School Days, school days, dear old golden rule days….are your kids ready? Don’t answer that…pretty sure I know the answer. Did you get those summer fishing trips done before this school year started? #takeakidfishing
NEWS TO KNOW
- Educate at Etowah Wildlife Expo: Take the opportunity to learn outside of school at the Etowah Wildlife Expo (Aug. 21-22). Georgia Wildlife Resources Division will be there with some live animals and a fish tank with species found in the Etowah River. If you register for the event (registration is FREE) via EventBrite, you have a chance to win a bow or kayak!
- Get Your Slam! Have you participated in the Georgia Bass Slam yet? Get some fun rewards and a chance at a really nice grand prize at the end of the year! More Info and Rules found HERE.
- Brown Trout Bonanza: The 35 mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River downstream of Lake Lanier is home to Georgia’s southernmost wild brown trout fishery. Click HERE for more info. Want to learn more about trout fishing in Georgia? Click HERE.
This week, we have reports from Southwest, North, and Southeast Georgia. Reward the kids for their hard days of school work with the promise of wetting a line at the nearest water body 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)
Bass fishing at Lake Seminole continues to be fruitful. Top water baits, buzz baits, popping frogs and plastic worms have all been successful on Seminole in the last week. June bugs and yum dingers are the bait of choice currently. Use a Texas rig in some deeper water to find those fish looking for cooler temperatures. Captain Paul Tyre of Lake Seminole Fishing Adventures has been catching 10-15 bass in the mornings and he says that mornings have been more productive than evening times.
The water level is still up. The spring creek arm is clear but the Flint and Chattahoochee arm continues to have a slight stain.
LAKE WALTER F GEORGE
Lake George is 1.82 feet above the full line and bass fishing has been good. Try fishing in isolated grass patches and near lily pads. Big bite baits, buzz baits and hollow belly frogs have been good especially in early mornings and late evenings when the temperatures go down a bit. On the ledges use a crank bait, like a #7 Fat Free Shad in Citrus or Foxy Shad coloring. Anglers have had the most luck on the ledges from Cowikee Creek all the way down to the causeway. A Carolina rig can also be used on the deep ledges or on brush piles where there is some shelter for fish. Make sure to drag your rig all the way down the ledge in order to catch those big fish all the way at the end.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Bream: Bream fishing has been good at Big Lazer PFA. At this time of year, the bream can be found closer in to shore. Crickets and worms are where it’s at for bait! Also, small, brightly colored spinning lures should give you good catches with those spawning fish. Don’t forget to use the appropriate size hook for the size of the mouth of the fish you are targeting.
Catfish: Catfish continue to be great this time of year. Any smelly bait will entice the catfish. Chicken livers, night crawlers, or shrimp fished at or almost at the bottom near woody structures and the rocks around the dam should produce a good bite from a channel cat.
(Fishing report courtesy of Hunter Roop, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
North Georgians had really lucked out this summer, with overall pleasant weather and relatively mild heat, but that all changed this week. Our “extended” spring had prolonged the topwater bite on many of our north Georgia reservoirs, but alas the topwater party is quickly waning as our favorite predators are moving to deeper, cooler water and hunkering down at thermocline depths during the dog days we’re now experiencing. Best bets continue to be fishing before sunrise, at sunset, or at night, and finding some shade for an afternoon siesta otherwise. While your resting, check out ICAST’s latest release of fishing gear and tackle for 2022, and start putting together that Christmas, birthday, or payday wish list.
Reservoir reports brought to you courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report, GON, and other contributors as specified below
WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, CLEAR, 80S
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. It is time to get the big crank baits out and catch these summer bass. Fishing a summertime pattern is the key to catching all species right now. Largemouth and spots are still bunched together in 18 to 20 feet of water on roadbeds, humps, ridges on main lake structure. Cranking a deep diving bait across these ledges, roadbeds and humps will produce. Cranking will trigger a reaction strike from some of these big bass. Carolina rigged worms and long ones to 10 inches are still good to use. Green pumpkin is hard to beat in the summer. Keep a Zoom pearl Super Fluke ready and work it on any bank structure especially up lake above Ringers access.
More Bass (From WRD Fisheries Biologist Brent Hess): I bass fished a few hours on West Point Lake last Sunday morning. I fished topwater early and brush piles once the sun rose overhead. Fishing was slow early and stayed that way. I only caught a few small spots. This weekend will likely be similar with hot temperatures slowing down the bite with bass holding in deeper water. Fishing brush piles once the sun reaches the water may produce a few bites but plan on switching locations frequently. The good news is the lake will be at or near full pool. Good Luck!
