Largemouth Bass World Record Broken Right Here in Georgia!*
You already know what I am gonna say…April Fools*. Sorry. But, can you IMAGINE the excitement if it did happen! Be sure to take notes of all the tips and tricks in the following Georgia fishing report to make it a record breaking good time this weekend!
NEWS TO KNOW:
- Boat Ramp Renovations: Two boat ramps recently re-opened after renovation work, including the Lake Willow ramp at McDuffie Public Fishing Area and the Dyar Pasture ramp in the Lake Oconee/Oconee River area. Closures of ramps can be found HERE (scroll down to “Boat Ramps”). Looking for a boat ramp? Use the interactive boat ramp map found HERE.
This week, we have reports from Central, Southwest, North and Southeast Georgia. Don’t get fooled by any other tall fish tales today, but do be sure to Go Fish Georgia!
*Big Mouth Billy Bass photo credit: Amazon
(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, Region Supervisor and fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL 60’S
Bass fishing is good. The small cuts and shallow coves are sporting low 60’s for water temperatures and this is where the big bass are hiding. Look for the small pockets of warmer water near the main river and this is where the bass are roaming. Use the Strike King Spinnerbaits early in the morning looking for that real big bite but some are resorting to crank baits. The water is only a little stained so the numbers of bass will be coming on crank baits. Lowrance down Scan technology can scan much wider areas with the narrow beams so anglers can see the bait, the structure, and the fish four times better than with sonar. Find the bait and find the fish. Use a color variety of Shad Raps and jerk baits with the shad patterns being the best. Use a slow retrieve and cast the baits up close to the bank and work the points and bowls thoroughly. The worm fishermen are finding the watermelon seed is the best color and it doesn’t matter if it is a Texas rig or Carolina outfit. Use the Lowrance Active Target technology to scan the shallow areas after checking them first with the Structure Scan side scan technology.
CLARKS HILL IS 1.3 FEET OVER FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. The herring are on the move shallow and the bass are eating them. Watch the sea gulls that are diving to the water and cover this area in the shallows. The numerous small pockets and the points that run out towards the channel is another good place to fish top water and crank baits. The spinnerbait bite is working and the Lucky Craft Redemption lure with all silver blades is best. Use the Shad Raps in shad color in the cleaner water and the fire tiger or crawdad colors up the rivers up lake. Lowrance down Scan technology can scan much wider areas with the narrow beams so anglers can see the bait, the structure, and the fish four times better than with sonar. Try the larger #7 or #9 Rapala size for the bigger bass and downsize to the #5 Shad Rap for numbers. Stick with the more natural colors like gizzard shad, silver and blue and shad. Baby bass colors in the crank bait is another good choice as the smaller bait fish move up to the shallower warmer water as well.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 60’S
Bass: Bass fishing is good. The bass are moving into the mouths of the creeks as the water warms. Small crank baits have been the ticket over the past week. Work the outside of the pockets off the main lake. Some fish are moving into the pockets as well. In the cleaner water a 6-inch green pumpkin lizard fished on a Texas rig in brush around and under docks has been a very good producer over the past week. The shad will start spawning any day so be ready with a white spinner bait at first light around sea walls and rip rap.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good. It’s live bait time. The fish have moved into their usual locations up the rivers and close to the dam. Flat line plainer boards as well as down lines are all working at different locations all over the south end of the lake.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good to great. The fish are moving shallow. Pushing as well as long lining have been producing well. Dock shooting is also starting to produce. Find the stained water and pick your method and stay with it. Start at the mouth of the coves and pockets and work your way to the back.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. Crank baits, spinner baits, and jigs will be the baits of choice for the next few weeks. Fire tiger or Craw colored SPRO Little John crank baits will catch fish consistently the next few weeks on primary and secondary points in the stained water. Shad colors will work best on the lower end of the lake where the water is clear. Lowrance down Scan technology can scan much wider areas with the narrow beams so anglers can see the bait, the structure, and the fish four times better than with sonar. Use the Lowrance Active Target technology to scan the shallow areas after checking them first with the Structure Scan side scan technology. Find the bait and find the fish. On windy days a chartreuse Buckeye Lures spinnerbait with gold Colorado blades will produce bigger bites on the docks, sea walls, and grass inside the spawning pockets. Find a warm pocket holding a concentration of fish, slow down and flip a Texas rigged June bug lizard or a Buckeye Lures mop jig under dock walkways. This will produce a big bite from those lazy pre spawn females that wouldn’t fall for the reaction baits.
