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Old 05-17-18, 02:51 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Dacula, GA
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Default Dredger's Weekly Report - Rain Plan B's

It’s rain, rain, rain, and more rain in the forecast as I write this on Thursday (5/17).
And at GAWRD, we’re singing in the rain! After getting through a long, dry week, several inches of rainfall are a welcome recharge to our streams, rivers, and especially our heavily loaded state and federal trout hatcheries.
North Georgia stream resources really benefit from about one good rain per week to get us through each summer. Since our streams are fueled by surface runoff and not spring flows, regular visits by summer storm clouds are warmly welcomed by mountain anglers and trout hatchery managers.

But the rains do crimp some of our weekend angling plans. Larger trout streams and bass rivers are usually too high and muddy for good fishing, so our Plan A’s are shot. After the crystal clear water of the last two weeks and shoalies smashing surface poppers, that is, indeed, a bummer. But we are resourceful, and any good hillbilly always has a Rainfall Plan B in the back pocket of his/her nylon wading pants. At this time of the year, our best Plan B’s are headwater trout streams, the big reservoirs, the shadows of their big dams, and especially our small ponds and lakes. Headwater streams shed their rainfall much quicker because their watersheds are small. They are usually fishable within one day, if not hours, of a heavy storm. The big lakes are good, but we’ll have to go early, late, or after dark for the best bites because of warming surface waters and sport fish now pulling off the banks. Reservoir dams hold back muddy runoff in the big lakes above them, and we can find some clear, fishable water (in between dam discharges) the river reach below the dams, before muddy tributaries dump into them. And the most consistent Storm Plan B is our small lakes, where bass and bream are still on fire this spring. Some of these lakes also have trout (see our WRD master stocking list on our website) and those anglers who sink their baits deep into the cold thermocline or who toss them into the mouths of cold tributaries feeding the lake can cash in on stockers, which will crowd into these coldwater refuges.

Don’t let this rain get you down. It’s a great investment in summer survival for our aquatic habitats in the mountains. Simply adjust your weekend plans to fishable waters via your Plan B strategies and have a blast. And next week you’ll probably be able to go back and enjoy your Plan A fishing destinations. Here we go:

· Stockers

Just a short note about catching some Trout this past Sunday with my little sister. We decided to head to North Georgia this past Sunday as it was way to windy to fish for Stripers on Lanier. It was a last minute decision to enjoy the mountains and do a little fishing. We did not have any rods or tackle with us but that did not stop us. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to bait up for Trout fishing. We headed to Wally World and picked up two rod & reel combos for $10 each. Grabbed some #6 hooks and some BB weights. Total $23. Stopped at a bait shop along the way for a cricket tube, ½ tube of crickets and some red wigglers. Spent another $4.50. We went to my all time favorite place which was where the Chestatee River crosses Copper Mines Rd. and fished under the one lane bridge. Within the first few minutes is was Fish On. I caught a nice 12” Rainbow on a cricket just before the rocks in mid-river. Fishing was slow but enjoyable. We stayed until the bite slowed and left for Dick’s Creek. Just a short drive north and we were there. I managed to catch a nice Brownie on a worm in a fast moving eddy. What an enjoyable day. A couple of DNR came by and greeted us asking for our licenses. We showed them and I was pleased that Georgia still does this which protects our right to fish and protects the fishery from depletion by poachers. After that we enjoyed the rest of the day in the mountains driving home.

Steve Scott 404-273-3481
See my Striper reports in the Angler Magazine and in the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division blog.
"Catch & Release fishing - because a fish is too valuable to catch only once."

· Stocker Best Bets
More than 31,000 trout will exit the gates of Georgia’s state and federal trout hatcheries this week. Given the heavy rainfall, here are WRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson’s best bets for this weekend: Right below the dams of the Lanier and Blue Ridge tailwaters
(, Wildcat, Dicks, Boggs, Sarahs, Ami Park after the Saturday morning kids fishing event,
( Rock, Hooch on WMA, and Tallulah. As always, our Friday updates to the trout stocking list are here:
Sign up for their direct delivery to your smart phones via that pop-up brookie!

· Raccoon Creek Bucket Brigade
Volunteers from the Cohutta Chapter of Trout Unlimited assisted GAWRD in stocking Rainbow Trout in Raccoon Creek (Paulding Co.) within Paulding Forest Wildlife Management Area on May 10. In addition to the traditional stocking method of unloading trout straight from the stocking truck and into the creek, trout were stocked by volunteer bucket brigade to better distribute fish to distant stretches of Raccoon Creek. This will improve the angling experience and encourage anglers to venture out of the heavily fished stretches of Raccoon Creek in search of a new "Honey Hole". I enjoyed the TU’ers help and their company during our caravan into and out of the area.

Information on Paulding Forest WMA:,
Information on the Cohutta Chapter of Trout Unlimited

- Eric Wittig
Fisheries Tech 2
GAWRD- Summerville Trout Hatchery

· DH Last Hurrah
DH streams will still have some fish in them, so don’t give up on them yet.

o Recall that NC’s DH season extends for a few more weeks.

o Trouter23 went out with a bang on Smith Creek! Enjoy the photo of his sixteen-incher on a dry fly.

· Blueline Best Bet
Bluelines (small headwater trout streams) are a best bet this week because of the heavy rainfall that has our bigger waters high and muddy. Head uphill with a light rod, a raincoat, and a friend with a camera. The scenery and the sheer number of colorful fish will compensate for their small size.
These small streams are fun for both crowds, the short rod and also the long (Tenkara) rod fans.

Hint- When you wade up to a deep pool, add shot and a dropper of a small leech or Pat’s rubberlegs, and dredge it to catch the big boy in there. Then remove the shot and dropper, dry out the dry, and resume your surface searches in the upstream shallows.

· Pond Action
Here’s another post-monsoon best bet. Heavy rains don’t adversely affect most small impoundments. Got rubber spiders and a six-weight fly rod? Or, better yet, a full cricket basket, a Zebco, and a kid? Ponds will fish best in the shade and shadows, so go early or late in the day.
Don’t miss the photos in “Heating up:”
Remember your local ponds and also the small lake guide that I gave you earlier:

· Damer’s “Shocking” Reports

o Blue Ridge
Bass are finally shallow at Blue Ridge. Lots of quality largemouth cruising the flats or holding in the creek channels near the backs of the coves. Surprisingly not a lot of fish hanging tight to downed trees or areas of floating woody debris. Resending the 7lb LMB pic and got some really cool shots with all 3 bass species together in the same size range (~4lbs). Smallmouth still scarce, but some good ones to be found if you try hard enough.

o Coosa Basin
The spring striped bass run in the Coosa River basin is winding down. Most of the females we’re seeing now are spent. Fish of all sizes are starting to migrate to the Etowah River. We sampled the lower end near Rome this morning and saw more fish there than we’ve seen in a while. They are attracted by the colder water flowing from beneath Allatoona Dam. We will hit the upper end (hopefully) later today, and expect lots of fish there as well. Still some fish on the lower end of the Oostanaula too, but water temps are rising fast and those fish probably won’t be there much longer.

-John Damer
Fisheries Biologist
Wildlife Resources Division
(706) 295-6102

· River Bass
Sautee and Dredger had limited time on Saturday afternoon, but still caught a few shoalies at less-than-prime time (before sunset). Sautee caught them on top, while an impatient Dredger pulled out river bassslayer Todd Holbrook’s #1 all-time Shoalie Killer, a #4 black bugger, to dredge deeper pools that were dead in the direct sun, but came back to life when the shadows fell. Given recent rains, river bass fishing opportunities will now be sidelined for a while until those waters clear.

· Lanier Early Bite

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

· Lanier Crappie
Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Report May 16, 2018

This Lake Lanier Crappie fishing report is from Dan Saknini, member of the Lanier Crappie Angler’s Club. See our club’s website,
Water temperature is in the high seventies, and a few degrees higher in the afternoon. The month of May remains strong for Crappie fishing on Lake Lanier. The secret to catching crappie this time of year is to use the method of “run and gun” (targeting as many docks with structure as possible). Using your downscan and sidescan will greatly assist in finding these spots. There are a lot of fishermen on the lake, and it is getting busier with recreational boaters as well. We’ve been catching good numbers of quality fish on deeper docks, especially targeting the channel docks in fifteen to twenty five feet of water. When you start catching smaller fish, move on. The fish on submerged brush piles in fifteen to twenty feet of water are greater in number, but smaller in size. The brush piles with tops about 10 feet below the surface are producing best. Your electronics will help you determine whether there are fish on the brush piles or not. If there are, throw a marker buoy and fish the whole brush pile by circling your buoy to find the best angles. Stay off the brush about thirty feet, cast your jig past the brush pile and retrieve slowly while shaking your rod slightly. This will give the jig more action. You will get most of your bites ten feet below the surface either directly over or slightly to the side of the brush pile. Our preferred bait is still one twenty fourth ounce soft body jigs or hair jigs. If you prefer using a crappie minnow under a slip cork, it will work just as well. The fish are aggressive right now, so the color doesn’t seem to matter, but if the bite slows, switch colors. If your boat is set up for tight lining, get your trolling rods out and put them to good use. Crappie minnows under a Carolina rig is your best bet for tight lining. Locate the submerged brush piles and troll over and around the piles. The night fishing bite seems to be picking up slowly, as we are noticing new dangling ropes from the bridges. Once the nights are consistently warmer, the night bite will pick up even more. It’s a great time of year to enjoy fishing – see you on the water! Stay safe - wear your life jacket!

· (Big) Lake Russell
Great few days fishing on Lake Russell last week. My cousin and I caught a good number of bass and he caught a large gar as well. A couple of photos forthcoming! Anything shad was the ticket. Swim baits, jerk baits or stick baits worked for us.
Take care, Wally

· Upcoming Events
o Saturday- Our Chief on O’Neil Radio Show!

o Saturday Festival at Charlie Elliott

o June 2- Hooch Tailwater- Volunteer Opportunity

Good luck implementing your weekend Plan B’s. We won’t complain about the rain. It’s an investment in some great fishing opportunities for us all in June! In fact, some savvy fisher-folks even HUNT for muddy water….

Jeff Durniak
North Georgia Region Fisheries Supervisor


Want to Help Ease DNR's Budget Woes? Buy a TU license Plate!
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Old 05-17-18, 03:31 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Suwanee, GA
Posts: 1,782

I just re-read this and picked up a new strategy I am going to use soon...
UGH! He must've told me to do this about a 100 times in person, but it's just now that it made sense. Thanks Dredger!!
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