In recognition of the recent Veterans Day Holiday, how about make a pledge to take a veteran fishing. Maybe it is a parent, grandparent, friend or even your child…take time to recognize their service by giving them a day of relaxation and fun.
NEWS TO KNOW
- Catfish Going In: Nope, not the deep fryer (not yet anyway …) This time of year, fisheries biologists are harvesting catfish at our state’s warm water hatcheries. More info HERE.
- Big Crappie Alert: Congrats to Thomas Melton Jr. of Rome, Georgia for claiming the top spot for biggest Black Crappie caught and certified at Rocky Mountain PFA in Floyd County. This earns Thomas a 2021 Angler Award for this year – he will receive a personalized hat, a 2021 Angler Award t-shirt and a frame-able certificate. Have you got YOUR Angler Award yet? There are categories for adults, youth, PFAs and trophy bass. Find out more HERE.
This week, we have reports from Central, North and Southeast Georgia. Make a call to your favorite serviceman or woman 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.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Cooler nights have the bass active, especially along the rocky points and banks. The top water baits are just now beginning to catch a few good bass at different times during the day. Feeding fish are hitting Chug Bugs and Skitter Walks when fished over schools of active bait fish. Water temperatures are slowly dropping, so use the Rapala DT6 and the jointed Shad Raps with chartreuse in it. Green tiger, parrot and the fire crawdad color have been the colors that worked best. The Berkley Frittside, designed by David Fritts, is a flat sided crankbait that combines the better of two worlds. This bait casts farther and better than balsa without losing the unique action. This is the best time to take advantage of the Lowrance down Scan technology and you can count the fish on the bottom. Shad is another good color to use while fishing the clear water around the rocks on the Hwy. 72 Bridge and south towards the dam. These fish are still easily spooked so use no more than ten-pound test line. Try the lighter Sufix Elite 10-pound test in the clear. This line is very abrasive resistant and disappears in the water.
CLARKS HILL IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Use a white 3/8-ounce spinner bait and a #10 Olive Green X Rap on the rocky points and small flats. Top water baits around grass beds can produce some bites. Buzz baits, Spooks and Pop R’s all work well. Be sure to fish any grassy points or indentations. Once the sun is up, fishing slows. Flip the wood on the banks mid-day with a Zoom Ol’ Monster worm or fishing ledges in the rivers with a Carolina rig. Use the plastics in either watermelon seed or green pumpkin. The slow deep-water crank bite is still active. Use the smaller deep diving crank baits. If the water is stained in the main rivers use the fire tiger or the black and silver baits. Make long casts across the points and crank it down keeping the rod tip low to the water. Look for submerged structure and stumps that are holding fish on the graph and concentrate efforts there.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 70’S
(This Lake Oconee fishing report is by Captain Mark Smith Reel Time service. firstname.lastname@example.org phone 404-803-0741) — Bass fishing is good, and the fish are being caught on several patterns. Gravel and rocky secondary points are producing well using crank baits and Rat L Traps. Deeper rocky banks and rip rap with 6 feet of water or more is also producing well. Bass are up on seas walls mid-day. Try the Sexy Shad crank baits. Be sure to have a Zoom Super Fluke in pearl ready all day. There are also fish still out on the deeper channel ledges and points. Stroking a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce Stanley jig in a crawfish pattern with a Zoom pumpkin seed chunk trailer is working great; crank baits and Carolina rigs are working well also.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Fishing will get better especially mid-day to dark. Never rule out a gold Leverage buzz bait all day. Use a small shad or fire tiger crank bait or a spinnerbait too. A Texas rig worm along the side of the docks will work on down times, just work them slowly. Work all the areas of the dock and make a note what part of the dock the fish were holding. Be sure to fish the same areas on other docks. The Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology will make scanning these areas a real time saver. A Berkley Frittside, designed by crankbait David Fritts, is a flat sided crankbait that combines the better of two worlds. This bait casts farther and better than balsa without losing the unique action. Use 8-pound test line on a spinning rod and use as little weight as possible on the Texas rig. Try the Sexy Shad crank baits. Be sure to have a Zoom Super Fluke in pearl ready all day. Keep a buzz bait tied on the rest of this month and hit the grass beds early and late.