You don’t typically think of fire when you think of fishing…but we just want to say that fishing is on FIRE right now. Get your pole and get outdoors!
NEWS TO KNOW:
- Kids Fishing Events: Not sure how to fish, but want your kid to get a chance? Visit our Events Calendar and see if there is an upcoming Kids Fishing Event near you. Or, if you need tips for fishing with kids, click HERE.
- Fun Fishing Event: The Gateway to Fishing Program kicked off their season on Saturday April 23rd with an event at Nash Farms in Henry County. Partners included The Bridge Solution, Henry County Parks and Recreation, Dicks Sporting Goods, and the Atlanta Bass Club. There were well over 150 participants including 60 children at the event. Lunch was provided by the Atlanta Bass Club and many prizes donated from Dicks Sporting Goods. For more about this program and upcoming events, click HERE.
- Hatcheries are Hauling Stockers: Cordele, Richmond Hill, and McDuffie hatcheries transported fish to North Georgia lakes for stocking, including walleye, white bass, and hybrid bass. Stocking white bass is also the only way to restore this species to its native waters such as Lake Nottely where blueback herring have decimated the white bass population.
- Largemouth Bass Stockings: Staff harvested the first of the largemouth bass fingerling ponds at Bowens Mill Fish Hatchery and sent those fish for stocking at West Point (111,000) and Richard B Russell (119,000) as part of an ongoing effort to enhance the largemouth bass fisheries in these reservoirs.
This week, we have fishing reports from Southwest, North and Southeast Georgia. Time to put out the fishing fires y’all….and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Fishing in Lake Blackshear is a lot of fun right now. The stain in the lake is normal and the water is at full pool. Temperatures are evening out as weather has been steady. Most fish are biting shallow. At Blackshear you have your pick of target species. Bass, bream, crappie, and catfish are all easy pickings. If you are targeting crappie the sugar bug jigs made locally are your best bet. You can buy them locally at Flint River Outdoors. Live bait for bream and crappie are also a good choice. Minnows worms or crickets are always a crowd favorite. Anything you can think of will work for catfish. The channels and the flatheads are out there and ready to bite if you offer them anything that is a little smelly. Be sure to stop by Flint River Outdoors and Enter their monthly big Fish contest.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
In general, April and May water temperatures at Big Lazer PFA are warming up and so is the fishing. April and May are some of the best times to fish because spawning fish move into shallower water. Also, spring is a great time to not only fish but also plan a fun picnic with the whole family.
Bass: The bass fishing is quickly getting good now as they have begun to move into shallower water to spawn. Try throwing spinners and crankbaits at about 4-6 feet of water. Fishing plastic worms and lizards near spawning beds should produce decent bites. You may have luck by locating feeding shad near the banks and throwing a crankbait or spinner in the area.
Crappie: Crappie fishing may begin to slow a bit now from last month’s peak. However, there are still a few being caught. Minnows are still your best bet. You can also try trolling with bright colored jigs and minnows at varying depths to find bunched up crappie.
Bream: We have had some reports of decent bream fishing lately. They are getting ready to spawn soon so look for beds to fish near. Red worms and crickets are still your best bet for bream. Woody structure and areas near the pier may produce some good bites.
Catfish: Catfish fishing is improving as of late and should continue to do so. Try using livers or worms at or near the bottom of the lake. Woody structure as well as the rip-rap near the dam may be your best bet at a good cat. The deeper water near the new pier may also be a good spot to try.
