If you had to pick one place in Georgia to fish…where would it be? The variety of water body types we have is pretty incredible, such as mountain streams, large reservoirs, lazy rivers, swamp water trails, and coastal saltwater. How do you select from such a smorgasbord of excellent spots? Wherever you fish, be sure to read this blog each week to get the latest information to help you have the best fishing day ever!
News To Know:
- Your Input Needed: What types of outdoor recreation should Georgia offer its citizens? Here’s your chance to weigh-in on the Georgia Plan for Outdoor Recreation. Online interactive webinars will be held on Thurs. 8/20 and Thurs. 8/27. Can’t make the webinars? No worries, take part in THIS online survey by Aug. 31.
- No Guess Work Needed: Visiting a new body of water? Check out our Fishing Forecasts to get info about species, best times of year to fish, recommended bait/lures, etc.
- Bass Slammin’: It’s the middle of August, have you got your Georgia Bass Slam yet?
This week, we have reports from North, Southeast and Central Georgia. Pick your spot, read up on some tips, and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Sarah Baker, fisheries biologist, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Heat got ya inside? Find a nearby river, stream or lake to cool off in! Kids can have a blast at these kids fishing events!
Lake Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant) — Bass fishing is tough. Fish are scattered in the mid depths. Lots of small fish being caught. The small jig, and Ned rig are a solid choice. At night a strike king 3 and 5 XD can work. Dock lights and security lights are a good pattern. The Weedless Wonder head with the lighter weight with a Zoom finesse worm in green pumpkin color will work. Keep a Fish Head Spin ready and add a small Zoom pearl fluke trailer and cast it and let it sink on slack line. Now just reel it in. When all else fails get out a spinning reel with 8 pound Sufix Siege clear line and carry several colors of #5 and #7 Shad raps and change colors every 20 minutes. Be careful boat traffic has been bad.
Lake Burton: (From Burton Trout Hatchery Manager John Lee Thomson) — Are you looking for fun day on the water where social distancing is easy? Well you don’t need a $50,000 dollar bass boat to have a great day fishing. Kayaks make a great way to cruise around the shoreline and cover a lot of water Jack Thomson landed this spotted bass from his kayak in Lake Burton. He was fishing a deep diving crack bait off of a downed tree. Boat docks and shaded areas are also productive. Get out and wet a line this weekend.
Lake Lanier: (This report Courtesy of Jimbo Mathley- Jimbo on Lanier) — Bass fishing is fair. The majority of our fish this week have come from 20 to 30 feet of water. We have focused mainly on points and humps with brush for the majority of our fish. The brush in 20 to 30 feet is still holding fish and there has been some limited schooling action this week as well typically in the mornings. Swimbaits have been working as well as a Drop Shot with the Lanier Baits offerings so stay on the move and remain versatile with your lure choices to see what level of the water column the fish are willing to feed. The fish have come shallow at times with the recent cooler weather, so keep an eye out for schooling activity. Top water presentations might come into play on some days, as well as swimbaits.
Lake Hartwell: (This report Courtesy of Captain Cefus McRae, 404-402-8329) — The summer heat is here! With daytime temps in the upper 90’s, the water surface temperature has also risen dramatically. The stripers and hybrids have settled into their typical summer pattern, meaning they’ve moved to the south end of the lake and for the most part…they have gone deep. Although you might find them feeding throughout the water column during the heat of the day, the best time to catch lineside now is going to be early morning or just as the sun touches the treetops in the evening. By the way, if you choose to fish into the evening, be sure to drop a HydroGlow underwater light over the side to attract baitfish…and it won’t be long until the stripers show up. Start your search in the morning from the Seneca River Tugaloo River fork and work your way south on the river, all the way to the dam. Creek mouths and mid lake humps that rise to 25 feet, which also have a main creek arm nearby would be good places to drop a live herring on a #1 or #2 Gamakatsu octopus hook with a 3 to 4 foot fluorocarbon leader. We typically spool reels with 17 to 20 pound Stren mono and use 10 to 12 pound fluorocarbon leader. That way if a fish gets hung up in the standing timber, the leader will break below the egg sinker and the fish can swim away. Also be sure to have a MirroLure Top Dog rigged for top water just in case a school of hybrids comes up to munch on a wad of baitfish. If you want to fish mid-day, pull out