How will you celebrate Independence Day? If your holiday weekend includes a lot of family time, we know the perfect activity…fishing!
NEWS TO KNOW
- Improvements to Benefit Anglers: GADNR Commissioner Mark Williams, Wayne County Commissioner Kevin McCrary, and others recently celebrated improvements made at Lake Lindsay Grace that provide boaters, paddlers and anglers an even better experience to this local lake. Find out more HERE.
- Location, Location, Location: Find a new location to fish by checking out the Georgia WRD Interactive Map.
Boat Ramp Locator: Need to find the nearest boat ramp? Click HERE.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The top water bite is fair with the Zara Spook Jr in bone and the Rico. These are small bass and keepers are few and far between. Bass are still hitting those surface baits in the cooler morning periods. The #10 Olive Green X Rap is working as a follow up bait to those missed top water bites and working in the shallow rocky flats where some wind is present. Blue backs are still getting hammered all during the day, as surface explosions of feeding fish often occur. Use the Megabass Vision 110 jerk bait all day. Get the small Fluke and use a small lead head and some light line to work on these fish. Be aware that the line sides will pop up and grab these baits also. Jigs on structure along with tubes and worms are picking up some bass, but of the smaller variety. Night fishing is picking up on small jigs and DD 22 red bug crank baits.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN .47 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The top water bite is fair with the Zara Spook Jr in bone and the Rico. These are small bass and keepers are few and far between. Bass are still hitting those surface baits in the cooler morning periods. The number Ten, Olive Green X Rap is responsible for catching these bass. It is still working as a follow up bait to those missed top water bites and working in the shallow rocky flats where some wind is present. Blue backs are still getting hammered all during the day, as surface explosions of feeding fish often occur. Get the small Fluke and use a small lead head and some light line to work on these fish. Be aware that the line sides will pop up and grab these baits also. Jigs on structure along with tubes and worms are picking up some bass, but of the smaller variety.
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 good. Some fish are starting to show up on the humps and roadbeds on the south end of the lake. Large crank baits fished on and off the top of the humps will produce. A 6-inch green pumpkin lizard fished on a Texas rig in brush around and under docks will produce good numbers. Start the day with a buzz bait fished on the sea walls halfway in the back of the creeks and big coves all over the lake. White spinner baits fished on the bridge rip raps will also produce at first light. A lot of shad are still hanging out at the bridges in the first light of day.
- Striped Bass: Striper fishing is fair. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools all over the mid lake area. When you find them, you should drop a live shad into the school and hang on. The fish are starting to move up the rivers for the summer.
- 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 FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The bite has slowed down with surface temperatures running high lake wide. A few top water fish can still be caught above Shoulder Bone creek fishing a Devils Horse or other small prop bait. Work it slowly with long pauses for best results. After 10 am head back down lake and start fishing main lake points from Crooked Creek to Beaverdam Creek, focusing on the points with sharper breaks to twenty feet of water or more. Use a 3/4-ounce football jig with a Berkley Chigger Craw in green pumpkin and do not be afraid to fish the bait out to twenty-five feet or more. A one-ounce Caroline rig with a V & M 8-inch needle worm in June bug will catch a few fish also. A jigging spoon like the Hopkins Shorty fished on ledges and humps around the dam area in twenty to thirty feet of water will catch a mixed bag but may include a few nice largemouth over five pounds. Let the spoon fall to the bottom, then jerk it four to six feet off the bottom and let it flutter back down on a semi tight line. Spro has a Hunter Crankbait 65Sb with super sharp hooks and rattles like crazy to draw bass from long distances. This bait has some serious hooks that will not fail.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .65 FEET, CLEAR 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The fish are shallow at daybreak on sea walls mid lake. Spinnerbaits and buzz baits are working and having some baitfish close by helps. Watch as the bait fish will flick on the surface and the bass will be close by. Schooling action may break out as the bass may push shad schools up on the flats and shallow points. The smaller shad Rat L Traps are a hot item for the quick action. There are a few fish in shallow wood. Use a Zoom watermelon seed lizard on the weed line on a light Texas rig. In the creeks, work the steeper drops close to the banks. All other faster baits are slow this week after the cold muddy river waters flowed into the lake. After the sun is up, head to the back of the creeks and use a gold spinner bait and gold buzz baits on any wood. When the bite slows, flipping jigs in brush piles and on deeper docks has been for a bigger bite. Some fish are holding on the river ledges, but the patterns have been finicky. With the bait schools on the move, the fish are moving about. The schooling action may break out so have a Pop R and a small Zara Spook ready.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 86.5˚ F (30.3˚ C)
- Water Level: 7” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 28”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
The lake is continuing to hold near full pool; the higher water has made a lot more shoreline structure available for fishing and we have had good reports of bass and bream being caught in the shadier areas. The bass and crappie have also been biting at night and early morning before the heat of the day kicks in.
