What a fabulous Friday – are you ready to get outside and enjoy this amazing weather we have been having? I am! Maybe a drive out to a nearby Public Fishing Area or a quick trip up to North Georgia (get in some leaf-watching while there). Where will you go?
NEWS TO KNOW
- Burton Trout Hatchery Re-Opens After Renovation: The Burton Trout Hatchery is one of three state-operated trout hatcheries that helps produce over one million fish each year for stocking in public waters, and it recently completed a major two year-long renovation. Read more HERE.
- Agreement Renewed: In good news for trout and trout anglers, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have reached a multi-agency agreement to provide continued funding for three federal fish hatcheries that have stocked waters in Georgia and Tennessee with millions of trout. The partnership includes the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Read more HERE.
This week, we have reports from Southeast, North, Central and Southwest Georgia. Plan a quick fishing trip and Go Fish Georgia!
(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 are all still high, except the St Marys. Your time will likely be best spent on ponds or saltwater again this week, but it won’t be long before the rivers are worth fishing if they keep dropping at the current rates. I love this time of year as folks head to the woods just in time for some of the best fishing of the year. Parking is not usually an issue at most of the ramps this time of year.
River gages on October 21st were:
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 8 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 11.8 feet and falling.
- Waycross on the Satilla – 10.2 feet and falling
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 12.8 feet and falling (flood stage is 13.0 ft)
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 4.0 feet and falling
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 121.30 feet.
The crappie bite has fired off in Waycross area ponds this week. Chad Lee fished an Alma area pond last Thursday evening and caught 20 crappie (kept 5) on chartreuse shad plastics. On Wednesday, a Waycross angler trolled 2-inch Keitech swimbaits on 1/32 and 1/16-oz jigheads and caught 86 fish (all but 6 were crappie, and he kept a limit of the larger crappie). His best colors of swimbaits were green pumpkin-chartreuse and chartreuse shad, but a few other colors also produced. On Thursday, John Biagi came down from Covington and fished with a friend at a Waycross area lake. They ended up trolling up 82 fish (including a few bass, and a dozen big bluegills – they kept about 40 of the crappie and bigger bluegills). Their most productive rig was Keitech swimbaits rigged on 1/16-oz. Flashy Jigheads (silver blades), but they also caught them on regular jigheads. The best colors on their trip were shad, morning dawn and chartreuse shad. Most of their crappie were in the 9 to 10 inch range but they had several pushing or right at a pound.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The best report I got this week was from Dillard Winters and a friend. They caught 14 keeper trout and a couple keeper flounder at the jetties on Friday. He didn’t give me details, but he usually throws plastics on jigheads. On Saturday, Brentz McGhin fished out of Crooked River State Park and caught 22 trout (kept 6) on chicken-on-a-chain Assassin Sea Shads suspended underneath Cajun Thunder Floats. Capt. Greg Hildreth has been catching bull reds in the sounds on cut bait and live pogies lately. They have been jumping a few tarpon, as well. Ed Zmarzly has been catching a few bull reds from the St. Simons Pier using cut 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 Brent Hess, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Trout Fishing Narrative (courtesy of John Damer, Fisheries Biologist) — Last week, I fished a stream that I had on my list for years. Way back in my first year working with WRD (2008), I helped install some instream log structures to provide habitat for native brook trout in this stream, but I had not been back since. I started a few pools below the ford and fished back up for about an hour before stopping for lunch. In that short time, I landed 15 specks on my elk hair caddis and missed plenty more! I planned to continue upstream above the crossing after lunch but a couple other anglers beat me to it, so I left that section for them and circled back downstream to the top of the barrier falls and fished back up to where I started. I landed a few more in this short section. With a couple more hours to fish, I decided to hike in a few miles upstream. Surprisingly, the fish were harder to come by on this upper section despite some really nice water, and I only managed a few more before calling it a day. In all, I got my hands on about 25 beautiful brookies, and couple of them were in the 9-inch range. I did not see any signs of spawning yet, but the fish were already dressed up in their finest spawning colors, as you can see in the pics. I don’t know why it took me so long to fish this creek, but I can guarantee it won’t be another 13 years before I go back!
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) – Lake Allatoona is down 3.7 feet, clear 70s. Bass fishing is good. Largemouth are being found shallow on wood in the creeks and up the river. Targeting largemouth with a Brown jig with couple of small red stands has been working great. That largemouth bite is slower than the spot bite but will produce good fish. Spotted bass are feeding on the droves of shad that are moving back into the creeks and flats. The key to finding these fish is using some form of side imaging or down imaging unit to cut down on the time it take to find depth and location. Use the under spins and 3/16 ounce Kitech lures in pearl. Long cast then count it down and a slow retrieve. Don’t be surprised if you hook into a lineside.