Lake Seminole is full pool right now but the Flint and Chattahoochee arms are still quite muddy. Water temperatures are around 68 degrees. The shad spawn has started so be sure to try out some shad mimic lures to catch those bass. The bass fishing is hit or miss depending on where you try so if you are not getting any bites try relocating to another area. In general, the Flint arm has not been very productive due to the high winds out of the east. As the wind cools down and the weather heats up the fishing should be a bit easier. The shell cracker are bedding and their locations should be easy to find. Try crickets, worms or minnows for a good result. The fish are a bit picky so be patient with your bait and strategic as you approach the area. There are also some schools of post spawn bass that are checking out the shellcracker. It’s always a good idea to take a top water lure with you when you are targeting shell cracker because you never know what big fish may be targeting the same species you are targeting.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jackson Sibley, Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
Arrowhead WMA (Report courtesy of fisheries Region Supervisor Jim Hakala) — Fifteen year-old Carson Sizemore of Rome with a 6 lb. 10-ounce largemouth bass he caught from the lake at Arrowhead WMA. Carson said the bass made a huge wake coming out from a downed tree before slamming his buzz-bait. A quick pull on the scale, a photo, and the fish was released back to the water.
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is great. Lots of fishing being caught. The worm and jig bite has been solid. Finesse worms like the 6inch big bite squirrel tail and big bite trick stick in green pumpkin. The soft plastic jerk bait is on fire. The alewife 5 inch jerk minnow fisher on a 1/8 on 3/0 jig head on 12 pound test fluorocarbon is the ticket. A Senko is a good bet on these fish as well. Look for spot beds on hard clay banks and points with sandy areas being strong as well. Look for the prespawn females to be on steeper rocky points near these spawning areas. The same baits will work, but others will catch the pre spawners as well. A jerk bait, a spinnerbait and a swim bait have all been good when the wind is up on the rocky points and shallow humps. Pea gravel and red clay bank on the north end of the lake are most productive. The spawn is in all phases right now from prespawn, spawning and even post spawn. We look for top water to pick up soon.
Allatoona Linesides (Report courtesy of Robert Eidson www.firstbiteguideservice.com) — The Allatoona bite is good! The spawn run is almost over. Most of the fish are back on the main lake and are starting to set up on a summer pattern. Big schools of hybrids can be found anywhere from the S-turns to as far south as Tanyard Creek. The downrod bite is the most productive bite going on at the lake right now. Fishing live shad at depths from 20 to 30 feet is producing for our boats from one end of the lake to the other. Our bait of choice has been big threadfins, with small gizzards running a close second. The big schools of hybrids can be found on your Humminbird on or around most points, humps and flats. Good electronics can be a big help during the summer months. Summer time is awesome for numbers on Lake Allatoona. Give us a call and let’s take the kids fishing.
Allatoona Sampling (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Jackson Sibley) — We’re in the peak of sampling on Allatoona and we have seen some really great fish this week. Spotted bass are currently pushed shallow across the lake and can be found in good numbers on blowdowns and rock ledges. We’ve seen topwater action well into the afternoon. Largemouth are reliably found associated with logs in 2-5 feet of water. Check the backs of coves on gently sloping mud bottoms. Into bream fishing? Take a look at this monster redear sunfish that was collected (and released) in the north end of the lake this week. Weighing just over 2.2 lbs, it would easily qualify as the lake record redear—a spot that is currently vacant! These fish, as well as bluegill and redbreast sunfish, are currently spawning in the backs of shallow coves. I recommend targeting these fish on light line with crickets fished under a bobber. If you don’t get a bite within a few minutes, move on to the next cove—when you find one, you’re likely to find several!
Allatoona Lake Levels: Keep track of daily lake level changes HERE.
Blue Ridge Sampling (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist John Damer) — WRD staff sampled Blue Ridge Lake this week. We found good numbers of largemouth and spotted bass in the shallows, mostly in the main lake. Most of the fish looked to be post-spawn and hungry, like the 6-pound bucketmouth pictured. Spotted bass topped out around the 3 pound mark, which is typical for the lake. A few monster bluegills and redbreast were found on rocky points and on downed trees, along with good numbers of post-spawn walleye. We saw one big flathead catfish around 15 pounds, as well.
