When you think of fishing, what image pops in your mind? Is it a peaceful, tranquil setting as seen here in this shot of Willow Lake at McDuffie Public Fishing Area? Or it is your grandchild’s excited face as they reeled in their first catch? Whatever comes to mind, we sure are thankful when you share those stories and photos with us!
NEWS TO KNOW:
- Nothing Fishy About It – It’s Art! The Fish Art Contest is now Open. Find out how your child can participate HERE.
- DNR Career Academy Accepting Applications: Georgia DNR invites high school students to a week-long summer camp where students will have the opportunity to explore future career options, receive training and education, and make connections with current DNR employees. Application period ends Nov. 30. Find out more HERE.
This week, we have fishing reports from North, Central, Southeast and Southwest Georgia. If you get out there this weekend, be sure to pause and create a visual reminder that will make you smile as you Go Fish Georgia.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jim Hakala, Region Supervisor and Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Lake Chatuge (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Hunter Roop): Gainesville WRD staffers conducted gillnet surveys on Lake Chatuge last week, and we were very impressed by the sheer numbers of quality spotted bass, hardy hybrids, and a historic population of up-and-coming walleye. Catches were consistent throughout the lake, though a few patterns were detected. Hybrids tended to concentrate around long tapering points and secondary points, while the walleye numbers tended to improve in size and quantity at our stations with slightly more depth, so fishing near the state line and towards the dam may increase your chances of success. Spotted bass were found in high numbers throughout the lake, and several spots exceeding 4 lb were documented. For more information on fishing techniques and targets for these species on Chatuge, check out the Chatuge fishing forecast and get after ‘em!
Lake Nottely (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Hunter Roop): Since we were in the area, Gainesville staffers also surveyed Lake Nottely last week. The big news of the week didn’t come from our gillnets, but rather from angler Kyle Frantz who caught a 9+ lb bucketmouth on a live gizzard shad. Kyle and his son will likely never forget the joy and surprise of landing this impressive fish. From our field surveys, we produced several quality spotted bass, some slab crappie, and a handful of 10+ lb stripers; however, most of the stripers we weighed and measured were from recently stocked year classes, so we expect striper fishing to continue to produce on Nottely in the coming years. You can also view Nottely’s fishing forecast for more information on fishing opportunities on this TVA reservoir.
Lake Hartwell Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing is good. Quality size bass have moved into the pockets following the movement of bait fish. Focus your fishing in the pockets rather than the main lake. Long deep pockets may be most productive. A green jig and craw combo is ideal for targeting larger fish. Probe docks, brush, and other structure and then work the pockets. Texas rigged Finesse worms are also good for a bite and crankbaits should certainly be tried. A Bandit 200 and a Rapala #7 Shad Rap are good choices. Spinner baits and a small shad crank bait are good choices early and late. Use a white spinner bait on sea walls around shallow cover. Work the crank through wood, rocks, and around the docks. Always take the opportunity to work the wood cover and docks more thoroughly with the plastic and jig. Fish the shaky rig for all around plastic fishing, but Texas rigged baits are preferable for working brushy cover. Finesse worms and crawfish patterns have been working on shallower rock, dock, and wood structure. Trick worms in watermelon seed will work on the shaky head. Throw the plastic baits and jigs into the wood cover and let it soak a while before working it up and out through the tree limbs. Shad are primary forage for good numbers of schooling bass. Look for seasonal congregations of bait in the deep pockets. Target the feeding bass with a crank bait and vertical presentations such as a spoon or plastic on a drop shot rig.
Lake Lanier Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770-366-8845 via www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is getting better. It seems that the turnover is about over, and the water temperature is hovering in the upper sixties. The lake has continued to drop so be careful around the reef poles and long points. The bass are beginning the fall pattern, but it is a day-to-day thing on catching them. It seems the cloudy windy days are producing better than the sunny days. Wind has been a major helper on any day so use it to you advantage. There are scattered schooling fish all through the creeks. Most often it is one or two fish and they are only up for a minute. A Spotchoker or the swimbaits are great for these fish, but you have to get a cast on them quick as they are up and gone. Use your Panoptic to find balls of shad with fish near them and then throw the Spotchoker with a Kietech at them. Count the Spotchoker down to the level of the fish and slowly reel it back maintaining the correct depth. If the fish are not active on the moving baits, go to the old standby green pumpkin trick worm on a shakey head. The best areas have been secondary rocky points back in the creeks. Docks in the ten-to-fifteen-foot range have been producing fish also. If there is deep water nearby it is even better for the docks. Right now, you need to be flexible with your fishing to catch the bass. Don’t be locked into a particular bait or area. They are starting to bite so “go catch-em”!
