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Dredger's Weekly Report - Heat Wave!

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  • Dredger's Weekly Report - Heat Wave!

    Welcome to the end of spring, as our rains subside and the daily air temperatures increase. For our sportfish, it’s all about water temperatures, so the bite will follow the water temps, which follow air temps. As we approach the end of May, we now start the transition to summer mode. We have some hot weather moving in now, which should push a lot of lake fish off the banks and into slightly deeper and cooler water. If we are lucky, we’ll get some cooler days in the weeks ahead, which will slow down this transition to summer and extend our excellent spring fishing opportunities. Our trout streams are still holding out real well, thanks to the cool nights. Also, with the cessation of heavy rains, many of the largest streams have now dropped to safer levels for wading and fishing.

    Other than the hot midday sun, it looks like another great weekend ahead for north Georgia fishing. And it should only get better next week, when we ramp up our trout stocking in advance of the long holiday weekend. Here we go with the latest news from your hard-working north Georgia fisheries biologists, technicians, their partner anglers, guides, and tackle shops. Here we go:

    · Ken’s Reservoir Reports

    · Captain Mack’s Lanier Report

    · Lanier Bass

    · The Roop Report

    This week Gainesville Fisheries staff have been busy writing reports, scouting habitat, netting catfish for EPD, and stocking Morones in Lake Lanier. Intel has been trickling in some this week, although many anglers prefer to enjoy their best fishing holes than widely broadcasting them across the internet. Here are a few nuggets and general FYI’s out of Gainesville this week.

    - On Tuesday, 5/14 Mark Rigglesford and I stocked a load of 151,000 white bass in Lake Lanier at Toto Creek and Laurel Park ramps. The fish stocked really well, and assuming good survival will be available for anglers to pursue in the coming years. At the time of stocking, these little fingerlings are only about an inch long, but after two seasons of growth will reach between 12 and 14 inches. Keep an eye out of Lanier whites next spring, as they make their spawning run for 2-3 weeks in March when water temperatures rise above 50 F ( Once spring has passed, be on the lookout for unique schools of “Christmas trees” in 15 – 30 feet of water, and hit ‘em hard with your favorite light-to-medium tackle including live minnows, white grubs, roosters, lipless cranks, and jigging spoons when they move deep in the summer time. WRD Fisheries staff begin restoring the Lanier white bass fishery in 2016, and we are excited to see anglers get out and pursue this species in the coming years.

    - On Thursday 5/16, we sampled Cedar Creek for catfish to provide fish tissue samples to help GA EPD’ update its fish consumption guidelines.

    Through this sampling effort we learned there is a low-density population of channel catfish in Cedar Creek, one year class was prevalent in the 6-8 lb range. We found white catfish in our sample as well. The white catfish abundance appears to be higher than channel catfish in Cedar Creek. We also picked up a few yellow bullheads, which according to Mark are great eating. In this forage-limited water supply reservoir, keep these species in mind as opportunities for any anglers that frequent Cedar Creek. We found that the larger catfish were feeding primarily on small gizzard shad, so cut bait dropped over a 20 ft bottom will be your best bet.

    - Water quality intel from scouting boat ramps for Morone stockings: Upper end surface temperatures on Lanier are currently ranging from 72 F to 77 F. Water clarity is ranging from 2.5 to 5 feet, with the extreme upper reaches of the reservoir being stained/turbid. Lower sites are green thanks to good phytoplankton production. As visibility decreases, consider using baits with bright, flashy colors and spinners to entice a strike.

    - Lanier striper guides are reporting good fishing conditions with the best success on points and clay flats where stripers are roaming in search of baitfish. Freelining blueback herring or spreading out with planer boards should put linesides in the boat.

