Spring is springing…and that means you need to “spring” or even sprint to the water to take advantage of the excellent fishing conditions on most waters in the state. Almost all our reports below repeat something like “fishing is good for bass, fishing is good for crappie, fishing is good for stripers….” Do you need to hear more?
NEWS TO KNOW
- City Fishing: Living in the city shouldn’t keep you from casting a line. WRD’s new Gateway to Fishing program brings local communities together to enhance fishing in metro and suburban areas.
Check out this week’s reports from North, Central and Southeast Georgia. Be sure to keep an eye on water levels on rivers and make safe choices. But, don’t let this Spring fishing season get away without heading out to Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Anthony Rabern, Region Supervisor and Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
The term “pay-it-forward” is a simple reminder to invest in the next generation. That’s what my grandmother did for me more than a half-century ago when she took me fishing at the local bream pond. As a little kid, catching 6-inch bluegills with her was a blast, and it got me hooked on fishing for the rest of my life. Now, I’m trying to “pay-it-forward” with my grandson and catching small bluegills this week was fun for both of us. Although throwing sticks into the water was his favorite part of the outing, I hope these early memories will stay with him. So, what are you doing to “pay-it-forward”? From the swamps, rivers, and bayous of South Georgia; to the reservoirs and farm ponds across the piedmont; to the trout streams flowing across the mountains, there is a fishing adventure waiting for you. So, why not “pay-it-forward” this week? The fish are biting, and here are some pointers to tip the odds for success in your favor.
Lake Lanier Linesides (courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop) — Lanier Striped Bass & Lanier White Bass This week’s rainfall should raise water temperatures in the headwaters of Lake Lanier and draw in stripers like a magnet. Live herring or soft plastic swim baits worked in pools and behind downed trees are good ways to entice a strike. White bass are in full-spawning mode right now. Small jigs worked with a steady retrieve in pools and the mouth of feeder creeks are good ways to catch white bass. These scrappy fighters tend to run with the pack, so when you catch one there are likely to be others in the same spot.
Lanier – More Stripers (This report courtesy of guide and GON contributor Clay Cunningham): “April is looking good here on Lanier. The stripers will move up both rivers, spawn and work their way back down to the main lake. Since the stripers will be on the move, they will need to eat. The result is some great catching on Lanier. The key pattern will be to pull the banks and points with freelines and boards mostly on the north end of the lake. Be sure to use your electronics to spot the fish in these areas. On the Humminbird Side Imaging, you can see the fish on each side of the boat. In the past five years, the electronics have progressed immensely. The best setup is a Shakespeare striper rod paired with a Penn Fathom II Linecounter reel. Spool the Penn Fathom II Linecounter with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game line. On the end of the line, you will need a fluorocarbon leader. Tie on a Spro Power Swivel and a 5-foot section of 15-lb. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon and a Gamakatsu 1/0 octopus hook. Pick up a set of Water Bugz Planer Boards and some live herring, and you are good to go for the day. If you prefer to use artificials, be sure to pick up some Sebile Magic Swimmer swimbaits in white linear and ayu in several sizes. The most popular sizes being the 95 and 125. Be sure to throw the smaller 95 size on 10-lb. Trilene Big Game or Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon on a 7-foot medium-action Penn combo. Personally, I like the Penn Conflict 3000 spooled with 10-lb. Trilene Big Game on a Fenwick 7-foot medium spinning rod. Pick up a selection of other topwater wake baits like the Berkley Surge Shad and walking baits like the Berkley Cane Walker, and you are good to go. One day the Surge Shad will be best, and another day the Cane Walker will be best. Another good choice is a Capt. Mack 1/2-oz. bucktail tipped with a Berkley Jerk Shad casting to the bank. April is a great month for casting here on Lanier. Time to be on the water!”
