Jingle Jangle Jingle, you will hear those fish hooks ring, I am old Kris Kringle, I’m the king of ang-a-ling. I mean, the big guy has to have a hobby too, right? Why not fishing?
NEWS TO KNOW:
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(Fishing report courtesy of Hunter Roop, fisheries biologist, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Just in time for the cold weather to arrive, here are some fresh fishing reports to keep you abreast of the changing patterns out there as our North Georgia sportfish adjust to the long-delayed cooldown. Looks like the rain and wind is going to really pick up this evening and possibly throw a wrench in the plans for a Saturday lake trip with wind gusts up to 30 mph, but Sunday will be a good bet to target those stained creek backs and fresh mudlines for predators taking advantage of the temporary camouflage. USGS gauge data will be especially useful late Saturday and Sunday for folks pursuing trout or other river residents over the weekend, and just keep in mind that the time return to baseflows will be slightly longer this time of year since our soils are already saturated and dormant winter vegetation is little-to-no help to remove any excess water. Good luck negotiating the weather and those pricey line items on the Xmas shopping list, now onto the good stuff:
Reservoir Reports Courtesy of contributors to GON Fishing Reports
LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 5.6 FT, LOW 60S, AND STAINED
- Bass:Tournament angler Matt Driver reports, “Fishing on Allatoona is great with lots of shallow fish and several good largemouth coming to the tournament scales. I believe we will have milder weather this winter, and we should stay consistent throughout December. From now until spring is a great time to catch a trophy spot. Jerkbaits, jigs, shallow-to-medium running crankbaits and swimbaits will be your best bets. The Jackall Squirrel DD and Vision OneTen jerkbaits are my go-to. Run and gun primary and secondary points the first part of the month, and then transition to bluff walls as temps drop. Use a 7-foot medium-action Shimano Expride rod with 8-lb. Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon. For the jig, I like to use a 1/4-oz. Picasso football head in brown and orange tipped with a Zoom Twin Tail grub. Fish it slow. Blowdowns and bluff walls mid-lake are most productive. For the crankbait, I like the Strike King 3XD and a Spro Little John to target creeks this time of year, but I will transition to the main lake as temps drop. For swimbaits, keep it simple with a Picasso roundball tungsten swimbait head and a 4-inch Keitech Easy Shiner swimbait in shad colors. Location matters more than color to me. Look to your electronics to locate schools of feeding bass. As temperatures drop, hypothermia is real. Don’t fish alone. Merry Christmas!”
- Linesides:Guide Robert Eidson reports, “The bite on Allatoona is starting to pick up. The north end of the lake from Little River to Fields Landing is holding a ton of white bass and a few decent stripers right now. The white bass will hit a 1/2-oz. spoon, Roostertail, Tiny Fluke and a small threadfin shad. The bigger striper are wanting to eat big. Your best bet for a big fish right now is to pull bigger baits like a large gizzard shad as my first choice, followed by a trout. The big schools of smaller hybrids are starting to show back up on the main lake. I have found some really big schools of hybrids in Kellogg Creek all the way south to Clear Creek. These fish are eating threadfin shad, small gizzard shad and small trout fished on downlines 18 to 32 feet deep. The water temp is getting right and should be prime by the first of December. If you troll, keep pulling your Captain Mack’s u-rigs 120 feet behind the boat at speeds between 2.4 to 3.1 mph. This is my favorite time of the year to be on the water.
- Crappie: Jeff “Crappieman” Albright reports, “We had a pretty good morning (11/28). Bite started off great, but died off around 10. We ended up boating 38 with 26 keepers. Had a few around 12 – 12 ½ inches, so all in all a good morning. Red Rooster Jigs were doing their thing again. Orange body / blue tail (reverse Albright Special) was on fire today as well as black & blue pink razor. Want to thank Preston and Preston’s father for fishing. You guys were a blast and I hope to see y’all again soon!”
- GON-tel: Jeremiah’s all-species report
LAKE BLUE RIDGE IS 13 FEET DOWN, CLEAR, AND LOW 60S
Bass: Guide Eric Welch reports, “Fishing has been tough. The rain that we’ve had throughout the month has brought the lake up, and TVA has pulled it back down fast. Along with the cold fronts which has helped drop the water temps, the lake has just not been stable or consistent, so the fish are at all depths and scattered. I hope this month the lake temp will get down in the mid-50s and the lake will stay at one level. We’ve just been running around the main body of the lake fishing points, rocky banks and steep banks. The baits we’ve been throwing have been a drop shot with a 4.5-inch worm, a shaky head, a Z-man Ned rig and Flex-It spoons. I’ve really not seen any topwater action the past month. I have been trying to throw jerkbaits, swimbaits and A-rigs but have not had much luck. It’s just a waiting game until everything gets in place.”
