For your fishing trips, how do you prepare? Do you comb through your tackle box and organize it, maybe make a list of things that need replacing and restock. Reline your poles. Review things like this report, the Georgia Fishing Forecasts and favorite publications before making a decision on where to fish that day. Or, are you a “this is what I have, this is what I fish with, and this is where I am going no matter what” angler?
NEWS TO KNOW
- Lake Record Crappie: Angler Cody Hopkins smashed a 42-year-old white crappie lake record by 8 ounces on Lake Allatoona with his 3 lb, 4 oz catch. Lake records are kept by publication Georgia Outdoor News. Check out their article about Cody’s catch HERE. See more about Georgia Lake Records HERE.
This week, we have reports from Southeast, Central, North and Southwest Georgia. Whether you have old equipment, new equipment or a mash-up of both, we hope your fishing season is getting off to a great start as you 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)
This current warm-up has pushed the bass, crappie, and shellcrackers to the banks. Fish will be spawning for the next few weeks since the forecasted Sunday cold front is now forecasted to be a cool front, at best. Now is the time to hit ponds and lakes for bass and crappie. You can catch some crappie in the river oxbows, but the main channel is still swift on most rivers. Saltwater is hit-and-miss as fish transition from their winter hangouts to spring feeding areas. That transition has started.
River gages on February 24th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 8.2 feet and falling
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 7 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 9.5 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 10.1 feet and cresting (61 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 8.8 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 3.9 feet and falling
The river is still high, but you can catch some fish in the oxbows. The temperature has come up this week, so the fish should be more active than they have been. Catfish, crappie, and bass will be your best bets in the oxbows if you want to fish the small blackwater river this weekend.
ST. MARYS RIVER
The first Shady Bream Tournament was held on Saturday out of the Kings Ferry Boat Ramp. A total of 22 boats participated. First place (10 panfish limit) was Hunter and Jim with 8.40 pounds. Second was Mark and Randall with 8.13 pounds. Quentin and Amanda rounded out the top 3 with 7.98 pounds. Big fish honors went to Mark and Randall with a 1.16-pounder. Matt Rouse took his buddies Michael and Brantley bank fishing in the upper St. Marys on Monday, and the boys caught a really nice bluegill and spotted sunfish (stumpknocker). The next Shady Bream Tournament will be held on Saturday March 12th out of the St. George ramp. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for more information.
Jim and Garrett Page fished the swamp on Tuesday and had a good catch of fliers. They had 15 fliers up to 8 3/4 inches. Their fish ate crickets suspended underneath a float. They were hoping to get into some warmouth, but they didn’t find any. This warming trend over the next several days should have most species (fliers, warmouth, some jackfish) fired up. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.90 feet.
DODGE COUNTY PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Eastman, more info HERE)
Dean and Jeb Barber fished the area on Sunday and caught some really nice crappie. Their top two were 2-lb., 1-oz. and 1-lb., 5-oz. and earned each an angler award from the GA Wildlife Resources Division. Their fish ate live minnows. Some bass were caught on the area, as well. Crankbaits and worms were best this week. Shad colors produced well for the crankbaits, and the standard watermelon and green pumpkin hues were the best worms.
EVANS COUNTY PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Claxton, more info HERE)
The Southeast Georgia Kayak Bass Fishing trail headed to the area for their February 19th tournament, and it was a big success. They had 20 anglers, and top honors went to Adam Fournier of Richmond Hill. He had a total of 77.50 inches of bass, and that included the big bass of the tournament, a 21.25-incher. A total of 27 bass were caught, and top lures included crankbaits, shaky head worms, NED rigs, and drop shots. The next tournament is at Lake Lindsay Grace near Odum. Check them out on Facebook (SEGKBF) if you would like more information.
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Tifton, more info HERE)
Crappie fishing has been great for those fishing from the piers and the bank. Both minnows and jigs have produced well, so throw whichever you prefer. Expect the crappie to already be spawning in the smaller ponds and just starting to spawn in the larger lakes. Caleb and Mark Williams fished the area in the cold and wind on Saturday and caught a few crappie until 11. They decided to flip a few minnows from the bank on the way out and were glad they did. They caught 6 really nice crappie in about 15 minutes before they had to leave. Mark brought his wife (Sabrina) back on Tuesday, and they had 20 big crappie from that second pond. They used minnows for their fish. Bass fishing should be excellent on the area this next week. Staff did some electrofishing sampling this week, and the green fish have moved up. They had several bass over 7 pounds, with their biggest pulling the scales down to 9.9 pounds. They release all the fish after getting a length and weight.
