Anglers have heard the phrase that fishing is about more than just catching. And we believe it. But the catching sure makes it more fun!
Greg Jones of Athens, GA knows that being on the water with friends is truly a great gift, and catching a mess of fish is a bonus. Greg says, “I may not be the best fisherman in the world, and that’s OK, I’m learning. What I do know is that sudden tug on the line is an indescribable joy. Being with these two fellows is just icing on the cake!”
NEWS TO KNOW:
- DNR Commissioner Named: On Tuesday, August 22, 2023 Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Board voted to appoint Walter Rabon as the DNR Commissioner, effective immediately. Rabon was sworn in on Monday, August 28, 2023. Walter Rabon first began his career with DNR in 1993 as a Conservation Ranger, now referred to as Game Wardens, and worked his way up through the Law Enforcement Division, serving as a Major before becoming Deputy Commissioner. Rabon earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Brenau University and a master’s degree from Columbus State University. He and his wife have three sons and five grandchildren, and they reside in Mansfield, Georgia.
- West Point Bass Stockings: Since WRD initiated the largemouth bass stocking program in 2016, West Point Lake has received approximately 3.6 million largemouth bass, including over half a million fingerlings this past spring. In recent decades, the natural decline in largemouth habitat quality in this aging lake and the rise of invasive spotted bass caused headwinds for West Point’s largemouth population. The stocking program and ongoing fish habitat improvement goals are to increase the number and size of largemouth in the lake. Read more and see photos HERE.
- Boats to See-Fishing Experts to Hear: The Lake Lanier Boat Show is at Lake Lanier Islands on September 29 -October 1, 2023. Click HERE to find the seminar schedule, ticket links and more info. Seminars and speakers are subject to change without notice.
This week we have fishing reports from North, Central and Southeast Georgia. Make the most of your days on the water by spending it with people who are meaningful in your life and Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Jim Hakala, Region Supervisor and Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Allatoona Crappie Report (This report courtesy of Jeff “Crappie Man” Albright): On a recent trip, water temps ranged from 84-86 F and the crappie bite was tough! We marked tons of them on deep brush piles but getting them to bite in these hot water conditions was a challenge. I look for the bite to greatly improve once water temps fall back into the 70’s in the coming weeks.
Allatoona Fishing Forecast: You can’t predict the future, but you can make your future fishing trip even better by reviewing the Allatoona 2023 Fishing Forecast.
Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of angler Matt Driver via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing on Allatoona continues to be great even though the heat is here and water temperatures are up. School has started back, and we should see less pressure on the lake, 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 now 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 paddletail style 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 with boulders and brush piles. We have gone the whole year without a downtime in fishing activity!
Allatoona Fish Attractors: Find DNR fish attractors at Lake Allatoona HERE.
Burton Fishing Forecast: You can’t predict the future, but you can make your future fishing trip even better by reviewing the Burton 2023 Fishing Forecast.
Burton Bass Report (This report courtesy of Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson) — 12-year-old Noah Timberlake of Batesville, Georgia landed this 6-pound 15-ounce largemouth bass earlier this week at Lake Burton. While this is a great catch in its own right, it’s Noah’s third angler award caliber bass in as many weeks! His previous two catches were a 6-pound 14-ounce largemouth and a 4-pound, 11-ounce spotted bass. Congratulations to Noah! Earn your angler award with the Georgia DNR’s Angler Award Program.
Burton Fish Attractors: Find DNR fish attractors at Lake Burton HERE.
Lake Hartwell Fishing Forecast: You can’t predict the future, but you can make your future fishing trip even better by reviewing the Hartwell 2023 Fishing Forecast.
Lake Hartwell Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. The majority of our fish this week have come from 20 to 30 feet of water. Fish mainly on points and humps with brush for the majority of the fish. The brush in 20 to 30 feet is still holding fish and there has been some limited schooling action this week as well -typically in the mornings. Swimbaits have been working as well as a Drop Shot with the Zoom green pumpkin finesse worms. Stay on the move and remain versatile with the lure choices to see what level of the water column the fish are willing to feed. The fish have come shallow at times so keep an eye out for schooling activity. Top water presentations might come into play on some days as well as swimbaits.
