Looks like we might have a few more “cooler” mornings through the weekend before the heat comes roaring back. That means we definitely need to take advantage of the break and go cast a line! What do you consider ideal fishing weather?
NEWS TO KNOW:
This Saturday at the Go Fish Center: On Sat. Aug. 19 (11 am – 12:30 pm) Major League Fishing Invitational Pro Angler Clayton Batts will be at the Go Fish Education Center in Perry to lead an electronics class (side scan, down scan, waypoint management and more) and offshore fishing tutorial. No pre-registration required. No fee for the class, but Go Fish Center General Admission required.
- Lake Drainage: Lake Margery at Marben PFA is currently being drained for important maintenance. The boat ramp is now closed (signage is posted at ramp). Bank access will remain open until heavy equipment arrives for maintenance work (probably around early October). Want to know about other boat ramp or area closures, renovations, etc.? Visit THIS PAGE on the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division website.
This week, we have fishing reports from Southeast, North and Central Georgia. Whatever the weather, we hope you are able to get outside and 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)
With school starting back up in most areas and the heat still upon us, the number of reports decreased this week, but some really good catches were made. Ponds, the Okefenokee Swamp, and saltwater are where most of the better reports originated.
River gages on August 17th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 1 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 5.1 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.6 feet and rising
- Waycross on the Satilla – 9.9 feet and rising
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 9.9 feet and rising
- Statenville on the Alapaha – 5.3 feet and rising
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 7.3 feet and rising
- Fargo on the Suwannee – 3.5 feet and rising
Arthur Eidson caught the biggest bass I heard of this week from a pond. He was casting a 7-inch purple curly-tail worm when the 8.5-pound bass inhaled it. Jimmy Zinker caught several big bass this week. He has been fishing both in the daytime and at night. He caught a 7-lb, 7-oz bass on Friday while using a big crankbait, a 6-lb, 11oz fish on Sunday on a black buzzbait, and a 7-lb, 12-oz fish on Monday night while flinging a Jitterbug. Catfishing was good for those putting shrimp or worms on the bottom just after dark. Shelton Hunter hit a pond this week and caught several fat bass up to about 4 pounds on a junebug ZOOM Centipede worm rigged on a shaky head. Chad Lee fished on his lunch break and caught 5 bass up to 2 pounds on stickworms and micro crankbaits. All the bass were close to schools of shad in the pond he fished.
Chuck Dean and Jake Duncan had a fun trip to the tidal Altamaha on Sunday. They cast Dura-Spins to shoreline cover in the murky water and caught 4 largemouth bass up to 2 1/2 pounds, 4 bowfin up to 4-lb, 11-oz, an 11-inch warmouth, and a giant bluegill. They tried trolling the lakes but could not make them bite. They ended up catching everything by casting. Fire tiger-chartreuse blade and crawfish-brass blade were their best colors.
The river is at the edge of the floodplain again with the daily rains this week. Note: Georgia DNR closed the Hwy 158 Landing on August 15th to rebuild the ramp and parking lot. Weather depending, it should reopen toward the end of September.
Very few people fished this week in the heat. Kenny McClain and I were two who did on Saturday morning, though. We fished from 9am-2pm (right in the heat of the day) and caught 104 fish trolling and casting Dura-Spin in-line spinners. Our catch included 1 flier, 2 chain pickerel (jackfish), 3 gar, and the rest bowfin (mudfish). Most of the bowfin were in the 2 to 4-pound range, but our biggest was 5-lb, 13-oz The best colors were lemon-lime, fire tiger-chartreuse blade, and crawfish-orange blade. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.44 feet.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Capt. Greg Hildreth (georgiacharterfishing.com) has been chasing tarpon pretty much all week. On Thursday his charter went 1 for 3 (landed one and jumped 3 of them). They hooked them on both live bait and DOA Bait Busters (rigged with a Tarpon Tamer Jighead). The one they landed was a 140-pounder, and it ate a live bait. Capt. Greg said that the fish are all along the beaches and sounds on our entire coast. Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) switched gears this week and chased tarpon. They jumped 1 Monday and Tuesday and 3 on Wednesday. They landed one of the silver kings on Wednesday. They’ve been catching them on DOA Bait Busters and live bait.
