Is everyone back into the school year swing of things? Hopefully, that hasn’t kept you from swinging a few fishing poles. If your kid gets overwhelmed by classwork and assignments, maybe arrange for a short, nearby fishing trip to help clear the mind. Time spent outdoors, breathing in some fresh air, being physically near the water, and throwing out a line can give them just the break they need to help them tackle those tasks with renewed energy.
NEWS TO KNOW:
- Find Fishing Events: Looking for a Kids Fishing Event? Check out the Events Calendar at the GoOutdoorsGeorgia website. Need tips on fishing with kids, check THIS OUT.
- Do Your Homework: What homework? About your fishing location! How do you find what is biting, when is best time to fish, and more tips and tricks? Well, besides this report you are reading, Georgia Wildlife Resources Division provides Fishing Forecasts for 31 lakes and 18 rivers.
- Angler Academy: If you can’t get outside to fish, you can still have some “fishy fun” indoors. Let the kids go to the Angler Academy. At this website, developed by TakeMeFishing.org, you will find links to “fishy” crafts, games, informative videos and puzzles.
This week, we have reports from Southeast and North Georgia. We hope you sure can SWING the time to SWING a line as you 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 late summer lull in effort is here, but the bites have been good for those who went. Saltwater was the best bite this week based on the reports I received.
River gages on August 25th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 5.9 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 5.4 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 5.4 feet and rising
- Waycross on the Satilla – 5.7 feet and falling (81 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 4.6 feet and rising
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 5.5 feet and rising
I heard of a few decent bream catches this last week as the river receded, but nothing fantastic. The bass bite has been ok with folks catching a few per trip. A few 4 to 5-pounders were reported. The catfish bite (white cats, channels, and blues mostly) on the lower river was the best I heard of. If rain forecasts are accurate, the river will likely rise, and the catfish bite should really fire off.
A Waycross and Folkston angler fished a stretch of river below the Sill and caught 67 catfish on Wednesday morning. They were all yellow bullheads (butter cats), and they bit small pieces of shrimp on the bottom.
A few people fished the boat basin on the east side this week, but catches were overall slow. Warmouth, bluegill, and bowfin were the main species caught. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 121.00 feet.
I heard of some 5-pound bass being caught on black buzzbaits this week and quite a few smaller bass on senkos and other plastic worms. Chad Lee fished an Alma area pond on Thursday evening for just a short time and caught 2 bass on junebug-red flake plastic worms. The pond he fished was very muddy from the recent rains. For this weekend, the night bite should continue, with topwaters being the best presentation. If you have some time at night, give the catfish a try. Put worms, shrimp, livers, or cut bait on the bottom in your favorite channel cat pond. Catfish feed great at night when it’s warm, and you can escape the dog-days heat.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The best report I got was a bank angler who fished Monday and Tuesday and caught several keeper trout each trip by flinging an artificial shrimp rigged on a 1/8-oz. Zombie Head (made with a sickle-shaped Gamakatsu Hook) and suspended under a float. He fished around rocks for his catch. He also had a big 3-lb. flounder on Monday and a 24-inch trout on Tuesday. Scott Smith and some buddies went offshore on Saturday and caught a bunch of red snapper, a big kingfish, a bunch of beeliners, and a nice mahi-mahi. Wyatt Crews of Waycross fished Crooked River with a friend on Sunday afternoon, and they caught 29 fish. They fished around high tide and caught seatrout, redfish (undersized), about 10 sharks, a keeper flounder, and a bunch of other species. They caught most of their fish on a live shrimp on an 1/16 and 1/8-oz. Zombie Head suspended underneath an Equalizer Float, but they caught several trout on a 3-inch shad-colored Keitech swimbait on the same rig. They had 8 trout (2 keepers). In the Brunswick area, the sheepshead bite was good for anglers fishing pilings, rocks, and artificial reefs with fiddler crabs this week. Lots of undersized redfish were caught, as well. This should be a great fall for redfish, as it appears that there is a really big year-class of reds that were spawned last fall. Flounder fishing at the St Simons and Jekyll Island piers was sporadic. I heard from folks who did not catch any keepers and others caught a few. The biggest of the week was Jesse Seaborn’s doormat 23-incher from the St Simons Pier on Sunday. 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 Hunter Roop, Fisheries Biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from WRD Staff and Local Experts)
WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, 80S
West Point Bass (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): Bass fishing is good. Fish are really spread out in two groups. The top water bite is on fire first thing in the morning on points and lay downs. Buzz baits, Spooks, and Pop R’s are producing when cast very close to cover and then slowly worked back to the boat. There are a few May fly’s left going up the river that are producing some better fish early in the day as well. Pitch jigs close to overhanging limbs with bream present. The strike zone will be in the first five feet of the overhanging limbs. Once the sun is high focus on docks and lay downs near the mouth of pockets with green pumpkin a Z Man floating worm. The Z Man floating worm will stand up on a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce shaky head so do not be afraid to let this bait soak to catch larger fish. The best points and lay downs are from the 109 bridge north going up the river. During generation periods use deep diving crankbaits on humps and road beds. Watch for the weekly periods of generation.