The bass and crappie are moving in shallow in most ponds. Trey Lee had the biggest bass I heard of this week. He fooled a 12-pound monster on Monday using a coffee-flavored Rage Craw. He caught it in a Ware County pond. Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson fished an Alma area pond late last week and caught 15 fat bass up to 4 pounds on Keitech Crazy Flapper crawfish, Christie Craws, jigs, and spinnerbaits. Saturday evening they fished another pond and caught 6 bass in the 3-pound range while using Christie Craws and jig-and-craws.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
A Waycross angler fished the Brunswick area in the wind on Sunday afternoon and evening and managed 4 trout (3 keepers) and a 17-inch redfish. All of his fish ate a chartreuse pearl 3-inch Keitech swimbait fished on a pink 3/16-oz. jighead with a Gamakatsu sickle-shaped hook. That was all I have for the Georgia coast this week. For guide trip information, call Capt. Greg Hildreth at (912) 617-1980 or check out his website (georgiacharterfishing.com). 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).
(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)
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 63.5˚ F (17.5˚ C)
- Water Level: 46” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 31”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
Warmer temperatures have caused an increase in both fish and angler activity. Committed anglers are reporting daily catches of both crappie and largemouth bass. Anglers can expect more activity as the water continues to get warmer. The lake record crappie has been tied with a weight of 2 lbs. 3oz. Bream fisherman have been reporting continued success from the bank. Here’s a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had good success using for each of the following:
Bass: The bass bite has increased with success from the fishing pier with some 4-6 pounders. Try throwing darker baits like Red Zoom Baby Brush Hog. Minnows are resulting in hits as well.
Bream: Red Wigglers fished from the bank.
Channel Catfish: The last anglers that were catching catfish used the following: Chicken livers and pinks.
Crappie: Live minnows continue to bring success fishing from the pier. Try fishing around structure.
RESERVOIR FISHING REPORTS BELOW COURTESY OF Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL 50S
Bass fishing is fair. The bass are quite scattered and expect to find fish both shallow and deep. The bass that are shallow are on points 10 to 15 feet deep. Use a Carolina rig with a green pumpkin finesse worm. Deeper fish are biting a drop shot with a watermelon finesse worm and darker color worms. Keep a McStick ready and make at least a dozen casts to every shallow area during the day. Keep a Zoom pearl Zoon Super Fluke ready all day. This bait on braid can be cast a long distance. Suspending crank baits like a Rapala Shad Rap RS in size #5 is a good choice for using a slow retrieve with one or two second pauses beside each dock post. You should have a spoon ready if a school shows up on the Lowrance. Silver or silver-blue are good colors with the sun shining and crawfish is a good choice with cloud cover. For the jig, try a 3/8-ounce Strike King Pro Model in black-blue or brown with a Zoom Pro Chunk in green pumpkin. A spinner bait could also produce a larger fish, but don’t expect more than one or two bites.
CLARKS HILL IS FULL, 50’S
Bass fishing is good. A cold front is expected to move through this weekend. This might move the shallow water bass back to deeper water or tight to cover. Dead sticking a fluke might not be as effective as last week. Start off by checking out the ledges and drop offs and slowly work back up to the shallow water. Use the Down Deep Husky Jerks and Rapala DT14 on the ledges and switch to the Rapala DT10 and #5 and #7 RS Shad Raps later in the day. Fish the windblown points and banks. Go to the Weedless wonder lead head and a Zoom green pumpkin trick worm and pick apart the heavy cover. Lowrance Structure Scan technology can make the search a lot faster. Scan five times the depth of the water with the Structure Scan Side imagining technology and find the bait and the bass will be there close by.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 50S
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. The water temperatures are steady and some warm and longer days will get the fish active. Fish rip rap that the sun has been shinning on as this area will be warmer by a degree or two and is bound to hold a few fish. Use small crank baits like a ¼-ounce Rat-L-Trap in chrome/back or a number #5 Shad Rap in the silver color. Fish the bait using a slow retrieve and let it fall back as it comes back to the boat away from the bank. Keep a Zoom pearl Zoon Super Fluke ready all day. This bait on braid can be cast a long distance. The bites are light so use a good sensitive rod.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. There are a lot of fish holding in the channels leading to the spawning areas, but these fish are holding tight to the channel. These fish will move up with warmer weather. Trolling with 1/24-ounce Jiffy Jig tipped with a minnow is best. Troll SLOWLY and make sure the bait is at the depth the fish show up on with the Lowrance Down Scan technology.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.1 FEET, 50S
Bass fishing is fair. Water temperatures are trying to get up and some longer days and sunlight will help. Try the shallow fish on the points, ditches, and grass lines with a flat crankbait in 3 to 7 feet of water. Use the Spro Little John, Rapala’s DT Flat 3, Bomber’s Flat A and Bandit’s Flat Maxx and will all catch fish. Also try fishing a small 1/4-ounce jig around docks, weed lines and rock from 3 to 9 feet of water. Try the Culprit fast vide in green pumpkin on a light Weedless Wonder head. Use a black jig with a black Zoom Super Chunk Jr. as a trailer and swim it slowly. Don’t expect a jarring strike just a little extra weight. Now set the hook hard. One other bait that can work is the McStick jerk bait. This bait suspends and let the bait do the work with slow retrieve and stop and go.