LAKE JACKSON IS 1.1 FEET OVER FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. The water will soon clear enough to fish and the bass will be after a variety of baits. Bass are roaming and looking for that perfect area to start the spawning process. These are the areas that will be the most productive this week. A few of the larger bass are taking the white spinnerbaits with most of the bass coming off the cranks. Several anglers like the crawfish color in the Rapala DT10 while most of the locals are throwing the balsa wood crawfish and perch color Shad Raps. A slow to medium retrieve and an occasional digging into the bottom seems to be the preferred way to fish the cranks. Points along with docks and the flats off points about midway up the rivers and creeks are the only place limits of bass are being caught. Go about mid-way up the rivers and look for the small flats off the main channel. Lowrance down Scan technology can scan much wider areas with the narrow beams so anglers can see the bait, the structure, and the fish four times better than with sonar.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 64.5˚ F (18.1˚ C)
- Water Level: 30.5” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 25”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
The recent rainfall has increased the water level significantly. The fishing pier continues to produce large crappie and a few 2-3 lb. largemouth bass. Anglers are anticipating warmer weather and an increase on the catfish bite. Here’s a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had good success using for each of the following:
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. Blue June Bug rubber lures are producing some 1-2lb catches. Anglers from the fishing pier, bank, and watercraft are all reporting catches.
Bream: The bream bite is picking up by using 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 on warmer days.
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Level: All bodies of water are at or above full pool except Greenhouse. Greenhouse is approximately 2’ low.
- Water Clarity: Water clarity varies depending on the amount of rainfall. The smaller ponds are more turbid than the bigger lakes with visibilities ranging from 16”– 36” across the area.
- Surface Temperatures: 62 to 73 degrees.
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Bass have moved up shallow and are spawning in most ponds. Some females have already spawned and are moving to deeper water. Through April the females will continue to move deeper as the males stay shallow and guard the fry. Plastic worms and lizards will be a sure go-to with the males guarding. For the bigger females try brush and habitat that lies in 4’-8’ of water. Shallow running crank baits should produce a bite.
Crappie: The crappie have moved into shallow water to spawn. By mid-April the crappie will have finished most of their spawn. Minnows and jigs are you best bet. Concentrate on brush piles. Keep moving till you find them. Several large crappie have been caught at Fox.
Bream: The bluegill will move into shallow water towards the end of April preparing to spawn. Bluegill will become more active as the waters warm throughout the month. Red wigglers and wax worms at or within 2’ of the bottom are a great tactic. The redear or shellcracker will spawn in April. Several gravel beds have been deployed at Marben and Bennett and these are going to be hot spots for these spawning Redear. Once the female lays her eggs, she will leave the male to guard the bed. Catching a male fish off the bed can take time so be persistent.
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Lake Blackshear is fun place to fish this time of year! Bass, catfish, crappie, and bream are out there waiting to be caught. The crappie bite is really good right now. Minnow and sugar bug jigs are the rigs of choice right now. The north end of the lake is a crappie hot spot. Stay around structure in about 4 feet of water for a full cooler! Bream will be on the beds soon so stay tuned for that one. The second week of April seems to be the time that they consistently show up. Catfish are a good right now as well. Many reports of nice-looking channel cats as well as some flatheads. Any smelly bait should work well for these guys. A crowed favorite is chicken breast soaked in Jello!
TIRED CREEK LAKE
Fishing at Tired Creek Lake has been difficult for anglers recently. The fish are there but they are playing hard to get. Around 200 largemouth bass have been tagged at Tired Creek so please keep an eye out and call in those tags in order to be entered for a prize drawing. The crappie fish seems to have diminished as temperatures have risen but it looks like the bream are getting ready to bed. When looking for bass stay in 3-5 feet of water along the edges, look for downed logs and fallen trees with twigs that create structure for the bass to hide in. Crank baits and top water lures are good bets to try and get a sneaky bite.
Bream: Bream may be starting to bed in the upper part of the lake, crickets, worms, and beetle spins are good for these guys.
Bass: Bass fishing is difficult if right now because of the wind. To successfully bass fish you need to find some protected water. Shallow water is not where its at right now. Stay in 3-5 feet of water to look for those bedding males. The lake is seeing a lot of fishing pressure with local tournaments this month so these fish have seen every kind of worm and top water lure out there. Get creative with your lures and you might get lucky! The females are hanging in the sandy areas and in mixed grass around 7 feet. The shad spawn is starting to warm up so look for early morning shad bites.
Crappie: The crappie bite is a good option for anglers as well. They are hanging out all over the place from the ledge to the beds, and on the woody structure. Try jigs or minnows. One angler reports success on a 8 or 16 oz head with a black and chartreus twister tail.