LAKE BURTON IS DOWN 3 FEET, STAINED, 59 F
- Bass: Wes Carlton reports, “The bass bite has been unreal the last few weeks with the warmer water temps. We have caught most of our fish toward the backs of creeks. Swimbaits have been producing the best bite. We have been throwing Sebile Magic Swimmers. We have also caught fish on underspins tipped with flukes. Look for the grass on the electronics in the 9- to 16-foot depths and target these areas. Both the largemouth and spotted bass are here. Some of these fish have been in the 5- to 6-lb. range. We have had some 35 fish days, which is exceptional for this time of year. Look for the bite to slow a little and change over to a deeper-water spoon bite in the main lake over long points.”
- Trout: Wes Carlton reports, “The brown trout bite has been great the last few weeks. The lake has been stocked this year with some healthy fish. We have caught most of our trout using Rapala Countdowns and Blue Fox Spinners (silver). Try rolling the bait fast when fishing for the brown trout. These fish like a high-speed retrieve with a jerking motion. Look for the trout in the backs of the creeks in and near fallen trees or close to the creek channels. This bite should continue for the next month or so.”
CARTERS IS 2 FEET DOWN, LOW 60S, AND CLEAR
Bass: Guide Bill Payne reports, “The warm weather for this time of year has kept quite a few fish shallower than normal. The topwater bite continues to linger, and we’ve caught some on walking baits, like a Zara Spook Jr., Evergreen SB and a Berkley Cane Walker. I see this bite fading quickly in December. We continue to catch spots on shaky heads like the Picasso Rhino Head in 3/16-oz with a Softy Lures finesse worm. This bite will continue to be fairly strong into December and through the winter out on long points, humps and breaklines with cover in the 20- to 35-foot depths. Even though the weather hasn’t been typical for us this fall, the baitfish haven’t waited to move deeper and into ditches and creek channels. One of the best baits for these fish that are following baitfish is the old and reliable 3/4-oz. jigging spoon, like a Hopkins or Georgia Blade’s jigging spoon. These fish can be caught around bait anywhere from 20 to 60 feet deep, and it doesn’t matter how deep the bottom is. Other lures like an underspin in 3/8- or 1/2-oz., as well as blade baits, like the Silver Buddy or a tail spinner like the new Jackall Deracoup will put fish in the boat as well. December has traditionally been the best month for a jig for me. My favorite is the Picasso Little Spotty tungsten football jig in any of their crawfish imitation colors tipped with a Zoom Creepy Crawler twin tail. Even though deep water gets lots of attention during December and on through the winter, nasty weather with rain, sleet or snow has a way of moving the big spots up shallow, and techniques like the Float-n-Fly can produce some big catches. Add a little wind and it can get really miserable out on Carters, but a spinnerbait and a jerkbait can pay huge dividends with big spotted bass.”
LAKE CHATUGE IS 5 DOWN 5 FT, CLEAR, LOW 60S
Bass: Guide Eric Welch reports, “The past month fishing has been up and down. You go one day and catch some good-sized bass, and then you go back two days later and can’t hardly find a bite. It’s been one of the toughest falls for fishing I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve not seen any fish breaking or chasing bait. I’ve still been marking bait in the 25- to 45-foot range. The baits that we’ve been catching fish on have been a shaky head and a Texas-rigged worm around brush or tops of laydowns. The drop-shot bite or a Ned rig has not been working lately. We have also been throwing jerkbaits and A-rigs but have not had any luck. Hopefully the weather is going to stable and the fishing will get better, because right now it’s fishing as tough as it is in August when it’s hot.”
LAKE HARTWELL IS FULL, 60S, AND SLIGHTLY STAINED
- Bass: Guide Matthew Justice reports, “Fishing has been improving day by day. Bait is moving into the creeks, and bass are feeding aggressively on secondary points and rocky areas. Fish with 3- to 12-foot diving crankbaits, like a squarebill or a Strike King 3XD. Some herring are moving into ditches, but that bite has been off and on. Throw an underspin and a spoon into bait schools in 20 to 30 feet of water.”
