Lake Oconee Fishing Report – March 2023
Oconee: Level: Full at 435. Temp: 58-64 degrees. Clarity: Stained.
Bass: Tournament angler Norris Edge reports, “Bass fishing in the biggest portion of the lake is slow, but there are some areas that are holding really good fish, if you can find them. Fish are being caught on shaky heads, spinnerbaits and VIP Jigs. Most of the good fish are moving up on docks and seawalls. The water color is getting better, and if we don’t get any more big rains, it’s going to be great. You can also get a good bite on squarebill crankbaits. It has taken over 20 pounds to win most tournament in the past few days, and it should only get better.”
Crappie: Capt. Doug Nelms with BigFishHeads Guide Service reports, “Everybody, everywhere is catching everything, or so says social media. It is that time of year when everything goes off, but Lake Oconee is giving up some awesome crappie right now. I think most of us are surprised by how early these fish are going off right now. I went out Saturday, Feb. 25 and using my Humminbird Mega Live, I was catching fish in 4 feet of water, right on the bank. Caught 50… in 4 feet in February! I mean that’s crazy, right? The pushing bite has really been good and how much I love to push. I think this is how the biggest crappie are caught, and my favorite offering is a Jiffy Jig tipped with a minnow. And just when you think Jiffy Jigs couldn’t get any better, Jimmy Brantley is now offering them in a sickle hook! This is the time of year they get swamped over at Jiffy Jigs, but call them if you can’t get the colors you want, and they will expedite them to you. My favorite colors are black/blue/black, black/green/black red, sexy bug and of course Doug bug. These colors have always been so good to me, and I’ve caught some of the biggest fish on Oconee using my friend’s jigs. If you’re close by Sugar Creek Marina, they have an entire wall of nothing but Jiffy Jigs, and William can get you what you need. We already have had three crappie over 2 pounds weighed in for The Derby, and I feel like the entire leaderboard of six spots will each hold a 2-pounder before we are done. If you’re wondering where the best places to fish are, here’s your list. I have heard about good fish coming out of every one of these places, so hang on. I’m gonna name a few places starting with the Richland Creek side. Look at the Sandbar, Duck Blind, timber across from the Ritz, back of Cheetah Cove, Sandy Creek and Rocky Creek. On the Oconee side, the little island across from Long Shoals ramp, TPC (Trailer Park Cove), River Bend, Palm Tree, Hole 19, Sugar Creek, Mansion Cove, beside Highway 44, and far north you got Blue Springs Cove, Smoke House, Wayne’s Point, Trashy Dock on the Apalachee, Redlands, the culvert, Cobb Creek, Town Creek, Indian Mounds and the Windmill. If you’re really adventurous and love to get into fights, take a little boat tour up Dyar Pasture while the white bass anglers are fishing the run. If you have never done it, you have got to try it once in your life. Life changing to say the least.”
Capt. Kevin Alexander with Crappie Time Guide Service reports, “The crappie on Lake Oconee are beginning their yearly run toward the shallows to spawn. On my trips with clients, I will be focusing on the mouth of coves with a well-defined creek channel. The crappie will be staging up in the deeper water waiting for the water temperature to get perfect before they head into the shallow water to spawn. Right now most of the fish we are catching are suspended around 10 to 15 feet deep. Longline trolling double, 1/16-oz. jigs around 0.9 to 1.1 mph should catch fish. Black/blue/chartreuse curly tails on pink and orange heads have been good with the stained water. This should hold through mid March, and then I will start moving farther back into the coves into shallower water where I will troll lighter jigs. A few days before, during and after the full and new moons of March should be great times to be on the water.”
Stripers: Capt. Doug Nelms with BigFishHeads Guide Service reports, “The stripers are headed to the dam, and they are headed up the rivers, all at the same time. This is the month when our biggest fish of The Derby show up at the scales. Last year, we had several 20’s weighed in this month, and I am thinking the same thing is going to happen again. Live bait is the ticket this month. I know I am the proverbial jigging spoon fisherman year-round, but nothing brings fish to the boat like a live bass minnow, or even better, a 3-inch threadfin shad. Most of the fishing that I will do this month will be no weighted or slightly weighted flatlines. The fish will be from the Rock Island all the way down to the dam. If you have never tried them out, just look for the boats, they will tell you where they are. I think March is the only time on Oconee when you can catch monster fish with no help from electronics, fancy trolling motors or huge boats. I have watched stripers pull kayakers all in front of Wallace Dam during the month of March. All you need is some healthy bass shiners and enough 12-lb. line to get it out away from your boat. Troll about 0.5 mph and just hang on.”
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