No. Don’t Do It. It’s Friday the 13th…it’s bad luck! You know what is not bad luck? Going fishing. There will always be something positive and lucky about taking the day (or even half a day) to hit up your favorite fishing hole. What lucky person will get to go with you?
NEWS TO KNOW:
- Can Fishing Save You? Outdoors writer Bryan Brasher of Bassmaster delivers a powerful auto-biographical story about the ways that fishing changed his life for the better, on more than one occasion. Let’s take our kids fishing folks.
- Your License Dollars at Work: The Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Management Section’s Construction and Engineering crew started tearing out the old parking lot at Middleton Boat Ramp on Lake Russell this week. They are repaving the parking lot and paving the ADA parking spaces. They will also pour a concrete extension at the head of the ramp and replace the wooden guard rails around the perimeter of the parking lot. This project will take approximately three weeks to complete.
- Last Few Days of Fall Harvest at Go Fish Center: Come catch up to 8 fish per person per day of bluegill and channel catfish at the Go Fish Education Center fishing pond on their final days of Fall Harvest (Fri. Oct. 13-Sat. Oct. 14 from 9am-5pm, Sun. Oct. 15 from 1-5pm).
- Survey Says: The Stream Survey Team recently visited the Lula Lake Land Trust to perform surveys in the Rock Creek watershed for Redeye Bass. Find out more HERE.
This week, we have fresh fishing reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia. Best of luck to you as you get out there and 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 DOWN 1.6 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. The temperatures are starting to cool. Work the main lake rocky points leading into the creeks. Fish with Zoom U Tail green worms and spinner baits along with a variety of crank baits and an occasional top water bait. Fish are up in the rivers where current is present on the windblown points and banks. Use natural color Rapala DT10 hot mustard on the bigger points and make many casts quartering the wind. Bounce the baits off the bottom on the rocks and use the Shad Raps in the same manner. Also, keep a sharp eye out for any top water activity and fire a Zoom Super Fluke in pearl.
CLARKS HILL LAKE IS DOWN 4.9 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The top water action has picked up and a clear original Zara Spook and a Sammy will work. Watch for the bait schools and the Lowrance Structure Scan technology scanning out 100 feet each way will make this task fast and well worth the time. Jigs catch fish and skirted jigs like the Strike King Tour Grade football jigs are excellent year-round baits. There are not many bass fishing lures that anglers can fish in 1 foot of water to 30 feet year-round. Flip them cast, drag them, hop them, swim them and it all works. Throw a white jig to imitate shad, a brown one to imitate crawfish, and a green one to imitate bream. When anglers use the jig, they are trying to emulate crawfish. So, these baits should have some orange in the skits. Around flooded brush and laydowns there is not a better bait much better than a Lucky Craft Redemption 3/8-ounce spinnerbait. They come through cover well and bass like their combination of flash and thump.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The cooldown coming will help the fishing. Rocky areas at the mouths of creeks as well as main river points are holding fish, and at daylight these fish are up and chasing bait. Moving baits are the ticket on these fish; top water, spy bait, underspin, etc. are all working. Anglers are also catching spots on points and humps in 15 to 25 feet of water, more towards the mouths of the creeks. The top water and swimbait bite has been strong this week. Note that with cloud cover, the fish will tend to be shallower and roaming more. With the sunup, the fish seem to concentrate more around the brush on structure as the day goes on. There is some schooling activity from daylight until around 10 am in the mornings that will continue through October.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.5 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Bass fishing has been slow this month due to the lake beginning to turn over. Some areas of the lake are starting to get that brown tint, and some are still normal greenish, and this changes day to day. Look to stay in good water and then locate bait and bass on the Lowrance electronics. The Bandit 300 or Shad Rap in a natural color is a good choice. Pull up to the points and try the crank bait. Throw the big cranks like the DD22. Fish can hold deep, so a Carolina rig is the best bait for all day fishing. A plastic trailer on the 1/4-ounce jigs will also be effective in deeper water. Finesse worms, Speed Craws, Ole Monsters, and jigs will take fish out of the deep blow downs and brush piles. Pay extra attention to blow downs later in the afternoon. Work the jig and craw and trick worms to the bottom and up through the limbs. Fish the shaky head rig on deep main lake docks. The past couple of weeks the fishing is fair in the morning and then again sometime after lunch. The best baits the last few weeks have been a drop shot with Zoom Swamp Crawler, a shaky head, and a jig. In October, the water will continue to stabilize so some larger fish will move shallow with the bait, and you can catch them on moving baits like top water, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits. Keep a pearl Zoom Super Fluke ready all day.