Anglers, do you know about all the things you can find on the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division Angler Resources webpage?
- Georgia Fishing Regulations
- Trout and Walleye Specific Information
- Information on Places to Fish: Interactive Map, Public Fishing Area links, Fishing Forecasts for Reservoirs and Rivers, and more.
- Angler Reward Programs: Find info about the Angler Award program, State Records and the Georgia Bass Slam.
- Fishing With Kids Information
This week, we have reports from Southeast, Central and North Georgia. Arm yourself with all kinds of helpful tips and tricks 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 cold nights have put a damper on the early morning bite, but some good trips were still reported this week. Crappie, bass, and saltwater species (when the wind allowed) were the best bites I heard of this week.
River gages on January 20th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 9.2 feet and falling
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 9.4 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 10.5 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 13.4 feet and rising (51 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 12.2 feet and rising
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 5.0 feet and falling
Nope – fish the extreme lower river around Woodbine or White Oak Creek for white catfish and striped bass or fish elsewhere.
ST MARYS RIVER
I did not get any specific reports this week from the St Marys, although it is the river at the most fishable level. The first Shady Bream Tournament will be held on February 19th out of the Kings Ferry Boat Ramp. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for more information.
Very few folks fished the east side again this week, but an angler pitching jigs did manage to catch 8 warmouth on Thursday. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.16 feet.
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Tifton, more info HERE)
There were 2 angler award crappie caught this week, and both were caught on Friday morning. Ethan Lien’s fish weighed 2-lb., 1.5-oz. and Ronald Phillips’ slab pulled the scales down to 2-lb. 4-oz. They also had some smaller fish. Both of the angler award fish ate live minnows fished off the dock in Lake Patrick.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The best window this week was Saturday when the winds were low and the weather beautiful. Kenny McClain of Knoxville fished with his nephew in the Brunswick area, and they caught and released 18 redfish (to 20 inches), 2 sheepshead (one was 6 pounds), and an 18-inch black drum. All of their fish ate live shrimp skewered on a Redfish Wrecker Jighead and pitched to creek mouths, shell mounds, and docks. They tried artificials but the fish didn’t want to chase that day. A couple anglers fishing the Brunswick area dabbled fiddler crabs around pilings and rocks to catch about 8 or 10 sheepshead per trip. I did not get any trout reports, but I imagine that you can catch them in the deeper holes up the creeks. 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 in the Brunswick area, check with J&P Bait and Tackle on Hwy 303 (912-282-9705).
Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson had a great weekend bass fishing. They fished the gorgeous weather on Saturday and had a “stellar” evening. Daniel’s best was a 6-pounder that he fooled with his go-to Christie Craw. Chad’s 4-pounder ate a Keitech swimbait rigged on a Flashy Swimbait Head. They caught a bunch of smaller fish, also. Chad couldn’t stand sitting at home after the cold front and howling wind, so he bundled up and anchored up in a pond to catch 6 bass up to 3 pounds on Sunday afternoon. He started with a spinnerbait, but the fish didn’t want to chase. So, he switched to a black/blue Christie Craw and fished it around wood for all of his fish. Taylor and Riley fished with their father (Chad) on Thursday afternoon and caught 2 nice bass in the 3 to 4-pound range using shiners in a Blackshear area pond.
(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 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. The high water did bring a lot of fish to shallow cover. With the bright sunny days, the bass can get a little sluggish but think jig and pig almost all day. Crank baits are working early in the morning. Also, use the Carolina rigs. This will work but the bigger bass seem to want a slower moving bait like the Rapala DT10 or DT6. The DT6 in shad and silver are working. Rocky points are best on the main lake. In the backs of the creeks and coves bass that are biting are small fish on trick worms with a tiny 1/8-ounce bullet sinker. Some bass are suspending in the channels and deeper water and move up early and late to feed. Bass and especially the spots want a larger slow-moving crank bait. Be sure to use a suspending crank bait. Rocks, deep water, and wind is the key thing to look for this week.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 1.4 FEET 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. Main lake points up in the Savannah River and the small pockets on the way up along the way can produce bass. Work the wood with jigs and Carolina rigs and use the Number 10 Husky Jerk Bait or X Rap. More rain is here for the end of the week, but it is not a gully washer as in the past weeks. This will not hurt the levels and the fish will feed very shallow on the bank structure. The lake levels are up and stained the rivers and creeks. Some of these feeder creeks are muddy, so back off to the main lake points and use spinner baits in the darker colored water. Try the Net Bait Paca Chunk and Paca Bug 3/8-ounce Alabama craw Black neon and Okeechobee 3 inch and Sapphire craw. Also, try the Power baits Meaty Chunk Green pumpkin 3 inch on a lead head. Be sure to look for the forage and this where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can cut searching time as much as 90%. Send the left and right beams out as much as 80 feet in the creeks and coves.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 50’S
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. The fish are tight to cover. Use a small crank bait fished close to docks and wood structure on the main lake. Up the rivers use a dark jig fished tight to the wood structure. The temperature is lower up the rivers so you will need to slow down. When Georgia Power is pulling water, the same small crank baits will work around the rip rap at the bridges.