Lake Lanier Crappie Report: (This report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton, 770-530-6493 via www.southernfishing.com): The water temperature is 66 and the fish are getting big! We have seen 4 black crappie over 2-pounds in the last 3 days – for our lake that is rare. Crappie are suspended 12-20 feet but can still be found on 30-foot-deep brush. Structure, blow downs, and brush piles are producing well but docks are producing the biggest numbers. If you are using jigs, I would try bright colors in clear water and dark colors after the rain. I am setting minnows 15 to 20 feet deep most of the time just above the suspended fish. This week 90% of my 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. We use ATX lure company’s jigs on 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 Kk9 6-pound high vis line k9fishing.com and a Acc crappie Stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and the Navionics Boating app.
Lake Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing is fair with the water level on the decline. As the lake falls, the fish have to relocate, and this is when Lowrance Structure Scan technology can make hunting the bass easier. This month fish are feeding and there will be good bit of schooling activity. This is a great time to throw a jerk bait. Use the Spro McStick in both the small and large sizes. It may take the lake a few days to stabilize, but fishing will get better. The crankbait is probably the number one bite of choice. The Otts garage crank bait in crawfish colors, oranges and yellows are the colors of choice. Bites ranging from 3 to 12 foot deep have been good. Bait like the Spro Rock crawler and striking three XT. The jig bite is also good. Brown and black and blue have been good. Also. the Weedless Wonder head and Zoom finesse style worms has been working all day. Target windblown rocky banks in creeks off the main lake with a McStick jerk bait. Fish a jig and a Picasso shaky head with a Big Bite green pumpkin finesse worm. There are still a good many fish on bluff walls. Most of these fish will remain there all year long. So, if fishing gets slow, try these areas. Don’t forget to try the early morning all white buzz bait bite along the same bluff walls.
Lake Allatoona Crappie (This report courtesy of the “Crappieman”, Jeff Albright): Water temps. are getting right (55-58F) and the trolling bite is definitely picking up. This week’s cooler temps are going to make it even better. On our last outing we caught 24, with 17 nice keepers, trolling Red Rooster Jigs at 0.8 to 1.2 mph. Our best colors were the “Albright Special” (blue body orange tail ) and “Sasquatch” (black body orange tail). Look for fish in the 15-25 ft depth range. Once you find them, you’ll need to stay with them as they are not staying in one place for long.
Lake Allatoona Linesides (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Jackson Sibley): WRD staff recently completed the annual fall fish survey of Lake Allatoona. They noted that white, striped, and hybrid striped bass numbers were best from Bethany Bridge “upstream” to the mouth of Little River. As expected, hybrid striped bass and white bass dominated the sample, and included this nice 5.5 pound hyrbid striped bass. However, good number of young striped bass up to 6 lbs were observed, which suggests strong survival from recent year’s fingerling striped bass stocking efforts. The key to targeting Allatoona’s linesides is locating their primary prey, shad. Find the shad and the “white fish” will likely be nearby. Live shad or shiners fished on free-lines or down lines near these bait concentrations should elicit strikes.
Lake Weiss Mixed Bag Report: (This report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service and www.southernfishing.com): 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: Bass fishing is good. 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.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair, and they are moving to the Coosa river channel 14-20 feet deep. They can be caught spider rigging with minnows and Jiffy Jigs. Some crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs.
- Striped Bass: Striper fishing is poor, with no reports in the last few weeks.
- Catfish: Catfish are biting good in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water and cut bait is working best.
