It’s May! May means the last few weeks of school for the kids and looking forward to the slower days of summer. Will your late Spring/Summer plans include a family fishing trip?
NEWS TO KNOW
Great Outdoors Day on the Atlanta BeltLine: (Sat. May 6, 10 am – 1 pm): will feature interactive exhibitions from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, including live wildlife, archery, Gateway to Fishing casting lessons, and numerous other family-friendly activities highlighting outdoor activity and local wildlife. Between demonstrations, stop by booths for information on fun summer activities. Atlanta conservation organizations, such as Trees Atlanta, The Nature Conservancy, and Greening Youth Foundation, will also be in attendance to share the work local groups are doing to protect our air, water, land, and wildlife. Find out more at the Atlanta BeltLine website.
- Spawning Time!: It’s catfish spawning time at the Cordele and McDuffie fish hatcheries! Staff have stocked spawning pens with male and female pairs of channel catfish that weight between 6 and 10 pounds each. The pens contain spawning cans that will be checked every few days for the presence of eggs that the male will be guarding. Egg clusters are then hatched inside in special troughs that provide water movement similar to how the male would fan the eggs to provide adequate oxygen for development. This year’s production goal is just over 1 million fry.
- Keeping Georgia Wild Family Festival: (Sat. May 20, 2023, 9 am – 2 pm): Free admission includes an array of activities that focus on Georgia wildlife, conservation, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Kids can try archery, fishing, shooting sports, and solar viewing with the Charlie Elliott Astronomy club. There will be outdoor exhibitors, live animal presentations, arts and crafts, prizes and more. Attendees will also get to enjoy a free hot dog lunch (while supplies last). Find out more HERE.
- Keeping it Social: A great way to keep up with ALL the wildlife news from Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division is to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, the Georgia Wild e-newsletter and Twitter!
This week, we have fishing reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia. And a few bonus pics from Southwest Georgia. “MAY” we suggest that you plan a fishing trip soon and yes, Go Fish Georgia!
(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 FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The increased boating traffic is starting to have its effect on some of the bass. Water temperatures are in the middle 70’s and anglers are still heading up Beaver Dam creek to catch their limits. Early morning cranking with Rapala Shad Raps both the jointed and suspending are producing in the natural shad and crawdad colors. Look for the channel markers early in the morning up in the creek and start here on the larger flats. Up the Savannah River look for the same areas and check out the small cuts or bowls on the sides of the flats. Most of the bass are coming on the cranks and the larger on the jigs and plastics. The water clarity is still in the excellent range so go and practice the clear water techniques. Do not be afraid to try some Ned rig baits and always look for new areas to fish. Jigs and plastics need to be tossed in any heavy brush or trees that are lying on the sides of these flats and points. Any combination of browns and greens seem to be the best colors this week. The grassy areas up near the railroad bridge are producing as well on top water Chug Bugs and Zoom Fat Albert grubs with a light lead head. Find the smaller bass and work the area good.
CLARKS HILL LAKE IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Bass are shallow lake wide and, on the bank, almost all day. Fish are being found on secondary points and be sure to fish the rip rap areas where the shad are spawning. The action first thing in the morning is fast so have several baits ready to go. There are lots of good bass being caught on a buzz bait, a white spinner bait or a ¼ ounce Rat L Trap. A ¼ or 3/8-ounce spinnerbait in the white with double willow leaf blades by Lucky Craft is a good bait to use. Fish this spinnerbait around any shallow rocks and any docks. These fish are in less than 2 feet of water near the rocks. After the sun gets up fish around docks and long points. Fishing a Weedless Wonder lead head worm rig and a Zoom worm in the watermelon seed or watermelon candy colors along the bank will also catch fish.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The shad spawn still occurring all over the lake. There are lots of spawning shad on the rip rap on the bridge so fish this area. The action starts first thing in the morning. The shad are shallow at daybreak then they move after the sun gets up so be on the water at daylight. There are lots of good bass being caught on this pattern. A buzz bait white spinner bait or a ¼ ounce Rat T Trap would be the bait of choice. A 3/8-ounce Lucky Craft Redemption spinnerbait in the white with double willow leaf blades will work. Fish this spinnerbait around any shallow water rocks. These fish are in less than 5 feet of water near the rocks. After the sun gets up fish around docks and long points. Fish a Carolina rigged worm in the watermelon seed or watermelon candy colors with a 24-inch leader along the bank to also catch fish.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.4 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Buzz baits in white with a silver blade can catch a good bass on almost any sea wall. Use the Zoom lizards on a light wire hook or a trick worm cast into the shallows. The mini lizards should be in a dark red color or pumpkinseed. All white Zoom trick worms with the tail dipped in a red dye works around the docks all day. Go shallow as the bass roam the banks in shallow water all day both up and down lake. They are chasing small bait fish up into the shallows and the baits need to be very small. Casting small worms and top water lures can get a strike. If this schooling activity lasts all day and it is a good idea to use small lures. Keep a #5 Rapala Shad Rap ready for any shallow schooling up on the banks. Move around a lot as these fish are doing the same. As the day progresses some of the upriver fish are still active on points and around docks. The bone and pearl colors in the Bill Norman Little N crank baits are fair.
