Happy Halloween weekend. Not trick-or-treating? Maybe it is the perfect time to go night fishing (oooooo, spoooooky) somewhere. Georgia Public Fishing Areas are open year-round for just such activities!
News to Know:
- Delayed Harvest Regulations Begin Nov. 1: While trout fishing is now year-round in Georgia, delayed harvest streams are managed to increase angler success. Find out more HERE.
- Georgia Fish Art Contest: Let’s Get Creative! Fun opportunity for students to participate in an international Fish Art Contest. Find out details HERE.
- What Big Teeth You Have: Ever caught an longnose gar?
This week, we have fresh reports from Southeast, North and Central Georgia. Pack up some cold weather gear, and get out there and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist and Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Congratulations to Michael Deen of Waycross (Okefenokee Bass Anglers). He led the first day of the TBF Georgia-Florida Semi-National Tournament and ended up finishing second overall on the St. Johns River out of Crystal Cove Marina near Palatka, Florida this weekend. He amassed a two-day total of 28.45 pounds of bass and was the top Georgia angler. He threw Carolina-rigged Trick Worms to fool his fish. He will move on to the national tournament next spring.
I didn’t receive many reports this week. The best I got was that the striped bass are starting to show up in the lower river. Some of them have been keeper-sized. That is a fun fishery during the winter, whether you fish live shrimp or artificials. The white cat bite in the lower river was the most consistent this week. Shrimp on the bottom is the most consistent way to catch them. The river level was 6.4 feet and rising (73 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 6.9 feet and falling at the Doctortown gage on October 29th.
The Wildlife Resources Division staff finished up their fall sampling on the river. They electrofish for an hour at each station and measure and weigh each fish before releasing it. Their sample showed good populations of shellcrackers, bluegills, and bass, so get out there and fish for them. This kind of electrofishing does not bring up catfish, but that population is strong, as well. The river level at the Abbeville gage on October 29th was 4.8 feet and rising.
Jess Anderson had a great catch of redbreasts and bass from the Ogeechee this weekend. In the photo he had 17 redbreasts and 3 bass. He used rainbow Satilla Spins for his fish. Danny Brown returned to the river this weekend and had an excellent catch by flinging crawfish Satilla Spins and pitching minnows. He caught most of the redbreasts, bluegill, and bass on the spinnerbaits and a nice mess of crappie on minnows. The river level at the Eden gage on October 29th was 3.8 feet and rising, and the Midville gage was 3.0 feet and rising.
The upper river is still in great shape for a float trip at the time of writing this. Expect to drag a bunch if you fish from a boat, but the water was clear before Thursday’s rains. The river level on October 29th at the Waycross gage was 4.9 feet and falling (75 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 4.2 feet and falling.
Tyler Finch and a friend were at it again this weekend. He texted me on Saturday morning and said that they already had 25 fish on Satilla Spins, and it was only 9am. They ended up keeping 110 over 2 days this weekend. Most of their fish were bluegills and redbreasts, but they had about all species. The river level at the Clyo gage on October 29th was 6.3 feet and cresting.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Matt Rouse said that the upper river is right for fishing. That was before Thursday’s rain, so we will have to see if the river comes up or not. Catfishing should be good in the lower river. Put cut bait, shrimp, or worms on the bottom to catch a mixed bag of channels and white catfish. The river level at the MacClenny gage on October 29th was 4.5 feet and falling.
OCMULGEE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Hawkinsville, more info HERE)
Shannon Wilson caught his personal best bass this week from his kayak. He caught the 7 1/2-pounder on Friday. The crappie bite should pick up with this week’s cold front. Remember, the bass fishing is catch-and-release only at that area.
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Tifton, more info HERE)
Catfishing has been good in the ponds around the entrance this week in the warmer weather. The crappie bite should pick up with the cold front late this week.
