Are you dry yet? That was a whole lotta rain this week! As you shake it off, and then bundle up, be sure to get out there and cast a line or two. We will provide you with the tips on where to go and what to seek in our fishing reports below, but first:

  • Grading Trout: This time of year, if our trout staff isn’t stocking rivers they’re “grading” trout. Grading fish is when they’re placed in a machine that sorts them into small, medium, and large to make sure all fish in one raceway are about the same size. While all fish in a single raceway are the same age, they grow at different rates allowing more dominant fish grow larger leaving the smaller ones behind. Grading fish allows us to determine a more accurate inventory and helps the fish grow better.
  • Georgia Bass Slam: Will you join the list of folks that have gotten a 2018 Georgia Bass Slam? No? You better get on that, you have about 1 1/2 months left to make it happen! All Bass Slam winners will be put into a drawing for a grand prize – it’s sure to be a good one! 

On to our reports! This week, we have reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia. Get out there 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 .32 FEET, CLEAR, 60S

Bass fishing is fair.  It’s best to fish the lake at mid-day and let the banks and rocky points warm a little.  After all the rain this week, the fish have moved up shallow lake wide.  The bait is moving up to the warmer waters so when the sun comes out, go shallow. Water temperatures are still warm enough for the bass to feed up on the banks, so use the Lowrance Structure Scan and find the bait.  Look for the shad schools in the coves and creeks, even better.  Try the Fish Head Spin with a small Zoom Fluke pearl trailer and drag it slowly across the bottom.  This will look like a dying shad.  Add an all-black jig and use the Uncle Josh all-black eel and drag this bait on the same bait casting rig on and over these locations.  If the weather warms up at all, try both a small and a large Fat Free Shad in red shad or green shad and add some Storm Suspend dots to the bottom of the baits.  Now these should fished with very long casts on light line and get the baits deep. 

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 2.7 FEET, CLEAR, 60S

Bass fishing is fair.  It will be best to go to the lake mid-day as the water warms.  Look for the shad schools in the coves and creeks, even better.  Try the Fish Head Spin with a small Zoom Fluke pearl trailer and drag it slowly across the bottom.  This will look like a dying shad.  So after all the rain this week, the fish have moved up shallow lake wide.  The bait is moving up to the warmer waters so when the sun comes out, go shallow.  Water temperatures are still warm enough for the bass to feed up on the banks, so use the Lowrance Structure Scan and find the bait.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 60S

(Report by Capt. Mark Smith of Reel Time Guide Service, 404-803-0741 reeltime@bellsouth.net)

  • The lake is full and clear over most of the lake, stained up the rivers.
  • The temperature is 61 to 67 degrees.

Bass: Bass fishing is good.  Fish small crank baits around docks and sea walls from the middle of the creeks to the back of the creeks.  Look for 8 feet of water depth at the end of the docks as this seems to be the best producer.  Small spinner baits in white and chartreuse fished in the same area will also produce.  Don’t forget a rattle trap fished around the bridge rip rap.  Soft plastics have been producing from Sugar Creek north.  Again, fish around the 8 feet of water depth.

Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good.  The stripers are starting to show up around the river bend area of the lake.  The live bait bite has started.  Down lines as well as flat lines will produce.  Fish are also showing up in the mouths of the coves.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools of bait and the stripers will be close by.  Now is the time to go bait hunting.  Find large schools of bait and the fish will be close by.  The sea gulls have not shown up as of today.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair to great.  This is the best fishing on Oconee right now.  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 10 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 .14 FEET, CLEAR, 60S

