All affected by Hurricane Ian are in our thoughts as we hope for quick resolutions to displacement, power outages and all other issues resulting from this type of devastation.
NEWS TO KNOW:
- CoastFest: This event, originally scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, has been postponed due to Hurricane Ian. At this time, no future date has been set. Keep an eye HERE to hear about future plans.
This week, we have fishing reports from Southwest, Southeast, North and Central Georgia. Stay safe, always watch water levels, 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 crappie bites are continuing to be strong as the weather starts to cool. There are reports of increasing numbers of trash piles and edges of channels. Try your luck trolling using litewire hooks, Tex’s jigs, or minners. If you are still not getting a bite, try adding a minnow to your litewire hook! Also, there are reports of increased white bass bites around ledges, with the best bite being just before sunset. There are also increasing wind speeds so be safe out there with the increasing weather impacts from Hurricane Ian.
SILVER LAKE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
The waters are starting to cool at Silver Lake PFA. The bluegill will be near beds for maybe the last spawn of the season. Beatle spins and small curly tail jigs are getting hit by those protective males. Post spawn females are hungry and looking to hit crickets.
Panic Pond is open again after a break from the summer heat. As the water cools the bass will be moving to deeper waters chasing gizzard shad around the standing timber. New renovations at Panic are opening up some access, so be prepared to flip some lures into new spaces. Swim baits and crank baits are showing good returns, too.
Frog Pond is freshly stocked with channel cats ready for the dinner plate so grab a bucket of nightcrawlers and the family for an afternoon of fun.
The Flint, Chattahoochee, and Spring Creek arms of the lake are about 84 degrees with a slight stain. Water levels are down right now in preparation for the big storm heading our way. But fishing has been great!
- Bass: The bass are biting right now. They are not the largest bass you have every caught but there are plenty of 1.5-3 lb being caught so it makes for an exciting day on the lake. The fish are feeding aggressively as we head into winter so shad type lure should get the job done. Chris Tylor of Seminole Guide service said that if you can’t be on the water early, they will be full of shad already. He suggests that you use a worm in this scenario to give the fish something new to look at. Chris says that a black and blue, a ribbon tail like an old monster, country boy baits or po boy should do the trick. He has also had success with spooks.
- Crappie: The crappie are feeding on shad so you can use those same baits. Just remember to use smaller sizes to target those smaller mouths of the crappie. The mouth of spring creek is a great place to start looking for crappie but in general look for bird sign on the surface of the water because the birds follow the shad the same way the crappie do. In general, they are hanging out in pretty deep water, about 25 ft.
- Hybrid and White Bass: They hybrid and white bass are also a fun species to target. These fish are chasing shad too. Chris Taylor of Seminole Guide Service suggests early morning or evening fishing and a good lure to use for these guys is a white swim bait with paddle tail dipped in chartreuse.
Water levels are very low on the Flint right now. That makes is a great time for fishing. The elusive shoal bass is hot as well as largemouth and bream. Try crickets and worms for the bream and be sure to use a small hook since their mouths as quite small. Lots of people enjoy fishing for shoal bass with fly rods but a regular rod and real are fun too. Catfish are also biting in the Flint. Cutbait is your best bet here. Channel cants and flatheads are looking really nice. The water level is low and that helps when targeting fish but it also makes obstacles more present so be aware of your surrounds. If we get rain from Hurricane Ian the water level will rise and can become dangerous quickly so be careful out there.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
In general, the hot summer weather will eventually be replaced by cooler nights during September and October. The cooling water temperatures cause the fish to increase their feeding before the winter months. Therefore, now is an excellent time to grab the family and head outdoors for some fall fishing at Big Lazer PFA. Hybrid bass have been stocked in the lake recently and should provide an exciting catch!
- Bass: It’s finally feeling like fall up at Big Lazer. Cooler temperatures mean the bass fishing is picking up. The fish will start feeding more as they prepare for winter. Anglers should try shad look alike baits at several depths. Also, plastic-worms and crankbaits fished just off the channels in the upper end have always produced good bites.
- Crappie: Some crappie are being caught but they can be difficult to locate this time of year. Try fishing deep around standing timber with live minnows or try bright colored jigs fished at several depths.
- Bream: Bream fishing is good and will continue improving as cooler water temperatures arrive. Target shallower areas with woody brush associated with it. Crickets and worms are excellent live bait for bream. Also, small grub like plastic jigs of various colors can work well anytime of the year. Fishing with light tackle can make bream fishing more exciting. However, make sure the hooks are small because bream tend to have small mouths.