LAKE WALTER F. GEORGE
The water is quite muddy on George and the wind has made fishing difficult. If you can find a break in the wind the crappie fishing is good. One angler reports 1/16 oz double jig rig about 18 inches apart on ultralight with black and chartreuse tail grubs. This angler was able to hook 88 fish keeping the limit of 30 fish! Bass are in shallow water just off vegetation. This lake has been hosting a lot of tournaments so the fish are getting wise to the variety of lures out there. Try a unique rig for a potential bite from a finicky fish.
(Fishing report courtesy of Hunter Roop, Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
The weather forecast suggests we have a beautiful, slightly breezy weekend ahead that should create some excellent “catching” conditions in North Georgia. Reports below abound with helpful intel suggesting reservoir bass are making their way to the shallows, trout (of both wild and truck origin) are increasing in size and numbers on the end of anglers’ lines as spring and its cadre of accompanying macroinvertebrates begin to emerge, and many anglers have been successful in their pursuits of our early spring spawners like walleye, white bass, and stripers. Now would be a perfect weekend to knock the winter dust off your combos, grab a friend or two, and create some fishing memories together. Thank you in advance for your purchase of fishing licenses, tackle, trout stamps and TU tags that create fisheries management opportunities throughout North Georgia!
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 3 FEET STAINED 60S
Bass (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): Bass fishing is good. Pick any creek and spend the day as the bass are roaming in 3 to 13 feet of water. Use the Shad Raps, the Strike King 3/8 ounce white Colorado and Willow leaf combination and a trick worm in green pumpkin. Work the baits slowly early and the go to the crank bait in case the case the spinner bait bite is not on. Lowrance down Scan technology can scan much wider areas with the narrow beams so anglers can see the bait, the structure and the fish four times better than with sonar. Use the Lowrance Active Target technology to scan the shallow areas after checking them first with the Structure Scan side scan technology. Find the bait and find the fish. Cast a Bill Norman Deep Little N in a chartreuse color to these same fish. Use a stop and go retrieve with the crank bait early morning and a fast retrieve later in the day. A Carolina rig with a 4 foot leader and 3/0 wide gap hook and Zoom lizard in a chartreuse pumpkin seed will work. Use a Jacks Juice garlic scent lure on the lizard and fish it across the points. Spots need to see the Mini Me spinner baits with all pearl white blades and a white skirt. Scan the docks and send the side scan beams out 80 feet and just ride until they show up on the equipment.
Bass: (courtesy of GON Fishing Reports) Good. Guide Keith Hudson reports, “Good. April is usually my favorite month for all types of fishing in general. The weather is usually beautiful and fairly consistent. Bass can be caught on several different patterns. Topwater baits such as Pop-Rs, Zara Spooks and buzzbaits can be extremely effective for shallow and aggressive prespawn and spawning fish. The second pattern that works really well is to look for spawning shad. Try fishing rip-rap around bridges with spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and Zoom Super Flukes. Additionally, some big tournament sacks of largemouth are weighed in April by guys who sight fish, targeting fish that are locked on bed. A Yamamoto Senko or merthiolate Trick Worm rigged weightless will do the trick. This can sometimes be an aggravating way to fish but can pay off in a tournament win. Lots of spotted bass spawn in April and are caught by just dragging a Carolina-rigged Zoom Finesse worm or lizard around sloping gravel banks. This tactic normally works very well for numbers.”
Linesides: (courtesy of GON Fishing Reports) Excellent. Guide Keith Hudson reports, “Expect a strong river run from the hybrids and white bass this year until at least mid April. The hybrids have made a nice comeback since the DNR has been stocking them again for the past several years. Many of these fish are mature enough this year to guarantee a big run. Try live or cutbait (even chicken livers will work at times) fished in holes from Grayson’s Landing to Franklin. Spray your bait with a little garlic scent for even more bites. Some fish will, as usual, remain down on the main lake and can be caught on small crankbaits, topwaters and Storm Swim Shad lures. Try the rip-rap around the bridges at daylight. The shad spawn should start soon.”
WEISS LAKE IS AT 1 FEET 7 INCHES BELOW FULL POOL AND LIGHT STAINED TO CLEAR AND 56-60 DEGREES
Bass (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): Bass fishing is fair and a lot of fish have moved shallow in the bays and creeks in the spawning areas, spinner baits and shallow running crank baits are catching a lot of fish.
Crappie (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): Crappie fishing is good. They fish are suspended in the spawning bays at 8 to 20 feet deep, and can be caught long line trolling with Jiffy Jigs in colors JJ13 and JJ17. Some fish are starting to be caught in 4 to 8 feet of water. Look for them to spawn over the next few weeks. Some Crappie are being caught shooting docks with jigs.
Other species (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): 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.
