As we near Thanksgiving, we naturally look at things that make us thankful.
I am thankful that we live in a state that offers so many amazing fishing opportunities in Georgia and thankful that we have anglers that purchase their fishing license and fishing equipment, as that allows the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division to continue to do things like maintain and operate Public Fishing Areas, do fish stockings and so much more. So THANK YOU!
NEWS TO KNOW:
- CANCELLED due to Predicted Potential High Winds/Lightning/Storm Conditions!! Whitewater Creek (East Palisades) bucket stocking (scheduled for Tues. Nov. 21 at 10:30 AM) is cancelled, with no reschedule date yet identified. The next known opportunity to participate in a trout stocking is on Dec. 18. Register for this event using this LINK.
- Thankful That It Is 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.
- Thankful for the Delay: Make plans to fish on one of the five delayed harvest trout streams in Georgia. Find out more about which streams are delayed harvest and what that means HERE.
This week, we have fresh fishing reports from Southeast, North and Central Georgia. Whatever tops your thankful list, we hope you also can give thanks as you Go Fish Georgia!
(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 bite inland has been good but saltwater after the wind started blowing this weekend has been rough. Rivers are low, and fish are biting.
River gages on November 16th were:
- Clyo on the Savannah River – 3.9 feet and falling
- Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 1.8 feet and falling
- Doctortown on the Altamaha – 3.8 feet and rising
- Waycross on the Satilla – 5.3 feet and rising
- Atkinson on the Satilla – 4.3 feet and steady
- Statenville on the Alapaha – 1.9 feet and rising
- Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.3 feet and rising
- Fargo on the Suwannee – 4.1 feet and steady
The best pond report I got this week was from a Blackshear angler who went with his brother-in-law from 10am until 1pm on Saturday in a Blackshear area pond. They fished for crappie and caught 25 (kept 15 of the big ones) and also caught a giant bluegill and a couple small bass. They trolled minnows on Jiffy Jigs for all of their fish. Color didn’t matter that day – they caught them on everything they tried. Chip Lafferty and Ty Hardison fished a Brunswick area pond this week and caught 6 bass in the 2-to-3-pound range and 2 nice crappie. They fooled them with pumpkin Texas and wacky-rigged worms. This weekend should be good, warm, stable weather that should fire off the pond bites.
Anthony and Jo from England have still been fishing the east side pretty much each day this week and have caught fish all week. They’re catching mostly bowfin, pickerel, and fliers. The most recent water level (Folkston side) was 120.50 feet. At the time of writing this report, the rains had not brought the water level up much.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Before the high winds started this weekend and the rain started earlier this week, the trout bite was excellent. Jay Turner and Gerald Riner fished the Brunswick area on Friday and caught 30 trout (well over half were keepers). Gerald fished live shrimp under a float while Jay threw artificials. They both caught fish, and their biggest was 20 inches (they released that one). On the artificials, Jay did best with electric shad Assassin Elite Shiners and jerk shads on an 1/8-oz. Zombie Eye Jighead. A group of Coastal Resources Division employees got together on the holiday Friday and fished a tournament from Brunswick. The weather was good to fish wherever you wanted, and lots of fish were caught. The biggest trout – a 21-inch, 2.90-pound gator trout – was landed by Blake Edwards. He fooled it with a Tennessee Shad Keitech 4-inch swimbait rigged on a 1/4-oz. Flashy Jighead and suspended underneath an Equalizer Float. He and a friend won the tournament with 4.64 pounds (3 trout under 18 inches). Of those 3 winning fish, one hit a topwater, one a sexy shad keitech under an Equalizer, and one on their very last cast ate an electric chicken Keitech under an Equalizer. They only had 4 keeper fish all day, but they had the RIGHT fish! Second was Stephen and Sean Tarpley with a 4.42-pound trout limit. Big redfish was a 4.25-pounder caught by Gary Dennis. On Friday night the wind picked up, and Blake and Jen Edwards fished the Brunswick area on Saturday morning and had trouble finding protected waters. They only hung with it for a couple hours and caught 2 trout (1 keeper) on white Keitechs. Scott Smith and Jason Dixon fished the Brunswick area on Saturday and found a couple protected areas where they fooled 8 redfish and a few small trout with plastics rigged on Zombie Eye Jigheads. On Sunday, Gerald Riner took his daughter to the Savannah area and did great for trout and reds. They had well over a limit of trout but released them all. They had 4 or 5 redfish in the upper end of the slot and 4 over the slot and they released those also. All of their fish ate live shrimp under a popping cork. Capt. Tim Cutting (fishthegeorgiacoast.com) said that inshore fishing has been surprisingly good in the wind this week. He’s had to cancel a couple days but has found some protected waters where they could fish on the other days. They concentrated on points, shells, flats and such that are dry at low and then cover up with high water. Creek mouths at the first of outgoing also produced lots of fish for them. They ran into a school of top end slot and oversized redfish and caught a bunch of them. Live shrimp under Harper Super Striker Floats produced their fish. They adjusted the depth constantly from 1 to 2 feet down to 8 to 10 feet and everything in between based on where they were fishing. Most of their nice trout, flounder, reds, and black drum came from the 8 to 10-foot range. 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.
