How does the weather affect your interest in fishing? Are you a “fair weather” fisherman, only wanting to go when it is “just perfect” outside? Or, are you a die-hard, I don’t care if the rain is going sideways, kind of angler? I guess the good news is that Georgia’s weather seems to be catering to both types!
In case you missed it:
- 5 Steps: Having trouble picking a place to fish? We can help! The Georgia Outdoor Boating and Fishing Map can help you pinpoint by species, by location, and more. It is a great place to start!
- Don’t forget that this weekend wraps up National Fishing and Boating Week (June 1-9), with a free fishing day (on this day, Georgia residents do not need a fishing license, trout license or Lands Pass-for WMAs/PFAs to fish) on Sat. June 8 and many more Kids Fishing Events. How can you find events near you? Click HERE, select “Search Events” under Event/Volunteering and you can search for events near your zip code or on a certain date, etc.
This week’s report is a short one, but we have some great tips for Southeast Georgia. Be careful out there and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The extended heat has slowed the number of folks fishing, but the catches have been impressive. Ponds, the St. Marys River, and the Altamaha River produced some great catches. The Altamaha is the river to have your eyes on (or even better – your BOAT on!) the next couple of weeks. Early and late (or even at night) are the keys right now. First quarter moon is June 10th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
A couple of Waycross anglers fished the backwaters in the middle river and caught over 100 panfish (mostly bluegills) on Friday. They released many of them, but kept a good mess. Over half of their fish were bigger than their hand, and they were really impressed with the size. Black/chartreuse Satilla Spins were the key to their catch. The Wayne County Catfish Tournament was held Saturday and Sunday out of Jaycees Landing. First place (and winner of the $7,500 big prize) was claimed by Ronnie Kent and his crew. They also had big fish, a 53-lb, 8-oz flathead catfish. His boat caught over 100 pounds of catfish (5 fish limit), including that giant flathead, several other nice flatheads, and a big blue catfish. On Sunday, Chad Lee fished the river and flung a black/yellow Satilla Spin to catch several nice bluegills and redbreasts. Michael Winge reported lots of big bream being caught in the Jesup area on crickets. J.J. and Lance at Altamaha Park said that jolly green giant worms have been the deal this week for mullet, and the numbers have been great. The catfish bite has also been good for channels, blues, and flatheads. Crickets produced some good bream and redbreast catches. The river level was 3.0 feet and falling (86 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.2 feet and falling (86 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 4th.
With the low river level, bank angling and wading have been the best approaches for success in the upper river. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that redbreast, bream, and catfish were fooled with crickets and worms. In the lower Satilla, anglers reported catching big channel catfish in the deep holes from Douglas Fishing Club to 3-R Fish Camp in the tidewater. Big bream were caught with crickets in this area of the river. One angler reported catching 40 big keepers last weekend. Another angler said he caught some big bluegills in the main river near 3-R Fish Camp using Satilla Spins (crawfish color). The river level on June 4th at the Waycross gage was 3.9 feet and falling (82 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 2.9 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
I fished the tidal area of the river for two hours on Monday evening until dark and caught 17 panfish, including 8 or 10 really nice ones. A big warmouth, several rooster redbreasts, a trophy stumpknocker, and a quality bluegill ate a 1/16-oz. chartreuse bruiser Satilla Spin (that color has a chartreuse blade) before I lost it. The second best color was dreamsicle (it fooled the first fish, a 10-inch redbreast), while a few ate a rainbow 1/8-oz. version. Shady Bream Tournaments will hold their second artificial-only panfish tournament on June 8th out of Kings Ferry boat ramp. For more information check out Shady Bream Tournaments on Facebook. Other anglers reported catching catfish anywhere you put a shrimp or worm on the bottom. The river level at the Macclenny gage on June 4th was 1.7 feet and falling.