Chad Lee fished on Saturday and went back to his fly rod. He used chartreuse Bert’s Bugs and caught some small bass and a few giant bluegills he could hardly get his hand around. An angler fished from a dock at a Brunswick pond on Tuesday and caught 7 catfish on cut shad rigged on Catfish Catcher Jigheads. One of the whiskerfish was pushing 9 pounds and he said it was a great fight. The crappie bite should fire off this week. Once we get a few days past the cold front, the water temperatures should be in the range where the specks put on the feed bag.
Okefenokee Swamp staff said that nobody reported catching anything this week and very few went because of the high water level. The current level is 121.61 feet (I like it in the low 120 range for the best fishing).
Fishing on his birthday Friday, Brentz McGhin had a great present for his special day. The fish around Brunswick bit well, and he ended up catching 25 short trout and 4 keepers on Equalizer Floats and Chicken-on-a-chain Sea Shads. He tried other lures to no avail, but they were eating the Sea Shad/Float combination. He also had 2 keeper redfish to 22 inches (one of them was a fish tagged by the Coastal Resources Division). Mark and Austin Patterson fished the St Marys Jetties on Sunday and landed a giant bull redfish on cut bait. They also had about a dozen sharks on cut bait and 15 whiting on squid. On Sunday Brentz and Chad Sexton fished the Brunswick area and caught 27 trout (5 keepers) and an 18-inch redfish. They caught them well on electric chicken and hot chicken Sea Shads under Equalizers that day. A couple fish ate Vu-Du Shrimp, but the Sea Shad/Equalizer rig was again the ticket for them. Ed Zmarzly fished the St. Simons Pier on Sunday and landed a giant bull pushing 40 inches by using cut mullet. A Waycross angler caught a few sheepshead off a Brunswick dock this week. The fish were not consistent and are just moving in. Capt. Greg Hildreth has continued catching a bunch of big bull reds on the bars in the sounds. Live pogies and cut mullet have produced his fish. He said that the bull red bite should stay good until the water drops into the low 60’s. Coastal wind forecasts are deteriorating at the time of writing this. The cold front that brought us comfortable temperatures is going to stoke up the winds. Make sure to check the marine forecast before planning a trip to the big water. 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.
(Fishing report courtesy of Hunter Roop, fisheries biologist, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
November is just around the corner, which offers a fall trifecta of casting opportunities in the coming week. The sequence goes a little something like this: escort or greet a cast of spooky, sugar-seeking characters over the weekend, cast your ballot before November 3rd, and then cast your cares away on stream, lake, or river of your choice because fall fishing is about to be in full swing! Cooling fall temperatures mean shallow retrieves and topwater blowups are expected to bring more fish to hand. Comfortable shallows attract naïve schools of shad and herring, and hot in pursuit you can expect to find hungry bass, stripers, and catfish. The shorter days combine with these cooler temperatures to cue brook and brown trout to ready for the spawn, and you can find these fish boasting beautiful colors that compliment the fall foliage in your favorite mountain stream, river, or tailwater. Delayed harvest fishing opportunities will be available soon, so be sure to check out the announcement below for information on your favorite nearby “trout recycling” stream. Here’s the latest intel courtesy of North Georgia’s best:
RESERVOIR REPORTS (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report)
LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 4.19 FEET CLEAR 70S
- Bass: Bass fishing is fair and early, fish the fish steep rock banks with a Davis Vibe Spinnerbait. My best two colors seem to be Peacock and Splatter Back. Be sure to parallel these banks; this will keep your bait in the strike zone longer. As the sun begins to rise watch for any schooling activity. For any schooling fish, throw a fluke or Super Spook Jr. Keep a small spoon handy for when these fish go down. Fish main lake points with a 3/16 Shaky Head. The Net Bait Sand Finesse worm and the Morning Dawn Robo Worm seem to produce well. The crank bait bite is sporadic but the quality of these fish is good. Fish flats up lake with a 200 Bandit in Sage Ghost a shad pattern or CJ Shad. Cover these flats using a fast stop and go retrieve. When the sun gets high find any wood cover and cast a Paca Jig in Copper Craw, tipped with a Net Bait Chunk. Make lots of casts to the cover to produce bites. Keep a pearl Zoom Super Fluke out and make a dozen casts before leaving any area.
