Lake Oconee Fishing Report April 2012

GON Staff | March 28, 2012

Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: Mid 60s at the dam, as high as low 70s in some pockets. Clarity: Very clear down the lake, light stain mid-lake and up.

Bass: Good. Tournament angler Mark Holloway said everything is running early, but he thinks it’s likely to be a prolonged spawn rather than just an early one. He said the early waves have already come off the beds, and the fish are in all stages right now. He thinks the majority of the fish haven’t moved up yet. Mark said you can find some clear water and catch bedded fish on a shaky head or light Carolina rig right now. He said to target the walkways on docks and the first posts. Also, Mark said it’s weird, but there are already a few shad spawning, although he hasn’t found any fish around them. Through the next few weeks, keep your eyes open for the first hour and a half of daylight. Mark likes to keep the trolling motor on high to cover all the rock near spawning pockets he can when the shad start spawning. He’ll throw a spinnerbait or buzzbait and is interested to see if the Alabama rig will make fishing around shad an all-day bite this spring. Mark said there is some other postspawn stuff going on, which should get better. There is some topwater early on the seawalls. He likes to throw a buzzbait or Spro popping frog right up on the walls. Also, a light Carolina rig with a small worm fished on gravelly points outside the spawning areas should catch some fish.

Linesides: Good. “The annual hybrid and striper bite is on at the dam,” said guide Doug Nelms. “This year has started off with some very nice size hybes, which is kinda crazy because last year they were no where to be found. The strange thing is that at the time of this posting, only a few stripers have been caught down there. You can go by Sugar Creek and pick up some large bass minnows, and they will do the trick. In a few days the shad bite will start, and then the minnow bite will fade away.” Guide Mark Smith has also been catching them at the dam. “Because of the pumpback operation at Lake Oconee, some of the hybrids and stripers will go to the south end of the lake for their spring run. Some will go up the rivers as well. The best way to catch them at the dam is with live bait. Bait choice is always critical at this time of year. One day they will only eat bass shiners, the next day only threadfin shad. You will need to be ready for whatever they like that day,” Mark said. “Over the past few years, the umbrella-rig bite has picked up on Oconee. This time of year it can be very effective if the live bait bite slows down. These fish should stay on the south end of the lake untill the end of April. Keep an eye on the weather, as hot weather will move them up the lake to the humps and points before the end of April. Cooler weather will hold them down at the dam longer.”

Crappie: Fair. Al Bassett reports, “Some of the fish have started to move back into deeper water over brushpiles and deep drop-offs. It’s best to use your HDS unit to find the fish in these areas before you start to fish. Use a live minnow, and fish right over the brush. Once you find the fish in these areas, work them very good as you most likely have found a school of fish. This will only get better as the month comes to a end. Night fishing with lights off the side of the boat has started and will only get better.”

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