Lake Oconee Fishing Reports – July 2020

GON Staff | June 27, 2020

Oconee: Level: 0.2 feet low. Temp: 82-85 degrees. Clarity: Slightly stained over most of the lake with clearer water toward the dam.

Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “The bass fishing has continued to be inconsistent. Shallow is the pattern, so expect to fish in 8 feet or less. A recent club tourney was won on a Rapala DT6, with others catching early morning fish on Pop-Rs, buzzbaits and square bills really shallow. There has been a crawfish spawn or molt for about the last week that has fisherman throwing crawfish-imitating lures such as cranks and jigs. The shallow bite ends around 10:30 to 11. Fishing the docks is the pattern to follow later in the day. The walkways and the first part of the docks that break off from the walkway has been the pattern for the last month with shaky-head magnum worms and plastics. Make sure you pay close attention to where you get your bites on the docks. Although the location of the bass on the docks seems to change daily, you can pattern where they are located on a particular day if you pay attention to the first two or three bites of the day. Look for occasional mayfly hatches to occur, especially after a heavy rain the night before. Try buzzbaits, Pop-Rs, frogs, prop baits in bluegill patterns, and swim jigs high in the water column. Expect most of the bass to remain shallow. Things have changed since the Sinclair power-plant shutdown. Rip-rap and bridges will be great places to try if you can be on the water when the water is moving. Stay safe over July 4th.”

Linesides: Capt. Doug Nelms reports, “This month they should be in two places, the top side of Wallace Dam during the pumpback, and the lower tailrace of the dam when generation happens. Typically the first part happens in the early morning hours, but if the pumpback goes on into the morning, say 8:30 to 9 a.m., the bite can be crazy good. You will see a lot of topwater action during this time. On many trips we can get 30 or more linesides in the boat before 9 a.m. No live bait here, all artificials. I throw a Ripple Shad on a 1/4-oz. DOA head, and the fish love it, especially when you throw it right in the middle of schooling activity. Many times I can’t close the bail on my spinning rod fast enough before I get bit. Also throwing a popping cork with a bug behind it is a good choice. You will see a lot of anglers doing just that. I think the noise will make the bite it they are skittish. July is always the month when this awesome bite begins.”

Crappie: Capt. Doug Nelms reports, “It is full on right now. The fish are attaching themselves to the timber and brushpiles, and all you have to do is find that one tree and you can fill a cooler. I enjoy this type of fishing so much because my clients are the ones who are catching the fish, not the boat. Everyone is holding a 12-foot B&M and waiting for the tick in the other end. On some days, we will catch a limit of fish on just the first tree. You need a 1/2-oz. trolling sinker tied to 12-lb. braided line, and finish the business end off with 8-lb. fluoro and a No. 2 gold aberdeen hook. I hook my minnow from the bottom lip through the top lip to keep them alive and active. Typically the fish won’t hit a dead bait. Another fun way is to use soft-plastic jigs over the brushpiles. Monkey milk is the color I favor the best, and I like it in a tadpole configuration. Find the top of the tree and just tick it until you feel the bite. On some days it is best not to move it at all, just let the crappie show you what they want.”

The stripers have now showed up at the dam for their annual pumpback frenzy, according to guide Doug Nelms. “Hopefully Georgia Power will get into a normal pattern this summer so we can catch hundreds of these hungry things. I know that helping us catch fish.”

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