- Linesides (courtesy of Robert Eidson with First Bite Guide Service): Line side fishing is fair. The bad news is the lake is turning over and the fish are scattered from one end of the lake to the other. The good news is they are starting to eat again. Live bait and Trolling is working well. But the spoon bite is by far the better bite. Almost all the flats are holding good schools at sun up and then again at sun down. Our better bite has been mid lake. Once the lake completely turns over the topwater bite should turn on. I think we are about two weeks away from an incredible fall.
- Crappie:(This report courtesy of Carters Lake Guide Service) Allatoona is still proving itself as one of the best crappie lakes in the country! Long-lining 1/16oz jigs with or without a bobber at 0.2-0.4mph is working. Target 8-12ft of water along the banks of Sweetwater Creek & Little River areas. Casting 1/4oz white rooster tails to the bank has also been effective.
- Catfish: (this report courtesy of Senior Fisheries Biologist John Damer): WRD Fisheries staff from Armuchee have been busy sampling Lake Allatoona for catfish this week using trotlines. Although perhaps not known for its quality catfishing opportunities, Allatoona offers great fishing for channel, blue, and flathead catfish, which are all native to this popular lake within the Coosa River Basin. Channel cats are the most abundant of the three, with fish in the 2-5 pound range being most common. Blues tend to be slightly less common, but attain much larger sizes. In fact, an angler just caught and released a new potential lake record blue that tipped our scales at over 50 pounds (see Jim’s story below)! The one pictured here was in the 30+ pound range. Flatheads are more elusive, but can also reach very respectable sizes in Allatoona. Freshly cut shad worked best for us on our lines, but we also caught fish on cut bream and bass and mini marshmallows (believe it or not). Flatheads prefer live bait, so you should plan accordingly if that is your target.
Potential New Blue Record (courtesy of Region 1 Fisheries Supervisor Jim Hakala): Just 16 days after Arturo Medina claimed top blue cat honors at Lake Allatoona with a 44 pound giant, Aaron Churchwell of Taylorsville boated a 52 pound 1 ounce behemoth of a blue cat – likely resetting the lake record bar pending Georgia Outdoor News Magazine recognition. Aaron was fishing with James Henderson late on 10/27/20 when the monster 44-inch fish inhaled a cut bait offering in 12 feet of water. The duo knew they likely had the lake record, so they kept the fish alive and had it weighed on a certified scale at the Armuchee Fisheries Office. The fish also easily qualified for a state Angler Award. After the weigh-in, Aaron and James returned the fish to Lake Allatoona in search of more action. Congratulationsto Aaron on a great catch (and release)!
LAKE BURTON (courtesy of WRD fishery biologist Sarah Baker) — This week,WRD Fisheries was setting and pulling gillnets on Lake Burton to assess sportfish populations on this beautiful Georgia Power lake situated in the north Georgia mountains. Our sampling results indicate that crappie anglers should start getting excited, and while we caught several lunkers, finding them may require a little effort. Expect crappie to transition to shallower water on warmer days in November. Flooded timber is the preferred habitat to target, and the most popular bait is live minnows and colorful (yellow/purple) jigs. Some crappie catches are being confirmed recently on GON, so now is time to get out start locating schools that will make daily transitions to cover and structure in approximately 10 feet throughout the day. Brown Trout are starting to move shallow as well. With the rain from Zeta, they’ll be feeding on forage recently washed into the lake. Try small jerk baits near tributaries. Though there are some dandies, walleye will be tricky to snag with all of the recent rain. After the lake level drops, the bite should pick up as we head into winter. Crankbaits on rocky bottoms are your best bets.
