Time to pull out all the cold weather gear and keep it handy in case I have a chance to get outdoors and throw out a line or two. A stocking hat and gloves make those adventures a little easier to enjoy.
NEWS TO KNOW:
Electrofishing Sampling: Fisheries Management staff with the Coastal Region completed annual fall standardized electrofishing sampling for sportfish last week. Sampling was conducted throughout the coastal plain sections of the Savannah, Ogeechee, and St. Mary’s rivers. Despite low flow conditions throughout the region this summer, catch rates in 2022 appeared only slightly below average. River stage plays an important role in annual catch rates of riverine bass and sunfish throughout the region.
Alabama Shad: Southwest Georgia Fisheries Management staff confirmed the natural reproduction of Alabama shad in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river basin. Gill nets designed to target those fish were set in Lake Seminole during the annual sport fish gill net survey. Alabama shad are a state threatened species that make migration runs into freshwater rivers to spawn after which the offspring migrate to the ocean to mature. This is the first natural reproduction documented by Fisheries Management staff in the past few years.
This week, we have reports from Southwest, Southeast, North and Central Georgia. Bundle up 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 bite on Lake Blackshear is on. Target submerged brush and standing timber for these delicious slabs. Some anglers report catching some nice sized bass while sitting on brush looking for crappie. The fish are out there you just need to go get them! Anglers are suggesting night fishing with the use of lights to target the crappie. Smoak bridge is a good location to try as well as the northern part of the lake. Good technology will also be key in finding those fish if they are favoring 25-30 ft of water as some have been. Good luck out there and be safe as water levels are drawn down right now.
The crappie bite on Lake Seminole is picking up. There are some nice fish down towards the dam this time of year. The Striper bite is also pretty hot near the southern end of the lake. You can also try your luck fishing for hybrid striped bass. Mornings and late afternoons are the time to get out there. But be careful as early morning fog can severely limit visibility and make dangerous hazards nearly impossible to see.
Fishing in the Ochlockonee River is decent right now. Suwannee bass are a prized fish that can be caught in this drainage. Watch out for low water and snags that can be hazardous for boat anglers. These same snags can produce some cool fish. Crappie and sunfish are abundant in this area and some other interesting fish like pirate perch can be found by an attentive angler.
BIG LAZER PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Bass: The Largemouth bass fishing is fair. The water temp has dropped noticeably in the last few weeks causing the bite to decrease. However, once the fish get acclimated, the bite should start getting better. In the cooler water temps, fish near structure using a slow presentation on either your darker colored plastic baits or shad-colored lures.
- Crappie: The crappie bite is also fair. The water has cooled off now, and the crappie are trying to fatten up before it gets any colder, so try minnows and/or brightly colored jigs around the standing timber or along deeper banks to produce a bite. Also, try the fishing the pier near the picnic area where there are artificial attractors are in easy casting distance as well as deeper water.
(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 Thanksgiving break provided some great freshwater fishing. High winds continued in the brine, though.
River gages on December 1st were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 3.6 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 4.7 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 4.7 feet and rising
- Waycross on the Satilla – 6.0 feet and rising
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 5.3 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.9 feet and rising
Shane and Joshua Barber fished the lower Altamaha on Friday and caught 15 bass. They kept 11 of them. They caught them both in the main river and backwaters, mostly on spinnerbaits and plastic worms. A Fitzgerald angler fished the lower Ocmulgee on Sunday and caught 12 bass. Five of them were really good fish from 5 to 7 pounds. The stained, rising water reduced his numbers, but the size was great. He caught his fish with Texas-rigged plastic worms (dark colors), and he had to put it in the heavy cover to get bites. The water will be rising and staining up some after Wednesday’s rains all across the basin. You should still be able to do well, but might want to trade in your green pumpkin and watermelon hues for blacks, junebug, and other darker colors.
Based on reports from Okefenokee Adventures, very few people fished this week. The swamp warms up quickly, so the coming warming trend for the weekend and next week should get the fliers, pickerel, and bowfin biting. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.70 feet.
