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Old 03-09-17, 03:58 PM   #1
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Default Dredger's Weekly Report - LOADED Fishing Report- Spring Forward!

Spring’s time change is upon us, and that means we’ll have some longer fishing days ahead. Now we might even have a chance to slip in some trips after work, instead of having to wait for the weekends. March is true to form, however, and the weather is a yo-yo, so we may have to work around a little rain and cold nights this weekend to find some success. Last weekend’s cold spell really shut down the Delayed Harvest fisheries (good Smith and Chattooga intel), but a couple of warm days can boost those water temps back above the magic fifty-degree mark, hatch the bugs, and ignite the bite. Well-informed folks on this email list already know that state and federal stocking trucks have rolled this week in a drought response, so the upcoming trout action for both angler groups, keepers and releasers, should be pretty good. Read on; it’s worth your time.

Here’s one trouting tip: use your summer techniques!

With the continuing, extreme drought across north Georgia,
our mountain streams remain extremely low and clear, and the fish are in full fright mode. I took young Kyle to Smith DH Saturday afternoon. The stream was so low, there wasn’t enough water in it to cover trout backs in a lot of places that are my traditional honey holes. We had to search for water depth, which was limited along the length of stream. Once we found it, we saw fish tails fanning. But they saw us and wouldn’t bite. They’re in full fright mode as this low water has them nervous about predators above them. Therefore, use light lines, great stalking techniques, sneaky downstream drifts, depth and shade, and dusk to your advantage. Using a dry/dropper setup with 6X to the dropper, Kyle finally connected at dusk with a small, spunky rainbow and a chunky brown trout, his first brown on a fly.

As for the lakes, they have been going wide open and should only get better with gradually increasing water temps. Crappie are moving shallow, walleye are perplexing us in the headwaters, and stripers and spots are lighting up the shad in the coves. Where we’ve stocked walleye, the thinned herds of perch are now producing quality and trophy-sized fish instead of those past “pencils,” good only for stealing your bream baits. There’s a lot to choose from. We’ll just have to work around the weather to capitalize on the region’s great fishing opportunities. Here we go:

· GAWRD’s Annual Fishing Prospects- 2017 Version

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (March 7, 2017) – If you are searching for current fishing tips for Georgia reservoirs and rivers, look no further than the updated fishing prospects on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) website. These pages give anglers of all skill levels in-depth information detailing 32 reservoirs and 18 rivers in one convenient location -

Georgia’s waters offer anglers some of the most diverse fishing opportunities in the southeast with more than 500,000 acres of reservoirs and 12,000 miles of warm water streams. Each fishing prospect guide includes best bets, technique tips, target recommendations and contact information.

Lake prospects include Allatoona, Andrews, Bartlett’s Ferry, Blackshear, Blue Ridge, Burton, Carters, Chatuge, Chehaw, Clarks Hill, Goat Rock, Hamburg, Hartwell, High Falls, Jackson, Juliette, Lanier, Nottely, Oconee, Oliver, Rabun, Randy Poynter, Richard B. Russell, Seminole, Sinclair, Tobesofkee, Tugalo, Varner, Walter F. George, Weiss, West Point, and Yonah.

Rivers detailed include the Altamaha, Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Conasauga, Coosa, Coosawattee, Etowah, Flint, Ochlockonee, Ocmulgee, Oconee, Ogeechee, Oostanaula, Satilla, Savannah, St. Marys, Suwannee and Toccoa rivers.

The 2017 reservoir and river fishing prospect guides are compiled by Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division fisheries biologists and are based on sampling efforts, knowledge of past fishing trends, staff fishing experiences and discussions with anglers and marina owners.

Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license to fish in public waters. Where can you get a license? Buy it online (, at a retail license vendor (list at ) or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661.

By purchasing a license as well as fishing equipment and related items, you help fund the Sport Fish Restoration Program. Funds accumulated from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment and related items are directed to activities that benefit recreational anglers. A portion of these funds is provided to WRD and help make the following activities possible: managing sport fish populations, raising freshwater fish in hatcheries and stocking them in public waters, maintaining and operating public fishing areas, boat ramps, fishing piers, and much more!

For even more fishing tips, check out the weekly Fishing blog post at

· Walleye
Walleye are now up the rivers in full spawning mode. It’s been extremely difficult for anglers and WRD broodstock collection boats to reach those spawning grounds because of the drought. Interested anglers should exercise extreme caution if navigating those headwaters. Anglers may have better, safer shots downlake, where they can catch the walleye on their way upstream. Best bets: Lanier near Don Carter, Lanier below 400, and the headwaters of Carters, Hartwell, Yonah, and Rabun.

Photos: The walleye collection and transport crew of Rabern, Anderson, and Looney combine the Carters, Lanier, and Hartwell catches (shocking and gill nets) for today’s (3/9) trip to the Go Fish Georgia hatchery in Perry, where fish spawning and fry production are on the docket.

· Monster
Date: Sun, Feb 19, 2017 at 12:19 PM
Subject: Re: Speaking of Monsters...

Another Lanier monster to report. Rachel caught this 37 lb. 9 oz. Striper yesterday.

