“Daaaaaaadddddd, what do you want for Father’s Day?” You know what you want. You want their time. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to go fishing. Want to give it a twist? Let THEM take YOU fishing.
The Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division wishes all fathers (and father figures) a joyous and memorable day – get out there and make some memories.
Today, our reports include information from Southeast and North Georgia. Have a great weekend 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)
Clay Tapp and a friend fished the upper river this week and caught a good messs of bluegill and rooster redbreasts, even with the river up and stained. They had a total of 30 fish and several of their bluegills were over a pound. It’s going to be an awesome bite when the river gets right. The river level at the Statenville gage on June 18th was 5.7 feet and falling (80 degrees).
Brentz McGhin and Greg Nelms fished limb lines on the river last week and caught 5 whiskerfish. Four of them were channel cats and one was a blue cat. Their biggest was a 6-pound channel. Crawfish and cut mullet produced their fish. One of their fish got tangled in the limbs, but Greg wasn’t having it get away, so he jumped in, dove down, and untangled the fish from the limbs it was hung around. That’s dedication… I had a good bass report also from last week. The anglers landed 15 keeper bass from 14 to 18 inches on vibrating jigs. Catfishing is the best option this week with the river still high and offcolor. If you can find a clearer backwater, you can probably get into some panfish (mostly bluegills). The river level was 8.4 feet and falling (78 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.4 feet and falling (79 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 18th.
Donny Riner fished the high, stained river on Wednesday and caught a nice mess of redbreasts and bluegill. He threw bumblebee (black/yellow) Satilla Spins, and the fish bit them well. The river level at the Eden gage on June 18th was 6.0 feet and falling.
The river is about right, and the reports I got this week were great from this tributary to the Altamaha. Justin Donaldson fished it on Saturday and had a stellar day. He pitched chartreuse Bert’s Bugs first thing and caught several redbreasts. He threw 1/8-oz. crawfish and a custom colored Satilla Spin later in the morning and caught a bunch of redbreasts, bluegills, stumpknockers, and several chain pickerel (jackfish). He had a total of 30 fish of all species. Colby Howard fished the river this week and caught a limit of panfish and a nice jackfish on crawfish Satilla Spins. Donny Riner fished on Thursday and whacked the redbreasts and bluegills. He had a cooler full on purple tiger and crawfish Satilla Spins. The river level at the Reidsville gage on June 18th was 3.7 feet and falling.
The upper river jumped way into the floodplain this week, and the middle river is headed well into the floodplain this week. You may find some good catfishing in a backwater, but you will do better to fish somewhere other than the Satilla this weekend. 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 18th at the Waycross gage was 13.2 feet and falling (74 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 11.2 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The river is high and muddy. The best bet is catfishing or simply fishing elsewhere (probably your best bet right now). Shady Bream Tournaments has canceled their panfish tournament this weekend (June 20th) out of Traders Hill because of high water. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for future tournament information. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 18th was 12.8 feet and falling.
Ponds provided some good bites this week. On Monday, a couple of anglers fished a Brunswick area pond for just 2 hours and caught 52 channel catfish on cut bluegill fished on a Catfish Catcher jighead. On Monday evening for a couple hours a trio of anglers fished a Waycross area pond and caught 7 bluegill up to 9 inches and a 2 1/2-pound bass on Bert’s Bugs. Chartreuse was their best color in both sizes they tried. Chad Lee caught several nice bluegills and over a dozen small bass up to 2 pounds on chartreuse, black, and white Bert’s Bugs. On Wednesday, he fished during his lunch break and caught 3 bass up to about 3 pounds on a red shad Cuprit worm. A couple guys fishing a McRae area pond reported that the bite was slower than last week, and the fish were smaller. He’s thinking that he needed to slow down with crickets instead of throwing Beetlespins in that pond. The biggest bass I heard of last week was an 8-pounder that was caught by an angler punching hyacinths with a plastic crayfish. Ponds will provide a great Father’s Day Weekend bite, if you get a chance to go.
