Getting you a fresh fishing report right here at the end of December 2021 so you can start making all those great New Year’s Day plans for a good start to 2022. Hey, make sure it includes grabbing someone new and taking them fishing for the first time. It is up to you to pass on the joy of fishing to those who don’t know or have not been asked. #passiton
NEWS TO KNOW
- Shad Season Opens Jan. 1: Commercial shad fishermen can take to the water beginning tomorrow. More info HERE.
- Browns on the Chattahoochee: The 35-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River downstream of Lake Lanier is home to Georgia’s southernmost wild Brown Trout fishery. More news HERE.
This week, we have reports from Central, North, Southeast and Southwest Georgia. I hope that 2022 brings you peace, happiness and of course, lots of fishing…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. Now is the time that using the electronics makes a world of difference. Bass are suspending and not feeding as heavy as normal with water temperatures that are colder. Several patterns the last few weeks require anglers to keep moving until the bait fish show up. Slow down and work the area well because the bass are finicky right now. The Carolina rig and drop shot are the best baits for numbers of fish. A few of the bigger bass are being caught on jigs around 20 to 25 feet on primary and secondary points in the creeks and major pockets off the main lake. There are a few fish deep in the creek channels and ditches. Keep a jigging spoon close by because as the water cools this tactic will be improving. Watch the water temperatures with the Lowrance Heat Map feature in the areas that are getting more sun. A couple of degrees can make a big difference all month.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 4.2 FEET 60’S
Bass are being caught on 1/2-ounce jigs and Strike King KVD 1.5 shallow crankbaits running the banks or where the flats come up out of ditches. Go back into the cove at the Parksville ramp to the two small islands on the right. There are several humps around them. Fish the points on the islands and the humps. See the humps on the C-Map and find them with the Lowrance depth finder. Rocks and hard clay on the points and humps helps, and grass growing on them improves them. The point on the second island to the left is a good area. Watch the water temperatures with the Lowrance Heat Map feature in the areas that are getting more sun. A couple of degrees can make a big difference all month.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 50S
Bass fishing is good. The spoon bite is good in the middle of the coves in 20 to 40 feet of water. Shad Raps fished around docks and rip rap will draw a strike mid-day. Spinner baits all-white fished along the bridge rip rap is especially good when Georgia Power is pulling water. The jig bite is starting to pick up on wood structure in the middle of the main lake coves and pockets. Docks as well as down trees will produce with the jigs. Watch the water temperatures with the Lowrance Heat Map feature in the areas that are getting more sun. A couple of degrees can make a big difference all month.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.6 FEET, 50’S
Bass fishing is good. Crank baits and covering water and fishing on any shallow blowdowns, stump fields and docks that have deeper drops nearby will work. Soon the bite will shift to rocks near deeper water. Any stretch of seawall near creek channels have potential to be holding bass. In addition to crankbaits the shaky heads will work as the bass metabolism slows. A jigging spoon bite is about to become the main ticket. Watch the water temperatures with the Lowrance Heat Map feature in the areas that are getting more sun. A couple of degrees can make a big difference all month. Continue to look for the bait and this help during the colder months. Take the time to find the bait and fish these areas thoroughly.
LAKE JACKSON IS FULL, 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. Rocks near deep water are the key and some wood cover makes them better. The bass are feeding on shad and crayfish. Always look for baitfish in an area. For covering water and finding bass, have the crawfish and hot mustard Rapala DT 6 crankbait and a 1/2 ounce all white spinnerbait with silver and gold blades, handy. Add the silver Deep Shadow Rap jerk bait with a black back. Slow down and cover an area with the 3/16-ounce Shaky head jig with a green pumpkin or black Zoom Trick worm. Also use the 3/16 to 3/8-ounce jig with a black Fat Albert trailer. A morning dawn or bluegill Robo worm rigged drop shot style above a 5/16-ounce sinker on a 1/0 hook has produced. Watch the water temperatures with the Lowrance Heat Map feature in the areas that are getting more sun. A couple of degrees can make a big difference all month.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 55.7˚ F (13.2˚ C)
- Water Level: 39” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 27”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
The water level is down at Flat Creek, but the mix of warmer and cold days have caused many anglers to target the warmer days. The anglers that were out fishing were reporting catches of largemouth bass with deep diving lures and trolling for crappie or casting jigs or fishing minnows in cover around the submersed brush piles. Most of the bream have been from the bank or from the fishing pier. Here’s a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had good success for each of the following:
Bass: Shad or other deep diver type plugs in tail craw or pumpkinseed, Zoom Trick Worms, and Zoom Centipede worms, Plum or June bug colored worms. and minnows.