Sherry's Bait & BBQ

· Rocky Report
Rocky Mountain PFA (Floyd Co.):

Fishing report courtesy of Park Manager Dennis Shiley.

Crappie – the bite is starting to pickup. Best bite is early in the morning in 8-10’ of water in front of structure that they will be spawning on. After the bite slows they can be picked up by trolling a jig in 10 to 15’ of water close to the bottom.

Bass – prespawn activity, fish can be found along the banks fishing small baits, larger fish can be found out in 15 – 20’ of water on structure. Some fish are still being caught on the Alabama Rig when the conditions are right.

“LIKE” Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area on Facebook to keep abreast of park activities and fishing conditions!

Park brochure and facility map!

· Toona

o Allatoona White Bass:
Not surprisingly the upper lake is the place to be for white bass, as they stage for their mid-March spawning run in both the Etowah River and Little River. Good numbers can be found from the “S” curves (36E) to Little River (YMCA Camp area) and the Sweetwater Creek area of the lake. White bass fishing has been best in the morning, but peaks again in the evening right before dark. The evening bite has been best in the flat at the mouth of Little River. The fish have been following shad schools over a 20+ foot bottom. Live shad or minnows, spoons, crankbaits and Alabama rigs have all been producing. If you’re throwing or jigging a spoon, let the fish tell you which spoon size and cadence to use. Find the right combination and stick with it. The Bama rig is good if you let it sink down to their depth before retrieving. Decent numbers of spotted bass may be mixed in with these schools of white bass, since they too are feeding on shad.

o Allatoona Stripers:
Striper Soup Fishing Report compliments of Shawn McNew. Good fishing in Stamp Creek near Wilderness Marina, Galt's Ferry, Illinois Creek and on the south side near Clark and Tanyard Creeks. Some bait is finally starting to move shallow, but most of it is still in a weird warm-water winter pattern. Almost like it got trapped and doesn't realize the surface water is warm. I know of a couple of guys pulling out some 15 lb class striper in these areas. Fishing with medium to large gizzard shad pulled behind the boat on planer boards or free lines.
Shawn McNew
Striper Soup Bait & Tackle
4705 S Main St.
Acworth, GA

o Allatoona Crappie:
Report from Jeff “Crappieman” Albright. The cooling trend made for some slow fishing this past Saturday, but it seems like the crappie are not too far off from moving shallow. Bank or boat fishing around downed shoreline trees may be the ticket this upcoming weekend under warming weather conditions. Check out the latest reports from Jeff at:

o Allatoona Bream:
Some decent winter bream fishing compliments of “FishingChamp”.

· Big Blue Ridge Spot
Attached is an angler award that I processed for Kevin Hoek. Kevin caught a 6 lb 4 oz spotted bass on Blue Ridge Lake on Saturday, March 4, 2017. I believe this fish might establish a new lake record as well, beating the old mark by 1 lb, 3 oz. I will forward the information to GON for their consideration. Congratulations to Kevin for this spectacular catch!

GAWRD senior fisheries biologist Anthony Rabern

· Coosa River

The white bass run is building between Lock and Dam Park and the Power Plant, but it will likely be a couple more weeks before fishing really heats up. Recent surveys show white bass males are relatively prevalent, but few of the big egg-laiden females have shown up yet. Creek mouths and inside river bends were holding the most fish. River levels are generally below average ( and stained from the recent rainfall. Crappie numbers remain good. A number of fish over a pound in size have been observed in recent surveys. Best concentrations can be found around downed trees and log jams.
GAWRD senior fisheries biologist Jim Hakala

· Carters

Walleye numbers are increasing up the river, but we are likely a week or two out from peak spawn. Lake levels are down (, so most boats will not be able to reach the shoals in the river above Ridgeway Boat Ramp. Greatest number of walleye were observed during surveys from about a half mile above Ridgeway, upstream to where the river narrows down at the big sandbar. The water is stained from recent rains. This stained water is a bit warmer than main lake temperatures. This slightly warmer water has attracted good numbers of threadfin shad and other sport fish like crappie. Most shoreline blow-downs contained decent schools of crappie and even a few bass.
GAWRD senior fisheries biologist Jim Hakala

