Baby Trout do-do-da-do-da-do Baby Trout…Fresh off a 1,900+ mile trip, 250,000 rainbow trout eggs arrived at Summerville Hatchery courtesy of the federal hatchery in Ennis, Montana. Once they arrive, they are transferred to McDonald style egg jars. These specialized jars use upwelling water to gently “roll” the eggs – keeping them well oxygenated. The dark eyes of the young trout can be seen through the eggshell, an indicator they will be hatching very soon. It’s about time to add a trout fishing trip to your spring plans because we also have trout stocking trucks on the roll!
NEWS TO KNOW
- New Saltwater State Record: A Richmond Hill angler landed a 2-pound, 3.2-ounce pinfish measuring 14 and a half inches total length in Kilkenny Creek in Bryan County on March 12, making it the new saltwater state record. Read more HERE.
- Crappie Commotion: James King of Cartersville caught this Monster 3 lb, 11 oz black crappie on the Coosa River this past Sunday. Some of our fisheries biologists reported that this is the biggest crappie they’ve encountered in their careers. This is also the biggest crappie submitted for an angler award in over 20 years according to our electronic records. The state record for black crappie is 4 lb, 4 oz set in 1971 and tied in March 1975. Might be time for someone to land a new one – who knows?
- THIS WEEKEND! Etowah Wildlife Expo (March 25-26): Join in the fun at this 2-day event that includes reptile show, falconry show, dock diving dogs, bass fishing demos, an archery range, 100+ wildlife vendors, and live music. Sounds like a great weekend! More information HERE.
- Spring Harvest Month at Go Fish Education Center: March is Spring Harvest Month at the Go Fish Education Center. Plan a visit to the casting pond to harvest and take home rainbow trout, catfish and bluegill. More info HERE.
This week we have fishing reports from Southeast, North and Central Georgia. Whether you are truckin’ out after trout or cruisin’ for a big crappie, we are glad that you 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)
The weekend cold front kept a lot of anglers home this weekend, but the weather has improved as the week has progressed and the number of trips increased, as well. Even in the cold, several folks reported good catches this weekend.
River gages on March 23rd were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 7.4 feet and cresting
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 9.1 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 10.2 feet and steady
- Waycross on the Satilla – 11.3 feet and cresting
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 10.1 feet and rising
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 4.3 feet and falling
- Fargo on the Suwannee – 7.0 feet and falling
First quarter moon is March 29th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.
The river has flooded back out into the floodplain this week, and most bites slowed back down. Catfish on the lower river are about all that are worth chasing this weekend.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Saturday’s (3/18) Shady Bream Tournament Trail event was a wet one, but anglers still caught fish. Dale and Emma Anderson won the event with 8.99 pounds (10 fish limit) and had big fish (0.96 pounds), as well. Crappie helped them cash the first-place check. Daniel and Tamara earned second place with 8.17 pounds, and third place with 6.82 pounds was Bo and Clay. Check out Shady Bream Tournaments on Facebook if you are interested in more information.
SUWANNEE RIVER (GA)
Anglers reported catching some bullhead catfish this week even though the river was a little high. The reports I received were about a dozen keeper fish per trip. The flier and warmouth bites should heat up with the water temperatures this week.
Brentz and Alex McGhin fished the east side on Friday and pitched crickets on a Zombie Eye Jighead for 15 keeper warmouth and 15 throwbacks. Alex pitched sallies with a bream buster and caught several nice fliers. Jeff and Jason (8 years old) from Villa Rica fished with a friend on the east side on Sunday afternoon and had a blast. They caught 41 fish total, and most were bowfin. They trolled Dura-Spins for their bowfin (they didn’t catch any pickerel), and the best colors were black/chartreuse-chartreuse blade, fire tiger-chartreuse blade, and jackfish. Jason’s biggest bowfin was a 10-lb., 1-oz. monster, and Jeff had a big ol’ 8-lb., 1-oz. bowfin. They had several 5 to 7-pounders mixed in throughout the afternoon. They also pitched yellow sallies for a half-dozen fliers up to 8 inches for the last 15 minutes of the day. But, their catch of the day was a 3-pound largemouth bass that Jason caught while casting to a cut between the prairie and the canal. The surprise fish put up a great fight, and they released it after a quick photo. They camped on a platform Monday night, and Jason caught 8 bullhead catfish by putting shrimp on the bottom before he went to bed. Thomas Powell and Nick Seyler fished the east side on Sunday afternoon and caught 10 bowfin and 3 pickerel. They caught them by casting jackfish and fire tiger Dura-Spins. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.67 feet.