Lake Hartwell Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Captain Cefus, Nuts and Bolts of Fishing) —Summer is still here, with water temperatures in the mid to upper 80’s, but stripers and hybrids are still being caught. In fact, the bite is really good right now, but you have to be on the water early. When the sun rises above the tree line, the fish go deep and hunker down until late afternoon. Even then, you can still put some fish in the boat. You just need to change your tactics slightly. The thermocline is set up, and most cruising fish in the main channel are going to be hanging out in the 20-to-30-foot depths. Where are they? Right now, the best bite seems to be south of the Seneca River and Tugaloo River confluence. At first light, start looking in the backs of the creeks and pockets as shallow as 10 feet. A pearl Project X Saucertail rigged on a flutter hook is a great way to cover lots of water as you begin your search. Keep your SideScan looking left and right to see fish that your conventional sonar won’t find. As you move toward the mouth, start dropping live baits when you get to a depth of 25 feet. Put a couple right on the bottom, and a couple in the mid column. Creeks that have a distinct channel with the bottom dropping to 80 feet are good areas to target. If you can find deeper water without lots of timber, put out a spread with baits ranging 25 to 50 feet deep. While you’re waiting on a live bait bite, start power reeling with a 2-ounce WhoopAss Jig or a large Ben Parker spoon. As the sun gets higher, you need to go deeper. Keep your baits just above the standing timber, and when you get into a clear area, drop a couple down deep…60 feet or more. If you don’t have a drumming stick, you should. When you see fish sitting in the trees, start drumming and you can bring them up to snack on your baits. Umbrella rigs are also producing in the main river channel. Troll a fully loaded 4 arm rig about 75 feet behind the boat. Again, when you find an area without timber, you can slow the boat a bit, and let the rig drop a little deeper. As you see timber show up on your Simrad, speed the boat back up to raise the umbrella in the water column and avoid hang up’s. Be sure to have an umbrella rig retriever on board because you will have the occasional tree fish. As the sun begins to fade in the evening, spend some time at the shoal markers that are near the main channel. These humps will hold bait, and that brings in the line sides. Throw a MirroLure Top Dog in silver/blue or silver/black beyond the marker and work it across the hump…and hang on. Finally, if you really want to have some fun, stay out late and work the green lights with a Project X paddletail, a ½ ounce WhoopAss buck tail or even a large Rooster tail. Lots of hybrids, spotted bass and gar are cruising these lights this time of year.
Lake Lanier Fishing Forecast: You can’t predict the future, but you can make your future fishing trip even better by reviewing the Lanier 2023 Fishing Forecast.
Lake Lanier Bass Report 1 (This report courtesy of Captain Mack) — The Bass patterns are very much like last week, lots of fish holding on deep brush and natural structures. Our topwater bite keeps hanging on, I think it lost a little steam, but still a very viable pattern. Maybe next week’s cool down will energize the topwater bite? Worms, jigs, and spy baits are also producing well over the last week. Of course, the plastics rigged in a variety of ways are also consistent producers.
Brush piles remain a very good structure, and brush anywhere from 25 to 40 is worth a look. There are not many brush piles past 35 to 40 feet, so natural structures will be holding the fish in deeper water, down to 55 to 60 feet. Look for single standing trees, timber edges, ditches/roadbeds, and the stumps and old laid down trees on the deep humps are all holding fish. There are also Bass, some big fish too, roaming around open water bait schools. For Brush on the shallow end of the above-mentioned range, top waters, mainly popper type baits have been fairly consistent producers. The flutter spoons are also great options for casting over the brush. Spy baits are also a good choice, along with plastics on the drop shot, and jigs.
For targeting the fish that are on the deeper structures, logistics make that more of a plastics on the drop shot bite, with jigs and spoons also having application. On the worms, a slow presentation can be a plus, and i think downsizing as much as is practical will also be a benefit. The jiggling spoons may be a little under the radar but are a decent pattern. They have been effective fished in the traditional vertical method, along with a casting and yo-yo type retrieve. The jigging spoons will also double nicely for casting to the frequent schooling fish that are showing up all over the lake.
