Lake Olmstead fish are safe to eat

Angler snags new state gar record Gerald Kennedy, of Murrayville, Ga., shows off his Georgia record longnose gar, which he caught in the Chattahoochee River arm of Lake Lanier on Sept. 4. The 30-pound, 13-ounce, 583/4-inch long catch beat the old state record by 9 ounces.

Several weeks ago, the bass and bream populations in Lake Olmstead (in west Augusta) were reported to be healthy, following a May 1 study conducted by Georgia Wildlife Resources Division fisheries biologists.


A reader asked if the fish were safe enough to be eaten, so I passed the question on to longtime regional biologist Ed Bettross, who works out of the Thomson District office.

“We sent fish from the lake to the Environmental Protection Division for contaminant sampling in 2011 and they were found safe to eat with no restrictions,” he said. He added that during population studies, “we only sample for parameters such as temperature, oxygen, pH and hardness, which don’t provide any indication whether the fish are safe to eat.”

• Tryouts for the Columbia County Youth Fishing Team will continue at Wildwood Park on Friday, Sept. 27. Organizer Rosie DeAnnuntis said increased interest from other children is the reason. DeAnnuntis is still looking for help from local bass clubs.

DeAnnuntis can be contacted at (803) 624-0463 or e-mail columbiacounty


Fishing report


Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington), (706) 595-5582 – William Hawkins, of Raysville, caught 26 shellcrackers and four catfish, all on worms, and 12 crappies on minnows.

Bill Speer, The Fishing Coach, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass fishing on Lake Russell ( (706) 421-6630 – Fall is upon us, the creeks are starting to cool (as they always do before the main lake), the shad will move back and the bass will follow. Start on main lake points and work your way back to secondary creek points and mover even further back later in the month. I will be throwing a Rapala DT and Strike King XD crank baits as I move back, keeping an eye out for schooling fish (and Zoom Super Flukes or a Zara Puppy to cast into the schools). The fishing is bound to improve as summer fades for good and fall kicks in. On Russell, I always put in at Beaver Dam Marina, where you can have a nice lunch as well as a safe launch.

William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, Capt. Bradd Sasser, Capt. Andrew Tubbs, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (706) 589-5468 (William), (706) 267-4313 (Bradd), (803) 507-5083 (Andrew) – With water temperatures dropping into the mid to low 80s, the morning bite has given way to an early afternoon bite starting about 2 p.m., and lasting until 7 p.m. Majority of the hybrids and stripers being caught are still from the lower end t o mid lake areas around Modoc, Parksville and the Georgia Flats.

The fish are being caught on live herring fished on the bottom in 40 to 45 feet of water. Downlining herring and cut bait is still the way to go, but be sure to have some free-lines to troll and top water plugs ready to go since we’re seeing more surface action. Schooling fish should be making their presence known in the lower end of the lake at any time. Hybrid and striper fishing is as good as it gets on the Savannah River below the dam, especially during periods of generation, Casting Berry’s Flex-It Spoons, bucktails and herring into the current has produced several nice keepers. Remember, you can keep only two hybrids and/or stripers measuring over 27 inches in length. With fall weather settling in, the crappie bite has turned on with nice slabs being caught on both the upper end of the lake near South Carolina Little River and out Georgia Little River near Raysville in 15 to 20 feet of water over tree tops with small shiners and tuffie minnows. This week, we enjoyed fishing with Gary Turner, Watkinsville, Ga.; Vic Higdon, Thomson, and Leon Higdon, Boneville, Ga., and Shane and Dawn Wyman, Hoboken, N.J. We also had the privilege to be a part of a fishing and sailing day with Wounded Warriors organized by the Augusta Sailing Club.

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Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – It’s been difficult. We fished this morning in places where the bait wouldn’t live for five minutes the week before. But there was no problem. The bite was kind of funny, probably because of the full moon. Mayflies are all over the water and fish are eating ‘em. We’re catching stripers, but not finding any hybrids. But I am fishing the top end of the lake and the hybrids may not be up there yet. We had fish from 16 feet down and 40 feet down. I spotted some fish on the bottom and wound up catching Arkansas blue and channel catfish, for some reason.

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Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706) 722-8263 – Brickyard report: Billy Williams caught 30 crappies on minnows in the Ditch. Paul Meade and Ron Clayton caught five bass and 20 crappies on minnows and plastic worms in the Expressway Pond. James Mark and Bobby Luther caught 40 bream on crickets and worms in the Garden Pond. Ray Dicks and Rick Bale caught 25 crappies and 10 bream in the Cornell Pond on crickets and minnows. Vernon Melton and Glenn Golden caught 15 shellcrackers and 30 bream on crickets and pinks in Shack Pond. Ken Hall caught 30 crappies on minnows and jigs in the Pollard Pond. Mel and Sharon Langston caught 25 bream and 15 crappies in the Fallout Pond on crickets and minnows.

Lock & Dam report: Gary Edge has been limiting out on bream, and redbreasts on crickets. Joel Mims has, too. Robert Logan caught six bass and one catfish.



Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Beautiful weather, great fishing, but not many fishermen. Ladyfish are everywhere inshore, small redfish are plentiful and the whiting bite is strong. There’s also good fishing just offshore for kingfish and Spanish mackerel. Suddenly, the poor crab season has perked up, with big males loading up the pots. Coming up are the Owen Perry Memorial Inshore Tournament on Oct. 25-26 and the Kids’ Thanksgiving Tournament on Nov. 29.



Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 ( P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – We practiced man overboard drills with Chief Warrant Officer Dave Morra of the Coast Guard. We heaved dummy “Mr. Ruth” overboard, came about and then retrieved it. Charter captains Kathy Brown and yours truly passed the test. The late summer flounder bite (mud minnows as bait) is not over. The inshore whiting bite also is good and we’ve been catching quite a few bluefish while trolling for Spanish mackerel. Small No. 00 Clark Spoons are catching ‘em.



Wed, 11/22/2017 - 18:34