CARTERS LAKE (This report courtesy of Carters Lake Guide Service) — Carters Linesides and Spots: Fishing is very good on Carters and it continues to produce quality stripers & spotted bass. For stripers, use planer boards & free lines mid-way to all the way back in the creeks with gizzard or threadfin shad. This bite is best the first couple hours of daylight. For spotted bass, there are still schools of fish on main lake brush & secondary points. Throw topwater baits early (over brush) then switch to a fluke or your favorite worm rig in these same areas.
LAKE HARTWELL IS 1.19 FEET OVER FULL 70S — Bass: Bass fishing is fair. Main lake points on the south end are still producing Bass along with secondary points in the larger creeks. Rapala Shad Raps and buzz baits are catching good fish especially up in the creeks. When the water temperatures drop into the 60’s this pattern should get better. The fish are very scattered and casting a lot of lures will work as the fish seem to change from day to day. For a fast shallow bite try the Strike King Rattlin 1.5 and square bill sexy shad. Fish in the backs of the major creeks and the bass are after baby bass Super Flukes on a large 4/0 hook Mustad hook.
LAKE LANIER IS .51 FEET OVER FULL THE MAIN LAKE AND CREEKS ARE STAINED & 70S
- Bass: Bass fishing is good. The Spotsticker jig heads and all white Mini Me spinnerbaits will catch fish on almost any main lake point. Ride over some points with the Lowrance Down Scan technology and you can see the fish on the bottom in 25 feet of water. Use the Zoom finesse worm cut down an inch on a spinning reel and 10 pound Sufix line has been an excellent deep water tactic. Use a Weedless Wonder lead head and this light rig will allow anglers to feel the light strikes. And the strikes are very light. Most of the fish we have caught never even move with the bait, they just hold on. With any wind blowing, this is all but impossible to work properly. Usually the spots pick up this lead head and hook combination and swim of with the whole rig in their mouth. But right now the strikes are very hard to feel. Work a drop shot rig with small floating baits and caught a fish or two on the 30 foot break lines. Many of the spots are not on any structure. Moving baits can cover these points quickly. Try a Zoom mini lizard on the drop shot and a 3/16 ounce sinker on the bottom of the rig or lighter. Spoons are the second choice bait and no more than a small ½ ounce sizes as all the bait fish the spots are easting are very small. Try some live minnows on the drop shot too. Sand finesse worms, natural blue and cinnamon green are the best colors.
- Stripers (courtesy of Buck Cannon’s Buck Tails Guide Service): Stripers are schooling in large groups in the mid lake up to Gainesville. Using your electronics locate the schools in 40 to 60 feet of water and use down lines with blue backs. Fish 30 to 45 feet deep. Use the drumming method to attract the fish and keep your eyes on alert because the bite will be substantial. The top water has been hit or miss so have a Sebile or a spook ready. Remember Buck Tales it like it is.
- Crappie (courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton): Crappie fishing is excellent. Don’t be afraid to look for blow downs in shallow water. This week while scanning docks in 20’ of water using side scan we found a blow down 5’ deep loaded with crappie. Look for open water brush in 10 to 20 feet of water plan on losing several jigs and minnows you got to be down there with them to catch them. Look under docks that are in 15to 30 feet of water and have brush or structure use your electronic charts to locate these areas. Down lining small Crappie minnows with bb sized sinker. Jigs are also producing very well. My Jig recommendations are blue and chartreuse or light green over dark green ATX jigs can be used equally well for short casting, vertical jigging or dock shooting. We use 5 pound test, high visibility yellow K9 braid. 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. Note that you can do this on a smartphone or tablet using the Navionics “Boating app.
WEISS LAKE IS AT 2 FEET 5 INCHES BELOW FULL POOL AND CLEAR AND 68-71 DEGREE’S
- Bass (courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service): Bass fishing is good and a lot of fish have moved shallow as the water has cooled down, Spinner Baits and flat Crank Baits are working well anywhere you can find bait in the shallow pockets, flats and Coves, Rat L Traps are working well also.
