Lake Oconee Fishing Report – August 2019

GON Staff | July 24, 2019

Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: High 80s on the main lake. Clarity: Clear, even in the rivers above the railroad trestle.

Bass: Slow. Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “Fish the morning, either cranking as the lake is refilling early in the morning or fish a topwater or favorite shallow bait as long as there is shade.  Then head in for a cold drink! If you enjoy sweating, fish brush, laydowns and docks for a few fish. It gets tough. Stay hydrated. One suggestion I received but have not tried is to go back to the areas that produced your early morning bites and fish the docks and cover in that area. The fish have to go somewhere.  For this reporter, I’m not sure where the better fish go until the current comes back into play late in the day.”

Linesides: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “It’s August, it’s hot, and when Georgia Power helps us out, we can catch a lot of fish in a short amount of time. The water temp on Oconee will remain in the 90s on most days. Last year I saw 93 degree surface temperatures. It’s probably very accurate to say there must be water movement to catch fish this month. Hopefully this happens twice a day; once in the early morning and once in the afternoon. During these times, the fish will be very active, and you can see them busting on top and grouping up really big on your fish finder. Last week I was on the pipeline, and the cloud of shad my Humminbird Solix was showing was phenomenal! There were so many fish under the boat that customers would catch a striper and then foul hook a gizzard shad. When fish and bait accumulate like that, it’s the proverbial fishing in a barrel. I keep several rods ready to go during this time of year loaded with swimbaits, A-rigs, spoons and live bait. It is a lot to keep up with, but you just never know what they’re going to want. This time of year, when you find them and they start eating, you better hurry. It doesn’t last long. I think the lack of oxygen in the water and their need to feed makes them turn off as soon as they get enough. It’s not like April when you can get bites all day long. There is a huge group of fish in two places on Oconee. The bigger ones are up the river in places where only a jet boat can venture, and the second group will be hanging around the confluence of Richland Creek and Oconee River. If you are using live bait down toward the dam, you will have to check it often because with low oxygen and high water temps, it will not stay alive very long. But, when you find them and figure it out, you can be rewarded with some fast-paced action.”

Crappie: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “Thank God for Oconee crappie. This time of year it gets hot, but when you have as many brushpiles to fish that Oconee offers, you can usually fill up your cooler. When all the other fish seem to slow down, our crappie do not disappoint. If it’s longline trolling, shooting docks, dropping minnows on brushpiles or dipping on big timber, the fish will be stuck to some kind of shaded structure, and they will bite. Many people ask me if I have any secret spots, and truthfully the answer is everywhere. There is 1,800 acres of submerged timber on our lake, and if you have good electronics, like my Humminbird Solix, you can easily find them hanging out in the structure. Many people ask where to fish, and the answer is simple. Anywhere there is timber. Last week my customers caught one that went over 15 inches. She was flat of course, but I’m sure that if it was March, she would have easily gone over 2 1/2 pounds. They’re out there. You just have to look for them.” 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 electronics 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 Jigs Super Grubs. 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. If you plan to keep fish to take home, be sure you have plenty of ice on hand to put these fish on before they have an opportunity to spoil. Also please take care of yourself by drinking lots of water and use sunscreen.”

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