Geez, is it raining again? I know it could be worse, I really do – but I am ready to stretch my legs outdoors, so some dry weather would be more than welcome!

BUT, don’t worry – we still have GREAT fishing news for you to use!

Want to harvest some fish at a really fun location? Visit the Go Fish Education Center during the month of March. Visitors to the Center will be allowed to catch and keep up to 8 of any combination of species (including trout, channel catfish, hybrid bass and bluegill). Poles and bait are included with admission. Personal tackle allowed if preferred (no live bait). Anglers age 12 and younger welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult. If you are age 16 and older, don’t forget your fishing and trout license.  The Go Fish Education Center is a great place to go -Visitors can see freshwater aquariums, explore underwater habitats from mountain streams to black water swamps, view aquatic wildlife, including live alligators and turtles, try out interactive fishing and boating simulators, get ‘Reel Tips’ on how and where to fish and so much more. Go Fish Education Center hours: Friday/Saturday (9 am-5 pm); Sunday (1-5 pm).

On to our reports – today, we bring you reports from Southwest, Central, Southeast and North Georgia. Be safe out there and Go Fish Georgia!

SOUTHWEST GEORGIA

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

LAKE BLACKSHEAR 

(Report provided by Brad McDaniel of Flint River Outdoors in Cordele, GA) — Water conditions and fishing reports are finally getting better at Lake Blackshear! Flint River Outdoors hosted a Peach State Crappie Club Tournament Sat Feb 16. The winning team weighed in at 10.57 pounds. Winners pulled jigs along the edge of the river channel. Getting good reports on live minnows also with crappie being found in about 12-15′ depth. Catfish continue to do well on an assortment of live baits. We have gotten a few good reports on bream being caught on worms and crickets. Bass are already pre-spawn and looking to make the big move shallow depending on the weather during the next couple weeks.

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 FULL, CLEAR, 50S

Bass fishing is fair.  Crank baits worked early in the morning for the majority of the anglers that fished during the past week and don’t expect this to change much for the next week.  Those that haven’t yet built up enough confidence to throw the cranks in the winter are still catching some on the Carolina rigs.  This will work but the bigger bass seem to want a slow moving bait like the Rapala DT10 or DT6.  The Rapala DT6 in the shad and silver are working the best with the water staying good and clean for the most part.  Rocky points are good locations on the main lake.  The backs of the creeks and coves are just getting a few small bites.  The bass are suspending in the channels and deeper water and move up early and late to feed.  The big bass and especially the spots are wanting the bigger slower moving crank baits.  Rocks, deep water and wind are the key thing to look for this week. For those anglers that just love to use deep water jigging spoons, some nice bass along with a variety of other fish are being caught using this method.  Find the fish and the structure and have at it.  Most fisherman are concentrating their efforts in water anywhere from 25 to 45 feet deep.  Downsize your line and tackle for best results. 

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 4.04 FEET, STAINED, 50S

Bass fishing is fair.  Head to Keg Creek this week.  Stay on the northern side and don’t go into and to the backs of the creeks.  The only thing that is biting in the coves and creeks are small bass and jack.  The larger bass are still hanging out on the main lake and on the points and especially the ones that still have some grass on them.  Small cuts and short stretches of bank between two points are also producing some good bass.  The key to catching the quality bass is to fish the rocky points and the grass lines near deep water.  The shad and herring are moving up from the deep during the windy days and the bass are following.  The baby bass and shad color #5 Shad Rap is a good bait.  Rapala DT10 will work when cranking shallow to deep off the points.  Windy days are the best as this relocates the shad schools.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 50S

(Lake Oconee Line Side report brought to you by Mark Smith at Reel Time Guide Service)  The lake is full. The rivers are still muddy; the main lake is heavy stained from I-20 to river bend; river bend to the dam is stained.  Richland Creek is starting to clear; still has a light stain.  The temperature is 52 to 56.

Bass: Bass fishing is slow.  Whatever bait you use make sure it is dark, makes noised, and puts off vibration.  Spinner baits slow rolled near sea walls and rip rap have been producing some good fish when Georgia Power is pulling water.  Small crank baits fished around docks and sea walls from the middle of the creeks to the back of the creeks are also producing fish.  Also, fish are starting to show up off of points in Richland Creek. Shad raps fished off of these points have produced.

