I know that I often take for granted the bounty of natural gifts we have living here in Georgia. The incredible variation in terrain and waterways found in our State provides us with such amazing opportunities to get outside and enjoy everything that nature has to offer, including (of course), fishing. What is your favorite type of water to fish?
NEWS TO KNOW:
- National Fishing and Boating Week (June 5-13): Make it an extra special opportunity to celebrate the outdoors with friends and family during National Fishing and Boating Week. Whether it is taking someone new on their very first fishing trip, visiting a new location or taking out the boat for the first time this year, the water is waiting! #getonboard #thewaterisopen
- Bass Tournament Throwback: We missed writing about it in February, but check out the catches made by anglers at Paradise PFA Bass Fishing Tournament.
This week we have fishing reports from Southeast, Southwest and North Georgia. Find YOUR favorite spot to get outside and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, Region Supervisor with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The upper Satilla River should be about right this weekend if you fish from a boat. Give it a try if you have been waiting for the right timing. There are a lot of fish to be caught with all the high water we’ve had over the last year.
ALTAMAHA AND OCMULGEE RIVERS
The river came up this week due to rains upcountry. It is fishable, but you will probably have a better bite other places. Spend time in the clearer oxbow lakes for the best water. The river level on May 20th at the Abbeville gage on the Ocmulgee was 6.8 feet and falling. The Doctortown gage on the Altamaha was 9.5 feet and rising.
Wyatt Crews and a couple friends fished a tributary to the Satilla over the weekend and caught some giant redbreasts on warmouth craw Satilla Spins. They didn’t catch a bunch, but what they caught were roosters. I heard of an angler walking the bank of a Satilla tributary and whacking the redbreasts and stumpknockers on Satilla Spins and beetlespins. He caught a total of 90 fish in two short trips of just a couple hours each. The upper river should be right this weekend, as it is warming nicely for the first time this year. You can catch some fish anywhere, but the upper river is going to be tops for the next week. The river level on May 20th at the Waycross gage was 6.4 feet and falling (72 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 6.2 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Chuck Dean fished the middle river on Monday evening and caught 8 panfish (mostly redbreasts and bluegill) by flinging a popping bug with his fly rod. Jack Middleton and his son fished the middle river last weekend and caught a good mess of panfish on crawfish and yellow Satilla Spins and beetlespins. They also caught some chain pickerel (jackfish) on customized Johnson Spoons. The boat traffic aggravated them, but they still caught fish. The next Shady Bream Tournament will be held this 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 20th was 2.6 feet and falling.
Chad Lee was back at it Monday evening after being tied up with a home project for awhile. He fished late evening and flung buzzbaits for bass. His biggest was a 4-pounder that ate a black flat-blade buzzbait. A Waycross angler fished a Brunswick area pond on Saturday mid-day and did really well. He caught 21 bass from 2 to 5.15 pounds during a 6 hour trip. He caught the first 10 by working the shoreline with a wacky worm (junebug). By mid-day the fish had moved a little bit offshore, and he caught the rest on a 3/8-oz. copperfield-colored vibrating jig and a 3.5-inch perch Keitech Easy Shiner. His biggest 5 bass weighed 21.4 pounds. Several folks reported good bream catches, and that bite should improve with the warming water and upcoming full moon.
The fishing was good this week. Numbers are not huge, but the fish folks caught were really good quality. One angler reported catching a good mess of warmouth. He ran out of crickets and had to switch to worms. Some big bluegills were caught on the east side this week, also. The east side is not usually known for its catfishing, but anglers caught some bullhead catfish this week by bottom fishing. The flier bite slowed, but some really big fliers ate yellow sallies. The biggest pickerel I heard of was a golden-colored 23-incher. 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 120.70 feet.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
One captain I talked with said that inshore fishing this week was slow. The water looked great, but there just wasn’t much action. The tripletail reports were off because of the northeast winds all week, but that should improve after Sunday. The winds are forecasted to lay down for late in the weekend. 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 Emilia Omerberg, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
As our unusually cold spring starts to warm up, fish are becoming less active and anglers are getting fewer bites. Fish have moved into deeper and cooler waters or shaded areas. Look for shade around docks and cypress trees and try switching up your baits to see what will work on a given day.
TIRED CREEK LAKE
Bass have cooled off some this week but bream and crappie are picking up. Bream should be moving to the beds on the next full moon and most success has been found up in the fingers of the reservoir. The reservoir is slower during the week but pretty busy on the weekends.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
May is traditionally a great time to fish for bream on bed. Look for bream beds in the backs of shallow cove. Red worms and crickets are still your best bet for bream. Woody structure and areas near the pier may produce some good bites.
Bass: Bass will be finishing up spawning and switch their focus on feeding. Try throwing spinners and crankbaits at about 4-6 feet of water. Fishing plastic worms and lizards near spawning beds could still produce decent bites. You may have luck by locating feeding shad near the banks and throwing a crankbait or spinner in the area.
