We know you love to fish, but do you know how to protect our waters so that Georgia’s native fish species can thrive? One way is to help prevent Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS). ANS can cause significant ecological and economic impacts, from damaging vessels and other boating equipment, to impeding access to waterbodies to disrupting the natural ecosystem by displacing and out-competing native species.

What are ANS? They are any species introduced into a water body to which they are not native. Examples include someone “freeing” fish or plant species from an aquarium, moving fish native to one water body to one where they are not native, dumping live bait, or moving a vessel that might have aquatic “hitchhikers” (like invasive mussels) on the trailer or boat motor from one water body to another without inspecting it first. Ultimately, almost all these impacts are preventable. Find out more at georgiawildlife.com/ans and then take the free online certification training course.    


  • Time to Mark the Calendar for a Celebration: National Hunting and Fishing Day, the fourth Saturday of every September, is a day meant to recognize generations of hunters and anglers that have given their time and money to help make wildlife conservation programs a success. You are invited to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day (Sat. Sept. 23) at any of the FREE scheduled events taking place across the state, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
  • Cooperative State Agency Effort: For the past two decades, one of three sections of the Chattooga River has been sampled for a fish community assemblage assessment. This year, Georgia DNR and North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission assisted South Carolina DNR with sampling the wilderness area near Ellicott’s Rock. More info and 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 reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia. Make sure you take advantage of all the great fishing opportunities we have and help keep ANS out as 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)


  • Nice brown bullhead catfish being caught off the bridge in Bridge Lake at McDuffie PFA.

    McDuffie PFA striped bass catch at Bridge Lake.

    Water Temperature: 80’s and falling.

  • Water Visibility: 23+ in
  • McDuffie PFA Fishing Guide

Waters are cooling off and shad are schooling. Large schools can be seen hitting the surface late afternoon in most ponds. Bass can be seen chasing the schools, with lots of bank activity in Bream Buster, Bridge, and Willow.  Fishermen are still having to get creative though, going through a selection of lures with no real consistency. Bass have also been seen moving along the heavy vegetation of Willow and Jones.

Catfish are still biting on the usual, stink baits. Nice bullhead catfish are being caught off the bridge in Bridge Lake.  While not a stocked fish, many fishermen prefer these over the stocked channels for eating.  Several of our pond stripers have also been caught in Bridge off the dock and near the siphons using chicken livers.  Nice shellcrackers are being caught in deeper waters of Willow near the ADA pier closest to Jones.  Fishermen for bream are using pinks sunk deep. 



Bass fishing is fair.  Early and late fishing jumps with a top water lure like a Pop R or a Sammy.  Try some braid on a spinning reel and the casts can be a lot longer.  Just be sure to tie the lures directly to the braid, no leader, with a double Palomar knot.  Some of the smaller more aggressive bass are chasing and striking the top water Pop R’s in the shallow water early in the day.  The big fish are still sluggish and a slower presentation in the baits will be necessary to get any reaction or bite from these fish.  Continue cranking those Rapala DT6 and Rapala RS Shad Raps and the white and green Rapala Ott’s Garage 8 on the sides of the main lake rocky points.  The key to catching bass will be to find good current up in the rivers.  Fish with the Carolina rigs, jigs or even slow cranking a Rapala DT10 or Rapala DT14.


Bass fishing is fair.  Find any cooler water on a windblown point and get out the Husky Jerk Baits or the Rapala DT10.  The Ito Vision 110 with a slow retrieve seems to be working the best.  Slow crank the ledges for the best results.  Bass are still biting up in the narrow part of the rivers on top water, cranks and plastics or small jigs.  The early morning bite has been good.  The Pop R top water baits and the Rico are worth a few casts on any point or on any rock formations.  After the top water dies off go to the Rapala Og8 and use the shad and white with green back patterns.  The Fat Free Shad in shad patterns and the Rapala #5 Shad Raps will work also.  Try using jigs and plastics around wood during the midday period.  Expect bites to be slow for the most part during the day.


Bass fishing is fair.  The bass are on a deeper, summer pattern on roadbeds and main lake points, and creek and river channel ledges. Crank baits and spinner baits are catching fish.  With the latest heat wave the water has heated back up, and the fishing has got a lot tougher.  A good cooling trend this coming week should trigger some better fishing.  Any time they are generating power, the point at the mouth of the discharge canal produces some good fishing.


Bass fishing is good.  There is still a decent morning bite, but it just varies where it is.  One day there is a good frog bite in the grass above Crooked Creek.  The next day they disappear so go down the lake and run seawalls near deep water with a buzz bait or other top water lures.  Get three to five bites in the first hour or two of daylight.  After 9 a.m. the bite gets tough.  A few fish that are biting are small.  Find the fish and note their location.  Now duplicate that pattern and find the bass in the same location in similar pockets. Topwater in the morning will still be the best bet for bigger fish.  Also focus early in the morning near docks that have had a light on overnight to concentrate the bait and bass.  After the sun is stronger fish brush, docks, and laydowns.  Look for the depth the bait is holding.  Once that depth is established work baits at that depth. If it is 6 feet look for docks at that depth or fish the points with a crankbait that dives 8 to 10 feet to cover that depth.


Bass fishing is fair.  The bass are starting in the morning shallow and use Pop R a 1/2-ounce white buzz bait or a Zara Spook.  Once the sun is up concentrate on long points and deep docks.  Flip docks near the river channel with a dark Zoom trick worm on a light Texas rig.  The Davis Bait 3/16-ounce shaky head would also be a good set up for this rig.  Also, fish a Texas rigged Zoom Natural blue u tail worm.  Dip the baits in JJ s Magic chartreuse.  The fish will hold on to the bait a few seconds longer.  Also, a 1/2-ounce Dirty Jig in green pumpkin/orange around docks will produce a few fish.  Concentrate on posts and brush and find this structure with the Lowrance Side and Down Scan technology.  The bite will get better as shad start migrating to the pockets.  The bass will be more apt to chase baits down.

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.


(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)

The fall transition has started, and it’s not long before some of the best fishing of the year will fire up.

River gages on September 14th were:

  • Clyo on the Savannah River – 7.2 feet and rising
  • Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 2.3 feet and falling
  • Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.1 feet and falling
  • Waycross on the Satilla – 13.0 feet and falling
  • Atkinson on the Satilla – 14.5 feet and falling
  • Statenville on the Alapaha – 5.9 feet and falling
  • Macclenny on the St Marys – 4.0 feet and falling
  • Fargo on the Suwannee – 4.4 feet and falling

New Moon is September 15th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.


Jason Andrick of Little Orleans, Maryland visited the Okefenokee Swamp this week and had a fun fishing trip with a friend. He caught this nice pickerel while flinging a catalpa-colored Okefenokee Swamp Sally with a fly rod.

Jason Andrick visited the Okefenokee Swamp mid-week and fished the east side. He and a friend caught 50 bowfin and pickerel (mostly bowfin) and 11 fliers. They fooled the pickerel and bowfin by trolling Dura-Spins (lemon-lime and crawfish-brass blade were the best colors). The fliers came by flinging catalpa Okefenokee Swamp Sallies on a fly rod and pitching yellow sallies under a float on a bream buster. Jason had a nice 16-inch pickerel on the little fly, also. Josh Ward fished the west side out of Stephen C Foster State Park this week and caught about 30 bowfin, with 4 of them over 5 pounds. Their best setup was a crawfish Dura-Spin. Catfish fishing on the west side was good, with folks who put shrimp or worms on the bottom catching the most. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.50 feet.


Jimmy Zinker night-fished a Valdosta area pond on Saturday night and caught a 7-lb., 3-oz. bass on a black Capt. Bert’s Buzzbait (quad-blade). He also lost another monster fish. Tripp fished a Guyton area pond over the weekend and had a good morning catching several 2-to-3-pound bass on green pumpkin 4-inch ZOOM ring worms.


Jay Turner fished the Savannah area on Saturday and caught a bunch of redfish from too small to too big. About half of his smaller fish were barely keepers and half were still throwbacks. There is another big year-class of redfish right at the minimum size. He had a few trout and nice flounder mixed in as well. He used a red Zombie Eye Jighead and male perch-colored Keitech swimbaits for his fish. Tommy Sweeney fished the Brunswick area over the weekend and caught 19 trout and 9 redfish (6 keepers). He fooled them with a 3/16-oz. Zombie Eye Jighead and green plastics. Capt. Greg Hildreth (georgiacharterfishing.com) said that the tarpon fishing slowed some this week, but the seatrout bite has picked up. His charters also caught a few tripletail this week. Flounder fishing was good this week on the St Simons Pier. Several folks caught flounder at or over 16 inches, and the biggest I heard of was 22 inches. If you’re interested in flounder fishing, check out the Flat Fish Fanatics Facebook page. Ed Zmarzly fished a Brunswick area dock on Monday night and caught a few nice seatrout under the lights while casting a hard minnow plug. The new bait shop in Brunswick named Wat-a-melon Bait and Tackle is opening this Friday. They plan to be open each week, Friday through Sunday from 6am to 4pm. They will have plenty of lively shrimp and have both live and dead bait for both freshwater and saltwater. They’re on Hwy 303 just north of Hwy 82 in the same location as the previous J&P Bait and Tackle. For the latest information, contact them at 912-223-1379.


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


Short Float Fish to Settles (Photo Credit Hillis Lanier)

Green Water but Gorgeous Day (Photo Credit Hillis Lanier)

Short Float to Settles (Trout Fishing report courtesy of Hillis Lanier on the North Georgia Trout Online forum website) Last Friday [September 8th] a fishing buddy and I floated the green waters of the hooch from a short distance upstream of Settles [Settles Bridge Access – Chattahoochee National Recreation Area] to the takeout at the bridge [McGinnis Ferry Road Bridge Access]. It was a beautiful day, and we caught a few fish and also lost several. All the fish we netted were rainbows. My fishing buddy had a really nice large brown [trout] hooked but lost it as he tried to net it from his tube.

The water was green, very green. I was a bit reluctant to do the float because I couldn’t see more than a few inches below the surface. I was afraid our feet might get hung up in the many fallen trees under the water along this section, and I was afraid our tubes might get punctured by a sharp limb. Fortunately, we did not have a problem with either. Neither would have been a concern if we had stayed in the middle of the stream, but the flow in the middle of the stream would have made it a rather quick float. We maneuvered our tubes into the slow water closer to the bank where we were able to anchor on some logs and fish. That’s where we caught all the fish, and that’s where I lost a few flies, and my fishing buddy lost several lures. I was fly fishing, and he was spinning. Glad I tied on a couple of dustpans to use as oars, otherwise I might still be sitting there in the still water near the bank.

We had planned to float from Settles to Chattahoochee Pointe Park on Friday but decided that float might be cutting it too close to the release [Lake Lanier, Bufford Dam Generation], and instead decided to float the shorter section above Settles. I met a couple of guys about to launch their boat at Settles for a float to McGinnis. They said they had floated and fished that section many times, getting caught in a release once, which was really scary, but they managed to get out ok. I think I will fish that section on a day when there is no release, or the release is much later in the day. Our short float was a lot of fun, caught a few fish and the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

Wild brown trout catch (Photo Credit John Damer)

Wild Trout Report: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — It was hot outside last weekend, and the best way I could think of to beat the heat was to go stand in a cold trout stream.  So, I fished a small stream near Dahlonega from around noon to 6pm.  Water temp was 63 when I got there and only rose one degree by 4pm, due to the heavy shade provided by a dense canopy of hemlock and rhododendron.  The flow was low and clear.  I wish I’d have gotten there earlier, because I was seeing fresh footprints as I fished up the first half of the section, meaning I was fishing second-hand water.  Nonetheless, I stuck with it, catching a few fish here and there.  The action picked up noticeably in the upper half of the water after the boot prints disappeared.  Overall, I managed to land around a dozen fish with a couple hard-fighting 9-inchers in the mix.  Though the action was not as steady as normal, it was still a great way to spend my Saturday.  Just make sure you bring a thermometer and check stream temps if you plan to try your own favorite stream.

Where to Go for Trout Info: To learn about Georgia’s diverse trout fishing opportunities including the latest stocking information, check out the Georgia DNR Trout Fishing page.


Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com)– Lake Allatoona is down 1.5 feet, and the water temperature is in the 80s. Bass fishing is fair. Small swim baits like the ketch 3-inch paddle tail fished on a 3/16-ounce Picasso 2/0 round ball head. The bait can be fished around blowdowns or open water for schooling fish. Both areas are producing right now. The key is to count it down to the Depth TTT are marking fish and retrieving at a slow/medium pace. There is also a good shaky head worm bite around Red Top this month. Fish in the mouth of Stamps Creek are producing. Stick with the jigs 1/8- or 3/16-ounce Picasso shakedown head and a Big Bite bait 6-inch green pumpkin finesse work. Use the 7-pound test Sunline sniper fluorocarbon and a medium spinning rod. Flat points have been best early and late in the day and the stiff breeze has been positioning the fish lately. Typically, only 2 to 3 fish caught per point and the school moves off or slows down. Keep moving to find active fish and always keep an eye on the Lowrance sonar for baitfish and active bass.