(Fishing report courtesy of John Lee Thomson, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
The late days of summer will produce some good days on the water. With the kids back in school, anglers need to take advantage of weekday fishing trips. Generally, mornings are more productive, and you will not need to contend with jet ski traffic and monster rollers from the wakeboard boats. Take a sick day (DNR cannot provide you with a written excuse 😊) and head out early to beat the heat. Check out the reports below for the latest intel, tips and tricks.
Lake Lanier Bass (This report brought to you by Jack Becker, Gainesville AKA Waterdog) — Back out on Lake Lanier this week, fishing for Spotted Bass. Water temperature was 87.2. I fished deep water boat docks in the shade for 2 hours one evening before dark without a bite. The next morning, I fished the same area, docks in 25 to 30 feet of water, while there was shade on the water. I lost one Spot on a Youzuri 3 DB topwater bait and 2 more spots on a shakey head. Finally landed a 2 1/2 lb Spot on a green pumpkin trick worm dipped in chartreuse spike-it fished on a shakey head.
Lanier Bass Report: (This Lake Lanier Bass fishing report is by Phil Johnson. firstname.lastname@example.org 770 366 8845) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is fair. The current lake level is approximately two and a half feet below full pool, and the water temperature is running in the upper eighties. The lake is clear overall but expect some staining in the backs of the creeks from the recent heavy rains. Right now, bass fishing can be really good or really tough depending on the weather and your location. One day they will bite top water very good and the next day they won’t break the surface. We haven’t been producing large numbers but have been catching quality fish. Start the morning off with either a Gunfish, Spook or Chug Bug until the sun gets on the water and concentrate on the areas with deeper brush. If it is cloudy or windy this bite may continue much longer. Once the sun is on the water work a chrome Slick Stick over the long points, humps and brush. Work this bait with an erratic retrieve to trigger more bites. If you don’t get any takers, you will need to pick up the drop shot and start working more directly over and around the brush. Blue Lily and LJ’s Obsession have been the main colors we have worked this week. On some days we have had to just irritate them into biting, but it seems once you can get one to trigger others will join in. Be prepared to work numerous locations to find the active fish, just because you can see them doesn’t mean you are going to catch them. Go find the more active schools. It’s gotten to the true Lanier summer pattern but there are still a lot of good fish to be caught if you work at it so Go Catch ‘Em!
Lanier Crappie and Striped Bass (This Lake Lanier Striper Crappie report is by Captain Josh Thornton 770 530 6493) — Crappie fishing has been good with the water temperature still in the mid-80s. The crappie are not very active – use small bait and 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 15 foot deep over a 25-40-foot-deep bottom but don’t be afraid to look a lot deeper. Look for docks near a channel! The gear I recommend for crappie fishing is the ATX Lure Companies jigs on a Lip Thrashin Lure jig head. 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/.
Want to try to catch a striper on a fly? You might not think this is the time of year but think again! Check out this article – Topwater Dog-Days Bass & Stripers – at On the Fly South by Jimmy Jacobs. He details some tips shared from Lake Lanier guide Henry Cowen.
Lanier Mixed Bag: Check out this cool video from Cast Time Fishing. It has some excellent techniques and interesting hook ups.
Burton Bass (DNR Lake Burton Hatchery Manager, Colt Martin) — When the weather heats up, head to the mountains to find cooler air and water temperatures. It will make for a more comfortable fishing trip and a good chance of landing a nice catch. Just ask 12-year-old Noah Timberlake of Batesville, Georgia. He landed this quality 6½ pound bass from the banks of Moccasin Creek State Park. Sometimes you need to get creative. Noah used a small bluegill to entice this bass with a meal that could not be refused. He then returned the next day and landed a 4-pound, 11-ounce spotted bass. These two lunkers earned Noah two angler awards in two days! Not too shabby. Congratulations to Noah! Earn your angler award with the Georgia DNR’s Angler Award Program.
Hartwell Bass (Courtesy of Ken Sturdivant and The Southern Fishing Report) — Bass fishing is fair. Main lake points remain a favorite this week with a few more fish than usual moving up in search of food. Use the Rapala X Raps but only early in the morning until 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. Then switch to a Rapala DT6, followed by the Rapala DT10. As the sun continues to rise, search deeper in the water column with a Carolina rig or a Texas rigged Zoom June bug Trick worm. Fish the sharp channel ledges especially just before and after the bridges. Crank baits, jigs and Texas rigs can work but be patient during the middle of the day. Bass will position themselves under the rocks as the sun beams down. Use Sufix Siege clear ten- or twelve-pound test line for the best results. Line move is usually the only sign of a strike as the bass will move to deeper water after taking the bait. Up lake, work all parts of a dock to see where they are holding. With Lowrance side scan machines anglers can see and count the bass under the docks all the way to the bank.