Catfish: Catfish fishing is improving as of late and should continue to do so. Try using livers or worms at or near the bottom of the lake. Woody structure as well as the rip-rap near the dam may be your best bet at a good cat. Many large channel catfish were recently stocked in the big lake (10lbs and up)
In the Flint River bream are picking up. Focus your efforts with crickets around blow downs and you should get some bites. Shoal bass are spawning in the river now and there are still good catches of large mouth being reported. The water level is finally down after all the rain this spring and the river level is very fishable. Catfish are also a good option right now. Try looking for channel catfish in the shoals and for flatheads in the deeper areas.
SILVER LAKE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Surface temps in all the ponds are in the upper 70s with water clarity greater than 5ft in all ponds. The full moon and warm temps will be bringing the bluegill into the shallows to spawn. Try small swimbaits and beetle spins to target those protective males. If the reaction bite on bed isn’t working then you can never go wrong with a cricket under a bobber. Bass in south GA are post spawn and hungry. Warm evenings just before sunset at Silver Lake PFA can be full of topwater bass action. If the fish aren’t biting, then there are other adventure opportunities at Silver Lake PFA. The PFA staff have added nearly a dozen geocaches to the property. Find out more at Geocaching.com or download the geocaching app from your app store.
LAKE WALTER F GEORGE
Bass are concentrated in the shallow areas and blade bait are very effective in muddy water. As the water warms up and aquatic vegetation increases frog bites, spooks, poppers and other top lures will be effective on and around the vegetation pads. Anglers are having success on our pelagic species using crank gigs and Carolina rigs with big plastic worms. Crappie fishing has been hot in the evening concentrated under lights by the docks.
(Fishing report courtesy of Brent Hess, Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Trout Fishing: (Courtesy of Josh Tannehill the Summerville Trout Hatchery Manager) — The Summerville Trout Hatchery sent 68,802 fingerling Rainbow trout to the Buford Trout Hatchery on Monday. The trout will grow at the Buford Trout Hatchery until they reach stocking size and are then released into the trout waters of North Georgia. Find out more about trout fishing, including a weekly stocking report, on our WRD Trout Page.
Trout Fishing Date: (From Fisheries Biologist Sarah Baker) — My husband and I went camping this weekend near a trout stream. He’s new to fly-fishing, and has really only attempted to learn because I enjoy it so much. We got to the stream early in the morning, and spent time just observing. I turned a few rocks over and located some caddis casings, and several stoneflies scurried about. There wasn’t anything hatching quite yet. The sun hadn’t yet come over the distant hill, so the shadowed river still seemed sleepy. I took this opportunity to study the geomorphology of the river; the twists and turns, pockets, deep pools and their tails. Rivers are certainly beautiful. I appreciated the silence and solitude that the morning offered. I find myself often getting sentimental during my fishing trips; no matter what’s going on in the world, this river is flowing. All day, all night. Over and over and over again the water crashes upon the boulder and over smooth cobbles. Rivers offer me a refuge from the parts of life that are painful, unexpected, and overwhelming. Thank goodness for rivers.
After some time, I located a pod of trout that were sipping from the surface; they didn’t leave any bubbles, so tied on a little emerger. I casted, and hoped. Nothing. Several more times. Nothing. Their sipping ended. I am guilty of being impatient. I switched to a dry (to use as my indicator) with a bead head nymph for a dropper. I moved upstream. Sweeping the entire width of the river with my flies, my offerings were apparently not acceptable. I became disappointed, because I knew there were fish in there, so it had to be a problem with me! I must’ve been doing something wrong… I moved upstream, while my husband continued faithfully near the same pool he started with. Sunshine began to illuminate the river’s bottom, and I was able to target my casts a bit better. I heard a whoop and holler and looked back to see my husband smiling with a fish in his hands. I was proud of his success… and a bit envious… I continued on. Swapped to a wooly bugger and fished it deep. After several casts, a hit! But he got off. We don’t count it unless we can hold it. As the afternoon warmed, I swapped to a yellow sally. A hit! I brought it into my net and admired its colorful pattern along its body. That was my only one for the day, and I admit, I was a bit disappointed, but as I am reminded often, “that’s why it’s called fishing and not catching, Sarah.” I hope that you are able to get a few more into your net than I was this next week. It’s gonna be a hot one, so remember your hat, sunscreen and neoprene socks to help you stay cool. There’s nothing better than retreating to the shade of rhododendron and hemlocks. The mountain laurel is blooming now too! It’s a perfect time for a trout fishing trip.
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. The shad spawn is more prevalent now and is it more locations on the lake. Soft plastic jerk baits, Rooster Tails, poppers and even jerk baits are working great in the schools of fish on several rock banks and pea gravel shorelines. This bite will only last for a few hours and once it goes away fish move out just a little bit and can be called on jig heads, Carolina rig and crank baits. The top water is good and will only continue to get better. Concentrate Red Top to Galt’s Ferry. Begin the day by fishing steep rock banks and the main lake points with a Sammy 100 in a shad color. Use a Super Fluke in these same areas. Fishing Shaky Heads on the points is also a way to catch fish. Cast a 3/16 Davis Shaky Head with a 6” Salt and Pepper Chartreuse Robo Worm.
