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- Go Outdoors Georgia App: This free app“holds” records of your recreational licenses, allows you to purchase a license, view fishing regulations, find fishing areas, boat ramps and more!
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Speaking of great info…how about some new fishing reports from Southeast, Central and North Georgia! After loading up with all that information, get ready to go outside and use it and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist and Southeast Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Ponds and the Okefenokee would be my top picks for this weekend. The St. Marys is fishable and the Satilla will be in its banks next week without further rains. The Altamaha is still flooded. In saltwater we are coming off the big full moon tides this weekend, so expect the water to be muddy when the water is ripping mid-tide.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Chuck Deen caught 2 bass on black/gold skirt buzzbaits this week. They were both keepers, but not big fish. The panfish anglers I talked with this week did not do well with the cool and stained water. I’m sure the boat traffic on the weekends is pretty horrendous since the big boats can run the river. Try to get up in some backwaters to get away from the wakes. The catfish anglers I spoke with did well, catching a couple dozen whiskerfish per trip on shrimp or worms fished on the bottom. The river level at the MacClenny gage on May 7th was 3.8 feet and falling.
The bluegills bit well around full moon this week in Waycross area ponds. Most anglers reported catching a dozen or so “keepers” per trip. Most fished crickets, but a few fished artificials. Some big bass were reported this week, with the biggest I heard about being a 12.9-pounder, and I also heard of an 11.97-pounder. Chad Lee fished some Alma area ponds this week and had a blast. He landed 20 crappie on Saturday morning from a shallow cypress pond by bouncing Assassin plastics around the trees. On Tuesday he caught a 7-pound bass at a Camden County pond. That one ate a Rat-L-trap. On Wednesday evening he flung a Pop-R right at dark and caught five bass up to 2 pounds. Mattie caught a 4-pound bass in a Brunswick area pond on Saturday morning. She and her sister also caught a couple catfish while casting lures for bass.
OCMULGEE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Hawkinsville, more info HERE)
The bass fishing at the trophy lake has been very good. One angler reported catching two 7-pound bass on shaky head worms this week. He fished around shoreline cover while the fish are still shallow. The crappie bite slowed this week with the warm weather. Anglers caught a few per trip on both minnows and jigs. Bank anglers were most successful for bluegills this week.
The adjusted refuge and Okefenokee Adventures hours at the time of writing this are 7am to 4pm (closed Mondays). Okefenokee Adventures will also provide take-out lunches at the café during lunch hours (check their website for the latest details- okefenokeeadventures.com). I fished the east side with each of my kids for just a couple of hours during the afternoons of Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. We had a blast! On Saturday, my daughter and I poked around the trails and ended up catching a 23-inch chain pickerel (jackfish) on a jackfish-colored Dura-Spin and a 6-pound bowfin on a fire tiger Dura-Spin. Ellie loves pitching sallies for fliers, so we did that for the last hour and ended up catching 29 fliers up to 8 1/2 inches. We tried several colors, but they were dialed into the yellow #10 sallies that day. That’s the first time in a while that the yellow significantly outfished pink for us. On Sunday afternoon after church, my son and I cast Dura-Spins for big fish, and we scored. Timothy caught a 9-pound bowfin during the trip. During our 2 hours of fishing, we caught 9 bowfin and a 16-inch pickerel. White Dura-Spins were our most effective lure, but we caught a couple on black/chartreuse. Catfishing is still your best bet on the west side. Put shrimp or worms on the bottom for whiskerfish.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The whiting bite was good over the weekend but waned as the tidal fluctuation increased around full moon as the week progressed. When the water gets ripping, it’s hard to keep a bait on the bottom in the sounds. Brentz and Alex McGhin caught a nice box of 20 bull whiting out of St Marys on Saturday. They also had a few bluefish and other bottom-dwellers in their catch. Alex caught and released an oversized 24-inch redfish. Lots of redfish were caught at the St. Marys Jetties over the weekend. Most were on bait soaked on the bottom, but one group of anglers caught them on 5/8-oz. Jetty Jigs and Assassin Sea Shads bounced along the jetty rocks. They caught and released a half-dozen big reds up to about 40 inches. If winds allow, the whiting and redfish bites in the sounds should be good as the tides subside early next week. A few tripletail were around the beaches. Winds can be tricky this time of year, so go when the forecast is right. 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 and Central Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.
