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Dredger's Weekly Report - High Water, Frozen Fingers, and Awesome Vets

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  • Dredger's Weekly Report - High Water, Frozen Fingers, and Awesome Vets

    It’s been busy here all week and today was no exception. I’ve missed my noon deadline to Melissa for inclusion in our statewide, weekly fishing blog,, but thought that a late report to y’all on my direct email list might still be appreciated. Hopefully our great Public Affairs specialist will toss this into the WRD blog as an addendum next week.

    I hope everyone enjoyed the two measly weeks of fall that we had, after a Georgia summer that extended through October and a taste of winter that arrives tonight. Hey, I’ll take cool/wet over hot/dry any day of the week! In the big picture of life, we don’t have any significant problems due to a little extra water and some numb fingers and toes (trust me on this one, as my brother waters his ROOF and prays for the Santa Anna winds to die in Chico, CA).

    Given the abrupt change in our weather, smart anglers will adapt to these new conditions. They’ll watch stream flows and water temperatures and be prepared to pull their winter tactics out of their tackle bags for some early exercise. So grab the fleece, Goretex, and handwarmers. Make sure your PFD’s are worn on the lakes and zipped up to ensure that you bob, and not sink, if tossed into the drink.

    Despite the early winter blast, it is still fall around here. For us in the fish management business, that means fall reservoir and river sampling, as water temperatures drop back into the optimal range for our target species to come shallow and be vulnerable to our sampling gear. Generally, we net our big lakes in the fall and electrofish them in the spring. The long term trends in the catch rate of target species (bass, crappie, stripers, walleye, etc) are used by our biologists as indices of fish abundance and the health of their fisheries. So sit back and enjoy the sampling stories and pics. As the afternoons warm and the rivers recede, you’ll have some great information to point you in the right direction. Just dress for success and be safe on the water. This week, lakes are first and then trout intel brings up the rear of this report. Here we go:

    · Hartwell Habitat Additions

    · Burton Habitat, Too!
    The WRD Fisheries team in North Georgia is busy building new homes for bass in Lake Burton. Lake Burton is nearly 100 years old and structural habitat for fish is greatly lacking. The units shown in the photo will provide the complex structure that bass are looking for and the unique design prevents hooks and lures from getting tangled in the branches. Sounds like a win-win for both. Special thanks to Georgia Power Company for funding assistance with attractor materials.

    Anthony Rabern
    Fisheries Biologist
    Wildlife Resources Division
    (706) 947-1507

    · Morgan Falls Bass
    Fall is an excellent season for bass fishing, as cooler temperatures invigorate quality prey sources like shad and crayfish. Deploy bottom-oriented baits in shallow-to-medium depths near points, submerged woody structure, or rocky ledges for your best chances at enticing a strike. Football jigs with trailers, crawfish-imitating lures, Texas rigs, and Rattle Traps will all present well for bass transitioning to their fall forage patterns. Black bass recently sampled from the Morgan Falls tailwater revealed stomach contents containing mostly crawfish, like the one pictured here.

    Hunter J. Roop
    Fisheries Biologist
    Wildlife Resources Division
    (770) 535-5498

    · Hefty Hybrids in Chatuge
    Water temperatures have begun to cool down on Lake Chatuge and Nottely. These cooling temps draw pelagic predators like Walleye, and Striped and Hybrid Striped Bass shallow where they gorge on Blueback Herring, Threadfin, and Gizzard Shad. Catch these fish along deeper, rocky points with woody structure trolling a "Northport Nailer", "Bomber Long-A", or a "Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap". Here Fisheries Biologist Zach Moran shows off a nice Hybrid Striper sampled from Lake Chatuge this week.

    Zachary S. Moran
    Fisheries Biologist
    Wildlife Resources Division
    (706) 947-1503

    · Walleye and Perch
    Walleye are on the prowl in the mountain lakes of northeast Georgia giving anglers a great opportunity for some fall fishing success. One of the benefits of Georgia’s walleye stocking program is creating trophy-sized yellow perch. The perch in the picture was caught by fisheries staff during a recent population sampling trip and its weight was just a few ounces shy of the state record. Anglers should troll nightcrawlers along the bottom in about 30-feet of water during daylight hours for both perch and walleye, but walleye will move into shallower water during low light conditions to feed on small perch, herring and bream.