Blue Ridge Bass (Report courtesy of guide Eric Welch via GON’s Fishing Report) — The bite has been good. The lake has come up fast the past month, and the fish have been trying to spawn. It’s been a strange spring this year with all the rain and cold weather, with a mix of warm weather. But most of the spawn should be over by the first week in May, and then the fish will be protecting the fry around docks, brush and laydowns. I like targeting these areas with a Zoom Fluke or swimbaits. Once the bass leave the fry, they will start back feeding up to gain the weight back they lost during the spawn. When this happens, you should start seeing some topwater action on a Whopper Plopper and a Pop-R. The bass will start moving back to areas where they will spend the summer—around brush, laydowns and offshore structure. I will target these fish with a Ned rig, shaky head, drop shot and a Texas rig. If you have a day when there is some wind, throw a spinnerbait. Good luck.
Blue Ridge Bass (Report courtesy of Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — I’m still looking for the smallmouth to show up. This is usually our best month for them. We don’t see many true smallies anymore, so it’s nice when it happens. If you’re looking for them, the break of dawn on the main lake or in Star Creek is your best bet. Look for busting fish and throw a topwater or a 4-inch spoon at them from as far as you can. As for the rest of the bass, we are always catching spots. Seems like if I’m fishing a spoon, we catch spots. If we are jigging with a minnow, we catch spots. We catch them trolling Rapalas. At times I can’t get away from them. With the super clear water and competition for food, I believe you can catch them just about anyway you like some days. Most of the bass hold at the same depth as the bait or just below it. Right now that’s about 20 to 30 feet. Look for groups of fish on your sonar just off the bottom around that bait ball.
Burton Bass (Report courtesy of guide Tyler Clore via GON’s Fishing Report) — Largemouth are pulling up into the shallows in the creeks to bed. You can see the beds from 2 to 8 feet deep. I use a Texas-rigged Senko to pitch around the beds. The spotted bass are in the 10- to 15-foot range. Fish sandy/rocky points and also the shallow-water humps. I like to use a shaky head with a green-pumpkin Trick Worm. As the water continues to warm, look for the blueback spawn. You will find them rolling along the seawalls and on any solid surface they can find. Sometimes they will actually find the back of your boat and follow you around as you fish that area. When casting into those pods of bluebacks, I like to use a McStick jerkbait in the blueback color. You will see the fish come through and feed on the baitfish that are spawning.
Carters Lake Walleye (Report courtesy of guide Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — Walleye fishing has been consistent all spring, and we are seeing some real quality fish. After the spawn, the fish have pulled back out to the main-lake points and humps. They are holding offshore during the day in 35 to 55 feet of water and coming up in the evening to feed on baitfish in the shallower water. Daytime presentations can be anything from trolling crankbaits to jigging and fishing spoons or live bait fished on or near the bottom with light fluorocarbon leaders and small circle hooks. Use your electronics to locate small groups of fish holding on drop-offs. At night, jerkbaits, crankbaits and live baits worked around shallow baitfish can produce some really nice fish. Bright colors are best. The mouth of the river and around the islands has been the most productive areas as well as around the dam and rip-rap in that area. Look for the full moon night bite this month to be really good.
Carters Lake Linesides (Report courtesy of guide Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — The striper fishing has been better this spring than the last couple years. We are seeing some really nice-sized fish. As usual, it’s quality over quantity here. With the water still being relatively cool, the fish are still up shallow in the morning feeding on bait. This is planer board time. We run multiple lines with big baits spread out as far as we can and cover water at about 0.7 to 0.8 mph. I prefer the biggest baits I can catch. After the sun is up over the trees, I prefer to troll artificials over fishing downlines. These fish are typically on the move after sunup and can be next to impossible to stay on top of with live bait. Captain Mack’s umbrella rigs, bucktail jigs with trailers or bucktails tipped with fresh baitfish 35 to 45 feet deep can be a better option as you can cover more water. Typically, we troll these between 2 and 3 mph on 50-lb. braid. The night bite has been good as well by throwing artificials and fishing live bait around the boat ramps.
