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Dredger's Weekly Report - A Virtual Heat Wave!

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  • Dredger's Weekly Report - A Virtual Heat Wave!

    Heat wave? What heat wave? We just got iced in… Hey, at least the icy roads kept most of us indoors long enough to clean up our tackle and stock up our fly boxes. Ole Dredge was under the weather himself, so he exercised a nice tying table, a gift from his good friend, Missouri Wayne, while sipping chicken soup and popping cold meds per the Rx. After meeting his Rendezvous donation quota, his personal arsenal of feathered hooks is now partially resupplied for spring. Pat’s rubberlegs, check. Stealth bombers, check. Hairy fodders- need a lot more! Confinement does have a few advantages.

    But what about this alleged heat wave? That’s what our forthcoming weekend is going to feel like after the Polar Express paid the Deep South a visit this week and now retreats back to Santaland. The anticipated fifty-degree days are sure gonna feel great, and warming afternoon water temperatures should thaw out our sport fish and re-ignite their appetites.
    · Helen ten-day:
    · Burrells Ford temps and flow:
    Watch these temps shoot up and be ready to catch some trout! This weather trend will also make us think of the warm days to come this spring and summer. Enjoy the short sleeves in here:

    Lake bass and stripers are now active on the upper ends, and some fish are coming shallow again as muddy streams dump into the lakes and that stained water catches some afternoon sun and warms up a bit (see Lanier Intel, below). Check your boat motor batteries and patch all wader holes tonight, because the coming week should be a good one, at least for the dead of winter. And if you’re really young or really old and still can’t handle these cooler water temperatures, “show season” continues with the boat show in Atlanta and a feast fit for a king in Dillard. Here we go:

    · ATL Boat Show- Fishing Seminars
    From bass to crappie to stripers to trout, there’s something for everyone who plans to stay downtown this weekend. See the boat show seminar schedule here:
    Event details here:
    The January edition of the Coastal Angler magazine (ATL edition) also has a yellow sticker on the covers, which is a $3 discount coupon to the show. Grab one at a tackle shop or convenience store where they’re displayed. And when you’re skippering a boat, pay attention!!!

    · Saturday Rendezvous Details
    Skip breakfast and lunch while fishing tomorrow and then show up in Dillard at five. Pics of food and prizes:
    Event details:

    The Rabun Chapter of Trout Unlimited proudly presents A Celebration of Rivers, Streams, Trout, and Trout Fishing. Please Join Us for the 31st Annual Rabun Rendezvous.

    When: Saturday, January 20, 2018

    Where: The “NEW” Dillard House Conference Center, located behind the Dillard House in Dillard, Georgia. Check out the Dillard House web site here.

    Who: The more the better. Everyone interested in protecting cold-water resources, and their families, friends, and all who love clean cold streams, trout, and trout fishing.
    Social: About 5 o’clock PM folks will start gathering to “pick the pig” and enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch of the Conference Center. There will be snack trays of cheeses, crackers, veggies with dips and fruits. Soft drinks and ice will be available. If you want something stronger, better bring it yourself. (BYOB) There will also be a fire inside to warm your buns. The Foxfire Boys, with their famous Blue Grass Music, will begin at 5 pm.

    Dinner: Fish, Chicken and Pork with all the side dishes and desserts that have made the Dillard House so famous, will be served about 6:30. It is a serve yourself buffet, so you will not leave hungry.
    Cost: $35 for adults. $25 for those under the age of 15. Cash, checks, VISA or MasterCard. We don’t do advanced tickets, just pay at the door.

    Lodging: The Dillard House has set special rates for rooms starting at $79 (plus tax) for those that call and tell them you’re attending the Trout Unlimited Rabun Rendezvous. Call: 706-746-5348 or Toll Free 1-800-541-0671.

