An early Fishing Report Blog – YES!
Veterans Day is Nov. 11, and I am going to bet that you know someone (relative, friend, neighbor) that has served this country in some capacity. You already know what suggestion I am going to make. Make it YOUR mission to seek out that person and take them fishing and tell them thank you for their service.
NEWS TO KNOW
- One-Time Veterans Hunting and Fishing License: Did you know that Georgia resident military veterans who served on active Federal duty for 90 or more days and were honorably discharged on July 1, 2005 or later can get a free hunting and fishing license valid for one year from date of issue? Find out more HERE.
- Catfish Sliding Their Way to the Water: Stocking public waters seems like it would be a lot of fun for the catfish, what do you think? Check it out HERE.
- Active Military and Veterans Early Waterfowl Hunt Opportunity: While this news note is not about fishing, it is an early opportunity for active military or veterans to get an early “shot” at a duck this hunting season. Find out more HERE.
This week we have fishing reports from North, Central and Southeast Georgia. Thank you, veterans, for your service and we hope you have an opportunity soon to Go Fish Georgia.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jim Hakala, Region Supervisor and Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Allatoona 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 Report: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant via www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing is good and the lake is holding a little more water this week. There is a good top water bite around shad Schools Lake wide. Pop R s Spitting Image and then Carolina rigged mini lizard in green pumpkin on the main lake humps is fair. Use worms in the Zoom gourd green finesse worm on a Carolina rig. On docks and wood use a Texas rigged Culprit red shad worm. Add some extra jack Juice scent to lure all week. There isn’t a better time this year to throw a square bill crankbait. As the baitfish are making their way to the backs of creeks right now, the bass aren’t far behind and a well placed crankbait can be an incredible option to catch both numbers and size. The glimmer blue Zoom trick worm is fair. Cast right on the docks and work slowly. For the next couple of weeks, it will probably continue to be up and down fishing but by being versatile anglers will still be able to catch fish throughout the lake. Up the rivers and creeks and use bream colored crank baits in the pockets. Around the bridges and docks the #5 Shad Rap in the shad and black back is fair but get the baits as close to the docks as possible.
Blue Ridge Fishing Forecast and Finding Fish Attractors: Need to know the scoop on where and when to fish Blue Ridge? Check out the Blue Ridge 2023 Fishing Forecast. Find DNR fish attractors at Lake Blue Ridge HERE.
Blue Ridge Walleye: (Report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist John Damer): Fisheries staff completed annual fall gillnet sampling at Blue Ridge Lake this week. Gillnets are often used by biologists to monitor abundance of young striped bass and hybrid striped bass. However, Blue Ridge is the only major reservoir in North Georgia that has never been stocked with these species. Instead, these nets are used primarily to keep tabs on the walleye population. Walleye were formerly self-sustained by natural reproduction at Blue Ridge Lake, but the illegal introduction of blueback herring by anglers around 2004 forever changed that. Blueback herring prey on walleye eggs and fry, and this predation has nearly eliminated natural recruitment of walleye. Now, WRD must stock the lake regularly to support the popular walleye fishery. The good news is that our stocking efforts have paid off, bringing back the “good old days” of walleye fishing at Blue Ridge. Our 2023 catch rate of 9.1 walleye per net-night remains nearly triple the long-term average (3.4/net-night), which is great news for anglers. Look for walleye to be holding on main lake points with plenty of bait fish (herring) nearby.
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): Bass fishing is fair. There are some areas of the lake that will still hold some feeding fish especially mid-lake. The baitfish are making their fall transition so this can make it tough because the fish will be there today and gone tomorrow. The shallow fish are a little more predictable and can be caught on crank baits and plastics especially on wood and rocks in the creeks and on main lake ditches. Once the water settles and clears back up the next few weeks the fishing will be improve. For the next couple of weeks, it will probably continue to be up and down fishing but by being versatile anglers will still be able to catch fish throughout the lake. When this target bigger aggressive fish with a jig or a crankbait but for numbers of fish be sure to have the drop shot rigged and ready with a Zoom Z Drop or finesse worm. Always keep a Zoom Super Fluke ready because the bass are likely to come up schooling anywhere this time of year.
Nottely Fishing Forecast and Finding Fish Attractors: Need to know the scoop on where and when to fish Lake Nottely? Check out the Nottely 2023 Fishing Forecast. Find DNR fish attractors at Lake Nottely HERE.
