Time to fish

Know where to hook a big one in Ge­or­gia

The Covington News - - Agriculture & Outdoors -

What’s on the menu for Ge­or­gia an­glers this month? White bass fish­ing. Ac­cord­ing to the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources ( DNR), Wildlife Re­sources Di­vi­sion ( WRD), white bass be­gin spawn­ing runs up sev­eral Ge­or­gia rivers in late Fe­bru­ary through early April, mak­ing March the per­fect time to hit the wa­ters. WRD rec­om­mends tar­get­ing the trib­u­taries to Clarks Hill, Oconee, Apalachee, Coosa and Chat­ta­hoochee ( near Franklin).

“ Fish­ing for white bass dur­ing the spring spawn­ing run is a great deal of fun, and trips taken dur­ing that time will likely turn into fond mem­o­ries,” says WRD Fish­eries Chief John Bi­agi. “ The good news is that if the white bass ac­tion slows, there’s no need to worry, be­cause the white bass’ big­ger cousins – stripers and hy­brids – are also out there wait­ing to be caught.”

Sil­very in hue, white bass have sev­eral faint hor­i­zon­tal side stripes. They travel in schools and can be found in large streams, rivers and lakes. The cur­rent state record was caught on Lake Lanier in 1971, weigh­ing in at 5 lbs., 1 oz. Typ­i­cal weights range from ½ to 2 lbs.

WRD per­son­nel rec­om­mend the fol­low­ing lures for white bass fish­ing; white, char­treuse or shad pat­terned jigs with small to medium size heads that can han­dle the cur­rent and man­age not to sink too fast; small crankbaits, curly tail grubs, rooster tails and Lit­tle Ge­orge’s. The best live bait are min­nows and small shad. An­glers should hone in on creek mouths and fallen trees with good wa­ter flow around them on the main river. Sandy bars and banks are also ex­cel­lent white bass fish­ing lo­ca­tions.

Where to go

Coosa River: White bass con­gre­gate in the up­per Coosa as they make their an­nual up­stream spawn­ing run from Lake Weiss. The area around Mayo’s Bar Lock and Dam is a prime fish­ing spot and is per­fect for the fam­ily as there is also a county park with bait, sup­plies, re­strooms and camp­ing. This area has a paved boat ramp and is good for the boat and bank an­gler alike. Good white bass fish­ing can also be found from the lock and dam down to the Ga. Hwy. 100 cross­ing.

Oconee & Apalachee River: Once wa­ter tem­per­a­tures reach 50 de­grees in March and April, white bass be­gin to make spawn­ing runs up the Oconee and Apalachee. An­glers can ac­cess the Oconee River at the Dyar’s Pas­ture boat ramp and the SR 15 boat ramp, both in Greene County, and work their way up­stream. There is bank ac­cess at the Dyar’s Pas­ture site. The Apalachee can be ac­cessed at the Swords boat ramp in Morgan County. The up­per reaches of th­ese rivers may be shal­low, so ex­er­cise cau­tion.

Clarks Hill Lake: White bass fish­ing in the Lit­tle and Broad rivers of this lake is ex­cel­lent this time of year. An­glers can ac­cess Lit­tle River ( by boat or bank) at the Hwy. 78 cross­ing ( note: fallen trees may limit boat ac­cess). There is also bank ac­cess at the Hwy. 80 cross­ing on the Clarks Hill Wildlife Man­age­ment Area (WMA).

How­ever, low wa­ter lev­els may keep th­ese fish from run­ning that far up­stream. Ac­cess for Broad River can be found at Gill Point Re­cre­ation Area and Bobby Brown State Park. Pay care­ful at­ten­tion for stumps, rocks, sand­bars and other sub­merged or nearly sub­merged ob­jects in the lake as low lake lev­els are ex­pected to per­sist through­out the spring. Fish tend to con­gre­gate around An­thony Shoals, lo­cated about two miles up­stream of Hwy. 79 where an­glers can fish by boat or bank. Use cau­tion boat­ing up­stream of Hwy. 79 as the river chan­nel is nar­row and with low lake lev­els, prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble to nav­i­gate. Bank ac­cess is good through the Broad River WMA. Bring your waders and try a dif­fer­ent approach this year.

Chat­ta­hoochee River: A hot spot on this river is in the up­per reaches of West Point Reser­voir near the town of Franklin. An­glers should tar­get the mouth of New River and work their way up to­wards Franklin.

As the flows and tem­per­a­tures be­gin to rise, the fish move up­river to­wards the shoals above Franklin. Boat an­glers can ac­cess this area by run­ning up­river from West Point or can put in at the boat ramp lo­cated on the west side of the river off SR 100 ( U. S. Hwy. 27). There also is bank fish­ing ac­cess at this boat ramp.

For more in­for­ma­tion on white bass fish­ing in Ge­or­gia, visit www. gofish­ge­or­gia. com or con­tact the near­est WRD fish­eries man­age­ment of­fice.

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