In addition to the jigging spoon bite, flutter spoons are also catching plenty of fish. These are great for casting over the brush and may be the best choice for casting to the open water suspended fish. The rip and reel retrieve remains a good technique, along with slowly fishing the bait in the timber tops. The pattern here is to position the boat over timber that tops out around 35 to 40 feet. Allow the spoon to sink to the tops of the trees and reel/work it through the treetops. This may not get the big numbers, but you generally will not need a measuring board for the ones you catch. Be prepared for the nice Stripers that will frequently interrupt your Bass Fishing!
Lake Lanier Bass Report 2: (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770-366-8845 via www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. It seems we have skipped the doldrums of August and early September and gone straight to fun fall fishing. The fish are actively schooling many locations throughout the day. The stripers are even getting into the schooling fun. The bass are scattered for thirty-five feet up right now on humps and long running points. There are fish up shallow early and then they pull out as the days goes on. Wind has been a great factor for the top water fish this week. The recent storms also created some great days to fish. When there is wind the Chug Bug, Gunfish and Whopper Plopper have produced fish while on calmer days it has been the Spook, Sammy and Swimbaits. The Jerkshad has produced both in windy and calm conditions. You will need to try various retrieves with this bait to see what works best for the day. One of the key factors right now is to cover a lot of water as the fish are on the move so you have to fish a lot of places. Backtracking to places that you have already caught fish is also a productive idea as sometimes the fish just need to regroup after you have caught several. Being able to check out the brush piles and look for the scattered fish with the Livescope has not only saved time by not fishing empty areas but also seeing those fish that are just scattered around. At times with low wind the dropshot has also been effective around the brush. The Blue Lily, Morning Dawn and Prizm Shad have been the most effective colors for the week. There has been shallow this week also. Working a worm or Senko around blown downs in the ten-to-fifteen-foot range will produce some good bites and don’ be surprised if you come up with a decent largemouth in the bunch. The lake is continuing to rise from the recent rains, but the water temperature should continue to fall. This sets the fishing up to get even better. They are biting good so “Go Catch ‘Em!
Lanier Fish Attractors: Find DNR fish attractors at Lake Lanier HERE.
Lake Lanier Striper Report (This report courtesy of Captain Mack) — I am going to say the Striper bite is still good, perhaps not as strong as earlier in the month, and we have some changing patterns to discuss as well. The techniques that you used early in the month will still be applicable, although you may find them to be more inconsistent. Live baits on the down lines are still strong. We still have some really deep fish, but 35 to 60 feet seems to be holding very good numbers of fish. Pitch lines are also still very effective and need to be in the spread.
Trolling remains a very good technique, with the usual suspects producing well. Chipmunks, Striper Spins, Spin Shads and Mini Macks being effective on the lead core and the down riggers. Open water areas, over the river channel, creek channels, or the larger drains feeding into the creeks are likely to hold fish. Fishing 8 to 9 colors behind the boat on the lead core, and 40 to 50 feet behind a 24 to 28 foot down rigger ball should get the bite if the fish are present.
One pattern that has developed in the last few days is targeting fish on the humps. This is a common late summer early fall pattern, and is perhaps a bit early this year, but a VERY strong pattern. Humps in 30 to 40 feet all over the lower end are loaded up, and points in the same depth range will also hold fish. I think the best technique to catch these fish is trolling an umbrella or the Mini Mack, but Live bait will also have application. The traditional anchor locking on these areas and down lining will yield a few bites, but pitching to these fish will most likely be more effective.
Trolling is highly effective for the fish on the high spots, I think mainly because it provokes a reactionary strike. Full size umbrellas or Mini Macks are effective, fishing the full-size rigs 120 feet behind the boat has been a good number. With the Minis you’ll probably find you need lead core or extra weight to achieve the proper depth. I’ll elaborate more on this technique in next week’s report.
