Tomorrow is the beginning of National Fishing and Boating Week (June 5-13). What is the purpose of such a week? Glad you asked. Boating and fishing are great activities that provide benefits like connecting with family members, providing an opportunity for stress relief, and actively supporting conservation efforts with the purchase of a fishing license, equipment and boating fuel. The recognition of NFBW began in 1979 to recognize the tradition of fishing, to broaden the spirit of togetherness and to share the values and knowledge of today’s anglers with tomorrow’s anglers. Celebrate NFBW by taking someone new fishing, head out to a Kids Fishing Event (find events on this calendar), or taking advantage of one of the TWO FREE Fishing Days (June 5 & June 12).
NEWS TO KNOW
- Lunker Alert (x2) at Ocmulgee PFA: Isaac Phinazee (age 12) reeled in a 10 lb, 7 oz largemouth and Brandon Baker successfully landed a 10 lb largemouth at Ocmulgee Public Fishing Area in the past few weeks. Are you hitching up the boat to head that way yet?
- Ocmulgee PFA Road Work: Working on improvements. Road work is currently underway at the PFA, but don’t worry, you can access all areas of the property as paving work continues. We don’t want to keep you from those big’uns!
This week, we have reports from, well, everywhere (Central, North, Southeast and Southwest Georgia). Be sure to celebrate boating and fishing no matter WHERE you go this next week and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, 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 FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is good. There is a great top water bite even in the middle of the day. A small Zara Spook or Pop R shad top water bait will work. The bait fish are migrating to shoreline pockets during the day, and the bass seem to be keying on these areas. Run into several pockets or ditches to locate which ones are holding the baitfish and bass. Find these fish and throw the Strike King black or brown jig and the Scrounger rigged with a Zoom Fluke down the middle of these pockets. As the water continues to warm use a jerk bait to trigger a reaction strike in these same areas. Use the Zoom Baby Brush Hog to any wood while fishing these areas because the fish will use this cover all day for ambush points.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 1.0 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. During the day head up the rivers for cooler water and the fish are a little more active. The bass are off the river points and stump rows. Flipping a dark Zoom U tail on a Texas rig greens on wood and brush near very tight bank and river structure, can draw a strike. Later in the day, try casting or flipping the river docks and shallow bank with a Zoom motor oil lizard. Main lake docks and points are fair, and a buzz bait works early and late. Night fishing is fair with the Texas rigged red or black worms on any dock with lights. On the warmer afternoons, bass are cruising in the backs of many pockets. Spinnerbaits, crank baits, jerk baits and jigs will work but the spinnerbait is a great all-day bait.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 80’S
(This Lake Oconee fishing report is by Captain Mark Smith of Reel Time Service. 404-803-0741)
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. A buzz bait fished on the sea walls and rip rap at first light is still a good way to start your day. Keep a trick worm ready as a backup bait if the fish miss the buzz bait. Next move to the boat docks in water from 5 feet to 10 feet deep and work a shaky head under these docks. Some fish are starting to show up on the humps on the south end of the lake and in Richland Creek. A Carolina rig worm fished on these humps will draw a strike. Most of these fish are in the 8 to 12-foot range. There are also some bigger fish on the wood structure in the rivers above I-20. A jig fished in the structure can produce a good fish. Crank baits fished on the bridge rip rap when Georgia Power is pulling water will also produce fish.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good. Most of the fish have moved to the humps and points from mid lake to the dam. We are still catching some fish on live shad fished on down lines on the humps and points. The umbrella rig bite has taken off over the past week. We fish a 4 arm 9 jig rig at 3mph 100 feet behind the boat to target these fish.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. The fish are in the mouths of the creek and large coves. They have moved into the timber and find them with your Lowrance in the top of the trees. Now drop a live minnow into the school and start catching.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.7 STAINED 80’S
Bass fishing is good. Multiple patterns and techniques are working right now as the fish are still scattered all over the lake. There is still a good shallow bite going on in the pockets in 3 to 6 feet of water in both Little River and the Oconee River. Chartreuse colored buzz baits and spinner baits will catch fish around wood cover and sea walls for the first hour of the morning. For the remainder of the morning, throw a Bass Hound square bill crank bait around lay down trees and docks near the mouth of spawning pockets. Midday when the bite slows down, it is time to move out deep or skip plastics under shady docks. A 3/16-ounce Spot Remover with a green pumpkin Zoom trick worm has been best for catching fish under the docks. Make sure to get the bait as far under the docks as possible. A Strike King 6xd crank bait in a sexy shad color and a Carolina rigged Zoom trick worm will catch fish on the offshore points and humps. These fish will be in 15 to 18 feet of water on these offshore structures.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 1.0 FEET, CLEAR 80’S
Bass fishing is fair on worms and crank baits. The lake is full, and this will help the bass spend the summer close to or under the deeper docks, very tight in cover. The lake is clear main lake with a slight stain in the rivers and creeks. Crank baits are fair, and a Shad Rap is a good all-day bait. Use a red shad Zoom u tail worm on a Weedless Wonder head on the docks. For a big fish, head up the rivers and flip a dark jig and pig or a worm in the larger sizes on the downstream current pockets. Never overlook a jig even for shallow bass on this lake up the rivers. Blacks, blues, and greens are good choices and add a Zoom salt trailer in matching colors.