West Point Linesides (courtesy of GON Fishing Reports): Fair. Guide Keith Hudson reports, “I am expecting a really good topwater bite this summer because of all the newly hatched shad. Have a popping cork ready and watch for schools of fish on the surface. If we have a tropical depression come through, they usually go nuts on top. Trolling big plugs with a bucktail in front, especially in the late afternoons during periods of water generation, can be very effective, as well.”
West Point Crappie (courtesy of GON Fishing Reports): Good. Guide Keith Hudson reports, “Good catches of crappie should continue all summer. Most people kind of forget about them this time of year, but the guys who do their homework putting out brushpiles and downlining with live minnows in the thick brush do very well. Another pattern that works is shooting docks or pitching to docks. Crappie like the shade and often a single dock can produce a limit of fish. Also, night fishing is normally very good during the summer months, and it keeps you out of the heat.”
West Point Catfish (courtesy of GON Fishing Reports): Catfish: Good. Guide Keith Hudson reports, “Although they’re kind of overlooked, catfish provide a steady bite at West Point Lake all summer. For the best results, try using live worms, cutbait and chicken liver fished on the bottom. Jug fishing is also really productive, and it is a fun way to get the whole family involved and out on the water. And best of all, catfish are really tasty!”
WEISS LAKE IS AT 0 FEET 3 INCHES BELOW FULL POOL, CLEAR AND 84 – 87 DEGREES – All species (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): Bass fishing is fair. Most fish are on a deeper, summer pattern on road beds and main lake points, and creek and river channel ledges. Crank baits, spinner baits are catching fish. With the latest heat wave the water has heated back up, and the fishing has got a lot tougher. A good cooling trend in September, should trigger some better fishing. Any time they are generating power, the point at the mouth of the canal is producing some good fishing. Crappie fishing is fair and most fish are out deep, showing up on deeper brush, spider rigging with minnow is producing some fish. Night fishing under lights, in the main river channel, is the ticket for catching Crappie right now. A good cooling trend in September should trigger some better fishing. Striper fishing is fair. There are fish in Little River and the Chattooga River, and Little Spring Creek.
LAKE HARTWELL IS 3.5 FEET BELOW FULL, 80’s
Hartwell Bass (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): Bass fishing is fair. The top water bite has been fair at daybreak but after that anglers are fishing a lot of docks, especially those close to the main lake channels. Try to find those that have fifteen to twenty feet of water on the front end of the dock and even try sitting in deeper water fishing them. Another good idea for catching those “Dog Days” bass is to break out those jigging spoons and fish the pylons under the bridges. A variety of fish, including bass, will suspend under the bridges during July and August as the sun bears down on the water. Vertical jigging and fishing with a weightless Fluke with a light presentation will catch some of these bass. Ten pound test line will do but down size to eight pound test on a 6 or 6 1/2 foot spinning rod with a medium action tip. This will prevent anglers from over working the bait. Also check out the long run out points that drop off sharply into deeper water. Use Carolina Rigs and 1/4 ounce jigs while fishing those main lake points.
Hartwell Bass (courtesy of GON Fishing Reports): Guide Matt Justice reports, “Fishing has been good with most fish coming around bream activity. Throwing a black Spro frog and a Pop-R are good options. The most consistent pattern is still throwing topwaters around brushpiles in 15 to 25 feet of water on points and humps. When the fishing is slow, the best bet is a drop shot in the same brushpiles. Use a morning dawn Roboworm and fish extremely slow.”
Hartwell Linesides/Crappie (courtesy of GON Fishing reports): Preston Harden, of Bucktail Guide Service, reports, “I look for bass around 20 to 30 feet deep. Brushpiles on humps or long points can hold big schools of spots as the summer progresses. They group up like hybrids and stripers. The schools get larger as the summer progresses. Trust your electronics to show you the deep fish.”
LAKE CHATUGE (courtesy of GON Fishing reports): Level: FULL. Temp: 83-86 degrees. Clarity: Clear.
