What better way to get you excited about fishing than to tell you about a NEW State Record Fish! Timmy Woods of Kite, Ga reeled in an 2 lb, 10 oz hickory shad from the Ogeechee River on February 20. This same river produced the last state record hickory shad just over a year ago. Way to go Timmy!
NEWS TO KNOW
- State Record Fish: Read more about Timmy Woods catch HERE. Check out the current State Record Fish Listing and Photos of State Record Fish. Now, you think you want to pursue a State Record? Review all the info found HERE.
- Forecasting for Great Fishing: Planning a fishing trip? Check out the annually updated Fishing Forecasts for that water body (rivers and reservoirs) before you go. These forecasts provide information, such as best bets, technique tips and more, and are each connected to an interactive map.
This week, we have fresh fishing reports from Central, Southwest, North and Southeast Georgia. Whether you reel in a lunker or a small fry, we are happy that you choose to 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 50’S
Bass fishing is good. The spotted bass are easy to catch on rocky drops, points, and channel banks back in the creeks. For largemouth the recent rain did warm the water. There are some stained waters back in the drains and this can set up a good pattern. Use just about any bait you want to throw. Fish will hit an underspin and Alabama rigs. Try the new premium balsa wood Rapala Ott’s Garage Series Slim crank bait with 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. The crank bait, rattle-style baits, and the jerk bait and a jig and shaky head and drop shot can all work. You may use any of those baits based on conditions. The go-to bait’s have been the underspin, Alabama rigs, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits.
CLARKS HILL IS FULL, 50’S
Bass fishing is good. The fish are shallow in the right places. Pitching a Texas rig to the base of willow trees in the backs of the creeks has been successful. Also throwing a spinnerbait in these same places is picking off some fish as well. Pay attention to where the creek channel gets close to the base of the trees, and the bass will be sitting right on the drop. There are also some fish holding on rocks closer to the main lake where the water begins to clear up. Try the new premium balsa wood Rapala Ott’s Garage Series Slim crank bait with 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. The jig can be an all-day bait but carry the Stunna jerk baits along and use these two baits almost all day.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. Skipping jigs and shaky head worms under docks in 5 to 20 feet of water around brush is a good bet. An underspin and an Alabama rig are the best things going in the mornings for a big bite. Fish can be caught around drains and points on a brown football jig, jigging spoon and a drop shot. Finding bait is key to finding fish right now whether shallow or deep. A shallow cranking bite is still available in the right areas using a Shad Rap or the Rat L Traps in crawdad patterns. Try the Rapala Ott’s Garage Series Slim crank bait with 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. Fish spinnerbaits along the seawalls with Colorado blades and colored blades of chartreuse and white and plastic worms and shaky head worms around the docks. Also try flipping right against the dock pilings and bumping every piece of cover is critical. Be sure to carry any soft lures that have some red flake in them.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.4 FEET, 50’S
Bass fishing is good. We are coming off a full moon. Use a Rat L Traps and Red Eye Shad over the grass. Spinnerbaits with chartreuse and white turtleback blades is a good pattern. Trick Worms in June bug red and Ol Monster worms in emerald black and June bug is the final pattern working right now. Look for the pockets that are wind protected if the lake temps are to fall. Bass will stay very tight to cover in stained water conditions. The shaky head and drop shot seem to be the best baits right now for numbers of fish. A few of the bigger bass on jigs around deep drops on primary points at the mouths of the creeks have also been caught. This is a good time to use the Fish Head Spin with a Zoom Fluke in the ditches of major pockets off the main lake or in the creeks. There are also some fish deep in the creek channels and ditches. Try a jigging spoon in areas where you find large concentrations of baitfish on the Lowrance electronics.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN 1.1 FEET, 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. As the bass will start to transition to spawn, they will move into shallower water as they prepare to move up onto spawning areas. The most consistent bite is down the lake. A Luck craft jerk bait and the Fish Head are the key baits for this bite. Look for schools of bass near bait or just keep moving until you get bit. Once you find the bite, slow down. All it takes is one bite to fire up these schools of big spotted bass. A Rapala OG 6 in shad and green patterns have been good on the long, rocky points leading to spawning areas and will have bass on them as they start to migrate shallow to spawn. Any shallow wood cover shouldn’t be ignored either. Flipping a jig around this cover can produce a hefty largemouth at any given moment. Jig color will be determined by the watercolor. Bass will start to move shallow and shallower, especially if we see several consecutive days of warmer weather. The shallow cranking bite will begin to heat up, and bass of all sizes will be there. Look for the bass to continue migrating to spawning areas as the month goes on. Bass fishing from here on out will only get better. Once they commit to going shallow, they will stay there until they finish their purpose. Keep an open mind as to what and where you may need to fish or throw this time of the year.