- Linesides: Guide Preston Harden reports, “After the turnover, fish go into a feeding frenzy. The best days will be before a front when it gets calm and cloudy. The worst days will be after a front when the sun gets bright and the wind blows hard. Hybrids and stripers move up the lake and into the major creeks by December. They move shallow and chase bait on the banks and on the surface. A bucktail jig and a small fluke that imitates a small shad works. Fly fishing becomes viable with a small Clouser on sinking line. Live blueback herring can put lots of fish in the boat. Downlines work midday on bright, sunny days and freelines works early and late day. Freelined herring works all day on cloudy days.”
LAKE LANIER IS 1 FT BELOW FULL, LOW 60S, CLEARING.
- Bass: Guide Ryan Coleman reports, “Fishing has been sketchy but good. There has been a good morning bite up shallow, and then things toughen up a bit. There is a range of ways to catch them right now, but the best bets are spinnerbaits and crankbaits up shallow early, and then work worms and jigs out on brush and docks during the day. There are also a few fish moving out deep, and that should improve as the month rolls through and the colder weather hits us. Look for a good portion of the fish to move out to 30 to 50 feet of water and be in timber edges, ditches and creek channels on the lower end. I’m seeing a few fish holding around the edges of the timber in 45 feet right now, and I have been catching them on a 3/8-oz. brown or green jig and a straight worm rigged on a jig head. This bite will continue all winter and is our primary bite on Lanier until spring.”
- Striper: Ron Mullins reports, “Our help, the birds, are showing up in numbers every day, and with the full moon on Nov. 30, we should have even more help in the coming weeks. The fall topwater bite has been the best in years so far, and the gulls and terns are what to look for on the main lake for the first couple hours in the morning. These fish are keying on small bait, so downsize your lure. Casting a 3/8-oz. Captain Mack’s Super Spoon in glitter or white/silver flash will be my go-to artificial. A 7-foot Okuma Reflections medium-action rod paired with a 30-class Okuma Helios loaded with 15-lb. braid and a 4-foot, 10-lb. fluorocarbon leader is a great setup to cast this little lure a long way, which is key to getting to these fast-moving schools. Most of your bites will come while you are moving the spoon as fast as you can through fish that are blowing up on the surface. If the fish go down before you get to them, yo-yo the spoon on your retrieve. This setup will also work vertically on the stripers and spots you find in and around the big clouds of bait in the 40- to 60-foot range you will be targeting in the back half of any major creeks, like Latham, Taylor, Johnson, Sardis, Ada, Gainesville and Little River after the topwater action dies down. Downlined herring or small trout on an Okuma Striper rod with an Okuma Coldwater 203 fished about 2 feet off the bottom up to 5 feet above the bait schools you will mark with your Humminbird Solix will be your best live-bait option in December. A Captain Mack’s 1.5- to 2-oz. swivel sinker, 3 to 4 feet of 10-lb. fluorocarbon leader and a No. 4 or No. 2 Gamakatsu circle hook will be your best setup for downlining this month. As the water finally cools into the 50s, smaller baits will be the answer to more bites. Remember Jesus is the reason for the season.
LAKE NOTTELY IS 11 FEET DOWN, CREEKS ARE STAINED AND MAIN LAKE IS CLEAR, HIGH 50S
Linesides: Guide Jeremy Seabolt reports, “Fishing has been OK for all the crazy weather we have had. We have been catching most of our fish on large herring and shad in the creeks and on long points that get sun first thing in the mornings. We are still catching fish over deep water on downlines 25 to 30 feet deep. Later in the morning, there are some nice schooling fish still holding deep. Captain Mack’s u-rigs pulled around 80 feet back have also been performing well. If the weather turns off cold, we will start switching over to trout pulled on boards. Most of the fish will be feeding up for the winter. Trout are some awesome baits to be pulling in the cool water. We will also be starting to throw bucktails up on the rocks and long points. In December, staying up on the bait pods is key for catching fish. When you find the bait clouds, start pulling baits around that area. Don’t forget The Bait Shack on Nottely has all your striper live bait needs.”
SEED LAKE – new lake record!