    Anthony Rabern
    Fisheries Biologist
    Wildlife Resources Division
    (706) 947-1507 |

    · More Roop Reports
    Hi Jeff,

    This week, the newly assembled Gainesville WRD Fisheries work unit composed of Biologist Hunter Roop and veteran Tech 3 Mark Rigglesford tackled a number of fall fieldwork initiatives including collecting EPD fish samples, Lake Lanier tailwater sampling for brown trout (BNT), and hosting a delayed harvest volunteer stocking event at Whitewater Creek. A mixed bag of black bass species (largemouth, shoals, and spots) were collected on the Morgan Falls tailwater to provide samples for EPD’s mercury monitoring and food consumption guideline programs. Noteworthy bycatch at the Morgan Falls tailwater were brown and rainbow trout that had migrated upstream from the Chattahoochee DH section, and several large striped bass enjoying a buffet of gizzard shad and blueback herring.

    After the Morgan Falls samples, Roop and Rigglesford turned their eyes to the Lanier tailwater for annual wild BNT standardized sampling. In two days, all five 30-minute stations were sampled via electrofishing. Approximately 300 BNT were collected, measured, and weighed before being released back into the river. Sizes ranged from abundant age-1 (6 inches) to a 12.25 lb (>28 inch) monster brown netted by Mark Rigglesford in the final minutes of the last sampling station. On Thursday, Roop and Rigglesford braved the rain and traffic in another journey to Atlanta, where they happened upon a group of wader-donning, bucket-toting volunteers at Whitewater Creek. These volunteers led the charge in sprinkling quality brown and rainbow trout across the shoals in that section of the DH. The second half of the ~1,500 fish load was released at Acres Mill in an effort to allow the high flows of the day to carry the hearty stockers farther through the DH section, and hopefully crossing the path of more anglers’ single hook, artificial lures on the way downstream. Special thanks goes out to Mark Rigglesford for bringing his seasoned fish management skills and work ethic to Region 1. His addition is already making a huge impact!


    Hunter J. Roop
    Fisheries Biologist
    Wildlife Resources Division
    (770) 535-5498

    · Ken’s Lake Reports

    NOVEMBER 11, 2018


    NOTICE: The East Bank Ramp will be closed for the annual deer hunt November 11, 12 and 13, 2018.

    This report brought to you by: Jimbo Mathley Jimbo on Lanier
    Give me a call and let s fish! 770 542 7764

    The lake is clear on the lower end, and showing some signs of turnover at and above Brown’s Bridge. Overall, the lake is in good shape and starting to cool. We have dropped 2 degrees in surface temperature since last week. The fishing has really been good the past few weeks. We have continued working shallower rocky points with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, and worms for the majority of our fish. We have enjoyed some swimbait activity at times over brush and on schooling fish, but the aforementioned baits have been our main pattern. When the fish are active, the spinnerbait and crankbaits are hard to beat. Try using a deeper diving crankbait, like the Spro Little John DD on those shallow points keep the bait digging on the bottom. You can cover water quickly and find the aggressive fish. When the bite slows, switch to a worm and jig presentation in those same areas and back out from the shallows. The chasing fish have been in 10 feet or less, and the worm and jig fish have been more in the 12 to 20 foot range, but we have found them to be very shallow at times as well. Focus on the shallower rock points in both the mouths of creeks as well as the main lake. Also the mouths of creek pockets in the first half of the major creeks have been productive as well. It is really fun out there right now gang! November and December are some of my favorite months on the lake. Come enjoy some fantastic fall fishing! Here are my open dates for November: 15, 16, and 19(PM), 20, 21, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30(PM) I am also booking dates for December. Lots of great fishing ahead of us in the coming months, both morning and afternoon! Give me a call and let’s fish!

    This Lake Lanier Striper report is from Big Fish on Guide Service. To book your trip call Captain Ken at 404 561 2564 or contact us on our web site.

    Striper fishing is slow. The fish are scattered and finding them can be a challenge. We have been focused on the south end of the lake this week where the bait is both deep and shallow. There are long strings of bait (blueback herring) deep at 60 feet and shallow bait (threadfin shad) from the surface to 10 feet deep. Downrods with Blueback Herring has been the most productive pattern. Look for one or two fish in pockets off the river and creek channels and deploy your downrods at 45 to 60 feet depending on where you mark the fish. If you do not see fish in 15 to 20 minutes pick up and move. There is also a shallow water bite off main lake and creek points and humps. Use both downrods and free lines to target these fish and focus on a depth of 20 to 40 feet. The umbrella rig is also an option to fish these points and humps. Set your rigs at 100 feet back and troll at 3 MPH. You will also pick up a Spotted Bass or two as they are mixed in with the stripers. Keep your eyes on the water looking for surface activity. You should carry several spinning rods with the basic top water baits tied on, including Chug Bugs, Red Fins and Spooks and a 1/2 oounce bucktail jig with a small fluke. Focus on reef markers and long sloping points with your top water baits. The water temperature is in the mid to low 60’s. The water is lightly stained in the creeks and clear on the main lake. The lake is 1.6 feet below full pool. To book your guide trip call us at 404 561 2564 or contact us on our web site.