Chad Lee fished in an Alma area pond on Saturday and had a great trip for crappie and bluegills. He had 10 big bluegills and 20 nice crappie by pitching and bouncing a black/chartreuse Assassin Tiny Shad on a 1/16-oz. chartreuse Zombie Eye Jighead. A Blackshear angler fished a local pond on Wednesday evening after work and caught 5 bass that totaled 15 pounds. He flung junebug-colored stick worms to fish spawning in the shallows. His biggest was a 4-pounder.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) had a great trip Friday BEFORE the strong cold front. They caught 2 limits of redfish, 2 fat trout, and 20 nice sheepshead. They caught the sheepshead on fiddlers and jigheads, the reds on shrimp, and the trout on paddle-tail grubs on Zombie Eye Jigheads. After Friday, the cold fronts, winds, and big tides (muddy water) put an end to that good bite. I heard of several poor trips (some were complete water hauls…) and didn’t hear of any really good ones over the weekend or this week. Your best bet this weekend is whiting on the bottom, but marine forecasts are iffy at the time of writing this (forecasted high winds Friday night). As always, check the marine forecast before heading to big water 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 Brent Hess, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Trout Stocking Trucks are Rolling: The weekly trout stocking began this week across North Georgia. Over 60,000 trout were stocked by the Wildlife Resources Division and our partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. All four Georgia trout hatcheries are operating at capacity and there is an abundance of trout destined for your dinner plate. Summerville Fish Hatchery alone will have stocked out nearly 7,000 fish by Thursday. Some best bets for this weekend include Johns Creek in Floyd County, Cooper Creek on the Cooper Creek WMA, Tallulah River in Rabun County, and the Lanier Tailwaters below Buford Dam. For a complete list of the waterbodies stocked this week and other trout stocking information go to the trout information page on our website. Please remember you must purchase a trout stamp in addition to your Georgia fishing license and the daily limit is 8 trout per person. This is a great opportunity to get outside and go fish Georgia!
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) – Lake Allatoona is down 5 feet, and the water temperatures are in the 50s. Fishing is good and the mouths of creeks and pockets are ready to break lose. Try a small ¼ ounce mini jig and add a matching Zoom Salt Trailer in green pumpkin. The small shallow running crank baits like the Thunder Shad in root beer and chartreuse will work for any stained water. Work the Civil War in the clear areas. Fish them slow right through the brush. Any dock, any point and any pocket will be good areas all day. Mini Me spinner baits on the humps and points are working and use a fast retrieve and a bright set of blades and skirts. The top water bite will kick in any day as soon as soon as the weather settles to the mid 70’s all day. A #5 Rapala Shad Rap in shad pattern is working on light line. Crank those bluff walls close to pockets as well and do not overlook those transitional banks or any shallow wood.
Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com). Lake Hartwell is full and water temperatures are in the 50s. Bass fishing is good. Casting Zoom u tail worms in green pumpkin or watermelon green on a Carolina rig and a 3-foot leader will work on the points almost all day. Cooler nighttime temperatures this week will drop the water temperature some and suspend the bass. The bite will be touch and go until the weather stabilizes next week into the mid 70’s. Work for the staging bass out on the ledges with Rattlin’ Raps and Rapala DT10 in shad and hot mustard colors. The Lowrance Down Scan technology will unlock these areas. Look 10 out to 40 feet deep. Jerk baits and jigs along with drop shot rigs are the best baits to make a slow presentation. A ½ ounce jig rigged with a Zoom green pumpkin trailer is a good back up lure. Later in the day head to the backs of the creeks and drop a Senko or a trick worm on the larger docks that will hold more warmth.
