What makes a hot weather fishing trip easier? Here are a few things I like to do – dip my feet in the water, have lots of water to drink and keep a towel in the ice cooler and put it on my neck. Let’s hear your favorite tips!
NEWS TO KNOW
- National Fishing and Boating Week: Continue to celebrate NFBW (June 5-13) by taking someone new fishing, head out to a Kids Fishing Event (find events on this calendar like this one at Paradise PFA), or take advantage of the remaining FREE Fishing Day (June 12).
- Stay at the Ready: Do you keep fishing poles in your car too? Check out this video as a good reminder that “you never know when that bite is going to come.”
This week, we have fishing reports from Southwest, Southeast and North Georgia. Stay cool out there 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)
Clear skies and hot days are driving surface temps up to the mid 80’s. Anglers are targeting deep structure and standing timber with deep running crankbaits and swimjigs. Submerged vegetation is producing quality bass on texas rigged soft plastics.
Channel catfish are a new addition to Frog Pond, and anglers are fishing on bottom with worms and stink bait to catch those “perfect for the grease” 8-12 inch catfish.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Largemouth bass are post-spawn and the fishing is decent right now. Bass can be found in the upper 3 to 4 feet of the water column. Due to the incoming hot temperatures, bass fishing will be at its best early in the morning and late in the day just before sundown. Top-water and shallow presentation of bait is your best bet this time of year.
Channel catfish is good these days. The rocks along the dam are always a good spot to try and big channel cats are being caught there. However, angling for catfish has also been good in deeper water over much of the lake. Catfish are being caught on worms, livers, and sometimes shrimp.
The Flint River is low and clear. Shoal bass are coming off spawning activity and are very hungry. We have been getting a lot of reports of 4 pound plus fish coming out of the middle and lower Flint. Try no weight or lightly weighted flukes or topwater rigs. Big Bite baits and fighting frogs in pumpkin green have been lucrative. Staying by the rocky shoals should give you some bites.
Shoal bass can also be fun to catch on a fly rod. Anglers have had success using streamers and hellgrammite flies.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, Region Supervisor and Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
ALTAMAHA AND OCMULGEE RIVERS
The Wayne County Catfish Tournament was held over the weekend and was a big success. With 80 boats and 187 anglers, lots of catfish were caught. Joey and Cassandra Langley of Jesup took first place honors (5 fish – 119.10 pounds) and big fish (52.85 pounds) and headed home with an $8,500 payout. Not a bad day’s work for a $100 per person entry fee! Alan Shepard of Tallahassee, Florida and Marty Highnote of Americus were second with a 5-fish limit of 101.85 pounds. The catch earned them $5,000. Jim Douglas of Richmond Hill and Tessa Moore of Opelika, Alabama finished out the top 3 with 90.50 pounds and took home $1,500. Gilbert Ellis, Jr. fished the lakes in Big Hammock Wildlife Management Area for a little while on Saturday evening and caught 3 palm-sized bluegills and some other species on red wigglers. The mullet bite has picked up this week from anglers I talked with. Most trips produced a couple dozen fish for those fishing red wigglers around a salt block and bag of rabbit or pig chow. The river level on June 10th at the Abbeville gage on the Ocmulgee was 4.1feet and rising. The Doctortown gage on the Altamaha was 7.2 feet and rising.
I have been mentioning that the river was right for a float trip the last couple weeks, and John Biagi, Teddy Elrod, and a friend proved it. The trio caught (and released) 269 fish on an upper river float trip on Friday. They caught a couple dozen on Bert’s Bugs (lime was best), but the vast majority ate Satilla Spins. Early in the day, pink gold, crawfish, and copperfield produced best. In the middle of the day, cricket and Tennessee Shad were best, and as the afternoon progressed, warmouth craw was tops. They tipped their spinerbaits with a small piece of a Keitech 2” swimbait for scent. The bluegills were the most impressive species, as they had several big ‘gills approaching a pound. The biggest redbreast was 10 inches, and they had several of them. John and Lisa Morgan fished the Satilla and other area rivers over the last week and had really good trips. They caught some “nice fish”, but I didn’t get the details of what or how many. They also fished the Alapaha River and enjoyed it. The river level on June 10th at the Waycross gage was 4.7 feet and falling (84 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 3.9 feet and falling.
Tyler Finch had a great trip on Tuesday on the Savannah. He and his fishing buddy caught 77 panfish on a white Satilla Spin and cricket. Earlier in the week he and his friend caught 72 on Monday and 52 on Sunday on the same rig. Most of their fish were big bluegills, but they also had redbreasts, stumpknockers, crappie, shellcrackers and a whole host of other species mixed in. The Clyo gage was 7.3 feet and rising on June 10th.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The upper river is very low and hard to get around. Matt Rouse said that the fish are in those holes if you can get to them, and he said some good catches of bass, catfish and bowfin were made this week. At the current water level you can’t be afraid to drag your boat or float in a paddlecraft of some sort, or you need to fish the tidal section. In the tidal area below Traders Hill you can still get around ok in a motorboat. Chuck Deen and his wife fished the tidal river this weekend, and they did well. They fooled 15 panfish in 2 hours while fishing from a dock. The catch of the trip was a shellcracker weighing about 3/4 of a pound that ate a red wiggler fished on the bottom. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for information on upcoming tournaments. They are starting their Friday evening tournaments this week. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 10th was 2.0 feet and steady.
DODGE COUNTY PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Eastman, more info HERE)
Troy Morgan had a good morning at the area on Thursday. He flung a shad-colored crankbait as the sun was just coming up and landed a beautiful 25-inch bass.
EVANS COUNTY PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Claxton, more info HERE)
Gilbert Ellis, Jr. drove from Baxley to fish the area on Saturday. It was his first trip to the area. He was very successful, catching 28 bluegills on red wigglers (he usually releases most or all, but he didn’t tell me how many he kept). Other anglers fishing the area caught 8 to 12-inch channel catfish on worms and shrimp.
Chad Lee was back at it this week with his long rod. He threw a large Bert’s Bug (chartreuse color) in an Alma area pond on Saturday and caught 8 bass up to 2 pounds on it. John Biagi fished a Brunswick area pond with a friend on Sunday, and they pair caught a bunch of largemouth bass. They landed (and released) 59 bass up to 5.4 pounds. Both of them had sore bellies from setting the hook so much. The vast majority of their fish ate a copperfield or a bubblegum pink vibrating jig (1/2-oz.). Several ate a black or a white bucktail vibrating jig (also 1/2-oz.). Eight-year old Camille caught a 9-inch bluegill on Sunday, and the fish earned her an angler award from the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division. She caught it with a little piece of plastic worm fished near a fish feeder. Chip Lafferty fished a Brunswick area pond on Wednesday and flung copperfield-colored vibrating jigs to catch 15 bass up to 3 pounds. He also missed another 10 bites. He commented that his thumb was chewed up after the trip (always a good thing for a bass angler….). The channel catfish bite has been good in local ponds. Chicken livers and worms worked best, but some were caught with bass baits.
