When you are given a chance to provide input on something, do you take advantage of that? You should! Especially if the “something” is important to you – like fishing! Well, right now through July 28, you have the opportunity to provide input on proposed rule-making changes to trout fishing. 

  1. Review the info about the proposed changes, found HERE. Need more info? Watch the presentation from a live virtual hearing held on July 20 or review the Power Point presentation HERE.
  2. Provide comment (deadline is July 28) in one of the following ways:
    • Email: Submit by e-mail (fm.comments@dnr.ga.gov).
    • Phone: By phone (706-557-3305).
    • Mail comments to: GA DNR Wildlife Resources Division/Fisheries Management Section/2067 US Hwy. 278, SE/Social Circle, GA 30025.


  • Hot Stockings: Summer’s hot temperatures restrict trout stocking to the higher elevation mountain streams as well as to the cold water tailraces below lakes Lanier, Hartwell, and Blue Ridge. This week, about 24,000 catchable-sized trout were stocked into 25 streams across 10 NEGA counties. In addition, 25,000 fingerling brown trout were stocked into the tailwaters below Lake Blue Ridge. To date, more than 700,000 trout have been stocked for anglers this season. 

This week, we have fishing reports from North, Central and Southeast Georgia. Don’t let the opportunity to provide input on fishing changes slip past you, and be sure and Go Fish Georgia!


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

As the days grow hotter, staying cool near your favorite lake or river is just one more reason to spend the day fishing with your friends!


Rainbow Trout

Each summer, WRD Fisheries conduct field sampling surveys of wild trout populations (pictured here at Dicks Creek).

Brook Trout

Wild Trout Report: (From Fisheries Biologist Sarah Baker) — Each summer, field sampling crews complete wild trout sampling surveys on headwater streams in the National Forest throughout north Georgia. These high elevation streams run clear and cold, providing habitat for wild Rainbow and Brown Trout, and native Brook Trout populations. A “wild” population is considered one that is able to reproduce without supplemental stocking. Rainbows and Browns are not native to Georgia (Rainbow Trout are originally from Western North America, Brown Trout are originally from parts of Europe and Asia). They were both stocked into Georgia streams in the 1880s. To this day, the agency stocks diploid trout. Diploid trout can reproduce if the stream conditions are suitable (i.e., cold, clear, clean water).  The spawning conditions last fall were not ideal; water temperatures were warm, and flows were low. Nonetheless, populations are proving to be resilient as we have observed decently sized populations throughout Northeast Georgia. Stream geomorphology is always changing. The upheaval of just one root wad can dramatically change the course of a stream. Initially, there are large deposits of fine sediment from the bank collapsing with the root wad, but over time, the bank heals itself. It becomes revegetated and the sediment resettles to establish a deep, large bend that provides a cool, deep place for several trout to hang out in. This year, with low stream flows, those deep holes are going to be key to summer survival. If fishing high elevation trout streams, early, early mornings are going to be your best bet. For anglers that want to release their catch, I recommend reducing handling, photo, and play time as much as possible, and consider artificial presentations—warm water temperatures combined with handling or hooking stress can increase the chances for unintended mortality.

Public Comments on Proposed Rulemaking Changes for Trout Thanks for those of you who joined the virtual public hearing yesterday. We greatly appreciate your input. You can still provide comments by email (fm.comments@dnr.ga.gov), by telephone (706-557-3305) or by submitting written statements, before close of business on July 28, 2023. Written statements should be mailed to: Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division/Fisheries Management Section 2067 U.S. Highway 278, S.E., Social Circle, Georgia 30025. Click HERE for the proposed rulemaking changes.