LAKE JACKSON IS .61 FEET OVER FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. The river fish are a little more active. The bass are off the river points and stump rows. Flipping a dark Zoom U tail on a Texas rig on wood and brush very tight to the bank and river structure can draw a strike. Later in the day try casting or flipping the river docks and shallow bank with a Zoom motor oil lizard. Main lake docks and sea walls are fair and cast a buzz bait early and late. Late day fishing is fair with the Texas rigged Zoom finesse worms on a Weedless Wonder light lead head. Use the lightest weight possible and the bass can strike the lure as it falls. A small frog-colored Jitterbug can get a big bite and, on both docks, and any laydowns. There is a major feeding period this week right in the middle of the day.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 72.3˚ F (22.4˚ C)
- Water Level: 57.5” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 25”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
Fluctuating temperatures have resulted in reports of fewer catches for all species. Try timing fishing trips just before these fronts. Anglers are confident that warm May temperatures will pick up fish activity significantly. Here is a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had good success using for each of the following:
Bass: The last anglers to report catches were using crankbaits.
Bream: The last anglers to report catches were using Red Wigglers.
Channel Catfish: The last anglers to report catches were using chicken livers, live baitfish, and cut baitfish.
Crappie: The last anglers to report catches were using live minnows.
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Level: All ponds and lakes are full.
- Water Clarity: Most ponds have 20” visibility. However, Fox is clearer and has a visibility near 3’. Heavy rainfall will reduce visibilities.
- Surface Temp: 70 – 82 degrees.
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: The mild temperatures have kept the bass from running back out deep as they typically will as the water warms this month. We are still seeing quite a few bass harvested from 6-8’ water. The shad spawn is in full swing so take advantage of the first half of May. Early morning shad schools create a bass feeding frenzy.
Crappie: The crappie bite has slowed but several anglers have picked up a few fishing from the bank at daylight. Boaters seem to do well fishing over deep brush piles. As always, jigs and minnows are the best bait.
Bream: The bluegill bite will peak this month right around the full moon when these fish go on bed. Worms and crickets fished in 2-4’ of water is your best option; you may pick up a few shellcracker as well.
Hybrid Bass: Look for shad schooling early morning and late afternoon. Put your bait right in the school and hold on. Hybrid bass pack a punch.
(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)
This week’s abnormally low morning low temperatures have been awesome but not much for getting the panfish bite fired up. The South Georgia rivers are mostly still high, except the St. Marys, but the Okefenokee and ponds produced good reports this week. Saltwater reports have been disappointing because it’s been so windy you usually couldn’t get out this week.
River gages on May 4th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 8.9 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 6.2 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 9.2 feet and rising
- Waycross on the Satilla – 11.1 feet and falling
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 12.5 feet and cresting
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.2 feet and falling
- Fargo on the Suwannee – 2.9 feet and falling
The river is still high, but it’s fishable. The neatest catch this week was Miles Zachary’s really nice flounder while bass fishing a couple miles up the Ocmulgee from the confluence. He thought he had a nice bass until it jumped. Mile caught a big flounder up near the confluence last summer, also. I’d spend my time in the backwaters if I fished the Altamaha this week.
