So, fall was good while it lasted, right? I mean, those like 3 days we had, I really liked them. I recall talking to a friend from Massachusetts earlier this week, and she mentioned it was “25 degrees” at her house and it was so cold…and well, it was the same temp here in Georgia. But, we’ll survive and we will fish, because, c’mon…we always find a way to fish.
Have you seen these stories?
This week we have a lot of fishing reports, so get ready! We have Southwest, Southeast, Central and North Georgia. Now, grab those hand warmers, bundle up and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Amy Cottrell, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Black Crappie are officially biting on Lake Blackshear! There are a lot of large fish being caught roughly 20 feet deep on brushpiles and vegetation using minnows. However, crappie are also being caught along dockside, railroad trestle, and near the bank within Veterans State Park. Catfish are also biting using different types of live baits. The sunfish/bream bite has slowed down, though folks are still catching bluegill and shellcrackers on worms and crickets. Largemouth Bass have been observed all over the reservoir. It seems that anglers are catching fish using a search bait (chatterbait) and reeling quickly.
The couple inches of rain we’ve gotten in the last few weeks and current water temperatures in the high teens (17-19 °C) means fall fishing should be in full swing. This past week we sampled south of Albany near the old Plant Mitchell plant and south of Newton, capturing quite a few nice sportfish in the process. Largemouth and Shoal Bass were documented along banks near vegetation or large woody debris; sunfish/bream were captured near vegetated edges and in swift moving water near shoals. Though we don’t have a direct angling report, we know the fish are there! Good luck!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
ST. MARYS RIVER
Matt Rouse fished with his wife Annette this week on the upper St. Marys, and they did great. They threw small plugs and caught a mixed bag of redbreasts, bluegill, crappie, bass, and a nice chain pickerel. They also put shrimp in the bottom and caught about a dozen nice catfish to about 3 pounds. Matt said that in a small craft they could take their time and get around. They key was to fish the deep holes where the fish were congregated. The river level at the Macclenny gage on Novemeber 12th was 1.7 feet and falling.
Isaiah and John Bittle and I fished a Brunswick area pond on Tuesday. We bass fished in the morning and didn’t land any (we had 2 fish pull off). In the afternoon as the rain and cold front moved in, we fished from a dock and landed 42 channel catfish on cut bluegill fished on a Catfish Catcher Jighead. John also landed a 4-pound bass on the cut bluegill. Sometimes I think we may overrate bass… Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson fished an Alma area pond over the weekend for a couple hours and landed 4 bass. Chad’s biggest was a 4-pounder, and it ate a wacky-rigged stick worm. Daniel fooled a 3 1/2-pounder with a white spinnerbait. The cold temperatures this week should put the crappie back in deep water and the bass schooled up in the intermediate depths of lakes. It’s time to get your hard jerkbaits (minnow plugs) ready, as the bass will chew them up during winter. Stock up your crappie box, as the next warming trend should get them chowing in the open water.
A few warmouth, fliers, and bowfin were caught, but not many folks fished lately on the east side. On the west side, catfishing in the boat basin has been decent for folks putting shrimp on the bottom. The current cold front will drop the water temperatures into the wheelhouse of fliers. The next warming trend should have them slurping down sallies pitched under a small balsa float.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The brine is the place to be! An angler fishing by himself on Wednesday in the Brunswick area caught 11 trout (6 keepers) up to 18 inches and 6 redfish up to 31 inches (4 keepers but he released all but 1 of them). He caught the trout on Keitech saltwater Swing Impact Swimbaits (electric chicken and figichix colors) suspended under Equalizer Floats. The redfish ate electric chicken and Calcasieu brew Satilla Spin Magnum spinnerbaits fished around oyster bars. Don Harrison and Jim Page fished out of Crooked River on Monday and caught over 50 trout (18 keepers), 4 slot redfish, and 6 bluefish. Electric Chicken Sea Shads under Equalizer Floats worked well for them. Brentz McGhin fished the Brunswick area on Monday and caught a limit of redfish and over a dozen trout (half-dozen keepers) on plastic shrimp imitations fished under a Cajun Thunder cigar-shaped float. Isaiah and John Bittle fished with me in the Brunswick area on Monday and caught a bunch of trout, redfish, and black drum. Our 20 trout ate mostly figichix, electric chicken, and new penny-colored Keitech Swing Impact swimbaits. Isaiah caught his first redfish, a 26-incher on an electric chicken Swing Impact on a Satilla Spin Magnum frame. We landed 12 redfish up to 27 inches. Most of the redfish ate a figichix Swing Impact bounced along the bottom in deep holes at low tide. John caught 8 black drum to 5 pounds using dead shrimp skewered on an 1/8-oz. Capt. Bert’s Shrimp Hook (built on a 1/0 Gamakatsu Kahle hook). Our crew also landed a doormat flounder by bouncing a figichix Swing Impact. 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 .98 FEET CLEAR 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Expect this cold front to slow action for a few days. Shad are headed for the creeks and it’s about time for the bass to follow along in big numbers. Later in the weekend the bass should move to the shallows. But with the cold fronts coming in, the fish will be holding real tight to cover. Look for any structure around the shoreline consisting of rocks, rip rap rocks on bridges and around ramps or any wood. Fish with small crank baits or a Weedless Wonder worm rig and stick with the small worms in green pumpkin. Fish these baits slowly and stay in contact with the structure as long as possible.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 5.9 FEET 60’S
