Other than the obvious fishing pole and bait…what gear do you find is critical to a great fishing trip? One friend said he had to visit quite a few stores to get all his fishing “needs” (had to have’em) before a recent bass fishing tournament. Personally, apart from the pole and bait, I think a nicely stocked cooler, a few sandwiches and some Little Debbie cakes can make any trip instantly great.
NEWS TO KNOW
- Bass Slam 2021: C’mon and get out there bass anglers! Two folks have already completed their Georgia Bass Slam (catching 5 of the 10 available black bass species in Georgia). Check out some of their fish above! Have you started?
- Fish ID: Need help identifying a fish species? Click HERE for help!
This week we have fishing reports from the Southeast, North and Central parts of the state. Pack up your favorite gear (and maybe a Little Debbie or two) and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, Fisheries Biologist and Region Supervisor with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
The rivers are getting fishable, but more rain is forecasted for the next several days. Keep a close eye on the gages if you plan a river trip.
I got a report of an angler fishing the river this weekend and catching 25 redbreasts and a couple bass. He caught all of his fish on artificials. The river level at the Statenville gage on April 15th was 3.9 feet and falling.
The upper river is falling and is fishable, but rain is in the forecast for the next several days. The middle and lower river are fishable, but it’s still high and cold for a really good panfish bite. The staff with the Wildlife Resources Division out of the Waycross Office began sampling the river this week on the extreme upper end, and they got very good catches of panfish and some bass, as well. The fish are big and fat (due to the high water over the last year). Catfish are your best bet again this week with the river still a little high, but you should be able to find some bass and panfish willing to eat lures or crickets if you work at it. The river level on April 15th at the Waycross gage was 7.5 feet and falling (68 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 7.8 feet and falling.
Tyler Finch had another awesome weekend on the river. He caught well over a hundred panfish during the weekend. His species included bluegill, redbreasts, shellcrackers, crappie, bass, and several others. All of his fish ate white Satilla Spins with a cricket. The river level at the Clyo gage on April 15th was 10.0 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Chuck Deen fished the middle river on Saturday and found a good stretch where the big bluegill were biting. Most of his 25 fish were redbreasts, but he had some giant bluegills (the biggest was exactly a pound on scales), and some warmouth, as well. He caught all of his fish on prototype warmouth craw Satilla Spins. He tried in the creeks, but didn’t catch much, but the main river is where the bite was best. Reports from the upper St. Marys were that the water was stained with the rise this week, but it is still fishable for about any species you want to target. The next Shady Bream Tournament will be held this Saturday (April 17th) out of the Kings Ferry Landing near Hilliard. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for more information. The river came up almost 2 feet this week due to recent rains and is falling back out. The river level at the MacClenny gage on April 15th was 4.0 feet and falling.
The biggest bass I heard of from Waycross area ponds was a 6.4-pounder caught with a white spinnerbait. An angler who fished a Brunswick pond this week reported catching some nice bass up to 4 pounds on plastic crawfish. Other anglers caught some bass on crankbaits. The crappie bite has slowed, buy you should still be able to get on some if you have a good speck pond. The cooler weather early this weekend will spur their bite again.
The warmouth bite has been decent with the warming temperatures. Anglers can expect to beat the wood and catch a dozen or so per trip based on the reports I received. The pickerel bite in the canal picked up this week. Floating minnows and in-line spinners typically fool most of the jacks. I didn’t talk with anyone who targeted fliers this week, but I’m sure you can still catch good numbers by pitching yellow or pink sallies under a small balsa float. Set the hook when your float barely twitches, as they don’t usually sink the float like a bluegill would. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.92 feet.
