Was November gone in a flash for you? I think I blinked and it was over!
Looking for a fun, fishy thing to do if you are too cold to fish? The Go Fish Education Center is hosting their 3rd Annual “Go Fish Christmas” celebration on Mon. Dec. 3, 2018 (5:30 – 8 pm). What will you get to do? View the amazing Go Fish aquariums at night and see Santa scuba diving (6-7 pm, weather permitting). You can read a story and sing songs with Mrs. Claus, make Christmas crafts and other fun activities.
Lucky for us, there is still plenty of good fishing to be done before we say good-by to 2018. Below are fresh fishing reports from North, Central and Southeast Georgia. Go Fish Georgia!!
(Fishing report courtesy of Anthony Rabern, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
“Baby, it’s cold outside!” but “The sun will come out tomorrow.” These lyrics from two famous songs capture this week’s fishing conditions in North Georgia. Despite the weather challenges, our fisheries staff is working hard to improve your odds of catching fish. DNR’s Trout Stocking Coordinator, John Lee Thomson, produced some nice-sized rainbow trout at Burton Trout Hatchery this season and stocked a truckload last week into Amicalola Creek’s Delayed Harvest section. In addition, Buford Trout Hatchery stocked the DH section of the Morgan Fall tailwaters this week. The delayed harvest (DH) program is a popular component of our trout stocking plan that focuses on high catch rates during the cold-weather months.
Carters Lake was also in the spotlight. DNR Fisheries Biologist, Jim Hakala, stocked Carter’s Lake with a hefty number of hybrid bass, courtesy of South Georgia’s Richmond Hill Hatchery. Shown in the photo (to the left) is Jason Howard, Richmond Hill Hatchery Manager, with one of his prize beauties about to be released into the lake. Carters Lake is known for its trophy hybrid bass fishing and this week’s stocking will support this outstanding fishery. For more information about the Carters Lake fishery, check out Jim’s report HERE. On a side note, congratulations to Jim Hakala for recently completing DNR’s Leadership Academy!
Hunter Roop, DNR Fisheries Biologist, reports that the deep waters of Lake Lanier have
sufficiently mixed with the surface waters and now there is plenty of good water quality for fish to enjoy. As a result, striped bass and other open-water wanderers will be scattered lakewide. Check out Hunter’s latest Lake Lanier profile measured this week at the dam.
And finally, kudos to Matt Elliott, the Assistant Chief of WRD’s Wildlife Conversation Section, who took some time for fishing last week and landed some nice yellow perch from the North Georgia mountain lakes. All in all, not a bad week for North Georgia.
For some of the nitty-gritty details about how to improve your fishing success this week, check out the following website fishing reports from some local experts:
Lake Lanier-Striped Bass: (This report comes from Captain Mack) — Here’s a brief excerpt to whet your appetite: The Striper bite has been good! We have fish taking Shad, Trout, and Herring on the free lines and planers, we still have a good downline bite, as deep as 75 80 feet, and umbrellas are taking plenty of fish in the depths in between. If there is a problem with December fishing this is it, the fish can and often will use a variety of depths so be prepared to fish multiple techniques and depths. The deep bite revolves around bait, find the big concentrations of bait and if you see any fish around drop the down lines. You may find the bait anywhere, but there are some really big concentrations of bait schools in the backs of the creeks, and the fish are with them. Go back into the creeks to at least a 30 to 40 foot bottom, look around the channels or big flats along the sides of the old creek channels to locate fish and/or bait. There have also been some very good catches made with free lines and planers, this bite is occurring over open water areas (I think still primarily up into the creeks, over channels and drains) all over the lake. Watch for the birds to help find these fish, the Loons are here in good numbers, the Gulls are coming in on each front so they will become more of an asset. The fish may also show themselves by schooling, which can occur at any time, but the schooling activity is best with the prefrontal conditions. The umbrella bite has been strong and is a very effective way to locate fish. Pulling the rigs into the backs of the creeks is a really good way to find the fish and bait. If the fish are less than 35 feet, they have been pretty quick to take the rig, if they are deeper than 40, clear the rigs and drop the downlines! While the down lines are soaking, drop a jigging Spoon! Spoons, the Berrys .60 size, or the Capt. Mack’s Super spoon in the 1/2 oz size match up well with the Threadfins and should get a quick response. Good Fishing! Capt. Mack
Lake Fishing Reports: Check out Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant
Lake Lanier-Bass and Striped Bass: (This report brought to you by Jimbo on Lanier) —