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water level: All ponds are full.
- Water Clarity: 18” – 36” depending on plankton bloom.
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Surface temperature: 72 – 80 degrees. Cooler late spring nights have maintained lower water temps, especially in the larger lakes. However, temperatures will most likely increase rapidly in June.
Bass: Largemouth can still be found in shallow water 5 foot or less early in the morning or late in the afternoon. As water temperatures increase, they will begin to move into deeper water. The shad spawn is still happening, so an early morning or late afternoon bite is very much possible. Use a variation of baits that mimic the size and the color of the shad in the lake you are fishing. Anglers have had recent success on a variation of top water baits, medium diving crankbaits, jerk-baits, and underspins. As June temperatures increase along with fishing pressure, fishing soft plastic on the bottom may become more effective. Be sure to try more finesse techniques as well, such as a Ned rig or a drop shot.
Crappie: Few crappie are being caught this time of year. As temperatures continue to increase night fishing may become a more effective way to find and catch crappie. Fishing from a boat with floating fishing lights should also greatly increase your chances.
Bream: The bluegill and redear bite is on. Red wigglers, crickets, and small grubs with spinners (Beetle spins) are a sure bet to catch fish. Be sure to fish your bait in a variety of different depths until you find the most success. Fishing late in the afternoon and after dark may increase your chances during a mayfly hatch. If this happens fishing a top water fly behind an unweighted cork could be the key to a successful evening.
Catfish: Use night crawlers or chicken livers and fish off the ends of berms and in front of feeders to increase your odds of finding channel catfish.
(Fishing report courtesy of Hunter Roop, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
It’s kind of wild to consider that summer vacationing isn’t exclusive to humans. As another school season winds down each year, the warm sun and longer days call us to rest and play on sandy beaches, a mountain stream, or on your favorite nearby reservoir. At the same time, many of Georgia’s sportfish are preparing for their own “summer vacation” after a strenuous spring of nesting, spawning, and/or guarding their precious progeny from a variety of threats. As “empty nesters,” many species of bass, crappie, walleye, and stripers will seek out a summer retreat in the deeper, cooler waters of their home reservoir. If that reservoir’s natural “A/C system” doesn’t keep up due to lack of depth or short retention periods, fish may opt for the headwaters and major tributaries, where a deep river hole with riparian cover and flowing, well-oxygenated water provides the relief needed to stay cool throughout the summer. Anglers will find this time of year is when many species are beginning to transition to their favorite summer vacation spot, and this weekend is a perfect time for seasoned and novice anglers alike to hook up with their own “summer vacationers” because it’s National Fishing and Boating Week beginning on June 5th! This celebration of the outdoors coincides with one of three annual free fishing days in Georgia, so what better time to take advantage of great family fishing opportunities over the next two Saturdays? To help promote fishing success for youth anglers, there are a number of Kid’s Fishing Events planned in the coming days, too. The following report is here to help you decide on some successful techniques to put fish on lines and smiles on faces!