West Point Lake Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) Bass fishing is fair. Spotted bass have been biting well lake wide and depth dependent on water clarity. The north end has a little more stain with the clearest water being on the southern end. Largemouth have been scattered, which is unusual this time of year. A little rain fall should pull the larger fish up and hold on wood. The best pattern has been on shallow wood in three to five feet of water in the pockets. Cooler temperatures and low water conditions have concentrated fish on just about any shoreline cover available. On windy days use a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait in a chartreuse and white color with double willow leaf blades gold and silver combination. On days when there is less wind use shallow diving crankbaits and top water poppers in shad patterns. With these baits cover a lot of water so be prepared to stay on the trolling motor. Some good fish have been caught on buzz baits and other top water lures early in the morning. Later in the day deep diving crankbaits are working well on the humps and roadbeds. Spotted Bass are holding on the humps and roadbeds. The best pockets have been from the railroad trestle to the 219 Bridge. Use a 3/8-ounce All Terrain AT jig in black/blue with a Zoom Chunz. Also use the shaky head with a Z Man floating worm in green pumpkin. On cloudy days with an approaching front us a 3/8-ounce white buzz bait in the same areas.
SMALL IMPOUNDMENT REPORT
Queen City Lake (Report courtesy of fisheries technician Richard Childers): Got out bass fishing on Queen City Lake (City of LaFayette) on Sunday. Was catching them on spinnerbaits and rooster tails. The bass were really tucked up on the banks and brush on the north end of the lake. Even picked up a channel catfish in the mix.
GON-tel: Preferences – Check out Clouser Color Preference.
Wild Trout (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist John Damer): Last Monday (11/7), I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to hit a couple wild trout streams deep in the National Forest near Suches, GA. I started by fishing a long, slow pool right by the trailhead. I saw one large brown plus a couple smaller fish, but none were interested in my size-14 tan caddis on 4x. I decided to let these fish rest and come back to them later with a better plan of attack, so I headed up a nearby stream to chase brookies for a bit. Once I got above the barrier falls, I found lots of small specks ready to hit my caddis. Most of them were tiny and were too small to get the fly in their mouth but I did land 7-8 of these little jewels. I saw and missed a few bigger (8-9”) brookies as well, but they were all camera shy. I saw no active spawning but did see a couple redds. After a few hours, I returned to the first pool where I started. I extended my leader with a long piece of 5x and switched to size 16 black foam beetle. The big brown had shifted upstream a bit and toward an undercut bank. My first cast landed a foot behind him, but he turned toward me, and I watched as his big mouth chomped down on my little fly. With a little patience to wait for his mouth to fully close, I set the hook and my 2-weight doubled over. After a short fight, I had the fish to hand. A beautiful, wild 14-inch brown, which is probably one of the largest wild trout I’ve landed from a small stream in GA. After releasing the fish, I continued upstream for a little bit, and I saw 5-6 other big browns in the 13-15” range. None of them were eager to eat though, as they probably had only love on their minds! Two of these fish (territorial males) battled each other in circles literally at my boots as a I crouched down motionless. Overall, a very memorable day.
Lanier Tailwater (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Hunter Roop): The trout are aggressively feeding on the tailwater this fall as wild brown trout in this river are preparing for their annual spawning ritual. River Through Atlanta’s Chris Scalley reports excellent “low and clear” fishing conditions on the lower tailwater from Jones Bridge to Island Ford (pictured). He and his clients hooked up and doubled up at times this week with a three-tiered offering of flies that effectively fishes the hatch, risers, and dredgers. For example, a Caddis or Parachute Adams dead-drifted over a wooly, shakey, or zebra midge can double or triple your chance for success. On the upper tailwater, visibility is lower as lake turnover is yet to complete its course, so you can get away with larger tippet and gaudier flies like a Kreelex Minnow or hardware such as a rainbow trout-patterned Rapala countdown in size 8 or 10. The river is expected to return to gin-clear conditions next month, so take advantage of the natural cover while it lasts!
“A Weighty Matter” (Courtesy of Jeff “Dredger” of Unicoi Outfitters) — Winter trouting is often a weighty matter, so sink your bugs for chilled, slow-moving trout. As water temps cool down for the season, we will need to get down to those trout and not fish way over their heads.