Lake Lanier Crappie Report (This report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton 770-530-6493) — When crappie fishing, you need to determine your goals for the day. If you’re looking for larger tournament quality fish, you should be looking for individual roaming fish rather than a tree full of them. Live scope can help you pinpoint the roaming fish and present them with the bait. If you’re looking for a cooler full of fish, find a dock holding fish or submerged brush and use both minnows and jigs. Trolling jigs in coves with creeks or channels running through them is also a good option for a relaxing day. When it comes to bait, use small baits and slow action, and target shaded areas. Use live small minnows straight down with a split shot or small jigs with a slow retrieval for the best results. In terms of timing, fishing during early morning or late evening when the temperature is slightly cooler is recommended. Crappie are known to be deep, so concentrate on 15 feet deep over a 25 40-foot-deep bottom but don’t be afraid to look a lot deeper. 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.
- Bass: Bass fishing is good. Our fish have moved to the creek and river channel ledges. The Carolina rigs and crank baits are catching fish.
- Crappie: 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.
- Striped Bass: Striper fishing is good, and they are being caught in Little River and the Chattooga River on live shad downed lined and free lined.
- Catfish: Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water. Cut bait is working best.
West Point Lake Fishing Forecast: You can’t predict the future, but you can make your future fishing trip even better by reviewing the West Point 2023 Fishing Forecast.
West Point Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is slow. Clear water is lake wide (Though, Hurricane Idelia may change that.), so make sure to use light fluorocarbon line. Use a Zoom green finesse worm on a Shaky Head. Fish from 6 to 12 feet deep and keep off the deeper points or brush piles all day. Deep crank baits slowed way down, but still are catching fish in the deeper water. The Rat L Trap bite picked back up early each day and use a chrome and black back color. Try fishing it with different speeds until the fish respond. Also use the Rapallo DT10 on 8-pound test Suffix Elite line to get the bait down faster. Zoom pearl Super Flukes can take a few fish, but expect this to be an early bite.
West Point Fish Attractors: Find DNR fish attractors at West Point HERE.
Stocked Trout (This report courtesy of trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson): The Georgia trout stocking truck fleet was on the road in this final week of regular catchable trout distribution. Over 35,000 trout are going to be stocked and great trout fishing opportunities will be abundant over the Labor Day Weekend. Look HERE for the “Weekly Stocking Report” to confirm your favorite spot has been stocked. Several streams in the North Georgia mountains will receive brown trout. Browns prefer natural baits like crickets or worms over corn. Inline spinners are also effective. Make sure your fishing license and trout stamp are up to date and take advantage of these fresh stockers this holiday weekend.
New Georgia Trout Slam: If you have the skill to successfully catch all three species of trout (brook, brown, rainbow) in Georgia within a calendar year, consider giving the Georgia Trout Slam a try. All successful submissions will receive the coveted Georgia Trout Slam Sticker and be entered into a drawing for an annual grand prize. Program details can be found HERE.
Trout Fishing Opportunities for Those With Disabilities: These sites are open to the public and offer specific amenities for anglers with disabilities.
Chattahoochee River Tailwater Report (This report brought to you by Jack Becker, Gainesville AKA Waterdog) Another trip to the Hooch below Bowman Island produced some good eating rainbow trout. The trail entrance from either Lower Pool Park or outside the gates of Buford Trout Hatchery makes for easy walking along the river. The water is too deep for wading in most areas, so I fish from the bank. I kept 3 fish to put on the grill. The two bigger fish (12” & 13.25”) were caught on a small rainbow trout pattern Salmo Crankbait. I lost two more nice ones at the net on the same lure. The water was heavily stained from dissolved metals in the water, but I believe the tight wiggle of this Crankbait is what triggered the bites. Casting upstream and keeping a tight line, barely reeling, kept the lure in the strike zone longer and produced aggressive bites. The bigger fish had a variety of terrestrials in its stomach. Remember to call for the water release schedule before you go (770) 945-1466, and if you are wading in the water from Buford dam to Hwy 20 bridge a life jacket must be worn.
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.
Why Moving Bass is a Really Bad Idea: Don’t be part of the problem that is decimating native bass populations in Georgia and throughout the southeast. Here is a great podcast from our friends at the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, featuring professional angler Matt Arey, discussing the problems illegally introduced Alabama Bass are having on popular native bass populations. Click HERE to listen.
