Lake Oconee Fishing Report March 2018

GON Staff | March 6, 2018

Oconee: Level: 0.1 feet low. Temp: Water temps went from mid 40s to 70 degrees in just over two weeks. Clarity: Heavy stain up both rivers. The main lake is stained down past Lick Creek. Stained in Richland Creek almost up to Armor Bridge Boat Ramp.

Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “Fishing is great. Bass are in prespawn and spawn modes. Almost any bait is working. Try Carolina rigs for prespawn bass, but ChatterBaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastics are all working. Don’t be afraid to throw topwater. The full moon on March 1 will have a large wave of spawning fish hitting the shallows.”

Stripers/Crappie: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “The water temps are higher than I have ever seen on this lake at this time of year, and the fish have showed up in places during the month of February that I have never seen them at before. I really don’t know where to start. On Feb. 19, we caught spawning crappie in 3 feet of water. On Feb. 21, we boated stripers that milted the bottom of the boat. Spawn ready! So, in all honesty, this report for March is going to be a guess at best. I know the fine folks at GON would love for me not to say that, so lets call it an educated guess. I have included stripers and crappie in the same report because from what I see so far this year, both are coinciding. The crappie are on the north end of the lake in shallow water, and the stripers are at the dam, and they are both doing the same thing. Typically, the stripers show up at the dam around the end of March, but as I said, that hasn’t been anything but atypical. So historically for stripers, you can use bass shiners on flatlines at the barrel line at the dam and catch all you want this time of year. I use fluorocarbon leaders of about 10 feet on 10-lb. test line. I think the lighter line gives the minnow more action on the hook. If this weather patterns continue, the shad spawn will certainly be earlier than we have ever seen it, and the bite will change from minnows to shad pretty quickly. But mainly this time of year is flatline and planer board fishing at its best down at Wallace Dam. For crappie, I am pushing up into the shallowest places my boat will go and spider rigging, or as some call it, the pushing method. This month is when you will catch your biggest crappie of the year, and on many days, we start off in 8 feet of water in the morning and move into 1 foot in the afternoon. Most people think crappie won’t swim that far in a day, but trust me, they do. I will have minnow-tipped Jiffy Jigs in an assortment of colors. The past few days, the sexy redbug and The Doug bug have been awesome. There are so many places to catch these fish on this lake; Sugar Creek, Town Creek, The Flats in the Apalachee, The Indian Mounds, Rocky Creek, Sandy Creek and Double Branches. Just throw a dart to a Lake Oconee map, and you will find these fish. If I can find a shallow, warm flat, I can usually fill up my Engel Cooler in no time. I think we are going to look back on this year as one of the weirdest fishing seasons we have ever had. My hope is a wave of new fish will start their spawn around March 1, which is the full moon, and continue well into the month of March.” Karl Pingry reports, “Crappie have started to spawn and can be caught shallow under docks or trolling spider rigs. Three to 8 feet seems to be the depth most of the crappie are holding. Grab a rod, the air temps are comfortable, and the fish are biting.”

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