It is the end of the school year and that means it is time to celebrate! Take your kid fishing – maybe a a quick trip to a local farm pond, or a longer day trip to one of the 11 Public Fishing Areas in the state, or even an over-night trip filled with multiple fishing excursions. You deserve it and they deserve it.
NEWS TO KNOW
Getting Out-Fished by the Grandkid: On their 3rd annual trip to the state’s trophy-managed waters at Ocmulgee PFA, Jim Watson’s grandson, Andrew Carnley, landed a new PB while his old Papa got skunked. This one tipped the scales at 7 lb, 10 oz. Watson said he is proud to be Andrew’s “net man.”
- National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW): Make plans to celebrate NFBW from June 4-12, 2022. During this week, we want to place some extra emphasis on sharing YOUR love of fishing with your family and friends. Find out more HERE. #takemefishing
- Two Free Fishing Days: Got a friend or family member that is interested in fishing, but hasn’t got a license yet? We have TWO FREE Fishing Days during NFBW that offer the opportunity to fish without a license. Find out more HERE.
This week, we have fishing reports from Southwest, North, Central and Southeast Georgia. Put away the school backpacks and pick up the tackle boxes 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)
The bream bite is good on Lake Blackshear. A lot of success is being had with crickets and worms in about 4-5 feet of water just off the docks. The catfish bite is also looking good right now. 5lb channel catfish are frequently being pulled aboard. The best bait for catfish is anything smelly. Hot dogs work well, as well as chicken breast socked in your favorite kind of jello.
SILVER LAKE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Bream fishing at Silver Lake is hot right now. Especially in House Pond. This pond is managed as a trophy bream pond and has special regulations so please be sure to pay attention to the signs as you enter. Try small swimbaits and beetle spins to target those protective males. If the reaction bite on bed isn’t working, then you can never go wrong with a cricket under a bobber. Bass in south GA are post spawn and hungry. Warm evenings just before sunset at Silver Lake PFA can be full of topwater bass action.
If the fish aren’t biting, then there are other adventure opportunities at Silver Lake PFA. The PFA staff have added nearly a dozen geocaches to the property. Find out more at Geocaching.com or download the geocaching app from your app store.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
In general, May water temperatures at Big Lazer have warmed up and so has the fishing. May and early June are one of the best times to fish Big Lazer PFA because spawning fish move into shallower water. Also, early summer is a great time to not only fish but also picnic at Big Lazer with the whole family.
Bass: The bass fishing is good right now. Largemouth bass are hanging around in about 5-10 feet off the bank and in 4 to 6 feet of water. At this time of year bass will be finishing up spawning and switch their focus to feeding. Try throwing spinners and crankbaits at about 4-6 feet of water. Fishing plastic worms and lizards near spawning beds could still produce decent bites. If the worms and lizards aren’t doing it for you try throwing a spinner bait or crankbait near shad spawning near shore.
Crappie: The crappie bite has cooled some over the last two months. 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. Fish for crappie deeper than you do for bass.
Bream: Bream fishing is heating up. We have had some good reports of bream catches lately. May is traditionally a great time to fish for bream on bed. Look for bream beds in the backs of shallow coves. 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 should continue to do so as it warms up. 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.
Bass fishing is really good right now. Big fish are frequently being caught on top water lures. Success is being had with topwater worms, frogs and crankbaits. Grass points near deep water seem to be the most productive spots to target big fish. Anglers are reporting a few 10 pounders and frequent catches in the 6-8 lb range. The morning top water bite is there but as the sun gets higher you should switch to a Texas rigs.
In the Flint River bream are picking up. Focus your efforts with crickets around blow downs and you should get some bites. Shoal bass are spawning in the river and there are still good catches of large mouth being reported. The water level may be fluctuating after the rain this week so be sure to check the levels before you set out. Catfish are also a good option right now. Try looking for channel catfish in the shoals and for flatheads in the deeper areas.
