Interested in trout fishing? Now is a great time to plan a trip to North Georgia, and when you do, plan to test your skills at one of Georgia’s five Delayed Harvest trout streams.
While trout fishing can be found year-round in Georgia, there are five trout streams that are seasonally managed under special regulations called Delayed Harvest (DH) to increase angler success. These streams have catch-and-release regulations from November 1-May 14 and are stocked monthly by Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and other partner agencies, like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and South Carolina DNR. This combination of stocking and catch/release allows for good trout catch rates and high angler satisfaction. Read more about it HERE.
NEWS TO KNOW:
- It’s Only Temporary: The Go Fish Education Center in Perry, GA is temporarily closed to the public – but not for long! A renovation and refresh to exhibits, interactive opportunities and aquariums is underway. The re-opening date is currently scheduled for Friday, Dec. 1 – so make your plans to visit on a December or January (or later) weekend (when it might be too cold to get out and fish) and get ready to have a great time.
- It’s a Record: Sean Tarpley landed a new saltwater state record Almaco Jack. See photo and read more about the catch HERE.
This week, we have fishing reports from Central, Southeast and North Georgia. Whatever you do, don’t delay an opportunity to Go Fish Georgia.
(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, Region Supervisor and fisheries biologist with Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
RESERVOIR FISHING REPORTS BELOW COURTESY OF SOUTHERN FISHING WITH KEN STURDIVANT.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. The lake is full, and it is time to hit the points and humps. Start early in the morning shallow around rocks and wood with the crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Later in the day the bait is starting to bunch up and bass are feeding on them, try a drop shot or a jigging spoon. Look for schooling fish out on the main lake at the mouths of major creeks. Long points and humps seem to be the best places. Use a Zoom Super Fluke and a 115 Gunfish. A drop shot can also work and use the Lowrance Down Scan and the Fish Reveal to see more coverage as they come across the screen. As the weather continues to cool the fish will push toward the ditches, midway and all the way to the backs of the creeks. The ditch bite will improve if the cooling trend continues. Use the electronics with a CHIRP as well as the Lowrance HDS Structure Scan and C Map Contour Plus. Look for humps, points, and ledges on the main lake and fish crank baits and Carolina rigs.
CLARKS HILL LAKE IS DOWN 6.2 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing fair. The lake is still dropping; be careful due to low water. The water up lake is cooling some and this will get some fish shallow. Early top water action has been fair. At daylight, the bass head to the shallows and are feeding on small threadfin shad. This shallow action will last until the sun makes its way onto the water. Start the day with an all-white buzz baits; also cast all white spinner baits and small ¼ ounce chrome Rat L Traps. The chrome and black back Crazy Shad silver top water lures cast right on the banks as well as white Lunker Lure buzz baits are drawing strikes from bass. The fish are shallow at and before daylight until 11 am. There will be a dead period at 11 am and last about an hour. It is best to be on the water as early as possible each morning this week. Use Zoom u tail worms in June bug and gourd green on a Texas rig on the bank cover. Keep baits in the structure if possible. The bone and parrot Deep Wee R crank baits in the rivers and creeks are good choices; again, cast these lures right on the bank. All lures should be worked in a stop and go technique and move around often. A green Zoom trick worm with a # 2/0 Mustad wide gap hook on a spinning reel will get the fish out from under docks. Skip this bait as far into cover and docks as possible.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. There are some good fish being caught on frogs and prop baits early. Target seawalls and banks where there is a little depth close by. After the sun gets up docks are the best bet along with blowdowns that fall into deeper water. Plastic worms and shaky head worms will get more bites at this time of year. The bite will pick each week with lower traffic. A prop bait followed up with a swim jig or a shaky head worm in green pumpkin with a chartreuse tail would be your best bet.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.5 FEET, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. Water temperatures are falling, and the fish are fattening up. There has been a good bit of surface activity. Bass are busting on the surface and can be caught on top water all day. Use the Whopper Plopper and Zara Spook. Making long casts and boat placement are the keys. Mix the baits up between top water and jerk baits. Jerk baits are very productive this time of year. The McStick is a local favorite. Also have a Picasso jig or a Picasso Ned rig and a Roboworm Ned Worm in Aaron’s magic color. Look for areas with big rock and work the bait slow for best results. Best areas are around Rooty Creek and Crooked Creek.
LAKE JACKSON IS DOWN FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is good. The shad are starting to move into the creeks and pockets. Top water early in the mornings around any cover or isolated cover will produce. Keep an eye out for schooling fish as the shad are making the move to creeks and pockets. Top water baits of choice would be a Pop R, Rapala Skitter Prop Spooks and Torpedoes. Shad colors are the color of choice. A Spook around shallow humps and in the pockets are producing some quality largemouth and spotted bass. Shallow rocky points with a variety of baits will yield some fish as well. A 3/8-ounce double willow leaf spinnerbait in white or white and chartreuse with gold or white blades are catching some fish as well. A 3/8 to 1/2 ounce black and blue or green pumpkin jig fished around docks and rocks will be a way to catch fish all winter. Use the Lowrance electronics to locate these fish.
MARBEN PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Level: All open ponds are full. Lake Margery is closed for renovation.
- Water Clarity: 24+”
- Surface Temperature: 58-68 degrees
- Marben PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Shad are schooling late in the afternoon on Fox and Bennett. A few bass are being caught off points. The bass are beginning to move shallow and feed before cooler weather pushes them deeper. Plastic worms, crank baits, and jerk baits should produce a bite.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is starting to pick up as the weather cools. Most are still being caught over suspended brush. Jig and jigs tipped with minnows are the go-to for a crappie bite. The trick is finding where the crappies are located and presenting your bait just above them. Persistence will pay off when you find a school.
Bream: Try fishing near the bottom with live pink worms. Bream fishing will slow as temperatures decrease. But for now, they are still biting.
Hybrid Bass: Several nice hybrids have been caught at Bennett Lake. Most of these fish are being caught late in the afternoon when the shad are schooling. Lures that mimic a shad should be successful.
(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 bites have been off and on this week with the varied weather. The Okefenokee bite is the only one that has been consistent lately. Rivers are getting to good fishable levels (some are even too low to get a motorboat around well), so it’s time to get back on them.
River gages on November 2nd were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 1 feet and rising
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 1.2 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 4.2 feet and falling
- Waycross on the Satilla – 6.1 feet and falling
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 6.2 feet and falling
- Statenville on the Alapaha – 2.4 feet and falling
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.5 feet and falling
- Fargo on the Suwannee – 6.4 feet and falling
Shelton Hunter from the Tampa, Florida area fished with me on Saturday on Okefenokee Swamp. We had a really good day in the canals on the east side. We fished a few hours in the middle of the day and trolled up 82 fish. Most were bowfin, but we had a few pickerel up to 18 inches. The bigger bowfin were biting, as our biggest were 8-lb., 8-oz., 8-lb., 4-oz, 8-lb., 2-oz., and 6-lb., 15-oz. The big ones are an absolute hoot! All our fish ate Dura-Spins, and the best color was fire tiger-chartreuse blade. We also caught some fish on lemon-lime, crawfish-orange blade, and black/chartreuse-chartreuse blade (in declining order of effectiveness). Okefenokee Adventures staff said that anglers caught bowfin and pickerel on Thursday even in the cold. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.68 feet.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Matt Rouse said that he caught a few largemouth bass right before the cold front came through this week. He’s caught a few crappie lately, but expects this cool snap to fire that bite off in the near future.
Chip Lafferty caught the biggest bass I heard of this week, and it was from a Brunswick area pond. The 6-lb., 13-oz. largemouth ate a green pumpkin Texas-rigged worm. Chad Lee caught two 2-pound bass this weekend an Alma area pond while flinging stick worms. The bream bite has slowed with the cooler water, but the crappie bite should pick up for this weekend.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Saltwater was hit-and-miss this week – mostly miss for trout. A 2-boat crew of Gary Simmons, Larry Wilkerson, Ronnie Boatright, and his grandson fished the Brunswick area and got on the redfish. They had 9 big bull redfish that ate live shrimp. They only managed one undersized trout mixed in with all the big redfish. One of the misses was a Blackshear angler who fished the Crooked River area with artificials on Tuesday and could only muster 4 throwback trout and a keeper. He did not get them to respond to topwaters, and the few he caught ate Gulp shrimp rigged on a Zombie Eye Jighead. He saw a tripletail inshore but could not get it to bite. Another friend fished the Brunswick area and caught 5 trout over the weekend. He fooled them all with plastic under a float. Capt. Greg Hildreth (georgiacharterfishing.com) said that the “marsh hen” tides made it tough, but his charters caught a few bull reds in the sounds early in the week. Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) said that Thursday was the first day he braved the big tides. The water looked terrible, but they stayed at it and had a good catch of trout, redfish, and black drum on live shrimp fished 6 to 8 feet deep under Harper Super Striker Floats. 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.