- Channel Cats: The rocks along the dam are always a good spot to try and catch big channel cats. However, catfish are also located throughout much of the lake. Some catfish are being caught on cut bait, worms, livers, and shrimp. Try fishing both on the bottom as well as suspended higher up in the water column.
(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)
Obviously, Hurricane Ian was the big news this week and still threatens the Georgia coast with storm surge as I write this. Fortunately, we were spared the brunt of the storm’s power. We need to pray for and help our neighbors to the south who weren’t as fortunate.
River gages on September 29th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 3.5 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 1.0 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 3.8 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 6.2 feet and falling (71 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.4 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 6.0 feet and falling
Edward Whitehead of Valdosta bottom-fished the west side of the swamp on Tuesday and caught some good-sized yellow bullheads (butter cats) and a bowfin (mudfish). He fooled them with worms on the bottom. The water is still high on the east side, but you should be able to cast or troll up a few bites from bowfin or pickerel (jackfish) with in-line spinners. The refuge will be closed on Thursday and Friday due to the storm. Check at the refuge website or with Okefenokee Adventures (912-496-7156) if you plan a trip this weekend to make sure the refuge is open.
Chad Lee caught a gorgeous 8-pound largemouth bass from a Camden County pond on Wednesday while casting a white spinnerbait. The cooler temperatures should get the crappie chowing this weekend in southeast Georgia lakes and ponds.
OCMULGEE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Hawkinsville, more info HERE)
Fishing has been good at the area this week. The best bass catch I heard of was an angler who caught and released 3 bass that were right around 5 pounds apiece. On Tuesday a crappie angler caught 14 crappie that were about a half pound each. He had one fish that was a pound and a half. He caught them on minnows because he couldn’t get them to bite jigs that day. Anglers caught shellcrackers from the piers, and the biggest was a pound.
PARADISE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (near Tifton, more info HERE)
The annual Outdoor Adventure/J.A.K.E.S. Day event was a big successs on Saturday with over 1,200 people participating in the various events. There were 26 angler award sized channel catfish certified. Jorge caught the biggest bass (a 4-pounder) of the event and also his personal best on a junebug-colored Culprit worm.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Winds shut down the bite mid-week, but a few good catches happened over the weekend. The best I heard of was Jay Turner and his son who fished from the bank near Savannah on Saturday using plastics on Zombie Heads and caught a big flounder and 30 small redfish (they released the reds). Some sheepshead were caught in the Brunswick area. Anglers dabbled fiddler crabs around hard cover for fish up to 4 pounds. Around Crooked River very few folks went, but I heard of folks catching a few keepers and up to about a dozen short trout per trip. Last week Bobby Thompson of Vidalia fished with Capt. David Newlin and had a day with 20 knot winds that had water pushed way up into the marsh. Bobby didn’t have high hopes for the trip, but Capt. Newlin put him on some black drum, trout, redfish, and a tripletail that was barely short. Bobby learned a lot and was pleased that they caught fish in the tough conditions. Conditions should improve going into next week, and the bite should pick up.
The upper river is just about too low to get around well in a motorboat in just a week after dropping within the banks. Welcome to the small, blackwater river’s fluctuations! The water has cooled several degrees this week, but you should be able to catch catfish and some panfish over the weekend if rains from Ian don’t wrap around and hit the upper basin. The Burnt Fort area should produce some good catfish catches this week.
Tyler Finch and a friend had great trips on Wednesday and Thursday in the middle river. He flung white Satilla Spins tipped with crickets to catch 76 panfish (mostly bluegills) on Wednesday and 41 panfish and a flathead catfish on Thursday. The biggest bluegills were around a pound. He caught the 10-pound class flathead on a limb line.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jackson Sibley, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. Go out of Kellogg watch for the schooling fish and use the Sammy 100’s. Then pick off a few with a Fish Head Spin and a spoon as well. After 9:30 or so the schooling bite may die so head north for more fish. The Senko bite is really trying to take off. This can account for as many as 30+ fish a day. A pearl Zoom Fat Albert is an easy alternative and fish this bait on a 1/8 ounce lead head jig. Keep a Zara Spook ready in a shad pattern or chrome and try a few casts on shallow rocks during twilight. If the fish pop up cast right into the swirls. Also have a 3/8 ounce Rooster Tail ready and something will eat it. Anything above Victoria Landing right now the water has a slight stain to it. Anything south of Kellogg seems to have much prettier water. The spoon bite is kicking in. Use the white Flex It 5/8 ounce sizes and as always watch for these fish on the Lowrance Doan Scan with Fish Reveal. Keep the spoon ready all day and a Pop R can trigger the top water bite mid-day.