Upcoming Kid’s Fishing Events: DNR sponsored or supported KFEs are a great way to introduce your kids to the joy of fishing. These fisheries are stocked and managed to promote kids fishing success. The following KFEs will be taking place in the north Georgia area during the month of June. For tricks and tips on keeping your young one engaged while fishing, check out our Fishing with Kids webpage.
- Victoria Bryant State Park (Royston): Saturday June 5th from 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
- City of Cartersville: Monday June 7th from 7:00 AM – 11:00 AM
- Vogel State Park: Saturday June 12th from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
- Buck Shoals WMA: Saturday June 19th from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 2.64 FEET, CLEAR, 80s
Bass: Bass fishing is good. The top water bite is good and jerk baits remain a good follow up bait along with flukes. Main lake points and secondary points continue to produce good size bass, but don’t forget to fish the sides of these points as well. The Carolina rig is another good method that has been very productive this past week. Don’t spend too much time in one area as anglers are having to move about the lake to catch a good limit. No more than two good keepers are coming from one point or area. Top water can work anytime of the day. Zara Spooks, buzz baits and even Pop R’s are working. The bass will bite floating worms or lizards, spinner baits, stick baits, live lizards and top water lures. The Zoom trick worm in almost any color will get strikes and use light 8 pound Sufis Siege line on a spinning reel. We recommend a Mustad 2/0 hook.
Linesides: Guide and GON contributor Keith Hudson reports, “Hungry, spawned-out white bass, hybrids and stripes are down the lake in good numbers. Expect the downline bite on live bait to stay good through June. Areas near the dam and in the mouth of Yellow Jacket have been producing. Most fish are holding right around 25 feet. Some fish have started surface schooling on the main lake and can be caught on small Rooster Tails, popping-cork rigs and chrome spoons. The trolling also will pick up in June. Main-lake humps and flats trolled with deep-diving crankbaits will produce, especially during water generation.”
WEISS LAKE IS FULL, STAINED, AND 76-79 F.
Bass (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service) –Bass fishing is fair and most fish have spawned and a lot of fish are starting to move to a summer pattern on main lake points, and the creek and river channels, spinner baits and chatter baits in and around the grass beds are producing fish.
Crappie & Striper (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service) — 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 good and they are in the upper Chattooga River and the Cave Hole, live Shad down lined and free lined is catching fish.
LAKE HARTWELL IS DOWN 1.2 FEET, 80S
Bass: Bass fishing is good. The bigger, more active bass have begun to move back to the primary lake points with some holding on to the secondary points in the larger coves. Use the Number Five Shad Rap. The Rat L Traps are also putting bass in the boat along with the trick worms in green pumpkin. Fish any wood and rocks during this period. Boat docks are still holding bass during the mid day period when the sun is out and the sky is blue. A slow presentation seems to be working the best during these hard to fish periods. Expect a good early morning bite and it will slow down as the sun comes over the treetops. Try the Alabama rig with small Zoom pearl fluke trailers out on the main lake points.
Linesides & more (this report courtesy of GON contributor and guide Preston Harden): June is a transition month. The water is warming, and the fish are looking for cooler water. Bass and crappie do not migrate far. They move from the shallows to offshore brush and other structure. Hybrids and stripers migrate from the creeks and upper reaches of the lake to the lower lake. The creeks and upper lake develop a thermocline as the water gets hot. I look for fish suspended above the thermocline as they migrate toward the lower lake. Live blueback herring work great. Do not lower the herring below the thermocline since this will kill them quickly. There is very little oxygen below the thermocline. The thermocline is usually about 30 to 40 feet deep. Early morning will show the thermocline on most sonars. It will look like a fuzzy layer about 35 feet deep. Bass and crappie transition from the shallows to offshore structure 20 to 30 feet deep. As the summer pattern sets up, good bass fisherman will throw a topwater plug over the brush. If nothing comes up, they will look down at the brush with their sonar. If fish are seen, they will fish vertically with a drop shot or a shaky head.”