LAKE HARTWELL: (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Lake Hartwell is 2.3 feet over full, 70’s. Hartwell 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. Figure that out fish that depth on any points, 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. The upper river arms have started the turnover process. Be patient the bite is a little tougher in these areas. Again, look to see where and at what depth the bait is in and that will be a starting point. With the water level continuing to fall be careful out there.
LAKE LANIER (Report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770 366 8845 Pjohnson15@hotmail.com). Lake Lanier is .87 feet over full, clear, 70s. Lanier Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The weather last week seemed to take a toll on the top water activity. I would have thought that the rain and overcast skies would have been perfect but instead the activity slowed. It is coming back now with lots of schooling fish showing up. Can you say stripers? It seems that to catch a good bag of spots you have to wade through the stripers right now but they are fun. The main baits have been Spooks, Sebile’s, Chug Bugs and Sammy’s. We’ve been working these baits over structure on long points and humps The schooling fish are showing up anywhere and everywhere so be prepared to throw to them. It is critical right now to hit in the middle of the school while they are up and active. Once they go down the bite is tough. A long casting Spot Choker underspin with a fluke junior has been a good choice to reach these fish. Several days in the last week have been very calm on the lake and the Dropshot is a good choice around the brush. Morning Dawn and Blue Lily have been the most consistent colors. The bite has been a little slow in the mornings but is picking up in the ten to eleven o’clock range and remaining strong in the afternoon. As the water has continued to cool there have been more fish headed to the docks, watch for this activity to increase as the predicted cooler weather comes in. A three sixteenths SpotSticker with a Zoom watermelon red trick worm or a green pumpkin trick worm is working well. A three eights ounce cinnamon pepper jig is working well around the docks and blow downs as well. The fall bite is definitely her so Go Catch ‘Em!
Lanier Stripers (report is courtesy of Buck Cannon, Buck Tales charters 404 510 1778) — Lake Lanier Stripers have scattered above Browns Bridge up both rivers. The down lines with blue backs are still working over 60-80′ bottom fishing 35-45’deep. The sharp areas where the contours lines have a steep movement up or down. Work both sides and have a magic swimmer or a spook tied on just in case they come up and you can reach them. A slow trolling the boat between.5-.9 has been working the best. I have found some schools but I still catch some that I don’t pickup with the electronics but when you find a school they show up in groups of a few up to a dozen or more. Fall is fantastic for fishing enjoy yourself.
Lanier Crappie (report is courtesy of Call Captain Josh Thornton 770 530-6493) — The water temperatures is 74 degrees. Minnows are still the preference for the crappie this week’s catch was 90% minnows. Look for shallow brush or blow downs 10-25 feet deep. I am setting the minnows 10-12 feet. Look for covered docks that have brush under or near by a good depth range would be 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 company’s 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. Find me on Facebook and like my pages @crappieonlanier & @fishingwitheverydayheroes.
LAKE RABUN –Fisheries staff in Northeast Georgia started annual fall sampling a little early this year. The catch rate of bass on Lake Rabun was much higher on the lower end of the lake; however, quality yellow perch were collected near river channel on the upper end of the lake. Black crappie were also abundant on the lower end at depths from 20-30 ft along points, in brush piles, and any other available structure. Schools of blueback herring were also charted at depths from 20-30 ft, which seems to be this week’s “magic depth” for the Northeast Georgia mountain lakes.
WEISS LAKE (Report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service). Weiss is at 2 feet 0 inches below full pool and light stained and 73-75 degrees.
- Weiss Bass fishing is fair and a lot of fish have started moving shallow as the water cools. Fish are showing up on secondary points, humps and sand bars. Rat L Traps. Try flat sided crank baits and spinner baits are catching fish.
- Weiss Crappie fishing is fair and they are still on the deeper brush. 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.
- Weiss Striper fishing is poor and no reports of any catches.
- Weiss Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water and cut bait is working best.
West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com). West Point Lake is down one foot, clear, 70s. Bass fishing is good. 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 use the Lowrance Structure Scan technology to find 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. Hit the banks, throwing at any piece of wood. Make accurate casts to maximize the chances for a hookup. The Lowrance bottom lock feature on the Sonar screens, all frequencies, allows anglers to see the bottom of the lake with incredible accuracy. Buzz baits in the morning will draw some strikes also.
Know Your Levels: West Point Lake Water Level Information can be found HERE.
