National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW) ends this weekend, but hopefully – it is just the beginning of a great summer of fishing and boating for you! There is another FREE Fishing Day on June 13 (tomorrow) – so be sure to take out someone new to fishing. On Free Fishing Days, Georgia residents do not need a fishing license, trout license or Lands Pass (WMAs/PFAs) to fish.
News to Know:
- Largemouth Bass Program: Check out THIS blog post about the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division largemouth bass production and stocking program.
- Georgia Angler Award Program: We have angler award categories for adults, youth, trophy bass and Public Fishing Area big fish. Click HERE to watch a video, or HERE for more info and links to applications. Be SURE to read all the rules before submitting an entry!
- Trout Production and Stocking: Just this week, more than 65,000 rainbow trout fingerlings were transferred from Summerville Hatchery to Buford Hatchery to be grown out to catch-able size for the 2021 stocking season. Click HERE for more info about trout production and stocking.
- Bream: For many anglers, fishing for bream is one of their first memories. How about you?
This week, we have fresh fishing reports from North, Central and Southeast Georgia. Tidy up your tackle box and get ready to Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Sarah Baker, fisheries biologist, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Our lakes and streams were recharged from rains earlier in the week, and water levels are on their way to base flow conditions. Best of luck! It’s going to be another awesome weekend to make fishing memories in North Georgia.
Lake Lanier (Courtesy of “Academy” Jack Becker) — Back out on Lanier this week and started on main lake points and hazard buoys that have been good fishing for the past 3 weeks. Water temperature was 81.3. We moved out to brush piles in 20 to 30 ft of water. We only caught a few fish but they were pretty good ones. We had to keep moving to find active fish. Seems like all they wanted was our topwater baits. Whopper Ploppers, Walking Boss & Front Runners with Zara Spook trailers all caught fish. Just a Reminder, make sure you make long casts to keep from spooking the fish with your electric motor. Good Fishing & Stay Safe. Academy Jack.
Carters Lake (Courtesy of Carters Lake Guide Service) — Carters Lake continues to produce quality fish!!! Stripers & hybrids are being caught on live bait down-lined 40-50ft deep over a 50-70ft bottom. As the surface temperature warms look for stripers to go even deeper as they settle into their summer-time pattern. Big schools of spotted bass are holding off of steep banks right now.
Full Moon Bass – GON-tel:
North Georgia Mountain Lakes (Courtesy of Dave Pedone, Follow the Son Guide Service) — With surface temps hitting 80 degrees the lakes are transitioning into summertime patterns. Small Yellow Perch are heavy all over the lakes making it hard to keep a bait in the water but putting in the time and persistence you can land a nice trophy size Walleye! My feeling is we are about two weeks away from full summertime patterns. Seed produced this 26 inch and 6 ½ pounder- nice and fat!
Browns, Bows & Brookies (From Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson) — Check out “Alabama Rick’s” stringer closely. He landed a surprise load of Brook Trout this week on the public section of the Soque River. Our partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery made this possible and I am sure he was grateful to catch these beauties. He was only missing one rainbow trout to complete his trout slam. This weekend would be a good opportunity to land a brook trout in North Georgia.
Fly Anglers: Tips and tricks for “Summer Fly-Flinging” from retired GA DNR North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor Jeff Durniak
The Etowah River (Report Courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company) — The Etowah River is fishing well. Currently, the river below Allatoona Dam is flowing at 1860 cFs. This is subject to change based on rain and lake level, so keep an eye out for any change before you head out. We had a little rain yesterday and Tuesday, but the tributaries should be clearing up. 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.
The Toccoa Tailwater (Report Courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company)–The Toccoa Tailwater is fishing well. Tributary streams to the tailwater are clearing up today and will continue to do so. For flies, I’ve been fishing a 5 weight with a dry-dropper rig consisting of a large indicator fly like a PMX, Chubby, or big hopper pattern 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.
Small Streams (Report Courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company)– 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.
Kid’s Corner: Looking for some creative ways to engage with your kids and improve their fishing skills while they’re at home for the summer? Bassador’s got some great ideas at Angler Academy!
