An extra hour of fishin’ time!

Okay, so it’s coming whether we like it or not – the annual transition to Daylight Savings Time. This Sunday at 2 a.m., time as we know it will jump ahead an hour. That means that in the morning, when your clock tells you it’s 7 a.m., your body will be saying “No…NO!” and screaming that it’s really just 6 a.m.

That’s much too early to get up if you don’t have to do so.

But is it really so bad? Once I get over that initial chronological shock and recalibrate my circadian rhythm and start doing everything one hour earlier, Daylight Savings Time is not too painful. In fact, just a few days into it (and once I’ve gotten used to it) I decide it’s really a pretty good thing.

Why? Because it gives me one more hour of afternoon daylight, and that means I’ll have an extra hour of fishing time.

So now I have a decision to make. Where should I go to enjoy that extra hour? So many waters, so little time…

But wait. To help me decide what to do with that gift from the Land of Circadia, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has just updated its 2018 Georgia Fishing Prospects. Waiting for you over on the DNR website (at georgiawildlife.com/fishing-prospects), this neat online resource gives anglers statewide a huge amount of information to help plan that next fishing trip.

Here’s how it works. Once you get to the “Fishing Prospects” site, you’ll find two lists – one of reservoirs and one of rivers. In the “Reservoir” category you have 32 different waters (from “Allatoona” to “Yonah”) to choose from; the “River Prospects” category offers an additional 21 choices ranging from the Altamaha to the Toccoa.

Let’s say I’m interested in the Coosa River (and I definitely am, since it’s one of Georgia’s best springtime white bass fisheries – something we’ll talk about more here over the next few weeks). I click on the “Coosa” link, and the site takes me to a summary page where I find not only an interactive and scalable map of the portion of river in question but also links to more detailed info on fishing the Coosa as well as specific insights designed to help me fish for various species which I’m likely to find there.

One species that’s listed, I’m glad to see, is white bass. Clicking on the “White Bass” link takes me to a more detailed page where I learn (for example) that while white bass numbers in the Coosa are expected to be down a little this year, the size of the fish should be good with males averaging up to one pound and females running in the two-pound range. That’s good enough for me!

I also pick up tips on techniques to use while fishing for those fish, including suggestions on the best lures as well as some practical pointers on the techniques I’ll need to use to put those lures to work.

But the Coosa is a big place. Where should I go? The “Target” section helps me with the “where” part of things and points me toward some specific areas, with additional info on specific sorts of areas I should be targeting. I also pick up tips on the “when” part of the equation – not just the main white bass run, which occurs sometime between late February and early May, but also a secondary run in the lower part of the river which happens as the water cools in late fall and early winter.

There’s no doubt about it – this DNR site offers plenty of info to help me decide what to do with that extra hour of daylight, and I plan to put it to good use.

And we’ve only looked at one species on one river. There is tons more info here (on myriad species in many different waters), and the danger is that you’ll spend that extra hour in armchair adventuring right there on the site instead of in fishing out on the water.

“Let me tell you, if you have used the annual Fishing Prospects in the past, you are in for a treat in 2018,” said Thom Litts, operations manager for the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division’s Fisheries Management Section. “If you are not checking out these prospects for your favorite water body before heading out, you are making a mistake.”

Thom’s right. Check this one out and start planning those spring fishing trips!

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