The “Back to School Clock” is ticking. Like, only about three more weeks between now and the first day of school. Don’t let the summertime get away without a few more family fishing trips. Fish for a new species or at a new location. How about a trip to the Go Fish Education Center or a Georgia Public Fishing Area to make some memories?


Sturgeon fingerlings swim in a raceway at Summerville Fish Hatchery.

First time anglers with the Washington Street Summer Camp after learning to fish at Turner Lake in Newton County.

  • Sturgeon Arrive in Summerville: The Georgia WRD Summerville Fish Hatchery received roughly 5,000 lake sturgeon from the USFWS’s Warm Springs Fish Hatchery. The 1–2-inch fingerlings will spend the next several months at Summerville growing to a length of at least 6-inches before being stocked this fall into rivers in the greater Coosa River Basin. Summerville Hatchery has been raising lake sturgeon for 23 years in support of the long-running Lake Sturgeon Reintroduction to the Coosa River Program – a program designed to re-establish this native species to the river system. 
  • Introducing the Joy of Fishing to New Anglers: The most rewarding thing the Gateway to Fishing team gets to do is to introduce new anglers to the joys of fishing. Michael Sellers had the opportunity to introduce 24 first time anglers with the Washington Street Summer Camp to fishing at Turner Lake in Newton County. Despite the heat, the first timers enjoyed the thrill of catching fish, learning to tie knots and of course, learning about all the fishing opportunities in their own “backyard.”
  • From a Trout Slam to Trout in the Pan: The only thing better than completing a Georgia Trout Slam or successfully tempting a trout (of any species) to snap up your bait is when you lower that fish into the pan to make a tasty meal. Do you need some trout cooking ideas? Check out how to prepare trout and get some recipe ideas HERE and enjoy!
  • Check the Submission Rules: Georgia offers multiple fishing reward programs, including Angler Awards, State Records, Trophy Bass, PFA Record, Georgia Bass Slam and the Georgia Trout Slam. Be sure to review ALL requirements before submitting! 

This week, we have fishing reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia. Don’t let the clock run out on the summer family fishing fun and let’s 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.


Bass fishing is fair.  The fish are all small and they are moving around a lot.  Bass are roaming around in small schools from 6 to 10 fish and white skirts and silver blade buzz baits will allow anglers to cover a lot of water fast.  The fish are moving to the points and creek bends especially mid to lower lake.  They are roaming on any wood all day and a crank bait cast through the wood will draw a strike; be sure to use bright colors.  Use the Rattle Back 1/2-ounce jig and a larger Pro Pork Trailer by Uncle Josh on the points.  The crank bait and spinner baits cast on the bank cover and worked slowly will get strikes.  Try the drop shot with a morning dawn colored Roboworm Straight Tail Worm on a 1/0 hook and ¼ ounce tungsten weight.  Mid-day spinner baits down lake in the creeks are fair on cover using Stanley spinner baits with bright blades.  Look for shallow strikes as the bass move to the creek banks and points during the day.


Bass fishing is fair.  A few top water fish can still be caught on the main lake river points.  Before the sun gets hot, use a chrome and black Rat L Trap on main lake points.  The top water bite is fair with the Zara Spook Jr in bone and the Rico.  These are small bass and keepers are few and far between.  Bass are still hitting those surface baits in the cooler morning periods.  The #10 Rapala Olive Green X Rap is responsible for catching these bass.  It is still working as a follow-up bait to those missed top water baits and working in the shallow rocky flats where some wind is present.  Blue backs are still getting hammered all during the day, as surface explosions of feeding fish often occur.  Get the small Fluke and use a small lead head and some light line to work on these fish.  Be aware that the line sides will pop up and grab these baits also.  Jigs on structure along with tubes and worms are picking up some bass, but of the smaller variety.  Night fishing is picking up on small jigs and DD 22 red bug crank baits.


