National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW) begins tomorrow. Will you be out there doing your part by casting a line? NFBW takes place June 6–14, 2020, and offers great reasons to get outdoors, including two FREE Fishing Days on June 6, and June 13! On these days, Georgia residents do not need a fishing license, trout license or Lands Pass (WMAs/PFAs) to fish.
MORE FISHING NEWS:
- Speaking of licenses….want to win a Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License? If you have a Sportsman’s license, you already are entered. Don’t have one? HURRY, the deadline to enter is TODAY, June 5. Click HERE for more information!
- Gonna Get Fishy Round Here: Watch for a lot of “fishy” content on our social media next week, including an Instagram takeover by Colt Martin at the Go Fish Education Center on Tuesday, June 9!
- Trout Run: Ride along on a Tallulah River Trout stocking run to see some happy anglers and beautiful scenery, and get some good info about the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division trout stocking process from stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson.
Georgia Fishing Reports this week come from North and Southeast Georgia. Take advantage of those Free Fishing Days (June 6 and June 13) to grab that friend or family member that doesn’t have a license yet and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Hunter Roop, fisheries biologist, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
And just like that, it’s “Hello, June!” Whether it flew by or dragged on, whether you’re thankful or remiss that it’s gone, that unforgettable time warp called Spring 2020 is now in the rearview. At the fore, it’s just really starting to feel like summer in North Georgia, and as the heat and humidity rise up, reservoir fish are moving deeper as they ditch their shallow spring flings and search for a cool summer getaway. Mountain trout have spread out and enjoyed a buggy buffet this spring, but they’ll soon seek out their own shade and shelter from the mid-day heat, and from their deeper holes they’ll look to the land for a terrestrial-based diet as the summer presses on. River fishing has already been on fire this spring, but in terms of temperature our rivers are just starting to really warm up and will offer some excellent fishing opportunities to anglers this summer (heads up Bass Slammers). Don’t discount the value of a small pond either, as the big bream bite is really starting to heat up, and these feisty fighters can be a great way to entertain the kids all summer long (as if you haven’t already mastered that, right?). Hope you stay safe and well this weekend. Besides dodging a thunderstorm here and there, it’s looking like a great opportunity to grab a parent, a spouse, a kid, or a friend in need of refreshing perspective, and make some positive memories together. This week’s guide to memory making is below:
(North Georgia reservoir and reports are brought to you this week courtesy of GON, and other contributors specified below)
Lake Lanier is 0.6 feet over full pool, the main lake and creeks are clear & low 70s:
- Stripers: (This report courtesy ofClay Cunningham with Catching Not Fishing Guide Service): Fish are moving into the summer patterns as surface temps are touching mid 70s. Some of the best fishing is now available on Lanier as fish can be easily targeted at moderate depths. Use electronics to target schooling stripers and once found, deploy downlines. Drop herring 35 feet deep using a Carolina rig with a Captain Mack swivel sinker, a five foot leader of Berkley 100% fluorocarbon, and a Gamakatsu 1/0 octopus hook. Hang on for a fun fight!
- Bass:Tournament angler and Guide Ryan Coleman reports, “Most of the spots and largemouth have spawned and are postspawn. There are still a few that have not spawned, but they will in late May and early June, on the main lake mostly. There are some herring trying to spawn in the mid to lower lake areas up on shallow flats and reef poles, and some spotted bass are hanging around there feeding on them. Read more on GON.
- Stripers: Ron Mullins reports, “June is a big transition month. The topwater bite will be over, and the fish will be moving deeper with the increasing water temps. Most of our fish will be caught in pockets from Brown’s Bridge down to the dam and in drainages coming into the main creeks on the south end. These areas give the stripers multiple environments to feed in. They can chase shallow bait early and late in the day in 10 to 20 feet of water, while having 40 to 50 feet of water to go to when the sun comes up. Read more on GON.
- Crappie:Guide John McCalpin reports, “For the past few months, crappie have been schooling underneath docks in 16 to 28 feet of water. As the water has warmed, some of the crappie have begun to migrate to open-water brushpiles. Use your electronic chart plotter to locate areas in the desired depths and scan for brushpiles, noting which ones are holding crappie. You might notice that some brushpiles are located near docks that have been—and may still be—holding crappie. Read more on GON.
- Hunting bream on Lanier? Look for golf balls!
- Solace for a northbound dinghy
- Early summer Catfish Tactics
- Crazy crappie!