Striper: Striper fishing is fair to good.  The fish are from the mouth of Double Branches up to the Ritz.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools and you can drop a small shiner into the school.  There are a lot of fish in the upper water column.  Target these fish with a flat line with no weight on it.  Also you can troll a shad rap or mini Mack.  You will need to fish these baits shallow.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good.  Long-line trolling is the best bet for catching these fish.  Fish a rig that will get you down into the fish which are holding from 10 to 15 feet deep.  We have been using a double 1/16 rig.  The darker color jigs are working best in the dark water.  You can find fish from Sugar Creek to Richland Creek.  Your Lowrance will help you locate the schools, and then start trolling over them.  Lowrance Structure Scan technology can make the search a lot faster.  Scan five times the depth of the water with the Structure Scan Side imagining technology and find the bait and the bass will there close by.

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.15 FEET, STAINED, 50S

Bass fishing is good.  There are fish in both shallow and deep water.  Fish shallow water points using crank baits and jigs.  Most are coming from main river banks that drop quickly into deep water.  Some crank baits producing recent success are Rapala DT10, Shad Rap RS #5, Thunder Shad, and Deep Little N.  For the jig, try a Stanley 5/16 ounce in black blue with a Zoom Chunk in black blue or green pumpkin.  Beaver Dam Creek has been producing a few fish.  Baits can be cast directly into the current from alongside the buoyed cable.  Spoons have probably been the best overall.  Some good spoons are a Flex it .6, Bomber Slab spoon and Hopkins Shorty 45.  Chrome, white, and chartreuse have all produced.  With the colder water, a short hop of 12 to 18 inches off the bottom has been better than a higher jigged spoon.  Carolina rigs are working well at times using a very slow retrieve.  A drop shot rig should also be tried.  Another good bait that is not very popular is a jig head and worm.  Use a 1/8 to ¼ ounce darter head with a Zoom Finesse worm.  Like the drop shot rig, the jig head and worm is more easily fished using spinning tackle with 8 or 10 pound line.  This rig should also be slowly slid across the bottom without trying to impart any action on the bait.  Lowrance Structure Scan technology can make the search a lot faster.  Scan five times the depth of the water with the Structure Scan Side imagining technology and find the bait and the bass will there close by. 

WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 6.06 FEET, STAINED, 50S

Bass fishing is fair.  The dam area up to the Maple Creek area is the best fishing spot right now for all fish.  All of the fish are bunched up together in 25 to 30 feet of water, and you can catch a mixed bag of fish vertical jigging on the bottom.  Find the fish on your depth finder and then vertical jig using a 1/2 to 3/4 ounce spoon of your choice.  The largemouth, whites, spots, hybrids and crappie are all bunched together.  Fish along the edge of tree lines and flats. This will be the pattern until the water begins to rise and warm.

LAKE JACKSON IS 1.32 FEET OVER FULL, STAINED, 50S

Bass fishing is fair.  It is time to use deep water jigging spoons as some nice bass along with a variety of other fish are being caught using this method.  Find the fish and the structure and have at it.  Most fisherman are concentrating their efforts in water anywhere from 25 to 40 feet deep.  Downsize the line and tackle for best results.  Finesse worms are an excellent choice for spots and use the Weedless Wonder lead head.  Also use the same finesse worms on a Carolina rig and keep the leader to no more than 2 feet and a ½ ounce sinker.  Green pumpkin and watermelon green are the color of choices here.  Rig the Rapala DT6 in either the shad or baby bass colors.  Hot mustard is the all-year color. 

BIG LAZER PFA (More Info HERE)  

  • Surface water temperature: 55o F
  • Water visibility: Visibility is at 33”
  • Water level: 1” above full pool 

In general, February fishing at Big Lazer is challenging.   Anglers must be more patient and persistent to have a good day fishing.   On a good note, winter weather means less anglers are fishing; thus, less fishing pressure for the dedicated angler.  And warmer temperatures are on the way, which means fish will start spawning in the next few weeks! Hypothermia could still be an issue so continue to remain vigilant near the water’s edge! 

Bass: Fair- Spawning season is quickly approaching which will bring bass into shallower waters.  For now, while the water is cooler, continue to fish plastic lures and crankbaits slowly in about 10 feet of water.  Also, deeper waters near the picnic area and fishing pier may produce decent bites this time of year. 

Crappie: Fair- We are getting some reports of decent crappie fishing.  Jigs and small CentralGAspinning baits pitched near structure may produce some decent bites.  Fishing for crappie with minnows in 8-12 feet of water is still a good bet as well.  Add a second pole to increase your chances!