The effectiveness of our deep presentations depends on current velocity and depth. Right now, our streams are still skinny, so we don’t need as much weight in our flies or on our tippet to bottom bounce. That will soon change, however, with the seasonal showers to come, such as today’s rain. Are you ready?
Here are a few great references to help you match your weighting to waters fished. We have linked today’s blog post in our bio. Our post will have all the links to these fine info sources.
- First is a great menu by Dom Swentosky, who covers seven ways to sink your bugs. Check out the video in that article. And if you haven’t subscribed yet to his Troutbitten website, you should!
- Second is a nice split shot how-to by Orvis expert Tom Rosenbauer. He’s no fan of shot but admits that sometimes they are the key to success. Enjoy the short video, courtesy of midcurrent.com.
- Third is more from Dom on shot. As he says with his system, “save time; catch more fish.” Like him, I’ve been using a puck or small ziplock bag for my shot for years.
- Fourth is our PA friend George’s recent tips on strike putty. Check it out HERE.
- Last is my cure for SSA, which stands for split shot aversion. If I had to pick one trinket to hang from my vest, it would a scissor-pliers tool. Buy it and try it to make those split shot much easier to attach AND detach! My article is in the July 2021 issue of The Angler Magazine.
Sink your bugs in cold water and catch more trout. Hopefully these tips will help you accomplish that mission. They’ve worked for us and will work for y’all, too, once your perfect your drag-free drifts. Good luck!
Chattahoochee DH Bucket Brigade (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Hunter Roop): Happy holidays to all of Atlanta’s DH trouters! WRD is excited to resume trout stockings in the Chattahoochee River this year, BUT we need the assistance of our WRD volunteers to help stock trout in the Chattahoochee River just in time for Thanksgiving! Our first delayed harvest bucket stocking will take place at Whitewater Creek (East Palisades; directions here!) on the Chattahoochee River on Tuesday, November 22nd at 11:00 AM. The stocking truck should be arriving between 10:30 AM and 11:00 AM, and volunteers should bring a 5-gallon bucket, waders, and a signed copy of the liability and photo waiver for all adults and kids participating. These events are great for kids to have a chance to help get trout in the water and even catch a few once all the fish are stocked. What better way to burn some extra calories before that big Turkey Day feast, right? We look forward to seeing you all on the 22nd and we welcome all to attend. If anyone has questions, please contact our Wildlife Resources Division’s Gainesville region office at 770-535-5498.
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.
What did I catch? With well over 300 fish species (mostly freshwater) calling Georgia “home”, it can sometimes be tough to identify your catch. Is it a green sunfish or a warmouth? What kind of minnow is this? The next time you find yourself in such a situation, check out the “Fishes of Georgia” website. The site’s color photos and state range maps may just help you figure out what you’ve caught!
Georgia Bass Slam! Do you have what it takes to complete a Georgia Bass Slam in 2022? The idea behind the Georgia Bass Slam is to recognize anglers with the knowledge and skill to catch five (5) different species of black bass in a variety of habitats across the state, and to stimulate interest in the conservation and management of black bass and their habitats. North Georgia anglers have a great opportunity to complete a slam, as seven of Georgia’s ten program eligible bass species can be caught in various waters from Atlanta north. Give it a shot and maybe you too will make the distinguished list of successful “slammers” in 2022!
(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.
MCDUFFIE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Temperature: Temps < 62 degrees and falling
- Water Visibility: 25+ inches
- McDuffie PFA Fishing Guide
Largemouth Bass: Bass fishing remains challenging. Reduced water levels and increased visibility in Jones and Willow makes finding structures and fish easier. Recent stockings for bass were made to Beaver Lodge and Bream Buster. All ponds have healthy threadfin populations, so shad look-alike lures are solid choices.
Bream: The bream bite has stayed consistent. Successful anglers are still using crickets, worms, and black soldier fly larvae. Anglers are having success from the docks of Clubhouse, Bream Buster, and Jones lakes. Recent stockings to Bream Buster will help turn on the bite!
Channel Catfish: The catfish bite has remained steady. The fish are biting on the usual stink baits and worms. Recent stockings to Jones and the more than 2,000 catchable catfish stocked to Bridge will help turn on the bite for the next few weeks.