Striped Bass: Line side fishing is good. The fish are relating to the bait fish. Use your Lowrance to locate the large schools of bait and drop a live shiner down. Down lines have been out producing flat lines. The spoon bite is also working well. The 1-ounce spoon has been working best.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools of crappie in the mouths of the major creeks. Dark jigs tipped with a minnow fished on a spider rig have been the best producer over the past week. As the water cools the fish will move further into the creeks.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.6 FEET, 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. Fish the shallow water using mainly crank baits, jerk baits and jigs. Most fish are coming from main riverbanks that drop quickly into deep water. Some crank baits producing recent success are Rapala DT10, Shad Rap RS #5, Thunder Shad, and Deep Little N. Try the Stanley 5/16 ounce in black, blue with a Zoom Chunk in black, blue or green pumpkin. Rip rap along the roads in Little River is still producing bass using crank baits and jigs. There are now quite several main river points and flats that are holding deeper fish. The area from Nancy Branch to Sandy Run Creek on the Oconee River has been best lately. Most fish are holding on the sides of these structures at 15 to 20 feet deep. The best baits are varying daily or even hourly. 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 will 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. The spotted bass are chomping well. Concentrate down the lake off main lake points in or around water depths of 12 to 20 feet deep. For the shallower fish, they are 12 feet deep. Use a Lucky Craft Pointer 78 jerk bait in shad colors. Those same bass can also be caught on a Fish Head Spin in a 3/8-ounce size because you can fish it deep or shallow. Count it down to a depth and keep it in that depth targeting certain schools. The Sexy Shad or Aurora Shad tipped with a pearl white paddle tail or the Keitech 2.8 to 3.5 will work on a Fish Head. Dipping the tail in JJ’s Magic chartreuse dye will make the spots hold on to the bait a little longer. The spotted bass are quality fish but move off a school once they bite. They will start a feeding frenzy before scattering out. Target another school allowing that school to regroup and bunch back up. The largemouth bite is sporadic so have a Chatterbait ready with white and a chartreuse tipped skirt. Try the Net Bait Paca Chunk and Paca Bug 3/8-ounce Alabama craw Black neon and Okeechobee 3 inch and Sapphire craw. Also, try the Power baits Meaty Chunk Green pumpkin 3 inch on a lead head. 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.
MCDUFFIE PUBLIC FISHING AREA
- Water Temperature: <60 F
- Water Visibility: 22-48+ in
- More Info HERE
Bass: Bass are biting well across the area. Fish late in the afternoon in the shallows of Willow Lake, while in Bridge Lake try casting near the pumphouse and peninsulas on Bridge; these areas consistently seem to yield good bites. Use black worms or shad look alike lures.
Bream: Bream bite has been slow. Fallen trees and docks on Clubhouse and Bream Buster are doing well, while working the dams on Bridge Lake has landed some nice bream. Pink and red worms are having the most success for bait.
Channel Catfish: Catfish bite has slowed down across the area. Fish are still being caught in the deeper waters of Bridge, Willow, and Clubhouse. Best bets are chicken liver and the usual stink baits in the deeper waters.
