After the completion of the February feral swine population census, initial analysis of the data shows the first increase in the population since 2008 — total increase in population size is about 35 percent over the past six months.
The high availability of acorn mast and a relatively mild winter were likely contributors to this increase. Average sounder size is up from a steady eight-to-nine pigs per sounder (fall 2008 to fall 2011) to 12 this February. Additionally, multiple sites had more than 20 pigs per sounder, which has been extremely uncommon since 2008. The increase in the population should provide better pig hunting opportunities this spring and summer.
Spring seems to have already arrived and water temperatures are at ideal levels for some fish to begin spawning. There have been reports of fishermen already catching largemouth bass off beds around this area. Assuming this warm weather continues, some of the year’s best fishing should be going on right now.
There have also been reports of fishermen beginning to catch white bass in the river. Hopefully, with the warm winter, the shad population in Lake Walter F. George has survived and will begin their annual spawning run up the Chattahoochee. Once that spawn gets in full swing, the fishing on the bank of the river for white bass will be exceptional.
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Primary hot spots for fishermen to target are the old marina on Main Post, Engineer Landing near Lawson Army Airfield, the mouths of Uchee and Upatoi Creeks, and in the Upatoi behind the fire station on Custer Road. This time of year is a good time to do some crappie fishing as well. Crappie can be caught in several of the ponds on Benning and in the Chattahoochee River. Weems, Twilight and Kings Ponds have the highest abundance of crappie — Kings and Twilight are the only two where fishermen are allowed to use minnows. Again, if weather stays warm and water temperatures hold, the crappie will begin spawning in shallow water and hanging out around brush tops on theriverbanksr. Please email any fishing reports or photos to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share with the Fort Benning fishing community.
For the fourth year in a row, we collected Christmas trees from Soldiers and Families residing on Fort Benning. Almost 400 trees were collected this year and have been sunk in Kings and Twilight Ponds. Over the past four years, nearly 1,000 trees have been used to add structure to Victory, Kings, Twilight and Hedley’s Ponds.
Having adequate structure in these ponds is essential to provide cover for newly hatched fish and other smaller fish that are highly susceptible to predators. It also creates areas where bass can lie in wait for those smaller fish, which results in fishing hot spots.