Okay, so here is the plan. Last night, I am assuming a lot of miniature size candy bars were consumed. Now, now…don’t tell me you only ate one. I know you better than that. So, our fishing this weekend needs to include some….dare we say it…exercise. Yes, you can. Park on the far end of the parking lot and walk a little further to your favorite fishing hole, or hike to a stream you haven’t been to before. It will be worth it!
News to Know:
State Fish Art Contest: Plan to Participate! Using art, the State-Fish Art Contest ignites children’s imagination while teaching them about fish and fishing. Students across the United States and internationally have the opportunity to win prizes and recognition while learning about state-fish species, behaviors, aquatic habitats, and conservation.
Let’s get to those reports. This week, we have news from Southeast, Central and North Georgia. Now, let’s go work off some of that candy 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)
An angler fishing the middle river on Saturday caught a keeper bass on crankbaits and 14 other bass on plastic worms pitched to heavy cover. He and most of the anglers in the club tournament caught between 7 and 8 pounds for 5 fish. The river level was 2.8 feet and rising (73 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 3.9 feet and rising (75 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on October 29th.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Matt Rouse fished the upper St. Marys on Wednesday for a couple hours in the middle of the day and caught a bunch of bowfin. All 8 of his fish were between 3 and 8 pounds, and he caught them on red/white (silver blade) Dura-Spins. He kept a stringer of fish for some friends, and they loved them. The river level at the MacClenny gage on October 29th was 1.8 feet and rising.
Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson caught crappie and bass in an Alma area pond on Saturday. Their biggest bass was a 4-pounder, and it inhaled a white spinnerbait. Chad trolled a chartreuse 2-inch Tiny Shad rigged on a 1/16-oz. Flashy Jighead for his crappie. I took my son Timothy to a Bacon County pond on Saturday, and we caught 2 slab crappie on 1/32-oz. popsicle Specktacular Jigs suspended underneath a float. We also caught over a dozen bluegills (several were over a pound!) on copperfield and crawfish Satilla Spins. The heartbreaker was Timothy’s 5-pound class bass that ate the copperfield version, jumped, stripped drag, then pulled off the little hook right at the boat after a several minute fight. He had a blast fighting it, though.
Warmouth fishing was good this week on the east side. Anglers worked the wood in the canals by pitching jigs and worms and landed a bunch of warmouth. The size was on the small side, but they caught quite a few fish. Bowfin were also biting well on just about everything folks threw at them.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Saltwater fishing was great this week! Michael Smith from Americus visited John Middleton and another friend and fished out of Crooked River on Monday. They ended up fooling 23 seatrout (a dozen keepers) and 9 redfish, along with a weakfish, several gafftop sailcats, and a few yellowtails. Live shrimp produced a few trout, redfish, and yellowtails, but artificials produced most of their fish. The best rig for trout (they had several 17-19-inchers, and their biggest was 20 inches) was an Equalizer Float with Keitech 4-inch saltwater swing impact swimbaits (rootbeer/chartreuse, figichix, and electric chicken were the best colors). Redfish ate the float rig, live shrimp, and a halloween-colored 1/4-oz. Satilla Spin Magnum. Bull redfish were landed from the St. Simons Pier, but it took heavy weights to keep baits on the bottom with the big tides. Check with Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle (912-634-1888) for the latest on the St. Simons Pier.
(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 .79 FEET CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Early morning bass will hit buzz baits and spinner baits along with top water baits. The crank bait bite is fair so use the Rapala DT6 and DT10 on any rocky point and use 10-pound test Sufix line on a spinning rig. Spy baits are working on the main lake points during the windy part of the day. The key will be to fish the shady points first. Try the Berkley Digger 6.5 8.5 10.5 14.5 Irish Gold Blue Chartreuse. Mid-day go to the jigs and worms to finish up the day. Zoom Super Flukes in pearl can take fish when the surface activity picks up as you can see using the Fish and Game Forecaster.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 5.6 FEET 70’S
Bass fishing is good. A good top water bite starts at daybreak along with a decent spinner bait bite. Main lake points are getting a lot of attention along with the numerous under water islands that drop off to deep water. The best bite is coming off the Shad Raps in and around these areas. The key will be to fish a point or drop off thoroughly before moving on. Try a variety of baits before moving to your next spot. Have the 3/8 ounce spinner baits in white or off white color, a DT 10 Rapala crank bait and a blue and chrome Chug Big for the early morning action.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, CLEAR AND 70’S
(Report by Mark Smith at Reel Time Service) — The lake is down 1.5 feet and the water temperature is 73-76 and clear on the main lake, light stain up the rivers.
