Looks like some Delta rain may be coming our way this weekend, so while keeping an eye on that weather and making adjustments to those fishing trips if needed – y’all also be thinking good thoughts for those on the coast of Louisiana and Texas that will bear the brunt of this latest storm.
News to Know:
- Walleye Fishing: Make your walleye fishing trip a success with these tips.
- What Is That? Ever seen an albino catfish? Click HERE to see one caught by angler Randy Parker.
- So Little: It is just the beginning for THESE Rainbow Trout!
This week, we have reports from North and Southeast Georgia. Stay dry, watch the weather, and if given the chance, Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of John Damer, fisheries biologist, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Fall Reservoir Bass Tip: (From Fisheries Region Supervisor Anthony Rabern) — Bass anglers sometimes struggle to catch fish during the transition from summer to fall. During routine electrofishing this week, I was reminded of a seldom used tactic for finding bass in transition. We collected a number of chunky bass in the flowing waters of incoming streams. The water temperature was a surprising 58 F and fish bass were feeding on small minnows and crayfish. Flashy minnow imitations would certainly get their attention and the jig combinations in crayfish patterns ought to get some takers, too.
Lake Weiss Report: (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service ) — Weiss Lake is at 1 feet 7 inches below full pool and clear and 68-71 degrees. With the Cooler weather coming in look for the bass and crappie fishing to really get better. Bass fishing is good and most are on off shore structure, and the river and creek channel ledges. Spinner baits, Carolina rigs, and medium to deep running crank baits are working well, a lot of fish are starting to move shallow as the water cools down. Crappie fishing is fair and the bite is starting to get better. They are on deeper cover on the main Coosa river channel ledges from Cedar Bluff to Leesburg. Spider rigging, over brush, with live minnows and jigs is catching fish. Shooting Docks with Jigs is also producing some fish. It looks like November and December are going to be good months. Striper fishing is poor.
Lake Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com ) — Lake Allatoona is down 1.52 feet, clear, and in the 70s. Bass fishing is good. The shad will begin to migrate into the creeks and the feeding frenzy begins. Early morning and late afternoon the buzz bait bite is phenomenal. Fishing around cover in the Etowah River and any bluff walls are the best areas to target for this technique. This is also a great time of year to break out a large swimbait. A 6-inch jointed hard swimbait is a good way to find a trophy largemouth or spot. As the temperatures drop start to see a good jerkbait bite. The water is still warm enough this time of year to be quick and erratic with your jerkbait. Getting a reaction strike is by far the best way to catch bass. Use the smaller Lucky Craft Square Bill Live Threadfin Shad Blue Gill 5/8 ounce. Favorite fall areas are around the Delta in the Etowah also in Little River and bluff walls in the Bartow Carver area.
Allatoona Crappie Report: (This report courtesy of Jeff “Crappie Man” Albright) — Got a chance to do a little fishing this morning with my buddy Paul. Not a great morning, but we boated 15 crappie (keepers), multiple doubles, and 1 spot! All caught on Red Rooster Custom Baits. Purple is the color they wanted! Water temps 71-73F. Water pretty clear for Toona. All fish were caught in 15-30 ft on brush piles. Trolling was the ticket and the cooler it gets, the better it’s gonna be.
Lake Hartwell Bass Report: (This report Courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com ) — Lake Hartwell is full, and in the 70s. Use a Stanley jig in black and blue or all black 1/2 ounce jig and a larger Pro Pork Trailer by Uncle Josh. Cast to the banks cover and work baits tight. Afternoons are better for faster moving baits with a Rebel Deep Wee R in silver and blue back on points. Spoons are fair in the creeks. The Zoom blue pumpkin lizard on a Texas rig has been fair on deep docks and points. Add a glass rattle in the lizard. Midday use the Suspending Rogue 18. A dark 3/8 ounce Stanley jig in black or browns and a crawfish Uncle Josh trailer, in matching colors can get strikes. But fish the baits slowly. As the water cools down the buzz bait bite should start up any day as the fish move to the back of the creeks.
Lake Lanier Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com ) — Lake Lanier is 0.35 feet over full. The main lake and creeks are stained, and in the 70s. Bass fishing is good. The topwater and swimbaits worked over brush in 20 to 30 feet of water is good. A Sebile have been our best choices on the swim baits and a Chug Bug and a Sexy Dawg have been best on the top water side. Need a good breeze for these to perform best. The jerkbait is a great follow up to the topwater presentations. There are definitely more fish and bait moving shallow and a shaky head like the Weedless Wonder as a jig around rocky points are producing a few bites now. Watch for any schooling in the morning hours just after daylight. Humps have been the best areas and there are several across the lake where this is going on. Keep moving around and watch the Lowrance Structure Scan technology for the bait schools are scattered all over the lake with the full moon.