Bass: Strike King Pro Model 5XD Crankbait in brighter colors. Plum colored ‘Ol Monster worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumpkinseed Culprit worms. Any shad colored lures fished around the aerators.
Bream: Worms – Red Wigglers and Pinks, Crickets where doing a good job of catching bream on the bed. The gravel beds are producing some good catches of bedding bream.
Channel Catfish: Shrimp and Red Wiggler worms have also been reported to produce good catches of catfish.
Crappie: Jigs (John Deere or yellow and white colored Triple Ripple, or June Bug colored Teaser Tail) and light tackle. If you are shoreline fishing, try casting a minnow in the shade of the pier. If on a boat, try cover that creates shade (treetops) or structure (gravel piles).
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Level: All bodies of water or full.
- Water Clarity: 16” to 24”
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: The best bite is late evening till a few hours after sunrise. The bass will likely seek deeper and cooler water during the heat of the day. If top water is your go-to then fish the cooler hours. Otherwise, ledges and creek channels will likely produce more bites during the warmer hours. Crank baits, plastic worms and lizards, and jigs around deeper structure are a safe bet. Be persistent and make multiple casts on structure.
Crappie: Few crappies are being caught but there are a few regulars that are successful fishing from a boat at night. Slow trolling with jigs and jigs topped with minnows is an effective method. Pushing the bait opposed to pulling when trolling provides a better presentation and allows you to keep the bait at the desired depth. Troll at a slow speed – approximately ½ mph.
Bream: Bluegill will be bedding when the full moon comes so fish in 2 – 4.5 ft. of water. Bottom fishing for bluegill and redear will work too. Red wigglers and wax worms and catalpa worms are the preferred bait.
Last quarter moon is July 1st. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.
ALTAMAHA AND OCMULGEE RIVERS
The river is low enough to fish but high and off-colored enough to not be great fishing. Even so, fish were caught this week. Brentz and Claudia McGhin went to an oxbow lake in the lower river on Thursday and pitched plastics for bass. They tried Speed Craws and didn’t catch anything, but the bite was on when they started flinging junebug lizards. They ended up with 4 nice bass up to 17 inches and 15 warmouth (they kept 9 of the largest ones up to a pound). They caught a few fish on watermelon-red Yum Dingers, also, but the lizard was the ticket. Brentz fished the lower river with his daughter on Saturday, and they broke out the junebug lizards again and caught another good mess of bass and warmouth. Chip Lafferty fished with a friend on Sunday afternoon and flung Satilla Spins for a few warmouth and redbreast sunfish. The bite was slow, but he caught his first warmouth and redbreast ever. Chartreuse bruiser produced his fish. The mullet fishing was still good this week, but the quality of the bite over the holiday weekend will all depend upon whether the river rises or continues falling back out with the daily rains this week. The river level on July 1st at the Abbeville gage on the Ocmulgee was 3.5 feet and falling. The Doctortown gage on the Altamaha was 7.5 feet and falling.
Justin Donaldson and a friend had a great day on Saturday in the lower, tidal portion of the river. They caught over 100 fish with Satilla Spins and kept a couple dozen of the biggest redbreasts and bluegills. They flung a couple custom colors that had some yellows, chartreuses, and blue hues. The upper river still isn’t right, and it’s probably going back up according to anglers in the Wadley area. One angler fished this weekend and caught a half-dozen fish in a tributary to the Ogeechee. He was flinging Satilla Spins. The redbreasts he caught were huge, but he just didn’t catch many of them. When it gets right it’s going to be awesome! The river level at the Midville gage on July 1st was 2.4 feet and falling.