LAKE JACKSON IS FULL, 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. The spotted bass are on the long rocky points. Pick a #5 and #7 Shad Rap in crawfish and shad patterns. Try the new premium balsa wood Rapala Ott’s Garage Series Slim crank bait. This lure has great wobble and side to side action for realistic movement, attracting large predators for deep set bites. This silent, flat-sided body has VMC Black Nickel 1X Treble hooks. These are super sharp, and they will hold on better than most stock hooks. Use the crank baits on 8-pound Sufix clear line and bump the bait off the rocks. The rocks are slightly warmer bringing bait up shallow after mid-day. If the bass won’t eat the crankbait take a 3/8 to 1/2-ounce jig and work the same areas. Watch the Lowrance and find the bait and deeper schools of fish in the mouths of coves. A Fish Head Spin or Flex It 5/8 ounce white and blue jigging spoon will catch these fish.
(Fishing report courtesy of John Damer, Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
Coosa River White Bass Report: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — WRD staff sampled the Coosa River below Mayo Lock and Dam near Rome earlier in the week. It was still on the early end of the run, but white bass were starting to show up in good numbers from the Lock downstream to Brushy Branch. There were also a few small stripers mixed in with the white bass. We expect that numbers of fish have only increased since our sample, as the latest heat wave brought water temperatures up into the mid-50s. The weather this weekend looks a bit colder and rainy which will slow the spawning run back down but the weather toward the middle/end of next week looks great. If you are looking for some great white bass fishing, the next month or so on the Coosa should be as good as you can find anywhere! Throw small shad-colored crankbaits, white curlytail grubs, and minnows tight to the banks for your best shot at some exciting action on light tackle.
Coosawattee River Report: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — Our WRD sampling crew also ran up the Coosawattee River this week to look for lake sturgeon. We were not successful in finding sturgeon, but we did find a few hybrids, white bass, and stripers (including this 22-pounder) within easy casting distance of the fishing platforms just below the Carters Re-Regulation Dam. Some really good-sized spotted bass and largemouth also hang around this area, along with a few walleye, catfish, and bream.
NE Georgia Walleye Report: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — Fisheries Supervisor Anthony Rabern reported yesterday that the walleye run has quickly turned on in Northeast Georgia. Much like the white bass run, the walleye run is triggered by rising water temperatures (along with other factors) and the warm weather we had the last few days has really brought them upstream into the shallow headwater areas of our walleye lakes to spawn. These fish will likely remain there for the next month or so, and many anglers find this the best time to target these tasty fish while they are concentrated together. Walleye feed mostly at night or in low light conditions, so fish early or late. They also tend to like slower presentations than other fish, so fish your lure or bait on the river bottom much slower than you would for other species. For a detailed guide to walleye fishing in Georgia, click HERE .
Hartwell Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com ) — Bass fishing is fair. Fish the rip rap rock both early in the morning and again after the sun beats down on it for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Any wind that might be blowing into or along these rocks will only help and not hurt the fishing. Number five Jointed Shad Raps can be used in close to the rocks and use a Rapala DT10 while fishing out a little deeper. Bounce these baits off the rocks then stop the bait for a two count then continue to reel it in slowly. A lot of the strikes will occur during the time the bait makes that dead slow rise, so be ready for any change in line direction. Carolina rigs with finesse worms and creature baits are fair. Slow rolling a 1/4 Fish Head Spin and a Zoom pearl Fluke added along the bottom will also work. Any color of green or brown seems to be the best producers. Add a small amount of scent to the baits to cover any plastic or human scent on these baits. Keep a Zoom pearl Zoon Super Fluke ready all day. This bait on braid can be cast a long distance.