Lake Lanier Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Buck Tails Guide Service, 404-510-1778) — Lanier Stripers are being caught using bluebacks on down lines at 30 to 40 feet deep over a 50 to 80 foot bottom. Using your electronics to locate the schools is as important as the bait you use. Look in any creek half way back and back out to the nearest channel. Once you have the fish use your choice of drumming method to keep fish under your boat. Once they move go to the next creek and repeat. Top water has appeared so keep your favorite tied on and be ready because they go down fast. Remember Buck Tales, tells it like it is.
Lake Lanier Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton, 770-530-6493) — Crappie are biting under docks that are in 15 to 30feet of water. Down-lining small crappie minnows with bb-sized sinker and jigs are both producing very well. Any color and chartreuse with the ATX work well for short casting, vertical jigging, or dock shooting. Use 6 pound test high visibility yellow K9 braid. Try dock shooting with the one piece rod, preferably medium light (not ultralight) and a spinning reel. For first timers, I recommend a 1000 series reel with a B’n’M Sharpshooter Six rod. YouTube has many videos demonstrating this. Watch your sonar carefully for bait, crappie like to live near their food source. Use scanning type sonar (e.g. Down and Side Imaging) to locate schooling fish, and complement this with the latest in live scanning sonar technology (e.g. Garmin’s LiveScope or Lowrance LiveSight). Set waypoints on your electronic charts so that you can quickly return to productive locations.
SMALL LAKE REPORTS
Small Reservoir Report: (This report courtesy of “Academy Jack” Becker) — I fished a local, electric motor only water supply lake this week, even though the warmer temperatures and bluebird skies didn’t give me a lot of confidence. The water temperature was 72.4 F and there was an 8 mph wind when I arrived. I made my way to the far side of the lake with the wind to my back and fished the shore line at the mouth of small pockets on the main lake. To my surprise, the jerkbait and crankbait bite was really good. I caught 12 largemouth and lost a half dozen more. Most of the fish were small, but I did catch one nice one. With such a high abundance of bass, this lake is a great place to introduce youths to bass fishing, and will offer high catch rates and sight fishing opportunities thanks to the clear water. Academy Jack
Unicoi Lake Report: (This report courtesy of Jeff Durniak at Unicoi Outfitters) — It’s last call for pond bream and bass. Hit them in the afternoon warmth. I ran up to Unicoi Lake late Monday afternoon to get out of the house, and roll-cast my bream bugs in the shoreline clearings around the lake perimeter. A nice handful of redbreasts and a couple chunky bluegill were netted. My first one was eyeballed by about an 8 pound largemouth! Best bream bug was a #10 brown rubber spider. I had to cast right under the overhanging limbs or within 2-3 feet of them, on the deep side, to get bit. Any farther out and those bream wouldn’t leave shelter, fearing those “white sharks” cruising the depths. Toss your yak or canoe in your favorite pond for one last perimeter paddle and have fun with bream – and maybe a bonus bass or two.
River Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Jeff Durniak at Unicoi Outfitters) — Bass rivers have cleared and the catching has picked up. It’s just deep rather than shallow due to colder water. Jimmy and Jake both had good trips this week. They suggest carrying both fly and spin tackle, and to get your offerings down deep. Try some crayfish flies first. If you strike out, then grab the spinner and bump some soft plastics along the bottom. Afternoons have been better due to warming water. PS: if you catch a tagged bass, like Jimmy did, record the tag number and fish length, then call DNR Shoalie researcher Hunter Roop (770-535-5498) with your valuable data.
Coosa River Catfish: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — Our staff were in search of blue catfish from the Coosa River this week, so we baited limblines and trotlines with cut shad and let them soak overnight above Hwy100. The catching was not stellar, and we did not find any monster “tree shakers” but we did boat a few blues in the 3-5 pound range, which was exactly what we were targeting.
Small Streams Report: (This report courtesy of Jeff Durniak at Unicoi Outfitters) — Headwater wild-trouting is great. Higher flows and colder temps have rejuvenated stream residents. On tiny streams, just toss a small (#16) orange or yellow stimulator. You might drop down to 5x tippet if the water’s clear. That recipe worked for me on two handfuls of little wild rainbows in just a couple hours, high above Helen, on Wednesday afternoon.
Tailwater Brown Trout: (From Fisheries Biologist Sarah Baker) — Tailwater trout fishing in Georgia is especially spectacular during the fall months when brown trout start turning bright colors for their spawn. WRD staff collected some nice “pumpkins” on the river this past week! If you plan on fishing the tailwaters, be sure to check the generation schedules, especially with this incoming forecast of rain from Delta. Horseshoe Bend Park and Curtis Switch are great options to head to on the Toccoa, and McGinnis Ferry on the Chattahoochee. Use dry flies that imitate blue-winged olive (BWO) and light cahills.