Bass fishing is fair.  At first light, fish a buzz bait on sea walls and rip rap from the middle of the coves and creeks to the back.  White or white/chartreuse have been the best color.  Another good location has been fishing the grass with a frog.  Fishing a Carolina rig on the humps on the south end of the lake has also been producing over the past week.  As always, during the summer fish the rip rap around the bridges when Georgia Power is pulling water in the afternoons.  Try the drop shot with a morning dawn colored Roboworm on a 1/0 hook and ¼ ounce tungsten weight.  A Rat L Trap, spinner bait, or a small crank bait will all produce a strike.  Deep diving crank baits off the south end humps will also pick up as we move into summer.


Bass fishing is fair.  Bass are hitting top water baits early, mostly around seawalls near deep water.  It seems the few fish that move in shallow are aggressive and will take a bait worked fast.  An angler should also work fast to cover more water and present the bait to more fish before the top water bite ends.  Some good choices are Pop R’s, buzz bait, Zara Spook, weightless Trick worm and Fluke.  After the early morning, try medium to deep crank baits and Carolina rigged worms on main lake points near deep water.  Depths in the central and upper lake are 8 to 15 feet and 12 to 25 feet deep down the lake.  Good crank bait choices are #6 and #7 Fat Free Shad’s, #300 and #400 Poe’s, and Mann’s 15 Plus and 20 Plus.  Chartreuse and shad patterns are best.  For the Carolina rig, try a Zoom Trick worm with a 2/0 Mustad wide gap hook and a 3-foot leader on 12-pound line.  The Booyah Super Shad spinnerbait builds upon this trio of bass attracting features with four blades as opposed to most spinnerbaits’ two or three.  The blades are separated by ball bearings along the flexible stainless-steel arm which runs into the painted head that features 3D eyes.  The bait terminates at a hook that’s surrounded by a 55-strand silicone skirt that flutters and pulses as it is retrieved.  Good worm colors are June bug, red bug, green pumpkin.  A ¾ ounce weight, bead swivel should be used on 14- or 17-pound main line.  Try to keep the worm or crank bait in cover and moving slow.  A few are being caught around the docks and boathouses, but it too is slow.  Use light weights with soft plastics.


Bass fishing has slowed down a bit due to the hot and muggy weather.  Early in the morning is a good time to throw a buzz bait or a Storm Chug bug off any point in the lake.  Some bass are taking these baits early and often during the early hours.  Also try a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce double willow leaf spinnerbait in either white/blue or all white.  Work the same areas as the top water baits and all blow downs and brush piles that are present.  Roboworm’s straight tail Aaron’s Magic Margarita Mutilator Pumpkin Punisher worm came is a good day lure in the hot summer days.  The top technique is the drop shot rig.  After the sun comes up use a 1/2-ounce black pig n jig with a pork trailer; this bait is working on isolated stumps and docks.  Green pumpkin U tail Zoom worms on the Texas rig are also taking bass when thrown into brush piles and around docks.  Don’t forget about the dam.  Three- and four-pound fish are hitting later in the afternoons.


(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 dog-days of summer are here, and as my buddy Shane reminded me one or two waters won’t cut it. Make sure to take plenty of water and stay hydrated during summer trips. Lots of bites are fired off right now, and the rivers are getting right again.

River gages on July 13th were:

  • Clyo on the Savannah River – 9.2 feet and rising
  • Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 5.6 feet and falling
  • Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.8 feet and rising
  • Waycross on the Satilla – 6.1 feet and falling
  • Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.1 feet and falling
  • Statenville on the Alapaha – 3.9 feet and falling
  • Macclenny on the St Marys – 5.6 feet and rising
  • Fargo on the Suwannee – 5.3 feet and falling

New Moon is July 17th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.


The river was falling back out, but it’s rising again from weekend rains upcountry. The best trip I heard of was a couple of anglers fishing the tidal river backwaters for panfish. They had 35 (mostly nice bluegills) by pitching crickets to shoreline cover. The upper river and Ocmulgee are fairly off-color but are still fishable.