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Matt Driver via GON’s Fishing Report) — October is the month when the temps start to cool and the fish are on the move feeding up. With football and hunting season in full swing, I’ve noticed the weekends are a lot calmer and the lake is more enjoyable! Historically, we notice an increase in fish activity in October, but this year has been action packed for months, so we will see if the bite can get better. Fishing this month is great! No matter if you’d like to fish offshore or dirt shallow, October is your month. The first part of the month is very similar to the month of September. Not many changes, but as the cooler mornings begin toward the end of the month, we will see more fish transition and their location change. Fish will begin to move from the main lake to the creeks. As the water drops into the low 70s, we will see fishing get good shallow all the way until the water gets into the 50s in December. In the month of October, if we see a turnover or an algae bloom and the bite gets tough for a few days, it’s always best to move shallow on Lake Allatoona. October is still a great topwater month. For open water, I throw the Spook, Whopper Plopper and a Rico Popper, and for the shallows, I love a black buzzbait around cover. I do mix it up with a buzzbait, squarebill crankbait and a fluke-style bait. In October, the jig is one of the best ways to catch a big largemouth. Target pockets and secondary points. For those with patience, October is great for big swimbaits. Four- to 6-inch hard swimbaits will produce good fish, but you must cover a lot of water to make that happen. Little River, the Etowah River and Allatoona Creek will be great until we start to see the water recede due to the winter drawdown.
Allatoona Linesides (Report courtesy of Robert Eidson, www.firstbiteguideservice.com) — Lineside fishing is fair at best. The fish are still scattered up and down in the water column out over the river channel. They are starting to bust topwater along with the white bass, but they don’t stay up like the white bass, which will stay up for five to 10 minutes at a time. Hybrids and stripers are only staying up for seconds. Downlining live bait is working fair off of any main lake point down south. Carry a lot of bait with you. When downlining, change your bait frequently if you are not getting bit. Trolling is your best bet if you want to catch numbers. Most of the fish we caught this week came on Captain Mack’s umbrella rigs. Pull these rigs at 3.4 mph 125 feet behind the boat and have an umbrella-rig retriever on board. White bass fishing is still the best bite on the lake. These fish are schooling on top from sunup to sundown. Just ride until you find them. Mid-lake has been the best. A Zara Spook Jr., popping corks and Rooster Tails are working best for these little linesides.
Blue Ridge Bass (Report courtesy of guide Eric Welch via GON’s Fishing Report) — Fishing is getting good. The lake level has been dropping fast and the water temp is starting to come down. I’ve been catching some fish first thing in the mornings on topwater, throwing a Whopper Plopper or a Pop-R around banklines that may have some brush or laydowns. I’ve been using my Garmin LiveScope to find fish off points and in deep brush. I will target these fish with a drop shot and a 6-inch Roboworm, a 3.5-inch tube or a small swimbait. By midday, I will make my way up and fish the riverbanks, throwing a drop shot and a shaky head. On Blue Ridge, you always want to fish the bank side that the river runs closest to. There have been fish on the laydowns going up the river. The fishing is only going to get better this month as the lake drops and water temp drops. Good luck.
Blue Ridge Yellow Perch (Report courtesy of guide Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — After sunrise, the yellow perch will get fired up looking to pack on some weight for their upcoming spawning season. These daytime feeders will eat minnows, worms, spoons, jigs or a combination of any or all the above. October is a great month for perch in both numbers and size. Fish in the 16- to 18-inch range are not uncommon. While most fish average 10 to 12 inches, there’s no limit on perch, but we only keep quality and set a goal/limits for each trip. With the lake dropping, please be aware of shallow-water hazards like shoals and sandbars that can be just a few inches under the surface. We will see you on the water.
Blue Ridge Walleye (Report courtesy of guide Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — Fall is here and the walleye bite is, too. Jigs, spoons, bait, anything you like fishing will catch walleye in the next month or so. Find fish laying on the bottom and hit them in the face. That’s the go-to method this month. Good electronics are key to locating these fish as they will be pinned to the mud. Subtle bumps on the bottom is all you will see until they move. Getting your offering within a foot or so is the way to get bit. Work the area and move on. Covering water and hitting as many productive areas as you can will increase your odds greatly. If it looks like it could be a fish, fish it. I can’t tell you how many times a bump becomes a walleye, or two, or more. Fall is a great time of year to catch a limit of quality fish on your favorite spoon or jig-and-minnow combination. These fish will be feeding the last hour before sunrise until around 9 a.m. and again at dark.