Bass: Bass fishing is improving. The bass have started to move into the coves and creeks all over the lake. Buzz baits fished along sea walls and around docks will produce the first hr. of day light. Also, fish the buzz baits along the grass beds on the south end of the lake. As the sun rises switch over to crank baits and fish them along the same riprap and sea walls. Up the rivers look for fish on wood structure. Fish a soft plastic in dark color, a jig or a worm will work.
Striper: Striper fishing is good. Live bait fished mid-lake on down-lines has been the best producer in the last few days. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools of bait and the fish will be close by. Drop your live bait down to the fish and hang on.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is very good. This is the best bite on the lake. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools in the trees at about 10-20 ft. deep. When you find the fish in the trees drop your live crappie minnow down to them and hang on. Long-lining should pick up as the water cools.
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 4.11 FEET CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The Rat L Trap fishing with the 1/2 chrome and black back Rat L Trap has been good. Fish the bait in the middle of the pockets and burn it in. This technique is working lake-wide and water color doesn’t seem to matter. Use a follow up bait like a white fluke tied on a Shakey Head jig head. Try the Berkley Digger 6.5 8.5 10.5 14.5 Irish Gold Blue Chartreuse. If the fish miss the bait cast a fluke back and let it slowly fall to the bottom. The jig bite is still very productive. The Rapala DT10 has been taking some of the largemouth f1 bass recently stocked in the lake. These are aggressive fish so be prepared for a hard strike. This week down lake fish in Alligator Creek, Bird Creek, and Stroud Creek. Here, use the MegaBass Sonicside crank bait green Craw AYU Spring Craw and Sevier Shad.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 2 FEET STAINED 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. The cooler temperatures will get baits to move shallow. Fish shallow docks using worms and jigs. Use a 1/4 ounce black jig with a Zoom super chunk Jr. in green pumpkin. Also, flip a 1/4 ounce flip jig in black and blue with a Zoom swimming chunk in sapphire blue around shallow docks and shallow grass beds. The best pattern for a big fish is the 3/8 ounce spinner bait with #3 and #4 willowleaf in gold blades with a solid white skirt, or chartreuse and white. Find the shad in the short pockets off the river and you will be around the fish. Have a Zoom Super Fluke tied on all day for any schools in and around any wood or rocky points.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .6 FEET, CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Work docks, brush piles, riprap, rocky banks and blow downs with a mix of plastic, jigs, and crank baits on the lakes steeper banks. Target main lake flats and points, their edges, and work your way back into pockets. The spinner bait and the other baits can work on the edge of a shallow flat. In the AM, work the buzz bait on main lake flats and continue back into pockets from there. Spots will take mid-depth crank baits. Try a Bandit 200 or the deeper running 300, in white, chartreuse, or a natural pattern. Use the Weedless Wonder heads with the finesse worms. Crawfish patterns have been working on rock and wood structure. Shad are primary forage for good numbers of schooling bass. Look for seasonal congregations of bait in the middle of deep pockets. Target the feeding bass with a crank bait and vertical presentations such as a spoon or plastic on a drop shot rig.
FLAT CREEK PFA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 72.3˚ F (22.4˚ C)
- Water Level: 4’ 2” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 13”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
Fall, as the ambient temperatures start to drop, is an often-overlooked great time of the year to get out and go fishing. This brings the water temperatures down and already the anglers at Flat Creek are really starting to see the difference. The bass, bream, and catfish have all reported to be more aggressive on the bite. If you do decide to come out and try your luck, most of the fish that have been caught were found around cover. Crappie are sluggish right now but will warm up to some well-placed minnows in the warmer parts of the day. Catfish, bream and bass are biting well right now on worms. Catfish and bass are also hitting minnows. With most anglers interviewed, the best bait used was worms followed by minnows. Here’s a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had great success using for each of the following:
Bass: Live Minnows dark colored (June Bug, Watermelon) Zoom Trick Worms, and Zoom Centipede worms, fished shallow (2-3’) in the mornings and evenings, and dark colored lipless crank baits. Flukes fished when the bass are feeding on shad near the diffusers.