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN .6 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. As the temperatures start to cool the fish start feeding on the bait schools in the lakes. So, use the Lowrance Structure Scan technology and find the bait schools and the fish will be close by. Probe around docks, blow downs, and brush piles back in the coves. Ride by the docks and use the Lowrance Structure Scan technology around wood, docks, or main lake points. Fish on the deeper main lake seawalls. Spinner baits, Chatterbaits, and shallow running crank baits can work on shallow sea walls in the morning. Cast the Livingston SgredderS3 Sxee Shad Jerkmaster 1 AYU. Use the smaller Lucky Craft Square Bill Live Threadfin Shad Blue Gill 5/8 ounce. When the fish shy away from top water presentations, a Zoom green pumpkin Trick worm fished weightless can work. If shallow fishing is not producing, head on out to the points or work back into the pockets probing for fish that may have moved up on docks and wood.
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Surface Temperature: 77.5˚ F (25.3˚ C)
- Water Level: 40” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 25.5”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
Anglers targeting largemouth bass should look for log jam habitat this time of year as these habitats have shown in previous years to hold many bass in the fall. The catfish bite has been exceptionally well for nighttime anglers. 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 that using Powerbait Swim Shad are producing the most catches but other lures like Booyah Boss Pop hard topwater lures are landing fish as well.
Bream: The last anglers to report catches were using red wigglers and jigs.
Channel Catfish: Anglers are using nightcrawlers.
Crappie: The last anglers to report catches were using live minnows.
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water level: All the ponds are full or nearly full. except Otter, Little Raleigh is low. Margery is under renovation and closed till further notice.
- Water clarity: Clarity varies but most water bodies have up to 24-48” visibility.
- Surface temperature: Low to mid-70’s.
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Bass are moving into shallower water as the temperatures decrease this month. Bass should respond well to spinner baits and crank baits.
Crappie: The crappie are not up shallow yet. Fishing over suspended brush is your best bet. Use jigs tipped with minnows.
Bream: Bluegill and some shellcracker are being caught on or near the bottom. Wigglers and wax worms are a good choice for bait.
Other: Shad have recently been moving into shallower water. Shad style lures would likely be good for both largemouth and hybrids. Use weed-less style lures in ponds with heavy vegetation.
(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 mid-week rains will have the southeast Georgia rivers on the rise again for the weekend, so check the river gages on your favorite location before scheduling a trip. Okefenokee, ponds, and saltwater should provide some good reports for next week. Catfishing on the rivers is a good option with the rising water.
River gages on October 12th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 0 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 0.8 feet and rising
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 3.8 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 9.0 feet and rising
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 8.8 feet and falling
- Statenville on the Alapaha – 4.0 feet and rising
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.9 feet and rising
- Fargo on the Suwannee – 6.4 feet and rising
Darren and Carly Sexton fished the east side on Thursday and caught 46 fish trolling Dura-Spins (red/white, fire tiger, black/chartreuse, and jackfish). Their biggest fish was a 9-lb., 6-oz. bowfin, and it ate the fire tiger-chartreuse blade spinner. They had some pickerel also, but most were bowfin. Matt Urbanawiz and his father and son fished the west side for under 2 hours on Saturday and caught 7 bowfin up to 5 pounds on Dura-Spins. His son caught his biggest fish ever (of any species) during their trip. Jeff and his son Jason came down from Villa Rica this weekend and fished the east side with a friend. Jason ended up catching two angler award fish – a 19 1/2-inch chain pickerel and 7-lb., 2-oz. bowfin. Both ate lemon-lime Dura-Spins trolled in the canals. They caught a total of 53 fish (mostly bowfin with a few pickerel mixed in). The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.6 feet before Thursday’s rain.
Conditions were good this week on both rivers. Brentz McGhin and Greg Nelms fished the upper Altamaha over the weekend and got on the shellcrackers with pink worms. They ended up keeping 13 of them and a few nice channel catfish. They pitched the worms with a single, large split-shot and a crappie hook and used a crappie jig pole (about 12 feet long). Brentz went back to the lower Altamaha on Monday and caught a ton of bluegills on worms but could not get on the shellcrackers in that area. A couple of anglers fished the upper Ocmulgee River near Hawkinsville and caught some big fish. Their biggest was a 6 1/4-pound largemouth. It took just shy of 31 pounds to win a 2-day bass tournament this weekend on the Altamaha River. The second and third place finishers were over 29 pounds, so there were some nice fish caught. A couple of Waycross anglers fished for bass last week on the middle Altamaha and caught 40 by pitching plastics and throwing topwaters. Their biggest was just over 6 pounds, and their top 5 weighed a little shy of 22 pounds. A Jesup angler caught a limit of crappie in the middle river backwaters this week by fishing live minnows under a float.
Jason Kennedy fished the middle Ogeechee River over the weekend and caught one of the biggest redbreasts I’ve ever seen. He caught a total of about 60 redbreasts and largemouth bass on bruiser Satilla Spins. The area got a good bit of rain, so expect that bite to go away as the river rises.
Jeremy Robertson fished the upper Satilla this week with a Silverback Lures spinnerbait. He caught lots of fish including bass, chain pickerel (jackfish), and bowfin. His biggest bass looked like about a 5 to 6-pounder from the photo, and he said that he caught several smaller ones, also. The Highway 158 ramp is not yet complete, as rains have kept the river up and DNR boat ramp construction crew away from the landing. It was getting close again before today’s rain, but now it is rising again.
I heard of several good catches of crappie from anglers who drifted and trolled minnows. Bream were biting for those pitching crickets and worms to shoreline vegetation. I did not hear of any truly big bass, but I received a report of an angler fishing on his lunch break and catching a 3-pound bass on his first cast with a stickworm.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Tides will be ramping up some around the upcoming New Moon, but it should still be fishable. With a strong cold front coming through in the middle of the weekend, expect winds to pick up late in the weekend and into early next week. Jay Turner had some great catches this week in the Savannah area. One trip he took the boat out and got on a bunch of small redfish, some nice flounder and a few good trout – one that he released was 24 inches. He also fished from the bank a couple of times and caught reds, trout and flounder each trip. On Wednesday he fished just a short time and caught a dozen small reds, 4 trout, and a big flounder. Keitech swimbaits rigged on 1/8-oz. Zombie Eye Jigheads worked best for him. On one trip he fooled them with plastics rigged on a 1/16-oz. Zombie Eye Jighead and suspended under a float. Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) said that fishing has been great this week, especially if you like catching small slot-sized reds. His trips caught 15 to 50 of the small reds each trip. They fished for bull redfish one trip and caught 7 of them. There are lots of trout around, but only 1 out of every 4 or 5 is a keeper. He’s been catching a few keeper black drum mixed in the catch. Some larger sheepshead showed up this week, as well. Live shrimp under a Harper Super Striker Float has been the ticket for 75 percent of his fish, while the balance ate Gulp Shrimp on a jighead. Capt. Greg Hildreth (georgiacharterfishing.com) said that the bull redfishing was slow this week, but inshore fish bit well. I talked with an angler who caught some sheepshead from a Brunswick dock this week using fiddler crabs rigged on a Sheepshead Slammer Jighead (3/16-oz with 3/0 hook). The new bait shop in Brunswick named Wat-a-melon Bait and Tackle is now open Friday through Sunday from 6am to 4pm each week. They have plenty of lively shrimp and fiddler crabs and also have live worms and crickets for freshwater. 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 Kyle Rempe, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Fall Transition: Trying to get a better handle on the fall turnover and what techniques you can use to target fish during this time of transition? Brooks Anderson Fishing has you covered with a brief video explaining the phenomenon as well as how he catches some quality fish this time of year.
Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant at Southern Fishing): Bass fishing is fair. The week has been a roller coaster on the lake. The weather has got the fish moving all over. The majority of the fish Monday and Tuesday came out of deeper water but there are some fish shallow. The key to finding them either way was finding the schools of shad. The best pattern we found was targeting rock walls with a shear drop in 26 to 34 feet of water. There had to be shad though otherwise the fish wouldn’t eat. The technique that worked the best was drop shot fishing with 6-to-8-pound test mono using a number 1 drop shot hook paired with an 1/8 1/4 ounce drop shot weight. Try the micro jig by Keitech with the Guard Spin style Jig. This is a good bait that works in situations to try to catch large fish on light gear. The bait of choice was A Zoom swamp crawler in pumpkin seed or a Roboworm in pink. As the day went on the bait started coming toward the surface. As a result, the top water bite turned on. Fish with prop baits such as Torpedo’s and also on Super Spook Juniors. A small shad tail rigged on a 1/4 ounce jig head also worked well.
Sunfish (Report courtesy of Region 1 Fisheries Supervisor Jim Hakala): Even though the nights are cooling, the water remains warm enough for bream to be active. With the lake level falling, the key is finding brush or other structure that is still submerged in the water, preferably 3-6 feet deep. Locate some type of cover in the back or mid-way back in a cove and the bream will be nearby. If that cover is near a creek channel, even better. A worm fished on the bottom in these areas should be the ticket for some late season bream action.
Hybrids and Linesides (Report courtesy of Guide Chip Hamilton; report via SC-DNR Freshwater Fishing Trends): Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that the end of September and beginning of October is always a transition period when fish are on the move, but at the end of September this year most of the fish were still in the main river system. In October schooling activity should increase, and some days fish will school for hours. They will also make a move into the creeks, and in general fish will be related to bait wherever it is in the creeks. Free-lines and down-lines can both work at times, and if fish are schooling topwater lures and flukes will work.
Bass (Report courtesy of Guide Brad Fowler; report via SC-DNR Freshwater Fishing Trends): Guide Brad Fowler reports that when water temperatures drop into the lower 70s there should be widespread schooling activity across the lake, and in October fish should also be more willing to eat a variety of topwater baits as they get onto larger bait. While there will still be an offshore bite also look for more fish to move into the creeks where they can be caught on buzzbaits or crankbaits.
Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant at Southern Fishing): Bass fishing is fair. Husky Jerks and Bandit crank baits are working and the fish are around schools of shad. Anglers are seeing the bait popping up all over the lake. Early morning until about noon and then again in the later afternoon until dark are the best times to fish. Fish all the points with heavy rock on them can find. Back up the hard baits with Carolina rigs and small Bitsey bug dark green 1/4 ounce jigs. Andersonville Island is a good area as well as the moving water up in the Tugaloo River. Rock ledges on or near deeper water are still producing during the heat of the day. Zoom Super flukes in pearl can catch the fish that might want a slower bait swimming around.