Conditions deteriorated after last week’s rains, and the river is back up in the floodplain. That’s good for the redbreast population but bad for those of us wanting to go fishing. This slug of water is good in that it will push the river getting “right” later and into the time when it’s warmer and the fish should be more actively feeding. It’s setting up to be a good one…..stay tuned…..
ST. MARYS RIVER
This is still the river in the best shape for panfishing, although the cold mornings slowed the panfish bite some and kept the water temps down. Shady Bream Tournaments has started holding Thursday evening winner-take-all events they dubbed “working man tournaments”. They had 16 boats in the first one in late April and will hold them throughout the spring. The winners of the first event were Daniel and Clint with 7.89 pounds (10 fish limit). They will be holding a co-ed tournament on May 27th, so check out Shady Bream Tournaments on Facebook for more details.
A Brunswick angler fished an area pond this weekend and had a great day for bass. He used Texas-rigged Senkos, vibrating jigs, and Carolina-rigged flukes to catch 35 bass. His biggest was a 7 1/2-pounder. Brentz McGhin was trying out a new micro crankbait he bought for panfish in a Blackshear pond on Friday evening and got a 5-pound bass to inhale the miniscule offering. Chad Lee fished an Alma area pond on Tuesday and caught 20 bass up to about 3 pounds. Senkos fooled most of them, but he caught a few on crankbaits. He also had 1 nice crappie in the mix. The catfish bite has been good during the late afternoon in Waycross area ponds.
Chuck Dean fished the east side entrance on Monday and fooled a few chain pickerel (jackfish), fliers, and bowfin with a fly. Then he switched to Dura-Spins and caught a bunch of bowfin and pickerel. He ended up catching 28 fish with his biggest bowfin weighing 5 1/2 pounds. The jackfish color worked best for him. Another pair of anglers fished that same day and had a great trip, catching 39 fish. One angler fly-fished the entire time hoping to add flier and bowfin to his list of catches on a fly. He flung a streamer-dropper offering and caught an 8-inch flier pretty quickly on the yellow wooly-bugger dropper. Before long he had a 4-pound bowfin to check off his second species of the trip. A few fish later he laid into a 9-lb., 12-oz. bowfin that inhaled the little yellow dropper instead of the larger streamer. The other angler flung and trolled Dura-Spins most of the time and caught some bowfin, pickerel, and gar. His biggest bowfin was 10-lb., 11-oz., one of the biggest he has caught. The best color was fire tiger-chartreuse blade. On the west side, a friend reported catching some warmouth, jackfish, and catfish, but not a ton of any. He had about a half-dozen of each and kept the catfish to eat. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.50 feet.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Tripletail are around but from reports I’ve received they’re not in as big of numbers as usual. Still, a friend fished a tournament for them this weekend, and they finished 3rd. They saw 9 fish and caught 4 of them. Their biggest was a 9.5-pounder, and it took an 11-pounder to win. His report was better than most tripletail reports I had this week. Capt. Greg Hildreth (georgiacharterfishing.com) had a good charter on Thursday catching big sharks behind the shrimp boats. There was plenty of action from blacktips, spinners, and blacknose sharks. Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) had a great trip Friday before his focus turned toward the arrival of his new grandbaby. His charter that day caught a bunch of trout that were deeper than expected in 6 to 14 feet of water. He said that on that trip and from other anglers fishing over the weekend there were more big trout in the 16 to 22-inch range than he’s seen in a while. They switched over to flounder and had 20 of the flatfish and almost all were over 15 inches. They had 3 flatties between 4 and 6 pounds. Their flounder ate white 4-inch Gulp Swimming Mullet pegged on a 1/4oz chartreuse Zombie Eye Jighead. The flounder bite on the Jekyll Island Pier was very slow on Saturday. Very few were caught that day, with the biggest of the 4 flounder reported being 14 inches. The bite should pick up as the water warms. For some current flounder information from the piers, check out Flat Fish Fanatics on Facebook. 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 Jim Hakala, Fisheries Biologist and Region Supervisor with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Allatoona Largemouth With a History (This report courtesy of fisheries biologist Jackson Sibley): During routine sampling at Allatoona this spring, a WRD survey crew captured this nice 7.7-pound largemouth bass. Interestingly, the fish carried a WRD micro-tag. This tag indicated the bass had been stocked by WRD staff back in fall 2014 at approximately 7-inches in length (~1/2 pound). After a quick weigh and measure, the big bucketmouth was returned to the lake.
Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing is good. It is close to another spawn May 7. Then it will be the beginning of a great top water bite. The spawning fish to move shallow sand and pea gravel locations. May will be the time to think shad. Shad begin to spawn and invoke a feeding frenzy for bass white bass and hybrids. Shad will spawn along hard surfaces rock and will end that ritual just after daybreak. Try a shad imitation bait like the Picasso Suijin with a Big Bite Jerk Minnow. Also, top water will break loose and be great. Any walking bait will do. Use the small bone Zara Spook or Spro Hydro Pop. The big females will soon be moving to areas for spawning. The bass will be moving out toward summer areas and mid depth brush. The fish can be targeted with jig head worm’s drop shots and finesse jigs. Watch the Lowrance Down Scan with Fish reveal sonar for bait and active fish.
Blue Ridge Sampling Report (This report courtesy of fisheries biologist John Damer): Staff from the Armuchee Fisheries office were sampling Blue Ridge this week. Conditions were windy and cool, so water temps remain in the low 60s, which is below normal for this time of year. Blueback herring were all over the shallows getting ready to spawn. Predator species, like Walleye, Alabama Bass and Largemouth were up shallow to take advantage of the easy meals. We saw more Largemouth than usual, including this 6.5-pounder, cruising out on the main lake points and coves. Walleye were associated with downed trees and most were on the deep end, but good numbers were also found in less than 5 feet of water right near the bank. Alabama Bass were scarce until we went midway up the lake, and were found on steep banks with some wood and on rocky points.
Lake Hartwell Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing is good. Early use the small all white trick worms or a small 1/4 ounce white buzz bait. After the sun gets high go to the rivers and use the bream and shad colored crank baits in the pockets can get a strike. Down lake the Lunker Lure buzz baits with all white skirts and silver blades is fair run and gun docks. Use the Rapala Shad Raps Bandits and Rat L Traps and use the shad olive green or moss back shiner colors. Shad Raps in the shad pattern and the jigs or Weedless wonder lead heads in the 1/8 to 1/4 ounce size are all working. Use the 3/8 ounce jigs and the jerk baits are working on the points especially the rocky ones. Stay in the creeks and on shallow docks up the rivers for best day fishing. The short Carolina rig with a small zoom lizard or finesse worm on points down lake. For the river fish use a Shad Raps and the Red Eye Shad.
Hartwell Extras: Check out the Hartwell 2023 Fishing Forecast.
Chatuge Sampling Report (This report courtesy of fisheries biologist Hunter Roop): The Gainesville Fisheries crew made several trips over Unicoi Gap early this week to conduct annual electrofishing surveys of Lake Chatuge. The fish were more cooperative than sampling conditions, as our team battled cold and blustery weather uncharacteristic of early May. Surface temperatures in the morning were in the low 60s, so we didn’t find much success being the early birds this week. However, once the sun got up over the trees, water temps had warmed to 63 – 64 F, which was enough of a boost that we could sample with some confidence. Largemouth numbers were good throughout the lake. For largemouth, look way in the backs of the warm, shallow coves like Bell Creek, Patterson, and Armstrong—these held some of the biggest largemouth we saw this week. You can also try some of the fish attractors around Mayor’s Park and Bell Creek for good largemouth and crappie targets. We saw some quality, harvestable yellow perch mixed in with the bucketmouths as well. Alabama bass were prevalent on the main lake north of the 76 Bridge, where blueback herring had shown up in droves for their May spawning frenzy. Mixed in with the Alabama Bass were some nice hybrids in the 4-6 lb range—these fish are schooling near ledges and points in 6-10 ft of water, just offshore from the spawning bluebacks. Our best hybrid numbers were observed in Shooting Creek, Burch Branch, and Armstrong Cove, which should tell you that schools of hybrids can be found pretty much lakewide. With warmer weather forecasted next week, I expect the fishing will only get better from here.
