Lake Oconee Fishing Report – May 2020

GON Staff | April 30, 2020

Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: Water temps vary from mid 60s to mid 70s depending on recent fronts and rains. Clarity: The Oconee river is muddy from the mouth of Sugar Creek north. The Apalachee is stained from just above Swords Bridge and working its way south. It is also muddy from Armor Bridge up Richland Creek from recent rains.

Bass: Tournament angler Karl Pingry reports, “Brayden Batchelor is a Bass Nation high school tournament angler for the Clarks Hill youth fishing team. For the second month in a row, he has spent a lot of time on Oconee. The shad spawn is occurring all over the lake and should last another week or two, but finding the bass is a hit and miss deal. Throw willowleaf spinnerbaits and Whopper Ploppers while the shad are spawning, then switch to a Trick Worm, ChatterBait or squarebilll crankbait after the sun hits the water. If Georgia Power is still moving water, Brayden’s first choice is a squarebill crankbait in a 1.5 or 2.5 size. One of Brayden’s best baits for big bass is a hollow frog fished slowly in shallow water and under the docks. A shaky head, jig and light weighted (1/8-oz. or 3/16-oz.) creature bait will round out Brayden’s lure selection. Although some bass have spawned, Brayden says there are some currently on the bed with more to come by the next full moon. Later this month, look for a mayfly hatch to occur on different parts of the lake. Brayden likes a frog, Pop-R and a swim jig in green pumpkin fished on the active bug banks. With bass in all three phases of the spawn, look for most bass to remain shallow for most of May. Once the water temps move above 80 degrees, look for the bass to move out closer to the main lake and set up on their summertime areas. If you can be on the water when current is present, Brayden says the bite is more aggressive and consistent. The bite really slows down in the middle of the day when no water is moving. The fishing pressure and number of boats on the water has really increased during the COVID-19 time, so be safe and be careful.”

Crappie: Guide Al Bassett reports, “Crappie have started to move into their summertime pattern, and fishing for them will only get better toward the end of the month. There are several ways to catch a number of fish: using live bait over the standing timber, fishing brushpiles and fishing the sharp drop-offs. Night fishing under bridges with lights or in the standing timber is also beginning to pick up. Use your Lowrance electronics to locate the fish before you drop your lines. Another way to fill your cooler is by pulling Jiffy Jigs over the deeper standing timber. Using multiple colors will let you know what the fish are wanting that day. Use a 1/24- or 1/16-oz. jig head. The colors that have been working for me are the darker colors, like blue star, junebug/chartreuse and black/blue/chartreuse-glitter.”

Stripers and Crappie: Guide Capt. Doug Nelms reports, “This month I am including both reports (stripers and crappie) together because their behavior and the way to catch them is so similar. The spawn is over and the fish are in recovery mode, which means you will find them exclusively around the bait. The crappie will begin to stack up on the brushpiles and trees, where the shad will find cover. The stripers will move over the humps on the south and middle of the lake. When Georgia Power generates, the bait finds refuge on the back sides of these humps where the current is calmer, and that is where the stripers will be. For stripers, we will be pulling umbrella rigs, using live bait and dropping spoons on the stacks of fish we will find. I use 100-lb. braided line on all my u-rig rods and normally use four-arm, 3-oz u-rigs made by Captain Mack’s. For crappie, we will be dropping live minnows over the acres of timber and secret brushpiles that we have all over the lake. As always, the best times are just before and after the big moons when the lunar effect drives the crappie mad. For this type of fishing, I like a 12-foot B’n’M Sam Heaton Super Sensitive rod rigged with 10-lb. braid, a 1/2-oz. weight and a 14-inch leader of 8-lb. fluorocarbon. With this setup, you can feel the thump even with the slightest bite.”

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