Striped Bass: Striped bass have been tearing up lures and livers alike in Bridge and Clubhouse. Best bets are casting lures and sinking bait in deeper water.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jackson Sibley, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
ROCKY MOUNTAIN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (Report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Jackson Sibley) —The winter bite is as strong as ever at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area! Anglers are reporting that bass and other predator species are still falling into their winter schooling patterns as they follow large, tightly bunched schools of threadfin shad. Though fish can still be targeted from the bank and around structure, many anglers say the key to success is scanning the sonar for large “bait balls” toward the middle of the lake. These fish can be tough to target, as they may be suspended 15-20’ off the bottom in deeper areas but learn to hone your presentation to the depth of the sonar arches and you’re likely to hook up! Spoons, Alabama rigs, and crank baits are all safe bets. PFA Manager Dennis Shiley, who you can find fishing at Rocky on his days off, shows off his favorite two Rocky catches from the last couple of weeks: a 5.6 lb largemouth and a 6.5 lb walleye, the latter of which qualified Dennis for an Angler Award!
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. Expect the action to continue to change weekly. More runoff will push the bait out into the center is of the creeks. The fish head spin and scrounger bite have been steady. Use a 3/16 or 1/4 ounce head with a 4 inch jerk minnow in albino. Count it down to 10 and slow real back. This is not a number’s bait right now but sizes of fish are good. The jig bite is still good and we are still using the Kacy’s Kustom jig 3/8 in green pumpkin and blue gill fire. Brush in 15 to 25 feet of water are the best areas to target.
Allatoona Lake Levels: Keep track of daily lake level changes HERE.
Allatoona Linesides (Report courtesy of Robert Eidson www.firstbiteguideservice.com) — Line side fishing is fair. Downing small trout, shiners or shad should work well fished 18 to 34 deep out of the river channel around the clear water. The bigger stripers are on the move and up shallow. Planner boards and free to lines, Trout or shad will give all a chance to catch one of the big boys. Stamp Creek to Iron Hill is where we recommend anglers target big fish right now. The spoon bite is also starting to pick up. We are having our best success on a 1 ounce white Flex It spoon.
Blue Ridge Bass (Report courtesy of guide Eric Welch via GON’s Fishing Report) — The bite is fair. The lake is now at full winter pool, and we have been having some strange weather. Some nights are down in low 30s with days in the mid 50s, then we are right back to days being close to 70 and sunny. The fish for the most part are in their winter patterns. I start out my mornings fishing long, rocky points and around docks that will warm up fast. I choose to throw a drop shot, Ned rig, 3.5-inch tube and a 3/8-oz. jig in these areas. I will run this pattern until noon, and then I will start my way up the river fishing the steep, rocky banks. I will use the same patterns of lures, but sometimes I will mix in a small-sized crankbait, No. 5 Shad Rap and sometimes a Flex-it spoon. The water temp is now at the right temp to throw the Float-n-Fly. I target deep, rocky banks and off long, rocky points. If you have never fished this technique, you have no idea how big a fish will hit this little fly. Midday is a good time to start throwing the A-rig around long points and docks. Good luck.
Blue Ridge Walleye (Report courtesy of Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — Low water, cold air temps and what seems to be a never-ending breeze keeps most people off the lake this time of year. Not me, I’m loving it. The walleye bite has been great, and we are catching them daily. As the water temps reach the low 50s, the fish have slowed a bit and a more subtle presentation is needed. It’s still a vertical bite, but with less action than last month and with slightly smaller baits. Instead of 3- to 4-foot jig motions, a foot or 2 seems best now. Also the speed you’re fishing needs to slow down a bit. The fish will still eat, but you just have to give them a little more time versus early fall. Spoons, jigs, blade baits and live minnows are all viable options right now. Try different colors on different days. Adjust to the daily conditions, and you can put some fish in the boat. While the daily numbers are about the same, the size of the fish are getting bigger as they pack on the weight for winter. Look for this bite to hold steady until the end of the month when the walleye will start focusing on the upcoming spawn. We are seeing lots of fish in the 20- to 23-inch range and a few 24- to 25-inch fish mixed in. These larger fish are what we are after for the next few weeks.