    Program Presenter: Jim Casada is a son of the Smokies. Jim grew up in Bryson City, NC and cut his sporting teeth hunting and fishing in and around this small western North Carolina town. Jim says “a corner of my heart” still belongs to the high country. Jim is well educated holding a B.A, in history, an M.A. in British History and a Ph.D. in British imperial history. Jim taught history at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, where he still lives. Jim retired in 1996 to pursue a full-time freelance writer / photographer career. Jim holds many honors from his teaching profession as well as multiple honors from his writing career, is an Honorary Life Member and recipient of the Arnold Gingrich Memorial Award of the Federation of Fly Fishers, inaugural inductee into the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians Hall of Fame, just to name a few. You can learn more about Jim Casada by visiting his webpage at the following:, you. Better yet, come spend an evening with the Rabunites and meet and hear Jim in person. It’ll be a great time!

    The 2017 Rabun Rendezvous provided funds for: Georgia Trout Camp, Smithgall Woods Conservation Education Program, USFS Kid’s fishing event at the Tallulah River, UGA Coldwater Research Endowment fund, construction of a handicap accessible fishing pier on the Tallulah River, Casting for Recovery and Fly Fishing for Vet’s Project Healing Waters, TU National First Cast, Embrace-A- Stream, Southeast Land programs, GA Council of TU statewide conservation program. We provided equipment and manpower for the Chattooga River clean-up day, and In-stream habitat improvement workday with USFS on a brook trout stream in Rabun County.
    We hope to see you there!

    · Friday/Saturday Help Wanted
    See Jan 19-20 entries, on left side of page.

    · Trout Stockings
    The growing has been good at Buford Hatchery this winter and we now need to make some space there to receive the latest crop of Summerville Hatchery fingerlings, which represent future years of catchable-size fish. WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson is spicing up the Georgia DH streams and tailwaters with a total of about 10K fish this week to create some raceway space for these fingerlings. We hope you enjoy this stocking effort to take advantage of the warm weekend weather. For weeks when we do stock trout, the weekly report is posted late each Friday afternoon here:
    Good luck! Got some woolly buggers, pink San Juan worms, and a new angler in tow?

    · Smith DH Variety

    · “Gotta Love Dukes”
    Reservations: 706-878-3087. Or try walking on and getting a vacant slot from a no-show. If slots are indeed full, head to Smith Creek DH.

    · Ami Hydrotherapy

    · Trophy Hooch Brown

    · The Last Day of My Life
    Be careful! It’s not summer, so exercise caution when wading large rivers in the extreme cold.
    Here’s a sobering reminder, courtesy of

    · The Year in Photos
    Enjoy a nice photo essay by Todd:

    · Timely Lanier Intel
    While coming to work on Tuesday (16th) and today (19th) Dredger watched diving gulls and breaking fish in Wahoo Creek embayment on the downstream side of the Mt Vernon Road bridge.

    · Lanier Crappie
    Crappie Fishing Report January 17, 2018

    This Lake Lanier Crappie report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website,

    Water temperatures are in the mid- forties. If you go above Laurel Park on the Chattahoochee side or north of Thompson Creek on the Chestatee you will notice that the water is more stained as you get into the “S” turns. Also, the water temperature drops a few degrees at this point. The river channel docks with warmer water temps at 46 to 48 degrees will be your best options. The bait is between twenty and thirty feet deep, and the fish are holding on the deeper docks, with some schools on submerged brush piles. Our dock shooting technique is producing well. We’ve been catching better quality fish on the Chattahoochee side of the lake, however if you want to catch greater numbers, the Chestatee side of the lake will be your best option. The bite is starting deeper at fifteen to twenty feet, but it is amazing how quickly the entire school will shallow up if they decide to feed, sometimes up to eight feet below the surface. The best advice is to pay attention to your electronics, noting the depth the fish are suspended and work the jig directly above their heads. The way the eyes are positioned on the crappies’ heads, they are always looking up. Therefore, if the jig is below them it is difficult for them to see and respond to it. Jiffy jigs in a variety of colors and hair jigs are working well, but the soft body Bobby Garland jigs tend to skip the water easier. This will assist you in getting your jig all the way to the back of the dock when using the shooting technique. My preference however, is still the darker color jigs right now. The fish are holding tight to the structure and it is very critical to keep the jig in their strike zone. With the colder temperatures, their metabolism has slowed and they are not willing to chase your jig. You will also notice that the color of the crappie has turned to pale white, which is an indication they have gone to deeper pockets. The females have begun to develop eggs and you will see their bellies starting to become distended, even though the spawn is still a good distance away. The bait will lead you to the fish, so pay attention to your graph. Threadfins are the bait of choice for crappie. Stay safe on the water and wear your life jacket!