Striped Bass: Stripers are starting to bite! As opposed to large reservoir stripers, our fish prefer livers sunk in deep water.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. When water is moving, bass are up on main lake structure and the spots can be caught by cranking down with a deep diving crankbait, dragging a Carolina rig or vertical jigging with a shaky head or drop shot. Rocky points with brush piles, the reef markers around the dam, or vertical structure like bridge pilings can all be good. Try picking off a few fish with the Rapala OG7 shad and crawfish crankbaits. Find the structure, and now slow down and pick apart the structure with Zoom finesse worm rigs in the same area. Watermelon by Zoon baits are always a good color, as well as red bug; these colors seem to be Russell staples. Always have a pearl Zoom Super Fluke rigged weightless all year.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.6 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. A top water bite is occurring early along with a decent spinner bait bite. The main lake points are still getting a lot of attention at this lake. The best bite is coming off the #7 Shad Rap in and around these areas. The key will be to fish a point or drop off thoroughly before moving on to the next location. Try a variety of baits before moving on to another location. Long points are still the best bet. Good baits to pack before heading out include the 3/8-ounce Strike King spinner bait in white or chartreuse, the DT7 Shad Rapala as well as the olive green or glass ghost for the early morning feed. And use a jig or Carolina rig on the submerged wood, treetops, or stumps. There are some good bass being caught off various forms of wood especially low to up lake. This month fish are feeding and there will be a good bit of schooling activity. As the water temperatures cool into the 60s and possibly toward the 50s by the end of the month, this is a great time to throw the jerk bait. Use the Spro McStick in both the small and large sizes.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, CLEAR 60’S (This Lake Oconee fishing report is by Captain Mark Smith, Reel time Guide Service 404-803-0741) —
Bass: Bass fishing is fair. Start your day with a buzz bait fished along sea walls and rip rap. This bite will last for the first two hours of daylight. When the sun gets up switch to a small crank bait and fish it along sea walls and docks. If Georgia Power is pulling water move to the main lake points and fish the same crank baits. The lake is very clear so match your bait color to the lake color.
Stripers/Hybrids: Stripers/Hybrids fishing is fair. Lots of small fish can be caught all over the lake around big schools of bait. Spoons have been very effective. Some fish are coming on live bait. Down lines have been the best way to put fish in the boat. Flat lines have been producing the larger fish.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. Live bait fish in the treetops will produce. Also, the trolling bite is picking up every day.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.7 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Some top water baits continue to produce a few bites on most mornings and during low light conditions. Buzz baits op to ½ ounce in black, chartreuse, or white have been producing well. Other lures like Pop R’s, Chug Bug’s, and Torpedo’s have also enticed a few bites. Most active fish are now located in coves and creeks where they’ve followed large numbers of shad. For the last few days, soft plastics and jigs have been the most successful baits, with crank baits and spinner baits catching a few fish. Try a Zoom U Tale worm in green pumpkin, red bug, or June bug, with a 1/8-ounce weight rigged Texas style on 12 to 15-pound line. Cast these baits right on bank or sea wall and slowly retrieve it a short distance before reeling in and casting again. A 3/8-ounce jig with a Zoom Super Chunk will work too. Fish the stumps, blow downs, brush, and docks. Later in the day use a short leader Carolina rig. Crank baits like Shad Raps, Thunder Shads and Bandits can catch fish also. Fish a spinner bait especially around wood cover and during early morning. Rip rap along the Little River channel continues to yield a few fish, mainly during power generation. Various crank baits will produce a few bites when the fish are active.