Lanier water quality (brought to you by Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): Each summer, WRD Fisheries staff collects temperature and oxygen information throughout Lake Lanier to determine where good habitat exists for certain gamefish like striped bass and walleye. These species generally have temperature and dissolved oxygen requirements that differ from our typical warmwater species like largemouth bass, bream, and catfish. We post the temperature and oxygen profiles on WRD’s GIS map that can be found on the Fishing Forecasts page for Lake Lanier (and other North Georgia lakes). Just click on the small thermometer icon and select the most recent PDF. The current trends suggest a thermocline is setting up around 15’ below the surface in the upper reservoir, but deeper (~25’) in the lower reservoir. Surface temperatures should still be suitable for topwater action in the early morning, but by mid-day expect stripers to occupy depths from 20’-40’ in June. As the summer progresses and the water warms, identifying good water quality & habitat becomes more critical to locating stripers, and we’ll be here to help you do just that!
Lake Burton is full pool, high 60s, and clear:
- Bass: Wes Carlton reports, “The bite has been really good the last two weeks. We have caught fish on about every type of lure you could possibly throw. The best bite seems to be the midday topwater bite. We have had our best success throwing flukes in and around docks. Read more on GON.
- Brown Trout: Wes Carlton reports, “The trolling bite has picked up lately. We have been trolling a spread of small jerkbaits and spoons in the 15- to 20-foot depths at the mouths of the creeks. This bite seems to be great or not happening. I think the bite will be more consistent as we head toward the 70-degree mark on water temps.***looking to diversify your lentic (lake/pond) trout fishing options? Check out this little mountain gem, and thanks to Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thompson for sharing!***
- Walleye: Capt. Wes Carlton reports, “The bite has been tough lately, and hopefully it will pick up in the next couple of weeks.
Lake Allatoona is 0.7 over full, 72 F, and slightly stained:
- Bass:Tournament angler Matt Driver reports, “The topwater bite is still good, and some fish can still be caught fairly shallow early in the morning. In June, bass transition to deeper brush and rockpiles. This is a good time to beat the crowds and head out fishing after sunset. Read more on GON.
- Linesides:Guide Robert Eidson reports, “Big schools of hybrids can be found anywhere from the S-turns to as far south as Tanyard Creek. The downrod bite is the most productive bite going on right now. Fishing live shad at depths from 20 to 30 feet is producing from one end of the lake to the other. Our bait of choice has been big threadfins. These fish can be found on your Lowrance on or around most points, humps and flats.”
Allatoona GON-tel: Topwater & a bobber
Carters Lake (Report Courtesy of Carters Lake Guide Service): Fishing has been consistent for Big Stripers, Hybrid, Spotted Bass and an occasional Walleye showing up. Fish are transitioning nicely into their summer-time pattern. Look for fish holding on steep banks & deep sides of points & humps. Also, if you see schooling activity on the surface – stop & fish the area. You will get bit!
Lake Weiss at full, low 70s, with moderate stain:
- Bass: Tournament angler Mike Carter reports, “The water levels have been more consistent, and this has helped with better fishing in the grassbeds. The main lures that have produced the better action have been Choo Choo Lures swim jigs and spinnerbaits. Covering the grassbeds with deeper water close by has been the most consistent areas to concentrate on. Read more on GON.
Lake Nottely is 2 ft over full, mid 70s, clear:
- Stripers:Guide Jeremy Seabolt reports, “We have been catching some nice-sized fish on large shad and herring. The herring spawn has the fish chasing bait all over. We have had an awesome topwater bite, and freelines and planer boards have been good ways to target the bigger fish first thing in the morning. We have caught fish from one end of the lake to the other, but the bigger schools of fish are still holding in the creeks. Going into June, the fish will start pulling out into deeper water and start schooling up in bigger schools. Read more on GON.
Lake Chatuge is 1 ft over full, 70s, clear:
- Spotted Bass: Guide Shane Goebel at Hughes General Store reports, “The early morning topwater bite has been strong. Topwater plugs, Spooks and jerkbaits have worked well. Look for fish to be schooled up on shallow clay banks, humps and off points. In terms of location, the upper end of the lake has been producing slightly better numbers than the lower end.”
- Hybrids:Guide Shane Goebel at Hughes General Store reports, “Currently, hybrid fishing is great as the fish are schooling in large numbers, and we are catching some big quantities. Most of our hybrids are averaging 6 to 10 pounds. The early morning bite has been prime. Read more on GON.
Mountain Lakes: With surface temps in the mid 60’s in the morning and rising to high 70’s by afternoon, combined with heavy boat traffic, the lakes and fish patterns are changing. Yellow Perch are dominating the deeper water flats and the Walleye are very scattered but look for this to change as the water temps continue to rise. Here is a picture of a nice 18 inch walleye caught by Mike Shirley while fishing with Follow the Son Guide Service.