your lead core rods. Run 8 colors of lead core with 30 feet of 15 pound mono as a leader. Tie on a 2 ounce WhoopAss Buck tail jig that is tipped with an expired herring, and pull the rig along the edges of the river channel and deep creek channels. If you get hung up in the trees occasionally, then you know you are fishing in the right spots. Capt. Mack’s Pro Brella rigs are also catching fish in the river channels. Be sure you have an Umbrella Retriever, because you will definitely catch a tree, and you don’t want to leave your umbrella rig to the murky depths. SideScan by Lowrance/Simrad is a huge help when trolling, to let you see the schools that may be just beyond your trolling spread. Make a wide turn to move laterally toward the schools and you should have rods bending in a few minutes. Set the drags on your reels a little past the point where no line leaves the reel at your trolling speed. With too much drag, you may get a bite but the speed/power of the boat pulls the hook from the fish’s mouth. And a screaming drag also sounds cool! The Power Reeling bite is starting to fire up as well. You’ll be fishing in 60 to 90 feet of water that’s close to standing timber. Again, a 2 ounce WhoopAss buck tail with a Project X pearl saucertail will trigger the reaction strike. Free spool the jig to the bottom and then wind up at a reasonably fast retrieve rate. The key to catching here is you need to see fish on your sonar. This is a great way to put some extra fish in the box once the trolling or live bait bite has slowed down. Stay safe on the water. Use your SiriusXM Marine weather app to keep you informed on the afternoon pop up storms so you don’t get caught in them. And be sure to stay hydrated. Tight lines, Captain Cefus McRae and Buck, The Wonder Dog
The Etowah River: (Report Courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company) — The Etowah River is going to begin generating again today according to the Corps of Engineers. If it’s your first year on the Etowah, know that generation water can be BIG and that you probably don’t want to be out there on generation. Be sure to check the Corps of Engineers dam hotline at 706-334-7213 (flows found HERE) before you hit the river. We’re still seeing some opportunities for Striped Bass in the river, but the next two weeks are probably going to be the last of the season to chase these fish. Get your dates on the books within the next couple days, or you’ll probably have to wait till next year if you want to do a striper trip. Spotted Bass fishing is good right now. Fish early and bring lots of water! We’ve been hot at the vice tying up topwater flies, but it’s hard to beat a boogle bug or gurgler right now – 5-7 weights with a matched tropical core floating line and a Rio 0x Powerflex leader will do the trick. If topwater just isn’t your thing or doesn’t produce well for you, try smaller 2-3.5 inch baitfish patterns imitating shad. Clouser Minnows, Kreelex’s, Lunch $’s, White wooly buggers, etc. The spotted bass fishing should remain good through October, and even though we’re limiting our guiding options for trout, we’re going to continue to book Bass floats till it shuts off for the winter!
The Toccoa Tailwater: (Report Courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company) — The Toccoa is still fishing well in the early morning, but the fishing slows down as the sun gets over the water around 10-11 o clock. You may be able to get some good fishing in the afternoon if you don’t mind fishing in the weather, as we’ve had fairly consistent afternoon showers that cool things off a bit and give us some cloud cover. Take a 4 or 5 weight fly rod rigged with floating line and a 5x 9 foot leader (or lighter), and try smaller, natural patterns like unweighted soft hackle pheasant tails and BWOs, TungStones, Flashback Hare’s Ears, Wooly Buggers with no flash, and Tungsten Jig Assassins. If the water stains from rain, switch to bigger profile patterns (stonefly nymphs, streamers, squirmy worms) and beef up your leader to 4x. Bring some yellow sally dry flies, midge patterns (Griffith’s Gnat), and Blue Winged Olive imitations in case of a hatch!
Trout Report: (From Hatchery Manager John Lee Thomson) — Are you up for the brown trout challenge? These fish are a little more finicky than the typical rainbow trout. Worms, crickets and spinners are more productive for brown trout rather than the dough baits and corn. Over 5,000 of these chunky trout were stocked from the Buford Trout Hatchery this week and the best bests for browns include Tallulah River and the West Fork Chattooga River in Rabun County. Also Dicks Creek and Boggs Creek in Lumpkin County should be fish well this weekend. Wear drab colored clothes and move slowly, these fish are spooky. Fishing early in the morning before water temperatures rise will also contribute to a more productive trip. These chunks make for heavy stringers so good luck.
