Is there any more “Dad” thing to do on Father’s Day than to take him fishing? I mean, you can give him a tie, a fresh pair of New Balance sneakers, and tools for the shop…but, c’mon, let’s give Dad what he really wants and get him outdoors for a fun fishing trip! Take time to make those memories, because I can guarantee there are a lot of anglers out there that WISH they could take Dad one more time.
In case you missed it:
- Newest Residents: Check out just a few of the 6,500 young lake sturgeon being reared at the Summerville Hatchery. More about the sturgeon program HERE.
- In 2019, WRD fisheries management staff stocked over 1.8 million Largemouth bass in West Point Lake and other lakes around the state. Read more HERE.
- For the Ladies: The annual Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) workshop designed for women age 18 and older focuses on learning outdoor skills in a safe and structured environment.
- Tag, You’re It: Consider adding a Trout Unlimited or Coastal Redfish plate to your favorite fishing ride! Each purchase or renewal of a Trout Unlimited or Coastal Redfish license plate supports Georgia fish conservation and management programs. Tag funds help WRD hatcheries purchase stocking trucks, feed, equipment, raceways, and more. Tag funds play an integral part in habitat improvement efforts and fish stocking. Help us continue to provide customers with a top-notch fishing experience for only $25 more than a standard peach plate. Upgrade today – Info HERE.
On to the reports. We have A LOT of info this week, including reports from Central, Southwest, North and Southeast Georgia. Dive in, and again, take your Dad Fishing!
(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, 80’S
Bass fishing is good. Carolina rigs are the best all-day rigs with a zoom pumpkinseed lizard and try both sizes. There is a good top-water bite on both the small and large Chug Bugs. Shad Raps and Bandit crank baits are good all day especially on the main lake points . Have a Zoom pearl Super Fluke ready and make ten casts on a spot before you leave. Pop R’s and Zara Spooks are good on the rip rap and rocky points. There is a top-water Sammy bite first thing in the morning on the flats. Be sure to get therer early to take advantage of the top-water bite. You can catch an easy limit on a Sammy or Segoe Splash Pop R type bait fairly quickly if you’re in the right spot. Once the sun starts to get up there are a few fish hitting Mini ME’s and Lucky Craft Flashminnow Jerk baits till about mid-morning.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN .82 FEET, CLEAR, 80’S
Bass fishing is good. Start early using top-water lures like a Skitter Walk or Pop R. After your morning bite move to long points and fish a Carolina rigged worm slowly. First, use the Lowrance depth finder to see if bait fish are in the area. Spend some time riding and when you find the bait fish, you will find fish. This is where the Lowrance side-scanning technology can eliminate water. Rule is, no bait no bass. Big crank baits are also working well in the same locations. On sunny days flipping a jig and pig under the docks will bring you a few bites but they should be good fish. Run a pearl Senko on and over the grass beds and use the large size and rig it weightless.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 80’S
(This report brought to you by Mark Smith at Reel Time Service) — The lake is full. The water temperature is 80-83. The lake is clear. Heavy stain I-20 north.
Bass: Bass fishing is good. All the rain last week cooled the water down and the bass are feeding shallow early. Buzz Baits fished along sea walls and around docks will produce good-size fish the first hr. of daylight and the last hr. of daylight. White spinner baits on sea walls and rip rap are still producing. The Shad Rap in natural color has been producing very well around docks on the main lake. Later in the day don’t forget soft plastics under docks from the middle of the coves to the back of the coves.
Striper: Striper fishing is good. You can find stripers and hybrids all over the lake. Some fish are as deep as 30 to 50 feet. Keep moving until you see fish on your Lowrance and then drop bait to them. Down lines are the best producer. Fish are showing up from 10 feet to 50 feet. The umbrella bite is very good when Georgia Power is pulling water. So keep them on your boat and pull them over points and humps on the south end of the lake for some great action. The spoon bite is up and down. It just depends on the mood of the fish.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. The long line bite has taken off over the past few days. The fish are starting to stack up on the trees. Long-lining down to the top of the trees has been the best producer over the past week. Use your Lowrance to look for the fish in the timber and then pull your jigs over the tree.
WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, CLEAR, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair and the time has come for some great top-water action. Start with top-water during the low light hours, early and late; Rebel Pop R’s, Sammy’s and buzz baits are your best bet. Other good choices are the Lucky Craft Top Gun and the white buzz bait. Throw them right to the bank and the fish will nail it right away or they won’t at all. Keep moving and cover a lot of super shallow water in any main lake cove. Fish back into the coves about halfway and then turn around and work back out the opposite bank. The gold #11 Rapala is a great back up if they won’t commit to top-water. During the day the best bet is going to be a white pearl Zoom Super Fluke or Trick Worm. Have a jig handy and cast it to the swirl if the fish takes a swing at a top-water bait and misses.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.33 FEET, STAINED, 80’S
Bass fishing is good. Lots of fish are fairly shallow, although some have begun moving to the summer humps and points. Spinner baits and buzz baits continue to produce strikes during early morning. Seawalls, rip rap, grass, lay downs, docks, and slow tapering points are prime targets for these early morning aggressive fish. A Chug Bug or Pop R are good choices when this action develops. With the sun shining, docks and boat houses have been the best targets for bass. Jigs and Texas rigged soft plastics have been the best choices. For the jig, try ¼ and ½ ounce models. Zoom Pro Chunks work well with either as trailers. Experiment with worms from small to large. If the fish are non-aggressive, a light bullet weight and U tale or trick worm may be the best choice. Large worms like an Old Monster may not draw as many strikes, but can trigger larger fish to bite. Try throwing a Carolina rig between docks. A few small schools of fish have begun using main lake points and humps at 6 to 12 feet deep. A Carolina rig has been best, but large crank baits are worthy of a few casts.
LAKE JACKSON IS 1.88 FEET OVER FULL, CLEAR, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. First thing in the morning bass are being found on sea walls and rip rap where you can find the shad. The action first thing in the morning is fast so have your bait ready to go. A white buzz bait, a white spinner bait or a ¼ ounce Rat T Trap would be the bait of choice. A ¼ or 3/8 ounce spinnerbait in the white with double willow leaf blades will work. First, use the Lowrance depth finder to see if bait fish are in the area. Spend some time riding and when you find the bait fish, you will find fish. This is where the Lowrance side scanning technology can eliminate water. Rule is, no bait no bass. Fish this spinnerbait around any shallow rocks. After the sun gets up, fish around docks and long points. Fishing a Weedless Wonder lead head and a finesse worm in green pumpkin will work.
BIG LAZER PFA (More Info HERE)
- Surface water temperature: 85o F
- Water visibility: Visibility is about 29”
- Water level: Water level is down about 8” due to lack of precipitation
In general, June and July temperatures at Big Lazer are getting hot. Fish tend to hang out in shady cover during the hot days and feed in the mornings and evenings. Night fishing continues and should offer productive fishing for dedicated anglers.
Bass: Good – The post spawn bass fishing is pretty good. Bass can be found in the upper 3 to 4 feet of the water column. Because of hot temperatures, bass fishing will be at its best early in the morning and late in the day just before sundown. Top-water and shallow presentation of bait is your best bet this time of year.
Crappie: Poor- Warm summer temperatures have caused crappie to move into deeper water as well as spread out over most of the lake making them somewhat difficult to locate. Fishing deep water around standing timber with live minnows is your best bet.
Bream: Good – Bream fishing has been good. They have started spawning and will aggressively guard their beds, which improves your chances at catching several for the table. Crickets and worms are good bait for spawning bream. Also, small grub like plastic jigs can work well this time of year; try a variety of colors. However, make sure the hooks are small because the bream have small mouths.
Channel Catfish: Good- The rocks along the dam are always a good spot to try and catch big channel cats. However, angling for catfish has also been good in deeper water over much of the lake. Catfish are being caught on worms, livers, and sometimes shrimp.
MCDUFFIE PFA (More info HERE)
- Water Temperature: 85⁰F
- Water Visibility: 19 – 54+ in.
- The Fish Cleaning Station is open.