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 7.2 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Some bass have moved into the pockets following the movement of bait fish. Focus more of fishing in the pockets rather than the main lake. Long deep pockets may be most productive. A green jig/craw combo is ideal for targeting larger fish. Probe docks, brush, and other structure and work the pockets. Texas rigged finesse worms are also good for a bite and crank baits should certainly be tried. A Bandit 200 and a #7 Shad Rap are good choices. Target flats and their edges. Spinner baits and the Chatter bait are good choices, particularly in the early and evening hours. Start with the white Bandit crank bait on sea walls and around shallow cover. Work the crank through wood, rocks and around the docks. Work the wood cover and docks more thoroughly with a plastic and jig. Try a shaky head rig for all around plastic fishing, but Texas rigged baits are working in brush cover on deeper docks. Finesse worms and crawfish patterns have been working well on shallow rock, docks, and wood structure. Trick worms in watermelon seed will work on the shaky rig. Shad are primary forage for any schooling bass. Look for seasonal congregations of bait in the middle of deep pockets. Target the feeding bass with a crank bait and vertical presentations such as a spoon or plastic on a drop shot rig.
(Fishing report courtesy of Sarah Baker, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
A sincere thank you to all our Veterans who have served our great nation.
If you are a disabled Veteran and are interested in learning more about fly fishing, I hope you will consider joining Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. There are several programs in Georgia to join, depending on your location.
The stunning scenery around the mountain lakes, rivers and streams right now is icing on the cake to your fishing trip. I hope you’re able to get outside and enjoy the cool, fresh, fall air this weekend. The forecast is for cold, sunny, bluebird sky days. So be sure to bring along some layers, and warm beverages.
Amazing Catch! GON-tel here. Congrats!
(Report courtesy of “Academy Jack” Becker)— This week I invited a neighbor to fish on Lake Lanier. Warm weather and low wind made for a pleasant afternoon. The water temperature was 67.5. degrees. We fished main lake points with boat docks at the mouth of Balus Creek, in 15 feet of water. We caught 4 Spotted Bass and lost 3 more at the boat. The bites came on a Googan Trenchhog creature bait, Underspins with a Zoom fluke trailer, Alabama rig with Kietec Swimbait trailers and a Spro rock crawler 55. We saw wolf packs of Spots chasing bait several times near the hazard markers at the mouth of Balus in the afternoon but they did not stay up long.
- (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770-366-8845 viasouthernfishing.com ) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The changing weather has brought changing fishing conditions. The bass are beginning their movement back into the creeks and pockets as the water temperature drops. One way to have an idea of where the bass are is to remember where they were in the spring. The bass are going to take the same path they took coming out of the creeks and ditches as they do going back, one main difference is you will need to work your lure faster now than in the spring since the water is warmer. Secondary points and flats will often be the key this time of year. Also, there is usually a good fall wind blowing so let it direct you to where the bait is on points, banks and pockets. There are still schooling fish scattered across the lake and the action can be great on the right schools. Top water baits such as the Spook, Gunfish and Chug bug will draw strikes schools. The Spot Choker underspin with a white fluke junior has been great this week for reaching and catching the schoolers. Sebile’s and Fluke are also working well both over fifteen to thirty foot brush and on points. The CAST OG 40 has been a fun bait to play with this week for both spots and stripers especially in the wind. The Dropshot bite in the brush and on ledges has been a good method for putting numbers in the boat. Morning Dawn, Prism Shad and Blue Lily have been steady producers. As the lake keeps cooling there will be more fish relating to the blowdowns and docks. With the lake a full be aware that you may not be seeing all of the blowdowns, some are submerged on the bank. A three sixteenths SpotSticker with a trick worm is beginning to produce fish in these areas. Any color in the watermelon/green pumpkin color range has been working. A three eights green pumpkin jig with at twin trailer is also a good choice. Fall is definitely a fun time to be fishing on Lanier as the fish are hungry and lots of patterns will work. They are biting so Go Catch ‘Em!
Lake Weiss: (Mark Collins reports) — Weiss Lake is at 2 feet 5 inches below full pool and clear. 68-71 degrees. Bass fishing is good, and a lot of fish have moved shallow as the water has cooled down. Spinner baits, and flat crank baits are working well anywhere you can find bait in the shallow pockets, flats and coves. Rat L traps are working well also. Crappie fishing is fair; they are on deeper cover 14-20 feet on the main Coosa river channel ledges from Cedar Bluff to Leesburg. Spider rigging, over brush, with live minnows and jigs is catching fish. Shooting docks with jigs is also producing some fish. Book your fall trip now to get the best dates. It looks like November and December are going to be good months. Striper fishing is poor and there are no reports on any fish being caught in the last few weeks. Catfish are biting good in the bays and creeks in 8-15 feet of water. Cut bait is working best.
Lake Allatoona: (This report Courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. As the water cools some big are fish moving up shallow to feed. Crank baits and jerk baits can work as well as the buzz bait. The water is still warm so they will come up and hit a top water bait but not as good as the crank bait or the jerk bait. Fish mid creeks and find and follow the shad. The jerk bait bite has been consistent. The Spro McStick in shad patterns fished at a medium to fast pace on 10 pound Sunline fluorocarbon with a 6’6 medium rod. Main lake and creek mouths. The drop shot bite is also good. Try the Sexy Shad crank baits. Be sure to have a Zoom Super Fluke in pearl ready all day. Find schooled fish and using a 4 inch big bite Shakey squirrel. Fish are in the 15 to 20 foot range. There is still a top water bite but should only last a few more weeks. Use the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down scan technology and scan 120 feet both ways and find the bait. When the bait sows up work the area well.
Bass: Bass fishing is fair and a lot of fish have started moving shallow as the water cools. Bass are showing up on secondary points, humps, road beds and sand bars. Rat L Traps. Try the flat sided crank baits and spinner baits are catching fish.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. They are still on the deeper brush and a lot 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. Some fish are starting to suspend in the river channel in Little River.
Catfish: Catfish are in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water, cut bait is working best.
West Point Lake: (This report Courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. Try the all white spinnerbait in 3 to 5 feet of water like the Strike King 3/8 ounce with Indiana blades. Use the Pepper Custom Baits jig trailer combo and a 1/2 ounce Pepper Custom Baits Original Pepper Head Global Warming with a 3.75 inch Yamamoto Flapping’ Hog Bama Bug for a trailer. White flukes have been working in the middle of the pockets. Use 8 pound Sufix Elite line with a small weight about one foot in the front so it sinks slowly. Just toss the fluke in the middle of the pockets and twitch it a few times. A Berkley Frittside designed by crankbait David Fritts. The flat sided crankbait is designed to combine the better of two worlds. This bait casts farther and better than balsa without losing the unique action. The best area for this will be the pockets up river. Also get on the points mid lake and throw a spider jig in green pumpkin color. Work it slow and hop it every few feet to make it look like a crawfish.
Small Pond Fishing: GON-tel here!
Rocky Mountain PFA: (Report courtesy of Dennis Shiley) —With the fall nights cooling water temperatures, the channel catfish are starting their fall feeding frenzy at Rocky Mountain Recreation and Public Fishing Area. There are numerous areas around the lake that you can bank fish from or you can drift-fish from your boat for the chance at catching a lake record channel catfish! If you get a channel cat over 12 pounds, please let the PFA staff know and we will bring scales to get an official weight and get the fish registered if it qualifies for the record.
Tailwater Safe Wading Advice: Unicoi Outfitters has put together an excellent reference to each of the rivers in Georgia that require understanding gauges to determine safe water conditions for wading. Check it out here.
Chattahoochee Tailwater Trout— Even though stocking the lower Chattahoochee below Morgan Falls will not happen this year due to a recent outbreak of Whirling Disease, there are still plenty of fish to be caught in the tailwater. Chris Scalley with River Through Atlanta recommends bright, obnoxious flies; “Worms, Eggs, Y2K’s, Lightning Bugs and that sort of thing. Smaller streamers can be a great way to get them as well. If you have any questions at all, come on in and we will get you set up! The Hooch tailwater is still fishing very well. The lake is in turnover right now, the water in the river is off color because of that. This happens every year, and it is not the end of the world. We can often get away with larger nymphs because of this, give them something they can see. Big stoneflies, Worms, and stuff that grabs their attention is key during this. They can still key in on smaller naturals, but bigger flies are often the ticket.” Check his full report here. As always, pay special attention to water release info online, or call Corp of Engineers release hotline at 770-945-1466.
The “Upper” Toccoa River: With our Delayed Harvest stocking, we’re in the prime months of fishing for this section of water. Check out Reel Em In Guide Service’s website for great details about the Upper and Lower Toccoa here. Pat’s Rubber Legs, and an artificial egg pattern or prince nymph should work great. You can check out more Early DH Season Tips here.
The Toccoa Tailwater: – I really wish I could tell you that I landed this handsome fella with my fly rod using a size 20 black midge… but YOU sure could! He was a 3.5 lb, 22” hunk! We completed our electrofishing survey on the Toccoa Tailwater this past week and were excited to see healthy numbers of Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout throughout the tailwater. We also captured several gorgeous Smallmouth Bass. Technician Leon Brotherton holds a beautiful 2.5 lb, 17” Smallie. The river is absolutely stunning right now!
Keep in mind, repairs are still being made by TVA to the Blue Ridge Dam generation unit. For this reason, average hourly discharge is approximately 536 which is a higher than minimum flow, so I recommend being cautious, and fishing from the bank at one of the five public access points; Blue Ridge Dam, Tammen Park, Curtis Switch, Horseshoe Bend Park, or McCaysville Park.
Cohutta Fishing Company recommends, “bigger, size 6-10 Pat’s Rubber legs and stonefly patterns, BWO Nymphs like smaller pheasant tails, split case BWOs, and Galloup’s baetis, caddis patterns, and red, black, and cream midges will cover your natural patterns. Have some flashier patterns like lightning bugs and rainbow warriors as well. If you aren’t catching fish, chances are you need to adjust your depth – change your depth with your strike indicator and split shot any time there is a depth change on the bottom!” Check out their full report here.
Bass Slam Challenge: There’s still time to participate in the Georgia Bass Slam! Anglers who wish to get recognized for a 2021 Georgia Bass Slam must catch 5 of the 10 eligible black bass species and submit their information by midnight December 31, 2021. Be sure to study this map to help you narrow in on which species you’d like to chase after. When fishing for bass in the fall, the trick is to get your lures down deep and fish them slow. If you are a podcast subscriber- give a listen to Fish North Georgia Episode 33: The Georgia Slam, Fall Transition and The Cast with Andy Middleton, for some awesome tips!
Autumn Canoe Trip: GON-tel here. Thanks for sharing your trip olcaptain!
Mountain Trout: (From Trout Stocking Coordinator, John Lee Thomson) — If you are hunting or just leaf looking in the mountains this weekend, you are likely a short drive from some excellent trout fishing opportunities. With cooler weather trout will be active and you should look for holdover and wild trout in higher elevation streams. Remember to purchase your fishing license, trout stamp and Go Fish Georgia!
Fly Fishing for Trout: (Report from Unicoi Outfitters) —Match your bugs to the stream conditions. If the water is big/high/stained from a rain, use bigger and brighter bugs to get their attention. Great trout treats are globugs (egg flies), rubberleg stones, squirmy worms, and big (#10 or 12) sexy walts or mops. For river bass, drag the bottom with big crayfish, worm, and helgrammite imitations. Rivers are warm, but not warm enough for topwater bass action.
