Got fishing questions about reservoirs and rivers? We have the perfect place to find the answers. The Georgia Fishing Forecasts provide specific information about 32 Georgia reservoirs and 18 rivers. These forecasts provide best bets, technique tips and more and are even connected to an interactive map, providing an additional layer of information.
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!
- Catch a Catfish: Angling for catfish is an activity that requires relatively simple gear and is a great way to introduce someone new to fishing, especially kids, so it’s a perfect opportunity to get everyone outside during the summer. Additionally, catfish are a species found throughout Georgia so angling opportunities are plentiful. Find out more HERE.
This week, we have statewide intel, including reports from Central, Southwest, Southeast and North Georgia. Whew! Arm yourself with all the fishing info and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, Region Supervisor and Fisheries Biologist 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 fair. When the fish set up in their summer patterns, the big largemouth can be tough to catch. However, there is no shortage of spotted bass and they can be a lot of fun to catch. When they are moving water, set up on main lake structure and wear the spots out by cranking down with a deep diving crank bait, dragging a Carolina rig or vertical jigging with a shaky head or drop shot. Rocky points with brush piles, the reef markers around the dam or vertical structure like bridge pilings can all be good. Try picking off a few fish with the crank bait. Then slow down and pick apart the structure with the Zoom finesse worm rigs once the fish are found. Watermelon is always a good color and red bug will also produce. Use the Lowrance Structure Scan down Scan technology to scan an area and find the fish. Now use the Active Target to spot the fish out in front of the boat.
CLARKS HILL IS .68 FEET OVER FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The bass are deep at 18 to 25-foot range. This is when the Lowrance Down Scan technology can cover 4 times more bottom than regular 20 kHz. Fish it with a green Zoom Magnum Finesse worm and a Texas rigged Ol Monster worm. A 1- or 2-ounce Jig in camo color is also producing around the isolated structure on the main lake points. Color is not specific; any form of green pumpkin is good. Early in the morning and late in the evening throw a buzz bait around stick grass on the bank. Spend some time on the main lake and use the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology and search the creek mouths right at the river. This technology can spot individual fish, schools of fish and most importantly, schools of bait fish. The cloudy days make the shallow bite last longer. As the day moves on, change from the top water baits to a submerged or bottom bait. Keep working slow. The ledge bite is good around any type of cover or bend if the water is moving. A good sonar will find some good brush or other cover. Heavy jigs are a good choice. Black, blue or browns are doing well. 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.
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. At first light fish a buzz bait on sea walls and rip rap from the middle of the coves and creeks out to the main lake. White or white/chartreuse have been the best color. Fishing a Carolina rig on the humps on the south end of the lake has also been producing over the past week. As always during the summer fish the rip rap around the bridges when Georgia Power is pulling water in the afternoons. A rattle trap, spinner bait, or a small crank bait will all produce a strike. Deep diving crank baits off the south end humps will also pick up as we move into summer.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is poor. There are some small fish feeding at the dam first thing in the morning. Live bait and spoons will catch these small fish. The next option is umbrella rigs on humps on the south end, but this is not very predictable. Also, they are catching a few up Rockland creek on live shad.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. The fish have moved into their summer locations. Look on the creek ledges as well as in the deeper timber. Use your Lowrance structure scan to locate the timber with the crappie in it. Once you locate the fish you can use a jig or drop a live bait into the school.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.2 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is slow. Look for a shallow bite on the shallow points, sea walls, and docks that are adjacent to deep water. River channel swings and creek mouths are best. Some fish can still be caught on a Spro frog around grass beds as well. Texas rigged soft plastics and jigs fished around boat houses and lay down trees have been most productive when looking for the shallow bite. There are still a lot of fish holding on deep offshore structure lake wide. This has been the most consistent pattern this week, especially on the lower portion of the lake. Most of these offshore fish are holding in depths of 18 to 25 feet. Look for points that drop into the river channel, offshore humps, or ledges that contain rocks or some form of wood cover. These places are easy to find with the Lowrance HDS Structure Scan technology. Drop shot rigs, flutter spoons and football jigs will all produce on these offshore structures. The deep bite will be best when Georgia Power is moving water.
LAKE JACKSON IS 1.2 FEET OVER FULL, CLEAR 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The fish are on their summer holes. The channel swing under the power lines and the hump at the mouth of Tussahaw Creek have both recently been hotspots. Several baits are working for the deeper fish, both spots and largemouth. Big crank baits, like DD22s or Strike King 6 XDs, are working in the 16 to 18-foot range. On some days fish want a slower presentation. Use a 3/4-ounce Net Boy Baits football jig in green or brown colors. Tip the jig with a 4-inch Big Bite Baits Kriet Kreature in craw and orange color. For a more finesse bait, use a 1/4-ounce Net Boy Baits screwball jig head with a Big Bite Baits Squirrel Tail worm in watermelon or green pumpkin color. Dipping either bait in JJ’s Magic will help increase bites and hook up percentages. One other option for largemouth is to run up the Yellow River or South rivers above the bridges and fish a 1/4-ounce buzz bait around blow downs and log jams early or late in the day. Some bites can be explosive, so use heavy line or braid to muscle these fish.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 87.8˚ F (31˚ C)
- Water Level: 17” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 17”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
The lake is about 10 inches lower than from the last report, but this hasn’t affected the available structure much. We have had some reports of bass being caught in the 4 to 7lb. range and bream being caught in the shadier areas. The early morning before the heat of the day kicks in and late evening have been the most popular times.
