Friday, February 13, 2009

Quality Winter Crappie in Deep, Cool Waters

T2F Note: Don't you have some great memories of fishing with your dad or grandpa? Spending time together is always a favorite sport and what better way is there than fishing? This week's coveted "Fayette Front Page Day Tripper Award" proudly is presented to all streams in Georgia and the wonderful memories you'll make while fishing with your kids. Spend some time with your family fishing in Georgia.

Springtime is not the only ideal time for crappie fishing in Georgia. The brief winter season also produces excellent results, and several reservoirs across the state offer rewards for anglers willing to brave the bitter cold temperatures.

“Fishing for crappie in the winter can be very rewarding if anglers concentrate on cold weather hot spots,” says John Biagi, chief of Fisheries Management for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. “Also, because there is a lot of action involved when crappie fishing, it is an excellent time to engage the entire family and/or to introduce someone new to the fun aspect of the sport.”

Now through mid-February crappie tend to congregate in deeper water, generally 15-30 feet deep, near the mouths of major tributaries and in the main lake. Large schools are easily located with sonar electronics.

As the water warms in late February, crappie will move to more shallow water toward the middle and back of major tributaries, preferring to congregate around woody cover such as stumps, logs, downed trees, fish attractors and creek ledges. Minnows and small jigs are favored bait, and light spinning tackle spooled with 6 or 8-pound test line is recommended.

Cool weather hot spots

In northwest Georgia, visit Lake Allatoona and look for the marked manmade fish attractors, especially near the Kellogg Creek area. Maps of fish attractor locations are available at . Also look to the Rocky Mountain Public Fishing Area, located 16 miles north of Rome, where good slabs are predicted this year and hot spots include fishing off of riprap dams. The Coosa River, which begins in the city of Rome and flows roughly 30 miles west-southwest before entering Lake Weiss, is another area to target; concentrate below the lock and dam area, especially near Brush Branch.

Northeast Georgia offers three different reservoirs for targeting crappie. Metro area anglers should look to Lake Lanier, located just 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. The upper part of the reservoir, especially the Chattahoochee River arm, Wahoo Creek and Little River are considered hot spots. Anglers should also consider the upper part of Lake Hartwell, located on the Georgia-South Carolina border near Franklin and Hart counties. The Eastanollee Creek area is considered a crappie haven. The manmade fish attractors around the upper half of Lake Nottely rank as another active location.

Several east-central area lakes offer prime crappie habitat, including Clarks Hill Lake where excellent fishing is predicted for the year, especially at Soap, Fishing, Grays and Newford creeks, and the Little River arm. On Lake Oconee, Beaverdam, Sandy, Rocky, Richland and Sugar creeks and Appalachee River arm are good target areas. At Lake Russell anglers should concentrate at Rocky River, Beaverdam, Coldwater and Allen creeks. Lakes Blalock and J.W. Smith in Clayton County offer good bank fishing opportunities near boat ramps. Areas of standing timber are key targets at Lake Blalock while J.W. Smith offers good boat fishing around the Panhandle Road Bridge, the overflow structure near the dam and the submerged pond and dam on the south side of the lake. Anglers can count on Lake Varner for good numbers of crappie and Randy Poynter Lake for larger crappie.

Wildlife Resources Division biologists recommend five areas in the west-central area of the state for crappie fishing - West Point Lake in Troup County, Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, Big Lazer Public Fishing Area in Talbot County, Ocmulgee Public Fishing Area in Bleckley County and Lake Sinclair just north of Milledgeville. At West Point, concentrate around fish attractors and deep water areas. Visit Fox, Shepherd or Margery Lake at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center and look for deep water and flooded timber or fish attractors. At Lake Sinclair, Beaverdam Creek provides good opportunities for early spawning due to the warm water discharge from the steam plant. When temperatures warm, anglers should target larger islands such as Optimist, Budweister and Goat. Sinclair bank anglers should concentrate on the riprap along Highway 441 at Little River, Beaverdam and Rooty Creek. Additionally, the riprap at Twin Bridges and Potato Creek along Highway 212 also provide good bank access. Big Lazer and Ocmulgee Public Fishing Area anglers should seek flooded timber near the creek channels and deep water.

Southwest Georgia also offers key areas for crappie. Lake Walter F. George, located on the Georgia-Alabama state line between Columbus and Ft. Gaines, provides good fishing at the mouths of Pataula Creek, Sandy Branch Creek and Sandy Creek. On Lake Seminole, in the southwest corner of the state, anglers should fish the main river channels around Ford Scott Island, the Chattahoochee River mouth between river miles three and four, the mouth of Spring Creek and the old river channels and submersed structures.

For more information on crappie fishing in Georgia, visit or call a Wildlife Resources Division Fisheries Management office.

Take Me Fishing! ™ According to a recent national survey, 87 percent of Americans believe fishing and boating have a positive effect on family relationships.

Fayette Front Page
Georgia Front Page

No comments: