November lumbers on in and people start arguing about setting the clocks back for Daylight Savings Time and whether or not it is ok to decorate for Christmas yet…but we know what is really important…what is biting and where!
NEWS TO KNOW:
- Boat Ramps: Do you know how to find the nearest boat ramp? Check out our Interactive Map! Georgia DNR is constantly looking to make access to the water better throughout the state. That sometimes means closing a ramp to do site improvements. How do you know when a ramp is closed? You can check our “Closures” page (scroll down to “Boat Ramps”) or you can join our mailing list to receive email updates when ramps close or when new ramps are built or when ramps re-open (subscribe to “Boat Ramps Openings and Closings”).
- Rocks With Guts: Who knew rocks with guts sitting on the bottom of our rivers were so important? This agency! If you love the rivers, you gotta love the mussels. Find out why in our Facebook post HERE.
- Delayed Harvest Goodness: If you are heading out to fish for trout, hit up one of the delayed harvest streams for a great chance at landing one. These streams have catch-and-release regulations from November 1st-May 14th and are stocked monthly.
This week, we have all the fishy finding reports from Southwest, Southeast, Central and North Georgia. Stay out of the arguments and Go Fish Georgia instead!
(Fishing report courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Fishing in the Flint is good right now. The lower flint is a great place to target large sunfish of all types. Bluegill, redear and redbreast can all be found by the mouths of creeks and in areas of slower moving water. Use works and crikets to target these fish. Remember that these fish have small mouths so use bait that is the appropriate size for their mouths or you won’t be able to hook em!
The largemouth bass, shoal bass and hybrid bass are also fun to catch on the flint right now. Fishing below Warwick dam is a good place to target all three. The big fish are schooling at the base of the dam.
For shoal bass target flowing water with small breaks in the currents where the fish can rest. Largeies will be in slower moving water with some structure like a downed log. For those hybrids target deeper moving water and some structure along the banks as well. GA DNR sampling this year predicts a great year for shoal bass next year!
LAKE WALTER F GEORGE
As water temperatures continue to drop the bass are feeding aggressively. The bass are following the shads’ movements. Weightless Senkos and Trick worms will treat you well as you target the shad driven bass in the vegetation. Try to match your bait with the stain of the water. For example, in the brown and red muddy areas try red shad, watermelon candy or plum and purple colors. In the clear areas you can use a more traditional shad colored lure.
If you are targeting crappie, minnows should be your go-to bait. Try ledges with cover in 12 to 20 ft of water. Crickets and jigs are your next best bet.
If catfish are your fish of choice the channel and back waters are where you should look. Jugs up in the creeks are working the best right now although some fish can still be caught on the cutbait and night crawlers as you drift the channel.
Things have warmed up a bit this week, but nighttime temperatures continue to cool the lake off. The crappie bite is hot right now and people are limiting out everywhere. Crickets, worms, and minnows are a good place to start. A local favorite jig is the sugar bug jig. Be sure to stop by Flint River Outdoors on your way to the lake to pick up those jigs and stop there again on your way home to weigh in your fish for their monthly big fish contest.
You can catch some shad to use as bait up near the railroad tracks. Then use those fish and target the schooling crappie near creek mouths. Shad is a great bait/lure and is their natural food source so its a great way to target those fish.
White bass are also schooling this time of year and they will chase a shad as well. GA DNR has been sampling young of the year white bass recently and their surveys suggest that next year will be a good year for the white bass.
Lake Seminole continues to cool off and the fish continue to heat up. The water temps are around 68 in all the arms of the lake and there is a light stain everywhere. Bass fishing is hot right now. There are not a lot of really big fish being caught but plenty of 1-3 lbs fish. The topwater bite is not super productive but can still produce some bites. River ledges are your best bet. Christ Taylor of Seminole Guide Service suggests a jigging spoon. Hang that thing down there for a few minutes and you can attract a whole school of bass with that jig. He also suggests Alabama rigs, jerk baits, flukes, and worms. Its hard to not catch a fish right now!
Hybrids are also running on the Flint side. Near Sealy’s is a good place to start. Keep an eye out for bird activity to help direct you to where the fish are.