Lake Nottely Mixed Bag: (This report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): Lake Nottely is down 10.5 feet from full pool and water temperatures are in the mid-60s. Gainesville Fisheries staff conducted gillnet surveys on Lake Nottely this week. These surveys help us track the abundance and size structure of several different sportfish including those that are stocked (e.g., striped bass, hybrid striped bass, and walleye) as well as naturally reproducing species like channel catfish and crappie. The linesides are looking great on Lake Nottely, and especially at the locations we sampled south of marker 3 and north Ivylog. We saw a really good number of fish stocked in 2023 and 2022, which should help sustain these fisheries for years into the future. We also caught hybrid striped bass up to six pounds. Nottely’s crappie population also looked healthy, with a good abundance of harvestable crappie, including this black crappie that measured 15 ¼ inches and weighed 2 ¼ lb. Catfish anglers can fish the river channel from Canal Lake to Ivylog and plan to catch good numbers of 1 – 4 lb channel catfish and 4 – 10 lb flathead catfish this time of year. While we did catch a few young-of-year walleye in our nets this year, anglers shouldn’t expect to catch these fish for at least another year or two.
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): I think Bass fishing is good, especially with the present water conditions. The cooling water should begin to push us out of the turnover phase into some more predictable patterns. The bite is still all over the place, and almost anything may be a viable pattern. Be ready to change tactics and baits, as the bite seems to change everyday. Afternoons and evening fishing is still good, and with the strong water releases that trend may continue.
Junk fishing is still a good pattern, perhaps the best overall pattern. We have plenty of fish in relatively shallow water, and they are using a variety of structures. Shallow brush, blowdowns, docks, rocks, and points and any associated cover. I think the key is to try and find the nuances of a given day and then refine the bite. Keep the spinnerbaits handy, that bite is pretty good if you have a little wind to help out. A soft swim bait on a lead head will also be a very good choice, cast it over points and humps, or over the shallow ditches. Speaking of ditches, that bite is ramping up, and will only improve with cooling weather. I have seen some fish moving into shallow ditches that feed the middle parts of the lower end creeks.
Dock fishing is pretty solid, with some pretty nice fish being taken along with decent numbers. I think docks on the main lake are consistent, with 8 to 20 feet being a pretty good depth range on the lower end. If you are mid lake and above, some of the dock fish may be very shallow. Worms on the shakey head are constant producers, and jigs are also a good option.
Casting the small umbrellas is a pretty solid pattern, and will produce some nice fish. Points and humps are the primary structures, and retrieving this rig beside any of the previously mentioned structures will produce. The Minis will also be a good choice to cast to any of the surfacing fish that are still showing up.
Lake Lanier Bass Report 2: (This report courtesy of Phil Johnson, 770-366-8845 via www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is good. The lake level is almost seven feet below full pool and the water temperatures are running in the mid-sixties. Overall the water clarity is good but the effects of turnover are starting to appear in more areas of the lake. It has been a little bit of a roller coaster as far as the bite on Lanier over the last week. The bite was challenging for the first part of the week but the arrival of the cold weather seemed to fire them up. This time of year the fish are scattered from two feet to forty feet deep and relating to various types of structure. As the water temperature drops and turnover gets stronger it’s going to be a throw the tackle box at them time. Bass are being caught on baits in two feet of water and drop shot in forty feet of water so don’t be afraid to experiment with a variety of baits. Top water baits such as the Gunfish, Spook or Vixen have been producing some good fish in the mouths of the creeks while a three sixteenth’s spotsticker with a green pumpkin or watermelon red worm will catch fish on shallow points back in the pockets. The Slickstick or Lanier hard bait will produce fish over the humps, long points whether there is brush there or not. The new Spotchoker Finesse with a Cast Echo 3.5” on it has begun to produce bass in some of the ditches and should only get stronger with the dropping water temperatures. The dropshot bite has improved in these deeper areas also with key colors being either Blue Lily or Morning Dawn. From all the baits I’ve listed anglers can see that there is not one bait to be dialed into this time of year. For the next couple of weeks, it will probably continue to be up and down fishing but by being versatile anglers will still be able to catch fish throughout the lake. Bundle up and Go Catch ‘Em
Lanier Linesides Report 1: (This report courtesy of Buck Cannon, 404 510 1778): Stripers have scattered from Gainesville to Shady Grove Park down lake. Flat lines and planer boards have been used to catch some nice fish. The bait is the key for success so using the electronics locate the schools of bait and put out a spread. Flat lines 80 to 100 feet back and planer boards should have 30 to 35 feet behind them. Make sure and have a top water tied on just in case they pop up. Remember to wear your life jacket.