(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.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. The spotted bass are still moving 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. Go for the active spotted bass early by fishing the rocky points and the areas between two close points. Shad Raps, Wiggle Warts and the new Rapala OG8 will all work so tie on at least one of each. 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 baits into deeper water.
CLARKS HILL IS 1.6 FEET OVER FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The lake is low so be careful. Down Deep Husky Jerk baits along with Rapala DT10 and DT14 will get deep enough to catch the deeper bass on ledges 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. By using the Lowrance down Scan technology, pinpoint the exact area the bass are holding in. Start off by using the hard baits, 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 hit any structure.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 70’S
(This Lake Oconee fishing report is by Captain Mark Smith, Reel Time service.
email@example.com phone: 404-803-0741) –
Bass: Bass fishing is good. The main lake is clear, lightly stained up the rivers. The water has cooled, and the bait and bass have moved to the back of the coves and creeks. Start the day fishing a white old nelly buzz bait from the middle of the creeks and coves working your way to the back. After the sun gets up change over to a small crank bait. A number 7 shad rap in a shad pattern or a rattle trap in the same pattern fished around docks or any structure in these creeks or coves can produce.
Striped Bass: Line-side fishing is fair to good. Use your Lowrance to locate school of hybrids rooming the middle of the lake. When you find them drop a live bait down to them. Start your search in the river bend area of the lake. Some fish are showing up on the pipeline, but they have been smaller fish. Trolling the umbrella rig is another way to locate these schools. These fish are not staying in one place long so keep moving to stay with them.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. The crappie are staging in the mouths of the major creeks. Long lining and spider rigging are working well. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools in water from 10 to 30 feet deep. The fish are holding in water from 10 to 15 feet. Minnows, jigs, and jigs tipped with minnows are all working.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.7 FEET, 70’S
Largemouth bass fishing remains fair, with most success coming from 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 (various sizes with straight and curl tails), tubes, and creature baits. Crank baits should also be tried, especially during windy conditions. 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.
MCDUFFIE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Temperature: 70 F
- Water Visibility: 10-48+ in
Bass: Dropping water temperatures have bass moving in shallower waters. All shad look-alike lures should do well around structures.
Bream: Bream bite has been slow. Fallen trees and docks on Clubhouse and Bream Buster continue to do well, while working the dams on Jones and Bridge Lakes has landed some nice bream. In addition, the bonus lake near the archery range has been a consistent bream sweet spot. Crickets and worms both do well.
Channel Catfish: Like the bass, catfish are again moving in shallower waters. Fish have been caught across the area in deep water, from docks, and working the dams. Bite has remained slow but steady. Early and late in the day fishing using livers continues to be the formula for success.
Striped Bass: Striped bass bites have been slower. No recent reports of striped bass being caught in either Bridge or Clubhouse Lakes.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 2.0 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Down lake use the OG8 by Rapala, #5 Shad Raps and medium Fat Free Shad crank baits. The bass will bite dark worms almost all day. Work the worm and jig around the trees and docks. 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 green pumpkin worm. Work the backs of these docks as well as the bank cover and the sea walls down lake. 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.
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
PANIC POND AT SILVER LAKE PUBLIC FISHING AREA
The weather is cooling down the water temperatures, but the bite in Panic Pond at Silver Lake Public Fishing Area is heating up. We are seeing large bass move into deeper water chasing gizzard shad. These big girls are holding shallow on standing timber looking for large forage. Large swim baits and crankbaits should coax a response from a trophy. An angler caught 3 nice fish totaling almost 15 pounds in Panic last weekend.
Lake Seminole is full, and the water temp is holding steading in
the mid 70s. The Flint arm of the lake is muddy, and this is making the hybrid bass fishing tough. The largemouth bite is still going strong near the vegetation. Top water lures like buzz baits and crankbaits are your best bet. Try a bait or lure that looks like shad, for example, zoom super fluke is working well in the clearer water. Captain Paul Tyre of Lake Seminole Fishing Adventures has been having good success with both the hybrid and largemouth bite early in the morning and in the evening and he suggests keeping an eye out for the coots as they make their way in, in the next few weeks as the temperatures cool off.
The cooling temperatures in Lake Blackshear are making bass fishing fun! Try following the shad up into the mouth of creeks to find yourself on a school of fish taking advantage of this bait fish. Try any shad-colored lure. When you get a nice fish be sure to stop by Flint River Outdoors and get your fish weighed in to enter their monthly big fish contest. The first annual fall brawl is taking place in Lake Blackshear on Friday and Saturday October 22nd and 23rd. Sign up and check-in are located at Flint River Outdoors.