Last day of April. Y’all…that means the “summer” is just about a month away for a whole big part of our population (the kids!) in Georgia. What activity are you most looking forward to with your kids this summer?
NEWS TO KNOW
- Looking for a Family Friendly Fishing Location? Be sure to check out Georgia Public Fishing Areas. These areas boast tremendous fishing thanks to the dedicated management of the water bodies, but many also offer things like hiking trails, wildlife watching opportunities, archery ranges, camping, bathrooms, picnic areas, fish cleaning stations and much more!
- Summer Destination: Are you investigating things to do this coming summer? How about visiting the Go Fish Education Center in Perry, GA? This exciting facility offers fun hands-on activities (like fishing, boating and shooting simulators), a stocked fishing pond where you can test your skills, educational info, important resource information and allows you to explore and see examples of Georgia’s waters (and the fish that inhabit them) through large aquarium exhibits. You even get a glimpse of how an actual fish hatchery works.
- Outdoor Camps for Kids: Are your kids registered for a summer camp? Check out these awesome opportunities at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center (Mansfield GA).
This week, we have fishing reports on Central and North Georgia. Make those summer plans – it is coming quick – and get out there and Go Fish Georgia!
CENTRAL GEORGIA FISHING REPORT
(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)
LAKE RUSSELL IS DOWN .52 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The full moon was April 27th. Try up the Savannah River and fish the larger points and pockets just off the points for the numbers. Cranks and spinnerbaits will hold true for several weeks. Start off with and all black ½ ounce Strike King buzz bait. Also use the Shad Raps up in the shallows and use the Sub Warts. Buzz baits with the double blades are starting to turn on while making very long casts to the one foot or less of water in the back of coves. Some of the larger bass are killing these baits early in the morning before the 10:00. Yo Zuri Popper 70F has the weight transfer system for super long casts. It makes a lot of noise to wake up bass from great distances. All the popular colors are available. The jig bite is just starting to happen while pitching or flipping into real heavy cover. Find the biggest group of small trees and bushes that come together near a point or small bowl area. Put the jig right in the middle and work it slowly until all the cover is worked well.
CLARKS HILL IS .54 FEET OVER FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is great, and the bass are spawning. The full moon was April 27th. The bass are back in the coves on shallow banks and on shallow gravel roadbeds. Several good baits are a Zoom 6-inch lizard rigged Carolina style fished slowly on the bottom and trick worms. There is some top water action starting using a Bang O Lure, McStick or Rapala. The bass will move back out into 10 to 12 feet of water on humps and roadbeds up in the creeks. Use a shad or fire tiger #5 Rapala Shad Rap. Throw them right to the bank and crank them back. Bandit 200 series are also a good choice and be sure it has a little chartreuse in it. The Alabama rig is also working for the shallow fish. Keep throwing a green pumpkin 3/8-ounce jig with a Zoom Super Chunk trailer in root beer green pepper. Concentrate on whatever brush is available from 2 to 10 feet. The hot colors have been the watermelon, watermelon gold and green pumpkin. Early and late bass will likely fall for top water as well. Try a Sammy 100 or and all white Strike King 3/8-ounce buzz bait. Carolina rigs around deep cover with a creature bait also work. Have a Pearl Zoom Super Fluke rigged all day and use it on every stop.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 70’S
(This Lake Oconee fishing report is by Captain Mark Smith of Reel Time Service. 404-803-0741) –
Bass: Bass fishing is good. The temperature is 67 to 70 degrees. The lake is stained up the rivers; the main lake is clear. The bass are moving into the middle and back of the coves and creeks as the water warms. 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 are spawning; a white spinner bait at first light around sea walls and rip rap will produce if the spawn lasts. Also, small crank baits fished on the same sea walls and rip rap will catch some fish.
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. Down lines have been the best method over the past week. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools on the south end of the lake and drop a live shad down and hang on.
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 1.5 FEET, STAINED 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The full moon was April 27th. Bass are in all stages of the spawn making fishing extremely fun. A lot of bass are gorging themselves on the shad spawn and the shallow bream in the mornings. Top water, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits are hard to beat in the early mornings going after these active fish. Rip rap banks and concrete seawalls have been the best targets for these fish. The heavy rains and the full moon may slow down the spawning fish. The best bet for catching fish is by throwing a weightless Senko or trick worm around docks and blowdowns.