Lanier Bass (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing report): Spotted bass are on the main lake points and the fish have been easy to pattern. There are fish shallow that are small and a natural blue Zoom finesse worms on a Texas rig will work. Docks are starting to produce at 10 feet. Try the Zoom pearl Super on the shallow cover lake wide. This bait seems to attract bigger fish. Chug Bugs in blue and chrome are also waking up a few fish save one tied on and make a few casts everywhere you stop. Cast this rig on the banks and points and just reel it back at almost any depth and the spots will grab it. Fishing is good around the points in Big Creek and on the rocks on the bank right at the Big Creek Ramp. Main lake structure is fair for fish at 14 feet. Zoom finesse worms in natural blue, green original Zoom worms and small jigs are fair. The fish are not deep. Work points and ditches to depths of 19 feet. If the sun is out use a sand Zoom finesse worm and dip the tail in chartreuse dye. Texas rigs and 1/8 ounce jig heads and fishing these baits vertically will attract hungry spots. Add the night crawler and a small plastic lizard this week just be patient and work baits slowly. Small bright Shad Raps and small finesse worms are taking the fish. With the water still stained up the lake continue to cast shallow to any bank cover including docks and points. Watch the water temperature gauge and find and fish the warmer water especially early in the day. Rocks will warm up the water faster once the sun hit them.
Lanier Crappie (courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton call to book a trip 770 530 6493): Crappie fishing is good. I have been finding the crappie 20 feet deep over 30 to 40 feet of water under docks we have found them on brush in 30 feet and we have found crappie in 3 feet of water. Try the slow retrieval method of a jig when fishing vertical. We always put out a Crappie minnow with a BB sized sinker 12 to 16 inches above the hook. For best results use a live minnow! Look under docks that are in 20 to 40 feet of water near a main channel and have brush or structure use your electronic charts to locate these areas. Remember crappie love the shade so cast into the shadows of a dock. Try different Jigs colors and jig styles jigs can be used for short casting, vertical jigging, trolling or dock shooting. When dock shooting the biggest fish are usually the first to hit. Let your jig sink and give it time to get down to the fish and retrieve your jig slowly. The most productive jig color combinations have been the blue and silver and the milk with chartreuse tail in. I’m using ATX Lure Company’s plastics that can now be purchased at Sherry ‘Bait and BBQ. I use the K9, 5 pound test high visibility yellow braid for my line (unless I am using a bobber) and a Piscifun reel on an Acc Crappie Stix. Find me on Facebook and like my page @crappieonlanier
Carters Lake Linesides: (courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist John Damer): Northwest Georgia staff have been scouting Carters Lake over the past few weeks. Stripers and hybrids like those pictured are swimming around Carters in decent numbers. With rising water temperatures associated with this week’s rain, trophy fish like these are moving closer to shallow water and will be there for the next several weeks before surface temperatures get too high and they retreat back down to deeper and cooler water layers.
Lake Allatoona (report provided by fishing guide, Joseph Martinelli of Heron Outdoor Adventures) — Lake Allatoona is approaching full pool and that means that the backs of the creeks are full of water and drawing in many species of fish that attend the smorgasbord hosted by a variety of grubs, insects, and the like that are coming into contact with the water for the first time this spring. While this inherently offers a buffet to many smaller fish, it just seems that the larger predator fish tend to follow.