Lake Lanier Bass Report 1 (This report courtesy of Captain Mack): Bass Fishing is very good! The patterns have remained fairly constant, and there are many ways to catch ‘em right now. The Chug Bug bite, along with many other small top waters, is very strong. You can catch fish on almost any bank with cover, or up in the pockets. I am still having good luck with that slow retrieve, and many of the fish will take there bait while it is laying there between pops. Remember to follow up missed opportunities on the top waters with the worm, that will definitely get a few extra fish in the boat each day. The same fish will respond to your favorite jerk bait as well. McStiks are one of several productive jerk baits. Add the spinnerbaits to this application as well. I don’t know if there is a favorite color, or configuration, but a small tandem bladed bait, nickel blades in the sun, gold with the clouds, should get the bite. The jerk baits and spinnerbaits may have a slight advantage over the top waters, in that they offer more saturation. All three baits have been effective in any conditions, and a little wind will certainly help the latter two options.
Match the Weedless Wonder with your favorite plastics remains a great combo and may be the best option for numbers. Nothing fancy here, cast the jig head up to the bank and retrieve it back into 10 to 15 feet. Favorite worm color? Not sure I see one, almost any shade of green will be effective. I did have good response with the Green Shiner and Spot tail colors, something a little darker with cloud cover. Light line is a plus here, the 7Lb Sunline Sniper is great for this pattern!
Fishing a fluke is an outstanding technique, you can cast them to almost any kind of structure and have a good chance of catching fish. What about the retrieve? One of the best features of the fluke is there is really no wrong way to fish it, Variables such as speed and depth may vary from day to day. With so many shallow fish available a weightless Fluke is very applicable right now. If you want to fish it a little deeper, or you need to add some distance to you cast, you can always rig the bait on a weighted keel hook. Another great option is to use the double fluke rig, which adds weight and having two baits really creates a lot of activity to grab the attention of the fish.
Flukes for Lanier Bass (Video courtesy of FCP Fishing): Throwing shad or herring patterned plastic flukes can be a great spring bass fishing technique anywhere shad or herring are present. Check out this FCP Fishing video of a solid April bass fishing trip to Lake Lanier using weightless flukes.
Lake Lanier Bass Report 2: (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770-366-8845 via www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is very good. The lake is at or near full pool and the water temperature is in the low sixties. Over the last week fishing has been very good with a large wave of fish moving shallow. Many of these fish are preparing to spawn on the next full moon. A variety of baits and presentations are working so you have plenty of options right now on the water. Key places to look are chunk rock areas, secondary points and the area’s leading into the flats where they will bed. The fluke has been a steady producer of strikes as well as slowly cranking a jerk bait on the long flat points The Pro Spotchoker underspin with a two eight Keitech has worked well with a steady retrieve over the same flats and points. If there is wind the spinnerbait is working well on the windblown sections of the lake as well as along the sea walls of the marinas. Look to also use the spinnerbait in the blow through’s scattered around the lake. The shakey head worm and the pitch shot method are working well on the points and somewhat around the docks. There is some topwater and swimbait activity going on right now and this should only get stronger over the next couple of weeks. A small spook or a Slick Stick Pro Series have been starting to produce some quality fish and this will only improve as the water temperature goes up. The lake should definitely be coming even more alive over the next two weeks and fishing should be great so grab your favorite bait and Go Catch ‘Em!
Lake Lanier Striper Report 1 (This report courtesy of Buck Tails Guide Service 404-510-1778): Lake Lanier stripers are moving into their spawn up the river and they are in the cold water holes. They will take gizzards and blue backs on flat lines and planer boards. Trolling over the holes multiple times will make them aggressive and they will knock the bait out of the water so you should use a stinger hook on the bait for the short strikes .Pulling points will also put some extra fish in the boat. Cut baits has been used for larger fish off the banks if you don’t have a boat. They’re all many guides available on the lake that can put you on the fish. Remember to wear your life jackets.
Lake Lanier Striper Report 2 (This report courtesy of Captain Mack): The Striper Fishing techniques we used in the previous week were mostly unchanged in the last few days. You will need to factor in the Shad/Herring spawn witch has given us a couple of extra patterns and techniques to target. Live Baits are still accounting for the best numbers of fish, with a few casting opportunities also available. The fish are using a variety of structures, but saddles and humps are consistent producers, and you can add in seawalls and bridge pilings if the Herring are present. Blue back Herring on the free lines and planers will probably be the best overall combo, but Gizzard Shad are also good choices. Having a Gizzard in the spread at this time of year is almost always a plus. If nothing else their activity will often pull fish into the spread. Down lines will also have some application, keep one handy for deeper fish you may see around the bridges and walls.