Forget it this week. The river is in the double-digit height. You might catch a few catfish in the lower river, but I’d fish other places. Henry and Gail Feddern came up from their home in the Keys to fish for catfish in the lower Satilla (White Oak Creek). They didn’t do anything from the bank accesses on the main Satilla, but they managed to catch about 20 catfish from the White Oak Creek dock on Tuesday evening. They put worms on the bottom with a Catfish Catcher Jighead. The river level on July 1st at the Waycross gage was 11.8 feet and rising (78 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 6.1 feet and rising.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Shady Bream Tournaments held a Friday evening tournament on the 25th, and the winners were the husband-wife team of Dale and Emma. Cory and Gene took second place. The next tournament is July 10th. Catfishing in the tidal area below Folkston is a great option this holiday weekend. Put shrimp or worms on the bottom to catch a bunch of white and channel catfish. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for information on upcoming tournaments. The river level at the MacClenny gage on July 1st was 10.1 feet and rising.
Hudson fished with his dad Jess on Saturday, and they caught a bunch of nice bluegills on chartreuse Satilla Spins from a pond. They had a “double” of 9-inch fish. Ben visited his grandparents Steve and Cathy in Douglas this weekend. They fished the first day just walking the bank of a local pond and had 30 bass. The next day the trio fished from a boat in a Telfair County pond and had a 6-pound bass first thing in the morning. They ended up with 20 bass and 2 crappie. The third morning they just had a couple hours but managed another 19 bass. Most of their fish ate crankbaits or Texas-rigged ZOOM U-Tail worms. Cathy’s favorite worm color was junebug, while Ben opted for watermelon-red most of the time. Their biggest bass of the trip was a 6-pounder. Ben went home with sore thumbs and awesome memories with his grandparents! On Wednesday afternoon, Chip Lafferty put it on the bass in a Brunswick pond. He caught 10 bass in an hour, and a copperfield vibrating jig was the ticket for him. On Thursday morning, David Freeman caught about a dozen nice shellcrackers by drop-shotting red wiggler worms in a pond. Catfishing was good in a Brunswick pond. Anglers targeting them caught them with worms and shrimp, and a few even jumped on bass lures.
OCMULGEE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Hawkinsville, more info HERE)
Some big bass were caught this week. I heard of one angler catching their personal best, a 9.68-pounder. Another angler caught an 8 1/2-pounder. Several other 6 to 9-pound bass were reported.
Warmouth reports slowed some this week with the rising water, but you can still catch some at either Folkston or Billy’s Lake on the Fargo side. The bowfin bite picked up just before the water level started rising, but they should bite inline spinners or cut bait on the bottom all summer. If you have never targeted the prehistoric looking fish, it is a hoot! My favorite way is to fling in-line spinners down the middle of the canal and reel them slowly. Bowfin are great fighters, but you will want pliers, fish grippers, and hook removers so that you can minimize having to handle the feisty fish. Don’t be surprised if a nice pickerel (jackfish) grabs your spinner every now and then, also. Yellow flies have been around in the shady areas but bearable in the open sun. Their numbers have dropped off significantly since the peak in mid-June. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.6 feet.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
A Waycross angler fished the Crooked River area in the wind on Tuesday. He caught a handful of trout on Sea Shads under Equalizer Floats, but nothing was big. A few sheepshead were caught with fiddler crabs dropped down around dock pilings, but the anglers had to work for them. The wind forecast switches around from the southwest for a little bit this weekend. If it happens, the fishing at the jetties and trout fishing on the beach should be good, especially with the clearer water of the last quarter moon. 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.
Bass fishing on Lake Seminole has been good despite the high temperatures. Although early mornings and evenings are you best bet there ae still some bites to be had mid day. The Flint and Chattahoochee river arms of the lake are slightly stained but the spring creek side is clear. The water is about 83 degrees and Captain Paul Tyre of Lake Seminole Fishing Adventures has been helping many people pull bass over 10lbs out of the lake. The top water bite is really good and he has suggested buzzbaits and spooks. Fishing the grass line on the main lake has produced some good fish recently. Bream are still bedding down at Lake Seminole and with the recent mayfly hatch crickets and beetle spins have been working magic on them.