Bream: Fair- Bream fishing is fair this time of year.  Try using red or pink worms near woody structure and blowdowns associated with it.  The fishing pier may also be a productive location.  For now, bream will be in water that is 6 feet or deeper.  Use lighter tackle for added excitement!

Catfish: Fair- We have had a few reports of catfish bites using livers or shrimp.  Catfish should be fished for near the bottom of the lake and around structure.  The rocks near the dam and the deeper water near the picnic area could produce some decent catfish bites.   

MCDUFFIE PFA (More Info HERE)  

  • Temperature: 48 – 52⁰.
  • Water Visibility: very clear, exceeding 54 inches
  • The Fish Cleaning Station is closed until Spring. 

Bass: Nice bass (pictured) are being caught on warmer afternoons in Willow Lake on lures that imitate 3-4 inch threadfin shad (crankbaits, swimbaits and spinnerbaits).  Both birds and bass are feeding on shad right now, so look for seagulls, cormorants and egrets feeding on the lake surface and the bass should be nearby (although bird activity has slowed down lately).  The same approach should also work in Jones Lake where there is a nice shad population along with some bird activity lately.  A recent survey showed that Jones is loaded with healthy 2 – 3 lb. bass that are aggressively feeding on shad and small bream.  If the bass aren’t chasing shad, try slowly working jigs and shaky head worms in deeper water around structure.  Lately this tactic has produced numerous 5 – 6 lb. fish not just in Willow but across the PFA.

Bream: There have been no reports of bream being caught lately, but if you want to try to catch some Jones Lake would be an excellent place to start.  A recent survey showed hundreds of small bream out there along with a handful of trophy-sized shellcracker and bluegill.  However, the bream bite has been slow with the cold water temperatures but it looks like it won’t stay that way long! 

Channel Catfish: The catfish action has slowed down due to water temperatures but some anglers are still catching on the warmer afternoons.  A few two-pounders were recently caught on chicken liver in Bridge and Beaverlodge.  The fish feeders at Jones Lake are still operating with three daytime feedings and are excellent spots to fish for catfish.

Striped Bass: Stripers can be found in Clubhouse and Bridge Lakes.  One of our catfish anglers caught a two-pound striper on chicken liver in Bridge Lake.  Believe it or not, chicken liver is the most reliable way to catch stripers out here!  If it works, it works.

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA 

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

Get ready for some of the best bass and crappie fishing of the year in flat water. Lots of bass, and some big ones, were reported from ponds. Some fish were caught in the Okefenokee Swamp this week. Saltwater was slow with the high winds and big tides. Last quarter moon is February 26th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

The upper river is still too high and swift for good fishing. In the river around Altamaha Park, the crappie bite has started in the backwaters. Minnows and jigs fished around shoreline brush in the backs of the oxbows have produced some slabs. Catfish are biting well, also. The river level was 9.7 feet and falling (57 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.7 feet and falling (58 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on February 19th.

SATILLA RIVER

The river is still high, but is falling. Take note of the Highway 158 Bridge landing being closed due to construction of the replacement Hwy 158 Bridge. This will affect anglers fishing that upper river area this spring, so plan accordingly. Some good catfish catches were made in the Burnt Fort area by anglers fishing limb lines baited with cut bait. The river level on February 19th at the Waycross gage was 11.2 feet and falling (60 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 11.4 feet (flood stage is 13 feet) and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER

The St. Marys is fishable. Anglers in the Browntown area reported catching creels of 18 to 20 panfish (mixed species) per trip this weekend. The best reports were from anglers fishing minnows for crappie and worms for redbreasts and bream. On Sunday, anglers fishing out of Traders Hill caught some big bream and redbreasts along with catfish. The catfish bite has picked up all along the river. Put shrimp or worms on the bottom and you should pick up whiskerfish regularly. The river level at the Macclenny gage on February 19th was 5.6 feet and falling.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

A group from the Chattanooga Christian School paddling across the swamp got an orientation at the Refuge entrance in Folkston on Tuesday evening. The group pitched around the boat basin and caught a half-dozen fliers, mostly on pink and yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sallies fished under a float. Luke had the hot hand, catching several of the tasty panfish on yellow sallies. Catfish were caught this week from the creeks out Swamp Road by anglers fishing worms and shrimp on the bottom. Catfishing at the Sill on the west side is a good option during the warming weather late this week. Put a piece of shrimp on a 3/16-oz. Catfish Catcher Jighead and tight-line it on the bottom for whiskerfish.

