Lake Oconee Fishing Report August 2015

GON Staff | July 30, 2015

Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: Low 90s. Clarity: Clear down the lake; light stain up the lake.

Tournament pro Aaron Batson reports that fishing is tough. “We are right in the middle of the dog days of summer. Fish are mostly deep,” Aaron said. “Think about slow baits. Carolina rigs and football jigs in 20 to 25 feet of water are good bets. Try a 3/4-oz. Net Boy Baits football jig in green pumpkin with a big twin trailer. Try a Trixster Custom Baits Craw Flappy or Crusty Craw in green pumpkin or brown. Slow way down, and then get even slower with your bait.”

Crappie: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “This is a big month for lots of numbers. The crappie will be holding very close to the timber, and downlining minnows will fill your fish box. Oconee is beautiful when it comes to submerged timber for crappie, and if you have good electronics, you can see the fish on the trees. I typically only fish with six rods for two people because the action can be so fast it’s hard to manage any more. I have also heard through the rumor mill that a major tree removal is scheduled for the Richland Creek area and up the Apalachee River. The thoughts are this will make the crappie fishing even better as it will create access to more places. I personally think it couldn’t get any better than it is now, but let’s keep our fingers crossed.” Guide Al Bassett reports, “Crappie fishing is currently good. Fish are holding in deeper water over brushpiles, standing timber and deep drop-offs. Night fishing under the bridges and in the timber or around the lighted docks is very good. Use your Lowrance HDS and LSS-2 to find the fish on the brushpiles or the deep drop-offs before you start fishing. Mark the area where you find the fish holding with a marker, and either use live bait or cast to the area using Jiffy Jig Super Grubs. During this time of year, make sure you take care of your live bait. Use bait saver, and keep the water cool by putting handfuls of ice in there during the day.” Guide Jody Stephens said, “Water temps are touching 90 at Oconee with that brownish summer color on a large portion of the lake. Crappie have been caught trolling double jigs over timber until two weeks ago, and now that has slowed tremendously. Finding and targeting single trees in deeper water that are holding fish is your best bet to downline minnows for the crappie now. Keep your bait alive with a good aerator and frozen bottles of water in your bait bucket. Good downscan electronics are crucial to locate holding fish in the timber. Deep holes off river channels are good places to look for fish, too. Light-colored Jiffy Jigs tipped with minnows or No. 2 gold Aberdeen hooks with minnows are summertime favorites.”

Guide Doug Nelms reports, “It is hot on Lake Oconee this month, and since I have guided there, this has never been a great time for the striper bite. But since the DNR has increased the percentages of hybrids again, the fishing has gotten a lot better during the summer. Last year around this time we experienced a lot of topwater activity, and this year it appears to be even better. Most of the time it only happens during the early morning and late afternoon, but if you can find a school blowing up on baits, you can really load your livewell. On occasion these fish can stay up for an hour or more. I will be throwing 3-inch pearl Sassy Shad on a 1/4- or 3/8-oz. head into the schooling fish and reeling it very fast just under the surface of the water. But, if you like catching fish in a barrel, the tailrace just below Wallace Dam on Sinclair is loaded with stripers and hybrids right now. I use the same lure and cast as close to the dam as possible. You will actually see the shad getting busted up right on the wall at the dam. When Georgia Power is generating more than two turbines, the fish get really active. Some of the biggest catch numbers I have had on Oconee has come out of the tailrace, and as long as the weather remains hot, the fish will be down there. Be sure to wear your life jacket from Hwy 16 all the way to the dam, as it is considered a hazardous area.” Guide Jody Stephens reports, “The striper and hybrid bite at the dam has been tremendous over the last few weeks. Get there at daylight before pumpback stops. Topwater popping corks with crappie jigs have produced as fish are chasing bait on top. About 15 minutes after pumpback stops, drop spoons to them, and vertical jig as the fish ball up from mid-depth to the bottom. This bite may be over in short notice as oxygen levels of the lake continue to fall as temps rise. Get it while you can!”

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