WEISS LAKE IS AT 0 FEET 3 INCHES BELOW FULL POOL AND CLEAR AND 81-83 DEGREES
Bass (courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service 256 779 3387): Bass fishing is good. Our fish are on a summer pattern on main lake points, road beds and the creek and river channels. Shad pattern crank baits and Carolina rigs are working well. Slow rolling spinner baits is also working. Flipping docks with jigs is also catching fish.
Crappie (courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service 256 779 3387): Crappie fishing is fair. These fish are on the deeper brush and the creek channel ledges, 12 to 20 feet deep. Spider rigging with live minnows and jig over brush and stump is the way to catch summer time Crappie. Some Crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs.
Striper (courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service 256 779 3387): Striper fishing is good. The fish are in the lower Chattooga River, Little Spring creek and the Cave Hole, live Shad down lined and free lined is catching fish.
LAKE HARTWELL IS .53 FEET OVER FULL, 80S
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. The bass are still holding in ten feet of water and better. Some deep water docks are still producing some of the better Bass while fishing jigs. Use the Carolina rigs along the rocky ledges and deeper creek channels. Fish these rigs really slow to be effective. Using four inch worms instead of the standard six inch will also increase the catch. Some anglers are still using their drop shot rigs in water fourteen feet and better. A light weighted or free falling fluke or worm around the bridge pylons is working. Try fishing these baits right at the pylons and just letting it fall. Watch for any line movement while fishing this method. Deep water cranking a Rapala DT14 through the suspended bass is also very effective. Use these baits on the rocky channel ledges and bounce them off the rocks.
Bass: Guide Matt Justice reports, “Fishing in July can be quite tough, but if you know what to look for, the fishing can be red hot. Finding fresh brush (cane) piles with the leaves still attached is key. This gives fish a nice open-water ambush spot. Throw topwaters over previously marked spots, and fish lots of locations. Finding active fish can take some time. Fishing shallow with a hollow-body frog around bream beds can still produce some very large fish.”
Linesides: Guide Preston Harden reports, “As we go through June, most fish migrate to cooler, deeper water. Hybrids and stripers are moving south toward the lower lake. Bass and crappie are moving to deeper water away from the shallows. Electronics become more important to locate fish in deeper water. By July, the water is hot in the upper water column. Stripers and hybrids have to have cool, oxygenated water. This need pushes them down the lake to better water quality. Look from mid lake to the dam. When you locate fish on your sonar, lower a lively blueback herring right above the fish. This time of year, herring rarely get refused. Another technique is to power reel through the school with a big spoon or a big jig head and a swimbait. I also keep a topwater plug ready in case fish chase bait to the surface. Bass and crappie find cooler water 20 to 30 feet deep. They do not migrate far from their shallow areas. Look for them around brush and other structure off the bank. Crappie love small minnows on a slip float right above where you find them. Bass will come up 20 feet to smash a topwater plug worked above structure. They will eat a soft plastic on a drop shot or a shaky head worked close to the structure.”
More Linesides (This report courtesy of Captain Mack Farr): This week the Striper and Hybrid fishing has really been good and finding quality fish has not been an issue. Power reeling a big ‘ole Capt Mack’s Chipmunk Jig or a Magnum spoon will get the job done every time. Use the power reeling with the live baits, these two techniques will often enhance each other. I still believe that I could catch my limit on freelines early in the morning. Especially if you get the fish stacked back into a small cover or pocket, When the day heats up and the bigger fish move deep power reeling and down lining will be the ticket! This week’s pictured angler is a young man who went fishing with his grandfather one week after doing an Instructional Trip! His name is Eli Slaymaker and he caught this fish on light tackle. You can tell in this picture that he wasn’t crazy about having his picture made with this 26 pounder but I’m sure that he is only upset that it wasn’t a thirty pounder. Remember my advice! Let Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneak up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Put Them in the Boat! So, let’s go Fishing!
LAKE BURTON: LEVEL: FULL POOL. TEMP: 79 DEGREES. CLARITY: CLEAR.