The catfishing and crappie fishing are hot on the lake as well. For catfish drift those channels with cut bait. For crappie, crickets and worms are you best bet. Limits are being caught all over the lake and filling up those dinner plates so get out there and get in on the action!
(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 bite has been great for most folks I’ve talked with in both saltwater and fresh, but a few folks struggled to find the trout on our coast.
River gages on November 3rd were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 3.3 feet and falling
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 0.4 feet and steady
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 2.6 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 4.9 feet and falling (69 degrees)
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 3.7 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.6 feet and falling
The river continues to drop with the dry weather, and even tunnel hulls and jet boats have to be careful at this point. A Fitzgerald angler and a friend went to the middle Ocmulgee on Saturday and drifted down fishing everything in front of them. They ended up stopping fishing after catching 75 bass (and releasing almost all of them). One angler fished plastic worms and craws while the other experimented with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jerkbaits. They caught at least a few on everything. They had fish up to 4 pounds, and the fish were spread out to the point where you could catch fish from the middle of the river all the way to the bank – they couldn’t predict when the bite would come. They had 2 shoal bass during the day. Shane and Joshua Barber fished the lower Altamaha on Saturday (head of tide) and caught 33 bass up to 4 pounds. They kept their limit of bass. They caught them mainly on spinnerbaits and Texas-rigged plastics. They also caught a half-dozen panfish, but the bass were biting well enough that they kept their attention. The bite will continue to be great while the river is low and clear.
It’s floating time on the river. I didn’t get any reports, but with the warming water, the panfish bite will be really good if you go. Expect to drag some around trees and over sandbars, even in a paddle craft.
Tyler Finch fished the river from Sunday through Tuesday this week and ended up catching 140 panfish on white Satilla Spins tipped with crickets. He decided to bass fish for a half-day and caught 20 bass on plastic lizards.
Chris, Mark, and Joe of Gray’s Sporting Journal fished with a friend on the west side of the Okefenokee on Wednesday and got some great photos for an article in an upcoming magazine. Chris fly-fished from a kayak and caught a half-dozen fliers early in the day on a pink Okefenokee Swamp Sally on a fly rod. He then switched to a larger streamer and boated 26 fish, with the biggest bowfin weighing 8-lb., 1-oz. He also broke off a giant pickerel and bowfin. The other boat fished conventional tackle and caught 56 fish, including 5 fliers that ate yellow sallies first thing, then 51 other fish that ate trolled and cast Dura-Spins. Jackfish was the best color, while crawfish took a dozen or so, and fire tiger was a distant third-best color. Bowfin ate the in-line spinner trolled, while casting was the trick to fool pickerel (jackfish). Reports were slow on the east side, mostly because very few people went, not because the fish wouldn’t bite. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.68 feet. You can expect to bump the muck on the bottom in the shallow areas at the current water level.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Shelton Hunter fished out of his kayak in Crooked River on Sunday and caught 5 trout in the windy conditions. He flung an electric chicken Keitech swimbait under an Equalizer Float for his fish. Two of them were solid keepers, so he and his wife ate well that evening. He caught fish on the last of the outgoing tide. Jay Turner fished the Savannah area on Wednesday from the bank and landed a couple flounder a few keeper trout and a pair of keeper reds casting a rainbow shad Assassin Sea Shad rigged on a Zombie Head with a sickle-shaped Gamakatsu hook. He tried the same approach on Tuesday morning but only caught a small flounder and a keeper redfish, so it’s good he didn’t give up after the slower trip. Brentz McGhin and Joseph Mitchell fished Crooked River on Wednesday and had a fairly slow day compared to what they were expecting. They dabbled fiddler crabs on Sheepshead Slammer Jigheads and caught several right off the bat, but then the bite shut down for them. They ended up with 3 sheepshead and a nice whiting for their efforts. They broke off several big sheepshead that wrapped them in cover before severing their line. They tried for trout with artificials, but didn’t find them. Another boat fishing the Brunswick area figured out the trout and redfish on Thursday and caught their limit on live shrimp. A group fishing behind Cumberland Island on Tuesday caught over 30 nice trout on topwaters. A couple of Brunswick anglers fished the Brunswick area on Wednesday and caught 15 trout, but only 1 was on a topwater. The rest ate plastics. Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) had great trips from Monday through Thursday. His clients caught a bunch of trout and redfish, but Scott Sapp had the catch of the week with a 23 1/2-inch trout that ate a sexy shad Berkley Power Swimmer rigged on a Zombie Head built with a Gamakatsu sickle-shaped hook. Lots of his trout came on my jigheads and Berkley plastics this week, but some ate live shrimp rigged on the jighead. He also picked up lots of smaller slot reds this week. Tommy Sweeney fished the Brunswick area last weekend with his wife, and they caught a few trout and keeper reds on plastics. 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).