Bass fishing is fair.  The bass are starting to bunch up in their wintertime pattern on submerged road beds.  They are 20 to 25 feet deep and jigging spoons is the winter-time method.  Some bass are moving up on the rip rap around the bridges in about 8 feet of water.  Crank baits like Bandits and Poe’s in a crawfish color are good baits to use on the rip rap.  If there are some shad schools in the coves and creeks, even better.  Add an all-black jig and use the Uncle Josh all-black eel and drag this bait on the same bait casting rig on and over these locations.  If the weather warms up at all, try both a small and a large Fat Free Shad in red shad or green shad and add some Storm Suspend dots to the bottom of the baits.  Now these should be fished with very long casts on light line and get the baits deep and stop them.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS FULL, STAINED, 70’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The fish are hard to pattern.  And the patterns are changing fast due to cold fronts hitting every few days.  Recently most bass, including larger fish, have been caught on shallow crank baits along main river banks and just inside the mouth of coves.  Most fish have been 3 to 5 feet deep.  Some good crank baits to try are Bandit 100 in spring craw chartreuse, Rapala Shad Rap RS #4 in fire tiger, shallow Thunder Shad in root beer chartreuse, and Norman Baby N in sun perch.  A ¼ ounce Rat L Trap can also produce. But watch out for the fish to drop back slightly deeper with the water temperature dropping.  When this happens go to the slightly deeper baits.  Try the Shad Rap RS 5, Bomber Model A 6 & 7 and Rapala DT10.  Dock fishing hasn’t produced well lately, but could any day.  A Stanley 5/16 or 7/16 ounce jig in black blue with a Zoom Salty Chunk could produce some large fish around docks with brush under them.  Carolina rigs are still catching fish from primary and secondary points.  Try a Zoom Finesse worm in green pumpkin on a 3-foot leader with a half-ounce weight.  More fish are showing up deep in the clearer water down lake.  Look for these fish along the sides of points and humps that have lots of shad present.  Depths are varying from 15 to 30 feet deep.  Try a Hopkins Shorty 75 in chrome and gold. Carolina rigs and drop shot rigs are also worth trying. 

LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .72 FEET, STAINED, 60’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Lots of rains and runoff and add a freeze warning and this will stop the activity until mid-day.  Get out all your jigs and all the dark colors and add a Zoom twin-tail trailer and go down to the dam.  Try fishing wood and docks all day.  Tussahaw Creek usually clears up faster than the rest of the lake so bright crank baits are the best offerings.  When the water starts warming later in the week, the crank bait can kick in with the Shad Raps and Bomber A in fire tiger. 

BIG LAZER PFA (More Info HERE

  • Surface water temperature: 66°F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is about 29”
  • Water Level: Approximately 2” inches below full pool
  • Attention: Waterfowl Hunters are allowed to hunt the PFA Wednesdays & Saturdays until noon during the season.  See Georgia Hunting Regs for more details.  

Bass: Fair- Fish plastic worms in deeper water and around structure.  These baits should be fished slower than normal in the cooler waters.  In the past few years, anglers have had luck with top water lures such as buzz baits. Try fishing the timber around the island for largemouth bass.

Crappie: Fair- Crappie will be in deeper water this time of year.  Finding crappie will still be a challenge but using minnows and brightly colored jigs may improve your chances.  Try fishing standing timber for crappie.

Bream: Fair- Spawning is complete so the bream fishing is beginning to slow.  Live bait such as crickets and worms should give you the best chance to catch a nice beam.  Try fishing in woody brush 5-10 ft. deep under a cork.  Artificial bait such as beetle spins may also be a good choice to entice a bite.  Be sure to use lighter tackle while bream fishing.

Catfish: Fair to slow- Try fishing chicken liver or shrimp in deeper water near the bottom.  Standing timber all over the lake may present a good opportunity to hook a channel cat.  The rip-rap along the dam and the upper end of the lake are still a good bet, too.

MCDUFFIE PFA (More Info HERE)

  • Temperature range is hovering between 56-59⁰.
  • Water Visibility: 24 – 54+ inches
  • The Fish Cleaning Station is closed until spring.

Bass: No reports of anglers catching bass.  Bass action has picked slowed down due to changing water temperatures and rain.  The bass should be feeding on shad but in deeper water.  No reports of anglers catching bass from Lake Rodbender.  Bass should be in their fall feeding pattern for the reminder of the fall. The trophy bass pond is open year-round and anglers can harvest one bass (22) twenty-two inches in length or longer per day.

Bream: No reports of bream being caught.  Bream should continue feeding until the water temperatures drop below 60 degrees.

Channel Catfish:  Catfish are being caught across the PFA.  The catfish action has slowed down due to water temperatures but some anglers are still fishing for catfish. Night fishing at Jones Lake has ended for this year. The fish feeders at Jones Lake are still operating with three (3) daytime feedings. Additional catfish were stocked in all lakes during the month of October except for Rodbender.

