Back to School, Back to School!  Well, your favorite little fishing buddy might have to hit the books during the week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make time to throw out a line in the evenings or the weekend. Need to know where to go? Be sure to check out our fishing reports and make your plans!

What’s In The News?

  • Water Willows on West Point: Check out the story HERE
  • Monster Fish Lurking – YOUR Fishing License Gets You a Discount to See Them: Monster deal to see National Geographic’s Monster Fish exhibit at Fernbank Museum. Save $5 off your box office ticket now through August 18 when you show your valid Georgia fishing license. Need a license? Get it HERE.

This week, we have fresh fishing reports from Southeast, North and Central Georgia. Get your pole and tackle box ready and Go Fish Georgia!

SOUTHEAST GEORGIA 

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

The extreme heat broke a little this week, and the bites were good. Bass on the Altamaha and ponds and catfish on the St. Marys produced great reports. First quarter moon is August 7th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.

ALTAMAHA RIVER

Shane Barber fished the lower Altamaha last week and did well for bass. He had 16 keepers one morning before the heat got bad. He also had 7 panfish to go along with them. J.J. and Lance at Altamaha Park said that the mullet bite has been great, and folks are catching them on green worms on the back sides of sandbars. Nice bream were caught with worms and crickets. The bass bite has been solid in the tidewater. One group fishing for flathead catfish caught over 300 pounds on goldfish during 2 days of limb-lining. The river level was 3.1 feet and rising (86 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.9 feet and falling (87 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on July 30th.

SATILLA RIVER

Chris Nugent walked the upper Satilla River last week right before the level rose and caught some nice redbreasts on a prototype zebra colored Satilla Spin. He is waiting for the river to rise enough that he can get back after them seriously again.  Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that river is low again, but they had reports of some big bream being caught on crickets and catfish eating livers fished in the deep holes. The river level on July 30th at the Waycross gage was 4.1 feet and falling (80 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 4.1 feet and falling.

ST. MARYS RIVER

Catfishing was tops this week according to most reports, and liver and shrimp were the most common baits. One angler caught more than 20 big bream this past weekend by using crickets. The river level at the Macclenny gage on July 30th was 8.4 feet and rising.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

Glen Solomon and friends have been hammering warmouth, fliers,  and bowfin on the west side by using Dura-Spins, his trusty 4-inch worm, and yellow sallies. Check out his article about fishing for bowfin in the Okefenokee in the August issue of Georgia Outdoor News. On the east side, anglers reported catching good numbers of warmouth from the canals by using crickets.

LOCAL PONDS

Chad Lee got closer to his double-digit goal this week, catching his personal best largemouth, a 9-pounder. He also caught other solid 4 to 6-pounders on hollow-bodied frogs, black buzzbaits, and white snake crankbaits. Another angler fishing a southwest Georgia lake reported catching a 10-pounder and several smaller bass on live bait. Michael Winge reported that in Waycross area ponds, bream were caught on crickets, while topwater frogs worked around shoreline cover produced some good bass catches.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

SE GA Trevor Cox Big Seatrout 7 19
Trevor Cox caught this 4 1/2-pound seatrout that measured almost 25 inches from the St. Marys area of our coast. He was fishing a live shrimp under a Cajun Thunder Float to fool the gator trout.

Cooper and Robert Bringolf had a fun weekend fishing from the Jekyll beach. They had a mixed bag of sharks, bluefish, whiting, and gafftopsail catfish. Fishing out of St. Marys this week, Trevor Cox caught a monster 4 1/2-pound trout by fishing live shrimp under a Cajun Thunder Float. He also managed a 30-inch, 9-pound redfish on Tuesday morning on the same rig and bait. The flounder bite was slower this weekend by most accounts in the Brunswick area. Several anglers reported catching only one or two per trip. Michael Winge reported the best flounder bites were around the St. Marys Jetties by anglers fishing mudminnows and finger mullet. He reported a good whiting bite off the King and Prince on days when you could get out. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that anglers caught good numbers of sheepshead this week under the dock by dabbling fiddler crabs. Trout, whiting, flounder, sharks, and croakers were also caught from the pier. Blue crabs were numerous under the pier, and chicken necks fooled them into folks’ traps. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.

