Look, we know you want to go fishing…and we want you to Go Fish Georgia…but, be safe in this brutal southern summer heat! Some quick tips from the Red Cross include staying inside during hottest part of the day, hydrating yourself with water, wear a hat, and try to take breaks or move out of direct heat often. 


  • Pick a PFA to Visit: Georgia has 11 Public Fishing Areas (PFAs) managed for fishing, but these areas offer so much more! All PFAs offer bank, pier and boat fishing opportunities, concrete boat ramps, picnic tables, various nature and wildlife observation trails, fish cleaning stations and restroom facilities. Some PFAs offer camping opportunities (from primitive camping to RV). Activities beyond fishing include hiking, birdwatching, picnicking, and on many PFAs – archery or other types of ranges. Make plans to visit one near you!
  • Get the Frying Pan Hot – We Are Bringing Home Catfish: Fishing for catfish is a summertime staple. And, it doesn’t hurt that they make a tasty dinner! Need to know where to go, what to use and when to go? Find out HERE.
  • CRD is Seeking Snapper Carcasses!: The Coastal Resources Division (CRD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is seeking help from recreational saltwater anglers in collecting data during the upcoming red snapper harvest season July 14 and 15. Find out more HERE.

This week, we have fishing reports from Southeast and North Georgia. Stay cool, stay hydrated and stay safe as 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)

Fish are in their summer patterns with the incessant heat we’ve had in southeast Georgia over the last couple weeks. The best bites I’ve heard of have been saltwater and Okefenokee Swamp. Ponds and the rivers that have been down enough to fish should be decent options this weekend, as well.

River gages on July 6th were:

  • Clyo on the Savannah River – 9.8 feet and falling
  • Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 4.2 feet and rising
  • Doctortown on the Altamaha – 8.6 feet and falling
  • Waycross on the Satilla – 8.5 feet and falling
  • Atkinson on the Satilla – 11.2 feet and falling
  • Statenville on the Alapaha – 9.6 feet and falling (record high for the date)
  • Macclenny on the St Marys – 5.1 feet and falling
  • Fargo on the Suwannee – 7.2 feet and falling

Last quarter moon is July 9th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.


Brantley Wester of Waycross caught this big bowfin and 77 others while trolling Dura-Spins on the east side of the Okefenokee Swamp on Sunday afternoon.

Brantley Wester and I fished the east side on Sunday afternoon and caught a bunch of bowfin (78 total fish in 3 hours of fishing). We trolled several colors of Dura-Spins and caught fish on all colors, but they definitely showed a preference for the crawfish-brass blade (late in the day), chartreuse snowflake, and fire tiger-chartreuse blade. The biggest that we boated was around 5 pounds, but we lost a monster double-digit class fish halfway to the boat. I guess the heat had the pickerel shut down, as we did not catch any that trip. Yellow flies are still around but their numbers have dropped off significantly. I still recommend covering up if you don’t want to get aggravated by the little nasties. The water level (Folkston side) was 120.38 feet again this week.


The river is falling back out, and you should be able to find some oxbows that don’t have water flowing through them. Bass fishing should be decent at the current level. I would use crankbaits and spinnerbaits to cover water and pitch Texas-rigged worms into heavy cover. Panfishing should be decent in backwaters.

Charlotte caught lots of bluegills and a few bass this week while fishing with her brothers in their pond near Guyton.


Tripp, Charlotte, and Waylon fished their family pond near Guyton this week and caught bluegills and bass several days this week. Red wiggler worms and minnows produced their fish. A group of seniors fished the Lions Camp for the Blind Pond on Monday and caught a bunch of bluegills and catfish. The bluegills ate worms fished on a drop-shot, while the catfish ate cut bluegill. Each person caught about 15 fish and had a blast doing so.


Michael Nadeau fished the lower river for catfish on Thursday night. He ended up catching 5 nice blues and flatheads. He tried worms and cut bait with no success then caught them all on live bream. The upper river is dropping out and should be fishable in a motorboat this weekend. It will be stained still, so use bright colors and find current breaks that will concentrate fish. On the lower river, catfish will be your best bet. Put shrimp, worms, or cut bait on the bottom for channel and blue catfish and live bait for flatheads.

Austin McBay of Atlanta caught this giant jack crevalle on a topwater plug this week off St Simons Island (photo courtesy of Capt. Greg Hildreth).