West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) – West Point Lake is down 2.5 feet, but water levels change frequently and water temperatures are in the upper 60s. Bass fishing has been excellent. Most fish are in a full pre spawn phase. Cruising fish are being spotted lake wide midway and in the backs of most pockets. Work all the way into pockets throwing soft plastics and spinnerbaits to isolated pieces of wood in five feet or less of water. We have alternated back and forth between soft plastics and spinnerbaits depending on wind conditions. Luck-E Strike has the Impersonator ¾ ounce crank bait with a patented card insert system that allow anglers to change the appearance of the lure without having to take it off the fishing lines. On calm days use the soft plastics such as a trick worms, soft stick baits, or lizards in darker colors. On windier days fan cast spinnerbaits and crank baits in the backs of pockets.
West Point/Chattahoochee River Lineside (This report courtesy of angler and GON Forum contributor Dustin Pate): River spawn update. The cold weather over the weekend really put the fish in a lethargic mood for a few days. The live/cut bait bite for hybrids has probably suffered the most. If you get lucky and land on a school, then you can catch some fish quickly. If not, you will be jumping from spot to spot to catch a couple here and there. Most of the hybrids are still stalled out on the lower end of the river with very little happening near Franklin. The one bright spot has been the white bass. We have finally gotten the cleaner water needed to target them and they have shown up in great numbers. Getting to a limit takes a very short time if you hit the right area. If just fishing for numbers, now is the time to easily break triple digits. Lure selection doesn’t seem to be all that important. Small bucktails, swim baits, curly tails, and crankbaits are all producing fish. The Corps has dropped the lake back to winter pool this week so please use extreme caution while running around.
West Point-Find the Fish: Lake Fish Attractor Information link is West Point Lake Fish Attractor Information.
West Point Lake Level: West Point Lake Water Level Information can be found at West Point Lake Levels Information.
Lanier Bass (This Lake Lanier Bass fishing report is by Phil Johnson.Pjohnson15@hotmail.com 770-366-8845) — Lake Lanier is full and water temperatures are in the 60s. Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The lake is at full pool and the water temperature has dropped some due to the cold snap we’ve had. The bass have started their spring move and have come out of the deep to water less than twenty feet. The fish may not be on the very shallow docks and shallow rocky points right now but they are close by. Until the water temperature rebounds some look for the bass to be in the ten-to-twenty-foot water range. A three sixteenths Shakey head with either a green pumpkin trick worm or a Senko has been very effective on the points and docks. The wacky rig has also been working well in the backs of the pockets as well as rocky banks outside of the bedding areas. Shad have been moving into the shallower pockets and the bass have followed them. If you can hit the right area, it is game on for catching them often with catches of twenty fish or more in a small area. If you find one of the feeding areas several baits will work. Jerk bait, chatter bait, fluke or a quarter ounce Spotchoker with a two eight Keitiech will catch these feeding fish. On the windy days look to the windblown banks and pockets for the fish with either a jerkbait or a three eights white spinnerbait for some bigger fish. It is definitely spring fishing right now with a variety of baits working. There are two keys to look for, either shad in the pockets or areas close to bedding areas. For the largemouths look in the back of flatter pockets and for the spots look for areas with sand. It’s a great time to be out there so Go Catch ‘Em!
Lanier Stripers (report is by Buck Cannon, Buck Tails Guide Service 404-510-1778) — They are putting on the weight and eating the blue backs and trout using flat lines and planer boards. You should use your electronics to locate the bait and put your spread out, you may not mark fish but if the bait is near the fish are too. Work drop offs and points on the upper end of the lake. Water temp may change with this cold front so pay close attention to it, when the water moves closer to 60 degrees be ready for the top water to start. Remember to wear your life vest.
Lanier Crappie (report is courtesy of Call Captain Josh Thornton 770-530-6493) — Crappie fishing is good. The cold fronts will set them back a few days, but they will rebound quickly. Crappie can be found in shallow water and suspended shallow under docks. Trolling this week was good the fish we got from trolling were mostly over 1.5 pounds the trolling should stay constantly good for the next month. This week’s catch came mainly from docks the fish were suspended in 5 to 15 feet of water. The jig that produced the best this week was the black and chartreuse combination or anything with a chartreuse combination. 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. I use ATX lure company’s jigs on a Lip Thrashin 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 k9 6-pound high vis line and a Acc crappie stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and the Navionics Boating app. Find me on Facebook and like my pages #crappieonlanier #fishingwitheverydayheroes.