Chad Lee fished Alma area ponds on Friday and had a great bite. He fooled 50 bass, 5 crappie, and 2 bluegills. He caught his fish on 2 lures (about half and half) – a old-style Rapala floating minnow and a senko. My son (Timothy), daughter (Ellie) and I fished a Waycross area pond on Friday in the middle of the day and trolled up a nice mess of crappie. The most exciting time was right after we got started trolling, though. We had only put out 3 of our 4 rods when a big bass inhaled each of the 3 offerings. A melee ensued as we tried to land each fish. We were successful and got a great photo of our 2, 3 ½, and 5-pound bass before releasing them. We ended up catching 41 total fish, and all of our fish were caught trolling 2-inch Keitech swimbaits. Our biggest crappie was 1-lb., 4-oz. (we had 6 fish a pound or over), and we ended up keeping 28 crappie. Our best colors were chartreuse back pearl, sight green hologram, sight flash, and green pumpkin-chartreuse, and we fished them on 1/32-oz. Zombie Heads. I fished an area pond on Tuesday afternoon before the front rolled through and did well trolling for crappie. I caught 54 fish total, including a 5-pound bass, 6 bluegills up to 10 inches, and the rest crappie. The biggest speck was 1-lb., 12-oz., and I released that one, but I kept a limit of 30 nice crappie about 3/4 pound apiece. All fish were caught trolling – none by casting that particular day. They ate 2-inch Keitech swimbaits rigged on 1/32-oz. Zombie Heads (chartreuse-red eye was the best color head). The most effective body colors were sexy shad, chartreuse back pearl, smoke-silver flake, and sight flash (2 1/2 inch). The best trolling speed was 0.7 to 0.9 miles per hour in 10-11 feet of water.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The winds were high during the holiday weekend but dropped some early in the week. A Brunswick angler preparing for an upcoming tournament caught some really nice fish in the Brunswick area on Tuesday. He fooled several trout pushing 18 inches with 1/8-oz. Zombie Heads and plastics. Jay Turner fished from a Savannah area dock and caught an inshore slam on Tuesday night under lights. He had 2 trout, a flounder and a redfish on albino Assassin Sea Shads rigged on 1/8-oz. Zombie Heads. 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 Brent Hess, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
LAKE ALLATOONA is down 10 feet, 50S: (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) —
Bass fishing is good. Anglers can catch them on just about anything. 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 is down 6.1 FEET, 50’S (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) –
- Hartwell Bass fishing is good. The water temperatures are continuing to cool down with the cooler nights. The last few times out the water temperatures have started at 60 and warmed up to 62 degrees by midafternoon. 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 buzz bait, 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.
- Hartwell Stripers and Hybrids: The lake has turned over and the water is clear. Temperatures are now in the upper 50’s in the morning and on a sunny day will warm up to low 60’s. This is the perfect water for stripers and hybrids. There’s oxygen throughout the water column and they can feel free to hang out in 80 feet of water or 18 inches of water. Loons and gulls are showing up and the numbers will continue to increase into December. Find the gulls and you’ll know where to target your fishing. A dead giveaway will be surfacing fish actively feeding. If you see this, don’t charge directly into the school. Drop the trolling motor and try to compute an intercept course with the direction the gulls are moving. Ease up to the school and throw a Project-X X-Rig, or Project-X Pearl Paddletail toward the school. Work your way up to the frenzy and once you see fish on your Simrad, you can drop live baits or jig with WhoopAss Bucktails. Gulls working over Loons, on the other hand, can be a false indicator of stripers. Loons work just like gamefish, corralling the bait into tight balls and as they feed the bait gets pushed to the surface where the gulls can easily grab a quick meal. This doesn’t mean there won’t be stripers in the area. Drop a bait around the actively working loons and give it a few minutes. No bites…move on and look for gulls that don’t have loons working under them. The lineside bite is starting to really crank up. In the past week, all the fish I’ve caught have been sizeable. Hybrids easily over 5 pounds, and stripers up to 18 pounds. While these sizes aren’t necessarily true monsters, it’s a great sign that our lake is coming back from a few years of stressed conditions for the fish. Fish can be virtually anywhere on the lake right now, backs of creeks in super shallow water, or in the main river channels. You’ll have to spend a little time searching, but once you find them, you’ll be rewarded with a respectable catch. Start your quest in the backs of major creek arms and work your way toward the mouth. It can be a ‘hero-or-zero’ game for a while. So, I suggest either trolling with a Capt. Mack’s Umbrella rig as a search tool. This way you can cover more water with a little faster speed, versus painfully slow live bait trolling. Again, once you see bait schools on the sonar, you can decide to drop live herring or just continue trolling the Umbrella Rig. I haven’t needed to fish above the Seneca/Tugaloo split, as there seem to be plenty of fish on the south end. Powder Bag and Lightwood Creeks on the Georgia side, and Sadler’s Creek on the SC side all have good shows of fish. If you are fishing creeks, try deploying at least one planer board to target the shallows close to the bank. Hybrids have no problem running the edges, and you’ll likely pick up a nice spotted or largemouth bass. There’s lots of gar on the feed right now too, and they will charge a slow-trolled bait behind a planer board. They are fun for a few seconds until they cut your leader. Recently, the late afternoon bite… about an hour before dark…the top water bite has been off the chart. It can be hit or miss, depending on the cove you select. Look in coves in the major creeks and if they are there…they will show themselves pretty quickly. Also try the intersection where major creeks meet the river channel and look for humps in the 30 to 15 foot range. Also, a great place to find some good top water action. Throw a MirroLure Silver/Blue or Silver/Black Top Dog, or a large Chug Bug in White/Orange or White/Red and hold on. Flukes and paddle tails will also produce fish. Finally, if you see fish holding in the trees, try dropping a Capt. Mack’s Super Spoon in Silver/Blue or Blue/White. Drop it into the trees and retrieve it pretty quickly with a stop/start tactic. You might lose a spoon here, but the size of the fish makes it worth it.