Allatoona Linesides: The striper and hybrid bite has been fantastic. As our waters have just reached the magic 60° mark, the fish are beginning to stage and definitely feeding well, mainly in preparation of their spawning cycles. It should be noted that even though only the white bass are the only linesides that are self-sustaining in Lake Allatoona, the stripers and hybrid striped bass still go through the motions. This is the time of year you have a great chance at finding that heavy Allatoona gem on the end of your line. Key lineside fishing areas right now for us have been from Bartow Carver South to Clark Creek. All the major creeks will have activity as they are holding the majority of the bait. A man that needed to eat could post himself up near the mouth and into the back of any of these major creeks and just wait for the fish to pass through. If you are on the hunt, good electronics can definitely help you concentrate on an area currently holding fish, but remember God gave them all fins and tails and they sure tend to move around a lot throughout the day. There are a myriad of techniques that can be utilized to target these pre-spawn fish, but we have found it hard to beat a good old-fashioned thread fin shad or gizzard shad tethered on a light leader 5-6’long with a size 4 to 1/0 octopus hook depending on bait size. Free lines have been producing, but for us right now this past week the downline has been king. Targeted depths have been primarily between 17 and 22 ft. though there have been mornings when we can’t readily get the bite where the fish are at staged yet a thread fin shad at 10 to 12 ft down will seem to get the rise. Big bait season is definitely upon us, and your chance for a larger Allatoona treasure might have best success with an 8 to 10 in gizzard shad set out on a planer board or float. However, we must never underestimate our quarry and remember that elephants eat peanuts also. We were lucky enough to hook up with a teen striper this past week that ate a gizzard shad so small we would call it a ‘peanut’.
Allatoona Bass & Crappie: The bass and crappie bite have still been excellent. We had a bass trip last week that yielded over 45 spotted bass in 4 hours. These fish were bunched up in the back of a creek and absolutely could not resist a small 3-inch swim bait on an 1/8 oz head swam slowly through them. The crappie are just beginning to spawn. They do not all spawn at once and this can be a month-long process spread out over different sections of our reservoir. We are noting many of our better crappie are being caught right on the banks primarily with a small jig 1/32nd to 1/16 oz. worked very slowly about 2 ft under a small float. Though we have hung up our long lines for the season, we have had reports of this still being effective on any given day. Whatever your target species, the water has hit the magic mark and there is no better time to get out in the water and get in on the action. Tight lines, friends!
West Point Lake Linesides: Guide Keith Hudson reports “Because of lower water and cooler water temps in March, expect a strong river run from the hybrids and white bass again this year until at least mid April. The hybrids have made a nice comeback in recent years. Many hybrids are mature enough this year to guarantee a big run. Try live or cut bait—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. Casting curly-tail grubs or small spinners will work well at times also. Some fish will, as usual, always remain down on the main lake and can be caught on small crankbaits, topwaters and Storm Swim Shad lures.”
West Point Bass (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing report): Bass fishing has been very good. Despite the dirty water focus on the northern end of the lake to take advantage of the warmer water. Seek out the warmer pockets right now which seem to be holding the best fishing. Fish have been really shallow in the three feet or less. The best bites have come later in the afternoon after the sun has had time to warm water temperatures. Most of the fish have come midway or in the back of pockets on chunk rock or red clay banks. Use mid depth crankbaits in a shad pattern for these fish. Crankbaits to choose from are a Bomber 4A, Bandit 200, or a Jackall MC/60. Make long casts to the bank and retrieve with a slow to moderate retrieve. The better are taking on a ¼ ounce All Terrain jig in Texas Craw with a green pumpkin Net Bait Paca Chunk. Look for the jig bite to only get better as fish transition into the spawn. For a fast shallow bite try the Terminator stainless 3/8 super spinner bait and titanium T1 spinner bait ½ ounce. Bass have begun to move up on shallow rock on main lake. Once the fish have located with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Sonar technology anglers can catch multiple fish without moving. Use a 1/8 ounce Davis Baits Shaky head with a Zoom green pumpkin trick worms.
Lake Hartwell Bass (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing report): Bass fishing is good. Look for the bass to be shallow as well as at mid depths all week. Shad Raps and X Raps along with Rapala DT6 in baby bass and shad. All the shallow bass are after anything small and the #5 Shad Rap will work all day in the shad patter. Small Senko’s in baby bass and baby bass Zoom trick worms are also working. There is a lot of pollen lake wide so pick the coves the wind has blown the pollen into the shallow. Keep a Spro McStick ready all day as the bass are very shallow. This bait can get those bass in the five to seven foot range also. Start with a slow presentation early in the day. A jig or short Carolina rigged worm fished around the docks near the bedding area is also working.
