Lake Oconee Fishing Report – April 2019
Oconee: Level: Full. Temp: 58-64 degrees. Clarity: Drop your lure in the water to determine the level of clarity. The pollen mixing in the water makes the water appear more stained than it really is. The Oconee River is stained below I-20. The Apalachee is much clearer. Visibility is better than 1 foot, a big change from last month’s water color.
Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “Between the heavy rains followed by severe cold fronts in March, April will be quite active for fishing. The crappie and bass will be spawning with a new moon on April 5 and a full moon on April 19. Staying shallow will be the key. Everything from Carolina rigs to crankbaits will work. Spinnerbaits and Rat-L-Traps in windy areas and working the docks after 11 a.m. will also work. When the bass get ready to spawn, a light-weight Carolina rig worked down the banks followed by a Trick Worm or Senko in the shallows and around the docks will work anywhere on the lake. If the weather remains warm for most of the month, look for the shad spawn to start near the end of the month. Grab a spinnerbait, find the rocks, and be on the water at first light.” Tournament angler and guide Tony Couch reported that the best current bass fishing is coming on jigs and soft plastics around docks and seawalls.
Crappie: Guide Jody Stephens reports, “In and out, up and down and hot and not. That sums up the crappie at Oconee. The fish started off early this year, and some creek arms were on fire and then went cold. Then ones that were dead came alive. Looking for boat traffic will tell you where they are biting. Longlining Tex Jigs on Sickle jig heads made by Curtis Hobbs out of Cochran and a trolled Jiffy Jig have been deadly.”
Linesides: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “It’s been a strange weather year for Lake Oconee. The stripers usually have arrived by now on the end of the lake and some nice catches come in, but this year the fish are trickling in. I think it has more to do with water temp than anything, but trust me when I say that they are on the way. You want to use live bait this month to put a nice fish in the boat. Shad or bass minnows should do the trick on a flatline. This consist of a 10-lb. fluorocarbon leader about 7 feet long with a swivel attached to the main line. Planer boards are always a great option, but on the weekends when a lot of boats get down there, it can get a little crowded. Most of us understand there is a correct way to fish the dam on the boathouse side and an incorrect way. There is a hump that comes up really shallow, around 6 feet, and then it drops off on either side, and the fish will stack up right on the drop-off. We all will get in line and make huge circles pulling the baits across this hump, so that everyone has a chance to hook-up. But inevitably there is always one boat that thinks the way to catch these fish is to just sit right on top of the hump and throw a wrench in the works. If you want to sit still, the best thing to do is tie off to the barrel line and not hinder the other boaters. Water generation has been met with mixed feelings over the past few years. I remember the time when we hoped to hear the sirens that signaled a turbine opening because it would make the fish go crazy. Over the past couple of years that hasn’t been the case, and to be honest, I have seen it actually slow the bite down. I would love to give an answer of why that has changed, but to be honest, we are all kind of scratching our heads on that one. I think April is the best month to catch the biggest fish on Oconee. They are spawning, hungry and if they see your live bait offering, they won’t resist it.”
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