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Aug. 23, 2019
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Fishing Report/Tips

Fishing News

Angling for catfish equal summertime at its best
 
Have you really and truly lived a good southern life if you haven’t spent a whole day fishing and then fried up a “mess” of catfish for dinner? Catfishing provides great opportunities for new and experienced anglers, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. 
 
“Georgia provides plenty of opportunities for folks to toss out a line for catfish,” says Matt Thomas, WRD Fisheries Management Chief. “Catching catfish requires relatively simple gear and is a great way to introduce someone new to fishing, especially kids, so grab your gear and make plans to get out and go fish.”
 
Georgia’s public waterways are home to several species of catfish, including channel, white, blue, flathead and bullheads (consisting of several similar species – yellow, brown, snail, spotted and flat). While you may not catch them often, the larger species, like flathead catfish, can sometimes reach monster weights in excess of 100 pounds – and that’s no tall fish tale! 
 
As summertime gets closer to its peak, WRD highlights Lake Lanier and offers tips on techniques and equipment for anglers of all skill levels:
 
Lake Lanier – supports lots of small channel catfish (1-2 pounds) lake wide and fewer flathead catfish (10-40 pounds), which can be found up the Chattahoochee and Chestatee arms of the lake.
 
As a rule, the species and size of catfish dictate the fishing line and bait used:
If targeting channel and white catfish, fisheries biologists recommend eight to 14-pound test line and medium-sized hooks (size 2 to 1/0) under a bobber or fished on the bottom. Best baits for channel catfish are worms, liver, live minnows, shrimp, cut bait and stink bait. For anglers trying to land a large blue or flathead catfish, heavy tackle is a must – large spinning or casting tackle with at least 20 to 50-pound test braid or monofilament line, large hooks (3/0 to 8/0), and heavy weights (1-5 oz) to keep bait on the bottom.  Flatheads are ambush predators that prey heavily upon fish, so live or freshly killed fish used as bait will increase your chances.  
 
In general, anglers should target rocky shorelines, rip-rap areas, points and outside bends of rivers or the submerged river channel. Catfish will stay in deep areas or “holes” during the day before roaming the shallows at night for food. 
 
Though most species of catfish are active throughout the day, the best summer fishing is at dusk and during the night. Catfish can be caught year-round, with the best bite typically from early spring through the peak of summer. Be prepared to fish multiple areas and if you don’t get a bite within 30 minutes, try another are until you find some fish.
 
For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com.
 
Get a Georgia Bass Slam
Catch five different bass species and you’ll have a Georgia Bass Slam! This program recognizes anglers with the knowledge and skill to catch different species of bass in a variety of habitats across the state, while also stimulating interest in the conservation and management of black bass and their habitats, according to the Georgia DNR, WRD.
 
Georgia’s 10 recognized native black bass species are largemouth, smallmouth, shoal, Suwannee, spotted, redeye, Chattahoochee, Tallapoosa, Altamaha and Bartram’s. Anglers can find out more about these eligible bass species, including images and locations at www.bassslam.com.
 
To qualify for the Georgia Bass Slam, fish must be caught within a calendar year, must be legally caught on waters where you have permission to fish, and anglers must provide some basic information on the catch (length, weight-if available, county and waterbody where caught) accompanied by several photos of each fish.  Anglers will submit information to Georgia.BassSlam@dnr.ga.gov for verification. Complete rules posted at the website.
 
What is Your Reward? Well, besides bragging rights among all the anglers and non-anglers you know, you will receive a certificate worthy of framing, two “Go Fish Education Center” passes, and some fantastic and fun stickers (for vehicle windows/bumpers) to advertise your achievement. Anglers also will be recognized on the WRD website, at the Go Fish Education Center and possibly through a variety of social media platforms. In addition, all successful submissions will go into a drawing for an annual grand prize! 
 
Don’t have time to dedicate to catch five species of bass, but maybe you have your eye on a lunker largemouth? We have a program for that, too! The Trophy Bass Angler Award program recognizes largemouth bass catches of 10 pounds or greater. These fish are rare, and the data from these catches helps to provide genetics and growth information that is valuable to fisheries managers. Those that successfully submit a qualified fish will receive a certificate, hat, t-shirt and an entry into a drawing for a reward package. For more information visit www.georgiawildlife.com.
 