DODGE COUNTY PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Eastman, more info HERE)
The biggest bass I heard of being caught was a 7 1/2-pounder this week. During that same trip, the angler caught 6 bass up to that size on artificial lures. Stephen Beaman caught 5 bass up to 16 inches over the weekend. He lost a big fish at the boat, also. The crappie bite has slowed from a few weeks back, and the bream bite has picked up. Some big shellcrackers were caught by anglers fishing worms on the bottom.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The whiting bite has been tops this week. Several anglers had good catches from the beach off King and Prince, and a few folks caught fish in the Cumberland Sound out of St. Marys. Some folks caught whiting inshore, but their numbers were lower than the catches in the sounds. Ron Altman and friends fished for tripletail off the beaches this week. They saw a little over a dozen decent fish and a bunch of shorts sitting under the floating marsh grass. They ended up catching 3 fish – one of them a keeper by pitching live shrimp to them. 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 Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
Spring is in full bloom here in North Georgia and the fishing is on fire! DNR Fisheries crews are nearing the peak of spring “shocking and stocking” season on our reservoirs and rivers, and we are seeing anglers lining the banks and filling up the boat ramps to take advantage of the treasure trove of opportunities swimming just beneath the surface. I just came back from several boat ramps on Lanier where I was collecting water quality in anticipation of fish stockings scheduled in the coming days. Water temperatures are currently ranging between 64 F and 66 F with a light green tinge to the water’s surface and just a couple feet of visibility. These are excellent conditions to ensure our WRD hatchery-reared sportfish are greeted by warmth and an abundance of microscopic “groceries” to grow them up quickly for anglers to catch in the coming years. Fisheries staffers at WRD’s ten fish hatcheries are hard at work throughout the state to produce a variety fish for angler enjoyment, and if you want to see how the process goes from start to finish, check out this video by renowned outdoorsman O’Neill Williams overviewing Georgia WRD’s walleye program. Hope you enjoy treasure hunting in the shallows this weekend!
Reservoir reports are brought to you by Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant, GON, & others as specified below
CARTERS LAKE IS DOWN 0.66 FEET, CLEAR, HIGH 50S
Region 1 Linesides report (courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist John Damer): Armuchee WRD staff were on Carters Lake several days over the past week. We found lots of striped bass up shallow, like the 30-pounder pictured here. Good numbers of hybrids are mixed in as well. This 9-pounder is possibly the fattest hybrid we’ve ever seen at Carters! Fish like this are up shallow right now and will be for the next few weeks before surface temperatures get too high and they retreat back down to deeper and cooler water layers. Target main lake points and areas of standing timber. Muddy clay banks are also holding fish.
More Linesides (This report courtesy of GON contributor and guide Eric Crowley): The bite on Carters has been pretty typical for February stripers. The fish are scattered in the creeks as well as the water column. We are seeing fish as shallow as 6 feet and as deep as 50. Our best days have been fishing a number of baits at different depths spread out as far as you can. Cover water and stop the boat when you see bigger schools of fish or activity on the screen. We have had several doubles with one fish deep and one fish on the surface and lots of fish suspended away from bait balls. As far as location, Fisher Creek, Camp Branch and Worley are always the go-to areas for early spring as the bait tends to congregate here before the spawn. Bait of choice has been medium gizzards. They just seem to get hit more than alewives or trout right now. We are fishing 12-lb. mono leaders and circle hooks on all our downlines and shallow presentations. The u-rig bite has been picking up for us. The Captain Mack’s rigs are a great way to cover water and hard to beat for an open-water presentation. White or white and green have been hot colors. The next few weeks the walleye bite will pick back up with pre-spawn fish looking to pack on the pounds. Stay tuned for a detailed update on the walleye bite next month.
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 2.8 FEET CLEAR 60S
Bass: Bass fishing has been very good. Despite the dirty water focus on the northern end of the lake to take advantage of the warmer water. Seek out the warmer pockets right now which seem to be holding the best fishing. Fish have been really shallow in the three feet or less. The best bites have come later in the afternoon after the sun has had time to warm water temperatures. Most of the fish have come midway or in the back of pockets on chunk rock or red clay banks. Use mid depth crankbaits in a shad pattern for these fish. Crankbaits to choose from are a Bomber 4A, Bandit 200, or a Jackall MC/60. Make long casts to the bank and retrieve with a slow to moderate retrieve. The better are taking on a ¼ ounce All Terrain jig in Texas Craw with a green pumpkin Net Bait Paca Chunk. Look for the jig bite to only get better as fish transition into the spawn. For a fast shallow bite try the Terminator stainless 3/8 super spinner bait and titanium T1 spinner bait ½ ounce. Bass have begun to move up on shallow rock on main lake. Once the fish have located with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Sonar technology anglers can catch multiple fish without moving. Use a 1/8 ounce Davis Baits Shaky head with a Zoom green pumpkin trick worms.
Linesides: Guide Keith Hudson reports “Because of lower water and cooler water temps in March, expect a strong river run from the hybrids and white bass again this year until at least mid April. The hybrids have made a nice comeback since DNR has been stocking them again for the past several years. Many of these fish are mature enough this year to guarantee a big run. Try live or cut bait—even chicken livers will work at times—fished in holes from Grayson’s Landing to Franklin. Spray your bait with a little garlic scent for even more bites. Casting curly-tail grubs or small spinners will work well at times also. Some fish will, as usual, always remain down on the main lake and can be caught on small crankbaits, topwaters and Storm Swim Shad lures.”