LAKE HARTWELL IS 1.5 FEET OVER FULL, 60’S (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report)
Bass: Bass fishing is good. Start looking in the coves and cuts for pre spawn bass. The Carolina rig is producing good fish along with the cranks and jerk baits. In the off colored water use the Rapala hot mustard DT6 and the Silver X Rap. Try the new Scatter Rap jerk bait in shad also. Plan for the next 3 weeks for a combination of pre spawn and spawning fish. Points with rock and wood are still holding bass and remember not all the bass will spawn at the same time. The blueback herring should really start to move up around the shoals, points and bridges. Throwing the Skitter Walk early will show where the bass are and follow this up with some sort of a Shad Rap. On lay downs, work the jigs, smaller ones are better, in and around the entire tree. Boat docks and the Texas Rigged Zoom green pumpkin u tail worms and Stanley dark jigs are working. This is the pre spawn period so don’t expect to see the bass bunched up on every location.
Bass: (courtesy of GON Fishing Reports) Guide Matt Justice reports, “Fishing has been good with fish pulling up on the bank and secondary points. Throwing a 1/8-oz. shaky head in 1 to 4 feet of water is the best way to catch numbers and size. Skip boat docks and throw around laydowns and rip-rap. Fish should be on bed the whole month but will focus around the full moon. Sight fishing can produce large bass, but patience is key. Later in the month, shad and herring will begin spawning on points, where a topwater wake bait and fluke are perfect baits. Expect a frog bite to pick up with all the flooded bushes in the lake.”
CHATUGE (courtesy of GON Fishing reports): Level: 6 feet below 1925. Temp: 54-56 degrees. Clarity: Clear.
Bass: Guide Eric Welch reports, “Fishing has been good. We’ve been having some warm days and cold nights, but these bright, sunny days have been making fish active. The lake is still 6 feet below fool pool, the fish have been moving up and have been feeding in the creeks and spawning areas. I’ve been targeting fish in the middle of the creeks using my Garmin LiveScope. The baits I’ve been using have been jerkbaits and swimbaits. I’ve also been throwing squarebill crankbaits, Strike King 1.0, 1.5 and also a Red Eye Shad rattle trap around rocky banks, laydowns and flats where fish will spawn. These areas will warm up faster on sunny days and the bass should push baitfish in these areas. I’m still catching fish deep in ditches, roadbeds and drops by drop-shotting a 4.5-inch RoboWorm, Ned rig and a green-pumpkin jig. You can still catch fish on A-rigs. I will fish them until the water gets to 60 degrees, and then I start throwing other baits. We should start seeing the fish get more active this month before they lock down spawning. Good luck.”
BLUE RIDGE (courtesy of GON Fishing reports): Level: 9.5 feet below 1681. Temp: 55-60 degrees. Clarity: 12 feet.
Bass: Guide Eric Welch reports — “The bite has been good. We just had Daylight Savings Time, so our days are getting longer, the water levels are rising along with the water temps. This means the baitfish are getting more active and the bass are feeding up before the spawn. We also just had full moon and this is going to trigger some of the first-stage spawners to move up in shallow flats and pockets to start looking for a spawning area. On sunny days, I’ve been seeing a lot of baitfish being chased around by bass. I’ve been targeting these fish with a jerkbait and a 3.5-inch swimbait on a 3/16-oz. swimbait head. You can also pick some of these fish on an A-rig. Just throw it in the direction of the fish that just jumped. I’ve also been throwing squarebill and shallow-running crankbaits in a bream pattern around long shallow points and pockets. I like throwing a bigger swimbait and a glide bait around these pockets looking for some of the bigger fish. Fishing should really turn on the next couple of weeks. Good luck.”
Walleye: Guide Eric Crowley reports, “March couldn’t have been any better. Good weather and great fishing was an amazing change from last year’s constant rain. We have had some flat-out awesome nights on the lake this past month, and this month should only be better with the warmer weather. The walleye are moving back out to the main-lake areas where they can ambush the baitfish that are getting ready to spawn. Giant schools of bait up shallow makes for an easy meal, especially after sunset when the walleye have the advantage. Daytime tactics include vertical fishing spoons or trolling crankbaits on the main-lake points. At night, we are targeting fish chasing the bait up shallow with a squarebill crankbait. We are seeing a good increase in the average size of the fish at about 21 to 22 inches, which is up slightly from last spring.
BURTON (courtesy of GON Fishing reports): Level: Full. Temp: 56 degrees. Clarity: Stained.