Bass: The bass bite has slowed down some with the heat lately but a few nice bass continue to be caught early in the mornings and later in the evenings in Jones, Willow and Breambuster on baits that imitate shad. Especially in Breambuster, shad are schooling where the siphon drains flow into the ponds (especially after a rain) and schools of nice bass are aggressively chasing them.
Bream: Quality bream are being caught in Bridge Lake in the mornings and evenings. The bream bite in Jones has been hit-or-miss lately but nice shellcracker are being caught in Willow. Fish feeders at Jones and Beaverlodge Lakes are excellent spots to fish for bream.
Channel Catfish: The catfish action has been good lately, with many anglers having a lot of success fishing in the mornings and evenings. Night fishing is now open in Jones Lake, which is an excellent time to fish for catfish. Many nice catfish have been caught in Bridge Lake and Beaverlodge Lake lately and numerous smaller catfish have been caught in Jones Lake. Fish feeders at Jones and Beaverlodge are excellent spots to fish for catfish.
Striped Bass: Stripers can be found in Clubhouse and Bridge Lakes. Numerous 10-12 inch stripers are being caught in Bridge on chicken liver and worms.
(Fishing report courtesy of Amy Cottrell, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
(Report provided by Brad McDaniel of Flint River Outdoors) — Despite the hot temperatures, people are still catching fish around southwest Georgia. At Lake Blackshear, Black Crappie are still being caught, though they have moved into their summer locations — deeper water around brush and docks. Sunfish species (Redear and Bluegill) are still being caught in shallow waters with live bait and artificial lures. Largemouth Bass are post spawn and scattered from shallow to deeper water. As always at Lake Blackshear, try something very new or something very old, or live bait. One good thing about Catfish is that they never quit biting here! The large amount of rain we got over the weekend created high, muddy waters coming down the Flint River. Largemouth Bass will probably be the best species to go for at the moment.
WALTER F. GEORGE
Biologists sampled this reservoir late last week near George T. Bagby State Park and Florence Marina State Park. We captured a number of Largemouth Bass and sunfish spp. in shallows near vegetated edges. The reservoir has been producing nice-sized largemouth bass during tournaments and recreational angling. While spawning is definitely over for largemouth bass and crappie, locals have commented that this is the most productive year they’ve ever seen on the reservoir. Tournament anglers are easily catching 30 pounds of fish right off the bat. Aside from largemouth bass and black crappie, channel catfish and flathead are caught more regularly. Channel catfish typically throughout the entire reservoir, and Flathead Catfish caught more often near the upper reaches of the reservoir. Check out the sampling photos below!
(Fishing report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
It looks like a great weekend ahead of us, before we return to the hot, muggy summer. We hope everyone has their tackle shop gift cards, certificates for guided fishing trips, and lifetime fishing licenses already in hand for dear ole Dad. We’ve had some really nice, cold nights in the mountains, and last week’s five inches of rain really recharged north Georgia streams and rivers. Those flowing waters are finally dropping to wade-able levels, just in time for the Father’s Day weekend. Our WRD Father’s Day gifts to all of you are some top-secret intel on reservoir DO’s, priceless summer river fishing techniques, KFE’s to cement your SuperDad status, and hot fly recipes for perpetuity. Don’t miss ‘em! Here we go:
NORTH GA SATURDAY KIDS EVENTS
Hey North Georgia Anglers: (From Lauren Long, Admin Support, WRD Fisheries) — If you are looking for something new and fun to do with your kids during the weekend in June, a KFE is the place to be! A kids fishing event (KFE) is a perfect place to introduce young anglers to fishing. Also, what better way to spend Father’s Day weekend with your “Mini Me’s” than with a pole in one hand and a memory in the other.
- Tallulah River Campground KFE: 8 am-12 pm/Saturday, June 15th – The Tallulah River Campground is making up for the rain from last weekend, having their annual KFE this Saturday, June 15th! This trout-fishing event is for kids ages 2-15. Prizes and refreshments available. Event sponsored by the US Forest Service and Rabun Chapter of TU.
