Lake Oconee Fishing Report September 2015

GON Staff | August 26, 2015

Oconee: Level: 0.2 feet below full pool. Temp: 86-89 degrees. Clarity: Mostly clear conditions over most of the lake with light stain in the northern regions.

Bass: Guide Mark Smith reports, “September is the month we start to see a change in the weather and the fishing. At the first of the month, we are still in the summer heat, but by the end of the month, the weather is starting to turn to fall. As far as the bass fishing, the first of the month will be tough. Look for the fish to be in deeper water. The humps on the south end of the lake will usually hold fish at this time of the year. I would fish a deep-diving crankbait or a Carolina rig down the sides of these humps. As the water cools, look for the bass to start moving into the mouths of the creeks. Crankbaits worked on deep boat docks will produce as we move into later September.”

Linesides: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “The warm water has had them completely shut off, but as the water begins to cool down, they should begin picking back up again. August and September are the two hardest months to catch stripers on Oconee, and this year I saw the surface temp of the lake go up to 94. The sad thing is that it’s almost that warm 40 feet down, so the fish don’t get a break until the fall.” Guide Mark Smith reports, “The striper and hybrid fishing will still be slow for big fish, but all is not lost. Look for schools of hybrids to be busting the large bait schools all over the lake in the late afternoons. A small, in-line spinner or a popping cork rig will work on these schooling fish. These fish will not stay up long, so have your rods ready when you see the schooling activity.”

Guide Mark Smith reports, “Crappie fishing will still be the hot ticket during the month of September. Live bait fished in the submerged brush will be the best way to fill a cooler. Use your Lowrance structure scan to locate the schools of crappie in the timber. Then drop a minnow down to the fish, and start catching. This pattern should last for the entire month of September.” Guide Al Bassett reports, “Crappie fishing is continuing to be good as the fish are over brush in 10 to 15 feet of water. They also can be found over the sharp drop-offs around the lake. Sometimes the bite has been very light, so you need to keep an eye on your rods. The fish should stay in these types of areas for the rest of the month before they start their move to shallow water. First, locate the fish on the drop-offs or brushpiles using your depthfinder, like a Lowrance HDS unit, before you start fishing. Look for the brushpiles in 10 to 15 feet of water, or look for sharp drop-offs where the river channel is very near a flat. Use a live minnow, and fish right over the brush or drop-off where you have located them. Using a drop-shot rig with a minnow is also a good way to locate fish on the drop-off. In most cases, when you find one fish, you have found a school of fish, so work the area well. This is still a great time to be able to catch a limit of fish in a short amount of time. If Georgia Power is moving any water, these fish may move up in the water column as shallow 5 feet. Night fishing continues to be good. Putting light off the side of the boat in the standing timber is a way to enjoy the night bite.” Guide Doug Nelms reports, “This time of year we are jigging and spider rigging over the many brushpiles that we have set out on Oconee. August was rough because of the intense heat. You could find them all hunkered down in the trees, but they just didn’t bite as well as they should have. I use live minnows on No. 2 hooks and 1/2-oz. weights dropped straight down over the trees. The middle of the lake should produce some great action, but the main thing is to find trees that are submerged with the distance of 10 to 12 feet from the water’s surface.” Guide Jody Stephens reports, “Crappie are stacked on certain trees all around the lake in 20 to 35 feet of water. These fish are best caught downlining live bait once big concentrations of crappie are located. Down scan is most critical at this time. These fish are also being caught single pole jigging with Jiffy Jigs in lighter colors. Bounce and twitch them within the wads of crappie. Be patient. You may only get two to three fish per tree. It’s best to have a milk run of structure holding fish. I expect the bite to pick up as water temps fall and fish start into their fall feeding patterns.”

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