What is your favorite species of fish to target? Do you prefer chasing trout in cold water mountain streams, pulling up catfish out of a favorite pond, or tricking a largemouth bass to taking your favorite lure?
NEWS TO KNOW:
- Sign Up For a Workshop: What better workshop to take than a fishing workshop? Get the Basics at a 1-day Fishing Workshop at the Go Fish Education Center in Perry, GA.
- Almost Camp Time!: Have you selected summer camps for the kids yet? We have some great fishing camp options at the Go Fish Education Center and at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center.
Get ready…this week, we have fishing reports from ALL over the State, including the Southwest, Central, North and Southeast. So pick a favorite (or several) fish species and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
SILVER LAKE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Bass are biting at silver lake. One father and son duo caught a 22 lb bag of just 4 fish last weekend. See attached picture.
LAKE WALTER F. GEORGE
Look for bites during early morning shad spawning. Anywhere with grass in the shallows should be successful. As the sun gets higher in the sky and things start to warm up try moving further off shore. Anything providing structure should provide you with a bite or two. Blowdowns, stumps or branches that provide shade for fish are a good bet. We have seen success with plastic worms, swim gigs and creature bites. In the coming weeks look for the fish that will be moving to the ledges, however they don’t appear to be there quite yet so sticking to the structure is a good place to be for now.
TIRED CREEK LAKE
The bass are biting at tired creek! Anglers are still catching bass that seem to be on spawning beds. At the tournament last weekend there was a 3 fish limit and the winning bag weighed in at 27 lbs. The 5 largest fish from the tournament totaled 41 lbs One angler had success with big worms at 12-15ft deep. Anglers said you know it’s a good day when you have to cull 5 or 6 pounders from your tournament bag because you get better fish!
Bream: Bluegill are your best bet right now. There has been success with live bait such as worms and crickets for these guys.
Crappie: The crappie are a mixed bag. Some have already spawned and moved back out but others are mid spawn or still pre spawn. Minnows are the main bait for crappie right now but artificials have also seen some success.
Catfish: At Blackshear the catfish never stop biting.
Bass: Largemouth are post spawn and quite finicky right now. They have moved out to deeper water are scattered.
(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, Fisheries Biologist and Region Supervisor with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.
LAKE RUSSELL IS .76 FEET OVER FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The water is warm, and this is driving the bream and perch into the shallows. The shad are now moving back into the shallow water and will be spawning soon. Shallow running Shad Raps in the Perch and Shad colors are working. The early morning and late evening bite is good. Slow down mid-day and use the Net Bait Paca Chunk and Paca Bug 3/8-ounce Alabama craw Black neon and Okeechobee 3 inch and Sapphire craw. Small cuts and coves seem to be the favorite places to fish. Top water Chug Bugs and Pop R’s are working in the creeks early in the morning. Follow any missed strikes with a spinnerbait. On the bright sunny days after the sun comes up over the tree tops anglers are finding the bass holding tight to cover and hard to catch. This is the time to use those plastics and jigs. Texas Rigged Lizards near wood piles seem to be working the best.
CLARKS HILL IS .85 FEET OVER FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Lots of rain this week filled the lake. The bass have been biting the best on the windy days. Grass lines are still a good bet for this week. Slow down mid-day and use the Net Bait Paca Chunk and Paca Bug 3/8-ounce Alabama craw Black neon and Okeechobee 3 inch and Sapphire craw. Try a variety of baits like the Ito Vision 110 jerk baits. Use the #5 jointed Shad Raps in the early morning hours. Keep the baits moving and change up often. Also try a Thunderdog top water bait on secondary points and flats.