Georgia Bass Slam! Do you have what it takes to complete a Georgia Bass Slam in 2023? The idea behind the Georgia Bass Slam is to recognize anglers with the knowledge and skill to catch five (5) different species of black bass in a variety of habitats across the state, and to stimulate interest in the conservation and management of black bass and their habitats. North Georgia anglers have a great opportunity to complete a “slam”, as seven of Georgia’s ten program eligible bass species can be caught in various waters from Atlanta north. Give it a shot and maybe you too will make the distinguished list of successful “slammers” in 2023!
(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 slow. Water temperatures will be rising into the 80’s by the afternoon hours and anglers are forced to fish deep to catch them. The crank bait bite is off but should return by early fall. Try a drop shot rig and find the fish on the Lowrance as they are holding to stumps or brush piles in twenty to thirty feet of water and slowly fish them with a drop shot rig with eight to ten pound test line. The Carolina rig is excellent and downsize the line to no more than ten-pound test. A 1/2-ounce sinker is more than plenty to use but try to go even smaller if possible. The Rapallo DT10 will hit the mark while using 10-pound test line. A one-ounce Storm Wart will also catch bass and get the baits down to cooler waters. There are plenty of stumps in 25 to 50 foot of water all over this lake. Use the Lowrance Structure Scan technology and scan the creeks up lake for the stumps holding in the fish. This is a typical summertime pattern. A slow presentation along with patience is also needed. Four-inch worms and small flukes seem to be the favorite baits to use.
CLARKS HILL LAKE IS DOWN 2.9 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Start the day as early as possible and use spinnerbaits and buzz baits in the coves and pockets. The top water bite is still slow, but a few nice bass are being caught while searching the shallower water in three foot or less. Late morning turns the picture around a bit with most of the bites coming on the crank baits in the three to eight-foot range. Start on the points and secondary points and work to the backs of the creeks. When all else fails get out a spinning reel with 8-pound Suffix Siege clear line and carry several colors of #5 and #7 Shad raps and change colors every 20 minutes. Look for any docks, rocks, and wood along the way. Keep a Zoom Super Fluke ready for any action on the surface especially in the rivers on points.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. The temperature is 88/92. Richland Creek and the main lake are clear, up the river is stained. On the south end there is a good frog bite in the grass early in the mornings. Soft plastics fished under docks and on wood structure in the rivers above I-20 will also produce. When all else fails get out a spinning reel with 8-pound Suffix Siege clear line and carry several colors of #5 and #7 Rapallo Shad Raps and change colors every 20 minutes. There is still a buzz bait bite on the main lake on deep banks with sea walls and deep water nearby. This is an early morning or late evening bite. On the late evening bite move to the bridges and work the rip rap with the buzz bait when Georgia Power is pulling water.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.5 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is tough. A few fish continue to hit top water baits at first light on some mornings. Try baits like a Pop R, Chug Bug, and Tiny Torpedo along Main River and creek banks that drop quickly into deep water. A few more fish are beginning to feed around docks and boat houses, especially those with good depth and brush present. Soft plastics continue to be the best chance for success along with an occasional bite using small to medium crank baits and jigs. If a normal presentation is not producing, try dead sticking the bait, allowing it to sit motionless for 10 to 30 seconds before moving slightly. A Zoom U tale worm works great rigged Texas style with a 1/8 to ¼ ounce weight. Also try a Finesse worm rigged on a 1/16 to 3/16-ounce jig head like a Spotsticker. For either of these worm rigs, use the lightest weight possible, with wind or current dictating the size. These same rigs are also producing a few fish along rip rap and bridge supports. On bridge supports cast right beside each support and allow the bait to fall vertically on a slack line to 20 feet deep or more.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .6 FEET, 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Try up the Alcovy River and Yellow River. Spinnerbaits along with buzz baits seem to be the baits most of them are throwing. Work the small flats and especially the sandy points in the bends up Yellow River. The black 6-inch worm on a Texas Rig is working as well especially when the water turns that red clay color. Look for isolated stumps and single lay downs for best results. When all else fails get out a spinning reel with 8-pound Suffix Siege clear line and carry several colors of #5 and #7 Shad raps and change colors every 20 minutes. At the dam fish the first good cove right around the corner from the marina with white spinnerbaits and Super Flukes. The bass are scattered from one end of the lake to the other and are coming in on everything from cranks to top water baits to plastics.