Capt. Greg Hildreth (georgiacharterfishing.com) said that the whiting bite continued this week along with the big sharks still behind the shrimp boats. A few tarpon and schools of big jack crevalle have been around on the beachside, as well. His charters caught some big jacks on topwater plugs this week.


Chuck Dean had a great trip on Monday on the middle river. He flung a small white popper to the shadows and held on. He ended up catching a mixed bag of 15 panfish on his fly rod. His most impressive fish was of a giant bluegill, but he also had some nice redbreasts and stumpknockers.  The last Shady Bream Tournaments points event of the year is this Saturday (July 8th). For the event, a team can weigh in 15 fish and live bait is allowed for this tournament (usually it is an artificial-only format). Check out Shady Bream Tournaments on Facebook for more details.



(Fishing report courtesy of Jackson Sibley, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts) 


Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is good. The fish are out deep during the day fish the early hours. The majority of bass are in the 15 to 25 range. Main lake points and channel swings are the ticket for good schools of fish. Use the deep crankbaits like the Spro little John DD and the Strike King 6 and 8 XD in blue gizzard. Bass are still holding on brush piles and rock. Start off with big bite 4 inch Cane Thumper and a Picasso double weed guard tungsten swim bait head while searching for active fish. Then switch to a drop shot to catch those suspended fish that are a little more finicky. We use 6 pound test Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon a number 4 Gamakatsu drop shot hook and a 3/8 ounce Picasso tungsten teardrop weight. The fish can scatter on points and must be located with sonar. Try the Picasso Suijin tipped with a 3.75 Big Bite jointed jerk minnow. Use a 1/2 head on 10 pound test Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon. On this lake fish bluff walls. 

Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. Get to the lake early and then leave. There will be large numbers of boaters and fishing will be tough with the boats and jet skis keeping the water stirred up. Bass may bite up lake better with a little cooler water’s and anglers are fishing under and around the deep water boat docks. Small flukes are working and the Rapala #5 Shad Raps are also working. Downsize to 10 pound Sufix Elite line on a spinning reel and this lighter tackle and the lighter line will work with the smaller fish. Fish the steep rock ledges especially those that pass under the bridges. The key factor during the heat will be to fish near deep water and the isolated shady areas during the day. Use the jigs and downsize to a 1/4 or 3/16 ounce jig with a small Zoom twin tail trailer Fat Albert grub in green pumpkin. 

Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Phil Johnson via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The lake has risen to two feet below full pool and the temperature is around seventy eight degrees throughout the lake. The main lake is clear and there is some staining from the recent rains in the very backs of the creeks. Bass fishing has been a little bit of hit or miss with very little day to day consistency. If there is a good wind the Slick Stick, Fluke, Whopper Plopper and Chug Bug have been producing fish over the deeper brush and long points. Often though it seems it’s a one and done pattern so be prepared to run a lot of areas. On the calmer days the Sammy, IMA Skimmer and Gunfish have been the best choice. There have been days that they don’t seem to want anything moving so we have gone to the drop shot around the brush to trigger strikes. Lanier Bait’s Blue Lily and Morning Dawn colors have worked the best over the last week, ‘The jig and shakey head have also been good producers with the three sixteenths shakey head rigged with either a green pumpkin or green pumpkin purple Senko, Rocky points and deeper docks have seemed to be the key places for these baits. There has been sporadic top water going on so keep something on the deck you can quickly reach to throw at these fish because they don’t stay up for very long. We are getting close to the summer months and unless the top water bite really picks up in the next two weeks with the hot weather we may be looking at the bass moving straight to their summer homes in the brush. If you work at it there are some really good fish being caught so Go Catch ‘Em. 

Evening fishing trip produced better luck than the daytime trip for Jack Becker on Lanier.

Lanier Bass (Report Courtesy of Jack Becker aka GA Waterdog) — This week I went out on Lake Lanier for a couple of hours in the mornings several times, fishing shady banks in Balus Creek. I saw what looked like spotted Bass chasing bait but no takers on my topwater baits. I tried a Whopper Plopper, Zara Spook, YoZuri 3D popper and a Zoom split tail fluke with no luck. Fishing the same area in the evening for an hour before dark I saw small schools of threadfin Shad on the surface along the shady bank.  I managed to catch 1 Largemouth Bass on a MegaBass Pop Max.   