WEISS LAKE IS AT FULL POOL, CLEAR AND 60S
Bass (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Service www.markcollins service.com 256 779 3387): Bass fishing is fair and the warmer weather has turned the fish on. A lot of fish have moved shallow into the spawning bays and creeks, shallow running crank baits and spinner baits are working well.
More Bass (This report courtesy of guide and GON contributor Mike Carter): Weiss came up quick with the recent rains. It’s now at full pool and was actually a few inches above after the lake settled. The fish really pushed up very shallow and are still there now. Using lures such as Choo Choo Shakers and spinnerbaits have been the most consistent producers for some quality action. The water temps being in the upper 50s has made the fish get a lot more aggressive, especially while moving in shallow to spawn. There is still some consistent action with Rat-L-Traps and Echo Crankbaits on main-lake points for some quality Coosa spotted bass. More rain moving in will really put the fish on the banks again looking for new food washed out from the rains, so getting shallow will be the ticket.” Guide Mark Collins reports, “Bass fishing is good. The warmer weather has turned the fish on. A lot of fish have moved shallow into the spawning bays and creeks, where shallow-running crankbaits and spinnerbaits are working well.
Crappie (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Service www.markcollins service.com 256 779 3387) : Crappie fishing is fair and it should improve over the next week. They are being caught long line trolling, with Jiffy Jigs, JJ13, JJ17 and JJ20 are the colors that have been catching fish for me, they have moved into shallow water with the flooding. We look for spawning to begin over the next few weeks.
LAKE RUSSELL IS DOWN .32 FEET, 60S
Bass: Bass fishing is good. Lots of fish are shallow. Soft plastic baits fished slowly in the spawning pockets have been most consistent. We have been catching a lot of good fish off of stumps, grass, and sand pockets in 3 to 5 feet in the back half of the creeks. Texas rigged Zoom lizards and weightless Zoom trick worms have been best when targeting spawning fish around the stumps. Dark colors will work best as the water is still really stained in most areas of the lake. There will be a good pre spawn in two weeks. Look now for the fish roaming in the deeper coves looking for shad in these same spawning pockets. Cover a lot of water with the small crank baits, jerk baits and the chartreuse Buckeye Lures spinnerbait with Colorado blades. For a fast shallow bite try the Terminator stainless 3/8 super spinner bait and titanium T1 spinner bait ½ ounce. Also mid day go to flipping a Buckeye Lures mop jig around the larger pieces of bank cover on the sides of the pockets. A black buzz bait or Zoom horny toad will fool a few big ones early and late targeting wood or grass in the pockets.
LAKE HARTWELL IS 0.7 FEET OVER FULL, High 50S
Bass: Bass fishing is good. Look for the bass to be shallow as well as at mid depths all week. Shad Raps and X Raps along with Rapala DT6 in baby bass and shad. All the shallow bass are after anything small and the #5 Shad Rap will work all day in the shad patter. Small Senko’s in baby bass and baby bass Zoom trick worms are also working. There is a lot of pollen lake wide so pick the coves the wind has blown the pollen into the shallow. Keep a Spro McStick ready all day as the bass are very shallow. This bait can get those bass in the five to seven foot range also. Start with a slow presentation early in the day. A jig or short Carolina rigged worm fished around the docks near the bedding area is also working.
Linesides & more (this report courtesy of GON contributor and guide Preston Harden): “Hybrids and stripers try to spawn in April. Even though hybrids are sterile and stripers don’t spawn successfully, they still release eggs. Lots of hybrid and stripers run up the Tugaloo and Keowee rivers. Lots of them release their eggs down lake in shallow water. All these game fish will eat. They are easy to target in shallow water, so stay shallow where the gang will be. Crappie attach their eggs to wood and rock structure. They are very shallow now and can be caught with a small jig under a float worked around shallow structure. Bass make beds and hang around for days. Most are caught by provoking a reaction strike to remove a lure from their bed. Not all bass spawn at the same time. Some spawn in March, and some spawn in May, but April is prime time. Largemouth bass spawn in very shallow water, and spots spawn deeper in maybe 3 to 4 feet of water.”