The Toccoa Tailwater(Report Courtesy of Cohutta Fishing Company, (706) 946-3044) —  Temps on the tailwater are still staying cold. The water coming out of the dam is still staying at 56 degrees. As you go further downstream, the water temps start coming up with each creek that flows in. At Horseshoe Bend Park, temps are getting up to 66 mid-day before the generation comes in to cool it back down. So, if you’re wade fishing stick to Tammen Park or Curtis Switch. Fishing in the mornings has still been great. Dry fly action on caddis, sulfurs, and yellow sallies has been working well first thing in the morning. Then transitioning to dry dropper rigs as the sun gets up and the fog clears. For your dry dropper rigs, throwing smaller chubbies with pheasant tail variations have been finding fish. After about 11am, the fishing has been turning off. High water float fishing has been good if you’re looking for bigger fish. If you want to learn highwater tactics for hunting down bigger sized fish now is the best time to learn.

Trout Slammer Luke with his Brook Trout.

Trout Slammer Cory with his Rainbow Trout.

Trout Slammer Brooke with her Brown Trout.

Shout out to a few of our awesome Georgia Trout Slam participants: Congratulations to Brooke Wheeler, Luke Neely, and Cory Peltier! Have you gotten your Trout Slam yet?

Want to Do More to support trout fishing in Georgia?  Consider a Trout Unlimited license plate this year.  Each purchase or renewal of a license plate with a beautiful Brook Trout supports Georgia’s trout conservation and management programs. Hatcheries and wild trout management efforts both benefit from the trout tag. Your support is tremendously appreciated!


North Georgia Water Quality Monitoring: (From Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop)Water quality monitoring is an important component of good fisheries management here in North Georgia. Because many of our reservoirs and rivers contain temperature-sensitive species (e.g., striped bass, hybrid bass, walleye, and trout), monitoring available habitat for these species helps us optimally manage these fisheries for the benefit of anglers. In the summertime, large reservoirs become stratified, meaning that they separate into layers according to the water’s density, which is driven by changing water temperatures. Warm, less-dense water is near the surface (the epilimnion), and cold, denser water exists in the deeper hypolimnion. In between these two layers is the thermocline, a zone of rapid temperature change from warm to cold with increasing depth. Due to this stratification process and other biochemical processes (such as algal production and bacterial decomposition), suitable fish habitat can become limited in the summer as the reservoir temperatures increase and dissolved oxygen declines. By reviewing water quality data, anglers can improve their odds of catching their target fish by knowing where they are most likely to be found. Our Gainesville crew has been collecting temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles on Lake Lanier, Lake Nottely, and Lake Chatuge since May.  The graphs of these data can be found on the fishing forecast’s GIS map for each of these reservoirs—just zoom into the reservoir and click the temperature icon and then select the most recent sampling event. You’ll see that this summer, on Lake Lanier for example, quality habitat for coolwater species like striped bass and walleye exists from Flowery Branch to Buford Dam, and stripers can expect to be caught almost exclusively at thermocline depths (~ 25 ft – 45 ft) due to suppressed oxygen levels below 50 ft. North of Flowery Branch, anglers should target thermocline depths of 20-30 ft up to Brown’s Bridge. For anglers that want to release their catch, reduce handling, photo, and play time as much as possible, and consider artificial presentations—warm surface temperatures combined with handling or hooking stress can increase the chances for unintended mortality. Swimbladder venting or the use of a descending device may be required to return fish to the depths they were caught as well. We hope this information helps you put more fish on your lines!

Lake Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant) — Bass fishing is fair but get out early or after dark. Start by fishing some form of top water. Cast to main lake points and flats with the Jackal SK Pop Grande in a shad color. As the day progresses, fish the same points as well as pole markers with a Carolina rig and a 2-to-3-foot leader with a ½ to ¾ weight. Use a 4-inch Net Bait finesse worm in green pumpkin watermelon color with the Shaky Head in these same areas. The morning top water bite is a little slow. A few fish first thing in the morning will take a Pop R or Bonnie 95. Fish points on the mid-section of the lake. Throughout the day has been pretty tough. Concentrate on fishing around docks and cover with a Net Bait Finesse Worm in Key Lime Pie or Paca Melon on a Shaky Head. Fish very slowly. In the evening fish a Shaky Worm or small jig around the same cover as earlier in the day. It seems like the fish have to want to bite fish but just stick with it. Cover worked fish slowly and methodically and it should prove to be a productive way to catch some fish. A few good fish are being caught on big crank baits.

