Lake Oconee Fishing Reports – February 2021

GON Staff | January 29, 2021

Oconee: Level: Full. Temp: 48-50 degrees. Clarity: The upper end is muddy, the middle third is stained and the lower end is clear.

Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “According to guide and tournament director Tony Couch, bass fishing is fair with crankbaits, flat crankbaits, shaky-head worms and jigs in 2 to 6 feet of water. Target rock and clay bottoms, as well as seawalls near deep water. Docks and blowdowns are targets for your plastics and jigs. Tony says the best days in February will be when there are a few days of warm weather that bumps the water temps up 2 to 3 degrees. That will always get the bass more active. Target banks that get the afternoon sun. If the wind is blowing on those banks, that only makes it better. Be sure to note how far off the bank you are getting bit. After a few more casts to the area where you get bit, ease up to the exact spot you got bit and note the depth. These are the basics in trying to establish a pattern for that day. Focus your efforts on the depth and distance to make yourself more efficient. Keeping your bait in the correct depths will increase your chances of success and eliminate a lot of dead water during a day of fishing. Tony emphasized that the bass in Oconee will try to spawn if the water is warming around a full moon in February and March. If the water temps are in the mid 50s up to mid 60s, there will be bass on the beds on the full moon on Lake Oconee. Period. Take a look at GON’s Cast for Cash Page for Mid GA and Solo Sunday bass tournaments at Oconee and Sinclair. Tony will be glad to see you. Good fishing and dress warm.”

Crappie: Capt. Doug Nelms reports, “Well it’s finally here! We wait 10 months for the next two months to happen. The long poles are dusted off in the garage, my yearly Jiffy Jig order gets placed, and we get cocked and locked for the best crappie fishing on Lake Oconee. It’s pushing time! I know I may get some push back on this, but I believe the best chance you will have to catch a monster crappie on Lake Oconee will happen over the next two months, and February is when it all starts. The days are getting longer, and when we hit 11 hours of daylight, it’s like flipping a switch. The big girls start thinking about finding a place to spawn so they move from the deep, dark timber and get in the channels and secondary points, and they come in droves. You can catch crappie all over the U.S., and we catch crappie year-round on Oconee, but this is the only time of the year I can assure customers they will catch monsters, and I like to do it by pushing. The setup looks like this. Twelve rods, 16 feet long, pointing straight out in front of the big Ranger and a place for three fisherman to watch them. We move slowly over these points and wait for that subtle bump that announces a big one. On most days, when a rod gets buried under the boat, that’s normally a male, making his presence known, but the big girls will just kiss it and you’ve got to be ready. This is technical crappie fishing at its best, and if you have ever pushed, you know this isn’t for kids or the faint of heart. I have seen these big crappie tangle four lines on an unsuspecting customer, and they spit the hook and leave you to clean up the mess. It’s almost like deer hunting, a lot of sitting with moments of pandemonium. I use 1/16-oz. Jiffy Jigs and only a few certain colors. Black/blue, black/purple, Doug bug, sexy red bug and Mr Jimmy’s favorite, pink. He actually called it pank, pank and pank! We are tipping the jigs with minnows and fishing just over the top or into the fish we mark on the graph. There is something special about this time of month. You can start off in the morning fishing 8 feet deep, and by afternoon the fish can move in the shallows where you will be fishing with your leads out of the water. A sunny day will make the big ones move into 2 or 3 feet to check out an area. The very next morning, they’ll all be deep again. You need to watch the old salty pros when you’re fishing. Some of these old guys have a nose for these fish and you can learn a lot by just watching them move back and forth. I learned so much from what I know by asking questions and working hard to get in the circle of trust. The fish will be going off literally everywhere on Lake Oconee, and everyone has their favorite spots. Double Branches, Rocky Creek, Sandy Creek, The Duck Blind, Flagpole, Palm Tree Point, Cheetah Cove, Little Stone Mountain, River Bend, Old Salem Cove, Highway 44 Bridge (if you see guys from the road with lanterns fishing at night, you know), Hole 19, Grayson Whites, Redlands, Town Creek, Lick Creek between the bridges, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs Marina, Waynes Point… should I continue? The truth is over the next two months, there is no bad place to go. They will be spawning everywhere. However the oldest crappie guide on the lake, Mr Billy Brack, who has caught more crappie than a F-250 could hold, always told me that the Apalachee fish are mostly bigger than the Richland fish. I would have to agree with him. I have caught some big ones up Richland, but the Apalachee is my home, it’s where I learned to do this, and it’s where I live, so you will see me up here a lot, but really there is no bad place to go. Finally I would love to invite you to fish in our eight-week derby. You can go to to get all the information. You will get to meet some awesome crappie fishermen who have been in it over the past seven years. It is so much fun and since it lasts for eight weeks, you have plenty of time to catch that winning fish.”

Guide Al Bassett reports, “Fishing is currently slow, but if you are looking for big fish, this is the time of the year you should be on the water. The large females will move into spawn first, as they are on the move now to the shallow water. Trolling is the best method to use this time of year due to the fact you will be able to cover a lot of water. Using Jiffy Jigs tipped with minnows is your best bet. Put out as many different colors as you can, but take notes on which ones you are catching fish on and change the other rods to that color. If we have a few cold days in a row, these fish will just back off into deeper water and will move up and down in these waters until they move back shallow. Some good areas for these fish are Sugar Creek, Rocky Creek and Lick Creek. The Dyar Pasture area is still good, but smaller fish are being caught. Before you start to fish, look for the school of baitfish with your Lowrance depthfinder. When you find this, your crappie will not be far off.”

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