(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)
A lot of good things are happening in the outdoors of North Georgia, and most of it centers around getting kids involved with fishing. The National Turkey Federation recently hosted a Kids Fishing Event at Amicalola Falls State Park where kids had a great trout fishing experience. To enhance your outdoor experience over the Memorial Day weekend, our trout hatchery staff stocked 42,000 rainbow trout this week into 72 streams across 20 North Georgia counties. Check out the Georgia Trout Map by clicking HERE to find a stocked trout stream near you. You can also sign up to receive the weekly trout stocking list by clicking HERE to subscribe. The Outdoor Dream Foundation recently hosted a striped bass tournament on Lake Hartwell to provide kids with a life-threatening issue with an awesome fishing experience. And let’s not overlook catfish as a prime summertime target for introducing kids to fishing. If you’re reading this report, you probably got hooked on fishing as a kid, like I did. Now, it’s your turn to pay it forward. To help, we dug through the archives of Georgia Outdoor News to bring you some time-tested, proven fishing tips and tricks to increase your chances of a successful fishing trip this Memorial Day weekend and into June. Although fishing reports did not roll in for all North Georgia lakes, the patterns highlighted in the following reports should be similar on most lakes and ponds in the northern part of the state.
LAKE LANIER (GON Report)
- Spotted Bass: Fishing guide, Ryan Coleman, reported having some great success fishing shallow as well as on offshore structure. Shallow fish are around reef poles and shallow, rocky points in less than 10 feet of water on rock anywhere you can find it. The best baits have been an electric-shad SpotSticker Finesse Stick and a 5-inch Senko rigged on a 3/16-oz. screwball shaky head. Work this rig very slowly around rocks up on the humps and be persistent. As for the offshore fish, topwater can be productive using a Chug Bug or Ima Skimmer in white or chrome. As long as the water is in the 70s, we will have a spinnerbait bite on Lake Lanier, so keep it rigged and throw it as much as you can.
- Striped Bass: Fishing guide, Clay Cunningham, says that June is a great month on Lanier for stripers. Clay suggested looking for stripers to progressively move deeper as the water temperature rises. At the beginning of the month, look for them to be 10 to 20 feet deep. You will still see some topwater action as the stripers push herring to the surface, so be sure to have a Sebile Magic Swimmer or a Berkley Cane Walker ready to cast. Day in and day out it is hard to beat these two baits. All the colors in the Magic Swimmer work. Early in the morning, the Magic Swimmer in white liner is hard to beat. On sunny days, try the chrome Magic Swimmer. Cast these lures on 10- or 12-lb. Trilene Big Game on a spinning rod. A good setup is a 7-foot medium-action Fenwick spinning rod paired with a Penn Conflict 3000 spinning reel. As the fish move deeper, look for the downlining approach to be more effective. Spool up a Penn Fathom Line Counter reel with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game on a Shakespeare medium-light action striper rod. Tie on a Capt. Mack’s 2-oz. Swivel Sinker, a 4-foot leader of 15-lb. 100% Trilene Fluorocarbon and a 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook. Herring from the local tackle shops will be the key bait. Look for the stripers on your electronics before you drop baits. You can use traditional 2D sonar or Down Imaging to see these fish. Great electronics like the Humminbird units are a must. You can see your bait swim around the sinker.
- Crappie: Fishing guide, Josh Thornton, said that the hot bite target zone is 10 to 15 feet deep. The crappie are on the docks and also can be found on open-water brushpiles and blowdowns. I always put out a crappie minnow. If you have LiveScope or ActiveTarget, set the minnows just above the fish. Right now I am setting the minnows around 10 to 12 feet deep. 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 jig colors and styles that 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 colors for me are chartreuse and green (blue grass) and the white with chartreuse tail (monkey milk). I’m using ATX Lure Companies plastics that can now be purchased at Sherry’s Bait & Barbecue or The Dam Store. I use the K9 5-lb. test high visibility yellow braid for my line (unless I am using a bobber) and a Piscifun reel on an ACC Crappie Stix.
LAKE HARTWELL (GON Report)
- Bass: Fishing guide, Matt Justice, says that bass fishing is best during the weekdays when the dam is generating power. Two good methods have been a deep-diving crankbait and walking topwaters on points in 10 to 30 feet of water. Look for brush and rocks in these areas. Shallow fishing has been tougher than usual, but the frog bite should develop in the backwaters. Keep an eye out for groups of bluegill as they are sure to have largemouth nearby.
- Linesides: Fishing guide, Preston Harden, says that fish are looking for cooler water and are migrating from the creeks and upper reaches of the lake to the lower lake. The creeks and upper lake develop a thermocline as the water gets hot. I look for fish suspended above the thermocline as they migrate toward the lower lake. Live blueback herring work great. Do not lower the herring below the thermocline since this will kill them quickly. There is very little oxygen below the thermocline. The thermocline is usually about 30 to 40 feet deep. Early morning will show the thermocline on most sonars. It will look like a fuzzy layer about 35 feet deep.