Harry and James Beverley fished the lower Altamaha River this week for just a half-day trip before the rain ran them off and caught 17 bass (12 keepers). Harry was throwing a black plastic worm, and James caught them on a bright-colored crankbait. A Waycross angler fished the lower Ocmulgee River on Tuesday and had a great day for bass. He caught 17 bass and his biggest was a 6.59-pounder. His biggest 5 were around 17 pounds. He fished again Thursday and caught 10 bass. His biggest was 6.83 pounds, and the 5 biggest he weighed were a total of 17.33 pounds. He caught most of them on plastic craws fished around cover, but a few ate a spinnerbait. Joel Rykard of Eastman fished the Ocmulgee River on Tuesday and caught a 5-lb., 8-oz. shoal bass. It was a BEAUTY!
(Fishing report courtesy of Brent Hess, Fisheries Biologist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
CANCELLED due to Predicted Potential High Winds/Lightning/Storm Conditions!! Calling All Bucket Brigade Volunteers! We need your help to stock trout in the delayed harvest section of the Chattahoochee River just in time for Thanksgiving! Our bucket-style stocking at Whitewater Creek (East Palisades) will take place on Tuesday, November 21 at 10:30 AM. The stocking truck should arrive between 10 – 10:30 AM, and volunteers should bring a clean five-gallon bucket, waders, and a fishing pole for some post-stocking fun. These events are great for kids to have a chance to help get trout in the water and catch a few fish once they are stocked. Please register your group for this event using this LINK. We hope to see you at the Chattahoochee next week!
Where to Go for Trout Info: To learn about Georgia’s diverse trout fishing opportunities including the latest stocking information, the Georgia Trout Slam, places to go and MORE, check out the Georgia DNR Trout Fishing page.
Wild Brook Trout Stream Report: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer): I made good use of the holiday last week by heading far upstream into the mountains. On my way, I drove right along one of Georgia’s most heavily stocked streams, which was mostly deserted on this cool drizzly day. Instead of fishing there as most other visitors do, I took a sharp left on a small dirt Forest Service Road, passed over the ridgeline and back down to a small tributary above some barrier falls. Today I was in search of Georgia’s only native salmonid, the brook trout. I parked the car and walked downstream to the top of the falls, then started fishing back upstream. The water was super clear, so I went very slowly and methodically through the tangles of rhododendron and mountain laurel so I would not spook my targets. As I went upstream, I placed a size 16 X-caddis dry fly anywhere there was some depth and cover. In streams like this, just getting your fly on the water is often the most difficult part. Bow-and-arrow casts and roll casts are a must, and I often found myself crawling up behind some cover almost on my belly to simply dab the fly on the water using my 6 ½ foot 2-weight. If I was careful, I would often be able to see the fish before casting. Brook trout are voracious predators for their size, and most of these tiny jewels were quick to grab my fly and pull it under. When I say tiny, I mean it, as I don’t think I landed any over 7-inches that day, but these specks make up for their size in brilliant coloration. Though we call them “trout”, brookies are actually char, which may have come from the Celtic word ceara meaning “fiery red”. Looking at the attached pic from that trip, you can probably see why. After landing 15-20 fish (and missing 3x that) I had to return home to civilization, but my mind keeps wandering back to the mountains and those fiery red little spots, fins, and bellies.
