Running into the weekend like this.
BUT, y’all better hurry on up and get some fishing done today. Weather may not cooperate the rest of the weekend.
- New State Record: Did you hear about 19 year-old Jacob Hornaday catching
a new spotted sunfish state record? Read about it HERE.
- Night Fishing at Georgia PFAs: Opened up May 1st. Need some tips to help you with a night fishing trip? Read’em HERE.
- Pautzke Bait Company recently featured WRD trout stockings and public access trout fishing in the North Georgia mountains! Watch it HERE.
- Need a Family-Friendly Fishing Spot? Check out this blog post!
How about those fishing reports? We got’em! This week, we have news from North and Southeast Georgia. Now, Go Fish Georgia!!
(Fishing report courtesy of Jim Hakala, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Stockers: Big stocking week! Fifty thousand trout hit north GA waters earlier this week. WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson (706-947-1508) says, “Now is the time to get out trout fishing while stream temps are still cool, and the fish are extremely active. If low elevation streams and small impoundments are your favorite places to trout fish, you should do so now before they start to warm up. Great low elevation trout fishing can be had right now at Panther Creek and Middle Broad River in Stephens County, Winfield Scott Lake in Union County, and West Armuchee Creek in Walker County”. If you still haven’t signed up to receive the weekly trout stocking report – it’s time to do yourself a favor! Sign up HERE. Need more trout info, click HERE.
Bluelines: Small stream fishing may be tough this weekend given the forecast rainfall. Keep a close eye on the radar and maybe your favorite “blueline” will dodge a deluge this weekend.
DH Home Stretch: Georgia’s Delayed Harvest season ends on Tuesday, May 14! Starting May 15 and running through October 31, trout harvest is permitted on Georgia’s five delayed harvest streams.
Northcentral GA: Cohutta Fishing Co Report
KIDS FISHING OPPORTUNITIES AND INFO
- The 38th Annual Haralson County Trout Fishing Rodeo at Smith Farms, Bremen, GA, Saturday May 11 (8am-4pm)
- Pickens County Sportsman Club annual trout rodeo, Jasper, GA, Saturday May 11 (9am-2pm) –
- Child catch their first fish? Commemorate it with a free customizable “First Fish” certificate. They are only young once!
- Find more info on fishing with kids HERE.
RESERVOIR AND RIVER NEWS
Allatoona: New fish attractors slated for Lake Allatoona. Members of the E3 Bassmasters and staff and volunteers from the GADNR and US Army Corps of Engineers recently built fifteen Mossback fish attractors to be deployed in Allatoona later this spring. The fish attractors are made from a heavy-duty composite plastic that will last for years to come. The project is headed by the E3 Bassmasters club and funded by a grant awarded to the E3 Bassmasters earlier this year by Forty Creek Distillers. Don’t want to wait for these new fish attractors to hit the water? No problem! Allatoona already has more than 60 fish attractor sites scattered across the lake. Sites 60-66 are brand new for 2019. Find them all HERE.
Team Tournament Series: The Monday Night Team Tournament summer series kicked off May 6
Ken’s Friday Southern Fishing Report: Get the report HERE.
WALLEYE, BREAM AND WHITE BASS, OH MY
That’s a Wrap on Walleye! Georgia walleye stocking finished up this week with healthy fish from Walton Fish Hatchery being stocked into Carters Lake, Blue Ridge Lake and Lake Rabun. For the season, close to 600,000 walleye fingerlings were stocked in ten reservoirs across north Georgia. Hats off to the Go Fish Education Center Hatchery in Perry for their walleye spawning efforts and the producing hatcheries of Richmond Hill, McDuffie and Walton for growing some very healthy fingerlings this year! May is a great month to catch walleye across north Georgia. Glass-eyes have recovered from their early spring spawn and are actively feeding on main lake points and around downed trees. Pick up some general walleye fishing tips HERE.
North Georgia Bream: (From Fisheries Biologist Anthony Rabern) — The coming full moon means bream will be on the spawning beds in most North Georgia lakes and ponds. This is the best time of year to catch large numbers of big bream. The attached photo of a trio of bream (left to right: redbreast, bluegill, redear) from the Yahoola Water Supply reservoir in Dahlonega was taken yesterday during routine WRD sampling.
