Lake Oconee Fishing Report May 2018

GON Staff | April 27, 2018

Oconee: Level: 0.1 feet low. Temp: Upper 60s. Clarity: Stained.

Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “The shad spawn is on! Make sure you are on the water early since this event only lasts until the sun gets above the horizon. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, Trick Worms, Zara Spooks and squarebills will work. Just make sure to cast right up on the bank. This is one of the most fun times of the year. Bass, crappie, stripers and catfish will all get up shallow to enjoy an easy, abundant meal. After the shad spawn finishes, stay shallow and look for bass to stay in 1 to 4 feet of water. Any bait that imitates a shad is worth trying. Don’t forget flukes and Trick Worms if hard baits are not working. Docks and blowdowns are also places to fish. Just stay shallow for the next two to three weeks, and enjoy the fishing before the bass start to transition to their summer patterns. To be honest, I am not sure how all the rain will impact the shad spawn in the days after such a big rain event.”

Crappie: Guide Al Bassett reports, “Crappie fishing is currently excellent. Fish have moved back into deeper water over brushpiles, standing timber and deep drop-offs. The key is to use your Lowrance electronics to find the fish before you drop your bait into the water. Use live minnows, and fish right over the brush or drop-offs. Mark your area with markers, and then cast to the area using Jiffy Jigs. Once you find the fish in these areas, work it very good as you most likely have found a school of fish. This will likely last all summer long. Night fishing with lights off the sides of the boat in the timber or under the bridges is also working well.”

Linesides: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “May is moving month for our hybrids and striped bass on Lake Oconee. Last month, the fish were at the dam, and everyone was wearing them out on bass minnows every day. A friend asked me the question that I get a lot when the fishing is on at the dam, ‘You think I could be a guide?’ To which I replied, ‘You could this week!’ That being said, this month the easy bite will be coming to an end, but for those with a little insight, May is one of the greatest months on this lake. I’ll start off talking about the umbrella rig bite. I pull a Capt. Mack’s four arm, 3-oz., 3/4-oz. jig rig with 100-lb. braided line. Oconee has 1,800 acres of submerged timber, and I bet there is a u-rig in every stand of trees. If you u-rig fish, you must have a rig retriever, or your day will end on a sour note. You can purchase all of these items at Sugar Creek Marina. I troll with my gas motor and put the rigs 100 feet behind the boat around 3 mph. Look for humps down on the south end of the lake. When Georgia Power is generating, you will load the boat quickly. We will also be looking for fish on main-lake humps throughout the day and dropping jigging spoons to them. Bouncing those spoons off the bottom in 25 to 35 feet of water will produce some very nice fish this time of year. Finally, feed them big live bait. I hardly ever net a gizzard shad this time of year that I think is too big. The fish have spawned out, they are hungry, and big stripers just can’t refuse it. You can net more shad than you can pull up on the northeast side of the Highway 44 bridge. If water is moving through there enough to show a mud line coming off the rip rap, one throw is about all you need, but again, the water has got to be moving. Load up you shad tank, and head south to the deeper waters close to the dam.”

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