We know you like to fish. I mean, after all, you are reading a fishing blog right now. But do you like a Challenge when you are fishing? If so, check out our challenges like the Georgia Bass Slam (catch 5 of the 10 Black Bass species in the state), the Georgia Trout Slam (catch all 3 species of Trout found in the state), and our Angler Award program (catch a fish that meets or beats a specific weight or length). Be sure to review all rules for each challenge!
NEWS TO KNOW
Be on the Lookout for Tagged Catfish: As a large non-native species in the Satilla River, blue catfish have the potential to negatively impact many of the existing native species in the river, including the prized redbreast sunfish. So, WRD fisheries is tagging blue catfish in the Satilla River in an effort to learn more and better assess its impact. You can help by reporting tagged catfish catches. Oh, and you can get a reward for reporting! Find out more HERE.
- Lake Drainage: Lake Margery at Marben PFA is currently being drained for important maintenance. The boat ramp will remain open as long as it is safe for use. Signage will be posted once ramp is unavailable. Bank access will remain open until heavy equipment arrives for maintenance work.
This week, we have reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia. Whether you are testing your fishing skills with a Challenge or just enjoying throwing out a line, we love that you 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 BELOW COURTESY OF SOUTHERN FISHING WITH KEN STURDIVANT.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Most of the fish are small spots, so go small with little Shad Raps, small Flukes and even a good old Rooster Tail in all white. The points of rip rap on both sides of bridges can hold feeding fish, especially during power generation. Crank baits, lightweight Texas rigs and jig head and worm rigs have been the producers. Bass holding around bridge supports have fallen prey to the worm rigs mostly. The best presentation is usually to cast the worm beside the bridge support and allow it fall vertically. Use the Spot sticker lead heads and a small green finesse worm. Use the C-Map and find the ledges, roadbeds and humps and mark them with the waypoint and focus on just fishing these areas. Be sure to fish brush piles and use the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology to find them. The key is to use Navionics charts and the Lowrance equipment to locate and catch fish.
CLARKS HILL LAKE IS DOWN 1.1 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Most of the fish are small spots so go small with little Shad Raps, small Flukes and even a good old Rooster Tail in all white. The points of rip rap on both sides of bridges can hold feeding fish, especially during power generation. Crank baits, lightweight Texas rigs and jig head and worm rigs have been the producers. Bass holding around bridge supports have fallen prey to the worm rigs mostly. The best presentation is usually to cast the worm beside the bridge support and allow it fall vertically. Use the Spot sticker lead heads and a small green finesse worm.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Up the Oconee River flipping blow downs will bring a few good fish but there are only a few bites a day. Fish brush piles in 15 to 20 foot of water using a green pumpkin Senko. Fish the bait on a Texas rig and work thru the brush very slowly. Flipping a Zoom crawfish in the watermelon color under docks where deep water is nearby can also produce fish. Work all areas of the docks to find where the fish are holding. Lowrance Structure Scan technology can spot these fish on the docks wherever they hide. The Alabama rig has been taking a few fish early and late in the day. Use shad soft body lures and add a touch of chartreuse dye to the tails.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.5 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The fish are up feeding on the banks and shallow cover and will be the best locations. Stay in the shadows if possible and then move to docks and then offshore structure. All white small Shad Rap crank baits are working, especially upriver. The bass are feeding early and they will cover a lot of banks to look for food. Small lures in natural colors has been by fair. The coves right across from the Little River ramp have been good early in the day. Zara Spooks in bright colors as well as small Shad Raps will work and use light line and cover a lot of water. After the early feeding period, the fish move to deeper manmade and natural cover. The fish will take all white floating worms and small spinner baits. Bright trick worms and the new speed style Senko’s on a Texas rig or a weightless will work. Fish the baits on no weights or use nail weights inside the baits and rig one straight and one wacky style. Use a larger Mustad 3/0 offset worm hook and keep the baits with this rig, just under the surface. Move the baits quickly and then use a #7 Shad Rap in perch and baby bass patterns. Try some night fishing this week. Use small dark crank baits and small Bitsy Bugs with a small Yamamoto dark spilt tail trailer. Try swimming this jig around rocks and docks after dark.