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Level: Full except Greenhouse
- Water Clarity: Stained slightly depending on rainfall
- Surface Temperatures: Low 60’s and rising
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Bass have begun to feed well. Bass are feeding on shad early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Crank baits should work well during these times. March weather is unpredictable so the bass bite may be the same. Repeating warm days will bring the bass shallow and colder days will push them out deeper. Plastic worms and lizards are a good option also.
Crappie: This is the month for the crappie bite. It’s up to you to find where they are stacked up. Casting or trolling jigs at different depths can help you locate them. But don’t be surprised if they don’t stay there as the day progresses. Jigs or jigs tipped with minnows are always a safe bet.
Bream: The bluegill and shellcracker bite are improving daily. Most are being caught on or near the bottom using pink worms.
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Crappie fishing at Lake Blackshear is hot. Minnows or the locally made sugar bug jigs are the baits of choice on this lake. The crappie are hanging out at around 15 feet. Fishing the edges of the channels or at the mouths of the creeks should give you the best bites. Consistently great looking fish are being caught out of Lake Blackshear so make the trip for a great day. Be sure to stop by Flint River Outdoors for some sugar bug jigs and to weigh in your fish for their monthly big fish contest.
TIRED CREEK LAKE
Water temperatures at Tired Creek Lake are optimal for bass fishing. Keep an eye out for tagged fish as you try your luck. Be sure to report tagged fish for a chance to win a t-shirt by calling the number on the tag or the signs posted at boat access points. The crappie bite is also hot and sampling efforts have been consistently turning up almost 2 lb fish.
Water temperatures across the lake are rising as the day length and air temperatures increase. Now is the time to make some move out of the back water areas into the main lake and try your luck. Crappie fishing is still quite good and these fish are looking really good. Try 3-5 feet of water in light vegetation. Use minnows and technology to get the bite. Bass are starting to bite more readily in the main body of the lake. Work them along the edge of grassy areas for a sneaky bite or try a lizard to try to get the defensive bite from a fish fanning the beds. If you are looking for some variety there are some nice bream and warmouth out there. Have some patience and 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.
SILVER LAKE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Things are beginning to heat up at Silver Lake PFA. A few weeks of warm weather are driving water temps into the high 60s and low 70s. We’re seeing lots of bass on bed in Cutoff Pond and in the big lake. Those Panic Pond ladies are cruising the shallows looking for bedding males (which don’t exist in Panic Pond) and the occasional shad snack. House Pond had a rough winter, losing a lot of large fish to migrating birds and otters, but there are still plenty of bream to be caught. The catfish in Frog Pond are still sluggish, but we expect to see more kitties being caught as the water temps continue to rise. Many of the ponds have new regulations, so make sure you pay attention to the signage at each pond before you wet a hook. Tight lines!
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Bass: Largemouth Bass fishing is fair. 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 (call the number on the tag).
