Summertime fishing may be best early in the morning or just before dark, or at the least, seek out the shady areas to help you enjoy the trip and find the fish.
NEWS TO KNOW:
- State Record Shoal Bass Tied: Clark Wheeler of Arabi, GA will share the shoal bass state record for his catch on April 16th on the Flint River near Warwick. The bass weighed 8 lb, 5 oz and measured 24 ½ inches. Read more HERE. Find out more about State Records HERE.
Gateway to Fishing Program: The Gateway to Fishing Program partnered with Cobb County to host a family fishing event at Hyde Farm Park and with Dekalb County to host an event at Wade Walker Park this past weekend. Despite the rain, participation was high at both events and participants steadily reeled in catfish and bluegill. Cobb County will host three more events in July and Dekalb County is currently planning future events with the Gateway to Fishing coordinators.
- Forgotten Fishing Line: As stewards of Georgia fisheries, all anglers should be sure to not allow cut or tangled fishing line contaminate our waters. It can become a hazard to wildlife (see this post) and gives anglers a tarnished image.
This week, we have reports from Southeast, Central, Southwest and North Georgia. Time those trips for the coolest points of the day and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, Region Supervisor and fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The number of reports I received this week declined with the heat, daily afternoon storms, and rising rivers. Even so, some folks caught fish. The rivers are back high and muddy, so ponds, the swamp, and saltwater would be good options for this weekend. If you think you must fish a river, the middle St. Marys is your best option.
River gages on July 14th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 6.4 feet and falling
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 6.6 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.5 feet and rising
- Waycross on the Satilla – 8.4 feet and rising (82 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.3 feet and rising
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 4.7 feet and falling
Bass fishing has been the best bite I heard of this week. Mark Williams had good trips on Friday, Saturday and Tuesday this past week on the middle Altamaha. He caught several bass and bream and some really impressive warmouth each day by pitching a plastic worm to shoreline cover. His best bite came right in the middle of the day each trip. He released all of his fish. A couple Waycross anglers fished the lower river on Saturday, and their biggest 5 bass were 12 pounds. The bass bite is probably going to slow with the rising, muddier water. With the rising river, the mullet bite slowed this week. Fish the backwaters this weekend for the better bream fishing. Limb lines run with live bait (for flatheads) or cut bait (for channels and blues) will produce some good catfish catches with the rising river. There are lots of catfish all up and down the river, so take your pick where you fish.
Jay Murray took his granddaughter, Chanleigh fishing on the middle Satilla River this weekend for her 15th birthday. They caught about 30 panfish on crawfish and bruised banana gold Satilla Spins. The river is high enough to get a boat around again, but it’s still stained. If you can catch it on the way down when it clears up but before it gets too low, you will have some good trips for panfish and bass. There is a rod and reel catfish tournament this Saturday night out of Burnt Fort. The name of the trail is the Southeast Georgia River Kats trail. A benefit bass tournament for the Brantley County Herons football team is scheduled on the Satilla for July 23. Check out their Facebook page (Brantley County Herons Football) for details.
ST MARYS RIVER
I heard of a couple decent trips this week. Chuck Dean fished a small tributary near Kingsland on Monday and had a half-dozen hand-sized bluegill in just a short time. He was flinging Satilla Spins. The water was heavily stained from the recent rains. The best overall bite was in the middle river for catfish. Anglers put shrimp on the bottom in the deeper holes for their channel and white catfish. This river is the best option in our area this weekend for panfish. Fish some backwaters for your best success.
I fished the east side on Tuesday morning for a couple of hours and had a blast. I caught 26 fish, which included a warmouth and gar but was mainly bowfin (mudfish) and pickerel (jackfish). The biggest mudfish was only 3 pounds, but the pickerel were nice-sized (17-19 inches). Dura-Spins caught all of the fish, and fire tiger-chartreuse blade was the most productive the first couple hours and crawfish was tops the last half-hour. I cast the whole time and didn’t troll at all. I saw a couple anglers fishing the boat basin catch some fliers and warmouth that morning. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.90 feet.
The daily rains this week put a damper on the longer trips, but ponds were good for short trips. Chad Lee and Daniel Johnson fished an Alma area pond on Saturday night and caught 5 bass on black buzzbaits. Their biggest was 3 pounds. You should be able to find some bream bedding late this week, so give it a try. Crickets or artificials should both work.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Scout Carter and a friend fished the Brunswick area on Friday and caught some trout, flounder, and a few various bottom fish. They caught 5 trout (2 keepers) on artificials. They fished live shrimp also and caught the flounder and various bottom fish on the shrimp. Fishing around shell beds on the incoming tide was the most productive for their trout. We’re coming off some big tides, so expect the water to be muddy during peak tide movement until later into the weekend. 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).