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.

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 in the South Georgia rivers has been good, but that is likely going to change with recent heavy rains. Pond fishing (especially crappie) and saltwater fishing  (trout and redfish) have been productive for many folks. First quarter moon is November 15th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

J.J. at Altamaha Park said that the crappie bite was best this week. The most productive presentation was fishing minnows or jigs over cover in deep holes. Bream were caught on worms and crickets fished in backwaters. Blue catfish were caught in good numbers on limb lines, and channel catfish were caught by rod and reel anglers fishing cut bait or rooster livers. A few mullet were still caught behind sandbars. The river level was 7.5 feet and rising (62 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.2 feet and rising (65 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on November 13th.

SATILLA RIVER

A couple anglers walking the bank and flinging jigs around an oxbow lake in the Atkinson area landed 3 decent crappie this weekend. Michael of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that crappie were eating both minnows and jigs in the backwaters of the river. Deeper holes with blowdown trees were the ticket. Bream and redbreasts were caught on crickets. Buzzbaits and Rattling Rogue plugs caught some nice bass. In the Atkinson area, crappie were caught with minnows, while redbreasts and bream were fooled with crickets and worms. In the Burnt Fort area, some nice flathead and blue catfish were reported from limb lines. The river level on November 13th at the Waycross gage was 9.2 feet and rising (67 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 4.7 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER

Anglers reported catching 25 to 30 bream and redbreasts per trip. As usual, catfish were caught from any deep hole by dropping shrimp or rooster liver to the bottom. The river level at the MacClenny gage on November 13th was 3.0 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

The east side is still high, but the west side is fishable. Catfish were again the top bite on the west side, but a few fliers and warmouth were caught.

LOCAL PONDS

A group of Waycross anglers fished a lake on Thursday evening and caught 34 crappie up to 12 inches in 3 hours of fishing. They kept 24 of them. Most of their fish came on spider rigged minnows and Specktacular Jigs and minnows. The biggest half-dozen crappie ate a 1/32-oz. Specktacular Jig suspended 2 feet under a float and worked behind the boat while spider-riggging. The best jig colors were popsicle and black/chartreuse. Chad Lee fished Alma area ponds on Saturday morning and managed a dozen bass up to 2 pounds right behind Friday night’s cold front. Jigs and plastic craw trailers produced his fish. The jigs bite is just getting fired up but should be productive all winter. Michael Winge said that in Waycross area ponds, lots of bream were caught, mostly on crickets. Minnows produced some good crappie catches. With the warmer weather before the front, the catfish bite fired off some for anglers putting worms on the bottom.

SE GA Luke Guadagnoli 7lb 2oz Sheepshead 10 18
Luke caught his personal best sheepshead (7-lb. 2-oz.) from a Brunswick pier last month. Way to go, Luke! Sheepshead fishing should be good all winter as the fish cruise shell beds and bridge pilings searching for food.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

Don and Lisa Harrison of Waycross fished out of Crooked River for a few hours on Friday and landed 12 trout on Sea Shads fished under Equalizer Floats. They only had 2 keepers, and the rest were just under the minimum 14 inch size limit. Goldfish was their best color, while Texas roach was second-best. Whiting were reportedly numerous in the deep holes around Blythe Island Regional Park. Anglers fooled them with dead shrimp on the bottom. Trout, reds, and flounder were caught in Gould’s Inlet this week. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that sheepshead were thick around the pier pilings. Fiddler crabs and barnacles fooled them. Bull reds were still caught in good numbers by anglers putting cut bait on the bottom. Whiting bit dead shrimp well. Trout were fooled at night under the lights by anglers flinging DOA shrimp. Black drum ate shrimp or cut bait on the bottom. Crabbers have been able to fill a cooler with the tasty crustaceans in around an hour. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

Crappie fishing has been consistent in ponds and rivers. Minnows have been tops, but jigs have also produced quite a few fish. Crappie will likely be your best target again this weekend. Warm afternoons are your best time to chase them, and ponds and lakes would be my recommendation. In saltwater, trout and sheepshead should be your best bets. Sheepshead have been hit-or-miss lately. Drop a fiddler crab around a barnacle-encrusted piling for a good shot at them. Expect seatrout to be chowing down at the mouths of the numerous feeder creeks and around shell mounds along the Intracoastal Waterway. The late-week cold nights should start them schooling up tightly. This week’s rains will likely muddy the rivers, so you’ll probably do best elsewhere this weekend.