Allatoona Mixed Bag (Report courtesy of Heron Outdoor Adventures) — The fishing has gone from super slow to super-hot almost overnight. Speaking of nights – there’s been a fantastic evening bite on most all species including the spotted bass and linesides. There’s been some evening schooling of spotted, white and hybrid striped bass from Galts to Stamp Creek to Red Top. We haven’t been further than that stretch but likely happening in your stretch of water also on the northern and southern ends.

As the temperatures begin to cool down a little, we’ll begin seeing a little more topwater action in the mornings and throughout the day, particularly when the fish are on a school of threadfin.

Keep your eyes sharp – there are oodles and oodles of schools of bait even over the main channel all throughout the lake. Most of this is young of a year bait. A keen eye on your electronics will typically indicate that even when you’re not seeing some topwater action here, the fish are underneath them keeping custody of their food for feeding time. Particularly here, if you are seeing schools of fish underneath and even though they may not be active on the school of bait, a deep drop with a larger flutter spoon and power reeling up through the column / school of fish can often illicit a bite. Sure, it’s work. The only way you’re going to see continuous results is by continually putting in the work.

If you’re mid-lake and watching the schools of bait closely, you may notice the ball that is starting to move faster or quickly changing direction (before you might spook them with the boat) – these are the ones to cast to immediately. Some species are likely working them and a quickly placed cast with a spoon, rooster tail, or even a small topwater bait will often illicit a strike or two. The Slick stick, Sebile and Sashimmy swimmers have also been triggering some of the bigger fish bites.

Giddy-up Allatoona Anglers! Some horses have been caught 25-30ft. down over 50+ft bottoms during the day. (Photo Credit: Heron Outdoor Adventures)

Here’s another quick note – those spotted bass are continually being marked lately on point drops. We’ve had a couple of likely spots that have just been consistently stacked with maybe a few to a dozen or dozens of green fish. Small creature baits have been working for us in this situation. Anything from a nice Chattahoochee jig tie to the Berkley Max-scent lil trooper or 4-5″ general or hit worm have produced decently. As for colors, we’ve just been using crawfish patterns and green pumpkin or blue/black colors. If your confidence color is purple haze or fluorescent orange, for example, then use that. Typically, after catching a couple on one bait, we’ll switch it up to try for a couple more before the school moves on a little. Go to the next likely drop, side scan, confirm fish, reposition and repeat. If you’re all fancy and have some live sonar, you can skip likely skip the side scan:-). Something we often notice- anglers with their boat positioned right on over the prime part of the drop and casts not finishing up where the bottom strikers are. The bait is coming up to the boat when it should have still been creeping the bottom where the boat sits. Presentation is everything, friends.

Crappie. Goodness. I don’t want to tell, but some horses have been caught 25-30ft. down over 50+ft bottoms during the day.

Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Lake Hartwell is down 3.5 feet and water temperatures are in the 80s. Bass fishing is fair. Fish the Rapala DT6, the Rapala RS and Jointed Shad Raps in the early mornings. The bite picks up again from about 6:00 p.m. until dusk. Concentrate on the smaller main lake points and the banks between points. Look for two small points that are close to each other for better results. During the day, also look for and fish rocks and wood structure that have shade on them. Fish the humps with a top water lure like a Pop R or a Sammy. Try some braid on a spinning reel and the casts can be a lot longer. Just be sure to tie the lures directly to the braid, no leader, with a double Palomar knot. Shady docks are also holding an occasional bass. Take along those jigs and light weight Carolina Rigs for the midday bite. By 10:30 a.m., the bass will be retreating back to the deeper water and holding tight to cover. The best pattern for this week is to stay in close and fish the shady side of the lake.