Bream: Bream fishing is also fair. There have been some reports of good bream fishing due to the approaching spawning season. Anglers seem to be having luck fishing with worms around the fishing piers. This time of year, bream are located in 4-6 feet of water. Try locating woody structure for increased chance of bream bites.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jim Hakala, Region Supervisor and Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
Lake Hartwell Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com ) — Bass fishing is fair. Some fish are on the move toward the spawning areas. With the sudden changes the fishing can be very sporadic, but not all the bass spawn at the same time. Several different patterns will work. The key areas to focus on are primary and secondary points leading into the spawning pockets, docks and coves where they begin to make beds. Bass fishing is still a little slow as the surface temperatures continue to hold around the same temperature as last week. Bass were small in size and some had a good showing of fat in their bellies. An occasional shallow water Bass will be found in around seven to ten feet of water. DT Flats, Shad Raps and Jigs are all working in the shallower water. Don’t expect to catch as many Bass, but larger Bass continue to be caught up close while they are looking for and feeding on the crawfish. Baits that typically produce well this time of year are jigs and Texas and Carolina rigged Zoom Baby Brush Hogs and lizards, Trick worms, Senkos and shaky heads.
Lake Hartwell Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Guide Matt Justice, via www.gon.com ) — Fishing in March on Hartwell can’t be beat. Prespawn largemouth should be moving into their staging areas directly adjacent to spawning areas, and they can really stack up. Look for rock 5 to 15 feet deep on secondary points and ledges. Fishing with crankbaits like a DT6 and Shad Raps can be very productive after a warm spell. Fish can still be caught in the ditches and creek runs in 20 to 50 feet of water on football jigs and spoons. Look for this pattern to fade and more shallow fish to come into play.
Lake Hartwell Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Guide Preston Harden, via www.gon.com ) –March is my favorite month of the year. As the water starts to warm, all gamefish move shallow. The best time to fish is afternoons. As the water warms through the day, fish move to the bank. The best banks are the wind-blown ones. I concentrate on the points and pockets. This time of year you can catch lots of big fish shallow casting small shad imitations. I am not looking for schooling fish. I am casting to where I think they should be. I throw a small jig and a fluke or a bucktail jig and fluke. The fish are not ready to eat a herring until the water warms later in the month. When the water warms to the mid 50s, I will use a larger jig and fluke and a live herring freelined. So if you like to cast like a bass fisherman and catch big fish on light tackle, now is the time. Sleep late and fish until dark.”
Lake Lanier Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770-366-8845 via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The weather is still on a warming trend, so the fish are continuing to pull up from their winter homes. The recent rains have muddied or stained many areas the rivers and pockets while the lower end still remains mostly clear. There are still fish located in the ditches, but they have moved shallower. A three-eights white Spotchoker with a silver top and a white Keitech will draw strikes for these fish from forty feet up in the ditches. A Dropshot on deep brush is another option for these fish. Blue lily, Morning Dawn and Sunrise colors have been the most productive. The shallow bite with a worm or jig has picked up on docks, blow downs and points. Work a green pumpkin of watermelon red worm on a three sixteenths lead head jig to catch these fish. The DT6 crankbait in a crawfish color has been productive on rocky banks and red clay banks in the sun especially when there is wind. The lake is more clear on the south end and has more stain the farther up the rivers you go so adjust your colors for the area you are in. Crawfish or Fire Tiger patterns will work better in the stain while lighter colors will work better in the clearer water. Watch for the fish to continue to move into the prespawn areas in the coming weeks and work the areas near them. As I stated, there are many patterns working right now in many areas as the fish are scattered. Using your electronics, watching the water temperature, and understanding where the fish are moving are all critical factors for this time of year. They are definitely biting so Go Catch ‘Em!