Bass: Guide Tyler Clore reports, “With spring blowing in and bringing warmer days and nights, the water temp is on the rise. The largemouth are moving out of the staging areas and moving into the shallows in the pockets. You will start seeing the beds everywhere from 2 feet of water to 10 feet. If fishing around beds, I use a green-pumpkinseed weighted Senko. One of my favorite techniques is to throw a Zoom Super Fluke around the docks and blowdowns. Concentrate on skipping it under the docks and walkways. When the fish are up this shallow, they love to stay under the walkways of the docks. Use a spinning reel with fluorocarbon line, and it will make skipping the fluke under the dock much easier. For spotted bass, concentrate on the rocky or sandy points in 8 to 12 feet of water with a shaky-head finesse worm. I prefer Zoom watermelon red.”
Trout/Walleye: Guide Tyler Clore reports, “Look for trout schooling in the mouth of the creeks first thing in the mornings. I prefer a McStick jerkbait when I see the trout feeding on top. Most of the walleye have spawned out and are slowly making their way back into the lake. Troll Rapala Shad Raps in the deeper side of the river bends above the bridge.”
LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 2.7 FEET, 60S
Bass: (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): Bass fishing is very good. The spawn has begun, but it doesn’t happen all at once. Plan for the next 3 weeks for a combination of pre spawn and spawning fish. The largemouth began first, and the spots will go on mid-month. Right now, there are waves of bass waiting to spawn. Those that are pre spawn are feeding up like crazy. Baits like the Big Bite Jerk Minnow and the Trick Stick in pearl white are a fun and productive way to seek out wolf packing spots. Fish these baits on a 3/0 or 4/0 Gamakatsu Skip Gap hook and 12 pound Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon. Watch for schooling fish. There has been a mix of spots, largemouth and hybrids. Top water is good and will only get better toward the end of the month, when schooling fish are up. Cast a Spro Dawg or a Zara Spook past the school and retrieve it back at a rapid pace. Make sure the bait disappears set the hook. Big spots are also being caught on shaky head finesse worms on pea gravel banks that are protected from the wind. The spots will spawn much deeper than largemouth, and the jig head is a great tool to coax a bedding spot to bite.
Bass: (courtesy of GON Fishing Reports): Tournament angler Matt Driver reports, “Best month of the year—April is the month for numbers and quality on Allatoona. March has been very stable leading up to April, and the water is in the low 60s already. April on Allatoona is a triple threat, with bass in all phases of the spawn. You can catch fish any way you want to right now. My top-5 baits for April are: #1: A Picasso Rhino Ned rig and a Z-Man green-pumpkin TRD. This bait works best when fished on 7-lb. test Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon line and worked slowly around spotted bass spawning areas. #2: The jerkbait. I like to use a KVD 200 and a Pointer 78SP. The key to fishing this bait in the spring is speed. I work the bait very erratically and fast. It’s best when fished on 10-lb. Sniper Fluorocarbon and a medium spinning rod. The spots are running in wolf pack schools and are biting aggressively. #3: The Fluke. Not many baits are better for covering water and getting tons of great bites. Fish it fast and hang on! #4: The Picasso 3/4-oz. green pumpkin/brown tungsten football head jig and a twin-tail grub. This a universal bait that can be fished on gravel points, as well as the backs of pockets and ditches leading to spawning coves. The football head allows you to cover water while staying in contact with the bottom. The tungsten is super sensitive and allows you to feel the bottom. #5: The squarebill crankbait. The Little John and a squarebill with rattles in shad/natural colors. Fish Galts Ferry north toward the Delta and Little River. Red clay banks and secondary points are the best places. Keep an eye out for some schooling fish, especially toward the end of the month.”
Linesides: (courtesy of Robert Eidson of First Bite Service): Lines sides fishing is good. The spawn run has started. The water temperature is starting to heat up. And the bite is as well. The white bass have moved up both rivers and are being caught on white Rooster tails and crappie jigs. We are just days away before the Hybrids and Stripers start their spawn run. We are spending most of my time in the Creeks. There are decent schools of fish in all the major creeks right now. Kellogg’s Creek, Stamp Creek, Clark Creek, Tanyard Creek and Iron Hill have all produces for my boats in the last few outings. There is also another bite going on from Little River all the way up to Fields Landing. If you find the bait fish, you’ll find stripers and hybrids nearby. These fish are feeding up for the upcoming spawn run. Flat lines in the morning and afternoon and down lines mid-day is the way to go. The Top Water bite this week has been slow compared to last weeks. If you are lucky enough to come across breaking fish Rooster tails, Flukes, Popping Corks, Jerk baits and free lining shad will all catch you fish right now. Trolling is working really well right now. The 3 arm umbrella rig has been producing best for me right now. Color doesn’t seem to matter, but speed is a factor. The best speed for me this week has been between 3.3 to 35 miles per.
CARTERS LAKE (courtesy of GON Fishing Reports): Level: Full. Temp: 63 degrees. Clarity: Clear.