LAKE LANIER is down 4.94 feet, 60S (This Lake Lanier Bass fishing report is by Phil Johnson.Pjohnson15@hotmail.com 770 366 8845) —
- Lanier Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. It seems the fish forgot about the fall top water bite and are moving toward the typical winter bite. There is still some random striper top water activity, but the bass are on to different things. The steadiest bite this week has been just the standard green pumpkin trick worm on a three sixteenths spot sticker. The bass have been relating to steep rocky banks as well as brush in the fifteen-to-twenty-five-foot range. A DT ten worked on rocky points first thing in the morning has produced some good fish but not great numbers. The bass are starting to move into the ditches and a Spotchoker with a three eight Kietech or white super fluke has begun to produce fish. Start the morning with a quarter ounce Spotchoker in less than fifteen feet of water and then move out. Off the sides of rocky points is also a good place to look for the fish with both the worm and the Spotchoker. Docks with fifteen to twenty-five foot of water on the front of them are a good place to check also. Work the dock completely from the walkway all the way to the front post. Look for the shad to really start to ball up over the next two weeks and look for the bass to be near by. Winter fishing is here and only going to get better so Go Catch ‘Em!
- Lanier Crappie (report is courtesy of Call Captain Josh Thornton 770 530-6493, Crappie on Lanier) — Crappie are suspended 15 to 25 deep, but this week’s fish came from 30 to 40 feet on brush. Docks with structure, deep blow downs, and brush piles are all holding fish. If you are using jigs use white with sparkles or the electric chicken. I am still using minnows 90% 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. 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. Josh is on Facebook and like my pages #crappieonlanier & #fishingwitheverydayheroes or to http://www.crappieonlanier.com
WEISS LAKE is at 3 foot below full pool and clear and 46-48 degree’s (Report courtesy of Mark Collins www.markcollins service.com: 256 996 9035) — 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.
- Weiss Bass fishing is good and they are still on the creek and river channel ledges. The deep running crank baits and Carolina rigs are catching fish. A lot of Bass are starting to move shallow on secondary points.
- Weiss Crappie fishing is fair and they are moving to the Coosa river channel 14 to 20 feet deep. Use the spider rigs with minnows and Jiffy Jigs. Some Crappie are still being caught shooting docks with jigs. A lot of fish are starting to suspend in the river and creek channels 8 to 12 feet deep and they can be caught long line trolling with Jiffy Jigs.
- Weiss Striper fishing is poor and no reports in the last few weeks.
- Weiss Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water and cut bait is working best.
WEST POINT LAKE is down 4.5 feet, 60s (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. Try the all white spinnerbait in 3 to 5 feet of water like the Strike King 3/8 ounce with Indiana blades. White flukes have been working in the middle of the pockets. Use 8-pound Sufix Elite line with a small weight about one foot in the front so it sinks slowly. Just toss the fluke in the middle of the pockets and twitch it a few times. The best area for this will be the pockets upriver. Also get on the points mid lake and throw a spider jig in green pumpkin color. Work it slow and hop it every few feet to make it look like a crawfish. Some largemouth are shallow on the cooler days. As the day goes by, the key to catching them is to find slightly deeper structure and stained water. Try Zoom worms and football head jigs around old roadbeds, ditches and brush at 10 to 15 feet deep. Some also can be caught around blow downs and brush piles in 10 to 12 feet of water on jigs. The spotted bass will bite the shaky head or Carolina rigged finesse worm or mini lizard around gravel banks or shoal markers.
Water Level Information: West Point Lake Water Level Info HERE.