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

    Water temperature is in the upper 60’s but with colder weather combined with cold rain, I suspect it will drop quickly. If you are fishing in the northern lake areas, you will notice even cooler water temperatures and a change in the water color. We are experiencing the typical fall pattern a few weeks later in the year, but fishing conditions are good to excellent. Standalone brush piles are still our major targets. The ideal brush piles are currently at twenty foot to thirty five foot depths. Your downscan electronics can help you determine whether fish are holding on the brush piles you find. Some brush piles will hold more fish than others. Our club members continue to report great catches. This is a wonderful time of the year to get on fish and catch them steadily. If you can locate fish in deeper brush piles, thirty to thirty five feet, you may want to consider vertical jigging. The bite is very sensitive. Bobby Garland in different colors, Crappie Assassin, Jiffy Jigs and tube jigs are all working equally well for us. If you have a favorite jig, just try it. Chances are it will work. If you are fishing with someone, try using different jigs and see what’s working best at that location. Expect the bite to continue getting stronger as the water temperature drops. Be safe on the water! Wear your life jacket, it can save your life.


    This Bass Fishing report is from Captain Todd Wynn (386) 882 3357

    Bass fishing is fair. The beginning of the week was a roller coaster on Lake Allatoona. The weather has got the fish moving all over. The majority of the fish Monday and Tuesday came out of deeper water but there are some fish shallow. The key to finding them either way was finding the schools of shad. The best pattern we found was targeting rock walls with a shear drop in 26 34’ of water. There had to be shad though otherwise the fish wouldn’t eat. The technique that worked the best was drop shot fishing with 6 to 8 pound test mono using a number 1 drop shot hook paired with an 1/8 1/4 ounce drop shot weight. The bait of choice was A Zoom swamp crawler in pumpkin seed or a Roboworm in pink. As the day went on the bait started coming toward the surface. As a result the top water bite turned on. Fish with prop baits such as Torpedo’s and also on Super Spook Juniors. A small shad tail rigged on a 1/4 ounce jig head also worked well.


    Bass fishing is fair. Husky Jerks and Bandit crank baits are working and the fish are around schools of shad. Anglers are seeing the bait popping up all over the lake. Early morning until about noon and then again in the later afternoon until dark are the best times to fish. Fish all the points with heavy rock on them you can find. Back up the hard baits with Carolina rigs and small Bitsey bug dark green 1/4 ounce jigs. Andersonville Island is a good areas as well as the moving water you will find on up in the Tugaloo River. Rock ledges on or near deeper water are still producing during the heat of the day. Zoom Super flukes in pearl can catch the fish that might want a slower bait swimming around.


    By Mark Collins Service 3252 Old Hwy 9, Cedar Bluff, Al 35959, 256 779 3387

    Now available for sale 50 of my proven GPS waypoints for off shore structure for Bass and Crappie fishing on Weiss Lake, Alabama. For more info contact Ken Sturdivant at

    Bass fishing is good. A lot of bass are starting to move shallow on a fall pattern, Rat L Traps and shallow running crank baits are catching fish. Rip Rap rocks are also holding fish. Shallow road beds and secondary points are holding fish. The Spotted Bass are doing well in the upper Coosa River near Riverside.

    Striper fishing is poor and few small fish are being caught out on the river ledges.

    Crappie fishing is good and most fish are on the creek and river channels ledges, tight on the cover. Spider rigging with live minnows is the way to catch these fall fish. Most fish are on the Coosa river channel ledges 12 to 16 feet deep, some fish are showing up in Little River and the Chattooga River on the ledges and suspended in the river channel. The long line trolling bite will get good over the next few weeks.


    · DH Reports
    The bigger waters are gonna take several days to drop and clear. New biologist Zach and I returned from a Forest Service meeting today and the Ami DH was Yoohoo at 2PM. Pick a different place for this weekend.
    Remember to check the flow before you go.
    Always have a high water alternative, like Smith DH, Lake Tralyta, or some reservoir bass or stripers.

