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Dredger's Weekly Report - The Great Recession

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  • Dredger's Weekly Report - The Great Recession

    No, not the economy; it’s the WATER!

    Wow, what a week of rainfall, which ranged from about seven to nine inches across north Georgia. Our streams were the highest I’ve seen in several years, while reservoirs have added several feet of elevation from all of that heavy rainfall in their watersheds now, before the spring vegetation starts soaking up those rains and puts a dent in the runoff.
    After the great flood, we are now hoping for the Great Recession.

    Many areas were unfishable and some of the larger rivers still are,
    but those savvy folks with Plan B’s in their back pockets will still have a chance to wet a line between raindrops this week. Trouters should watch the small streams, small lakes (Vogel, Black Rock, Nancytown, Rock, and Ami Park), and tailwaters right below big dams (Lower Pool on Hooch and Tammen on Toccoa) as best bets for clear water and reachable fish. The Great Recession will happen quicker on small streams draining smaller watersheds, while it can take a week or longer on big drainage basins like the Chattooga and Toccoa.

    On the reservoirs, watch for what we call the “mudlines,” those zones of murky waters in between the blood-red runoff and the clear main lake. That color (turbidity) absorbs a lot of the sun’s rays, warms, and then attracts shad and herring. That color also allows predators to hide and then ambush unsuspecting shad. When conducting our annual spring electrofishing samples or Morone (the striper and white bass genus) collections, those mudlines are hotspots. On Tuesday evening (2/13) the Hooch arm of Lanier was fairly clear at Highway 53, but yoohoo at Highway 60, so the mudline might be in the vicinity of the Sardis ramp this week. Watch the turbidity levels for at least a foot or two of visibility, check water temps, and watch your graphs for bait balls. That combination, along with some herons and gulls, should put you on some nice spots, largemouth, stripers, and hybrids in our north Georgia reservoirs this spring. For example, see Scott’s Hartwell report, below. Additionally, this misty rain and fog will often keep predators in the shallows much longer than a bright sun and bluebird sky. Don’t forget the tips in last week’s report, and even the DNR fishing reports from the springs of 2017 and 2016. Take some time to scroll backward, and that homework may fill your nets going forward.

    Here we go:

    · Lanier Whopper

    This 40” 31 lb striper was caught this morning (2/10/18). Flat lining a medium shiner.
    You have Frank's permission to publish the picture if you want to.
    Stay dry!

    Terry Richards
    Sherry’s Bait & BBQ

    · Lanier Crappie
    Crappie Fishing Report February 14, 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 low to mid 50’s. That is 10 degrees higher than last week. The backs of the creeks are heavily stained, and that is where you find the warmest water temps. The lake level went up about a foot in the past week, and the floating debris is abundant all over the lake making navigation hazardous. Be careful, as some logs are water logged and below or even with the water surface. Fishing conditions have improved, but the number one question I get asked is “where is the bait?” A handful of creeks are showing signs of bait. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the bait that survived the cold are hanging in the channels in deep water, up to 110 foot depths. Sooner than later, the bait will shallow up. With the trash floating and wedged in docks, we are having a hard time getting our jigs past the trash to sink - it is very challenging. But homeowners had to bring their docks in with the rising lake levels, and some of the brush piles that are usually underneath the docks are now on the outer edges of the docks. Take advantage of those locations as they are much easier to fish. With these water temperatures, you can’t help but think the pre-spawn is here. The crappie are looking for food and are shallowing up for the spawn. Darker jigs are still recommended in moderate to heavily stained water. Fishing should get easier over the next few weeks, so get out on the water, enjoy the warmer weather and catch some fish! Stay safe on the water and wear your life jacket!

    · Lanier Crappie Clubs
    Join one, get in on their late-breaking intel, and load up your cooler with crappie this spring. It’s fixing to break wide open very soon!

    · Lanier Bass
    o Feb 9:
    Yesterday on Lanier I begged and begged. Finally, three spots succumbed to my trickery. Somehow I still felt defeated! They all hit the shiner soft bait. Upper lake is badly stained at Little River and Wahoo Creek. Had to drop the bait on their nose to get a bite.
    - Wally W.

    o Report #2:

    o Report #3:

    o Report #4
    Water Temp - 50 degrees
    Water Level - 1.1 feet below full pool

    This report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley - Jimbo on Lanier

    Well the conditions on the lake are once again changing! The rain we have been receiving has jumped the lake up another 2 feet since last week's report and we stand at just a little more than a foot down from full pool, a level we have not seen in well over a year. The backs of the major creeks are heavy stained to muddy, and the main lake below Brown's Bridge is still clear. The waters above Brown's Bridge seem to be carrying more of a stain. The water temps are on the rise in the areas where that have received the recent warmer rains - we found 50-54 degree water back in some of the pockets and ditches this week. We switched our focus to shallow this week based on the changing lake conditions. The rising and warming water got some fish moved up in the shallows in the backs of creeks and pockets. A chatterbait and a jerkbait were two of our best options this week in those areas carrying some stain. Most of the fish have been coming around those shallow docks, but little rocky points are holding fish as well. Focus on water 15 feet deep and less for this pattern. The timber edges in and around 30- 40 feet are still holding fish as well. Hit these with a Picasso Shake Down Head and worm combo. We have been dropping directly on the fish we are seeing on the Lowrance electronics. Casting in these areas can also be effective, but the drop down has been best, targeting specific fish we see on the graph. A drop shot is also working on these deeper fish - I have been favoring minnow imitations lately, like a fluke. The spoon bite is still there on some days as well, so make sure to keep that in your arsenal and ready for action. It just depends on the day, so be flexible in your choices. The steeper rock points and banks on the main lake and in the creeks have been productive at times also. The Picasso Shake Down head/green pumpkin worm combo along with a Chattahoochee Jig have done well in these areas. We have been presenting these baits very slowly in these steep rock areas. Look for the fish to be shallower in these areas on sunny days, and deeper on cloudy days. When the wind is up, try your SPRO Little John DD on the rocks as well for some fish. Don't expect a lot of bites, but some good ones. Don't miss the opportunity to throw a SuperSpin in the same places as well. Also of interest, in the afternoons of sunny days, we have found some biting fish in smaller, shorter pockets close to deep water. These fish have been in 15-25 feet and often around docks. Look for the areas that are protected from a north wind and get lots of sun. This pattern is just like an early spring pattern, so think in those terms as you pursue it. Sun and warming water is the key. It's still a great time to learn the deep winter bite and really learn the keys to catching fish when the bite is tougher. While the catch rates for trips this time of year is not as good as others, I believe the learning opportunities are at their best right now. And don't forget, that fun pre-spawn bite is just around the corner, so reserve your date now! Following is a list of my upcoming open February: 21, 23, 24, 26, 28. Give me a call and let's get out and learn these deep winter fish as well as the early pre-spawn bite!

    Thanks to all and May God Bless!

    Jim "JIMBO" Mathley
    Spotted Bass Fishing Guide - Lake Lanier
    Mobile - 770-542-7764

    · Fresh Hartwell Report

    I have fished Hartwell the past couple of weekends. This past weekend the backs of the creeks were somewhat muddy from the recent rains but midway down most of the creek arms the water clears up. Once you get out of the muddy water, where you find shad, you can find a mixed bag of stripers, hybrids, spotted bass, and largemouth feeding on them. When the fish are active they will hit small crankbaits pulled through the shad. This time of year with the colder water they seem to like the flat-sided shad imitation baits and those with a tight wiggle, like Shad Raps or Strike King KVD models. The best action is when you find shad up close to shore or on humps or points that create ambush opportunities.

    - Scott Robinson, Field Operations Manager
    GAWRD- Fisheries Headquarters

    · Carters

    Striper and hybrid report provided by Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service, 770 827-6282.