Lanier Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770-366-8845 via www.southernfishing.com ) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. Can you say spring! The lake is clearing from the previous rain and the warmer temperatures are having effects on the bass. There are still fish in the thirty five to sixty feet range of water but there is also a movement to shallower areas. Many of the bass on Lake Lanier are beginning their pre-spawn migration and with that bringing more tactics into play. Over the last weekend there were several bags weighing over twenty pounds weighed in with several largemouth’ s over six pounds. There was even a six pound spot to hit the scales. It’s becoming the time of year to just pick your favorite bait and go fish. There is still a good Spotchoker bite from fifty feet all the way up to the fifteen foot range. The three eights Silver back or the White with red eyes trailed with a three three Keitech worked slowly will produced both numbers and size. Crankbaits like the DT6 in a Shad or Crawfish color are drawing strikes on the rocky points and banks as well as the red clay banks in the sun. A jerk bait worked down the banks of the pockets is also starting to draw strikes from the prespawn fish. Use a jerk bait in the shad pattern that runs in the three to five foot range. A three sixteenths SpotSticker with a watermelon red trick worm or a green pumpkin Senkos will get strikes on the rocky areas as well as on the docks in the backs of pockets. Don’t pass up any blow downs that you see as they can also be holding fish. A crawfish colored jig with a twin tail trailer is a great bait to choose if you want to target the largemouth bite. Work all the structure you see on the banks leading into the backs of pockets and creeks to find this bite. Springs almost here and the fish are beginning to feed up for the spawn.
Lanier Spotted Bass GON Report: (This report courtesy of Scout’nStripers on GON Fishing Forum) — Some good info HERE for those looking for some spots on Lanier.
Lanier Crappie Report: (This report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton, 770-530-6493 via www.southernfishing.com ) — The water is clear in the main lake the rivers are still stained to muddy. Docks have been the ticket this week. Look at docks in 20 to 40 feet of water. Try several color combinations until you find one that works and that will probably be your color for the day. One color combo that has been working well is pink and chartreuse. The bite is slow and soft keep a close eye on your line you may see the line swimming away before the rod bends over. Crappie Minnows work well year round. Try a free line minnow (no sinker) when the crappie are schooling near the top. I am setting minnows 10 to 12 feet over brush. 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. I’m using the skippers jig moon jigs use (promo code heroes) when ordering. I use ATX lure company’s jigs. 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.
Lanier Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Buck Tails Service, 404-510-1778 via www.southernfishing.com ) — Stripers on Lake Lanier are hard to find and catch during this full moon phase. The water temp 46 degrees and bait has been hard to find. Using your electronics locate the bait and fish in the center of the bait ball using blue backs on the down lines. Mini Macs on planers can increase your success pull 30 feet behind the boards at 1.5 mph over points and humps. Remember to wear your life jackets.
Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com ) — Bass fishing is fair. Now a lot of bass are suspended under or around schools of shad. The bass may be tight on the bottom so keep that in mind in figuring them out. It takes some coaxing on some of the schools but they can be caught with some persistence. Try the very backs of creeks and rivers early and late or if there is some cloud cover. Stay with the small worms and jigs in any dark colors. Also use a small green worm or a night crawler fished around the main lake marinas. Work the points on the main lake with a small Zoom finesse worms in greens on a Texas rig. Use night crawlers on a 1/8th ounce Weedless Wonder head and fish vertically and then cast them to any rocks close by. The shad are in the mouths of most creeks and the main lake and the spots are close by. Some schools are more finicky than others and the shad I am seeing them feed on are no longer than an inch at the most.
Allatoona White Crappie Record: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — As you might have seen in last week’s report, Cody Hopkins caught a potential lake record white crappie from Lake Allatoona. Georgia Outdoor News has officially recognized this fish in their list of Lake and River Records. Congrats Cody!