Bass: Capt. Wes Carlton reports, “The spotted bass bite has been off the hook. We have caught fish on every lure imaginable. Most of our bigger fish have come off black/silver jerkbaits. We have caught most of our bass the last couple of days midway back in the creeks near rocky points. The early bite seems to be in the secondary pockets mid lake. The largemouth bite has been good, also. We have had good success with morning-dawn finesse worms in the grass in the backs of creeks. Look for this bite to continue for the next week or so as the water temps climb. The fish will be a little deeper as we head through July.”
Brown Trout: Capt. Wes Carlton reports, “The bite has been good the last few days. We have caught most of our fish mid lake near the herring schools. We have had the best success with Johnson Silver Minnow spoons and Panther Martin spinners. The smaller bait seems to be the ticket lately. This bite should continue for the next several weeks and will get better early morning as we head through July.”
LAKE ALLATOONA IS 1.7 FEET OVER FULL, CLEAR 80S
Bass: Bass fishing is tough. There are tons of tiny bait around and tons of tiny bass feeding on them. Lots of 9 to 13 inch fish. Small bait is the key to getting bit right now. Tiny flukes and the new 3 1/2 jointed Big Bite jerk minnow are good choices fished on the drop shot. Whether fish vertically on Lowrance sonar or throw at schoolers is the best choice for bites. The top water bite is decent at day break and sundown. Small walking style bait and poppers are the best choice. The crank bait bite is very slow. At night the jig head tipped with a trick stick in green pumpkin and a jig are the best option around boat docks and lit areas. Find the fish with the Lowrance Side Scan and Down Scan technology. Now use the Active Target to spot the fish out in front of the boat.
Other: The first annual Etowah Wildlife Expo is scheduled for August 21 – 22, 2021 at The Mill on Etowah in downtown Canton, Georgia. The weekend is hosted by The Mill on Etowah in partnership with the Georgia Wildlife Federation. See Lowrance Pro Staff Ken Sturdivant, Lake Lanier Top Six Bass Champion Phil Johnson and Lake Laker Crappie guide Captain Josh Thornton and watch their demonstration on the Bass Tub.
LAKE LANIER IS FULL, CLEAR, 80S
Bass (This report is by Phil Johnson. Pjohnson15@hotmail.com 770 366 8845): Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The summer patterns are definitely in full swing now on Lanier. The fish have moved to the twenty-five to thirty foot range and are relating to structure and ledges. This week has been a true hit and miss pattern week. One day the fish will ignore a bait and the next day they will kill it. As you approach this summer pattern remain flexible in what you do. Something as subtle as changing you retrieve a little can cause fish to react. Be prepared to fish a lot of locations in order to put fish in the boat as you may only catch one or two at a spot. We are still running the same top and drop pattern and it will be the same pretty much for the summer. Approach the structure first with a top water bait, then throw a fluke and then get directly over the brush with a drop shot. Some days the fish will be holding in the brush, some days around it and some days on top of the brush. This is where your electronics are key and can save you a lot of time. The main baits for the week have been a chrome Gunfish, a chug bug, a Jerkshasd, a five inch spoon and a drop shot. The Fruity Worm colors of Blue Lily, Morning Dawn and Tomato Craw have all produced fish. I have dropped my leader down to six or eight pound fluorocarbon to gain more strikes. A White Jerkshad has been the steadiest color. Work this bait quickly on the surface and then kill it. Most of the strikes are coming on the fall. A five inch Georgia Blade spoon has worked on long points and humps. Use your electronics to tell the depth of you target fish and allow the spoon to go to that depth. The retrieve is a strong pump and the let it fall. Be prepared for the fish to hit it on the fall. The fishing is still good but be prepared to fish a lot of places in order to catch a lot of fish. Go Catch ‘Em!
Crappie (This Crappie report is by Captain Josh Thornton. 770 530 6493): Crappie fishing is good. The water temperature is 84. 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. This week’s catch was 50% minnow’s 50% jigs. 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 jig color combination this week was clear with blue sparkles. 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. Find me on Facebook and like my pages @crappieonlanier @fishingwitheverydayheroes.
Striper (This report courtesy of Lanier Striped Bass Club President Tom Becker AKA “Reeltor”): “I fished yesterday from 2-6 pm for the Fishing with the Falcons and Veterans and the water temperature was 88 degrees. All 15 boats caught fish to my knowledge with the average of about 4 stripers each. The largest striper was 30 inches and we fished during the generation; my boat caught 6 stripers right in front of the dam in about 80-foot bottom fishing about 36 feet deep on downlines. We caught one on a freeline with a split shot. A couple boats were pulling leadcore. The fish were swimming away slow with the warm surface temperatures.”