TIRED CREEK LAKE
Bream fishing is starting to pick up at Tired Creek Lake. Anglers have been using crickets in the early morning and around dusk with a good amount of success. The bass bite is quite slow this time of year and not many crappie have been caught recently.
The redbreast sunfish are looking really nice on the Kinchafoonee. Crickets are a great bait to use on these guys especially around shaded water and downed trees that build structure.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA
Bass fishing has been slowed by higher summer temperatures. Try locating bass in 3 to 8 feet of water. If you must fish during the middle (hottest) part of the day, fish for bass in and around heavy cover, like the standing timber near the island. However, feeding bass will be more active during times around sunrise and sunset and your chances will be better then. Dedicated anglers on the water right before sunrise may have the best chance of getting that *trophy* bass! Big Lazer Public Fishing Area is searching for a certified lake record Largemouth Bass. Check out the information they have available at the sign in kiosk. The fish should be either 26” long or over 10 lbs. to qualify, good luck!
Allatoona Bass: (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. Get out early or after dark. Start your day by fishing some form of top water. Cast to main lake points and flats with the Jackal SK Pop Grande in a shad color. As the day progresses, fish the same points as well as pole markers with a Carolina rig and a 2 to 3 foot leader with a ½ to ¾ weight. Use a 4 Net Bait finesse worm in green pumpkin watermelon color with the Shaky Head in these same areas. The morning top water bite is a little slow. You can still catch a few fish first thing in the morning on a small Pop R or Bonnie 95. Fish points on the mid section of the lake. Throughout the day has been pretty tough. Concentrate on fishing around docks and cover with a Net Bait Finesse Worm in Key Lime Pie or Paca Melon on a Shaky Head. Fish very slowly. In the evening fish a Shaky Worm or small jig around the same cover as earlier in the day. It seems like you have to make the fish bite, but just stick with it. If you are in the cover, fish slowly and methodically and it should prove to be a productive way to catch some fish. A few good fish are being caught on big crank baits. After dark, throw a DD22 in midnight blue or a 700 Bandit in Summer Shad. Fish these baits on steep rock banks or rocky points. The best time to fish starts in the evening and continues into the night. The night bite is getting better every night. Fish steep rock banks with a ½ ounce black Punisher Spinnerbait. Be sure to use a very slow Yo Yo retrieve to attract bites. For the crank bait fish after dark fish points as well as flats with a Norman DLN in Midnight Blue color.
Allatoona Lake Levels: Keep track of daily lake level changes HERE.
Lake Burton (Reports courtesy of GON’s Fishing Report) Level: Full pool. Temp: 71 degrees. Clarity: Clear.
- Bass: 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: 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.”
- Walleye: Wes Carlton reports, “The bite has been slow the last week or so. Most of the population of walleye seem to be heading toward deeper water. Look for this bite to pick up as the schools of herring get deeper.”
Lake Hartwell (Reports courtesy of GON’s Fishing Report) –
- Bass: 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.”
- Linesides: Guide Preston Harden reports, “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.”
Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Phil Johnson via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is very good. Not a lot has changed since last week on Big Sid. The water temperature is slowly rising and the bass are headed to their summer homes. Brush is the key right now whether it is located on humps or long points. The key is about depth now and as long as you stay in the twenty to thirty foot range you should find fish. It seems that there has been more activity showing up on the main lake as we have moved through the week. A variety of top water lures are producing fish if you get in the right areas. The fish are schooling early in the morning and sporadically throughout the day with Chug bugs, spooks and a variety of walking baits producing bites. Often the bass will hit it several times before they finally get the bait so you need to be patient with your hookset. Probably the steadiest bite has still been the fluke. The white fluke along with the Lanier Baits Blue Ghost fluke are working great. I’m running it on a spinning rod loaded with ten pound braid with a leader of ten pound fluorocarbon. The rhythm I’m using is just a smooth pull and let it fall. If you find these bites slow then move to the Dropshot. The Blue Lilly Dropshot worm by Lanier Bait has been my go to this week on the drop shot. This is a great way to put numbers in the boat but you may need to run several brush piles to find one that is loaded with fish but once you do they are usually aggressive. The night bite is still good using either the half ounce spinnerbait or a medium depth crankbait. This week the blue and black spinnerbait along with a red crankbait have steadily produced. If you are on Lanier at any time, but especially at night, watch for the heavy boat traffic. It seems everyone bought a boat during Covid and are now on the lake whether they know how to run a boat or not so be careful, this is the Lanier busy season. Good luck and Go Catch ‘Em!