- Pickerel et al (Courtesy of “Academy” Jack Becker): Another trip to Seed Lake—my favorite Georgia Power lake. Air temperature was 31 degrees and the water was 55.7. Low wind, 1 to 2 mph. was a real blessing. When I heard the sirens from Burton dam signaling water release I was confident the bite would turn on. Spinnerbaits, jerk-baits and chatter-baits all produced pickerel. Find the grass and you will find Pickerel. Remember to keep your bait moving fast. Big willow leaf blades on my spinnerbaits caught the most fish but the biggest one came on a jerk-bait. It was 23 inches long and weighed 2 3/4 lbs. and is a Seed Lake record. While a Nightcrawler fished on a drop shot rig caught several small Browns and Yellow Perch for the frying pan. I was on the water 7 hours and only saw 1 other boat all day. Be extremely careful if you do venture up into the headwaters. Many parts of the river are less than 2 ft deep.
- GON-tel: One Lake Down…
WEISS LAKE IS 3.6 FEET DOWN, MID-TO-UPPER 60S, SLIGHLY STAINED
- Bass: Guide and tournament pro Mike Carter reports, “The bass bite on Weiss has gotten a lot more aggressive with the cooler fall temps. Covering a lot of shallow points close to deeper areas can produce some solid action, especially with those aggressive Coosa spots are common on Weiss. Lures like 1/2-oz. Rat-L-Traps, MR6s and Echo crankbaits will be the main producers for these areas. On warmer days, move up into some of the shallower flats and fish a Choo Choo Shaker and spinnerbait. This can also produce some solid action with some quality largemouth this lake holds. Weiss is getting close to its winter level, and this can create some hazardous conditions for boat travel, so it’s important to have a good accurate GPS to help in navigating this lake during this time of year. Get out and enjoy some aggressive late fall and winter fishing.” Guide Mark Collins reports, “Bass fishing is good. A lot of fish moved shallow as the water has cooled down. Spinnerbaits and flat crankbaits are working well anywhere you can find bait in the shallow pockets, flats and coves. Rat-L-Traps are working well, also.”
- Crappie: Guide Mark Collins reports, “The crappie fishing is good on Weiss in late November and December. They are on deeper cover in 14 to 20 feet of water. This time of year look for crappie on the main Coosa River channel ledges from Cedar Bluff to Leesburg. Spider rigging over brush and the river channel ledges with live minnows and jigs is catching fish. Longline trolling with jigs is starting to turn on, as some fish are starting to suspend in the river and creek channels. Shooting docks with jigs is also producing some fish—start to concentrate more on the docks close to deep water. It looks like November and December are going to be good months.”
WEST POINT LAKE IS 1.8 FT DOWN, 60S, AND MOSTLY CLEAR
- Bass: Guide Keith Hudson reports, “Early in the month of December, the shallow bite should be pretty good and could improve even more, especially with a little stained water, higher than normal lake levels and water temps still in the 60s. Baits such as flukes, Rat-L-Traps, squarebill crankbaits and ChatterBaits are catching some of these shallower fish. Try to fish these baits in coves and pockets that have small feeder creeks and structure, and a key is to find schools of shallow baitfish. Also you can fish the open water in the pockets with a Flash Mob Jr. Keep a jig or shaky head handy to pitch around any wood cover that is still in the water. Fishing rip-rap with a jig can also produce good results this time of year. By the end of the month, the water should clear back up, cool down and the lake level should drop. Big schools of spotted bass mixed with hybrids, white bass and stripers can be caught on jigging spoons, drop-shot rigs and shaky head rigs on flats, humps and drop-offs. Finding the big schools of deep bait is the key. For more spots, target deeper offshore structure like brushpiles and old roadbeds in 20 to 30 feet of water near the mouths of major creeks or in the main river south of Highland.”
- Linesides: Guide Keith Hudson reports, “The downline bite with shad or bass shiners has improved as the water has cooled off. Freelining a live bait will also work at times. Most of the fish seem to be holding 20 to 30 feet deep when they are not schooling on the surface. The fish are still moving around a good bit but should ‘lock in’ to a certain thermocline as the water cools. The mouths of most creeks anywhere south of the Highland Marina area all the way to the dam and in Maple Creek have been holding fish. Topwater fishing for hybrids, striped bass and white bass can be sporadic in December. It’s usually best very early and very late, or on overcast or rainy days. Gulls and loons usually show up strong in December, which makes it easier to pinpoint schooling stripers. Keep your eyes open! A popping-cork rig has still been working at times on schooling 1- to 3-lb. fish, with an occasional bigger one mixed in. A 3/8- or 1/2-oz. white Rooster Tail, a chrome C.C. Spoon and a number of other small shad imitators have also been producing. Try a big Redfin or a Pencil Popper topwater plug—you’ll get less hits, but bigger fish. The colder it gets the more consistent the fishing usually is. As the water cools casting a bucktail jig becomes very effective, as well. Trolling with mid-depth crankbaits and Flash Mob Rigs continues to produce some linesides in these same areas.”