Lanier Crappie (Report Courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton via www.southernfishing.com) — Crappie fishing has been great lately. The water temperature is around 75. The gear I use for crappie fishing Acc crappie stix 1 piece rod and reel with a 6 pound test k9 line, a blue and chartreuse hair jig or the electric chicken ATX lure company jig. Small minnows have been working well this week. With the current conditions you should have no problem landing some decent sized Crappie.  

Lanier Stripers (Report Courtesy of Buck Cannon of Buck Tails Guide Service) — Lake Lanier stripers have started their season movement to the mid to southern parts of Lanier. Water temp is low 80s and the umbrella rigs and lead core have been catching fish. Fish are located on the points where they have 90 to 100 feet deep and close to the channel. Fish the umbrella rigs 120 to 140 feet back at 2.5 to 3 mph and the lead core 7 to 8 colors behind the boat. Using the chipmunk jig with a swim bait or a blue back herring. The down lines are productive over the river channels using blue backs down 40 to 50 feet deep. Changing bait often to make it lively. Remember to wear your life jacket.

West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. The top water bite is on fire first thing in the morning on points and lay downs. Buzz baits, Spooks, and Pop R’s are producing on cover and then slowly worked back to the boat. During the mid morning pitch jigs close to overhanging limbs with bream present. These fish have been highly pressured, so work the bait slowly. The strike zone will be in the first five feet of the cove. Once the sun is high head up the lake to the rivers. Here fish the lay downs near the mouth of pockets with green pumpkin a Z Man floating worm. The Z Man floating worm will stand up on a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce Weedless Wonder head so do not be afraid to let this bait soak to catch larger fish. The deep crank bait bite is beginning to turn on in the afternoon during generating schedules. Look for fish to begin stacking up on long points and road beds close to the main river channel. The best points are from the 109 bridge north going up the river. During generation periods use deep diving crankbaits on humps and road beds. Bass fishing takes off periods of generation.

Lake Weiss Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) –

  • Bass: Bass fishing is good and most have spawned and have started moving to the creek and river channel ledges, Carolina rigs and crank baits are catching fish.
  • Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. The fish have spawned and have started moving back to deeper water, they can be caught Spider rigging with live minnows over deep brush. Shooting docks with jigs is also producing some fish,
  • Stripers: Striper fishing is good. The fish are being caught in Little River and The Chattooga river on live shad downed lined and free lined.
  • Catfish: Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water. Cut bait is working best. 


Where to Go for Trout Info: To learn about Georgia’s diverse trout fishing opportunities including the latest stocking information, check out the Georgia DNR Trout Fishing page.

Chattahoochee River Tailwater (Report courtesy of Tad Murdock of Georgia Wild Trout) — The tailwater is very consistent. The normal patterns of midges and junk flies will produce as always. The recent rains we have had have thrown a bit of a curveball at the trout but with the right adjustments you can still do well. After the heavy rains look to fish the mud lines with bigger flies or small streamers. Trout will be setting up along these seams waiting for the water to clear out but the right fly that catches their eye will be nearly irresistible. Fishing anywhere below Settles bridge during these conditions is usually futile so I would recommend staying upstream.

Wild Trout Streams (Report courtesy of Tad Murdock of Georgia Wild Trout) — Summer seems to be here to stay. Time to escape the heat and head for the headwaters and small trout streams of North Georgia. The dry fly bite has been excellent but droppers have still been needed following the scattered showers. Trout can be caught on a myriad of flies as all insects are present. Stoneflies, mayflies, caddis and terrestrial imitations will catch fish throughout the day. If you can squeeze out on a low light drizzly day or just before the storms pass through the bite will be even better. If you are out at an odd time when fish don’t want to rise, add a small/simple dropper fly below your dry. Majority of the hatching bugs are on the small end of the spectrum with some larger mayflies showing up in the evening. This is the best time of year to seek out the Appalachian slam (brook, brown, and rainbow trout). Several customers have achieved these on half day outing since June. Be sure to keep an eye on the weather as afternoon thunderstorms can pop up quickly.

Trout and More (This report courtesy of Unicoi Outfitters) — Check out Unicoi Outfitter’s regular “Angler Management” fishing reports HERE.   

Parting Trout NoteWant 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.