(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, fisheries biologist and Southeast 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 .98 FEET 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. There is still a shad spawn but this will slow soon. Spinnerbaits in chartreuse and white buzz baits and frogs are working in the morning. As that slows, throw a Little Earl Crankbait in pearl and chartreuse that dives 4 to 6 feet and work the docks with June bug red lizards and Trick Worms. A ChatterBait and a Zoom Methiolate Trick worm are also good choices. To- water prop baits and frogs will all work. Use top-water early, then a shaky head or creature bait in green pumpkin with chartreuse ends. Soon bass will migrate out to the ends of the points and creek channels in 8 to 15 feet of water. Ride these areas with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology and “find” the fish first. Be prepared for a lot of boat traffic by midday. Always have a pearl Zoom Super Fluke rigged and use it on every stop.
CLARKS HILL IS .38 FEET OVER FULL 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Bass are out on the deeper side of the main lake humps. Several methods are being used including drop shot rigs, Carolina rigs, jigs and deep diving crank baits. Main lake points are also still producing but not all of them. Ride these areas with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology and “find” the fish first. Fishing areas where the water drops off quickly and the areas that are holding the bigger rocks will work best. A fair top-water bite has been present with medium to deep-diving crank baits. The key to fishing is to slow down your presentation and fish an area well. Use the Chug bugs, Rapala DT10 and DT14, finesse worms and Super flukes. Always have a pearl Zoom Super Fluke rigged and use it on every stop.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL 70’S
(This Lake Oconee fishing report is by Captain Mark Smith of Reel Time Service. 404-803-0741) —
Bass: Bass fishing is good. The shad spawn is still going on but slowing down. 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. Soft plastics fished under docks in the middle of the coves will produce some good fish. Find the structure under or around the dock with the Lowrance Structure Scan technology and this will increase your chances. Carolina rigs fished on points have also been producing. Some fish are starting to show up on the humps on the south end of the lake. Carolina rigs fished with a short leader will draw strikes. Also start looking for the grass beds on the south end and work a frog in and around the grass.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good with live bait. Shad have been working on down lines all over the south end of the lake. Find the schools off from 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. There is a good spoon bite in the afternoons when Georgia Power is pulling water, as well as a strong umbrella rig bite at the same time.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. Shooting docks has been very productive over the past week. The summer down line bite on top of timber and brush piles has produced large numbers and size over the past week. Find the fish in the tip of the timber with your Lowrance down scan and drop a minnow or a jig into the school and hang on.
WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Fish are holding on brush piles around docks and there are some fish under the docks. A 3/8-ounce black and blue Stanley jig with a Gene Larew salt craw trailer in June bug color or a 4-inch tube rigged Texas style in June bug flipped into the brush and under the docks will work. A 6 -inch Zoom lizard is also working well. Fish main lake points early up shallow with spinner baits and Texas rigged worms. Ride these areas with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology and “find” the fish first. Spotted bass have moved to point’s humps and the old river channels and get them with the Fat Free Shad crank bait in citrus shad color or a ½-ounce spinnerbait in chartreuse and white. Always have a pearl Zoom Super Fluke rigged and use it on every stop.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.19 STAINED 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. As the bass move to summer homes start out as early as you can and use a buzz bait. After early top water dies off the bass move to the creek channels and Senko’s and Stick O’s on a 3/0 Mustad hook will work. Add a nail weight to the center of the bait so it will sink and also use a light Carolina rig. A Zoom trick worm is deadly off the edges of the grass beds all day. If you want to try for a bigger fish head up the river and use a Strike King spinner bait with gold and silver combos and buzz the bait on the edges of the river. A Rapala D10 in hot mustard will also work. There are not many fish biting up the river in the current so get off the edges and work the coves and small creek mouths. Always have a pearl Zoom Super Fluke rigged and use it on every stop.
LAKE JACKSON IS .58 FEET OVER FULL CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Head go up in the rivers and work the docks and channel ledges. Use the crank bait in shad and crawfish colors. The Fat Rap and new Shad Raps in the brown crawdad will work. Use the smaller #5 size for best results. While cranking the channel ledges move up to the larger sizes but the docks and shallow water will work better with the smaller ones. Perch is another great color and it is just about time for the spots to start schooling mid-lake. Later in the day if the boat traffic will allow, move out and throw a Carolina rig six-inch Zoom finesse worm in the green pumpkin or pumpkin seed color. Added scent like Jacks Juice in garlic will help the bass to hold on to the bait a little longer so use it often. Some anglers are also using chartreuse dye to color the tail. Always have a pearl Zoom Super Fluke rigged and use it on every stop.