GON-tel: Get out the Fire Hose, because Hartwell Crappie on fire!
LAKE ALLATOONA IS 2.1 FEET OVER FULL & 60SBass: Bass fishing is good. The dock bite is picking up. Spots can be taken around docks in 10 to 15 feet and shallower. A Spro McStick jerk bait and a fluke have been working well. The fluke bite is always a blast and is just getting started. Work the fluke slowly around docks and give the bait plenty of time to fall on a slack line. Watch the fluke and the line for indications of a bite. With the jerk bait include pauses of 1 to 2 seconds between twitches. Wind is always a plus for these presentations. When the moving baits are not working around the docks, switch to a 3/16 ounce or 1/8 ounce Davis Shaky Head with a finesse worm or creepy crawler or you can opt for a weightless or whacky rigged Senko and skip these baits around docks. The Riot Baits Reactor 1.5 are now an affordable bait for all species. This is a bait in the Reflex Series with thru wire construction that is a tough lure for all types of cover. These are mean looking baits and come with legendary Mustad super sharp hooks and an ergonomic body design the fish are sure to find and eat. Get a shad and crawfish pattern and try bumping it of all the cover. There are fish gathering in the backs of pockets and creek arms to chase the blue backs which have been swarming in the backs of the creek arms and pockets. There are numbers of bait fish are present in some pockets. Look for wolf packs of bass in numbers of 10 to 20 in the backs of the pockets chasing the baits around. A spinnerbait, a jerk bait, and a fluke have been working well on these fish.
Linesides (courtesy of guide and GON contributor Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service): “Good! The spring bite has started. The white bass are making their spawning runs up both the Etowah and Little rivers. The hybrids and stripers are feeding heavily down on the main lake and should start their spawn migration run north on the next full moon. The south end of the lake is fishing very well right now. The threadfin shad are moving into the backs of the creeks and pockets, and the stripers and hybrids are migrating with the bait. Threadfins fished on flatlines and planer boards have been our better bites. The fish are very aggressive and are blowing our bait completely out of the water. We are also catching some really nice fish blind casting jerkbaits. Mid lake is also fishing well right now. We have seen some sporadic topwater action out in front of Bartow Carver at first light. The striper and hybrid bite on the north end of the lake has been slow compared to the south end, but that will change in the next few days with the upcoming full moon. It has been a very long winter. Now it’s time to dust off your reels, grab the kids and hit the water.”
LAKE LANIER IS 0.35 FEET OVER FULL, CLEAR, CREEKS STAINED, 50S TO 60S
Bass: Spotted bass are on the main lake points and the fish have been easy to pattern. There are fish shallow that are small and a natural blue Zoom finesse worms on a Texas rig will work. Docks are starting to produces at 10 feet. Try the Zoom pearl Super on the shallow cover lake wide. This bait seems to attract bigger fish. Chug Bugs in blue and chrome are also waking up a few fish save one tied on and make a few casts everywhere you stop. Cast this rig on the banks and points and just reel it back at almost any depth and the spots will grab it. Fishing is good around the points in Big Creek and on the rocks on the bank right at the Big Creek Ramp. Main lake structure is fair for fish at 14 feet. Zoom finesse worms in natural blue, green original Zoom worms and small jigs are fair. The fish are not deep. Work points and ditches to depths of 19 feet. If the sun is out use a sand Zoom finesse worm and dip the tail in chartreuse dye. Texas rigs and 1/8 ounce jig heads and fishing these baits vertically will attract hungry spots. Add the night crawler and a small plastic lizard this week just be patient and work baits slowly. Small bright Shad Raps and small finesse worms are taking the fish. With the water still stained up the lake continue to cast shallow to any bank cover including docks and points. Watch the water temperature gauge and find and fish the warmer water especially early in the day. Rocks will warm up the water faster once the sun hit them.
