Lake Oconee Fishing Report April 2018

GON Staff | March 28, 2018

Oconee: Level: Full. Temp: 59 at the dam, 65 to 70 in the back of some creeks up north. Clarity: Stained.

Bass: Adult boat captain for the North Oconee High School Tightlines Titans Bass Club Karl Pingry reports, “I sure misspoke on the last full-moon predictions, thanks to several cold fronts coming through the area. Bass are still spread out and difficult to pattern. Everything from spinnerbaits, ChatterBaits, shallow crankbaits to Carolina rigs in 2 to 8 feet of water are working, but not everywhere. I will make my prediction that there will be a lot of bass trying to spawn on this full moon. I am finding the bass on seawalls, rock, roadbeds and various sandy and hard-bottom areas.”

Crappie: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “There is no doubt when I say this has been the best crappie season we have had in years, along with the nastiest weather in years. There has been some awesome days with big fish and big numbers. I thought it was over, put the long poles back in the garage, and then suddenly they show back up. I have changed my pushing rack on and off the boat more times than my wife tries on shoes for Sunday church. During the day, I have started off in 12 feet of water, and then the next day I may find them in 1 foot. The fish have been everywhere, and I believe this weather has played the biggest part of them. At the time of this report, the fish are right up next to the bank. I think since the full moon is on April 1, for the next few days after this magazine comes out, the fishing is going to be crazy good. You can cast a Jiffy Jig about 9 inches under a cork and twitch them around fallen timber on any bank that drops off sharply. This year the all-star color on a Jiffy Jig has been a black head, blue-glitter body and a black tail. Some of my jigs get so mutilated that the color is unrecognizable after a fishing trip. I figure they’re lucky, so I keep putting them out there. Some of the places to look is the back of Sugar Creek, Hole 19, Grayson Whites Cove, The Mansion Cove and the powerlines at Highway 44.”

Stripers: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “We have already caught a ton of line-sides this year, but historically this is the month when the big girls move in. Eight to 10-lb. hybrids are on the menu this month. This month will split the fisherman up by a wide margin. I believe half the fish will go up the river, and the other half will be at the dam. Fishing the river is far more challenging because there will be a lot of anglers up there, and space is limited, while fishing at the dam will be far more spacious and more forgiving. We will be using threadfin and gizzard shad on planer boards in shallow water. When the fish attack, your heart will go into A-fib. We always catch our largest fish of the season now, and I am sure the Derby leaderboard will change daily during this month. We will be throwing our nets around bridges to find these perfect baits, since there is no where you can purchase them on Lake Oconee. Many guys ask about how to catch and keep baits. Calusa nets has a really good video that shows how to throw a net. You can see it at, and if you need any information about how to keep shad, call Shawn at Striper Soup. This crazy guy has a wealth of knowledge of how to catch and keep shad, and he loves talking about it. The shad spawn is going to happen this month probably around the 15th, which is the new moon, and for sure around the 29th, which is the full moon. We’ll be running trips from daylight until about 10 a.m., and it is nonstop action. You can throw buzzbaits and catch 20 to 30 fish in just a few hours. When I say fish, I’m talking about big, mean fish that will include stripers, hybrids, largemouth, white bass and even the occasional monster catfish. These fish will have freshly spawned, and they are so hungry they will take the rod out of your hand. This is an exciting month for fishing on Lake Oconee. Also, we have started the second half of our awesome Fishing Derby. This year’s recipient is 30-30 Ministries, a group that introduces youth to the outdoors. Our Derby ends in April, and we will be presenting a check to this group from our net proceeds. We started this tournament four years ago, and every year you make it a huge success through your generosity to these worthy causes. Go to if you would like the opportunity to make a quick and easy donation.”

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