NORTH GEORGIA 

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

I hope everyone enjoyed the two measly weeks of fall that we had, after a Georgia summer that extended through October and a taste of winter that arrived.  Hey, I’ll take cool/wet over hot/dry any day of the week!  In the big picture of life, we don’t have any significant problems due to a little extra water and some numb fingers and toes (trust me on this one, as my brother waters his ROOF and prays for the Santa Anna winds to die in Chico, CA).

Ami at 53 and Zach 11-9-18Anglers – do take note! Six inches or more of rain this week have created high, unsafe river flows for most wading anglers in north Georgia. Check USGS stream gauges and call your favorite local tackle shops to learn when our larger streams return to fishable levels over the Thanksgiving holidays.  Remember that smaller streams, like Smith Creek, have smaller watersheds, and will recede faster.  Small lakes (like Tralyta) and our larger reservoirs are another good bet for anglers while our rivers are raging.

 

Despite the early winter blast, it is still fall around here.  For us in the fish management business, that means fall reservoir and river sampling, as water temperatures drop back into the optimal range for our target species to come shallow and be vulnerable to our sampling gear.  Generally, we net our big lakes in the fall and electrofish them in the spring.  The long term trends in the catch rate of target species (bass, crappie, stripers, walleye, etc) are used by our biologists as indices of fish abundance and the health of their fisheries.  So sit back and enjoy the sampling stories and pics.  As the afternoons warm and the rivers recede, you’ll have some great information to point you in the right direction.  Just dress for success and be safe on the water.  This week, lakes are first and then trout intel brings up the rear of this report. Here we go:

LAKE REPORTS

Hartwell Habitat Additions: Click HERE. Burton_MossybackAttractors2_11.05.18

Burton Habitat, Too! (From Anthony Rabern, Fisheries Biologist) — The WRD Fisheries team in North Georgia is busy building new homes for bass in Lake Burton.  Lake Burton is nearly 100 years old and structural habitat for fish is greatly lacking.  The units shown in the photo will provide the complex structure that bass are looking for and the unique design prevents hooks and lures from getting tangled in the branches.  Sounds like a win-win for both.  Special thanks to Georgia Power Company for funding assistance with attractor materials.

Crayfish Roop Hooch Tailwater Nov 2018Morgan Falls Bass: (From Hunter Roop, Fisheries Biologist) –Fall is an excellent season for bass fishing, as cooler temperatures invigorate quality prey sources like shad and crayfish. Deploy bottom-oriented baits in shallow-to-medium depths near points, submerged woody structure, or rocky ledges for your best chances at enticing a strike. Football jigs with trailers, crawfish-imitating lures, Texas rigs, and Rattle Traps will all present well for bass transitioning to their fall forage patterns. Black bass recently sampled from the Morgan Falls tailwater revealed stomach contents containing mostly crawfish, like the one pictured here.hybrid Zach Chatuge net Nov2018

Hefty Hybrids in Chatuge: (From Zachary Moran, Fisheries Biologist) – Water temperatures have begun to cool down on Lake Chatuge and Nottely. These cooling temps draw pelagic predators like Walleye, and Striped and Hybrid Striped Bass shallow where they gorge on Blueback Herring, Threadfin, and Gizzard Shad. Catch these fish along deeper, rocky points with woody structure trolling a “Northport Nailer,” “Bomber Long-A,” or a “Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap.” Here Fisheries Biologist Zach Moran shows off a nice Hybrid Striper sampled from Lake Chatuge this week.

WALPerch_TugaloGN_11.08.18Walleye and Perch: (From Anthony Rabern, Fisheries Biologist) — Walleye are on the prowl in the mountain lakes of northeast Georgia giving anglers a great opportunity for some fall fishing success.  One of the benefits of Georgia’s walleye stocking program is creating trophy-sized yellow perch.  The perch in the picture was caught by fisheries staff during a recent population sampling trip and its weight was just a few ounces shy of the state record.  Anglers should troll nightcrawlers along the bottom in about 30-feet of water during daylight hours for both perch and walleye, but walleye will move into shallower water during low light conditions to feed on small perch, herring and bream.