BEST BET

With the heat, seatrout fishing on the beach or flounder and whiting in the sounds is hard to beat on days when the winds allow you to get out. The Okefenokee bowfin bite is great during the dog-days of summer if pulling on a strong fish is your main objective. The hotter it gets, the better the bowfin eat a lure. Inline spinners are hard to beat for them.

NORTH GEORGIA 

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

Despite the frequent afternoon thunderstorms this week, the trout hatcheries continued to stock our most popular trout fishing streams.  Trout stocking information is posted on our website, so check it out at

ReidGiles_YouthAnglerAward_LMB_07.31.19
Reid Giles with his 6 lb, 11 oz Lunker – way to go!

Now That Is a Whopper! Twelve-year old, Reid Giles, was fishing with his grandfather in Lake Burton this week and landed the biggest largemouth bass of his life weighing 6 lb, 11 oz (see picture).  Reid was anxious to get the fish back into the lake so that it could live to fight another day.  Reid said the big bass was chasing live bait at the surface just before it inhaled his lure.  Congratulations, Reid, for a great catch and kudos to Reid’s grandfather for passing on his passion for fishing to the next generation.  What a good lesson for all of us.  Anglers in other North Georgia reservoirs are also catching bass on topwater in the early morning and evening before switching to deepwater presentations in brushpiles during the daylight hours.

Jeff Last Day2_07.31.19
Last Work Day for Durniak – The Best Kind of “Office” Day

Last Day At Work Doing What He Loves Best: You may notice that this week’s fishing report is a bit brief.  Jeff Durniak, Regional Fisheries Supervisor for North Georgia and author of so many great fishing reports, retired this week.  Jeff spent his last day at work doing what he loved best, sampling for trout in the beautiful setting of the Chattooga River.  What a way to go out!  We wish Jeff the best as he embarks on even more fishing adventures.

 

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 DOWN .92 FEET, CLEAR, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Start early each day with buzz baits and stick baits and use brighter colors.  Work rocky points, humps and bridges.  Use pearl chartreuse back Shad Raps in #5 and #7’s sizes and cast them on the rip rap around the bridges and cast parallel to the rocks and bump them with the lures.  Watch the Lowrance sonar and Down Scan technology and many of the bass are on the bottom.  Down Scan technology with the Fish Reveal up to 89% can spot these fish better than sonar.  But, use the HIGH CHIRP to see them too.  The fish are small and the big fish are still not biting.  The Zoom water melon seed mini lizard and a long Carolina rig can draw a few strikes on road beds and creek ditches. 

CLARKS HILL IS DOWN FULL, 80’S

Bass fishing is good.  Find the bass on the secondary points and main lake points to feed on shad.  Early in the mornings a square bill crank bait, top water bait and a Zoom Super Fluke are working.  Square bill crank baits are now more of a niche bait.  The square bill lures have the fastest growing segment of the hard bait industry because they catch big bass.  Square bills are like the spinnerbaits of rip rap.  The bill shape allows them to crawl over rocks effectively and deflect in a way that the big fish attack.  When activity slows during the day, a Carolina rigged Zoom lizard will continue to be productive in these same areas.  There will still be some fish shallow in the creeks, and a Texas rigged worm or jig around blowdowns and timber is good for some largemouth. 

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 80’S

(This Lake Oconee Line Side report brought to you by Mark Smith at Reel Time Service)

Bass: Bass fishing is fair.  Buzz Baits fished along sea walls and around docks will produce good-sized fish the first hr. of daylight and the last hr. of daylight.  Keep a trick worm tied on and if the fish misses the buzz bait pitch the trick worm in the same spot and hang on.  After the sun gets up switch to docks in deeper water.  Texas rigged worms fished under the docks will produce.  The humps on the lower end of the lake have also been producing when Georgia Power is pulling water.