LAKE ALLATOONA (GON Report)
- Bass: Fishing guide, Matt Driver, reported that rising water temperatures and heavy boat traffic make early morning and night fishing the best options. The early morning bite has a short window from 5-8:30. Fish can be caught on popper and walking-style baits, and as the sun comes up, move toward shady areas to prolong the bite. The nighttime bite is the most predictable and productive. The crankbait bite is good, especially on long points in 1- to 12-feet of water. The Strike King 5XD and Spro Little John are good choices in black or orange color patterns. The Picasso 1/2-oz. football head jig in brown and orange is a great choice, as well. When fishing is tough, the drop-shot rig over and near sunken brush is good.
- Linesides: Fishing guide, Robert Eidson, believes that summertime is awesome for numbers on Lake Allatoona because the fish 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 downline bite is the most productive using live threadfin shad at depths from 20 to 30 feet. Fish can be found on or around most points, humps and flats throughout the lake.
WEST POINT LAKE (GON Report)
Bass: Fishing guide, Keith Hudson, recommended topwater baits such as Pop-Rs, Zara Spooks and buzzbaits for shallow and aggressive postspawn fish, especially around bream beds. Another effective pattern in June is to fish shallow grass and cover north of 219 Bridge with popping frogs and Senkos. Later in the month when the water warms, fish will move onto deeper brushpiles and roadbeds. Try deep crankbaits or Texas-rigged Ol’ Monster worms in these areas. As usual spotted bass can be caught by casting Spot Remover heads loaded with Zoom green-pumpkin Trick Worms in blowdowns or brush or just dragging a Carolina-rigged Zoom Finesse Worm or Mini Lizard around sloping gravel banks. As a testimony to West Point’s bass fishery, Fisheries Biologist, Brent Hess, enjoyed a successful outing last week and hooked into a nice post-spawn bass on a shad-colored crankbait as his kicker fish (photo).
- Linesides: For Linesides, Keith expects the downline bite on live bait to stay good through June. Areas near the dam and also in the mouth of Yellow Jacket are the most productive places to fish. Most fish will hold around 25-feet deep, but some linesides will feed on surface of the main lake where they can be caught on a small Rooster Tails, popping-cork rigs, and chrome spoons. Trolling with deep-diving crankbaits on main-lake humps and flats will become more productive during June, especially during the power generation.
- Crappie and Catfish: For crappie and catfish, Keith recommended drop-shotting minnows or shooting docks for catching crappie. Night fishing is usually really good in June. Lots of channel cat can be caught using live bait, cut bait, and worms fished on bottom. Jug fishing is also fun and productive and works about anywhere using cut shad. To target flatheads, go to a larger bait like a 4- to 5-inch bream or large shiner and fish the deeper holes in the river above 219 Bridge. Increase the size of your rigs, as fish in the 20- to 30-lb. range are fairly common.
CARTERS LAKE (GON Report)
Linesides and Walleye: Fishing guide, Eric Crowley reported that striped bass are schooling during the morning in small groups in search of baitfish at depths from 30 to 40-feet deep. Downlining big threadfins or alewives produces the best success. The hybrids are more active and are a bit shallower right now in the 15- to 30-foot range typically cruising on points looking to ambush bait. They will try to eat the big baits, but the better hook-up ratio is on smaller baits in the 3-inch range. Most of the fish are near the creek mouths on high spots, humps or points. Starting early is key as usual on Carters. The striper bite tapers off most days by 10 a.m. Walleye have moved onto points along the main lake and secondary points and are most active before dawn and the first few hours of daylight. For live baits, a 4-inch threadfin is hard to beat. Small hook, 10-lb. line and a split-shot has been the go-to setup. On overcast days, we are throwing deep-diving crankbaits on the points, digging the bottom with them and making as much noise as we can.
LAKE CHATUGE & LAKE BLUE RIDGE (GON Report)
- Bass: For bass on Lake Chatuge, Fishing guide, Eric Welch, suggests having a topwater bait ready to cast at the first sign of surface activity. At daybreak, there is normally some topwater action happening around in the pockets and flats. My baits of choice are a Strike King Sexy Dawg, a Whopper Plooper and a Berkley Cane Walker. Chrome or white colors are hard to beat. If it’s a cloudy day, you can fish this pattern all day, but once the sun gets up, it’s time to start fishing deep. There are so many different ways to target fish on Chatuge. You can just run banks fishing laydowns with a Texas-rigged finesse worm in green pumpkin or watermelon. Target docks that have a drop or access to deep water. Fish these with a shaky head, a drop shot or a jig. Then you can just target points. There is brush on about every point on the lake. Sometimes there will be what we call shallow brush 12 to 20 feet deep and then farther out, you will find the deep summer brush in 25 to 35 feet of water. Target those fish with the same lures. Then you have your offshore fishing. Look for humps and brush that have access to deep water. Target these areas with some of the same lures, but try throwing a 1/2-oz. Carolina rig with a Senko.