Coosa River White Bass Stocking: Fisheries Technician Collin George released white bass into the Coosa River in northwest Georgia. A total of 183,000 white bass fingerlings were stocked into the Coosa River to bolster a white bass population that has suffered from poor juvenile recruitment in recent years. These young upstarts will grow to approximately 6-8 inches by next year and will hopefully bolster angler catches of the species in the coming years.
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
The Roop Report: (From Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop) — This week Gainesville fisheries staff picked back up on the “stocking and shocking” of Northeast Georgia’s waters.
- With (Lanier) reservoir temperatures now in the mid 70’s and smaller lakes in the upper 70’s, black bass are wrapping up their spring spawn and actively feeding on schools of shad and herring that should continue spawning through the end of the month. Full moon phases this time of year are associated with bedding sunfish and spawning shad, so keep an eye out on your lunar calendar to maximize your chance for fishing success. Rapala cranks, rattletraps underspins, flukes, and any other bait-imitating lures are good bets. An appropriately rigged worm or lizard may add to your success, depending on the habitat you are fishing and species being pursued.
- Gainesville staff met McDuffie Hatchery’s and WRD’s all-star fish hauler Greg Abercrombie at Little
River boat ramp this week to stock Lanier’s first load of the 2019 striped bass year class. The roughly 124,000 1-inch stripers were stocked into warm, green, productive waters at Little River and Wahoo Creek. How do we know? Mark and I took secchi depths, temps, and plankton tows at five boat ramps the day before these fish came to Lanier High lake levels and some good green water should help these little fingerlings grow from one to 12 inches by this time next year.
- Fisheries staff evaluated the kids fishing event (KFE) pond at Buck Shoals WMA on Thursday this week. The lake was loaded with largemouth ~12” and hand-size bluegill and shellcracker! Some largemouth were removed to increase largemouth growth and size in this lake, but the upcoming fishing events will no doubt offer some fantastic fishing opportunities for kids to catch some monster panfish! Buck Shoals hosts KFE events each month during the spring and summer—upcoming dates are: May 18th, June 15th, July 20th, August 17th, and September 21st from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM.
- Cub scout pack 109 hosted a fishing event at the Chattahoochee River Club pond in Buford, Georgia this week. 25 kids showed up and caught loads of bream and channel catfish. WRD is pleased to support this annual KFE by providing channel catfish for this program sponsor.
The Moran Report: (From Fisheries Biologist Zach Moran) —Fishing report for Nottely, Chatuge, and various trout waters. Water temps are in the low 70’s on Nottely and Chatuge. Good luck and happy fishing!
Female Largemouth Bass are in post-spawn mode and are hungry! They will be shallow only a little while longer before heading back deep. Males will be guarding fry and fingerlings for the next three weeks. Fish the early morning shad spawn with a zara spook or a lucky craft Sammy near downed trees or submerged overhanging vegetation. Shakey heads with a trick worm and jerkbaits are working well around docks. Go to colors are green pumpkin, watermelon green, white, and chrome.
- Spotted Bass are on beds and in “pinch points” that lead to coves. Like Largemouth, you can catch them on topwater in the mornings and afternoons, and on shakey heads in the middle of the day near docks. Go to colors are green pumpkin, watermelon green, white, and chrome.
- Trout fishing is excellent right now. Topwater dries with a nymph dropper are deadly. A #14 caddis to a #12 copper john has been working well. Mop flies and San Juan worms will work best on stocked streams. Small spinners will be productive in fast deep water.
- Flathead and Channel catfish have moved shallow, but will be hard to catch. Look for areas with lots of “cavities” such as riprap banks. Use live bait for Flatheads and cut bait for channels. Fishing at night or early in the mornings are the best times to catch these fish.
- Sunfish are making beds. Look for these beds in coves in shady areas protected from the wind. A drop shot rig baited with a cricket is deadly on these beds.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass aren’t as shallow as they were back in March and April, but they haven’t quite moved to the summer pattern. Catch them on shad imitating topwaters and live herring in the early mornings.
