Tis the season for pumpkin patch visits, fall hikes, apple festivals, and fall fairs. Now, while I am happy to indulge in all of these things (especially say funnel cakes or apple cider donuts), I also still want to use some of my time off to wet a line or two.

Here is my solution, I keep a “ready-to-go” rod and reel and a tackle box with assorted lures in the vehicle. That way, once we decide what fall fun we are doing, I can look up the closest water body (a helpful map can be found HERE, and tips for fishing a multitude of water bodies can be found HERE) and maybe ease on over there to cast out for some local fish after all the activity of the day.


  • BOW Workshop Scheduled for November: Ladies, have you ever wanted to head out to go backpacking or fishing or shooting, but not sure where to start? The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Workshop, scheduled for Nov. 5-7 at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, provides a practical introduction to a wide variety of outdoor recreational skills and activities. Deadline to register is Oct. 20. More info including activities/classes and a registration link HERE.

This week, we have reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia. After you pick out that pumpkin, pick up the fishing pole and Go Fish Georgia!


(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, Region Supervisor and fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts) 

Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant. 


Bass fishing is fair.  The lack of rain has kept the lake water very clear but that could soon change.  The spotted bass are still moving some to feed and will get more active as the temperature cools once again.  The largemouth tend to remain more at home and are holding tight to cover.  Buzz baits are catching a few bass early in the morning right at daybreak, but fishing has been slow.  High pressure has been dominating the weather pattern and this calls for slower than normal fishing conditions.  Use a Zorro Bait Co. Flipping Jig with 3-inch Zoom Big Salty Chunk trailer, Flippin Blue.  A white and chartreuse 3/16-ounce Zorro Wesley Strider Bingo Blade Spinnerbait also produced strikes.  Go for the active spotted bass early by fishing the rocky points and the areas between two close points.  Rapala Shad Raps and Rapala DT10s will all work.  Switching baits frequently is sometimes the key during slow periods.  As the day progresses, fish the stumps and brush piles and any lay downs with jigs and worms.  Fish them slow and don’t be afraid to work all baits into deeper water.


Bass fishing is good.  Down Deep Husky Jerk baits along with Rapala DT10 and DT14 will get deep enough to catch the deeper bass on the ledge’s lake wide.  Use these baits early in the morning and work them slow.  Making five, six or more casts to the same area is not uncommon.  These bass need to see the baits many times before they react.  It will be tough to get the fish to bite mid-day.  Find the shad with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology and the fish will be close by.  Start off by using the hard baits early and then switch to either a Carolina Rig or drop shot rig to finish the job.  Use the slow presentations mid-day and anywhere there is some wind blowing down a bank use the Ito Vision 110 jerk bait and hits any structure on the shallow banks in the sun early and late.

LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 70’S (This Lake Oconee fishing report is by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time service. phone: 404-803-0741) —

Bass: Bass fishing is fair.  The temperature is 78 to 82 degrees.  The lake is clear from above the I-20 Bridge to the dam.  Above I20 is stained.  It is also full.  A lot of fish have started to follow the bait into the back of the coves and pockets all over the lake.  Small white spinner baits fished around docks and wood structure in the same locations will catch you some fish.  Small crank baits fished in the same areas will also produce.  Start at the mouth of the cove and work your way in, as the fish are following the bait in and out of the coves.

Striped Bass: Striper fishing is fair to good.  A lot of white bass are schooling on top early and late.  You can target these fish with a small inline spinner or a small jig head with a paddle tail grub on it.  These fish are feeding on very small baits so match the hatch.  For the hybrids troll a Mine Mack around the schooling whites.  The hybrids are just below the white bass.  This bite can happen anywhere on the lake so be ready. 

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good.  The crappies are in there summer tree tops all over the lake.  Use your Lowrance to locate the crappie in the tree and then drop a live crappie minnow into the tree and start loading the cooler.