Bass & Walleye (Courtesy of PFA Manager Dennis Shiley): Some good Largemouth Bass and Walleye are being caught at Rocky Mountain PFA. Numbers will be picking up as the weather cools and the Threadfin shad get balled up out in deep water. The Walleye that have been reported have come on tail spinners in 15-20 feet of water on ledges in East or West Antioch. The Largemouth are coming on spoons, Alabama Rigs, 5” swim baits and bladed jigs fished deep around schools of shad in East Antioch, West Antioch, and Heath Lake while it is open (from the 1st – 10th of each month). Reduced fishing pressure and a protected slot limit for Largemouth bass measuring 14” – 20” serves to promote quality bass fishing opportunities on Heath Lake.
Delayed Harvest: We hope WRD’s pre-holiday dose of browns and bows to their respective DH streams were enjoyed by our Thanksgiving trout anglers. The first of December is a typical lull in DH stockings, and this year was no exception. The best bet for trout fishers (both DH and standard reg streams) will be to aim high if possible, and if not check your respective river gauges before search for the “learned” DH sophomores and juniors among the likes of Ami and Toccoa. Dropping a bright nymph to a squirmy or egg pattern can be productive this time of year, or for the highly educated, natural patterns will be more productive. From the field, UO’s Dredger reported that Kevin P has been regularly fishing Smith since the onset of DH and it has fished great. He even managed to land a 19.5” fish during the catching frenzy. Keep an eye out on the weekly stocking report in the coming weeks for updates on another round of pre-holiday DH refreshers.
Thanksgiving Leftovers (Courtesy of Unicoi Outfitter’s Dredger): The weather and water will change soon and savvy anglers will change their techniques to match water conditions. Most trout waters dropped to wadeable levels today, and warm weather tomorrow will keep them prime for one more day. On headwaters, try one last shot on top with dry/dropper combos. Start with a caddis, stimulator, or Adam’s dry. If no lookers in 30 minutes, drop a #16 beaded pheasant tail or hares ear 1-3 feet behind it, depending on the depths you’re fishing. Try this rig at Smith DH, too, if fish have been hammered by heavy weekend pressure. Don’t be afraid to pull out your 6x and zebra midges, either. Add a #6 dinsmore shot if you need to get the dropper down. The good news on DH streams is their DNR redosing, so you can aim now for both frosh and sophs. See our “DH University” tips in our November Angler magazine column (see “sophomores and juniors” link above). To read the rest of Dredger’s trout report, click HERE.
Post-front Headwaters (Courtesy of WRD trout biologist Sarah Baker): This weekend will be a good time for a hike along a small headwater stream. These streams will clear out pretty quickly after today’s rains, and after the sunshine reaches down into the valleys, wild fish will be hungry! Fishing the southeast-facing slopes should offer some protection from the wind as if you’re hunting mountain jewels up high. Check out our Interactive Trout Map to find a new stream to explore.
Other Trout Tips: Some timely advice during a respite from the winter blasts of this week: Dredger’s icy Hogpen Gap photo serves as good reminder that, like rockfaces, the trout bite can freeze up when temperatures plummet, but by fishing the south-facing slopes during the peak warmth of the afternoon, you can increase your chances for success tremendously. Our WRD buddy Sautee sports a beautiful wild rainbow (see pic) fooled with a dry fly while he was employing that same heat-seeking tactic this week.