- Buck Shoals KFE: 8 am-12 pm/Saturday, June 15th – Our amazing Region 2 Game Management is holding another one of their KFE’s this weekend as well! Bring a chair, pack a lunch, sit back and make memories watching your littles cast away! I personally love this WMA because of the wonderful staff who welcome you with warm smiles and helping hands! You can catch anything from Bass, Bluegill, Crappie and Catfish! They have got this place “stocked” with fun for your adventurous buddies!
Welcome Back Stan! We welcomed Stan Elrod back to Region 1 (Northeast Georgia). He spent nearly twenty years in our Gainesville region (as White County Game Warden and then the Toccoa district work unit’s sergeant) before promoting to the East Central Georgia Captain slot. He laterally transferred into our captain slot (vacated on the recent promotion of Johnny Johnson to DNR Law Enforcement HQ). We’ll enjoy working with Stan once again. And, for those of you who don’t know Stan, he has a big heart for kids and their Outdoor Dreams!
Summer Fun: Switch species from trout to warmwater and coolwater critters and you’ll have a big time. A web version of the attached “summer fly fishing tips” is also HERE, along with a nice story for this season.
Where-Oh-Where to Go? We’ll help you! 5 Steps to Finding Public Fishing Opportunities
Good West Side Intel: Check out this fishing report HERE.
Refuge River Report: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — Stripers like the 31-pounder pictured here continue to find their way to the Etowah River as they look for the coldest and most oxygenated water available. However, a few anglers have reported that they are still catching a few stripers in the warmer waters of the Oostanaula and Coosa Rivers. Wherever you choose to target them, striped bass are shad-eating machines. Many studies have shown that their diets are made up of at least 90% shad, and anglers should select their baits accordingly. Live shad are still the best bait, but shad-imitating artificial lures will still catch fish.
Ponds are Hot: Evidence HERE.
Lathem Lately? Info HERE
Rainy Day Recipes: What do you do when it’s raining cats and dogs on the weekend? Many folks will get in the kitchen and cook up some favorite or new recipes. Dredger used his washed-out Saturday (6/8) to cook up some summer favorites, his simplified versions of fodders and bombers. He’s sharing these recipes with y’all via the attached photos. The original chefs for these prize winners are Kent Edmunds for the bomber, and Craig Reindeau for the fodder. They’re so easy, even a government worker can’t ruin their recipes. Serve them up this summer at a lake or river near you and get ready, for you never know who will show up for supper. For example, see the very last story in today’s report (including the fish-lip pic), and a little more HERE.
Toona Attractors: (From Jim Hakala, Fisheries Biologist) — New fish attractors placed in Lake Allatoona. Members of the E3 Bassmasters club and staff from the GADNR and US Army Corps of Engineers recently deployed fifteen Mossback fish attractors at five locations in the McKaskey Creek area of the lake. The fish attractors were purchased by the E3 Bassmasters using grant funds awarded them by Forty Creek Distillers earlier this year. Three attractors were placed at each location. The sonar image was taken just minutes after deployment. Bass, bream and crappie are expected to take up residence on these structures at various times of the year. Find the location of these new fish attractors (Sites 67-71), as well as Allatoona’s other existing fish attractor sites HERE.
Got to Get Out: Last weekend, Dredger couldn’t stand being housebound any longer because of the enduring monsoon. On Sunday afternoon, he finally noticed some breaks in the Fox 5 TV radar app on his phone, with the storms cells only colored green and yellow. No red or orange meant no lightning. So he grabbed his Goretex raincoat and yak and dashed up to Unicoi Lake. He dodged some cells and got caught by others, but they were warm rains and the rainproof fabric performed well. He stayed on top with a stealth bomber and small yellow popper and paddled the perimeter. A mixed bag of a dozen small bass and large bream quickly cured his cabin fever.
Reservoir Profiles: Here come the first set of temperature and oxygen profiles for 2019.
- Lanier – Compared to last year, we are beginning the summer a bit warmer on the surface, but with greater dissolved oxygen concentrations below the thermocline.
Lanier Bass: Topwater Tuesday
Capt Mack’s Report: Check it out HERE.
Ken’s Reservoir Reports: Get Ken’s reports HERE.