Bass fishing is fair.  Now is the time to go to the shallow water.  Top water baits continue to produce a few fish, mostly early and late each day while the clear skies prevail.  Poppers like Chug Bug’s and Pop R’s have produced using a slow pop to pop cadence with 3 to 4 second pauses in between.  Small buzz baits have also yielded a few caught fish using a slow retrieve.  But the locations and holding cover have not been easy to pattern.  It’s more of a ‘keep the bait wet pattern’ during the first hour or two after daybreak.  Docks and boathouses continue to hold fish that are hitting jigs and soft plastics.  Anglers fishing docks should experiment with several baits including jigs, Texas rigs with Zoom in green pumpkin and creature baits.  Crank baits should also be tried, especially during windy conditions.  Rapala OG8 shad color and Rapala DT10 in hot mustard will work all day.  Spinner baits produced success several days ago and could again any day.  Some bass are moving to the backs of coves in small groups following shad.  Shallow crank baits like a Mann’s Baby One Minus and ¼ ounce Rat L Traps are good lures for this scenario.  A few bass are briefly holding on secondary points and flats in the creeks and coves at 6 to 15 feet deep.  They may hold on these structures for only a day or two as they migrate to or from more shallow water.  Crank baits and Carolina rigs are the primary baits here, although other choices can be better.  Top water baits or Rat L Traps can be good during early morning or when these fish are surface feeding.


Bass fishing is fair, and some bigger spots are biting crank baits.  Work the u tail worms and jigs around the trees and docks.  Look down lake in the creeks and use a Texas rigged Zoom U tail worm in natural blue or green pumpkin.  These worms are worth several casts to the same area and make a fish see the lure.  Work the backs of these docks as well as the bank cover and the sea walls down lake.  Find the shad with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology and the fish will be close by.  Conditions are fair up the river and a few small bass are taking a Senko on a drop shot rig.  Make sure the baits are green.  Down lake use DT6 Rapala’s, #5 Shad Raps and medium Fat Free Shad crank baits.  The bass will bite a dark and large ribbon tail worm.  Work the worm and jig around the trees and docks.


(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, Region Supervisor and fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts) 

The southeast Georgia rivers were getting close to being right before this week’s rains. The Altamaha system is on a hard rise with all the rains they’ve gotten in the mid-state area, but we will have to wait and see how high the blackwater rivers go. Your time will likely be best spent on ponds or saltwater again this week.

River gages on October 7th were:

  • Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 6.6 feet and rising fast (almost 3 feet in the last 24 hours…)
  • Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.1 feet and falling.
  • Waycross on the Satilla – 8.2 feet and falling
  • Atkinson on the Satilla – 9.6 feet and falling
  • Macclenny on the St Marys – 6.2 feet and falling

First quarter moon is October 12th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.


The water is still high, and the fish are spread out in the prairies. The swamp is absolutely gorgeous in the fall, and I’ve noticed the flowers have started to bloom in the wetlands around Waycross. Plan your trip for the scenery, not necessarily the catching….. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.46 feet.


An angler fishing on Monday had 15 good crappie to about 12 inches (most were 10-11”) by fishing 8-10 feet deep with live minnows.

OCMULGEE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Hawkinsville, more info HERE)

The 1st-year kayak club SEGKBF held their year-end classic on Saturday. The biggest bass caught was a 24-incher by William Sehr of Ellabell. The overall winner with 40 inches (his biggest was a 23.5 inch bass) was Jon Smith. If you are interested in participating in next year’s tour or want more information, Google search SEGKBF. The crappie fishing at the area has been slow with the warmup this week but they should bite better in the coming weeks. A few bream were caught around feeders, and most were hand-sized or smaller. Crickets worked best for the panfish and live minnows for the few crappie that were caught.

Michael McClain from Maryland visited family this weekend and caught his first seatrout while fishing in the Brunswick area. He caught it on a chartreuse back-pearl Keitech Swing Impact Swimbait suspended underneath a Cajun Thunder Float.


Jimmy Hickox, Sr. and his son Jim fished the Jekyll Island area on Sunday and caught about 15 undersized trout and 5 keepers (their biggest was 4 pounds!). They only had one red, but it was a 30-incher. It was fun to catch, but was oversized, so they photographed and then released it. Jimmy fished with a DOA plastic and Jim used a shad-shaped plastic. Michael and Kenny McClain came down from Maryland to gator hunt (Kenny got a 7 1/2-foot gator on the trip) and fished a couple hours Sunday evening after they cleaned their gator. They each caught their first spotted seatrout and ended up catching 7 trout during the evening. They fished the Brunswick area, and all of their fish ate Keitech swimbaits under Equalizer and Cajun Thunder Floats. Michael’s hot color was chartreuse back-pearl, while Kenny caught his fish on nuclear chicken. Capt. Greg Hildreth had a variety of successful trips this week with the lower tides. Monday he had a tarpon charter, and they landed a 130-pounder. On Tuesday, he put his clients on a bunch of seatrout. The other trips this week produced lots of bull redfish by fishing the sandbars around Brunswick with cut bait. An angler reported catching a good slot red from a Brunswick area pier on Wednesday. He was using fiddler crabs for bait. Several other folks caught keeper reds from the pier, also. A few sheepshead were also caught on fiddlers. 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.


I heard very few reports from ponds this week. One angler fished a couple hours and caught some small bass on plastic worms. After hard rains this week, I’m sure folks caught some nice fish in the spillways of their favorite ponds. If we get more heavy rains this week, that will be a good option for this weekend. The current warm spell should have some bluegill feeding in the shallows this weekend. Pitching a bug to them on a fly rod or bream buster would be a hoot if you have a good bream pond.


(Fishing report courtesy of Jim Hakala, Region Supervisor and fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts) 


Burton Bass: (Report courtesy of guide and GON Magazine contributor Wes Carlton https://www.georgialakefishing.com/) — Lake Burton has started turning over, and the bite is picking up. The spots are ranging in depths from 9 feet of water to 25 feet. The biggest concentrations seem to be in 25 feet near the creek channels close to the main river channel. Most of the bigger spots we’re catching are in 20 feet of water. These fish have been biting a drop-shot finesse worm (dark colors). Try to position the boat away from the point or hump that you are fishing and work the jig quickly back toward the boat. The topwater Spook bite has also picked up. Be ready for schooling fish. We have had several big schools come up top this past week. This means we’re only a week or two away from a shallow-water bite. I have seen more fish and bait on the electronics the last few weeks than in previous years. The bite should transition to shallower water.  Look out October. The bite is gonna be ON! 

Lanier Bass (Report courtesy of guide Phil Johnson) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good to very good. Not much has changed over the past week for bass. The bite has been a little tougher, but the schooling activity has increased. In several areas there are signs that the lake is beginning to turn over and this will be affecting the fish is the coming weeks. The bass are beginning to make their migration into the creeks from the main lake, but are still oriented to humps, points and brush located in twenty to thirty five feet. The Chug Bug in blue and chrome, Sammy’s, Sebile’s, Flukes and the Georgia Blade Flutter Spoon are all good choices for now. With the schooling activity be sure to keep a long range bait such as the Spot Choker underspin with a white Fluke Junior handy to be able to reach these fish. As the fish begin to migrate into the creeks and pockets, work the points and docks at the mouths of these areas. A three sixteenths SpotSticker with a green pumpkin speed vibe worm or a watermelon red trick work will draw strikes around docks, blow downs and points. When the lake is calm the Dropshot is still producing fish. The top colors this week again were Blue Lily and Morning Dawn. Work your Dropshot on either six or eight pound fluorocarbon around structure to increase your strikes. As the water continues to cool look for the schooling activity to really increase over the next month. With the nice temperatures and the schooling activity it is a great time to be on Lake Lanier so get out and Go Catch ‘Em!

GON-bass-tel: Get the news from Lanier Jim.

Lanier Crappie (Report courtesy of  Captain Josh Thornton) — Crappie fishing is good. The water temperatures are in mid to upper 70s. Right now I am setting the minnows around 10 deep. For best results, use an active minnow not a dead one. Look for covered docks that are in 20 to 40 feet of water and near a main channel. Use your electronics locate structure or bush piles. Crappie love the shade, so cast into the shadows. 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 k9 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.

Lanier Stripers (Report courtesy of  Buck Cannon Bucktails guide Service) — Lanier stripers are moving in large schools from Browns Bridge to Little Hall Bridge. Down lines with blue backs are still working over 60 to 80 foot bottom with fish at 35 to 45 feet deep. They are just off the river channel in the bends and curves. “Tapping” on the boat floor has been working to get their attention!

Get the Dam Levels: Track Lanier Lake Level at Buford Dam HERE.

Catching crappie on Lake Allatoona

Allatoona Crappie (Report courtesy of Jeff “Crappieman” Albright) — Amazing morning! We boated 121, with maybe 15 keepers and lots of 7 to 9″ fish – multiple doubles and triples.  Red Rooster baits were on fire and all colors were working.  We were trolling in 4 to 7ft of water.  Water temps 73-75F.  All we had a blast!  On the water around 7AM and off around 11AM.

GON-crappie-tel: Get the news from Jonboater.

Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. Fish are on the brink of the fall feeding frenzy and fishing has really picked up. Numbers of spots and largemouth being caught shallow from 1 to 12 feet deep. Start the morning with a black buzz bait. The buzz bait bite last for the first hour or so. Bluff walls are great for the morning buzz bait bite. After the sun comes up it’s hard to beat a 1/8 jig head tipped with a Big Bite squirrel tail worm in green pumpkin, fished on 8 pound test Sunline fluorocarbon. Rock and blowdown trees are the target to produce fish on soft plastic. Brush fishing has got a little better over the past couple of weeks, but the fresher the pile the better it is. A 6 inch Kriet tail worm by Big Bite baits in red bug fished on 12 pound test Sunline sniper Fluorocarbon fished in or around brush is the way to go. Trade up between a 1/8 ounce and 1/4 ounce bullet weight on a straight shank 3/0 Gamakatsu hook. Fish are suspending over brush and can be caught on several baits. Use the Spro Little John Medium and deep diving crank baits in shad patterns during daylight hours.

More Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of angler and GON Magazine contributor Matt Driver) — In October, fishing will not change much from the September report this year. September was on fire, and October will be more of the same. October begins the shad migration to the creeks and signals the pre-winter feed up. This month the fish pack on the pounds getting ready for the winter months. I have a few go-to baits for this month. With a fluke-style soft jerkbait, I like to turn and burn in shallow water around cover. A spy bait is good when bass are schooling, on top or in deeper water. Fish a buzzbait on bluff walls early and again late. A jerkbait can be thrown all day. Later in the month when the water gets cooler, I like to throw the Picasso Little Spotty jig. The bass this month are on the move and so should you. Keep an eye out for surface activity, and be watching your electronics for schools of bait and feeding fish. Don’t over think fishing this month. It’s easy. If they’re not biting, stay on the move until you find them.

Catching linesides on Lake Allatoona with Heron Outdoor Report

Allatoona Linesides (Report courtesy of Joseph Martinelli of Heron Outdoor Adventures) — Lake Allatoona has been both hot and cold these past two weeks, with a little luke-warm in between.  Current water temperatures are still in the 75-77° range early morning. Lake levels are dropping and we are currently about 4 1/2 feet below full pool. The Striped Bass and Hybrid bite has been stellar on a few select days in the past week. While the conditions may turn to a bluebird day and yet you hammer them, the very next day has what appears to be the perfect conditions of cloud cover, barometric pressure, etc., and yet they are nowhere to be found (unless you have the coordinates to their secret underwater cavern). There has been a good topwater bite early morning on the calmer days with a good concentration of fish moving around from Stamp creek south to Iron Hill on select days. These fish might give you an hour of stellar artificial bite on the top and then just subsurface. Smaller profile baits seem to be our top producers and this makes more sense when you see they are chasing predominantly 1 1/2 – 2″ threadfin that are prevalent predominately over the channel.

Berkley spy baits, flexi-spoons and 2-3″ swimbaits on a 1/8-1/4 oz. jig head have caught their fair share since September.The bait is abundant and this week has been found from the Allatoona creek arm all the way north into Little River up to Blankets creek. Our go-to overall has been downlining these frisky threadfin shad on smaller size 4 or 2 hooks and light leaders along with a couple freelines out as well. Some of these Linesides that we were targeting at 15-20 feet deep are now being found down as deep as 30 feet , and active at that depth . It is important to quickly get a fresh bait down to them when at these depths. While a gizzard shad, shiners or bream will live down there longer, they are still keying in on the smaller profile baits and especially threadfin. While these are a little difficult to procure in the wild for many, the Acworth Shad Shack or Joe’s Mart has them ready to place in your bait tank or bubble bucket.

It should be noted these fish are still moving, and moving a lot. We find it highly conceivable that some of these schools can cover the entire length of the lake (and back) in the course of the day. This stated, don’t be surprised if they are not where you left them hours ago, let alone the day before.

As for highest percentage of success, the mouths of all larger creeks are still producing.  Reports of many species including the hybrids, stripers and white bass in most marinas busting shad on top at any given hour are still being heard through today from fisherman and non-fisherman alike. Next, the channel edges are typically a key for any semblance of holding fish during this transitional period. Whether you are at Clark, Stamp or Illinois Creeks or up to Little River, don’t overlook the main channel where the creek meets it, as well as looking for the key outside bends along the way.

We hope this helps for your next fishing adventure. If you are looking for some full service fishing with a wealth of instructional tips and techniques along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly (404-919-4918) at any time.  Tight lines, friends!

Allatoona Linesides (Report courtesy of guide and GON contributor Robert Eidson http://www.firstbiteguideservice.com/) — We have caught fish on all methods the past few weeks (down-lines, freelines, topwater and trolling.) Topwater has been the overall best producer, with trolling umbrella rigs and downlining livebait running a close second. Mid-lake and south has been producing best for the bigger hybrids, but if you’re after numbers, the white bass are thick on the north end of the lake. This is the time of year that you need to be universal and not one-dimensional on techniques. Livebait, downlines, freelines, topwater and trolling will all catch you fish on any given day. I really look for the bite to pick up as we move into October with these cooler temperatures.

Lake Level Tracker: Track Allatoona Lake level HERE.

Carters Walleye (Report courtesy of guide and GON contributor Eric Crowley https://ellijayfishing.com/ ) — The walleye are still deep on the timber tops. Spoons, jigs or live bait will work, but you have to hit them in the face with it. The best bite still has been at dawn and dusk. Best color this month has been chrome and black with all artificial offerings. Look a little deep than the stripers, about 75 feet.

Lake Level Tracker: Track Carters Lake level HERE.

Blue Ridge Bass (Report courtesy of guide and GON contributor Eric Welch https://www.northgafishingguide.com/) — The bite is starting to pick up as TVA has started the process of dropping the lake for the winter. We’ve been having cooler days and rain, which is helping lower the water temps. Did I mention fall and winter is my favorite time of year to fish? The bass are starting to get active looking for baitfish. We’re starting to see a lot more surface activity throughout the day. I like throwing a Strike King Sexy Dawg Jr., Zara Spook Jr. and a Hedden Pop-R around points and rocks. You will also see fish breaking out in the open water as they chase schools of herring. It’s a waiting game when targeting these fish. They will bust the school up and then the school may become multiple schools, and this is when the waiting game begins. I’ve been seeing some topwater first thing in the mornings, but the better bite is when the sun gets out. I’m still marking a lot of fish in the 12- to 25-foot range, and I’m targeting these fish with a drop shot, Z-man Ned rig and a small Sexy Swimmer swimbait. Once the bite slows down on the main lake, I’m going to the river and fishing the rocky bluff banks with the same baits. The fishing is only going to get better as the month goes on. Good luck.

Blue Ridge Perch and Walleye (Report courtesy of guide and GON contributor Eric Crowley https://ellijayfishing.com/) — Water temps dropping along with the annual drawdown will bring about new bites, mainly the perch fishing. The yellow perch move onto the grassbeds in the fall and start feeding and packing on the pounds before winter. This annual migration has become one of my favorite times of year. Not only are there good numbers of fish but some really nice-sized fish are caught each fall. Right behind the perch are the walleye. They are finally moving up a bit shallower and feeding really well on shad and herring. Look for the bait and find the fish nearby. Spoons and deep-diving crankbaits are the go-to for these fall walleyes. As the fish move to shallower structure, look for them on secondary points and pockets instead of on the main lake. I like the big Vibrax spoons in green and gold, as well as the Deep Tail Dancers in dark colors

Hartwell Bass: (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. The fish are starting shallow first thing in the morning. Try top water baits or a fluke for the first couple of hours at the shallowest part of the points or back in the pockets. Once the sun gets up start looking for the bait. The key here is to pay attention to what depth the bait is hanging out in. Use the Lowrance Down Scan technology with Fish Reveal at 89% so the fish can be spotted at the depths they are feeding. Fish the humps, or channel swings near the bait. Key baits here are a jig or a shaky head. The other key is finding the cover in these areas, especially any brush that seems to be key.