More Roop Reports: (From Hunter Roop, Fisheries Biologist)–This week, the newly assembled Gainesville WRD Fisheries work unit composed of Biologist Hunter Roop and veteran Tech 3 Mark Rigglesford tackled a number of fall fieldwork initiatives including collecting EPD fish samples, Lake Lanier tailwater sampling for brown trout (BNT), and hosting a delayed harvest volunteer stocking event at Whitewater Creek. A mixed bag of black bass species (largemouth, shoals, and spots) were collected on the Morgan Falls tailwater to provide samples for EPD’s mercury monitoring and food consumption guideline programs.   Noteworthy bycatch at the Morgan Falls tailwater were brown and rainbow trout that had migrated upstream from the Chattahoochee DH section, and several large striped bass enjoying a buffet of gizzard shad and blueback herring. After the Morgan Falls samples, Roop and Rigglesford turned their eyes to the Lanier tailwater for annual wild BNT standardized sampling. In two days, all five 30-minute stations were sampled via electrofishing. Approximately 300 BNT were collected, measured, and weighed before being released back into the river. Sizes ranged from abundant age-1 (6 inches) to a 12.25 lb (>28 inch) monster brown netted by Mark Rigglesford in the final minutes of the last sampling station. On Thursday, Roop and Rigglesford braved the rain and traffic in another journey to Atlanta, where they happened upon a group of wader-donning, bucket-toting volunteers at Whitewater Creek. These volunteers led the charge in sprinkling quality brown and rainbow trout across the shoals in that section of the DH. The second half of the ~1,500 fish load was released at Acres Mill in an effort to allow the high flows of the day to carry the hearty stockers farther through the DH section, and hopefully crossing the path of more anglers’ single hook, artificial lures on the way downstream. Special thanks goes out to Mark Rigglesford for bringing his seasoned fish management skills and work ethic to Region 1.  His addition is already making a huge impact!

Ken’s Lake Reports: Find out more at Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant

LAKE LANIER

LAKE LANIER IS DOWN 1.4 FEET, THE CREEKS ARE STAINED AND THE MAIN LAKE IS CLEAR THE RIVERS AND UP LAKE COVES ARE STAINED. 60S DEGREES.

NOTICE: The East Bank Ramp will be closed for the annual deer hunt November 11, 12 and 13, 2018.

Bass: (This report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley Jimbo on Lanier) –The lake is clear on the lower end, and showing some signs of turnover at and above Brown’s Bridge. Overall, the lake is in good shape and starting to cool. We have dropped 2 degrees in surface temperature since last week. The fishing has really been good the past few weeks. We have continued working shallower rocky points with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and worms for the majority of our fish. We have enjoyed some swimbait activity at times over brush and on schooling fish, but the aforementioned baits have been our main pattern. When the fish are active, the spinnerbait and crankbaits are hard to beat. Try using a deeper diving crankbait, like the Spro Little John DD on those shallow points keep the bait digging on the bottom. You can cover water quickly and find the aggressive fish. When the bite slows, switch to a worm and jig presentation in those same areas and back out from the shallows. The chasing fish have been in 10 feet or less, and the worm and jig fish have been more in the 12 to 20 foot range, but we have found them to be very shallow at times as well. Focus on the shallower rock points in both the mouths of creeks as well as the main lake. Also the mouths of creek pockets in the first half of the major creeks have been productive as well. It is really fun out there right now gang! November and December are some of my favorite months on the lake. Come enjoy some fantastic fall fishing! Here are my open dates for November: 15, 16, and 19(PM), 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30(PM) I am also booking dates for December. Lots of great fishing ahead of us in the coming months, both morning and afternoon! Give me a call and let’s fish!