Chatuge Bass: Guide Eric Welch, of Welch’s Guide Service, reports, “Fishing has been good. We’ve been catching some quality fish and having some trips with good numbers. There has been a topwater bite happening at first light, and you will also see some good schools of fishing breaking throughout the morning. I’ve been starting my trips at daylight and we’re off the lake by 11 a.m. If you have a good cloudy day with some wind, you’re going to catch fish throughout the day, but if it’s a bluebird sky day, the bite is over before noon. I’m starting my mornings out throwing a Strike King Sexy Dawg Jr. and a Ima Stix out on humps, points and wide deep pockets. You can also catch some fish on seawalls throwing a Whopper Plopper. After a couple hours of targeting a topwater bite, I switch over to throwing a drop shot on points that has brush and laydowns. These areas have been holding a lot of fish. You just have to get them to bite. Once you catch a couple, then they start feeding. You can also fish these areas with a shaky head, Ned rig and Texas rig. There also has been a dock bite, if you find one with some brush or a ledge with a deep drop-off. The new Garmin LiveScope Lvs34 transducer is awesome. The detail and range is three times better than the original Lvs32. It is helping me find plenty of fish. If I pull up to a place and scan and it’s not showing many fish, there is no reason to waste your time. If you’ve not seen this in action and you love to fish, you really need to go with someone who has it.”
LAKE NOTTELY (courtesy of ): Level: FULL. Temp: 83-86 degrees. Clarity Clear.
Nottely Stripers: Guide Jeremy Seabolt reports, “Fishing has been off the charts. The fish have finally set up on their summer pattern. We have been catching fish about any way possible. We have been starting out early fishing downlined bluebacks on a 40-foot bottom and moving out over deeper water as the morning gets hotter. Mid-morning has been good for trolling bucktails and u-rigs. We have been pulling u-rigs 200 feet back and have had some wicked afternoons trolling and on downlines. There are some monster schools of hybrids and stripes showing up, but please remember the water has gotten hot, so try to get the fish in and get it turned back as fast as you can. Going into August, we’ll be fishing the same way as in July. We’ll just have to move on down the lake and find the fish in the deeper water. Don’t forget The Bait Shack on Nottely has all the striper candy you need to catch fish.”
Nottely Water Quality Profiles (information provided by WRD): The oxygen injection system on Lake Nottely has been activated. Check out recent water quality profiles on Lake Nottely by visiting the Fishing Forecast (click on the temperature icons near the dam and Mile 3 when you zoom in on the map) courtesy of WRD staff.
LAKE ALLATOONA IS DOWN 1.7 FEET, 80S
Allatoona Bass (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): Bass fishing is good. The bait and fish are spread out all over the lake at many different depths. There are fish shallow around shallow cover and on rocky points, mid depth around brush, and deep around and over the timber. In the mornings, we have been opting for a Spro crank bait over shallower rocky points and humps on the main lake, sometimes with brush and sometimes not. This bite is better when the wind is up in the mornings. There are some bites to be had on top water, particularly in the afternoons when the sun is up, but do not count on this bite to produce as it has in previous weeks. A Davis screw lock shaky head and worms of various colors and sizes have worked well for bites in the brush. Try using the Wackem Sissies in Cotton Candy on a drop shot rig around the brush. The deeper fish are suspending over and around the timber and can be caught, but they are a grind to find and to fish. Use the fish head spin or drop shot in the deeper tree tops.
LAKE LANIER IS DOWN 2.2 FEET, 80S
Lanier Bass (courtesy of guide Phil Johnson via Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is fair. Not much has changed over the last week as far as the bass are concerned. There is a little more topwater activity beginning to happen and the cooler nights with the rain should help to improve this bite. If you are seeing the topwater activity try using a fluke or small walking baits. This activity can happen anywhere and anytime so have a rod ready to fire at them. There are still fish located around the brush in twenty five to thirty five feet deep, off the ends of long points and on humps. The drop shot has worked well but the size of the fish is not great. Lanier Baits Sweet Rosy, Blue Lily and Morning Dawn have been the most consistent producers. Downsizing your leader line will to six pound test will also increase the number of strikes you get. The Spybait worked in the same areas will also produce fish in these same areas. Be prepared to move a lot since it is often a one fish and done type pattern. You’ll be able to see many fish on your Panoptics but getting them to bite can be a frustrating situation. Look for the bite to continue to improve over the next few weeks and the topwater activity to improve greatly. Just a reminder that the free High School tournament is coming up on September tenth at South Forsyth High School. If you are a high school age fisherman or fisherwoman make plans to attend. Meanwhile they will still bite so Go Catch “Em!
Lanier Stripers (courtesy of Buck Cannon): Lanier stripers are still working the creek mouths and humps. Down lines over 50′ bottom fishing 35-45′ deep. Smaller the baits the better, locate the baits using your electronics. Trolling umbrella rigs and lead core and a lure is another option. Fish lead core 7 to 8 colors at 3 mph over points and humps. Umbrella rigs pulled 130 to 150 feet behind the boat and Mini Mac on lead core is a good option. Dog days are here so just have fun and have a lot of options. Remember to wear your life jackets.