Anglers reported the warmouth bite going wide open on the east side. Crickets and worms were putting limits in the boat. Out of SC Foster State Park, anglers reported catching limits of warmouth and big bream and a few big chain pickerel (jackfish). One group of Waycross anglers caught their limit in less than 2 hours by pitching yellow and white mini-jigs. The yellow flies have been ramping up. I usually let them have it in June, but by July 4th, their numbers are usually down. The key to bearing the yellow flies (and sun) is to cover up – I wear nylon long pants and long-sleeve shirts this time of year no matter whether I’m fishing the swamp or a river. The less exposed skin you have, the less scratching you will do that evening.
DODGE COUNTY PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Tifton, more info HERE)
The high heat has kept the number of anglers down, but those that have braved the heat have done well. The most common catches this week have been shellcrackers, crappie, and catfish. The mid-lake area around the island has produced good catches. Bluegill have been caught by anglers using crickets around the feeders on the docks. Bank anglers have been doing well for catfish. A couple came out and fished in the middle of the day on Wednesday, and both caught their limit of 12 to 16-inch channel catfish in an hour of fishing. Bass reports have been slow compared to earlier in the spring, but a few fish from 1 to 3 pounds were reported by anglers fishing weightless stick worms and crankbaits. Night fishing is an option at the area, as it is currently open 24 hours per day. Last week some anglers trolled for crappie at night and did not catch any crappie, but they caught 2 bass between 4 and 5 pounds.
BANKS LAKE (NEAR LAKELAND, More Info HERE)
The bream bite has been good lately. I talked with a pair of anglers on Saturday who caught about 25 bluegills on crickets. Others have reported catching some nice fish on crickets, bugs, and beetlespins. I haven’t heard of any catches yet, but pitching glow bugs to the base of cypress trees at night should start working for big bluegills, if it’s not already. On June 8th the South Georgia Medical Center is hosting a bass fishing tournament at Banks Lake to raise money for the Jay Shaw Scholarship Fund. The entry fee is $100 per boat. For more information, click HERE.
Scout Carter fished a Blackshear area pond on Sunday evening and landed 6 bass up to a couple pounds on a 1/8-oz. black buzzbait. His friend boated a 6 1/2-pound bass on a plastic crayfish. Chad Lee fished Alma area ponds during the week and landed some nice bass. He had two 6-pounders – one on a green pumpkin Yum Dinger swimmer and the other on a Live Target field mouse. On Monday he caught a 3-pounder on a black buzzbait with a gold blade. Michael Winge reported that bass are hitting junebug lizards and trick worms. Crickets produced some big bluegills.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Steve and Brenda Hampton fished the Jekyll Pier on Saturday evening, and Steve had the hot hand (for a change….lol). Mudminnows were key for his catch. He had a half-dozen fish with 4 keepers up to 16 inches. The story of the trip, though, was the 20-plus incher that he lost. He will be back after that one shortly. A Waycross angler fished the Brunswick mud flats for tailing redfish on Sunday evening and saw 8 fish. He could not make it happen with the long rod and a streamer, but he had a blast watching them tail and trying. Tripletail are around buoys inside and floating off the Jekyll Island beaches. Tarpon are around in low numbers, but they will be in catchable numbers over the next few weeks. Michael Winge reported that some Waycross anglers made good catches of flounder and whiting in the Brunswick area. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported anglers catching whiting, trout, flounder, and sharks from the pier. Shrimp and curly-tailed grubs produced most of the seatrout and flounder. Dead shrimp on the bottom was the best presentation for whiting. A Waycross angler fishing the pier on Sunday said that he saw a big shark caught. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
The Altamaha River is going to be the place to be for panfish as the water drops out. Whether you are flinging artificials or pitching crickets or worms, you are going to catch fish. The willows, oxbows, and creeks are going to be the ticket from now until the water clears and greens up. The key is quickly determining where to find the best bite. Ponds are a great place to target a trophy bass at night. Fling black buzzbaits over the deepest water in the pond and hold on. In saltwater, your best options are whiting in the sounds (bottom fish with a piece of shrimp) or seatrout on the beach (I throw Sea Shads under a Cajun Thunder, but live shrimp under a pole float is the typical way to catch them).