In breaking news, it continues to be hot in Georgia. But, we are all used to it, right? And if not, maybe you can break away from it for a little while by heading out to the water for some fishing, floating, boating and relaxing.
In case you missed these stories this week:
- Put it on your calendar! FLW Pro-Angler Clayton Batts will lead an Electronics Tutorial and Fishing Class at the Go Fish Education Center (in Perry) on Aug. 15. Will you be there?
- Still time to see Monster Fish! There’s still time to save $5 and see National Geographic‘s Monster Fish exhibit at Fernbank Museum! Now through August 18, show your valid Georgia fishing license at the box office to receive the discount.
- Ever seen a Robust Redhorse? Check THIS out!
- Last week, over 40 biologists, technicians, and volunteers from WRD, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service, and Trout Unlimited banded together to survey the Chattooga River at Burrell’s Ford. Photo HERE. This survey uses multiple electro-fishing passes to understand what types of fish are in a waterway and estimate their populations. This information is key to making management decisions that will benefit the species and the system for years to come.
Now, get ready to take notes because this week we have reports from Southeast and North Georgia. Now, 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 back-to-school slump is here, and not a ton of folks went fishing this week. Even so, the tarpon fishing was great, as was catfishing and mullet fishing on the Altamaha. Full Moon is August 15th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE.
An angler reported that the bass fishing was decent. The bass turned down topwaters but were hitting crankbaits well for him. A couple of Waycross anglers fished the Ocmulgee on Saturday and caught a few bass by pitching plastic craws. They said the bite was slower than usual, but it was still a fun trip. J.J. and Lance at Altamaha Park said that the mullet were still biting green worms fished on the back sides of sandbars. Blue cats were caught on cut bait and goldfish fooled a bunch of flatheads. Crickets and worms duped bream. Crawfish Satilla Spins caught some good messes of warmouth. The river level was 2.3 feet and falling (84 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.0 feet and falling (88 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on August 6th.
Chris Nugent fished the river last week before the level rose and caught about 25 redbreasts by walking the bank in the upper river for just a couple of hours. The water was a little stained and rising, and he caught them on zebra Satilla Spins. The bite slowed a little, so he tied on a brighter color (catalpa gold), and they started eating it great again. He didn’t have many bigger than hand-sized, but they were slamming his lures and about ripped the rod out of his hand when they bit. Michael Winge of Winge’s Bait and Tackle in Waycross said that buzzbaits and Rattlin’ Rogues accounted for some good bass catches this week. Halloween-colored Satilla Spins caught some good redbreasts and bream. Shrimp and livers produced the better catfish catches from deep holes. The river level on August 6th at the Waycross gage was 4.8 feet and falling (81 degrees), and the Atkinson gage was 3.9 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The best bite was catfish (shrimp and livers for bait), but crickets still worked for some nice creels of bluegills in the tidewater area. The river level at the Macclenny gage on August 6th was 6.1 feet and falling.
Calob went on a boat for the first time with a friend on Saturday on the east side and ended up catching 3 bowfin up to 4 pounds using a jackfish color Dura-Spin. He loved all the wildlife in the swamp and, of course, catching fish! On the west side, SC Foster State Park staff said that anglers caught lots of catfish in the boat basin. Out in Billy’s Lake, the warmouth and redfin pickerel bites were best. Some warmouth were caught from the creeks out Swamp Road by anglers using crickets. Check out Glen Solomon’s article about fishing for bowfin in the Okefenokee in the August issue of Georgia Outdoor News.
The biggest bass I heard of this week was a 9 1/2-pounder caught from Dodge County Public Fishing Area near Eastman. Chad Lee fished a vegetation-choked pond this weekend and landed 6 bass in the 2-pound range. He missed several monster fish he estimated in the 8-pound range because he just simply could not keep the hook buttoned. Hollow-bodied frogs drew strikes for him. Michael Winge reported that in Waycross area ponds, bream ate crickets. Not many bass were reported, but the biggest ones ate topwater plugs.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Tom, Thomas, and Malcom Katzenbach fished the Cumberland Sound over the weekend and hammered the silver kings, as well as some gator seatrout and bull redfish. They ended up with 10 tarpon (they had 2 doubles), most in the 30 to 60-pound range. Michael Winge reported anglers fishing the Brunswick area catching trout and flounder on live shrimp. Whiting were still caught on dead shrimp fished on the bottom in the area of the King and Prince. Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle said that trout, flounder, sharks, croaker, and whiting were caught from the pier. Dead shrimp fished on the bottom was the ticket for some big whiting, croakers, and a few small sharks. Blue crabs were still around in good numbers under the pier. You can monitor the marine forecast HERE.