Fishing was good again this week for warmouth and chain pickerel (jackfish). Topwater bugs, worms, and crickets were tops for warmouth. Fliers ate yellow sallies this week, while minnows plugs and Dura-Spins fooled most of the chain pickerel (jackfish). The yellow flies have been bad in the shady areas but bearable in the open sun. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.3 feet.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
John Biagi fished saltwater this week with a friend, and the pair had a great trip to the Brunswick area on Saturday. They bounced Keitech swimbaits on Capt. Bert’s 5/16-oz. jigheads with spring keepers for 3 bull reds (all 3 were 29 inches) and broke off two others on shells. Rootbeer/chartreuse back was the most productive color. John also caught an 18-inch flounder on the same bait, and they had 7 keeper trout (15-17”). Some of the trout ate the Keitechs and Sea Shads fished under Equalizer Floats and some ate it swimming without the float. Chip Lafferty fished the Brunswick area on Tuesday and bounced a rootbeer-chartreuse back Keitech swimbait rigged on a 5/16-oz spring jighead to catch a 16-inch flounder. Capt. Greg Hildreth caught lots of trout this week in the Brunswick area, but he didn’t catch the monster trout like he caught last week. He had some sheepshead and black drum, also. I haven’t heard from anyone who fished the St. Marys Jetties this week, but the redfish and trout should be wide open at the jetties, and the pelagic species should be mixed in the catch soon if they are not already. I haven’t heard of anyone catching tarpon on our coast yet, but I would imagine I’ll get a report of is soon. Ron Altman and friends saw 5 tarpon on Thursday but could not get them to bite. Tripletail fishing off Jekyll Island has been hit-and-miss. A few good fish were caught, but most were small. Southeast winds kept folks off the big water most of this week. 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 Sarah Baker, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
School’s Out for Summer! Taking your family fishing is a wonderful way to bond with your kids, spend time in nature, and create special memories. Remember, tomorrow, Saturday, June 12 is a free fishing day! Check out these 10 tips to Catch All the Fun on Your Family Fishing Trip. Also, in The Angler Magazine: Greater Atlanta Edition, Jeff Durniak of Unicoi Outfitters, provides some excellent advice for teaching kids how (and where) to learn and practice fly fishing. For more tricks on keeping your young one engaged while fishing, check out our Fishing with Kids webpage.
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:
- Vogel State Park: Saturday June 12 from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
- Buck Shoals WMA: Saturday June 19 from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Weaver’s Wisdom (brought to you by Fisheries Biologist Keith Weaver): Water temperatures are currently in the mid-70’s. NOTE: Sunscreen and plenty of water are highly encouraged. Don’t forget the picnic lunch and your stringer!
- Largemouth Bass – June is typically the time of year when bass are moving into deep water. Bass fishing begins to slow as summer temperatures begin to increase. However, anglers willing to test the waters in early morning might be surprised with a bass being caught in the shallows. Anglers should try truck worms and top water baits in early morning. HINT: Cloudy days will also keep bass in shallow water.
- Bream – Bream are the most popular fish anglers target this time of year. Bream typically are easy to catch and will hit a variety of bait. The most popular are worms and crickets fished in four to six feet of water. Bream will hit throughout the day and will most likely be found hanging around submerged, woody cover. Anglers may have to follow the shade this time of year to avoid the sun. If patient, anglers will be successful.
- Catfish – When the other fish begin to slow, anglers can turn their attention to catfish. Catfish are reported being caught in early or late evening as well as in the hottest time of the day. Chicken livers, stink bait, and worms are the most popular when targeting catfish. A handy shade tree seems to be important too!
West Point Lake (brought to you by Fisheries Biologist Brent Hess): Because of the heavy rain events, West Point Lake water levels have been highly variable. The recent rains will muddy up the water in the upper end of the lake for much of the weekend. Bass fishing has been good this week especially before the afternoon thunderstorms. Topwater has produced well in the early morning hours. However, mid-day fishing has been slow with the formation of mid to late afternoon storms. This weekend should have similar conditions with decent bass fishing early followed by a sluggish afternoon. Finally, the bad weather may reduce some of the lake traffic this weekend.
Lanier Water Quality (brought to you by Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): Each summer, WRD Fisheries staff collects temperature and oxygen information throughout Lake Lanier to determine where good habitat exists for certain gamefish like striped bass and walleye. These species have more sensitive temperature and dissolved oxygen requirements than warmwater species like largemouth bass, bream, and catfish. Temperature and oxygen profiles are posted on WRD’s GIS map that can be found on the Fishing Forecasts page for Lake Lanier (and other North Georgia lakes). Just click on the small thermometer icon and select the most recent PDF. The current water quality trends show a thermocline is setting up around 15’ below the surface in the upper reservoir, and slightly deeper (~25’) in the lower reservoir. Surface temperatures should still be suitable for topwater action in the early morning, but by mid-day expect stripers to occupy depths from 20’-40’ range in June. As the summer progresses and the reservoir warms up, identifying good water quality & habitat becomes more critical to locating stripers, and we’ll be here to help you do just that. Fishbrain user Jack Letsch fished just above Brown’s Bridge and hooked up with this nice striper downlining live herring in 40 feet of water this week.