Walleye: Guide Eric Crowley reports, “Spring has surely sprung here on Carters Lake. Water temps are perfect for just about any kind of fishing. We have been mainly focusing on the walleye as spring is one of my favorite times to catch them. This year has been great for size and numbers. We have been fishing at night for the last few weeks throwing crankbaits in the shallows, as well as trolling the river banks after sunset. Our average fish has been about 22 inches this year so far, which is pretty good for Georgia. Our largest so far is just under 8 pounds. Areas to target are from the big island up past Ridgeway in the 10- to 40-foot zone in the evening. Bright colors are the way to go.”
LAKE LANIER IS 0.46 FEET OVER FULL, 50S-60S (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report)
Bass (courtesy of Phil Johnson: Pjohnson15@hotmail.com 770 366 8845): Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The water temperature is staying in the mid to upper fifties and the fish are still in pre spawn mode with some spawning now. Look for a large number of both spots and largemouth to bed on the next full moon. Lots of fish are being caught right now with many of the spots being the smaller males feeding up before the spawn. There are some very good fish mixed in everyday though. One thing to keep in mind now is that the fish are in pre spawn so if you catch one of the magnum spots or largemouth please be gentle and return them to the water as soon as possible. They are getting ready to lay the eggs for the fish we will be catch in a couple of years. Several patterns are still working so you are able to pick what you like and go have fun. A green pumpkin trick worm or Senkos around docks in pockets or blow downs will consistently get bites. Work the shady sides of the docks and be sure to check the back poles and walkways on the docks. Some fish have been caught on a jerk bait in pockets but it hasn’t produced large numbers. A five inch swimbait will produce on rocky points and banks particularly in the wind. A three three Keitech on a quarter ounce Spotchoker with a small blade has produced the most fish over the last week. Work this combo slowly on rocky points, rocky banks and pockets to catch the most fish. Look for key target zones near the areas the fish will be using to bed. For largemouth look for docks or rocky areas neat the backs of pockets that have structure in the. For the spots look for hard bottom reef pokes or find sandy pockets and fish the secondary rocky points, docks and red clay banks nearby. If the weather will stabilize and the water temperature rises a lot will start happening on Lanier in a hurry so it’s a great time to be out there. They’re biting so Go Catch ‘Em!
Stripers (courtesy of Buck Cannon Buck Tails Service. Buck Tails 404 510 1778): Lake Lanier is giving up some large Stripers all around the lake. Locate your bait using your electronics and be patient using downlines, planner boards and flat lines. A split shot will get the bait down a little, so use trolling motor.05 to 1.5 mph and experiment what gets their attention. Blue backs and gizzards have been the bait of choice but Mini Macs and umbrella rigs have also been productive. Remember to wear your life jackets.
Striped Bass (courtesy of GON Fishing Reports) Capt. Clay Cunningham reports, “The striper fishing this past month has been solid with some occasional schooling action as the stripers prepare for the spawn. The stripers will spawn over the course of the next few weeks. As a result, the fish will be on the move and eating. The key over the month of April will be points and flats as the stripers pull up into these areas to feed on shad and herring. Freelines and planer boards will be the key tactics this month. The bait of choice so far has been herring. That being said, some fish are coming on gizzard shad, as well. As a result, be sure to be prepared with a variety of hook sizes and line sizes tied on different rods. Keep two Shakespeare Striper rods with 15-lb. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon and size 1 Gamakatsu Octopus hooks for the herring. Then have at least two rods with 15-lb. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon and size 5/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hooks or larger for the gizzard shad. If they are mongo gizzards, maybe add a Gamakatsu Magic Eye Treble stinger hook. Talk to your local bait shop like Hammond’s or Oakwood Bait and Tackle for details on the stinger hook setup. Pull the bankline on the north end of the lake and in the creeks on the south end. Also put out planers boards. The Perfect Planer is most popular because it can be used with herring and gizzard shad. Toward the end of the month look for the topwater bite to appear, as well. This will be the highlight of the year for those who like to cast. We have already been catching some schooling fish on a 1/4-oz. jig head paired with a 3.3 Berkley Power Swimmer. Once the topwater bite starts, rig up a 7-foot medium-action rod with 12-lb. Trilene Big Game line and be prepared for the stripers to try to take it away from you. Be sure to take a variety of baits like the Berkley Surge Shad, the Sebile Magic Swimmer and the Berkley Highjacker. Every day a different one will be the ticket. See you on the water.”