Lake Burton: (From Captain Wes Carlton 770-318-9777) — The Yellow Perch bite is on fire. We have been catching good numbers in the creeks around grass and structure (blow downs). Most of the fish seem to be in the 13 – 18 foot depths. The drop shot technique has been working best. Small flukes or robo worms seem to work well. Look for this pattern to continue and get better as we progress the summer months. Good luck!

Post-work bass fishing excursion at Rocky Mountain PFA paid off!

Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area: (From Fisheries Biologist Jackson Sibley) – One of the perks to working in the fisheries field is that you’re often near fishable water when the workday ends. Rocky Mountain PFA manager Dennis Shiley and I capitalized on this opportunity on Tuesday, visiting East Antioch Lake for a late afternoon bass excursion. Our game plan was to target structure in 8 to 10 feet and rotate our lures & techniques until we keyed in. Expectations were understandably low, as the dog days are upon us and the bite is typically slow when the sun is high in the sky. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long to hook up. The first fish of the day, a healthy 2-pounder, was caught on a green pumpkin worm, rigged Carolina-style, near cluster of pallet pyramids. Several others quickly made their way into the boat, including two fish right around the 4-pound mark. The fish of the day, though, may have been the unexpected 5-pound channel catfish that crushed Dennis’ Picasso swinging jig. In all, we boated 6 fish and lost another 4 or 5—not bad for a couple hours of post-work stress relief! Insider tip: the most reliable pattern right now seems to be slow-fishing soft plastics and jigs around structure. Bonus points if you can find structure within shaded areas of the lake. The Rocky Mountain PFA Interactive Map should assist you in your search for the perfect honey hole.

Lake Lanier: (From Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant):

  • Bass: (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson (770) 366-8845) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The lake level is one and a half feet below full pool, and the water temperature is in the low to mid-eighties. Overall, the lake is clear with some light staining in the backs of the creeks. Several methods are working right now to catch the bass on Lanier. The swim bait bite with the Chrome Slick Stick Pro Series has been a very steady producer when worked over the deeper brush and long points. The Cast 20-gram OG has been producing some good fish when worked early or late in the day on the same areas. When there is a good wind the Chug Bug and the Gunfish have produced some good fish. If the fish won’t come up but they are either in or around the brush a three eights Spotchoker Pro model with a small fluke has worked well for some big fish. Count this bait down to the top depth of the brush and work it quickly by the brush with a very erratic action to trigger the bite. To catch the fish being stubborn in the brush a drop shot with a three eights weight and either a Lanier Baits Blue Lilly or Morning dawn will work. We’re working the drop shot more in the calm weather in the middle of the day. The worm bite around the shady areas of the docks has been consistent but the size tends to be a little smaller. It’s that time of year to dodge the big cruiser’s and all the other crazies out there so be sure to wear your life vest and connect the kill switch. Hit the lake either early or late and Go Catch ‘Em!
  • Striped Bass: (This report courtesy of Buck Cannon, Buck Tales Guide Service (404) 510-1778) — Lanier is in full summer mode. Using your electronics fine water 50-100′ that has some type of closeness to a creek channel. All methods are available flat lines, Dow lines, planer boards, using blue back seem to be the bait of choice but water temperature is in the low 80 so change bait often. Umbrella rigs and lead core have been producing some good results trolling 2.5 to 3.5 mph. Lead core 8 colors and umbrella rigs 130 feet behind the boat. Remember to wear your life jacket.
  • Crappie: (This report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton, (770) 530-6493 — Crappie fishing has been good! The water temperature is up to 83. The fish are moving deeper. This week’s catch mostly came from 10-15 foot deep over a 25-40-foot-deep bottom. Look for docks near a channel. 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 are working well. With the current conditions, you should have no problem landing some decent sized Crappie!