Carters Lake Walleye (Report courtesy of guide Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish. In fact if you learn how fish act in the coldest times of the year, it can be a lot of fun. Vertical fishing is the name if the game for walleye. Spoons, jigs, minnows and soft plastics fished right in a fish’s face is the best way to draw a strike. It’s a reaction strike, but it’s a lot slower than in the fall. Short movements versus aggressive presentations is the way to go. For locating fish, look for bait in an area and look for fish on the bottom just below it. That 50- to 60-foot range has been the target zone. Position the boat to make the most vertical presentation you can with the wind and work around the area 20 to 30 feet in each direction. Don’t spend too much time if you’re not getting bit. Be thorough and you will catch fish you never marked on the graph as they are too close to the bottom. Light and weather conditions really affect the walleye. Look for cloudy, overcast or windy days to be best for numbers. Vary your colors for the weather conditions and you’re in business. We have been seeing lots of 22- to 23-inch fish with some bigger 25- to 26-inch fish mixed in.
Carters Lake Linesides (Report courtesy of guide Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — Stripers are in the backs of the creeks early feeding on small, 3- to 4-inch baits. They are following the bait out of the creeks and into the deeper water. As the sun comes up, the bait goes down. You should be following the bait balls depth with your baits. We have seen some massive schools of striped fish in the last few weeks. There’s so much bait in the lake that sometimes it’s hard to get bit, but light leader, small hooks and fresh baits can get it done. Most of the fish are in the 35- to 55-foot depth early and deeper after sunrise. Follow the birds. Loons, gulls, anything working the water can be worth checking out. We caught fish suspended 80 feet deep under feeding loons last week in the middle of the day on artificials. There’s no key areas since you can find the same bait scenario in every creek.
Lake Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com/) — Bass fishing is fair. Use a brown jig in clear water and a black and blue jig in any stained water. Go with a brown or green pumpkin Zoom Super Chunk Jr. on the natural color jig and a green pumpkin or black Super Chunk Jr on the black and blue jig. Shaky heads will also work on the docks and deep water structure. Rig them with trick worms, finesse worms and Senko’s. Shorter finesse worms or shortened trick worms will get more hook ups when the bite turns slow, short, and subtle. Slow down all presentations and fish a 1/8 ounce head when for a slower fall. Be sure to look for the bait and this where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can cut searching time as much as 90%. Send the left and right beams out as much as 80 feet in the creeks and coves. Carolina rigs are fair especially in the middle of the creeks on points. In the deep water, a ¾ ounce bullet weight is best. Spoons are also picking up deep bass relating to bottom and bait. A relatively subtle soft raise and lower action should perform best when fished just above the bottom or to fish elevated in the water column. Fish spoons 20 feet and deeper and stick to clear water for best results in spooning. Watch the water temperatures with the Lowrance Heat Map feature specially 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.
Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Phil Johnson via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. Cold and good. Winter weather is finally here and the bass are responding to it. Right now its rocks, clay banks and deep structure. The bass have been holding shallow on red clay banks which sets up for the crankbait and worm bite. A crawfish or red color Rapala DT6 is working well on both the clay and the rocks. Look for the sections that get the early sun for your early morning bite and then the areas that have wind on them for the afternoon bite. A trick worm in any of the darker colors is working well on the rocky areas as well as blow downs and docks. When working the docks start in the twenty five foot depth and work shallower to see where they are located on that day. Many of the worm bites you won’t feel but you’ll just see your line walking away. The deep bite is getting stronger with the dropping water temperatures. This can be on deep humps or ditches with structure. The shad are grouping up again so be sure to look for the bait in the areas you want to fish. The loons and gulls are true signs that you are in the right areas. A three eights Spot Choker underspin, white with silver back, with a 2/0 hook has been great to pair up with a three five Keitech for working water less than thirty feet. The half ounce has been a great producer with a Super Fluke in the deeper water. As the fish lock down more with the colder water a Georgia Blade spoon is the choice. Working with your electronics is critical on the deeper fish. My Garmin LiveScope has allowed me to stay over these deep fish and see how they are reacting to my bait. If the spoon doesn’t get the bite then the drop shot is the next option. I like to use at least a three eights weight on this setup to be able to get down to the fish quickly, especially on windy days. Morning Dawn and Blue Lily have been the two most consistent producers for the week. If you want to learn the deep bite now is the time. Contact me and we’ll Go Catch “EM!