- Crappie (courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service): Crappie fishing is fair. The fish are on deeper cover 14 to 20 feet, 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. Book your fall trip now, to get the best dates. It looks like November and December are going to be good months.
- Linesides (courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service): Striper fishing is poor and no reports on any fish being caught in the last few weeks.
WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL CLEAR 70S: Bass: Bass fishing is good. Spinnerbaits are working lake wide in 1 to 5 feet of water. Use a ½ ounce Strike King spinnerbait in a shad color and fishing from the mouths of creeks to the secondary points in the backs of the creeks. Black neon and Okeechobee 3 inch and Sapphire craw. Ned rig the Power Baits Meaty Chunk green pumpkin 3 inch. Most of the fish have come of shallow grass flats up lake in Yellow Jacket Creek and Jackson Creek area but this pattern will work throughout the lake with areas similar to these. When fishing your spinnerbait look for shad and use that to your advantage. Make sure to keep a 1/8 ounce Shakey Head tied on with a June bug finesse worm. This bait is great for fishing around bridge columns, blow downs, and rocky points. Down lake Zoom Super Flukes are working great for the schooling fish and the fish holding on the shoal markers. For the deeper fish on points and roadbeds a ¾ ounce Carolina Rig with a trick worm is working great. Good colors to try right now are June bug, Marti Gras, and any of the pumpkin colors.
The patriot’s hat trick: In celebration of this year’s spirited election cycle, consider the following “red, white, and blue” challenge to anglers taking advantage of the upcoming fall frenzy. The goal is to catch one each of the following fish, aptly named for their colorful wardrobes: A redear or redbreast sunfish, a white bass, and a bluegill. For redbreast, seek these bream out in the shallows of a farm pond, reservoir, or even in your local river. Redbreast hold near cover or structure and can often be found near a sandy or vegetated bottom. Target redbreast by suspending live bait like crickets or worms among submerged structure. Redear sunfish (often called shellcracker) are similar to redbreast, but typically achieve a larger size than redbreast and tend to be more bottom oriented. Shellcracker will congregate around gravel bottoms, grass beds, or flats in search of their preferred, armored prey items like snails, mollusks, and bottom-dwelling crustaceans (hence, the name shellcracker). Fish worms, crickets, or even live minnows lightly weighted to the bottom to catch a redear sunfish. The most challenging color of this trio this time of year is going to be a white bass. White bass are pelagic nomads for most of the year, except during the early spring when large numbers congregate in reservoir headwaters and rivers to spawn. The best chance to catch a white bass this time of year is to find some mixed in with a school of stripers. White bass are aggressive feeders and will attack appropriately sized live baits like small blueback herring, or more traditionally by jigging curly tail grubs or casting light spinning lures near schooling baitfish. White bass should be the most challenging color to capture in this challenge, so seek out waterbodies where WRD is stocking white bass like Lake Lanier, Oconee, Nottely, Clarks Hill, and the Coosa River. Finally, the anglers’ staple bream, almost as dependable as Ol’ Glory herself, is the bluegill. You don’t have to look far to catch a bluegill, and for many bringing one of these beautiful bream to hand resurrects old memories of early fishing adventures, and learning the hard way how sharp those dorsal spines really are. Bluegill are curious and willing eaters, they can be great fun on the fly with small poppers, foam ants, or boogle bugs. They will readily inhale terrestrial live bait like crickets or worms, though they are masters of segmenting an annelid and leaving nothing behind but the untouched hook edge. Hope you enjoy this challenge, and let us know if you manage to bag all three this fall! Just remember, take a picture, or it didn’t happen!