Lake Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. Bass are on the flats on or near beds. Bass should be holding tight this week and to catch them stay back and make a long cast. Use the Spro McStick and work the bait with slow easy retrieve of a fast jerking motion will get the bites. Later in the day the fish are striking while using a steady retrieve. Some will even follow the bait back to the boat. If this happens, speed up the retrieve on the next cast. Use the middle sizes of the Net Bait Paca Chunk and Paca Bug 3/8 ounce Alabama craw Black neon and Okeechobee 3 inch and Sapphire craw. Use the middle sizes of the Power baits Meaty Chunk Green pumpkin 3 inch. Shad Raps continue to be a lake favorite this week, especially on the smaller secondary points. Use the trick worms and a 2/0 offset Bass Pro offset on 10 pound Sufix elite line on a spinning reel. This will get a lot of bites and use both bright colors and green pumpkin or June bug.
Lake Hartwell Linesides (Report Courtesy of Preston Harden of Bucktail Guide Service via GON’s Fishing Report) — Fish are shallow and eating. May is the most consistent and reliable month of the year. Most game fish have spawned and are hungry. Early mornings are the best time to find feeding fish. Hybrids and stripers are in their spring pattern. They are spread out mostly up the lake and in the major creeks. They are feeding on shad and blueback herring. Pulling a lively herring with no weight will get slammed by any nearby hybrid or striper. Largemouth and spotted bass will also eat the herring. Herring imitations like bucktail jigs and flukes will get bit. Stay shallow all month for all game fish. Try to fish early or late or all day when it’s cloudy.
Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Phil Johnson via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing on Lanier is good to very good. It starts and it stops. The topwater activity on Lanier was just starting to kick in good and then the cold weather over the weekend had to come in and mess it all up. The good news is the water temps are starting to rise again and getting into the true April range. As they do the topwater bite is picking back up especially for the first couple of hours in the morning. There was a little herring spawn on this full moon which had the spotted bass active in the bedding areas. Look for a major spawn by both the spots and the herring on the next full moon. For now wake baits, spooks, Sebile and flukes have been producing well in traditional bedding areas and in the pockets. Long points have also been holding fish out on the end of them. The recent strong winds have made finding an area that this baits could still work has been a challenge. Worms have been a steady producer around the shallower docks and rocky secondary points. Be sure to work the complete dock from the back walkway to the front and all under it. A wacky rigged Senkos in these same area is also working well. The blow downs have also been holding fish. As the water warms look for the spots to continue to move into shallower water and into the bedding areas creating a strong topwater bite. A quarter ounce Spotsticker with a three eight Keitech is still a producer off long points and humps so keep it handy if the bite is tough. It seems there are a lot of small spots pulled up that you have to weed through to get a big one but the larger fish are pulling in now. They’re coming alive for the spring so Go Catch ‘Em!
Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Jimbo on Lanier via GON’s Fishing Report) — May starts topwater time on Lanier. Lake Lanier is arguably at its very best during the late spring and early summer due to the consistent availability of an aggressive topwater and swimbait bite during this time. This is an excellent opportunity for anglers to catch spotted bass and watch the action as wolf-packs of monster spotted bass chase your topwater plugs! In this month’s installment, you will learn the necessary tackle, equipment, locations and resources to catch topwater fish on Lanier. Now, at the end of April and heading into May under normal weather conditions, most of the spotted bass on Lake Lanier are finishing the spawn, and in doing so, will begin aggressively feeding to recover from the spawning process. After a short period of inactivity, the larger female spots will begin their migration from their spawning haunts (both in creeks as well as on the main lake) to key features at the mouths of the major creeks as well as main-lake areas and can be found on or around long-running points, rocky shoals and underwater humps/islands throughout the lake. Locating these areas and the man-made cover that is often found on them, which will often concentrate the fish, will be important to your success. Trust your Humminbird units to find these