(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 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. The lake is loaded with spotted bass and they love the cooler water. Expect these fish to be roaming in and out along the shallow rocky areas and a variety of baits will catch these fall bass. Good largemouth are also found on the wood cover and on rocks. Since this lake is nothing more than a flooded gorge there is plenty of wood in various forms scattered all over the lake. Use the spinner baits jigs Shad Raps and Husky Jerks or Ito Vision 110. The full moon was the 30th. The cold fronts will slow the action this week.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 3.0 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Expect the bass to move back a little to deeper water this week. The bass are suspended out in 10 to 15 feet of water. This will enable anglers to pinpoint them on the Lowrance graph and use those Down Deep Husky Jerk Baits to catch them. Expect the bites to be slow and far and few between. Carolina rigs are always a fall favorite with anglers during the fall transition. The lower end of the lake is turning over, but this will have little effect on the fishing up in the Little River or Savannah River. Fish the rivers by picking apart the cover with Chatterbaits and jigs. On the windy days, fish the deeper points with a Rapala DT10 and a DT14 and use shad and hot mustard colors. Plenty of sunshine should dominate the weather for much of the week. The full moon was the 30th. The cold fronts will slow the action this week.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL CLEAR 60’S
The temperature is 65-67. North of the 44 bridge is stained up to I-20. The rivers are a heavy stain. The main lake is clear.
- Bass: Bass fishing is good. The bait is starting to stack up in the middle of the creeks and large coves in the mid lake area. Over the past week the spoon bite has picked up in the middle of the coves in Richland Creek. Target the fish off secondary points in the coves all over Richland Creek. The buzz bait bite is on, sea walls and rip rap early and late. Small crank baits fished on the secondary points and boat docks in this area will draw some strikes.
- Striped Bass: Striper fishing is very good. The fish are showing up all over the lake, from Richland creek to Sugar Creek. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools of bait with some fish around the bait and drop a minnow into the school. Also put out a flat line or two for an extra fish. The spoon bite is also strong with the live bait bite. Trolling the Mini Mack has been off the chart good early.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. Long lining has been the best producer over the past week. Look for fish staging in the mouths of the creeks and large coves all over the main lake. The Oconee side has been the best producer. The full moon was the 30th.
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 4.8 FEET, CLEAR 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. The same patterns continue to work completely dependent on current conditions. Use any type of top water in a natural pattern. If the wind is up the buzz bait can pay off with bigger fish. This is the same with the spinnerbait action if wind is present. Use a Strike King 3/8-ounce spinnerbait with double silver willow leaf blades. If there is no wind switch to the shaky head and jig with green pumpkin being the best color. Use a 3/8 ounce All Terrain jig AT Craw with a Zoom green pumpkin speed craw. The full moon was the 30th. The cold fronts will slow the action this week.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 4.6 FEET, STAINED 60’S
- Drawdown: Lake Sinclair Drawdown began October 26, 2020 and the plan was to end November 29, 2020. Lake elevations during the drawdown fluctuate in the range of 337 feet and 335 feet. The lower lake elevation is typically in the A.M. hours. The drawdown is entirely weather dependent and Covid-19 status and conditions could change at any time. Contact Georgia Power Company by mail email or phone: Georgia Power Company Oconee Sinclair Lake Resources Office 125 Wallace Dam Road Eatonton GA 31024 706.484.7500
- Bass: Bass fishing is fair. Top water baits have begun again to draw a few strikes after not producing for a week or more. Spinner baits and crank baits are working as the water temperature cools down. Quality bass are started to show up using the spinner bait. Blow downs, shallow brush stumps, and grass have been the cover holding these fish. Try a 3/8-ounce model in chartreuse white with double Colorado blades one nickel and the other gold. Try to bump the cover with each retrieve and use multiple casts from various angles. Also try a ½ to ¾ ounce bait with a large #7 Colorado rear blade. This bait should be bulged just below the surface and retrieved over or very near likely looking cover. Jigs and soft plastics continue to draw a few bites around docks and shallow brush. The jig bite has been the most consistent bait on hump’s points and flats. Carolina rigs and crank baits are the primary baits here. The full moon was the 30th. The cold fronts will slow the action this week.