Chad Lee fished Alma area ponds this weekend and fooled 22 bass total. Many of his bass were 2 to 3 pounds, but he didn’t have any monsters. They ate everything he flung at them, including Senkos, Rat-L-traps, swimbaits, and vibrating jigs. The crappie bite has remained very good in area lakes, even during the warm-up. Lee Norton of Brunswick fished with a friend in a Jesup area lake on Thursday and caught 25 crappie (2 of them blacknose crappie….) using chartreuse shad and green pumpkin-chartreuse 2-inch Keitech swimbaits on a 1/16-oz. Flashy Jighead (gold blade). None of them were big, but they had a blast. Tyler Finch fished a pond on Thursday morning with minnows and caught more than 50 slab crappie with minnows.
(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 .87 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Rapala X Raps continue to work well on the flats and points and the crank bait bite is picking up. Wind has been blowing across the lake all week and with the full moon behind us, this will result in a little better fishing during the day. Worms and jigs remain the bigger fish baits and rig them Carolina, Texas or on a Jig Head. Fish all baits a little slower than normal for the next week. Expect to see the top water baits and spinner baits become more active in the next couple of weeks. Keep a Zoom Super Fluke ready and pearl is the best all-around color and use a 3/0 offset Mustad worm hook.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 5.4 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Use a variety of different baits and presentations. Try a trick worm on the banks at daylight and let it sink to the bottom. Green pumpkin is a great all year color and use it on a light Texas rig. Then go to the spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jerk baits or deep on Carolina rigged worms, jigs and a drop shot. The key is to locate the baitfish and be around when the bass are feeding. The Otts Garage OG8 in crawfish is a great fall color for bass all day. Fish in and over brush and rocky ledges, points, and humps. Watch the Lowrance for any fish on the bottom so zoom in with the Lowrance Fish reveal to see them and get a small spoon or a drop shot and finesse worm on them. Work the baits with a slower than normal action. This time of year, it’s not unusual to catch a lot of fish, and it only gets better later in the month as the bass bunch up with the baitfish. It will get cold so have the jigging spoon as part of the arsenal as the fish move a little deeper in the creeks and ditches.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL 60’S
- Bass: Bass fishing is fair. First thing in the day a small Pop R will bring in a few fish. Once the sun gets up the fish are very tight to cover. Flipping under docks with a worm or a pig and jig will bring in a few bites but plan to fish a lot of docks to get a limit of fish. A few fish are being caught on Carolina rigged Zoom finesse or u tail worms in the green pumpkin or watermelon color. Fish these baits on 12-pound test Sufix line with a 2 to 3-foot leader using 10-pound test line. Fish the long main lake points and under water islands with deep water nearby.