BIG LAZER PFA (More Info HERE)
- Surface water temperature: 83o F
- Water visibility: Visibility is about 29”
- Water level: Water level is down about 6 inches
In general, June and July temperatures at Big Lazer are getting hot. Fish tend to hang out in shady cover during the hot days and feed in the mornings and evenings. Night fishing could offer productive fishing and a reprieve from the heat for dedicated anglers.
Bass: Fair – The post-spawn bass fishing is decent right now. Bass can be found in the upper 3 to 4 feet of the water column. Due to the incoming hot temperatures, bass fishing will be at its best early in the morning and late in the day just before sundown. Top-water and shallow presentation of bait is your best bet this time of year.
Crappie: Poor- Warm summer temperatures have caused crappie to move into deeper water as well as spread out over most of the lake making them somewhat difficult to locate. Fishing deep water around standing timber with live minnows is your best bet.
Bream: Good – Bream fishing has been good. They are actively spawning and will aggressively guard their beds, which improves your chances at catching several for the table. Crickets and worms are good bait for spawning bream. Also, small grubs with plastic jigs can work well this time of year; try a variety of colors. However, make sure the hooks are small because the bream have small mouths.
Channel catfish: Good- The rocks along the dam are always a good spot to try and catch big channel cats. However, angling for catfish has also been good in deeper water over much of the lake. Catfish are being caught on worms, livers, and sometimes shrimp.
MCDUFFIE PFA (More Info HERE)
- Water Temperature: 82 ⁰F
- Water Visibility: 18 – 54+ in
- The Fish Cleaning Station is open.
Bass: Bass fishing has continued to be tough lately. A few nice bass have been caught in Willow Lake on spinnerbaits and shaky heads, especially late in the afternoon. Lures that imitate small threadfin shad have been successfully catching numerous 2+ lb. bass in Breambuster Lake and should also be successful in Bridge Lake where shad are schooling in the late afternoon. Beaverlodge Lake isn’t exactly known for big bass fishing, but it may be worth fishing the submerged treetops back there.
Bream: The bream bite has started to pick up. Bridge Lake has been the best for bream fishing lately especially late in the afternoon, but several nice shellcracker were recently caught in Beaverlodge Lake as well. For a shot at some large bream, Clubhouse is the lake to fish. Fish feeders at Jones, Beaverlodge and Breambuster Lakes are good spots to try for bream, as well as any structure in deeper water.
Channel catfish: The catfish action has been great. Bridge, Willow and Beaverlodge have been the best catfish lakes, but the catfish bite has been good throughout the area. Deep water around the siphon drain structures continue to be good spots. Fish feeders at Jones, Beaverlodge and Breambuster are excellent spots to fish for catfish, too.
Striped bass: Stripers can be found in Clubhouse and Bridge Lakes. Large stripers have been congregating where the siphon drain flows into the Clubhouse Lake. These larger fish have been caught on crankbaits, swimbaits or umbrella rigs but smaller stripers are consistently caught on chicken livers.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist and Southeast Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
The fish bit well this week on the Alapaha. Kevin Mullis caught and had certified the river record largemouth bass this week. It weighed 6-lb., 12.9-oz. on certified scales and was 22 inches long. He caught it on a jerkbait. Josh Bennett and a buddy fished the river on Saturday and hammered the panfish by flinging Satilla Spins. They landed 95 redbreasts, bluegills and other panfish with primarily stumpknocker, crawfish, and black/chartreuse colored Satilla Spins. The river level at the Statenville gage on June 11th was 6.9 feet and falling (81 degrees).
An Eastman angler fished the river on Saturday and found the panfish biting. He kept 22 big purple-cheeked bluegills that I could see in the photo. He tried pitching crickets under a float but only caught them on Satilla Spins – the bright colors. The river is still full and muddy, but the backwaters are fishable. Anglers reported catching bass on plastics in cover. Catfishing is the best option this week with the river rising again. Limb lines are the way to go for bigger catfish, but you can catch a mess of good eating size fish with worms or shrimp on the bottom in your favorite catfish hole. The river level was 6.7 feet and rising (82 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.4 feet and rising (83 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 11th.
