We got this Georgia. Let’s show the rest of the country that we can #socialdistance AND use our natural resources to help us mentally get through this current crisis.
Relative to being outside, here are some of the things you need to know about Governor Kemp’s Shelter in Place Executive Order:
- Outdoor exercise activities are approved, including hunting, fishing, and boating, provided individuals maintain a distance of six (6) feet between all persons who are not occupants of the same household or residence.
- Travel is permitted to perform hunting, fishing, and boating activities.
- Camping is allowed on WMAs and PFAs, provided individuals maintain a distance of six (6) feet between all persons who are not occupants of the same household or residence.
Other News to Know:
- Covid19 Hunting/Fishing FAQs
- Georgia Hunting and Fishing Not Banned/GON
- Boating Do’s and Don’ts: Listen to this WTOC News Story with GA DNR Law Enforcement Col. Thomas Barnard.
- Boat Ramp Parking: If designated parking areas on boat ramps, shooting ranges, trail heads or similar areas are full, the area has reached capacity. Do not park outside designated spaces. Do not park in any area not designated for legal parking.
- Closures: The U.S. Forest Service – Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests temporarily shuts down additional recreation areas in Lumpkin, Fannin, Union and Towns counties. More info HERE.
This week, we have a fishing report from North Georgia. Stay safe, take care of each other, and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Hunter Roop, fisheries biologist, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
I’ll be brief, but in a nutshell, the fishing up here in North Georgia is good if you can justify getting to your favorite fishing hole. But whatever you do, do it safely. The safest bet, is to stick around the house and pull weeds from the flower beds (you know you’ve got some). If you can’t resist the itch, the next safest bet is to fish your favorite local fishery (remember the days of fishing the neighborhood pond, or that creek down the road?)—honor parking capacity and all other social distancing measures in the process.
If you have questions about facility closures and your ability to fish this weekend, check out our sister blog article here and below for some answers. All DNR WRD public fishing areas, boat ramps, and WMAs are currently open to the public. By honoring social distancing guidance and the parking capacity of these and other facilities, you can help keep these facilities open for everyone’s enjoyment during these trying times.
North Georgia reservoir reports are brought to you courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant and other contributors specified below. The up-to-date reservoir reports for Lakes Lanier, Allatoona, Hartwell, and Weiss can be found HERE.
Lake Lanier is 2.5 feet over full pool, the main lake and creeks are stained & low 60s.
Lake Lanier Access & Facilities (by Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): The Army Corps of Engineers’ StoryMap is your one-stop shop for answers regarding facility closures and open boat ramps on Lake Lanier. Facilities that are closed are labeled as such, and closed boat ramps are indicated by a red boat ramp symbol while open ramps are brown. If there is any doubt, call the facility operator or go to their website for more information.
Bass: (This report courtesy of Jack Becker aka Academy Jack): Warmer temperatures found me using my kayak for the first time this year. I added a Garmin 7SV and couldn’t wait to try it. Water temperature in the back of our cove was 62.5 F. I found Crappie on a brush pile in 5 ft of water and caught this Lanier Slab on a 3.5” Keitech Swim-bait. The deeper water in the middle of the cove was full of bait and spotted bass were suspended below the bait balls. The Keitech fished on a Guppy Head Dirty Jig caught 7 Spots.
Stripers: (This report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop: This was the last week sampling stripers on Lanier, and overall our sample has indicated that the striped bass population on Lanier is healthy, and there are some strong year classes supporting good catch rates and the opportunity for memorable catches of 10+ lb fish as well. Lake temperatures are now in the low 60s, and we are still successfully targeting stripers in the early mornings on clay flats and points. Some stripers and spotted bass are feeding on surface shad, so don’t discount Sammys and Spooks in you arsenal. We can see plenty of boats with t-tops freelining, downlining, or pulling planar boards over a 20’-40’ bottom once the sun gets up and the bait go deep. Unicoi Outfitter’s Jake Darling volunteered his time to assist me in sampling the Hooch above Lanier last week, and he netted this fat 22+ lb’er that he jumped in the middle of the river channel. We are also starting to see higher numbers of white bass in the Hooch, and based on the condition of a female we examined, the white bass are actively spawning now. Best bet for white bass are upstream of Belton Bridge on the Hooch, and downstream of 400 on the Chestatee. You can expect to also find an occasional white bass when fishing for stripers in the lower lake.
Crappie: The slabs are moving shallow and the grease is heating up!
Lake Allatoona is 1.13 feet over full pool, stained & low 60s.
Allatoona Army Corps facility closures (this report courtesy of Region Supervisor Jim Hakala) The lake is open, but there is currently only a few day-use areas open that have boat ramps. All campgrounds and beaches are closed as well as facilities such as restrooms and shelters. The following areas are currently open: Blockhouse Ramp (restroom closed), Cooper Branch #1 Ramp (restroom closed), Cooper’s Furnace Day Use Area (restroom closed), Galt’s Ferry Ramp (beach and restroom closed), Payne Ramp (restroom closed), Riverside Day Use Area (restroom closed), Stamp Creek Ramp (restrooms closed) and Victoria Day Use Area Ramp (beach and restrooms closed). Keep abreast of closures at Allatoona by following the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on their Official Facebook page.
Stocking Update (courtesy of Trout Biologist Sarah Baker & efforts of the WRD trout hatchery staff): The trout stocking trucks have continued their routes this week throughout North Georgia. Check our weekly trout stocking report HERE to see which waterbodies have been stocked. Streams should be clear as glass and glistening this weekend. While stream temperatures are cool, trout are active. Cast in those bubble lines! Potential spring storms this coming Monday and Tuesday may create some higher and more turbid water. There are excellent low elevation trout fishing opportunities right now at Panther Creek and Middle Broad River, Winfield Scott Lake, and West Armuchee Creek. Abide by social distancing guidance, and we encourage everyone to minimize travel and choose your local trout fishery over long-distance alternatives. Looking for local trout fishing locations? Check out our online interactive trout map. Be safe, respect others, and have fun!
Temporary trout tradeoff: For those of you limited to your local bream pond, here’s a tip to get your fly-flinging fix: Bluegill on the fly
Oostanalua River (This report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist John Damer): The striped bass run in the Coosa River basin is improving, and so are fishing conditions. Numbers of fish at all our monitoring sites continue to go up, and we are now seeing some large females over 30 pounds, like the 32-pounder pictured. Highest numbers of fish were seen all the way up the Oostanaula River near the Hwy 225 boat ramp in Resaca, though there were decent numbers on the lower end near Rome and through the middle section in Armuchee and Calhoun. Flows are looking great and are much more fishable than they were last week, and I expect anglers may have good success. As flows continue to drop, stripers will gravitate toward faster turbulent flows, so look for shoals, blowdowns, islands, or other habitats that create increased water velocity. Live shad are almost always the best bait for stripers, but they can be hard to keep alive. If you don’t have a large bait tank, try shad imitating lures like Zara Spooks, redfins, or even large white bucktails.
Lake Trahlyta (courtesy of Trout Biologist Sarah Baker): Lake Trahlyta at Vogel State Park offers some excellent fishing opportunities. Grab a canoe or kayak to target largemouth bass with a tight wobbling crankbait, or easily access the bank to snag a bluegill with a worm or a land a trout with a panther martin. Spring has sprung at Vogel State Park!