Lanier Bass (This Lake Lanier Bass fishing report is by Phil Johnson Pjohnson15@hotmail.com 770-366-8845). — Lake Lanier is down 4 feet and water temperatures are in the 80s. Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The lake level is close to being four feet low and the water temperatures are running in the mid to upper eighties. It’s the hot time of the year right now so you are going to have to work a little harder to load the boat with fish. Lanier is still producing some great quality fish, but the bite is one you have to work for. There is a good topwater bite early in the morning on humps and long points, but you have to be in the right area. These schools of bass are often the larger bass grouped together and can put weight in the boat quickly. Be prepared to do a little running and gunning to find them as they aren’t schooling everywhere. The good news is once you find them, they may stay in the same area for several days. The Gunfish and the Fluke have been two consistent baits to target the schoolers with. When they are not schooling use your Live Scope to locate the fish in these same areas as they have been somewhat scattered. The Pro Series Spotchoker with a small fluke has worked well on these scattered fish as well as the schooling bass. Being able to make long cast get to the correct depth is the key for both the schooling bass and the scattered bass. It seems more strikes are coming off an erratic fast retrieve than on a steady slow retrieve. Another approach is the dropshot on the sides of the humps or around twenty-five-to-thirty-five-foot brush and ledges. The Morning Dawn and the Blue Lily have been consistently getting bites this week. Watch your electronics and adjust your drop to the depth of the fish as they are sometimes suspended around the brush more than under it. Be prepared to work for your bites but there are some really good bass being caught right now.

Lanier Stripers (report is by Buck Cannon, Buck Tails Guide Service 404-510-1778) — Lake Lanier stripers are scattered across the lower parts of the lake. Most schools can be located using your electronics and using the down lines with blue backs seems to be the most effective method early in the morning and after 10 am start trolling around using the umbrella rigs and lead core. Trolling using your outboard at 2.5 to 3.5 mph. Lead core should be back 8 to 9 colors or 250 to 280 feet behind the boat and umbrella rigs 130 to 150 feet back. Trolling over the channel and clipping the points can be tricky so pay attention to your electronics. Remember to wear your life jacket.

Lanier Crappie (Report is courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton 770-530-6493) — Crappie fishing is fair. 90% of this week’s catch came from open water brush and 99% of the fish came on minnows. 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. Crappie are deep, so concentrate on 15 feet deep over a 25- to 40-foot-deep bottom but don’t be afraid to look 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. Check out https://4heroutdoor.com/.

Weiss Lake Mixed Bag: (Report courtesy of Mark Collins www.markcollins service.com 256-996-9035) — Weiss Lake is near full and has a light stain and 84-86 degrees.

  • Bass – Bass fishing is good, and most have moved to the creek and river channel ledges, 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.
  • Striper – 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 works best. 

West Point Lake Hybrid Bass Catch (Photo Credit Chaz W. C. Raven)

West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — West Point Lake is down 3.8 feet and water temperatures are in the 80s. Bass fishing is fair. Top water baits are still working during early morning and late afternoon. The best areas are along the main lake and a short distance inside the mouth of coves. Some are hitting along seawalls, while others will be around docks, blow downs, or most any kind of shallow cover. On days that a buzz bait works, it’s the lure to throw. A buzz bait can be worked faster to cover water faster. It’s a good idea to fish a smaller bait like a 1/8 or ¼ ounce size and a larger bait like a ½ ounce size. On some mornings other baits like Pop R’s, Chug Bug’s and Baby Torpedo s are better. After top water fishing ends, bass can be caught around or under docks with soft plastics. The best docks will also be located along the main lake and a short distance inside coves. Look for docks with brush under and around them. The biggest key to success is to fish slowly, slow, slow. A few fish may be aggressive and hit the bait on the initial fall, but most will take a very slow bait. Try a Zoom Finesse or Zoom U Tale worm with a 1/8-ounce weight.

West Point Lake Fish Attractors: Find the West Point Lake Fish Attractor Information link HERE.

West Point Water Level: Need to find out water level info at West Point? Check it out at West Point Lake Levels Information.

Just after sunrise on Bartlett’s Ferry Lake (Photo Credit Brent Hess)

Bartlett’s Ferry (Harding) Lake (From Fisheries Biologist Brent Hess) – Info gathered 9/10/23 — A few notes on bass fishing last weekend at Bartlett’s Ferry Lake. Our decision to bass fish Bart’s was because of the water level decline at West Point Lake since Labor Day. Sunday morning was a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors. The water temperatures were in the 80s and the bass fishing turned out to be a bit sluggish. We managed to hook a couple of small spotted bass that combined, did not weigh a pound.  The morning started with the discovery of a late-season mayfly hatch in full swing. Bream were waylaying any mayflies found on the water’s surface.  Therefore, we feverishly fished the mayfly hatch for a few hours. However, the bass must have been focused on other prey items because our offerings were largely ignored. For the remainder of the morning, we focused our fishing around docks and other structure partway back in the larger coves on the lower end of the lake, having limited success. The increase in the midday temperatures and the lack of fishing success hastened our departure for the day.  However, a half-day spent fishing and enjoying the great outdoors is always a good day.