    - Academy Jack is at it again on the GA Power Company’s mountain lakes, having great success with underspins pursuing black bass and pickerel. Jack got close to a qualifier (

    with a Chain Pickerel this week, and I have a feeling I’ll be seeing his Award application in my inbox shortly. Summer’s almost here, and for any parents fearing the onset of boredom that inevitably follows the euphoria of the school year ending, we have a solution! Challenge your kid to get a Youth Angler Award (or two), and keep them busy fishing all summer long (

    Hunter J. Roop, Fisheries Biologist

    Wildlife Resources Division, Gainesville

    (770) 535-5498

    · Toona

    · Striper Central

    Where do Georgia’s stripers come from? Right here:[0]=68.ARD42U6jq9VxXFWfLtGsy3nzZxWXE3K97AGi9Rx1EQ5WK-M1et5im9yKKongDz-x5iwEN_TkzWnu4nBZK-xQxXg_-OBcwA6T5QJkLCzr-8vXMK5Mo97Gm5yF8IXXMxsLIY2Hq59s295s7ohQtEGOSienMuM nwwVDIrmN77ZeUK61sm58dTebXTwOZi33w-Dmuz-FQ-9T56ew4Zg2JqvidhrqoiS_2kr6xaDBpXwZMQvhWcJf_0Rb4XtY xYhqvxh8dR50Y_pI-7qxKzq6JqXjWXe87oXmjbTm9B1bXafpWEvXchWIUoz51WAxGu9 XcX9OTuUmzApbgwOV_6vLIa1M&__tn__=-R

    · Coosa

    WRD striped bass monitoring efforts continue in the rivers of the Coosa basin in Northwest Georgia. The spawn is now over and we are seeing lots of spent fish, but the recent rains from last weekend and cool air temps have kept river temperatures cool as well. That means the fish are still hanging around in the Coosa and Oostanaula which normally start getting a bit too warm this time of year. We are also starting to see fish migrate to the Etowah River, where many will spend the summer using its cold water as a thermal refuge. We are seeing tons of yearling stripers in the 8-12 inch range this spring, which we have not seen in a long time. This is great news for the future, as these fish will quickly grow and recruit to the fishery over the next two years.

    John Damer, Fisheries Biologist

    Wildlife Resources Division- Armuchee

    (706) 295-6102

    · Stocker Best Bets

    State and federal trout hatcheries have another good week of stocking with 32K trout scheduled for rides,

    WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson (706-947-1508) suggests these weekend destinations: Rock, Cooper, Holly, Blue Ridge Tailwater when the dam is turned off, Hartwell Tailwater (GA pier at dam), West Ford Chattooga, Dicks (brookie dosage), Boggs, Soque, Tallulah, Panther, and Middle Broad on WMA. PS- Wildcat Creek road is still closed by USFS (landslide) and we are not stocking that creek.

    · Delay Over, Harvest Now Begins

    Grab a child and some live bait and enjoy harvesting some trout on Georgia’s Delayed Harvest streams before the water warms up this summer. Whether you are a bait- or fly-flinger, those DH trout will last for another week or two until harvest cleans them out, so give Georgia’s DH streams a “last try” soon. And if you really like the DH program, head up to the cooler waters of North Carolina soon, since that agency’s DH program lasts for a few more weeks.

    DH regs:

    DH stream maps here:

    · Mighty Fine Feds in the Forest

    See the upcoming opportunities by our fantastic federal partners with the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service. Make plans now to take your kids to one of their great fishing rodeos in June.

    · Amen!

    Great blog for trout fans to follow. Big Amen on a short line for better drifts, hooksets, and catch rates. Take 60 seconds to read and apply this note and double your catch. Distance casting is to show off to your buddies on the front lawn, or to aim and hope for that distant bonefish. Short casting is for Georgia trout catchin’!

    · Headwater Trout Streams

    It’s May, so that means Dark30 time. The last hour of daylight and the first few minutes of darkness will be best, as the spring bug hatches wrap up for the season. Best bets are tans (caddis and cahill) yellow (sallies and stones) and black (beetles and ants). Have a few size 8 green drakes and coffins and some stout 3x tippet in your pocket if you’re headed to the largest streams in the Southeast this month. Got a flashlight?

