Cue the Halloween music because we have a winner for the scare contest. The non-native Northern Snakehead fish has been found in Georgia waters. Non-native invasive species, such as the northern snakehead, have the potential to impact native species in introduced areas by competing for food and habitat. YOU, as an angler, are our first line of defense against aquatic invasive species. 

  • What is a Northern snakehead fish? Click HERE and HERE.
  • How can I prevent stuff like this from happening? Click HERE

For some good news, we have recently added a lot of folks that have successfully got a Georgia Bass Slam! 23 people can now claim a Slam.  

David Parker, who caught all 10 bass species, says “I’m hoping to help inspire others to take up the challenge, at least to get the 5 base species. Maybe take their kids with them, pass it down another generation. Heck I’m just a dad and a working stiff – if I can do it, they can too.” Congrats to David and all the other Slammers – we can’t wait to see YOUR name on that list! 

On to our reports, this week we hear from Southeast and North Georgia. And, take note – next week, we won’t have a report, but be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see all the latest news. Now, 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)

Full Moon is October 13th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.

OCMULGEE RIVER

The river is super-low, but if you can find a place you can get your boat around, you will catch bass and panfish. One angler fishing the Hawkinsville area smacked the bass – 18 largemouths and 2 shoal bass over the weekend. A couple of anglers fishing the Hazlehurst area caught 22 bass on Friday and almost 20 panfish on Satilla Spin Magnum Spinnerbaits (blue glimmer shad color). A few of the redbreasts and stumpknockers that ate the spinnerbait (intended for bass) were 8 to 10 inches. Texas-rigged crawfish and speed worms produced most of their bass. Their biggest bass was 3 1/2 pounds. On Sunday, an angler fishing the Ben Hill County area of the river had his best day in years. He and his fishing partner landed exactly 60 bass up to 5 pounds. Most were largemouths, but they did have 4 spotted bass mixed in. They caught a couple on spinnerbaits first thing but then the ticket was pitching Texas-rigged plastics to heavy cover. The river level at the Abbeville gage on October 8th was -0.7 feet and falling.

OCMULGEE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Hawkinsville, more info HERE)

Wildlife Resources Division staff started doing their fall sampling on the lake. The area is managed for trophy bass (catch-and-release only) and white crappie (you can keep them according to statewide harvest regulations) fishing, and it is coming into its prime. The folks sampled bass up to 9 pounds. I’m sure that 10-pounders will be caught this winter. The white crappie are in the shallows, even with the hot weather. Fish well over a pound were collected, measured, weighed, and released. Fish the mid-depth cover for bass and shallow cover for crappie right now and you should have a good day.

OKEFENOKEE SWAMP

Matt Rouse fished from the docks on the east side (Folkston entrance) on Monday for just a few minutes in the rain and caught a 6-pound bowfin and few smaller ones on fire tiger-chartreuse blade Dura-Spins. Bowfin have been biting well on both sides. On the west side, catfish in the boat basin are your best bet. Put shrimp on the bottom and you should catch some bullheads.

LOCAL PONDS

Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson caught 20 bass in Alma area ponds over the weekend and Tuesday evening. Their biggest, a 5-pounder, ate a jig, but most of their fish were caught with Christie Craws or Senko stickworms. They had about 10 fish over 3 pounds, so the respite in the heat spurred the bigger fish to bite for them.

SALTWATER (GA COAST)

SE GA Joshua Barber Trout-reds 1st week Oct Crooked River- IMG_9098
Joshua fished with his father Shane Barber out of Crooked River last weekend and caught a great mess of gator trout, redfish, and a sheepshead. Artificials and shrimp produced their fish.

Shane and Joshua Barber fished out of Crooked River for a day and a half this weekend and caught a bunch of trout and redfish and even a sheepshead. They fooled the trout (some of them were gator trout!) with both artificials and bait, but the redfish were all caught on bait. On the St. Simons Pier Sunday, a Waycross angler reported catching 4 bull redfish on fresh, cut mullet on the bottom. When the fresh bait was gone, he quit getting bites. Other anglers landed 7 bull redfish and an 18-inch flounder. He said that way more folks were gawking at the giant capsized ship than were fishing. A couple of Brunswick anglers fishing inshore around Jekyll and St Simons Island caught 35 seatrout on Thursday. They fooled them with live shrimp under a float and chicken-on-a-chain Sea Shads skewered on a Flashy Jighead (pearl-gold blade) and suspended underneath an Equalizer Float. On Friday, a group of anglers fished for 2 hours in the Brunswick area and caught 7 redfish from 16 to 18 inches and a big bull just shy of 30 inches while fishing shell-strewn mud flats. They could not get them to eat artificials, but dead shrimp fished under a float triggered bites.

NORTH GEORGIA

(Fishing report courtesy of John Damer, Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts) 

GADNR_WRD_Snakehead_Ice
2 Snakeheads Found in Gwinnett County

Snakehead Discovery: (From WRD Biologist John Damer) — In case you haven’t seen the local (and national) news lately, we recently confirmed the presence of a population of northern snakehead fish living in the wild in Gwinnett County.  This is the first documented wild occurrence of the species in the Peach State.  These invasive fish are of concern because they may have potential to impact Georgia’s sport fish and other native fish.  WRD staff are currently working hard to determine how far these fish have spread, and what might be done to contain or eradicate the population.  More info can be found in this Snakehead Fact Sheet.

IF YOU BELIEVE YOU CAUGHT A NORTHERN SNAKEHEAD:

  • DO NOT RELEASE IT.
  • Kill it immediately (remember, it can survive on land) and freeze it.
  • If possible, take pictures of the fish, including close ups of its mouth, fins and tail.
  • Note where it was caught (waterbody, landmarks or GPS coordinates).
  • Report it to your regional Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Office

We want to hear from you about any potential catches of northern snakeheads. However, please note that our offices are fielding many calls from the public right now about snakeheads.  Many callers are mistakenly reporting their catch of a native fish called a bowfin.  The Snakehead Fact Sheet has info that will help you tell the difference between these two similar fish.  If you could please review this info before reporting a snakehead catch to our offices, it would help us tremendously.  Thanks!

RESERVOIR REPORTS 

Lanier Intel from GON Forum: Check it out HERE.

Blue Ridge Smallmouth: (From WRD Biologist John Damer) — Blue Ridge Lake received its final dose of fingerling smallmouth for 2019.  These fish were raised at the Go Fish Georgia Education Center in Perry, and they were some of the largest we’ve been able to stock in the lake to date, with some in the 8-inch range!  These smallmouth were stocked by boat on the upper end of the lake where habitat is good but access with a stocking truck is difficult.  Hopefully, a few will end up on the end of your line in a year or two.

Blue Ridge Walleye: (This report courtesy of Captain Eric Crowley, Lake and Stream Guide Service ) — Blue Ridge Lake fall fishing for walleye is upon us and it’s a great time of year to put some fish in the cooler.  The fish are moving up from their deep summer hideouts and feeding on bait that’s holding in the shallow water.  Trolling the contour lines where these fish are held up can produce some really nice quality fish.  Come find out what the best tasting fish in fresh water is all about!