(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, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Bass are biting well in Beaver Dam Creek and the area way up the Savannah River. The top water bite is good early in the morning. Use a Pop R, a Skitter Walk and Chug Bugs in the shallow water. Use the plastics early, concentrating on lay down trees and stumps. Be careful not to fish the plastic baits too early. Fish crank baits like Rapala Shad Raps and Rapala DT10 baits and shad in hot mustard. Use these baits on windblown points and the rip rap until about 10:30 a.m… Carolina rigged lizards and Zoom U tails are catching spots all day and green pumpkin is the best all day color. Small chunk rock is the target when fishing the Carolina rig. Start off with the faster moving crank baits in the morning and then move to the slower moving plastics as the day heats up.
CLARKS HILL IS FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Bass, both spots and largemouth, are fair but finding big fish has been tough. The small fish are feeding on small 1/4-ounce Rat L Traps and Rapala #5 Shad Raps. Shad colors are the best choices and use light line to get the extra action and depths from the baits. Fish any rocky point or the rip rap on the ramps, rocks on the bridges and on the points and make lots of casts. The fish, early and late, are aggressive and will chase baits but try a stop and go retrieve. The best tip is to keep moving and cover a lot of water. Small shad Zoom Flukes on a lead head will work and cast them and reel them back with a regular retrieve. Rig a Zoom finesse worm in blue pumpkin on a split shot rig and swim it on the same rocks. Find them with the Lowrance Structure Scan technology and then use the Active Target to pinpoint them. Accurate presentations will be important. Always look for breaking fish and any signs of schooling bait fish first thing in the mornings. Watch for schooling shad if the wind is down and cast a pearl Super Fluke into the schools and let it sink about 10 feet deep. Keep the pearl Zoom Super Flukes ready and use them all day.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is good. The lake is full, stained up the rivers but clear over most of the lake. A good way to start the day is with a buzz bait. Fish it along the sea walls and riprap. The fish like the sea walls and fish under docks close by with a small crank bait or with a shaky head worm fished under the docks. Some of the fish are moving to the deep-water humps and points. Use a deep diving crank bait and fish it on the drop offs and points. Fish are biting well on topwater plugs off of points over brush. When fish are reluctant to surface on top waters go to the drop shot rigs and shaky heads. Early, some fish are shallow and are feeding on bream. Target these fish with topwater frogs, Rico’s and weightless worms. Fishing at night around lights can produce large bass this time of year. Fishing these areas with Zoom U tail worms in green pumpkin or black worms and swimbaits can be effective.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.4 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is good. The shallow bite is still the dominant pattern. The bream are still bedding in the pockets and the mayflies are starting to hatch in the rivers causing the bass to stay up shallow. Top water baits such as the Bass Hound prop bait and the Spro Bronzeye frog are catching fish consistently around grass, lay down trees, and sea walls around points and channel swings. Texas rigged soft plastics and shaky heads will also catch fish around the docks in these same areas. Find them with the Lowrance Structure Scan technology and then use the Active Target to pinpoint them. Accurate presentations will be important. A Buckeye Lures spot remover with a Zoom trick worm is hard to beat under these docks. For those that prefer to fish deep, there is a decent offshore bite going on as well. Look for offshore humps and long points in the mouths of creeks and near the river channels for the best results. A cell mate colored Spro Little John DD and Buckeye Football Mop jig fished on these offshore spots will catch fish right now and for weeks to come. Look for hard bottom or stumps when fishing offshore. Watch for schooling shad if the wind is down and cast a pearl Super Fluke into the schools and let it sink about 10 feet deep. This bite is best when Georgia Power is moving water.
LAKE JACKSON IS 1.1 FEET OVER, 80
Bass fishing is fair. The top water and swim bait bite is good early and late. Start the mornings in the backs of creeks. There has been a good bite back in some creeks and main lake pockets first thing in the morning. A popper or a prop bait can be a good choice for these fish. Look for the fish to be shallow for a while. Once the sun gets up, the top water bite has been great over the brush in the 20 to 30 feet range on both points and humps. A Chug Bug and a swim bait have been best. If they will not come up use the Fish Head Spin, a Dude or the weighted fluke. The fishing is good on the top water and swim baits at every stop. If the water gets heavily stained from the continuous run off due to recent rains, stick with the buzz bait. As the sun gets up, flip Zoom U tail worms, 6-inch lizards or creature baits under boat docks or drag them Carolina rigged on long points and humps. Concentrate on boat docks with brush that are near the ends of points or deep drops. If you like to drop shot, use your electronics to locate bait and spotted bass in the middle of deep coves. Use a 4-inch Strike King Dream Shot. Night fishing is a great option on Jackson this time of year to avoid the heat and the boat traffic. Hit any lighted boat dock you can find with dark worms, lizards, or Shad Raps.