Tuckin’ For Trout: Check out Unicoi Outfitter’s report on their blog, ANGLER MANAGEMENT.
Where or Where is My Trout Info – We Got You!: Find the latest trout stocking information and trout fishing info HERE.
Parting Trout Note: Want to do more to support trout fishing in Georgia? Consider upgrading to a Trout Unlimited license plate this year. Aside from being a great looking tag, each purchase or renewal of a Trout Unlimited license plate directly supports Georgia’s trout conservation and management programs. Hatcheries and wild trout efforts both benefit from the trout tag.
(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 1.7 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. The weather has the spotted bass feeding. Get the drop shot rigs and the spoons ready for all-day fishing. After mid-day the spots are on the bait schools and any blue or chrome crank bait on 10-pound test line will work. When the fishing gets slow, try changing baits and fish some of the same secondary points and small coves and cuts with the Rapala RS Shad Raps and small chrome Rat L Traps and small Flukes on a lead head. Deeper water structure is producing so use the Lowrance technology to find and then work the channel ledges up in the creeks.
CLARKS HILL IS DOWN 6.2 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Bass are on the move up the rivers and in the creeks. Look for the better bass in the coves up Little River. Small Shad Raps cast in tight to the banks and around wood are working well. Shad and silver are the choice colors and there have been some good windy days that can create a good crank bait bite. Fish the Rapala DT6 right along the sides or points and use the small shad crank baits in these same locations. Small Zoom Flukes on a Scrounger head or on a plain lead head will mimic the small baits the fish are keying on. Also, continue to fish the windblown points. This pattern should continue to hold up for at least a couple of weeks.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. The fish seem to like this warm weather snap. Top water baits are hot as are buzz baits, Spooks, Chug Bug’s, and Pop R’s are working all day. Crank baits are a good choice around docks and points. Some other good choices are Shad Raps, RS Shad Raps, Bandit, and Bomber Model A. Shad patterns and chrome and blue have been good colors in more clear water while the same colors along with crawfish have produced in dirty water. Spinner baits are catching a few fish around wood cover and docks, although this may slow down after the cold front. Try a 3/8-ounce bait Strike Kling spinnerbait in chartreuse and white with gold Colorado blades. Jigs are catching bass, too, especially on days the fish aren’t hitting crank baits or spinner baits very well. Try a 3/8-ounce Strike King Pro Model in black and blue, brown, or solid black. Add a Zoom Salty Chunk or Pro Chunk to the hook. Work the bait slowly through any wood cover and against dock posts.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.5 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. There are some fish still in shallow water. Many fish are in the coves and creeks, but some remain along main lake banks. Top water baits continue to produce a few fish, mainly during early morning and low light conditions. Buzz baits, Pop R’s, Spooks, and Chug Bugs are all good choices. If bass are hitting at but missing the bait, a comeback or backup bait needs to be found. Simply grab the other bait and throw to where the strike was missed. Some good choices for clear water are a Senko, fluke, and weightless Trick worms. In dirty water the same baits can work along with a spinner bait. Spinner baits are also producing a few fish when used as the primary bait, mostly around wood cover and docks. Try a chartreuse white 3/8-ounce Strike King spinner bait with double Colorado blades in gold. During early morning, the fish may want the bait retrieved off bottom or even bulging the surface. Later during the morning, bass will probably hit better if the bait is slow rolled along bottom and bumping the cover. Jigs and soft plastics are also producing around the same wood cover and docks. Try a 3/8-ounce Strike King Pro Model jig in black blue with a Zoom Super Chunk in green pumpkin. Also try a Senko in green pumpkin around the same cover or docks. A few fish are hitting crank baits like a #7 Shad Rap in shad, gold, and silver blue.
LAKE JACKSON IS FULL, 50’S
Bass fishing is fair. It had been slow at times with cold fronts and erratic weather, but fish have been a bit easier to locate and quite a bit more willing to bite. One key to finding fish is to work banks and points that are close to the river channel. Bass are congregating in such areas and are willing to take the bait. Use the Texas rigged green pumpkin small Senko from 6 foot out to around 18 foot of water. The Senko seems to encourage the larger bites and results in a high percentage of hook sets. On the steeper banks with docks close by work the plastic very slow. To fish a little faster later in the day with some sun, try a 1/2ounce white and nickel blade Lucky Craft Redemption spinnerbait. Keep it on the bottom and keep it where you can see it the entire cast. A few fish are coming on the white and nickel Chatterbait with an early morning bite. Again, a slow retrieve has been required. Keep the bait moving but on the bottom.