Southeast Georgia Fishing Reports With Capt. Bert Deener – June 9, 2023

Timely info on where and how to catch fish on various rivers and waters of southeast Georgia.

Capt. Bert Deener | June 9, 2023

Bream fishing in southeast Georgia ponds has been very good recently. Capt. Bert Deener caught this gorgeous fish on a lime Bert’s Bug on Saturday morning, along with a bunch of other bream that ate the bug or a white sally dropper.

Not as many people reported this week as compared to the holiday weekend, but there were still a lot of folks fishing. The rivers are getting back in decent shape again, and I expect to get some excellent reports this week.

Alapaha River: Take note that the Highway 129 bridge boat ramp (near Lakeland) closed on May 30. It will be closed for a couple of months while the ramp and parking area are rebuilt.

Altamaha River: Jamie Hodge fished the Jesup area and caught 38 big panfish (mostly bluegill) from the backwaters. He could barely get his hand around several of them. Fish were back in the oxbows spawning this last week and will probably still be there this coming week. Worms and crickets fooled his fish. Several other anglers reported catching panfish of all species on Satilla Spins, worms and crickets. One angler got in some backwaters and pitched a junebug lizard and caught four really nice warmouth. The Wayne County Board of Tourism Catfish Tournament was held this weekend, and 187 anglers (81 boats) participated. First place ($7,500) was the team of Seth Alday, of Altha, Fla., and Andrew Summer, of Westiville, Fla. They caught a 5-fish limit weighing 96.20 pounds. Second was Tiff Thompson, of Americus. He weighed in 76.70 pounds and had big fish of 36.50 pounds. Jim Douglas, of Richmond Hill, and Tessa Moore, of Opelika, Ala. rounded out the top three with 61.15 pounds. Tessa also had the big fish caught by a woman, and it was 32.95 pounds. The biggest catfish caught by a kid was a 21.10-pounder landed by Kailee Lloyd, of Thomaston. A total of 2,212 pounds of catfish were weighed in during the tournament.

Ocmulgee Rivers: Mullet fishing picked up significantly this week. Anglers caught them with red wiggler worms fished around salt blocks and feed sacks staked out in the eddies. Garrett Harrison, of Googe’s Bait and Tackle in Hazlehurst, caught some of the biggest redbreasts in years on the Ocmulgee this week. He was fishing crickets on the bottom for his fish. He caught 17 fish and kept 10 of them.

Satilla River: Michael Nadeau sent me a photo of a great catch of five fat channel and flathead catfish. He caught them in the lower, tidal river using live bait on bush hooks. One of the more unique catches was an angler who had a giant longnose gar eat his mudminnow while he was fishing in the Woodbine area on Thursday. The upper river has dropped out to fishable levels this week and has cleared up significantly, but the middle and lower river sections are still high. With the fast fall, the water will be fairly stained, so an expectation of catching a couple dozen is more reasonable than expecting to catch 100 fish this weekend.

St. Marys River: Matt Rouse fished the extreme upper St. Marys from the bank and pitched a white Bert’s Bug with a bream-buster into the deeper holes. They were blasting it, and he ended up catching stumpknockers, bluegill, warmouth and even a nice, 18-inch pickerel. Shady Bream Tournaments held a points tournament on Saturday and had a great turnout. Daniel and Darwin won it with 7.96 pounds (10 panfish). Second was Ernie and Redbird with 7.31 pounds. Mike and Mike placed third with 7.15 pounds. Big fish was 1.03-lb. crappie caught by Daniel and Darwin. Check out Shady Bream Tournaments on Facebook for more details.

Okefenokee Swamp: The heat and yellow flies combined to reduce the effort this week. I heard one decent report for warmouth (about a dozen fish), but that’s about it. I’m sure the bowfin and pickerel are still biting spinners. The latest water level (Folkston side) was 120.22 feet.

Dodge County Public Fishing Area (near Eastman): Ken Burke fished the area on Monday morning and caught eight bass for a total of 17.5 pounds. His big fish was 4-lbs., 3-ozs. He caught fish early on a squarebill crankbait, and later in the morning they hit a shaky-head worm better. The water temperature rose to 82 degrees by midday.

Hugh M. Gillis Public Fishing Area (near Dublin): Ken Burke fished the area Wednesday morning and caught eight bass that weighed 16.25 pounds. He had one fish over 4 pounds and two more over 3 pounds. He caught most on a squarebill crankbait and a Berkley Frittside crankbait. The biggest fish ate the squarebill. He also caught a couple smaller bass on a shaky-head worm.

Local Ponds: I had a blast Saturday morning with my fly rod that I built when I was 14 years old and a popper in a local pond. I ended up catching and releasing 38 big panfish in 3 1/2 hours of fishing. The biggest was 11 inches and pushing a pound. They started off blasting a lime-colored Bert’s Bug. About an hour into the trip, they slowed eating it off the top, so I added a white sally on a 10-inch dropper and the bite picked back up. I left them still biting at noon. They hit both the bug and the sally, but I never had a double. I’m not usually a big fly-flinger, but it’s awesome when big panfish crush a bug on top! Jackson Winn fished with his cousins in ponds this weekend and had fun together. On Saturday, he fished an Alma area pond and targeted bass with lures. His biggest bass of the day was a 2 1/2-pounder that hit a junebug finesse worm. On Sunday, he fished with his cousin Kash in an Appling County pond, and the two combined for a catch of 16 panfish (14 bluegill and a couple of warmouth). Red wigglers got the job done on Sunday. The biggest bass reported to me this week was a giant in the upper 20-inch range. It had the head of a 15-pounder but probably only weighed 8 or 9 pounds. Brothers Waylon and Tripp fished their pond in Guyton a few evenings this week and caught a bunch of giant bluegill and shellcracker on red wiggler worms and had several nice bass on 4-inch plastic lizards. Junebug was their top color.

Waylon could not let his older brother Tripp out-fish him, so he fished his family’s pond this week and caught a bunch of bass. This one ate a 4-inch plastic lizard.

Saltwater (GA Coast): Tommy Sweeney fished Saturday and caught two big flounder on a mullet-colored Keitech swimbait. He also caught a few short trout. His trip was cut short when he got a hook in his finger. Jay Turner walked the bank in the Savannah area and caught 4 flounder—two small and two between 4 and 5 pounds. He also had a slot redfish. Keitech swimbaits on Zombie Eye Jigheads produced his fish. Steve and Brenda Hampton fished the Jekyll Island Pier on Saturday and put it on the flounder. They had an 18-, 16-, 15- and 12 1/2-inch keepers along with two throwbacks. On Friday, Brenda caught three flounder from the pier in terrible conditions. On Thursday, an angler fishing the pier caught two flounder about 18 inches and a few throwbacks on mudminnows.

Last quarter moon is June 10th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website. For the latest marine forecast, check out

River gages on June 8 were:

Clyo on the Savannah River – 7.0 feet and falling

Abbeville on the Ocmulgee – 2.6 feet and falling

Doctortown on the Altamaha – 7.0 feet and falling

Waycross on the Satilla – 6.6 feet and falling

Atkinson on the Satilla – 8.5 feet and falling

Statenville on the Alapaha – 2.2 feet and falling

Macclenny on the St Marys – 2.9 feet and falling

Fargo on the Suwannee – 2.6 feet and falling

Capt. Bert Deener makes a variety of both fresh and saltwater fishing lures. Check his lures out at Bert’s Jigs and Things on Facebook. For a copy of his latest catalog, call him at 912.288.3022 or e-mail him at [email protected].

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