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 70 to 73 degrees. The lake is stained up the rivers; the main lake is clear. The shad spawn is in full swing. First light head to the rip rap. White spinner baits fished on the rip rap will produce. Keep a small crank bait as a backup. Find the spawning shad on sea walls and around lights. A 6-inch green pumpkin lizard fished on a Texas rig in brush around and under docks will also produce. There are still some bass spawning as well as post spawn fish are moving out of the back of the coves and pockets. Get ready, the buzz bait bite is about to start up any day.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good. Its live bait time. The fish are moving away from the dam area and staging all over the south end of the lake. 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. Most of the fish are starting to move into the timber and setting up for the summer pattern. Long lining over the timber has been the best producer. Live bait dropped into the timber will also produce.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN .73 FEET, STAINED 70’S
Bass fishing is great. Early mornings have been best for both numbers and quality. Start the morning with moving baits and cover lots of water. Top water baits such as a white buzz bait or white popper have been great around concrete sea walls and wood targets in the Oconee River. A weightless Trick worm has also been good up shallow around wood cover sea walls and docks in the river. Later in the morning and throughout the day try a chartreuse and white Tru Trac Lures spinnerbait or a Spro Little John crank bait in these same areas. Continue using these moving baits all day if it remains cloudy. If the sun comes out start flipping a Texas rigged Zoom baby brush hog in June bug color around logs and docks. When Georgia Power is moving water run to Crooked Creek Bridge or Little River Bridge and toss Spro Little John crank baits and light Texas rigs to the rip rap banks. Take advantage of the current by fishing the rip rap points and bridge pilings as post spawn fish try to fatten back up after the spawn. Numbers of smaller fish can also be caught in the clearer creeks on the lower end of the lake by fishing shaky head worms in green pumpkin color around the docks.
LAKE JACKSON IS 1.5 FET OVER FULL, CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Look for the shoreline bank structure and also fish the pockets with a Trick worm in green pumpkin and watermelon green. Look specifically for the pockets with sand and clay. Good bait to use is the Champers Football jig and green pumpkin and a Zoom trailer is the choice. A Sworming Hornet Dude in pearl white, a frog, a spinnerbait, and a jig head worm are working well for these fish. As far as the main lake the spotted bass are on every shoal marker that has sand or rock around it. Jerk baits, flukes, and shaky heads are taking these fish. Look for the herring spawn to be a major factor in the next few weeks. It has already started but is not in full swing yet. Keep a Zoom pearl Super Fluke rigged and use it every place the boat stops. Cast the Booyah jigs in the 3/16 ounce black and blue and add a matching Zoom twin tail trailer.
MCDUFFIE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Temperature: 77 F
- Water Visibility: 24-48+ in
Bass: 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 continue to be caught around the Clubhouse and Bream Buster docks. Nice bream are also being caught near fallen trees in deeper water using worms and crickets. Fishermen can also keep an eye out for the characteristics bream beds in the shallows of Jones, Clubhouse, and Bridge. The fish are on the bed and these are great spots to sink a worm.
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.
Striped Bass: Striped bass bites have been slower. No recent reports of striped bass being caught.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jackson Sibley, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Are You Ready for Brood X?
To the delight of fish and anglers alike, North Georgia is set to experience an explosive cicada phenomenon, known to scientists as Brood X. The largest of the United States’ several 17-year broods, this particular hatch has taken on the moniker The Great Eastern Brood—and for good reason—as the billions of emerging insects quickly overwhelm predators in a frantic attempt to complete their lifecycle. What does this mean for Georgia’s anglers? Simply put, fish will be gorging themselves on cicadas everywhere the emergence is taking place, becoming frenzied, fat, and easier to catch.
Mostly centered around Gilmer, Fannin, and Union Counties in North Georgia, the hatch will attract a host of gamefish to the surface. Largemouth, spotted, and striped bass have been known to forego their normal fish diet for cicadas since it takes relatively less effort to pursue these bumbling, buzzing insects. Trout, too, have been observed switching from typical instream insects for this large nutrient-rich food source. Atticus with Unicoi Outfitters in Helen, GA tells us that although a few bugs have already emerged in the mountains, we can expect the peak of the emergence to occur in the next 2-3 weeks and continue as late as early July as the bugs begin to die off in large numbers. He also says anglers on Blue Ridge, Nottely and other mountain reservoirs should keep their eyes trained to the water surface below large overhanging trees, where lurking fish are waiting to ambush falling cicadas. Likewise, anglers within the area’s hundreds of miles of trout streams would benefit from a few cicada patterns in their box, as they may find themselves surrounded by fish rising for a once-in-their-lifetime feast. Learn more about the Brood X hatch here.
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. Shad are spawning and the hungry post spawn bass are feeding up. Finding rip rap and rocky shore line is key. The shad spawn bite good from daylight till 9:00. Small poppers and walking baits like the Spro dawg are great. The drop shot tipped with a big bite shaky squirrel is great for fish that have pulled out and are not feeding on top. If the wind is blowing in the morning, fish main lake points with a ½ ounce Davis Spinnerbait in the Spot Chaser color. If it is calm, cast a Bonnie 95 top water bait or a Super Spook Jr. in Shad colors to these same points. As the morning progresses, try casting a 1/8 ounce Shaky Head tipped with a Net Bait Finesse Worm. The hot color this week seems to be Table Rock. There are fish in the backs of the creeks by casting a Zoom Trick Worm in White or Bubble Gum color. Cast this bait to any cover or docks. To catch fish on a crank bait, fish after dark on steep rock banks with a Norman DLN in Raspberry color. Use a stop and go retrieve to these banks. Cast a black colored, single Colorado Bladed Spinner bait on these same areas and use the Punisher Short Arm. On the nights when the spinner bait or crank bait will not produce, slow down and fish a ¼ oz. Davis Paca Jig in the Grass Craw color. Tip this bait with a black Paca Chunk.
Allatoona Lake Levels: Keep track of daily lake level changes HERE.
Blue Ridge Lake Report (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist John Damer) — Staff from Armuchee completed annual spring sampling at Blue Ridge this past week. We found average numbers of spotted and largemouth bass up shallow, as they are on the tail end of the spawning period. They seemed to go deep again as the cooler weather rolled in but should return to the shallows when the herring begin to spawn, which should probably occur during the next warm spell. We also saw good numbers of walleye in the shallows, usually near downed trees or deep bush piles. Some healthy bluegill in the half pound range were seen in the backs of coves. Target the rocks along and near the dam for channel and flathead catfish.
Chatuge Black Bass: (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Hunter Roop) — Black bass sampling took place last week on Lake Chatuge, and as our PhD-pursuing former colleague recently attested, the bass are shallow and the fishing quality is excellent. Most of the Largemouth we observed were holding tight to the banks and tight to structure, while some larger females roamed just offshore in 4 – 6 feet of water. Spotted Bass gravitated towards rocky points and shoreline, so target those steeper bank elevations, and now is a great time to fish a fluke or swimbait to imitate the Chatuge’s favored forage—blueback herring. Herring were schooled up in pockets and ready to spawn. Another late-spring bonus Chatuge anglers can pursue this time of year are Walleye, which are now post-spawn and actively feeding on herring and perch. We found a handful of large, 4-5 lb female walleye taking cover under dense woody structure in 6 – 10 feet of water and often co-occurring with bass.
Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) –Bass fishing is fair. There are still many fish very shallow in the backs of creeks and pockets. A small jig head and worm combo will catch these fish as will a fluke. The main lake fish are moving up shallower on the points and humps and are also spawning in those same places. In many of the same type areas the spots are spawning the shad are spawning as well. Use the fish head spin, spinnerbait wake, bait jerk bait and a fluke. Also top water baits such as a popper are starting to work as are many other options. Use the Bass Patrol 3/8 ounce jigs with Mustad Hooks. Throw these baits when schooling fish that pop up. The dock bite is good and the Weedless Wonder heads worm combos Senko s or a fluke around the docks are working.
Lanier Crappie (Report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton) — Crappie fishing is good. The water temperatures are in the upper 60s and I even saw a 70 degree temperature one day. The hot bite target zone is 10 to 15 foot deep. The crappie are on the docks and also can be found on open water brush piles and blow downs. I always put out a Crappie minnow. If you have live scope or active imaging set the minnows just above the fish. Right now we are setting the minnows around 10’-12’ 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 colors for me have been the translucent colors and the solid white but with the recent heavy rains I’ll be switching to darker colors until the water clears up. I’m using ATX lure company’s plastics that can be purchased locally at Sherry’s bait and bbq or the dam store. 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.