Lanier Linesides Report 2: (This report courtesy of Captain Mack): Ok, the assessment from last week’s report was one word, “turnover”. This week is “turnover” X 2, Lol. The Striper bite has been slow, at least during the day light hours, more on that later. The Bass bite has faired a little better, but versatility remains the key. The Halloween cold front that brought us some colder temps and low humidity values probably didn’t help much either. We’ll have a nice moderating trend with the weather through most of the week, and then another front will bring cooler temps and a rain chance for next weekend. The Stripers are being a bit ornery, inconsistent at best, and the turnover effect seems to be really strong. I think that turnover usually squelches activity in general, and it also strengthens the amount of nocturnal movement. That is why the best “Bomber” fishing generally occurs in the heart of the turnover period. With clear water and lots of sun as we often have in October, the Stripers are reluctant to cruise the shallow points and saddles that can be so productive after dark. As soon as the sun settles below the tree line the fish will start roaming those shallow areas to feed. Of course this technique can be productive throughout the night, but often the greatest numbers of fish in the shallow water is sunset until 10: 00 or so. Footnote, the moonrise and moon phase may also influence the activity on a given night. So, our first pattern to discuss is the Bomber bite. Called so because old schoolers have been using the long A Bomber, usually the 16A, for years for this technique. Many other baits will work, Mc Stiks, Big Rapalas, or almost any slender minnow type bait. Target sand saddles and shallow points, move fast, the fish on these areas will bite quickly so no need to hang around if no one is getting the hooked up
Our open water bite will still produce, but the numbers are marginal. Herring and Shiners on freelines and behind the planers are both productive. Start out at 50 feet behind the board, 60 to 80 on the freelines. You will see some fish on the down imaging and 2D sonar, however many of the fish are very shallow and reluctant to get under the boat. Lean on your Side Imaging, FFS and 360 if available to see if fish are in the area. Even if you are only marking singles and small groups you are in the right area. Watch what few birds are out there, and be looking for the surfacing fish to locate the correct area.
Humps continue to hold a few fish and trolling the rigs over 25 to 30 foot humps remains a relatively consistent pattern. I am not seeing the big groups of fish sitting on the hills like we often do this time of year, mostly singles and a few small schools. If you stay on the move and fish enough high spots, you’ll end up with a decent string of fish. Full size rigs 100 to 130 feet behind the boat has been a good depth range. The Mini Macks are also viable, 7 colors out on the lead core should keep you in the strike zone.
Lanier Crappie: (This report courtesy of Captain Josh Thornton, 770 530 6493): Crappie fishing is fair. Water temperatures in the upper 60’s. Crappie are suspended 10 to 15 feet deep. Small minnows straight down with a split shot at 10 feet deep has been the ticket lately. Also, try small jigs with a slow retrieval. I have been doing well with translucent colors. 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.
Bass: Bass fishing is good. Some of the fish have started moving shallow in the bays on secondary points, creek and river channel ledges are still producing. Use the Carolina rigs and crank baits.
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, 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. 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 1: (This report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Brent Hess): Well, it’s that time of year when the weather causes the bass to start transitioning into their winter patterns. However, the recent mild water temperatures (mid to upper 60’s F) seemed to have prolonged this usual changeover. This has enabled bass, specifically largemouth, to remain near the shore in larger coves, while chasing schools of small threadfin shad. In fact, we have observed many schools of threadfin shad in shallow water areas during routine sampling over the last couple of weeks. Therefore, if the current weather patterns remain the same (looks that way), you can expect these bass to remain associated in shallow water areas chasing schools of shad, especially in the larger pockets. Fishing with shad-like crank baits for largemouth and spots should be a very good choice this Veteran’s Day weekend. Don’t forget West Point Lake water levels are down (5-6 feet below full pool) so watch for water hazards. Let’s all have a safe boating and fishing weekend.