Lake Hartwell (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. If the wind blows a little all day the fishing seems to be a little better. There were large waves of bass bedding and some are done and some are not. Bass are on the points leading into the creeks and coves. Daiwa has the petite SC Shad and shad style crank bait with a great wobble and looks like a Shad Rap body. It is 2 inches long and 1/8 ounce and mimics the shad. Comes with VMC super sharp hooks so beware. Several great colors too. The bass are on the shallow flats and on rocky points mid day. Have the Alabama rig ready and fish it on the small points in the backs of the creeks and run it real shallow. Use the small Zoom Flukes on 3/16 lead heads and be sure the baits are pearl colors. Use the number 8 Husky Jerk in the glass minnow on the points and the olive green Rapala X Rap up in the shallows.
Hartwell Crappie and Catfish GON-tel: Click HERE for some Hartwell News.
Lake Lanier (Report Courtesy of Phil Johnson a Lake Lanier Bass fishing guide. Pjohnson15@hotmail.com 770 366 8845) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. Since the last report the lake level has risen and the bass are in their post spawn funk. They are still biting but it may take a little more work to put together a nice bag of fish. As the weather stabilizes over the next week or two look for everything to break loose on the lake. It’s a mixed bag right now with the baits to choose as everything is working some. Reef poles, long points and humps are the places to be targeting for the spotted bass. On this areas you will want to target the ten to fifteen foot range. If you can find brush in any of these areas work them with a variety of top water baits. Walking baits such as the Spook or Sammy are working well on the calmer days. On the windy days go to the Sebile, Wake bait or Chug Bug to draw strikes. If the fish do not want the moving baits a Carolina Rig has been getting some good fish. Set this rig up with a two foot fluorocarbon leader and work it off the points and reef pole. Finesse worms or small Zoom lizards in either cotton candy or watermelon red have been the most productive colors. During stronger wind be sure to check the blow through’s and windy banks for fish with a white willow leaf spinnerbait. Be sure to use a trailer hook on your spinnerbait. As always on Lanier this time of year keep a fluke tied on and ready. You can work this bait anywhere and draw strikes. The key right now is to be versatile and not get locked onto your favorite bait, let the fish tell you what they want. Go catch ‘em!
Walleye and Yellow Perch Fishing Report: (Report courtesy of Adam Engle – a 2020 Walleye Angler Award recipient) – Want more info about the Georgia Angler Awards program? Click HERE. – Adam shares a quick report (and two great photos) about him and his brother’s fishing trip from last Sunday:
“Me and my brother have been after Georgia walleye for the past two years and are started to get better and picking them up each trip now. Two weeks ago, my brother caught this walleye and some big perch (Yellow Perch). And last Sunday I caught this 25 1/2” 5 pounds 7-ounce walleye. Two master angler walleye for me back-to-back years.”
Lake Weiss (fishing report is by Mark Collins Service 256 779 3387) — Now available for sale 50 of my proven GPS waypoints for offshore structure for Bass and Crappie fishing on Weiss Lake, Alabama. Bass fishing is fair and most fish have spawned or 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 spawning 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.
West Point Lake Bass: Spring spawning activities are mostly completed. They will be feeding frequently to restore the energy loss during spawning. Look for them to prey on the shad spawn and the first bluegill hatch of the year. Fishing this weekend should improve over last weekend as temperatures increase into the more normal mid-May range. Because of the lack of heavy rain events this week, the water will continue to clear. Finally, as part of our largemouth bass stocking assessment, several quality-sized fish were sampled by electrofishing on Monday. The larger bass were collected off the bank in heavy cover. The largest was 21 inches and weighed over 4 ½ pounds.
West Point Lake Bass (Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing for both spots and largemouth is good. Fish for both on primary and secondary points, coves and pockets in the major creeks. Use the Strike King 3/8 ounce and a buzz baits shallow. On the spinnerbaits the double willow blade combination. Slow roll the spinnerbait around any cover on the points and in the coves and pockets. The important thing is to cover a lot of water. 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. Bagley Baits are still catching bass and the Balsa Wake I is a bass nightmare. Wake it and hold on. It has a Heat Compression Molding process allows for the wire through design to last. Be careful the hooks are sharp. Fish shallow using very large baits in bright colors. The spots are holding on shoal markers, humps, and underwater road beds in 0 to 5 feet of water. Several good baits are a green pumpkin or June bug lizard, rigged Carolina style and trick worms. Top water action is starting using a Bang O Lures, Rapala’s, Pop R’s. The bass will be shallow for at least two weeks and then they will head to the 10 to 12 foot depths on humps and road beds up in the creeks.