Lanier Bass (Report courtesy of Phil Johnson) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The bass have pretty much finished up their spawning and are starting to move out of the shallows. Typically when this happens the bass go into a little funk for a week or two, just suspending and resting. This was evident as the weights for recent tournaments dropped off. As the transition from spawning happens the fish will be moving offshore to the brush piles in the fifteen to thirty foot range. There will still be some fish shallow but just not in numbers. If you are targeting the shallow bite focus on rocky points and boat docks with a shakey head green pumpkin worm, shallow crankbait or a fluke. The offshore bite becomes an electronic game to find both the brush and the fish. Having a well-tuned Lowrance can be the key to success or failure. Look off the points or humps keeping your boat in the twenty to thirty foot range. When you have located the brush it is critical to keep your boat a cast away because these fish can easily spook. When you catch a fish from the brush it will draw the entire school out to the boat and the bites will stop. Simply leave the brush and come back later while the fish reposition back on the brush. The ability to make a long cast is also important. On windy days the Red Fin, Chug Bug and fluke will work well. On calmer days the walking baits such as a Spook or a Sammy will work well. The fluke is the one bait that will work on either calm or windy days. For Lanier, throw the top water baits with twenty pound braid backing and an either ten or twelve pound fluorocarbon leader attached with an Albright knot. You’ll run into some Stripers with this time fishing and this setup allows me to handle them also. Go catch ‘em!
Mountain Reservoirs (Report courtesy of fisheries supervisor Anthony Rabern) — The blueback herring spawn continues across the mountain lakes. Their frenzy of activity attracts the attention of a variety of predators, including walleye and crappie. This week, we collected a number of quality-sized walleye and crappie from blowdown trees situated on shade-covered shorelines. Anglers also reported catching walleye up to 7 lb. Medium-sized minnows fished around the shaded blowdowns should be the ticket to success this week. The photo is from last Friday’s electrofishing on Lake Chatuge and the fish weighed 4 and 6 lb, respectively. Several others just like them were collected in similar habitat around the lake.
Lake Weiss Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service) — Bass fishing is fair, and most fish have spawned or are still on bed, spinner baits and chatter baits in and around the grass beds are producing fish. Crappie fishing is fair, and they have spawned and started moving to deeper brush. Spider rigging with live minnows over brush near the spawnijng areas is the way to catch these post spawn fish. Striper fishing is poor, and no reports on any fish being caught in the last few weeks. Catfish are biting good, in the bays and creeks in 8-15 feet of water, cut bait is working best.
West Point Lake Fishing Report (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Brent Hess) — West Point fishing this weekend will likely be a challenge, especially for bass. This week’s rainfall and the current cold front has again limited fishing success. The air temperature was a cool 46o on Thursday morning. Warmer and dryer weather should improve the fishing before the end of the weekend. Water levels should remain around a foot below full pool with the upper end of the lake slightly stained from Wednesday’s rain.
NW GA River Striper Report (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist John Damer) — Our crew was on the rivers before the most recent rain and saw good numbers of fish on the Coosa River near the confluence in Rome. We also saw some real monsters, like the 34-pounder pictured, on the upper part of the Etowah below Allatoona Dam. Relatively few fish were seen on the spawning grounds in the Oostanaula River, suggesting the spawn is over and these fish have headed back downstream toward Weiss Lake, the lower Coosa, or to the Etowah which remains cooler during the hotter months to come.
Mountain Trout (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Jackson Sibley) — Despite this week’s rain and cold front, the trout seem to be extremely active in the Cohutta and Blue Ridge Mountains. Fly anglers are reporting success on a variety of patterns, from streamers to weighted nymphs to mops and stimulators. The longer daylength and overall warmer temperatures in May trigger a host of insect species to hatch, which in turn puts the trout into feeding mode. From reports I have received, days with 20+ fish are relatively common. Just remember to spend your first ten minutes at the riverside reading the water, looking under rocks, and watching for signs of feeding—it will be time well spent.
Stocked Trout Waters (Report courtesy of statewide trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson) — Check out this video by Pautzke Bait with some tips and tricks for catching stocked trout in North Georgia, and find out why Rock Creek is one of the most popular trout streams in the state! Get all the trout info you need HERE, including a weekly stocking report.
