Lake Oconee Fishing Report April 2015

GON Staff | March 25, 2015

Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: 58-60 degrees. Clarity: Stained over most of the lake.

Excellent. Tournament angler Aaron Batson reports, “Big females are up shallow feeding and spawning. Look for them in 1 to 3 feet of water. Just about any bait will work right now. Moving baits like 1/4-oz. spinnerbaits and square-billed crankbaits (like Black Label, Strike King, etc.) will catch them very well right now. Once fish get locked onto beds, you will need to slow down with soft plastics on a Texas rig or drop shot. Try a Trixster Custom Baits Craw Flappy or beaver-style bait on the Texas rig. Good colors are green pumpkin or black/blue flake.”

Guide Doug Nelms reports, “It has been a great crappie season so far, and I think it’s not quite over for the big fish. This year the weather has been a little crazy, and it has interfered with the natural flow of the spawn. We had a lot of fish go off the first week of March, but many of them are still deep in the channel and the mouths of their favorite spawning ground. I didn’t catch my first flat fish (spawned out) until the week of the 23rd, which tells me there is another wave coming, and it should be big around the full moon on April 4. The method for catching them will change a little. There are some days that I will start off on the channel ledges 10 to 12 feet deep fishing 5 feet deep, and before the day is over, I’ll be fishing in the backs of the coves in 2 feet of water with my lines just 6 inches under the surface. During this time of year, the fish will move a lot throughout the day. I will also start pulling jigs as the water warms up warmer than 62 degrees. I am still using Jiffy Jigs sexy red bug in 1/16-oz. and also a brand-new color that has been working great. It has an ice-blue head and body and a bright chartreuse tail. It is a special color selection that Jiffy Jigs made up for me. I’d like to call it the Doug Bug, but I don’t think they are going to let me get by with that, but it is a real winner. It is not in their product line, but just ask them, and they’ll make some up for you. I will be concentrating hard on areas like Upper Apalachee, North Richland Creek and Double Branches and even the Indian Mounds. We caught a ton of fish up there last year pulling long lines during Masters Week.” Guide Jody Stephens reports, “Water temps rose 10 degrees in a week, and the switch got flipped. Record catches around the lake started March 7 and in shallow water. Pushing hot pink and black Jiffy Jigs tipped with minnows has been great, along with green metal flake/black and pink/bubblegum/pink. Long-line trolling has been producing good fish, too. Look for fish in creek arms, and be sure to pull your baits 0.9-1.1 mph and above the fish.”

Guide Doug Nelms reports, “Now is serious striper time, and the flotilla will be showing up at the dam. I always start off at the dam by pulling Jiffy Jigs tipped with minnows. I have been down there early season with a tank full of the prettiest shad and didn’t get a bite. I think maybe it is because the stripers have been feeding on very small shad, and they are accustomed to a smaller bait profile. Make sure you have some big bass minnows if you are there. The colors I use on my Jiffy Jigs are standard chartreuse/white and black/pink/chartreuse. They make bigger Jiffy Jigs with a stronger hook to handle bigger fish. Sugar Creek Marina will be carrying them, or you can call Jiffy Jigs and order some. I will also be using big bass minnows on a No. 2 Owner Mosquito hook. When you see the size of this hook, you’re gonna think this is a misprint, but don’t be scared. These tiny hooks will hold huge fish, and it gives the minnow more action to lure in the big fish. Sugar Creek Marina sells the hooks and the shiners. I will be using flatlines and downlines (2-oz.) for this time of year. It is a good idea to use a swivel on all your lines, and I always use fluorocarbon. If last year repeats itself, there will be a lot of fish running up the Oconee and Apalachee rivers. On March 19, while crappie fishing up the Apalachee, we boated a 7-lb. striper on its way up. For you striper fisherman who have smaller boats, Dyers Pasture could be the place for you.” Guide Mark Smith reports, “April is the best month of the year to fish on Lake Oconee. The striper/hybrid fishing will be in full swing. The fish will be on each end of the lake. The dam area will be the most popular, but don’t forget the river run. Live bait will be your best bet. I will carry shad and shiners on my trips to the dam. Flatlines and planer boards will be the best option, but don’t forget the downlines. If the fishing slows down during midday, pull out your umbrella rigs, and pull across the buoy line at the dam. This is a great way to put extra fish in the boat. If you go up the rivers, live bait and cut bait will work on these river fish. A Carolina rig fished off the bottom will be the best tactic for the river fish.”

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