Thankful. I am thankful for having family and friends – and even more thankful when they like to go fishing with me! Does your family get outdoors after the big meal and throw out a line or two?
NEWS TO KNOW:
- Stocking Catfish: Georgia DNR Fish Hatcheries are growing and stocking catfish for the catching. Check out this video of some wiggly ones from McDuffie Fish Hatchery.
FINDING FISHY INFO: Ever need to find some fishing info, but not sure where? Here are some great links from the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division website:
- Georgia Fishing Regulations HERE
- Fishing Forecasts – Find out what to target, what to use, best time of year, etc. on 31 Georgia reservoirs and 18 rivers HERE.
- Taking a kid fishing? HERE are great tips and suggestions.
- Get rewarded for fishing? We have a few programs – the Angler Award program, the Georgia Bass Slam and the State Record program.
On this abbreviated holiday week, we have fishing reports from Southeast and North Georgia. Give thanks for something with every cast you make this weekend, and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, Region Supervisor and fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
I wish you each a Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for!
There were some great catches this week for those who went. The key is catching the window when the conditions were right. Striped bass (almost all small throwbacks) have started biting in the lower rivers.
River gages on November 23rd were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 3.6 feet and falling
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 1.5 feet and steady
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 4.5 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 6.1 feet and falling
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 5.7 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 3.0 feet and falling
The clear water has been muddied by recent rains, but the rivers are still very fishable – even getting low again in some places. The more stained water will help the fish be less skittish than the ultraclear water, and you will want to use some bulkier baits to help them find them. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and fatter worms in darker colors have helped me succeed as river water gets murkier.
Very few folks went in the colder weather over the last week, but the current warmup will get the fish biting well. Matt Rouse flung a Rapala minnow in the boat basin on the east side Monday trying for a pickerel. He didn’t fool any jackfish, but a 4-pound bowfin mangled his plug. Fliers, pickerel, and bowfin are what I usually target on the east side. Sallies are what I use for fliers, while in-line spinners are my go-to for the larger fish. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.75 feet.
Michael Deen and his grandad fished the middle river on Tuesday and caught a bunch of bass. They flung white-chartreuse River Rat Spinnerbaits against main river cover for 12 bass (biggest 2 were 4.74 and 4.0 pounds) and 2 jackfish (the biggest was 2.20 pounds). You can get around decently at the current river level at most places if you really take your time.
My dad and I trolled for crappie at an area pond on Tuesday evening and did well. WRD is wishing a Happy 80th Birthday to Herb Deener! We had 37 crappie up to 1 1/4 pounds, a 3 pound bass, an 8-lb., 2-oz. bowfin, and a big bluegill. All of our fish ate 2-inch Keitech swimbaits rigged on 1/32-oz. Zombie Heads (made with a Gamakatsu sickle-shaped hook). That sickle shape keeps the fish pinned! The best color head was chartreuse with a red zombie eye, and the body colors that worked best were chartreuse shad, chartreuse back pearl, and green pumpkin magic. Chad Lee fished Alma area ponds this weekend and caught 20 fish. He had a mix of bass, crappie, bream, and even a flier. He was throwing a white plastic on a Zombie Head for his fish. The bass and crappie were fairly small, but he said the bluegills were huge.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The winds were terrible all week with small craft advisories almost all week, and the reports were almost non-existent. I did hear about an angler catching some small striped bass on Voodoo shrimp off a dock and another angler catching 5 small striped bass by pitching 3-inch chartreuse back pearl Keitechs on Zombie Heads to pilings. Another angler caught a couple dozen sheepshead on fiddler crabs fished around rocks. His biggest was about 4 pounds. Trout fishing was great before the blow and it will be good again after the big tides this weekend. 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 Jackson Sibley, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area (Report courtesy of PFA Manager Dennis Shiley and Region 1 Biologist Jackson Sibley) — The winter bass bite is heating up at Rocky PFA. Bass are beginning to suspend in deeper water and can be found tightly associated with shad schools, a pattern which will extend through the winter. Bass in the 1 to 4 lb class are likely to be grouped in schools, while the PFA’s larger fish may be a bit more solitary. Recommended presentations are jigging spoons, swimbaits, and Alabama rigs fished slow and deliberately. Keep your eyes trained to your electronics to help you locate the shad and hold on!