Lanier Linesides (Report courtesy of Buck Cannon via www.southernfishing.com) — Lanier striper report this week indicates that you can use your electronics to locate bait from the dam to Gainesville. Down lines with blue backs has produced fishing over a 50 foot bottom in pockets, put bait 25 to 35 feet deep and keep a top water lure ready to throw in to the eruption of fish. The lead core is back fishing 8 colors with a five inch swim bait. Last but not least the umbrella rigs are productive over humps and points 89 120′ behind the boat. Buck Tales 404 510 1778 bookings available for July.
Lanier Crappie (Report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton via www.southernfishing.com) — Crappie fishing is good. The water temperatures are in the low to mid 80s. 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 some days the crappie just want a minnow. If you 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 an active minnow not a dead minnow. Look under covered docks that are in 20 to 40 feet of water and near a main channel look for 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 time of year have been the translucent and light colored jigs. When dock shooting the biggest fish are usually the first to bite. Let your jig sink and give it time to get down to the fish and retrieve your jig slowly. I’m using ATX lure companies plastics I use 5 pound test high visibility yellow braid for my line (unless I am using a bobber) and a Piscifun reel on a Acc crappie Stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and the Navionics Boating app.
Lake Weiss Mixed Bag (Report Courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service) –
- Bass: Bass fishing is fair and a most fish have moved to a summer pattern on main lake points, road beds and the creek and river channels, Crank baits and Carolina rigs are working well. Flipping docks with jigs is also catching fish.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair and they have moved to deeper brush. Spider rigging with live minnows over brush is the way to catch these post spawn fish. Some Crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs.
- Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good and they are in the upper Chattooga River, Little Spring creek and the Cave Hole, live Shad down lined and free lined is catching fish.
- Catfish: Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water, cut bait is working best.
West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing has been good. Fish are really spread out in two groups this week. The top water bite is on fire first thing in the morning on points and lay downs. Buzz baits, Spooks, and Pop R’s are producing when cast very close to cover and then slowly worked back to the boat. During the mid morning pitch jigs close to overhanging limbs with bream present. These fish have been highly pressured so work the bait slowly. The strike zone will be in the first five feet of the overhanging limbs. Once the sun is high focus on docks and lay downs near the mouth of pockets with green pumpkin a Z Man floating worm. The Z Man floating worm will stand up on a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce shaky head so do not be afraid to let this bait soak to catch larger fish. The deep crank bait bite is beginning to turn on in the afternoon during generating schedules. Look for fish to begin stacking up on long points and roadbeds close to the main river channel. The best points are from the 109 bridge north going up the river. During generation periods use deep diving crankbaits on humps and road beds. Spro has a Little John Type R shallow running crankbait that works well over shallow water submerging vegetation. It has a computer chips style lip for a fast wobble and several great colors.
Chestatee River (Report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop) — This week Gainesville Fisheries staffers sampled the lower Chestatee River (downstream of 400) to as a part of our collaborative study of the black bass community in Lanier’s headwaters. The river was falling and muddy from this week’s rain, which weren’t the best conditions for bass sampling. The river was also too low to access the shoals at Lumpkin County Park where we have caught several Shoal Bass before. We were able to net nine bass (seven Spotted Bass and two Largemouth), with the largest being a 2.5 lb Spot. As we moved downstream, we found fish congregating in the deeper holes including a group of stripers ranging from 2 lb to 10 lb, and this impressive Flathead Catfish. We found our quartet of river predators gorging on a buffet of schooling Spottail Shiners seeking refuge in natural eddies and downstream of blowdowns in the deeper holes on the outside bends. A variety of presentations can be effective for summer bassin’ in the river including a good ol’ Texas rigged worm, shallow-diving crankbaits in crawfish and minnow patterns, spinner baits, and of course a jig with your favorite trailer. At this time the river is low and has likely cleared up, but the rain today will likely make fishing difficult over the weekend, so consider putting this Chestatee haunt on tap for the near future when low and clear conditions return.