Bream: Worms or crickets.
Channel Catfish: Worms fished on a Carolina Rig. uncooked shrimp, or chicken livers fished deep (the use of sewing thread around the liver has been a great way to keep the catfish from stealing the bait).
Crappie: Minnows or light, live action jigs fished with very light tackle to feel the slightest bite.
MARBEN PFA (More Info HERE)
- Water temps. : 60’s
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: November brings cooler temperatures and shorter days. Often times these two factors will cause all fishing to slow. Despite being less active, anglers must be creative if they want to increase their chances of catching a bass. This is the time of year where bass will move freely between shallow and deep-water habitats making it difficult to pattern movement. Many anglers will switch to live bait to target bass. If using live bait make sure to pay attention to the size of the bait you are using. In addition, anglers will change techniques. Typically, aggressive fast fishing works in the warmer months but a slower approach is more popular as winter approaches. Look for bass to be in the 8 – 10ft. even in early morning and moving deeper as mid-day approaches. Patience is the best bait this time of year when targeting Marben PFA bass.
Crappie: Avid crappie anglers get excited this time of year. Crappie are probably the most aggressive fish anglers will find at Marben. However, do not expect to hook one with every cast. Finding them may require a little effort. Remember though, the crappie bite can turn on at any moment in these small lakes. Flooded timber is the preferred habitat and the most popular bait is live minnows and colorful (yellow/purple) jigs. Try fishing cover approximately 10-12 feet throughout the day. Expect crappie to move into shallower water on warmer days in November.
Bream: Bream fishing will slow down significantly at Marben. Cooler water temperatures and shorter days all play a factor with the decrease in activity. Anglers should expect bream fishing to be best with mid-day temperatures. This allows the shallow water to warm up a few degrees that makes the bream more active than in early morning.
Catfish: Look for catfish to pick up slightly but still be slower than other species targeted at Marben. Anglers should target catfish mid-day giving the water time to warm up a touch. Stink baits, liver and worms are the most popular used at Marben.
(Fishing report courtesy of Anthony Rabern, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Fall is a favorite time of year for many Georgians for a multitude of reasons – college football and deer hunting season to list a couple. What many people don’t realize is that fall is also a great time to hit the water for some awesome fishing. Here is this week’s fishing intel on what’s happening across North Georgia.
Delayed Harvest Trout Season Opens: Georgia’s Delayed Harvest trout waters open once again on November 1. All five delayed harvest streams will be fully stocked and ready for anglers this weekend. Remember the strict regulations (catch/release, artificial lures only with a single hook) are in place so as to “recycle” those trout so they can provide many great memories for cool season anglers. The following streams are delayed harvest streams:
- Amicalola Creek from County Road 192 (Steele Bridge Road) downstream to GA Hwy 53.
- Chattahoochee River from Sope Creek (off Columns Drive) downstream to US Hwy 41 (Cobb Parkway).
- Chattooga River from GA Hwy 28 bridge upstream to the mouth of Reed Creek.
- Smith Creek on Unicoi State Park from Unicoi Dam downstream to the Unicoi State Park property boundary.
- Toccoa River on U.S. Forest Service land from 0.4 miles above the Shallowford Bridge upstream to a point 450 feet upstream of the Sandy Bottom Canoe Access.
Click HERE to find more info and maps of Delayed Harvest Streams and learn more about this program.
For the first couple weeks after stocking, Delayed Harvest (DH) trout are transitioning from life in a crowded raceway to the unbounded freedom of a flowing trout stream/river. During this transition period, DH fish are naïve and bunched up. To draw their interest in taking your favorite artificial, try something flashy and/or with movement to attract their attention (small buggers, squirmies, and Pat’s rubberlegs are good). Also, don’t be afraid to move quickly from one pool to the next until you find the honey hole. Toss a few casts into each pool. If no luck and no lookers, even after a split shot or two is added to your line to get your fly on the stream bottom, then move to the next pool. If you see or catch one, stick around and pound it because a bunch of his buddies will be right behind him.
Time for Trout Tips: On our North Georgia reservoirs, fish are putting on the feedbag as they build up energy reserves for the long winter months. Here are a couple of tips from Zach Moran that will help you have fishing success as the days begin to shorten.