brushpiles around the features mentioned above. Focus in the 20- to 25-foot depth range. For topwater action, you should utilize either a medium or medium-heavy baitcasting or spin-casting outfit rigged with 12- to 17-lb. Seaguar monofilament line. Monofilament fishing line floats, where as fluorocarbon line sinks, which makes either monofilament or braided line the best option for presenting topwater baits correctly. As far as choosing a rig for fishing these topwater baits, consider the weight of the bait as your deciding factor. Lighter poppers and smaller walking baits are often better presented on spinning gear, which allows for easier casting of smaller baits. For swimbaits, I like to present the larger, heavier, mechanical-type swimbaits on a heavy-action rod that is at least 7 feet long. My big swimbait rod is an IMX Pro from GLoomis and is a beef stick! It can handle the biggest of swimbaits or A-rigs. I appreciate the extra rod strength to cast these big baits and manage the big fish I catch on them. As far as the many other soft and hard swimbait options, you can scale back to a medium-heavy rod if you prefer, but I definitely recommend keeping the length at 7 feet or more. Now that we have explored the location that the spots can be found in May, as well as the tackle necessary to fish them, let’s examine some of the techniques and lures that can be used to catch these fish. Remember that even though we are discussing topwater and swimbait presentations in this report, when the females first come off the bed, they are lethargic, so the use of more subtle techniques such as a fluke or a Georgia Blade jig head and a Berkley Max Scent worm combo can be the ticket. As the postspawn period progresses, the fish will become much more active and aggressive as eating becomes a major part of their recovery process from the spawn. The fish at times will feed voraciously, and it is at these times that you should focus on fishing fast-moving baits, such as the topwater and swimbait presentations we have focused on through the course of this report. Nothing beats being able to watch a fish crush your topwater bait! There are many choices of baits here—poppers, walkers, waking baits, etc. The preference of the fish will change day to day, so make sure to experiment daily to identify the mood of the fish, as well as their preference in presentation. Excellent topwater baits for Lake Lanier include a great line-up of Berkley Baits: Surge Shad, J-Walker, Highjacker, Cane Walker, and of course, the Choppo. All of these lures, as well as all the G-Loomis rods and Shimano reels you will need to present them can, be purchased at Hammond’s Fishing in Cumming. Swimbaits offer great versatility as they can, based on the model, be fished at any depth you wish. Once the postspawn has advanced, this becomes a great bait to throw around points and humps in both creeks and on the main lake. Popular hard and soft swimbaits are made by a number of different tackle vendors, to include many local options. As far as the mechanical-type swimbaits, I am a HUGE fan of the Magic Swimmers, and they are the perfect representation of a herring. In the soft-bodied swimbaits, I prefer the Lanier Baits Swimmer and Keitech Swimbait offerings. When the topwater/swimbait bite is tough, pick up your Georgia Blade Shad Spin and go to work. Fish the same areas you would normally present your topwater baits and experiment with different depths of the water column. Also, work these lures over brush for big spots. Try a fluke, a Lanier Baits Swimmer or a Keitech swimbait as a trailer.
Lanier Linesides (Report courtesy of Capt. Ron Mullins via GON’s Fishing Report) — The striped bass spawn will wrap up early this month as will most of the spotted bass spawn. These fish will be hungry and will be concentrating on the blueback herring spawn that has already gotten underway and later in the month on the threadfin shad spawn. The herring spawn takes place in a lot of areas, but one of the best areas to look at will be blow-through areas between the main land and islands that are close. These saddle areas will range in depth from 2 to 3 feet to 10 to 12 feet. This will happen all over the lake so there are many of these spots to look at. Flatlines and Captain Mack’s Perfect Planer Boards will be the best live-bait option to cover these areas as you pull across these high spots with herring as the best bait choice. Herring will spawn almost anywhere, and vertical structures like marina break-water walls will also be great places to fish. These areas can be fished with a couple of flatlines close to the wall as you troll 5 to 10 feet off the wall at about 1 mph. Off the front of the boat you can pitch a herring to the corners of the walls or toss a jerkbait, fluke-style bait or the Cast Prodigy swimbait paired with