Saltwater fishing is firing up with tarpon, seatrout, flounder, and redfish topping the list. Expect ladyfish, jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, and bluefish to bite every now and then along with your target species. The bowfin bite in Okefenokee Swamp is still going strong. I know of several folks who are going this week.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jim Hakala, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
It’s back to school for many this week! Teachers, staff, students and parents all embarking on a new school year and we wish them the best (especially in the car line). But wait, summer is far from over and there are plenty of fish to be “schooled” before fall break. Get out this weekend with the kids and remind them there is still fun to be had this summer. Want to take advantage? Do your homework. Your first reading assignment is below. Don’t worry it’s easy and there are plenty of cliff notes (and even a few photos).
- Fishing with kids: ideas and pointers
- Georgia’s Public Fishing Areas (PFA’s) offer great family fishing opportunities, find out more HERE!
- And so do Our State Parks.
- Don’t forget about the new youth categories recently added to the Angler Award Program
- Pond Fishing: If you have access, pond fishing can be one of the easiest and most “kid-friendly” fishing destinations. Worms, crickets or a small bit of hot dog can put even the novice angler on fish. The baits can be presented under a bobber or simply fished on the bottom with the addition of little weight. Bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcrackers) are typically easy to catch and inhabit just about every Georgia pond you might encounter. Bass are another common pond resident too. A live minnow, plastic worm or jig fished slowly near downed trees or brush will elicit strikes from largemouth of all sizes. If the pond is home to catfish, prepared catfish bait, chicken livers or simply a cut-up piece of fish will entice these whiskered residents.
Moran Report – The Final Report: We bid Fisheries Biologist Zach Moran a fond farewell as he leaves GADNR to pursue a doctoral degree at Baylor University. “I’ll definitely miss working for GADNR. It’s a great agency and I loved working with everyone” – Zach. Some of Zach’s duties during his DNR tenure included fisheries management of lakes Nottely and Chatuge, wild trout population monitoring, and trout stream habitat improvements. He’ll now trade in his DNR responsibilities for dissertation research on the “toothy” alligator and longnose gar in the Brazos River, Texas. Congrats Zach! We wish you the best in this exciting new endeavor!
Weekly Report: Check-in every Friday for Ken Sturdivant’s weekly fishing reports.
Hartwell: A beefy Mack Farr report!
Lanier: Water quality profiles measuring temperature and dissolved oxygen were obtained on 8/1/2019 on Lake Lanier at the Forebay, Six Mile Creek, and Flowery Branch. Surface temperatures are hovering steadily in the mid-to-high eighties. The thermocline occurs from 25 -45 feet currently, and has a good mixture of cool temperatures and good oxygen. We are seeing sufficient oxygen down to 120 feet. Trolling around depths of 30’ and power reeling or down lining over a 90’-100’ bottom should help you find fish this summer! Also, Lanier’s water quality profiles can now be found on the Lanier Fishing Forecast map! Just zoom in on the lake and click on the little thermometer icons throughout the reservoir. Open the dated attachment to view an image of the most current water quality profile.
Lanier doing what Lanier does: Big spot production
Allatoona Linesides: The heat has slowed the white fish bite some, but it’s still well worth the trip. Be on the water at daybreak since the bite usually tails off by mid-morning. Live bait (ex. shad, minnows, bream) is your best bet. Fish your baits 15-20 feet down. Why? Recent dissolved oxygen profile data indicate there is little to no oxygen at depths much greater than 24 feet. These data are now available on the Allatoona map. This is typical for Allatoona in the months of August and September. This means the fish will typically be holding at depths shallower than 24 feet, where oxygen levels are better. If you don’t have live bait, try dropping a spoon to the same depths. Keep a spare rod handy fitted with a surface lure such as Wopper-Plopper or some other type of surface running bait. You never know when a school of linesides will start busting the surface in pursuit of bait fish (read below!).
Top Water Activity at Allatoona: (This report is brought to you from Extreme Stripers Guide Service) — The hybrids and stripers have been schooling from Bethany Bridge up to Clear Creek over deep water. Some early mornings have been amazing for top water activity! You could try a tiny fluke on a 1/8 ounce jig head or your favorite topwater shad-imitation bait. They’ve been feeding on small baits, so you need to downsize your presentation. The white bass have also been in the same areas, but more towards the back of the creeks. Good luck and tight lines – Cy!
Blue Ridge Smallie Dose: The lake received another infusion of smallies this year. Approximately 12,000 more smallmouth bass fingerlings were recently stocked into Lake Blue Ridge (see photo). These fish were produced at the federal fish hatchery in Warm Spring and are part of an ongoing effort to help restore native smallmouth bass to the reservoir.
Allatoona from the Bank: Don’t forget that every public fishing jetty on Allatoona has been “sweetened” with brush piles. These areas concentrate fish and can improve fishing quality. Jetties are located at sites 52-54, 56 and 58 found HERE.