Bass: Buzz baits, Plum colored ‘Ol Monster worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumkinseed Culprit worms. Any shad colored lures fished around the aerators.
Bream: Worms – Red Wigglers and Pinks. The bream have been reported to be biting around the fishing pier in the last few weeks, with the bank fishermen catching good numbers; also, the gravel beds continue to produce some good catches of bedding bream.
Channel Catfish: Red Wiggler and Pinks worms have been reported to produce good catches of catfish, fishing near the big oak tree near the dam and from the back side have produced some good catches in the 3 to 5 lb. range and good numbers around 12”.
Crappie: Earlier in the month we were seeing some regular catches from over night and early morning fishing, not sure if the fish have slowed down or the heat has slowed the fishermen down. 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 are full or nearly so.
- Water clarity: 16” to 24”. Fox Lake visibility may be as much as 40”.
- Surface temperature: Upper 80’s.
- Greenhouse Pond is closed for renovation
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Early morning and late afternoon have been the most productive for bass. Several nice hybrid bass have been caught at Bennett Lake. There are large schools of small shad on the surface most every afternoon late.
Crappie: Very few crappies are being caught at this time. If you fish for crappie this time of year, your best bet is to fish deep and cove a lot of water.
Bream: Most of the larger bream are being caught on the bottom in deeper water near dams and creek channels, unless they are on the bed around the full moon. Waxworms, crickets, and pink worms continue to be good bait.
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
It is hot out there on Lake Blackshear and the large amount of rain has made the water mucky. Despite some of the weather-related problems fishing has been good out there.
Bream: Worms and crickets continue to be the bait of choice out there to catch some beautiful bream. Anglers are having success in the early mornings and evenings. If you have the right set up Flint River outdoors has suggested fishing at night to avoid the heat and to get to those fish when they are a bit more active.
Catfish: Blackshear Catfish are hot right now! Check out some of the nice fish that have been weighed in at Flint River Outdoors recently.
SILVER LAKE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Bass: Continued rain is keeping the surface water temperature low. The bass are slow and elusive this time of year. They tend to be focused out in deeper water where they can stay cool. You may be able to find a few using top water lures near vegetation in the early morning or in the late evening.
Bream: When targeting bream, you can’t go wrong with crickets and worms. Focus near the edges of the lily pads and other aquatic vegetation near shore.
Crappie: Crappie can still be caught if you focus on standing or fallen timer that creates good structure on the water. Try 10-15 feet of depth and a minnow tipped 1/8 oz jighead and you should have some luck
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
In general, August and September hot temperatures can make fishing at Big Lazer challenging. However, cooler temperatures are on the way, which will improve the bite. Be sure to stay hydrated during a long day at the lake!
Bass: Largemouth bass fishing has slowed because of the very hot temperatures. However, a few can still be caught in deeper water. Anglers should try a shad look alike in 3 to 8 feet of water and fish out from the bank at least five feet. Sometimes, several larger bass can be found in the shade of the fishing pier. Feeding bass will be most active during the early morning and later in the evening. Try bass fishing with shallow presentation of dark colored crank baits and plastic-worms during the low light periods.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is poor. Because of the warm summer temperatures crappie tend to move into deeper water as well as scatter themselves over much of lake. This will make them difficult to locate but you can try easing through the standing timber presenting live minnows and/or brightly colored jigs at different depths for your best chance of catching a good-sized crappie.
(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 southeast Georgia rivers are shot with the rains this week. Gary Sammons of Adrian had the only good river report that I heard. He caught the pending Ohoopee River bass record – a 9-lb., 8-oz. monster that inhaled a topwater on Saturday. Saltwater and ponds will be the places to fish this week.
Chad Lee caught 8 bass this week during short trips. His biggest was a 4-pounder he caught on Thursday morning on a black magnum curly-tail worm. His other fish were in the 2-pound range and ate Senkos (rainbow trout color). If you can safely access the spillway of your favorite pond, the fish should be attracted to the flow in the plunge pool below the pond. All the rain we have had will improve this bite.