Bream: Red Wigglers or pinks fished on or near the bottom.
Channel Catfish: The last anglers that were catching catfish used chicken livers and pinks.
Crappie: We have not seen large numbers but have seen fair catches on the smaller size with a few larger fish caught, using Curly Tail Grubs in bright colors. Strike King Mr. Crappie Shad Jig, and minnows. Fishing from the fishing pier with minnows has been productive.
MARBEN FARM PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water level: All ponds are full except Greenhouse. Greenhouse will reopen January 1st.
- Water clarity: Clear
- Surface temperature: Mid to upper 50’s. The water temperatures are highly variable with the warmer weather. Take advantage of the warmer water temperatures after several days of mild weather.
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Most bass are being caught in deeper water off points and creek channels. Many anglers take advantage of schooling shad late in the afternoon. Something to remember is after several days of really cold weather the water temps may get below 50 degrees. When this happens the threadfin shad are lethargic and the bass take advantage of this. So, if it gets cold and the water temperatures drop look for gulls diving.
Crappie: Good. Fox, Margery, Bennett, and Dairy Lakes have been the most consistent for crappie, with most being caught while trolling jigs at 6-10 feet deep or by casting jigs with a float and retrieving slowly.
Bream: A few shellcracker and bluegill are being caught with pink worms fished on the bottom. Anglers that are catching bluegill and shellcracker are very patient and move to another location only after making a good attempt.
Hybrid bass: Many anglers have had good luck catching hybrids. Look for schooling shad early morning and late afternoon. Use a bait or lure that mimics a shad.
(Fishing report courtesy of Anthony Rabern, Region Supervisor and Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Christmas is behind us, and a new year is upon us. My, how time flies! So, let’s not waste our time on the frivolous and unproductive stuff because, as my grandmama always told me, “every day is precious.” Looking back on Christmas, my most important gift was an ultralight fishing combo. It just happens to go along with my 4-year old grandson’s new fishing pole. Spending time with him is a ton of fun but doing it while fishing is even better. Doing things together builds our connection and creates memories that he nor I will ever forget. Unfortunately, I see way too many folks fishing solo as they zoom up and down the lake. That, my fellow anglers, is a wasted opportunity. So, if you want a valuable New Year’s resolution, try this one on for size: Take a friend fishing.
If you received a new fishing rod for the holidays, here are some fun videos to get you pumped up for your fishing adventures next year! Opportunities come to those who take them; I hope you take every opportunity to try fishing a new stream in Georgia in 2022!
My friends, co-workers, fishing buddies, and local fishing guides want to help you have a great fishing day, too, so we offer the following tips to improve the odds for you and your buddies to catch a few fish this week on North Georgia’s lakes and streams.
Linesides (Report courtesy of Fisheries Supervisor Jim Hakala) – Sunshine and a bluebird sky was buffered by a steady wind and cold temps on a pre-Christmas outing to the Toona. Water temps. ranged from 45-48F and the water had a moderate stain. We spent a fair bit of time “sonar watching” while cruising between Galt’s Ferry and Little River. Marked plenty of fish, bait and even a little sonar “spaghetti” suspended in the 20-30 ft. depth range over a 40-50 ft. bottom. Unfortunately, we were only able to coax a few linesides and a spotted bass to the boat by vertically jigging ½-ounce blue and white spoons. Kids out-fished the Dads on-board, but who’s counting (at least until next time). If you could keep the spoon in front of their nose for any length of time, they would bite. I suspect an offering of live bait may have improved our “catching,” but jigging can be productive if you hit it right.