- Walleye: For walleye on Blue Ridge Lake, Eric says that fish are holding anywhere from 10 to 40 feet deep, depending on what the bait and weather is like that particular day. Cloudy days keep the fish shallow and feeding. Live bait is the slower approach to finding fish, but if you find them with baits down, you will get bit. Live shiners, small shad or herring will all do the trick. A simple split-shot or downline rig will work just fine or a slip bobber to keep so many snags from happening. Adjust your depth accordingly, and keep the baits close to the bottom. Use 8- to 10-lb. line max on this lake since the water is really clear. Also, use the smallest hooks you feel comfortable with matching the bait size. On the artificial side of things, spoons are my favorite. Also, trolling crankbaits can be productive at times with the right speed and color. Finding the fish before you start fishing is the key to putting fish in the boat.
Etowah River Catfish (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Jim Hakala) — Warming temperatures are heating up the catfishing on the river. Worms, chicken liver, cut-bait, and live fish are all good choices for those pursuing any of the three native catfish species found in the Etowah. Channel catfish and smaller blue or flathead catfish can be caught on small pieces of cut-bait, worms, or chicken livers fished on the bottom. Those looking for bigger blues and flatheads should “up-size” their offerings to live fish like shad, or big cut-baits. Angler John Morgado of Canton recently caught and released a 38.05-pound Etowah River flathead using live fish for bait (photo). His catch landed him a new Etowah River record and easily qualified him for a Georgia Angler Award.
Lower Etowah Report: (This report courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company) — The spotted bass fishing has been phenomenal. We’re catching fish on poppers, big frog patterns, batifish patterns, and articulated flies, so you can fish how you want for the spots right now. I like taking a couple rods rigged with different lines for the technique you’re fishing: a 7 weight with a floating line and an Umpqua Swim Frog, mouse pattern, Boogle Bug, or Flat Fred, and an 8 weight with a full sink or intermediate, and a 9 weight rigged with a full sink for the Striped Bass. For your safety, make sure you check the flows coming out of Allatoona Dam, as they’re spilling water continuously all summer and will raise or lower the levels for flood control rather than generating a standard high and low flow.
Stocking Trucks Moving Those Fish: (From Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson) A lot of hatchery trout hit the water this week for your trout fishing enjoyment. Daily rainfall this week across the mountains certainly increased the stream flows and helped disperse stocked trout more widely. When the stream is running high, trout will often hug the bank. Read the water and look for areas where trout can rest out of strong currents waiting to ambush prey. Cast above these areas and allow your bait to drift into the slower water. If you do not get a strike after 3-5 attempts move slowly up or downstream to the next pool or eddy. To get you excited about trout fishing opportunities in North Georgia, here’s a link from the video archives of Pautzke Outdoors that was filmed on the Tallulah River in 2019 and also contains some information about the trout stocking program.
Toccoa Tailwater Report: (Report Comes From Cohutta Fishing Company) — The Toccoa Tailwater has been fishing well. Float trips have been the best option on weekends, as public access points have been hammered the past month. If you can swing a weekday wade or float, I would highly recommend it! You may see Sulphurs, Light Cahills, and Tan Caddis out on the river as far as hatches go, so keep a dry fly rod handy with a 9 foot 5x leader. For subsurface rigs, I’m fishing long dry-droppers with a large, buoyant dry fly up top like a Fat Albert or Chubby Cherynobyl and dropping either a Pat’s Rubber Legs or a large TungStone off the back at about 1.5x the water depth. If you’re comfortable with a third fly, add either a small caddis pupa pattern, lightning bug, or a sulphur mayfly nymph off the back of the stonefly. If you don’t want to fish three flies, try a smaller dry fly like a Parachute Madam X in orange or yellow with any of the subsurface flies listed above dropped off the back. I’m fishing a lot of 4.5x Trouthunter or 5x Fluorocarbon for my droppers.