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The heat of summer continues to make bass and crappie difficult. Try your luck on top water near vegetation in early mornings for your best chance. There is still a strong bream bite and catfish bites are looking good on Blackshear as well. Stick with strong oily baits like chicken liver and hot dogs to get your hands on either flatheads or channel cats. For bream, natural and artificial baits are still good options with the mayflies still in the area. Crickets and worms are always a good choice, but Sugarbug jigs are also a local favorite artificial.
LAKE WALTER F. GEORGE
Bass fishing at George is getting hot with the weather. Fishing is solidly in a normal summer patter on Water F George. Try looking for some current which will help get the bait feeding. Try using buzz baits, frogs, and poppers on the top water around daybreak for some bites. Once the bites slow, head to a channel bend or creeks near deep water keeping your eye out for those bait fish. Some good baits to try are Super Hog, Zoom Old Monster, and Picasso lures. If that doesn’t seem to be working for you, try your luck on jerk baits with realistic colors on shallower ledges around 8-12ft. Crappie reports are mixed, but try your hand near structures on ledges with jigs or minnows.
Water temperatures are in the high 80s and low 90s, but the rainwater should drop those temperatures in the next few days. Due to the rain, we are seeing muddy conditions in both arms of the lake. These muddy conditions make it a great time to fish! The morning bite is on with spinner baits and worms. Anglers are reporting trouble with the top water bite so stick with those submerged lures. Big fish are hanging out on the ledges so try your luck with a good old fashioned Texas rig. Crappie fishing is great out on Seminole. Experts suggest 16oz jigs with a minnow on some grass edges or around submerged structure. It also wouldn’t hurt to try crickets or worms if the minnows just aren’t doing it for you.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Bass: Bass fishing has been slowed by higher summer temperatures. Try locating bass in 3 to 8 feet of water. During the middle (hottest) part of the day, fish for bass in and around heavy cover, like the standing timber near the island. Feeding bass will be more active during times around sunrise and sunset. Dedicated anglers on the water right before sunrise may have the best chance of getting that trophy bass*!
- Crappie: Warm summer water temperatures have caused crappie to move into deeper water as well as scatter themselves over much of lake. Try fishing standing timber by presenting live minnows and/or brightly colored jigs at different depths to increase your chances for catching some slabs.
- Bream: It is common for bream to be close-in to the banks during spawning season. Crickets, as well as pink and red worms are excellent live bait for bream. Also, small, brightly colored spinning lures will be hard for those spawning fish to resist. Fishing with light tackle can make bream fishing more exciting, especially for kids. However, bream have small mouths so fish with small hooks for the best results
- Catfish: Chicken livers, night crawlers, or shrimp fished at or almost at the bottom near woody structures and the rocks around the dam should produce a good bite. You may also want to try catching some small bream and use them as cut bait, some good size cats have been caught using this method.
*We are looking for a certified lake record Largemouth Bass. Check out the information we have available at the sign in kiosk. The fish should be either 26” long or over 10 lbs. to qualify, good luck!
(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)
Fishing reports from across North Georgia revealed typical summertime patterns. Spotted bass are hitting topwater in the early morning and then retreating to deep water brush piles during the daylight hours. Stripers and hybrids are headed further down lake in most reservoirs or retreating to the headwaters in hopes of finding cooler water. Small lake fishing is fair. For best success on your favorite pond, concentrate your efforts on the shady side of the lake an hour or so before dark. Around sunset, cast poppers, rubber spiders and rubber ants to those small ripples of water where bream are feeding on insects at the surface. Hot temperatures also restrict trout stocking to the mountain streams and reservoir tailwaters. Check out the Trout page on our website to find out where trout were stocked this week. The following snippets from across North Georgia reservoirs are brought to you this week courtesy of The Southern Fishing Report by Ken Sturdivant, local fishing guides, and other avid fishing enthusiasts.
- Bass: Bass fishing guide, Phil Johnson (770/366-8845) reports, “Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The summer patterns have really set up this week with the bass moving to the deeper structure and ledges. There is still a Fluke bite going on over the deep brush and humps particularity if there is a good wind blowing. I am approaching the brush first with either a Jerk Shad or a Spy Bait to see if I can trigger a bite from the active fish. Then I approach the brush with a drop shot set up. With the drop shot, I like a three eights weight to get the bait down quicker on the fish and to keep it down if there is wind. Morning Dawn and Blue Lily have been the steadiest producers for the week, but multiple colors will work right now.”
