But, but, but…I was outside all last weekend working in my yard and enjoying the sunshine and warm weather and now I see storms and snow ahead? Look, if y’all have lived in Georgia long enough, you know how this works. I have attached a graphic if you need more info about where we are right now.
If you do head out on a fishing trip this weekend, be careful and pay attention to weather reports. Stay safe to fish another day!
NEWS TO KNOW
- Fishing Forecasting: Fisheries Biologists and Technicians have updated the Georgia Fishing Forecasts for 31 reservoirs and 18 rivers in the state, so check those out 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 reports from North and Southeast Georgia. When you can get the weather to cooperate, be sure to Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Jackson Sibley, Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
North Georgia Crappie (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Jackson Sibley): In addition to the great numbers of eating-sized crappie being caught across our region, north Georgia crappie records are currently being smashed left and right. Take a look at this list of recent catches:
- 3lb 4.9 oz Carters Lake record white crappie set by angler Chandler Watkins on February 28, 2021
- 3lb 2 oz Allatoona Lake record black crappie set by angler Ralph Evans on April 6, 2021
- 2lb 7oz Rocky Mountain PFA record black crappie set by angler Thomas Melton on November 2, 2021
- 3lb 4.24 oz Allatoona Lake record white crappie set by angler Cody Hopkins on February 10, 2022
- 3lb 1.76 oz Lake Hartwell record black crappie set by angler Jimmy Burns on March 2, 2022
- 2lb 6oz Rocky Mountain PFA black crappie caught by angler Terry Wilson, 1 oz shy of the PFA record, also on March 2, 2022
- 3lb 7.36 oz Allatoona Lake record black crappie set by angler Corey Harmon on March 5, 2022
If that’s not reason enough to get out there and chase some slabs, I don’t know what is!
North Georgia Walleye (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Anthony Rabern) — The walleye run is in full swing so now is your best chance to hook one of these golden beauties. The successful walleye anglers that I talked to this week are catching the smaller males on small crankbaits. Occasionally, you might hook into a larger female like the one pictured. Shad Rap is generally the brand of choice, but color patterns don’t seem to matter too much as long as it has a flecks of chartreuse, yellow, white or even purple somewhere in the color pattern. As to their approach, most are fishing in the headwaters of our stocked walleye lakes and slowly trolling the shallows around sunset. The key is to keep the bait in close contact with the bottom. Good luck!
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing fair. It has been slow early each day and one more cold front is coming with rain. The bass will then get more active but the cold water and winds can make the fishing tough. During the day the high sun pushes the bass into the deeper cover. Early and late try small shad crank baits and finesse worms in the creeks and around docks. Up the rivers use a jig and pig or a Zoom Creepy Crawler in dark reds or pumpkinseed. The pumpkinseed Zoom U tail worms on 2 foot Carolina rig on points are fair but move a lot. Work soft lures or live baits slowly. And never forget your Bass Pro Shops Strata spoons this month. Use the smaller sizes early and then afternoons, go to the ¾ ounce Flex it. Spotted bass are fair and small green or motor oil worms or live bait around the main lake marinas is barely fair. Day time fishing is slow and cold runoff and high winds have hampered efforts. Stay on the points on the main lake with a small Zoom finesse worms in greens on a Texas rig and brass and glass.
Allatoona Lake Levels: Keep track of daily lake level changes HERE.
Allatoona Linesides (Report courtesy of Robert Eidson www.firstbiteguideservice.com) — Fair. The cold weather has triggered the start of a shad kill. This kill doesn’t seem to be as big as the one three years ago yet. The good news is it hit quick and should be a shorter kill than we have seen in past years. There is still a bite out there but nothing like we had back in January. 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. The shad kill will make fishing a little difficult for the next couple of weeks, but it should really make for a great spring.
Blue Ridge Bass (Report courtesy of guide Eric Welch via GON’s Fishing Report) — The bite has been fair. We’ve had some crazy weather the past month with some warm days and some warm rain, which has brought the lake up and also the water temp. We’ve been marking bait in the 30- to 40-foot range. The fish I’ve been catching have been in the 20- to 40-foot range and have been right on the bottom. I’ve been starting the morning out fishing rocky, main-lake points with a 3.5-inch tube and a Ned rig. Once the sun gets up, I will start throwing a 1.5 Strike King square bill and a Rapala Big O. By midday, I will start my way up the river fishing the deep, rocky banks and laydowns with a Ned rig, drop shot and jig. Without a doubt my Garmin LiveScope locates fish that you will never see with 2D sonar until your boat is sitting on top of them. I start seeing my fish 45 to 50 feet in front of the boat. Then with SpotLock you can sit there and catch these fish before ever being on top of them. I’m also throwing a 3.25-inch swimbait. Also, the A-rig works good this time of year. Good luck.