A Fitzgerald bass angler has been fishing the lower Ocmulgee River over the last week and did really well, but not as well as he is used to. His best was a half-day afternoon trip where he caught 19 bass, and his first one was a 5-pounder. That was his biggest fish this week. During 2 other trips he caught between 15 and 20 fish per trip. All of his fish were on Texas-rigged plastic worms (mostly junebug and green pumpkin hues) in heavy cover. Another angler fishing the lower Altamaha fished all day for 20 bass (17 of them were keepers and none were over 2 pounds). They caught their fish mostly on Texas-rigged worms.
(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 Fishing Forecast and Finding Fish Attractors: Need to know the scoop on where and when to fish Allatoona? Check out the Allatoona 2023 Fishing Forecast. Find DNR fish attractors at Lake Allatoona HERE.
Allatoona Bass Stocking (Report courtesy of WRD Fisheries Supervisor Jim Hakala) — Since 2012, the Wildlife Resources Division has stocked largemouth bass at Lake Allatoona to boost their abundance in this Alabama bass dominated reservoir. A combination of fingerling and larger juvenile largemouth bass have been stocked over the years to evaluate which size bass does best. It was determined that stocking fewer, but larger 5–7-inch juveniles into prime bass habitat resulted in an increase in one year old largemouth bass abundance in the areas stocked. With this information, several thousand juvenile largemouth bass are now stocked every year into places like Little River, Sweetwater Creek, Stamp Creek, McKaskey Creek, Tanyard Creek, and the Allatoona Creek Arm of the lake. This year, more than 23,000 juvenile largemouth bass have been stocked at Allatoona, with more to come later this fall.
Allatoona Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant via www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing is good. The cooler temperatures will get the fish active. Fishing in the Etowah River is a good area to target. The morning top water bite is good. Start the morning out with a buzz bait along bluff walls and blowdowns. This bite has been lasting until mid-morning. Mix the buzz bait up with a top water Whopper Plopper as well. Once the morning bite is over try switching to a small Keitech swimbait and a 3/16-ounce Picasso round ball jig head. Plan on targeting schools of bass at the mouth of the creeks like Illinois Creek. The schools tend to move around. A good forward-facing side imaging sonar helps locate them. A medium paced retrieve seems to work the best to get bit. As the water cools and bass begin to migrate into the creeks the hard swimbait bite will pick up. The big swimbait is a great way to catch a big fish this time of year.
Allatoona Habitat Improvements (Report courtesy of WRD Fisheries Technician Collin George) — To improve fish habitat, especially for species like bass, the Wildlife Resources Division and Allatoona Corps topple and anchor trees along the lake’s shoreline. In doing so, the trees will provide excellent structure for fish when the water returns to full pool next spring. The trees also serve to reduce bank erosion by slowing wave action created by boats and wind. Fresh trees were toppled this week in the Allatoona Creek area of Lake Allatoona. Look for more trees to make their way into the lake later this fall and winter.
Allatoona Crappie Report (Report courtesy of Red Rooster Custom Baits): Water Temp: 65 – 72; Water Clarity: Clear to Mild Stain (Depending on the area of the lake); Area Fished: North Lake (Little River Area) & South Lake (Blockhouse area); Jigs Used: UV Shad Dagger, Watermelon Ghost Dagger, Gray Ghost Dagger & Flamingo Dagger; Technique: Brush Piles, Stumps and Stick ups. This is the last report for October 2023! The fishing has been pretty good overall over the month of October and it has flown by. I wish this time of year would slow down so we could soak in the blessings of Fall! The bite was better the first part of the week due to the full moon towards the end of the week/weekend. We fished on Monday and had a great day, wound up with over 60 crappie fishing brush piles. The Watermelon Ghost, UV Shad, Gray Ghost and Flamingo on a 1/24 oz. jig head did some damage! With the water level dropping the brush is getting closer and closer to the top of the surface. We had to change our jig head size from 1/16 oz. to 1/24 oz. to reduce the jig “fall rate”. When the depth between the water surface and the brush changes from 18′ to 8’…you have to make jig head adjustments. Why should you use a lighter jig head when the water level drops? 1) Give the Crappie more time to see the jig. Crappie may not see the jig if it falls too quick with the heavier jig head. You want to give them plenty of time to see the jig as it is slowly falling to and over the brush. 2) Reduce hang ups with a lighter jig head. Lighter jig heads don’t fall as fast, so you have time to reel the jig before it gets in the brush. With the heavier jig heads…they get in the brush before you have time to reel. Get ready the fall troll bite is coming soon! The temps are about to drop, and the crappie will get fired up and ready to eat in the month of November! Hopefully this report will help you the next time you are crappie fishing on Lake Allatoona. Lord willing, we will have another great report next week!