Lanier Linesides (Report courtesy of Buck Cannon via www.southernfishing.com) — Lanier Stripers are laying in the deep water at 50 to 80 feet of water. The temperature is 50 degrees and the bait is hovering down near the bottom. You won’t see many fish but drop down lines to the bottom and reel up a couple of turns, blue backs seem to be the action getting method. Locate the bait using your electronics and fish near the breaks in the bait schools. Haven’t seen top water yet but be ready for when they come up. The umbrella rigs pulled 150 feet behind the boat at 3 miles per hour you should be fishing approximately 23 feet deep so pay attention to the bottom and remember in a turn the turning side will drop faster so be aware of you turns. Remember to wear your life jackets. Buck Tales 404-510-1778.
Lanier Crappie (Report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton via www.southernfishing.com) — The water temperatures are in the low 50s to upper 40s. The bite had been good but it’s a soft bite keep a close eye on your line you may see the line swimming away before the rod bends over. Minnows are working well. This week’s catch was 80% minnow’s 20% jigs. The jig we had success with this week is white with black sparkle. We are setting the minnows 5 to 10 feet deep. This week we have had major temperature swings e reds in and snow. The majority of the fish we caught were shallow over deep bottom. I have been targeting covered docks or enclosed docks and having good results the fish tend to bite if on the retrieval. I’m using the skippers jig moon jigs use (promo code heroes) when ordering. I use ATX Lure Company’s jigs atxlures.com. I use 5 pound test high visibility yellow k9 braid for my line unless I am using a bobber then it’s the k9 6 pound high vis line k9fishing.com 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.
Nottely Linesides (Report courtesy of guide Jeremy Seabolt via GON’s Fishing Report) — Fishing has been fair. We have been catching a mixed bag of fish. The stripers and spots have been hanging in the 20- to 40-foot depth, but we have all been catching them up shallower on planer boards and freelines, with most of the fish up shallower on herring and trout. The key this time year is to find the bait and the fish won’t be far behind. Trolling Captain Mack’s boards have also been performing well for us in the middle of the day. By mid January, it should be getting fairly cold up here, so the bait will get to where it will start piling up on the sunny points. That means it will be time to start throwing bucktails and working them back as slowly as you can. A v-wake plug also works well in January.
Lake Weiss Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service www.markcollins service.com) –
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. The bass are on their winter pattern on the river and creek channels. Drop shot rigs and Carolina rigs are catching fish.
Crappie: fishing is good. They are on the creek and river channel ledges at 18 to 25 feet deep. Spider rigging with live minnows and jigs over brush and stumps is the way to catch fish in the fall. A lot of Crappie have suspended in the Coosa river channel 20-25 feet deep. A few Crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs. Some fish are starting to suspend in the river channel in Little River and can be caught long line trolling with Jiffy Jigs and a float and fly.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is poor and no reports of any catches.
Catfish: Catfish are biting good 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 fair. Fishing has been touch and go with the up and down of water temperatures and water levels. But, soon the fish will begin transitioning from points and roadbeds to begin working their way back into pockets looking for food. Be sure to look for the bait and this where the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology can cut searching time as much as 90%. Send the left and right beams out as much as 80 feet in the creeks and coves. Look for isolated brush piles and rock at the mouths of pockets. The main baits working right now are all related to the current daily conditions. Net Bait Paca Chunk and Paca Bug 3/8 ounce Alabama craw Black neon and Okeechobee 3 inch and Sapphire craw. Try the Power baits Meaty Chunk Green pumpkin 3 inch on a lead head. Use the 3/8 ounce black & blue Stanley jig with a Zoom black super chunk. On days when wind is up, the pattern changes to shallow running crank baits, jerk baits, Chatterbait and spinnerbaits. For spinnerbaits, use a Strike King 3/8 ounce gold and nickel double willow leaf blades with a chartreuse/white skirt. For crank baits, the Rapala RS5 Shad Rap in a shad pattern will produce fish in all sizes.
Coosa River Linesides (Report courtesy of North Georgia angler Rodney Tumlin) — Rodney reports that the lineside fly fishing is good, remarking: “the white bass are being caught with black, chartreuse, & white Wooly Buggers in the Coosa River.”
Where to Find Trout Info? To learn about Georgia’s diverse trout fishing opportunities including the latest stocking information, check out the Georgia DNR Trout Fishing page.
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.