- Hybrid: Hybrid fishing is good. When Georgia Power is generating water hybrids can be found schooling. See any surface actions means a popping cork rig. When they drop back down under the surface, switch to a ½ ounce Flex It Spoon or a ¼ ounce Rat L Trap in the black and chrome. There are a lot of schools coming up during the middle of the day at the mouth of Sugar Creek (hay field area) and the middle of the lake at the pipeline.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. Fishing under the bridges or in standing timber with lights is still best. Use live minnows on 6-pound test P-line with a number 6 gold hook to get the best results. Many are catching good crappie fishing deep water brush piles and underwater drop offs during the day. Using live minnows is still the best bait to use.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.6 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Use a Strike King Premier Spinnerbait with double willow blade combo. The Bagley’s medium running crankbait and a 3/8-ounce jig is working best mid-day. Add the Zooms Super Chunk, Netbaits Paca chunk or the Strike Kings floating chunk in pumpkin colors since the crawfish are active. Fishing lake wide is good as the weather has been stable. Concentrate on the mouth of creeks and secondary points in the back. On windy mornings the ½ ounce chrome blue back Rat L Trap can pay off with bigger fish. This is the same with the 3/8-ounce spinnerbait action if wind is present. Use a Lucky Craft Redemption spinnerbait with double silver willow leaf blades. If there is no wind switch to the shaky head and jig with green pumpkin being the best color. Use a 3/8 ounce All Terrain jig AT Craw with a Zoom green pumpkin speed craw. The pockets up the river are producing some good fish but it changes daily up there.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .69 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. There is a fair bite at daylight but no top water. Run main lake humps and points with small finesse green worms on a Texas rig and small Bitsey Bug jigs in browns and greens. Most of the bass will be spots so downsizing is critical. Fish these baits on rocks and sea walls near the dam. Faster moving baits will be slow until the sun pops out. Then go to the Rapala DT6 in shad and greens. The Zoom Super Fluke Jr. in pearl on a small #1 Mustad offset style hook on 10 Sufix Elite clear line skipped or fished around docks is fair in clear water. A pearl Zoom Fat Albert is an easy alternative and fish this bait on a 1/8-ounce lead head jig. The Otts Garage OG8 in crawfish is a great fall color for bass all day. Fish in and over brush and rocky ledges, points, and humps. Watch the Lowrance for any fish on the bottom so zoom in with the Lowrance Fish reveal to see them and get a small spoon or a drop shot and finesse worm on them. Work the baits with a slower than normal action.
(Fishing report courtesy of Kyle Rempe, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Trout (courtesy of Jeff Durniak, Angler Management; report via Unicoi Outfitters): So some GA fish have now hit our DH waters. Soon those stockers will learn hard lessons through sore-lipping and they’ll smarten up. They will be much more hesitant to strike your flies, just like all wild trout and the more experienced NC DH stockers.
To help those of you still fairly new to the trouting game, I’ve shared my 13-step recipe for success via the drag-free drift (DFD). Check out that “recipe to trout nirvana” in the brand new, November edition of the Angler Magazine.
Good luck as our fall trout soon select real (or realistic) bugs drifting naturally in the current. Bring a good DFD game to these watery stadiums and you’ll score well! Call or come by either UO store if we can coach you up a bit more.
Trout – Try a Delayed Harvest Stream (courtesy of David Hulsey, Hulsey Fly Fishing): Gone are the sweltering sunny days of summer along with yellow jackets and snakes. Tubers and kayakers are pretty much absent so having to answer the question “are you catching anything?’’ every five minutes or so is not to be heard again until next summer. Only a few hatches are coming off such as big October Caddis, Blue Winged Olives and a few Midges. Sporadic at best, these emergences can provide some short-lived entertainment for the dry fly fisher. The days of dredging are here and that’s cool too. Nymph and streamer fishing will reign until about April then the spring surface playground will begin again. Some of the better places to get numbers of trout to the net in the fall and winter are the delayed harvest streams in North Georgia and Western North Carolina. Great numbers of fish are stocked and with the catch and release regulations, the trout will survive for several months.
The Upper Toccoa River delayed harvest near Blue Ridge Georgia starts November 1st and runs until May 15th. The river is large here and provides some nice big holes and runs to fish for the careful wader. If the water flow is around 300 cfs you can wade pretty well but anything over that you better be watching your step or floating. The section here is about a mile and a half long and very beautiful. General purpose nymphs and wooly buggers will usually keep you busy. Trout Spey is great here too and the long rod opens up a whole new world for fly fishers not wanting to risk a watery fate by wading heavy current. We do introductory classes, spey classes, guided wade trips and float trips here.
Lake Burton Bass (courtesy of Tyler Clore, Georgia Cast & Blast; via Georgia Outdoor News): Now that the turnover is finished, fishing has been good. Early in the morning, we have been catching bass on topwater off points with a Hellraizer. I have also had a lot of fish come off the white Juice Herring. We have been consistently catching fish on a white SuperFish swimbait head paired with a Keitech 3-inch swimbait. As the day goes on, move to the deeper brush and drop shot a morning-dawn Roboworm.