· Lanier Crappie
Lake Lanier Crappie Fishing Report March 8 2017

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

Water temperature is 57 degrees, approaching 60 degrees in the afternoon. We are still fishing the pre-spawn and the bite is good to excellent. With the approach of the full moon and warmer water temps, the spawn is near. We’ve been used to fishing the deeper docks and submerged brush piles in various depths. The overwhelming majority of the crappie have abandoned these areas in anticipation of the spawn. If you are having difficulty locating fish, you may need to think outside the box. Pay attention to the backs of pockets and the backs of the creeks, watching for bank fishermen. They may clue you in on how and where to catch the crappie right now. They are in shallow water and the majority of the bank fishermen are catching them on a crappie minnow under a cork. Hair jigs and soft body grubs with a straight tail are also working well. You may want to try using a weighted cork with a Bobby Garland jig 2 feet below the cork using the popping method (gently pop the cork and retrieve slowly to keep the jig vertical). You can also target the blow downs. A blow down is a fallen tree partially on the bank, partially in the water. But not all blow downs are equal. There are an unusual amount in the lake from the past winter storms. The older blow downs with algae buildup will produce better than the new. To determine the size of the tree, look at the trunk of the tree and compare it to nearby standing trees. That will give you an idea of the height of the tree, and therefore the length submerged. Make sure you fish all the angles, including the middle of the tree. Crappie relate to structure, and they’ve found their living room. Cast into the blow down and pop it slowly as you retrieve. A crappie minnow under a cork here is also a good option. Long line trolling is working well in the backs of creeks. If you are a dock shooter you will still find fish on the shallower docks close to the spawning grounds. The females are hitting the shallows, checking their spawning grounds. If you want to harvest fish, be mindful that the females holding eggs are our future fish, so consider keeping only the darker colored fish (almost purplish black) and releasing the females. This is the time of the year that you can put your limit in the boat with no problem. The more spots you fish, the more fish you will put in the boat. Always, when you start catching the smaller fish, leave that spot and go to the next pocket, or the next dock. The fish are aggressive now, and are not picky on jig colors. Our favorite line is Mr. Crappie four pound test, high visibility line. We find that wearing polarized sunglasses is very helpful in enabling you to see your line movement. Get out and fish! It is the best time of the year!
Stay safe on the water, always wear a life jacket!

· Lanier Bass and Stripers
March 7 report:
Capt. Mack:
Ken’s Friday Reports:

· Big Perch
Here are a couple pics of yellow perch sampled and released at the lower Etowah below Allatoona last Friday. Now is the time to catch them, if anyone is interested.

GAWRD fisheries biologist John Damer

· DH Dosage
It’s the first full week of the month, so state and federal trout trucks have paid the Georgia DH streams another visit. Grab a new angler and some woolly buggers or single hook spinners and go have fun. PS- Don’t forget the dries and emergers, too, for some afternoon action if the water warms and the caddis start popping like popcorn.

· Hooch Tailwater - Topwater

· Toccoa DH Video

· Tooga DH
Dear Jeff,

Thank you and your excellent team for all you do to make fishing so great in Georgia! We all sincerely appreciate it! I'm very concerned about our trout streams and rivers. I've never seen the water levels and water flows so low. I believe our trout will be decimated this summer if this drought continues or worsens!

On a positive note, my friend Neil and I carried his 11 year old son Joshua last week on the delayed harvest section of the Chattooga for the first time. He was able to catch his first trout, a 10" beautiful rainbow. Please share on your fishing reports if you so desire.

Thanks again and keep up the great job.


Gregg Giddens
Loganville, GA

· Last Shot at Yellowstone Dream Trip
More info on this raffle for a week’s flyfishing vacation this summer in Yellowstone, along with some great consolation prizes for runners-up. Proceeds fund GATU’s weeklong Trout Camp for Youth in June.
o Contest:
Winners will be drawn this Saturday night at the Hooch Hoot in Helen.
o Kids Camp:

· US Forest Service – Public Comments Wanted Again
The Foothills Project continues as public comments are gathered on 150,000 acres of YOUR public lands near Clayton, Dahlonega, and Chatsworth.
If you are interested in waters like those listed below, consider commenting online or attending one of the two late March meetings.
Streams: Lower Chattooga and West Fork, Sarahs, Warwoman, Panther, Jones, Etowah, Holly, Mill and Mountaintown, and dozens of small wild trout streams.
Lakes: Rabun, Conasauga, Peeples.
Would you like more or less: stream structure maintenance, trout habitat enhancement, forest road maintenance, water quality improvements, etc.
Care enough to comment!
o Online here:
o In person (Mar 28-29) here:

· Drought Trout
This final note is a gift to all dedicated readers who survived this entire report. Here’s some weekend best bets for our trouting fans, young and old, bait and fly, as state and federal folks stock a few fish out in response to low hatchery inflows.

o Streams: Lanier and Blue Ridge tailwaters, Cartecay, Owltown,
Soapstone, Nottely, Toccoa, Cooper, Hooch, Dicks, Holly, Long Swamp, Stamp, W. Armuchee, Johns, Tallulah, WF Chattooga, Rock, M. Broad, and Panther.
o Lakes: Vogel, W.Scott, Rock Creek, Nancytown.

Good luck as we all avoid weekend snow flurries and rejoice in longer spring days and the warming afternoons ahead of us. As always, thanks for buying your licenses, fishing tackle, and TU license plates. We appreciate the operating funds. Now just send us some more rain!

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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Old 03-09-17, 03:59 PM   #2
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There are more gold nuggets in that huge post than I can summarize!!!!

Want to Help Ease DNR's Budget Woes? Buy a TU license Plate!
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Old 03-10-17, 12:10 AM   #3
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I always enjoy reading your reports. Like Windknot, there are some awesome gold nuggets in everyone I have read.

"Not every Soldier is a Joe"

You can support the NGTO Mission Statement and Help Ease DNR's Budget Woes. Buy a TU License Plate!
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