Want to Do More to support trout fishing in Georgia? Consider a Trout Unlimited license plate this year. Each purchase or renewal of a license plate with a beautiful Brook Trout supports Georgia’s trout conservation and management programs. Hatcheries and wild trout efforts both benefit from the trout tag. Your support is appreciated!
Small Streams: (Report Courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company) — Small streams are probably your best option to fish all day long for trout. Go up to higher elevation streams that have enough canopy to keep the sun off the water. We’re fishing 8 foot 3 or 4 weights, small 5 and 6x leaders, and wearing drab colors to camouflage our profiles. Stay back off of pools and fish methodically – start at the tail out of the pool and work your way up, rather than casting to the very top of the pool immediately. You can get away with a dry-dropper consisting of a small Parachute Adams, Purple Haze, Yellow Stimulator, or small 12-14 Chubby Cherynobyl for the top fly, and drop an unweighted pheasant tail or hare’s ear below! If you’re using split shot, use the foam flies (chubby) and the largest shot you can get away with to keep the fly in the strike zone but without sinking these small dry flies, if possible.
Go Fish Georgia this weekend, and good luck!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist and Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Okefenokee Bass Anglers held a bass tournament out of Altamaha Park on Saturday, and the bite was tough for them. Still, someone figured out enough to win, and that team was Mike and Adam Collins. Michael Deen and Justin Bythwood finished second. The mullet bite has been decent when the river was falling. Sandbars were becoming numerous for the first time this summer, but some of them are covering back up now. Catfishing has also been good, and expect it to be very good this week on the rising river. The river level was 4.2 feet and rising (85 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 4.8 feet and rising (88 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on August 13th.
The river got low enough to float, but last week’s rains jumped it back up again to where it is boatable. With the muddier water, catfishing is your best bet for the weekend. Put out some limb lines or fish on the bottom with shrimp, worms, or livers on the bottom for channel cats. The backwaters would be your best bet for clearer water, and bluegills would be your best panfish target with either crickets or artificials (expect crickets to outproduce artificials once the sun gets bright). The river level on August 13th at the Waycross gage was 7.4 feet and falling (81 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 5.1 feet and falling.
A friend reported catching some nice bass on Thursday evening from a Brunswick area pond. He used Trick Worms and slowly worked them along the bottom until it got “spongy” and then swept a hook set. He had five 3-pounders that evening. On Saturday morning he fished another pond with the same setup and caught a pair of 4-pounders. Chad Lee fished a few short trips this weekend and caught some bass up to 2 pounds by flinging a bug with his fly rod. He also caught some big bream on dry flies. Night-fishing is a great option right now for bass. Bream fishing is good if you can find them bedding.
A friend who usually catches them well fished the swamp this week with his wife, and they caught 8 warmouth and a couple bowfin. The water is way up in the prairies, and the fish are spread out. It’s still fun, but big catches are unlikely until the water gets back down and the water cools a little bit. Casting an in-line spinner down the middle of the canal is your best bet right now. The refuge and Okefenokee Adventures have returned to their usual summertime hours (1/2 hour before sunrise until 7:30pm). Check the Okefenokee Adventures website for the latest on their services.
OCMULGEE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Hawkinsville, click HERE for more info)
An angler reported catching 6 bass that weighed 40 pounds this week. The biggest bass reported was a 10-lb., 1-oz. trophy. All of these fish were caught on artificials. This area is your best shot at a trophy bass, but remember it is catch-and-release for the bass. Take a quick photo and get them back in the water, as it doesn’t take long out of the water to be lethal for them.
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Tifton, click HERE for more info)
Ethan, Emma, Lacy Ann, and Will from Valdosta fished with David at the area on Friday morning and did really well for bass. They caught a total of 25 bass up to 5 pounds. The bass were chewing on Texas-rigged 4.5-inch Keitech Mad Wag Worms. They caught them on black-blue flake, green pumpkin, and junebug about equally well. They used light weights (1/16 to 1/8-oz), and the worm fit perfectly on a 2/0 Lock Tight Worm Hook (built on a Gamakatsu hook). They also used an 1/8-oz. shaky head with the worm and caught some big ones. They tried bigger lures of all varieties, but that little worm made them bite. Lacy Ann had the hot hand, catching about 4 or 5 in a row at one point. Her biggest was a 20 1/2-incher. Ethan had a 20-incher. The fish don’t always feed that well, but when you catch them with the feed bag on, it is impressive what you can catch.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Capt. Greg Hildreth’s charters had some great days this week. The weather allowed him to take them out for tarpon, and tarpon they caught! Don Ward and his daughter Breanna drove down from upstate New York to fish with him, and they ended up catching 4 silver kings on bait on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday his crew went 1 for 4 on tarpon. There are a bunch of the giant minnows around right now! Late last week he got on tarpon, also, and they had some giant jack crevalle mixed in the catch. Pound for pound, crevalle are one of the hardest fighting fish on the planet. Those 30-plus pounders can scream your drag! I was able to take off work on Wednesday and fished the Brunswick area inshore. I cast-netted some shrimp and proceeded to turn them into more the 75 fish of all flavors (about a dozen different species). The first 7 I caught were redfish that were working a shell bed on the first of the incoming tide. I landed and released 7 of them and had two giants scream off drag and cut me off in shells. On the incoming tide, the black drum bit well, and I ended up catching 15 of them (released all but 2). Other “desirable” species that inhaled the shrimp/jighead combination included a 14-inch flounder, 3 seatrout (1 keeper), croakers, and spot. My rig consisted of a half of a shrimp threaded on a 3/16-oz. Catfish Catcher Jighead (built on a Gamakatsu circle hook). I pitched the offering everywhere from docks to shell mounds to mud flats to creek mouths and found fish in all habitats. As an exclamation point to an already awesome day, I pitched a Keitech 4-inch Saltwater Swimbait (New Penny) suspended under a Cajun Thunder Float around a submerged shell mound and landed a 22-inch, 4-lb., 0-oz. seatrout on my last cast of the day. For guide trip information, call Capt. Greg Hildreth at (912) 617-1980 or check out his website. 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.
CENTRAL (EAST AND WEST) GEORGIA
(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, fisheries biologist and Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Any current this will get the fish active. Spotted bass are plentiful, and anglers can catch them all day on a 3/8 ounce Rooster Tail in all-white out on the shoal markers deep brush or rock in 15 to 25 feet of water. A drop shot with a Zoom Finesse worm in green pumpkin or watermelon red will do the trick. A Carolina rigged Trick worm will also catch fish. If there’s generation happening the bite really picks up so switch to a crank bait like a Bomber Fat Free Shad or a Norman Deep Little N. There is also a decent big fish bite for largemouth in the timber when there is water moving. These largemouth are suspended in 20 feet of water. Pick apart the timber with a Texas rigged Zoom U tail worm in green pumpkin and use a Venom glass rattle in the worm for extra bites. Use the Lowrance Structure Scan down Scan technology to scan an area and you will see the fish.
CLARKS HILL IS .52 FEET OVER FULL 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. There is an early and late top water bite on wood. Start with buzz baits then go to all white spinner baits and then follow up with the #7 jointed Shad Raps. Zoom Swamp crawlers are working on a long Carolina rig with the Lindy No Snag rig in the ounce size. To get away from the heat, try after dark and a plum apple is a good color choice. Use the one-ounce spinner bait and slow roll the bait. Use dark colors like the black with red, black with blue. Use a one-ounce bait and keep throwing it. Bump it along the bottom on the return. Big crank baits like the Model 7 or 8 Bomber Fat Free in citrus shad color or a football jig are good choices for deeper fish. A Texas rigged Ol Monster worm or a Carolina rigged Trick Worm in green pumpkin will also catch fish around these same deep structures.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL 80’S
(This Lake Oconee fishing report is by Captain Mark Smith of Reel Time Service. 404-803-0741) —