- Tip #1: Follow the Shad/Herring: During the fall, days shorten, nights lengthen, and waters cool. This has big impacts upon the food chain dynamic in our Georgia Reservoirs. Simply put, less sunlight and cooler water temperatures make the main lake less productive and forces baitfish like shad and herring to move into the backs of coves and creeks to find food and warmer water. Hot on their tails are largemouths, spots, stripers and hybrids. Catch these hungry fish in the morning on primary or secondary points with a walk-the-dog topwater, fluke, or spinnerbait. During the day, move to the creek channel and use a mid-depth diving crankbait in a shad color to search for actively feeding fish. Make sure your crankbait is a similar size as the shad fish are eating and it is hitting the bottom. A steady retrieve is recommended with momentary pauses when the bait hits a stump or rock. This imitates a shad feeding on the bottom.
- Tip #2 Fish Some Rocks: Serious fisherman know that rocks, especially rip-rap can be productive for bass, crappie, and catfish. Rocks are so effective to fish in the fall because they absorb heat during the day and warm the surrounding water. This warmer water supports vegetation growth later into the year than other habitat types which attracts baitfish and crayfish. Predatory fish are therefore attracted to rocks because of the warmer water and the abundant forage. Fish around riprap and rocks using a crankbait or jig. Best colors are those that imitate a crayfish or bluegill. Crappie can be caught around riprap using live minnows baited on a slip bobber. Use your electronics to determine what depth fish are using to set your bobber stop. Bites will be very light so pay close attention to your bobbers.
Lake Lanier: Captain Clay Cunningham posted that the striper bite is picking up and bigger fish were caught this week (see photo). Captain Jimbo Mathley that bass fishing is very good. Rocky areas at the mouths of creeks and main river points are holding fish. Moving baits are the ticket for the early morning top water bite. During the afternoon, spotted bass are being caught on points and humps in 15 to 25-feet of water.
Lake Allatoona – Bass: (Report from Ken Sturdivant) — Ken Sturdivant reports that bass fishing is good. Bass are targeting shad as they a school into the creeks which signify the start of the fall patterns. For the bigger fish use a ribbon tail worm and a swim bait. Have the spoons as the standby boat when the fish are under the boat. Fish anywhere from the mouth of creeks halfway back. Cast the Berkley Cutter 110 Skinny Cutter 110 colors AYU Table Rock. The water is bit stained so the blade bite is barley fair. Some decent numbers are taking the flat Mini DR Lucky Craft cranks around the points. Drop shit fishing is getting better as the bass are relating to the off shore structure you can find with our waypoint list (see below).
Lake Allatoona-Striper: (Report from Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service) — reported that striper fishing is also good right now. Everything is working right now including live bait, spoons, and umbrella rigs along with the Alabama rigs. The north end of the lake is our better bite. From the mouth of Kellogg’s to as far north as Fields Landing. Most of the fish we have been catching has been in water less than 20 feet deep. Bait in the area is key. The birds are starting to show up. Hopefully they will be here in bigger numbers soon. This will make locating the fish a little easier.
Lake Hartwell: Ken Sturdivant reports that bass fishing is good. This week try running up the river and fishing the points. Start off the morning with a blue and chrome Chug Bug. After 9am go to Rapala DT 10 hot mustard crank bait. Fish both sides of the points while making long casts. Try the Berkley Digger 6.5 8.5 10.5 14.5 Irish Gold Blue Chartreuse. By noon, switch to a 1/4 ounce jig and fish the rock wall and all of the lay downs. This pattern works and then head into the pockets especially those that hold the deeper water. A lot of fish were suspended in the 12 to 17 foot range and the Spy Baits have been taking fish using 6 or 8 pound test fluorocarbon lines. For a fast bite use the Berkley Square Bill 7.5 and 8.5 Special Craw 2 Brown Craw.
Mountain Lakes: In the North Georgia mountain lakes where water temperatures are a bit cooler than down south, big bass are holding tight and deep on woody cover for most of the daylight hours in hopes of ambushing a passing blueback or bream. Our DNR Fisheries sampling team of Tony Anderson and Leon Brotherton collected a number of large bass this week, like the 8-lber in the photo, by targeting downed trees. Pig’n jigs combinations in crayfish patterns and spinnerbaits are effective under these conditions.