LOCAL PONDS

The staff at the Waycross Fisheries Office did some electrofishing sampling this week in ponds and lakes, and the bass and crappie have moved shallow ahead of the spawn. The biggest bass they electrofished (and released) was 9 pounds. They also saw lots of pound-plus crappie in the shallows. The bass and crappie bites were great in area ponds. The biggest bass I heard of being caught this week was a 7.1-pounder caught by an angler fishing a Brunswick area pond. He caught it on a Texas-rigged 11-inch plastic worm (red shad). An angler fishing a St. Marys pond on Thursday afternoon caught 5 bass up to 3 pounds on an unweighted Keitech Sexy Impact stick worm (bluegill color). He also landed a 4.9 and 4.8-pound hybrid bass by pitching a Fake Fish Food Fly (dark color) around a fish feeder. He said it screamed drag on the ultralight outfit he was using. On Friday a couple anglers fishing a Brunswick area pond caught 13 bass up to 7 pounds on copperfield and green pumpkin bladed jigs. Some anglers fishing cut bluegill on Catfish

SE GA Tom Katzenbach Hybrid - IMG_5391
Tom Katzenbach caught this 5.7-pound hybrid striped bass from a Brunswick area pond while casting a vibrating jig on Saturday.

Catcher Jigheads on Saturday landed over 40 channel catfish. Wyatt Crews and Scout Carter fished a Waycross area pond on Saturday evening and landed 5 bass up to 5 pounds while field testing a new, tougher plastic Keitech Fat Swing Impact Swimbait (chartreuse pearl) rigged on an 1/8-oz. Flashy Swimbait head. They returned Sunday evening and caught another 15 bass on the same bait. They had several bass weighing 4 pounds, several 3-pounders, and the rest 2 pounds or under. A couple of their fish ate minnow plugs, but the swimbait was the ticket. Tom Katzenbach and his sons Malcom and Thomas fished a Brunswick area pond and caught a dozen bass up to 4.4 pounds. Tom also caught a 5.7-pound hybrid striped bass from the pond. It slammed a copperfield-colored bladed jig. His biggest bass, a 4.4-pounder inhaled a 1/2-oz. black/blue bladed jig. Their other bass came on wacky-rigged and Texas-rigged plastic worms (golden shad Keitech Mad Wag worms and junebug stick worms worked best). A couple of anglers fishing over the weekend caught 31 bass on Saturday and 10 bass Sunday evening. They had several 5-pounders, and the big ones ate Ol’Monster worms. Michael Winge said that the best bite in Waycross area ponds was for crappie. Minnows fished around shoreline cover produced best. One angler reported catching bass on a black/silver Bang-O-Lure plug fished on top. The flowing water has attracted fish to ponds spillways again this week, so try a spillway if you have access.

LAKE SINCLAIR

The catfish bite fired off last weekend for Danny Brown. He used gizzard shad to fill a cooler with mostly blue catfish.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

The saltwater reports were almost non-existent this week due primarily to winds and big tides. The main report I got was a few whiting being caught on dead shrimp fished on the bottom from the beach. Black sea bass were the only report I had from boat anglers (not sure which day they were able to get offshore). Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that big blue crabs are still thick under the pier. Good numbers of whiting were caught with dead shrimp on the bottom. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

I expect some double-digit bass to be caught this week with the weekend warming trend. Look in the 2 to 5 feet depths for the biggest females as they stage near the shallows. Stumps, brush-piles and deeper vegetation are cover types to check out. Some coolers will also be filled with crappie from flat water over the weekend. I would fish deep in the early morning and then check the shallow cover for spawners moving up during the warm afternoons. I love pitching artificials, but minnows will also fool their share.

NORTH GEORGIA 

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

North Georgia watersheds are on their way toward their 8th inch of rain this week, with more to come until the sun finally shines on Sunday.  Our streams and rivers are flowing about ten times their normal discharge, while many ponds and lakes are way above full pool.  All of that rain has made our forest roads saturated and unstable in certain cases.  They are too soft for much vehicle traffic without getting torn up.  Our friends with the US Forest Service would sure appreciate all of us staying off their unpaved forest system roads until they dry out a bit.

 

So what’s our bottom line for north GA’s weekend anglers?  Rivers are ridiculous and

Moccasin dam flood 2-22-19
Moccasin Creek Dam

stream trout are out, but reservoirs at midlake are a good bet (if you can find open ramps), and small ponds and lakes are a best bet.  We should get some breaks in the steady rains on Saturday, and then a drying-out after dawn on Sunday.  It will still take a while for all of this water to drain off, so make sure you check USGS stream gauges and local tackle shops before coming up here.  Most importantly, respect the power of water and don’t wade when the river is ripping!

LANIER

Lanier Ramp Closures: Here’s the latest as Lanier goes four feet over full pool.

 

Ramp Closures: While many ramps are closed and the lake’s headwaters are yoohoo, the midlake area has some real nice color to it.  If we can get some sun on that water to warm it, the shad, stripers, and spots should start to head toward the shallows.  Watch the birds- gulls and herons.  While Sardis was closed today, the other two small ramps I visited (Wahoo, Lanier Point) were still open.  Laurel Park and Balus are good bets when Lanier is high, too.

 

Lanier- Commercial Operations: This is worth a look, too, especially if you’re guiding on Lanier.

 

Lanier Belton ramp 2-21-19small
Lake Lanier: Belton Boat Ramp

Lanier Rivers: (From Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop) — On Monday (2/18), before most of this rain, Mark Rigglesford and I sampled the headwaters of Lake Lanier in search of walleye to keep a pulse on the timing of broodstock collection. Due to the recent rains, flows were high (~3000 cfs) and the water was very turbid with no clarity. Water temperatures were around 49 F. We sampled the area between Belton Bridge and Mud Creek, finding only one lone female walleye, but we did see some precocious stripers ranging in size from 12” to 25”. Given the current 7-day weather forecast of continued rain, the fishability of the Lanier headwaters will continue to degrade as flows and turbidity remain high, but hopefully this will improve once this downpour passes our region. Still, as temperatures in the system are still suppressed, anglers aren’t missing much as the fish (especially walleye) are not currently staging for their early spring spawn.

Capt Mack’s Reports: Lake Lanier Report HERE, Note his tips on the Mini-Mack rig. Video HERE.

 

 

Ken’s Lake Reports: Check out Ken’s reports HERE.

Best Bet- Crappie! (This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club) — Water temperature is in the low fifties, with moderate to heavy stain from the middle of the lake and north, with the backs of creeks in all areas of the lake heavily stained from the relentless rain.  As to be expected, fishing is good to excellent this time of the year, but if you didn’t go fishing this past Monday, you missed out, as the rain has been pretty constant ever since. Hopefully we’ll get a break in the weather by the weekend.  The trolling bite is good, using double rigged curly tails in a variety of colors.  Try tipping some with minnows.  This technique will result in bagging bigger fish. For dock shooters, the bite has been consistent all day long, targeting shallower docks at fifteen foot depths or less.  As you start fishing a dock, you will notice you are catching the bigger fish.  As they tend to get smaller, move on to another dock.  We are beginning to see more fishermen on the lake as the weather warms up, so you are competing with a larger number of fishermen.  As a result, it is very important to keep moving if you are not getting bites.  The secret to putting a lot of fish in the boat is to simply cover a lot of water.  Keep moving!  The fish have started to move into shallow water, staging for the spawn.  Four pound high visibility line is very important.  Your jig color should vary depending on the water color.  The more stain, the darker the jig.  Stay away from heavier jig heads.  1/24 or 1/32 ounce jig heads remain our top choices.  As we mentioned in the past, keep asking your friendly bait store to carry that weight jig head.  They tend to be difficult to find.  We are starting to check blowdowns in deeper water, but the water temperatures are not yet supporting activity there.  Water temperatures need to be around 60 degrees for a few days in a row, which we’ve not yet reached. Watch for it though, it’s coming, and that will be the first sign of the spawn.  Helpful tip:  with all the rain and humidity, keep your tackle dry and at room temperature to avoid corrosion.  If you keep your boat in your garage, keep your hatches open (especially if your boat is carpeted). I keep a terrycloth rag in every compartment, which helps absorb moisture.  Stay safe on the water, wear a life jacket!

Need More Crappie Info? More on Crappie HERE and HERE.

Bassmasters Elite– Lanier Results: Lake Lanier was the site of last week’s Bassmaster Elite Series’ bass fishing tournament stop.  It was nice to have this top-end tournament trail take advantage of our Go Fish Georgia tournament facility, built in partnership with Hall County a decade ago.  Despite the weather, the fishing was good and the weigh-ins at Coolray Field, home of the Gwinnett Stripers baseball team, were exciting.  Tourney anglers complimented the quality of Lanier’s black bass fishery. Learn what the Pro’s did to catch Lanier’s magnum spots. Their tips might help your future trips!

 

MORE NEWS TO KNOW!