Lanier Lineside Report (Report courtesy of Captain Ron Mullins, via www.gon.com ) — March on Lanier is the beginning of my favorite few months on the lake. This is the month when stripers will begin to feed near the surface and the planer board/flatline bite will heat up. Pulling bluebacks, shad, trout and shiners will all be productive this month, especially as the water warms into the mid to upper 50s. Most of March is a prespawn pattern where the stripers are getting ready to head to their spawning areas up the river arms and even to the area around the dam, and they are feeding hard to gain strength for the spawn that will happen in April. First thing in the morning, target main-lake points and prominent points in creeks like Ada, Gainesville, Wahoo, Little River on the Hooch side and Thompson, Toto and Yellow River on the Tee side. A spread of planer boards on either side of the boat would start with an Okuma Striper Rod paired with an Okuma Coldwater line counter loaded with 17- to 20-lb. main line with a bead above a premium swivel. Next attach a 4- to 6-foot, 12- to 17-lb. fluorocarbon leader (depending on water clarity), to a No. 2 to 4/0 Gamakatsu circle hook (depending on bait size). Hook your bait in the mouth, through the upper jaw and then out between the nostrils. Do not hook the bait through the lower jaw as this will not allow the bait to open and close its mouth as it pulls water across its gills. Let the bait 50 to 100 feet out and then attach your Captain Mack’s Perfect Planer Board to the line. The Perfect Planer Board line is one of the only boards that makes a small and large board to accommodate any size of bait or lure that you want to pull behind them. The small 7-inch board is perfect for herring, small shad, shiners or small trout. The bigger 10-inch board works great for larger shad over 8 inches, giant, 15-inch trout and even Mini Mack’s or trolling lead core with big jigs in the summer. We will run two sets of boards off each side of the boat. After letting the bait out, we attach the board to the line and run the outer board out 60 to 70 more feet so that we will have 110 to 120 feet of line out and then run the inside board out 30 to 35 feet and be showing 80 to 85 feet of line off the reel. Your flat lines will be run 75 to 125 feet straight back behind the boat. This will be our basic six-rod setup all the way through May. The Captain Mack’s Mini Mack bite has also been very productive this winter and will continue into the spring. Drop your white head/white grub trailer in clearer water 25 to 35 feet deep and then attach your Perfect Planer Board and run it in place of your live-bait presentation. If you are in more stained water, the blue head/chartreuse grub has been very effective. Pull this spread 0.8-1.2 mph over points and humps in 15 to 35 feet of water in all the areas described above. If you are fishing in the afternoons, this technique will be the best bet for a bigger fish using a bigger bait and targeting south-facing rocky points that tend to warm a bit more in the winter in 5 to 25 feet of water. Let God be the Lord of all in your life or He will be the Lord of nothing in your life. This includes your money. Don’t let your finances be your master. Let them work for you and your service to God. Matthew 6:24
Lake Lanier Crappie Report: (This report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton, 770-530-6493 via www.southernfishing.com ) — Crappie fishing is good. The water is clear in the main lake the northern rivers are stained or muddy, but not finding a lot trash floating anymore. We have several warmer days ahead but also several days of rain I would expect to see the water temperature rising quickly. I am finding the fish near structure but not on the structure. So, if you have a spot that fish are typically on and they are not their search in shallower water in the same area. Look at docks in 20-40 feet of water. Minnows were 90% of our catch this week. One jig color combo that has been working well this week is white and chartreuse. The bite is slow and soft, so keep a close eye on your line you may see the line swimming away before the rod bends over. I am setting minnows 5-8’ feet over schooling fish. 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 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.
GONtel: Lanier Walleye
Georgia Walleye Fishing Garner more helpful hints on Georgia walleye fishing techniques HERE.
Lake Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Matt Driver, www.southernfishing.com ) — Bass fishing is good. This is the month when you have the best chance of catching a trophy fish on Lake Allatoona. This month fish are migrating toward spawning areas and will actually begin the spawning process very late in the month. This month is a turn and burn month. Now use the shallow running square bill crankbaits, lipless crankbaits and Chatterbaits. Soon we will be using the slower moving bottom baits, such as the Ned rig and Carolina rig. The best areas to begin the month with are main lake points and secondary points. Later in the month, we will see more activity toward the backs of the creeks and pockets. Plat to fish Illinois Creek, Sweetwater Creek and the mouth of Little River.