When trout water is low/slow/crystal clear, the fish can study your bugs and casually decide whether or not to eat, so you oughta scale down. Use smaller versions of the above bugs as your first fly. The second, dropper fly should be even smaller and natural, like #16 or 18 hares ears, pheasant tails, lightning bugs, frenchies, and sexy walts. I’m partial to silver tungsten beads if there’s a decent current. I think the beads catch the trout’s attention while leaves and twigs clutter the water column. For river bass, shrink your lure and lighten your line: try 10-12 lb fluoro. Remember to aim for any shade, which hides the shoalies and spots from the herons.
Check out Unicoi’s full report Here.
Big Fish on Little Flies – Check out his awesome catch here. Congrats on your success Prowler!
Delayed Harvest Season: DH streams this year are: Amicalola Creek, Chattooga River, Smith Creek, and the Toccoa River. As you set out to fish one of these rivers, check out this excellent resource by Jeff Durniak, of Unicoi Outfitters, for some helpful tips.
(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)
Congratulations to Steve Phillips of Douglas for making the All-American bass tournament. That’s a big accomplishment that could $ignificantly improve his bank account and his trophy room. Good luck, Steve! On a sad note, tournament bass fishing lost one of its greats this week when Aaron Martens passed away. Saltwater fishing has been slow because of bad winds and weather. The Altamaha system is fishable again. Ponds and lakes have also produced some good bites.
River gages on November 11th were:
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 3.0 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.2 feet and steady
- Waycross on the Satilla – 12.8 feet and falling (57 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 12.7 feet and rising
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 12.3 feet and falling
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 7.3 feet and rising
William Warner of Waycross and a couple friends fished the lower Ocmulgee River on Thursday afternoon and caught 23 fish. They tried several other presentations for bass and panfish, but all of their fish ate white Satilla Spins (1/8 and 3/16oz.) tipped with crickets. Their catch included a few bass up to 3 pounds, a half-dozen crappie to a pound, a stumpknocker, and a bunch of bluegills up to 10 inches (about 3/4 pound).
Tyler Finch and a friend fished the river this weekend and had a great catch – 132 fish over the weekend. They threw white Satilla Spins (1/8 and 3/16oz) tipped with crickets to catch 90 percent of them. Their catch included lots of big bluegills and several 2 to 4 pound bass that inhaled the little spinnerbait. In the places where they caught a crappie, they would follow it up with a live minnow under a float and pick up several more each time they found them. They also put a bluegill head on the bottom and caught a big channel catfish.
The water is still high, and the fish are spread out in the prairies. The swamp is absolutely gorgeous in the fall with all the wildflowers blooming. Plan your trip for the scenery, not necessarily the catching….. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.58 feet.
An angler fishing a Baxley area pond had 2 good crappie catches. He was spider-rigging Specktacular Jigs (Tennessee shad color) tipped with live minnows. His creel was 25 fish one trip and 15 the other. A Douglas angler put it on the crappie this week in a Douglas area pond. He fished a pond with lipless crankbaits and jigs for one catch. He fished another pond on Thursday, and he and a friend caught 36 crappie on 3/4 and 1-ounce lipless crankbaits while bass fishing. They also caught several nice bass.
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (NEAR TIFTON, More Info HERE)
The crappie bite was good this week. An angler walking the bank on Sunday fooled a few bass and crappie. The cold slowed the bite some, but fish were still caught. I didn’t get any specific reports of folks catching hybrid bass, but I’m sure some were caught in lakes Bobben and Russell where they have been stocked.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Reports were scarce this week with the winds and rain, but a Savannah angler had a great inshore trip on Tuesday. He and a friend caught 3 redfish (1 oversized and 2 keepers), 2 flounder, and 12 sheepshead (up to about 5 pounds) on black with pearl eyes Capt. Bert’s jigheads (made with Gamakatsu hooks). They caught the flounder and redfish with Keitech swimbaits, and for the sheepshead they used shrimp on the same jighead. 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.