Friday is here! Where will your fishing plans take you this weekend? How about to one of the 11 Georgia Public Fishing Areas available across the State. PFAs are managed for fishing by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD), and most areas offer additional experiences to entertain the whole family. 

All PFAs have 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) for those wishing to stay overnight on the area. These locations also offer other activities like hiking, bird watching, geocaching, archery and picnicking (activities vary depending on location). Find out more about each PFA HERE and HERE.


  • Seeing Blotchy Bass in Georgia? The Texas Parks and Wildlife blotchy bass research team is launching a citizen science data collection effort from now until February 29, 2024 – and folks from around the country and participate. It consists of an online “tournament” where anglers can download the MyCatch app and use it to submit photos and information of all the black bass they catch – blotchy or not – to be shared with their research team. Prizes will be rewarded! Find out more HERE.

This week, we have fishing reports from Southeast, North and Central Georgia. No matter your fishing destination, we are so glad that you choose to 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)

We are definitely in the dog-days of summer and the fish are in their summer patterns. Just when the Satilla was getting right for panfish, we got over 3 inches in essentially the entire basin last weekend. It’s high again, but the other rivers are fishable. Saltwater and ponds are producing the best reports right now.

River gages on July 27th were:

  • Clyo on the Savannah River – 1  feet and rising
  • Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 4.0 feet and rising
  • Doctortown on the Altamaha – 6.1 feet and rising
  • Waycross on the Satilla – 10.0 feet and rising
  • Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.6 feet and rising
  • Statenville on the Alapaha – 2.9 feet and falling
  • Macclenny on the St Marys – 5.7 feet and rising
  • Fargo on the Suwannee – 3.4 feet and falling

Full Moon is August 1st. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.


Garrett Page (left) caught this giant scalloped hammerhead shark while fishing with Capt. Greg Hildreth this week. It was the biggest fish Garrett had ever caught. (Photo courtesy of Capt. Greg Hildreth)

Jamie Hodge caught this 31-inch, 23-pound tripletail this week on the southern Georgia coast.

Jay Turner fished from the bank for a couple hours in the Savannah area this past weekend and hooked a couple small tarpon while casting a 4.8-inch electric shad swimbait on a Zombie Eye Jighead. He was targeting flounder and trout, but the silver kings were a fun sidetrack. He returned on Thursday morning and caught 8 keeper trout (released 7 of them) and the same number of barely undersized redfish. He was flinging fire craw and mossback shiner Keitech Swimbaits on Zombie Eye Jigheads. Jamie Hodge caught a monster 31-inch, 23-pound tripletail off our southern coast on Tuesday. He said that he had never seen that much fat in a fish before, and its belly was full of shrimp. So, I guess that’s confirmation that it’s a good match to throw live shrimp at them. Shane and Joshua Barber fished the St Mary area this weekend and caught a great mess of trout, black drum, and redfish. They caught almost 40 trout (most throwbacks – kept 4) all on plastics. They fooled most of their other fish on fiddler crabs. They also hooked and jumped a really big tarpon. I heard of a strikeout where the Waycross anglers fished the St. Marys Jetties targeting flounder and sheepshead. They caught a few undesirable species and a few sharks but didn’t catch any of their target species. Capt. Greg Hildreth ( had a good week with a few tarpon and some tripletail along with a bunch of sharks. One of the most memorable catches was Garrett Page’s giant scalloped hammerhead shark. It was the biggest fish he had ever caught. Steve and Brenda Hampton fished the Jekyll Island Pier over the weekend and only caught toadfish and stingrays. Randy Bryant caught a big flounder that day while fishing the rocks at the pier.


The only report I got this week was from Hunter Dean. He fished the Altamaha on Friday and caught 3 bass. Two of them ate a crankbait, and their biggest fish was right at 3 pounds. The river is rising again, but it’s still fishable. With the off-color water, try bright colors first.