LAKE ALLATOONA IS FULL, CLEAR, 80S
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. The fish are fully settled to the summertime pattern. Some fish can be found in mid depth brush but no large numbers to be found. Fish can be found on the ends of points new the river channel. The medium to deep crank bait like the Spro Big Papa, the Little John DD and Little John tiny DD are good search bait. The 3/8 or 3/16 ounce green pumpkin jig and jig head are good choices. Be sure to have the drop shot ready and use it on every stop.
Linesides (courtesy of guide and GON contributor Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service): Good! The lake is back down to its normal level, and there is very little debris. The fish are starting to set up on a summer pattern. Big schools of hybrids can be found anywhere from the S-turns to as far south as Tanyard Creek. The downrod bite is the most productive bite going on right now. Fishing live shad at depths from 20 to 30 feet is producing for our boats from one end of the lake to the other. Our bait of choice has been big threadfins. These fish can be found on or around most points, humps and flats. Good electronics can be a big help during the summer months. Summertime is awesome for numbers on Lake Allatoona. Give us a call, and let’s take the kids fishing.
LAKE LANIER IS DOWN 1 FOOT, CLEAR, 70S
Bass (courtesy of Lake Lanier Bass fishing guide Phil Johnson, 770 366 8845) : Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. My goodness what a difference a week can make. The water temperature has finally risen and the fishing is on fire. Many of the fish have made their way to the summer brush and humps now. As the shad spawn is ending these fish are feeding up as they recover from their own spawning time. Right now is the time to go fish with your favorite top water bait and enjoy some of the best fishing of the year. Any walking bait such as a Sammy or a Spook will provide strikes. If start with a full size Spook and don’t draw strikes drop your size down to the smaller Spook, some days the smaller size is the ticket. The old reliable Chug Bug is producing well if there is little wind blowing and the Gun fish is also a steady producer in windy conditions. The Fluke is still producing well but might have to change from the traditional jerk, jerk, pause retrieve. Many of the fish this week wanted a twitch and let it fall. Be careful not to set the hook to quick on this bites as it seems it is taken a little longer for the fish to get the hook far enough into their mouth. The top colors for the week were either old reliable White or a White Fluke with a Blue back. Swimbait’s such as the Sebile have been working well also. On calmer days’ work the small Sebile and on windy days move to the larger sizes. While the fish are biting on all days it seems that the overcast windy days are producing both more fish and bigger fish so don’t shy away from those days. The fish in general are in the fifteen to thirty foot range and orienting to sometime of structure. All the fish have not left the bank and can still get plenty of bites working rocky points, blow downs and boat docks. The standard summer work colors of green pumpkin, watermelon red or watermelon candy on a three sixteenths SpotSticker head with generate the most bites. As I said In the beginning its wide open out there so go enjoy it. Go Catch ‘Em!
Crappie (courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton call to book a trip 770 530 6493): Crappie fishing is good. The water temperatures are in the mid to upper 70s. The hot bite target zone is 10-15 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 have live scope or active imaging set the minnows just above the fish. Right now I am setting the minnows around 10’-12’ deep. For best results use a alive 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. The most productive jigs this week have been the translucent and light colored jigs. 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. 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 an Acc crappie Stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and the Navionics Boating app.
Stripers (This report courtesy of guide and GON contributor Clay Cunningham): Now that June is here, look for the stripers to progressively move deeper as the water temperature rises. At the beginning of the month, look for them to be 10 to 20 feet deep. You will still see some topwater action as the stripers push herring to the surface, so be sure to have a Sebile Magic Swimmer or a Berkley Cane Walker ready to cast. Day in and day out it is hard to beat these two baits. All the colors in the Magic Swimmer work. Early in the morning, the Magic Swimmer in white liner is hard to beat. On sunny days, try the chrome Magic Swimmer. The chrome is the hot new bait. Cast these lures on 10- or 12-lb. Trilene Big Game on a spinning rod. A good setup is a 7-foot medium-action Fenwick spinning rod paired with a Penn Conflict 3000 spinning reel. As the fish move deeper, look for the downline to take over. Spool up a Penn Fathom Line Counter reel with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game on a Shakespeare medium-light action striper rod. Tie on a Capt. Mack’s 2-oz. Swivel Sinker, a 4-foot leader of 15-lb. 100% Trilene Fluorocarbon and a 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook. Herring from the local tackle shops will be the key bait. Look for the stripers on your electronics before you drop baits. You can use traditional 2D sonar or Down Imaging to see these fish. Great electronics like the Humminbird units are a must. You can see your bait swim around the sinker. Overall, June is usually a great month on Lanier for stripers. The spawn will be over and the striper metabolism is wide open. See you on the water.