New Stocking Program at Blue Ridge (Report from Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson) — WRD initiated a new trout stocking program this week. Lake Blue Ridge was stocked with over 8,000 quality rainbow trout. These fish were provided by Chattahoochee Forest NFH, aka. Rock Creek Hatchery and the Georgia DNR Lake Burton Fish Hatchery. Trout were loaded from our stocking trucks to boats to take a trip to the best habitat in the lake down by the dam. These trout will grow rapidly on abundant blueback herring or anglers can target these fish now down near the dam. A trout stamp is required to harvest these trout. Purchase one HERE and go catch a mess. Go Trout Fish Georgia!
LAKE ALLATOONA is down 9.2 feet, and the water temperatures are in the 60s.
Allatoona Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. Fish on the creeks between about halfway back all the way to the back. Concentrate on any available wood cover from 2 feet deep to brush piles in 40 feet of water. Fish the shallow exposed wood with small spinner baits and the Ito Vision 110 jerk baits. Fish the deeper brush with drop shot tipped with a Flat Tail or Kuttail drop shot worm in blue pearl color. Rig this on a #4 Mustad split shot hook with a 3/16-ounce drop shot weight. Use 8-pound test Sufix Elite clear line to detect those subtle bites in the deeper waters. Lots of shad suspended on the graph but not a lot of fish chasing them so the deep-water bite is sporadic if there isn’t structure nearby. Anglers can pick up a fish or two by fishing the suspended schools of bait but it will be a long wait unless it is the right spot.
LAKE HARTWELL: is down 6.8 feet and water temperatures are in the 60s.
Hartwell Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing continues to improve. The cold front that passed through the area had an effect on the surface temperatures. As the water gets cooler, the Shad are becoming more active. Large single Shad can be seen tight against the banks in the coves. Keep using those shallow running Shad Raps when fishing in tight. I am catching a few bass in real shallow water but the bigger quality Bass are coming from five feet of water and deeper. Keep using those number five RS Rapala Shad Raps on the wind blown points and rocky banks. Follow the wind and you will find the fish. Make long casts and use a slow but steady retrieve. The Rapala OG8 in the Green tiger and shad were the two colors that worked. A stop and go retrieve was used during the slow periods to trigger a strike. Carolina Rigs can also be used on the ledges and deeper water structure. Slow cranking a number 10 Husky Jerk or a Down Deep Husky will also work. Try to find areas where either a channel or ditch runs close to the points or banks. The Bass are using these deep water channels as highways on roads to get to their feeding grounds. Use the GPS to mark the sharp drop offs.
LAKE LANIER is down 7.6 feet and water temperatures are in the 60s.
Lanier Bass (This Lake Lanier Bass fishing report is by Phil Johnson Pjohnson15@hotmail.com 770-366-8845) — Bass fishing on Lake Lanier is fair. The lake is currently a little over seven feet below full pool and the water temperature is ranging from the low to mid-sixties. Overall, the lake is clear except from the turnover coloration. Due to the turnover of the lake bass fishing has ranged from good days to days where it is a struggle. One key for this time of year is to find water that has cleared from the turnover. These areas tend to be a little farther back in the creeks and generally are holding more fish that will bite. The biggest thing right now is to be very versatile as it seems everything in the tackle box will work at the right time in the right place. There is still a little top water bite in places but it has really slowed over the last couple of weeks. The hard swimbaits like the Slickstick or Lanier Hard Baits have been producing fish over brush and long points in the creeks. The worm bite has been steady with a three sixteenths spotsticker and either a green pumpkin or watermelon red trick worm fished on secondary rocky points and around boat docks from twenty feet deep on back in the pockets. There are bass scattered around the deeper brush that can be targeted with either a worm or a three eights Spotchoker with a fluke trailer. Having forward facing is a huge help in working the fish around the brush as you can adjust the bait to the depth of the fish and also locate the scattered ones. The new Spotchoker finesse quarter ounce underspin paired with a Cast Echo has been producing fish in the same areas as the worm. A slow steady retrieve down the rocky points and along the sides of the docks will produce the most fish. Just remember to not set the hook hard when using an underspin, simply reel into the fish. With colder weather coming in the turnover should finish up shortly and the fish should be moving to their winter locations but for now be versatile to catch them. With the cooler weather it’s a great time to Go Catch “em. There will be a free High School Fishing seminar on November 18th at Legacy Baptist Church 2976 Dallas Acworth Hwy, Dallas Ga. starting at 8:30am. Come hear some of the top local guides and fisherman give away their secrets!