Burton Yellow Perch: (This report courtesy of Fisheries Supervisor Anthony Rabern) — Two local anglers, Phil Black and Wesley Turpen, are no strangers to the quality yellow perch fishing in the mountain lakes of Northeast Georgia. The duo spent a beautiful fall day targeting yellow perch at Lake Burton, which proved very productive as both anglers landed fish worthy of an angler award. Live worms or minnows fished on the bottom, or small jigs are good bets for catching yellow perch.
Hartwell Fishing Forecast: Need to know the scoop on where and when to fish Lake Hartwell? Check out the Hartwell 2023 Fishing Forecast.
Lake Hartwell Bass Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com): The lake is down about 6 feet and bass fishing is fair. Now is the time to start the run and gun action. Stay with the top water bite with flukes and walking baits. The more offshore brush and humps is the ticket in the morning. The bite has been better early unless they are pulling water then it stays good most of the day. When the fish get bunched up in the mid-day, a drop shot rigged with a Wackem Baits Big Sissy is working. As the water temperatures rise even more fish should move out. There are lots of spotted bass biting the drop shot rigs in 15 to 25 feet of water. Use the Zoom Z Drop or finesse worm. Keep a close watch the Lowrance electronics and pull up onto the points and humps as the fish are usually pretty active and moving around throughout the day. There is some schooling activity late in the evenings too. Keep a Zoom Super Fluke and top water baits ready. Use the Lowrance Active Target technology to find bait schools. The bass will be close by. Depending on their positions will determine the lures to use.
Lake Hartwell Lineside Report: (This report courtesy of Captain Cefus, Nuts and Bolts of Fishing): Fall is upon us and the water temperatures have been dropping steadily for the past couple weeks. We’ve finally crossed the 70-degree barrier and the magic is beginning to happen. Gulls are showing up in visible numbers, and surface action is heating up. The top water bite is something many anglers really get excited about, including me. For the past week, I’ve experienced actively feeding fish churning up the water at various times of day, from sunrise to mid-day to dusk. And by the way, the times I’ve seen large schools crashing baits has coincided with major and minor game feeding times. So don’t leave the pond just because it’s a bluebird sky day. Check the game tables and hang around OR delay your start until an hour or so before a major or minor. It has definitely worked for me.
Chatuge Sampling (Report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): Gainesville fisheries staff conducted annual fall gillnet surveys on Lake Chatuge this week. The reservoir is down 5.5 feet and surface temperatures are in the mid-60s. Autumn is my favorite time of year to be on Chatuge because of the spectacular mountain views and non-stop topwater action. Alabama spotted bass are abundant lakewide and are feeding aggressively on blueback herring. The average Alabama bass we sampled was around 15 inches, although we collected several fish pushing 20 inches and exceeding four pounds. Alabama bass and hybrids are chasing bait on the surface in the mornings, so throw a chrome topwater plug or walking bait over these feeding frenzies and you will no doubt put fish in the boat. Hybrid abundance is excellent, and we sampled several hybrids weighing just over 8 pounds. After the morning topwater bite slows down, target windblown points that are adjacent to the mid-lake river channel and tributaries to continue catching these hard-fighting hybrids. We netted walleye at every sampling station on the lake, although their abundance seems to be highest in mid-lake and upper reservoir locations (i.e., near the dam) right now. Walleye in the 2 – 4 lb range are quite common, although we were also excited to see an abundance of young-of-year walleye that will help sustain the fishery for years to come.
Lanier Fishing Forecast and Finding Fish Attractors: Need to know the scoop on where and when to fish Lake Lanier? Check out the Lanier 2023 Fishing Forecast. Find DNR fish attractors at Lake Lanier HERE.