Blue Ridge Bass (Report courtesy of Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — Up, down, up, down, this lake level is like a roller coaster. Work on the dam has had TVA drawing water as fast as they can and mother nature is working to fill it up on the other end at the same time. Once you get past a never-ending water level change, the lake is starting to move into early spring patterns. Don’t get too excited since the water is still very cold and most of the fish are moving pretty slow. The bass bite has been pretty good. Prespawn fish are feeding on small baits all over the main lake. They are in mid-level water around 30 to 40 feet just ambushing schools of bluebacks. When you mark a school of fish, you can almost count on catching a few.
Burton Bass (Report courtesy of guide Tyler Clore via GON’s Fishing Report) — The bite has been up and down with the recent fronts that have been bringing cold, wind, rain and snow in. The rain and snow has raised the lake level but also stained large portions of the lake. The best bite has been just before the front. As we move into March, you will see the water temp start to rise. Concentrate fishing in the creeks with jerkbaits and Fish Head Spins. I like throwing a Lucky Craft Staysee, bone in color. As we get later in month, more and more fish will move into the creeks. Windy days I like to fish primary and secondary points with jerkbaits. If you are in the middle of a front or the jerkbait bite is slow, try using a green-pumpkin-seed finesse worm on a shaky-head rig and really slow down your presentation.
Burton Trout/Walleye (Report courtesy of guide Tyler Clore via GON’s Fishing Report) — There hasn’t been much trout activity this month, but the walleye are starting to move into staging areas for their yearly run up the river. That will happen later this month. Try fishing the deeper holes and bends in the river with a white No. 7 Shad Rap. You can also slow troll the Shad Raps for them. Later in the month, the walleye will keep pushing up into the shallows of the river. Good luck.
Carters Lake Walleye (Report courtesy of guide Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — After a cold February, everyone including the fish are looking forward to spring. March is an exciting month as the walleye spawn kicks off. Big females full of eggs will be staging in the lower parts of the river waiting for the full moon to pass before heading way up the river to complete the spawning process. Look for them on the bottom 50 to 70 feet deep. Males are already staged from the Island to Ridgeway, mainly feeding at night on small shad and alewives on points and bends in 20 to 50 feet of water. Spoons, crankbaits or live bait will all catch fish when presented properly. After the full moon, the females will stop feeding while they spawn. They typically shut down for about two weeks while they return to the main lake and start packing on the pounds again. The males don’t get so stressed during spawning and will continue to feed while they move in and out of the river. Low light and nighttime are key feeding times in spring. The threadfin will start to school up in the shallower waters near spawning areas on the lower end of the lake.
Carters Lake Linesides (Report courtesy of guide Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — 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.
Lake Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. The bass are staging up shallow first thing in the morning. The fish that have committed shallow for the spawn soon will stay in those general areas. The front will definitely negatively affect those fish that were close to spawning or fish that were just starting to move up. The fish may move back out deeper but will rebound quickly after this cold fronts pass. Bass spawning areas need to have shad and this bait is still key to finding these fish. If there is wind use a Chatterbait and jerk bait both of them in a white or pearl color to mimic the shad. Start off in the same areas using ether a Rapala DT6, #5 or Rapala #6 Shad Rap focusing on rock and clay or just rock depending on what area of the lake we are on. Look for the banks that the sun is hitting first as this water will warm up first thing. If there are high bright blue sky days use one of the crank baits mentioned above and when you find active fish slow down and start using a jig or Shakey head around brush and docks to catch some fish. Continue to move throughout the day if they are not biting within 10 minutes of fishing an area. Get some bites and slow down and work the area with several baits before moving on to the next area. Continue to work these areas throughout the pre and post spawn. With the warmer weather coming in the long range forecast look for these fish to move up again quickly and be right back where they were.
Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Phil Johnson via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing on Lanier is very good. It’s the time to pick your favorite lure and go catch them. The bass are definitely on a pre spawn pattern and headed to shallow water. The water temperature is rising and the fish are moving with it. Whichever bait you choose look for the bass in less than twenty feet of water. The bass are moving toward their bedding areas so fish the area’s leading into pockets or near sand. A trick worm on a three sixteenths head fished on rocky points or under docks is working good. Look for the last three docks in the backs of the coves along with any blowdowns off the main lake. The Keitech on a one quarter ounce head, a spinnerbait or a jerk bait are all producing fish. Wind will definitely help both the jerk bait and spinnerbait bite on both the rocky banks and pockets. The Keitech is producing on the rocky points and banks as well. In some areas there is a little schooling activity so be prepared for that. The lower end of the lake is clear while the water up the rivers still has some stain. If you go to the northern section of the lake a chatter bait, crankbait or Spotchoker are all good choices. There are fish positioned in the middle of the coves in less than thirty feet of water that will bite a white three eights Spotchoker with a gold blade that has a three eight white Keitech on it. With the crankbait and Chatterbait focus on the rocky points and baits with a slow retrieve. The fish are going to continue to get shallow with bedding activity starting soon. The key now is to find where the bedding areas will be and target places nearby where the bass are staging. Spring is a great time to be on Lanier and catch both big largemouth and very fat spotted bass. They are definitely biting so get out and Go Catch “Em!
Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Jimbo on Lanier via GON’s Fishing Report) — Fishing during late February and March can provide some interesting opportunities. The largemouth will be soon to spawn and the spots will begin to stage in preparation for the spawn. The lake level has been above full pool as we head out of February and the temperatures have been above normal so far this winter, which could mean an early spawn if this trend continues, and it seems like it will. This could provide some different opportunities for this March as we should find different trends and patterns this spring as a result of the warmer-than-normal weather trends. Let’s explore how to address this important month on Lanier in these unusual weather and water conditions. There are a few things to consider when fishing during this time of year. You will be fishing the prespawn in March and maybe an advanced prespawn based on the weather, so let’s start with the end in mind and review the spawning habits of both the largemouth and spots. The largemouth in the lake will physically go on the bed with water temperatures at 56 to 58 degrees. The spotted bass will spawn a bit later when the water temperatures reach 62 degrees or above. Typically, the fish spawn in waves rather than all at once. After the first wave of fish completes their spawning routine, there will be fish in all stages of the spawn for the next 30 to 45 days, depending on the weather conditions and water temperatures. Further, it is important to understand that many fish that spawn in waves as mentioned above, do so during a favorable moon phase, given the noted water temperature requirements are met. The full and new moon phases often prompt fish to move into their spawning routine. Until those conditions are met, fish will be staging and feeding up in preparation for this process. So, where do we need to look? The largemouth in Lake Lanier tend to spawn shallower than the spotted bass. The largemouth can be found bedding in creek pockets, often in the backs of these pockets, in a protected area. They will position themselves next to a piece of cover, such as a blowdown tree or stump, for security and are often in 3 feet of water or less. Look around docks in shallow water for these fish, as well as stumps and adjacent blowdowns. The spotted bass can frequently be found in similar areas but often prefer a hard-bottom-type area. And again, the spots will typically spawn deeper than the largemouth and can be found in 6 to 15 feet of water and even deeper. Unlike most largemouth, there are a contingency of the spotted bass that will spawn on the main lake. These fish can be found on or around humps, points and sandy saddles between islands on the main lake. These females are often some of the biggest fish in the lake. Until the time when the fish spawn in these areas, fish key features adjacent to these spawning areas. Secondary points and docks often provide great staging areas for these fish and become a prime target this time of year. The spots will be in the same types of places to spawn and will stage in similar areas, as well. Now that we have explored the locations where fish can be found during the spawn, let’s examine some of the techniques and lures that can be used to catch these fish. Jerkbaits are a great choice as the water warms up though the 50s. Work these baits around docks, points and over humps. A Berkley Stunna is a good option. Experiment with cadence to find the right retrieve speed and pause cycle. The colder the water, the longer the pause. A Georgia Blade Shad Spin in the 1/4-oz. size is an excellent choice to work in shallow creek ditches as well as in and around secondary points and docks. Experiment with trailer size and type. A Berkley Jerk Shad is a good option for a trailer. A crankbait is an excellent choice to cover water in the backs of creeks and pockets, as well as around secondary points, docks and flats this time of year. The Berkley Frittside crankbait or the Berkley Dredger are good options to cover the varying depth ranges until you find the best one for the day’s conditions. They offer many good shad and crayfish patterns from which to choose. And as always, make sure to visit our local treasure, Hammond’s Fishing Center, to pick up what you need. The worm and jig are always options in the springtime. A Georgia Jig on rocky/clay secondary points and around docks is always a good choice for spots or largemouth. If the fish are ultra-finicky, don’t forget the old reliable Carolina rig to present your soft plastics. Drag or drift this rig slowly over secondary points or spawning flats for some potentially awesome results. Also, when fishing a Georgia Blade jig head and worm combo, consider using a lighter jig head. I often choose a 1/8-oz. head or lighter to target spawning fish. I will often tip this with a 4-inch Berkley Hit Worm, as opposed to a traditional offering of 6 inches or more. I often work the baits slowly in this situation to trigger strikes. While the winter to spring/early spawn transition can be a tricky time of year to catch fish, it can be awesome if you remain versatile and open-minded in your approach. Use the tips and techniques noted above to guide your fishing during the spawn, and you will enjoy some great success. See you on the water!