Boats to See-Fishing Experts to Hear: The Lake Lanier Boat Show is at Lake Lanier Islands on September 29 -October 1, 2023. Click HERE to find the seminar schedule, ticket links and more info. Seminars and speakers are subject to change without notice.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Surface Temperature: 88.7˚ F (31.5˚ C)
- Water Level: 36” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 35.5”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
High temperatures have not deterred anglers from visiting the area. There is a good chance of catching whatever fish you may be targeting as the bite has been fair across the board. Here is a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had good success using for each of the following:
Bass: The last anglers to report catches were using Googan Squad Mini Banger in Kosmo Shad and Strike King Bitsy Bug Mini Jig.
Bream: The last anglers to report catches were using red wigglers and jigs.
Channel Catfish: Anglers are using nightcrawlers and stink bait.
Crappie: Anglers are reporting that crappie are being caught using live minnows.
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water level: All bodies of water except Margery are full. Margery has been lowered for maintenance work (boat ramp closed).
- Water clarity: 18”- 40”
- Surface temperature: 75-85 degrees.
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Bass fishing may improve some as the water temps cool towards the end of the month. Bass will remain deeper until water temps cool. If water temps cool significantly bass will become more active. Crank baits and spinners should work well. Continue to look for shad school’s early morning and late evening.
Crappie: Crappie fishing will improve later in the month if water temperatures decrease enough. Try fishing for fish that are suspended over brush in deeper water (>7’). Jigs topped with minnows should offer your best opportunity.
Bream: Bream fishing has remained steady. Waxworms and pink worms fished on or near the bottom are popular.
Other: Hybrid bass are still hammering schooling shad early morning and late afternoon.
(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)
Hurricane Idalia was the main focus in southeast Georgia this week, and there were very few fishing reports. The good ones were from the weekend or late last week. Most rivers will be blown out once the rainfall works its way out of the upper tributaries.
River gages on August 31st were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 6 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 1.7 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 6.8 feet and rising
- Waycross on the Satilla – 7.3 feet and rising
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.4 feet and falling
- Statenville on the Alapaha – 8.4 feet and rising (6 feet overnight)
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 4.6 feet and rising
- Fargo on the Suwannee – 3.2 feet and rising
Chuck Dean fished the lower tidal river on Monday before the winds picked up and caught a couple nice fish. He had an 11-ounce bluegill flinging a white popping bug on a fly rod. He also caught a few bowfin (mudfish) up to 6 pounds on fire tiger Dura-Spins. The river was getting in good shape, but lots of rain fell over the upper river basin, so it’s going to be rising this week. You can probably catch a few catfish on the rising river if you fish the lower reaches before the big slug of water gets there. Note: High water will put the Hwy 158 ramp project on pause for the time being, but they will get back on it as soon as it drops out. This is the kind of water level delay that will bump the project completion date back from the anticipated end of September time frame.
The refuge was closed during the week of the storm but is slated to reopen on Friday (9/1).
A couple of Waycross anglers reported fishing a pond on Saturday evening. They had 6 bites on topwaters in the 93-degree water but were unable to boat any of them. One of them was a big bass. A Waycross angler fished a pond before the storm threatened this week and caught and released a bunch of nice bluegills. He had a 14-inch bass on a white bug, a small redbreast, and 48 big bluegills. He caught 3 fish on a 1/16-oz cracklehead crawfish Satilla Spin and the rest on a fly rod and catalpa Okefenokee Swamp Sally.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
It was a bumpy week with the high winds, but a few folks got out late last week. Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) fished Friday and had a great day. They caught 11 flounder (kept 5 of them) on a Gulp Swimming Mullet. They also went looking for tripletail and saw 16 of them and caught 6. They used shrimp for the tripletail. This weekend should be fishable in saltwater, so there should be more reports for next week.