Small Streams Report: (This report courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company) — Small streams are slowly receding from this week’s rain. Right now, it’s hard to beat a good pair of wet wading shoes, a cup full of yellow dry flies, and a short 3-weight rod to fish our mountain streams. I like rigging a single yellow stimulator or parachute x with a small pheasant tail soft hackle. If you want to fish larger streams, use some small chubby cherynobyls or larger beetle patterns with a small pat’s rubber legs dropped off the back. Stay back from the pools, bring a couple spools of 5x and 6x just in case the trout get finicky, and don’t wear bright colors! If you keep an eye on the tailouts of the bigger pools before you step in them, you may even get some sight fishing opportunities!
Want to do more to support trout fishing in Georgia? Consider upgrading to a Trout Unlimited license plate for you car, truck, and trailer this year. Aside from being a great looking tag, each purchase or renewal of a Trout Unlimited license plate directly supports our trout hatchery and wild trout management programs.
(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 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Downsizing all the baits and even the line sizes will be the key during the warmer months. Smaller crank baits like the #5 Shad Raps, small Flukes and small-framed spinner baits will take the fish. As the water temperature gets warmer, the bass will become less active and hold a little tighter to cover. Any form of wood will be a good place to locate bass during the day. Finding the best bait for largemouth is not as straightforward as it seems. It depends on the conditions to find the right lure. If you find a solid lure for finesse fishing and a good moving bait, you will cover nearly all conditions. For finesse fishing, a trick worm like the Zoom Finesse Worm is a good bet to catch fish of all sizes. As far as moving baits, a ChatterBait can imitate most baitfish patterns effectively and covers a lot of water. After dark, the spotted bass will venture out more and will be easier to catch. Rocky points and steep rocky banks are excellent places to catch spotted bass during the dark of the night. All black spinner baits and dark crank baits will be best after the sun sets.
CLARKS HILL IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. There is an early bite all week. Up Little River, the water is a little cooler during the heat of the day. Early in the morning the water is 75 degrees. The bass are running to deeper water. Some good bass are still hanging around the deeper water grass mats. The best way to find these areas is either with Deep Diving Crank bait or a Carolina rig. Finding the best bait for largemouth is not as straightforward as it seems. It depends on the conditions to find the right lure. If you find a solid lure for finesse fishing and a good moving bait, you will cover nearly all conditions. For finesse fishing a trick worm like the Zoom Finesse Worm is a good bet to catch fish of all sizes. As far as moving baits a ChatterBait can imitate most baitfish patterns effectively and covers a lot of water. Up in the rivers, the bass will be holding a little tighter than normal to cover. Several presentations in each area might be necessary to trigger a strike. Use Bandit 200’s, Rapala X Rap and use bright silver and blues to match the bait fish.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.3 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Use a small all-black buzz bait on the sea walls early. Bass then head to the deeper waters off the deep points and it’s best to stay on the lower lake in the creeks. Use the 1/2-ounce Stanley spinner bait with large silver willow leaf blades. Slow roll this lure on the points and use a single Colorado blade and a chartreuse and white skirt. Also, up lake, work this same lure on thick bank cover. The Zoom blue pumpkin lizard on a Texas rig has been fair on deep docks and points. Add a glass rattle in the lizard. Afternoons are better as the water warms up. Later each day, use a trick worm in greens and cast around docks down lake and let it sink out of sight. Also, a dark Enticer jig in black or browns and a crawfish Uncle Josh trailer, in matching colors can get strikes, but fish the baits slowly. Finding the best bait for largemouth is not as straightforward as it seems. It depends on the conditions to find the right lure. If you find a solid lure for finesse fishing and a good moving bait, you will cover nearly all conditions. For finesse fishing a trick worm like the Zoom finesse worm is a good bet to catch fish of all sizes. As far as moving baits, a ChatterBait can imitate most baitfish patterns effectively and covers a lot of water.
LAKE JACKSON IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The fish are active early and late. Fish the docks and channel ledges with anything that resembles a crawfish. Start off the morning with the crawfish crank bait. The Rapala DT10 or the Fat Rap in the brown crawdad and the smaller number five size for best results. While cranking the channel ledges move up to the larger sizes but the docks and shallow water will work better with the smaller ones. Perch is another great color and it’s just about time for these fish to be in the shallows getting ready to spawn. Later, in the day if the boat traffic will allow, move out and throw a Carolina rig six-inch worm in the green pumpkin or pumpkin seed color. Added scent will help the bass to hold on to the bait a little longer so use it often. Use some JJ’s Magic on the tail of any soft plastic in the chartreuse color. Soft plastic crawfish imitations are working. Berkley has the PowerBait Gilly and use it on a drop shot rig and use dark colors next to docks or shallow cover for a fast strike.