West Point Bass Report 2: (This report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant, www.southernfishing.com): Bass fishing is fair. The largemouth will bite better after mid-day as the water warms after the cold fronts have passed. The Zoom Super Flukes can work, just be patient, and let them sink 2 to 6 feet deep. Crank baits like the Model A or the Bomber Fat Free in citrus shad color or a football jig are good choices for deeper fish. A Carolina rigged Trick Worm in green pumpkin will also catch its share of fish. Another fairly reliable pattern is a spinnerbait in shad patterns around patches of rip rap rock near the bridges. For spotted bass, try a shaky head with a Zoom Shakey Tail worm around bridge pilings brush piles or rocky banks. A Zoom green pumpkin Finesse worm on a Carolina rig will work. Try fishing the mouth of the larger creeks. For the next couple of weeks, it will probably continue to be up and down fishing but by being versatile anglers will still be able to catch fish throughout the lake. Gravel points and shoal markers are a good place to start on the south end of the lake for the best results. There isn’t a better time this year to throw a square bill crankbait. As the baitfish are making their way to the backs of creeks right now, the bass aren’t far behind and a well-placed crankbait can be an incredible option to catch both numbers and size.
SMALL LAKE REPORT
Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area (More Information HERE): (Report courtesy of PFA Manager Dennis Shiley): PFA staff added 17 total, Mossback extra-large fish attractors, at two locations – one in West Antioch and one in East Antioch. Find these and the locations of other fish attractors at Rocky PFA HERE. Please be aware that drought conditions have resulted in lower than normal water levels at both Antioch Lakes. Rockpiles and some other shallow water hazards are now just below the water’s surface. Staff have marked a number of these locations with hazard buoys, but please use caution when boating.
LaFayette City Reservoir/Queen City Lake (Report courtesy of Fisheries Technician Richard Childers): Wednesday Nov 8- Surface Water temps around 60F give or take 2 degrees. Water clarity poor(less than 1 ft maybe?) Fallen autumn leaves are all over the place on top of and throughout the water. It was a great day of exercise in the kayak with stronger winds later in the day, but a tough day of fishing…no catches to report. Really looking forward to upcoming rain to help get water levels up!
Delayed Harvest Stocking: (This report courtesy of trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson): The delayed harvest (DH) program is in full swing and DH streams have been loaded up with nearly 20,000 fish. 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. 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!
North Georgia 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.
Not Bad, for a Tuesday: (Report courtesy of Fisheries Biologist Hunter Roop): The father-son Simon duo hit a “sportsman’s grand slam” of sorts this week. With school out for the day, dad had a plan to check the final, elusive brookie box on Indy’s Trout Slam checklist. Before heading way up yonder to their carefully selected headwater haven, they hit the woods for an early morning hunt. Indy’s first stroke of luck was helping dad harvest a nice spike buck that was gearing up for the rut—score one for the Simons. With a slightly giddier pep in their step, they then ventured north in hot pursuit of native specks. With the extremely low and clear conditions in the headwaters, they knew that stealth and natural presentations were critical to avoid spooking their speckled quarry. They also had to take a very literal hike, way up beyond the typical stocker stops to find the right habitat for a Georgia brookie. Armed with #10 J hooks, 4-lb mono and some locally sourced grubs, they casted to-and-fro along the stream and encountered plenty of trout, including this stocked brown trout and wild rainbow trout (i.e., score two and three). Indy had already checked these two off his list this summer, but no harm in measuring twice and cutting once. Unabated by the non-target adelphotaxa, they fished higher, and even scaled above a 20-ft waterfall until they found some seriously skinny water. It was there that they scoured the bottom of the deepest pools they could find, and finally felt a tug so light and distinct that it had to be Salvelinus. They ended catching not just one, but four brookies to wrap up their trip, which sealed Indy’s fate as a 2023 Trout Slam awardee (score four)! Taking a buck and a completing the Georgia Trout Slam in one day? That’s a sportsman’s grand slam!
The Chattahoochee River Tailwater fishing is still rough as the turnover continues. Look for the river to clear up and begin fishing well by late December.
Georgia’s Delayed Harvest Streams were stocked to the brim last week. These will provide the best fishing experience for beginners through the winter months. They’ve already seen a lot of pressure, but are still an excellent place for beginners to hone their craft. If the big attractor junk flies aren’t working right away, switch to some smaller patterns to see more success. Good drifts are already essential after trout have been in the creeks/rivers for several days now. If you can afford to lose the indicator and keep a good drift, trout should be easy to come by. Look for the latest video from Fish North Georgia to learn more on just how to approach these waters.
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.
(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)
FLAT CREEK PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
Surface Temperature: 66.0 F (18.9 C)
- Water Level: 35.5” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 30”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
Anglers using watercraft are reporting that the bass bite has been steady wit the most catches in the 3-4 lb range. Crappie are still accessible from the fishing pier, but anglers should also target treetop habitat along the banks. Here is a list of what the anglers are reporting to have had good success using for each of the following:
Bass: Anglers are continuing to report that Powerbait Swim Shad are producing the most catches, but shallow running jointed square-bill crankbait 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.