LAKE JACKSON IS .68 FEET OVER FULL CLEAR 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. The South river is stained while most of the lake remains clear. Late morning to midafternoon seems to be the best time to fish. If the sun pops out for even a short while, it can be helpful to locating fish on deeper docks. Areas with combinations of depth, rock, docks, and brush should be worked thoroughly for multiple bites. Fish relating to such areas may be as shallow as 5 to 6 feet due to the shade offered by docks. At the same time, you may find them in 20 foot of water. Have the same old same old bait, the jig head and worm. Try shortening Trick worms if that is what you are using. If the bite is slow, go to plenty of dead sticking with a twitch here and there. Slow presentations will be important to success with jigs and cranks as well. A jig of 3/8 oz. or lighter should be used for its slower fall. Long points, deep banks, and sand bars dropping into deep water should be fished this time of year. Wood cover 15 feet or deeper can also be productive. Look for relatively deep docks where the owners have mounted rod holders. You will most often find deep brush has been planted out in front of the dock. A slow crankbait will be a good bait to search for shallower fish, particularly if the bite picks up. A Shad Rap is hard to beat. Something like Bandit 300 or a deep running Fat Free Shad can also be good choices. At a slow retrieve, these relatively deep runners will bang noisily into shallow bottom and rock. They will also cover deeper ranges well. Fish the crank bait with a pause retrieve on a long cast that quarters or nearly parallels the bank. Some folks are jigging spoons around congregations of bait as well. The full moon was the 30th. The cold fronts will slow the action this week.
FLAT CREEK PFA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 57.2˚ F (14.0˚ C)
- Water Level: 51’” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 24”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
The cold nights and rain that Flat Creek has experienced lately have caused the water temperatures to drop, and the anglers at Flat Creek are reporting a slow finicky bite on the bass. The crappie fishing has improved with some reports of fish being caught while trolling, Fishing brush piles and fish attractors and fishing at night using lights has produced some good catches. The fishing pier has continued to produce some good mixes of crappie, bream and a catfish every now and then. Catfish were also being caught while fishing the bottom in deeper water; we have seen some good catches along the dam. Here is a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had success using for each of the following:
- Bass: Swim tail worms in a Green Pumpkinseed, White spinnerbait or Flukes, Buzz baits, Swimbaits. Plum or Motor oil colored worms. Watermelon or Pumpkinseed Culprit worms.
- Bream: Worms (red Wigglers and pinks)
- Channel Catfish: Worms, shrimp, stink bait or chicken livers fished deep.
- Crappie: Fishing at night near the green lights of the fishing pier and casting to the dark edge of the water lit by the lights while using light, live action jigs fished with light tackle. Jigs trolled by boat and cast to brush piles have reported to work very well.
MARBEN PFA (More Info HERE)
- Water level: All ponds are full.
- Water clarity: Visibility in all of the ponds is over 36”.
- Monthly surface temperature: 52 – 60 degrees
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
- Bass: The warmer fall has kept the bass in shallower than typical years. The first part of the month bass should be targeted in 6-10’ depth of water and moving deeper as temperatures cool throughout the month. Plastic worms, swim baits, and crank baits should work well. The trick this time of the year is determining what depth of water the bass prefer to be. Late fall sampling revealed fish in open water at 6-10’ and along steep drop offs and creek channels.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing should begin to pick up with the water temperatures finally dropping. Fishing jigs, minnows, and even jigs tipped with minnows are the best bet for crappie. Try balsa style floats that attach on one end allow the bait to be “jigged” under the float as well as offering the angler the ability to easily adjust the depth of the bait.
- Bream: The shellcrackers and bluegill bite has slowed but a few are being caught on the bottom in deep water with worms.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist and Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
The rivers are rising from last weekend’s rains. This week’s cold snap shut most bites off, but the rebound late this week should have some fish feeding by the weekend.
The river rose some this week, but is still fishable. Your best bet is probably crappie fishing in the oxbows or fishing for linesides in the lower portion of the river (Darien area). The river level was 5.6 feet and rising (53 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 7.1 feet and steady at the Doctortown gage on December 3rd.
The river came up and is fishable by motorboat again. With the colder weather, I doubt you will find much of a panfish bite, but you should be able to get bass to bite around cover, and crappie should eat minnows fished in oxbows in the lower river. White catfishing in the White Oak Creek area should also be great on the outgoing tide at the mouths of the ditches. Shrimp have worked best for me over the years for white cats. The river level on December 3rd at the Waycross gage was 6.5 feet and rising (59 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 5.4 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
I did not receive reports from the St. Marys this week, but catfish should be your best bet. Shrimp or worms on the bottom typically work well. The river level at the MacClenny gage on December 3rd was 3.2 feet and falling.