Lanier Linesides (Report courtesy of Capt. Ron Mullins via GON’s Fishing Report) — 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.
Lanier Crappie (Report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton via www.southernfishing.com) — Crappie fishing is good. We have several warm days ahead I would expect to see the water temperature rising quickly. I am finding fish roaming not on docks. So if you have a spot fish are typically on and they are not there search in shallower water in the same area. Minnows were 90% of our catch this week. One jig color combo that has been working well this week and my biggest fish was blue and black. I am setting minnows 4-6’ 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 k9fishingcom 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.
Lanier Crappie (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Hunter Roop) — Jason Hawkins jigged up a 2 ¼ lb black crappie from Lake Lanier and brought it by the office to be certified for a Georgia Angler Award. Jason is a member of the North Georgia Crappie Club and was excited to not only have caught his personal best, angler award-winning crappie, but also to allow WRD Fisheries personnel to remove the otoliths and age his fish. It turns out Jason’s crappie was six years old (i.e., from the 2016 year class).
Nottely Linesides (Report courtesy of guide Jeremy Seabolt via GON’s Fishing Report) — February has been up and down on Nottely. We have been catching some nice fish, but we’re having to work for them. On the up side, the last few days have been awesome. We have been catching lots of nice fish pulling trout and large herring. We have been catching a few on a Mini Mack A-rig. In March, we will start catching lots of nice fish up shallower, and most of the time the fish will be nice fish. We will start pulling shad and herring up shallower looking for the big fish to start putting on the weight for the spring run. March is also a good time to pitch herring on the sunny points and clay banks. The crappie bite will start coming on strong in March. We will start looking for them to set up on their spawning grounds. The Bait Shack on Nottely has reopened and has all your herring and shad needs to catch a trophy striper.
Lake Weiss Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service www.markcollins service.com) —
- Bass: Bass Fishing is fair. Bass are moving shallow to secondary points, road beds and shallow stump flats near the spawning areas. Rat L Traps, Chatter Baits and the Alabama Rig, is catching a lot of fish right now.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. Another brief cold snap coming will slow them a few days. Then a warming trend and light winds coming should really turn the Crappie back on over the next few days. Look for the deeper Crappie suspended 10 to 14 feet deep in the creek channels, the cold front does not affect the deeper fish as bad as it does the shallow fish. Long line trolling with 1/16th and 1/24th ounce Jiffy Jigs is the best way to catch these suspended fish.
- Striped Bass: Striper fishing is poor and most Stripers have made the run up into the rivers for the spawn. Mayo’s Lock and Dam on the Coosa River in Georgia is where most of the stripers are being caught.
- Catfish: Catfish are biting on the flats 6 to 10 feet deep on cut shad.
West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. Another set of cold fronts rolled over the south and the shallow fish retreated to the points in the coves. The fish that have committed shallow for the spawn will stay in those general areas, they just may be much less active. The front will definitely negatively affect those fish that were close to spawning or fish that were just starting to move up. It is truly hard to say exactly what the prevailing pattern will be post front. Look on these points as well in the lower lake deeper creeks for any warm water. Look for them in 4 to 10 feet of water on gravel points and throw Shad Raps, Rat L Traps, and other small crank baits. The point’s right off the main river at the rail road bridge are good early season areas and look for the gravel on the banks. Right across from the Yellow Jacket access point is an old road bed that runs up and down the bank about 50 feet off the bank. Run the Lowrance on and over this area and the road bed will show up. Vertical jigging is still another good pattern for large mouths and spots. Some are still deep and holding on the flats and road beds off the main lake. Best baits are buck tails and 1/2 once spoons such as a Hopkins spoon. The road bed in Whitewater Creek is a great deep water area. Just run out on the road bed, watch for the fish and the bait and that is where you drop the spoons and old Little George.
Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area (Report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Jackson Sibley) — The bass are moving shallow and there is already sign of bedding activity on the spawning flats at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area. Anglers are reporting good catch rates once they have keyed into the pattern. One of our regulars had a banner day last week, with his best five fish going over 30 lbs, two of which were over 7lbs. Flooded timber seems to be a good option, keeping your efforts focused between three and 7 feet of water. Chatter baits, square bills, and Carolina rigs are all effective right now.