Pitching Herring to points, humps, bridge pilings and seawalls is a very good pattern, and be sure to load up on the Herring. This is partially because the Herring do not respond well to being pitched. Three or four cast and they will need to be replaced. The other reason is the number of bites you will get, mostly from Spotted Bass, with enough Stripers to keep you on your toes. This pattern remains applicable lake wide, maybe better for Stripers in the middle and upper parts of the lake.
Other patterns that warrant discussion are targeting the bigger fish pulling Gizzards, which is very viable right now. With fish in both rivers and the transition zones leading into the rivers, pulling the big baits can be a great strategy. Target likely areas in the moving water, or flats and points in the transitional areas. A mix of free lines and planers will be the set up, and be sure to keep a transom bait in the spread.
Lake Lanier Striper Report 3 (This report courtesy of Georgia Wild Trout): The spring striper fishing has been good and getting better. The shad spawn is just now taking off, making the first couple hours of daylight critical for being on the water. Look for points, preferably with rock, to congregate larger shoals of bait. The striper, and spotted bass, will not be far behind. I would recommend bringing some topwater setups along as well for the days the fish are moving too fast and don’t seam to want to get close to the boat. If you are covering new water and don’t know the typical places the shad/herring typically spawn, keep and eye out for herons. They will behave like seagulls during the shad spawn and clue you in on where the activity is happening.
Lake Lanier Crappie Report (This report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton 770-530-6493): The water temperatures are in the mid to upper 60s. Crappie are still shallow so check blow downs in shallow water. Look for shallow docks less than 15 feet deep the crappie are suspending in less than 10 feet of water. Dark color jigs are working well I prefer black with a chartreuse tail or a solid dark purple jig. Minnows under a bobber set at 3 to 4 feet deep have been working well. 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. 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 a Power Pole.
- Bass: Bass fishing is good and most are spawning. Plastic Lizards and worms are catching fish.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair and they are spawning in the bays and creeks, they can be caught long line trolling with Jiffy Jigs in colors JJ13, JJ17, JJ20. Shooting docks with jigs is also producing some fish.
- Striped Bass: Striper fishing is poor and no reports in the last few weeks
- Catfish: Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water and cut bait is working best.
West Point Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. Now is the time has come for some great top water action. Start with top water during the low light hours early and late and use Pop R’s Sammy’s and buzz baits. Also try the Lucky Craft Top Gun and the ½ ounce buzz bait. Throw them right to the bank and the fish will nail it right away or they won’t at all. Keep moving and cover a lot of super shallow water in any main lake cove Fish back into the coves about halfway and then turn around and work back out the opposite bank. The gold #11 Rapala is a great back up if they won’t commit to top water. During the day the best bet is going to be a white pearl Zoom Super Fluke or Trick Worm. Have a jig handy and cast it to the swirl if the fish takes a swing at a top water bait and misses. The jig will usually get a strike on the fall. Use a 3/8 oz Strike King flipping jig in green pumpkin and add a Zoom Super Chunk trailer in Root beer green pepper. Concentrate on whatever brush the Lowrance Side Scan and Down Scan technology can find. Be sure to use the Lowrance Fish Reveal also on the Down Scan palette. If all else fails cast a #5 silver black back Shad Rap on 10-pound test Sufix line.
West Point Largemouth Stocking: DNR Fisheries staff stocked over 500,000 largemouth bass fingerlings into West Point this spring. These young upstarts were mostly stocked by boat into prime habitat in the Wehadkee, Stroud, Whitewater and Turkey Creek embayments, as well as the Chattahoochee River Arm and Evansville area. DNR has stocked West Point with over 3-million largemouth bass since 2016.
West Point Extras: Check out the West Point 2023 Fishing Forecast.
Northwest Rivers Striper Report (This report courtesy of fisheries biologist John Damer): Our staff continue to monitor the timing and strength of the spring striper spawning run on the Coosa, Oostanaula, and Etowah Rivers in Northwest Georgia. The heavy rain and resulting high flows attracted a bunch more fish into the rivers this week. Try the confluence in Rome, or around the Hwy 140 boat ramp for your best chance at success. We are seeing more and more spent females, and these spent fish will continue to pile into the Etowah over the next few weeks, especially if water temps start to rise with the warmer weather expected next week.