Weiss Lake Report (Report courtesy of Mark Collins www.markcollins service.com: 256 996 9035)—Weiss Lake is at 3.5 foot below full pool and has a light stain and 54-56 degrees.
- Bass: Bass fishing is good and most have moved to the spawning bays on secondary points and road beds. Use the spinner baits, crank baits for catching fish.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. They are showing up in the spawning bays and creeks. They can be caught long line trolling with Jiffy Jigs in colors JJ13, JJ17, JJ20. jiffyjigs.com. Shooting docks with jigs is also producing some fish.
- Striper fishing is poor and no reports in the last few weeks.
- Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water and cut bait is working best.
(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 1.96 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. Lots of bass are moving to the shallows with the warm weather. Shad seem to be headed for the creeks, so it is about time for the bass to follow along in big numbers. The best bite through late week was up the river on the crank baits and that will only get better as the water warms. Find fish around the shad. Once the bass get into the creeks in full force it will be a good opportunity for crank baits, jerk baits, and spinnerbaits. Rat L Traps and shad Raps should be good patterns. Hit the banks throwing at any piece of wood. Make accurate casts to maximize chances for a hookup.
CLARKS HILL LAKE IS DOWN .56 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. The plastic worms and Zoom Super Fluke in the backs of pockets will work. Small shad crank baits like the Bandit 200 in citrus shad or Shad Raps have been good all-day baits. Get the baits right to the bank and crank them back slowly. The small ¼ ounce Rat L Trap or a small jig in any dark color with a Zoom Super Chunk will get some action. Fish any brush in 2 to 10 feet and work the worms. Zoom trick worms on light line on any old dock or a #13 Rapala will work almost all day. Trick worms need to be watermelon seed, or green pumpkin. Also, any main lake point fished with a Carolina rig and a 3-foot leader rigged up with the Zoom 4- or 6-inch pumpkin lizard will get bites the rest of the spring.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. Water is stained up the lake and clear in Richland creek and on the lower end. The bass fishing continues to be strong. The fish are in close to the banks and looking for shad. Start with a cover bait like a shad rap or spinner bait. Work the sea walls and rip rap. The shad spawn is fast approaching so these fish will stay close to the rocks and sea walls. If fishing north of the river bend area, the fish are always more active in the warmer water. Lick Creek still has more bait in it than does Richland Creek, but both are producing fish. Lick Creek has a stain to it.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.6 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. Fish the grass and get right up in the shallow water. There are also plenty of ledges holding fish, but the sizes leave a lot to be desired. Dragging ledges along the main river channel with Carolina rigs is productive as far up as Rooty Creek all the way to the causeway. The fish are bunched up in the 6 to 10-foot range. Luck-E Strike has the Impersonator ¾-ounce crank bait with a patented card insert system that allow anglers to change the appearance of the lure without having to take it off the fishing lines The Red Eye Shad is hot and burn it with the high speed reels. Watermelon trick worms work well as the shad are starting to filter into the creeks.
LAKE JACKSON IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. The fish are shallow. Lots of fish are feeding in shallow water in the coves and creeks. Dock fishing in the coves and creeks is very good right now. Watch for shad visually on the surface and on a depth finder. Try small crank baits like a #5 Shad Rap RS in fire tiger and shad. Try to bump the posts on each retrieve. Rat L Traps and spinnerbaits are working early and late but when they are not in a chase mood, go to the Zoom u tail worms and dark jigs. Use the 5/16-ounce Stanley Rattlin’ jig with a tiny brush hog trailer. A good pitching worm rig is a 6-inch dead ringer in June bug or green pumpkin. Try both baits with a vertical fall near each post and by swimming the bait with a horizontal retrieve at mid depth. Also work the baits on the bottom, especially around any wood or brush. With a bright sun, try skipping a trick worm under every shallow dock. Also use a weightless small green pumpkin Senko worm. Cast the bait past a target, allow it sink for 2 to 3 seconds and then make two short, quick twitches. Again, allow it to sink 2 to 3 seconds and repeat the twitches.
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