Lake Oconee Fishing Report March 2017
Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: 59-64 degrees. Clarity: Light to moderate stain.
Bass: Tournament angler Aaron Batson reports, “Bass fishing is great. Quick spring weather has kicked off the bass spawn quick and fast. Some bass are bedding now, and others are very close to being there. This is normally an April time-frame deal. Slow-moving baits like Carolina-rigged lizards in shallow spawning bays will work well. Look for sandy pockets. Even a buzzbait moved over beds quickly can draw big reaction strikes.”
Linesides: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “March starts the huge striper bite at the dam, and I can’t wait. By the end of crappie season, I will be so tired of fumbling with micro 6-lb. test line that I can’t wait to starting tying hooks on 12-lb. rope! March is, no doubt, our trophy fish month on Oconee. I will be using a two presentation setup—downlines and flatlines. My downlines are anchored by a 1 1/2-oz. pencil weight that Capt. Mack Farr builds. I think they are superior due to their low drag. Attached to the weight I use a 10- or 12-lb. fluorocarbon leader about 5 feet long. I am partial to Yozuri’s Disappearing Pink fluorocarbon, and Sugar Creek Marina carries plenty of it. As the fish begin at the dam, they will respond very well to store-bought bass shiners. Most of us guides will not throw the cast net to catch shad until a couple weeks before the shad run, so this is a bite that everyone can get in on. I also started fishing a short line the past couple of years that consist of a huge Jiffy Jig tipped with a nice bass shiner. I don’t pitch it out far at all, and I can’t honestly say why the fish eat it so close to the boat, but they do. Jiffy Jigs will make you any color you want in these big hybrid jigs. On my flatlines, my leaders will run about 7 feet, and I use the same fluorocarbon brand as I do on my downlines. I always run my lines out about 60 feet. If you are comfortable fishing planer boards, that is another great tactic that will produce fish. Just a word of caution when fishing planer boards is to be mindful of other fisherman. It gets really crowded at the dam this time of year, and it is very important to manage your boards carefully and not get into other anglers.”
Crappie: Excellent. Guide Doug Nelms reports, “It is happening right now! The full moon is Sunday March 12, and the crappie will be going off from the time you read this report until after the full moon. As I am writing this, the Bradford pears are already blooming, which signals for us guides that the big-fish bite is underway. February’s weather was unlike anything we have seen in years. I have kept fishing logs since I started guiding, and never have I seen fish in the places they were last month. We have already been catching fish in very shallow water, but by Sunday’s full moon, they will be piled up all over the spawning areas. I will be chasing them with my 12-rod, spider-rig setup that is designed so two customers can have a front-row seat to all the action. We will be fishing in water so shallow that when one of those 2-lb. “broke necks” hits our Jiffy Jig, the rod will bend sideways because she doesn’t have enough water to pull it down! It’ll make your heart skip a beat. The Doug Bug color has just been a booming success this year. I was just going over my setup for tomorrow’s trip and noticed that one of those particular jigs had been eaten right down to the hook. I have also caught a lot of Oconee crappie on the sexy red bug and the old standby, black/blue glitter/black. If for some reason Sugar Creek Marina is out of these colors, just give the fine people at Jiffy Jigs a call, and they’ll get them right out to you. This will be my last month for spider-rigging for Lake Oconee crappie, but what a month it is going to be!”
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