Lake Hartwell Forecast (brought to you by Fisheries Biologist George Gavrielides): Based on profile data (see photo) collected at the dam last week, there is suitable coolwater Striper and Hybrid bass habitat throughout the water column of the middle and lower parts of the reservoir. These areas will hold blueback herring which are good for foraging gamefish. As the summer progresses, the coolwater habitat will decrease forcing the stripers and hybrids lower in the reservoir system and close to the shrinking thermocline.
Hartwell Bass: (brought to you by GON): Guide Matt Justice reports, “Fishing has entered a true summer pattern and has become quite tough on the weekends with the excessive boat traffic. Fishing during the week has been good when the dam is generating power. Two good methods have been a deep-diving crankbait and walking topwaters on points in 10 to 30 feet of water. Look for brush and rocks in these areas. Shallow fishing has been tougher than usual. Look for a frog bite to develop in the backwaters. Keep an eye out for groups of bluegill as they are sure to have largemouth nearby.”
Lake Burton Largemouth Bass: 14-year-old Will Barber from Andersen, SC caught two Largemouth Bass on Lake Burton the morning of June 6, 2021 using a watermelon red plastic worm. He caught them near the docks at the hatchery/state park boundary and they weighed 10 lbs 14 oz and 7 lbs 6 oz, respectively. Both fish qualified him for angler awards, and he stopped by the hatchery for official weights and to fill out an application for his award. The Lake Burton record for Largemouth Bass is 14 lbs, so he got close!
Lake Allatoona: (courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant) – Bass fishing is fair. The fish are solidly in their deeper summer haunts and the brush pile bite is starting up. The Sammy top water bite is good early. Once the sun gets high the main lake fish are going deep at 15 to 18 feet. Use a 3/16th ounce camo colored Spot Stalker with a 4.5 inch Yamamoto Cut Tail worm in pumpkin and green colors. Also a small drop shot using a ¼ ounce drop shot sinker and a #4 Splitshot Dropshot Gamakatsu hook. Nose hooking a 3.5 or 4 inch Yamamoto Cut tail in either blue pearl, cinnamon brown or smoke color to mimic the small threadfin and spot tail minnows will work. Bagley Baits are still catching bass and the Pro Sunny B Spin is a top water machine. Rip it and splash it and bring bass to the bait from great distance. The key is still small baits and this will continue throughout most of the summer. Be patient and be sure the bait is in at least 15 feet of water. Also, a weightless Senko skipped under docks and let them sink down a few feet will produce some fish as well as the water under the docks is quite a bit cooler. It takes some patience but it will get you bit. The spot stalker head is a great tool for fishing the brush piles due to its specific design.
Need More Forecasts and Tips? There is great fishing forecasts and tips in The Angler Magazine: Greater Atlanta Edition.
Snakehead Update (brought to you by Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): You may recall that in October of 2019, an angler caught a northern snakehead from a private pond in Gwinnett County. Northern snakehead are native to eastern Asia, and in the United States snakehead are regulated as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act while Georgia DNR’s Wild Animal laws regulate the possession of all snakehead species in the state. A series of field surveys following the angler’s report revealed a low density population snakehead within the immediate vicinity of the private pond, and WRD Fisheries employees acted quickly to remove snakehead from the area through physical removals and rotenone application. Since these removal efforts, follow-up surveys conducted by WRD personnel & local research partners at Georgia Gwinnet College have resulted in zero further captures of snakehead. Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling has been carried out as another layer of monitoring to detect the presence or absence of northern snakehead genetic material in the watershed, and so far no detections have yet to occur. At this point, it is unclear whether all snakehead were successfully removed from the system, but monitoring remains ongoing and results have been positive so far. This event and other recent examples of non-native species in Georgia stress the importance of leaving aquatic species in their respective habitats to avoid potential harm to native ecosystems and their unique species. For more information about aquatic invasive species in Georgia, and what you can do to help, click HERE.
Have a Blast Fishing for Brook Trout! (by Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson) — Have you ever caught a brook trout? There is a unique opportunity over the next couple weeks due to some trout stockings from our partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Over the last two weeks over 7,000 brookies have been stocked with more to come. Best bets include Holly Creek in Murray County, the upper Toccoa River, Rock Creek in Fannin County, and the Soque River in Habersham County. These trout can be identified by the white leading edge on the ventral fins. See if you can land one of these treasures this weekend.
The Waning Mania: Georgia Anglers Last Chance at Brood X (by Fisheries Biologist Jackson Sibley) – As we approach mid-June, it is becoming clear that the bulk of the Brood X phenomenon is behind us. This year’s 17-year cicada hatch has been so remarkable that emergency services in Union County, GA had to request that residents stop calling 911 on the insects, whose incessant chirps were widely being mistaken for car alarms. The massive influx of insects has boosted ecological productivity in all areas in which they are found, acting as readily available nutrient sources for a plethora of critters, including fish. For the last month or so, anglers across the north-central portion of our state—namely Gilmer, Union, and Fannin Counties—have been taking advantage of this cash crop of bugs, slinging cicada imitations at bass, carp, trout, and beyond, and to much reward.
The chance to cash in on the action is not over just yet, as Stephen Curry and I found out last week on a trout trip to the Toccoa River. We rolled into the Curtis Switch take-out and were immediately welcomed by several of Brood X’s curious representatives clinging to foliage and humming their pulsating drone from every direction. The trout activity, too, was evident upon wadering up and scouting our likely entry points. Surface swirls revealed the hiding spots of our targets, and the rises on our first few casts suggested that the fish had been keyed into falling cicadas for quite some time. Our fly of choice was the Project Cicada, and though this impressively accurate foam pattern garnered many rises, it proved too big for all takers to gulp down. We learned not to be too discouraged at a low strike-to-hookup ratio, though, as we witnessed failed rises on live bugs as well. But those we managed to coax to the net were a thrill from rise to hook set to release.
The chance to target and land trout on a cicada is one of those rare bucket list trout angling opportunities. The infrequency of the occasion and the novelty of the achievement makes for a wonderful addition to your creel of fishing memories. And the Toccoa River provides just the right recipe for success. Don’t wait another 17 years to get in on the cicada mania!
Salmonid Summer Salsa – (by Sarah Baker) — Fishing is a lot like dancing. The fish is the lead; you can either follow the lead, or get your toes stepped on & feelings hurt. Right now, trout will be sipping at the surface in the early mornings and late evenings. Arrive at your planned fishing destination in the cool, dark hours of dawn and begin your hike into the stream. Headwater streams are going to be where the best dancers are (okay, I’m biased). To fish for them, expect clambering up steep, sometimes slippery, gradients, and getting at least one whack to the face by a rhododendron branch. The sun should just barely be twinkling between the canopy as you tie on your Parachute Adams, or Royal Wulff. Dress your fly up with Gink and now you’re ready. Summer trout prefer to dance in the shade, so send your fly to the shadows. Remain as stealthy as possible to avoid spooking fish from their feeding lies. If you get a hit, try again. If you get a second hit, try a third time! Try a fourth time, and then keep moving up along the stream, fishing each little pool as you go. As feeding zones narrow due to lower water, as primary bug hatches are through, and as temperatures rise over the course of the next few months, expect dancing interest to decline. If dries get rejected, I recommend offering a flirtatious small foam beetle or black ant to try to persuade one last dance. But until then, find the rhythm, follow the lead, and develop your salsa style.
Good luck this week. Take some time with the kids and help WRD to grow the next generation of Georgia’s stream and lake stewards.