Lake Oconee Fishing Report April 2017

GON Staff | March 29, 2017

Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: Low to mid 60s. Clarity: Light stain.

Bass: Good. Tournament angler Mark Denney Jr. reports, “The bass are not everywhere on Lake Oconee right now. Most of the better bites seem to come first thing in the morning around grass, blowdowns and seawalls. Try a buzzbait or frog if the water is calm and warm enough for the fish to chase a topwater lure. If the bass seem to be relating to the bottom, try flipping and pitching a jig or Texas-rigged lizard around the same types of cover. If you can’t find a productive area first thing, a shaky head or drop shot paired with a Zoom Finesse worm will help you grind out a few decent keepers. As the fish start to guard fry around their beds, try a Stryke Ryte spinnerbait or a Blademaster Lures Suddeth crankbait in bream or bluegill color patterns to put some key fish in the boat. Sometimes putting the trolling motor down and covering water with moving baits is the best thing to do until you find an active area that you can pick apart. Once I start to get a few bites, a Zoom Fluke and Senko are both great choices for finishing off the area and catching the more finicky fish that don’t want to commit to a fast-moving presentation. As always, be safe and God bless.”

Linesides: Guide Mark Smith reports, “There are some fish in the Riverbend area very eager to take some live bait right now. We caught some on downlines in 15 to 25 feet of water. At the dam, we started catching some on planer boards. Look for fish to move up in the water column and be caught on downlines, flatlines and planer boards. When the shad spawn starts the second week of April, the linesides will begin wanting live threadfins over bass minnows.” For a full feature on how Mark Smith will catch linesides on Oconee in the month of April, turn to page 64. Guide Doug Nelms reports, “The dogwoods are in full bloom, which announces the stripers to the dam and up the river. This is where most of our trips will begin and end each day as we pull live shad across the points and channels. Most of us would like to get right on the dam, but Georgia Power wants to keep us all protected, so we all skirt the barrel lines hoping to find a wandering fish headed in or out of the area. We use flatlines and downlines to present the offering to a willing fish, and usually when they take it, everyone in the area knows it. We get huge blow-ups on flatlines because the shad just won’t swim in the pattern we are pulling. The shad spawn will start this month, and for those early risers, you will be rewarded with non-stop action for stripers, bass and just about everything else that eats shad on this lake. Throw a white spinnerbait. A 30- to 40-fish day isn’t unusual. I think it is better than crappie fishing for an introduction to young folks because a steady bite is the norm, and the fish are bigger than most kids have ever seen. By the end of the month, we will be pulling out our umbrella rigs and praying for Georgia Power to turn the water on. As the fish leave the dam and go looking for food on the main-lake points, we present this offering that just drives them crazy. This normally happens every afternoon when generation is occurring. It causes the bait and fish to congregate in one area, which creates some unbelievable fishing.”

Crappie: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “The fish are moving back into the channels and will begin to search for structure in preparation for the long summer. This is the time we troll over the tops of structure or anchor and drop into the trees with a minnow offering. Both methods will work very well. These are not the huge Apalachee River crappie, but they are filleting size, and on most days you can catch lots of them. I use my Lowrance HDS Structure Scan and find which trees they are hanging in. Then, depending on how I’m fishing, I throw out a marker or create a GPS waypoint and troll or straight-line. For trolling most of our submerged timber on Oconee, we use double 1/16-oz. jigs. They will put you in the right water depth when trolled about 0.8 to 1.0 mph. Light-wire hooks are the tickets because when you get hung, you can hold your spool, and your hook should straighten right out. I fish about eight lines out the back, but on some days that can be way too many rods to attend.”

Become a GON subscriber and enjoy full access to ALL of our content.

New monthly payment option available!