Lanier GON-tel: Get the latest on stripers HERE.

Lake Hartwell Bass: (This report courtesy of Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant) —  Bass fishing is slow. Start the mornings off with Chug Bugs and Skitter Props in the shallow waters. The black bass and the spots are most active during the morning period. Look for the larger bass to bite early in the mornings with these two top water baits and increase the speed of the retrieve on any missed bites or short strikes. Continue fishing the rocky points again this week. These are still good fishing places to locate any feeding bass with crank baits and top water baits. Wiggle Warts, Shad Raps along with Thunder Sticks and DT6’s are excellent baits to use. Continue to have to change baits frequently during the mid-morning period. Look under docks that may still be in the water, any old stumps, trees and brush piles with plastics and jigs.


(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)


  • A lovely look at McDuffie PFA – plan your visit today!

    Water Temperature: 86 and rising

  • Water Visibility: 22+ in
  • McDuffie PFA Fishing Guide

Waters are very warm across the PFA and everything seems to have moved to deeper, cooler waters.  Water clarity has dropped with the heat and plankton blooms.

Bass: Smaller bass are moving through the shallows but are slow to bite on almost everything thrown at them right now.  Several smaller bass have been caught late in the day moving about 20-30 ft. from the banks.  Larger bass have moved to deeper water and are also being finicky.

Catfish: Catfish are still biting on the usual stink baits and livers, in the deeper water of Bridge and Clubhouse.  Large catfish have recently been caught in the small extension pond on the backside of Willow.  This smaller unmanaged pond also had two recent reports of large bass, 7+ pounders, that has broken two lines.  These reports have yet to be verified, but we would love to have someone verify it for us!

Bream: Bream, especially shellcrackers, are biting well in the deeper waters of Willow and Bridge.  Red wigglers sunk deep near the bottom are yielding nice thick palm-sized fish. 



Bass fishing is slow.  Downsizing the baits and line size can help.  Use a 3/16 to 1/4-ounce jig on eight or no more than ten-pound test line.  On the Carolina rigs, extend the leader out to 36 inches or more.  When it is this hot try the four foot plus leader during the hot summer months.  Find the deepest water possible that is holding fish and work the baits slowly.  One good bite every hour to hour and a half is not uncommon this time of the year.  Night anglers are still fishing rocky points with jigs and dark colored worms on Carolina rigs.  Once again, a very slow presentation is a must.  If you think you are fishing too slow, slow down some more.  Work the bottom no more than six inches at a time pausing for about 20 seconds before moving the bait again.  One other tactic is using the Rapala Ott’s Garage pearl and green back OG8 crank bait on any point.


Bass fishing is fair.  Bass are tight on creek bends down lake as well as main lake points.  The fish are biting but all presentations will need to be close to any wood and around docks.  Use the Zoom gourd green worm on a Texas rig in the tight bank cover.  Up the creeks, use a dark jig and pig combination and fish tight in any cover right on the bank.  The Lunker Lure Rattle Back jigs in the 3/8-ounce size in dark reds and blacks with a matching #11 Uncle Josh trailer will be best.  Add Real Craw scent and use it often casting to the same location.  Use a Leverage all white buzz bait spinner baits, use willow leaf and Colorado blades in tandem on the wood and docks.  Be sure the skirts are bright colors in lime, white and chartreuse.


Bass fishing is fair.  The lake is full and 85 to 90 degrees.  The main lake is clear, stained up the rivers.  Deep diving crank baits are working on the lower lake humps.  Work a Norman’s DD22 on the channel side of the humps and stay in contact with the bottom for best results.  The early morning top water buzz bait bite has slowed some, but it is still producing some fish.  Use a white buzz bait on the sea walls and deep riprap at first light.  One other tactic is using the Rapala Ott’s Garage pearl and green back OG8 crank bait on any point.  Night fishing is also producing some fish.  A large dark Zoom worm fished under and around deep docks near the river channel has been the best producer over the past week.  The same worm fished Texas rigged around wood cover up the rivers has also been good after dark.