Crappie (courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton call to book a trip 770 530 6493): Crappie fishing is good. The water temperatures are in the 60s. The hot bite target zones are 4 to 8 feet deep and 15 to 20 foot deep. The crappie are everywhere look in the backs of coves, in rivers, creeks and pockets, under docks and on brush. Try drifting or slow trolling .3 to .5 mph over the bait fish with minnows 3’-5’ deep. Look for the stray fish they are typically larger than the schooling fish cast a jig to these fish. I have been finding the crappie 20 feet deep over 30 to 40 feet of water under docks we have found them on brush in 30 feet and we have found crappie in 3 feet of water this week. Try the slow retrieval method of a jig when fishing vertical. We always put out a Crappie minnow with a BB sized sinker 12 to 16 inches above the hook. For best results use a live minnow! Look under docks that are in 20 to 40 feet of water near a main channel and have brush or structure use your electronic charts to locate these areas. Remember crappie love the shade so cast into the shadows of a dock. Try different Jigs colors and jig styles jigs can be used for short casting, vertical jigging, trolling or dock shooting. When dock shooting the biggest fish are usually the first to hit. Let your jig sink and give it time to get down to the fish and retrieve your jig slowly. The water is still stained or muddy and there is still a lot of floating trash. The most productive jig color combinations have been the blue and silver and the milk with chartreuse tail in. I’m using ATX lure companies plastics that can now be purchased at Sherry ‘Bait and BBQ. I use the k9 5 pound test high visibility yellow braid for my line (unless I am using a bobber) and a Piscifun reel on an Acc crappie Stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and the Navionics Boating app. Find me on Facebook and like my page @crappieonlanier
Stripers (This report courtesy of guide and GON contributor Clay Cunningham): “April is looking good here on Lanier. The stripers will move up both rivers, spawn and work their way back down to the main lake. Since the stripers will be on the move, they will need to eat. The result is some great catching on Lanier. The key pattern will be to pull the banks and points with freelines and boards mostly on the north end of the lake. Be sure to use your electronics to spot the fish in these areas. On the Humminbird Side Imaging, you can see the fish on each side of the boat. In the past five years, the electronics have progressed immensely. The best setup is a Shakespeare striper rod paired with a Penn Fathom II Linecounter reel. Spool the Penn Fathom II Linecounter with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game line. On the end of the line, you will need a fluorocarbon leader. Tie on a Spro Power Swivel and a 5-foot section of 15-lb. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon and a Gamakatsu 1/0 octopus hook. Pick up a set of Water Bugz Planer Boards and some live herring, and you are good to go for the day. If you prefer to use artificials, be sure to pick up some Sebile Magic Swimmer swimbaits in white linear and ayu in several sizes. The most popular sizes being the 95 and 125. Be sure to throw the smaller 95 size on 10-lb. Trilene Big Game or Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon on a 7-foot medium-action Penn combo. Personally, I like the Penn Conflict 3000 spooled with 10-lb. Trilene Big Game on a Fenwick 7-foot medium spinning rod. Pick up a selection of other topwater wake baits like the Berkley Surge Shad and walking baits like the Berkley Cane Walker, and you are good to go. One day the Surge Shad will be best, and another day the Cane Walker will be best. Another good choice is a Capt. Mack 1/2-oz. bucktail tipped with a Berkley Jerk Shad casting to the bank. April is a great month for casting here on Lanier. Time to be on the water!”
SMALL POND REPORT
GON contributor “hunter” had a ball with the weightless senko worm and some live bluegill on a small farm pond recently. Check out his report here. Small ponds are great places for experienced and novice anglers alike to enjoy high catch rates of fish large and small due to low fishing pressure and an abundance of “open-minded” predators. Don’t have a small pond connection for your fishing enjoyment? Consider one of DNR’s great Public Fishing Areas or State Parks as an alternative.
Northwest GA Rivers (courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist John Damer): We have been on the Oostanaula, Etowah, and Coosawattee Rivers regularly over the past two weeks keeping tabs on the striped bass spawning run. So far the run has been weak, with fewer fish seen than in previous years. However, peak numbers don’t usually show up until late April, so perhaps the great conditions currently on the rivers will pull a big wave up from Lake Weiss this week. Even though the numbers are a bit low, we are seeing some very respectable fish like this 30-pounder from the Oostanaula. We are also finding a good proportion of 10-12 inchers, which is great news for the future as these one-year-olds will one day contribute to the fishable population.
Northeast GA Rivers (courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): Although we haven’t been on the rivers this week, the action we were seeing on the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers is worth repeating. The fishing options are hard to resist for most anglers: white bass, striped bass, post-spawn walleye, and shoalies. The rivers have returned to near baseflows and should be running clear. For the ‘Hooch, look above Belton boat ramp, on the Chestatee–anywhere above the dredge will work. White bass aren’t picky, most crappie jigs, curly tail grubs, and in-line spinners will work. Suspending jerk baits and flukes easily entice stripers, which are now prevalent in the 8 lb, 10 lb, and 12 lb sizes, with some 20 lb kickers in the mix. Shoal bass love crawfish, so any crawfish patterned cranks, or jigs with craw trailers will work. I caught my first shoalie on a Ned rigged finesse worm, so don’t overthink it! Clouser flies or Gamechangers would be good general presentation for any of these species. Hungry post-spawn walleye will willingly strike a red crankbait or a nightcrawler slowly retrieved and bumped along the bottom. Now is an excellent time to pursue a mixed bag in the northeast Georgia rivers, so don’t pass it up!