Etowah River (by Cohutta Fishing Co.): The Etowah River is fishing well! Currently, the river below Allatoona Dam is flowing at 1860 cFs. This is subject to change based on lake level and precipitation, but this is a great flow to fly fish. For Spotted Bass, I would fish a 7 or 8 weight fly rod with either a floating line with a very long leader, or a full sinking line. Try smallish baitfish patterns like Clouser Minnows, white Jawbreakers, and Lunch $’s, and crawfish patterns like Galloup’s Nancy Ps. For Striper, break out the 9’s and 10’s this year – I fish a full sinking or intermediate tip fly line with either a Rio 20-30lb Striper leader or I build my own leaders with Scientific Angler Shock Fluorocarbon (40, 30, 20lb). For fly patterns, EP flies, Kinky Muddlers, anything bucktail (clousers, decievers), and Flashtail Whistlers.
Chattahoochee River (Above Lanier): this bass fly fishing report brought to you by angler Bobby Smith): Floated the Upper Hooch last week downstream of the 115 bridge. I ended up sticking with the white sluggo all day, the two guys that were with me tried a couple of other variations of streamers that were not successful but did get a bump or two. There was also a spinning rod on the mix that produced a small spotted bass on a jerk bait. The white sluggo fooled a trio of shoal bass including the one pictured here.
Chattahoochee River (Lanier tailwater): this report brought to you by Academy Jack): I made my first trout fishing trip of the year to the Lower Hooch below Buford dam. If you venture down there, make sure you wear a life jacket if you are in or on the water, and call the USACE (770-945-1466) for the water release schedule before you go. I had a great outing while fishing above the Hwy. 20 bridge off the bank. There is a nice parking area at the bridge where you can gain access to the river. If you fish below the bridge It is artificial lures ONLY, but upstream worms, powerbait, corn, and crickets are a go! I tried a half dozen lures: panther martins, mepps, rooster tails, and trout magnets—all without a strike. I was about ready to head home when I tried a piece of yellow corn on a small mosquito hook with a split shot and sliding float. When I found the right length of line to allow my split shot to drift along the bottom without getting hung up, I ended up catching 9 trout in about 2 hours. I kept 4 to eat and released 3 rainbows and 2 browns. Academy Jack.
NGTO Hooch report:
Blue Lines (brought to you by retirement-loving former Region Supervisor Jeff Durniak aka Dredger of Unicoi Outfitters): Bluelines are still a best bet. Any buggy fly will work. Our Monday evening duo did well despite two different approaches. One used a small (16) yellow cAddis, while #2 floated a bushy 14 parachute Adams. They key is the stalk. If the fish don’t know that you have snuck up on them, they will give your fly a good look and probably a good eat. The bigger rivers have warmed and spring bugs are gone, for the most part. I found slow action on my favorite unnamed river Wednesday night, with only six wild browns to nine inches fondled and no real action, bugs or fish, right at slap dark. High elevation, shaded, cooler streams are definitely a better bet. Bring stealth, a good drift, any buggy flies you believe in, and a good chamois or desiccant to refloat your dries. Hike in and distance yourself from all the hikers. Steer away from popular sites and parking lots, and explore new, remote creeks. Anyone who has thought about a westerntrout trip in the years to come might enjoy my tips. See last weeks recorded Facebook live session on the UO FB page.
NGTO blueline reports:
Toccoa Tailwater (by Cohutta Fishing Co.): The Toccoa tailwater is fishing well. Be mindful of generation and weather this weekend, as we do have rain in the forecast. As long as the rain remains light, all of the access points on the tailwater should remain clear. If we do get a good bit of rain, Tammen Park may be the only access point clear enough to fish. If this happens, have a back-up plan in place, as this will concentrate the already large number of people fishing to one spot. For flies, I’ve been fishing a 5 weight with a dry-dropper rig consisting of a large indicator fly like a Yellow PMX or Fat Albert followed by a dropper tied on 5x tippet, 1.5 times the water depth. For your dropper fly, golden stonefly nymphs, Pat’s Rubber Legs, pheasant tail soft hackles, rainbow warriors, and Red Alerts/El Diablos should all produce among other bugs. You might see sulphurs coming off, so have a few dries in your box.
Hatchery Reports (brought to you by the dedicated trout hatchery staff at Summerville, Burton, and Buford trout hatcheries): More than 65,000 rainbow trout fingerlings were transferred from Summerville Hatchery to Buford Hatchery to be grown out to catchable size for the 2021 stocking season. Summerville stocked over 4,700 trout in the northwest region this week while the Burton and Buford staff were running fish all over North Georgia to the tune of 11,000 rainbows and 5,000 browns. See if your favorite stocker stream is on the weekly stocking report, and consider purchasing a TU trout license plate to help support Georgia’s trout stocking program. Thanks to all of you that already have!