LAKE JACKSON IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. Quality size bass have moved into the pockets following the movement of bait fish. Fish in the pockets, rather than the main lake. Long deep pockets may be most productive. We have been through a full moon phase and the bite after dark has been good, particularly for larger bass. A green jig/craw combo is ideal for targeting larger fish. Probe docks, brush, and other structure so work the pockets. Texas rigged Finesse worms are also good for a bite and crankbaits should certainly be tried. A Bandit 200 and a #7 Shad Rap are good choices. Spinner baits and a small shad crank bait are good choices early and late. Use a white buzz bait on sea walls around shallow cover. Work the crank through wood, rocks, and around the docks. Always take the opportunity to work the wood cover and docks more thoroughly with a plastic and jig. Fish the shaky rig for all around plastic fishing, but Texas rigged baits are preferable for working brushy cover. Finesse worms and crawfish patterns have been working on shallower rock, dock, and wood structure. Trick worms in watermelon seed will work on the shaky head. Throw the plastic baits and jigs into the wood cover and let it soak a while before working it up and out through the tree limbs. Shad are primary forage for good numbers of schooling bass. Look for seasonal congregations of bait in the deep pockets. Target the feeding bass with a crank bait and vertical presentations such as a spoon or plastic on a drop shot rig.
(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 storm brought the rivers up some, but they are still fishable. We have had incessantly high winds on the coast, and that is forecasted to continue this weekend. Ponds and lakes have provided the most consistent fishing this week, but saltwater was good mid-week.
River gages on November 17th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 4.1 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 3.5 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 3.7 feet and rising
- Waycross on the Satilla – 7.4 feet and falling
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.6 feet and rising
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 3.4 feet and falling
The rivers rose some after the rains from Tropical Storm Nicole and the front a few days before the storm, but they are both still fishable. A Fitzgerald angler and a friend fished on Saturday on the lower Ocmulgee and caught 53 bass up to 6 pounds. Worms were the ticket, and the best color seemed to lean toward junebug more than green pumpkin, but they caught them on both. On Sunday, they fished a little upstream of where they fished Saturday and caught 42 bass that day. Again, Texas-rigged worms (mostly green pumpkin and junebug) were tops. They didn’t have any bass over 5 pounds on Sunday. Blake Edwards and a friend fished the lower Ocmulgee on Saturday and caught bass, bowfin, and a big pickerel. Their first bass of the day was their biggest – a 4-lb., 3-oz. long, skinny fish. They caught a total of 11 bass – almost all on junebug Keitech Mad Wag worms. They had a 20-inch pickerel nail a sexy shad River Rat Spinnerbait, and several bowfin up to 6-lb., 12-oz. ate a fire tiger-chartreuse blade Dura-Spin. The green color of the water is gone, but the water is still very fishable. Getting around is a lot easier now than it was a couple of weeks ago.
A Waycross angler fished the west side on Tuesday morning in the cloudy weather before the front and caught some fliers, pickerel, and bowfin. He pitched pink sallies under a float for the first hour and caught 10 fliers up to 8 inches. He fished a few more hours and caught 9 bowfin and 2 chain pickerel on Dura-Spins. The biggest jackfish was 21 inches and biggest bowfin was 5 pounds. The best colors were jackfish (the biggest pickerel ate that one), black/chartreuse, and crawfish. Fishing reports have been slow on the east side. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.80 feet.
Blake Edwards and a friend trolled a pond for crappie for just a couple of hours Saturday evening and did really well. They pulled 2-inch Keitech swimbaits at 0.8 to 0.9 miles per hour on 1/32 and 1/16-oz. Zombie Heads and caught 38 crappie – most from 11 to 12 inches. Their best color head was chartreuse with a red zombie eye and their body color that worked best was chartreuse shad. They also caught fish on sight flash, chartreuse back pearl, electric shad, sexy shad, and morning dawn. Chad Lee fished this weekend, and his highlight was a 5-pound bass that inhaled a black-blue flake Senko.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The stiff winds hampered fishing again this past weekend, but Jay Turner beat the winds by fishing from a dock in the Savannah area. He had 8 nice keeper trout in a few hours on one short trip this weekend and then caught several slot redfish on another trip from the bank. He went again Tuesday evening from a dock and caught a bunch of nice trout. He’s been using the 1/8-oz. Zombie Heads (with Gamakatsu sickle-shaped hook) and Assassin albino ghost Sea Shads and Keitech swimbaits for his fish. Capt. Greg Hildreth (912-617-1980, georgiacharterfishing.com) had two great charters mid-week when the winds died. He caught lots of trout both Tuesday and Wednesday on live shrimp under Harper Super Striker Floats. Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) had some great trips this week, also. He said that slot redfish are everywhere – probably the best crop of smaller fish he’s ever seen. He caught them on both artificials (Keitech swimbaits, DOA shrimp, and Berkley Power Swimmers) and live shrimp under Harper Super Striker Floats. He had lots of trout mixed in, also. His biggest trout was a 22-inch gator that inhaled a DOA shrimp bounced along the bottom in 10 feet of water. About half of his trout were legal length this week, and he said that chartreuse tails on his plastics were the key for the trout. Sheepshead fishing should be great this weekend if you can get to your favorite hard cover in the forecasted stiff winds. 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 Emilia Omerberg, fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Some big fish are being caught in Lake Blackshear right now!