Striper: (This Lake Lanier Striper report is from Big Fish on Guide Service) —

Striper fishing is slow. The fish are scattered and finding them can be a challenge. We have been focused on the south end of the lake this week where the bait is both deep and shallow. There are long strings of bait (blueback herring) deep at 60 feet and shallow bait (threadfin shad) from the surface to 10 feet deep. Downrods with Blueback Herring has been the most productive pattern. Look for one or two fish in pockets off the river and creek channels and deploy your downrods at 45 to 60 feet depending on where you mark the fish. If you do not see fish in 15 to 20 minutes pick up and move. There is also a shallow water bite off main lake and creek points and humps. Use both downrods and free lines to target these fish and focus on a depth of 20 to 40 feet. The umbrella rig is also an option to fish these points and humps. Set your rigs at 100 feet back and troll at 3 MPH. You will also pick up a Spotted Bass or two as they are mixed in with the stripers. Keep your eyes on the water looking for surface activity. You should carry several spinning rods with the basic top water baits tied on, including Chug Bugs, Red Fins and Spooks and a 1/2 oounce bucktail jig with a small fluke. Focus on reef markers and long sloping points with your top water baits. The water temperature is in the mid to low 60’s. The water is lightly stained in the creeks and clear on the main lake. The lake is 1.6 feet below full pool.

Crappie: (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) — Water temperature is in the upper 60’s but with colder weather combined with cold rain, I suspect it will drop quickly. If you are fishing in the northern lake areas, you will notice even cooler water temperatures and a change in the water color. We are experiencing the typical fall pattern a few weeks later in the year, but fishing conditions are good to excellent. Standalone brush piles are still our major targets. The ideal brush piles are currently at twenty foot to thirty five foot depths. Your downscan electronics can help you determine whether fish are holding on the brush piles you find. Some brush piles will hold more fish than others. Our club members continue to report great catches. This is a wonderful time of the year to get on fish and catch them steadily. If you can locate fish in deeper brush piles, thirty to thirty five feet, you may want to consider vertical jigging. The bite is very sensitive. Bobby Garland in different colors, Crappie Assassin, Jiffy Jigs and tube jigs are all working equally well for us. If you have a favorite jig, just try it. Chances are it will work. If you are fishing with someone, try using different jigs and see what’s working best at that location. Expect the bite to continue getting stronger as the water temperature drops. Be safe on the water! Wear your life jacket, it can save your life.

LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 6.84 FEET, 60S, CLEAR

(This Bass Fishing report is from Captain Todd Wynn (386) 882 3357) — Bass fishing is fair. The beginning of the week was a roller coaster on Lake Allatoona. The weather has got the fish moving all over. The majority of the fish Monday and Tuesday came out of deeper water but there are some fish shallow. The key to finding them either way was finding the schools of shad. The best pattern we found was targeting rock walls with a shear drop in 26 34’ of water. There had to be shad though otherwise the fish wouldn’t eat. The technique that worked the best was drop shot fishing with 6 to 8 pound test mono using a number 1 drop shot hook paired with an 1/8 1/4 ounce drop shot weight. The bait of choice was A Zoom swamp crawler in pumpkin seed or a Roboworm in pink. As the day went on the bait started coming toward the surface. As a result the top water bite turned on. Fish with prop baits such as Torpedo’s and also on Super Spook Juniors. A small shad tail rigged on a 1/4 ounce jig head also worked well.

LAKE HARTWELL IS DOWN 2.2 FEET, CLEAR, 60S

Bass fishing is fair. Husky Jerks and Bandit crank baits are working and the fish are around schools of shad. Anglers are seeing the bait popping up all over the lake. Early morning until about noon and then again in the later afternoon until dark are the best times to fish. Fish all the points with heavy rock on them you can find. Back up the hard baits with Carolina rigs and small Bitsey bug dark green 1/4 ounce jigs. Andersonville Island is a good areas as well as the moving water you will find on up in the Tugaloo River. Rock ledges on or near deeper water are still producing during the heat of the day. Zoom Super flukes in pearl can catch the fish that might want a slower bait swimming around.

WEISS LAKE IS AT 3 FEET 2 INCHES BELOW FULL POOL AND LIGHT STAINED AND 57 59 DEGREE’S

(Lake report By Mark Collins Service, 256-779-3387, mark@markcollinsservice.com) —

Bass: Bass fishing is good. A lot of bass are starting to move shallow on a fall pattern, Rat L Traps and shallow running crank baits are catching fish. Rip Rap rocks are also holding fish. Shallow road beds and secondary points are holding fish. The Spotted Bass are doing well in the upper Coosa River near Riverside.