Etowah River (Report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — A group of WRD staff floated the upper Etowah River near Dahlonega last week in canoes and kayaks. The water was at a good level for floating, and a little stained from some recent thunderstorms. We fished a bit along the way and caught a few spotted bass, redeyes, and bream on an assortment of lures. We also ran into a few stripers which was a bit unexpected given how high up the watershed we were from Allatoona. The highlight was when Collin George landed a 5-pound striper from his kayak on light tackle after a long fight while floating down through some tricky shoals and logjams! We broke off or missed a couple other good-sized stripers as well. The river should continue to fish well as we receive frequent rain from passing thunderstorms that keep the waters recharged with cool water. Check out the Etowah Water Trail website for more information about floating/fishing the upper Etowah River.
To learn about Georgia’s diverse trout fishing opportunities including the latest stocking information, check out Georgia DNR Trout Fishing Page.
North Georgia Trout (Report courtesy of Jeff at Unicoi Outfitters) — Last Sunday’s 3+ inches of rainfall from the tropical storm has run off and our creeks and rivers have receded to their low summer base flows. So, unless one of these afternoon storms sits on your watershed, you’ll be aiming for spooky fish in low water again. If you get a storm flush, then try the big/ugly/bright flies in the stained waters.
Best bets: headwater wild trout, cool stocker streams, cold tailwaters, ponds at dawn and dusk, and lakes at dawn. Keep in mind that GAWRD typically stocks trout far and wide for the July 4th crowds, so plan your holiday week accordingly.
Headwaters: Splatek and Son had a great fishing/camping trip last weekend. His tale is chronicled HERE:
I checked a Hooch headwater’s streamflow and temperature during this morning’s region recon. It looked prime for a fluffy dry, but I had to move on my recon instead of flinging a fly, so the fish are still there for you. Our creeks have returned to summer baseflow, while some cool nights and heavy tree cover are keeping water temps down. We hope you enjoyed today’s video and note the temp (62 in the shade at ten). Sneak upstream slowly, hit the shaded pools and undercut banks, and be ready for quick strikes on your high-floating dries. Bows are all over the place, while the lazier browns and specks prefer slower flows and a roof over their heads. Recall our “niches” lesson.
Tailwaters: Remember that Lanier and Blue Ridge have enough winter-water storage to maintain trout-friendly Tailwater temperatures throughout the year. RonW’s gang gave Lanier a shot and reported, “Our trio hit the Dam on Saturday 6/19 and had a heck of a day. Despite the clouds, slight wind, and very light drizzle towards the end (2pm), we all managed 6 or more fish and most all on dries. We started off by getting in about 9am just downstream of the creek and worked our way down to the top of Bowman’s Island. I fished a big split wing Cahill with a dropper off the back early and then went straight to the dry. Only got 1 on the dropper; the rest came on the dry. The guys were hammering them on fan wing Coachmans and an assortment of other dries that weren’t matching any type of hatch. I caught another bow at the end of the day while stretching out line way beyond my capabilities. While not designed for it, the 10′ 6″ 4wt Kurt built me can throw a bugger well out past 60′ with ease! It was another fun trip for our trio.”
The Hooch at Highway 115 looked pretty good today: low, with the usual greenish summer stain, and very fishable. Use the same techniques (flies, niches, and times) described in last week’s report. Just check the gauge or call our Helen store to ensure that an afternoon storm in the upper watershed hasn’t muddied it up too much for your targets to see your streamers and poppers.
Summertime Trout Considerations: Check out this article written by “Trout Professor” Robert Prytula for tips on best practices for trout fishing during the summer.
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.
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