Lake Weiss Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service) — Look for Fishing to improve with the first cooling trend of the fall.

Bass: Bass fishing is fair and some fish have started moving shallow as the water cools. They are showing up on secondary points, humps and sand bars. Rat L Traps, flat sided crank baits and spinner baits are catching fish.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair and they are still on the deeper brush, but a few are showing up on the creek and river channel ledges, 12 to 20 feet deep. Spider rigging with live minnows and jigs over brush and stumps is the way to catch fish in the fall. A few Crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs.

Striped Bass: Striper fishing is poor.  They are in the lower 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 is good for spots and largemouth. Shad are headed for the creeks and it’s about time for the bass to follow along in big numbers. The best bite through late week was up the river on the crank baits – find the game fish around the shad. Once the bass get into the creeks in full force, it’ll be a good opportunity for crank baits and spinnerbaits.  Rat L Traps and Shad Raps should be good patterns too. Try small-medium lures for this and next month. Hit the banks, throwing at any piece of wood. Make accurate casts to maximize the chances for a hookup. Buzz baits in the morning will draw some strikes also.


Upper Chattahoochee Shoal Bass

Upper Chattahoochee Bass (Report courtesy of Fisheries Technician William Simms) — This weekend I went fishing on the upper Chattahoochee. I caught several good shoal bass along with a Chattahoochee bass and several suckers. Most people regard suckers as trash fish, however I enjoy catching them because they are a hard fighting fish, especially when they get bigger. My tackle of choice was a ned rig rigged with a Zman crawz and whole nightcrawlers behind a medium sized split shot.


Fall “Trouting” (Report courtesy of Jeff Durniak of Unicoi Outfitters) — Are you as excited by October’s cooler weather as we are? Where are YOU heading this month?

October brings colder water and hungrier trout, but it also brings us the challenges of leaves and twigs. How do you navigate through these windy-day minefields for your flies?  Check out our latest column in October’s Angler Magazine- Atlanta edition, “simpli-fly and stand out.” (page 10).

These Halloween-season tricks have treated us to some fine trout among the leafy debris. Give them a try as the trees shed their summer coat and see if they work for you, too.  And rejoice in the leaf fall, even if it frustrates you a bit. Why? Leaves and twigs are the fuel for Southeastern stream ecosystems. Decaying organic matter feeds aquatic insects and other microorganisms, and the instream food chain starts. Hopefully it ends up in a nice, buttery brown trout in the bottom of your net!

Good luck during leaf season. May our tricks bring you some sweet treats!

Rewarded by a nice 13″ wild rainbow trout

Damer crew hiking out from waterfall seeking

Small Stream Report: (Report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — While staying at Vogel State Park over the kids’ fall break this week, my family and I visited one of several very popular waterfalls in the area.  Despite the heavy rains, this small trout stream was flowing clear, and I spotted several trout during our hike.  One of these fish was cruising the small plunge pool directly below the waterfall, and he was quite large (relative to the size of the creek).  I did not have any fishing gear with me on the hike, but I immediately began scheming a return trip.  The next day, we worked our way back up the creek to the waterfall, first using a small inline spinner on the bigger/faster water without much success.  I switched to the long rod armed with my trusty 14 elk hair caddis, and caught one small rainbow before reaching the plunge pool.  My older daughter crept up to the edge of the pool with me while my wife and younger daughter watched from the viewing area nearby.  I did not see the fish cruising like it had done the previous day, and my first dozen casts spread out over the area did not produce any strikes.  I then caught and released one small fish near some sticks way back in the tail of the pool, and threw my fly back toward the head of the pool.  The commotion from playing the small fish must have awoken the big boy from his slumber, because he slammed the fly shortly after it hit the water.  After an intense but short battle on my 2-weight, my daughter had him in the net.  A beautiful 13” wild rainbow!  Probably one of the biggest wild rainbows I’ve caught in Georgia in quite some time, and very special to have my whole family there to appreciate it with me. 

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.