North GA River Stripers (This report courtesy of Georgia Wild Trout): Striper runs are in full swing on the Chestatee, Upper and Lower Chattahoochee, and Etowah Rivers. A float down any of these will produce a variety of fish species but the bigger striper are present. Smaller baitfish imitations are best for getting bites, but don’t be afraid to go big if you’re looking for a trophy. Runs on the Coosawatee River and Nottely River, should begin soon as the water temps continue to rise. These runs will pick up as we get closer to June.
Stocked Trout (This report courtesy of trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson): Georgia’s state hatcheries are actively stocking trout across north Georgia, with more than 46,000 trout hitting the water this week. Find the full list of streams and lakes stocked this week in the “Weekly Stocking Report” found HERE. While you are there, do yourself a favor and sign-up to get weekly stocking updates emailed directly to you throughout the season.
Delayed Harvest Streams (This report courtesy of trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson): Don’t forget about Georgia’s Delayed Harvest trout streams! Anglers fishing designated Delayed Harvest stream sections must release all trout immediately and use and possess only artificial lures with one single hook per lure from Nov. 1–May 14 annually. Trout have been routinely stocked in these streams since Nov. 1, so they offer catch-and-release anglers a great opportunity to catch quality trout throughout the winter and early spring months.
Chattahoochee River Tailwater Report (This report courtesy of Georgia Wild Trout): The trout fishing below the dam on Lake Lanier has been excellent for the past couple months. There is something for just about everybody. Small midges will always be the best way to attract bites from nearly every trout around. If you’re throwing bigger than a size 20 you can be sure you’re leaving trout behind, especially the wild browns. The river has been crowded on some afternoons during the week and around the clock on weekends. A ten to fifteen minute walk will put plenty of distance between you and 80-90% of other anglers. A great challenge for experienced anglers is the dry fly bite. The midge hatches have been excellent in the mornings and following generation. The wild browns are very selective but can be fooled with a slow approach and good presentation. This video will demonstrate how I approach these fish eating on the surface. The number of trout to hand is far less than what you may see fishing seams with a euro rig or indicator setup, but can be far more exciting. Steer-clear of the dry flies on windy days. It’s a brutal process and typically more frustrating than anything else.
Wild Trout Streams Report (This report courtesy of Georgia Wild Trout): The wild trout activity has picked up considerably in recent weeks. Whether your targeting brown trout, native brook trout, or wild rainbows, the fish have been slower in the mornings and get more active as the day progresses. I have seen several sizable (for Georgia) hatches in recent weeks. Yellow Sallies, golden stoneflies, grannom caddis, Sulphurs, and PMDs have been the bugs I have seen the most in recent weeks. Dry Flies continue to produce well on these streams and should continue until December. However, small patterns have still been outshining the large patterns and its not quite time to put away the nymph boxes on chilly mornings. This should stay the same until later in month or June when the trout will begin favoring the big bugs more.
New Georgia Trout Slam: If you have the skill to successfully catch all three species of trout (brook, brown, rainbow) in Georgia within a calendar year, consider giving the Georgia Trout Slam a try. All successful submissions will receive a Georgia Trout Slam Sticker and be entered into a drawing for an annual grand prize. Program details can be found HERE.
Trout Fishing Opportunities for Those With Disabilities: These sites are open to the public and offer specific amenities for anglers with disabilities.
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 your purchase of a trout tag.
Why Moving Bass is a Really Bad Idea: Don’t be part of the problem that is decimating native bass populations in Georgia and throughout the southeast. Here is a great podcast from our friends at the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, featuring professional angler Matt Arey, discussing the problems illegally introduced Alabama Bass are having on popular native bass populations.
Well, That is Cool! (Info courtesy of Jeff Durniak in The Angler Magazine) It’s that time of the year once again for the “goldfish” invasion of your creeks. The mystery is solved here, in the May edition of The Angler magazine. Turn to our column on page Atlanta-4.
Georgia Bass Slam! Do you have what it takes to complete a Georgia Bass Slam in 2023? 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 list of successful “slammers” in 2023!
(Fishing photos courtesy of Emilia Omerberg, Fisheries Biologist – formerly with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division)