A new river record redbreast sunfish of 12.8-oz. (9.5 inches) was caught by A.J. Lewis of Hazlehurst. Mr. Lewis used a Satilla Spin (he wouldn’t share the color….lol) to fool the new river record. Bass fishing was pretty good for anglers pitching plastics to shoreline cover. The river was getting in good shape when the recent rains came. The river level was 5.6 feet and rising (79 degrees) at the Hawkinsville gage, and 6.0 feet and rising at the Abbeville gage on June 11th.
Chris and Kristy Nugent fished the river before it jumped and caught 10 nice redbreastsin a couple hours in the upper river. Kristy put it on him using a cracklehead crawfish Satilla Spin. Chris tried other colors and caught a few, but they were dialed into that cracklehead crawfish that day. Chuck Deen fished the tidal river before the weekend rains on Saturday and landed 3 bass up to a couple pounds, a gar, and a bowfin (mudfish) on a Capt. Bert’s Black/Gold with a gold blade buzzbait (he’s fond of that combination). The significant weekend rains jumped the river close to the floodplain again. Catfish or bass are really the only fish worth targeting in the higher water, but you will do better on both species on other waters. 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 11th at the Waycross gage was 8.3 feet (78 degrees) and falling. The Atkinson gage was 8.2 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The river jumped 12 feet with the weekend rains, so forget fishing the muddy, high upper river. The farther downstream you get the better the water looks. I talked with an angler this week who is catching some nice striped bass fishing deep holes in the lower river. Catfish will still bite if you have a favorite hole in the tidal water. Put shrimp on the bottom for whiskerfish. 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 11th was 14.0 feet and steady.
Ponds are where it was at this week. Chad Lee has fallen back in love with his fly rod and has been flinging Bert’s Bugs a good bit lately. He has caught 30 bass on the setup this week, and the biggest that inhaled the popper was a 3-pounder. He also landed about 10 big, purple-cheeked bluegills on the bug. Chartreuse, white, and black worked for him. A couple different anglers fishing a Brunswick pond this week landed some nice bass (about 8 to 15 bass per trip) on chartreuse crankbaits and plastic worms. A couple guys fishing a McRae area pond had two dozen big bluegills, warmouth, and redbreasts by flinging small beetlespins. A couple other anglers found them by pitching crickets. The cypress pond bluegills should start sucking glow bugs at night, if they haven’t already. That’s a fun bite, but I haven’t done it in several years. A group of kids fishing a Brunswick pond caught a couple dozen catfish by putting pieces of Gulp on the bottom. The pond fishing has taken off for about all species.
The adjusted refuge and Okefenokee Adventures hours at the time of writing this are 7am to 4pm (closed Mondays). Check the Okefenokee Adventures website (okefenokeeadventures.com) for the latest on their services. I didn’t receive specific reports this week – probably because the yellow flies chased most anglers away. In just a couple more weeks, the peak of the little, yellow nasties should be past us, and it won’t be bad. If you go, your best bet is to pitch plastics or real crayfish for warmouth, sallies for fliers, and in-line spinners for pickerel and bowfin.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Saltwater has had mixed reports. The most consistent positive reports were whiting from the piers and beach. One angler fishing out of Crooked River had a couple redfish (both oversized and keepers) and several trout, including a 21 and 22-incher. He was fishing mainly backwaters around shell mounds with live shrimp. He also caught a couple on artificials. A group of Waycross anglers fished out of Crooked River on Thursday and landed 3 trout (one was a 17-incher that ate a Bite-A-Bait Fighter jerkbait), broke off a redfish, and pulled off a big tripletail. The big redfish ate a shrimp on the bottom and the rest ate figichix and electric chicken Keitech Swing Impacts under Cajun Thunder Floats or on a Flashy Jighead. The St Marys Jetties reports were mixed, with a few folks catching flounder and trout and a few big bull redfish mixed in. You will catch lots of different species fishing the rocks this time of year! My favorite approach is to pitch bucktails for bull reds, but lots of methods will work. The tarpon are here, it’s just a matter of being there when they are feeding. A few folks reported catching sheepshead and a couple flounder from the Brunswick area piers. That should improve this week with the improving tides and water clarity. Check with Mike and Trish Wooten of St. Simons Bait & Tackle (912-634-1888) for the latest on the St. Simons Pier.