LAKE JACKSON IS .47 FEET OVER FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is barely fair during the day. The drop shot rig and main lake ledges are best. A Zoom finesse worm in green pumpkin is a good bait lake wide. For the Texas rigs use the Zoom June Bug mini lizard. The fish have moved out to the river channel ledges or to deep docks. Almost all the fish are taking plastics but try a white buzz bait on any dock. Jigs are also fair on the docks in all brown but use smaller baits; these seem to work best on the spots. Plastic or 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 Lunker Sauce to the baits for extra strikes.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 88.1˚ F (31.2˚ C)
- Water Level: 33.5” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 44”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
In 2020 and 2021, hybrid striped bass were stocked into the lake. We received the first report of them being caught this past month when an angler reported catching several hybrids, one of those being 7 or 8 lb The largemouth bass bite has been good with anglers reporting regular catches in the 5-7 lb range. The catfish bite has increased and even attracted some out-of-state anglers visiting the Georgia National Fairgrounds. Here is a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had good success using for each of the following:
Bass: Anglers are reporting catching Largemouth on Googan Squad Mini Banger in Kosmo Shad and Strike King Bitsy Bug Mini Jig. The hybrid striped bass were caught using crankbaits.
Bream: The last anglers to report catches were using red wigglers and jigs.
Channel Catfish: Anglers are using shrimp, chicken livers, live baitfish, and cut baitfish.
Crappie: Anglers are reporting that Crappie are being caught using live minnows.
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Clarity: 16” to 36”
- Surface temperature: Upper 80’s to lower 90’s
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
- Water Level: All ponds are within a few inches of being full. However, Lake Margery is being drained for maintenance and improvements. Lake closure will be announced at a later date. Until lake closes, it is open to fishing.
Bass: Late afternoon till early morning are your best bet. High water temps have most fish out deep. Occasionally late in the afternoon or early in the morning you will see bass hitting shad on the surface. When not fishing a feeding frenzy, rattle traps and plastic baits on deep points and drop offs should increase your odds.
Crappie: Very few crappie being caught this time of the year. Few are being caught in the bigger lakes in deeper water suspended over brush piles.
Bream: Bluegill and shellcracker are being caught at daylight on or near the bottom using pink or red wigglers.
Hybrid Bass: Bennett Lake has a fair population of hybrid bass. Look for them feeding on shad early and late in the day in the upper and lower parts of the lake.
(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)
Rivers are up and down – you’ll just have to check the gages regularly before planning a trip. Bites at the swamp and ponds were good. The inshore saltwater bite should improve this week with better tides.
River gages on August 3rd were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 4 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 2.1 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 5.8 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 7.4 feet and rising
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 8.1 feet and falling
- Statenville on the Alapaha – 3.5 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 12.7 feet and rising
- Fargo on the Suwannee – 7.7 feet and rising
Chuck and Hunter Dean fished the lower river Sunday and ended up catching 14 bowfin, a gar, and 3 warmouth. They caught 2 of the warmouth on a popper and fly rod and everything else on a Dura-Spin (lemon-lime and crawfish-brass blade worked best for them). Their scale broke, so all they could do was measure the fish. The biggest bowfin was 28 inches, but almost all of them were over 22 inches. He estimated that the fish were about 5 pounds apiece, bigger than he usually catches in the Okefenokee Swamp (but not as many per trip). The river rose into the floodplain this week, but the upper river is dropping back out, and the water looked good when I went over the river above Waycross on Monday.
Josh Ward fished the east side of the Okefenokee Swamp again this week on Sunday. The bite was a little slower than the week before. He still caught 20 bowfin, and his biggest was bigger than the week before. It weighed 7 pounds. His best colors of the day were crawfish-orange blade and fire tiger. He believes that the fish like the big profile of the Dura-Spin. He tried to catch them on white rooster tail spinner and could not get them to eat the smaller offering very well. He also noticed that when you stop reeling a Dura-Spin it will fall and continue to spin, and that often triggers a strike. Very few people fished this week in the heat. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.43 feet.