Blue-lining for trout (courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist Sarah Baker): Hiking through Georgia’s Appalachian mountains in search of a stream that has trout is a truly magical way to experience spring. Trout lilies and trilliums are in bloom, juvenile salamanders are squirming between gravels, and if you watch carefully “stickbait” or caddis can be found crawling along the streambed. Georgia’s biodiversity, which means variety of life, is incredible! There is a lot to discover. (If you’re a real nerd like me, you can download an app called “Seek” by iNaturalist to help you learn the name of different species). Plus, Georgia trout are hungry! Blue lining is fishing small, high-elevation streams for small, wild fish. I have five tips for a successful “blue-lining” adventure:
- Have a plan. Get a really good map (see last week’s blog post for map recommendations) and bring a GPS if you have one. Calculate how many miles it will take you to get to the downstream section that you plan to fish, plus how many miles it will be to fish up the stream, plus how many miles it will take you to get back to your vehicle from your end point. Then ask yourself, am I capable of hiking all this total mileage in a day? If yes- great! If not, try a different stream that has closer access. Be mindful of private property boundaries. There are hundreds of miles of streams on public land in Georgia to choose from. Be sure to let someone know about your plan, and when to expect you back from your trip. Cell phone reception is poor in the valleys of north Georgia mountains.
- Pack wisely. It’s always a good idea to be extra prepared when you’re far from home. Crawling on boulders and scrambling up waterfalls certainly increases your chances of an accident occurring. Pack extra socks, a change of clothes, extra food, plenty of water, as well as a first-aid kit.
- Keep your fly box simple. A narrow selection of standard dry flies should be all you need right now. However, when the water is high from springtime rains and the pools are deep, fishing a squirmy wormy fly or a nymph will do the trick; so tuck a few of those in too.
- Keep a low profile. Headwater streams often have clear water, so even your shadow can spook a fish. Also, trout have a lateral line along each of their sides that detects movement, vibration, and pressure gradients in the surrounding water. So stay back behind where you’re trying to send your fly so that they aren’t spooked by your presence.
- Learn how to bow and arrow cast. Check out some helpful videos HERE and HERE.
Good luck salmonid adventurers!
Buford Trout Hatchery Update (courtesy of Buford Trout Hatchery Manager Colt Martin): The entire crew at Buford Hatchery have been busy ’round the clock this spring. Besides the typical sanitation and feeding required to grow catchable trout for Georgia anglers, the crew have also been busy protecting these fish from hungry Great Blue Herons and grading raceways to optimize fish growth and condition. The result of this hard work is captured by this net full of healthy rainbow trout bound for a nearby Georgia trout stream or tailwater. If you want to get your net full of these colorful fish, be sure to subscribe to the weekly stocking report.
Wildcat Closure: A reminder, the US Forest Service announced that the road to Wildcat Creek has yet again been affected by the recent rains, but it is still open to foot traffic. Check the USFS Facebook page for updates and links to the Forest Service Road Closure webpage.
(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, Fisheries Biologist and Region Supervisor with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.
LAKE RUSSELL IS DOWN .32 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. Lots of fish are shallow. Soft plastic baits fished slowly in the spawning pockets have been most consistent. We have been catching a lot of good fish off stumps, grass, and sand pockets in 3 to 5 feet in the back half of the creeks. Texas rigged Zoom lizards and weightless Zoom trick worms have been best when targeting spawning fish around the stumps. Dark colors will work best as the water is still really stained in most areas of the lake. There will be a good pre spawn in two weeks. Look now for the fish roaming in the deeper coves looking for shad in these same spawning pockets. Cover a lot of water with the small crank baits, jerk baits, and the chartreuse Buckeye Lures spinnerbait with Colorado blades. For a fast-shallow bite try the Terminator stainless 3/8 super spinner bait and titanium T1 spinner bait ½ ounce. Also, mid-day go to flipping a Buckeye Lures mop jig around the larger pieces of bank cover on the sides of the pockets. A black buzz bait or Zoom horny toad will fool a few big ones early and late targeting wood or grass in the pockets.