Brett and Will Albanese came down from Watkinsville this week to fish saltwater and the swamp. We went to the Folkston entrance on Tuesday, but I was not very optimistic that we would catch ANY since the water continued to rise with daily rains this week (we got 3 1/2 inches the night before!). We figured that we would sight-see if the fish did not bite. Fortunately, the fish bit way better than I expected. In a half-day, we caught 13 fish (a gar, a warmouth, a jackfish, and several bowfin) by casting Dura-Spins in the canal. Brett ended up catching his first bowfin and warmouth, and Will caught his first bowfin and chain
pickerel (jackfish). Our biggest bowfin was 6.4 pounds (Brett caught it), and it ate a red/white Dura-Spin. The best color Dura-Spins were black/chartreuse (chartreuse blade), red/white, crawfish, and blood red. In the main canal the yellow flies were non-existent, but the little yellow nasties were still around in the areas with overhanging trees. The water came up almost a half foot this week, and that will almost assuredly put the bite off for a couple of weeks before it starts dropping back out. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.4 feet.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Dillard Winters and Birddog fished the St. Marys Jetties over the weekend and had a great mess of trout and flounder by casting plastics. Mr. Winters caught their biggest, a 21-inch gator trout, and released it to spawn. They kept 8 of the smaller keepers and a few flounder. Don Harrison of Waycross took Brett and Will Albanese of Watkinsville to the St Marys Jetties on Monday. They had 2 big bull redfish of 36 and 30 inches. Don caught his on a mullet-colored 3/4-oz. Capt. Bert’s Bucktail Jig, while Will caught his personal best redfish on a jighead and live mudminnow. Besides the bull reds, they caught trout and several other species that roam the rocks. Capt. Greg Hildreth said that his clients caught quite a few trout this week, but they were mostly on the small side. The whiting bite in the Brunswick area has been good for summertime. A few anglers reported catching mangrove snapper and rat redfish off Brunswick area docks. The best dock report I heard was from an angler using small pieces of shrimp around slack tide, and they caught a dozen mangrove snapper in a couple hours until they ran out of bait. 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 John Damer, Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
Blue Ridge Lake Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Eric Welch, Welch’s Guide Service via GON Fishing Reports) — It’s your typical summertime fishing on Blue Ridge. Blue Ridge is a deep, clear lake that gets a tremendous amount of recreational boat traffic from July 4th until Labor Day weekend. This pushes the fish down deep, which only gives you three or four hours of decent fishing, starting at daylight. Then you will get a couple of hours before dark and into the dark hours. If you have a good, bright, clear night, the herring baitfish will feed on the plankton, which will also have the bass actively feeding. This helps with the first hour in the morning. Throw a Whopper Plopper, Strike King Sexy Dawg Jr. and a Pop-R. Once the sun gets up, it’s time to start looking for offshore humps with deep drops or brush. I’m targeting these fish with a drop shot, using a 4.5-inch RoboWorm or some type of minnow-looking bait. My next choice is a Ned rig with a TRD worm. I’m using St. Croix spinning rods, 7-foot medium light and medium, spooled with Sunline Siglon 12-lb. yellow braid with Gamma Touch fluorocarbon leader. Target deep, rocky banks, points and laydowns. Fishing these days has become like all the other sports. If your kid plays baseball, the $400 bat will make them better than a $60 bat. The same is starting to play into fishing, especially with the electronics now. Lowrance has ActiveTarget, Garmin has LiveScope and now Humminbird has MEGA Live. It just depends on how much you want to spend or which units you want. If the older generation would of had this technology 40-plus years ago, we wouldn’t have anything to fish for now. The biggest key to summertime fishing is knowing how to read your electronics, not just the sonar but also the mapping. I use Humminbird Helix because I have grown accustomed to their mapping, but I also use the Garmin 1022 LiveScope. If you pull up to a hump, point or brush and you don’t see any fish on LiveScope, it’s time to leave because they’re not there. Good luck.
Blue Ridge Lake Walleye Report: (This report courtesy of Eric Crowley, Lake and Stream Guide Service via GON Fishing Reports) — This summer continues to be one of the best in years. The walleye bite has been steady with fish holding in 40 to 60 feet just off the bottom near bait balls. This is when a spoon really starts working. I like a 2-inch gold Blue Fox Vibrax. There’s a few color variations in the same line, and they all catch fish in this super clear water. Use 10-lb. fluorocarbon or less. You can forget getting bit in the daytime. Weed edges, rock lines or edges are all holding fish. Work that Vibrax for a few minutes, and if you’re not getting bit, move on to the next spot. This is where the Auto Chart live feature comes in handy on the Humminbird units. You can find and follow the weed edges precisely. Live bait can be used in the same areas as the spoons and will put fish in the boat, as well. I like a 1/0 circle hook or an octopus hook for medium-sized baits. This is just enough weight to get it down to the fish, and again use a light leader. The trolling bite is good at dawn or after dark running deep-diving crankbaits while clipping main-lake points or over the weedbeds.
Carters Lake Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Eric Crowley, Lake and Stream Guide Service via GON Fishing Reports) — The summer striper pattern was late arriving this year, but it’s here now for sure. The key is starting early. We are getting a few shots at stripers just before dawn on live baits fished under the Hydro Glow. After that, you’re better off pulling a Captain Mack’s umbrella rig or lead core and jigs. Both can be effective but also costly ways to fish Carters Lake. The standing timber is everywhere and loves to eat trolling gear. Start about a third of the way back in the creeks and work the main-lake points and timber edges.
Carters Lake Walleye Report: (This report courtesy of Eric Crowley, Lake and Stream Guide Service via GON Fishing Reports) — The summertime walleye bite is good, and we are catching fish in the 22- to 24-inch range regularly. Early morning until about 11 a.m. has been really good, and there’s another good bite from dusk until about two hours after dark. Spoons or live baits are what we are doing right now. Look for fish in the 50- to 70-foot zone on the upper end of the lake and 35 to 55 on the lower end near the dam. I’m so glad this fishery has developed into what it is. Quality fish is the name of the game with all fish on Carters.
Lake Nottely Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Jeremy Seabolt, Lake Nottely Fishing Charter via GON Fishing Reports) — Striper fishing has been off the charts. We have been on some monster schools of fish. It’s been one of the best Julys I have seen. The fish are in full swing on their summer patterns. Most of the fish we have been catching are holding close to the big schools of herring out over deep humps and the channel. Downlines 20 to 30 feet deep have been the key depth. Going into August, fish will be in the same areas but just move out and fish over deeper water. August is always a fun month for me. We can catch lots of fish and catch them in a lot different ways. I like trolling in August. I feel like you catch tons more fish, and I feel like it doesn’t hurt the smaller fish trolling like it does the bigger fish that are deep. August can be a tough time on the stripers if you keep them out of the water very long. If I catch fish below 25 feet, I try to get the fish to the boat as fast as I can and get it put back down. In August, look for the fish to be from points 8 to the dam.
Lake Chatuge Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Eric Welch, Welch’s Guide Service via GON Fishing Reports) — Lake Chatuge has been fishing good. We’ve only been out early in the mornings fishing the first four to six hours and getting off the lake before it gets hot. There has been some topwater action going on, some fish breaking out in open water, and we’ve also caught some around laydowns using a Strike King Sexy Dawg, Zara Spook and a Whopper Plopper. I keep a topwater handy because you never know when there’s going to be some bass blowing up on herring. I’ve been running a lot of offshore humps, points and deep brush. I’ve mostly been catching my fish on the Z-man Ned rig with a TRD worm and a drop-shot with a RoboWorm and 3-inch minnow pattern baits. I’ve been catching most of my fish using my Garmin LiveScope, not just to locate them but also catching groups of suspending fish. I know a lot of people think they have been using their 2D sonar by turning the sensitivity up and watching their line and lure as it drops down to the group of fish. However, with these new forward views, you can see out 50 to 80 feet. The farther you look out, it’s not as clear, but you can still mark fish that 2D will not see until you’re on your fish. I’m also mixing in some 3-inch swimbaits, spoons and a shaky head. If I have a good, windy day, I will throw a spinnerbait some. Good luck.
Lake Burton Report: (This report courtesy of Wes Carlton, Georgia Lake Fishing via GON Fishing Reports) — The bass bite has been great in the mornings and a little slow in the afternoons. We have been catching most of our fish on an underspin tipped with a paddletail in the backs of creeks over the grass. We have had some bigger fish come off a Whopper Plopper 90. This bite had been really strong between 8 and 10 a.m. Look for the grass midway back in the creeks in 16 to 20 feet of water. Most of these areas are holding good fish. This bite should continue over the next few weeks. The brown trout bite has been a little slow the last week or so. The few we have caught have been on small minnows weighted with a split-shot. We have been targeting the main river channel. Early morning seems to be the better time This bite should pick up any day now as we head toward the end of August.
Lake Hartwell Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Matt Justice, via GON Fishing Reports) — August is considered the dog days of summer, but with higher-than-normal oxygen levels, the fish don’t seem to mind. Fishing has been better than what can normally be expected. Throwing large walking baits and flukes above brush and canepiles is the predominate pattern. Look for brush in 15 to 30 feet of water on main-lake points and humps. With the lake just above full pool, a lot of shallow cover is available to throw topwater frogs and Zoom Speed Worms around. Look for moving and stained water. Night fishing has also been doing very well with large catches of largemouth and striper around lights.
Lake Hartwell Bass Report: (This report Courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com ) — Bass fishing is fair. The most consistent bite going is targeting deep main lake brush piles with a combination of techniques. Pull up to the brush and try a weightless Zoom Super Fluke, a Lucky Craft Sammy 100 or a Lucky Craft Smasher 105. It’s important to work these baits fast across the surface to try and draw the fish up. Cast moving baits over the brush and watch the Lowrance electronics and be ready to drop a drop shot rigged with a Zoom Swamp Crawler or a Wackem Baits Big Sissy worm straight down. These fish will easily show up on the 83 kHz beam and this will give anglers double the cone angle over 200 kHz. Typically expect only to get one to three bites off of each brush pile before the school is pulled away from the brush. Fish lots of brush all day. The other bite that can be a shallow deal in the backs of the major creek arms. Early and late in the day with the Zoom Super fluke in pearl and the buzz bait or a Zoom Horny Toad. Fish around any shallow cover in the very backs of the major creeks. This shallow deal is usually better during low light situations. If the sun is bright go deep.
Lake Hartwell Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Preston Harden, Bucktail Guide Service via GON Fishing Reports) — Stripers and hybrids migrate to the mid to lower lake in the summer. Some years by August most larger stripers are south of the fork between the Seneca and Tugaloo rivers where the Savannah river begins. We have had bad water quality for the last three years and the thermocline has made it to the lower lake. The Fisheries biologists say the huge rains have been a problem. Hopefully the heavy rains will subside. If there is a thermocline, fish will be above 40 feet. Bait will die if fished below the thermocline. If the thermocline does not make it to the lower lake, look for big fish as deep as 120 feet deep. Live herring work great. I add a few pounds of ice in the summer. I lower the bait through the hot surface water quickly. Power reeling works great on these deep fish. A big, 8- to 10-inch spoon or a big jig head with a big swimbait will get bit. When you reel through the fish marked on the sonar, don’t slow down. Reel fast when you see a fish following. Bass and crappie move to deeper water around structure. I think the spots group up more as the water heats up. Look for brushpiles 15 to 30 feet deep around points and humps. I will start with a topwater plug and then a drop shot or use a shaky head and fish vertically where I mark the spots on the sonar. When you find one, there are usually more.