Chad Lee was back at bass fishing in Alma-area ponds this week. He caught just over a dozen bass. His biggest was a 4-pounder, and most were in the 2-pound range. Senkos were the key for him this week. Kael Courson and I fished a Waycross area pond with a friend on Friday morning and caught and released 26 panfish (25 bluegills and a redbreast) up to 10 inches (most were 8-9 inches). They ate 1/16-oz. cracklehead crawfish Satilla Spins fished on spinning gear and a white Okefenokee Swamp Sally fished on fly tackle. In the latest weekend installment of the Guyton Saga, Tripp outsmarted his brother Waylon and sister Charlotte by fishing their pond Friday evening while his siblings were at their grandma’s house. He fooled bass and bluegills with a white Bert’s Bug that evening. They all pitched bugs over the weekend and caught bass, bluegills, and shellcrackers. Jimmy Zinker fished at night in a south Georgia pond on Thursday night/Friday morning and had 7 bass. His biggest (5-lb., 7-oz.) ate a black Jitterbug at 4am, and the other 6 (up to 5 pounds) ate a black buzzbait.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Jay Turner fished from the bank for a couple hours in the Savannah area on Friday morning and caught 6 redfish, and 3 flounder by flinging Keitech swimbaits on Zombie Eye Jigheads (1/8-oz, 2/0 Gamakatsu sickle-shaped hook). Dean Barber fished with his family on Saturday in the Crooked River area and caught trout and bottom fish (croaker and catfish) on shrimp. They caught their trout on Sea Shads under Equalizer Floats after the tide started in and ended up with several, including a nice 15-incher. They hooked what was probably a big redfish that ran them under the trolling motor and broke off. Shortly thereafter they were run off by thunderstorms. Capt. Greg Hildreth (georgiacharterfishing.com) put his clients on a few tarpon and tripletail this week. He did not do well inshore because of the big tides and muddier water but expects it to improve this week with the clearer water.
(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)
WEST POINT LAKE IS DOWN 2.3 FEET, 80’S
Bass: Bass fishing is slow. For early and late and go to the soft plastics and jigs. With high temperatures fish will move up to feed only for a short am and pm feed. If they generate anglers can a few fish on deep diving crankbaits and most times these will be better fish. If there is no generation expect to work for a bite and slow way down with the soft plastics. The best soft plastics have been Texas and Shaky head worms. Despite the slower bites fish have related to larger baits. Go to the larger Zoom magnum worms and the trick worms. The best colors have been green pumpkin and watermelon. Work these baits slowly in and around cover located on humps and roadbed’s lake wide.
WEISS LAKE IS AT 0 FOOT 2 INCHES BELOW FULL POOL AND LIGHT STAINED TO CLEAR AND 86-88 F
All Species (report courtesy of Mark Collins Guide Service): Bass fishing is good. Most of our fish have moved to the creek and river channel ledges. Use the Carolina rigs and crank baits for catching fish. Crappie fishing is fair. They are on the creek and river channel ledges and deeper brush; they can be caught Spider rigging with live minnows over deep brush. Shooting docks with jigs is also producing some fish. Striper fishing is good. They are being caught in Little River and The Chattooga River on live shad downed lined and free lined. Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water. Cut bait is working best.
LAKE HARTWELL IS DOWN 1.6 FEET, 80’S
Bass: Bass fishing is slow. Day time fishing is slow after lunch. Fish the long main lake points as last week and run the Norman DD22 shad crank bait on 10-pound Sufix line to get some extra depth. Largemouth bass fishing is going to be pretty slow at 84-degree water temperature. Bass will start moving much slower and feeding less aggressively until the water temperature starts to get back down to comfortable levels. When the water temperature is up this high, it’s time to get out fishing early and late in the day when the sun is not on the water. Early the fish are on deep water docks. Both patterns are producing some smaller fish with a few keepers thrown in. As the sun beams down, water temperatures are climbing to 85 to 86 degrees by late afternoon. Both of the main rivers there has been a little more rain during the week and this is the best area to spend the day. The cooler water with the help of the rain and this will trigger the spots into biting. The spots aren’t really large but there are plenty to go around. Late in the day the spots along with a few largemouth are getting very aggressive and a Rapala #5 jointed Shad Rap or a Rapala DT6 in the Shad pattern will catch a quick limit along the rocks. Keep a Strike King spinnerbait ready with dual willow silver and blue willow leaf blades.
LAKE ALLATOONA IS FULL, 80’S
Allatoona Summer Bass Fishing (courtesy of Fisheries Biologist/Regional Supervisor Jim Hakala): With the heat of summer fully upon us, a more subtle bait presentation is often required to entice bass to strike when water temps are high. Fishing soft plastic worms on drop shots, shakey heads, or wacky rigs can be productive finesse techniques for summer “bassing.” Check out this recent Allatoona bass fishing VIDEO from Aidan at “GA Fishing” for some good summer bass fishing tips.