RESERVOIR FISHING REPORTS BELOW COURTESY OF SOUTHERN FISHING WITH KEN STURDIVANT.
LAKE RUSSELL IS DOWN 2.3 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. The full moon has passed so fishing is starting to improve. For mid-day fishing go to shallow water baits such as Rapala DT10 shad crank bait or try the shad and the hot mustard colors during the day. Fish will show up on the deeper more normal structures such as roadbeds and deep brush piles. The crank baits like the Model 7 or 8 Bomber Fat Free in citrus shad color or a football jig are good choices for deeper fish. A Carolina rigged trick worm in green pumpkin will also catch fish. Another reliable pattern is a 3/8-ounce Lucky Craft Redemption spinnerbait and there is not a bad color here. In the clearer water, shad patterns fished around patches of rip rap rock near the bridges first thing in the morning is working. For spotted bass, use Weedless Wonder lead head with a Zoom Shakey Tail worm around pumpkin finesse worm on a Carlina rig will continue to produce fish throughout the fall. Try fishing the mouth of the larger creeks. Gravel points and shoal markers are a good place to start on the south end of the lake for the best results.
CLARKS HILL LAKE IS DOWN 6.5 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. Early morning and late evening are the best when using top water baits. Later in the day, try Carolina and Texas rigs with worms and lizards and crank baits like Fat Free Shad Bill Norman and Bomber Series on the deep-water points and drops. Use deep running crank baits or pig and jigs from 20 to 30 feet deep. The crank bait bite is picking up and medium size bright baits are best. Light 10-pound test line can get the baits a little deeper and this can help the action of the baits as well. Use the brightest lures and try a 7A Bomber in crawfish or fire tiger colors right on the ledges. Up the rivers, flip a large worm or spinner bait around the banks and drop them into the cuts under the big trees right on the bank. For the next couple of weeks, it will probably continue to be up and down fishing, but by being versatile anglers, will still be able to catch fish throughout the lake. In the lower lake, creeks flip docks with a Texas rigged Culprit black shad worm. Use larger worms in dark colors and add the Real Craw scent. Cast to the same spot with several casts.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 60’s
Bass fishing is fair. The lake is full stained up the rivers and clear on the main lake. The water temperature is 64 to 68. There is an early morning top water bite. Use a buzz bait around sea walls and the bridge rip rap. This will only last for the first hour of daylight. After this, the best bite will be on the humps on the south end of the lake. Use a deep diving crank bait. Fish it from the deep water up onto the hump. Use a Carolina rig and fish on the same humps. A Zoom green pumpkin finesse worm on a Carolina rig will continue to produce fish throughout the fall. Try fishing the mouth of the larger creeks. Some fish are also coming up the rivers. These fish are tight to cover. Use a Texas rig for these fish a Zoom green pumpkin lizard on Trick worm. For the next couple of weeks, it will probably continue to be up and down fishing, but by being versatile anglers you will still be able to catch fish throughout the lake.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.1 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. This week, the fish can be on the bank out to 25 feet deep. This is when Lowrance Structure Scan technology can help make the right decision where to concentrate efforts. Scan an area before fishing and send the side scan beam out to 80 feet left and right. With the cold weather, the fish may not feed until mid-day after the sun warms the waters. Bait schools will be the key to catching fish Start out with the Net Boy Baits ¼ ounce screwball jig heads and a green pumpkin Zoom Trick worm. Add the Net Boy Baits ¾ ounce football jigs later in the day and fish the creek points. Also try the Wackem Crazy Baits Big Sissy worm in watermelon or black color. Adding some JJ’s Magic to the baits will help increase bites. With the warmup later in the day, head to the brush piles and use the Ott’s Garage OG8 flat crank baits in the white and green back color. This bait needs to be used on the spinning outfit and 10-pound test Sufix Siege clear line. For the next couple of weeks, it will probably continue to be up and down fishing, but by being versatile anglers you will still be able to catch fish throughout the lake.