    (Ed note: Lanier rpt -

    · Ken’s Reservoir Reports
    It looks like Ken has thawed out and his current reports are already up today.

    · Toona Attractors

    Volunteers brave blustery cold conditions to improve fish habitat at Lake Allatoona. Members of the Marietta BassMasters (, Army Corps of Engineer’s Rangers and volunteers, and WRD staff secured over 200 donated Christmas trees to the lake bottom on Saturday. The trees were affixed to permanent anchor points around the Bethany Bridge Fishing Jetty located near Red Top Mountain State Park. Rising lake levels this spring will inundate the trees with water, creating new fish habitat. Anglers can expect these brush piles to attract bass, bream and catfish to within easy casting distance of the jetty. Most of the more than half a dozen public fishing jetties dotting the lake have been "sweetened" with hundreds of Christmas trees over the years. These brush piles can be found at the Blockhouse, Galt's Ferry, Proctor Landing, Bethany Bridge, and Victoria Marina fishing jetties. For more information on fishing Lake Allatoona, visit:

    Jim Hakala
    Senior Fisheries Biologist
    Wildlife Resources Division, Armuchee
    (706) 295-6102

    · Winter Tips
    Kudos to Aubrey, from our WRD-HQ Public Affairs staff, for her timely blog on winter fishing. Hint- the pictured trouter is trouting in the Tooga.

    · Biologist’s Winter Lake Intel
    Frigid temperatures are not only unpleasant for people but they can be downright lethal for some species of fish. Clupeids, which include shad and herring, are one such group of fish that do not tolerate prolonged periods of cold. Threadfin shad and blueback herring are a staple in the diet of many reservoir game fish, like bass, stripers and walleye. When the water temperature stays below 45oF for more than two weeks, you might start noticing more and more shad and herring swimming very slowly in the shallows. In fact, dramatic numbers may eventually succumb to the bone-numbing cold. One strategy that shad and herring use during extreme cold is to hold tight to the concrete on the face of the dam or along rip-rap bridge abutments or even in muddy water, which all retain and radiate heat on sunny afternoons. Anglers can use this knowledge to their fishing advantage because where there is prey, the predators are usually not far behind. Even if a winter die-off occurs, there are usually enough hardy survivors around to repopulate the prey base.

    Anthony Rabern
    Senior Fisheries Biologist
    Wildlife Resources Division, Burton Hatchery
    (706) 947-1507

    · How to Fight Big Fish
    Given all of this great intel from WRD and expert anglers, you now have an excellent chance to hook into a true whopper this winter or next spring. But once you’ve hooked ole Walter, how do you get him to pose for a picture with you? Enjoy this latest Orvis podcast with tips on fighting and landing big fish. Conway Bowman has a cred card: anyone who has landed an 800-pound mako has my total attention!

    · Reminder – Fly Fishing Show
    Coming to Gwinnett the first weekend in February. A true all-star seminar schedule is here:

    Nearly all of the ice has melted, so get out this weekend and do something- wet a line, take in a seminar, or partake in BBQ and bluegrass. It’s a great weather forecast as we break up winter with a really nice warm spell. Be careful on the mountain roads, where icy patches will still linger in the shade, and dress in layers so you can hopefully shed a few in the afternoons. Good luck as we all poke our noses back outside after a brief hibernation during the Arctic Express. Now you know why we live here and fish here year-round, rather than hunker down for months, instead of days, in Wyoming and have to wait til the May thaw.
    Go fish Georgia, by golly!

    Jeff Durniak
    North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor

    Wildlife Resources Division

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