Dane Clements fished the middle river for just a short trip, catching and releasing 7 bass up to 2 1/2 pounds on a small crawfish crankbait. Chuck Dean fished the lower river backwaters on Saturday for both panfish and bowfin (mudfish). He flung a popper early and caught a couple bluegills and then switched over to casting and trolling Dura-Spins. He ended up catching 18 bowfin and a longnose gar on crawfish and lemon-lime colors. He had 3 that measured 29 inches, and they weighed 8 1/2, 8, and 7 1/2 pounds. The river started rising again after the 3 inches-plus of rain over almost the entire basin this weekend. It is back in the floodplain again, but you can probably catch some fish in the backwaters in the lower half of the river until the slug of water gets down there sometime next week.


Josh Ward fished the east side of the Okefenokee Swamp on Saturday and caught a bunch of fish. They had 30 bowfin and 6 chain pickerel (jackfish). They had 3 bowfin over 5 pounds, and their biggest was 6 pounds. They caught their fish on fire tiger and black/chartreuse Dura-Spins. Mike Snell and his buddy Dustin fished the east side on Sunday and caught about 40 bowfin on Dura-Spins. Their best colors were blood red and crawfish. When the heat has most other species shut down, bowfin fishing in the swamp is excellent. They’re not much as table fare, but man are they feisty fighters! The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.40 feet.


In the latest Saturday installment of the Guyton Saga, Charlotte got up early so that she could get a jump on her brothers, Tripp and Waylon. It played out almost like the week before with Tripp and Waylon flying out the door as soon as they woke up and realized that their sister was several bass up on them. All three were flinging Bert’s Bugs tipped with a beetle spin body for weight when casting on ultralight gear. The boys preferred the black/chartreuse, while Charlotte threw the chartreuse version. All 3 of them caught mostly bass when Waylon exclaimed, “I’m gonna catch a big shellcracker because that is my expertise.” ….and he did – catching some big enough that he had trouble holding them. All three ended up catching some nice bass, bluegills, and shellcracker before calling it a day. Tripp invited his buddy Graham over later in the week and they fooled several bass and nice bluegills with the same chartreuse bugs. Tripp’s dad, Mark, got in on the action too and caught an 11 1/2-inch bluegill on a chartreuse bug. Gilbert Ellis, Jr. fished a Nicholls area pond for a couple hours on Saturday and had a blast catching bluegills and brown bullhead catfish. He released the bluegills and invited the catfish to a fish fry…. Jeff Blair fished a pond on Friday and caught a bunch of green sunfish by pitching a bumblebee-colored Okefenokee Swamp Sally. Those little buggers are aggressive but don’t usually grow very big. Jimmy Zinker fished at night in a South Georgia pond this week with buzzbaits and had a bunch of blowups. He caught 2 and missed about 10 small bass. Three of his blowups were big bass. He lost one of the big ones at the boat (he estimates it was a 7-lb. class fish). All of them ate black buzzbaits. A group of 17 teens along with some Lions Club members fished the Lions Camp for the Blind Pond on Saturday morning and caught a bunch of bluegills and a few catfish. The bluegills ate worms fished on a drop-shot, while the catfish ate cut bluegill. One of the Lions Club members caught her first fish ever during the event.


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

These boys enjoyed their bream catching!

Hard to beat a day of Bream Fishing!

Longnose Gar from Lanier

Hot Weather Fishing Ideas: You’ve said it a million times lately, “It’s hot!”  So, as anglers, it’s time to change tactics, or maybe it’s time to change targets.  Longnose gar is a strange but good summertime target for anglers who enjoy sight fishing for an aggressive, hard-fighting, and sometimes acrobatic species.  No fancy baits or expensive equipment required!  The young Lake Lanier angler in this picture tried it with his dad and had a blast! I think you will, too.  Excluding the mountain reservoirs, most North Georgia lakes and big rivers support a gar population.  Click HERE to view an entertaining and informative video for tips on how to catch gar with homemade “rope lures” during the dog days of summer.  Another favorite fishing target during the summer is bluegill. My boys and I enjoy searching the yard and woods for crickets and worms and then walking down to a nearby pond for some early-morning or evening bluegill fishing.  My older son has even mastered the art of catching them on a flyrod during the twilight hatch of aquatic insects.  It’s a blast and highly recommended.  For best success, cast poppers, rubber spiders and rubber ants to those small ripples of water where bluegills are feeding on insects at the surface.  Of course, if you need a break from the heat, head to the mountains for some wet-wading trout fishing.  Check out our website and click on the Weekly Trout Stocking Report to find out where trout were stocked this week.  I hope you will try out one of these hot weather fishing ideas.