Lake Lanier Bass Report 1 (This report courtesy of Captain Mack): Maybe this will sum up Bass Fishing, Thursday, in the space of 20 minutes, on one place I caught three fish. The first on a spoon in 38 feet, the second was in a piece of brush in 7 feet, it was visible because of the low water. Got him on a Chug Bug. The third one was on a clean bank in 15 inches of water chasing shad, that one took a Cast 3”Prodigy. How’s that for having a well-defined pattern? You get the gist of that, be ready to do of little of everything and you’ll catch some fish.
There are only 38 patterns that will work right now, note that I did not say “work well” lol. So here are some things to try: Junk fishing is pretty dependable. Any visible structure may hold fish, so look at, blow downs, rocks, and of course docks. Watch the rip rap areas too, there are a few fish cruising the rocks shallow. A wide variety of baits will apply, and if the wind will help out, there is a pretty good spinnerbait bite. This pattern has a huge depth range, but FYI there are plenty of shallow fish. The fish in the skinny water are often singles or in small groups, so high saturation is the key. Of course moving boats help increase the saturation, go to the plastics as a follow up or if it is really slick.
There are still plenty of fish in the brush, or around the brush, primarily on the high spots. They may respond to the top waters, that depends on the day. Flukes may also get the bite, and a plastic on lead head may also be effective. There is some schooling associated with the brush as well, so be ready to cast to the fish that surface around the piles and humps.
Ditches? Yes, it is a little early, but that pattern also has some merit. Again, there are many variables here with the applicable baits and the depth range. Deeper offshore ditches and shallow ditches and drains are both likely targets. This pattern is a little hit or miss, so fish fast and target as many of these as you can to try and find the pattern, if there is one. Swim baits and worms on the lead head, and jigs may get the bite. Don’t rule out the worms on the free rig as well. This pattern will only improve as the weather cools!
Lake Lanier Bass Report 2: (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770-366-8845 via www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is fair. The lake is currently six feet below full pool and the water temperature is running from sixty five to seventy degrees. While the water is not stained the seasonal turnover has begun. Turnover occurs when the top layer of water cools enough that it begins to sink pushing up the lower layer of water. This results in a greenish discoloration of the surface water along with a unique odor. During turnover the fishing conditions can be challenging as the fish are having to adjust to water change also. There seems to be two modes to approach the bass currently as they are staged in different areas. There are some large schools of smaller fish which will produce numbers but not size and then there are the scatter bigger fish. With the bigger fish you may only get five to seven bites a day but it will be a solid bag of fish. Larger top water baits will draw the bigger fish up in the first areas of the creeks while a worm or a jig worked back in the creeks will catch numbers of smaller fish with the surprise big largemouth mixed in. For the top water a Spook, Vixen or Gunfish have been producing along with the Slickstick and Sebile. Work these baits on the humps in the mouths of the creeks or the main creek points. When you move back in the creeks look for the secondary points and use either a three sixteenths shakey head with either a green pumpkin or watermelon red worm. A quarter to three eights brown jig with a rootbeer crawler attached will catch the same fish. If you work the docks in the creek arms concentrate from the middle to the backs of the pockets Until the nights cool off again the turnover will be with us as usually it is mid to late November when the lake completely turns over, so be versatile in your current approach. There are still fish to be caught even if you have to work a little harder so Go Catch ‘Em.
Lanier Linesides 1 (This report courtesy of Jack Becker, aka Georgia Waterdog) — I went out Tuesday morning. A buddy called me at 7:45 AM and said he had a couple dozen bluebacks left over from a guide trip yesterday. We fished near Balus and Flat and worked our way back. We had 9 hookups, put six stripers between 28” and 31.5” in the boat, and stopped fishing at noon. It was another great day on Big Sid!
Lanier Linesides 2 (This report courtesy of Captain Mack): I’ll sum up this week’s report in one word, Turnover, Lol. I think that is really influencing the fish, both the Bass and the Stripers. Both species also seem to be keying in on small baits, which can cause them to be finicky. So, be versatile, work hard and you should still be able to round up enough bites to make a lake trip worthwhile. The weather will certainly be nice through the weekend, very warm temps with almost no rain chance in the forecast. Enjoy that, we’ll have a big change on the 30th, low rain chance but windy and cooler to finish up the week. The full moon is the 28th as well, so watch for the mid-day activity that is often prominent with the big moons. The lake level on Friday the 27th was 1064.26, that is 6.74 feet below full pool and .28 feet lower than last week’s report. The surface temp was 67 degrees as of mid-day on the 27th. Footnote: I’ll be doing a guest spot on “O’Neill Outside” this Saturday the 28th. That’s on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM, 4 to 6 am. Give us a call on the way to the lake or the deer stand!