Bass (Report courtesy of Phil Johnson (770) 366-8845; report via Southern Fishing): Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The lake level is currently a little over six feet below full pool and still on a steady decline. Water temperature is running from the mid to upper seventies throughout the lake with clear water on the main and very little staining in the backs of the creeks. Bass fishing can best be described as boom or bust right now on Lanier. Last weekend a lot of the top sticks on Lanier fished a big tournament which took over twenty pounds to win but only thirteen pounds to get in the money. You are either on them big or struggling. This can be a day-to-day thing with one day great and the next day tough. The hard swimbait bite has been steady with the Slickstick and Sebiles producing both numbers and size. There are a lot of fish, both largemouth and Spots, being caught on these baits right now. While the fish can be anywhere schooling most of our catches have been in less than thirty feet of water on points and humps. The main lake and first half of the creeks tend to be the areas to concentrate on. For the top water bite the Gunfish, Ima Skimmer and Riser TKO have drawn the most strikes in the same areas. Color choice remains the same with white in low light and chrome during the sunny times. If you are struggling, there are still fish to be caught on the dropshot around brush and on ledges. Lanier baits Morning Dawn and Blue Lily have been the most productive colors as of late. With the water temperature dropping watch for the top water/swimbait bite to just improve as it is that time of year. Enjoy the bite and the weather and Go Catch ‘Em!
Crappie (Report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton (770) 530-6493; report via Southern Fishing): Crappie fishing is good. The water temperatures are in the low 70’s. Crappie can be found suspended from 5- to 25-foot-deep target shaded areas. 90% of this week’s catch was on live small minnows straight down with a split shot. Also try small jigs with a slow retrieval for the best results. Look for covered docks near a channel with brush or structure underneath. The gear I recommend for crappie fishing is ACC Crappie Stix 1-piece rod and reel with a 6-pound test K9 line, along with Garmin Live Scope and Power Pole. For more information and tips, please visit my websites http://www.crappieonlanier.com and http://www.fishingwitheverydayheroes.org.
Striped Bass (Report courtesy of Buck Cannon (404) 510-1778; report via Southern Fishing): Lake Lanier stripers are in the fall pattern and they have been growing and they are now biting the flat lines and planer boards using blue backs as the bait of choice plus you can use medium shiners. Fish the boards 30 feet back and put a small buckshot on half your spread. Flat lines should be 60 to 80 feet behind the boat and mix it up with some buckshot on half to see what turns them on. Tolling speed between 05 & 1 mph using your trolling motor. Top water bite is good if you’re close enough to put your bait on the fish. The night bite starts with the World Series so be ready. Remember to wear your life jacket.
Striped Bass (Report courtesy of Jack Becker aka GA Waterdog): Cooler water temperatures found me back out on Lake Lanier looking for Stripers near Browns Bridge. Water temperature was 74.2. and wind 7 to 12 mph. Not the best conditions since I fish out of a 14 ft pond-toon boat. I found a pocket that was protected from the wind near Port Royal Marina. I didn’t mark any fish, but I saw several bait balls in the calmer water. I used my electric motor to troll at .5 mph with planner boards and free lines using 12 lb leaders & medium shiners. I had trouble keeping spotted bass off my bait but managed to catch one Striper before I ran out of bait. Another fun day on the water.
WEST POINT LAKE
Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, Southern Fishing): Bass fishing is fair. The cold fronts and high pressure will slow the fish some. The fish are scattered and they are moving all over the lake so plan to move and fish a lot of places to catch them. Look for largemouth and spots on points, roadbeds and back in the coves. Start using the crank baits as the fish chase shad back in the coves later in the day. Most of the lake is clear with a little stain in the rivers. A Texas rigged Zoom U Tale worm fished in brush piles or on long rock points will bring a few bites. Work the bait slow and be a line watcher. A few anglers are using the light Alabama rig with all shad bodied lead heads mid lake. Try the micro jig by Keitech with the Guard Spin style Jig. This is a good bait that works in situations to try to catch large fish on light gear. Carolina rigged worm fishing the deeper end of long points or under water islands will also work for a few bites. Look for the bait fish in this area before fishing. Make sure to work both sides of points to find out where the fish are holding. As the water temperature starts to cool the fishing will only get better.