Striped bass usually average around 18 inched but the occasional 20 pounder is pulled out of the lake. Using a freeline or downline with a live threadfin shad should get you some bites. You can also try casting on the topwater to target feeding fish or use the tried-and-true trolling method with a white or silver jig. As far as location goes try fishing Swift Creek east of Highway 300 and at the lower end of the main reservoir.
The crappie bite is also hot on Blackshear right now. Lots of people are using their live scopes to get them on the fish but others are having good luck casting into open water instead of using rod holders. Jigs minnows and the local favorite sugar bug jigs are a great for crappie. Be sure to stop by Flint River Outdoors to weigh in your fish for a chance to win!
SILVER LAKE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Water temperatures are in the low 60’s across the area. Cool temps are sending bass into feeding mode to put on weight before the winter months. Anything with a shad or bluegill pattern are proving to be effective in deep structure. Keep looking for those big female bass in Panic Pond which is now open Saturday through Monday. Frog Pond is still boasting some big Catfish that can be caught using any smelly bait.
LAKE WALTER F. GEORGE
As the temperature continues to drop the shallow bite is going to slow down but for now it’s still a good bet! The early morning grass bite has been reliable but peters out mid-morning. Shallow ledges and secondary points are producing well with the use of a mid-range crank bait in 4 to 8 feet of water. If the crank bait does not produce use a Carolina rig in the same spot. You can also try fishing the very backs of creeks and pockets with spinner baits and a shallow crank bait. The main thing to be aware of is that any luge in a shad color or pattern is going to be your best friend.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Check out the Big Lazer PFA Fishing Guide HERE.
Bass: Fish plastic worms in deeper water and around structure to target those largemouth bass. Try fishing these baits slower than normal in the cooler waters. In the past few years, anglers have had luck with top water lures such as buzz baits. Try fishing the timber around the island for largemouth bass. Crankbaits near underwater structure may produce a bite or two, also.
Crappie: The crappie will be in deeper water this time of year. Finding crappie will still be a challenge but using minnows and brightly colored jigs may improve your chances. Try fishing standing timber for crappie.
Bream: Bream spawning is now complete, so the bream fishing is beginning to slow some. Live bait such as crickets and worms should give you the best chance to catch a nice beam. Try fishing in woody brush 5-10 ft deep under a cork. Artificial bait such as beetle spins may also be a good choice to entice a bite. Be sure to use lighter tackle while bream fishing for some added excitement.
Catfish: Catfish are pretty slow right now. Try fishing chicken liver or shrimp in deeper water near the bottom. Standing timber all over the lake may present a good opportunity to hook a channel cat. The riprap along the dam and the upper end of the lake are still a good bet, too. You may also have some success near the fishing pier in the picnic area.
Fishing on Lake Seminole continues to be fun this time of year. The crappie bite is really good right now. Captain Paul Tyre of Lake Seminole Fishing Adventures says the fish are hanging out in about 10-15 feet of water and Jigs and minnows are where its at for targeting this species. The hybrids and stripers tend to be schooling in the southern part of the lake. Anglers are reporting that these fish are on the smaller side but still putting up a nice fight. Captain Paul Tyre recommends jigs and spoons for targeting these guys. The largemouth bite continues to be hot. Lots of numbers are being caught but they are still on the smaller side (under 5 lb). We may need to wait a bit longer for these bigger fish to pick up their pace before the winter really sets in.
It’s cold out there on the water and the wind can pick up with little warning. Please be aware of your surroundings, dress appropriately, and be sure to use personal flotation devices.