The Hakala Report: (From Fisheries Biologist Jim Hakala) –
Carters Lake bass fishing reports have generally been good! Water temps are running mid to upper 70’s. The spotted bass spawn is winding down and they are starting to pull out of the shallows and move to deeper water. A recent electrofishing survey found better numbers and size fish holding on rocky points, reef markers and on the deep end of fallen trees. Fisheries Technician Matt Phillips holds one of many nice spots caught and released from a rocky, main lake point. In addition to spots, walleye and linesides were also observed holding in the same areas. As the water heats up and the bass gradually move deeper, try fishing some of the more than 50 fish attractors (20-30 feet of water) scattered across Carters Lake.
Rocky PFA – Water temp in the upper 70’s at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area. The largemouth are slipping into deeper water as water temps heat up. Look for them on the “deep end” of fallen timber, bluff banks, road beds and rip-rap gorging on shad. These two well fed “largies” were collected and released from the deep side of toppled shoreline trees during a recent survey. The bream are bedding and activity will likely increase as we approach the May 19 full moon. Catfishing should also improve with rising water temps. Target cats along rip-rap banks found on the dams or the fishing jetties.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The southeast Georgia river fishing has been outstanding this week. Okefenokee Swamp produced some good catches of warmouth and fliers. Pond fishing has been good for bass, bluegills and catfish. Saltwater has produced some consistent whiting and flounder bites, and a few folks found trout and redfish. First quarter moon is May 11th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
The upper river is still high and muddy, but it’s falling fast. The tidal area is the place to fish this week. J.J. at Altamaha Park said that the flathead catfish bite has been good for limb-liners using goldfish for bait. Fish in the 20-pound range were fairly common this week. Rod and reel anglers caught some flatheads off the dock at the landing. During a tournament last weekend, 71 participants caught big shellcrackers, bream, redbreasts, and warmouth. Most were caught on crickets and worms. One angler in the area Saturday said that it looked as if there were so many anglers that you had to bring your own lily pads to have some to fish around…It’s going to be awesome fishing when it comes down! The river level was 8.0 feet and falling (76 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.8 feet and falling (74 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on May 7th.
The A.J. Strickland King of the River Fishing Tournament on the Satilla River held this Saturday was a big success, and lots of fish were caught. Over 120 participants making up 57 teams participated in the event. More than $1,000 in prizes and merchandise was awarded across the field of anglers. Will and Carter Steed of Hortense won the Red Myers Largest Redbreast award for a 1.11-pound rooster. They also claimed the largest redbreast stringer (3 fish) with 3.16 pounds. I predicted in last week’s report that there was a good chance that we would see a winning stringer over 3 pounds, and Will and Carter Steed made it happen. Dr. Terrell Lee, Mike Lee, Vickie Ratliff, and Dink Dell won the Junior Strickland Grand Slam for the heaviest weight of 3 different species with 11.26 pounds. They also claimed the biggest bowfin (7.10 pounds) and largest native catfish (3.29-pound channel catfish) categories. The largest panfish other than a redbreast was claimed by the Gardner Team consisting of Jack, Ethan, and Samuel for their 1.22-pound redear sunfish (shellcracker). The heaviest bass (4.21 pounds) was weighed in by Craig James, Dean Oliver, Joel Robertson, and Hunter Yarbrough. In talking with anglers as they came through the weigh-in line, reports were that the number of fish caught that day was a little lower than earlier in the week, and about half of the anglers caught them on bait and half on artificials. For all of the results and information, check out the Satilla Riverkeeper website at satillariverkeeper.org. Ed Zmarzly and a friend floated in kayaks in the Waycross area and caught 214 fish on Thursday. That was not a typo. They hammered them on 1/8oz crawfish Satilla Spins and also caught quite a few on the fire tiger, chartreuse bruiser, bruised banana gold, and black/yellow versions of the little spinnerbait. Included in the count were a dozen or so small bass, a couple of big pickerel, some warmouth and stumpknockers, several crappie, and a couple dozen bluegill during the float. John Edge used stumpknocker and chartreuse Satilla Spins for the first time this week and whacked the redbreasts, bluegills, stumpknockers, and crappie on them on the Satilla. On Saturday, Wyatt Crews and Scout Carter floated in the Waycross area and caught 80 panfish, mostly redbreasts. They also had a big pickerel. All of their fish ate 1/8oz Satilla Spins, and their best colors were crawfish, black/chartreuse, and chartreuse bruiser. Chris Nugent fished the extreme upper river again on Sunday and whacked the redbreasts on crawfish Satilla Spins. He caught 40 and threw back half of them. He saw beds all over the sandbars. He said that his stretch is getting really low and difficult to get around. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that the redbreast and bream bites were on fire this week. Crawfish Satilla Spins and beetlespins were catching tons of fish, some of which they said were so big you had to put them against your chest to get the hook out…. Crickets and worms were also used to fill creels. Shrimp and worms were tops for catfish, but cut bait caught several, as well. Topwater baits of all flavors produced bass. In the lower Satilla (Burnt Fort area) big redbreasts were caught with white-red dot beetlespins. 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. The river level on May 7th at the Waycross gage was 4.8 feet and falling (76 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 4.2 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Catfish were caught about everywhere. One angler said that you need to put your bait on the hill to NOT catch one. I don’t know if it’s quite that easy, but a shrimp or worm dropped just about anywhere returns with a whiskerfish attached to the hook. Some big bream and redbreasts were fooled with worms and crickets. Shady Bream Tournaments will hold a panfish tournament on May 18th out of Traders Hill. It is an artificial-only tournament, and all fish must be alive at weigh-in. For more information, check out Shady Bream Tournaments. The river level at the Macclenny gage on May 7th was 2.9 feet and falling.