Bass (This report from Matt Driver was provided courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report) — Fishing guide, Matt Driver, reports that bass fishing is good. The jerk bait bite is getting good with water temperatures in the 60’s and dropping throughout the month. The Spro McStick and McStick 95 in natural shad patterns fished around bluff walls and points at the mouths of creeks is a real productive deal. Use a 6’ 6’ medium rod and 10 lb test Sunline fluorocarbon line, and mix the retrieve up. If the water is stained, the jerk bait bite goes away, and I’ll go more to a slow rolled spinnerbait or the Scrounger. Don’t let cold weather and fronts keep you from fishing. The Float n Fly bite is real good. Leader lengths between 9 and 11 feet are the way to go. Use sonar to locate balls of bait and try to put your fly at or just about the depth of the school. The Red Rooster Custom Baits in Carter’s special, blue dun and perch are good choices. Remember to not over work the fly. Less is more. Also, an 8 to 10-foot Float n Fly rod with 10 lb test Sunline fx2 braid will help with casting the long leader. Bluff walls and mouth of creeks are the best areas to target.
Allatoona Fish Attractors – With lake levels falling and fishing heating up, this a good time of year to hunt bass and crappie on one of Allatoona’s 60+ fish attractors. Brush piles, hinged shoreline trees and bamboo, plastic and PVC style fish attractors dot Allatoona’s lake bottom thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Army Corps, DNR, bass clubs, Bartow County, Boy Scouts, non-profits, local businesses and numerous volunteers. Find Allatoona’s attractor locations HERE.
LAKE LANIER (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant (southernfishing.com)
Spotted bass — Our friend, Academy Jack, typically has good success catching spotted bass this time of year around docks located over or near deep water. Here’s one of his reports from the archives, “A Megabass 110+2 caught a 2 pounder and a Strike King 5XD Chilli-Craw crank-bait caught a 2.6. Both fish were suspended in 25 to 30-foot of water.” Thanks, Jack, for sharing your secrets and passion for fishing.
Good Out There (Report Courtesy of Phil Johnson, (770) 366-8845) — Fishing has been pretty good out there. The shallow fish are good early in the day. The deeper fish are better later in the morning throughout the rest of the day. The shallow fish have been eating crank baits, spinnerbaits and jerk baits. Use a 10-foot diving crank bait up on rocky points off the main lake early in the day. Just throw the crankbait super shallow, and they can be very shallow so start up in 6 inches of water. Then slowly start the retrieve. Working around the rocky points, keep the boat out away as far as possible and still make the cast. The water is so clear up shallow and the fish may be spooky. Set the trolling motor on low speeds. Use the Megabass Vision 110 jerkbait with a medium speed retrieve. Try to dead stick the jerkbait or use a slow retrieve. Stay with the basic shad colors with the Vision 110. During the mid-morning and afternoon, the worm, the jig and spoon bite have been excellent. There are a lot of fish up in the 18 to 30-foot range. Use the Zoom Swamp Crawler rigged on a 3/16-ounce lead head or a football head. This rig is deadly on the mid-range fish. Drop it right down to them when they appear on the Lowrance. Find the fish on the Lowrance DOWN SCAN technology and if have Fish Reveal use it on the DOWN Scan so the fish appear like on regular Sonar. Use the vertical jig in a ½ to ¾-ounce spoon. Also cast to the points and bounce it back. The deeper fish are eating either a white Flex It spoon or a 3/8 ounce casting jig. Fish both of these baits on the fish that at 40 to 55-feet of water. This bite is coming on and getting better every day. The jig is a green craw or brown and orange colors. Look for the deep bite to get better as it gets colder. With colder weather this will push more of the spotted bass out deep.
Striper fishing (Report from Buck Cannon Buck Tails Guide Service, (404) 510-1778) — There is a lot of bait at 30 to 50-feet north of Browns Bridge. Trout and bluebacks were the bait of choice at 30 to 50 feet deep. Drop to the bottom underneath the bait and reel a couple of turns and start drumming method to get the bite going. Fish the flat lines 80 to 120 feet behind the boat.