Small Stream (NW) (by Cohutta Fishing Co.): Right now, it’s hard to beat a good pair of wet wading shoes, a cup full of yellow dry flies, and a short 3 weight on these mountain streams. I like rigging a single yellow stimulator or parachute x with a small pheasant tail soft hackle. If you want to chase some relatively larger stream trout, take some small chubby cherynobyls or larger beetle patterns with a small pat’s rubber legs dropped off the back. Stay back off of pools, bring a couple spools of 5x and 6x just in case the trout get finicky, and don’t wear bright colors! If you keep an eye on tail outs of bigger pools before you step in them, you may even get some sight fishing opportunities! If the rain pushes a little more water in these streams, you can bring some gear to high stick heavy nymphs in fast runs before the water falls out.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist and Southeast Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
The river is dropping out and should be in pretty good shape before long. Catfishing will be your best bet this weekend in the high, stained water. The river level was 7.9 feet and falling (79 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 9.2 feet and falling (78 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 4th.
The Satilla rose but has fallen out well this week. I haven’t gotten any really good reports, but I expect to by the weekend. This weekend should be good for getting a boat around (float trips are not a necessity yet), but the water will still be a little stained in most places. We are forecasted to get some rain this weekend, so keep an eye on the rainfall totals and weather before planning a trip. Chuck Deen fished the tidal river on Thursday and got a 2-pound bass to blow up on a black/gold buzzbait. He had 4 other bites that he missed, as well. Take note of the Highway 158 Bridge landing being closed due to construction of the replacement Hwy 158 Bridge. This will affect anglers fishing that upper river area, so plan accordingly. The river level on June 4th at the Waycross gage was 7.5 feet (77 degrees) and falling. The Atkinson gage was 6.7 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The only details I have from the St Marys are from catfish anglers. Folks did well in the warmer water by putting shrimp or worms on the bottom. The catfish population is in great shape this year, based on reports. Shady Bream Tournaments will hold their next panfish tournament on June 20th out of Traders Hill. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for more information. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 4th was 2.2 feet and falling.
Bass and bluegill bit well like they have recently, but the catfish bite really picked up this week. On Saturday evening, Chad Lee and a friend caught 4 bass up to 3 pounds and lost a 5-lb class fish. They caught them on plastics and Bert’s Bugs (poppers) fished on a fly rod. They also had about 10 nice bluegills inhale the popper during the evening. The biggest bass and most of the bluegills ate a chartreuse popper, while a few right at dark ate the white version. My son Timothy caught his first fish on a fly rod Sunday evening right before dark. He flung a white Bert’s Bug and a small bass crushed it. We also caught 4 other small bass on the popper before dark. Chad Lee fished a pond on Monday and caught some nice bass on a black Bert’s Bug. On Thursday he fished a pond in the evening and landed 2 big bluegills and 6 bass up to 3 pounds on a lime Bert’s Bug fished on his fly rod. His biggest bass of the week was a 6-pound class fish that sucked a Keitech Noisy Flapper (toad) off the surface. Wyatt Crews and Scout Carter hopped in kayaks and fished a local pond on Thursday evening and landed some nice topwater bass. They both threw Capt. Bert’s buzzbaits, and Wyatt landed a 3-pounder and a 7-pounder on a black-silver blade version. Scout used a buzzbait and a jerkbait to catch 4 bass up to 2 pounds. A few folks reported catching bream on crickets. My daughter, Ellie, fished with me on Wednesday in a Brunswick area pond, and we used cut bluegill on a Catfish Catcher Jighead to land 54 channel catfish. It was a blast and provided several meals for us and friends. The nighttime buzzbait bite for big bass hasn’t fired off yet from reports I received, but it should any day.
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). The warmouth bite was best this week. Several folks caught them by pitching crayfish and some used curly-tail grubs or plastic crayfish. Another angler walked the fishing trail at the Folkston entrance and caught a bunch of warmouth by pitching crickets. I didn’t receive any specific reports of anglers targeting them, but I imagine quite a few bowfin were caught this week. I usually give June to the yellow flies, but they haven’t been unbearably bad this year (so far).
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
It’s been a relatively slow week in the brine. A few folks reported catching some whiting from the beach and piers. A couple others caught a few redfish and sheepshead from Brunswick area docks. Justin Bythwood and Ed Zmarzly fished the St. Marys Jetties on Saturday and landed a bunch of Spanish mackerel by flinging small spoons at them. They also had a couple oversized redfish on Jetty Jigs and plastics. Dane Clements fished in the WIND on Monday in the St. Simons area and caught a couple trout and a couple flounder on white curly-tail grubs rigged on 3/8-oz. chartreuse heads. He also landed 2 black drum and a half-dozen sheepshead by dabbling fiddler crabs around hard cover. Check with Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle (912-634-1888) for the latest on the St. Simons Pier.