Bass (report courtesy of angler Matt Driver): Bass fishing on Allatoona continues to be great even though the heat is here, and water temps are up from July. School will be starting back soon, and we should see less pressure on the lakes, which makes for even better fishing. Historically, August has been a difficult time for Lake Allatoona but as herring and alewife populations continue to increase the bite stays consistent. The heat, sun and boat traffic has not affected the fish as much as you would think. The top water bite continues to be good along with slow rolling a 4-inch paddle tail swimbait. There are still lots of schools of fish to be found early. Watch for some surface activity. The deep bite has been good. Forward facing sonar with the drop shot and swimbaits in the 15-to-25-foot range have been good lately. Night fishing is still good. Bass continue to associate to boulders and brush piles. We’ve gone the whole year without a downtime in fish activity. Fishing is good on Lake Allatoona right now.
LAKE LANIER IS DOWN 2.2 FEET, 80’S
Bass (report courtesy of Phil Johnson Pjohnson15@hotmail.com 770 366 8845): Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is fair. The lake is currently down about one and a half feet with the temperature running in the mid-eighties. Overall, the lake is clear. It seems the summer doldrums are just getting started. It isn’t a problem to locate the fish but getting them to bite is a different story. The bass are still located around brush in the twenty-five-to-thirty-five-foot range around brush, humps and ledges. Early there are some fish to be caught on top water baits such as the Gunfish or Chug Bug. Once the sun is up swimbaits such as the Slick Stick Pro Series have been producing some good fish. Both baits have worked better with wind on the water. If you are not able to produce with these baits the drop shot comes into play. Lanier Baits colors Blue Lily and Morning Dawn have been the steadiest worms to use. Be prepared to fish multiple locations to find an active school of bass. If you want to catch fish with live bait right now is the time to get some Spottail minnows and work them on a drop shot set up. These can make for a fun trip especially for kids. You may have to work a little, but you can still Go Catch Em!
-Check out Dana and the FCP Fishing crew’s latest video (How to Beat the Dog Day Grind at Lake Lanier) to see some of Phil’s recommended tactics in action.
Striper (report courtesy of Striper Guide Buck Cannon, Buck Tails Guide Service. 404 510 1778): Stripers are still moving in the bays early in the morning. As the water heats up them move to the cooler and deeper water, temperature was 86.5 at Brown Bridge. Down lines over 100 feet of water and seems like 30 to 40 feet deep using blue backs was the ticket today. Trolling is working with lead core 280 feet at 3 mph and umbrella rigs at 130 feet back at the same speed. Jigging the big spoon also produce today just drop it down to 60 to 70 feet deep and reel up at a speed that works for you. Remember to wear your life jacket.
Striper (Courtesy of Captain Mack’s Fishing Report): The Striper bite is excellent! Plenty of nice size fish along with great numbers! Typical summer patterns, live baits with a mix of trolling techniques and power reeling! Use all of these techniques to compliment each other, which will enable you to maximize the bite! We can basically ditto last weeks report, just maybe add in some fish getting really deep, typical for this time of year. There is no limit on what is “too deep” except the bottom of the lake. Deep fish are often very catchable, if you see ‘em down there drop a bait! Also, remember to take good care of the herring, in the tank and on the line. These high air temps and warming water will compromise the bait if you are not properly maintaining them. Monitor the temp of the bait tank and keeping that water cool is a good way to keep the herring happy! To continue reading Captain Mack’s striper article and to read his Lanier bass fishing tips, click HERE.
Water Quality: Vertical temperature and oxygen profiles for Lake Lanier up to 8/1/2023 are now available on the Lake Lanier Fishing Forecast webpage. Click the .pdf files linked to the thermometer icons that occur throughout the lake. Due to hot surface temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels below the thermocline, expect to find striped bass schooled up south of Brown’s Bridge at depths between 26 ft – 60 ft, and from Flowery Branch to the dam you may find some deep fish adjacent to timber. Stripers caught from depths > 30 ft will likely require help returning to the water through use of a descending device (e.g., SeaQualizer, weighted crate). Remember, for every 33 feet of depth that a striped bass is captured, an extra atmosphere of pressure (14.7 psi) is rapidly relieved from its swim bladder, which causes uncontrollable expansion of gases inside the swim bladder. Without some intervention to aid the fish back to its capture depth, the chances are that the fish won’t survive.