- Bass: The lake has been pretty stable over the past week and now stands at .7 feet below full pool. The main lake is fairly clear, and the creeks are stained. The spoon bite in the timber has been the bomb for us this week! We have had some great days, including one half day trip when we boated 55 fish, with the best 5 going 17 pounds. Look in the 30 to 45 foot range for the spoon fish, but that can change any day in terms of the depth they are holding based on the bait. Look for the fish to be tighter to the timber on sunny days, and roaming more in those ditches on cloudy days. We have also still been working shallower rocky points with crankbaits, jigs, and worms in the mornings and sometimes throughout the day. When the fish are active, the 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. Also, with the cooling water temperatures, look for the jerk bait bite to pick up soon as well in those same areas, as well as back in pockets. When the bite slows, switch to a worm and jig presentation in those same areas but 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. Look for those worm and jig fish to show up deeper now on some days as well, based on the water continuing to cool. 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. The creek ditches are holding some fish now in shallower water and we have been catching some on the SuperSpin down in the ditches on some days so count that bite has officially started and ready for training! THIS is the time to learn those winter patterns ditch fishing timber fishing spoon fishing….it’s a great time to learn them all. I hope you will make plans to come join me. This is a great time to learn the deep timber bite with a spoon, worm, and jig, as well as the SuperSpin fishing in the ditches.
- Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good if you can handle the cold temperatures and high winds. There are fish scattered from Vann’s Tavern to Little River and from the river channel to the back of the creeks. The key is to find the areas with the greatest concentration of bait. Look for deep bait from 30 to 50 feet over a 50 to 100 foot bottom. When you locate a high concentration of this deep bait target any fish you mark with herring and medium shiner’s on down rods. Fish your down rods above, into and under the bait. Also, look for shallow bait from surface to 20 feet and target these areas with free lines and planner boards. Vary the depth of you lines with split shots and distance behind the boat and planner boards. The umbrella rig is working in the areas with shallow bait and makes and excellent search tool. Set your rigs at 120 feet back and pull at 2.8 to 3.0 MPH. Focus on a depth of 30 to 60 feet. We have seen some surface activity early morning so keep your eyes on the water and target these areas with a buck tail jig and small spoons. Flat Creek, Balus Creek and Two Mile Creek are good places to start your search.
Lake Allatoona-Bass: (This Lake Allatoona bass fishing guides report is from Matt Driver) — Bass fishing is good. The fish are suspended out and easily targeted if you have good sonar. The 10 to 15 foot range mouths of creeks and few coves where the channel swings. The deep soft plastic swim bait, and float n fly have been doing the trick. The jig bite has been great as well. Steeper rock banks or rocky points is the place to be. The brown and purple KK Dock monkey and the Kaci’s Custom green pumpkin are catching good quality fished on 12 pound test Sun line sniper. The warmer weather this weekend will get a few fish up shallow and some have even been caught on top. The warm spell will also bring some rain.
Lake Allatoona-Striper and Hybrid: (This Lake Allatoona striper and hybrid report fishing report has been brought to you exclusively by Robert Eidson, email@example.com, of First Bite Guide Service) — Line side fishing is great. The bite has been incredible this month. The big fish are moving back out of the rivers and into the main lake. The smaller fish are bunching up in big schools and are eating. The north end of lake has been best for the bigger fish. Flat lines and down lining large gizzard shad is the ticket if you want to catch a trophy. Look for these fish from Fields Landing to Duck hole. If it’s numbers you’re after, look for big schools of hybrids from the mouth to Kellogg’s to Clark Creek on the edges of the river channel. Seagulls are giving these fish away. Threadfin fished 18 to 30 feet deep midday has been our better bite. This is the best fall fishing we have seen in years.
Lake Hartwell: Bass fishing is good. Head up the rivers and just work the banks and points with spinner baits and crank baits. Down lake anglers are using jigging spoons in deep water to catch their limit. The slow periods still seem to be during the high noon time until about 3:00 p.m. During these slow times, switch to a Carolina rig or pick apart the deeper water docks. Wood cover will still be the key areas to fish this week. Whether you fish the banks or hit the points, try to find all the forms of wood you can and fish it. Start off with those spinner baits and crank baits then follow it up with a jig or worm. Use the Rapala RS Shad Raps, DT10’s, four inch finesse worms and flukes.