MCDUFFIE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Temperature: Morning temps 75+ F
- Water Visibility: 22-48+ in
Bass: Big bass are still hungry! Bank anglers and boat anglers alike are getting bites across the water. In the mornings and late evenings, fish are moving through the upper water column. Try the cuts between the peninsulas on both Willow and Bridge Ponds. Then during warmer times of the day, work deeper water near structure. The deeper coves near the pumphouse on Bridge and the upper siphon on Willow are great for those warmer times of day. Fish are biting well on artificial worms, creature lures, and forage look alike lures.
Bream: The bream bite has been on fire! Successful fishers are using crickets, worms, and black soldier fly larvae. The beaver pond near the archery range has turned into a nice bluegill and shellcracker honey hole.
Channel Catfish: The catfish bite is picking up with folks catching nice stringers across the area. The fish are biting on the usual stink baits and worms. Try casting into deeper water from the docks across the area and the dam of Bridge Lake.
Striped Bass: Striped bass are being caught topwater on Bridge Lake. For our area, nice four to six pounders have been caught repeatedly lately.
(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)
I hope everyone has a fun and safe Memorial Day Weekend! Good luck to Steve Phillips of Douglas. He will be fishing the BFL All-American bass tournament this coming week. Only 49 anglers from around the U.S. earned spots into the tournament. The rivers have warmed up with the recent hot spell, but the small rivers are dropping out enough that you will probably have to drag a boat over sandbars. Canoes and kayaks are the best way to approach the smaller rivers, but the Altamaha is getting in good shape for fishing from a boat. The Okefenokee fishing has been very good, as have ponds. Saltwater is in the lull between spring and summer patterns, and the wind hasn’t let us get out much this spring.
River gages on May 26th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 1 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 4.3 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 5.3 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 4.8 feet and falling (82 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 4.2 feet and rising
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 4.7 feet and falling
Brentz McGhin had the best trip I heard of this week. He fished the lower river backwaters and pitched crickets and fished artificials for bass. The bass stuff didn’t work, but he wore out a dozen channel catfish (1/2-pound – his perfect eating size) and couple dozen bluegills and redbreasts with the crickets. Some of the bluegill were pushing a pound.
The water has gotten low enough that it’s tough to get around in boats. Paddle crafts are the way to go right now. Bill Cochran and Corbett Howell did just that last week, and they caught a couple dozen nice bluegills and redbreasts on their upper river float. Their best presentation was a wooly bugger fished with a fly rod. Their biggest bluegill was over a pound. Several folks fished from the bank and waded from landings and caught a few fish.
Tyler Finch and a buddy fished the main river again last week and caught a bunch of bluegills and a few catfish. They caught the panfish on a white Satilla Spin rigged with a cricket. The catfish came while bottom fishing.
ST MARYS RIVER
The panfish reports were slower this week from the St. Marys. Catfish were the best bite for anglers who put worms or shrimp on the bottom. Most were white catfish, but there were lots of channel catfish caught also. The river below Traders Hill is deep enough to get motorboats around well during the holiday weekend. The next Shady Bream Tournament Trail event is scheduled for June 11th. Check out the Shady Bream Tournament trail on Facebook for more information.
Chuck and Hunter Dean fished the east side on Sunday afternoon and had a fun time. They flung Dura-Spins and caught 15 bowfin and 3 pickerel (jackfish) and a warmouth. Some of their pickerel were over 20 inches. Their best color of Dura-Spin was crawfish. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.10 feet.
John Ross caught 5 bass at a Waycross area pond one evening this week. His largest was a 4-pounder that inhaled a topwater frog. Needless to say, he was excited about that big one. He and his family fished Thursday evening, as well, and caught several bass in celebration of his grandpa’s birthday. The bass ate 3-inch Keitech swimbaits rigged on 1/16-oz. jigheads. Natalee caught the biggest bass I heard of this week, a 7-pounder, from a southeast Georgia pond. It ate a stick worm. Bluegill fishing has been very good early in the mornings. Anglers fishing artificials against shoreline wood and vegetation have done best. Look for beds with the coming new moon. If you have a good catfish pond, you should be able to catch a good mess by fishing after dark with worms, shrimp, or stink bait on the bottom.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
This was another windy week on the coast. Capt. Greg Hildreth caught some trout this week, but the wind has kept him off of some of the good places he has wanted to fish. The whiting bite has been good when you can get out to the spots 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).