Georgia’s seasonal trout streams open Saturday, but the Wildlife Resources Division hasn’t finished with its trout stocking program.
Joined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the state agency’s plan is to stock more than 75,000 trout during the last two weeks of the month, with more than a million trout scheduled for stocking by the end of the year.
If you don’t catch anything, it’s your fault!
Daily limit is eight trout on general regulation trout waters. Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license and a trout license. If the stream is on a wildlife management area, anglers must possess a wildlife management area license or Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP) to fish certain WMAs.
Purchasing a Trout Unlimited license plate supports the state’s trout conservation and management programs.
To buy a license online, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes, or call (800) 366-2661. You also can download a free Georgia trout stream map and other trout fishing tips at www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout or call (770) 535-5498.
• Since changing hands a couple of years ago, Little River Marina has yet to reopen. Here’s why: “We are waiting for the underground fuel storage tanks to be removed before we continue,” leasee Mike Jansen said. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to get them out during the second quarter of the year. Once they are removed, we can complete the engineering work and schedule to begin construction.”
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, fulltime professional guide specializing in hybrids, striped bass and trophy largemouth bass. Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) – Water temp 54 degrees up from the high 40s of the morning. We’re having some good days between the bad weather fronts. John and Cara Martin and children, Brinley, 12, and Grant, 9. They had a great morning catching stripers hybrids and white perch. John Webster and his boys, John, Pittsburgh, Pa., and Rob, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and Jim Caddel, Washington, Ga. We’re having a good Thursday afternoon, hitting the points on a strong southeastern wind and catching some good fish, including a 10-pound striper.
Bill Speer, The Fishing Coach, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass fishing on Lake Russell (www.thefishingcoach.com) (706) 421-6630 – Largemouth bass can be found along secondary points and flats. The recent cold snap may push them out of the shallows, but the predicted warm weather will bring them in again. I am finding nice fish up to 5 pounds hitting a Greenfish shakey head with a Reaction Innovations Flirt. I also am slaying them on Greenfish’s new custom 1.5 square bill crank bait in tomato gold. I have been fishing it shallow in off-colored water and bouncing it off laydowns. The bass are having a hard time resisting it. On Russell, I always put in at Beaver Dam Marina, where you can have a nice lunch as well as a safe launch. The marina is open from 11:30 a.m., until 9 p.m., on Friday through Sunday and until 6 p.m. Sundays.
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) – Water temperatures are still lingering in the upper 50s, with some of the warmer days heating it into the low 60s. Majority of the striper-hybrid bite has been in the early morning, slowing down drastically by mid morning. Hybrids are beginning to school off long underwater points and humps in 30 feet of water and by mid morning they are on the move and can be caught in suspended groups by pulling planer boards in the creeks and along channel points. Mid-lake areas are still producing the best, but with water temperatures heating up, expect the bite to move more toward the lower end of the lake. The Grays Creek area has been producing some 8-to-12-pound stripers by pulling planer boards and gizzard shad. There is beginning to be a pretty good afternoon to early evening bite around the dam and this should get only better. Majority of the fish are coming in schools 20 to 30 feet deep and are being caught on downlines with live herring. This week, we’ve enjoyed fishing with Phil and Sandra Cockmen, Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Chris Farris, Augusta; Wayne Guilliard, Evans; Julie Slivka, Evans; Sid Cummings and Nathan Cummings, Martinez; Louise Wombles and Marion Wombles, Augusta.
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Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – I’m back after a few months in Florida. All I’ve been doing is a bit of crappie fishing in the backs of creeks. My striper boat will go back into the lake next Monday so I’ll be good to go guiding again. Check out my Web site: www.fishlakethurmond.com.
NORTH GEORGIA MOUNTAIN STREAMS
Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 (www.flyfishingnorthgeorgia.com) (facebook.com/flyfishingnorthgeorgia) – We had trips on five different stream this week and it seems like there’s not a bad place to fish right now. Float trips on the Toccoa and Tuckaseegee rivers produced a ton of fish during the midday hours, with most being caught on San Juan Worms, egg patterns and Wooly Buggers. Trout on the smaller streams were just as active, but were definitely a lot more locked in to natural patterns. Almost everything we caught on the Soque River, Mountaintown Creek and Noontootla Creek were on several varieties of stonefly nymphs, Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, John Byars, (706) 722-8263 – Our bass tournament continues tonight. Hours are 6 to 10 p.m. Entry fee is $20 per man. Last week’s tournament was won by Ronnie and Aaron Poke, with a big fish of 3.88 pounds and total catch of 7.60 pounds. Brickyards: William Grubbs caught 20 bass in the Mims Pond. John Smith caught 72 crappies on minnows in the Ditch.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Inshore fishing around Fripp is slow because of the cold weather. Offshore, the wreck of the Savannah is producing excellent catches of sheepshead and good catches of redfish and black sea bass. .
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Winter is not going away, quietly or otherwise. It is 36 degrees here (Wednesday) and the wind is howling at more than 20 knots. Sheepshead bite at the near shore artificial reefs is still very good, with anglers catching some nice size “convicts.” (Sheepshead have stripes). Once we can get out, the bottom bite around artificial reefs in 55 or more feet of water is wide open. Red snappers, groupers, black sea bass, vermillion snappers, et al.