Lanier Stripers (report is by Buck Cannon, Buck Tails Guide Service 404-510-1778) — The stripers are located over open water. Flat lines and planer boards as well down lines are the ticket using blue backs 30’behind boards and flat lines 80&100′ behind the boat with the trolling motor at .05 1 mph Always have something to throw if they come up close enough. Bass are mixed in with the stripers so be on your toes. Remember to wear your life jacket.
Lanier Crappie (Report is courtesy of Call Captain Josh Thornton 770-530-6493) — Water temperatures in the lower 60s and the lake is low. Crappie are suspended 10 to 15 feet deep. I am using a small minnows straight down with a split shot at 8 to 10 feet. This week I had a lot of success with a grey on grey small sugar bug jig with a slow retrieval. I have also been doing well with translucent blue atx lure. While the lake is low be searching for and marking new brush piles. 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. See :http://www.crappieonlanier.com and http://www.fishingwitheverydayheroes.org
WEISS LAKE is near full and has a light stain to clear and 78-80 degrees.
Weiss Mixed Bag: (Weiss Report courtesy of Mark Collins www.markcollins service.com: 256-996-9035) –
Weiss Bass — Bass fishing is fair. Most fish are on a deeper, summer pattern on road beds and main lake points, and creek and river channel ledges. Crank Baits, spinnerbaits are catching fish. With the latest heat wave the water has heated back up, and the fishing has got a lot tougher. A good cooling trend in September, should trigger some better fishing. Any time they are generating power, the point at the mouth of the canal is producing some good fishing.
Weiss Crappie — Crappie fishing is fair. Most fish are out deep, showing up on deeper brush, spider rigging with minnow is producing some fish. Night fishing under lights, in the main river channel, is the ticket for catching Crappie right now. A good cooling trend in September, should trigger some better fishing.
Weiss Striper — Striper fishing is poor.
Weiss Catfish — Catfish are biting well in the bays and creeks in 8 to 15 feet of water, cut bait is working best.
WEST POINT LAKE is down 5.8 feet and water temperatures are in the 60s.
West Point Bass (Report courtesy of Ken Sturdivant www.southernfishing.com) — Bass fishing is fair. With the ever changing weather the fishing has been sporadic this week. The bass are holding on main lake points in the lake due to the consistent water generation. A mixture of whites, spots, and hybrids are schooling below Hwy 109 bridge on the west bank in 6 to 8 feet of water. Fish the mouths of the coves using a popping cork, Rat L Trap, or rooster tail. There may be some fish still hitting top water early and late. Try a white buzz bait on the lead in banks to the coves for largemouths and spots. There has been little change over the last week with the continual night time lows and balmy days. On windy days focus on throwing ½ ounce double willow leaf silver blades with a white skirt on shoals mid lake. The best shoals will have some form of rock on them. Make long casts bringing the spinnerbait back long ways along these shoal markers. If wind is not present slow down with a shaky head or football jig. Both are working with the green pumpkin colors.
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 Lake Water Level — Find Lake Level Info at West Point Lake Levels Information.
(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 .6 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. The lake has been looking good for a couple of weeks now. The spotted bass are roaming up on the points and flats all during the day and retreating to deep water stump beds. Bass are being caught all day long. The shallow water bass can be easily caught with Wiggle Warts, Sub Warts and Shad Raps. This week try some deeper water for the bigger fish. The Rapala DT10 Rapala DT6 worked slowly over heavy cover can work. The Rapala OG8 in the Green tiger and shad were the two colors that worked. A stop and go retrieve was used during the slow periods to trigger a strike. Carolina rigs can also be used on the ledges and deeper water structure.