Crappie: Crappie fishing guide, Josh Thornton (770/530-6493) is still catching fish even though surface temperatures are in the mid-80s. He reported, “We are finding crappie suspended at 15 to 25-feet over a 30 to 40-foot bottom. Also, look for fish in deep water brush up to 40-feet deep. Try using small 1 ½ inch jigs on a 1/24-ounce jig head. It will take a while to get down to the fish so be patient. Also look at blow downs off steep banks that extend 50 to 70-feet off the banks. If you are using jigs, I would recommend translucent colors with sparkles. 50% of this week’s catch came on minnows. I am setting minnows 15 to 20 feet deep most of the time over a 20 to 25-foot bottom. Crappie love the shade so cast into the shadows or shaded areas of dock. When dock shooting the biggest fish are usually the first to bite. I’m using the Skippers jig, Moon jigs tipped with a small minnow use (promo code heroes when ordering online). I use ATX lure company’s jigs on a lip thrashing lure. I use 5 pound test high visibility yellow k9 braid for my line unless I am using a bobber then it’s the k9 6 pound high vis line k9fishing.com and a Piscifun reel on a Acc crappie Stix.”
- Striped Bass: Be sure to check out Captain Mack Farr’s recent striped bass fishing report on his website.
Coolwater Habitat for Stripers: Hunter Roop, DNR fisheries biologist, has been monitoring water quality on Lake Lanier and especially focusing on coolwater habitat that striped bass need during the hottest part of the summer. His forecast indicates that stripers should be on the move toward the lower end of the lake, but some fish will head north for the cooler river flows of the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers. Hunter’s lake profile data can be accessed on Lake Lanier’s Fishing Forecast Map by clicking on the map at the thermometer icons. This information helps resource managers gather information about suitable striper habitat during stressful summer periods, and also helps anglers pursuing summer stripers. The vast majority of Lanier’s stripers (especially larger stripers) are now confined to the lower reservoir from Brown’s bridge to Buford Dam. Target main stem and major creek channels from the Flowery Branch to the dam at depths of 25’ – 40’ to target stripers feeding at the thermocline, and down to 90’ if you see stripers in the deep timber. The best habitat for deep stripers right now will be 80’ – 90’ of water near Flowery Branch. Trolling artificial lures or downlines with live bait (blueback herring or gizzard shad for bigger fish) will work. Vertically working a big spoon can also be productive. Remember that, unless you plan to harvest your catch, minimal handling of stripers and quick releases will better ensure your catch-and-release efforts are successful.
Bass: Ken Sturdivant reports that bass fishing is fair. He recommends, “Use a Zoom finesse worm in June bug red and black emerald under the docks. Fish shallow early with a chartreuse and white spinnerbait, a Pop R and a white popping frog in the backs of the coves early. A black and brown jig on the deeper main lake docks is fair. A Chatter Bait reeled back slowly, and a Little Earl crankbait are the other patterns working. Try a brown frog, a prop bait in bluegill pattern and a bluegill-colored swim jig and a chartreuse tipped plastic bait to entice an early morning bite. After that, move to deeper points close to the current and have the It0 Vision 111 jerk baits ready and try ripping them as well a straight retrieve. Watch for schooling shad if the wind is down and cast a pearl Super Fluke into the schools and let it sink about 10 feet deep.” Targeting bass in shallow water during the early morning with Chug Bugs and Skitter Props. Cast crankbaits such as Fat Free Shad, Rapala Shad Raps, and DT6 along rocky points.”
- Striped Bass: DNR fisheries biologist, Anthony Rabern, was searching for stripers on the lower lake but did not chart any fish below the River Forks, except for passing gar or spotted bass. Results from last year’s striped bass tracking project indicated that most striped bass are just upstream of the River Forks during July. The highest concentrations of fish were in the vicinity of Broyles Landing on the Seneca River arm. We charted schools of herring around 30-feet deep.
LAKE ALLATOONA: Ken Sturdivant reports “There are some bass that are fairly shallow and can be caught on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Bass can be caught in the mornings, but the better bite, as well as bigger fish, are coming after dark. This month the jig fished at mid-depths and in deep brush will produce the most consistent bites. The area from Iron Hill to Stamp Creek has been most productive. As summer progresses, fish will go deep. There is also a schooling bite if you are fortunate enough to be nearby when they come up. A Spro Dawg top water and the Duo Realis Spin bait, and the Spy Bait are great choices when targeting these fish.”