It’s go-time if you like fishing from a motorboat. You should be able to get around pretty well, and the water isn’t too stained. I heard reports of a few anglers catching some nice redbreasts and bluegills this week from all up and down the river. The extreme upper river is in the best shape (water clarity and level), but it’s all fishable. In the lower tidal river, put shrimp, worms, or cut bait on the bottom for channel and blue catfish and live bait for flatheads.


The last Shady Bream Tournaments points event of the year was held Saturday (July 8th). Troy and Chris took first place with a 10 panfish limit weighing 12.20 pounds. They had the big fish of the tournament (1.10-pound bluegill) to anchor their catch. Mark and Destiny came in second with 9.62 pounds, while 8.43 pounds earned Ernie and Allen third place. Check out Shady Bream Tournaments on Facebook for more details.


Rickey O’Berry caught this 5-pound sheepshead while fishing fiddler crabs in the Brunswick area on Saturday.

Don Harrison of Waycross fooled this giant Spanish mackerel at the St. Marys Jetties by pitching bucktail jigs on Friday.

Don Harrison, Charles West and a friend fished the St. Marys Jetties on Friday and worked for bites. They pitched bucktail jigs (electric chicken and mullet colors) and broke off 2 bull redfish but did not land any. Don fooled a giant 6-pound Spanish mackerel on a bucktail. Steve and Brenda Hampton fished with Capt. Jaime Bracewell in the Brunswick area on Friday and had a fun morning. They caught a bunch of short trout and reds, 2 small sharks, and a couple jack crevalle and ended up keeping 5 trout and 2 reds. Steve had a nice flounder come unbuttoned at the boat. They caught their fish on mudminnows and paddle-tail plastics. Jaime had a trip on Saturday where they caught sharks and jumped a big tarpon. The tarpon are scattered right now, and you can’t really depend on where they will be from day-to-day (welcome to tarpon fishing….). Rickey O’Berry fished the Brunswick area with fiddler crabs on Saturday and caught a 5-pound sheepshead. During the trip they caught 9 sheepshead and a trout. Brentz McGhin fished the St. Marys area on Saturday with shrimp (he went through 4 cups!) and caught a ton of fish – over 100. He caught about all the different species on that part of the coast, but the ones destined for the cooler included mostly croakers, mangrove snapper, and whiting. He fooled 2 undersized black drum, and also had 2 small redfish on Gulp. Shane and Joshua Barber fished the St. Marys area on Wednesday and had a great catch. They ended up keeping 11 sheepshead up to 4 pounds. All of them were fooled with fiddler crabs (they were able to get them from Buccaneer Bait and Tackle in St. Marys). They also caught 2 small redfish on plastic grubs. It looks like there is another good year-class of redfish that will hit legal size this fall. Capt Tim Cutting ( said that he had to work for fish this week. The bigger redfish are still in the deeper water – 6 to 15 feet. He caught a lot of small trout and reds this week shallow. He had a couple nicer trout Thursday morning on topwaters (Super Spook, juniors). The water is murky and hot, and the tide swing will remain fairly high around the new moon through early next week.


I heard from a couple anglers this week that some warmouth were caught on the east side this week. Most were on the small side. Jigs, crickets and crawfish produced the warmouth. Brantley and Ava Wester fished with me on the east side on Saturday morning and ended up catching 109 fish (1 pickerel, 2 gar, and the rest were bowfin) from 9am to 2pm. They fooled all of their fish with Dura-Spins, and most were caught trolling. Their biggest that they landed was a 6-lb., 12-oz. whopper, but they had about a dozen fish over 5 pounds. They broke off two giant bowfin that were double-digit class fish when the drag on their pushbuttons worked less than optimally. Dura-Spin color didn’t really matter – they caught some on all colors they tried. The most effective colors, though, were lemon-lime, crawfish-brass blade, red/white, and fire tiger-chartreuse blade. Yellow flies were not bad, but I still recommend covering up if you don’t want to get aggravated by the little nasties. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.40 feet.