CLARKS HILL LAKE IS DOWN 6.8 FEET, 60’S
Bass fishing is good. Cooler temperatures have activated the bait fish, and this has sparked a fair feeding frenzy. A fall pattern should remain constant for at least the next couple of weeks. Stained water can be found up in the creeks and rivers, so stay with the same baits and patterns with small crank baits. Small rock outcrops along the bank and around the islands are producing fish in the rivers. The Rapala Shad Raps in the red fire crawdad, the fire tiger with black heads, and the Silver Tennessee Shad are go-to colors. On the main lake and off any sharp points use the Rapala DT10 and the Rapala Husky Jerks. On the sharp drop offs the Down Deep Husky Jerks can be used to catch the suspended bass hanging out on the ledges. Try the slow crank action on the jerk baits on the sides of the points. Use them like a crank bait during the fall to add a few extra fish to the live well.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is fair. A Texas rigged worm with as little weight as possible fished around the docks on light line will bring some good fish. Work this bait slow and cast it right next to the docks found in the middle to the back of the coves off the main lake. The Rapala OG8 in the Green tiger and shad were the two colors that worked. A stop and go retrieve was used during the slow periods to trigger a strike. Carolina rigs can also be used on the ledges and deeper water structure. Small crank baits fished around any structure like rocks or blow downs will also bring a few bites. Spinnerbaits have been catching some good fish. Keep a Zoom pearl Super Fluke ready all day.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.6 FEET, 60’S
Largemouth bass are still biting fair to good, with the vast majority of fish shallow. Top water baits continue to produce a few fish, including large bass. Most any top water bait could produce, but a buzz bait is probably the most consistent right now. A good strategy is to have two rods with the same baits tied on, of different sizes. Alternate between the two until a couple strikes occur with the same size. Black or other dark colors can be good in low light conditions, with chartreuse or white being good otherwise. Most quality bites are coming from near the mouth of coves to halfway back in coves. Blow downs, brush, stumps, and shallow dock posts have been the best targets for the last few days. Spinner baits have also fooled a lot of fish lately from the same cover. If buzz baits and spinner baits do not produce, try jigs and soft plastics around the same wood cover. A 3/8-ounce jig in black blue with a Zoom Fat Albert Twin Tail works well as a swim bait. The same jig with a Zoom Pro Chunk works well when slowly working the bait through the cover. Some bass have also been hitting Texas rigged worms around the same cover. Anglers are successfully targeting docks exclusively with jigs and Texas rigs. Small crank baits are catching a few fish from the banks, mostly along seawalls and points. When the wind is blowing, a one-ounce Rat L Trap will produce on both primary or secondary points and flats. And the same bait will produce on some afternoons near the back of coves.
LAKE JACKSON IS FULL, 60’S
Bass fishing is barely fair, and it is best to stay down lake and fish on docks right off the river bends. The river is stained, and a bright crank bait can be good on points off the pockets and on ledges at 6 feet. Down lake use the Rebel Deep Wee R shad colored baits on docks and points. Also, cast a dark Texas rigged Zoom Bush Hog in the larger sizes s worked slowly on the docks on the lower lake. Later each day use the Enticer buzz bait on lower lake grass beds. Cast these baits right on the banks and pull them slowly over the grass. A larger dark worm over the grass and around docks can get a strike. The Rapala OG8 in the Green tiger and shad were the two colors that worked. A stop and go retrieve was used during the slow periods to trigger a strike. Carolina rigs can also be used on the ledges and deeper water structure.
MCDUFFIE PUBLIC FISHING AREA (More Info HERE)
- Water Temperature: 60’s and falling
- Water Visibility: 23+ in
- McDuffie PFA Fishing Guide
Bass: Waters are still cooling off and shad have taken to deeper water. Bass are now moving through deeper waters following them. The bite on smaller bass has remained steady on shad look-a-likes. But the larger bass are proving to be more finicky. Fishing near the upper end of Bridge Lake near some of the deeper fallen stumps and other structure is proving consistently rewarding.
Striped Bass: These cooler waters are making for consistent pond striper catches too! Fishing with livers in deeper waters and near siphon inflows between ponds are a good bet. Clubhouse and Bridge ponds have these stripers.
Catfish: Catfish are biting well on a myriad of the usual catfish baits. This could be in part due to the stockings of catchable-sized fish to all the PFA lakes. New this year to our stocking plans is stocking Rodbender lake with catchable-sized catfish. Though this pond has been a trophy bass pond in years past, recent sampling analysis suggests it is much better suited for catfish. The low visibility waters are well suited for homemade fermented stinks baits.