Shaun Tullis and a friend fished the river this weekend and kept 18 rooster redbreasts and 2 warmouth on crawfish Satilla Spins. His friend also landed an 8-pound bass on a red/white Satilla Spin. Over the entire weekend, they caught 90+ redbreasts, 20+ warmouth and stumpknockers, and 3 bass on the little spinnerbaits.
Even with the water still higher than ideal, Prince Preston and Cindy Barnhardt fished the river this weekend and landed a bunch of nice redbreasts. They used Halloween (orange with a black head)-colored Satilla Spins for their fish.
On the east side warmouth and bream were reported by those using crickets. The boat basin was the popular spot this week. On the west side, catfish were caught with shrimp on the bottom, while fliers ate yellow sallies. A few warmouth were caught by anglers dabbling jigs around the seawall pilings. Big warmouth were caught again this week from the bridge crossings along Swamp Road heading out of Waycross. Most were caught with crickets.
Chad Lee fished Alma area ponds this week and caught 2 bass over 5 pounds. One was on a Keitech swimbait rigged on a jig-spinner (like a giant beetlespin) and the other was on a wacky rig. He had a total of 20 bass from 2 to 6 pounds. Most of his fish ate a wacky rig, but he caught some on Keitech crazy flapper crayfish. Saturday morning he fished for panfish and caught a mixed bag with with rooster tail spinners and live crayfish. Michael Winge reported some good catches of bream from Waycross area ponds. Crickets produced most of the fish. Some big bass were caught with black-chartreuse lizards.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The best saltwater reports from friends were for whiting in the sounds (primarily St Simons and Cumberland Sounds). Put a little piece of shrimp on the bottom and you should catch a bunch. If you don’t know where to go, just look for the fleet and anchor up around them, typically in 12 to 20 feet of water. In the Brunswick area, anglers reported catching whiting and flounder in the rivers and creeks. A few anglers reported catching some big trout, but the specks were hit-and-miss by most reports. In the Crooked River area, the only report I had was from a couple of anglers who caught a nice mess of seatrout. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported anglers catching whiting on dead shrimp fished on the bottom. Lots of the fish were in the 15-inch range (true bull whiting….). Croakers, black drum, and sharks were frequently caught from the pier, as well. A couple of Waycross anglers fished the pier on Sunday and caught 10 flounder on live bait. They had 6 really nice keeper flatties to 16 inches. They had trouble keeping a finger mullet in the water for all the bluefish tearing them up. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
The freshwater rivers are the place to be if you like panfishing. Every species of panfish are tearing it up with the warming water and dropping water levels. The extreme upper rivers are getting low (time to float in a canoe or kayak). The middle rivers are still boatable, but expect to get out and drag some. You can catch them on bait or artificials, so take your pick of your favorite presentation. The Okefenokee is in great shape right now, and the bugs aren’t too bad. Give it a try before the yellow fly population surpasses the flier and warmouth population…. In saltwater, your best bets are whiting and flounder. At the time of writing this, the marine forecast is good for the weekend, but check back before you go.