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. The temperature is 87-92. Richland Creek and the main lake are clear and up the river is stained. Try buzz baits at first light on sea walls and rip rap. Start in the middle of the creeks and work your way out of the creeks. On the south end there is a good frog bite in the grass early in the mornings. Soft plastics fished under docks and on wood structure in the rivers above I-20 will also produce. When Georgia Power is pulling water check the bridge rip rap areas as well as the humps on the south end of the lake. Use a deep diving crank bait on the humps and a medium running crank bait on the rip rap.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is poor. Some top water action will happen in the afternoons. It is very hit or miss, but it is fun if you can see the action.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. This is the best and most consistent bite going. 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 top 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 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The largemouth and spots are feeding sporadically from Highland Marina up the Chattahoochee to above the Hwy 219 Bridge. They are on the main river points and are holding on the sides of the points. They run up on the points and feed and then move back to the sides of the points. Use a Carolina rigged worm in any color or a medium diving crank bait and fish at a depth of 14 to 16 feet. The largemouth bass and the spots are holding in brush piles in 15 to 18 feet of water. A pig and jig or Texas rigged worm are the best baits. Try the Yamamoto 4-inch Swim Senko Green Pumpkin and 6-inch Pro Senko and Yamasaki. Also, try casting the Rapala Rip Stop albino shiner.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.5 STAINED 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. It is an early or late bite. Top water, jigs, and square bill crank baits are the baits of choice when fishing around the Mayflies. Early and late each day, throw a popper or a prop bait around sea walls, lay-down trees, and overhangs that have flies present. Bream imitating colors will get the most bites. When the top water bite slows, try a Spro Fat John square bill crank bait around these same areas. Fishing the crank bait parallel to the sea wall will produce more bites as your bait will stay in the strike zone the entire way back. It is hard to beat a jig in a brown and orange color. Fish these jigs slowly underneath dock walkways, at the base of sea walls and in any wood cover you can find. Concentrate your efforts on main river stretches for best results. There are still a good many fish deep as well. Most of the deep fish have been 18 to 23 feet deep over the past week. Deep-diving crank baits, Carolina-rigged soft plastics, and drop shot rigs have all been productive on these deep-water offshore structures. Deep humps, long points, and river ledges will all hold fish this time of year. The deep bite is better when Georgia Power is moving water.
LAKE JACKSON IS .90 FEET OVER FULL CLEAR 80’S
Bass fishing is slow. The fish have stabilized in their summertime patterns. Target 20 feet of water and if there are some schoolers late use small Pop R’s and small spoons. Day fishing needs to target deeper brush or stumps or other structure. Keep the McStick ready and use light 8-pound Sufix Elite line on a spinning reel for better action with the lure. Use dark colored baits in black or June bug and mix up baits from soft plastic worms and trick worms as well as and jigs. Wacky rig a 4-inch green Senko and fish the bait around the wood and docks upriver. Try the Yamamoto 4-inch Swim Senko Green Pumpkin and 6-inch Pro Senko and Yamasaki. For a jerk bait bite use the Rapala Rip Stop albino shiner.
MARBEN PFA (More Info HERE)
- Water level: Full pool
- Water clarity: 18-36”
- Surface temperatures: Mid 80’s to low 90’s
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Most bass are being caught after the water temps cool. So, your best bet is early morning before daylight till the sun warms the water again. Some bass are being caught using deep diving baits or rubber worms.
Crappie: Few crappie are being caught this time of the year. However, there is the occasional group of anglers that catches a nice mess of crappie trolling jigs at night. The trick is finding where the fish are holding.
Bream: Bluegill will bed during the full moon again this month. After the spawn they will guard the bed so be patient and persistent when fishing a bluegill bedding area. Bluegill typically bed on gravel bars or coarse substrate in 2-5’ of water. Red wigglers, catalpa worms, and wax worms all work well.
MCDUFFIE PFA (More Info HERE)
- Water Temperature: 89 F
- Water Visibility: 21 – 54+ in
Bass: Bass fishing has continued to be tough but few nice bass have been caught in Willow and Breambuster Lakes on spinnerbaits and shaky heads, especially late in the afternoon or early in the morning. A 5-pounder was recently caught in Beaverlodge Lake along with the 4 ½ lb. fish pictured from Willow Lake. Threadfin shad are schooling on the surface in Bridge and Breambuster Lakes and bass have been aggressively feeding on them. Try casting 2-4” super flukes, bucktails, crankbaits or any shad-imitation lure around the schools of shad.
Bream: The bream bite has been slow with the hot weather setting in. Your best bets are to fish first thing in the morning or late in the evening. Bridge Lake has been the best for bream fishing lately. 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 good. Clubhouse, Willow and Jones have been the best catfish lakes, with several stringers being caught lately. 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. A variety of baits have been effective, including homemade stinkbaits, worms, and even shrimp. Fishing early morning and late into the evening really pays off this time of year. Now is a great time to beat the heat and try out night-fishing in Jones Lake, the night-time catfish bite has been picking up lately.
Striped Bass: Stripers can be found in Clubhouse and Bridge Lakes. These larger fish have been caught on crankbaits, swimbaits or umbrella rigs but smaller stripers are consistently caught on chicken livers.