LAKE JACKSON IS FULL, 60’s
Bass fishing is fair. Early in the day, fish the small crank baits and run main lake humps and points with Texas rigged worms and jigs. To catch spots, downsize to a small worm fished on a Net Boy Baits ¼ ounce Screwball jig head and fish rocks near the dam. Also target seawalls, rocks, stumps and blowdowns. Later in the day, try nose hooked-Zoom flukes in pearl bass color. The shade on docks are always a good pattern on the lake and use a shaky head worm or a small jig in black and blue. With the Lowrance structure scan technology, check the humps in 6 to 15 feet of water. A Texas rigged Zoom green finesse worm and this same worm on a drop shot or a shaky head worm will work. There is not a better time this year to throw a square bill crankbait. As the baitfish are making their way to the backs of creeks right now, the bass are not far behind, and a well-placed crankbait can be an incredible option to catch both numbers and size.
(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 mostly very good this week. Tides are increasing as we approach the new moon. Rivers are getting low enough that float trips should be a good consideration for the smaller rivers.
A couple of Waycross anglers fished the Altamaha on Sunday and had a great bite. They pitched plastics and cast crankbaits to catch 25 bass up to 6 pounds.
Anthony and his wife Jo are avid anglers from England who visited the east side and fished this week. They chose fishing in the Okefenokee for their vacation, and the Swamp did not disappoint. They caught lots of bowfin and pickerel during their trip, and they had some big ones – they each had 10-pound class bowfin. Anthony caught his on a white paddle-tail grub, and Jo caught hers on a fly. They even caught a 3-pound largemouth bass on the white paddle-tail during their trip. Josh Ward came up from Jacksonville and fished the east side on Sunday. It was slow, compared to usual, and he only caught 5 bowfin on Dura-Spins during a 3-hr trip. But his biggest was a 10 1/2-pounder that ate a fire tiger Dura-Spin. The big fish have shown up with the water cooling. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.56 feet.
Leland fished with his grandfather (Phillip) on Saturday morning in a Waycross area pond, and he caught a really nice 5-pound bass. The chunk ate a bluegill-colored swim jig with a green pumpkin trailer. His group caught 5 bass and 5 bluegill. The smaller bass ate black/yellow Satilla Spins and wacky-rigged Assassin Fat Job worms (waterboy color), while the hand-sized bluegills inhaled #10 pink sallies pitched on a bream-buster pole. Chip Lafferty fished a Brunswick area pond on Tuesday evening and caught 5 bass up to 4 pounds. He didn’t mention what he caught them on, but he’s a master with a plastic worm. The crappie bite has picked up. A Waycross angler trolled a pond for 3 hours on Sunday evening and caught 32 fish (1 bass, 1 warmouth, 3 bluegills and the rest crappie). His biggest crappie was 1-lb., 10-oz. and his top 5 fish weighed 6-lb., 15-oz. Everything bit 2-inch Keitech swimbaits, and the most effective colors were sexy shad, sight flash, and bluegill flash (the biggest fish ate that one). The only head he used was a 1/32-oz. Zombie Eye Jighead (in white and chartreuse colors), and the best speed range was 0.9 to 1.2 miles per hour. The crappie bite is going to be great over the next few months.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
The trout bite improved this week, but it’s not wide open yet. Tommy Sweeney and Scotty Steedley won a trout tournament out of Cabin Bluff on Saturday. They weighed in 3 nice trout between 17 and 18 inches (the tourney had an 18-inch maximum) and took home the $2,000 first place prize. They threw Zombie Eye Jigheads and Keitech swimbaits to win the event. They said the trout were slamming it all day. Don Harrison and friends fished out of Crooked River for a few days (when winds allowed) and caught 15 to 20 trout per day. Their best day was Monday when they had 20 trout on Assassin Sea Shads and Keitech swimbaits. Early in the day the fish ate bright colors like electric chicken and various hues with a chartreuse tail, but once the sun was strong, they preferred natural colors like silver mullet and perch. About 1 out of every 4 fish was a keeper for them. Blake Edwards fished the Blythe Island area on Saturday and caught some nice trout up to 18 inches. He had a total of 10 fish (3 keepers), and they ate plastics under an Equalizer Float. Jay Turner has had a great week in the Savannah area – fishing several days. He fished from a boat on Friday and caught and released a 25-inch trout that barely fit in the net. He kept a few other smaller trout, redfish, and even a 29-inch striped bass. He caught all of his fish on a Zombie Eye Jighead (built on a Gamakatsu sickle-shaped hook) and Gulp Shrimp. He had live bait that day, but they preferred the artificial. He walked the bank on other trips and caught several trout up to 21 inches and a slew of slot-sized redfish. Most of his trout are around the 14-inch size limit –either just above or just below. From the bank, his best presentation was an Assassin swimbait (natural colors) on a black 1/8-oz. Zombie Eye Jighead. 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.