Parting Trout Note: Want to do more to support trout fishing in Georgia? Consider upgrading to a Trout Unlimited license plate this year. Aside from being a great looking tag, each purchase or renewal of a Trout Unlimited license plate directly supports Georgia’s trout conservation and management programs. Hatcheries and wild trout efforts both benefit from the trout tag.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, Fisheries Biologist and Region Supervisor with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
ALTAMAHA AND OCMULGEE RIVERS
Charles West and Jeff Able fished the lower Ocmulgee on Saturday and had a blast. They put it on the crappie with live minnows fished in the treetops in the oxbow lakes. They also caught a few big bluegills on crickets and a catfish by putting worms on the bottom. They caught dozens of crappie, but released all but about 20 for a fish fry. An angler fishing the Baxley area over the weekend caught a limit of crappie. I went over the Ocmulgee on Tuesday, and it was getting decently clear. But, it was very muddy when I crossed it on Thursday. The clearer oxbow lakes will be the place to fish this weekend if you want to fish these rivers.. The river level on May 13th at the Abbeville gage on the Ocmulgee was 10.7 feet and rising. The Doctortown gage on the Altamaha was 9.2 feet and rising.
A potential river record bluegill was caught this week. The fish weighed 1-lb. 1.4-oz. on certified scales. I don’t have details but will include them in future reports.
Gilbert Ellis, Jr. fished the upper tributaries to the Satilla (Pierce and Appling counties) and caught lots of fish. He had catfish, bluegill, and even shiners. Worms produced best for him. The water is getting fishable but temperatures are still a little low with the late-week cold front. You can definitely catch fish this weekend, but it’s still a little high and stained. The extreme upper river is the place to concentrate this weekend. The river level on May 13th at the Waycross gage was 7.4 feet and falling (71 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 9.8 feet (flood stage is 13 feet) and falling.
Jeff Rawlins fished the Savannah River on Saturday and wore out the big panfish (several species) on crawfish-colored Satilla Spins. He has been doing well with that lure all over the Savannah and rivers in South Carolina this spring. The Clyo gage was 10.2 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
An angler reported fishing the Folkston area on Monday afternoon and catching 10 panfish on the warmouth craw Satilla Spins. The next Shady Bream Tournament will be held Saturday, May 22nd out of the Trader’s Hill Landing near Folkston. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for more information. The river level at the MacClenny gage on May 13th was 3.2 feet and falling.
Bluegills are biting. Destrie (age 12) fished a pond with a friend on Saturday and found some bedding bluegills. When the smoke cleared, the pair had gone through 150 crickets in 2 hours of fishing. They kept about 50 of the nicest ones weighing up to about 3/4 of a pound. David Montgomery fished a pond on Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours before the storms ran him off. He ended up catching 7 crappie and bluegill on copper juice and bumblebee Satilla Spins. Bass fishing was good this week, and topwaters produced most of the biggest bass both early and late in the day. Plastic worms (wacky-rigged and Texas-rigged junebug and green pumpkin stick worms) produced the biggest numbers.
The fishing has improved in the swamp this week. The best report I had was an angler fishing the east side. He made just a short trip but caught about a dozen chain pickerel (jackfish) by flinging the jackfish color (red/white/yellow) Dura-Spins in the canals. The bugs still aren’t bad, but the yellow flies will be picking up by the end of the month. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.86 feet.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The best trip I heard of this weekend was by Cason Kinstle and Dillon Metz. The duo fished the Brunswick area and caught a good mess of trout and redfish. They mostly fished with mudminnows floated near grass and over shells. Dillon managed his personal best, a 22 3/8-inch gator trout (and released it after a photo). The whiting bite is happening. Numbers have not been as impressive as in the past, but folks have still caught a good mess pretty much every trip the wind allowed them to get to the traditional areas in the sounds. Pieces of shrimp on the bottom fooled them. For guide trip information, call Capt. Greg Hildreth at (912) 617-1980 or check out his website (georgiacharterfishing.com). 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.