Lake Lanier Report: (This report brought to you by Jimbo Mathley) — LAKE LANIER IS FULL, THE CREEKS ARE STAINED AND THE MAIN LAKE IS CLEAR THE RIVERS AND UP LAKE COVES ARE VERY STAINED. 80S –Bass fishing on Lake Lanier has really picked up in the last week as the weather has cooled. The fish we are catching have been on points and humps in 15 to 20 feet of water, depending on time of day and conditions. The fish have continued to intensify their presence on the brush. There is some top water activity present on shallow rock points in the mornings, and the offshore top water bite is definitely getting stronger. Chuggers, Walkers, walkers, poppers are all getting bites right now. Want more specific details? Subscribe to my weekly video fishing reports HERE.
Lake Allatoona Report: (This bass fishing report is by Matt Driver) — LAKE ALLATOONA IS 1.00 FEET OVER FULL, 80S. Bass fishing is great. Many Fish have moved off shore, and most of the fish we are catching are in 12 to 15 feet of water. The Strike King 5xd has been working well. We are mixing up colors, but shad patterns are working best. We have been rotating from the crank bait to the drop shot for fish that are suspended. I’m using a Big Bite 3.75 jerk minnow on 7 pound test Sniper fluorocarbon. We are not finding large schools of fish. Three to four fish schools tend to be more active. At night we are slowing down and throwing a 3/16 Picasso shakedown and a Big Bite 6 inch finesse worm.
More Lake Allatoona Info (Guides Report brought to you by Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service) — Lake Line sides fishing is good. The spawn run is over. The fish are back on the main lake and are starting to set up on a summer pattern. Big schools of hybrids can be found anywhere from the S turns to as far south as Tanyard Creek. The down rod bite is the most productive bite going on the lake now. Fishing live shad at depths from 20 to 30 feet is producing for our boats from one end of the lake to the other. Our bait of choose has been big thread fins with small gizzards running a close second. These fish can be found on your Lowrance on or around most points, humps and flats. Lowrance electronics can be a big help during the summer months. Summer time is awesome for numbers on Lake Allatoona give us a call at 770 827 6282 and let’s take the kids fishing.
Lake Hartwell Report: LAKE HARTWELL IS 1.29 FEET OVER FULL, CLEAR, 80S. Bass fishing is good. There is a good top water bite with a buzz bait. Cast it on any cover and throw it right up on the bank. Bass were in really shallow water feeding on shad and small bream. Flukes are still working in the Baby Bass pattern. First, use the Lowrance depth finder to see if bait fish are in the area. Spend some time riding than fishing but when you find the bait fish, you will find fish. This is where the Lowrance side scanning technology can eliminate water. Rule is, no bait no bass. Out on the main lake points, the Shad Raps and DT 10 crank baits are catching fish. The outer edges of the older docks are still producing some good bass. Trick worms and figs are mainly responsible for the keepers.
Rocky Reports: (From Rocky Mountain PFA Manager Dennis Shiley) — I know that there are some great bass catches coming out of Lake Antioch (at Rocky Mountain PFA) on worms and jigs in 8 to 15’ of water. Top water is working well in the morning and low light conditions. The walleye are fairly active in 10’ of water hitting Rapala shad-raps trolled behind the boat. Shell crackers are also biting good in 10 to 15’ on crickets and red wigglers. Channel catfish are finishing up their spawn on rip rap dams and hitting just about anything when they are active.
More Bass News for Rocky PFA: (From Jim Hakala, Fisheries Biologist) — Rock piles and deep brush are holding good numbers of fish at Rocky Mountain PFA. The pattern is typical of summer. Try top water baits early, move to crankbaits or spinnerbaits fished in shady areas and then transition to deeper presentations like Texas rigged plastic worms or drop shot rigs as the sun moves overhead. DNR staff encountered angler John Ferguson of Kennesaw earlier this week just as he reeled in this nice largemouth bass. After a couple quick photos, John released the plump fish to fight again another day.
HIGH ELEVATION TROUT
High Elevation Fun: Just a nice story and pics to enjoy. Remember those high elevation streams just across our northern border. We are all owners of that nice big national park, too.