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. The jig bite and shaky had been best. Numbers are really good right now with 15 to 20 fish not hard to come by. Larger schools of fish have been found in 10 to 15 foot depth range. There has also been a decent spinner bait on long point. A Minnow Rap swims will reach depths up to eleven feet. Rapala X Raps in olive green on the points and over the tops of the brush piles. Look for the brush piles at 28 feet deep and find them with the Lowrance Structure Scan technology. In Little River spinner baits around the rocky islands and on the rip rap. Change colors and sizes of the baits in search for bigger bass. Pearl colored Wildeye Swim Shad is another excellent swim bait in the four inch size to use when bait fish are present. Don’t overlook that top water bite and watch the birds. Main Lake points with the wind blowing on them is always a good place to start. With the Lowrance split the screens and put sonar on one panel and down imaging on the other. This will make the down scan 4 times wider that sonar. The fish are definitely on the move and feeding up. Hopefully by the end of the month we will see a decrease in water temperatures to fire up the jerk bait bite. Red top to Iron Hill has been very productive.
Lake Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. The water temperatures are continuing to cool down with the cooler nights. Work the Tugaloo river area both north and south of the I 85 bridge. In the first part of the mornings fish the back part of the creek arms and main lake pockets shallow with a buzz bait. Most of the river arm areas are clear and have a lot of bait in them. This has continued to be key as it always is during the fall so take the time to find the bait and fish these areas thoroughly. Use the jerk bait, square bill crank bait, jig and a shaky head. As the sun gets up and slow down. Now this is the time to use the jig and shaky head worm in a green pumpkin color. Also try the Tugaloo river areas as the shallow water bite continues to get stronger with the cooler weather.
Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Phil Johnson via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. It seems that it is boom or bust right now on Lanier with some fisherman finding eighteen pound bags and other’s struggling to catch a fish. It is definitely the transition time of the year. The topwater/swimbait bite has been a hit or miss situation. There is some schooling activity but it tends to be one or two fish at a time that are up and gone very quickly. If you can get a Slickbait or Sebile on them quickly you may catch a good fish. Using your Panoptic’s to locate suspended fish around brush or on points and then using a Spotchoker with a Kietech counted down has been a productive method. The most consistent bite has been on the old reliable green pumpkin trick worm on a spot sticker. Rocky points, secondary points and around brush have been the most productive areas but be prepare to move a lot to find the hungry fish. While the numbers have been down a little the size makes up for it with several five pound plus fish being caught with it. The cold weather that has come in should really make a difference in the fishing as the water temperature drops. Look for the shad and the bass to migrate towards the backs of the creeks and pockets. Working shallow for the first hour with a quarter ounce Spotchoker or a worm can produce some very large fish. As the day moves on look for the fish on deeper docks, on the ends of long rocky points, deeper brush and in the backs of ditches. They will be in the process of moving to the winter locations so look at all your options. It should be the start of some great winter fishing so Go Catch ‘Em!
Lanier Crappie (Report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton via www.southernfishing.com) — The water temperature is 59. Crappie are suspended 15-25 can still be found on 30-40 foot deep brush. Docks with structure, deep blow downs, and brush piles are holding fish. If you are using jigs I would try bright colors in clear water and dark colors after the rain. I am setting minnows 15-20 feet deep most of the time just above the suspended fish. This week all 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 a lip thrashing lure jig heads. I use 5 pound test high visibility yellow K9 braid for my line unless I am using a bobber then it’s the Kk9 6 pound high vis line k9fishing.com and a Acc crappie Stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and the Navionics Boating app.