Striped Bass: Striper fishing is fair.  The afternoon bite is the best option.  The fish are starting move up the lake toward the rivers.  Good fish can be found on humps and points as well as the pipe line.  Spoons, umbrella rigs, as well as thread fin shad have been producing well.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good.  The fish are starting to stack up on the trees.  Use your Lowrance to locate the schools in the trees at about 10 feet deep.  When you find the fish in the trees drop your live crappie minnow down to them and hang on.  Long lining down to the top of the trees has been producing over the past week. 

WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, CLEAR, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  In the mornings bass are after buzz baits and Pop R type baits with a feather on the back hook.  Make sure you keep your bait right on the bank or up against the seawalls.  The fish are exceptionally shallow.  This bait can also work with Sufix 10 pound Elite line with the KVD Caffeine Shad Jr. Pearl.  Up lake anglers are using a small Alabama rig with all pearl tiny fluke’s trailers.  As the sun gets up, stay focused on the shaded areas for the better fish.  Watch the Lowrance sonar and Down Scan technology and some bass are hugging the bottom.  Down Scan technology with the Fish Reveal up to 89% can spot these fish better than sonar.  But, use the HIGH CHIRP to see them too.  Once the shade disappears or the top-water bite ends, flip the docks or fish brush piles and laydowns.  For the worm rig use the Weedless Wonder lead heads and this bait can get into thick cove and not hang up too bad. 

LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.1 FEET, STAINED, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  Small grass frogs in the mornings can work and cast them shallow.  Be sure to have a Rapala Ripstop handy.  Bass will eat this jerk bait and this style of slash bait works.  Try the various X Raps and the Ripstop as this bait creates a fast ripping action that stops when paused.  With a flash and a subtle shimmy, the motionless bait gets a lot of attention for all sizes of bass.  It can be fished a variety of ways, from jerking, twitching, pausing, and snapping, to a straight retrieve.  It’s 3½ inches long and weighs a ¼ ounce.  It will achieve depths greater than three to four feet.  It comes in 14 different patterns to match any hatch or water condition.  Also, it is hard to beat a Rapala shad rap purple descent. 

LAKE JACKSON IS .81 FEET OVER FULL, CLEAR, 80’S

Bass fishing is fair.  The lake is full, stained in the rivers, light stain to mid lake, clear on the south end.  The bass are off the banks to their summer locations.  There is still a top-water bite early.  Target sea walls with a buzz bait.  As the sun get up switch to a shakey head with a dark green worm fished under the docks in 10 feet of water.  Try the Strike King Super Finesse worm in green pumpkin and KVD Perfect plastics Bull Worm bold blue.  Georgia Power has been pulling water in the afternoon; when this happens a spinner bait fished at the bridge rip raps can be productive. 

FLAT CREEK PFA (More Info HERE)

  • Surface Temperature: 89.4˚ F (31.9˚ C)
  • Water Level: 3’ 3” Below Full Pool
  • Water Visibility: 17”
  • Flat Creek Fishing Guide

Q&A Session

  • Question: The hot days of summer can be challenging to catch fish and plumb miserable if you’re doing more sweating then catching. Why is so challenging?
  • Answer: The fish, similar to us humans in the heat, are searching for the coolest temperatures that they can find, and are hard to coax into pursuing your lure/bait.
  • Question: So how do you catch fish in this heat?
  • Answer: Well for Flat Creek the successful anglers have been taking advantage of the night fishing that is currently open through the end of September to use the cooler parts of the day to catch fish when they are less sluggish, or fishing cover very slowly. As the day does heat up (bumping rubber worms over logs really slowly). One angler caught several two-four pound bass using this slow retrieval method, and an angler caught several really nice catfish in the twilight hours.
  • Question: OK retrieval and time of day is important. Is there a specific day that is a better day to catch fish?
  • Answer: The successful anglers this past month reported catching several six and seven-pound bass prior to a storm moving through. Large bluegill and redear were caught right around last months full moon.
  • Question: What seems to be working as far as lure/bait for the fish at Flat Creek?
  • Answer: Check out the species specific info below to see what has been currently working.

Bass: Candybug Zoom Trick Worm. Plum or June Bug colored ‘Ol Monster worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumpkinseed Culprit worms. Kalin’s Green Pumpkin Majic Wac-O-Worms.

