Lake Oconee Fishing Reports – June 2021
Oconee: Level: 0.5 feet low. Temp: High 70s to low 80s. Clarity: Little stain from just below I-20 up the rivers, but it’s clearing. There is a little color in the water to the 44 bridge, and then it is clear to the dam.
Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “According to the 2020-2021 Angler to the Year for the Berry’s Tournament Trail, Tony Couch, June is one of the best months to be on Oconee. Tony said to look for the fish to stay shallow this month despite the increasing water temps. Right now, the best depths to cover are 2 to 5 feet. The shad spawn is just about to end. Look for seawalls, rip-rap and docks for the signs of shad throwing their bodies against hard surfaces. A spinnerbait is the best bait to throw in Tony’s opinion. Now is the time to start watching the trees and branches near the edges of the water for mayfly hatches. Use popping baits such as Pop-Rs and popping frogs to target the bass. Tony said the other key structure to focus on are docks. Right now, the hot bait is a junebug-colored Zoom Magnum Shaky Head worm. There is so much bait fry around the docks right now. Even though a shaky head is hot right now, I still recommend three rods rigged with a shaky head, a creature bait and a jig. Let the bass tell you both the bait to use that day and the location on the docks to fish. As of this writing, the dock bite was scattered. I caught them today (May 23) on the walkways, under the lifts and out in front of the docks. Tony said the docks will remain a big pattern all summer long. Beginning at the end of this month, sometimes you’ll find the better bite will be on the deeper docks. Tony did mention that the shallow docks will hold fish all summer. In Tony’s opinion, the deep crankbait bite just does not exist anymore. He’s not exactly sure why, but Oconee has become a shallow-bite lake. Be careful on the water. It’s going to be a busy lake this summer.”
Crappie: Guide Al Bassett reports, “Crappie fishing is currently good. Fish are holding in deeper water over brushpiles, standing timber and deep drop-offs. Night fishing under the bridges and in the timber has started to pick up and will be good through the summer months. Use your Lowrance HDS units to find the fish on the brushpiles or the deep drop-offs before you start fishing. Mark the area where you find the fish holding with a marker and either use live bait or cast to the area using Jiffy Jigs Super Grubs. Best colors for me have been the acid rain and pearl chartreuse. Try different colors to see what is working best that day. When you find the fish, work the area very good since the fish will school up in big schools during this time of year. If you plan to keep fish, make sure you have ice on hand to put these fish on before they can spoil.”
Capt. Doug Nelms reports, “You can catch them so many ways this month—shooting docks, longline trolling, anchoring up at night—but I enjoy fishing over treetops better than anything. Great electronics are a must! My Humminbird Solix 12 really fits the ticket, and if you follow me on social media, you have seen the incredible pictures I post. It is so important to be right on top of them, and on some days if you’re off just a few feet could be the difference in loading the cooler or going home empty. My setup is specific for the brushpiles. I use a 12-foot rod, 10-lb. braid, a 1/2-oz. sinker, 8-lb. fluorocarbon and a No. 2 aberdeen hook with a minnow. You can catch all the fish you want with this setup, and the braided line gives you the advantage of the light bites that occur from the bigger fish. When you pull over a site and you see the tornado shape of a group of fish, start off at the very highest point in the tree. We typically start fishing around 12 feet, and when that slows, drop it another 2 feet. Some days we are down below 20 feet, and on some days I can fish one tree for an entire trip. Again, you need good electronics to be successful with this method because sometimes you are fishing a spot that is only as big as the hood of your car.”
Linesides: Capt. Doug Nelms reports, “There is a weird anomaly that begins this month, and we call it the pump-back bite. Before the sun comes up, if the water is moving right, hundreds of stripers will be at the dam schooling on top, and on most mornings this bite is very rewarding. Anglers are dropping spoons, throwing flukes, topwater plugs, and you will even see a few fly casters about. During this time it is not unusual to boat 25 or more stripers before 10 a.m., but the water has to be moving just right. I will share my theory on why this is so good. The spawn has ended and the stripers have left the dam, but they return back to the dam when the weather gets really hot. It is not because of oxygen or deeper water but the incredible amount of bait that the pump back forces around the points. The fish will get into a pattern due to daily generation and filling the lake back up. From what I know, the oxygen levels are horrible at the dam, but the fish take the opportunity to feed with relative ease during this time. Some anglers choose to fish this bite with live baits, but I personally think you can catch more fish with artificial lures. When they’re schooling and eating everything that is placed in front of them, I feel like the name of the game is to keep it in the water. I use popping corks with floating flies tied about 18 inches behind the cork. Last year I started using the Four Horseman Popping Cork, and I think they really respond to it better. Be ready to take out a loan if you decide to buy a sack full of them. My leader is 12-lb. test, and I put the setup on a long, medium-weight spinning rod with 20-lb. braid. You want to be able to throw it a mile because you’re dealing with moving fish and lots of boats. I also use Ripple Shads in white with a chartreuse tail on a 1/4-oz. short-shank DOA head. This gives the shad enough space to really wiggle behind the hook. These are kind of specialty items, and the only place I know that carries them around here is Sugar Creek Marina, and they keep a bunch in stock. Another method we will use are umbrella rigs, and this bite mainly happens in the afternoons during water generation. Focus on the shallow-water humps on the south end of the lake in 20 to 35 feet of water, and look for the fish laying right on the bottom. I pull a Captain Mack’s 3-oz., four-arm rig with 3/4-oz. heads. I want them to run about 18 to feet down at 3 mph on my gas motor. Just about any color or style will work, but I always favor the chartreuse or pink colors for our water. Also I don’t carry a u-rig retriever but instead I pull them on 100-lb. PowerPro Depth-Hunter line. It changes color every 25 feet, so it’s easy for customers to let it the proper distance of line without hoping your line-counter reels don’t skip. When I get hung, I just manhandle it free, or if I forgot to take my vitamins that day, I tie it to a boat cleat and let the Ranger do the work. I have not lost one u-rig since I have been fishing with the PowerPro. June is the month of options for catching stripers, and I hope this helps.”
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