    · Hooch Tailwater

    The Army Corps is still generating often at Buford dam to bring Lanier down to normal pool, so the fishing opportunities are still limited. If rainfall continues to be low, there is a good chance that the generations schedule will be more favorable to wading anglers in the weeks ahead.

    · Toccoa TW Update

    WRD staff recently sampled the trout fishery in the Toccoa River downstream of Blue Ridge Dam. We found lots of freshly stocked rainbows in the 10-12 inch range, but also some holdovers over 20 inches. The population of brown trout continues to do well in the Toccoa, and we captured many browns that were better measured in pounds, rather than inches. The largest of the sample was the 7-pound, 27-incher pictured.

    John Damer, Fisheries Biologist

    Wildlife Resources Division- Armuchee

    (706) 295-6102

    · Blue Ridge Smallies

    The 2019 smallmouth bass stocking season has started at Blue Ridge Lake, with 3,300 fingerlings stocked this week. This year will mark the fourth year of our cooperative stocking program, which aims to maintain the last fishable reservoir smallmouth population in the state. The fish stocked this week were produced at the Go Fish Georgia Education Center in Perry and were 2-6 inches when released. Young smallmouth are also being raised at the US Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery in Warm Springs, Georgia. Fingerling smallmouth from both facilities will be stocked numerous times through summer and fall as they reach target sizes.

    John Damer, Fisheries Biologist

    Wildlife Resources Division- Armuchee

    (706) 295-6102

    · Tip of the Fishing Cap

    To one of our coldwater conservation and education heroes. RocketRoy was a good one. My double-haul is better because of his Spring Fling tutelage. We all hope he’s now fishing “around the bend” and having a big time on dry flies! Read the obit, via the link in here.

    Who among you will now rise and take Rocket’s place in our coldwater conservation army? You know, sometimes benevolence has some unexpected fringe benefits. Good things happen to those who “give.” Just ask Robert!

    · Hydrotherapy = Pure Joy

    Here’s a shout-out to Casting for Recovery- Georgia program leader Beverly Booth, her volunteers, and her donors for an awesome weekend retreat for their 14 special guests at Smithgall Woods.[0]=68.ARCgiQ63-C5XTr-2uONYldkEvfwTi04tdl_0BszIqVa_4s4Efea_Vy9hDq8PWjIgu z8VykhbT8wEeCEB6Z4acc_kamz2fNRQaEITYPVtWSKie0sqawL JM_8Rw7kvIzU7-YG2zadGUKoVyR7xxsm8VK9Xh__CyxoILM-YitXAGUtHey9slXRpDhFcJu6ksti8c3dS0Jtxwt-JKDk-37KuuEgJU-pzvLYy02GQh-lnYj0o242V1GOP_rI1YB7wsZtSYKVJCktVlbYKHmEN6lb_5StR ZCtvMFs7x-F9gk8fNOBUHJW2BdGpXEn_8DKWZXjRkfl55Q-ma0ih553FVg&__tn__=-R

    Due to high water, the Smith Creek “Plan B” was implemented on Sunday and the breast cancer survivors ended their weekend of joy with some bent rods, big smiles, and high fives with volunteer guides. For more information on the CFR-GA program, visit their website or give Beverly a holler. Nominate an attendee, offer to volunteer, or cut Beverly a check.

    · Buck Shoals Fishing Rodeos

    This WMA in White County focuses on the kids. See the attached schedule of kids fishing events for the site. There’s a rodeo on Saturday!

    · Water is Life

    Our fishing gals may really enjoy this article - - and Jen’s awesome magazine!

    Good luck this weekend. Hit the morning or evening shade for the best fishing and the least chance of a sunburn. Thanks for buying your fishing licenses, tackle, and TU brook trout tags. They have helped us grow a lot of whites and stripers and some fat brook and rainbow trout for your angling enjoyment!

    Jeff Durniak
    North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor

    Wildlife Resources Division

    Want to Help Ease DNR's Budget Woes? Buy a TU license Plate!

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    Pictures here: