Lake Oconee Fishing Report February 2014

GON Staff | January 30, 2014

Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: Low to mid 40s. Clarity: Very stained all the way to the dam.

Bass: Slow, but hopefully warming trends in February should improve the bite. Rat-L-Traps and small square-billed crankbaits will work well on shallow flats near spawning areas, and spinnerbaits and will be working around seawalls and rip-rap. Black jigs and a variety of soft plastics will likely be working best around shallow docks in spawning coves.

Guide Doug Nelms reports, “We will be chasing birds, throwing jigs and getting into the casting and vertical jigging part of the year. The fish will begin to show up around “Little Stone Mountain,” Richland Creek and in coves below the dam. If you see the gulls working, have a fluke or a Sassy Shad ready. At any moment they could start schooling, but it is still very easy to catch them on spoons. War Eagle spoons work really great this time, but my most favorite setup is a 3-inch pearl Sassy Shad on a 3/8-oz. short-shank D.O.A. jig head. The stripers will not resist this offering because it is identical to the size of shad they are consuming.” Guide Mark Smith reports, “The first part of the month, the stripers will be on the move looking for an easy meal. With the cooler water temperatures, the small shad are dying, and that is what the stripers will be feeding on. Look for the gulls to give away the location of the fish. When the birds start to dive on the bait, use a small Roster Tail or a small jig with a trailer. Keep a spoon tied on, and when the fish go down, you can pick up a few with the spoon. Use your Lowrance to locate the schools, and drop the spoon down to the fish. By the end of the month, the fish will start to show up at the dam for their spring run. When this happens, live shiners will be the best bait. Downlines, flatlines and planer boards will all work. I will start working the dam area as soon as the water starts to climb in the 50s.”

Crappie: Slow. Guide Doug Nelms reports, “February is the month everything starts going off. The really big fish will move out of the trees into the river channel and will get very active. February is always the month I look forward to for catching huge crappie. The most productive dates will be just before and after the big moons (full and new). Typically we are not targeting structure this time of year. I am more interested in river channels and ledges where the fish will move to throughout the day, depending on weather changes. If we get a couple of warm days, it is not unrealistic to see the big females running up into 3 and 4 feet of water in the afternoons. I think they are window shopping for a good place to lay their eggs for the following month.” Guide Jody Stephens reports, “To say January has been slow would be an understatement! Rain, cold and muddy conditions have kept most anglers off the water. Conditions should improve rapidly into February, and crappie should be in prespawn patterns soon. Use your electronics to being looking for schools around structure in 20 to 30 feet of water, and work shallower till you find the fish. I prefer to use Jiffy Jigs in darker colors tipped with a larger crappie minnow. Push this bait as slow as possible as cold water temps make the fish less aggressive. Adding Slab Slobber in the new stick form works great.”

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