WRD’s 2019 Fishing Prospects: Click HERE to check out the newly posted Fishing Prospects for Georgia lakes and rivers. Each prospect was compiled by Fisheries biologists and is based on sampling efforts by the Wildlife Resources Division and on knowledge of past fishing trends, fishing experiences and discussions with anglers and marina owners. They contain information on fishing hot spots, lures, techniques, detailed interactive maps, boating and angling access points, fish attractor locations, stream gauge data and more.

New Site for Intel: Check it out HERE.

Perch YEP_LukasRicci_Tugalo_2lb7oz_02.16.19
Lukas Ricci and his whopper yellow perch

Whopper Perch! (From Senior Fisheries Biologist Anthony Rabern) — Last Saturday (Feb.16) was one of those rare winter days when the temperature was warm and the sky was clear.  It was a great day to be outdoors, but for 15-year old Lukas Ricci and his grandpa, Mike Carter, it was better than great.  Lukas and his grandfather were fishing on Lake Tugalo and managed to catch a hefty stringer of yellow perch.  The largest fish of the day weighed a whopping 2 lb 7 0z, which was only two ounces shy of the state record.  Their experience of catching trophy yellow perch during the wintertime is becoming more common in the North Georgia mountain lakes and it is due to the on-going walleye stocking program.  Walleye prey on yellow perch and keep their numbers in check so that surviving perch can grow fast and big.  Fisheries biologists believe the state record for yellow perch (2 lb, 9 oz) is ready to be broken.  Who knows, you might be the first person to catch a 3 pound yellow perch in Georgia!

Oostanaula in the Parking Lot: Our rivers are so high, it even forced Jim Hakala to close one of our western boat ramps.

Small Lakes – Best Bet: Small lakes and ponds are a best bet during monsoon season.  You can try for our stocked trout in those lakes that get them, such as Nancytown, Black Rock, Vogel, and Winfield Scott.  Better yet, the early season bass and crappie fishing in ponds can be great.  Don’t be afraid to cast right up against the banks of muddy ponds, where the sunshine heats that thin water quickly and draws all the fish in for a warmup.

JigPoling and DoodleSocking: Our late, great Lanier biologist, Reggie Weaver, would tell his stories of “a kid and a johnboat” jigpoling for whopper bass along the muddy shorelines of east Tennessee lakes. Never heard of jigpoling or doodlesocking?  Check ‘em out and try ‘em out on a small lake near you.  Hint- use hefty line to land your lunkers!

 

 

TROUT

Tough Trouting: When the Going Gets Tough

trout BKT speck RodneyT Feb 2019
Rodney T’s brook trout

Pre-Flood Bluelines: “Chasing natives last week with subsurface flies. It was phenomenal day in the Chattahoochee National Forest for an old “Fish Hippie!” —Rodney T

DH Streams: Most are blown out due to the rains, but Smith still fishes well, especially on crowd-less weekdays.  Right now it’s flooding very badly (pics).   Give it a couple days for the flow to subside, and then try it out.

 

Stockers on Valentines’ Day: Carmen B and hubby Mike celebrated Valentine’s Day with a short campout on a stocker stream above Cleveland.  She was excited about limiting out.  Enjoy the pic of her catch below.  When we dry out, go give those streams a shot.

Thank You Anglers for Damer’s New Ride: (From John Damer, Fisheries Biologist) — WRD Fisheries staff in the Armuchee Office are extremely thankful to have a new outboard jet electrofishing boat, which was purchased using TU Tag funds and fishing license revenue.  This boat will see extreme duty in the Toccoa River and other shallow rocky rivers of northwest Georgia, and replaces one whose hull had been repaired four different times due to punctures and cracking.  Thanks Georgia anglers for your continued support!

Trout Outa The Classroom! Check ‘em out HERE.

Be patient and safe this week.  Head to flat water before considering running water.  Don’t overestimate your wading ability, as Mother Nature is very unforgiving to braggarts.   Hopefully Sunday’s sunshine will arrive soon and we can get outside again. We’ll watch the stream gauges carefully and let those national forest roads dry out before hitting the mountain bluelines again.  In the meantime, we’ll try for whopper bass in a foot of water and hefty spots and stripers running shad along the banks of reservoirs.  Oh, and look!  Turn the page of your desktop calendar and sneak a peek.  Yep, it says March.  Spring and all of its great fishing is just around the corner.  That ought to give us all some hope as we wait for our floods to subside.  Good luck and thanks for buying your fishing tackle, licenses and TU car tags.

Sincerely, Soggy