T23’s Smokies Report: In search of both cooler weather and cooler water last Saturday, I drove up to the GSMNP and, refreshingly, found both. After taking in the gorgeous mountain and valley views from a higher elevation pull off, I made my way to a stream I had fished before, but to a section I had not. Because of the clear water and bright noonday sun overhead, I nymphed during the day and picked up an even split between pretty wild browns and rainbows who put up a spirited, and sometimes acrobatic, fight. I was even treated to an elk who casually crossed the stream about 150 feet upstream. Around 7PM, I drove to another stream and fished double dries – a #14 yellow stimulator and a #16 yellow sally – sometimes dead drifted, sometimes skittered. While there was a brief yellow sally hatch that evening, it wasn’t substantial enough to inspire a feeding frenzy, nor a lot of fish interested in my top water offerings. But, the few that were managed to the net during the last hour of light were worth it thanks to their vibrant color and impressively energetic pull. The day ended without having seen another angler. All in all, a relaxing and beautiful time that sure beat house chores.
Rabunite Trouter23: More HERE
Deadly Damer: Ole Tight Loops gave us a nice report: I fished my favorite north GA wild trout stream a couple weekends ago and had a fantastic time. I arrived on Sunday morning as all the campers were packing up and leaving. I saw recent boot prints as I was fishing upstream, and things were a bit slow to start, so I suspect I was fishing behind someone for the whole day. But, I took my time and with every passing minute the action got better and better as the fish re-settled. By the end of the day, I was hooking fish on nearly every cast! I even caught one fish in the middle of the road (see pic). This trip was before the recent rains and we were in a bit of a drought, but the flows still looked great and were at the perfect level for throwing dries. Fished the trusty elk hair caddis all day long. The colors on some of these browns were as beautiful as you will ever see. I did not count but landed somewhere around 30 fish. My last cast picked up a solid 12-incher that made a strong run upstream back to his cover log, doubling over my 2-weight in the process before I pulled him back out. Best day of fishing I’ve had in a while. I’ll bet the fishing will be hot again as the waters recede and clear after last week’s storms.
Red-Striped Rainbows: Nice video on Georgia’s Rock Creek trout
Stockers Galore! State and federal trout hatcheries stocked nearly 53,000 trout during the week of June 3 to serve our anticipated large summertime crowds and supply fish for multiple events held during National Fishing and Boating Week. Given last weekend’s monsoons, many of those fish should still be in the creeks, albeit some distance downstream due to the flood flows. So, if you add last week’s 53K to this week’s 33K, that’s a whole lotta trout waiting for your visit to the mountains. Check out the updated list of stocked waters on Friday afternoons HERE.
Not Just Trout: Try a warmwater stream near you and enjoy the diversity of creek residents willing to hit your earthworm, cricket, or woolly bugger. It’s how a lot of us began our angling addiction decades ago, and it’s still a lot of fun. Give it a go, even if you’re close to home.
Trout Camp Kudos: Here’s a tip of the DNR ball cap to all of the Georgia Trout Unlimited volunteers who supported the 16th annual, weeklong Trout camp for two dozen teenagers. WRD staff supported the camp with a stream ecology lesson at Smithgall Woods, a Burton Hatchery tour, a work day constructing brook trout stream habitat structures and stream fish sampling with the kids and the U.S. Forest Service, and a Tallulah stocking run with the kids as the trout stockers. A good time was had by all. Special thanks to Trout Camp organizers Kathy and Charlie Breithaupt and Rodney Tumlin. They are certainly growing our next generation of angler-conservationists! Pics HERE.
Trout Camp: Anyone with an interested teenager can look over the Trout Camp agenda. Contact your local TU chapter to discuss their sponsorship possibilities for eligible 2020 campers.
SOME EXTRA INFO
More Than A Million Bass: Largemouth bass Production and Stocking
Wildlife Puzzle: Did you see these xrays?