    Fishing has been good for big fish. Carters has never been known for numbers, but it is known for big fish of all species. This past week, my clients have boated and lost some monster stripers. We’ve fished a limited schedule this past month due to the cold weather, but still boated four fish from 21 to 24 pounds and lost some really big ones too. The key to Carters this year is shad. Every year, these fish seem to hit one bait better than the other. Last year it was alewife, the year before trout, but this year shad is king. The downline bite is by far the best bite, with limited action on planer boards and free-lines this year. Downlines fished from 50 to 80 feet over bait are working best. Most of the action we are getting on is right at sun-up. All the main creeks are holding fish. The bigger your shad, the better. Remember, you’re not going to load the boat, but some true trophies are biting right now.

    Bass fishing report courtesy of Louie Bartenfield,, 706-218-6609

    Water temps 48-52, lake level: +10ft over pool, clarity: still good throughout most of the lake, but heavily stained in river & behind beach area (Johnson Creek).
    Spotted Bass are still following big schools of alewife throughout the lower to mid lake sections. These fish are roaming in 25-50ft depths over creek channels, but will occasionally stage near a bluff or ditch. If you run into them you can catch a few fish quick, but they’re shutting off fast. Drop shots, jigging spoons and Spotsticker Underspins have been my best producers for these fish. With the recent rains and high water, I have been finding a few fish shallow as well, which has been refreshing. I’ve been dragging jigs and casting crank baits around the flooded wood. The bites are few and far between, but you can run around and catch some this way. Looking forward to the warmer weather & longer days just around the corner. Good luck out there! LB

    · Toona

    This Lake Allatoona fishing guides report for stripers and hybrids has been brought to you exclusively by Robert Eidson of First Bite Guide Service, 770 827-6282.
    Lineside fishing is fair. The cold weather triggered a major shad kill. This kill is the biggest we have seen in a few years. The good news is it hit quick and should be a shorter kill then we have seen in past year. There is still a bite out there, but nothing like we had back in December. We are catching fish on many different techniques. Early in the morning we are doing well using shad on planner board, free lines and even down lines. Where getting a bite or two right at sun up.

    By 930am the live bait bite really slows down. This is when you want to swap over to your U-Rigs. The U-rig bite is the strongest bite going right now. I have been doing very well pulling my rigs between 930am -1pm mid lake. The key to catching these fish is your speed - 2.5 miles an hour has been the best for me.

    The shad kill will make fishing a little difficult for the next couple of weeks, but it should really make for a great spring...

    · North GA Walleye
    Walleye anglers are secretive because this is a target for harvest, but some sketchy reports are trickling in to biologists Pat and Anthony about northeast reservoir fish starting to move uplake, toward their spawning grounds.

    · Ken’s Reservoir Reports
    “Catch” his Friday updates here:

    · Capt Clay’s Latest

    · Blue Ridge Smallies
    I wonder if these folks follow our DNR fishing reports. If so, then they would have watched our efforts as they happened. Armuchee fisheries biologist John Damer (706-295-6105) is our lead on this sport fish restoration program in Blue Ridge Lake.

    · Noname River

    · Hooch Tailwater

    · Smith DH
    o Report #1:
    It's raging here at 9 am on Monday, 2/12. Careful anglers can stay on the bank and dredge big squirmies and stoneflies in the few bankside eddies available. Nobody should wade it right now. Better yet, watch the USGS Hooch Helen gauge to see when flooded streams drop back to tolerable flow levels.

    Right after typing the above, I ran into "Savannah Stan," who was bank fishing. He had already landed eleven trout by tossing big squirmies into bankside eddies. Not a bad way to start his day!

    o Report #2:

    · Making Rainbows after the Rain

    Wildlife Resources Division staff at the Summerville Fish Hatchery recently graded the first batch of Rainbow Trout fingerlings hatched during the 2018 fiscal year. Grading is the process of separating fingerlings by size; this reduces cannibalism by larger fish as well as maximizing growth for the smaller fish of the hatch. Assistant Hatchery Manager Danny Edwards (pictured) uses a bar grader to separate the larger fingerlings to be moved to an outside raceway. After a short grow-out period in the outside raceway the Rainbow Trout will then be transported to either Burton or Buford Hatcheries for grow-out to stocking size.

