Lake Oconee Fishing Report – August 2018
Oconee: Level: 0.4 feet low. Temp: High 80s. Clarity: The rivers are stained as you head up above the I-20 bridge, the main lake is clear, and Richland Creek is clear until you get to where it shallows up.
Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “Fishing is fair in the morning until 10 or 11. Stay shallow fishing seawalls with topwater or shallow crankbaits to start. Your other option is to fish deeper-diving crankbaits or plastics on the rip-rap areas. Fish docks, brush and laydowns as the sun gets up. Be patient. The bites will be few, but if you get bit, make sure to fish the surrounding area thoroughly. I am finding small concentrations of bass, and I will catch two or three bass when I finally get bit. Stay cool!”
Linesides: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “Over the past four years, we have witnessed a strong, early morning striper bite at the dam during the pumpback. On days when Georgia Power pumps back later into the morning hours, the stripers can put on a real show. On good mornings, we can boat 25 to 30 fish before 9 a.m., and they are ranging from 2 pounds right into the teens. You’ll see them chasing bait and blowing up on top, just like they are starving, and on some mornings, it looks like there are acres of fish. Many anglers throw a popping cork with a tiny fly (Thing Popper) tied about 12 to 15 inches from the cork. You throw it, then chug it, just like you are fishing in Louisiana for redfish and trout. Light spinning gear seems to work the best, with no more than 10-lb. test line. You may catch a 2-lb. hybrid on your first cast, then a 10-lb. striper on the next. It is a lot of fun, and my customers are usually off the water by 10 a.m. If there is no water movement going on, it’s very tough. For our afternoon trips, we are pulling u-rigs on the lower to the middle parts of the lake. You can start looking at shallow-water humps from Sugar Creek all the way to the dam. I pull a Capt. Mack’s 3-oz., 4-arm rig, and my favorite color is white and chartreuse. I send it 100 feet behind the boat and motor at 3 mph. That will put it around 18 to 20 feet deep, depending on how heavy your individual jigs are. There are lots of big stripers up at Barnett Shoals right now, and of course you need a jet boat to get to them. Whites Dam, which is way above Barnett Shoals, is being opened up for more water flow on the Oconee. I haven’t heard anyone say that it will help our stripers, but it’s certainly more cooler water flow into our lake.”
Crappie: Guide Al Bassett reports, “Crappie fishing is currently very good and should stay this way for the rest of summer. The key is the fishing is best when Georgia Power is moving water. Locate fish on drop-offs or brushpiles using your Lowrance HDS unit. Look for the brushpiles in 15 to 20 feet of water, or look for sharp drop-offs where the river channel is very near a flat. Use a live minnow, and fish right over the brush or drop-off where you have located the crappie. Using a drop-shot rig with a minnow is a good way to also locate fish on the drop-off. In most cases, when you find one fish, you have found a school of crappie, so work the area good. Try night fishing with lights off the side of the boat in the timbers or under a bridge. You can fish dock lights at night with a Jiffy Jig Super Grub on a 1/16-oz. jig head. Work all areas of the docks that have lights. Make sure you keep your minnows in good shape by adding a little ice to the water to keep it cool, and add a bait saver to your bait tank or bucket.”
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