LAKE CHATUGE IS FULL, CLEAR, AND 68-70 F
Bass: GON contributor and fishing Guide Eric Welch reports: “It’s that time of year that we’ve been waiting for. The lakes are at full pool, and the bass have just come out of their postspawn funk. You need to make sure you have a topwater bait tied on and on the front deck of the boat all day when fishing Chatuge. At daybreak, there is normally some topwater action happening around in the pockets and flats. My baits of choice are a Strike King Sexy Dawg, a Whopper Plooper and a Berkley Cane Walker. Chrome or white colors are hard to beat. If it’s a cloudy day, you can fish this pattern all day, but once the sun gets up, it’s time to start fishing deep. There are so many different ways to target fish on Chatuge. You can just run banks fishing laydowns with a Texas-rigged finesse worm in green pumpkin or watermelon. Target docks that have a drop or access to deep water. Fish these with a shaky head, a drop shot or a jig. Then you can just target points. There is some kind of brush on about every point on the lake. Sometimes there will be what we call shallow brush 12 to 20 feet deep and then farther out, you will find the deep summer brush in 25 to 35 feet of water. Target those fish with the same lures. Then you have your offshore fishing. Look for humps and brush that have access to deep water. Target these areas with some of the same lures, but try throwing a 1/2-oz. Carolina rig with a Senko. This is the best time of year to use your electronics, and if you have the new LiveScope or ActiveTarget, it’s like watching a video game.”
LAKE NOTTELY IS FULL AND CLEAR
Linesides: GON contributor and fishing Guide Jeremy Seabolt reports, “Fishing has been off the hook for the boats of lakenottelyfishingcharter.com. The fish are scattered all over the lake, and we have been catching some big numbers of fish about any way you can think of. We have been catching lots fish pulling herring on boards and freelines first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon. We’ve been finding fish over deep-water points and humps and then dropping downlines around 20 feet deep over a 30- to 40-foot bottom. We have also had one of the best topwater bites I have ever seen for May with some 20- to 30-fish mornings on topwater plugs and flukes. Going into June, it will only get better, you just have to find the right bait. Most fish will pull out to the mouth of the creeks and river. Find the bigger bait balls, and the fish will be close by. June is also a good time to pull u-rigs mid-morning and all through the day. I pull the Captain Mack’s rigs. You can pick them up at Jack’s Creek Bait and Tackle or you can run down to Oakwood Bait or Hammonds Fishing Center and pick them up. June means it is time to focus on more downline fishing as fish should start to school back up in bigger groups. We also want to give a big thanks to the DNR. We have some big groups of 1- 2- and 3-year-old fish showing up with a good number of 6- to 8-year-old fish, so that tells me the fish are making a good comeback. You can also go on to our Facebook page and get weekly fishing updates, and don’t forget The Bait Shack on Nottely has all your striper candy. They are located at 696 Deaver Road. They have herring, shad minnows and worms. Be safe and try to get the fish back in the water as quickly as you can. The water is getting warmer, and that means the fish will start stressing out faster.”
MOUNTAIN LAKES (courtesy of angler Adam Engle)
Fishing the last couple days has been on fire. Perch bite has been best as the sun gets higher and the temps get hotter. I was able to pick up a Georgia Angler Award perch that weighed over a pound. The walleye are there. Just have to locate them and keep working the areas where you do find them. Most of the walleye I have caught including two more Georgia Angler Award walleye have been suspended. In just over a week I have been able to catch 3 Georgia Angler Award walleye and 1 Georgia Angler Award perch.
LAKE BURTON IS FULL, CLEAR, AND 71 F
Bass: GON contributor Capt. Wes Carlton, of Georgia Lake Fishing, reports, “The bass bite has been very strong the last few days. We have caught fish on top and shallow every trip. I haven’t seen the topwater bite this good in several years. Plastic worms have been working well midday around brushpiles on pumpkin-seed finesse worms. We have had some luck with Sebille swimbaits working the shallows around docks for bigger largemouth. Look for this bite to continue for the next few weeks as we head toward the summer pattern.”