The Roop Report: (From Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): Chattahoochee River baby ‘bows – Big fish simply get too much attention these days! It’s an undeniable fact that all trophy trout were once babies, who had to fight their way to the top of the food chain through competition, survival, and good fortune. Hopefully good fortune will follow the 33,500 rainbow trout fingerling that were stocked at McGinnis boat ramp on the Lanier tailwater last week (see photo). These little guys and gals were evacuated from Burton Trout Hatchery for the planned renovation of that facility. If they intend on surviving, they’ll quickly have to transition from their diet of commercial pellets to river-grown midges, caddis, stoneflies, and terrestrial forage as well. Those that “fail to thrive” will likely become a diet to their European cousin and other popular Hooch resident, the brown trout. Either way, in the coming years, we hope your creels are slightly more colorful or hefty, thanks to the addition of these fingerlings.
Big Hooch Browns: And here’s why big fish get the attention. Random acts of kindness come in all shapes and forms, in this case, fusiform—Phil shares the story of guiding his buddy Walker to a beautiful 23.5” Hooch brown.
Etowah, Toccoa and Small Creeks: All three covered in the Cohutta Fishing Company blog
Etowah River Fishing Report: (Report comes courtesy of Zack Turner) — With Allatoona Dam releasing water Monday through Friday it’s pretty hard to fish. When Friday rolls around they usually shut off the generation at 6 or 7. At least that’s how it’s been for a while now. It’s always good to call to find out when they are generating before going fishing. By the time Monday morning rolls around the water may not be where you want it to be, but lately it has been pretty good. Usually the best days to fish are Sunday and Monday, but Saturday has been pretty good lately. Even with low water levels and high water temps the fish are very active. You may not actually be seeing any striper or spots swimming around, but they are there. The spotted bass have been on fire lately. You can catch them by throwing just top water and a finesse worm. My go to baits have been the Whopper Plopper in a size 90 powder color. Don’t go any bigger because it will be too much. You can throw the plopper all day and get hits. Finesse worm I go with a small tungsten weight about 1/4 with junebug trickworm from zoom or a roboworm. I’m finding the fish in some of the shallowest water there is. Whether it be on sunny banks with some cover or shaded banks with cover. Mostly want to focus on the shade though throughout the hot days. You literally want to hit right up against the bank with whatever bait you are throwing. They usually hit as soon as it hits or about the second turn of the reel. If you aren’t hitting right up against the bank you may not get a strike. I’m also finding the fish in some deeper pools but not as many as you normally would. So, if I were planning a fishing trip down the Etowah, I would be throwing a whopper plopper 90 powder color. That’s what I throw just about all year long when river fishing. TIGHT LINES. You can get all you need for fishing at Country Sportsman in Coosa. If they don’t have it let Charlie know and he can help you.
Coosa River Surprise: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — Water temps are in the low 80’s and flows are running about average for this time of year. Summer time on the Coosa River (Floyd Co.) often means wetting a line for catfish, but sometimes you never know what will show up on the end of the line. Brandon Turley was night-fishing for catfish recently on the Coosa when he landed this impressive lake sturgeon (see photo). He had cast a live shad to the shallows near the bank and thought he had hung it on a log, but then the “log” moved. It took Brandon 10 minutes to get the 4-footer in the boat. He snapped a quick picture, then released the fish safely to continue growing for other anglers to enjoy. If you catch a lake sturgeon, snap a quick photo then release it unharmed (sturgeon are protected species), then call the Armuchee WRD office at 706-295-6102 to report your catch. More about Lake Sturgeon Reintroduction HERE.
Etowah Sturgeon Stocking: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — Several anglers stayed late into the evening on 8/6 to watch WRD Fisheries and US Fish and Wildlife staffers stock 25,000 lake sturgeon fingerlings (2.5”) into the Etowah River in Bartow Co. These fish were raised and transported by Genoa National Fish Hatchery (WI) staff. The parents of these fish were collected from the St Clair River on the US/Canada border earlier this year. Biologists hope these fish will add genetic diversity to the growing reintroduced population of sturgeon that now inhabit the greater Coosa River Basin in Northwest GA.
Stocking: Some 23,000+ catchable trout hit north Georgia waters this week. Ever wonder where? Go to our website Friday afternoons and find out. C’mon, all the cool kids are doing it!
When To Go: Well, it’s August in Georgia, so that means heat and spotty afternoon thunderstorms. Hit your local trout stream early when water temps are at their lowest and the trout are more active. Mountain streams should be fishing excellent with the periodic storm recharges most areas have been receiving.
Well that didn’t take long: After two whole days of retirement, former Fisheries Region Supervisor Jeff Durniak returned to the work force joining the Unicoi Outfitters staff in Helen. Aug. 3, 2019 post. Not sure who caught who, but both should enjoy the adventure.
Chili Time: Coosa Valley Trout Unlimited’s Chili Cook-Off is not far off. A call for chef’s to bring their best recipe to the cause!
That’s it! Homework complete. Now get out there and use what you’ve learned to make some lasting back to school memories on the water.