Burton Bass (Report courtesy of guide Tyler Clore via GON’s Fishing Report) — With the lake turning over, fishing has been hit and miss. We have had the most luck using a drop shot in 20- to 25-foot brushpiles. We have been rigging the drop shot with a morning-dawn Roboworm. Also, we have been catching them on the deeper ends of points with a Spro McStick jerkbait and a Mini Me spinnerbait. I prefer a white spinnerbait with double willowleaf blades. As the turnover ends and water quality stabilizes, look for fish to be chasing pods of bait as they fatten up for the winter. I prefer throwing the McStick or a white fluke into the schooling fish. We have caught a few trout deep in the channel off the points using blueback herring. October is a great month to fish. The water has cooled down and the fish are feeding for winter.
Carters Lake Walleye (Report courtesy of guide Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — Early turnover last month has the fish set up in an early fall pattern. This means the walleye are headed for the shallowest water they’ve been in since June. Look on 50- to 60-foot humps and big points. The bait is grouped in giant schools on the main lake, and the fish are just waiting to feed as these schools pass over head. Low-light conditions are prime feeding times for these fish, so early and late in the day are times to focus on. Look for fish on the bottom or just off the bottom under these bait balls and drop spoons. Some days they want a small, heavy spoon, like a Krocodile spoon, where some days they only seem to want Flutter spoons. It will vary from 2-inch spoons to 8-inch Parker spoons, and color preference varies from chrome to gold, depending on what kind of water you’re in that day. You’ll have to hit them in the face because that’s what it can take to trigger the bite because of the abundance of bait in the lake. This is a great time of year to catch some real quality fish. Average fish have been 22 inches and some bigger ones mixed in up to 25 inches have been caught on the spoons.
Carters Lake Linesides (Report courtesy of guide Eric Crowley via GON’s Fishing Report) — The striper bite has picked up considerably since the temps dropped. The fish are feeding 35 to 50 feet deep in the creek arms chasing schools of threadfins and alewives at daybreak as the bait makes a run for deeper water. Live fresh shad or alewives are always a great option and typically the bigger the better. Umbrella rigs and bucktails are still an option fished about 3 mph, as well as the same spoons mentioned above.
Lake Chatuge Bass (Report courtesy of guide Eric Welch via GON’s Fishing Report) — Fishing is good. TVA has been lowering the lake for the winter, and the cooler weather we’ve been having is dropping the water temp. We’ve been seeing more fish breaking in the mornings and throughout the day. This time of year, I like throwing a Berkley Cane Walker, a Strike King Sexy Dawg Jr. and a Lucky Craft Gunfish. The baitfish we’ve been seeing is only 2.5 to 3.5 inches long, so if you are throwing swimbaits around this size, you’re going to get more bites. There are a good number of fish out on the offshore structure. I’m using my Garmin LiveScope to find the fish in these areas and will drop a drop-shot rig down on the fish I see. You can run this pattern and catch fish on a shaky head. We’ve been catching fish in and around laydowns throwing a Texas rig and a 3/8-oz. jig. Anything in green pumpkin has been working. With October on us, you should start to see a lot of topwater action on the main body and in the pockets. They normally will be pushing bait hard. One great thing about forward sonar is that you can keep contact and follow the baitfish after they have gone down. Good luck.
Lake Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) — 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 still 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. We have also been fishing 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. Try a fish head spin or drop shot in the deeper treetops. The C Map mapping can be used to highlight depth ranges anglers might otherwise miss.
Hartwell Water Quality (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Kyle Rempe) — From our recent water quality profiling, it looks like water temperatures (around 78 F and under) and dissolved oxygen values from 20 meters and up are becoming suitable for stripers, so hopefully they aren’t stuck having to hug the thermocline anymore. In addition to the water quality data, there was a lot of top water action seen from hybrids or stripers out on the surface.
Lake Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of guide Matt Justice via GON’s Fishing Report) — Baitfish are on the move to the backs of the creeks looking for oxygen, and the fish are following. Fishing has been good in the larger creeks throwing a squarebill crankbait around rocks and laydowns. Look for bait bunched up to know you’re in the right area. Also, offshore schooling activity has picked up. Look for schooling fish over timber off points and humps in 15 to 50 feet of water. Throw flukes and large chugging topwaters, such as Creek Chubs. When fish are not schooling, fan casting a 3-inch swimbait can be effective.
Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Phil Johnson via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is fair to good. With the hot weather returning the bass are trying to figure out if its fall or summer. Hopefully the cooler weather predicted with have a positive effect on the bite over the next week or so. For now, wind has been the key to catching fish. If the wind is blowing several baits will work on long points, humps and over brush. A Slick Stick in the blue herring pattern or a chrome Sebile have been the best for the swimbait bite with the chrome Gunfish or Chug Bug for the topwater bite. If there is very little wind a white fluke is a good option along with the Dropshot. The best colors for the Dropshot this week have been Sweet Rosie and Morning Dawn. Look for the fish around the deeper brush as their setup can be different every day. One day they may be in the top of the brush and the next day scattered around it. Your electronics are going to be the key to catching fish right now as they are scattered throughout the water column. We’re seeing a lot more schools of shad right now but like the bass they are scattered everywhere. Don’t overlook the dock bite with a green pumpkin trick worm as it can be a productive pattern also. Be prepared to have to move a lot to locate fish because just finding them doesn’t mean they will bite. The cooler weather should be bringing the strong fall topwater bite so just hang on. You can still catch them if you work at it so Go Catch ‘Em!
Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Jimbo on Lanier via GON’s Fishing Report) — October on Lake Lanier means transition. Often you can find fish shallow and in the mid-depth ranges. As well, some fish start to move deep into winter patterns by the end of the month. The lake traditionally begins its turnover process this month, which provides an additional challenge. This year the lake has been around full pool and has been trending below full pool moving into fall. This traditional weather pattern and lake level should bring us some more predictable fall fishing this year on Lanier. Let’s dig in and examine how to approach catching spotted bass in this highly transitional month. As the water temperature cools, the bait, and therefore many of the fish, begin to move shallower in search of the warmer water that remains. As always, staying up with the location of the bait is key to consistently catching fish. To complicate matters, the lake traditionally begins its turnover process in September/October, which provides an unstable environment for the bait and the fish. The stratified layers of the lake re-mix at different times in different places. During this time, for more consistent results, focus your efforts on the areas of the lake that have not yet, or already have, turned over. Look for the clearer water, and avoid water that has a dark, cloudy or coffee look to it. Often, you can find fish shallower in the creeks during this period. However, some fish may also be deeper relating to the brush that had been holding fish through September. Some of the fish may go even deeper and begin relating to the timber edges in preparation for winter. Obviously, there are numerous factors to consider when searching for the catchable fish in October. Examine your options, understand the status of the lake and the effect of recent weather changes, stay flexible in your search, and stay on the move until you find a viable, repeatable pattern during your fishing day. Now let’s examine some potential lure choices. The topwater and swimbait bite in October can be outstanding. Large schools of fish can be found around humps and points near the mouths of creeks and/or the river channel. Experiment with different baits and presentations to match the conditions. A Berkley Cane Walker and Drift Walker, along with a Chug Bug, are some of my favorite fall topwater baits. On the swimbait side, make sure to try the Sweet Bait Company swimbait offerings. Awesome baits! A Georgia Jig can be a great bait throughout the fall on Lake Lanier. Tip the jig with a twin-tail trailer, and fish the bait around rocky/clay points, on ledges and timber edges. Take your time and work it slowly. A Georgia Ball Head Jig Head with a Berkley Power Worm can be an awesome bait in October. Fish shallow around docks and secondary points with this bait for some hammers. The General from Berkley is a great bait to fish shallow around docks as it can be skipped under and around objects with ease. Dead stick the bait and wait for the tick! To mix it up when fishing shallow in later October, tie on a Spro Little John DD and target shallower rock points toward the end of the month. This can be a particularly good approach at daylight for some big fish. A Georgia Blade spinnerbait can really get cracking for you in October once the water temperatures fall into the 60s. I like the double-white, willow-blade combination and the No. 9 skirt choice. Check out Georgia Blade online or pick up some of their super creations at Hammond’s Fishing and other tackle stores around north Georgia. The Georgia Blade Shad Spin can be an excellent producer on Lanier for suspended fish. Fish the bait at the depth you see the fish suspending near bait balls. Understand the fall-rate for your rig and count the bait down to the depth of the fish and maintain that depth. A jerkbait is another great tool for targeting suspending fish. Chose a bait that suspends at the depth the fish are holding and experiment with your retrieve cadence until you find what the fish are looking for on any given day. I really like the new Berkley offerings in the jerkbait—check out the Berkley Stunna.