Lanier Water Quality Profiles (courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): New temperature and oxygen profiles for Lake Lanier can be found on Lake Lanier’s fishing forecast page. Zoom into the map and click the available PDFs on the temperature icons. We sampled form the dam (Forebay) to Flowery Branch. Striped bass are going to be happy, although a bit warm, from the surface down to around 40’. Any excursions deeper than that are just to cool off, because there’s very little oxygen available to sustain stripers for very long below 40’. Stripers are keyed in on abundant, tiny threadfin shad—this means you need to downsize your presentation to match the hatch. We saw some stripers schooling on the surface right around Aqualand last week, weather conditions were pretty nasty, and the fish were having a heyday. A guy I know named Henry mentioned a couple of times to me that some of his best striper fishing has been during ominous, pre-frontal episodes. We also saw some spotted bass topwater action as well. Good luck out there.
Lanier Crappie (courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton via Ken Sturdivant’s Southern Fishing Report): Crappie fishing is good. The water temperatures are in upper 70s to low 80s. We are finding crappie suspended 10 to 15 feet over a 20 to 40 foot bottom. The crappie are suspending for long periods of time and the bite is soft. Look for deep water brush up to 30 feet deep Look for points near a main channel where the depth falls off quickly if there is any structure for the crappie to hold to you are likely to find them there. Crappie can still be found in shallow water if you can find a area with shade and the water temperature is lower we caught fish this week in 8’ of water. If you are using jigs I would light colors in clear water and dark colors in stained water. I am setting minnows 10 to 12 feet deep most of the time over a 20 to 30 foot bottom. 60% of this week’s catch came on minnows. 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 use ATX lure company’s jigs on a lip thrashing lure jig heads. 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 Acc crappie Stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and the Navionics Boating app.
Bear Creek Reservoir Habitat (courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): This week, 500-acre Bear Creek Reservoir in south Jackson County received 12 new “porcupine” style fish attractors, which were deployed near the public fishing access area off GA-330. These PVC/bamboo fish attractors should help improve fishing success for bank and boat anglers alike. Good luck!
Lanier Tailwater Trout (courtesy of Orvis Fishing Reports): Fishing many of the popular spots on the Hooch tailwater have resulted in great fishing. The North Georgia streams are getting too warm to fish. Make sure that you practice safe fishing practices such as checking water temps, making sure it is below 65 degrees Fahrenheit before fishing for trout. The highest elevation streams should be low enough temperature, especially early in the mornings. Make sure you have foam terrestrials such as ants and beetles as well as small attractor nymphs to use as droppers. It is also a great idea to have the Hooch classics, stonefly nymphs, caddis, and midges. For fishing on the Hooch in the late afternoon, hatches are in full swing. Small BWO and caddis patterns have proven effective. Patterns such as, WD-40’s, RS2’s, and midge drys are the ticket. As temperatures heat up, trout fishing the tailwater will be productive, but river bass fishing is beginning to slow down. Bass anglers will be more productive on lakes and ponds this time of year during low light conditions. If you have any questions at all, feel free to come in and we will be happy to get you set up! For the Chattahoochee, state regulations require a certified personal flotation devise be worn by all anglers from Buford dam south to highway 20. Pay special attention to water release info online or call the number below for release schedules. Make sure to call the Corp of Engineers release hotline at 770-945-1466 before making your trip.
Tailwater Trouting Tips (courtesy of River Through Atlanta’s Chris Scalley): With murkier waters due to Lake Lanier being stratified all summer long, fly fisherman should bump their average size nymphs by one or two hook sizes to gain a larger profile that’s easier for the fish to see. With limited water visibility, anglers can get away with heavier tippet allowing for stronger breaking strength for their line. As the days get shorter and the evenings cooler, water temperatures will start to drop, making the fish more active during the day. Fall is brown trout spawning season, so look out for some better-than-average brood fish to come out of the woodwork for a good streamer bite.
Tailwater Success: NGTO’s “Squatchy Water” shares his Lanier tailwater success story, and even more helpful tips, HERE.
Stocking Update: Many truckloads of hatchery-raised trout hit Georgia trout waters this week thanks to the fine staff at Summerville, Burton, and Buford state trout hatcheries and our federal partners at the Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery. By checking this week’s weekly stocking report, Georgia trout anglers will see there are fresh trout fishing opportunities throughout North Georgia. Increased stream flows and reduced water clarity from this week’s rain might call for bigger, brighter, and heftier presentations on your favorite stocker stream this weekend.
Guide Reports: The Unicoi Outfitters blog is fresh every Friday and can be found HERE. This week Jeff shares some helpful tips on how to keep your presentation out of the trees, and in the water (which, turns out, catches way more fish). Cohutta Fishing Co. updates periodically—get the latest Toccoa intel HERE. Alpharetta Outfitters provides an excellent quick reference to trout stream conditions throughout North Georgia HERE.
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.