Other (by WRD Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): A reminder for catch-and-release anglers during the current heat wave: Coolwater species like striped bass do not tolerate temperatures above 80 F well, and the current surface temperature of 88 F can be lethal when combined with the stress of playing the fish, handling, photos, etc. The best way for catch-and-release anglers to ensure fish survive is to keep the fish in the water as much as possible, quickly unhook, and assist the fish back to depth by “torpedoing” it to the water or by using a descending device. If you see the fish is struggling to return to depth due to barotrauma or exhaustion, its chances of survival are low, and you should consider harvesting the fish at that point. Using artificial lures has also been shown to significantly reduce catch-and-release mortality for striped bass in the summer. Finally, if catch-and-release is your ultimate goal, consider targeting alternative species like largemouth bass, spotted bass, or catfish until surface temperatures fall back into the striper comfort zone (65 F – 75 F).
Chattahoochee River (This report is courtesy of Chris Scalley with River Through Atlanta): Did you know it takes a drop of water between two to three years to cycle through Lake Lanier? That’s right, and the waters downstream of the penstocks of Buford Dam are situated at depths down to 130ft where the River remains 49-50F all summer long. The cooler, more dense water molecules that were created by the past two winters gravitate to the floor of this massive 38,000 acre lake at depths of 200 feet and take a long ride down the river channel to the dam. While the Army Corps of Engineers originally designed Buford Dam for flood control and hydro-power, the thriving trout fishery was a fortunate stroke of serendipity!!! When we say there is “air conditioning” on the River all summer, this is not just a fishing tale. Drift boat fishing is our primary style of fishing, and we also utilize the boats to access wadable areas where clients can get out and cool off in the River. We are seeing many clients that normally travel to trout fish are staying closer to home because of the challenges of traveling during the pandemic. We have the “staycation” just for you!!!
Browns (This report is courtesy of Chris Scalley with River Through Atlanta): Despite all the rain this year we have managed to take advantage of the low flow windows between water releases from Buford Dam. The fish are healthy, and this summer DNR has just recently documented yet another successful young-of-the-year generational hatch of brown trout. It’s been 16 years (since 2005) that DNR has abstained from this stocking practice of Salmo trutta in the Chattahoochee tailwater, which is living proof that the river sustains a quality trout sport fishery.
Bows (This report is courtesy of Chris Scalley with River Through Atlanta): Rainbow trout on the Chattahoochee come in all shapes and sizes but one thing is for sure we never met a fish we didn’t like! While Oncorhynchus my-kiss is mostly stocked by DNR in the River we like to break it down into four categories these days. There are the most numerous which we call “cookie cutters” which are 9-12″ bows that just fell out of the hatchery managers truck. Then there is the “hold-over” which because the water is cold year-round the stockers can live for consecutive years and become somewhat wild and larger. Then there is the “trout in the classroom” where rainbow trout eggs are flown in from Colorado on ice to a science teacher at a school both public or private where students learn about water quality using a special 70-gallon aquarium by hatching the eggs and caring for the baby trout then stocking them into the river as fingerlings which is funded by Trout Unlimited. Lastly there are stream bred rainbows that either spawn in the tributaries or on gravel bars on the main stem.
Toccoa River (This report courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company): According to the Tennessee Valley Authority, currently there is work being done on the dam on the Toccoa Tailwater so we’re seeing flows at levels that are higher than wade-able until further notice. Keep an eye on the TVA Lake info app for hourly average discharge as well as the generation schedule and monitor water temperature if you plan on floating the tailwater – please give us a call here at the shop if you have questions regarding fishing in our area! There are still plenty of opportunities to wade fish here in the mountains. (706) 946-3044.
Headwaters & More (This report courtesy of Jeff Durniak with Unicoi Outfitters): This week’s advice is a rerun of last week’s intel due to similar F-Squared: flows and forecast. Pack your summer, low water equipment and techniques for most days. In addition, bring your stormflow tricks in case you’re lucky enough to have an afternoon shower boost and muddy streamflows. I often pack 7/3, 9/4, and 9/6 or 9/8 flyfishing outfits when I am road-tripping this season. I also toss into the Tacoma my fly vest and my river bassin’ sling pack. I’m ready for anything from blueline specks to river bass and let the water conditions dictate the “club” I grab out of my angling bag.