Bass fishing will pick up after the next cold front. This is a big bass lake and this time of the season is the time the big boys bite. On the cloudy days use the Shad Raps and Husky Jerk baits and get to work. The bass are still in the pockets and coves and they move back to the shallow water chasing food on and off all during the day. When they move back to the deeper water you can still catch them on crank baits. The bait of choice for making this move will have to be a Rapala DT10. Throw it in a green tiger and a shad color in the clear and green water and the hot mustard and red crawdad colors in the dirty to muddy color water. Use it in the coves and just let the bait slowly dig into the bottom with a slow retrieve. When the sun pops out during the middle of the day, there is one bait to use for the bass that have moved to heavy cover. Tie on a Zoom Super fluke in pearl and pitch or flip it right into the heavy cover. Secondary points and back into the coves this week and lay down trees and brush piles is the place to fish. It doesn’t matter if you are up the Savannah or in Little River, find these areas and go fish.
LAKE OCONEE IS DOWN 1.5 FEET, CLEAR, 60’S
(Lake Oconee Line Side report brought to you by Mark Smith at Reel Time Service) —
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. It is clear on the main lake, light stain up the rivers. The fish have moved into the creeks like Sugar Creek and Lick Creek. They are from the mouth of the creeks to the middle. Buzz baits fished along sea walls and around docks will produce the first hr. of day light. Spinner baits white/chartreuse have been productive fishing around the rip rap in the creeks. As the sun rises switch over to crank baits and fish them along the same rip rap and sea walls.
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. A lot of fish have been taking spoons fished in the same locations.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. The long line bite is the best way to target the crappie. You will need to cover a lot of ground, as the fish have moved out of the trees. Start looking in the mouths of the creeks and work your way to the back of the creeks.
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 2.9 FEET CLEAR 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Expect this cold front to slow action for a few days. Shad are headed for the creeks and it’s about time for the bass to follow along in big numbers. The best bite through late week was up the river on the crank baits, and you’re going to find fish around the shad. Once the bass get into the creeks in full force it’ll be a good opportunity for crank baits and spinnerbaits. Rat L Traps and Shad Raps will work and hit the banks casting at any piece of wood. Make accurate casts to maximize your chances for a hookup. Spinner baits in the morning will draw some strikes also.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.7 FEET, STAINED 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Expect this cold front to slow action for a few days. Shad are headed for the creeks and it’s about time for the bass to follow along in big numbers. Down lake use DT6 Rapala’s, #5 Shad Raps and medium Fat Free Shad crank baits. Work the u tail worms and jigs around the trees and docks and use a Texas rig. Work the backs of these docks as well as the bank cover and the sea walls on down lake. Ned rigs are taking bass on the lake and green pumpkin Senkos are the right rigs. Conditions are fair up the river and a few small bass are taking a Senko on a drop shot rig. Make sure the baits are again, green pumpkin. Work the worm and jig around the trees and docks.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .73 FEET, CLEAR 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Expect this cold front to slow action for a few days. Shad are headed for the creeks and it’s about time for the bass to follow along in big numbers. The bass moved back just a little to the ledges and into the creek channels. Down Deep Husky Jerk baits along with Rapala DT10 will get deep enough to catch these bass. Use these baits early in the morning and work them slow. Patience will be the key this week. Making five, six or more casts to the same area is not uncommon; Make bass mad enough to strike by adding some Storm Suspend Strips to the baits for get them to the bottom Start off by using the hard baits. Then switch to either a Carolina Rig or drop shot rig to finish the job. Remember, slow presentation will be a must this week or until the wind and cooler temperatures come back.
BIG LAZER PFA (More info HERE)
- Surface water temperature: 62°F
- Water visibility: Visibility is about 23”
- Water Level: Approximately 18” below full pool
- Attention: Waterfowl Hunters are allowed to hunt the PFA Wednesdays & Saturdays until noon during the season. See Hunting Regs for more details.