Striper fishing has slowed a bit. As stated in the opening paragraph, I think we have the turnover blues, and that is taking a toll on the bite. The fish are scattered, moving quite a bite, and focusing on the smaller Threadfin Shad. Keeping some medium shiners in the spread may match the hatch and get a few extra bites. Live baits have probably been the most consistent pattern, flat lines and planer boards are the technique. As a basic guideline, pull the baits 50 feet behind the board, 60 to 80 feet on the flatlines. A split shot may be a plus if the wind is making it difficult to regulate your boat speed. Lower end creek channels and the river channel are the target areas. This pattern is accounting for some very nice fish size wise.
Trolling the umbrellas over the high spots is also fairly consistent but requires a lot of work. There are a fair number of single fish on the 25-to-40-foot humps, with the occasional group of fish. Very much a numbers game here pull over a spot and then reel ‘em in and go to the next area. Pound enough places and this pattern will pay off.
Schooling fish are still part of the mix, sporadic at best, but still showing up fairly regularly. The activity may be best at first light and then again mid-day. Even if you do not see big groups of fish, any surface activity will warrant investigating. If you are focusing on the live bait patterns that one or two fish splashing around on the surface can put you in the right place. Nonetheless, have a swim bait, buck tail, or small spoon ready to cast at the schoolers when they appear.
Lanier Lineside Catching (Video courtesy of Jerseycat’s Fishing Adventures): Check out some fast action for stripers on Lanier.
Bass: Bass fishing is good. Some fish have started moving shallow in the bays on secondary points, creek and river channel ledges are still producing, Carolina rigs and crank baits are catching fish.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair. The fish 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, Look for the Crappie to really start biting as the water cools down.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is poor and no reports this past week.
Catfish: Catfish are biting in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water and cut bait is working best.
West Point Fishing Forecast and Finding Fish Attractors: Need to know the scoop on where and when to fish West Point Lake? Check out the West Point 2023 Fishing Forecast. Find DNR fish attractors at West Point HERE.
West Point Bass Report (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com): The lake is down around 6-6.5 feet. Bass fishing is good. The shallow bite remains good now and it will improve even more especially if we get some rain and continued cooler weather. Use the unweighted flukes, Senko’s, buzz baits and Rebel Pop R’s are catching bass. Try to fish these baits in or near cover or around schools of shallow baitfish. Fish the open water in the pockets with a Whopper Plopper a KVD 1.5 crankbait or an Alabama Rig. Also it doesn’t hurt to have a jig handy to pitch around any wood cover. A jig won’t produce a lot of bites, but it’s a good way to catch a bigger fish. By the end of the month, especially with a cool down and the big schools of spots mixed with hybrids white bass and stripers can be caught on jigging spoons and drop shot rigs on deeper offshore structures.
Coosa River Linesides and Cats (Report courtesy of WRD Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson): Avid Georgia angler Jim Holland had a great day on the water despite the cool morning. A classic spoon was productive for linesides in the Coosa River. To cover all the bases, while working the spoon, he also fished cut shad on the bottom and landed this nice flathead catfish. Dress warm and make the most of these cool fall mornings before the winter weather really takes hold makes it unbearable on the water.
PUBLIC FISHING AREA REPORT
Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area (Report courtesy of PFA Manager Dennis Shiley): The Rocky Mountain PFA is located in Floyd County just north of Rome. There are three lakes open to fishing. In addition to fishing, Rocky PFA offers visitors, hiking, boating, and camping opportunities year-round! Check out what is biting now and what will be biting soon below:
Catfish – fish in the mornings or evenings around the fish feeders located on East and West Antioch. Use liver and cut bait. During the day, try drift fishing cut bait below the shad schools in 10 to 15 ft of water. A recent fisheries survey on Antioch West yielded a 16-pound channel cat.
Bass – We are through the turnover. Fishing will be picking up in the coming weeks as the shad and the bass start to school for the winter. For now, try fishing shallow with a spinnerbait, swimbait or a wacky rig. Be patient, the bite is coming soon!