Delayed Harvest on Deck: November is almost here, which means Georgia trout anglers are excited and gearing up to wet a line on one of Georgia’s five delayed harvest trout streams. For those not familiar with delayed harvest trout fishing, the intended management purpose is to maintain fishable populations of trout in select streams from November to May, before the Georgia heat renders these streams thermally unsuitable for trout by late spring. From November 1st – May 14th on delayed harvest streams, no harvest of trout is permitted (catch-and-release only) and only single hook, artificial lures can be fished (note: additional single-hook “dropper” lures may be fished on the primary lure). There are routinely stocked delayed harvest sections in the following five streams: Amicalola Creek , Chattooga River, Smith Creek, Toccoa River, and the Chattahoochee River. To kick off delayed harvest season this year, WRD Fisheries staff in partnership with SCDNR and USFWS will stock catchable trout in Amicalola Creek, Smith Creek, Chattooga River, and the Toccoa River. Due to the US Army Corps of Engineer’s need to lower Lake Lanier’s water levels for dam repairs, and the associated high flows in the Chattahoochee River below Morgan Falls, we will not stock the Chattahoochee River delayed harvest section until fishable conditions return to the Chattahoochee River. Please subscribe to our weekly stocking list to receive a weekly notification about which delayed harvest streams have been stocked.
Tailwater Trout: Unless you’re an extremely safety-oriented and tailwater-savvy diehard, best bet will be to let the turbines run their course before searching low flow fishing opportunities in Georgia’s tailwater trout fisheries (that’s Lanier, Blue Ridge, and Hartwell). For Lanier tailwater, keep an eye on the USGS gauge for Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam and the USACE’s generation forecast to plan for fishable conditions that will hopefully return to the river in the coming weeks. Sarah Baker and Caroline Cox took a pre-Zeta chance to hit Lanier tailwater and bagged some beautiful pre-spawn brown trout with RTA’s Chris Scalley. The duo cast a vigilant eye on their strike indicators that would signal the success of one trio of offerings meant to “sample” the entire water column (surface, suspended, and river bottom). Look out for more intel in a couple of weeks as Fisheries staff will soon be sampling Lanier tailwater for these beautiful wild browns.
Dredger’s Trouting Tips (courtesy of Unicoi Outfitters’ Jeff “Dredger” Durniak): This week’s theme is “drying out and cutting out.” Our skies are blue, the winds are down, and we have a nice, dry week ahead of us. That’s good because north GA is cutting its way out from Zeta’s impacts. I did my “stream conditions” circuit this morning and drove past three sites with downed powerlines in just the short stretch from Unicoi Lake to Smithgall Woods. Conditions are still tough up here, so beware of access limitations and be patient as hard-working staffs from DOT, power companies, GAWRD, and the U.S. Forest Service restore power and vehicular access across our region.
Our advice: take the weekend off from trout stream fishing. Head toward a lake or, better yet, clean up your yard (or help your neighbor) then prepare for next week’s fishing trips.
We do have a few tips and then a lot of good filler to compensate for our lack of trip reports due to the storm. Here you go with our post-Zeta intel.
Your best fishing opps, in priority order, are reservoirs, small lakes, and headwater streams near paved roads. On reservoir headwaters, go slow and watch out for storm debris, especially sunken logs sulking just beneath the surface, waiting to eat your prop. Keep your life jackets on! UO’s flatwater friend, Mack Farr, has some of the most detailed and timely lake fishing intel. We always enjoy his weekly reports on Lanier and Hartwell. Whether you’re tossing flies, lures, or bluebacks, Mack’s lake intel will get you in the game this fall. Details found HERE.
Most small lakes should be accessible and a safe bet. Vogel just got a load of WRD trout last Friday to kick off its winter season for yakkers, canoeists, and bank anglers. County water supply lakes, state parks, and USFS lakes like Russell and Winfield Scott should be accessible. You’ll do more fishing than catching, but it will still beat working.
Headwater streams are high this morning, but clear, and should be wadeable for most anglers. The challenge is their vehicle accessibility. It’s not a good weekend to expect to drive way back into the National Forest or WMA to hit your favorite blueline. Give the wildlife and forestry techs time to cut your road out for next weekend’s safe travels.
