Lake Oconee Fishing Report – February 2020

GON Staff | January 30, 2020

Oconee: Level: 0.3 feet low. Temp: Low to mid 50s in the main lake and as low as mid 40s in some places. Clarity: See below.

Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “Bass fishing went from really good to very slow after the last round of heavy rain. The entire lake really got muddy, but the south end and Richland Creek are showing signs of clearing, and the fishing is improving, according to tournament fisherman/tournament director Tony Couch. Bass are being caught on spinnerbaits along the seawalls (Colorado blades and colored blades of chartreuse and white) and plastic worms and shaky-head worms around the docks. Tony added that muddy conditions will put bass very tight to cover, so flipping right against the dock pilings and bumping every piece of cover is critical. Crappie  are being caught trolling a jig/minnow combination from Lick Creek south in the bigger coves. The stripers and hybrids have slowed down, but a few are being caught on live shad in 10 to 25 feet on the south end of the lake.”

Crappie: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “If your desire is to catch big crappie, now is the time to start. The full moon is Feb. 9,  so the critical days you want to be on the water are Feb. 6-12. The new moon is Feb. 23, so Feb. 20-25 should be red hot. I believe that bigger fish are caught this time of year by pushing instead of pulling. When you push, the lighter the bite, the bigger the fish. My setup is 12 rods, and the rods are 16 feet long. I try to get the baits as far away from the boat as possible. I use a 1/16-oz. Jiffy Jig tipped with a crappie minnow. Here’s a secret that won’t be after this report. I always keep a couple of bass shiners in the spread to attract the really big fish. The colors I use are a black/blue with a glitter/black tail, a black/purple with a glitter/black tail, red sexy bug and the Doug bug. There is  brand new color that has been a killer this season. It has a black head, a clear body sprinkled with black flakes and a smidgen of glitter and a black tail. I’m sure Jimmy at Jiffy Jigs or the guys at Sugar Creek Marina can put their hands on some of them for you. I think the Oconee and Apalachee side of the lake will consistently produce larger fish than the Richland Creek arm, and I feel that you have a better chance of catching big fish if you stay above Highway 44. Update by Doug Jan. 30:Every year patrons ask, ‘Doug, will you please let me know when the big crappie show up?’ Well here it is, your invitation. Last week I was out scouting for a little over an hour in my new Ranger Phantom and found an area that marked a lot of fish. I caught four. The weights were 2.01 pounds, 2.0 pounds, 1.14 pounds and 1.12 pounds. If that is any indication of how the rest of crappie season will be…. minstrels are going to write songs about 2020.”
Guide Al Bassett reports, “With the muddy water, the crappie fishing up the lake on Oconee has all but stopped. Once the muddy water makes its way down the lake, it will start to pick back up. Some fish are still being caught in Sugar Creek, but it will be on one day and off the next. Trolling at the mouth of the creek with a red/green/yellow Jiffy Jig tipped with a minnow on 6-lb. test line would be a good starting point. The fishing will get better and the water clearer, and the fish will start moving to the backs of the creeks. If there are a few warm days in a row, look for these fish to move up to the shallow waters.”
Linesides: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “The stripers have decided they will not be outdone by the big crappie. Over the past four trips we have averaged 20 fish per half day, and they have been toads.”                              

Editor’s Note: For more on Oconee crappie fishing in February, turn to page 14 of the February 2020 issue.

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