Striper: Striper fishing is poor and few small fish are being caught out on the river ledges.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good and most fish are on the creek and river channels ledges, tight on the cover. Spider rigging with live minnows is the way to catch these fall fish. Most fish are on the Coosa river channel ledges 12 to 16 feet deep, some fish are showing up in Little River and the Chattooga River on the ledges and suspended in the river channel. The long line trolling bite will get good over the next few weeks.

TROUT – DELAYED HARVEST REPORTS

The bigger waters are gonna take several days to drop and clear. Remember to check the flow before you go.  Always have a high water alternative, like Smith DH, Lake Tralyta, or some reservoir bass or stripers.

Smith Whopper: Check it out HERE.

It’s a Long Ride: We’d like to thank our fine federal partners at Chattahoochee Forest National took a long ride to Erwin, TN this fall and brought back some “retired” broodstock rainbows and brookies for our Georgia waters.  I think this Smith Creek angler is pretty darn happy about the feds’ extra efforts!

Smith Again: “We’re Believers” – Hey Jeff-Took Holly out to Smith Creek DH.  As you can probably imagine it was a bit of a circus with somebody camped out in every hole.  We wandered down stream a fair bit and found a nice surprise in maybe 18” of water, laying right against a downed branch. Obviously this fish was stocked at some point but was wondering if this one had been in there awhile. Based on the colors and size it doesn’t look like a fresh stocker. I know you’ve told us there have been some good fish pulled at Smith and we’re believers. Hope all is well! — Derek M.

Toccoa: Check it out HERE 

Hooch: News HERE 

trout fishing chattooga DH Tommy C Nov 2018Tooga: Saturday morning 10am, overcast slight rain, water temperature 56 degrees, river flow running steady. After the heavy rain slowed down I started to prepare for a trek upstream since the previous day I fished the lower part of the DH. Started to gear up and talked to some other fisherman in the parking lot on the S.C. side about rumors or sightings of the exclusive stocking truck. Starting my trek talked to 2 fisherman who seemed to have some luck further upstream so I headed that way, came across some Gearheads chunking rooster tails and relayed they were catching good numbers, talked to a few other anglers who were throwing green wooly buggers and they informed me that the trout were holding in one area and hitting anything you threw at them. So I found a promising location tied on a mop fly (brown) with a Y2K dropper and tried my luck, the gearheads just left the area I fished and stirred it up so I had to wait for things to calm down before the fish started biting again. After about 30 minutes I had my first strike a small rainbow so between a period of two hours I landed around 8 fish and had about 12 strikes. A lot of fish were holding in this pool and they got hammered hard by a lot of anglers in a 6 hour period. Last fish I landed was a nice brown trout, plan on going back on Sunday hopefully the fish will be spread out more. –Tommy C.

Poacher Alert: It’s that time again when trout fishing violations may been seen on our DH streams.  What should you do?  Here’s some advice on how to handle all kinds of situations.  And memorize our ranger hotline! 1-800-241-4113.

Wading Safety: Winter’s high, muddy, cold water is hazardous to your long-term fishing plans.  Stay alive by practicing some of the following tips.  Always employ a wading staff, belt, and a buddy, and use common sense.  Make sure you have two flashlights and a butane lighter in your fly vest and a change of dry clothes in your vehicle.  A few stockers aren’t worth your life.  Great stuff HERE.

 

The Chattooga Bird has Flown! This old video will illustrate the operation well. And it has a great soundtrack! WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson said that the Forest Service slipped the bird in ahead of the rain this week and got both our fish and the SCDNR fish in the water, both in the DH section and in the ten upstream miles of river backcountry.  Kudos to SCDNR’s Walhalla Hatchery for some outstanding stockers again this year!

Chattooga Fishing Info for Newbies: News HERE and HERE.

 

 

Winter Fishing Techniques: Since it’s gonna feel like winter outside, use some of these winter fishing techniques and Rabunite observations on flow levels to plan a successful trip up there soon.

Free Trout Fishing Book: Smokies tactics work just fine throughout our Southeastern freestone streams.

Thanks again for your fishing license and license plate dollars.  Hopefully you feel that we’re putting them to good use across north Georgia. Good luck and be safe this Thanksgiving!