Lake Hartwell Crappie (courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist Anthony Rabern) — Hartwell’s crappie population should produce outstanding stringers this month. After this week’s heavy rainfall, water temps should start to rise and draw crappie into the shallows. It is still on the early side for crappie to spawn, so also look for concentrations of fish in standing timber and brush in 15-20-feet of water, especially if the structure is near a creek channel. There are plenty of places to catch crappie in Eastanollee Creek as well as the back of Gum Log Creek and Choestoea Creek. When the crappie spawn is in full-swing, look for concentrations of fish in small pockets with standing stalks of vegetation in 2 to 4-feet of water.
Hartwell Linesides & more (this report courtesy of GON contributor and guide Preston Harden): “Hybrids and stripers try to spawn in April. Even though hybrids are sterile and stripers don’t spawn successfully, they still release eggs. Lots of hybrid and stripers run up the Tugaloo and Keowee rivers. Lots of them release their eggs down lake in shallow water. All these game fish will eat. They are easy to target in shallow water, so stay shallow where the gang will be. Crappie attach their eggs to wood and rock structure. They are very shallow now and can be caught with a small jig under a float worked around shallow structure. Bass make beds and hang around for days. Most are caught by provoking a reaction strike to remove a lure from their bed. Not all bass spawn at the same time. Some spawn in March, and some spawn in May, but April is prime time. Largemouth bass spawn in very shallow water, and spots spawn deeper in maybe 3 to 4 feet of water.”
Rocky Mountain PFA: (Report courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist, Jackson Sibley) – With largemouth bass nearing the spawn, anglers at Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area can expect high hook-up rates of big, aggressive fish over the next few weeks. The locals say creature baits, Senkos, and chatterbaits are killers right now. Keep ‘em shallow, and try bumping off of rocks, standing timber, and other cover.
Weiss Lake Bass & Crappie (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Service www.markcollins service.com 256 779 3387): The warmer weather will get the fish turned on. A lot of fish have moved shallow into the bays and creeks. Shallow running crank baits and spinner baits are working well. Crappie fishing is fair and it should improve over the next week. They are being caught long line trolling, with Jiffy Jigs, JJ13, JJ17 and JJ20 are the colors that have been catching fish for me, they have moved into shallow water with the flooding. We look for spawning to begin over the next few weeks.
Small Lakes: Small ponds are great places for experienced and novice anglers alike to enjoy high catch rates of fish, both large and small, due to low fishing pressure and an abundance of “open-minded” predators. Don’t have a small pond connection for your fishing enjoyment? Consider one of DNR’s great Public Fishing Areas or State Parks as an alternative.
Coosa River (report courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist, John Damer) — White bass fishing on the Coosa River near Rome continues to be hot right now. A coworker and I took the day off and hit the river during the middle of the day (10:00 to 3:00) on Wednesday. We fished the area near Old River Road Boat Ramp and boated 120 feisty white bass between the two of us, which is some of the best white bass fishing we’ve had on the Coosa in years. Average size was probably over a pound, with plenty of larger pre-spawn females in the 2+ pound range. A handful of gar, one largemouth, and a hybrid also spiced things up along the way. We were fishing with small, deep-diving, shad imitating crankbaits. Color did not seem to matter much, as we caught about equal numbers of fish on bright fluorescent and natural colors. For what it’s worth, we spoke to others on the river who were fishing with crappie minnows and they did not do as well. We have also seen good numbers of stripers in the area during sampling, especially up near Mayo Lock and Dam Park. Targeting that area might produce a few hookups with some true river monsters.
TROUT REPORT (courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist Sarah Baker) —
- Trout Fishing in Georgia: – Trout stocking is in full swing, and dozens of streams are stocked with trout each week. If you are new to trout fishing, then we’ve got several resources that we can recommend to you!