    Before the heavy rains, there were some great reports from our DH waters:
    o Smith Whopper:

    § NOTE: we’d like to thank our fine federal partners at Chattahoochee Forest National Hatchery.
    They took a long ride to Erwin, TN this fall and brought back some “retired” broodstock rainbows and brookies for our Georgia waters.
    I think this Smith Creek angler is pretty darn happy about the feds’ extra efforts!

    o Smith Again: “We’re Believers”

    Hey Jeff-

    Took Holly out to Smith Creek DH today. As you can probably imagine it was a bit of a circus with somebody camped out in every hole. We wandered down stream a fair bit and found a nice surprise in maybe 18” of water, laying right against the downed branch you see in the background.

    Obviously this fish was stocked at some point but was wondering if this one had been in there awhile. Based on the colors and size it doesn’t look like a fresh stocker. I know you’ve told us there have been some good fish pulled at Smith and we’re believers.

    Hope all is well!
    Derek M.

    o Toccoa:

    o Ami: no reports yet.

    o Hooch:

    o Tooga:
    Saturday morning 10am, overcast slight rain, water temperature 56 degrees, river flow running steady.

    After the heavy rain slowed down I started to prepare for a trek upstream since the previous day I fished the lower part of the DH. Started to gear up and talked to some other fisherman in the parking lot on the S.C. side about rumors or sightings of the exclusive stocking truck. Starting my trek talked to 2 fisherman who seemed to have some luck further upstream so I headed that way, came across some Gearheads chunking rooster tails and relayed they were catching good numbers, talked to a few other anglers who were throwing green wooly buggers and they informed me that the trout were holding in one area and hitting anything you threw at them. So I found a promising location tied on a mop fly (brown) with a Y2K dropper and tried my luck, the gearheads just left the area I fished and stirred it up so I had to wait for things to calm down before the fish started biting again. After about 30 minutes I had my first strike a small rainbow so between a period of two hours I landed around 8 fish and had about 12 strikes. A lot of fish were holding in this pool and they got hammered hard by a lot of anglers in a 6 hour period. Last fish I landed was a nice brown trout, plan on going back on Sunday hopefully the fish will be spread out more.
    -Tommy C.

    · Poacher Alert
    It’s that time again when trout fishing violations may been seen on our DH streams. What should you do? Here’s some advice on how to handle all kinds of situations:
    And memorize our ranger hotline!

    · Wading Safety
    Winter’s high, muddy, cold water is hazardous to your long-term fishing plans. Stay alive by practicing some of the following tips. Always employ a wading staff, belt, and a buddy, and use common sense. Make sure you have two flashlights and a butane lighter in your fly vest and a change of dry clothes in your vehicle. A few stockers aren’t worth your life. Great stuff in here:

    · The Chattooga Bird has Flown!
    This old video will illustrate the operation well. And it has a great soundtrack!
    WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson said that the Forest Service slipped the bird in ahead of the rain this week and got both our fish and the SCDNR fish in the water, both in the DH section and in the ten upstream miles of river backcountry. Kudos to SCDNR’s Walhalla Hatchery for some outstanding stockers again this year!

    · Chattooga Fishing Info for Newbies
    Since it’s gonna feel like winter outside, use some of these winter fishing techniques and Rabunite observations on flow levels to plan a successful trip up there soon.

    · Free Trout Fishing Book
    Smokies tactics work just fine throughout our Southeastern freestone streams.

    As we close this week’s report, let’s remember the reason that some of us have a three-day weekend:
    Happy Veterans Day. More importantly, let’s remember all of our vets for giving us the freedom to fish. If you have a chance, thank a vet. Better yet, take a vet fishing. You’ll be glad you did. I sure am![0]=68.ARCVaPOLAPAHVDQ4xMlsSYxY_r7Ampcv6zb8jmyAiRGpcD-NQ7gKuuTEGanTmfCdY3Pm1-5vZZebH5kjnblKFSl4zPT055rzbrm1q9rVRicxp7nBv0tXHqXM y5GWXEdUoX2nl_RvMq_kQdHOv9ksr7YR7dZUfG7ysYXhiAWOMH OVfVeMbKLxk4dujrET4Hhrb3IkKiY8Kk2Ew7GG2cUlBg9fi967 KaLsTOk2Wn00m8yz4NfSmGj5I579Phh9Wqq29btvQJwJzUER2Z 8_GmxQD6dcng466Sw6V3oHlaV_e_SHBpw6TTQEv7GCcon_mnuf iiisiCBjpU0ZJP4lGk_-RacngQ&__tn__=-R

    Thanks again for your fishing license and license plate dollars. Hopefully you feel that we’re putting them to good use across north Georgia. And thank you Vets for our freedom to fish!!!!

    Jeff Durniak
    North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor

    Wildlife Resources Division

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