Posted 7/26/19


Other news: Kids Fishing Events teach basics while having fun
 
They want your time. So, take some time today to make a lifetime memory for you and your child! Research shows that most people are introduced to fishing by a family member, and most consider a family member to be their best fishing friend. Don’t know how to fish? No problem. Visit one of the many upcoming scheduled Kids Fishing Events. The events typically take place at a location with a high successful catch rate, and many events have on-site volunteers to provide assistance for those new to fishing, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “Spending time taking a child fishing is something that you both will cherish for years to come,” says Matt Thomas, chief of fisheries management. “Kids Fishing Events offer a great place to start. They are geared toward helping you and your child get a feel for fishing before you try to ‘tackle’ it on your own.”

Kids Fishing Events are sponsored across the state and provide fishing assistance to both children (under age 16) and parents from knowledgeable instructors. The Wildlife Resources Division co-sponsors many events by providing channel catfish or trout to improve fishing, educational materials for participants and guidance for sponsors. How do you find more information or local events? Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/KidsFishing. Here you will find tips on fishing with kids, recommended places to go fish with children, a “kid’s first fish certificate,” and a link to our events system where you can search for local events. For more information on fishing in Georgia, visit: www.georgiawildlife.com/fishing/angler-resources.
- Posted 5/28/19

 
 
Other news: Nighttime fishing at public fishing areas set for this month
For those evenings when you just want to wet a line no matter what the time, you can now night fish at nine Public Fishing Areas beginning May 1 through Sept. 30, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). “With last year’s success of allowing night fishing, we look forward to again offering this exciting chance to enhance angler access and opportunity,” says Matt Thomas, Chief of the WRD Fisheries Management Section. “Night fishing allows anglers to enjoy fishing while also escaping the hot days of summer, and is a great example of license dollars at work!” 
 
Georgia has 10 PFAs, nine of which will be open to night fishing, including Big Lazer, Dodge, Evans, Flat Creek, Hugh Gillis, Marben, McDuffie, Ocmulgee and Paradise. Anglers should be sure to check the visitor kiosk(s) of any location they visit to ensure which ponds might be open for night fishing. PFAs offer a wide variety of fishing opportunities, from lakes several hundred acres in size to ponds less than one acre. At most locations, anglers can fish from a boat, along the shoreline or from a pier. While PFAs are primarily managed for fishing, they also offer other family-friendly, day-time activities. Many PFAs have picnic tables, nature and wildlife observation trails, fish cleaning stations and restroom facilities. Some offer primitive campsites for those wishing to stay overnight on the area, and many facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities.
 
For more information on Georgia PFAs, visit http://georgiawildlife.com/allpfas.
 - Posted 4/29/19

News & notes 
  • For a free sonar setup email ken@southernfishing.com. Please be sure and include the sonar model you have. 
  • Various books are available on bass fishing at West Point Lake, Lake Russell, and Lake Hartwell. The books cover fishing on these lakes for each week of the year. Books are $39 each. For more info: ken@southernfishing.com.
  • Waypoint guides are available for lakes Allatoona, Lanier, Oconee, Weiss, and Hartwell. Simply load into your GPS. They are $99 each. More info: ken@southernfishing.com.


Ken Sturdivant produces the statewide Southern Fishing Report and is operator of Southern Fishing Schools.


Call Ken Sturdivant about the “On the Water Schools” for Sonar or the Rods, Reels and Lures for Bass or a full day striper school.
More info: 770 889-2654, ken@southernfishing.com




Other news: Georgia DNR releases more than 1 million trout
Last year, more than one million trout were stocked in Georgia. This year, that number should increase. In fact, the 2019 trout stocking effort is already under way, thanks to trout hatchery staff with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  “This is the second year of our initiative to stock larger trout in Georgia, thanks to the extra funds provided by anglers’ fishing license fees. Georgia trout anglers were pleased with heavy stringers in 2018 and should expect the same for 2019,” explained John Lee Thomson, Georgia Trout Stocking Coordinator. “With a mild winter and abundant rainfall, WRD and our partner, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will again achieve the new 10-inch average size for 2019.” 