Josh and Alisha Forsythe pitched white and chartreuse jigs around shoreline cover on Saturday and caught 91 warmouth on the east side (Folkston entrance). The water level has come up since then, but I’m sure you can still manage some warmouth this weekend. You can also catch bowfin by flinging lures down the middle of the canal, or pitch sallies to the edges of vegetation for fliers. The adjusted refuge and Okefenokee Adventures hours at the time of writing this are 7am to 4pm (closed Mondays). Check the Okefenokee Adventures website for the latest on their services.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The Crooked River area produced the best reports. One local angler fished several times this week and had nice trout and a few redfish each trip. He used live shrimp suspended under a float around creek mouths and oyster mounds to fool his fish. He caught a few in the lower end of the river, and most of them along the Intracoastal Waterway. Flounder have showed up some in the sounds and creeks. Mudminnows or finger mullet will fool them. Trout are on the beach spawning, but make sure to check the weather closely before venturing out on the ocean side of Cumberland Island. I didn’t get any good whiting reports this week, but I would imagine you can still catch a good mess in the sounds if the weather allows. Check with the Jekyll Island Fishing Center (912-635-3556) for the latest on the Jekyll Island Pier or St. Simons Bait & Tackle (912-634-1888) for the latest on the St. Simons Pier.
(Fishing report courtesy of Anthony Rabern, fisheries biologist and Northeast Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
This report is brought to you by the North Georgia Fisheries staff who are working to make your fishing experiences the best they can be. From us to you, Happy Father’s Day weekend! If you were fortunate to have a dad like mine, you got hooked on fishing at an early age. For my dad and me, we paddled around in a 12-ft jon boat to fish for bass in the small lakes and farm ponds near our house. Great memories! Although my dad has passed, I still have that jon boat and I’ve been paddling it around the small lakes near my home for nearly three decades to fish for giant bluegills and bass with my kids and soon my young grandson (see bream fishing photo). If you have some memorable experiences like mine, I hope you will take the opportunity this weekend to tell your dad thanks for the great memories.
Here are the latest tips from local anglers, guides and our fisheries staff to help tip the odds in your favor for a successful fishing trip. You may have noticed that all North Georgia reservoirs are at or above full pool and water temperatures remain relatively cool for the start of summer. Because of the lingering cool temps, the top-dog predators are still active and gorging on baitfish. We received several photos from anglers fishing the Tallulah River lakes in northeast Georgia who caught a mixed bag of species like bass, bream, crappie and walleye. (see two walleye photos) Thanks to Matt, Dave, Mrs. Shirley and others for sharing your stories, and encouraging the rest of us to make some great memories on the water.
Lake Hartwell Report by Ken Sturdivant, Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant: Bass fishing is fair. Go early as the boat traffic will be tough by mid-morning. There is still a fair top water bite and the crank baits will work on the points and around some boat docks. Up in the rivers fish along the steep rock bluffs especially those near the bridges. The Rapala DT10 will work as well as a ¼-ounce jig with a Zoom green pumpkin Fat Albert grub as a trailer. Trim the trailer down and dip the tails in some garlic JJ’s Magic for a little extra kick. For points and docks. use a Skitter Pop or Chug Bug and a twenty inch Carolina rigged finesse worm.
Lake Hartwell – Spots Feeding: Fisheries Biologist, Anthony Rabern, was on Hartwell this week chasing stripers but he reported seeing spots feeding on the surface in the morning on the lower end of the lake off long points and reef markers.
Lake Lanier Report by Fishing Guide Jimbo Mathley (770/542-7764) — Bass fishing is good and the majority of bass this week have come from points with brush in 20 to 25-feet of water. The early topwater bite is still on in the morning. Walking, popping, and waking baits are all valid options in the top water arena.
Lake Allatoona Report by Ken Sturdivant, Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant: Bass fishing is good. The sizes are down but there are active fish mid-morning. The bass are about to settle to a full summertime pattern. Some fish can be found in mid depth brush but no large numbers to be found. Fish can be found on the ends of points near the river channel. The medium to deep crank bait like the Spro’s Big Papa, the Little John DD and Little John Tiny DD are good search bait. The 3/8 or 3/16 ounce green pumpkin jig and jig head are a pretty solid plan to put fish in the boat right now. The drop shot bite has been good and small finesse worms in green shades are best. Keep a Zoom Super Fluke in pearl ready all day for those surface feeding fish.
Lake Allatoona – Eidson Report: Allatoona fishing guide, Robert Eidson (770/827-6282) reports that striper and hybrid fishing is “off the charts crazy good.” The summer bite has taken hold and boy is it great. Both mid-lake and the south end of the lake is fishing extremely well right now. Downlining threadfins and shiners have been producing really big numbers of fish for our boats for the last three weeks. We look for this bite to continue through the month of July. As the water warms the bite will move within sight of the dam. For now, Kellogg Creek, Clear Creek, Bartow Carver, Clark Creek, Tanyard Creek and the Blockhouse are fishing extremely well.
Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area report by Fisheries Biologist John Damer: Bass fishing has been decent at Rocky Mountain PFA. Rock piles and deep brush are holding good numbers of fish. The pattern is typical of summer. Try top water baits early. By mid-morning, switch to crankbaits or spinnerbaits fished in shady pockets. When the sun is overhead, change to deeper presentations like Texas rigged plastic worms or drop shot rigs as the sun moves overhead. There are some good catches coming out of Antioch on worms and jigs in 8 to 15’ of water. The walleye are fairly active in 10’ of water hitting Rapala, Shad Raps trolled behind the boat. Shell crackers are also biting good in 10 to 15’ on crickets and red wigglers. Channel catfish are finishing up their spawn on rip rap dams and hitting just about anything when they are active. Check out the website for more information about Rocky Mountain PFA.
Coosa River Striped Bass report by Fisheries Biologist John Damer: Stripers like the 31-pounder pictured (see Etowah striper photo) here continue to find their way to the Etowah River as they look for the coldest and most oxygenated water available. However, a few anglers have reported that they are still catching a few stripers in the warmer waters of the Oostanaula and Coosa Rivers. Wherever you choose to target them, striped bass are shad-eating machines. Many studies have shown that their diets are made up of at least 90% shad, and anglers should select their baits accordingly. Live shad are still the best bait, but shad-imitating artificial lures will still catch fish.
Bass and Striper Fishing on Etowah: The Cohutta Fishing Company (706) 946-3044 also provides the following tips for bass and striper fishing on the Etowah River. 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. 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 P. For Striper, break out the 9’s and 10’s this year and fish a full sinking or intermediate tip fly line with either a Rio 20-30lb Striper leader or with Scientific Angler Shock Fluorocarbon (40, 30, 20lb). For fly patterns, general baitfish patterns should work.
Trout Fishing Reports: Our trout hatchery staff are busy growing trout and stocking them into many streams across the mountains for your fishing enjoyment. Best bets this week are the Hooch at Jones Bridge, Dicks, Boggs, Amicalola, Johns, and Panther Creeks. Fish early or late because the action slows down when temperatures rise from mid-morning to late-afternoon. GADNR trout biologist, Sarah Baker, is also busy sampling wild streams. Because of the regular rainfall, we are finding full streams and swift waters so pick your spots carefully. Take care to locate streams with a northern aspect. These stay cooler than the streams that drain the south slopes of the mountain. Cooler water = increased trout action! Be sure to check out our interactive trout map to help you locate and plan your next new blue line adventure.
Cohutta Fishing Company Trout Reports: The following trout fishing reports are provided by the Cohutta Fishing Company —
- The Toccoa Tailwater has been very crowded on weekends, but don’t let that deter you! I’m fishing dry-dropper rigs with beetle patterns and big dries (Chubby Cherynobyls, Carnage Hoppers, Foam PMX’s) and trailing behind a large stonefly nymph (8-10 golden stones and large size 6 black stoneflies especially) like Pat’s Rubber Legs or Double Bead Stones. You can also fish smaller sulphur nymph imitations or caddis patterns like Holy Grails, either directly below the dry or under the larger stonefly nymph. For attractor patterns, it’s always hard to beat a size 16-18 Rainbow Warrior or El Diablo. I’m fishing these rigs with either a 7.5ft or 9ft 4x Nylon Leader like Rio’s Powerflex and using 4-5x fluorocarbon tippet to the dropper flies. Keep an eye out for Sulphurs, Light Cahills, and Caddis, and be ready to change rigs accordingly.
- Small Streams: 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.
Wild Trout Stream Intel: Fisheries Biologist, John Damer, can also swing a pretty mean flyrod and he provides the following intel from one of his favorite wild trout streams. His tips may help you experience a bit more success when fishing a high use streams. “ I arrived on Sunday morning as all the campers were packing up and leaving. I saw recent boot prints as I was fishing upstream, and things were a bit slow to start, so I suspect I was fishing behind someone for the whole day. But, I took my time and with every passing minute the action got better and better as the fish re-settled. By the end of the day, I was hooking fish on nearly every cast! I fished my trusty elk hair caddis all day long. The colors on some of these browns were as beautiful as you will ever see. I did not count but landed somewhere around 30 fish. My last cast picked up a solid 12-incher that made a strong run upstream back to his cover log, doubling over my 2-weight in the process before I pulled him back out. Best day of fishing I’ve had in a while.”