Get Back in the Game: If you don’t play, you can’t win. Titanic’s captain, also known as Dredger, shook off his wounded ego and rose to Guru’s challenge to return recently to the upper Hooch. One night after work, just before the monsoon hit, the duo waded some local shoals. Dredger tossed an 8-weight and rope fly in the big pool below the whitewater, in hopes of a rematch with a trophy gar. He struck out in the first hour, so he switched over to a hairy fodder to entice some consolation prizes, resident shoalies. He caught three up to about 11 inches and was happy to avoid the skunk. After trying another favorite deep pool without success (the flow was too high for his fly to reach the rocky far bank), he waded back upstream, toward the evening takeout point. The head of the pool was met by a fast upstream riffle, but there was a small, quiet stretch in between the two main currents. He never passes that spot up, but he rarely catches anything there. Still, it’s just too fishy for this student of bioenergetics to pass over. So pitched his lobster fly into the slow seam a few more times as he waded toward the truck. And it stopped….After a good 5-10 minute war, with the heavy eight-weight bent over and the drag singing a few times, his prize finally rolled on the surface, and he vice-gripped its lower lip. And he was thankful for his fishing buddy, who had fast-waded across and then down 500 yards of big river to document the epic battle and final victory. The Wal Mart nylon sewing tape stretched to twenty and a half inches.
Home run: Check it out HERE.
Get back into the game. If you don’t step up and take a swing, you can’t score. We hope you hit a few homers yourself with your family and dear friends. We are so fortunate to live, work, and play in north Georgia. Take the chance soon to go fishing. Happy Father’s Day to all of our dear dads; may you make some special fishing memories of your own very soon.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
I’m sure glad we’re done with triple-digit heat at least for now! Fish are definitely in their summertime patterns, but the catches have been good in the Okefenokee, rivers, and ponds. Early and late (or even at night) will be key for the next couple of months. Full Moon is June 17th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
I received several very good reports from the river this week for catfish, bream, and bass. One group fished the tidal area around Darien on Monday morning and landed 6 bass and lost another one in just a few hours of fishing. They tried spinnerbaits and crankbaits with no luck, but they got them started biting with a black/blue Texas-rigged paddle-tail worm fished around wood. They had several fish up to 2 pounds on that setup. They also caught a couple on a Strike King Rage Swimmer swimbait (black/blue hue) fished slowly. With this week’s rain and the wall of water descending from the piedmont, the water will likely muddy and the bite slow down this week for all species but maybe catfish. Michael Winge reported lots of big bream being caught in the Jesup area on crickets. J.J. and Lance at Altamaha Park (912-264-2342) said that the mullet bite has been great. Creels of 96 and 112 mullet were reported by 2 different groups. Green worms fished around sandbars were key to the catches. Shellcrackers were caught in big numbers by anglers putting pink worms on the bottom. Crickets and crawfish Satilla Spins produced some great redbreast catches this week. Tons (literally….one group had over 600 pounds in one night this weekend) of flathead catfish were caught on goldfish and other panfish this week. The river level was 3.3 feet and rising fast (85 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.7 feet and falling (82 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 11th.
With the low river level, bank angling and wading has been the best approach in the upper river. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that redbreast, bream, and catfish were caught again this week with crickets (redbreasts and bream) and pink worms, chicken livers, and shrimp (catfish). Some bream and redbreasts were caught in the lower Satilla on crickets. There will be a flathead catfish tournament held out of the Burnt Fort Landing from 5pm June 22nd through 8am June 23rd. The entry fee is $50 per boat, and there is a 20 bush hook limit per team (rod-and-reel angling is allowed while bush hooks are out). Only flathead catfish will be weighed in (with intent of getting the exotic predators out of the Satilla). For more information, contact Dale Anderson at 904-477-1815. The river level on June 11th at the Waycross gage was 3.9 feet and rising (81 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 2.8 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Shady Bream Tournaments held their second artificial-only panfish tournament on Saturday, June 8th out of Kings Ferry boat ramp. First place was the team of Mark Bryan and Ryan Gillespie with a 10-fish weight of 8-lb., 1oz. They also had big fish of 1-lb. 0-oz. Wyatt Crews and I came in 5th with 6-lb., 12-oz., just out of the money (they paid 4 places this tournament). Most of our redbreasts ate crawfish-colored Satilla Spins around wood. Our bluegills (we culled with some really nice fish late in the morning) inhaled the chartreuse bruiser or dreamsicle colors along main river roots. I was pleased for never being on that part of the river before. For more information check out Shady Bream Tournaments on Facebook. The group plans to hold one more tournament this year in July. Catfish reports remained very good for anglers putting shrimp on the bottom. Some anglers reported catching bluegills on crickets from the backs of the oxbow lakes. The river level at the Macclenny gage on June 11th was 1.8 feet and rising.