Chad Lee went night-fishing for bass this weekend and did well on all-black buzzbaits. He had several 4-pounders on Saturday night and fooled 3 fish in 5 casts at one point. Over the entire weekend he caught 15 bass on buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, and stick worms. His biggest was a 5-pounder on Monday evening Jimmy Zinker also caught some big fish this week on buzzbaits at night. He had a 5-lb., 3-oz. bass at 4am on a black Gurgler buzzbait. A group of young adults 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 angler caught about a dozen fish and had a blast doing so. Lauren had the biggest catfish – a 3-pounder.


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


Trout in Hand (Photo Credit – Unicoi Outfitters)

To Sum it Up: (Trout Fishing summary report courtesy of Jeff Durniak and Unicoi Outfitters) — Welcome to summer in Georgia, as we deal with July’s heat and humidity.  Area trout streams are seasonably low and warm, with your coldwater opportunities limited to the highest mountains and icy region tailwaters. Check out the Angler Management Blog for great info!   

Stocker Streams: Tomorrow’s stocking list should be a lot shorter than last week. However, there will still be some great opportunities to get kids on some fish. Aim for higher elevation creeks and downsize your baits and lures to finesse those fish in low, clear flows. The weekly trout stocking list can be found HERE after 3pm on Fridays.

Tailwaters: (Report from Unicoi Outfitters buddy RonW) –“Kurt and I hit the dam again from 8am to 1pm on 7/3 and just about had the Hooch to ourselves.  We both fished dry/dropper all day, with a fair mix of fish on both.  I caught about 16 or so and Kurt was easily over 2 dozen.  It was another great day on the water with the fish looking up.  We sure are lucky to have such a great fishery right in our backyard!”

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 HERE.


LAKE ALLATOONA is full, and the water temperatures are in the 80s.

Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant — Bass fishing is fair. Fish are somewhat scattered and there’s no one dominant pattern. I’ve been catching several fish on the drop shot big bite 3.75 jointed jerk Minnow in the 16 to 25 foot range. Fish are not really holding to eating particular thing, most are in just open water off points. Head out early and get to the cooler waters in the river. There has been some schooling activity of smaller fish main lake, with a mix of watt bass in small spotted bass being the majority of fish. Roboworm’s straight tail Aaron’s Magic Margarita Mutilator Pumpkin Punisher worm came is a good day lure in the hot summer days. The top technique is the drop shot rig. There has been a decent shallow jig bite in the 7 to 12 foot depth range. Water temperatures are actually not too bad ranging from 83 to 86 degrees for best results early morning late evening with a good by at around nine till 11 o’clock.

Allatoona Striper (Photo Credit – Heron Outdoor Adventures)

Allatoona Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Heron Outdoor Adventures) — Lake Allatoona continues to bring the heat. As for us, we find this to be one of the finest fisheries in the North Georgia area for most all species. Even our water quality seems to be improving with respect to dissolved oxygen content, not to mention the more recent belly-fattening nutritious forage base of herring in the mix.

The bite is hot, and the summer temps tend to make the early mornings the best and most comfortable bite. With light to moderate rain through July, we are maintaining a nice full pool that is a haven for all species.

The line sides are no doubt one of the finest resources here on Allatoona. Particularly the hybrid striped bass. These, along with the striped bass, are likely the hardest fighting fish on this side of the salt water, and they are in abundance if you know what you’re looking for.

As the water temperature continue to warm, these fish tend to relate a lot to the edges of the channel, along with breaks on points and humps. While they have a proliferent food source of freshwater herring and threadfin shad to feast on, they are staying plump and pulling harder than ever. Currently our fishing has been concentrated in the mid-lake area between Galts ferry to Illinois Creek and to the dam, however, there have been phenomenal mornings and catches reported by fellow fisherman as far south as Tanyard and Clark Creeks and as far north as Little River. Truly, as nomadic as these fish are, there are thousands roaming the reservoir hunting for food and wanting to provide you with a little entertainment.