Crappie (courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton 770 530 6493): The water temperature is 57. I am finding crappie back on the docks. If you are using jigs I would recommend starting with white body and a chartreuse tail, another jig I had success with this week was a chartreuse hair jig. At least 60% of this week’s catch came on minnows. I am setting minnows at 8 10’ feet deep over schooling Crappie. 90% of the crappie I found on docks this week were suspend 10 15’ deep over 20 40’ bottom. 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. Find me on Facebook and like my pages @crappieonlanier & @fishingwitheverydayheroes
Coosa River Lines and Spots (courtesy of WRD Biologist Jackson Sibley): The white bass run is still going strong on the Coosa River and its major tributaries. Good numbers of fish are being caught from Brushy Branch to downtown Rome and beyond. Small jigs, live bait, and crankbaits are all safe bets. Cover a lot of water if possible and focus your attention around creek mouths, blowdowns, and inside bends and you’re likely to have a good day. While white bass make up the lion’s share of the catch using these methods, other species such as striped bass and spotted bass, like the one pictured, are currently being encountered as well. Tight lines!
The Oconee Learning Curve (courtesy of WRD blog contributor “Academy Jack”): This week I made a trip to the Oconee River above Lake Oconee hoping to catch some White Bass. The spring White Bass run can be fantastic on this section of the river. It was one of those days I should have stayed home. The water was very high, looked like chocolate milk, 54 degrees, and moving VERY fast. I decided to try it anyway and found I could barely hold in one place with spot lock on a 80 lb thrust electric motor. I talked to several other boaters that only had 1 or 2 fish. I fished half a day and only netted 1 fish, which was fooled on a 1/4 oz. panther martin. I tried jigs, inline spinners, jigging spoons, rattle traps and beetle spins with big Colorado blades. If you time it right, it is not uncommon to catch a limit of 15 fish in less than an hour…Academy Jack
Beating the curve: How do you avoid a surprise situation like Jack’s? Check the flow before you go! Whenever you plan to hit the rivers, hop on the USGS Water Mapper website and check the discharge, gauge height, precipitation, temperature, and (if available) turbidity data on your target stream or river before you venture out. For the Oconee River, checking the Penfield gauge on Sunday evening would have revealed that the Oconee, which had received 2.5 inches of rain in the over the last two weeks, was still receding. Like most of our upper piedmont rivers, it takes several days for the rivers to clear once they return to baseflow. Checking the flow before you go, arms you with knowledge to develop confidence in your fishing plan, or alerts you to better alternatives, like your favorite foothills reservoir, to insure a successful fishing trip.
Upper ‘Hooch and ‘Tee: The Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers continue to bounce between the low 50s to upper 50s depending on the nightly lows, daily highs, and accompanying precipitation in between. When the river is in the low 50s, we are finding that many of our spring spawning species like walleye, white bass, and striper, are vacating the shallows and holding in deeper water downstream. However, when temperatures are steadily on the rise, as they have been this week, these fish return to the spawning grounds. Hooch angler Glenn has been fishing for walleye all spring, and has struggled at times with the river’s unpredictable temperature changes. However, he found success in the latter half of this week fishing the Chestatee near the 400 bridge, and was proud to finally bring home a fry-worth creel of walleye for his better half. Crepuscular feeders like walleye increase their feeding activity during twilight periods, so this is a great species for night owls, like Glenn, to pursue!
Lanier tailwater (courtesy of Orvis Fishing Reports): Generation on the Hooch can make fishing tough. The generation schedule for Buford Dam has been less than ideal this week. Hopefully, with the beautiful forecast for the weekend, the releases will be kind to the people trying to go and enjoy fishing this weekend on the local tail waters. The Department of Natural Resources has released the 2022 stocking information. Stocking began this month and will continue through October. The weekly stocking report can be found on the Georgia Wildlife website. You can sign up for their weekly stocking report email. The North Georgia streams have been fishing well when the releases have been good. With stocking in full swing, these fish are not used to eating the local bugs, making your junk flies a great choice to fool these fish. For now, worms, eggs, and attractor patterns, such as rainbow warriors, lightning bugs, and blue assassins are great to have in the box. It is also a great idea to have the Hooch classics, stonefly nymphs, caddis, and midges. This is also a great time to pull all of your gear out to make sure that you have everything you need for this year’s season. If you have any questions at all, feel free to come in and we will be happy to get you set up! For the Chattahoochee, state regulations require a certified personal flotation devise be worn by all anglers from Buford dam south to highway 20. Pay special attention to water release info online or call the number below for release schedules. Make sure to call the Corp of Engineers release hotline at 770-945-1466 before making your trip.
Mountain Lakes (courtesy of WRD blog contributor “Academy Jack”): With the warmer weather and clear skies, I made a trip to a small lake in the North Georgia Mountains for my first trout fishing trip of the year. It’s a clear cold-water lake where I always catch more fish using light line, 2 or 4 lb test. I like casting & trolling for the rainbow trout with a rebel grasshopper, 1/4 oz panther martins, joes flies (in-line spinners) & strike king Itsy bitsy crankbaits. The water was 51 degrees and the fish were hungry. I caught 12 rainbows and kept 8 to eat. I only saw one other boat all day. Make sure you have a trout stamp and good luck. Academy Jack
Latest Intel: Former WRD Region Supervisor Jeff “Dredger” Durniak lays out the best trouting bets this weekend in UO’s Angler Management blog. Dive in to his helpful intel HERE!