Hartwell Stripers (John Lee Thomson, Georgia DNR Biologist) — The squeeze is on. Stripers and hybrids can be found in depths of 40 to 80 feet in the big water portion of Lake Harwell near the dam. At these depths, water temperatures are still cool and dissolved oxygen levels are preferable for these fish. It is a great time to target them before conditions get worse and some evacuate the area in search of oxygen and cooler water. The latest profile can be found here Lake Hartwell profile at Dam and will be updated soon. These graphs provide great information about suitable striper habitat.
Allatoona Bass (Courtesy of Ken Sturdivant and The Southern Fishing Report) — Bass fishing is fair. First thing in the morning use a buzz bait and cover some water. Use a trailer hook on the buzz bait and use a gold blad. Once the sun comes use a 3/8-ounce Weedless Wonder lead head and a Zoom green pumpkin finesse worm or a black and blue Hula grub or Kreature bait. Fish any bank cover as many anglers are missing this shallow bite. The key is pitching it into any heavy cover available. The Strike King mini jig is also another option for these fish. Just be sure and get the baits into the heart of the lay down. On the main lake, use a 3/16-ounce Spot Stalker head tipped with an Aarons Magic or Margarita Mutilator Robo worm on the very end of the deep water points. Another good pattern is to fish the bridge pilings with the McStick. This jerk bait allows anglers to work the bait very slowly on and work it back to the boat with short twitches with pauses in between. The suspending fish are finicky, and this keeps the bait in the strike zone longer.
Neighborhood Ponds can Yield Good Catches! If you are lucky enough to have small private ponds to fish, bass can still be encouraged to strike despite the hot weather. Jackson Cantrell of Clarkesville caught this lunker on a chatter bait but the whopper plopper has also been effective in the neighborhood ponds. He stated that his best topwater action has been just before dark.
Stocked Trout (John Lee Thomson, Georgia DNR Biologist) — Despite what your thermometer says, and your gut tells you, productive trout fishing trips are still to be had in north Georgia. You will need to target the coolest waters, and these are found in the highest elevation areas that a stocking truck can travel. For the best bets on quality creels target the Tallulah River in Rabun County, Chattahoochee River on the Chattahoochee WMA, and Dicks Creek on the Chestatee WMA. A quick look at the weekly stocking report will confirm if your favorite stream has been stocked recently. If a past report is shown, try refreshing your browser.
Avid trout angler, Chas G followed this advice and headed to the Chattahoochee WMA early in the morning. He met another trout angler at a known stocking point and to observe proper angler etiquette, he headed upstream to find his own hole. Approximately 100 yards upstream he found some promising looking water. To his surprise he limited out in less that an hour. These recently stocked brown trout were aggressive and hungry. He advises to carry a variety of baits expecting finicky trout this time of year but that was not the case this time. All he needed was Berkley’s Powerbait dough in a variety of colors. He fished the dough bait 10-12 inches below a single #6 egg shot weight.
If your angling preference is to practice catch and release, August is not the best month to trout fish in Georgia. Despite your most careful handling and releasing of trout, the stress endured while landing these fish is often more than they can overcome. The trout may survive the catch and release, but later succumb to the harsh summer conditions. This is the reason most privately managed trout waters are closed to fishing during the summer.
There are two other areas that have an abundance of cold water and will support great trout fishing trips through Labor Day, the Lanier Tailwater (Chattahoochee River below Lake Lanier) and the Lake Blue Ridge Tailwater (Toccoa River below Lake Blue Ridge). These two areas support two of the most robust trout fisheries in Georgia. Both tailwater fisheries are supplied with cold water year-round from their respective reservoirs. For the Lanier Tailwater I would recommend skipping Lower Pool Park at the Dam this time of year due to low dissolved oxygen levels and target Jones Bridge Park instead. Tammen Park and the Curtis Switch Canoe Launch will be your best bets on the Lake Blue Ridge tailwater.
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.
