Lake Oconee Fishing Report July 2018
Oconee: Level: 0.3 feet low. Temp: High 80s. Clarity: Slightly stained above I-20, but that is subject to change with the thunderstorms. The rest of Lake Oconee is clear.
Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “The best bites are fishing the mayfly hatch if you can find it or fishing extremely shallow the morning after a heavy rain. My best success has been on a black buzzbait or a Pop-R, with a Senko or Trick Worm as a follow-up bait if the bass miss the topwater bait. After 10 a.m., flipping docks is where you will find a few bites. Pay attention to what part of the dock the fish are located. Also pay attention to the bite; are the bass hitting on the fall or once your offering has hit the bottom? A change in lure weight can make a big difference. There are some fish deep that will bite crankbaits and Carolina rigs, but current is needed to make this bite really work. I have been catching some bass and several catfish in the 8- to 12-foot range fishing a Strike King 5XD and a Fat Free Shad that runs 8 to 15 feet.”
Stripers: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “At the time of this report, the early morning striper bite is as good as it has been all year. For some reason that I cannot explain, we are seeing bigger fish move down to the south end of the lake, and there are lots of them. Lake Oconee has always been an enigma because of how high the water temperatures get during the summer. One year fish are hanging out on those main lake, deep-water humps, and the next year, they are all tucked in the back of some creek. For the most part, these summertime fish really keep us scratching our heads, and this year has been no exception. Over the past couple of weeks, customers have boated stripers in the double-digit pound range, and that is really something that isn’t supposed to happen this time of year. We are catching them on flatlined and downlined shad. You can catch all the bait you want before the sun comes up at the Lick Creek or Sugar Creek bridges. I throw an 8-foot, quarter-inch mesh Barracuda, and it only takes a couple of throws to fill your bait tank. The problem isn’t catching them, it’s keeping them alive in this hot weather. If you have a good bait tank, it is much easier, and if you only use the livewell on your boat, it is next to impossible. Contact Shawn at Striper Soup in Acworth, and he can instruct you on which bait tank would suit your needs. If casting artificial lures is your thing, a tiny Macks Mini Rig will do the trick. Look for fish chasing bait under the surface, or troll them behind your boat with your gas motor on. You can find these rigs at Sugar Creek Marina, along with all the other things we guides use. William and Mike will always give you the skinny on where we are catching them. Locating the fish really isn’t a problem either. This month, they will be on the hayfields at Sugar Creek, the pipeline at Great Waters and at the south end of the lake close to the dam. We normally start our days at 6 a.m. and finish before it gets too hot and the lake gets too crowded. But this time of year, you can load your fish box up before 10 o’clock.”
Crappie: Guide Al Bassett reports, “Crappie fishing currently is excellent. Fish are holding in deeper water, over brushpiles, standing timber and deep drop-offs. Use your Lowrance units to find the fish on the brushpiles or the deep drop-offs before you start fishing. You may have to check many areas before you find the fish, but when you locate them, you have found a school and should be able to limit out within just a few hours. Once you find the fish, there are two ways that I use to catch the fish: 1) Use live minnows, and fish directly on top of where you find the fish. 2) Use a buoy marker to mark the fish and cast a Jiffy Jig curly tail to the area. Tie two 1/16-oz. jig heads on 6-lb. test line about 8 to 10 inches apart. Put a different color on each jig head to see what color they want. Make sure to take care of your live bait during the hot weather. Use a bait saver and also put a hand full of ice in the bait tank every hour to keep the water cool. If you are keeping the fish, make sure you have ice to put them on when you catch them. These fish will spoil very quickly during this time of year.”
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