Brown Trout: GON contributor Capt. Wes Carlton reports, “The trout bite has been good the last couple of days. We have caught most of the fish in shallow water in the mouths of the creeks. Try using perch- or herring-colored Lucky Craft small jerkbaits. We are finally starting to see some bigger trout in the 5- to 6-lb. range being caught. We have caught a few rainbow trout while trolling crawler harnesses for walleye. Look for the brown trout bite to get better every week as the water warms up. These fish will congregate toward to deeper water as it gets hotter.”
Summer Trouting Tips: (with contributions by retired WRD Fisheries Supervisor Jeff Durniak and WRD Trout Biologist Sarah Baker): Retired DNR Regional Supervisor Jeff Durniak is well-known for his trout whispering skills. His extensive time spent fishing for trout is evident in his exceptionally detailed recommendations—and they work! His “secrets” can be found on North Georgia Trout Online (as Dredger), Unicoi Outfitter’s Blog, or Rabun Trout Unlimited’s website. Check out his Summer Fly Flinging Tips article. Jeff recommends fishing for trout in north Georgia headwater streams (aka bluelining) and tailwaters during the heat. Anglers should key in on water temperatures, stream flows, and shade. If you’re just learning how to fly fish, check out his article in Coastal Angler Magazine Atlanta Edition (Page 4) for the fly patterns you’ll want to start with. During your next lunch break, I recommend scrolling through some of the excellent resources that he has available.
My top recommendations for places to go fishing for trout during the early part of the summer (late May to early June) are: 1. West Fork Chattooga River (Rabun County) 2. Amicalola Creek (Dawson County) and 3. Cooper Creek (Union). For late summer (July to early August), check out 1. Tallulah River (in Towns County) 2. Rock Creek (Fannin County) and 3. Chattahoochee River (White County).
You can locate places to fish along these streams by visiting our Trout Stream Interactive Map. Zoom into an area and pan until you locate a highlighted section of the stream. Keep in mind, the mountains are busy in the summer, so expect crowded parking. If you have the ability to hike in a few miles and access the headwater streams, you can catch little, wild trout all summer long! Check out my article in the DNR Fishing Blog Blue-lining for trout for tips on how to “blueline”. I also recommend checking out Jimmy Jacob’s book, Fly Fishing for Peach State Trout. You can catch Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout in Georgia. If you’re not a fly-flinger, try Panther Martins (black & white or yellow & red) or white rooster tails. P.S. – Thank you for buying your fishing licenses, tackle, and TU Brook Trout car tags!
Stocking Update: DNR and FWS trout hatchery personnel have been busy again running stocking trucks loaded with trout throughout North Georgia for your catching pleasure. This week, 27 trout streams and rivers in 11 counties were stocked with nearly 20,000 trout. To dive deeper into DNR’s trout program and to access the weekly stocking report, click here. If you’d like the weekly stocking report sent directly to your email or text inbox, subscribe to weekly stocking report and our weekly fishing blog here.
Made in the shade: WRD Fisheries Technician Leon Brotherton has been deploying temperature data-loggers into headwater trout streams throughout north Georgia since 2013. These loggers measure hourly water temperatures during the summer and fall months. Because Georgia is the southernmost range for trout in North America, this temperature monitoring program provides useful insight into trends that could impact our trout fisheries. Salmonid populations in streams located in lower elevation, developed areas, are more likely to be affected by increased stream temperatures given that those streams are already an average of 2°C warmer than streams in higher elevation undeveloped areas. Riparian vegetation along the stream helps to keep water temperatures cool. Maintaining this “stream buffer” is a simple and important way to help preserve Georgia’s trout streams.
Join us on the Chestatee: Research on the Upper Chattahoochee Shoal Bass Project will continue on the Chestatee River this year. Volunteer kayak anglers will help collect valuable data on the genetics and species compositions of black bass in this watershed. For anglers fishing the Chattahoochee River above Lanier, keep an eye out for black bass with red or blue tags, and if you catch one, please record length, weight, and location data and report this information to our office at 770-535-5498. If you’d like to participate in a float trip on the Chestatee River this year, please follow the project on Facebook.