Crappie – If you are into deep water fishing, the crappie are getting schooled up and fishing should be getting good soon. Look for schools in 25 ft of water along or just out from the bluff walls. Recent sampling yielded plenty of 1-pound and larger crappie from both Antioch Lakes.
Delayed Harvest Stocking (This report courtesy of WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson): With the passing of Halloween and as sure as earth turns, another day has passed, and November 1st has come and gone. The good news is that the delayed harvest (DH) streams have been loaded up with nearly 20,000 fish and trout fishing opportunities should be great this weekend. Target these new releases with any junk flies as the trout are naive and hungry. Low clear water will have them wise to your movements so proceed slowly to the stream. If you can avoid detection, you should be able to entice these beauties. A huge DNR thank you goes out to Trout Unlimited and all the volunteers who helped distribute trout throughout the DH sections on Wednesday. Thanks to these hardworking folks, you do not have to fish shoulder to shoulder at the stocking points. Spread out and enjoy a great day on the water. If you are unfamiliar with the DH regulations, these areas have special regulations that mandate artificial lures only and you must practice catch and release from November 1st-May 14th. Good luck and Go Trout Fish Georgia!
Wild Trout Report (Report courtesy of WRD Fisheries Biologist John Damer): Basically, all of Georgia’s wild trout streams are currently listed as being under “severe” or “extreme” drought intensities according to the US Drought Monitor Website. Water is low and clear, so trout are especially spooky. The good news is that recent fears over high temps are now gone, and trout caught and released should have a very high chance of survival. But tactics are different in these low water conditions. You will need to dress in drab colors, use fine tippet (at least 5x but preferably smaller), and use small natural flies. Cast upstream from well behind your target pool or run and stay low to the ground or behind some streamside cover to ensure your prey does not see you coming. I fished two wild trout streams on Monday this week right before the cold snap, and I can certainly attest to the drought conditions. Flows were very low, and leaves covered the rear of most pools without the flow necessary to push them over and downstream. Fish were extremely spooky, but I still fooled 12-15 rainbows and brookies fishing really slowly and methodically using a size 14 X-caddis pattern (tan or brown body with tan wings). I did get some refusals and suspect swapping my 5x leader for 6x could have fixed that, but I was too lazy and wanted the extra strength to be able to pull my fly out of snags. I saw several large browns but could not get them to bite. I did not see much active spawning behavior but did see what looked like one large redd at the tail-out of a big slow pool. Make sure you keep watch and don’t step in these spawning areas over the next few weeks as the browns and brookies do their thing.
North GA Trout (Report courtesy of Georgia Wild Trout): Low water and spooky trout have been the story of fall. The bite on the wild waters has been outstanding following the brief rains that have passed. The dry fly bite has been waning with only a few smaller caddis, BWOs, and midges present, but there is still hope for a few warmer days in the upcoming future carrying the bite to the end of the month. Some better news is, the larger trout waters have been fishing well despite the low water, both public and private. The stocked fish and migratory wild fish are feeding up as they try to make their way to their normal spawning waters. If we do see some heavier rains, look for bigger fish to move up the creeks in what I call the Georgia “salmon run”. I’ve seen both browns and big rainbows, like the one above, getting flirty with each other and moving upstream. Approach slowly from downstream and keep your eyes peeled. Once you spook these monsters it’s all over. The brown trout are still on the move, both coming and going from the areas they plan to spawn in. If you can find a fish or two staging, you can bet they will be hungry.
Lake Burton Trout (Report courtesy of WRD Region Supervisor Anthony Rabern): Lake Burton is the only major reservoir in the state stocked with brown trout. The lake received just over 11,000 brown trout last week. Stocked browns will gain about 2 pounds per year over the next five or more years. The current lake record for brown trout is 11 lbs. 14 oz.
Chattahoochee River Tailwater Sampling (This report courtesy of WRD Region Supervisor Anthony Rabern): Gainesville Fisheries staff conducted electrofishing surveys for trout on the Chattahoochee River below Lake Lanier (i.e., the Lanier Tailwater). The relative abundance of wild brown trout is slowly improving from historically low numbers documented in recent years. Lanier Tailwater is also known for producing trophy brown trout, including the 20 lb, 14 oz state record brown trout that was caught in 2014. While no state-record contenders were collected this week, some potential up-and-comers were noted.
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.
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 Resources Commission, featuring professional angler Matt Arey, discussing the problems illegally introduced Alabama Bass are having on popular native bass populations.
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!