the new Cast swimbait head offered by Captain Mack. This head has a short shank hook that will not interfere with your soft swimbait’s body movement, but the hook is also stout enough to handle a big striper and not straighten out like most of the light-wire jig-head options that are out there. As the water warms throughout the month, the threadfin shad spawn will get going and the stripers will be right there to gobble them up. These shad tend to spawn on vertical structure like rock walls, rip-rap, fallen trees and seawalls. Areas like these that are close to well-defined points will be best fished by simply pitching herring up to these areas and letting the bait just swim around. If the wind is blowing to the point, then set your boat in around 35 to 40 feet of water, Spot-Lock your boat there with your Minn Kota trolling motor, and pitch your bait with the wind up to the point off the back of the boat. If the wind is blowing over the top of the point, then put your motor up on the bank, deploy your Minn Kota Talons or Raptors, and then pitch off the front of the boat. Either way you set the boat up you are looking to use the wind to help pitch that extremely light herring out to the 10- to 20-foot depth that most of the predatory fish will be hanging out in to ambush bait coming across the point. This technique will catch every fish in the lake and be prepared to catch a striper on one toss, a spot the next and a channel cat on the next. This will be a fast and furious bite and you will go through lots of bait, so be prepared with 8- to 10-dozen and going home early most days. The topwater bite on these points and over humps will also heat up this month for anyone wanting to toss artificials. Your best bet will be a Zero Minnow, Redfin, Chug Bug or Magic Swimmer in bone on clear days and chrome on cloudy days.
Lanier Linesides (Report courtesy of Buck Cannon via www.southernfishing.com) — Lanier Stripers think they are spanning up the rivers. Took a trip up the Chattahoochee River yesterday and found a hungry Striper. We were trolling downstream from around two miles above Belton Bridge. Flat lines, planer boards using a variety of bait. We are using herring, gizzard shad and large blue backs from Oakwood Bait and Tackle. If you never been up the river it’s very peaceful and a new adventure. You might catch that fish of a lifetime. We put in at Clark’s bridge but you can put in with a smaller boat at Lulu and Belton Bridge has a ramp. Using your electronics to to monitor your depths, if you stay in the middle of the river you’ll be safe. Remember to wear your life jackets.
Lanier Crappie (Report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton via www.southernfishing.com) — Crappie fishing is good. We are finding crappie on the docks suspended 10 to 15 feet deep over a 20 to 45-foot bottom. Also finding crappie in shallow brush. If you pull up to your normal honey hole and the fish are not present look around in the same area towards the back of the cove or towards the bank. If you are using jigs I would recommend starting with a solid chartreuse small body or a hair jig with a dark body and a bright color tail 50% of this week’s catch came on minnows I am setting minnows at 8 to 10 feet deep over schooling Crappie. Most of the crappie we found on docks this week were suspend 10 to 15 feet deep. 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 Act crappie Stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and the Navionics Boating app. Find me on Facebook and like my pages #crappieonlanier & #fishingwitheverydayheroes
Nottely Linesides (Report courtesy of guide Jeremy Seabolt via GON’s Fishing Report) — Fishing has been sweet. The first of April started off slow, but the fish are setting up good on their spring pattern. We have been catching fish a lot of different ways the last few weeks. Freelined herring and shad have been performing the best during the first few hours in the morning. Then we have been switching to weighted freelines and downlines. Going into May, it can be a lot fun on Nottely. The herring get to spawning, and when that happens, it’s time to start throwing plugs up on the banks and pitching herring and working them back slowly. We will still be pulling herring and shad up shallow or on secondary points on creek and lakes. The key to catching fish in May is to find the bait, and fish won’t be far behind. Don’t forget The Bait Shack has all your live-bait needs.
Lake Rabun Crappie Record (Report courtesy of state trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson) — Colter Cannon landed this monster 2.01 lb crappie while fishing a minnow on Lake Rabun this week. This catch not only earned him an angler award but also the lake record. The bite is good right now so get out and find those brush piles to target these slabs.