WEST POINT LAKE: Ken Sturdivant reports that “Bass fishing is good. Largemouth and spots are both holding on primary and secondary points. Be sure to have the crank baits and top water lures ready. The best baits are spinner baits in chartreuse, red colored crank baits, and worms rigged either Carolina or Texas style in June bug, black grape and black. Top water lures and spinner baits are producing during early morning from shallow cover such as blow downs, docks, rip rap and shallow points. Use a variety of lures like the Super Spook Jr., Pop R, Chug Bug, buzz baits and Baby Torpedo. The spinner baits and weightless Flukes and Trick worms can also be the best on some mornings. Try bulging the surface with a 3/8 or ½ ounce spinner bait with double Colorado blades. A weightless yellow Trick worm worked well on one recent morning. When using spinning tackle, make sure to use a swivel about 8 to 10 inches above the worm to control line twist. Watch for schooling shad if the wind is down and cast a pearl Super Fluke into the schools and let it sink about 10 feet deep.”
CARTERS LAKE: Like many lakes, schools of spotted bass are attacking bait at the surface in the early-morning hours so this is prime time for topwater presentations. When the sun’s rays hit the water, that’s the signal to switch over to jiggling soft plastics in the brush piles, over humps and along points in 20-25ft of water. Carters Lake Guide Service reports that stripers are being caught at 40-50 ft during the first hour of daylight. Downlines seem to be the ticket. Trolling umbrella rigs is another great technique, which allows you to cover a lot of water. When the sun gets up the fish seem to move deeper around steep edges, long tapering points, and trees.
LAKE WEISS: Guide Mark Collins reports, “Bass are on the main lakes points, road beds and the creek and river channels. Shad pattern crankbaits and Carolina rigs are working well. Slow rolling spinner baits is also working as well as flipping jigs underneath docks. Crappie are on the deeper brush piles and the creek channel ledges at 12 to 20-feet deep. Spider rigging with live minnows and jigs over brush and stumps is the way to go. Some crappie are still being caught shooting jigs underneath docks. Stripers are in the lower Chattooga River, Little Spring Creek, and the Cave Hole. Downlining and free lining live shad are both catching fish. Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15-feet of water and cut bait is working best.”
TROUT FISHING AND STOCKING: Our trout hatcheries continue to stock trout weekly and will do so until Labor Day; however, due to the hot temperatures, most of the trout stocking activity is in the higher elevation streams in the mountain counties. The tailwaters below lakes Lanier and Blue Ridge are also stocked regularly, but anglers must use caution to avoid rising river levels and swift water when water is being released from the dam. The Lower Pool Park below Buford Dam is a great spot for trout fishing but anglers must wear a personal floatation device while fishing. The schedule for water releases from Lake Lanier’s Buford Dam can be viewed by clicking on Operations Division :: Mobile District :: US Army Corps of Engineers or by calling toll free (855) 326-3569. Lake Blue Ridge’s tailrace is also a popular trout fishing destination. Its water release scheduled can be accessed online at Blue Ridge (tva.com) or by calling (865) 632-2101.
TROUT SURVEY: Sarah Baker, DNR’s Trout Biologist, has been busy surveying trout populations across the mountains. She reports that last fall’s spawn of native brook trout produced a bumper crop. Juvenile brookies are running about 3-inches in length right now, but hopefully plenty of them will survive the summer and reach the size of the one pictured for your blueline fishing trips next summer.
TROUT REPORT FROM ORVIS: Orvis Fly Fishing provided the following report for the Chattahoochee River below Lake Lanier. Check out their website at Chattahoochee River | GA Fly Fishing Reports & Conditions | Orvis.
NICE BROWN TROUT CATCHES: River Through Atlanta trout fishing guide, Chris Scalley, also provided us with some pictures of brown trout catches by recent clients (see below). Chris can be reached through his website. Streamer fishing is a great way to fish and possibly catch a huge brown. Nymphing is always going to be the go to for those bottom feeding fish, the old Pat’s Rubber legs, Worm patterns, midge patterns, attractors such as rainbow warriors and lightning bugs to copper johns, and the classic pheasant tails and hare’s ears in 12-18. If you are throwing streamers, anything from wooly buggers, if you’re throwing the smaller rods to large articulated patterns like the Bottoms Up and Dungeon patterns by Galloup. As temperature starts to warm up, small dry flies on the North Georgia streams are going to be another option. Make sure to have a few midge dry flies, BWOs, and caddis to tie on when the fish start to rise more consistently.