LAKE RUSSELL IS DOWN 1.33 FEET 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Look on the rocks on bridges and on points for shallow bait fish up on the banks and rocks. Keep a Pop R ready and a #5 Shad Rap ready all day. Bass are on secondary points, rocky points, and natural creek ledges. The fish are in the shallows and the secondary points and creeks coves as the full moon has bait spawning shallow. Zoom’s Super Fluke in all white will get strikes from roaming bank fish. Use a #3/0 Mustad hook and let the bass take the lure a foot before setting the hook. Bomber crank baits in baby bass, shad and fire tiger colors cast to the banks will get a bite and the fish are relatively shallow at less than 10 feet. Use the stop and go technique and try running these crank baits in the blow downs. A spinner bait in the 3/8 ounce size with white or chartreuse skirts cast to the points and trees will get the fish to attack this lure. Many small bass will strike first and work the same area for a bigger bass that are close by. Almost all styles of lizards and worms can get the strikes from these bass. Float these plastics with no weight and watch the line dart once the fish strikes.
CLARKS HILL IS 1.5 FEET OVER FULL 60’S
Small top water lures early and late on the banks is barely fair. After the sun gets up, it’s tough to get a strike. The best bet is to go upriver and cast small Sluggo’s in shad. Main lake points are fair early on top water prop baits. The river fish are active on the river ledges and stay close to the current. Use a 3/8th ounce jig and plastic or pork trailer in black and blue. Watch for any activity on the shallow grass lines and cast to them quickly. Small shad crank baits will get a strike. Use of a watermelon seed worm is fair. Down lake the bass are on the main lake and secondary creek points. Shad Raps in the #7 shad black back on points all day can be productive, run and gun.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 70’S
(Lake Oconee Line Side report brought to you by Mark Smith at Reel Time Guide Service)-
Bass: Bass fishing is good. Richland Creek and the main lake are clear, north of the 44 bridge is stained. We got over an inch of rain last night, a lot of fresh water is on the way. The shad spawn is in full swing. Spinner baits fished on sea walls and bridge rip rap, along with small crank baits fished in the same locations will produce, at first light. After the sun gets up switch to the boat docks in the middle of the coves and work your way out fishing the same baits like the spinner baits and small crank baits. As the water temperatures go up start looking on the secondary points with a Carolina rig.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good. Live bait, shad have been working on down lines all over the south end of the lake. Find the schools off of points and humps on your Lowrance and drop a lively shad to them and hang on. Some trolling action is also happening in the same location. Pulling shad raps and mini Mack have also been producing. Look for the umbrella rig bite to start any day.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. Shooting docks has been very productive over the past week. The fish are also on structure in the shallows. Some fish are also starting to move into the deeper timber. Live bait dropped into the brush pile will draw a strike.
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 1.35 FEET STAINED 60’S
Bass fishing is good. There is a fair top water bit especially in the backs of the long pockets and creeks. Go all the way to the back and fish the shallows but also work some of the docks as well. Bomber crank baits in baby bass, shad and fire tiger colors cast to the banks will get bites and the fish are relatively shallow at less than 10 feet. Use the stop and go technique and try running these crank baits in the blow downs. A slow retrieve in the trees letting the bait float up once it hits the limbs will draw a strike. A spinner bait in the 3/8 ounce size with white or chartreuse skirts cast to the points and trees will get the fish to attack this lure. Many small bass will strike first and work the same area for a bigger bass that are close by. Almost all styles of lizards and worms can get the strikes from these bass. Float these plastics with no weight and watch the line dart once the fish strikes. In the slightly stained water up lake, this is a deadly technique for shallow bass. Use some live lizards, live shad or shiners under a float with a small hook around docks and launch ramps. A bass cannot resist this easy meal.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS FULL, STAINED 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Lake wide and top water is working in the grass beds lake wide. Lunker Lure all white buzz baits and a water melon seed lizard or worm either on a Texas or Carolina rig has been good. Cedar Creek is usually a great all day area, just fish the docks. The bass are on the main lake points and grass beds just off the river. Cast a chrome Rat L Trap on points all over the lake and tick to the bottom with the bait. Upriver, the 3/8 jig and Zoom salt trailer in dark colors on the heavy bank cover can get a strike. Stay close to the river current on points at 5 to 10 feet. Up the river, both buzz baits and spinner baits are fair. Hit the pockets and points in the creeks right off the river. Any bridge can have shad up super shallow and a Pop R in silver black back will work. The Twin Bridges pockets have been good early and late. Shad Raps in the #7 shad/black back and carp colors on 10-pound test line are good.
LAKE JACKSON IS 1.22 FEET OVER FULL, CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Main lake to the dam and even up the river use the Rapala Shad Raps in # 5 and #7 in the silver and black back. Rip rap rocks around the bridges with shad colored lures is fair. Cast parallel to the rocks and bump them with the lures. Later in the day and at dusk small shad and blue combinations crank baits on the points and humps are fair. Small top water stick baits docks and rocky areas can be fair early and late. Bass are holding shallow and can be found on the main lake and in the pockets. Some fish can be found a little deeper, out to about 7 or 8 feet. Spinner baits, jigs, hard baits, and plastics can all fish well. Spinner baits do well when fished through shallow wood cover and fish particularly well with some cloud cover or shade. They will begin to do well on the seawalls with the shad spawn. Senkos in pearl continues to be a good bait when the sun is shining. Use 5″ baits on a 4/0 offset shank hook or a wacky rig. Fish it just about anywhere but look for docks and shallow wood cover with shade. The Senko needs to fall on totally slack line to reach its potential. A calm day or sheltered pocket is best, because, the wind can throw this bite off by putting tension on the line. This isn’t a bait where you are going to feel the bite.
MARBEN PFA (More info HERE)
- Water Level: All bodies of water are at or above full pool except for Margery and Bennett – due to construction.
- Water Clarity: Water clarity varies depending on the amount of rainfall. The smaller ponds are more turbid than the bigger lakes with visibilities ranging from 16”– 30” across the area.
- Surface Temperatures: 68 to 73 degrees.
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: We have noticed many bass in shallow water (<3’). However, some females have already spawned and are moving to deeper water. Through April the females will continue to move deeper as the males stay shallow and guard the fry. Plastic worms and lizards will be a sure go-to with the males guarding the nests. For the bigger females try brush and habitat that lies in 4’-8’ of water. Shallow running crank baits should produce a bite.
Crappie: The crappie have generally all spawned and are moving out into deeper water. Minnows and jigs are you best bet. Concentrate on brush piles. Remember crappie feed up so if you present your bait below them your chances are slim.
Bream: The bluegill have moved into the shallows to spawn. Bluegill will become more active as the waters warm throughout the month. Red wigglers and wax worms at or within 2’ of the bottom are a great tactic. The Redear or Shellcracker are spawning. Several gravel beds have been deployed at Marben and these are hot spots for these spawning Redear. Once the female lays her eggs she will leave the male to guard the bed. Catching a male fish off the bed can take time so be persistent.
(Fishing report courtesy of Hunter Roop, fisheries biologist, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Field intel is limited this week due to a litany of fish stockings, field surveys, and some brush fires here and there. Thank goodness for our good fishin’ buddies and partners to save the day with their success stories, which should in turn impart wisdom and success to you this weekend. The current cold snap appears to have slowed what was a rockin’ start to the week as water temps were peaking at just under 70 F, an ideal feeding temperature for cool and warmwater species alike. It’s been a great, relatively cool spring so far. Since March, water temperatures have been steadily rising and helping us time the spawn and bite with deadly precision, so we’ll let this cold snap slide–just this once. Along with the thanks for fishing reports, we appreciate anglers like you that read this report, and more importantly buy your fishing licenses and TU vehicle tags. Your participation in this great tradition has kept our fisheries programs alive for decades, and will continue to do so as we navigate the challenges that COVID-19 has created for all of us. Stay safe out there, and enjoy fishing North Georgia this weekend.