- Fishing is now open 24/7 on Big Lazer PFA
Bass: Fair- Fish plastic worms in deeper water and around structure. Try fishing these baits slower than normal in the cooler waters. In the past few years, anglers have had luck with top water lures such as buzz baits. Try fishing the timber around the island for largemouth bass. Crankbaits near underwater structure may produce a bite or two, also.
Crappie: Fair- Crappie will be in deeper water this time of year. Finding crappie will still be a challenge but using minnows and brightly colored jigs may improve your chances. Try fishing standing timber for crappie.
Bream: Fair- Spawning is complete so the bream fishing is beginning to slow some. Live bait such as crickets and worms should give you the best chance to catch a nice beam. Try fishing in woody brush 5-10 ft deep under a cork. Artificial bait such as beetle spins may also be a good choice to entice a bite. Be sure to use lighter tackle while bream fishing for some added excitement.
Catfish: Fair to slow- Try fishing chicken liver or shrimp in deeper water near the bottom. Standing timber all over the lake may present a good opportunity to hook a channel cat. The rip-rap along the dam and the upper end of the lake are still a good bet, too. You may also have some success near the new fishing pier.
McDuffie PFA (More info HERE)
- Water Temperature: 55⁰F
- Water Visibility: 17 – 54+ in.
Bass: The bass bite has been slow lately but should really be picking up with this cold front and lower water temperatures. In Breambuster Lake, bass are aggressively feeding on shad right at the surface throughout the afternoon, especially around the boat dock. Seagulls have arrived for the winter and have been feeding on the surface of Rodbender and Willow. Look for where the seagulls are diving on the lake surface and bass should be nearby. Patient jig anglers fishing slowly in deeper water have had some luck lately across the area.
Bream: Bream have begun to slow down for the season but are a few are still being caught in Beaverlodge and Bridge Lakes. Fish feeders at Jones and Beaverlodge Lakes are good spots to try for bream, as well as any structure in deeper water.
Channel Catfish: The catfish action has been good lately, especially in Clubhouse and Beaverlodge. Yesterday a group of anglers caught a good number of catfish that bit steadily throughout the sunny afternoon, despite the cold weather. Deep water around the siphon drain structures continue to be good spots for catfish. Fish feeders at Jones and Beaverlodge are excellent spots to fish for catfish, too. Remember, the PFA record catfish has not been set. Any channel catfish caught on McDuffie PFA that exceeds 12 lb 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. We’re getting into the time of year where the larger stripers really start biting crankbaits or swimbaits.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jim Hakala, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Lanier Stripers and Bass News: Check out Captain Mack Farr’s Report HERE
Hartwell Stripers, Stripers, hybrids, bass and crappie News: Check out Captain Mack Farr’s Report HERE.
Fishing Forecast for Lake Allatoona: Click HERE.
Allatoona Linesides: (Report courtesy of Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service) — Lineside fishing is good! The lake turnover is almost complete and the fall bite has started. The better bite is on the north end of the lake. Look for these fish anywhere from Bartow Carver to Little River. Right now we are chasing the mud and stain lines. Down-lining threadfin shad out over the river channel in the early morning has been best. After the sun comes up I’ve been trolling Mini Mack u-rigs, which have been producing well.
Allatoona Linesides (Report courtesy of Joseph Martinelli of Heron Outdoor Adventures) — Friends, it’s cold outside! The good news is, it’s just the right amount of cold for fantastic striper and hybrid fishing here on Lake Allatoona. Current lake levels are holding around 831′ with surface temperatures between 53-55° lake-wide. The sights and sounds of nature are simply exquisite this time of year. Soaring eagles, turkeys gobbling and deer and fox playing on the ridges are just a few of our God given treats.
The fish have been active for the majority of the morning and afternoon this past week. We have a good concentration of bait and fish loaded up in the main channel from Little River down to Victoria and holding outside of Kellogg Creek and Galt’s Ferry. There are plenty of hybrids, stripers, white bass and spotted bass to provide hours of entertainment on your excursion.
Every technique we have used is triggering strikes, from working small Flexi spoons as well as larger flutter spoons through the schools, trolling A-rigs and U-rigs through the strike zone, to live bait presentations of all size shad on the down lines and free lines.
While the ‘Allatoona specials’ are out in force, there are bigger fish mixed in with these schools as well as some of the larger fish hunting 2-3 in a pack. If you want to tie into one, you’ll have to get your mind right and brave a little nip to the air.
If you’d like to ease into a day of fishing with a full service guide on any day during the week, we’re here for you with arms wide open. You work hard all week. Your fishing adventure should be joyful and full of fun. Stepping onto a boat that has everything you need, including fish-producing honey holes, may be just what the doctor ordered (or you should self-prescribe)! From first-timer to pro, we have your Adventure covered. Oh, and we are still adding an extra hour to all Adventures in November. Call 404-919-4918 for details. Let’s go fishing!
Blue Ridge: (From WRD Biologist John Damer) – Fishing Forecast HERE. WRD Fisheries staff were gillnetting on Blue Ridge Lake this week. We found high numbers of Alabama spotted bass in our nets, especially on mid-lake rocky points and along the dam. Many quality 2-3 pound bass (like the one pictured) were caught, along with loads of smaller ones. We also caught the highest numbers of walleye since 2010. Many were small “hammer handles” weighing a pound or less, which is a great sign that our recent stocking efforts are working! Walleye numbers had been steadily declining due to the impacts of illegally introduced blueback herring around 2004.
Lake Chatuge: (From WRD Biologist Anthony Rabern) – Fishing Forecast HERE. Good numbers of hybrids up to 6 pounds were observed during recent WRD sampling at Lake Chatuge. There are a lot of fish cruising the main shoreline at 20-ft deep near the GA/NC state line. We also observed surface feeding in the same area in the late-afternoon.
Mountain Lakes and Tailwaters: (From WRD Biologist Anthony Rabern) — Walleye are on the prowl in the mountain lakes of northeast Georgia giving anglers a great opportunity for some fall fishing success. One of the benefits of Georgia’s walleye stocking program is creating trophy-sized yellow perch. The perch in the picture was caught by fisheries staff during a recent population sampling trip and its weight was just a few ounces shy of the state record. Anglers should slowly work a small jig tipped with a nightcrawler or minnow around downed trees and submerged brush piles. Anglers can also troll nightcrawlers along the bottom in about 30-feet of water during daylight hours for both perch and walleye, but walleye will move into shallower water during low light conditions to feed on small perch, herring and bream.
North Georgia Tailwater: (Report courtesy of Jack Becker) — Fished another tailwater up north this week. 28 degrees when I got on the water. Water temperature was 56. Blue-skies, windy, cold front came in overnight. Terrible conditions, but the moon is right. Spinnerbait, and small jig tipped with a nightcrawler did the trick and yielded a nice mixed bag of fish.
Volunteer Opportunity: Happy holidays to all of Atlanta’s DH trouters! It’s that time of year once again—unless you’re planning to visit family out-of-state this Thanksgiving, we need you to help stock delayed harvest trout in the Chattahoochee River! For you health nuts out there, this is also an excellent way to get a quick upper body workout in (toting 5 gallon buckets of hearty Buford Hatchery-reared trout) right before you start piling on the holiday pounds. Our bucket stocking at Whitewater Creek (directions here) on the Chattahoochee River will be Tuesday, November 26th at 10:30 AM. The stocking truck should be arriving between 10:00 AM and 10:30 AM, and volunteers should bring a clean 5-gallon bucket, waders, and a fishing pole for some post-stocking fun. These events are great for kids to have a chance to help get trout in the water and catch a few fish once they are stocked. Just remember, these are Delayed Harvest fish, so don’t plan to add fresh rainbow trout to the menu this Thanksgiving!
We look forward to seeing you all on the 26th and we welcome all to attend, especially any volunteers that were planning to attend our (cancelled) Thanksgiving event last year. We really appreciate it if you take the time to sign up on our volunteer portal at Go Outdoors GA (sign up here!)—this is the best way to let us know you plan to volunteer for the event. If anyone has questions, please contact our Wildlife Resources Division’s Gainesville region office at 770-535-5498.
Small Stream Trout Slam: (From WRD Biologist John Damer) — I took advantage of the state holiday and drove way up into the mountains looking for some wild trout in the National Forest. I hit the headwaters of one of our larger wild trout streams and had a fantastic day. I managed the wild trout slam (brook, brown, and rainbow trout) and all were caught on a #14 caddis dry. Landed about 20 fish, including a brown about 13-14 inches, but I am still kicking myself about missing the big bull male that was right next to this smaller female. This “one that got away” was easily around 17-18 inches! Great colors on all the fish. It seemed the brook and brown trout spawn was just getting started, as I only saw one pair of fish actively spawning and guarding a redd (trout “nest”). This week’s cold snap may hurt the fishing a bit, but it may still be worth a shot at some true wild trophies that have come out of their normal hiding spots and into the shallows on their annual spawning migration.
Tips and Tricks: (Courtesy of Hatch Outdoors) — Float and fly video for winter “bassing.”