Lake Oconee Fishing Report – April 2024

GON Staff | March 27, 2024

Oconee: Level: 0.3 below 435. Temp: 58-60 degrees. Clarity: With all the rain, the lake is stained everywhere except Richland Creek in some areas.

Bass: Guide Nick Knapp with Elite Guide Service reports, “Expect the largemouth to be getting shallow. They should be pulling up on seawalls and shallow blowdowns looking to spawn. A 1/2-oz. spinnerbait has been getting a lot of bites. As the day goes on, a 1/4-oz. Ned rig with a Senko has been producing numbers. This is one of the more fun months to catch big largemouth. One spot to try is just north of Lake Club Marina. Lots of fish have been coming off the seawalls in that area. Also look in the undeveloped areas of Richland Creek to find bed fish. The point right outside of the Armor Bridge boat ramp has lots of blowdowns and is holding some fish right now, as well. Tight lines!” Tournament angler Ronnie Garrison reports that Niles Murray won the Spalding County Sportsman Club tournament over the weekend. Ronnie says, “He had five at 14.76 with a 5-lb.-plus kicker. All but one hit a crankbait. It swiped at a spinnerbait and then hit a Trick Worm on the fifth cast to it. Lee Hancock had five at a close second with 14.41 and had a 6-lb. kicker. Doug Acree fished with Lee and brought in a 7.31-pounder for big fish and was third with four at 13.36. Both their big fish hit squarebill crankbaits. My five weighed 11.34 for fourth. At my first stop, I caught a 2-pounder on a crankbait on a rocky point. Then two 2.5-pounders hit a spinnerbait out from grassbeds back in a cove, all before 8 a.m. When the sun got on the water, it got tough. About noon, I caught a 14.5-inch fish on a black/blue Bitsy Flip Jig with a sapphire-blue Zoom Creepy Crawler with tails dipped in chartreuse J.J.’s Magic. At 1:30, I caught my best fish, a 2.87-pounder on the jig in the grass. I fished from Long Shoals to the dam. The top-three finishers went up from Long Shoals.”

Linesides: Capt. Doug Nelms, with BigFishHeads Guide Service, reports, “April is the month when Oconee stripers spawn and return to the dam. I have always believed the stripers that are south of the Highway 44 bridge will go to the dam, and the ones north of 44 will make their way up the river. There’s no scientific data I have ever reviewed to make me think this, but I have fished for them a long time, and I am sure they all don’t go to the same place. Live bait on flatlines and weighted downlines will be the standard go-to setup this month. If you go to the dam, you’ll see guys pulling crankbaits, A-rigs and fishing cutbait on the bottom, but the majority of anglers will use live bait, whether it be live shad or big bass minnows. Guys who want to target really big fish will be throwing their nets, hoping to put a 10-inch gizzard shad in the tank, and those who just want to catch numbers will pull store-bought bass minnows. I like to run my lines about 100 feet behind the boat and 25 feet behind my planer boards. I use a No. 2 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook for most small-bait applications and a 6- to 8-foot leader with a 10- to 12-lb. fluorocarbon. The most important thing is to have all of that on a quality rod and reel. It’s amazing just how big of a fish you can catch if your tackle is good. Concentrate on the areas in front of the Georgia Power boat house and even out into 100 feet of water. They won’t be deep, but when the spawn is on, you will catch them all over the big water at the dam.”

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  1. Jeremy Whisenant on April 4, 2024 at 7:37 pm

    I haven’t read _any_ articles this month. Why does the system tell me I have?

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