Bream: Crappie Jigs. Tube Jigs. Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon. Catalpa worms. Crickets.

Channel Catfish: Fresh Catalpa worms are the go-to bait right now. Worms.

Crappie: Try cover that creates shade (tree tops) or structure (gravel piles).

MCDUFFIE PFA (More Info HERE

  • Water Temperature: 86⁰F
  • Water Visibility: 20 – 54+ in.

Bass:  The bass bite has been up and down lately with the cooler mornings we’ve been having. In Breambuster, bass continue to school and aggressively chase balls of threadfin shad that seem to congregate around the boat dock. Lures that imitate small (1-2”) threadfin shad have been effective at catching these fish, especially earlier in the mornings.  The same tactic should work well in Jones, where shad numbers have been increasing.  The jig bite has been good in Willow lately as well.

Central McDuffie BreamBream: Quality bream (pictured) are being caught in Beaverlodge, Jones and Bridge Lakes in the mornings and evenings.  Fish feeders at Jones and Beaverlodge Lakes are excellent spots to fish for bream.  Fish a spot for 30 minutes or so then try another if it hasn’t worked out.  The anglers really catching bream right now seem to be moving around a lot to find them.

Channel Catfish: The catfish action has been good lately, with many anglers having a lot of success fishing in the mornings and evenings.  Clubhouse has been the most consistent lake for catfish lately, but they are being caught throughout the area.  Nightfishing in Jones Lake has been good, with large catfish still being caught. Fish feeders at Jones and Beaverlodge are excellent spots to fish for catfish. Remember, the PFA record catfish has not been set! Any channel catfish caught on McDuffie PFA that exceeds 12 lb. 2 oz. will qualify as an official PFA record fish. Please see application at kiosk for details.

Striped Bass: Stripers can be found in Clubhouse and Bridge Lakes.  It may seem funny, but try using chicken liver and worms.  It works.

MARBEN PFA (More Info HERE)

  • Water temps: HOT!
  • PFA Fishing Guide: Click HERE 
  • Bring plenty of water and sunscreen when visiting Marben PFA.
  • Be patient this time of year

Bass: August weather patterns will follow those experienced in July.  Patterns often supply afternoon showers that brings drastic and sudden changes to bass feeding behavior.   Anglers should look for bass feeding in early morning (between the hours of 3AM and 5AM) and late evening on schooling shad (Remember Marben is STILL open 24 hrs. until the end of September!!).    Despite the HOT days, anglers are targeting bass on lay downs in approximately 11 to 15 feet of water in early to mid-morning.  As the day warms up, anglers should target bass in deeper water.  Successful anglers mimic lethargic shad by casting jerk baits and crank baits.   Mid-day can produce some big bass but look for these big fish in deeper water (10-15 ft.).  Additional habitat to target is submerged timber and rock beds at Marben PFA.  Anglers need to be patient this time of year.  The water is hot and fish may take a little longer to chase.

Crappie: The crappie will slow a little as the hot days of summer begin to take a toll.   Crappie can still be found crowded around submerged timber in deeper water.  Anglers should see a slight change as crappie become a little less aggressive as the water warms.  Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and yellow jigs.  Try fishing cover approximately 10-12 feet throughout the day, especially in the evening.  Bennett and Fox Lakes remain favorites for anglers targeting crappie.

Bream: Bream fishing will be very slow in August.  Even with this drop in aggressiveness, bream will remain the most sought after fish at Marben PFA.  Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best in early morning and late even.  If anglers are patient a few bream can be caught even in the hottest part of the day.  Remember bream are shallow when spawning this time of year so to be successful anglers will have to shallow areas (4 to 5 ft.) in order to increase your chances.  Early morning is a great time to target bream at Marben PFA.

Catfish: Catfish will continue to slow this time of year.  Anglers will find catfish in 7-9 ft. of water and most aggressive in the morning and late evening.   Anglers should target days when it is sunny but patience is necessary when targeting these fish.  Livers, worms and stink bait are the preferred choices if targeting catfish at Marben.