the Hampton River area of our coast this week. Trout, reds, and flounder were landed in the creeks around Brunswick, but it was hit-or-miss with the high winds this week. I also heard from a group who zeroed on the trout. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that limits of trout were caught on finger mullet and shrimp. Flounder, bluefish, whiting, sharks, and bull reds were also caught from the pier. Dead shrimp or cut baitfish on the bottom produced most of them. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

The Altamaha is high and rising, while the Satilla and St. Marys are very fishable. The water level is perfect to do a float trip for panfish on the upper Satilla. Along with your panfish tackle, throw in a bass rod to pitch into log jams or creek mouths. Trout and redfishing should be picking up when the tides are manageable. This weekend will be fairly high, but not ridiculous tides. Ponds are always a good option. Bream, bass, and catfish should all be biting this weekend. At the time of writing this, it appears that we will get back into a more seasonable pattern, and the fish will be moving from their summer patterns.