Lanier Linesides (Report courtesy of Capt. Ron Mullins via GON’s Fishing Report) — The lake is mostly clear, but the turnover is in full swing, so there are lots of areas on the lake with the milky look that comes along with it. The striped bass have already begun their breakout of the south end of the lake and can be found all the way up into the middle part of the lake up to the Highway 53 bridges on both arms. The topwater bite has yet to really get cranked up, but by the first of couple weeks of the month, it will be the change that we are all looking for. Your best bets for topwater action will be the first couple of hours of the morning or the last couple of hours of daylight in the afternoon on the mostly sunny days that we tend to have in October. Those days when there is some cloud cover, it is likely that you can see these explosive schools of fish anytime during the day. There will be schools coming up from Big Creek up to Orr Creek along the river channel, in the Two Mile and Six Mile junctions and the mouths of Flat and Mud creeks, as well. Look for big, multiple splashes that can be seen from a long way off. A good pair of binoculars will also help scan the lake for these blow-ups. This activity is typically very quick, so be ready to run hard to the schools while they are up. Approach the feeding school from upwind if possible so that you can make an even longer cast with the wind assisting your lure. All kinds of topwater lures will work this month, like a Chug Bug, Zara Spook or Magic Swimmer. The Captain Mack’s Jr Hawg spoon is also an excellent choice for these schoolers. Fish nickel or nickel/silver scale on sunny days and pearl or pearl/blue scale on cloudy days. This casting spoon is a great bait because it can be fished near the surface like you would a Magic Swimmer, but it can also be fished deep by allowing it to fall and then yo-yoing it back to the boat after the school has gone back down. It can also be fished vertically when these schools of fish get under the boat. Drop it straight down about 20 feet below the fish you are marking on your Humminbird Helix or Solix and power reel it back up through the fish like you did during the summer with the Boss Hawg. This has been a tough summer bite, but the topwater schools are starting to form, and it’s a great time to be on the lake with the awesome fall weather.
Lanier Linesides (Report courtesy of Captain Clay Cunningham via GON’s Fishing Report) — Overall, this month’s report is pretty much a copy of last month’s. After a cool August, it looked like we would possibly have a cool September and some early schooling on topwater. We were totally wrong. September was a heat wave that slowed the bite. We are just now getting the cooler weather we hoped for last month. The topwater bite is hopefully finally here. As the water temperature drops, look for the topwater bite to become solid. Concerning live bait, herring will continue to be the primary bait in October. Rig the herring on a spinning rod with basically a 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook on a small section of 10-lb. Trilene Big Game 100% Fluorocarbon and a Spro 120-lb. Power Swivel. We are using a light-action Shakespeare Striper Spinning Rod paired with a Penn Clash 3000. The light action is important to keep the herring from flying off. We are casting the herring to schoolers on points and open water and letting the herring just free swim. Be prepared for the surface action this month, as well, with a wide selection of topwater baits. Spool up a Abu Garcia Veritas PLX medium-action rod with 10-lb. Trilene Big Game and a Berkley Magic Swimmer as the lure. The Magic Swimmer has caught tons of stripers over the past decade. The Magic Swimmer comes in several sizes and they all work, but the 125 is most popular on Lanier. Be prepared with several colors like the halo greenie, chrome and white liner. Other key topwater baits include the Berkley J-Walker 120, Berkley Surge Shad and the Berkley Hijacker. Each one has a different action. Also keep the trebles in tip-top shape. If they are bent, replace them with Gamakatsu Magic Eye trebles. So far this fall the Berkley Canewalker in chrome has been the best bait. The key bait can change daily based on weather conditions. Look for schooling fish and cast right in the middle of them. Some of these schools can be massive. This is usually the most exciting month of the year on Lanier. Do not miss it!
Lanier Crappie (Report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton via www.southernfishing.com) — Crappie fishing is good. We are catching a lot of fish and starting to see some bigger ones. Crappie are suspended 10 to15 feet over a 30-to-40-foot bottom at most for the docks we are fishing. Docks with structure or shade are producing well. If you are using jigs, I would try bright colors in clear water and dark colors after the rain. I have had success the ATX bluegrass this week. I am setting minnows 10 to 12 feet deep most of the time. 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.
Lake Weiss Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service www.markcollins service.com):
- Bass: Bass fishing is good, and they are on the creek and river channel ledges. The deep running crank baits and Carolina rigs are catching fish. Some Bass are being caught shallow in the grass.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. They are on deeper brush in 10 to 18 feet of water and can be caught spider rigging with minnows and Jiffy Jigs, Some crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs. Some fish are showing up on the river channel ledges in 12 to 15 feet of water.
- Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good, and they are in the lower Chattooga River, the Cave hole and Little Spring Creek. Live Shad down lined and free lined is the way to catch these fish.
West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. With the cooler temperatures coming in the fishing is turning on. The shallow bite is good. Start early morning with a Pop R in bone color and as the day continues throw a shallow running crank bait. Bandits, Strike King, and Bomber has been the most popular brands. Use pearl, citrus and chart and blue back. For probing deep drop offs, ledges, points, and deep grass a deep diving crankbait is just the ticket. Grinding a big, lipped bait along a rocky point, or reeling one through a school of shad is a great way to get hooked up anywhere. Bass will go after this bait if it is deep in their zone. Fish around brush piles and points and follow up with the crank bait up with a Shakey head worm in motor oil, green pumpkin, and kiwi. Also, the e Chatterbait Strike King in Pure Poison can work. This bait has 3D eyes, and it works in clear water not just muddy like its past competitors. Use all sizes and all colors. Also, down lake the big worm bite has turned back on with a Carolina rig in 8 to 16 feet deep. Use a Zoom finesse worm in u tail worm in chart pumpkin, green pumpkin, and watermelon seed. For largemouth up lake use the 8-inch Yum Ribbon Tail seems to work the best.
Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area (Report courtesy of PFA Manager Dennis Shiley) — Fishing is tough right now at Rocky Mountain PFA. A few big bass are being caught on jigs, smaller fish are moving onto shad schools. Catfish are good around persimmon trees. Try cut bait on a bare hook near rock piles and dams.
Wild Trout (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Jackson Sibley) — As we transition into fall, the mountain trout pattern begins to shift. Increasingly hospitable temperatures will encourage fish in lowland streams out of patterns of inactivity, and brown and brook trout will begin courtship rituals prior to the fall spawn. Fellow fisheries biologist John Damer and I recently took to one such wild trout stream to cash in on the transition. Equipped with 3-weight fly rods, we wrestled and untangled our way through a low rhododendron canopy, casting creatively to best present our dry fly offering in pools, runs, and pockets. Though the morning seemed to produce strong insect hatches, rises to our flies were surprisingly scarce early in the day. As the afternoon drew on, we each got several nice fish to hand. Wild trout anglers may expect these next few weeks to offer some great fishing and should not be afraid to get out and try some new waters!
Trout Plus Some: Check out Unicoi Outfitter’s regular “trout and more” fishing reports on their blog, ANGLER MANAGEMENT.
Help Your Local Trout Fisheries: 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 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 DOWN 1.2 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Unstable air made fishing pretty good at the beginning part of last week. Nice spots and a few largemouth are being caught up in the rivers and larger creeks. For probing deep drop offs, ledges, points, and deep grass a deep diving crankbait is just the ticket. Grinding a big lipped bait along a rocky point or reeling one through a school of shad is a great way to get hooked up anywhere. Bass will go after this bait if it is deep in their zone. A pearl Zoom Fat Albert is an easy alternative and fish this bait on a 1/8-ounce lead head jig. Keep a Zara Spook ready in a shad pattern or chrome and try a few casts on shallow rocks during twilight. If the fish pop up cast right into the swirls. Also have a 3/8-ounce Rooster Tail ready and something will eat it. Lake levels are stable and should remain there unless extra heavy rain occurs. Carolina rigs, jigs and drop shot rigs are all working right now. Early morning fishing is really doing good right now and don’t be surprised to find a short-lived top water bite from safe light until the sun comes up.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 3.7 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. The Bandit 300 or Shad Rap in a natural color will work. Pull up to the points and try the crank bait. Follow up with plastic worms and lizards and then move on. Fish the same areas again later in the day. Throw your big cranks like the DD22 as the fish hold deep. Use the Carolina rigs also. Zoom Speed Craws, Ole Monsters and Stanley jigs will take fish out of the deep water on the grass points and take along the frogs as well. Work the jig and craw and Shaky trick worms to the bottom and up through the limbs. For probing deep drop offs, ledges, points, and deep grass a deep diving crankbait is just the ticket. Grinding a big lipped bait along a rocky point or reeling one through a school of shad is a great way to get hooked up anywhere. Bass will go after this bait if it is deep in their zone. Concentrate on stumps on the points and run the baits fast. Then use Texas rigged Culprit black shad worm and peg the sinker and swim this bait right by the heavy structure and then drop it right next to the stumps. Then try a larger U Tail worm in dark colors and add the Real Craw scent.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL 80’S
(This Lake Oconee Fishing Report is By Captain Mark Smith, ReelTime Guide Service) —The temperature is 80-83. The Lake is clear from 44 bridge to the dam. Above 44 is light stain.