One of the most effective techniques this time of year is a combination spread of downlines and free lines when fishing live bait. Matching the size of your bait to your hook will greatly increase the lifespan of your bait after being placed down, especially below 20 ft. Herring, threadfin shad, spot tail minnows and shiners all produce good bites. Hook sizes between size 2 and as large as 1/0 are more than likely to match any bait size that you may catch or purchase of these species. As the bite has been no less than phenomenal most mornings, fluorocarbon leaders between 8 to 12 lb. test is producing just fine. Your weight can range anywhere from 3/8 to 1.5 oz. If fishing on spot lock and enjoying a nice morning with little to mild winds, the lighter sinker can be ideal, though 1-1.5 oz is good all-around weight, especially when moving around at .3 to .5 miles an hour. Target depths have been between 15-30 feet and along channel edges typically ranging from 30 to 70 ft of water.

While we are typically emphatic on a light line presentation for many reasons, the fish have not seemed to shy away from the heavier fluorocarbons, and this allows you to get a little more drag and a little more muscle on the fish and most anytime you can keep from prolonging a fight can increase the fish’s chance of survival when released in a timely fashion.

Free/flat lines in the spread have been clutch! While we have caught several tigers on the downlines, most of our better fish in the 8 to 12 lb. class have hit a flat line. Experiment from no weights to adding a size 7, 3/0 and even up to a size 5 split shot depending on bait size and where in the column those upper residents are being marked. In our experience, most of these fish will come up 20 ft plus for bait, but not many will dive down even one foot for one.

There are several artificial baits that have been key for us including a 5-in flutter spoon along with a further casting Flexi-spoon, an a-rig such as the Captain Mack Mini Mack, along with a few key top water lures such as the OG 20 g, KVD hard knocks and a few other beautiful walking baits. When the fish have been schooling, we are glad that we have changed many of our treble hooks on these top waters to a single hook. These prickly line sides are much easier to handle and dehook with a single barb stuck in them, not to mention our hookup to landing ratio seems to be better overall.

As for the spotted bass, they are pretty much smashing this same artificial arsenal. Surely there are times when a creature bait, shaky head or drop shotting a finesse worm produces well, but we are hammering the spotted bass when in their turf with these same baits.

Our crappie have pretty much moved into deeper water and your target range for these critters is going to be in the 15 to 20 ft range reservoir-wide. Slow-fall techniques have been key when we are targeting them. My go-to during this summer heat is 1/80-1/32 oz. weighted jigs. It can seem like forever waiting to get to the target depths but especially after the sun is up, we have found that the slowest fall catches the most.

Now, let’s go fishing! We do hope that some information gleaned here will help you get on to the bite. If you are considering a full-service fishing adventure with as much instruction as we can provide during our time together, we would sure love to have you aboard our boats. Please do not hesitate to call or message us at 404-919-4918 or email us, any time. From first-time to advanced anglers, we truly feel we have something to offer everybody. Most of all, we love making new friends😊 God bless you and tight lines, friends!

LAKE HARTWELL: is full and water temperatures are in the 80s.    

Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant — Bass fishing is good. The fish are deep holding in 18 feet of water. Use a Texas rig with a Zoom red bug finesse worm to catch these fish early on the river ledges. A few anglers are slow rolling the ½ ounce Fish Head Spin with a small Zoom fluke across the points in the creek. Fish this bait like SSS would slow roll a spinner bait. Keep the line tight and use a bat caster and 12-pound test Sufix Elite clear line. Mid to late day change up to a Bill Norman DD 22 crank bait in chrome or fire tiger color and make long cast and deep crank the river ledges near the main lake bends. Fish the rocky banks with the top water early then move to the smooth clay banks mid-day.

LAKE LANIER is down and water temperatures are in the 80s. 