(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)
MCDUFFIE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Water Temperature: 86 and rising
- Water Visibility: 23+ in
- McDuffie PFA Fishing Guide
Waters are even warmer across the PFA and visibility is high! Most everything seems to have moved to deeper cooler waters. However, smaller bass are still moving through the shallows but are slow to bite on almost everything thrown at them right now. Fishermen are reporting cycling multiple different lures to entice a bite, with no consistency. Catfish are still biting on the usual, stink baits and livers, in the deeper water of Bridge and Clubhouse. Nice stringers have been caught by patient night fisherfolks on Jones Lake. Along with catfish, stripers are biting on catfish baits in Bridge right now.
RESERVOIR FISHING REPORTS BELOW COURTESY OF SOUTHERN FISHING WITH KEN STURDIVANT.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is slow. There is a fair top water bite early, but it dies as soon as the sun hits the water. Try a set of Rapala Glass Shad Raps and jointed Shad Raps but there is not a set color pattern. Change colors often when the bass are small, or the action gets slow. Since this is a structure lake it is critical to use the Lowrance Down Scan technology to see the fish as they hug the bottom. Head up the Savannah River when the water is moving during generation through the dam. Fishing the moving water with a #5 Rapala jointed Shad Rap and Rapala OG8 in parrot color is good on any body of water where good current is present. Spy Baits on points and on the back side of rip rap rocks are good places to fish when the gates of the dam are opened. Continue fishing deep with the Carolina rigs and a Zoom green lizard in both 4- and 6-inch sizes.
CLARKS HILL LAKE IS DOWN 1.8 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is slow. The water and air temperatures remain high. The big bass for the most part have resorted to deeper water during the day and finding the thermocline will be a must. Now is a good time to use a drop shot rig. Use a slow presentation on both the drop shot and Carolina rigs. Some bass are still coming off the main lake points early and then again late in the evening. Slow cranking a Rapala #5 and # 7 Shad Rap or a Rapala DT10 on the sides of points will catch the larger bass that move up to feed. Use Sufix ten-pound test line and allow the baits to dig into the bottom and bounce off the “rocks” from time to time. A stop and go presentation is a good technique to use under these harsh fishing conditions. Any current up lake on the sides of the points and isolated pockets with mid-day shade is another good idea while searching.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing continues to be slow. The lake is full, stained up the rivers, and the main lake is clear. Richland creek is clear. Carolina rigs with long leaders and large worms in dark colors fished off the humps on the south end of the lake along with large crank baits fished off the side of the humps in 15 feet of water will produce some fish. The buzz bait bite is producing the first hour of daylight as well as the last hour in the evenings. White and chartreuse seem to be the best all-around color. Frogs will also produce on the south end in the grass flats early in the mornings.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.5 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is slow to fair. Top water baits have just about stopped producing, but it is probably still worth trying for the first hour after daybreak. The best locations should be along main lake banks and a short distance inside the mouth of coves. Seawalls and blow downs have been best, but grass can also produce, especially if the lake is less than one foot below full pool. Baits like Pop R’s, Chug Bug’s, and Torpedo’s have produced most of the summer. If the water is calm, try a Spook or similar bait. Rip rap along the bridges in Little River are still holding fish, but the angler will have to fish slow and thorough to catch a few. Try a lightweight Texas rig and a jig head and worm. Fish the underwater rocks from shallow to where they end in deep water. Dock fishing is slow but it is still possible to catch a few fish from around or under them. Dead sticking a Texas rig worm is probably the best chance for success. Work the bait to a likely spot in brush or against a post and allow it to soak motionless for 30 seconds or a whole minute. For crank baits get out the Rapala DT 6 and DT 10 and use light Sufix Elite line and work these baits with a short stop and go technique.
LAKE JACKSON IS 1.5 FEET OVER FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Go early and late and there are some small bass roaming the banks as well as on the ends of points. The bass are shallow around any wood and cast baits to shadows all day. Use a gourd green Zoom u tail worm down lake on a Weedless Wonder lead head. Be sure to use the lightweight heads because the bite has been light. Look in the mid lake halfway back in the creeks and hit any dock or on points. Brush is a must, and the fish are on the shady sides. Up the river the fishing is still slow. Try a 1/2-ounce Mini Me spinner bait and be sure there is some green in the skirts. Zoom Baby Bush Hogs in greens has been fair on a drop shot rig mid lake at the creek mouths. Be sure to work the baits slowly on wood and docks. Use a Texas rig and fish all lures slowly and let them fall. There has not been a decent top water bite all week.