Lake Allatoona Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Captain Robert Eidson, First Bite Guide Service, via www.gon.com) — We are catching fish on many different techniques. Early in the morning we are doing well using shad on planer boards, freelines and even downlines. By 9:30 a.m., the live-bait bite really slows down. This is when you want to swap over to your u-rigs. The u-rig bite is the strongest bite going right now. I have been doing very well pulling my rigs between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the mid-lake. The key to catching these fish is your speed, 2.5 miles per hour has been the best for me.
Carters Lake Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Guide Eric Crowley, via www.gon.com ) — The bait will be on rocky shorelines and the big fish will use that to trap the bait and feed on them. Throwing topwater baits, jerkbaits or flukes against the shoreline at night will draw explosive strikes that will rattle even the most seasoned angler. Locations will vary as the shad will move around each day, but when you find feeding fish, it can be some of the best action of the year. Early morning can be productive as well, as the stripers will be in super shallow water along the shorelines waiting on unsuspecting schools of bait. Pitching live baits to shoreline structure or pulling planers really close to the bank can produce some really nice striped fish. A pitch-rod setup is typically a 7-foot medium action spooled with 15-lb. braid and a 15-lb. leader and 2/0 circle hooks.
Carters Lake Lineside Report Part 2: (This report courtesy of Carters Lake Guide Service) — Stripers are high up in the water column, especially the first few hours of daylight. Trolling umbrella rigs, as well as live bait fished on planer boards & free-lines are working right now.
Lake Weiss Mixed Bag Report: (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service and 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, with no reports of any catches.
West Point Lake Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com ) —Bass fishing is fair. It has been a bit of a roller coaster year with the up and down water temperatures, lake levels, clear to muddy water, wind or no wind, some generating and not generating all of these changing conditions affect the bite. The shallow bite is fair for now and it could improve quickly especially with stained water, higher than normal lake levels. As the water temperatures get up into the 60s. Have the Rat L Traps and the Red eye Shad lures as well as the square bill crank baits ready. Chatterbaits and the Shad Raps will hook up some of these shallower fish. Try red colored baits in the off colored water. Try to fish these baits in coves and pockets with small feeder creeks or around schools of shallow baitfish. Fish the open water in the pockets with an Alabama Rig or a Flash Mob Jr. Keep a jig or shaky head handy to pitch around any wood cover. Fishing rip rap can also produce good results this time of year, especially after a warm rain or a few sunny days. Yellow Jacket Creek and Whitewater creeks continue to produce. Try the drop shot rigs and shaky head rigs on humps and drop offs. Target deeper offshore structures like brush piles and old roadbeds in 20 to 30 feet of water near the mouths of most major creeks for the best results.
West Point Gets New Fish Attractors (This update courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Brent Hess) — Late last month, West Point Fisheries Office staff toppled a couple dozen shoreline trees in the Weehadkee area of the lake. They also placed pallet-style fish attractors at four spots in the Whitewater arm of the lake. This week five new brush piles were created in the Turkey Creek embayment of the lake. Find these, as well as existing fish attractor locations at West Point HERE.
West Point Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Guide Keith Hudson, via www.gon.com ) — The river run starts up in March, and how good it gets usually depends on weather and water conditions. What you don’t want is really muddy and cold water below 50 degrees. What you do hope for is slightly stained water and water temps in at least the upper 50s. I usually start out with cut shad (even chicken liver will work at times) soaked in garlic spray in water temps around 60 or lower. Live shad usually work better in water temps of 60 or higher. Start around Ringer Access and follow the fish upstream as the water warms. Stripers mixed with hybrids and white bass can continue to school on top throughout early spring, as well as on the lower end of the lake. Expect the topwater fishing to be the best very early and very late or on overcast days. The schooling fish are mostly less than 3 pounds or so, but there are some bigger fished mixed in. Gulls and loons are also still out there now to help you pinpoint the schooling linesides. The mouths of Yellow Jacket, Wehadkee and Maple creeks have all been producing some fish. Downlining with live shiners will also work sometimes, even in March. Target drop-offs near the channel or the tops of humps. Trolling with mid-depth crankbaits, Flash Mob rigs, bucktail jigs and vertical jigging with spoons can also produce West Point hybrid and striped bass in these same areas.