Lake Hartwell Profile Data: (From Fisheries Biologist George Gavrielides) — Suitable cool-water habitat for striped and hybrid bass is being pushed and constricted downstream towards the dam. While collecting profile data at our station a mile upstream of the dam, we recorded 8 fish on our depth finder that looked like striped bass. They were hanging around 40-60 feet deep which is where the thermocline seems to be right now (Temp/DO Figure attached). Most striped and hybrid bass will be hanging downstream of rivers forks right now finding refuge in water 40-60 feet deep with suitable temperatures and DO concentrations. We found 2 recently dead striped bass floating just downstream of rivers forks and we could tell it was likely from angler release. Angler’s should use caution when releasing striped bass and observe their acclimation. Angler’s may want to target an alternative species until the Fall when striped bass are less stressed. Striped bass in creeks is unlikely right now, but they have been historically documented (2018-2019) finding cool-water refugia in creeks. We will continue mobile tracking to observe late summer movements. See profile data HERE.
Lake Lanier Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770-366-8845) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. With the temperatures soaring this week the bass are still cooperating on several patterns. The drop shop has probably been the most consistent pattern for numbers of fish, many of these fish will be cookie cutter two to two and a half pound fish. The Fruity worms in Blue Lily have been the main bite producers for the week. I tend to be a power fisherman and like to hit spots quick and move. With the heat this week I needed to move a lot to try to stay cool. The bait that I had the most success with was the Chrome Gunfish because I could move on multiple spots and catch the active fish. Surprisingly there is still some top water action particularly in the morning. I am throwing the Gunfish on twelve pound fluorocarbon and working it extremely fast across the top. This is pure reaction bite that is helped with some wind. Many of the bites I am getting on it are very explosive bites so the trick is to be patient and not take the bait away from them before they have it. Wait for the pull. As with the drop shot the majority of the fish are coming from off shore brush located around humps and points in twenty five to thirty five feet of water. I’ll make several cast over the brush and if I see fish around the brush on my Livescope that aren’t reacting to the top water bait I will move in and drop shot. The Livescope allows me to quickly tell if the particular brush pile is worth fishing or not. The Georgia Blade five inch spoon continues to produce some good fish but maybe not the numbers yet. I am throwing this on the same humps as top water and also along tree lines to catch some of my bigger fish. The fish are still active even if the temperature makes it miserable at times. Start early and Go Catch ‘Em!
Lake Lanier Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Lanier Jim, via the GON Forum) — Great GON-tel from Lanier Jim, note the 5 fish/h catch rate. Good stuff.
Lake Lanier Crappie Report: (This report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton, 770-530-6493) — The water temperature is 84. We have been catching fish in 8’ of water this week and we have got them in 25 feet of water. I have found crappie on docks, blow downs and brush this week. This week’s catch was 98% minnows. If you have live scope or active imaging set the minnows just above the fish. Right now I am setting the minnows around 10 to 12 feet 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 white and chartreuse or a purple and chartreuse. 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
Lake Lanier Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Clay Cunningham, Catching Not Fishing via GON Fishing Reports) — After a cool early July, the summer heat has arrived on Lanier and the stripers have moved south on the lake. The average size of fish has increased since last year. The best fishing is on the south end of the lake due to deeper, colder water, which means higher oxygen levels for the stripers. Look in the creek channels near patches of timber. The primary pattern is the downline. The primary setup for the downline is a Shakespeare Striper Rod paired with a Penn Fathom II 15 Linecounter reel spooled with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game line, the Captain Mack 2-oz. Swivel Sinker, a 6-foot section of Trilene 100 percent Fluorocarbon and a 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook. Add a live herring to the hook and you are good to go. Take plenty of herring, as they will not live long on the hook. Great electronics like the Humminbird Solix is the key for success right now. Be sure to use your Side Imaging to help find the fish. Most days they will be 30 to 60 feet deep. The trolling bite is also picking up. Talk to your local tackle store like Hammonds or Oakwood Bait and Tackle for the specific rod and reel needed. Look for a Penn Fathom reel paired with a Shakespeare Tiger rod. Once you are set up, tie up one rod with a Ben Parker spoon, one with a Georgia Blade Spoon and one with a 1- to 2-oz. white Berkley Fusion bucktail and troll at 2.8 mph. Tip the Berkley Fusion bucktail with a 6-inch Captain Mack chartreuse trailer. Let the first couple of bites tell you which one is hot. It can vary from day to day. Also keep white Captain Mack trailers, pink trailers and all bucktail sizes on hand. Be sure to release fish as fast as possible. Every second out of the water in the hot summer months increases mortality. If you are taking pictures, have everything ready for a quick picture and release. One key tool to have in the boat is the Ugly Stick 90 degree pliers. Great product to get hooks out of all fish, especially stripers. See you on the water.