Weiss Report: (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair and they are on their winter pattern on the river and creek channels. Drop shot rigs and Carolina rigs are catching fish. Crappie fishing is good and they are suspended in the creek and river channels at 8 to 20 feet deep, and can be caught long line trolling with Jiffy Jigs in colors JJ13 and JJ17. A lot of Crappie have suspended in the Coosa river channel 20 to 25 feet deep. A few Crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs. Striper fishing is poor and no reports of any catches. 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: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com ) — Bass fishing is good. Head to the backs of creeks and bigger pockets and look for schooling fish busting the top from sunup to sundown. For the majority of the year this type of activity will be small bass. Find a school of bait with the Lowrance Structure Scan Side Scan technology and there should be some bass close by. They may be right on the bottom so do not scan out more than 80 feet. Have a chrome Rat L Trap or a pearl white Zoom Super Fluke ready all day. Try the new premium balsa wood Rapala Ott’s Garage Series Slim crank bait. Great wobble and side to side action for realistic movement, attracting large predators for deep set bites. This silent, flat sided body with VMC Black Nickel 1X Treble hooks. These are super sharp and they will old on better than most stock hooks. Use the crank baits on 8 pound Sufix clear line and bump the bait off the rocks. Try the Flash Mob Junior rigged with Super Fluke Juniors with paddle tails. Rig up a medium heavy action rod with 20 pound Sufix clear line. Pick the sunny flats near deeper water and make long casts with tis rig. If the bite slows down use a red Rat L Trap around any heavy bank cover and cast a Zoom green pumpkin U tail worm in there also.
Toccoa Tailwater Report: (This report courtesy of Joe DiPietro, North Georgia Trout Fishing ) — “Troutman” Joe DiPietro posted a video on his Facebook page of his pontoon covered in caddisflies while on the Toccoa this week. Dry fly fans should seriously consider a trip to the Toccoa tailwater this week, as this is usually one of the best hatches of the year for rising trout.
Unicoi Report: (This report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, Unicoi Outfitters ) — The weekly Unicoi blog came out a little too late to include in our WRD report last week, but it has some really great info that should still be relevant to trouting fans this week. Expect the “Dredger” to post this week’s report soon as well. Find all the info on their Facebook Page .
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
It has been a little bit since the last big rain. The water is no longer muddy but still quite stained. The crappie are hanging out at around 15 feet. Find the channel and fish the edges of the channel or the mouths of the creeks for the best results. White bass are also schooling on Lake Blackshear! Your best chance with them is to find them on sonar and use a minnow just off the bottom. Bass fishing should be heating up as the water temperatures rise so be patient!
Had some nice images to show from Flint River catches this week.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA
Bass: Largemouth Bass fishing is fair at Big Lazer Public Fishing Area. Anglers should begin to have some decent largemouth bass fishing trips very soon as they begin to move to shallower water. Bass fishing should really start picking up in the coming weeks. Try throwing spinning baits or crankbaits in 6 to 8 feet of water. Baits should still be fished slower due to cool water temperatures. Casting your line near good cover should yield some decent bites. Remember to please report any tagged largemouth bass to DNR fisheries staff or by calling the number on the tag.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is poor. There have been few reports of crappie being caught as they are difficult to locate. However, crappie fishing should pick up as spawning season approaches. Try locating groups of crappie by trolling the lake with minnows. Most bites will be in 8-10ft of water. You can also try bright colored jigs to try to entice bites. Remember: Only two poles are allowed per angler.
TIRED CREEK LAKE
The bass fishing is heating up at Tired Creek Lake! Water temperatures are reaching the mid 60s and the fish are starting to pair up. Males especially will be aggressively striking as they fan the beds. Try a lizard imitation lure to get their defensive instincts to engage. Another tactic would be to try using hollow belly frogs and chatter baits in and around grass to lure them out. The bream are also out and looking nice. Try crickets and worms for these guys. The crappie have cooled off just a bit but they can still be found in 3-5 feet of water around the edge and in deeper water near the middle around the standing timber. There a number of tagged bass in tired creek right now so be sure to call in those tags for a chance at a prize!
The main channel of the lake is still quite cold but some of the back water spots are reaching 60 degrees and above. Focus on these areas until the rest of the water warms up. Crappie are schooling in 5 to 8 feet of water in the lily pads. Minnows are a good choice for crappie bait. The legendary bass fishing of lake Seminole is starting to heat up. Bass are starting to pair up in the shallower water of those backwater areas. Try hollow belly frogs and chatter baits. Work them along the edge of grassy areas for a sneaky bite. Also try a crank bait to lure those fish off the beds. Some nice bream and warmouth are also out there waiting to be caught. Have some patients are try out some different bait and lure options or try fishing for another species if you are not having luck with your target species. Have fun out there but be careful as many hidden obstacles pose a threat to boater safety.