Georgia’s anglers are very fortunate to have such a broad array of fishing opportunities throughout the state. Our numerous reservoirs, streams, rivers and coastline hold about any sport fish that come to mind. Within a few hours drive, we have the option of dipping a line in cool mountain streams for trout, fishing warmer waters for bass, catfish and bream or we can head to the coast for a variety of saltwater species such as tarpon, shark and red drum.
Georgia’s climate runs the gamut as well, but it is never too hot or too cold to go fishing in the Peach State. Anglers in every corner of the state can find good angling options no matter the time of year. Following is a sampling of what each month has to offer.
Winter is the best time to catch the big stripers. Finding the bait is key for finding wintertime fish. Start looking in the back of creeks and coves. Watch for surface activity, especially during early morning when the water is calm. Look for baitfish and stripers breaking the surface as they feed. Birds diving and working the surface is another sure indicator that baitfish are in the area and likely stripers.
Live bait such as shad or blueback herring hooked through the lip or nose with a 1/0 hook, allowing it to swim freely, is the typical offering. If fishing over submerged brush, a balloon tied to the line keeps the bait at the desired depth without affecting its movement.
A white bucktail jig is a reliable artificial option. Try a 1/2-ounce or in extremely cold conditions a lighter 1/4-ounce sinks slower to better imitating a sluggish baitfish.
For pursuing these big fish on lightweight tackle or fly rods, Guide Henry Cowen is the expert. His flies of choice are Cowen’s Coyote and the Something Else.
For fishing tips or to book a guided trip, visit his Web site at www.henrycowenflyfishing.com.
Beaverdam Creek in Lake Sinclair holds warmer water from the Harlee Branch Power Plant. Look for schooled up crappie following the shad into the warmer water.
The rainbow trout in the Toccoa River’s Delayed Harvest section have had a few months to feed and grow since being stocked. Single hooks on artificial lures only are allowed.
Carters Lake is one of few lakes in the state that harbors a respectable walleye population, and the lake’s reputation is only getting better. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we Southerners are beginning to get the hang of fishing for these toothy critters. Also, most will agree that there isn’t a tastier fish to serve at the dinner table.
For catching walleyes, fishing at night works best. Drop live bait, such as shad, worms and leeches to the bottom in 20 to 35 feet of water. Jigs worked slowly will draw strikes too. Concentrate around rocky points on the main lake. Walleyes bite gently so be ready to set the hook at any resistance.
Contact Bart’s Bait and Tackle for more information at (706) 253-2248.
In Lake Seminole in the southernmost portion of the state, largemouths begin their move to shallow water this time of year.
It is no secret to those who live on the coast that wintertime can offer some great action for redfish. The water tends to be clearer so this is a great time to sight-fish for reds on the oyster bars.
Call Captain Greg Hildreth at (912) 261-1763 for guided coastal fishing trips.
March is prime time to catch white bass as they make their annual spawning run up the Coosa River. There are several boat ramps available and good bank access at Mayo’s Bar Lock and Dam downstream from Rome.
Small crankbaits, curly-tailed grubs and white, chartreuse or shad-patterned 1/4-ounce jigs work well. Anglers using live bait have success with small shad or other minnows.
In Lake Oconee crappie are feeding and moving to the shallows for the spawn. Troll live minnows and jigs along ledges in the Oconee River above the Interstate 20 bridge.
The bass fishing in Lake Blackshear is heating up now. There are lots of shallow coves and cypress islands to target with spinnerbaits or plastic worms and lizards.
Lake Blackshear is crappie heaven. Anglers have cypress islands galore and a multitude of docks to cast around for white and black crappie. Average fish size is 9 to 11 inches, but 3-pounders are here as well.
Target shallow areas using minnows and small jigs. Later in the month try deeper flats along creek channels and around bridge pilings.
Another popular technique for papermouths is shooting or pitching jigs under docks. This time of year and into summer, try this around docks found in water ranging from 8 to 20 feet deep.
Bluegill fishing is in full swing at the many lakes of Paradise Public Fishing Area in the southern portion of the state, just east of Tifton.
The best chance for a smallmouth bass right now is on Blue Ridge Lake. This mountain reservoir holds some big ones too! Target points, creek channels, docks and rock ledges.
Check out the top spots for Georgia fishing for May, June, July and August on page two