Go Fish Before the School Bell Rings! Back to school shopping, school buses, and tardy bells are just around the corner. Give your kids a late summer memory to share with their classmates on the first day back to school. Fishing together with your child and family can build some powerful memories.  Don’t know where to fish with a child? No problem!  Consider trying one of the small lakes or ponds found at the following public facilities this weekend:


Reservoir Tips & Tricks: The following tips and tricks for the usual assortment of fished-for-favorites from a few of our North Georgia reservoirs are brought to you this week courtesy of DNR biologists, local fishing guides, The Southern Fishing Report by Ken Sturdivant, and other avid fishing enthusiasts.

Lake Lanier Bass Report: (Report by Fishing Guide, Jimbo Mathley 770-542-7764) — Bass fishing is good. The majority of are coming from 15 to 25 feet of water on points and humps with brush. There has been some increased schooling action on the surface in the mornings. Swimbaits have been working as well as a drop shot, so stay on the move and remain versatile with your lure choices to see what level of the water column the fish are willing to feed.

Liam McGowan landed an Angler Award eligible crappie on Lanier.

Striped Bass catch on Lanier.

Uptick in the number of catch&release mortalities due to heat.

Lanier Striped Bass Report (Report by DNR Fisheries Biologist, Hunter Roop) — Although striper fishing is still pretty good right now on the lower end of the lake, suitable water quality for striped bass is fading fast. The best water is within the thermocline from Flowery Branch Bay to the Dam.  To view the water quality profile data, click HERE to open the Lake Lanier map.  On the map, click the icon of a red thermometer.  It will open to our profile data.  Scroll down to find the most recent profile graph.  As you will see on the Flowery Branch graph, herring dropped below 40-ft of water cannot stay alive on the hook for more than a few minutes, so you might supplement live bait with an assortment of lures like the Mini Mac or the Ben Parker spoon.  As the surface temperature increases during this current heat wave, please know that we are also starting to see an uptick in the number of catch and release mortalities.

Lake Lanier Crappie Report (Report by DNR Fisheries Technician, William Sims) — Liam McGowan was fishing with friends when he landed a trophy crappie.  Fish Tech, William Sims, certified Liam’s catch as eligible for an Angler Award, which is DNR’s way of recognizing anglers for their trophy catches.  Although crappie fishing is only fair during the peak of summer, fishing in the early morning around brush piles is the ticket.  Look for suspended fish in 15-25 ft of water over a 25-35-ft bottom.

Lake Nottely Mixed Bag (Reports courtesy of DNR Fisheries Biologist, Hunter Roop, and Fisheries Technician, Will Sims) — The latest water quality profiles for Nottely are now available on WRD’s Lake Nottely Fishing Forecast webpage by clicking HERE.  A mixed bag of fish species are actively feeding at the surface in the early mornings before dipping below the thermocline at depths ranging from 25-40ft when the sun’s rays are hitting the water.   While on the water collecting these data, we ran into an angler who reported catching a 15 lb striped bass, as well as several good channel catfish, and several spotted bass. He said all his fish were caught on herring.   

Reid Giles landed the biggest largemouth of his life (so far) at Lake Burton.

Lake Burton (Report by DNR Fisheries Biologist, Anthony Rabern) — Reid Giles was fishing with his grandfather in Lake Burton when he landed the biggest largemouth bass of his life weighing 6 lb, 11 ounces.  Reid was anxious to get the fish back into the lake so that it could live to fight another day.  Reid said the big bass was chasing herring at the surface.  He cast in that direction and the bass inhaled his lure.  Congratulations, Reid, for a great catch and kudos to Reid’s grandfather for passing on his passion for fishing to the next generation.  What a good lesson for all of us.  Anglers in other North Georgia reservoirs are also catching bass on topwater in the early morning before switching to deepwater presentations in brush piles when the sun is hitting the water.

