Lake Oconee Fishing Report March 2015
Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: Mid 40s. Clarity: Stained; clearest water in the mid-lake section.
Bass: Tournament angler Aaron Batson reports, “Expect the bite to improve during the next month. Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits and a Texas-rigged lizard will be great baits. Cover water with moving baits, and once you find concentrations of smaller buck bass, slow way down and work the Texas-rigged lizard deeper and slower for the bigger bites. Look at the mouths of major creeks and coves for the best bites. Lick Creek and Sugar Creek are good starting points.”
Crappie: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “In March, our big crappie will be doing their thing as they prepare to spawn. If you ever wanted to catch a 2- to 3-lb. crappie, this is absolutely the month to do it. Last year during a long stretch of March trips we boated at least one fish over 2-lb. each day. I think this year will be the same, even better. I will be using our go-to Jiffy Jig in the sexy redbug color and in the black/purple/black and black/blue-flake/black colors. I like them in the 1/16-oz. size and tip all of them with a minnow. During this time of year, we have to be creative with the fish moving a lot during the day. On many days I’ll start the mornings off in the 12 to 15 feet channels, and by the afternoon I could be in less than 2 feet of water catching crappie. Sugar Creek, Lick Creek and the upper arms of the Oconee and Apalachee rivers will be the main target areas. As soon as the females spawn, they will go back into the timber, and you won’t see many until the full moon of April. After that, it is very hard to catch the big fish in numbers, so this month is the window for it.” Guide Jody Stephens reports, “The crappie at Oconee started staging up a couple of weeks ago, then the 15-degree temps got them a little locked down—and us anglers, too. Full moon is March 5, and with warming temps, these fish will once again move into creek mouths working their way farther back to spawning water depths. Using Jiffy Jigs tipped with minnows pushed slowly amongst them will produce. Remember to match your colors to water clarity. Anything with black or hot pink will do well. Black bodies with hot-pink tails are great, along with dark sparkle colors like forest green or purple bodies with black feather tails. Long-lining dark-colored Jiffy Jig Super Grubs later in March will provide great action.”
Linesides: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “This month the stripers show up at the dam, and they will also make their way up the Oconee River just behind the peak white bass run. Looking at my calendar, the white bass run for the past four years has been between March 5 and March 22. It probably has a lot to do with the moon phases, but if you’re a white bass fisherman, you should be up the Oconee between those dates. We had a huge run of stripers last year up the Oconee, more than I have ever seen. I think it is due to the stripers really getting established on the lake and figuring out how to survive. We may see two big runs this year, as they do on the Hooch down at Franklin. The first run will be to spawn, and the second will be to look for cooler water. If river fishing is not your thing, there are plenty of fish at the dam this month. I will be pulling bass minnows on a special Jiffy Jig that is made for this time of year. It is an 1/8-oz. head on a larger hook. I found the fish loved this presentation last year. My favorite color is a pink or red head, with a white body and a chartreuse tail. Sugar Creek Marina will be carrying good bass shiners again this year, and with that combination, you should definitely get into some of our big stripers and hybrids this year.”
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