- Check out our Trout Page. Here, you can sign up to receive emails that notify you of recently stocked streams. You can also access trout fishing regulations, and the Trout Stream Interactive Map. GADNR hatchery crews stock weekly from mid-March until early September (for schedule click HERE). Trout stocking transitions to Delayed Harvest from November 1–May 14.
- Explore our Trout Stream Interactive Map. Zoom into northern Georgia until you see yellow and pink highlighted lines. If you click on the “Legend” in the upper righthand corner, you will notice that we now have streams that have been stocked in the last week highlighted in Bright Yellow and streams stocked the week before (8-14 days ago) highlighted in a Sandy color. You can also stop by our Gainesville office (2150 Dawsonville HWY Gainesville GA 30605) and pick up a hard copy of our Trout Map. US Forest Service Maps are also really helpful. The National Geographic series of topo maps have an excellent detail look at NatGeo maps #777 (western half) and #778 (east) to cover the Chattahoochee Forest. Part of the fun of catching a trout is that it takes some planning and adventuring!
- Online blogs include:
- WRD’s Weekly Fishing Report! Which you are reading right now. We update this report each week.
- Angler Management Blog by Unicoi Outfitters. Check out this week’s report plus dredge around the archive for more great intel.
- Gink and Gasoline has a blog category archive for How to Fly Fish that is helpful.
- Though not a blog per se, Rabun TU’s website contains some helpful information!
- Call us! If you have any questions related to trout fishing, give us a call at (770) 535-5498. We look forward to answering your questions and equipping you with the tools you need to have a memorable trout fishing experience!
Blue-Lining for Trout: Hiking through Georgia’s Appalachian Mountains in search of a stream that has trout is a truly magical way to experience spring. Trout lilies and trilliums are in bloom, juvenile salamanders are squirming between gravel, and if you watch carefully “stickbait” or caddis can be found crawling along the streambed. Georgia’s diversity of aquatic life is incredible! There is a lot to discover. (If you’re a real nerd like me, you can download an app called “Seek” by iNaturalist to help you learn the name of different species). Plus, Georgia trout are hungry! Blue lining is fishing small, high-elevation streams for small, wild fish. I have five tips for a successful “blue-lining” adventure:
- Have a plan. Get a really good map (see last week’s blog post for map recommendations) and bring a GPS if you have one. Calculate how many miles it will take you to get to the downstream section that you plan to fish, plus how many miles it will be to fish up the stream, plus how many miles it will take you to get back to your vehicle from your end point. Then ask yourself, am I capable of hiking all this total mileage in a day? If yes- great! If not, try a different stream that has closer access. Be mindful of private property boundaries. There are hundreds of miles of streams on public land in Georgia to choose from. Be sure to let someone know about your plan, and when to expect you back from your trip. Cell phone reception is poor in the valleys of north Georgia mountains.
- Pack wisely. It’s always a good idea to be extra prepared when you’re far from home. Crawling on boulders and scrambling up waterfalls certainly increases your chances of an accident occurring. Pack extra socks, a change of clothes, extra food, plenty of water, as well as a first-aid kit.
- Keep your fly box simple. A narrow selection of standard dry flies should be all you need right now. However, when the water is high from springtime rains and the pools are deep, fishing a squirmy wormy fly or a nymph will do the trick; so tuck a few of those in too.
- Keep a low profile. Headwater streams often have clear water, so even your shadow can spook a fish. Also, trout have a lateral line along each of their sides that detects movement, vibration, and pressure gradients in the surrounding water. So stay back behind where you’re trying to send your fly so that they aren’t spooked by your presence.
- Learn how to bow and arrow cast: Check out these YouTube videos HERE and HERE.
Trout Hatchery Update (courtesy of Buford Trout Hatchery Manager Colt Martin): The entire crew at Buford Hatchery have been busy growing trout this spring. The result of this hard work is captured by this net full of healthy rainbow trout bound for a nearby Georgia trout stream or tailwater. If you want to increase the odds of catching stocked trout, be sure to subscribe to the weekly stocking report.