Trout (Report courtesy of Tad Murdock, Georgia Wild Trout): Fall is arriving quickly. Cooler morning temperatures and shorter days have allowed the trout to start moving around and begin to eat more. The brown trout have begun or will be making their spawning runs on many of the North Georgia tributaries. A little rain should really push these movements as the low water can inhibit much of their process. Be looking for these fish staging around creek confluences as they move further upstream. Dry flies continue to produce on the higher elevation streams while nymphs are a bit more productive in larger waters. Overcast days have been the days to be on the water as the bluebird/high pressure days leave the trout inactive and spooky. As fall continues, we look forward to seeing more insects emerging as the terrestrials dwindle. More prolific midge hatches have been coming off the water along with some caddis, BWOs, and PMDs in some of the North Georgia streams. If you’re coming to the mountains to escape the bustle of the city, be sure to avoid the tourist heavy areas that are drawing large crowds on the weekends. Oktoberfest in Helen, along with apple picking in Ellijay, and other fall festivals in Blue Ridge, Blairsville, and Clayton can back up traffic heading to some of the best trout waters in North Georgia.
Trout (Report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, Angler Management; report via Unicoi Outfitters): Summary: Headwaters are skinny, but cool. Spoilcane was 64F at noon today. Both wilds and stockers are nervous and spooky, so employ stealth and hit the drought refuges. That same advice goes for river bass, too. Reservoir bass and stripers are stepping up their topwater game slowly as lakes start cooling off. And we’ve got a bunch of new bass candy at our Clarkesville store!
Wes’ Hot Fly List:
- Dries: Elk hair caddis, orange stimulator, micro chubby (great for dry dropping on bigger water).
- Nymphs & Wets: Micro Mayfly, CJ controller, Plus one, Ruby midge. squirmy worms, duracell’s, hot head pheasant tails, and zebra midges will work well on NC DH streams.
- Streamers & warmwater: Flatliner, sparkle minnow, jiggy craw, polar changer.
Headwaters: They’re still extremely low and droughty, and spooky residents are still huddled into the few remaining drought refuges. If they’re not spooked, they’ll eat. Carry some tan and orange elk hair caddis, BWO’s, and midges for some dry action.
Trout (Report courtesy of Jeff Durniak, Angler Management; report via Unicoi Outfitters): UO buddy Spangler checked in: “Howdy Dredger! I had one of the first reservations for Dukes this past week. I’ve fished this creek at least 6-8 times a year since 2021 and I can say this was the lowest I’ve ever seen the water. I still managed to catch 37 fish…all 6-9” rainbows with the exception of one eager chub and a nice 16” brown trout which was the surprise of the day. The low, clear waters required me to adapt quickly to tiny flies (size 20 midges did a lot of work, along with micro eggs, size 16, Walt’s Worm, etc.), and go down on the fly weights. I also had to drop to 7x tippet…which a nicer rainbow did take advantage of (or my bad knot) and is swimming around with a Walt’s Worm in his mouth. Fish were mostly schooled up in pools with some of the smaller ones hanging in riffles or any little pockets near boulders. One good thing from seeing the creek in this state was being able to make note of some of the bottom structure I can’t normally see and also reached a few pools I normally couldn’t where it’s too deep.”
Trout (Report courtesy of Perfect Fly): There is a cool week ahead and that should be a big help in catching some of the big fish in Dukes. We are still getting good reports from customers fishing the stream. It is flowing below a normal level and clear. Blue-winged olives, Green sedge caddis and other insects are hatching. Our terrestrial and sculpin streamer patterns continue to work well for the larger fish.
Trout (Report courtesy of Dane Law; report via Orvis): Float trips utilizing different techniques. Streamers for larger trout are always a good choice with higher flows. Dry fly and dry dropper on lower flows.