Lake Oconee Fishing Report January 2017

GON Staff | December 22, 2016

Oconee: Level: 0.8 feet low. Temp: 48-52 degrees. Clarity: Light stain.

Bass: Tournament angler Aaron Batson reports, “Bass have moved out of the very shallow coves to deeper areas. Look for them on points heading into the creeks and coves in 6 to 12 feet of water. They can be caught on Carolina-rigged soft plastics near brush and rock. Try a Missile Baits Fuse 4.4 in green pumpkin or a Zoom Finesse worm in watermelon or green pumpkin. Some bass are deeper on schools of shad. Try a 1/4-oz. lead-head Zoom Fluke in albino color bounced on the bottom under schools of bait. You can get directly over them and jig a spoon. A 7/8-oz. War Eagle jigging spoon will catch them well.”

Stripers: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “Our season unofficially began last month, and it just will only get better as the cold comes in and the fish become more active. The reason: The bait will search for warmer water in the coves, the fish will pinch them up, and the birds will tell you where they are. This is a great month to bring out the kids and throw artificial lures. The kids love it when they spot diving gulls and we start pulling fish out from under them. It is a sure way to get them hooked on this great sport. Start your search at the middle of the lake, and work your way down. Every now and then a reclusive group of stripers may show up above the Hwy 44 bridge, but that would be the exception. Most fish, bait and birds will be south of the great bottleneck. I love throwing a weighted 3-inch Sassy Shad into the schooling fish. You may catch a juvie on your first cast and a 10-pounder on the next. I use 20-lb. Power Pro braid on a Penn 360 Slammer because I can throw it a mile and keep my boat away from the school. I have seen guys pull their boats right on top of the fish… not a good idea. It will spook the fish. Also, be sure you tie on a shock tippet if you use braid. I use 12-lb. Red Label Seaguar. This is really important because just last week a nice fish ate my offering, and I set the hook (on last year’s shock tippet) just as the fish was going the other way. It didn’t turn out good. Finally, I always think the magic number for water temp is 53 degrees. I have had many successful days staying on schooling fish at this surface temp. Maybe the bait stays tighter, or the fish like it better. I don’t know, but it does work. So this month, if the water temp hits 53, and if the weather is cloudy, rainy and miserable, that’s when I’ll be chasing them.”

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