Lake Burton Trout (courtesy of Tyler Clore, Georgia Cast & Blast; via Georgia Outdoor News): We have managed a few big trout in the channel and around the dam first thing in the morning off live blueback herring. The smaller trout should show up this month, and you can catch them on a Rapala Countdown. Also starting in November, Georgia Power has scheduled to start dropping the lake. Be careful navigating around the points and humps that are not marked. This is also a good time to use your electronics to scan the lake and find these shallow humps that hold fish when the lake is at full pool.
Lake Blue Ridge Bass: (courtesy of guide Eric Crowley, Lake and Stream Guide Service; via Georgia Outdoor News): There’s been a good topwater bass bite first thing in the morning. Zara Spooks and chrome spoons are my go-to baits for this. If they won’t chase the Spook, throw the spoon and just let it fall on a slack line.
Lake Blue Ridge Bass (courtesy of Eric Welch, Welch’s Guide Service; via Georgia Outdoor News): Fishing has been good. The lake is down near winter pool. We’ve had our first couple weeks of cold weather with some nights down around 27 degrees, so we’ve not been seeing much topwater action. But make sure you keep a topwater lure tied on just in case you see some start breaking throughout the day as it warms up. I’ve been using my Garmin Livescope to find fish hanging out around deeper brush and long points. Then I will use a drop shot with a 6.5-inch Roboworm, a 3.5-inch tube and a Strike King 2.75-inch Rage Swimmer swimbait. Once the water temps get in the mid 50s, I will scale down to using a 4.5-inch Roboworm on my drop shot. I normally start my mornings out fishing the main body of the lake, and by midday, I will start working my way up the river fishing the rocky bluff banks. Good luck.
Lake Blue Ridge Perch (courtesy of guide Eric Crowley, Lake and Stream Guide Service; via Georgia Outdoor News): The yellow perch bite will also peak this month. Look for big schools of the yellow-and-black-barred beauties to congregate on grassbeds in 15 to 30 feet of water. Little spoons are the fastest way to catch them, and minnows on a jig head is another great alternative if they won’t eat the spoons. We only keep the bigger fish, letting the smaller ones go, and sometimes you have to weed through the little ones to find quality fish. Fish in the 12- to 16-foot range is what we are after this month. Please remember the lake is at winter pool (minus 18 feet), and there are no public docks that are usable this time of year. Watch for shallow-water hazards and stay warm. We will see you on the water.
Lake Blue Ridge Walleye (courtesy of guide Eric Crowley, Lake and Stream Guide Service; via Georgia Outdoor News): It’s my favorite time of year to run and gun looking for hungry fish pinned to the bottom. Vertical presentations fished right in their face is the go-to. Spoons, jigs and blade baits in all sizes are the ammo for this hunt. It’s a fast-paced reaction bite that’s hard to beat. If you like to jig and cover water, this is the time to do it. Look for fish anywhere from 25 to 75 deep typically in the river bends, near the islands or in the mouth of the river where it enters the main lake. Color choices will change day to day, and you should have a vast selection. Chrome, yellow, purple, orange and gold are all great options.
Lake Chatuge Bass: (courtesy of Eric Welch, Welch’s Guide Service; via Georgia Outdoor News): 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 also 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. 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 are able to keep contact and follow the baitfish after they have gone down. Good luck.
Lake Hartwell Bass: (courtesy of Matt Justice; via Georgia Outdoor News): Fishing has been good. Fish and baitfish are both on the move. Bluebacks and threadfin are both moving into drains and creeks looking for more oxygen. I’ve been fishing football jigs and finesse worms on points and drop-offs in and around drains in 20 to 50 feet of water. Fishing shallow can be great this time of year. Throw a crankbait around rocks and points in creeks. Some schooling action is still going on, and fish are being caught throwing lipless crankbaits.