Chattahoochee Mixed Bag Report: (This report courtesy of GON Forum Contributor, Dustin Pate) — ‘Hooch upstream of West Point Lake – We are finally starting to see some action in the river over the last week. Things are still early, and the fish are moving quickly when you find them. You’ll hit little groups here and there, but nothing you can really sit on…other than the crappie on Saturday. The best bet right now is hit the high percentage spots with a handful of casts and then move on. Whites and hybrids are in the normal sandy banks and spots out of the current. The best crappie we found were fish moving out of the river into the creeks to spawn. They are sitting on any wood and some small current breaks. I can’t say any one bait is producing right now either. We’ve caught fish on jigs, bucktails, small lipless cranks, shallow cranks, and small swimbaits. The water temps are hanging in the 53-57 degree range and it and the height is varying a lot due to water releases upstream. The varying height can be the reason fish are repositioning a lot. The weather this week should really kickstart the run! You can check out Dustin’s photos HERE.
Chattahoochee River Flow/Temp: Get real time river flow and water temperature data for the Chattahoochee River in Franklin, GA HERE.
Coosa River White Bass (Report courtesy of fisheries supervisor Jim Hakala) — Fisheries staff from the Armuchee office sampled the lower Coosa River this week and saw fairly decent numbers of spawn-run white bass. The white bass bite should really pick up in the next couple of weeks as river temperatures rise. Survey data suggest the Coosa white bass run will be good this year. Most fish are under two pounds, but white bass near three pounds are not un-common in the Coosa. Fish creek mouths and inside river bends with smaller shad imitating crankbaits or soft plastic jigs. Anglers should target the river section between Mayo’s Lock and Dam Park downstream towards the Alabama state line.
Coosa River Flow/Temp: Get real time river flow and water temperature data for the Coosa River at Lock and Dam Park HERE.
Trout Plus Some (Report courtesy of Unicoi Outfitters Check out the Angler Management Blog) — “The switch is on!” Huh? My ole Rabunite friends called it “the switch.” It was hidden somewhere along the banks of the Chattooga. We could never find it. But when weather, water, and forage conditions all aligned, the river Fishing Gods would flip that switch to the “on” position and resident trout turned on like a school of piranhas.
With this warm week, those stars are aligning, and the switch might just get stuck in the “on” position for most of our region waters. Winter predators are thawing out and hungry. Trout stream bugs will stir and we might see some early spring hatches as temps climb toward 50F just north of the border and well into the 50’s on our Georgia streams. Remember your March colors for your dries, gray and brown, and be on the lookout for caddis, Quill Gordons, blue quills, and maybe a March brown or two. Warmer, hungry lunkers have thawed out and will now chase stripped streamers in these warmer waters.
Lake shad and bluebacks will migrate toward the warmer shallows, especially where muddy tribs stain the lake water and let it catch more sun. And the predators will follow. Watch the GAWRD weekly fishing blog for news on river runs, too. Walleye should be up there right now, with whites, hybrids, and a few stripers following in the weeks ahead.
So dunk your thermometer, read it and smile, and then cast with optimism this week. It should be a very good one. Enjoy the fresh reports from our staff and friends in our extended report on our home and Facebook pages. May the “switch” turn on for your own trips this week.
- Wes’ Hot Fly List:
- Dries: parachute Adams (#12-18), gray elk hair caddis (#14-18), yellow stimulator (#12-14), Quill Gordon (#14), March brown ( #14), blue quill (#18), griffiths gnat (#20).