Crappie (report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton 770 530 6493). Crappie fishing has been good with the water temperature is 86 degrees with water temperatures this high the crappie are not very active use small bait, and use slow action Target shaded areas, deep brush piles or fallen trees, and areas near the main channel to increase your chances of catching crappie. Use live small minnows straight down with a split shot or small jigs with a slow retrieval for best results. Try fishing during early morning or late evening when the temperature is slightly cooler. Crappie are deep concentrate on 10 to 15 foot deep over a 25- to 40-foot-deep bottom. Look for docks near a channel. I use ATX Lure Companies jigs on a Lip Thrashin Lure jig heads. I use ATX lure company’s jigs on a lip Thrashin lure jig heads. I use ATX lure Companies jigs on a Lip Thrashin lure jig heads. I use 5-pound test high visibility yellow k9 braid for my line unless I am using a bobber then it’s the k9 6 pound high Vis line and an Act crappie Stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and a Power Pole. Check out https://4heroutdoor.com/
Perch & ‘Crackers: (This Seed report courtesy of Jack Becker aka GA Waterdog): Jack and his buddy ventured back up to Seed Lake this week to troll for walleye and perch under cloudy skies and cooler-than-normal temperatures for August. This lake has a reliable history for Jack to catch pickerel, perch and an occasional walleye (I think Mr. Black would attest to this!). The duo trolled for several hours on the lower end of the lake around structure close to the river channel, but didn’t mark fish or have much luck, so they headed up the lake past the campground. That section of the lake has a lot of visible weed cover on both sides of the channel in 10 to 15 ft. of water, which they wisely deduced would be holding fish this time of the day. They stayed on the move until they marked fish close to the weed line on the edge of the river channel and using a large split shot 18” above a circle hook tipped with a piece of Nightcrawler, they caught enough yellow perch for fish tacos. As a bonus, Jack’s buddy also caught several nice Shellcracker like the one in the picture.
Summer Walleye: (report courtesy of Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson): Phil Black was fishing Lake Seed when he landed this nice summertime walleye. He stated that he marked this fish in 30 feet of water on his electronics and the went to work. He was able to tempt this 5 lb, 5 oz beauty with a crappie jig tipped with a red wiggler. It’s not too hot to have a successful trip—just change your tactics and fish deeper water!
Chattahoochee (report courtesy of Jimmy Harris & Unicoi Outfitter’s Angler Management Blog): We were off the new moon by a few days and the fishing really showed it. Topwater and streamers were slow to produce as we started our evening trip fishing through a torrential downpour for about 20 minutes. It was fun as Devin wanted to know more about where and how to fish for Shoal Bass. You go when you can!”
Are you in search of a Bass Slam or hoping to catch one of Georgia’s many riverine bass species? WRD has some great online resources to help you achieve your goals. You can also check out Shoal Bandit’s You Tube page, which has an excellent overview of each of Georgia’s black bass species and specific video examples of how to successfully fish for each species.
Stockers (courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): Trout stocking is still going strong here in north Georgia despite oppressive heat and rising water temperatures. Check out the weekly trout stocking report on WRD’s Trout Fishing webpage to learn which streams were cool enough to make this list this week. My crew enjoyed a trip to Tallulah River last week, where we caught seven ‘bows, lost a half-dozen more, and the kids had a blast wet wading while waiting for mom or dad to hand them their pole with a trout on the opposite end of the line. I passed the story along to my pal Troy, who found similar success with his son Indigo, who is now just one Brook Trout shy of a Georgia Trout Slam!
Bluelines/Headwaters: Few reports coming in as water temperatures are high (upper 60s) and the savvy trout angler knows that little wild trout can use a rest during these dog days. For those of you that have an unbearable blueline itch to scratch, check out Dredger’s tips for GA bluelining in this month’s edition of The Angler Magazine, page 4.
Lanier Tailwater (Courtesy of georgiawildtrout.com; photo courtesy of RTA’s Chris Scalley): 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.
Chris Scalley with River Through Atlanta recently posted an article on Page 6 of The Angler Atlanta Magazine regarding a renewed exploration into the entomology of the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam. Why do we care about bugs in the river? Because the bug “community” is heavily affected by the quality of the aquatic habitat available in the river. Quality aquatic habitat means clean, cold water for trout—and you. See Chris’s call for volunteers to help restore and continue this study, and if you have a buggy brain, consider getting involved with this worthwhile project.
Parting Trout Note: Want to do more to support trout fishing in Georgia? Consider upgrading to a Trout Unlimited license plate this year. Aside from being a great looking tag, each purchase or renewal of a Trout Unlimited license plate directly supports Georgia’s trout conservation and management programs, hatcheries, and wild trout efforts both benefit from your purchase of a trout tag.