LAKE JACKSON IS .61 FEET OVER FULL, CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is great. The full moon was April 27th. Carolina rigs around deep cover with a creature bait are working. Have a Pearl Zoom Super Fluke rigged all day and use it on every stop. Spend the day and concentrate up the Alcovy River and Yellow Rivers. Spinnerbaits along with buzz baits are great. Work the small flats and especially the sandy points in the bends up Yellow River. Use a Zoom u tail June bug worm on a Texas rig. Look for isolated stumps and single lay downs for best results. Also try the docks around the dam. Fish the first good cove right around the corner from the marina with white spinnerbaits. Bass are scattered from one end of the lake to the other and lots of baits are working from cranks to top water baits to plastics. Take this time to explore new areas and try new lures. This is the week of the full moon and there will be a ton of fish shallow all week. Try the Strike King KVD 2.5 up shallow on the shady areas and any bank structures. Also use a Daiwa Dorado Sliver jerk bait in the bubble gum color and there are two sizes, 14F at 5.5 inches and the 18F in 7 inches and 3 ounces.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 66.7˚ F (19.3˚ C)
- Water Level: -13” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 31”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
The warmer spring temperatures and heavy rains have created some good fishing at Flat Creek. The challenges this year has been trying to find the fish bedding. The cold rains and cooler nights have kept the water temperatures fluctuating and have made it hard to pattern the fish. We continue to see catches of bream and bass with reports of good crappie being caught around the fishing pier at night.
Bass: After talking with our bass fishermen that have been seeing successful catches, here is the list that they suggested- Zoom Green Pumpkin Worms Plum colored ‘Ol Monster worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumpkinseed; fishing around the air diffusion heads- anything shiny with a white body when the bass are hitting the shad.
Bream: Fishing for bream has produced mixed catches; some folks have been catching good redear and bluegill with the usual catches of smaller fish – Try Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig. Tube jigs on a 1/8 oz. jig head. Crickets have worked ok.
Channel Catfish: Insufficient data to report on. The last successful angler interviewed was fishing at dark with chicken livers attached to the hook with sewing thread.
Crappie: Crappie are biting well, especially in the early hours before daylight around the fishing pier. Also casting from the dam has worked very well using the Jiffy Jigs With black head and green bodies in 1/24 oz. or Try Strike King’s Mr. Crappie Slabalicious Glo behind a Road Runner jig head.
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water level: All water bodies are full, except Shepherd. Shepherd should reach full pool in the month of May. The Shepherd boat ramp is useable.
- Water clarity: Most ponds have a visibility of 18” to 26”. However, Fox is much clearer with a visibility of 3’ or more.
- Surface temperature: 72 to 80 degrees.
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: As the weather warms early morning and late evening will be the best times to fish for bass. The shad will continue to spawn along the rip rap at daylight. The shad typically spawn until mid-May. Try to mimic a shad during this time. The bass will begin to move to deeper water as May progresses. Top water baits should produce a bite from dusk till early morning. As the day warms fish long points and drop offs. Baits will range from soft plastics such as floating trick worms, flukes, different style creature baits, square bill crankbaits, jerk baits, and various topwater baits.
Crappie: Crappie fishing has slowed down as the water has warmed up. A few crappie can still be caught in deeper water (>4’) around structure. Look for crappie to move deeper over submerged brush as the temperature increases throughout the month.
Bream: The shellcracker have spawned and moved off the bed. The bluegill should spawn any day. Typically, the full moon in May is prime bluegill spawning. However, the late full moon in April may make the spawn more irregular with different bodies of fish spawning at different times in different bodies of water depending on temperature and sunlight. Red wigglers, crickets and flies produce good bites
NORTH GEORGIA FISHING REPORT
(Fishing report courtesy of John Damer, Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
West Point Lake Report: (From Fisheries Biologist Brent Hess) — Catching monster catfish has become the main event on West Point Lake and up in the river. Two Blue Catfish over 50 pounds have been caught over the last couple of weeks. Big Flatheads have also been caught. Cut bait and live baitfish seem to be the go-to bait choice for the big cats. Fishing success for stripers and hybrids rocks on fairly steady. The bass fishing has been good despite the crazy weather from late last week. However, changing water levels maybe keeping the bigger largemouth on the move. Bass fishing should be good this weekend if the weather remains steady.