(North Georgia reservoir reports are brought to you courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant and other contributors specified below)
LAKE LANIER is 0.85 feet over full pool, the main lake and creeks are stained & 60s:
- (This report courtesy of Jimbo Mathley): Bass fishing is good. We are on a super moon this week. There are fish all over the lake up shallow. Get the shallow baits out and hit the banks and wood cover. Shallow docks and reef poles and secondary points are good all day areas. Plan to fish reef poles early in the day then work up shallow with bottom contact lures. There are a lot of bait schools right on the bank. Trick worms in glimmer blue and all white in the shallows will work. A Mini Me all white spinnerbait or a small top water bone Zara Spook fished extremely shallow will draw some great bites. Wake baits and the 1 ounce Mini Me spinnerbaits around the reef poles will work but keep moving all day. Jerk baits and plastics rigged on a Weedless Wonder head later in the day is for the slower periods. Fish very shallow and very slow with the plastics. This month look for the spots to start feeding and be hanging around very shallow docks in the backs of the pockets and roaming around the rocky reef poles throughout the day. A small top water bait or spinnerbait is excellent to catch these feeding fish.
- (This report courtesy of Eric Aldrich with The Gainesville Times): Bass fishing has been very good for anglers that are open minded and blessed so as to get out and fish a lot. The bass remain in all stages of spawn. It is important to fish as many areas as possible because conditions can change from day to day.We continue to average 20 fish in a 4-6 hour trip as long as you can make long casts. Two lures have been our top producers this week. The first and the easiest to fish is a SPRO McStick 110 in Spooky Shad, Clear Chartreuse or any other natural shad or herring colors. These lures are referred to as jerk baits but have been doing best when fished with a medium-steady retrieve around shallow cover. Cast these McSticks around main lake rock and clay. Allow your lures make contact with the bottom on the first part of your retrieve. These lures run 3-5 feet deep and your biggest fish will bite when these lures are digging bottom or just as they break free from the bottom.The second class of lures are topwater plugs or soft plastic jerk baits fished both shallow around rock and clay spawning areas. We are also seeing some action out above medium-depth brush piles around points and humps in 10-20 feet of water. These fish are a combination of pre-and postspawn fish that are keyed in on both herring and shad. Locate the baits and bass with your Lowrance Electronics and fish these areas thoroughly.Other methods deserve mention. Casting Spinner Baits or medium-running crank baits on main lake points for postspawn bass has been scoring some good bites. Lanier Fruity Worms or Big Bites Finesse or Trick Worms in natural or green hues are scoring some good bites both around docks in the pockets, as well as around shallow-to-medium depth brush out on the main lake.The night bite has been very good fishing. Use medium-to-deep running crank baits like a SPRO RkCrawler, Little John DD and also shallower running lures like a SPRO Little John 50 or SPRO McStick around rocky banks in the pockets and midway back in the rivers and creeks.
- (This report courtesy of Academy Jack): Back out on Lake Lanier this week. Headed to the back of the creeks South of Vans Tavern and could not find any Fish shallow or on docks. We moved out to the mouth of the creek and began fishing hazard markers on long points next to deep water. We saw top water action at several places along the edge of the hump on the deep water side where bait was being pushed up shallow. With the wind picking up on the main lake we decided to stay on this one spot since there was bait everywhere. The topwater bite continued off and on for the next hour and a half. Sometimes we waited 5 to 10 minuets but it was worth the wait. When small wolf packs came up The action was incredible. We caught fish on Front Runners with a Zara Spook trailer, Sebiles, and Jerk-Baits. White worked the best. Academy Jack
- (This report courtesy of Buck Cannon of Buck Tales Guide Service, 404-510-1778)– Striper fishing is good. The fish have been eating well. Seems the size has dropped off but fish are biting. Fish are all over the lake so look for schooling fish first thing in the morning and remember it is getting light around 6:35 am. After that put out blue backs on planer boards, flat lines and down lines. Your electronics should locate the fish from the middle of the creeks to the main river channels. Another method is using the mini Mac as a down line or on a planer board. Using these methods will catch stripers, bass, white bass and catfish. Remember Buck Tales it like it is.