Crappie fishing is excellent (From Captain Josh Thornton, (770) 530-6493) — The hot bite target zone is 15 to 18 feet deep. Be flexible in your technique. Figure out what depth the crappie are biting and what they want to eat jigs or minnows. When using jigs, try putting two different colors on one line about 16” apart see what color they are hitting. Then concentrate on what they want. No need in throwing all jigs if they only want minnows that day. Look for open water brush in 15’-35’ of water plan on losing several jigs and minnows you got to be down there with them to catch them. Look under docks that are in 15 to 30 feet of water and have brush or structure use your electronic charts to locate these areas. Try down lining a small Crappie minnow with a sinker or set up a slip bobber. Jigs have been producing some big numbers. My jig recommendation is a baby shad green over chartreuse or a royal blue over silver single tail. Jigs can be used for short casting, vertical jigging, or dock shooting. I’m using ATX Lure company’s jigs on 5-pound test, high visibility yellow K9 braid for my line (unless I am using a bobber) and a Piscifun reel on a light action 6’ B&M rod. Use scanning type sonar (e.g. Down and Side Imaging) to locate schooling fish, and complement this with the latest in live-scanning sonar technology (e.g. Garmin’s LiveScope, Humminbird 360 or Lowrance’s LiveSight). Set waypoints on your electronic charts so that you can quickly return to productive locations.
LAKE WEISS (Mark Collins reports) —
Bass have moved to the creek and river channel ledges. Spinner baits and crank baits working well. Jigs and Carolina rigs are catching fish also.
Crappie are on deeper cover 18 to 22 feet, on the main Coosa River channel ledges from Cedar Bluff to Leesburg. Spider rigging over brush and the river channel ledges with live minnows and jigs is catching fish. Long line trolling with jigs is starting to turn on, as some fish are starting to suspend in the river and creek channels.
LAKE HARTWELL (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant (southernfishing.com) — Bass are holding on lay downs along the bank and most of them are being caught in the tops of the trees in the heavy branches on jigs. Use a 1/4 to 1/2 ounce jig in brown and green colors with a twin tail or frog trailer. Out on the main lake points, fish are still breaking the surface and on occasion are hitting top water baits. As the lake turns over, bass tend to suspend and Ito 110 jerk baits are excellent. Down Deep Husky Jerk will work too on the deeper channel ledges. Stay on the main lake or in the rivers this week and out of the coves. Find the fish on the Lowrance DOWN SCAN technology and if have Fish Reveal use it on the DOWN Scan so the fish appear like on regular Sonar. Use the vertical jig in a 1/2 to 3/4 ounce spoon. Spinner baits are catching a few bass that are roaming the banks and most of these fish are small spots. Use the six-inch worms, the Rapala #5 RS Shad Raps and trick worms with a very light Texas rig. Fish every point and piece of structure and it may be necessary to fish several baits in one location to trigger a strike.
WEST POINT LAKE (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant) –
Bass are being caught early on slow moving baits including the Netbait Paca Chunk and Paca Craws in black, sapphire and green pumpkin. Work baits right on the bank around any cover. Later each day work the creek banks and use a Shad Rap or a Rat L Trap in the shad colors casting to visible cover along the bank. Chatter baits can catch a lot of fish also in the white 3/8 ounce size in the backs of the creeks. Mid-lake and down lake are the best fishing we found. Drop shotting will also work and the hot worms are in these colors: green pumpkin, key lime pie and pumpkinseed. There are a few fish biting spoons and jigs but there is no consistent bite. Pick a creek around marker 54 and work the points and the river bends with a 1/2 ounce Sidewinder spoon. Work the bait right on the bottom and hop it only a few inches at a time. This bait need to look like a dying shad so use shot lifts at depths of 15 to 30 feet deep. All black or all brown in the 3/8 ounce Stanley jig and be sure to use real pork trailers. The Uncle Josh #11 is the all-time cold water favorite. In the coves up lake with any wood, run a #5 Shad Rap in bright colors right through the middle and stop the bait as it strikes any structure.
Louie Bartenfield of Carters Lake Guide Service (706/218-6609) says that the big Spotted Bass are biting and you can catch them in a variety of ways. Spotsticker Casting Jigs, Jigheads, and drop shots are all producing as well as the ever-so-popular Float n Fly.
Match’em Up: Remember to match your bugs to the stream conditions. If the water is big/high/stained from a rain, use bigger and brighter bugs.
Trying Out Trout Fishing: It’s going to cool down next week, so if you challenge yourself to a cold day of fishing, be sure to bring extra clothes to change into. I had a miserable, soaked, 2-hour drive home last week, because I was too proud to pack a “just in case” bag. I’m fairly good at not falling in the water, but you just never know when Sasquatch will sneak up on and trip you. Save your best fishing shots for the hours of 11:00 AM to 3 PM when it gets the warmest. Remember to send your flies into the bubble lines, and don’t be afraid to take the time to attach a bobber/indicator, and rig more than one fly on in order to fish the deep pools. If the creeks are still swollen and turbid from this week’s rain, tie on something big and flashy like a sparkly wooly bugger. I hope you’re able to catch a trout to start out your new year!
Tips for Learning How to Fly Fish: (From Jimmy Harris, owner of Unicoi Outfitters) —
- As soon as possible, go out with someone who knows how to fly-fish. Not a friend who claims to have been fly-fishing for 10 years but only goes twice a year but someone who KNOWS how to fly-fish.
- Be patient. Recognize that you have chosen to fish using a technique that intentionally puts you at a disadvantage in many situations. The pleasure of the sport comes from mastering various and sundry skills that aren’t needed if your only goal is to catch fish.
- Brute force and ignorance will not make you a fly angler. Quite the opposite. The harder you try, the worse your cast will be. God will not allow you to violate the laws of physics just to cast a fly rod.
Hunting Not Fishing: (From Jeff Durniak, aka Dredger, of Unicoi Outfitters) —The longer I flyfished, the more I realized that I was hunting and not fishing. I learned to look, stalk, and shoot.
- Look! From a high riverbank, study the stream. Look for bugs, fish, and currents. Bugs may be near the surface, high in the air dodging hungry birds, or in bushes or spiderwebs. Fish may be rising, sidestep-nymphing at middepth, or hunkered down on the bottom. Currents and bubblelines will tell you where the sweet spots are.
- Stalk. Slowly slip along the streambank or into the river. Get into position to make your first shot count, just like in hunting or golf putting. Get close to that foam line, deep shade under the log, or flat slick behind the midstream boulder.
- Shoot. Cast short and get a good drift. Your first shot (cast) is the most important, so make it count. I’ll take a short-gamer with 5 favorite flies and a good drift over a double-hauler loaded with 500 “hot” fly patterns. The first is a hunter/harvester, while the second is just “fishing.”
Check out Unicoi’s full list of tips HERE.
Chattahoochee Tailwater Trout: (Report from Chris Scalley of River Through Atlanta) — Reports are fantastic from our group of guides. Lake turn-over is complete and we are seeing gin clear water. Fish populations are good near the Buford Dam area. We are also getting reports of blue wing olive hatches in the 18-20 size. We too, are receiving reports that the size 24 cream midges are on the rise and fish are looking up. Also the lower section below Morgan Falls is fishing well. Look at swinging buggers, or dead drifting junk flies for the win. Stay posted or call the shop for updates. For the Chattahoochee, state regulations require a certified personal flotation devise be worn by all anglers from Buford dam south to highway 20. Pay special attention to water release info online or call the number below for release schedules. Make sure to call the Corp of Engineers release hotline at 770-945-1466 before making your trip.
- If you are new to wade fishing the Chattahoochee Tailwater: Here’s a great video that will walk you through how to know when to fish based on water gauges.
- The Atlanta Fly Fishing Club has an excellent resource for access points, float times, and fishing tips HERE.
Wild Trout: On the wild side, Fisheries Biologist Jackson Sibley took off with a buddy to fish for wild rainbows in the Cohutta Wilderness. The topography of the Cohuttas can be a little intimidating, but the fishing and the scenery make it worthwhile. Jackson reports, “The winter season can be a great time to trout fish in the Cohutta Wilderness! Though their feeding has slowed relative to other times of the year, trout are more predictably located right now, schooled in deeper pools and below barriers such as waterfalls and culverts. Matt Reed and I paid a visit to Emery Creek on December 23, where the Emery Creek Trail provides access to miles of fishable water. Our advice: skip the pocket water and nymph the deeper stuff, and don’t be afraid to add a little extra weight! The chunky rainbow trout pictured here struck a size 8 wooly bugger with ferocity and proceeded to leap and flip through the air before making it to the net.”
DH Run Down, Successes, & Tips (Courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Sarah Baker) —
- Smith Creek: Looks like the eggs may still be the ticket for a little while longer.