CLARKS HILL IS .6 OVER FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. This week brought on a few changes again in the weather with another cold front and full moon. The good news is the bass did not respond to the front and the shallow water bite is still on. Most of the bass are being caught in 4 to 10 feet of water or less. Plan on heading into the coves and concentrating on the shallow flats and the boat docks. Shallow running Shad Raps and spinnerbaits and a Bandit 200 in either the balsa wood or the #5 Shad Rap will work. The backs of the docks around the walkways have a lot of bass under them along with areas of the banks that hold a lot of wood shallow. The bass are relating to the wood. The plastics are working, and the trick worm is best. Fish the slow-moving bait on or near bedding areas. The large buck bass are there and aggressive.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL 60’S
(This Lake Oconee fishing report is by Captain Mark Smith of Reel Time Service. 404-803-0741) —
The temperature is 64 to 68 degrees. The lake is stained up the rivers, the main lake is clear. Light stain from I-20 to the 44 bridge. South of the bridge is mostly clear. Richland creek is stained north but the south end is clear.
Bass: Bass fishing is good. The bass are moving into the middle and back of the coves and creeks as the water warms. Small crank baits have been the ticket over the past week. In the cleaner water a 6-inch green pumpkin lizard fished on a Texas rig in brush around and under docks has been a very good producer over the past week. The shad have started to spawn and a white spinner bait at first light around sea walls and rip rap will produce if the spawn lasts.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good. It is live bait time. The fish have moved into their usual locations up the rivers and close to the dam. Flat line plainer boards as well as down lines are all working at different locations all over the south end of the lake.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. The fish are shallow. Pushing as well as long lining have been producing well. Dock shooting is also starting to produce. Find the stained water and pick your method and stay with it. Start at the mouth of the coves and pockets and work your way to the back.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.3 STAINED, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. There are a lot of bass shallow all over the lake. The McStick is the hot lure and with three sets of super sharp hooks, anglers cannot miss the strikes. Jerk this bait under water or just slowly reel it back off any clay banks or sandy areas. The fish are also on the June bug plastic worms, Zara Spooks as well as Lucky Craft Redemption 3/8-ounce spinnerbaits. Just cast them to shallow banks with hard clay or sand. Spinner baits, worms and Zoom green lizards are catching the fish on blow downs and will get a big bite. Look on points in the creeks and the long points that are close by as they are holding fish. Flipping worms or jigs around and in heavy brush can draw a strike. The gourd green u tail Zoom worms on a Texas rig is fair, just fish these baits slowly.
LAKE JACKSON IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. The fish are biting crank baits mid-day and then they will go to the worms and jigs on the trees and docks. Stay down lake in the shallow creeks and flip the docks with a Texas rigged Culprit black shad worm. Use larger worms in dark colors and add the Real Craw scent. Cast to the same spot with several casts. Keep a Super Fluke in pearl ready and skip this bait under the docks and fish it on any wood on the banks. Use a large dark Berkley Power worm in and around the docks. Work the backs of these docks as well as the bank cover and the sea walls on down lake. Later in the day, use a small Fat Free shad in the crawfish or the fire tiger colors right on the docks and get the lures as close to the docks with very accurate casts. The upper rivers are slow, and fish are tight in brush.
MCDUFFIE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Temperature: 71 F
- Water Visibility: 28-48+ in
Largemouth Bass: The bass are biting! Warmer water temperatures have the bass moving in shallow water. Nice bass are being caught across the area on a variety of lures in shallow water and around structure. Recent successful fishermen have been using super flukes, creature lures, black worms, and spinners.
Bream: The bream bite is also picking up. Nice shellcrackers are being caught around the Clubhouse and Bream Buster docks using worms and crickets. Elsewhere around the area, bream are just starting to bed. As of yesterday, they are still skittish and easily scared off the beds. However, signs are good that is likely to change within the next week. Then they will be well on the beds and we can expect bream action to spike. Photos below show a few of the nice bream found during spring sampling. Fish like these are in all of the PFA lakes!
Channel Catfish: The catfish bite is on the rise as well. Bites are slow but steady. Successful fishers are using worms, both red and pink, and stink baits. Fishing near the culvert in Willow has been productive.
Striped Bass: Striped bass bites have been slower. No recent reports of striped bass being caught.