- (This report courtesy of Eric Aldrich with The Gainesville Times): Striper fishing has rated from fair to very good. A large majority of the stripers have been moving out to the main lake, but there are still a few fish in the shallows, too. As mentioned above in the bass report, your best bet is to keep an open mind and spend as much time on the water as possible to stay in touch with what the fish are doing. We have been catching some decent sized stripers while casting topwater plugs and McSticks for bass over medium depth brush. This pattern has really just started. Look for the topwater bite to heat up as water temperatures approach the low 70’s. The best striper action on artificial plugs will occur early and late in the day.For fly anglers who like to target these hard-fighting stocked gamefish, use an 8 or 9-weight fly rod. A surface popper or subsurface streamer garner some explosive topwater strikes, especially early and later in the day. Fish these offerings over secondary points and humps heading out toward main lake points. The same advice goes for spin-or-bait casting anglers who are casting topwater plugs. Be on the water at your best locations by 6:30 a.m., before the sun is above the horizon. Hit the same areas as mentioned above. Make several casts, then move on if you don’t detect any activity. Trolling may be a better way to both locate and catch fish. Pulling the smaller U-Rigs like the Captain Mack’s Mini-Rig or smaller profile rigs will score bites from both stripers and bigger spotted bass both shallow and around the humps in less than 45 feet of water. Target the sides of the points and humps and fish shallow out a little deeper.When you get a bite, continue to use your u-rigs or, based what you see on your Lowrance Electronics, deploy some live herring on both regular unweighted and weighted flat lines (add a split shot) lined herring or herring on outriggers. The best striper catches I watched this week were in the same areas we were catching big spotted bass and stripers on artificial and these fish were all spitting up decent sized 4-7 inch herring. Don’t miss the herring bite, but it may happen for a while with these warm and cool weather fronts.
Mixed Creel (This report courtesy of Eric Aldrich with The Gainesville Times):
- Crappie Fishing: I heard someone great once say “a great bass fisherman must be a very great crappie fisherman.” A lot of that is true. When the bass really spawn, the crappie are in a postspawn mode, which means we may experience a time when you boat only small male fish.The crappie recover from the spawn. Where one door closes, another door opens. There have been a few anglers catching some good keeper crappie shallow on minnows and small jigs in the coves. Minnows fished around dock and bridge lights after dark may also help you fill a cooler.
- Bank Fishing: We watched in wonder at the amount of fish schooling in water under 5-feet deep this week. Explosive strikes by stripers of all sizes spotted and an occasional largemouth. One of my favorite shallow fish are carp, but if you read these reports you know that. Chum some corn, hook a few kernels on an Aberdeen hook and hold on.For bass and stripers, fish the same lures we talk about above. The only difference is that you will be pulling fish up shallow where a boat will pull fish out deeper. A small minnow or red wiggler fished a couple feet under a bobber will coax crappie and bream (and other species) around rocky banks and big tree laydowns.*Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from readers, so please email him at email@example.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!
LAKE ALLATOONA is 1.52 over full, stained 60s:
- Bass (This report courtesy of Matt Driver): Bass fishing is fair. The morning has been great due to the shad spawn. Top water has been good from just before daylight till about 830 or so. Rocky and riprap banks or the best areas currently. A Zara spook or Rico popper have been my go to bait’s. Jerk bait and spy baits have been my follow up baits. Lots of hybrid and juvenile stripers mixed in. Later in the day the jig head soft swim bait and Ned rig work best. Long points in 12 to 15 foot range are where the late afternoon fish are holding.