Lake Weiss Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service www.markcollins service.com) —
Bass: Bass fishing is good, and they are shallow in the bays and creeks in the spawning areas. Spinnerbaits and shallow-running crankbaits are catching a lot of fish.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair, and they are suspended in the spawning bays, 8-20 feet deep, and can be caught long line trolling with Jiffy Jigs in colors JJ13 and JJ17 JiffyJigs.com. Some fish are starting to be caught in 4-8 feet of water. Look for them to spawn over the next few weeks. Some Crappie are being caught shooting docks with jigs.
Catfish: Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water, cut bait is working best.
West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. The main spawn is in full swing and there are lots of fish shallow. The best bet will be either finding beds and flipping a lizard or creature bait in the bed and shake it until the bass gets mad enough to eat it, or just burning the shallows with a Zoom Super Fluke or even a Strike King spinner bait with tandem willow leaf blades in the shad color. Also use the mid depth crank baits up in the coves and pockets. Use a shad or fire tiger #5 Rapala Shad Rap. Throw them right to the bank and crank them back. Bandit 200 series are also a good choice and be sure it has a little chartreuse in it. The Alabama rig is also working for the shallow fish. Keep throwing a green pumpkin 3/8 ounce jig with a Zoom Super Chunk trailer in root beer green pepper. Concentrate on whatever brush from 2 to 10 feet. The hot colors have been the watermelon, watermelon gold and green pumpkin. Early and late bass will likely fall for top water as well. Try a Sammy 100 or and all white Enticer 3/8 ounce buzz bait.
Lakes Rabun and Tugalo Sampling (Report courtesy of fisheries supervisor Anthony Rabern) — Fisheries staff are sampling the bass and bream populations in the mountain lakes of North Georgia. This week, our crews collected a 12 lb largemouth bass from Lake Rabun, which tied the current lake record. Although the bass spawning period is winding down, we are still finding a lot of shallow fish that are gorging on herring and shad. If bass aren’t chasing herring, then look for them near downed trees in 5 to 10-feet of water. Spinner baits and flukes ought to work great under these conditions. We also observed some trophy redear sunfish beginning to fan out their nests on sandy bottoms. The bluegill and redbreast in the photo were collected this week from Lake Tugalo, which has bragging rights for producing magnum bream.
North Georgia Stockers (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Hunter Roop) — Blake and Brant took their quartet of kiddos to the north Georgia Mountains this past weekend to give Blake’s studious wife a reprieve and some silence while she crammed for exams. They checked the weekly fishing point and set their sights on Smith Creek at Unicoi State Park. There, they enticed a fishy quartet of rainbow stockers to bite using salmon eggs, and Blake was extra diligent to watch his step while wading with Jude in tow on his back! If you need to get the kids out of the house, consider following the B-squared model, and take those kids fishing on a North Georgia trout stream this weekend.
Trout Plus Some: Check out Unicoi Outfitter’s regular “trout and more” fishing reports HERE.
Delayed Harvest Trout Program: Don’t forget, Georgia’s Delayed Harvest Program is in full swing through May 14.
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)
Wow, the fishing cranked up several notches this week about everywhere with the rivers dropping and the water heating up. It’s time to hit the upper ends of the rivers, so check the levels at your favorite location. The Okefenokee Swamp is dropping out and heating up too. The fishing this weekend should be about as good as it gets in freshwater with the forecasted comfortable temperatures and low chance of rain.
River gages on April 28th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 11.8 feet and falling (flood stage is 11 feet)
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 6.6 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 9.3 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 6.4 feet and falling (73 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.2 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 5.3 feet and falling
Tyler Finch and a friend fished the upper arms of a tributary to the Ogeechee River over the weekend. They caught 57 pickerel (jackfish), redbreasts, bluegill, and even a giant shellcracker by using a white 3/16-oz. Satilla Spin with a cricket. Donny Riner and Eddie Andrews fished the Ogeechee River on Tuesday and had a great trip. They fished for 3 hours in the slightly high and muddy conditions and managed to catch 30 keeper redbreasts on catalpa gold and bumblebee Satilla Spins. They were chased off the water by lightning. Kory Akins fished the Ogeechee for a couple hours on Thursday afternoon and fooled a dozen redbreasts and bluegills and 2 really nice bass on Satilla Spins.