West Point Lake (Report by Fishing Guide, Ken Sturdivant, Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant) — Bass continue to hold in their usual summertime patterns. Fishing deep or near deep water is best using one of the following patterns. First, use a Carolina rigged worm fishing the deeper end of long points or under water islands. Just start at Highland Marina and head south to the dam picking every point as a target for summertime fishing. If the water is moving, watch for the baitfish to be on the move, too.  If there is no current, a good tip is to fish worms and jigs slowly. On these same points fish a Norman Deep Diver 22 in the glimmer shad color pattern on 10-pound test Sufix line. Get the bait down to the bottom and bump the bottom all the way back to the boat. The third pattern is flipping under docks that are near deep water with a Zoom U-Tail in the red shad color. You may have to work several points on the main lake, but you should be able to catch some good fish.

Lake Weiss (Report by Fishing Guide, Mark Collins ( , (256) 779 3387)) — Most of the bass are on offshore structure and along the river and creek channel ledges. Most anglers are using spinner baits, Carolina rigs and medium to deep running crank baits, and all seem to be working well.  Spotted bass are also biting well on deeper structure and the creek channel ledges.  Carolina rigs and crank baits are the hot spotted baits right now. Crappie are on deeper cover in the main lake and bays.  Spider rigging over brush with live minnows and jigs is catching a few fish.  Striped bass fishing is good. The fish are being caught in the upper Chattooga River, the Cave Hole and Little Spring Creek on live shad, down lined about 8 feet deep and on free lines.

Lake Hartwell (Report by DNR Fisheries Biologist, Anthony Rabern) — Hybrids and stripers are making their way toward the dam in search of more suitable summer habitat.  This time of year, they may be as deep as 125-feet but will move up to about 35-feet to feed for brief periods in the morning and especially after dark.  Click HERE to see the most recent water quality profile taken at the dam, but expect conditions to deteriorate more rapidly in August and concentrate more fish in the forebay.  As for bass, you know the drill.  Look for some early morning topwater action over humps and trees at 35-feet and then switch over to drop shots to catch fish suspended in cover at a similar depth.

Lake Allatoona (Report by Fishing Guide, Ken Sturdivant, Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant) — Bass are schooling in the main lake areas. Small topwater baits and the Mini Mac will work on schooling fish. Most of the schooling fish are in the 1-to-1.5-pound range.  If the day is overcast, bass will be bust baits at the surface during the morning. Good alternatives include a drop shot, fish head spin and small swim baits. Keep a Zoom Super Fluke ready all day just in case fish pop to the surface. Fishing guide Joseph Martinelli reports that Alabama Spotted Bass are smashing his arsenal of topwater walking baits like the Cast Lure OG 20G. 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 topwater baits.

Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area (Report by DNR Fishery Biologist, Jackson Sibley) — For bass, the most reliable pattern right now seems to be slow-fishing soft plastics and jigs around structure, especially structure within the shaded areas of the lake at Rocky Mountain PFA. The Rocky Mountain PFA Interactive Map should assist you in your search for the perfect honey hole.


William was excited about his trout catch and was ready to enjoy them for dinner.

Trouting Tactics & Techniques — Our trout hatcheries are stocking a lot of nice fish into the higher elevation mountain streams across North Georgia as well as the cool waters below lakes Lanier, Hartwell and Blue Ridge.  This week, about 26,000 trout were stocked for your fishing enjoyment.  Be sure to get out with the kids and enjoy these late-summer fishing adventures.  William is pictured with a few trout that he caught and harvested from the Tallulah River fishing pier.  He said it was a lot of fun to catch a mess of trout and was looking forward to having them for dinner with his family.