Best bets continue to be blueline wild trout, cold stocker streams on today’s GAWRD list, river bass when clarity’s at least 3 feet, river stripers at dawn and dusk, and pond bass and bream at low light. Landon suggests popping poppers early and late in the day, while diving deep with crayfish during the peak of the afternoon. Wes’ hot fly list and angler reports and tips follow on our long version of this report on our Facebook page and at blog.angler.management.
WRD Trout Hatchery Updates:
Summerville: Summerville Trout Hatchery Manager Josh Tannehill dried his hands long enough to let us know “Summerville will be stocking out 1,275 10-inch rainbow trout in the local streams of northwest Georgia this week.” Summerville’s trout culture specialty is overseeing the production of trout from fertilized eggs until the reach fingerling size, but the few grow-out raceways at the hatchery produce quality 10-inch fish that are well suited to the local water conditions.
Burton/Buford: Trout Stocking Coordinator and Burton Hatchery Manager John Lee Thomson paused during a stocking run to make this important announcement for all trout anglers this weekend: “This weekend would be great opportunity to land a brook trout! Target high elevation stocked streams in the morning while water temperatures are still cool. Best bets include Tallulah River in Rabin County, Dicks Creek on the Chestatee WMA and Rock Creek in Fannin County. For other options check the weekly stocking report HERE.
See? Patience does pay off. Enjoy heading off into the sunrise this weekend armed with the best available intel. Thanks in advance for your purchase of fishing licenses, trout stamps, and TU tags to continue support fisheries management in Georgia. We hope you realize a high return on investment this weekend!
(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)
The rivers are still high, but you may find fishable stretches in the upper areas of some of the tributaries. Ponds, lakes, and saltwater are your best bets this weekend.
Last quarter moon is July 31st. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.
David Freeman fished a tributary to the Ohoopee this week and found that the bite was on. He caught 28 fish, and most of them bit a bumblebee Satilla Spin. He had several species of panfish, 5 bass, and a few catfish. The river level at the Reidsville gage on July 29th was 7.3 feet and falling.
Forget it again this week. The river is too high to effectively fish, but it might be doable next week. That is, if it stops raining. We got over an inch more rain at my house the 2 days prior to writing the report this week. The river level on July 29th at the Waycross gage was 11.9 feet and falling (80 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 11.6 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The Shady Bream Tournament trail held their last Friday evening tournament of the year this past week, but they did not post the results. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for more information. Some ramps are flooded at high tide, so pay attention to the timing if you plan to fish. Catfishing will be your best bet this week, and I would only consider fishing the tidal portion if you think you must fish the river. The river level at the MacClenny gage on July 29th was 12.4 feet and falling.
Matthew and JonJon Page fished with a friend for a few hours at the Refuge (Folkston entrance) on Sunday afternoon. The water was higher than it has been but they still managed to catch some fish in the canal. They trolled Dura-Spins with no luck, but they cast the in-line spinners and caught 6 bowfin to 3 pounds and an 18-inch chain pickerel (jackfish). They pitched pink sallies for about 10 minutes and caught an 8-inch flier before the yellow flies ran them out of the shady area. In the main canal the yellow flies were non-existent. Their best colors of Dura-Spins were crawfish (brass blade) and white – white blade, but they caught a couple on a blood red version. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.0 feet.
Chad and William Lee had a great day on Saturday at a local pond. They caught over 50 bass up to 8.2 pounds. Chad caught the monster on a Senko. They caught fish mainly on stickworms, Carolina rigs and crankbaits. On Friday, Chad fished a pond and had 5 bass up to 5 pounds on a hollow-bodied frog. He sent a photo of the big fish that totally inhaled the frog. They were CHOKING it that morning! Sammy Lee caught a pair of 6-pound bass on a spinnerbait on Saturday morning.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
A Douglas angler fished the St. Marys Jetties on Wednesday and brought home 13 keeper trout and a couple whiting. A group of Brunswick and Waycross anglers (5 boats) fished the jetties on Thursday and did well for redfish. Unfortunately, they were targeting flounder. The group only had a couple flatfish, but they had a bunch of redfish eat bucktails, mudminnows on jigheads, and plastics on Jetty Jigs. The biggest redfish – a 36-incher- got inhaled by a 12-foot class shark right at the boat. The guys jumped a tarpon, caught a few black drum, and had some Spanish mackerel. They also caught a handful of trout from 16 to 18 inches. They worked for their fish, but had a great time. 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.
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