Dredger’s Emergency Advice: Are you ready for the spring insect hatches on your favorite trout streams? Have you ever been in the middle of a big hatch, with risers all around you, but can’t get a strike on your dry fly? This may seem like a real quagmire of a situation, but Dredger’s helpful intel can help you during this emergency because you might wish you had an emerger pattern! Most folks come armed with their dry flies and nymphs, but often lack the right flies to imitate the emerger phase. That’s when the nymphs float in the surface film, split their shuck, and emerge as a dun. Listen to this Orvis podcast for a great podcast about emergers. Tune in at a convenient time and let Tom and Tim prepare you for fishing emergers. Then stock your box with some emergers and try one as the dropper behind your dry fly. See if that low-riding emerger is the secret to success during your next big hatch. Good luck!
Stocking Update: The bustling sounds of birds and bees can only be bested by the subtle drone of a WRD trout stocking truck winding its way up the mountains to a North Georgia trout stream. This week, the tailwaters, some headwaters, and many of the local favorites got a good dosing of fresh stockers for anglers to enjoy this weekend. To keep a regular pulse on trout stockings in North Georgia, check out our weekly stocking report on our Trout Fishing webpage, and thanks in advance for your purchase of trout stamps, TU vehicle tags, and fishing gear that provide the funds to support trout management in Georgia.
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 weather was variable this week but some good fish were caught. The forecast for this weekend is much better in Waycross than most of the last several weekends, so hitch up the boat. Rivers are high, but ponds, lakes, and saltwater should be good.
River gages on March 31st were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 13.1 feet and rising (flood stage is 11 feet)
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 8.6 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 10.3 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 13.5 feet and falling (65 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 14.0 feet and cresting (flood stage is 13 feet)
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 10.8 feet and falling
First quarter moon is April 9th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.
The river is high, muddy, and ripping, so fish elsewhere this weekend. The open bass tournament scheduled by the Appling County Bass Fishing Club for this weekend has been postponed. For more information on a future date, check out Appling County High School Bass Fishing on Facebook.
ST MARYS RIVER
The main river is very high, but Matt Rouse fished a small tributary to the upper St Marys on Sunday evening with his granddaughters Kinsley and Keziah. The trio had a fun trip, and Keziah caught a big bluegill – the biggest fish of the trip. They also caught some warmouth and fliers. Bream busters and crickets is how they fished. The next Shady Bream Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th out of the Kings Ferry ramp. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for more information.
The water has started dropping out a little from the peak after the last rains. Brentz McGhin and a friend hit the east side on Friday and did well for warmouth. They beat the edges with jigs and crickets and caught 18 warmouth and 4 fliers. The same day Jim and Garrett Page used crickets and caught 10 warmouth and a couple bluegills from the east side. I also got reports from anglers who didn’t do much at all this week, so it’s hit and miss. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.36 feet.
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (Near Tifton, More Info HERE)
Crappie fishing remained good on the area. The fish are still shallow and able to be caught with jigs and minnows both from the piers and from the bank. Bass numbers were good this week, but I didn’t hear of any over 6 pounds. Floating worms (white and pink) and finesse worms (green pumpkin and watermelon-red flake) on Texas rigs were tops. A few nice bass were fooled with plastic lizards.
Hunter and Chuck Deen fished a Camden County pond on Monday evening and caught 9 bass during the last hour of daylight. All of the fish were from 2 to 2 1/2 pounds, and their best presentation was unweighted pink Trick Worms. Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson fished an Alma area pond on Friday evening and had 10 bass – mostly in the 2 to 3 pound range on spinnerbaits. Chad had the big fish of the trip. It was a 7-pounder. A Brunswick angler walked the bank of a pond behind his house and caught a 4-pound bass this week on a vibrating jig.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
This has been a crazy weather week! We have been able to get out very few days because of the winds and storms. The best reports I heard of this week were whiting on the few days when you could get out to the usual whiting drops. Shrimp on the bottom produced the whiting, as usual. A few whiting and sheepshead were caught from the piers in the Brunswick area. For guide trip information, call Capt. Greg Hildreth at (912) 617-1980 or check out his website at 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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” which may be available from The Whitefish Press. in Cincinnati. Google it. Melissa Cummings is a dear friend. I am Fishing Editor of The Augusta Chronicle. If I can be of help, let me know.