Hartwell Bass (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant): Bass fishing is good. Many bass are moving in the cooler water temperatures. They are beginning to feed up on the baitfish as they move back into the creeks. This time of year it is critical to find the baitfish. Look for them on the surface and on the Lowrance electronics. Once fish and bait are found use a variety of baits. Start out throwing top water and crankbaits to catch bigger aggressive fish shallow. The baitfish and bass move around a lot this time of year. Use the Lowrance structure Scan electronics to hit different areas and find a group of active fish. Don’t stop the boat until the fish show up on this technology. The offshore top water bite can be good all day and sometimes it will be the only bait to throw. If the fish are not schooling fish the humps and points in the brush anywhere from 15 to 30 feet deep. The best presentation for fishing around brush is the drop shot or jig worked slowly along the bottom. Later in the month the bait and bass should really begin to stack up in the creeks or ditches and the jigging spoon will be hard to beat for catching numbers of bass.
Lake Lanier Bass: (courtesy of Captain Mack, Captain Mack’s): Bass Fishing has been ok, inconsistency has been an issue with the fish moving quite a bite and using a variety of depths. We have fish shallow, some fish very shallow early, and some fish still holed up around the deeper brush. So, here are some options that I hope will help you out on your next outing.
If there is an overall best bait, I think it is the worm on the shakey. Mainly because of the versatility it offers. This combo will work on almost any type of structure, so use accordingly. Worms cast to the rocks, in the brush, blowdowns and humps will produce well. Docks also remain a stable pattern, it just becomes a numbers game to get the bites. Keep moving, be aware of any conditions you notice with each fish you catch. Hopefully you will be able try to establish a pattern/bait for the day. A great starting point is to target docks mid-way in the creeks in 15 to 25 feet, with the preferred depth being shallower in the upper part of the lake. The Roboworm Fat worms on the shakey head will do well on the docks, jigs are also and excellent choice. The same two baits in 20 to 30 foot brush or on steeper rock areas will also be a good technique.
Top water fishing is hit or miss but is a viable technique. Small popper type baits over shallow structures can be very effective. Prop baits, the Rapala X-Rap or, let’s go old school here, the Devils Horse, can also be very productive. Slowing the prop baits down, long pauses between pops, will often encourage the bite. Cast them over shallow brush or around the blow downs and other visible structures. Schooling fish are showing up, somewhat randomly, but if you can get to them and make a good cast a popper type bait or a Magic Swimmer should get the bite.
There are some nice fish roaming shallow water, mostly rocky areas but some fish on humps and points as well. Crank baits over 8 to 15 foot rocks, maybe even up in 3 to 8 feet in low light conditions, will catch a few. Small Plastic swim baits like the 3” Prodigy or Keitechs will also produce well. A little wind, which appears to be no problem for the next couple of days, should really enhance the shallow water patterns!
Lanier Striper (courtesy of “Academy Jack” Becker): Good Striper fishing near Port Royal Marina for the past 2 weeks and warm, sunny weather with low winds found me back on the water in the late afternoon one day this week. I fished live bait again, weightless with 20 feet of line behind planner boards & redi-floats. Water temperature was 67 degrees.
I followed schools of Threadfin Shad and caught several Spots but no Stripers. Things can change quickly and when a small school of Stripers chased bait to the surface, I was lucky enough to be within casting distance and this one smashed a Yozuri 3DB topwater bait. 5 minutes later a wolfpack of spots surfaced and this larger Spot liked the same lure. Fall is definitely my favorite time of year on Lanier. Find the bait before you start fishing & you will find fish. Good luck.
Lanier Striper (courtesy of Captain Mack, Captain Mack’s): Striper fishing has been pretty good, with a couple of patterns producing well. The lower end is fishing differently than the upper end, so plan accordingly. Mid to upper parts of the lake, in either river arm, may yield bigger numbers, but smaller fish? The lower end is producing some very nice fish, but not great numbers. So. if you are on the lower end, the open water free line/planer bite has been consistent and has accounted for some very nice sized fish! Smaller baits are still a key part of the pattern, with medium Shiners being very productive baits. Herring and small Trout are also effective, keep a mix in the Spread to maximize the bite. Pulling the spread between .75 to 1 mph seems to be a good speed. Adding a split shot may be a plus on the free lines if it is windy. Target areas where the major creeks meet the river, over the creek channels, or over the river channel. If you see single surfacing fish anywhere, even just a few, that is a good place to fish!