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. The fish are still holding in there summer locations as well as fish starting to show up on main lake points. Deep diving crank baits fished off the lower lake humps will produce. The same crank baits will also work on the main lake points.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is poor. Most of the top water action has stopped in the mornings. Some afternoons you can find some fish in the mouth of Sugar Creek. The mini Mack trolled will pick up some fish in this area.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. The crappie are in the trees about 10 to 15 feet deep. Drops live minnow down and start catching.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.6, FEET 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. This is the time of year that bass may react to almost any bait and presentation. So be ready for changing actions during the day with the lures. This can vary daily, depending on the weather, current, moon phase, and the fish. Top water baits are the ticket on many mornings, except for a couple days after each new cold front. Buzz baits from 1/8 to 3/8 ounce have been the best, along with a Sammy 85, Pop R’s, Chug Bugs, and Torpedo’s. Most fish are coming from any type of cover in the coves and creeks. Don’t waste much time in areas with little or no shad present. Grass can be the best cover on days when the lake is a foot or less below full pool. Make sure to use a trailer hook for a higher hook up percentage. Bass are being caught from docks and brush piles, mainly on soft plastics and jigs. On the docks, try a Zoom 6-inch Dead Ringer with a ¼ ounce weight for more active fish. If the fish are inactive, use a Zoom Finesse worm with a 1/8-ounce weight and fish slowly. Good colors for both are June bug, green pumpkin, and red bug in clearer water. A 5/16-ounce Stanley jig with a Baby Brush Hog trailer will also catch fish. If a Carolina rig is necessary to get bit in the brush, shorten the leader to about 12 inches. Some bass are beginning to school in deeper water down the lake. Depths are varying from 12 to 25 feet. Look for them on points, flats, and humps. Try a Flex It spoon in white or chartreuse prism. Fishing line should be easily visible to help see the bites as the spoon is falling vertically. Sufix Siege line in 10 to 14-pound test is a good choice.
LAKE JACKSON IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Top water baits are still working during early morning and late afternoon. The best areas are along the main lake and a short distance inside the mouth of coves. Some are hitting along seawalls, while others will be around docks, blow downs, or most any kind of shallow cover. On days that a buzz bait works, it’s the lure to throw. A buzz bait can be worked faster to cover water faster. It’s a good idea to fish a smaller bait like a 1/8 or ¼ ounce size and a larger, noisier bait like a ½ ounce size. On a sunny day use a white skirt and silver blade and on a cloudy day use all black. On some morning’s other baits like Pop R’s, Chug Bug’s and Baby Torpedo’s are better. After top water fishing ends, bass can be caught around or under docks with soft plastics. The best docks will also be located along the main lake and a short distance inside coves. Look for docks with brush under and around them. The biggest key to success is to fish slowly. A few fish may be aggressive and hit the bait on the initial fall, but most will take a very slow bait. Try a Zoom Finesse or U Tail worm with a 1/8-ounce weight.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 83.4˚ F (28.6˚ C)
- Water Level: 35” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 19”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
A slight decrease in temperature has resulted in increased angler activity. Anglers have been reporting an increase in catches of both largemouth bass and crappie. Anglers are having success catching bream off the bank. Large catfish continue to be caught later in the evening and throughout the night. Here’s a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had good success using for each of the following:
Bass: Anglers have been reporting success with Rapala Shad Rap Series and Blue Yum Dinger 5” worms. With pressure increasing, try using a bait that the fish haven’t seen before to encourage a bite.
Bream: Anglers last reported using red wigglers to produce bream.
Channel Catfish: Anglers last reported using chicken livers, live baitfish, and cut baitfish.
Crappie: Live minnows continue to produce crappie. When minnows may become unavailable, try using crappie jigs in black.
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water level: All ponds are full
- Water clarity: 20”- 48”
- Surface temperature: Lower 80’s and dropping
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Bass are moving into shallower water at this time and are starting to hit spinnerbaits and some topwater lures, especially early and late in the day. We notice a good bit of activity early morning and late afternoon when the shad are schooling on the surface.
Crappie: Crappie fishing has been slow but should pick up as temperatures decrease throughout the month.
Bream: Bream fishing has been fair. Expect the bream to move to deeper water as the water temperatures decrease throughout October
Catfish: Several nice channel catfish have been harvested at Fox over the last month. These fish were caught in 4-10’ of water. Worms, cut bait, and chicken livers are a good choice of bait.