Instead, if you must tempt a trout, aim for small creeks close to paved roads. A few near our Helen shop are places like Smith at Unicoi Park, Spoilcane, Soapstone, Dukes for reservation holders, maybe Boggs, and the Russell Highway tribs. Do some homework yourself and find others “close to the open road.” Your best tool is the interactive trout map on the GA trout fishing page. Do a little “learning and earning” on your own and your catches will be more satisfying. Dry/ dropper combos, described in our past reports, will do best as these small residents hold onto bottom boulders and try not to wash away. Hit the soft spots behind big boulders and ledges and against the bank. A bead head or flashy pattern might help in the faster flows, too. Our Helen shop staff can help you with hot flies and maybe an X or two scribbled onto your top-secret copy of your GA trout map.
Read the rest of Jeff’s wisdom-filled post at UO’s Facebook Page. That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend and stay safe all!
(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 DOWN 1.1 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. The cooler temperatures are causing the surface water to cool down. Spotted bass are feeding and the islands near the Highway 72 Boat Ramp will be a good area just about any time during the day. Try up the Savannah River in search of some stained water. The Fire tiger is the color to use in stained waters. Bass are biting the two-inch Rapala Fat Rap and the Rapala DT6 in this color. Up in Beaverdam Creek, the spots are moving up and down the water column holding tight to cover in the shallows. During this transition period, they will suspend on the channel ledges in seven to ten feet of water. Use the jointed Shad Raps and Husky Jerk Baits. Rattlin’ Rapala’s in the ½-ounce size will catch those suspended bass. Work the shallow wood with ¼-ounce Jig. Add a little scent and fish them slowly.
CLARKS HILL IS .21 FEET OVER FULL 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Lipless crank baits, jerk baits and spinner baits all produce big bass. Water temperatures way up in the Savannah River have dropped down into the upper sixties and some anglers are targeting this area. Use the Yamamoto 4-inch Swim Senko green pumpkin and 6-inch Pro Senko. Also, cast the Rapala Rip Stop albino shiner. Cast baits to the mud banks and simply twitch the bait. Texas rigged Zoom ribbon tailed worms in gourd green or red and black shad colors can draw a strike. Be sure to add some extra scent to attract the fish. There has been limited top water action so forgo the buzz baits and top water baits lake wide. Fish pockets and points all day but keep a top water on the deck just in case with a bone Zara Spook. Shad Raps are fair and use light 8-pound test on smaller sizes of any crank bait.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL 70’’S
- Bass: Bass are starting to move shallow on secondary points and shallow stump flats following the shad movement to the back of the bays and coves. Shallow running crank baits like the Bandit 100 series are working awesome right now. A 3/8-ounce spinner bait in chartreuse and white with double silver willow leaf blades is also a great fall bait.
- Hybrid Bass: Hybrid fishing is good. Due to the cooler water the fish are schooling on top around the lake. Use a popping cork when they come up. Some of these schools have some big fish while other schools contain small ones.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. Some of the crappie have moved to brush in 15 feet of water but the fish are only 5 to 7 foot deep. Trolling over water that is 5 feet deep in the back of the creek has picked up, but this will only last a short time. A Jiffy Jig tipped with a live minnow is your best bet.
WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Spinnerbaits are working lake wide in 1 to 5 feet of water. Use a ½ ounce Strike King spinnerbait in a shad color and fishing from the mouths of creeks to the secondary points in the backs of the creeks. Try Black neon and Okeechobee 3-inch and Sapphire craw. Try the Ned rig with the Power Baits Meaty Chunk green pumpkin 3-inch. Most of the fish have come off shallow grass flats up lake in Yellow Jacket Creek and Jackson Creek area but this pattern will work throughout the lake with areas like these. When fishing your spinnerbait look for shad and use that to your advantage. Make sure to keep a 1/8-ounce Shakey Head tied on with a June bug finesse worm. This bait is great for fishing around bridge columns, blow downs, and rocky points. Down lake Zoom Super Flukes are working great for the schooling fish and the fish holding on the shoal markers. For the deeper fish on points and roadbeds a ¾-ounce Carolina Rig with a trick worm. Good colors to try right now are June bug, Marti Gras, and any of the pumpkin colors.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.8 STAINED 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Buzz baits and other top water lures are producing well for all size fish, including large bass. This bite may last for only an hour or two each morning, but can last much longer, especially on cloudy days. A top water bite can occur most anywhere, although most should be in coves and creeks that have lots of bait nearby. Pop R’s, Chug Bug’s, Torpedo’s and other similar baits should be tried along with buzz baits. And top water baits in the back of coves can work. Try the smaller Ned rig with the Power Baits Meaty Chunk green pumpkin 3-inch. Cast baits to the mud banks and simply twitch the bait. A Texas rigged ribbon tailed worm in gourd green or red and black shad colors can draw a strike. Try the buzz baits and top water baits down lake in the pockets and points. Keep a top water rig on the deck with a clear Zara Spook. Shad Raps are fair and use light 6-pound test on smaller sizes of any crank bait.
LAKE JACKSON IS .78 FEET OVER FULL CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. The fish are out to about 6 or 8 feet when they are on bottom. Sometimes they can be deeper, but when the bank fishing turns slow, look over brush piles in 12 to 20 foot of water. This is a good time to drop shot. Good sources of shallow structure are rocks and docks. You can also find them on a stumpy clay banks and look for big rocks to be close by. Rocky main lake points can produce and fish shallow with a Weedless Wonder lead head and a Zoom green pumpkin finesse worm. The secondary points into the pockets are a good area for the Rat L Traps mid depth cranks. These baits allow anglers to cover a lot of water. Try the Yamamoto 4-inch Swim Senko green pumpkin and 6-inch Pro Senko.
FLAT CREEK PFA (More info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 76.5˚ F (24.7˚ C)
- Water Level: 3’ 8” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 19”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
As fall approaches and the ambient temperatures start to drop, it is an often an overlooked time of the year to get out and go fishing. The water temperatures are down a little and should continue to improve; the anglers at Flat Creek are starting to see the difference. The bass, bream, and catfish have all reported to be more cooperative on the bite. If you do decide to come out and try your luck, most of the fish that have been caught were found around cover. Crappie have improved with reports of good numbers caught on fish attractors, brush piles and at night under lights and should continue to improve as temperatures drop. The fishing pier has produced some good numbers of bream and crappie caught on worms and minnows. Catfish, bream, and bass are biting fair right now on worms, and catfish and bass are also hitting minnows. With most anglers interviewed the best bait used was worms followed by minnows. Here is a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had great success using for each of the following:
Bass: Live minnows, Shad Colored Crankbait 2.5 diver by Senkos, Dark colored June Bug, Watermelon or Pumpkinseed Culprit worms fished shallow (2-3’) in the mornings and evenings, and dark colored crank baits.
Bream: Worms- pinks and red wigglers or crickets.
Channel Catfish: Worms, uncooked shrimp, chicken livers or stink bait fished in deeper water.
Crappie: Minnows or jigs fished with light tackle to feel the slightest bite.
MARBEN PFA (More Info HERE)
- Water level: Ponds are full or near full
- Water clarity: 22” +
- Surface temperature: 70-76 degrees.
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Warmer than usual temperatures has held the bass out deeper. Look for bass to move in shallower as the water cools. On calm, sunny days shad may sometimes be seen schooling in Bennett and Fox Lakes, and some anglers are able to pick up a few bass by casting around the edges of the schools. This activity will not likely continue much longer as the water cools off. Enjoy the fall fishing now as bass will again move deeper as winter sets in.
Crappie: Expect crappie to move in shallower as temps cool. Concentrate on habitat.
Bream: Bream fishing has slowed, but some shellcrackers are still being caught in Shepherd Lake by anglers fishing on the bottom with pink worms. Most of the smaller ponds are still producing bream, almost always by anglers fishing on the bottom with red wigglers or wax worms.