Tailwater Fishing = Safety First: No day of fishing and boating should end with a search and rescue mission. Tailwaters are inherently dangerous, and anglers should arm themselves with knowledge by checking USGS gauges and release schedules before venturing out for a fishing excursion. Unfortunately, several deadly incidents have occurred recently on the Chattahoochee River below Lake Lanier that warrants a reminder to all anglers: “check the flow before you go!” Have a fun and safe weekend.
Get Hooked: For those of you seasoned veterans that know the ins and outs of planning and executing a successful fishing trip, consider passing along this link to the novice anglers in your life. WRD has been working hard to provide meaningful resources that will teach and guide new anglers hoping to take advantage of the fun and adventure that Georgia’s fishery resources have to offer. And for those of you who are competent anglers hoping to take your fishing game to the next level, check out the Fly Fishing International’s new online Learning Center. Anglers can learn simple methods to jump right into fly fishing and discover a whole new world of fishing tactics and techniques. We hope this info will help spark an interest and appreciation for fishing that will last a lifetime.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, Region Supervisor with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
ALTAMAHA & OCMULGEE RIVERS
Jimmy Hall caught a giant 30-inch striper on the Altamaha River on Tuesday. He caught it on a copperfield Capt. Bert’s Jig. He also caught a big warmouth on the same bait. Jimmy said that the big striper pulled the boat around for a few minutes before they could land it. They also caught 3 keeper bass, a crappie, and several warmouth. Shane and Joshua Barber fished the tidal Altamaha on Wednesday. They fooled 4 fat keeper bass on Jelly Worms and a good channel cat on live bait. Joshua also caught some small catfish on crickets and worms. They said that the river is still a little too high and stained for prime fishing. The highly-anticipated Wayne County Catfish Tournament will be held this weekend (June 5th and 6th). First place is a $7,500 payout, and entry fee is $100 per person. For more information and for a registration form, visit their website. The river level on June 3rd at the Abbeville gage on the Ocmulgee was 3.0 feet and rising. The Doctortown gage on the Altamaha was 5.5 feet and falling.
Donny Riner and Louis Beasley fished the river on Thursday and caught about 100 panfish. The river was still stained, but the redbreasts still ate crawfish and catalpa gold Satilla Spins. They ended up keeping 56 of the biggest fish. Jess Anderson fished the river on Saturday and caught a great mess. He had 65 panfish and kept 40. He caught most of his fish on crawfish and catalpa gold Satilla Spins, but a few hit the copperfield color. Jeff Rawlins caught some big redbreasts on Saturday on crawfish Satilla Spins, although I didn’t get how many he caught. The photo he texted me was of a big rooster redbreast. The river level at the Midville gage on June 3rd was 0.7 feet and falling.
Bill Richardson and crew caught lots of panfish on the Satilla River in the Atkinson area over the holiday weekend. Most of their fish were caught on Satilla Spins, but some ate crickets. Their group kept around 70 redbreast, bluegill and stumpknockers with 6 of them being in the 9” to 10” range. On Sunday, Betty Barker and her son fished the Burnt Fort area of the river. They threw crawfish Satilla Spins and Beetlespins and caught a mixed bag of 40 fish. They caught 3 keeper bass and 10 throwbacks along with bluegills, stumpknockers, warmouth, crappie, and a couple redbreasts. They took 400 crickets with them, but never pitched a single one because the artificials were working so well. If you can manage a float trip this weekend, you should catch a bunch of fish. Expect to drag if you fish from a motorboat anywhere other than the tidal area around Burnt Fort. The river level on June 3rd at the Waycross gage was 4.8 feet and falling (77 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 4.1 feet and falling.
Tyler Finch and his fishing buddies fooled over 150 panfish over the holiday weekend while fishing the Savannah River. They fooled them with crickets rigged on a white Satilla Spin. The Clyo gage was 5.7 feet and falling on June 3rd.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The upper river is very low and hard to get around. In the tidal area below Traders Hill you can still get around ok. The catfish bite was very good in the heat this week. Folks caught both channels and white catfish by putting worms or shrimp on the bottom. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for information on upcoming tournaments. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 3rd was 2.0 feet and falling.