- Wets and Nymphs: hares ear (#12-16), same sized pheasant tails, soft hackle versions of both, caddis emergers, small peach eggs, brown pats rubberlegs.
- Streamers: black and olive woolly buggers (#8-12), sparkle minnow, finesse changer. Gray over white clousers and Cowen’s somethin’ else for lake stripers and spots.
Headwaters: RSquared: Recent retiree is sure enjoying his new chapter of life and posted this report: “I camped & fished with the Cohutta Chapter of TU Friday-Sunday on one of our Mountain WMA’s. We were able to catch some hold-over rainbows & several wild fish including a couple of native brookies. Most fish were caught on nymphs. However, a couple of the wild fish were fooled by dry flies! Heavy rains Sunday morning had us breaking camp & heading home! Dry Fly action for wild fish should be improving in the next few weeks as March-Browns, Caddis, & Blue Wing Olives begin to hatch more often.”
- Splatek: The mountain lake bream and bass weren’t taking anything in the cold water , so MiniMe and I changed our game and hit a small mountain stream. The little wild rainbow trout were looking up! We got a few on tiny dries and even more on a small flashback pheasant tail dropper when we hit the deeper holes.”
- DH streams: Web reports indicate that they’re fishing well. Remember our prior post about agency stocking plans. Since it’s a new month, we might expect a netful or two of fresh GA stockers willing to eat a new flyfisher’s stripped bugger or drifted squirmy. In contrast, veteran stockers and wild fish will prefer hatch-matchers, so be ready with a pheasant tail or hares ear, its soft hackle version, and a high floating caddis or Adams. Skim the stream drift with a bug net and match the groceries you see.
- Private Waters: UO Helen shop manager Wes said that great flows and warmer days had resident rainbows in a good mood again this week. Small eggs and nymphs worked best, but some nice fish were also caught on dredged rubberleg stones in deep pools and on swung soft hackles and streamers in the fishy runs. He expected this coming week to be on fire, too.
UO Young Gun Joseph: Here’s a picture of a fish my buddy caught at The Bend. With higher flows we had to throw heavy nymph rigs and also had several eat streamers. A #12 stonefly followed with a size 14-16 caddis or mayfly nymph seemed to get the job done when we had plenty of weight ahead of them. For streamers, a size 8 sparkle minnow was the ticket when the water warmed, and fish were willing to chase a big meal.”
- Flat water: HenryC is optimistic: “Striper fishing remains hit or miss for fly fishing the lakes around North GA. The good news is that fish are just starting to think about going shallow. There are some shallow fish even though the majority are still in large groups over open water and fairly deep. If they’re moving fast then you have no chance. If they are moving slow then a sinking line gives you an opportunity. Spotted bass and largemouth ARE starting to think about building beds and are feeding shallow. The majority are also deep (not as deep as the stripers). You can catch them anytime during the day, early/midday/late. Bring out a 6 or 7 weight with a slow sinking intermediate and have fun. You might encounter a chance striper too. Clousers, somethin else’s and game changers are the ticket. Oh yeah… and blueberry donuts! They are the opposite of what a banana does in the boat. Keep an eye on the birds, too.” Grab some more of his knowledge at Henry Cowen Fly Fishing.
- Landon on Lanier: “Crappie and a few white bass are starting to stage shallow. I caught a few from the bank this week on a slip cork and some white hair jigs. It will only get better with each passing week of warm weather.”
- Ponds: Ponds are warming and shallow water action for bass and bream is starting. Athens Jay explained his rubberleg stonefly technique for early prospecting: “When fish are not aggressive I suspend the Rubberlegs under an air-lock indicator. I keep adjusting depth until I find out where they’re holding. Then I just give it a twitch every few seconds.”
That’s the latest instream intel from our UO clan and fans. Get out there soon and take advantage of these rising water temps. Indeed, the “switch” just might get stuck in the “on” position all week, so don’t miss a day on your favorite water while the fish are cooperative. Good luck!