- Linesides: (This report courtesy of Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service): Line side fishing is good. The spawn run is almost over. Most of the fish are back on the main lake and are starting to set up on a summer pattern. Big schools of hybrids can be found anywhere from the S turns to as far south as Tanyard Creek. The down rod bite is the most productive bite going on the lake right now. Fishing live shad at depths from 20 to 30 feet is producing for our boats from one end of the lake to the other. Our bait of choose has been big thread fins with small gizzards running a close second. These fish can be found on your Lowrance electronics on or around most points, humps and flats. Good electronics can be a big help during the summer months. Summer time is awesome for numbers on Lake Allatoona give us a call at 770 827 6282 and let’s take the kids fishing.
- Allatoona GON-tel: ‘Toona bass tactics
LAKE HARTWELL is 1.25 feet over full, 70s: Bass fishing is good. The better fishing is up river in the cooler waters. There are lots of bait fish up on sandy banks and points. Use Zoom’s Creepy Crawlers in motor oil on the up lake river points. A few top fish will hit a gold black back Bang A Lure early and late. When the fishing is slow get out the Weedless Wonders lead heads and add the Bass Pro Series sand worms. Use a Zoom Trick worm in centerline yellow on a #2 Mustad hook and skip it as far under docks as possible. The down lake fish are biting any small blue worms or blue crank baits on the points and humps. The lake is very clear so use light line The Zoom pumpkinseed lizard is fair using a long Carolina rig and a full one ounce weight to points. The small all white buzz bait is fair up the rivers in coves. Fish any cover on the banks and rocks on bridges.
WEST POINT LAKE is down 1.39 feet, stained 60s: Bass fishing is good. We have a full super moon on May 7 and this gets fish active especially early and late. Fish are shallow around all of the grass, docks, blow downs and weed lines. Take a lot of lures and do not stop changing until the fish react to the baits. Zoom flukes, trick worms and Senko’s are working. For a fast shallow bite try the Terminator stainless 3/8 super spinner bait and spinner bait in the ½ ounce size. Bass love frogs so try for a fast bite the Arbogast Buzz Plug frog around any heavy cover. If the sun is out use a green and white frog and all black on a cloudy day. Throw these baits into the tops of grass and twitch them just enough to keep from hanging up. Up lake good places to fish are Jackson Creek, Ski jump cove and Half Moon Creek. Down lake the pattern is very similar to up lake but with the water clearer. Be sure to have a Pop R in bone color. Good places down lake to fish are Maple Creek, Bird Creek and the No Name pockets between them. Also keep a Rat L Trap tied on for those fish chasing bait. Cast the Rapala Rip Stop albino shiner.
West Point GON-tel:
CARTERS LAKE (Report Courtesy of Carters Lake Guide Service) –Carters Lake is producing good catches of walleye right now. The next week or so will be your best chance at catching these toothy creatures. Stripers & hybrid are being caught trolling planer boards with live bait down the middle of creeks over 50-90ft early in the morning. The down-line bite with alewife or threadfin shad in the mouth of pockets & half way back in creeks seems to be improving daily. Shaky heads & Ned rigs are good choices for spotted bass. Work these baits very slow for best success. Surface temps are in the mid-60’s. Expect the bite to get stronger as the weather warms.
LAKE NOTTELY (Report Courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): We wrapped up standardized sampling on Lake Nottely this week and so here’s some fresh intel from the TVA lakes. Water had a slight green tint, visibility of around 2.5 feet, and temperatures were in the upper 60s. We were pleased to see an abundance of Largemouth bass in the 2-4 lb range from mid-lake south to the river. Deep ends of blowdowns were refuge for the big bass while smaller buck bass remain shallow, mostly. We observed actively spawning threadfin shad in the backs of some creeks. Spots were more abundant in the lower (north) reservoir, and average size is smaller thanks to a strong 2019 year class, so expect high catches of smaller 0.5 to 1 lb spots. These fish are prevalent in the creek backs, on points, and along any rock ledges. Schooling bluebacks were abundant in the lower reservoir as well, where we also found some schooling stripers in the early morning. Shallow (6 ft. or less) stripers are patrolling points and flats in the creekbacks, and we handled a pair of 8 pounders before releasing them back into Conley Creek. Crappie can also be easily targeted around any brush piles or freshly fallen blowdowns that have some foliage. A variety of techniques are producing right now, so if you have a favorite spring lure or presentation, now’s a good chance to prove its worth on Nottely!
Etowah River (by Cohutta Fishing Co.): The Etowah River was fishing well before the cold front moved in yesterday. As conditions stabilize, fishing should get better. For spotted bass, I would take a 6-8 weight rigged with either an intermediate or full sinking fly line and 10-15lb leaders, followed by small 1.5-4inch baitfish patterns imitating shad: Clouser Minnows, Flashtail Whistlers, and Lunch Moneys. If you have striper on the brain, these fish should be moving up river and day. I like to fish an 8-10 weight with an intermediate or full sinking line with a 20lb leader and flies like Cruiser Shad/Anchovy, Major Mullet/Anchovy, big Lefty’s Deceivers, and big flashtail whistlers. Give us a shout if you have any questions about these fish – this river bass and striper have been our bread and butter for 10+ years; we keep a full stock of everything you need for success.
Trout Intel: Author’s note: COVID-19 has impacted access to some favorite trouting destinations, and while many sites remain closed some have reopened, and I’ve gleaned from certain miniature avifauna that additional reopenings may take place as early as next week. Check before you go and continue to comply with social distancing best practices!
- Mountain stocker destinations
- Dredger spills the beans on Secret Weapon #1 on page 16 of The Angler Magazine
- Blueline report here
- Trophy trouting tactics here
- DH timing tips
Toccoa Tailwater (by Cohutta Fishing Co.): Toccoa Tailwater should be fishing well when generation allows. Rain earlier this week stained some of the tributaries, and we’re predicted to see more rain on Friday, but don’t let this discourage you. All the public accesses are open. As far as hatches go, I would keep an eye out for Sulphurs. These are a guide favorite on the river and can offer fairly good dry fly fishing. I also watch for Caddis right now. Have some Olive and Tan X-Caddis and Elk Hair Caddis, 14-18 right now. As far as subsurface activity, I would try stonefly nymphs like Pat’s Rubber Legs and Double Bead Stones in Black or Golden Stone colors, Holy Grails, Split Case PMD’s, Rainbow Warriors/Lightning Bugs, and soft hackle pheasant tails in 14-18.
Small Stream (NW) (by Cohutta Fishing Co.): Small streams should be fishing well! I like to head to the mountains with a 3 weight and a box of dry flies this time of year. Specifically, Purple Hazes, Parachute Adams, small Chubby Cherynobyls, and PMX’s should all produce. Anything yellow this time of year is a good bet, as we have an abundance of bugs hatching in that color spectrum. For subsurface, I like to drop smaller unweighted pheasant tails and hare’s ears both with or without a soft hackle collar underneath these dries. If that doesn’t work, a Chubby with a Pat’s Rubber legs underneath would be my next choice.
Blue Ridge Report: (This report courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist John Damer): After finishing some work on Monday, I took the rest of the day off and fished a small stream near Blue Ridge for a few hours. The water was running clear, but much higher than normal for this time of year, due to all the rain this spring. I caught a bunch of small wild rainbows, nothing bigger than 6-7 inches. Missed even more than I landed on the trusty size 14 elk hair caddis. Fishing subsurface probably would have been more productive, given the fast water. Small trout streams like this one are all in great shape right now and are positioned well to have a productive summer, as long as the occasional showers keep things recharged and cool. Fishing these streams can be a great way to avoid the crowds and get some much-needed outdoor exercise.