Lake Lanier Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Buck Cannon, Buck Tales Service, 404 510 1778) — Lanier Stripers have moved to the south end where the oxygen level is better. Fish over River channel and creek intersections. Using your electronics locate the cross over areas and don’t expect large schools but when you mark a couple fish put down lines around 40-50′ deep. The Stripers are moving. So slow trolling around .05 mph with the lead core is working. The fish are healthy so have your net ready. Lead core is another methodology to cover more water. Buck Tales
Lake Allatoona Bass Report: (This report Courtesy of Matt Driver, via www.southernfishing.com ) — Bass fishing is fair. The month of August is extremely tough. Hot weather and boat traffic make it difficult to catch a good stringer. With patience they will bite. A lot of the fish that we are catching right now are small, but a few decent fish show up from time to time. The most consistent bite right now is on bluff walls with a drop shot rig and a Ned rig. With all the rain we’ve had, the water has been up higher than normal, but water temperatures are slightly cooler. That could possibly change later this month if the rain slows down. Most of the time we run and gun but with summer heat and a non aggressive bite we are slowing way down. The Berkley Power Bait Flat Worm and the Missile Baits Bomb Shot are working the best right now. The Picasso Ned rig tipped with either a morning dawn or bluegill colored Roboworms is the way to go. We are downsizing the line to 5 and 7 pounds fluorocarbon. The month of August is probably the toughest month in the opinion for good fish so be patient. Once the temperatures start to cool and the lake has less boat traffic, things will get better.
Lake Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Matt Driver, via GON Fishing Reports) — The month of August is extremely tough. Hot weather and boat traffic make it difficult to catch a good stringer. With patience, you can catch them. A lot of the fish that we are catching right now are small, but a few decent fish show up from time to time. The most consistent bite right now is on bluff walls with a drop-shot rig and a Ned rig. With all the rain we’ve had, the water has been up higher than normal, but water temps are slightly cooler. That could possibly change later this month if the rain slows down. Most of the time I am a run-and-gun style fisherman, but with summer heat and a non-aggressive bite, I am slowing way down. The Berkley PowerBait Flat Worm and the Missile Baits Bomb Shot are working the best right now. The Picasso Ned rig tipped with either a morning dawn or bluegill colored RoboWorm is the way to go. I am downsizing my line to 5 and 7 pounds fluorocarbon. The month of August is probably the toughest month in my opinion for good fish, but fall is coming, so be patient. Once the temperatures start to cool and the lake has less boat traffic, things will get better.
Lake Allatoona Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Robert Eidson, Firstbite Guide Service via GON Fishing Reports) — Fishing is outstanding! The downline bite is in full swing, and the hybrids are just killing live bait right now. Our boats are having very good mornings right now. On most days, we are seeing 20 to 50 fish per boat on half-day trips. Shad is still out-fishing shiners, but the shiner bite is probably the best we have seen in years. But with that being said, shad is still out-producing shiners five to one. The better bite is on the south end of the lake. Stamp, Cooper Branch, Iron Hill, Red Top and Clark creeks are all fishing well right now. There is also a bite mid-lake, but it just doesn’t compare to the bite on the south end. The trolling bite is also starting to pick up. It is hard to beat a Captain Mack’s four-arm umbrella rig loaded with 9 1/2-oz. jigs fished 100 feet out at 2.4 mph. The topwater bite is also starting to get good early and then again right before sundown within eyesight of the dam. Fishing right now is as good as it gets on Lake Allatoona.
- Bass: A few of the largemouth have shown up on some of the deeper structure as the water temps heated up over the last few weeks. Zoom Ol’ Monster worms either Texas- or Carolina-rigged, or a Bomber Fat Free 7 or 8 crankbait in citrus shad are a couple of the favorite baits for exploring the offshore structures. Old roadbeds, pond dams, channel ledges, etc., especially those with fresh brushpiles, will hold some good bass. Most of the tournament-winning sacks continue to come from private brushpiles. A few guys put in the work and usually reap the rewards. Over the last few years at least a few of our largemouth have decided to stay shallow all summer. Shallow-water baits such as unweighted Trick Worms, flukes, Senkos, buzzbaits and SPRO Poppin Frogs seem to catch at least some bass all summer. The trick is to fish these baits in or near cover. It is usually an early bite. Concentrate on areas north of the 219 bridge. Another fairly productive pattern is to fish jigs around trees. It won’t produce a lot of bites, and you are going to lose or break some off, but a kicker fish may be your reward. The spotted bass will at least keep the day interesting for you. Carolina-rigged finesse worms or a Spot Remover with a Zoom Trick Worm are good choices for spots. Try fishing bridge pilings, blowdowns, gravel banks or shoal markers. Usually when you catch one, there are other spotted bass in the area.
- Linesides: Expect the topwater fishing to continue to be the best very early and very late or on overcast or rainy days. A popping-cork rig has been working well on these schooling linesides that are 1- to 3-lb. fish. A 3/8- or 1/2-oz. white Rooster Tail, a chrome C.C. Spoon and a number of other small shad imitators have been producing. The mouths of most creeks south of the 109 bridge and the flats around Amity Park have been holding fish. Trolling with mid-depth crankbaits and Flash Mob Jr. umbrella rigs have also been producing some linesides in these same areas. The fish are keying on mostly small shad. Downlining with shad or bass shiners should continue to be at least fairly effective. Freelining a live bait will also work at times. Most of the fish seem to be holding 20 to 30 feet deep when they are not schooling on the surface.