Though some trout stockings have already occurred to reduce hatchery fish crowding, regular stocking schedules will begin the last week of March. Some popular waterbodies that received early trout stockings include Lake Winfield Scott in Union County, Little Amicalola Creek at Amicalola State Park, Holly Creek in Murray County, and Johns Creek in Floyd County.Want to see more information on stocking? You can check out the  2019 master trout stocking schedule, and even sign up for a weekly trout stocking email at www.georgiawildlife.com. A reminder: The daily limit is eight trout on general regulation trout waters. Anglers are reminded to respect private property rights along streams flowing through private lands, and to obtain permission before fishing on private property. 
 - Posted 3/30/19



More fishing info

June 2016

Set your fishing license to auto-renew
 
Whether alone or with family and friends, fishing and hunting provides you with irreplaceable quality time and experiences.  Now, you can rest assured you won’t miss a memory thanks to the new license auto-renew system. “This new feature for license buyers guarantees that you will never miss the opportunity for your renewal discount,” said Dan Forster, Director of the Wildlife Resources Division. “Additionally, it provides you with the flexibility to renew all of your license privileges or select individual ones.” Here is how it works:
• Go to GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com
• Log into your account
• Activate the “switch” next to each license you wish to auto-renew
• Make sure your credit card on file is up-to-date.
That is it. Once you are done, you will receive a confirmation email with a printable PDF of your license. Each year, you will get an email notification prior to auto-renew. To purchase a hunting or fishing license or set up your licenses for auto-renew, visit www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com.

Teach a kid to fish at a Kids Fishing Event
 
Fishing together with your child can build some powerful memories, so make this a summer to remember! Don’t know how to fish? No problem. Visit one of the many upcoming Kids Fishing Events scheduled for spring and summer!  Kids Fishing Events typically take place at a location with a high successful catch rate and many events have on-site volunteers to provide assistance for those new to fishing, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “There is nothing like watching a kid catch their first fish – and you could be the one that introduces that love of fishing for your child,” says John Biagi, chief of fisheries management. “Kids Fishing Events are a great place to begin as they are organized and help you and your child get a feel for fishing before trying to ‘tackle’ it on your own.”  Research shows that most people are introduced to fishing by a family member, and most consider a family member to be their best fishing friend. Kids Fishing Events are sponsored across the state and provide fishing assistance to both children (under age 16) and parents from knowledgeable instructors. The Wildlife Resources Division co-sponsors many events by providing channel catfish or trout to improve fishing, educational materials for participants and guidance for sponsors. How do you find more information or local events? Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/fishing/kids-fishing. Here you will find tips on fishing with kids, recommended places to go fish with children, a “kid’s first fish certificate,” and a link to a calendar where you can find local events. For more information on fishing in Georgia, check out www.gofishgeorgia.com/fishing.


May 2016

Now open: Georgia’s seasonal trout streams
 
Make sure you put a trout fishing trip on your list of things to do this spring and early summer, especially with the opening of seasonal trout streams. The streams opened on March 28.  The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to stock more than 80,000 trout during the last full week of March, with more than one million trout scheduled for stocking by the end of this year.
 
“The four trout hatcheries in Georgia are full of high quality fish this year,” says John Lee Thomson, trout stocking coordinator for the Wildlife Resources Division. “Almost every water body, with very few exceptions, that is stocked by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources or our partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be stocked by Opening Day.”
 
Some popular seasonal streams include Cooper Creek in Union County, Wildcat Creek in Rabun County, Dicks Creek in Lumpkin County and Johns Creek in Floyd County.   “One of the best opportunities for fishing success will be this spring when stream flows are high and the water is cool,” says Thomson.
 
The daily limit is eight trout on general regulation trout waters. Anglers are reminded to respect private property rights along streams flowing through private lands and to obtain permission before fishing on private property.
 
Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license and a trout license to fish in designated trout waters and to fish for or possess trout. Anglers must also possess a wildlife management area license or Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP) in order to fish on certain WMAs. Find a list of designated areas at www.georgiawildlife.com. You can purchase a license online or find a list of retail license vendors at the web address above. Or you may call 1 800-366-2661. 
 

April 2016

Warm weather signifies trout stocking time
 
Make sure you put a trout fishing trip on your list of things to do this spring, especially since it is the time of year when trout raised in Georgia hatcheries start hitting the water. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to stock more than 80,000 trout during the last full week of March, with more than one million trout scheduled for stocking by the end of this year. 
“All trout waters in Georgia are now open to fishing year round, and to sweeten that news, stocking efforts are ready to begin to make your trip even more rewarding,” says John Lee Thomson, trout stocking coordinator for the Wildlife Resources Division. “One of the best opportunities for fishing success will be this spring when stream flows are high and the water is cool.” 
 