West Point Lake Report: (This report courtesy of Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant) — West Point Lake is down 2.1 feet clear 70s. Bass fishing is good. Crazy weather with big time cold front, wind and big rain will make fishing tough for a few days. And the full moon is April 27. This is the week of the full moon and there will be a ton of fish shallow all week. Bass are on beds around the lake and it appears a new wave has recently moved up. There are plenty of fish on bed now as well. A 1/8 ounce Davis Shaky head with a 4 inch worm fished is a great way to catch these fish. Work the Shaky Head slowly and look for the bites to be light. The Zoom Fluke is great tool to spot these fish. The Yo Zuri Mag Series Mag Popper will wake up fish all over the lake. They have a 5 ¼ size and a 6 ¼ size and a weight transfer system for super long casts. Sling these things a mile. Bass are after anything they can catch so they will eat fluke. Work the fluke slowly and give the bait plenty of time to fall on a slack line. Watch the fluke and the line for indications of a bite. If they don’t eat the fluke and only swing at it follow with the worm for a sure bite. A Senko in silver is a good bet on these fish as well. Look for spot beds on hard clay banks and points with sandy areas being strong as well.
Lake Nottely Report: (From Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop) — Gainesville Fisheries staff conducted standardized sampling for black bass and crappie on Lake Nottely this week. Water temperatures were in the mid-to-upper 60s and visibility was ~3.5 feet in most locations thanks to spring algae blooms. The rain over the weekend washed in plenty of the debris that jammed up in pockets and coves throughout the southern half of the reservoir. Lying in wait under this shallow cover were good numbers of Largemouth Bass, with the largest being this respectable five-pound, post-spawn female. Smaller spotted bass were shallow along rocky substrate and other structure, but the larger spots were suspended over deeper water where we just couldn’t get them with our electricity. We spoke with an angler who caught some 3 – 4 lb spots suspended under docks in about 20 feet of water – expect these fish to move into 6-10 feet of water in the coming weeks. Crappie were prevalent in the back of coves over brushpiles or blowdowns. Nottely’s crappie were impressive with many fish between 1 and 1.5 pounds, with the largest crappie weighing right at 2 lb.
Lake Weiss Report: (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service ) — Weiss Lake is 0 feet 7 inches above full pool, clearing, and 65-68 degrees. Bass fishing is fair. 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. Some fish are starting to bed. Crappie fishing is Fair. 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. They are spawning right now. A lot of fish have spawned and started moving to deeper brush. Striper fishing is poor and no reports on any fish being caught in the last few weeks.
Lake Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant) — Lake Allatoona is full, clear, 60s. Bass fishing is good. Crazy weather with big time cold front, wind and big rain will make fishing tough for a few days. And the full moon is April 27. Use a Spro McStick Jerk bait in Norman Shad color on the main lake flats, as well as the backs of the coves and creeks. This bite is best early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Casting trick worms and flukes in the coves around any cover is a great way to catch some fish in the mid part of the day. On cloudy days, cast a green pumpkin color trick worm or something dark. If the sun is bright, fish a bright color such as Bubblegum. Fishing a small jig or Texas rig around the cover is also producing fish. Fan cast a Texas rigged lizard in the backs of the creeks. Use the Strike King KVD 2.5 up shallow on the shady areas and any bank structures. Carolina rigs around deep cover with a creature bait also work. Have a Pearl Zoom Super Fluke rigged all day and use it on every stop.
Lake Hartwell Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant) — Lake Hartwell is 1.0 feet over full, 60s. Bass fishing is good. Crazy weather with big time cold front, wind and big rain will make fishing tough for a few days. And the full moon is April 27. Yo Zuri Hard Core lures has a Crank SR 65F round bodied crank bait with the bait bounces off structure. They have great colors in translucent, painted and metallic colors for any water application. Start the day with a Spro McStick or a spinnerbaits and use a buzz baits in the coves and pockets. The females are trying to bed while others are still searching for that perfect spot. The top water bite ay kick back in soon so give this a try id day with a small all black buzz bait with the weather. Work the shallow down lake as the up lakes areas are more stained. Late morning turns the picture around a bit with most of the bites coming on the Shad Rap and Red Eye Shad crank baits in the three to eight foot range. Start on the points and secondary points and work your way to the back of the creeks. Look for any docks, rocks and wood along the way.
Lake Lanier Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770-366-8845) — Lake Lanier is full, clear, creeks stained, 60s. Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is exceptional right now. The fish are both shallow and deep and feeding strong most days. Pick any of your favorite spring baits and you are likely to have a good day. Let’s start in the morning with a chug bug or a small translucent Zara Spook. Any points that are in the wind will likely have fish on them. From the points you can take a fluke and work the points all the way down the banks into the pockets. A bank with a mixture of red clay and rocks or blow downs are holding fish. A Spro jerk bait is also drawing a lot of strikes but don’t wok it like a jerk bait. A slow to medium retrieve is the best way to draw strikes right now. Work it on the blow through’s and sandy banks in the six to ten feet of water range. A three inch Keitech on a quarter ounce head worked slowly will catch some large fish, maybe not as many but some very good ones. A wacky rig is working well on the banks leading into the pockets as well as on the docks in less than ten feet of water. One set up that is often overlooked is the Carolina Rig. Working this slowly on long points and humps that are less than twenty feet deep is a productive way to put fish in the boat. Keep in mind right now there is a shad spawn going on and the bass are enjoying the easy eating. Check the blow thru’s and rocky clay banks for the shad. Often it is just a simple matter of smelling them where they are spawning. The Keitech or a white spinnerbait with twin silver willow leaf blades are two great choices for these areas. Pick a bait and go catch em!
Lake Lanier Crappie Report: (This report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton, 770-530-6493) — Crappie fishing is good. The hot bite target zone is 10 to 15 foot deep. The crappie are back on the docks and also can be found on open water brush piles and blow downs. Look for the stray fish they are typically larger than the schooling fish cast a jig to these fish. Try the slow retrieval method of a jig when fishing vertical. I always put out a crappie minnow with a BB sized sinker 12 to 16 inches above the hook. Right now I am setting the minnows around 10 feet deep. 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 most productive jig color combinations have been the translucent colors and the small dark jigs. I’m using ATX lure Companies plastics that can now be purchased at Sherry’s 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 a Acc crappie Stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and the Navionics Boating app. Find me on Facebook and like my page @crappieonlanier
Chattahoochee River Late Bloomers: (From Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop) —The waves of cold snaps we’ve experienced on the Upper Chattahoochee the last few weeks have revived the appetites of early spring spawners like walleye and white bass. Local river rat Medium Jawn and I floated from Mossy to Belton last week in pursuit of a hat trick of sorts: striper, walleye, and white bass. The recent cold nights dropped the morning water temps down to 55 F, which really slowed the striper bite based on our experience and that of other anglers we encountered. However, the trip was a success as MJ snagged a fresh male walleye from the shadows of a deep river bend just downstream of some shoals. The walleye came up for a suspending jerk bait and went down in the frying pan later that week. This week, Alpharetta Outfitters Jeff Wright was even able to entice a walleye on the fly! White bass were found in sandy runs and around structure, and they were quick to bite a slowly retrieved crappie jig in a Baby Shad pattern. Nightly lows in the 50s over the weekend plus post-frontal conditions early next week may provide another good opportunity for an Upper Hooch hat trick before warmer temperatures force these fish to deeper, cooler waters in Lanier next month.
Spring Bass: (This report courtesy of Henry Cowen) — Spotted Bass fishing in the south is a lot of fun this time of year. The fish are shallow, and making their beds for their spawn. We see so many 3-5 pound fish in water as shallow as 3-4 feet. They’re a mean fish and pull like a smallie. Perfect for a 6 or 7 weight fly rod. I just love the spring.” Check out Cowen’s video and post on Instagram @henrycowen.
Brood X Cicada Hatch: (This report courtesy of Unicoi Outfitters ) — Are you ready? Have a big time now, but remember to look toward the horizon. We hope you’re having as much fun as we are with “trout on top” on tiny dries. Caddis and cahill time is hot this month and we still have “stonefly month” ahead of us. Also on that horizon are big, black bugs. Be ready to trade in your whippy trout rig and wispy tippet for a stiff bass rod, 1X leader, big surface bugs, and fish measured in pounds rather than inches. Brood Ten is coming! Are you ready? Call or come by either UO store in Helen or Clarkesville if we can rearm you with heavy artillery (like a nice 6-weight outfit) for the skirmishes ahead of you. Enjoy the UGA briefing. After all, good intel helps to win battles.
“Northern Tributaries” Report: (This report courtesy of Bob Lux) — We’ve hit the northern tributaries tonight with a little luck. I didn’t have much hope fishing the back end of a cold front knowing how the warmer water species tend to get a little moody after those. Angelica was the winner of tonight’s family tournament with a nice sized spot and a leftover marble eye. We thought hard about keeping that walleye, but we haven’t really been into them that great this year with the high water levels this spring, so we let it go to add a few more pounds for next year. Both fish were on a 1/8 oz jig with a white Mister Twister body. Other than that, fishing was a bit slow. We did witness some bait getting busted up a little bit, but nothing came up for the topwater plugs. Water temps are creeping up, so I expect the bass fishing to pick up so long as the cold fronts quit dropping in and let us enjoy a “normal” spring.