    (Ed. Note: this is the first fishing report by our newest addition to the Summerville crew, Fisheries Tech 2 Eric Wittig. He’s been well educated at Auburn U. and well trained by the U.S. Marines, where he still serves in its reserves. Thanks Eric!)

    · Trout Stockings
    We still make to make some room at the hatcheries for lots of subcatchable fish and also the new arrivals, small fingerlings from our egg-hatching facilities. Watch here on Fridays for the streams stocked that week:
    And have you clicked yet on that map link in there? Don’t miss that goody from our GIS staff.


    · Feb 19 - Hooch Vol Stocking

    · Feb 20 - Expert Photographer - Suwannee

    Tailwater Trout Unlimited Chapter
    Our next meeting will be Tuesday,February 20th, 2018.* Our special guest speaker will be David Cannon speaking on his Amazon photography and fishing expedition! ( and author and photographer of*Fly Fishing Georgia: A No Nonsense Guide to Top Waters (No Nonsense Fly Fishing Guidebooks) (

    Everyone is invited!
    Let's have a big showing and support!* Hope to see everyone there!

    Date:*Tuesday, February 20th, 2018
    Location:*Tanners Chicken Emporium in Suwanee (map)
    Time:*6pm arrive, 6:30pm eat, 7pm short meeting &*presentation
    See you at Tanner's!

    · Feb 20 – Winter Trouting Tips - Dillard

    · Feb 24 - Lanier Striper Tourney

    · March 17- Flies and Fly Water

    · March 24 – Hooch Hoot in Helen

    · April 7- Rabunite 101

    · April 7- Get Outdoors Festival

    · April 28- Blue Ridge TroutFest

    · DNR Jobs
    If anyone is interested in a career with our agency, check here:

    o Folks with completed educations and possibly some work experience can check on DNR’s current vacancies and apply.
    o Younger folks considering natural resource careers and making early plans for their education routes should look at the minimum and preferred qualifications for positions of interest. That information may help plot their educational paths.

    Good luck finding water that’s low and clear enough to fish. Hey, high water still beats the heck out of historic droughts and catastrophic forest fires,
    so we can, indeed, be thankful and patient together. After the recession, let’s all go fish Georgia, once again!

    Jeff Durniak
    North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor

    Wildlife Resources Division

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

  • #2
    Merely stocking a few thousand smallmouth bass fry or fingerlings into Blue Ridge lake isn’t going to restore the population.

    I guess Im confused on what the plan is with smallmouth bass in Blue Ridge anyway. The population has been in steady decline long before now.
    Last edited by trout1980; 02-15-18, 04:38 PM.


    • #3
      Originally posted by trout1980 View Post
      Merely stocking a few thousand smallmouth bass fry or fingerlings into Blue Ridge lake isn’t going to restore the population.

      I guess Im confused on what the plan is with smallmouth bass in Blue Ridge anyway. The population has been in steady decline long before now.
      John Damer's phone number is listed above. Give him a call (good guy) and report back here what you found out. He could probably answer your question about musky in Lake Blue Ridge you have asked about twice.
      If this were rocket science most of us wouldn't be doing it. - Terry Creech


      • #4
        I got an answer from the state on muskies.

        I will ask if the goal is restore a reproducing population of smb


        • #5
          Exciting stuff about the smallmouth stocking! Hopefully it'll work and then we can start on Chatuge! When I was a wee-hillbilly, and would go with my dad or grandpa, smallmouth was what you caught. The last one I caught there was actually upstream of the lake in the upper hiwassee river while trout fishing a few years ago.


          • #6
            Originally posted by buckman1 View Post
            Exciting stuff about the smallmouth stocking! Hopefully it'll work and then we can start on Chatuge! When I was a wee-hillbilly, and would go with my dad or grandpa, smallmouth was what you caught. The last one I caught there was actually upstream of the lake in the upper hiwassee river while trout fishing a few years ago.
            That would be fun.

            Warning: all posts should be assumed to contain sarcasm and misinformation unless stated otherwise. The opinions shared are not necessarily those of the poster.