Lake Weiss: (Report by Mark Collins Service – mark@markcollins service.com) — 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. If a normal presentation is not producing, try dead sticking the bait, allowing it to sit motionless for 10 to 30 seconds before moving slightly. Open water structure fishing has gotten tougher, but bass can still be caught around some points and ledges, especially up both rivers. Depths are mostly 6 to 15 feet deep up the lake. Crappie fishing is great and most fish are suspended 8 12 feet deep over the river and creek channels, long line trolling with Jiffy Jigs in 1/24 and 1/16 ounce is producing a lot of fish, casting a float and fly is also catch a lot of fish.
TROUT FISHING ON DELAYED HARVEST STREAMS
Based on angler reports, it appears that a lot of folks are taking advantage of the extra dose of stocked trout that occurred in the DH streams right before Thanksgiving. Find trout information and weekly stocking reports HERE. Rumor has it that Amicalola and Smith Creeks are fishing well. Hat’s off to the trout hatcheries for this opportunity. With heavy rain forecasted for this Saturday, be sure to check the flows at your favorite USGS gaging station before you head out. Also remember that the smaller streams will recede and clear up first so have a backup plan in mind. HERE and HERE are a couple of recent reports about what’s hot right now that you might want to check out.
(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: Check out the Fresh Reports from Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.
LAKE RUSSELL IS .72 FEET OVER FULL, CLEAR, 50S
Bass fishing is good. Both the southern part of the lake and Beaverdam Creek are good areas. Try heading up the Savannah River. Bass are biting well starting at the Hartwell Dam all the way down to Rocky River. Picking apart the cover and fishing all the small cuts and bowls will be the key to finding the bass. Use a 1/4 ounce or 3/8 ounce spinnerbait, Rapala DT6 and Rapala DT10, #5 Jointed and RS Shad Raps and a Hot Steal colored X Rap. Use a variety of jigs and four-inch plastic worms. Use a six-inch worm and cut some off it four inches.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 3.47 FEET, CLEAR, 50S
Bass fishing is good. With the water temperature dropping, bass fishing has been on one day and off the next. Look for a couple of warm days in a row for your best bite. After a couple of warm days look for the shad in the mouth of coves and pockets. Fish a small crank bait in a shad pattern or a ¼ ounce Rat T Trap in the chrome and black in the area you find shad. A few fish are still being caught under docks using a 3/8 ounce Strike King jig, black and blue with a Zoom Salty Chunk in the watermelon color. Work this bait on the docks in the mouth of the pockets and coves or any blow downs. A spinnerbait fished right next to the dock poles will bring you a few good fish. Make sure you hit the bait against the dock poles then stop the bait for a second before starting the bait back up.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 50S
(Report from Capt. Mark Smith of Reel Time Guide Service, firstname.lastname@example.org) — The lake is full stained over most of the main lake. The Richland creek arm of the lake is clear. The temperature is 50 to 55 degrees.
Bass: Bass fishing is good. You will need to match the color of your bait to the water color. You can fish muddy water up the rivers to clear water in Richland creek. Pick the water color you like and go for it. Sugar creek is not as stained as the main lake. Small crank baits fished around docks and sea walls from the middle of the creeks to the back of the creeks at 8 feet of water depth at the end of the docks 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 Rat L Traps fished around the bridge rip rap. Soft plastics have been producing from Sugar Creek north. Again fish around the 8 foot water depth.
Striper: Striper fishing is good. As the mud line mover further south so will the stripers. They do not like muddy water. The stripers are in the river bend area of the lake as of this report but they will move south as the muddy water moves down the lake. 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 ft. 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 3.01 FEET, CLEAR, 50S
Bass fishing is fair. The families of spotted bass and their largemouth cousins are suspended in the middle of the major coves on the lake especially the coves that have the wind blowing into them. Vertical jigging with a 1/2 ounce to 3/4 ounce spoon can be productive as well as using a Shad Rap or crank bait. The fish seem to be ready to move to their wintertime locations and mood. Time to get the spoons out and hooks sharp. Anglers will have to put the bait right in front of them. Structure on the ledges is best all day and you have to hit them in the head. Drop small spoons and drag dark jigs on the bottom in the creek mouths close to the river and pick them up and drop them about 5 inches at a time.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.3 FEET, STAINED, 50’S
Bass fishing is good. After the cold fronts pass, the bass will head both shallow and deep. The shallow water bite can last all next week. Shallow crank baits and lipless crank baits are both working well in the more stained water in the creeks and rivers on the upper end of the lake. Focus on depths of 8 ft. or less for the shallow bite. A cell mate colored Spro Little John 50 and a chrome/blue Aruku shad have both been working around primary and secondary points around creeks and short pockets. Docks on points that have deep water close by have been producing good bites with a jig and a Spot Remover shaky head with a Zoom baby brush hog. Brown with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Chunk has been the best color with the jig. Watermelon candy has been the best colored soft plastic for the shaky head. The deep bite has been best on the lower end of the lake in the clear water. Depths of 22 to 35 feet of water have been best with a spoon and a drop shot rig. Use your Lowrance HDS electronics to find schools of bait around the mouth of creeks in the channel and drop your spoon or drop shot vertically below the boat.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 5.00 FEET, STAINED, 50’S
Check your favorite ramp elevation as the lake is low. Bass fishing is fair and the largemouth are holding and relating to the wood in the lake. The spots are roaming around so cover a lot of water and use crank baits like the Bandit or a Shad Rap. This lipped crank bait is an ideal fall bait and will locate and catch a limit of bass each day. With the stained water, use the red crawdad or the red fire crawdad color. Stay in the river mouths especially if they are pulling water through the dam. Any current will drive the bass into a feeding frenzy and cranking the back sides of points and rip rap will get you a limit in a hurry. These bass will relate to the crawfish colors and attack the bait when it comes across. Work the small rocky banks and cover as much water as possible. Check out the small cuts or bowls in the bank and work to the secondary points back in the coves. Follow up this bait with a Shad Rap or Fat Free Shad Fingerling and work the same areas as before on the return back to the ramp.
FLAT CREEK PFA (More Information HERE)
- Surface Temperature: ˚56.3 F (˚13.5 C)
- Water Level: 4’ 8” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 26”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
Cool weather is here and with it lower water temperatures. The fish are hanging out in deeper water and only coming towards the shallows to feed in the warmest part of the day. Largemouth bass are biting but their bite has been described as sluggish and most were caught in a depth of 7-10 feet. Bream have also been slow on the bite and found very close to cover. Crappie fishing has been good on the immediate days prior to a cold front moving through. Below is info from our regulars on what is currently working for the following species:
Bass: Pumpkinseed or Green Pumpkin worms. Willow Leaf Spinnerbaits, Yellow-White 1.5 Strike King KVD HC Square Bill Silent Crankbait, 5” Black Red Silver Flake Laminate Yamamoto Senko Worms, seven-ten foot of water near cover, with a slow retrieval.
Bream: Crickets or Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks). 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%, close to cover and with a slow retrieval.
Channel Catfish: Insufficient information to report on.
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 Crappie are near the bottom. Many 7 and 8-inch Crappie are at the five-foot depth.
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!
MCDUFFIE PFA (More Information HERE)
- Temperature below 60⁰.
- Water Visibility: mostly clear to 54+ inches
- The Fish Cleaning Station is closed until spring.
Bass: No reports of anglers catching bass and bass are in winter patterns. The bass are feeding on shad on the surface in Breambuster, Willow, and Clubhouse. Bass activity has been slow in Lake Rodbender.
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: The catfish action has slowed down due to water temperatures but some anglers are still fishing for catfish. The fish feeders at Jones Lake are still operating with three (3) daytime feedings.
Striped Bass: Stripers are being caught in Clubhouse Lake in 2 to 3 pound range. Each angler can keep (15) stripers but only two of them can be over 22 inches. Which means if all stripers are under 22 inches all 15 stripers can be kept.
MARBEN PFA (More Information HERE)
- Water temps: mid 50’s
- Fishing Guide to Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center area
Bass: December brings cold temperatures and shorter days. Despite our best efforts at Marben, fishing really slows down this time of year. Anglers should try crank baits or rattle traps in the 6 to 10 feet of water. Do not be afraid to try a Texas rig in the same depth. Mid-day will be the best times to target bass giving the sun a little time to warm the water just a touch. Lunker bass are there but anglers need to try slow fishing techniques to lure these trophy fish to bite. Submerged timber and rock beds are good habitats to target when seeking bass at Marben PFA. Fishing slow and patience is needed this time of year.
Crappie: Crappie are probably the most aggressive fish anglers will find at Marben this time year. However, do not expect to hook one with every cast. Finding them may require a little effort. Remember though, the crappie bite can turn on at any moment in these small lakes. Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow/white jigs. Try fishing cover approximately 10-12 feet throughout the day. Expect crappie to move into shallower water on warmer days in December.
Bream: Bream fishing will be slow at Marben. Coldwater temperatures and shorter days all play a factor with the decrease in activity. Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best with mid-day temperatures. Remember that bream are deeper this time of year so to be successful anglers will have to target deeper water in order to increase your chances.
Catfish: Look for catfish to be extremely sluggish this time of year. Patience is necessary if anglers are in pursuit of this fish. Anglers should target days when it is sunny which should warm the water in order to get catfish moving. Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The best reports this week came from ponds, and bass and crappie were tops. Recent rains have blown out most of the rivers, except the St. Marys. Saltwater was tough over the weekend with the big full moon tides, but that should be improving this week. Last quarter moon is November 29th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
J.J. at Altamaha Park said that crappie and catfish were caught the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. After that the bite has dropped off due to the rising river level. It is high enough that the tide has stopped flooding up at the park. The river level was 13.6 feet and falling (53 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 11.4 feet and rising (55 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on November 27th.
The river is still well into the floodplain, but the extreme upper river should get fishable for catfish in the near future if we do not get additional significant rains. The river level on November 27th at the Waycross gage was 10.3 feet and falling (59 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 9.2 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The river is still in good shape for now, but it is rising. As usual, the catfishing was great, with shrimp dropped in the deep holes producing best. The crappie bite picked up with the cooler weather, and minnows produced most of the fish. The river level at the MacClenny gage on November 27th was 3.7 feet and rising.
The east side is still high, but the west side is fishable. If you fish the west side, put a piece of shrimp on the bottom for catfish or pitch sallies for fliers and warmouth.
The largest bass I heard of was from Quinn Brown’s 9.3-pounder that inhaled a dark-colored worm fished at night. He and his fishing partner had about 10 other good-sized bass on the trip. Quinn described his methods for fishing Reed Bingham State Park in an article by Craig James in the November issue of Georgia Outdoor News. Check it out if you are interested in the details. Taylor Sexton caught his first bass on a curly-tail grub suspended under a float over the holiday weekend. Way to go, Taylor! Chad Lee put it on the bass again this weekend, but this time he used a unique rig for a plastic crayfish. He skewered a 2.8-inch Okechobee Craw Keitech Crazy Flapper crawfish on an 1/4-oz. Capt. Bert’s Shrimp Hook (a Gamakatsu hook designed to fish live shrimp and mudminnows in saltwater) to fool some nice bass up to 3 pounds over the weekend from Alma area ponds. He also caught about 30 crappie up to a pound by trolling a chartreuse-pearl 2-inch Pro Tiny Shad. Michael Winge said that crappie were caught by anglers trolling minnows and jigs.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
On Wednesday evening, a group of Waycross anglers fished a Brunswick pier with fiddler crabs and dead shrimp and managed a keeper redfish, 6 black drum (2 keepers), a dozen whiting (kept 7 that averaged 12 inches apiece), and 2 dozen yellowtails. They did not get on any trout that evening, but one of the anglers caught some trout that morning on Assassin Sea Shads under Equalizer Floats. Brentz McGhin fished over the weekend in the Brunswick area and trolled up 25 trout (9 keepers) with new penny-colored Sea Shads. He also fished out of Crooked River this week and managed 20 short trout (2 keepers) with pink curly-tail grubs suspended underneath Cajun Thunder Floats. When the tide got low, they switched to dabbling fiddler crabs around wood and landed some sheepshead (their biggest was 4 pounds). They also caught a keeper redfish while fishing the wood. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that the big full moon tides over the weekend slowed the bite. The best catches were made around the slack low and high tides. Whiting and sheepshead were the main bites from the pier. Some blue crabs were caught, but not as many as the last few weeks because of the ripping tides. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
Crappie and bass fishing in ponds are your best bets in freshwater this weekend. The forecasted warming trend should have them chowing, especially in the afternoons. Saltwater (trout and redfish) should pick up again this weekend with the lower tides and clearer water if the winds allow you to get out on the big water.