Coosa River White Bass (Report courtesy of fisheries supervisor Jim Hakala) — We fished the lower Coosa River last weekend and boated around 40 spawn-run white bass. The bite is heating up right now and should continue to improve over 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. Jerk baits like the Rapala X-Rap also produce well. Anglers should target the river section between Mayo’s Lock and Dam Park downstream towards the Alabama state line.
Chattahoochee River Tailwater (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Hunter Roop) — River Through Atlanta Guide Chris Scalley reports hungry post-spawn brown trout are on the prowl for high-protein exploits in the Chattahoochee River this time of year. During abnormally cold winters, dense schools of lethargic, displaced herring and shad are easy pickings for hungry browns. This beautiful 24” brown trout was caught on the fly last week. When trophy hunting on the Lanier tailwater, throwing big, natural streamers in clear water will help you match the hatch, and maybe even put a big smile on your face, too!
(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 weekend is forecasted to return to the cold we’ve experienced most weekends this winter. The falling temperatures and winds will likely stall the good fishing this weekend, but it should pick up again as we head into next week. Bass fishing has produced the best reports this week.
River gages on March 10th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 6.2 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 6.3 feet and steady
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 8.7 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 7.6 feet and rising (67 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.6 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 4.1 feet and rising
Zachary Johns took advantage of the good river conditions and warm weather last week and caught the pending river record bluegill in the Satilla River. The monster weighed 1-lb., 6-oz.. He also had an angler-award sized (over a pound) redbreast during the trip. Crickets fooled the fish. Gilbert Ellis, Jr. fished a tributary to the upper Satilla on Sunday and caught some bluegill while walking the bank and fishing worms under a float. The Satilla would have been in good shape before the late week rains. Expect it to come up and the bite to slow a good bit.
Tyler Finch was after the panfish again this weekend. On Friday he and friends caught 130 panfish (mostly crappie and bluegills). They caught a few with a Satilla Spin and a cricket, but most of them ate crickets and worms fished on the bottom.
ST MARYS RIVER
The next Shady Bream Tournament will be held this Saturday, March 12th out of the St. George ramp. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for more information.
The dropping water level and increasing water temperatures improved the bite significantly in the swamp this week. William Warner of Waycross fished with a friend for a few hours on Sunday afternoon, and the pair caught 58 fish. William caught his first chain pickerel ever during the trip, and he had a 20-incher also. About half of their fish were fliers that ate sallies. Color didn’t matter, as they caught fish equally well on pink, yellow, and orange. Trolling and casting Dura-Spins accounted for the other half of their fish, which were bowfin and pickerel. The biggest bowfin was 7-lb., 12-oz. and the largest pickerel (jackfish) was 20 inches. The best colors of Dura-Spins were fire tiger-chartreuse blade, jackfish (red-white-yellow), and crawfish. A couple of anglers fishing in the boat basin on the east side reported catching some warmouth by dabbling curly-tail grubs around the boat slips and sea walls. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.82 feet.
The biggest bass I heard of this week was caught on Saturday by Todd Kennedy of Brunswick. His biggest was a 10.3-pounder. He fished a couple hours flinging everything at them and only had 2 fish to show for his efforts. He then switched to pitching a jig, and the bass jumped all over it. He caught a couple dozen fish on the jig by working the shoreline wood. Last Friday, Tom and Thomas Katzenbach of Connecticut fished a Brunswick area pond with a friend and caught 5 nice bass up to 4 pounds and a couple of hard-pulling hybrids. The bass mostly ate midnight blue 7-inch Keitech Mad Wag Worms, while the hybrids ate 4-inch perch-colored Keitech swimbaits on a plain jighead with Gamakatsu hooks. Wyatt Crews and Scout Carter fished a Waycross area pond on Sunday evening and caught a half-dozen bass. Wyatt caught all but one, but Scout’s was the fish of the trip. The 8-pound class fish ate a topwater frog. Lester Rowland and Chad Lee fished an Alma area pond on Monday and caught 16 bass in the 1 to 3-pound range. Lester caught the big fish of the trip, a 7-pounder that inhaled a red shad ZOOM curly-tail worm. Chad caught most of his fish on a white fluke. Chad fished a pond on Wednesday evening and had 4 bass in the 3-pound range on a gold-bladed spinnerbait. On Thursday, Gus fished a Brunswick area pond with his dad and a friend, and the trio caught 2 dozen bass. One of them threw a buzzbait and caught a dozen bass on it. Gus dialed in a good bite by Texas-rigging a creature bait, and that’s what he caught most of his fish on. Their bass were up to 4 pounds.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Capt. Greg Hildreth reported that the whiting bite was good this week in the Brunswick area, and there were a couple big redfish caught, as well. 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).