The crappie bite was great over the holiday weekend. My family and I trolled for crappie in a Waycross area lake on Friday, and we caught 24 crappie and a big bluegill. We trolled 4 rods out the back with Assassin Curly Shads and Keitech 2-inch swimbaits and then jigged a couple rods off the side. Those rods were rigged with Specktacular Jigs (a small, tinsel-tail jig), and we just hopped them near the bottom as we trolled. Timothy hooked the fish of a day doing that. His 1 1/2-pound, 14-inch slab stripped drag and fought more than usual for a crappie. The best color Specktacular Jig was popsicle (purple/pink/chartreuse), while the best plastics colors were albino (white pearl), green pumpkin-chartreuse, and sun gill colors. Chad Lee had a great Thanksgiving morning. He and a friend fished some Alma area ponds and caught some slab crappie. Some ate minnows and others inhaled chartreuse Assassin Pro Tiny bodies fished on 1/16-oz. Capt. Bert’s Jigheads. A handful of their fish ate black/chartreuse 1/16oz Specktacular jigs. They had a total of 17 crappie, with about a half-dozen fish weighing over a pound, and their biggest was 1.35 pounds.
OCMULGEE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Hawkinsville, more info HERE)
The crappie bite was nominal this week, but a few were caught. The bass bite has been a little slower than earlier this fall, but I am aware of a 7 1/2-pounder that was caught over the holiday weekend (I don’t have details of what it was caught on).
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Tifton, more info HERE)
Wildlife Resources Division staff stocked the yearly batch of hybrid striped bass this week in lakes Bobben and Russell. Those 2 lakes already had existing hybrid populations. Lakes Beaver and Tacklebuster were 2 additional lakes stocked with the linesides. You will want to put these lakes on your radar for this winter. Chicken livers are a prime bait for folks chasing hybrids, but the whole host of baitfish imitating artificial lures will also fool them. If you are fishing minnows for crappie in those 4 lakes, don’t be surprised if a hybrid strips drag. The crappie bite in Lake Patrick was good during the cold snap this week. Both minnows and jigs fooled some slabs. I didn’t hear any reports of bass this week, but I’m sure you can fool them in their offshore haunts.
A Waycross angler fished out of the Folkston entrance on Sunday afternoon for 2 hours. He pitched sallies for just a few minutes to see if they were biting and caught 2 (one on yellow and one on pink). He then started flinging Dura-Spins for bowfin and didn’t catch any casting, but caught them well by trolling. He ended up catching 8 bowfin up to 6.75 pounds on crawfish and jackfish Dura-Spins. The water level on Sunday was 121.0 feet (just getting in the good range).
LAURA WALKER STATE PARK
Staff will be making repairs to the drain structure at Laura Walker State Park and will have the lake drawn down approximately 3 feet through the end of the month. If you can launch a boat from the ramp then you can use it with electric motor or paddle power, but you cannot run the gas motor. There will be some nice bass and crappie caught, and state limits will still apply during the drawdown.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Shane and Scarlett Barber fished out of Blythe Island on Wednesday and had a blast. They landed 12 trout (2 keepers) and a keeper flounder. All of their fish ate chartreuse-black flake curly-tailed grubs. Ed Zmarzly dabbled fiddler crabs around hard cover in the Brunswick area on Thursday morning and caught a couple big sheepshead. Stan Rhodes and a friend fished around Jekyll and Cumberland islands on Friday and had a great day for trout. They used Cocahoe Minnows and DOA’s under Equalizer Floats and live shrimp and waded through about 75 trout to catch 18 keepers (most in the 14 to 16-inch range). They also put fiddler crabs rigged on a 5/16-oz. Redfish Wrecker Jighead on the bottom and caught 8 whiting and 6 sheepshead. Their fish were mostly caught in the 6 to 7-foot range around shell beds. Dane Clements and a friend fished the McIntosh County area on Sunday and hammered the sheepshead. They dropped fiddlers around pilings and other hard cover to catch 20 sheepshead. Their biggest was just over 10 pounds, and the next biggest was 8 1/2 pounds. On Tuesday, Ron Altman fished the Brunswick area and fooled about 20 trout (6 keepers), several upper slot redfish, and a few black drum and sheepshead. He used live shrimp for his catch, and found the trout mostly in 4 to 6 feet of water around shells and the redfish a little deeper in 7 to 8 feet. I heard of one report from the Crooked River area, and it was from 3 anglers who caught their 3-person limit of trout and had some over 22 inches. They also had a few redfish. 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.