West Point Lake Bass Report: (This report Courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com ) — Bass fishing is tough. Bass are in the summer slump with the hot water. Presentations must be super slow for any results. Spinnerbaits are too fast. Top water frogs and poppers are the trick very early. Work them as slow as possible all the way from cover to the boat. Medium jigs are doing well with soft plastics worked around the rocks, grass and cover. Again, the slower the better results. Carolina rigs on deep brush piles and wood have produced well this past week. If they are pulling water, work down the slope. If they stop pulling, work from deep to shallow. Keep it slow. Fish are stacking up on the ledges during the heat of the day. With the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology, anglers and search great amounts of water and not waste time fishing water with no fish close by. The best time to catch bass is during generation hours. Currently, water has been moving in the late afternoons. Look for any irregularity or point along the channel. Stumps and trees are a bonus for holding fish. It’s hard to beat Carolina rigs and deep diving crankbaits in these areas. Early in the morning there are some fish shallow in grass or lily pad fields. The closer to the deeper water the better. Frogs, buzz baits and small, white swim jigs will work.
Lake Weiss Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Mike Carter, via GON Fishing Reports) — Weiss is tough with these hot conditions. Nighttime is the right time for this lake this time of year, and there’s nothing like a big Coosa River spotted bass slamming a big Choo Choo Lures spinnerbait being slow-rolled along deep points. But if night fishing is not your thing, then getting out at daylight is a must. Cover the seawalls and rip-rap areas before the sun comes up using small buzzbaits, Whopper Ploppers and Spooks before the heat of the day starts.
Lake Weiss Report: (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service via GON Fishing Reports and www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good and most Bass 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 fishing is fair and they hare 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 summertime Crappie. Some Crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs. Striper fishing is good and they are in the lower Chattooga River, Little Spring creek and the Cave Hole, live Shad down lined and free lined is catching fish.
SMALL LAKE REPORT
Rocky Mountain PFA Report: (From Fisheries Biologists Jackson Sibley and Jim Hakala) — Rocky Mountain PFA’s largemouth bass fishery is making a good showing on the national scene. Over a thousand bass anglers from across the nation competed in a month long charity kayak bass fishing tournament. Participating anglers in this catch-photograph-release tournament format could fish anywhere in the nation during the month of July. Competitors from Maine to California and numerous states in between participated. The winner was based on the total body length of the best five bass caught and photographed on an approved measuring board. While several anglers from Georgia competed in the event, three of them placed 5th, 6th and 7th in the thousand plus participant field. All the largemouth bass these three anglers submitted for the competition were caught at Rocky Mountain PFA and ranged in size from 21.75 to 24.5 inches in length. Congratulations to the anglers on an impressive accomplishment and to the PFA staff for their continued efforts to maintain a high quality largemouth bass fishery. If you want in on the action, big fish are currently being caught in each of Rocky PFA’s three fishing lakes. Anglers are using naturally colored jigs, spinnerbaits, swimbaits and crankbaits fished slowly. Because the dissolved oxygen levels in Rocky’s waters stratify during summer, you’ll want to target depths of 10’ or shallower. Structure is key here, as large bass prefer to hang around rock piles, flooded timber, and jetties. The PFA boasts over 500 acres of intensively managed waters along with three boat ramps, courtesy docks, restrooms, and several other amenities.
Etowah River Report: (This report courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company) — We’re at the tail end of striper season, but spotted bass fishing is only going to get better from now till October! If you do plan on striper fishing, the first and last two or three hours of the day are key periods. Try throwing an intermediate clear tip line with a long 7/8 foot leader consisting of 40/30/20lb fluorocarbon with white or white/chartreuse bucktail flies, EP baitfish in tan/white, olive/white, or gray/white, and Major Mullet or Major Sardine patterns. You have to hunt these fish: persistence and stamina are the name of the game. Keep a 7 weight rigged with a floating warmwater line like Scientific Angler’s Bass Bug in the boat – size 4 Boogle Bugs, Dahlberg Divers, Gurglers, or any of your other favorite topwater bass bugs will produce fish even during the hottest part of the day. Base your leader size on the fly – generally I fish a 0x or 1x 9 foot leader with boogle bugs and gurglers, but on the diving frogs I like to beef up to a 12lb saltwater tapered leader. Target shaded eddies with laydowns and brush and put the fly in the deepest part of cover and hold on! If topwater flies don’t seem to do the trick, switch to staples like Clouser Minnows, Sparkle Minnows, and Finesse Gamechangers on a warmwater intermediate fly line like Scientific Angler’s Tropical Titan Clear Tip.
Warmwater Rivers Report: (This report courtesy of “The Dredger,” at Unicoi Outfitters) — The bite picked up a bit, but so did the storms, so check river gauges and fly shops for water clarity before you go. Subsurface is outfishing topwater right now. Athens Jay reports: “Spent a very hot summer day exploring a magnificent Georgia Piedmont stream. It is amazing to see what a forested watershed means to aquatic health. Overhanging riparian trees, rocky substrate and clear water make for great fishing opportunities. Two anglers brought well over 35 fish to hand and there certainly were some big surprises. The go-to fly continues to be what we now call the “Blurple”. Piedmont River Report: This week brought some nice weather, including a little relief from the heat. River bass appeared to enjoy the change and it was a glorious time for wet wading. Topwater bite has been only fair, but casting big dark streamers upstream and allowing them to drift past fish lurking in deep runs has really payed off. My personal preference is something we call the “Blurple” – an articulated streamer with large dumbell eyes on a wide-gap jig hook in front. I tie it with black rabbit dubbing loops, purple marabou and a little bit of flash. I recently started using a stinger hook in the tail section which reduces the short-strike bites. Target rocky substrate and expect to catch multiple species of predators, including our resident habitat specialists.”