Wildcat Closure: A reminder, the US Forest Service announced that the road to Wildcat Creek has yet again been affected by the recent rains, but it is still open to foot traffic. Check the USFS Facebook page for updates and links to the Forest Service Road Closure webpage.
A BIG thank you for buying your fishing licenses, tackle, and Brook Trout car tags!
(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 60S
Bass fishing is good. Use a shallow running shad or bream DT Rapala crank bait and Stanley all white spinnerbaits. Plan for the next 3 weeks for a combination of pre spawn and spawning fish. The green Zoom trick worm or a Zoom pumpkinseed lizard will work on the secondary points in the longer creeks and find shady banks early and late and then use a Bass Pro Shops Enticer buzz bait with a gold blade. Try the Alabama rig with small Zoom pearl flukes on a 1/8th ounce lead head and be sure to use a braid to save the rig if it hangs up. Up the rivers and on deeper creeks on points, use a shad color Shad Rap in the #5 size. Lower lake creeks on outside creek bends are good with spinnerbaits and the Poe’s 300 bone crankbait.
CLARKS HILL IS .8 FEET OVER FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. The bass are roaming around in the shallows lake wide so anglers should do the same. Use a Texas rigged worm or jig and pig. Some top water action has been occurring early and late. The blueback herring should really start to move up around the shoals, points, and bridges. Husky Jerk baits and jigs along with Shad Raps will catch bass this week. Plan for the next 3 weeks for a combination of pre-spawn and spawning fish. The spotted bass are on the move as well and will be a lot more aggressive. The spots are holding on gravel and rocky points in 6 to 10 feet of water. Use Carolina rigged worms in most any color pumpkinseed, green and purple. Largemouth and spots will bed soon. A trick worm fished with a slip shot up 18 to 24 inches fished in the pockets around the lake is working well.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 60’S
Bass: Bass fishing is good. The lake is full. Start in the middle of the coves and main lake creeks. Fish boat docks, wood structure, and sea walls. Work to the backs of the coves and creeks. Use Shad Raps and small crank baits with rattles fished on sea walls and around docks. Plan for the next 3 weeks for a combination of pre-spawn and spawning fish. White and chartreuse spinner baits fished along the Sugar Creek and Lick Creek bridge rip rap has also been producing some larger fish. Richland Creek has also been producing some good fish in the upper reaches of the creek. Blue-black and brown jigs have been working well fished in and around wood cover.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good. The fish are starting to show up at the dam for the spring run. Live bait fished on down lines along with flat lines and plainer boards will pick up fish. If the water clears up the umbrella rig bite will also produce fish. There are also some good fish showing up in the rivers. Cut bait fished on the bottom will be the best bait for the river fish.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. The fish are moving into the major creeks. Long line trolling has been the best producer over the past week. Match the jig color to the watercolor. Blue-black is one option. Over the next few weeks, the largest fish will be moving into the coves and creeks to spawn so now it the time to fill a cooler with big slabs.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.1 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. This week’s warm weather has the bass flooding into the shallows to lay their eggs. Catching these fish will require slowing down and fishing soft plastic baits in protected sandy spawning pockets. These fish will spawn on any piece of cover they can find in the pockets. Plan for the next 3 weeks for a combination of pre-spawn and spawning fish. Isolated stumps, dock walkways, and sea walls will be the best targets to hit when trying to catch these spawning fish over the next few weeks. Make sure to make repetitive casts to each target before moving on to the next one. Bottom crawling baits fished slowly will work best. A Buckeye mop jig with a craw trailer and a Texas-rigged Zoom 6 lizard have been extremely effective this week. Also catch some aggressive fish early in the morning and late in the evening with a black buzz bait and a chartreuse and white spinnerbait.