LITTLE RIVER (ABOVE VALDOSTA)
Steve Bridges fished the Little River above Valdosta and landed a bunch of redbreasts and bluegills on rainbow Satilla Spins. The river level at the Hahira gage on June 11th was 4.4 feet and falling.
Mark Burch had a memorable trip on the west side recently. He used a prototype bus stop-colored Satilla Spin and whacked around 100 warmouth and kept a limit of 50 of them. The red head/yellow bodied spinnerbait with a gold blade was more than the warmouth in Billy’s Lake on the Fargo side could stand. Mark caught them all on the same lure until a chain pickerel (jackfish) ended his fun and cut him off. Anglers reported the warmouth bite going crazy on the east side again this week. Crickets and worms were the baits of choice. 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.
On Friday afternoon a Blackshear angler flung senkos around a pond and landed 7 bass up to 3 pounds. Chad Lee smacked the quality fish this week. His biggest was a 7 1/2-pounder that inhaled a Whopper Plopper topwater Friday night while fishing with Daniel Johnson and Logan Deen. Logan also had a fat 3-pounder on the same lure that evening. Chad also had a 7-pounder that ate a white speed worm on Friday afternoon. He had a whole host of 5-pounders (12 of them!) throughout the week. After a great Friday night trip, he fished in the rain on Saturday morning and had three 5-pounders on a sexy shad square-bill crankbait and a few 2-pounders that ate a hollow-bodied frog fished over slop. On Saturday afternoon, he had the 5-pounder on a Keitech swimbait and about 8 smaller fish on senkos. Early Sunday morning he had four 5-pounders on the crankbait and lost a potential double-digit fish that dove into sticks and pulled off. Later that evening he caught another two 5-pounders on the crankbait, and he even hooked an alligator on the lure. Fortunately, the gator “spit the hook” without his having to wrestle it…. On Monday evening he added two more 5-pounders, one on a spinnerbait and one on a black-gold blade buzzbait. A trio of Waycross anglers fished a Waycross area pond on Sunday evening and landed 10 big bluegills on crawfish and bruised banana gold Satilla Spins fished around vegetation and wood. Michael Winge reported that in Waycross area ponds, bream were caught on crickets, while worms fooled some nice catfish.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Both Steve and Brenda Hampton caught flounder this weekend from the Jekyll Pier (usually one or the other has the hot hand). They used both live bait and artificials to catch 4 keepers during a Saturday morning trip. Their fish were between 12 and 16 inches. Steve has started a Facebook page “Flat Fish Fanatics”, so check that out if you are interested. Shane Barber fished the St. Marys area last Friday and caught 5 keeper sheepshead. The trout were reportedly caught on the beach this week. It’s time, so I’m not surprised to hear of some good catches. Bucky at Winge’s Bait and Tackle reported an angler bringing a big 20-plus pound black drum into the store over the weekend. They caught it in the Brunswick area. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle reported good bites for trout, flounder, whiting, and sharks. Trout and flounder ate live shrimp and grubs, while cut bait fooled the sharks. Mudminnows and finger mullet fooled most of the flounder, and dead shrimp on the bottom was the ticket for whiting. Crabbing has been hit-or-miss. Some folks caught a bunch from the St. Simons Pier, while I heard of a group that only caught 6 all day on the Jekyll Pier. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
Well… you can scratch last week’s recommendation of fishing the Altamaha River for the next few weeks, as a big slug of water is headed downstream. The St. Marys has been producing some good catches of redbreasts and bluegills, and the tidal portion should be fishable even with the current low water levels. Flounder fishing should be great in saltwater until the tides ramp up around the full moon and muddy the water. Seatrout fishing on the Cumberland Island beach would be another good saltwater bite on days when the weather allows.
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