- Chattooga River: Pats Rubber Legs and vibrant eggs. Periods of low water can be fished with an assortment of small nymphs and midges. Moderately weighted Hare’s Ear nymphs and Silver Copper Johns have also worked well, especially on mild and cloudy days when small Blue Winged Olives might hatch. Periods of higher flow provide opportunities to fling some bigger streamers. Aggressively strip it! When fishing in moderate flows, smaller streamers and egg-flies have worked well. Check water level at Burrell’s Ford Bridge here, and local weather on the Chattooga River here.
- Amicalola River: The Amicalola was stocked just before Christmas, and the usual arsenal of small nymphs, midges, and flies should make for a successful outing.
- Toccoa River: Fishing conditions can be dicey based on the river flow. So, before you pack your gear and head to the river, check the river gage at Dial, GA at USGS Current Conditions for USGS 03558000 TOCCOA RIVER NEAR DIAL, GA. Stream flows below 400 cfs are typically safe for wading.
- North Georgia Trout Online: Congrats on your success at Amicalola DH Concrete_Pete!
- The Atlanta Boat Show has been cancelled for 2022.
- The Atlanta Fly Fishing Show is scheduled for February 4-5, 2022.
As always, thank you for buying your fishing licenses, tackle, and TU Brook Trout car tags.
Here’s to all your fishing adventures to come in 2022!
(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)
This warm spell between Christmas and New Years has triggered lots of different bites. Saltwater and lakes have produced fantastic fishing. Weather will turn sour early next week with a strong cold front, but fishing should be great through the weekend.
River gages on December 30th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 5.5 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 6.0 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 8.8 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 10.4 feet and falling (60 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 11.0 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 5.6 feet and falling
New Moon is January 2nd. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.
The main river is too high for good fishing, but Gilbert Ellis, Jr. fished the extreme upper tributaries in Coffee County before Christmas and had a blast. He put worms on the bottom and caught 11 bluegills and a largemouth bass in less than an hour of fishing. Jim and Garrett fished the tidal Satilla last Thursday and caught several striped bass by pitching to current breaks. Their most successful color of Assassin Sea Shad was white-chartreuse tail.
Striped bass fishing has been excellent in the Savannah area. Anglers fishing Sunday caught about 30 stripers around current breaks. They caught some on live mullet, but most hit a 4.8” Keitech swimbait rigged on a 1/2-oz. jighead. They had 3 that would have been keepers, but most were in the 3 to 6 pound range. They also went downstream into saltwater and caught some trout and a limit of redfish for their cooler. Panfishing was great again for Tyler Finch before this last slug of water. He went before Christmas and he and a friend had a great catch. They caught over 100 and kept their limit. Most of their fish were on white Satilla Spins tipped with a cricket. This past weekend was tough for them, though. They only managed 25 panfish in 1 1/2 days of fishing. He said that the 7 foot water drop over the week had the fish in a tail-spin.
Very few folks fished the east side again this week, but I did hear of someone catching a chain pickerel (jackfish) from the boat basin. On the west side, effort has been low, but some anglers fishing the boat basin caught a few warmouth on worms and a few catfish by putting shrimp on the bottom. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.24 feet.
Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson had a great catch on Monday evening. They had 30 bass up to 2 pounds by pitching Christie Craws to cover. On Thursday evening, Chad caught a few bass up to 6 pounds. His big one came on a white spinnerbait. I’ve talked with several folks who said that the bass are up shallow this week, and that should continue into the weekend. The bass fishing should be excellent this weekend with the warm water temperatures and the falling pressure of the approaching front. Saturday should be great for both crappie and bass (and probably even bluegills and catfish if you have a pond with a good population of them).
OCMULGEE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Hawkinsville, more info HERE)
Bass fishing has been good during the current warm spell. Several bass up to 9 pounds were caught this week. The biggest reported was 9.17 pounds. Andrew Laney caught both the PFA record crappie and redear sunfish (shellcracker) on Sunday. The crappie weighed 2-lb., 6-oz. and the shellcracker was 1-lb., 1-oz. He fished minnows for both fish and also caught a 7-lb., 8-oz. largemouth bass while trying to catch panfish.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The inshore fishing has been excellent the last couple of weeks with the moderate tides and great weather. On Christmas Eve a couple of Waycross anglers fished the Brunswick area and caught 37 trout (about 20 keepers – kept 9). They did best around flooding oyster shell beds with Bite-a-Bait Fighter and Rapala jerkbaits (Tennessee shad and silver/black back). If a fish missed, they would follow-up a cast with a 3-inch Keitech swimbait (morning dawn or Tennessee shad) or a live shrimp on a Capt. Bert’s Shrimp Hook. Their biggest was a little over 20 inches (they released that one). The same day a couple of Blackshear anglers fished the Brunswick area and had a bunch of short trout on shrimp. They had 4 keeper trout and a keeper flounder by the end of the day. The day after Christmas, a couple of anglers fished the Brunswick area and caught 19 redfish (all keepers – released them all) and 3 black drum. Half ate dead shrimp fished on Redfish Wrecker jigheads (3/16-oz., 3/0 hook), and half ate artificials (chartreuse Satilla Spin Magnum Spinnerbaits and Sea Shads on 1/8-oz. jigheads). All of the drum ate shrimp fished on the Redfish Wreckers. Shane and Joshua Barber fished the Brunswick area on Monday and had a fun day. They caught 20 trout, but all were short. They caught their fish on chartreuse pepper grubs and live shrimp fished around shell mounds and creek mouths. They said that the water was in really good shape (clear) that day. On Tuesday, a couple of Waycross anglers fished the Brunswick area and caught and released 61 redfish up to 20 1/2 inches and 6 black drum to 22 inches. All their fish came on shrimp skewered on Redfish Wrecker Jigheads (1/4-oz., 4/0 hook) and fished on the bottom. Most of their fish were caught back in creeks, but a few were in big water. They talked with a couple of anglers who had caught several dozen trout in the same area, but they had all throwbacks. William Warner and his brother, Journey, fished the Jekyll Island Pier this weekend and caught some big yellowtails on shrimp and squid. After catching several dozen, they moved to another pier where they caught some black sea bass and a couple other species. On Thursday, a trio of anglers caught a couple dozen slot redfish in the Brunswick area. They caught them on artificials and released all but a couple of them. Also on Thursday, a group of anglers fishing the Brunswick area caught 18 trout and 4 reds on live shrimp fished in deep water. Two of their reds were keepers and 2 oversized. The tides are going to get big around the upcoming New Moon, so factor that into your trips this week. For guide trip information, call Capt. Greg Hildreth at (912) 617-1980 or check out his website. For the latest fishing information or live shrimp (or Redfish Wrecker Jigheads) in the Brunswick area, check with J&P Bait and Tackle on Hwy 303 (912-282-9705).
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
There are plenty of options for fishing when it comes to Lake Blackshear. Try your luck with bass, catfish or crappie this time of year. For crappie try minnows or sugar bug jigs near submerged structure. For some channel cats stick to the channels and get your bait on the bottom. Try night crawlers, some fresh caught bluegill, or chicken liver. Shad lures should get you a bite if bass if your target species. Try using darker colors when the water is muddy and more natural colors when the water is clear. And don’t forget to try your luck on the southern end of the lake for some hybrid striped bass!
LAKE WALTER F GEORGE
The crappie fishing on Lake George has been exciting. Try using eyehole jigs and focus on the southern end of the lake. Look for areas with flat bottoms and some submerged structure. The striper and hybrid striped bass bite is on as well. Try near the islands and near the dam for the best results. Lake levels are inconsistent and water levels are low in many areas. Use extreme caution when boating on Lake George.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
In general, the weather is cold and the bite has become less consistent. Anglers have to be more patient and persistent to have a good day fishing. However, winter weather means less anglers are fishing; thus, less fishing pressure for the dedicated angler.
Bass: Largemouth bass fishing is slow. Fish plastic baits at a slower pace now that water temperatures are cooler. Plastic-worms fished around the deep water by the picnic area and around both fishing piers may produce a few good bites.
Crappie: Crappie fishing has been poor, and they are difficult to locate. However, their spawning season will start soon. Until the warmer temperatures arrive fish for crappie in 10-12 feet of water with minnows and jigs.
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