The big redbreasts have been biting on the Satilla. Andrew Davis got close to the river record on Monday by catching one just 0.5 ounces shy of the river record. He caught his fish while bass fishing with a buzzbait. The pattern repeated itself on Tuesday with Will Steed catching a new river record redbreast on a buzzbait while bass fishing. Will’s new record weighed 1-lb., 7.2-oz. on certified scales and was 11 1/2 inches long. Way to go, guys! Chris Nugent floated the upper river with a friend on Friday and spent a bunch of time dragging the boat over and around obstacles. The months of high water has dropped a bunch of new trees. Still, they caught a bunch of fish. They had 55 keeper redbreasts on bus stop and crawfish Satilla Spins. Several of their fish were big rooster redbreasts. Brentz McGhin fished the river on Friday and did well using crickets and beetlespins in the slower water. He kept 19 nice bluegills, a few redbreasts, and a crappie. He said he threw back twice as many as he kept. Wyatt Crews and Daniel Hampton fished a few hours late Sunday afternoon and caught a dozen redbreasts, bluegill, bass, and crappie on warmouth craw and white gold Satilla Spins. Wyatt had the fish of the trip, a bluegill that was right at a pound. They released their fish. The Waycross Fisheries biologists and technicians have been conducting their annual standardized electrofishing sampling this week and have seen some really quality fish – just like the anglers have been catching. They electrofish set stretches of river from the headwaters to the tidal area, collect the fish they shock, measure and weigh each fish, and then release them. The number of redbreasts over 10 inches and big bluegills, warmouth, and shellcrackers were impressive. The have also seen good numbers of largemouth bass up to 8 pounds. The positive effect of the extended period of high water has been very evident with all of the fish being very fat and in great condition. The river is getting right in the upper stretches. It’s still a little high and stained in the middle and lower river, but you can still do well for catfish in those stretches now that the water has warmed up some. The annual Satilla Riverkeeper Fishing Tournament ended Sunday, April 24th. Check out Satilla Riverkeeper on Facebook for all the details and results.
ST MARYS RIVER
Ricky Beckham had a great day on the St Marys on Thursday. He used red/white and cricket colored Satilla Spins to catch a mixed bag limit of redbreasts, bluegill, warmouth, and crappie. Some of the fish were pushing a pound. The Shady Bream Co-ed Tournament on Saturday took some good fish to win. The top weight (10 panfish limit) was 9.28 pounds by Dale and Emma. Daniel and Tamara took second with 8.53 pounds, while Chad and Cindy finished third with 7.67 pounds. Daniel and Tamara took the big fish pot with a 1.13-pounder. Check out the Shady Bream Tournaments on Facebook for more information.
The warmer weather definitely fired off the bite on the swamp. Pete Dyess fished the Fargo side this week and caught a bunch of bowfin and chain pickerel (jackfish) by trolling Dura-Spins. Their best colors were jackfish and white. Teddy Elrod fished with me on Tuesday afternoon for a few hours, and we had a blast. The water is still a little high, but we were able to catch 42 fish. Most hit jackfish and crawfish Dura-Spins whether we were casting or trolling. Our biggest bowfin was 8-lb., 11-oz. and biggest jackfish was 20 inches. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.10 feet.
Don Harrison and a friend fished an area pond on Saturday and caught several nice bass. Don had big fish at just under 7 pounds, while the pair had a total of a half dozen bass that weighed over 20 pounds. Some of their bass were still spawning, so you can probably find bass in all stages of the spawn even this late into the spring. Bluegill fishing has been solid with some fish coming up to spawn recently. Look for honeycomb bream beds and you should be able to throw crickets or lures to catch them.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
High winds this week messed up just about every day. Paul and Steve Williamson went crabbing on Thursday in the Brunswick area and brought home enough crabs for a low-country boil. I heard of a few folks catching whiting during the short windows when that was an option this week. An angler dabbling bait around pilings on the piers caught some undersized black sea bass. 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).