Lake Oconee Fishing Report – April 2020

GON Staff | March 27, 2020

Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: Water temps are running from 62 north of I-20 to 68 degrees in several pockets south of I-20. Clarity: The lake is still stained, but it’s clearing. Most of the lake was mud red last month. South of the Armor Bridge boat ramp is clearing the quickest.

Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “Brayden Batchelor is a Georgia Bass Nation high school tournament angler for the Clarks Hill youth fishing team. He has been on the water all weekend and was gracious enough to share his findings with GON. Brayden has located bass on the main lake and on secondary points leading into the pockets. A silver-bladed ChatterBait up shallow and on shallow wood is his first choice. Other baits working right now are the new Rat-L-Trap squarebill crankbait, a white-bladed spinnerbait and a Carolina-rigged lizard or Brush Hog. There is a buzzbait bite early, as well, and Brayden has found a frog bite in the very backs of the pockets under overhanging trees in the afternoon if the sun has been out all day. Brayden has found a few bedding bass extremely shallow above I-20 but believes the majority of the bass will be spawning as soon as the sun can stay out for a few days in a row. Look for light patches where aquatic grass is present, and focus on sandy banks and pockets. A wacky rig, an unweighted Trick Worm and a Carolina-rigged lizard will work if you can’t see the beds. Brayden thinks the shad spawn will start as early as mid-April. Spinnerbaits, Whopper Ploppers and Pop-Rs worked along the rip-rap and seawalls will be his go-to baits. A black Trick Worm worked a little deeper (2-4 feet) is his recommendation to keep putting bass in the boat once the sun gets on the water and the shad spawn wanes in the mornings. He’s not sure why black works so well but recommends it over other colors.”

Crappie:  Capt. Doug Nelms reports, “With the full moon coming on April 7 and it being a full moon, the fish will definitely be pushing up into the shallows again. The big ones! I have found that the crappie don’t all spawn at once, and there will be some during this final big moon that will be huge and hungry. If you know how to push, place your rods in 2 to 5 feet of water in just about any cove on the lake. You will be rewarded with some nice slabs. My go-to setup this month will be 1/16-oz. Jiffy Jigs tipped with big crappie minnows in the colors of black/blue/black, red sexy bug, Doug bug and black/green glitter/black. They have produced some awesome fish this spring, and for me, this is the final hurrah on the push before I start pulling those longlines. The fish will spawn, then go back into the channels and secondary points where the pull is the ticket.”

Stripers: Capt. Doug Nelms reports, “April is our unofficial start of the season for the linesides, and right now they have gotten ramped up early. We are catching some really nice fish at the south end of the lake, and the big ones are up at Dyers Pasture. As of today, the bass minnow bite is still on, but when the shad spawn starts this month, the fish will turn their noses up at a bass minnow and only eat threads and gizzard shad. It is during this month that I keep both baits on board, because you never know when it’s going to change. You want to pull live baits on planer boards, flatlines, weighted flatlines and downlines. On a normal spread, when there is an absence of a lot of boats, I will pull 10 flatlines. If I am feeling a little giddy, I can add about four more downlines. Do we get tangles? Yes, but after spending a spring trying to untie 6-lb. crappie line, it’s almost like I am handling rope with the 12-lb. striper line. This is the month that our biggest fish show up, and on some days down on the south end of the lake, the bite can get seriously crazy. There will be several days in the month of April that we will run out of bait on a trip.”

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