Lake Weiss Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service www.markcollins service.com) –
- Bass: Bass fishing is fair. Many fish seem to have already moved to their wintertime mode of not moving much. It will require anglers to put the baits right in front of them. Structure on the ledges is best all day and hit them in the head. Drop small spoons and drag dark jigs on the bottom in the creek mouths close to the river and pick them up and drop them about 5 inches at a time.
- Striped Bass: Striper fishing is fair. Most of the fish are mid lake and there are a few big fish biting larger live shad or jumbo shiners. Look for some birds to be over shad schools and that is a great place to concentrate fishing efforts.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair and most of the fish are being taken in 16 to 20 feet of water on structure. One of the best places to find structure is out along the old river channel. If the water is moving, these deep fish are hard to stay on top of. Fish the old channel edges. One of the best ways to find structure beyond the old channel is to ride around the banks where there are no homes and look for stumps. The brush piles will be on the break line in deep water. Some of the deeper docks are still holding a few fish. Find some docks in deep water at 8 to 10 feet deep, there will be some brush close by. Look at what direction the owner’s chairs are pointed along with their rod holders and find their brush piles. With the cold weather minnow fishing is best. Jigs can be slow until a warmup starts.
West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. Yellow Jacket Creek and coves around Highland are producing some really nice fish on 3/8oz white Chatterbait. Follow up with a ¼ ounce Weedless Wonder lead head rigged with a finesse worm in Bama Bug or any of the green colors. Look at 5 to 8 feet deep as still the most productive depths to start hunting those largemouth. Mid to down lake fish are biting on drop shots and Carolina Rigged worms. Just fishing the shad balls or brush piles and those should produce some good bites. Creek ledges are producing some good fish on jigging spoons. The #5 Shad Rap is working around the rip rap and long rocky clay points upriver but cover a lot of water.
Lanier Tailwater (Report courtesy of Chattahoochee River guide Chris Scalley) — River Through Atlanta’s Chris and Gracie Scalley started the Thanksgiving break off on the right foot this week by hitting the upper tailwater and dredging the runs and riffles with nymphs in the persistently murky waters of the Chattahoochee River. Sizing up this time of year helps entice hungry, pre-spawn brown trout to strike, and the duo fooled nine fish in a two-hour excursion with the lion’s share going to the browns and an overall success rate of 4.5 fish/hr. Gracie clearly gets it honest!
*Note: The Chattahoochee River brown trout are a wild, self-sustaining population, and typically spawn in the fall beginning in the month of November. Some redds have already been sighted along the tailwater down to Jones Bridge, so if you see these large, obvious depressions in the gravel, steer clear to give those future Chattahoochee brownies a fighting chance.
Trout Plus Some: Check out Unicoi Outfitter’s regular “trout and more” fishing reports on their blog, ANGLER MANAGEMENT.
Chattahoochee DH Report (Report courtesy of fisheries biologist Hunter Roop) — If you are looking for low and clear conditions on the ‘Hooch, the Chattahoochee delayed harvest is fishing well right now and the river levels are often safe for wading activity, especially down at Paces Mill. Mayfly hatches are being reported, and the fish are biting! Remember, the delayed harvest section of the Chattahoochee River is from Sope Creek downstream to Hwy 41 (Cobb Parkway). Within this section, harvest of trout is prohibited from November 1st to May 14th, and only single-hook, artificial lures are legal. The use of a dropper lure is allowed.
DH Stocking Report (Report courtesy of trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson) — The Delayed Harvest sections in Georgia have all been recently stocked and will offer a great angling opportunity this Thanksgiving Holiday. Thanks to our partners at Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery we had some beautiful rainbow, brown and even brook trout hit the water this week. Remember these areas have special regulations that include only artificial lures with single hooks and catch and release must be practiced. I hope you have an opportunity to land some of these awesome stockers. Find the latest trout stocking information and trout fishing tips HERE.