Bass fishing is fair.  The top water and swimbait bite have remained good even with the rising temperatures.  The baits of choice seem to vary each day, but something in that category seems to work every day.  As usual, when the sun is up, the bite is better.  Baits like a Sebile fluke, Gun Fish, Chug Bug, Pencil Popper, and a Vixen have been good choices.  We are focusing on points and humps with brush in anywhere from 15 30 feet in both the main lake and creeks.  Start to incorporate a drop shot at times when the top water bite is tough as well as a Spybait.  The fish do change positions on the structure each day, but those fish will be somewhere on or near the key structure and cover.  Stay on the move with this bite and hit a lot of spots looking for the active fish.


Bass fishing is barely fair during the day but it is a little better after dark.  The drop shot rig and main lake ledges are the best combinations.  A Zoom mini pumpkin lizard is the best bait lake wide with a June bug lizard a close second.  The fish have moved out to the river channel ledges or to deep docks.  Almost all the fish are taking plastics but try a gold buzz bait on any dock.  Jigs are also fair on the docks in all-brown but smaller baits seem to work best on the spots.  Plastic or a pork trailer will work and match the trailers to the bait.  Soft plastics in the green pumpkin in a finesse worm and a Zoom Bush Hog will get strikes.  Add some Jacks Juice garlic to the baits for extra strikes.  After dark, black buzz bait and a black Jitterbug can work around any rocks and on lighted docks.


(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)

Chuck Dean caught this solid redbreast with his fly rod while fishing the St Marys River a week ago.

The dog-days of summer are fully entrenched and we will likely have several triple-digit days about the time you read this. If you understand the summer patterns of the various fishes, you can have some really good catches. Panfishing in ponds, bowfin fishing in the Okefenokee, and nearshore saltwater fishing produced the best reports. Our rivers are getting right again, so don’t overlook a morning trip to your favorite flowing water.

River gages on July 20th were:

  • Clyo on the Savannah River – 0  feet and falling
  • Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 3.2 feet and rising
  • Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.0 feet and falling
  • Waycross on the Satilla – 5.5 feet and falling
  • Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.4 feet and rising
  • Statenville on the Alapaha – 2.7 feet and falling
  • Macclenny on the St Marys – 4.5 feet and falling
  • Fargo on the Suwannee – 4.2 feet and falling

First quarter moon is July 25th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.


A couple Fitzgerald anglers fished the middle Ocmulgee this week and had a much better trip than they expected. On Sunday they had 21 bass and had some big ones, as well. They caught them all by pitching Texas-rigged plastics to heavy cover. It’s time to fish both rivers. Moving baits (buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits) should attract some bites from bass in the morning, but you’ll probably do best to put a Texas-rigged plastic right on their nose in heavy cover once the sun gets up. Panfishing should pick up significantly in main river eddies and backwaters as the water starts to clear.

Clay Tapp caught this 8-pound bass Sunday afternoon on the Alapaha River while casting a Capt. Bert’s black-gold blade buzzbait.


Clay Tapp had a monster bass this week on a Capt. Bert’s black-gold blade buzzbait. The fish pulled the scales down to 8 pounds. He caught it on about his 4th cast of the trip then just called it a day after taking photos. Not a bad handful of casts!


Mark Vick and David Brodmann hit the middle Ogeechee on Friday and caught a pile of fish. They threw chartreuse and black/chartreuse Bert’s Bugs (weighted with a beetlespin body) and caught redbreasts, bluegill, and bass until the sun got up. Then they flung crawfish Satilla Spins for the rest of their trip. They caught a bunch of fish (mostly redbreasts) and ended up keeping 26 of the biggest ones. This was only David’s second time fishing the river, and he is really hooked on it after experiencing a topwater bite.