DODGE COUNTY PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Eastman, more info HERE)
Area staff reported that pretty much everything is biting, despite the heat. Mornings and evenings are best, and water temperatures are currently in the low 80’s. Anglers are catching limits (5 per person) of channel catfish in 5 to 10 feet of water. Bass, bluegill, and shellcrackers are also biting well, and crappie are still being caught regularly. Both boat and bank anglers have been catching fish, and most of the panfish and crappie have been caught by anglers fishing from the piers.
OCMULGEE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Hawkinsville, more info HERE)
Isaac Phinazee caught a 10.49-pound bass on Saturday evening. The behemoth ate a hard swimbait. Some other nice bass in the 7 to 9 pound range were caught over the holiday weekend. Remember, bass are catch-and-release on the area.
A Brunwick angler fished a local pond on Friday and whacked the bass. He stopped when he caught (and released) 25 after fishing just a couple of hours. He also caught 3 catfish on his bass baits. His bass were up to 3 pounds each, and they ate Chatterbaits and SPRO crankbaits. The full moon was good to most bream anglers I talked with. Big fish were caught on beds with crickets. Early morning and late evening produced some fish that ate poppers. Catfish did not disappoint. Several good catches were made with worms, shrimp, and chicken livers.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Capt. Greg Hildreth caught his second largest seatrout ever this week. The 6 1/4-pound sow ate a shrimp fished under a slip float. He released her after a quick photo. Over the holiday weekend, a Brunswick angler fished the St. Simons area and caught a half-dozen trout on swimbaits. They weren’t huge, but were solid keepers. Steve Phillips visited family at the coast, and he and his grandson fished for flounder from the bank over the weekend. They caught a 21-inch flounder and 3 other nice keepers using mudminnows. They also caught a 17-inch trout with a Keitech Swing Impact Swimbait. Shrimp on the bottom produced lots of croakers and other bottom fish. Another angler fishing on Sunday caught a 25-inch flounder on a mudminnow while fishing on St. Simons Island. I heard the first reports of tarpon busting bait in the breakers this week. It won’t be long before the silver kings are slurping up pogies, mullet… and DOA Bait Busters! 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 was good again this week. Okefenokee Adventures staff said that good numbers of warmouth were caught both off the bank and out of boats fishing the canal. Worms and crickets produced most of the warmouth. A couple of anglers targeting chain pickerel (jackfish) were successful. They were using big jerkbaits, crankbaits, and topwater plugs and had about 15 of them. The yellow flies have reportedly shown up in big numbers, so expect to have to do some swatting for the next month if you fish the swamp. Typically, if you get in a shaded area with a dense tree canopy the yellow flies are bad, but they are not as bad in the open sun. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.5 feet.
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
June is a great time of year for top water bass fishing at Lake Seminole! Be sure to bring your buzzbaits, ChatterBaits, walking baits and hollow belly frogs. Top water lures paired with a large test will be a good way to get the big bass out of the rapidly growing grass at Lake Seminole. White and chartreuse have been successful lure colors recently.
This is a tricky time of year at Blackshear. The bass are post spawn and are in what some call a funk. Bream are in closer to shore to spawn. If you want to target bass looking for bream, lures that resemble bream such as such as a popper or prop bait are a good choice.
When the bream move off the beds the bass will follow them to the ledge and using a Carolina rig in this situation should get you some bites. Bream fishing right now is hot! Crickets and worms from Flint River Outdoors are working very well right now!
LAKE WALTER F. GEORGE
Vegetation is finally starting to come in after a cold spring season. Hollow belly frogs around the edges of the vegetation and through the vegetation holes are producing well in the mornings. Shallow bass are still taking spinnerbaits and buzzbaits while deeper bass are enjoying jigging spoons and Carolina rigs. Catfish fishing is also good this time year. Try any bait that has a strong smell (hot dog, chicken liver, and stinkbait). Below the dam, at discharge pipes, and around docks are good places to look first.