The late Tommy Shaw may have been the first to discover a new weed had come to live in Thurmond Lake when he saw patches of hydrilla inside the boat basin at his marina on Little River more than two decades ago.
Since that time, biologists with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have waged war against hydrilla and its cousin, blue-green algae. The latter grows on hydrilla and produces a toxin that is fatal to bald eagles, America’s Birds. The eagles feed on coots and other waterfowl that eat the algae.
The corps came up with a plan, known as Aquatic Plant Management Plan, to combat the weeds and algae.
Ken Boyd, the chief ranger for forest, fish and wildlife on and around Thurmond, said the lake was stocked with about 50,000 sterile, grass-eating carp between October 2017 and March of this year.
Herbicides were applied in the fall of 2017 around Bussey Point, Parksville and Cherokee day-use areas where many eagles nested. Natural resources staff conducted surveys a year later and determined additional herbicide treatments were not necessary.
This fall, Boyd and his team will conduct another survey to gauge the plan’s effectiveness. As someone once said, “Time will tell.”
• Northeast Georgia’s Lake Burton Trout Hatchery is due for renovation for the first time in 70 years and the public will not be allowed in on weekends because of construction.
Instead, the area will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The hatchery was built in the 1930s.
Raysville Marina, Thomson, Ga. (1 (706) 595-5582 – Marina Manager Kim Herndon reports Cliff Crowe caught five catfish and 12 shellcrackers on a recent trip. Two days ago, he caught 32 shellcrackers.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full-time professional guide specializing in stripers, hybrids and trophy largemouth bass. Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. Residence: 1 (803) 737-6379. www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com – The lake areas around the oxygen lines have been hot, with most nice catches coming during the early part of the day. My party and I found some breaking fish at the mouth of Soap Creek all the way up the Savannah River to the Highway 378 bridge. We caught some nice hybrids and spots. You can check us out on Facebook at crockettrocketguideservice.
Ralph Barbee, professional guide specializing in largemouth bass, striped bass and hybrid bass fishing. (706) 831-8756 – I fished this morning out of Wildwood Park, moved into Pollard’s Cove and caught eight largemouth bass in eight feet of water. I fished a Lionel Hollingsworth white spinnerbait with gold blades and yellow Ynot trailer. I cast out, let it sink into deeper water and then slowly retrieved it. Biggest bass weighed 3-1/2 pounds.
Capt. Billy Murphy, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in crappie, hybrid and striped bass fishing. (706) 339-4784. – Fishing was great for us this week. Water temperatures remain in the high 80s so we are hoping the next rain will help them drop. We trolled Capt. Mack’s Umbrella Rigs, one on each side of the boat. We got onto the lake at 6 a.m., but did not get the first strike until 8:30. My son Brad and his good friend, Rick Robinson, from Harlem, Ga., finally started catching them and limited out by 2 p.m. There were a lot of misses because some of the fish were short-strikers, grabbing the lure tails and missing the hooks. In one instance, some of the hooks broke. Our rigs are running 120 feet behind the boat, 20 to 25 feet down in 40 to 50 feet of water. The motor is running at 800 RPM.
Eddie Mason’s Guide Service, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in striped bass and hybrid bass. (803) 637-5395. Cell phone (706) 829-0428. www.masonguideservice.com – It’s been another great week of fishing on Thurmond Lake. We have been getting lots of rain on the lake this week, although the surface temperature is still high (89 degrees). The area of the lake between the oxygen lines at Modoc and the dam has been good to us. We are fishing around the humps and points along the main river channel, starting 40 feet deep early and moving into 50 feet as the day progresses, catching some good fish just off the bottom. Last Monday, we took out Paul Goehle and grandson Jonathan from Evans, leaving the dock at daybreak and returning with a limit of fish about 9:30 a.m.
NORTH GEORGIA TROUT FISHING
Hunter Morris, www.flyfishingnorthgeorgia.com, (706) 833-1083. – Stephen Drane reports the TVA has been releasing water from the dam like clockwork from 9 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. There is not a lot of dry fly action and I would stick to the Chubby Chernobyl. Heavy rain earlier in the week muddied up the tailwater, but it is likely to clear by weekend. Smaller mountain streams are probably going to be the best places to fish. For those wanting information on the cost of our guided trips, check out the web site at flyfishingnorthgeorgia.com. To save time, check the Toccoa generation schedule, click on the following and check the flows for Blue Ridge: https.//www.tva.gov/Environment/Lake-Levels/Blue-Ridge. And call the Cohutta Fishing Company in Blue Ridge at 1 (706) 946-3044 for the latest Toccoa tailwater updates, including the very best times to be on the water.
MERRY LAND BRICKYARD PONDS
Check-in station at 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway (706) 722-8263. – There are multiple ponds offering good fishing for largemouth bass, bream and shellcracker, crappies and catfish.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Capt. Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, 1 (843) 986-4070 – The Spanish mackerel and king mackerel seasons continue to be red hot and those fish have been joined by blues, ladyfish and jack crevalle. Fishermen venturing out to the Gulf Stream have been having fun catching and releasing sailfish and there are occasional bull dolphin and wahoo hookups, too. Inshore, red fish are still plentiful.
The 29th annual Kingfish Tournament will be held out of Fripp Island Marina Aug. 30-32 with $5,000 up for grabs. The event also will benefit the Pledge the Pink charity. A representative from each boat must attend the registration and a captains meeting on Thursday, Aug. 29, from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a Lowcountry Cookout. Weigh-ins will be held each day from 3 to 5 p.m. An awards ceremony will follow Saturday’s weigh-in. Here are the awards: First place king, $2,000; 2nd place king, $1,000; first place Spanish mackerel, $750; 2nd place $550; two kings, aggregate weight, $700. If both days are washouts, entry fees will be refunded. More information: Fripp Island Marina, 1 (843) 838-1517.
SAVANNAH & VICINITY
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, 1 (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com)P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, GA 31410-0771. – Live shrimp have been the old standby baits to catch spotted sea trout and other species for more years than one can count. Aren’t there optional baits? Let me count the ways.
Capt. Garrett Ross of Miss Judy Charters took out Kurt Hamilton, of Savannah, and they caught spotted sea trout using artificial Z-Man Swimming Trout Trick Lures on quarter-ounce jigs and light tackle. Those lures are manufactured by a company in Ladson, S.C. Just Google Z-Man for more information
This year’s Spanish mackerel season has been good so far. Capt. Ross pitched a small Diamond Spoon right into the schools. Hopkins Spoons, CC Spoons and any sort of weighted small spoon will work.
Those fish have teeth sharp enough to cut through monofilament line, so perhaps using a short length of flexible steel wire attached to the spoon at the business end and a barrel swivel up top might be a good idea.
Just remember August is the month the “Spaniards” get really active so a pair of quality 7×35 or 7×50 field glasses will help you pinpoint schools when they burst through the surface as they chase bait fish. The schools often are marked by flocks of birds hovering over the action, hoping to get a share of the bait fish.