Delayed Harvest Program in Full Swing!: Don’t forget, Georgia’s Delayed Harvest Program is in full swing.
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.
(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 bite should be good and you should be successful for just about anything you want to fish for this weekend. The mornings have been cold but the afternoons have been beautiful. Fish are feeding well during the current warm-up, and only mild changes are forecasted for the near future.
River gages on March 3rd were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 5.9 feet and falling
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 8.1 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 9.2 feet and rising
- Waycross on the Satilla – 8.2 feet and falling (62 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 8.0 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 3.6 feet and falling
First quarter moon is March 10th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.
Chris Nugent fished the upper river on Sunday and caught some really nice fish. He fooled a pair of bass with crankbaits, but fooled most of his 8 redbreasts, a stumpknocker and a bluegill on cracklehead crawfish Satilla Spins. Barbara Jean Shirley caught a potential river record bluegill on a cricket on Thursday. It weighed 1-lb. 11-oz. on an accurate (but not GA Department of Agriculture certified) scale. It will be weighed on certified scales and is working its way through the certification process currently. The middle river is still high, but you can catch a few fish in the oxbows. A couple of anglers fished the Burnt Fort area back waters over the weekend and fooled 2 bass with Texas-rigged Trick Worms.
ST MARYS RIVER
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.
I got a report from Morris Carter that he had a good catch of 30 warmouth on the east side during just a 3-hour trip this week. Everything in the swamp should be biting by this weekend with the warmup and the dropping water. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.84 feet.
DODGE COUNTY PUBLIC FISHING AREA (Near Eastman, More Info HERE)
A Houston County angler fished the area last week and had 18 bass (a little over a 2-pound average). He fooled them with artificials.
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (Near Tifton, More Info HERE)
Fishing was hit-and-miss on the area this weekend. One angler fished the bank of Lake Patrick and didn’t do anything, and another angler came up and started fishing shiners and caught several nice catfish right in front of him. Crappie fishing has remained good both from the piers and boats. Mark Williams and Carlie Wilson fished the area on Saturday and caught a bunch of crappie in one of the Horseshoe lakes while using minnows. They kept 12 slabs and a big brown bullhead catfish. Bass were fairly consistent for most folks I heard from. You can expect to catch a few males cruising the shallows, but you will have a shot at some big females while they are shallow, as well. The GA Boys Tournament Trail is holding an open tournament (anyone is welcome) this Saturday at the area. For more information, check out their Facebook Page.
A couple of anglers fished a Brunswick area pond on Friday evening for just a few hours and had a blast. They caught 4 solid fish up to 5 pounds during the first couple hours of their trip on SPRO Little John Crankbaits (bluegill pattern). But, the bite turned on the last hour of daylight. That last hour they landed 5 more bass up to 6 pounds and a 6-pound hybrid. They caught a couple on a small shad-colored hard jerkbait, but the majority were on a 4-inch gold flash minnow and 3 1/2-inch perch-colored Keitech swimbait rigged on a 1/8-oz. jighead with a Gamakatsu hook. A Blackshear angler fished a pond on Sunday afternoon and caught 12 bass up to 4 1/2 pounds on black-blue stick worms. Chris O’Berry and his children John Ross and Ella Kate caught 20 slab crappie this week from a Waycross area pond by casting smoke-silver 2 1/2-inch Keitech swimbaits. He said the artificials outfished live minnows. Scout Carter fished a Waycross area pond on Sunday using Capt. Bert’s buzzbaits (black) and caught a half-dozen bass. His biggest was 6 pounds, and he broke off a really big one. Tom and Thomas Katzenbach fished a Brunswick area pond on Thursday evening for an hour, and Thomas caught a 4-pound hybrid by flinging a 4-inch gold flash Keitech Swimbait rigged on a 3/16-oz. NED Head.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
A Brunswick angler fished the backwaters on Thursday and used a small hard jerkbait to catch and release several trout up to 3 1/2 pounds. 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).
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