LAKE JACKSON IS .5 FEET OVER FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. Plan for the next 3 weeks for a combination of pre-spawn and spawning fish. Try the crankbaits, like Bandits and Shad Raps on points, as well as Robo worms on shaky heads. As the bass move back into spawning pockets and flats, use flukes in pearl or baby bass colors, double willow leaf spinnerbaits and Texas rigged 6-inch Zoom lizards around spawning areas. Bang O Lures worked slowly over spawning areas have historically produced some monsters on Jackson in April. For spots, concentrate on deeper flats and long points down the lake with flukes and Pointers. 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.
(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)
We finally had a decent weekend, and catches showed it on the flat water this weekend. But, with several strong cold fronts during the week, the reports slowed by mid-week. The rivers are still very high again this week in southeast Georgia.
River gages on April 7th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 13.2 feet and steady (flood stage is 11 feet)
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 1 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 9.6 feet and rising
- Waycross on the Satilla – 6 feet and falling (67 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 11.2 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 7.7 feet and rising
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.
ST MARYS RIVER
The river is still high, so fish around low tide to up your odds. Matt Rouse took Kaytlynn (11) and her sister Cirenna (8) to a small tributary to the upper St. Marys and they caught some nice bluegills and warmouth. Worms fooled them this trip. 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 had started dropping, but the rains the last couple evenings sent it back up into the prairies. Brentz McGhin went on Monday and fooled 5 warmouth by pitching crickets around the boat basin. He then went out in the canals and casted and trolled for chain pickerel (jackfish) and caught 3 of them. On Thursday afternoon he brought his wife Claudia, and the water was up noticeably from earlier in the week. They tried for a little bit in the boat basin for warmouth to no avail and then went out into the canals. They pitched a yellow sally for fliers and caught a few in a short time, then they trolled for jackfish. They ended up catching and releasing 4 jackfish (lost several others) and 3 bowfin on broke-back rebel minnow plugs. Okefenokee Adventures staff said that most people this week caught a “few” warmouth, but on Wednesday an angler reported catching 15 warmouth. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.40 feet.
Wayne Grantham has been catching some big bass from local ponds over the last couple weeks. During March he caught over 200 bass, and his biggest was a 9-lb., 5-oz. monster. A couple casts before that he caught a 6-lb., 12-oz. hawg. He was using a junebug lizard for those 2 fish. Chip Lafferty and a friend fished a Brunswick area pond on Friday evening, and they caught 15 solid bass. Their best lures were copperfield vibrating jigs, wacky-rigged watermelonseed stick worms, white tandem willow spinnerbaits, and 3-inch Keitech swimbaits (Tennessee shad color was best). Their biggest was 4 pounds, but they also jumped off a 6-pounder on a stick worm. John Biagi fished with a friend in a Baxley area pond on Saturday and the two managed to catch 73 bass up to 2 1/2 pounds. They caught a few dozen on Keitech swimbaits and topwater chugger-type baits (with feathered treble hooks) before they switched to Satilla Spins to try for some bluegills. Once they switched to crawfish and warmouth craw Satilla Spins their catch rates quadrupled for the smaller bass. They also caught a dozen big bluegills up to 9 inches on Satilla Spins. Holly Pittman and her nephew Konner fished a Blackshear area pond over the weekend and caught a bunch of bluegills and warmouth using small crankbaits (Rebel cricket crankbaits). A Blackshear angler fished a pond in Blackshear for a few hours Saturday evening and caught some quality bass and crappie. He had two 6-pounders, three 5-pounders for his biggest 5 bass (27 pounds!). He also dragged crappie minnows and landed 7 crappie up to 12 inches. Chad Lee made a couple quick trips to Alma area ponds this week and caught a total of a dozen bass – mostly 2-pounders. His biggest was a 6-pounder that he fooled with a hollow-bodied perch lure. Senkos and brush hog plastics fooled most of his fish.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
With the bad weather, very few people fished the brine. Greg Hildreth had the best report I heard this week. On Thursday, he used live shrimp under Harper’s Super Striker Floats and caught several nice trout. They also had a few nice flounder. On the few days when folks got out in the wind and between storms, whiting bit decently in the sounds. 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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