The upper river is getting low for motorboats but right for floating. The middle and lower rivers are still good for fishing from a motorboat, but you may have to drag some. I heard some good reports for redbreasts in the Waycross area with the best trip about 20 fish. The river is going to be down this week to the level where a float trip should produce many dozens of fish. Catfishing on the lower river is still the best bet in the tidal areas. Put worms, cut bait, or shrimp on the bottom for white, channel, and blue cats and live bait for flatheads.


Teddy Elrod and David Perkins fished the east side in the middle of the day for a couple hours on Friday. They flung and trolled Dura-Spins for their fish and left when they caught their 60th fish. Their best color was black-chartreuse-chartreuse blade, and their biggest bowfin was 7-lb., 13-oz. Conner Nelson fished with Ray McMillan on the east side Saturday and caught 30 fish – mostly bowfin – on Dura-Spins. Blood red (silver blade) was their best color. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.30 feet.


My favorite story of the week came from a Guyton area pond on Saturday morning. Charlotte fished a black/chartreuse Bert’s Bug around their pond and caught giant bluegills, shellcrackers, and a few small bass for about a half-hour before older brother Tripp learned about her success. He came busting out of the house after seeing her catch a giant bluegill and started flinging a bug, as well. After he crushed a few “hammer” bluegills, the youngest (Waylon) had to get in on the action, as well. The 3 of them worked on the bluegills and shellcrackers for a little while longer, and Waylon was able to catch his first youth angler award-sized fish. They had a blast watching fish explode on the popper! Jimmy Zinker had a few bass night-fishing this week, but his big fish of the week was during the day – a 6-lb., 14-oz. bass on a deep-diving crankbait. A Waycross angler fished a pond on Monday morning for a couple hours and caught 28 big bluegills on a fly rod. He caught 3 on a popper-dropper rig, but they just weren’t taking it well. He alternated between a crawfish Satilla Spin and white Okefenokee Swamp Sally and it was game-on. His biggest bluegill was 10 1/2 inches and all of them were bigger than hand sized. A group of 17 teens fished the Lions Camp for the Blind Pond on Wednesday 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. Landon fooled the biggest catfish seen in the pond – a 5-pound channel catfish – with a piece of cut bluegill.


Jim Page and Brentz McGhin fished the Crooked River area on Saturday and caught 10 trout (4 keepers) and 2 throwback redfish by casting Gulp shrimp rigged on a Zombie Eye Jighead. A few were caught working the lure on the bottom, but most ate it suspended underneath an Equalizer Float. Capt Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) said that it’s been hot but the bite hasn’t been bad. They’ve caught some nice trout this week, but 4 out of 5 of them were short fish. The juvenile trout and reds are thick, so that is good news for future catches. The flounder bite was good but not great for him this week. He caught 11 to 14-inchers regularly but not many big ones. His charters caught 3 tripletails this week, and the tarpon have been playing hide-and-seek (their favorite game….). He hit some bull redfish spots on Thursday and hooked up the first 2 baits he put in the water…BUT giant bull sharks ate them on their way to the boat, so he headed out. Capt. Greg Hildreth (georgiacharterfishing.com) had a good week with a few tarpon making it boatside before being released. He said the whiting bite was good, and he’s also been catching some nice pompano (man, those are good eating!). I heard some good reports from the short snapper season this Friday and Saturday. Fish were not scarce, as everyone I talked with caught a bunch. The biggest snapper I heard of was a 14-pounder, but I’m sure there were bigger ones caught. One group threw back “small” 5 and 6-pound snappers wanting to keep a good one for their 1-fish limit. Unfortunately for them the bite shut down before they filled their big ones and they only brought home 2 snapper. They had a pile of triggerfish, grunts, sea bass and other bottom fish and said they caught over 100 fish of all species. Another group hooked several fish that were inhaled or cut in half by sharks and grouper. They lost quite a few fish that way. Steve and Brenda Hampton fished the Jekyll Island Pier on Saturday and caught some short flounder but no keepers. Brenda lost 2 big flatties and a GIANT seatrout that Steve said looked prehistoric it was so big.