“Distinguished” Dredger’s Fall Tip: (This report courtesy of Jeff Durniak at Unicoi Outfitters) — Today’s tip: “distinguish yourself.” Bigger and buggier flies worked well among the rafts of leaves now falling at higher elevations. My best bugs were rubberlegs, mops, and smaller sexy walts in the calmer pools and pockets. Only a few ate the big October caddis dry, but it was a great strike indicator for the big, deep dropper 3-4 feet below it. That chunky dropper, with long legs and/or a bright silver bead, was “well distinguished” among the leaves.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist and Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
New Moon is October 9th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.
The river has dropped out well this week and is fishable. This is a tricky time of year because the fish are in transition. You often have to keep moving to find them. I don’t have any specific reports this week from the Altamaha, but my guess based on the conditions is to target bass in the oxbows early and then move to the main river current breaks with cover as the sun gets up. Crankbaits and spinnerbaits will allow you to cover water, and plastics will catch them well once you figure out what they are doing. Expect to find panfish up in the oxbows on blowdown trees. Channels and blue cats can be caught around cover with worms, shrimp, and cut bait, while live bait will fool flatheads. The river is probably a little high to effectively target mullet, but they are still around. The river level was 5.6 feet (it was at flood stage of 13 feet just last week!) and falling (73 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 8.4 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on October 8th.
An angler fished set hooks in the Laurens County area of the river on Monday night and caught a great mess of catfish. He used live bream and landed flathead catfish up to 50 pounds, blue catfish up to 20 pounds and channels to 5 pounds. The river level at the Dublin gage on October 8th was 3.5 feet.
The Satilla is getting fishable again. I heard of one good report from the middle river. The anglers caught some nice redbreasts on poppers and a personal best chain pickerel on a streamer while fly fishing. You can take your pick this weekend as to how you want to fish the upper river, as you should be able to use a motorboat or float in a paddlecraft. Panfishing should be tops in the upper river, while bass fishing should be decent in the middle river. As always in the fall, the white catfish bite on White Oak Creek should be consistent. Shrimp on the bottom has been my most productive way to catch them. The river level on October 8th at the Waycross gage was 6.3 feet and falling (73 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 6.5 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
I didn’t receive any reports from the St. Marys, but I imagine you could catch some panfish and catfish in the tidal portion. The upper river is still a little high for panfish but should be good for catfish. The river level at the MacClenny gage on October 8th was 7.1 feet and falling.
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Tifton, more info HERE)
The kids’ fishing ponds Cup and Saucer were open for adult/child fishing this past weekend, and lots of folks had a blast! Stella and Kimber each caught an angler award-sized channel catfish of about 8-pounds over the weekend. Kimber caught her first fish ever during the trip. Jackson and Cooper caught 8 catfish on worms and shrimp. Folks around them were using chicken livers and doing a little better, though. All the families were catching fish.
Bass fishing was solid this week from several reports. One angler fishing a Pierce County pond for 2 hours on Saturday flung Senkos and caught 6 bass for 15 pounds. His biggest was a 5-pounder. The crappie bite slowed this week during the warmer weather, based on the reports I heard. You can still catch them drifting minnows in the deep areas or by fishing around mid-depth cover.
The swamp water level is still high. Brentz McGhin fished the east side on Saturday and caught a dozen fliers and 2 bluegills. He tried lots of presentations to no avail, but figured out that they would hit the smallest size (number 10) yellow Okefenokee Swamp Sally with the smallest split-shot possible. The water level is still in the mid-121 foot range (I like it in the low 120 range for the best fishing).
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The weather and tides were decent the week, and the reports showed it. Syd Rives was down from the Atlanta area and fished around St Simons this weekend. He fished on Thursday and landed around 30 trout (most were throwbacks) on live shrimp. He fished with a friend Friday morning and landed a couple dozen trout (mostly throwbacks) on live shrimp. He went Friday afternoon with another friend and caught 2 redfish up to 26 inches and broke off another big one. They also caught 7 throwback trout. The breakoff redfish and a few trout ate a figichix Keitech under a Cajun Thunder Float. The rest ate live shrimp fished under a float. On Sunday afternoon, a Waycross angler fished the St Simons area and landed a 24 1/2-inch redfish that inhaled a redfish-colored 1/4-oz. Satilla Spin Magnum Spinnerbait. He also used a figichix Keitech swimbait to catch a 20-inch black drum and a half-dozen throwback trout. Other anglers fishing Sunday in the Brunswick area reported catching flounder, trout, redfish on shrimp and sheepshead on fiddler crabs. The bull redfish bite in the sounds is cranking up. Put cut mullet on the bottom on days when the wind will allow you to get out to the sounds, and the big bulls will make your drag scream. 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.
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