Stocked Streams Report: (This report courtesy of “The Dredger,” at Unicoi Outfitters) — Folks really enjoyed the stocked brookies last week from WRD and USFWS. There should be some of those fish left for prospectors willing to cover more instream distance. Spring stockers will now be scarce, so tune in to the newest Friday WRD stocking report for your best chance at late-season stocker success. Remember to aim for cooler water for the most cooperative fish. A stream thermometer (about fifteeen bucks) is a gotta-have now and once again in the dead of winter, so buy and use one to enhance your catch. As mentioned in a prior report, GAWRD cuts back on stocking after July 4, but the streams stocked now still provide nice late-season opportunities. Sign up at the agency website for those Friday WRD stocking lists, delivered to you via text or email!
Toccoa Tailwater: (This report courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company) — TVA is still working on the dam, so we’re seeing flows higher than normal until further notice. Today, August 3rd, the TVA is running 750 cfs. This flow is too high to wade, but a float trip out of a stable boat like a drift boat or raft can be productive at this level. Fish early and late and take a couple rods for different scenarios and types of fishing – try throwing hoppers, beetles, and big stoneflies on the bank or streamer fishing if you don’t feel like nymphing! I like to rig a 5 weight with a 3x leader and a single hopper, but it may be more productive to drop a couple nymphs off the back, and don’t forget the split shot since the current is moving a little faster. For the streamers, take a 7 weight with an intermediate or fast sinking fly line rigged with your favorite streamer. I like Galloup’s Dungeons, Sparkle Minnows, and Clouser Minnows, but if you want to hunt one big fish all day try big white or rainbow trout colored Gamechangers and T&A Bunkers in Olive/Yellow or Olive/White. I’m tying my own streamer leaders out of 30/20/15/12 lb fluorocarbon, but you will be equally as well suited with a Scientific Anglers Absolute Fluorocarbon 0X leader.
Headwater Wild Streams Report: (This report courtesy of “The Dredger,” at Unicoi Outfitters) — Cooler weather turned on local headwater residents. Aim for our highest elevation streams here and also north of the border. Also note that north slope streams fish better in summer than their south slope counterparts, which catch more daily rays, so head toward the better, “summer” side of each mountain (During winter, hit the opposite, warmer side). Israel, in our Helen store, said a customer did well earlier this week on the upper Hooch with a green weenie. Another secretive shop customer said he did well this morning on “blueline wild trout on dries” – and that was the limit of his shared intel. Dredger waited for the weather break and then hit a small creek north of Helen on the first cooler morning. He tossed a real small chubby Chernobyl on a short, 4x leader and had a big time on small but colorful and spunky wild bows to 7 inches. One upstream migrant, a fat 9-inch stocker brookie, was an unexpected surprise and an added treat.
His said his final tally was “trout = trees.” On these tight headwaters, we all snag limbs about every 3-6 casts and accept those unintended “catches” as part of our blueline game. We reduce our tree count by using short leaders and abundant roll casts (instead of backcasts) whenever possible inside these tight rhododendron tunnels. With better than a dozen fish to hand, and an even higher number missed, Dredger had a great morning of topwater action before quitting at noon. For anyone who enjoys light rods and rising fish, summer’s a fun time for dry fly fans. The abundant rises make up for slight fish size. And a 9-inch “native” sure feels like a trophy in these tiny creeks!
PS: Dredger said not to forget your chamois and dessicant, like he did. Ride your dry very high through the drought refuges of pools and logjams, and you’ll be rewarded. Find Unicoi Outfitters full weekly report on their Facebook page HERE.
Small Streams Report: (This report courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company) — Small streams are going strong! If water conditions are low/clear, use a 3 or 4 weight with a 9 foot 5x leader and a cup full of yellow dries or terrestrials. Think Yellow Sallies (Stimulators), Light Cahills, Sulphurs, Beetles, Ants, Golden Stoneflies, and Hoppers. Lengthen your leader another foot with 5x or 6x, wear drab colors, and stay back off of the targeted water! Fish will hold in the more oxygenated water through the hotter months of the year, so don’t leave an area without drifting a dropper nymph through the riffles and white water. I like to use unweighted soft hackle hare’s ear or pheasant tail nymphs in 18’s and 20’s for droppers under small dries, but if you’re throwing a foam terrestrial you can add a light #4 split shot through the deep or swifter water. If we get more rain this week (I’m here in the shop looking at a decent shower now), I will take a second set up rigged with a mono rig or euro-style leader and a variety of jigged and tungsten flies in addition to both weighted and unweighted soft hackles. Split Case PMD Jigs, Pat’s Rubber Legs in Olive/Brown or Brown/Beige, Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle Jigs, tungsten El Diablos and Red Alerts, and Black or Brown Twisted Mayflies. High stick current seams and watch your line! Strikes aren’t always obvious, especially right after the cast in fast water – watch for your sighter material to jump.