Looking for a late-summer outdoor adventure? Consider “Blue Lining.” (Report by DNR Trout Biologist Sarah Baker) — Blue Lining.  Maybe you’ve heard these words before but weren’t sure what it meant.  So, what is Blue Lining? Well, click HERE to find out! Then click on Georgia’s Interactive Trout Map to help you find and explore new blue line trout waters. The narrow trickles of streams hidden among the rhododendron are the perfect place to escape from this mid-summer heat.  These streams support wild trout populations. To fish for them, try drifting common dry-fly patterns such as elk hair caddis, parachute adams, or nymphs like pheasant tails through the pools you encounter along the stream.  Here’s a brief report from one of our “Blue Liner” friends:

Beautiful Brook Trout.

“Tied on a #16 yellow elk hair caddis and on my third drift through the first pool I fished hooked my best fish of the day, a 10” native brook trout. Over the next 45 minutes, I landed 4 more brookies.  Of the 5 brook trout, 3 were 7+”.  Then decided to head downstream to test the action of the wild rainbows that can’t get above the last barrier falls in the stream. They were very accommodating. I landed 25 rainbows over the next 2.5 hours staying with the #16 caddis the entire time. The rainbows ranged from 3”- 9” and provided a lot of action with several giving aerial displays of lateral color in sunlight.”


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 the revenue generated by the trout tag.


(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)



Bass fishing is good.  Anglers are catching plenty of bass but most of these bass are weighing in under three pounds.  There is a good jig bite first thing in the morning just inside the mouth of Beaverdam Creek.  These bass were caught while using 1/2-ounce jigs on a rocky bottom in ten to fifteen feet of water.  A lot of anglers are still using a short leader on the Carolina Rig off the main lake points and catching a short bass.  The south end of the lake is slow right now.  The Savannah River and Rocky River are still producing keeper fish too.  But finding structure on the ledges near deep water will be the key.  An occasional top water bite is not out of the question even with the warm water.  Also work a Whopper Plopper on any spot any time of the day.  Remember to fish the eastern side of the rivers first.  As the sun comes up, this will be in the shade longer and hold more bass.


Bass fishing is fair.  A lot of the smaller bass, along with a variety of other fish are being caught all over the lake.  During the hot summer months, fish the steep ledges with structure or submerged stumps in fifteen feet of water or deeper.  Fishing up in the narrow rivers is also another good place to find bass.  Jigs, worms, and deep diving crank baits is just about all that you will need.  Brown and green combinations of jigs and worms along with a little bit of chartreuse Garlic Dip N Glo added to the tail is a favorite this month.  Rapala DT14 in bone brown or shad will reach that deep-water structure and suspended bass if fished on ten-pound test line.  Use a seven-foot medium action rod and make a cast as far as possible.  Once the bait gets down, use a slow, steady retrieve with an occasional pause.


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.  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.  A rattle 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.  Top water baits continue to produce a few fish, including large bass, during early morning the first 2 hours along main riverbanks and around blow downs, stumps, grass, rocks, and seawalls.  Use buzz baits, Pop R’s, Chug Bug’s, Spooks, Torpedo, and the old Dalton Special.  Flukes and weightless trick worms haven’t produced recently but are worth trying.  Rip rap and bridge supports continue to hold a few bass.  Numbers of bass can still be caught by finding them in open water along underwater points, humps, and ledges.  Depths are mostly from 10 to 20 feet, although depths may be shallower way up the rivers or deeper in the lower lake area.  Deep crank baits and Carolina rigs are the mainstays.  Fat Free Shads in size ¾ ounce (#7) have been good, along with DD22’s, Rapala DT16, and Poe’s 400.  Both chartreuse and shad patterns have worked for any of the baits.  Zoom Trick worms in green pumpkin, green pumpkin red, and June bug have worked well on the Carolina rig.


Bass fishing is barely fair during the day and a little better after dark.  The drop shot rigs and main lake ledges are best.  A Zoom green finesse worm is the best bait lake wide.  Try the Texas rigged June bug mini lizard as 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 buzz bait any time you come up on a dock can work.  Jigs are also fair on the docks in all brown; smaller baits seem to work best on the spots.  Plastic or pork trailer in smaller sizes 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 to the baits for extra strikes.