Lanier Bass (This Lake Lanier Bass fishing report is by Phil Johnson 770-366-8845) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The lake is currently one and a half feet below full pool and temperatures are running from the high seventies to the low eighties. Overall, the lake is clear with a little stain in the back of the creeks. Bass fishing has been about windows of opportunity. The bite has not been an all-day thing but rather a few hours at a time. These windows have been changing day to day. When the fish do turn on it has been a mix of baits that have produced. The top water action is still scattered but has been getting better. Baits like the IMA Skimmer and a small Spook have been the best producers for the week. The Slick Stick Pro Series in either the chrome, white or herring color has been the go-to for the bass when they are not schooling. We have been working these baits over the deeper structure, humps and the ends of long points for the best fish. The FznH2O or Pearl Jerk Shad’s have been catching a lot of fish in the same areas. We’re working this bait weightless on a steady retrieve with random twitches. The jig bite and the worm bite have also been steady around the deeper docks, rocky pints and brush. Nothing fancy with either just a three sixteenth’s shakey head with something in the green pumpkin pattern or a brown and chartreuse jig with a trailer. The drop shot has also come into play with the fish on the twenty-five-to-thirty-five-foot brush. The Blue Lily or Morning Dawn colors have been producing the most fish. As you can see there are several ways to catch them right now so don’t get locked into one bait. It’s getting hot but so is the fishing so Go Catch ‘Em !

Lanier Stripers (report is by Buck Cannon, Buck Tails Guide Service 404-510-1778) — Lanier stripers have moved into the summertime pattern, schools are being found from 369 bridge to the dam. The methods used is still the down lines with blue backs in the 30 to 50 feet deep and deeper. Any point or close connection to the channel should have fish passing over at any time. Be patient and your electronics will be able to locate the fish. The umbrella rigs and lead core trolling tactics are starting to get some action. Try trolling chipmunk jigs 8 colors at 2.5 to 3 mph and umbrella rigs at 130 feet back at the same speed. Remember to wear your life jacket.

Lanier Crappie (Report is courtesy of Call Captain Josh Thornton 770-530-6493) — Lake Lanier Crappie fishing has been good lately! The water temperature is around 78. The fish are moving deeper. The gear I use for crappie fishing Acc crappie stix 1 piece rod and reel with a 6-pound test k9 line, a black and chartreuse hair jig or a translucent 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!

WEISS LAKE is near full pool and has a light stain and 82-84 degrees.

Weiss Lake Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Mark Collins www.markcollins 256-996-9035):

  • Bass: Bass fishing is good. Most of our bass have moved to the creek and river channel ledges, Carolina rigs and crank baits are catching fish.
  • Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. They have spawned and have moved 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.
  • Striper Striper fishing is good, and they 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. 

WEST POINT LAKE is full, but water levels change frequently, and water temperatures are in the upper 80s.

West Point Lake spotted bass. (Photo Credit Chaz W. C. Raven)

West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant — Bass fishing is fair. Now is the time to go early and go upriver fish are also active. Use the long 3-foot leader on the Carolina rig and a full one-ounce weight all day on the roadbeds and pond dams down lake. The fish are not any deeper than 15 feet all over the lake. Shad colored crank baits in bone and blue and green colors are fair on light line on points. Zoom’s pumpkinseed lizard either on a Texas or Carolina rig. Live lizards and bass minnows are fair on points in Yellow Jacket Creek. Upriver dark jig and craw worms on the heavy bank cover or a buzz bait can get a strike. Stay close to the river current on points at 8 to 17 feet. Just think deep the rest of the summer for bass in the middle of the day. There is a good top water bite in the middle of the main lake creeks early and late. The rocks around the Yellow Jacket Creek Bridge are good summer crank bait areas. The Rapala #5 Shad Raps in the shad and carp colors on 10-pound test line are also good. Rat L Traps in the chrome blue backs and smoke shiner colors has been good. Make a lot of casts in the middle of the lower lake creeks all day. Cast them right on the bank and hit the old pond dams also.

West Point Fish Attractor Locations: Find West Point Lake Fish Attractor Information HERE. Zoom in on the map to see “starred” attractor locations. Click on each star to get more info.

West Point Water Level: Find West Point Lake Water Level Information HERE.