If you are fishing the mid or upper lake, free lines will have applications, but the bite in those areas has been more of a down line bite. Herring, Shiners and Trout are all good baits, and keep a pitch bait or free line in the spread to target any fish that may be up roaming around in the water column. Look for the fish in the creeks and coves around the bait concentrations. Flats adjacent to the channels are also likely areas.
After hours fishing has been very good! The current water temperature is very conducive to this pattern. The upper 60’s, we are at 67 now, is cool enough to bring the bigger fish into the shallow water, offering a chance to catch numbers and larger fish. I think this bite will continue for some time, and may peak out as we approach the Full Moon on Nov. 8th. Bombers cast to saddles and shallow points should get the bite, expect the fish to be anywhere from 2 to 10 feet. Dock lights are also holding fish, so if you are around a good light run by and make a couple cast. Switch the baits over to a small buck tail, fluke, or swim bait to get the attention of fish cruising the lights.
Weiss Lake Bass: (courtesy of Mark Collins, Mark Collins Guide Service): Bass fishing is Good, and they are still on the creek and river channel ledges. deep running crank baits and Carolina rigs are catching fish. A lot of Bass are starting to move shallow on secondary points.
Weiss Bass (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant): This winter starts the 3 foot winter draw down, instead of 6 feet. It has really changed the fall fishing, because the fish have a lot more water to be in and they are really scattered. Bass fishing is good. The fish are still on the creek and river channel ledges. Use deep running crank baits and Carolina rigs are catching fish. A lot of Bass are starting to move shallow on secondary points.
Weiss Lake Crappie (courtesy of Mark Collins, Mark Collins Guide Service): Crappie fishing is fair, they are moving to the Coosa river channel 14-20 feet deep and can be caught spider rigging with minnows and Jiffy Jigs. Some Crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs.
Weiss Crappie (courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant): Crappie fishing is fair and they are moving to the Coosa River channel 14 to 20 feet deep, and can be caught spider rigging with minnows and Jiffy Jigs, Some Crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs.
West Point Lake Bass (courtesy of Keith Hudson, Keith Hudson’s Lake West Point Guide Service): Largemouth are being caught on several different fall patterns. Top water baits such as Pop R’s, Zara Spooks and Buzz Baits can be extremely effective for shallow and aggressive fish, especially around bream beds. A second pattern that works really well is to look for shad and blueback herring in the backs of pockets. (The herring population seems to have exploded this year. So, I would expect many of the tactics that Lanier anglers use to catch open water fish to really come into play over the next couple years. Try fishing rip rap around bridges with spinnerbaits, small crankbaits, and Zoom Superflukes. Additionally, some big tournament sacks of Largemouth are still being weighed in by guys who sight fish, targeting fish that are visible. This can be an aggravating way to fish but can pay off in a tournament win. Try an unweighted Merthiolate Zoom Trick worm or an unweighted ZLINKY. One other pattern is to look for fresh blowdowns with the leaves still on them. Try a jerkbait or Zoom super fluke worked around the outer limbs. Lots of spotted bass are caught by casting Spot Remover heads loaded with ultra vibe speed craws or just dragging a Carolina-rigged Zoom finesse worm or mini lizard around sloping gravel banks or around the many shoal marker poles scattered around the lake.
West Point Catfish (courtesy of Keith Hudson, Keith Hudson’s Lake West Point Guide Service): Lots of channel cat are being caught by the few anglers that target them. Live and cut baits (and worms of course) fished on bottom will catch cats all over the lake, as long as fairly deep water is nearby. Jug Fishing is also fun & productive. To target flatheads, go to a larger bait like a 4-5 inch bream or large shiner and fish the same areas. Be sure to increase the size of your rigs as fish in the 20-30-lb. range are fairly common. Most of the big flatheads are caught in the Ringer / Grayson’s Landing area north of the 219 bridge in the Chattahoochee and the mouth of the smaller feeder creeks in that vicinity.
West Point Striper (courtesy of Keith Hudson, Keith Hudson’s Lake West Point Guide Service): Expect the fall down-line bite on live bait to be awesome! Some fish have started schooling on the main lake and can be caught on small crankbaits, topwaters, Pop n Cork rigs and Gotcha Swim Shad lures. Also, fish can be caught trolling.