Some popular stocked streams include Cooper Creek in Union County, Wildcat Creek in Rabun County, Dicks Creek in Lumpkin County and Johns Creek in Floyd County. The daily limit is eight trout on general regulation trout waters. Anglers are reminded to respect private property rights along streams flowing through private lands and to obtain permission before fishing on private property. 
 
Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license and a trout license to fish in designated trout waters and to fish for or possess trout. Anglers must also possess a wildlife management area license or Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP) in order to fish on certain WMAs. Find a list of designated areas at www.georgiawildlife.com
 
How can you get a license? Buy it online, find a list of retail license vendors at www.georgiawildlife.com or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661. Purchasing a Trout Unlimited license plate supports Georgia’s trout conservation and management programs. These efforts impact trout production, stocking and stream restoration throughout north Georgia. Purchase or find out more at your county tag office.
 
For the list of stocked trout streams, online versions the Georgia trout stream map, and other trout fishing tips, visit www.georgiawildlife.com or call (770) 535-5498.


September 2015 fishing tip

Explaining the Drop Shot rig

This is a relatively new rig that started with the West Coast anglers. The lakes out West are deep and very clear and the fish have seen almost everything is the world. From the Texas rig to the Carolina rig to the trick worm, bass –  both spots and largemouth – still see these long tested and true rigs. Now there is a method that is easy to rig and even easier to fish. The drop shot rig is exactly what it sounds like. And the best way to describe it is to call it an upside down Carolina rig. Instead of the lead sinker in the center of the rig as it is with other types of rigs, the sinker is on the bottom. What makes this so easy is that the fish now can see the baits even better. This is a deadly rig for summer fish or any other fish that suspends over the bottom. Many times bass do not feed right off the bottom. While many anglers believe that the Carolina rig has a bait floating up off the bottom, it really does not. The worm or lizard on the Carolina rig simply follows the lead sinker as they both stay dead on the bottom. Start out with 12 pound clear Stren Easy cast line and tie on a worm hook with the Palomar knot. But leave a long tag line to tie on the weight. Now add at least a 1/2 ounce sinker, any style, to the bottom of the line. Now the weight simply crawls over the bottom and the bait can be floated anywhere from 12 inches to four feet above the lead. The strikes are exactly like a Carolina rig but better. Strikes will be easier to feel and hook sets will drive the hook home. Rig up the hook with any soft plastic from a grub to a 10-inch U tail worm or lizard. Spend four hours with three rods rigged with three lengths of leader. One at 12 inches, one at two feet and one at three feet. Rig up a grub, a finesse worm and then a U tail worm on the rigs.

Catfish still biting across the state

Fishing for catfish is a summertime tradition (yes, most of September is still summer) and a great way to put some delicious meals on the table. Whether you are an experienced angler, a newbie or just a casual fisherman, you can find fantastic catfishing opportunities in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “There are places to catfish all over the state of Georgia,” says John Biagi, chief with the Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Management Section. “They require relatively simple gear and are a great way to introduce someone new to fishing, especially kids, so get out and go fish!” Georgia’s public waterways are home to several species of catfish, including channel, white, blue, flathead and bullheads (consisting of several similar species – yellow, brown, snail, spotted and flat). The larger species, blue catfish and flathead catfish, can grow to exceed 100 pounds.

Here are just a few of the many spots to try your luck:
  • Lake Nottely, near Blairsville – Contains good populations of channel catfish (averaging one pound or less) and fewer, but larger flathead catfish (weighing up to 40 pounds).
  • Chattahoochee River above West Point Lake – in the last few years, the number and size of flathead catfish caught above West Point has increased significantly.
  • Lower Chattahoochee River near GA Hwy. 91 southwest of Donalsonville – Recent surveys conducted during summer months indicate that channel, blue and flathead catfish can be found here in abundance.
  • Lake Walter F. George, near Columbus – Excellent fishing for channel catfish in the main lake and in the upper end (above Florence Marina) for both channel and blue catfish. The state record blue catfish (80 pounds, 4 ounces) was caught in the tailrace of this lake by Ernest Timpson in February 2010.
  • Altamaha River – Great location for several species of catfish, including flathead, channel and an expanding population of blue catfish. The Altamaha boasts two state record fish: flathead (83 pounds) caught by Carl Sawyer in 2006; and channel cat (44 pounds, 12 ounces) caught by Bobby Smithwick in 1972.
  • St. Marys River – Healthy populations of channel and white catfish are available.

As a rule, the species and size of catfish dictate the fishing line used. If targeting channel and white catfish, fisheries biologists recommend eight to 14-pound test line and medium-sized hooks (two to 1/0) under a bobber or fished on the bottom. For anglers trying to land a large flathead, heavy tackle is a must – large spinning or casting tackle with at least 20 to 50-pound test line, large hooks (3/0 to 7/0), and heavy weights to keep bait on the bottom. Best baits for channel, bullheads and white catfish are worms, liver, live minnows, cut bait and stink bait. Recommended flathead baits are live goldfish, bream and shiners.

In general, anglers should target rocky shorelines, rip-rap areas and points. When fishing rivers during the day, anglers should look to deep holes containing rocky or woody cover. During dusk, dawn and at night, anglers should concentrate on shallow sandbars and shoals nearby the deep holes fished during the day, as catfish frequently move shallow to feed during low light conditions. Though most species of catfish are active throughout the day, the best summer fishing is at dusk and during the night, and while catfish can be caught year-round, the peak bite typically is from early spring through the peak of summer.

And of course anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license to fish in public waters.

More info: www.gofishgeorgia.com


July 2015 fishing tip

Back to basics: The Depth Finder

Fishing without a depth finder is like try to fly without wings, it won't work. The depth finder has come light years since the original Lowrance red metal box changed fishing for all anglers. Now with the liquid crystals units getting better by the year, there are a few basics that will make using a depth finder more successful. Here are the steps.

When you turn the depth finder on, take it out of automatic and place it in the manual setting. If shallow lakes are the fishing locations, set the depth to 20 feet. If the water is deep, set the depth on 30 feet or more. Set the chart speed to maximum. This setting will run the unit at full chart speed. Set the gray line setting to 50 percent. This will allow anglers to separate the bottom from any structure.

Don’t be afraid to turn the power up on the depth finders in deep water. On lakes north of Atlanta, turn the sensitivity up to 87 percent to see the structure and the fish. On lakes south of Atlanta, set the sensitivity to 50 percent and you’ll see the shallow fish and structure very well. The more power in the deeper waters will make the unit put out all the power needed to see the bait fish, the game fish and any structure. Turn the fish ID feature off. The arches on the screen rather than fish symbols are more dependable. The fish ID feature will show schools of bait fish as big fish.

Make sure the transducer has a clear shot at the water. If the transducer is off at an angle or located inside the boat, readings will be poor. Mount the transducer so it is in direct contact with the water. Cone angles are not confusing if you just look at an ice cream cone. Turn it upside down and that’s exactly what the signal looks like. as the cone hits the bottom in 30 feet of water on a 20 degree angle, the signal is 10 feet in diameter on the bottom.

Many anglers use depth finders more than they fish and with good reason. The depth finders eliminate water. When anglers go looking for fish, whether it’s fresh or salt water, the depth finder will find them. Experienced anglers can tell the sizes and even the types of fish they see on the units. A little tuning and practice will help anglers see the fish and the structure better.


June 2015 fishing tip

Deep water bass secrets

All we have to say about this lake is simply “offshore structure.” Most bass anglers cannot fish things that they cannot see. So there are fish in all lakes that have never seen a lure. Several years ago we saw a local lake that had been was lowered to 15 feet below full pool. After spending a week looking at all the creeks and river areas, it was quite apparent that if you are throwing at the bank the fish are under the boat. How many times has this happened? The first place you choose to fish can be any point, cove or bend in the creek or river. The trolling motor goes in the water and there are the fish, right there on the locator. And then, you cast to the bank. After repeating this once again, you are standing on the fish. And they have never been fished.

So how do you avoid this common bass angler problem? It’s real easy but you have to force yourself to make this work. Pull up to that same location, point creek bend or cove or even a dock. Now instead of casting to the same places that every one else does, try this. Pull the boat up the shallow point, cove or docks and now, cast out. All the fish you have been missing are now looking at your bait. And it does not matter what you use. When was the last time you cast a buzz bait out? Now this is an easy test.

Make 10 casts out off the sides of the point and each cast should be at a different area. Fan cast this area and when you get a strike, pay attention to where you got that strike. Now you can make five casts to the same place and possibly land five fish that could weigh 25 pounds. A whopping five pound average. You have all the lures in your boat to experiment with.

If one point has a school of fish on it, chances are that all the rest of the points in the area may even have bigger schools and bigger fish. But do not cast to the bank. That is what everyone else does. Now duplicate success and move on to the next location. 



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