Numbers Game For Allatoona Spots

Most Lake Allatoona spotted bass you catch won’t be huge, but you can catch lots in September.

Ronnie Garrison | August 22, 2017

Lake Allatoona offers one of the state’s best catch rates for numbers of bass during bass-club tournaments. Here’s Frank Lillig with an Allatoona Special—a mean little spotted bass.

September is often our meanest month for fishing a big reservoir. Although the days are getting shorter and fall is coming, the lakes just don’t seem to want to start changing, so fishing remain tough. But you can have fun and find some fast schooling activity while catching spotted bass on Lake Allatoona this month.

Lake Allatoona is a relatively small U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake at 12,000 acres, but since it is right in the heart of the north Atlanta suburbs, Allatoona gets an incredible 8 million lake visitors a year. Fishing is almost impossible during a summer weekend day and can be rough during the week, too. But by Labor Day, boat traffic starts to lessen, and fishing is easier. Weekdays are still the best time to be on the lake, however.

Known for a time as the “Dead Sea” because bass fishing was so bad, that name became obsolete as Georgia Bass Chapter Federation creel census reports started showing the catch rate per man hour of fishing was at the top or near the top among all lakes in Georgia.

You probably won’t catch many big bass—Allatoona is still the toughest lake in the state to catch a bass weighing more than 5 pounds—but the sheer number of spotted bass makes it fun to fish. The tournament winning weights seem to be going up each year. Plus, the state has been stocking largemouth in the lake the past couple of years. Hopefully, a better largemouth population will improve the weights of Allatoona bass catches.

Frank Lillig grew up in the Acworth area and has been fishing Allatoona all his life. Right now he is president of the Kennesaw State Bass Team and assistant director of the Area 125 ABA, a trail that fishes Allatoona and Carters.

Last October, Frank was top co-angler at Guntersville in the ABA Ram Open series in the Alabama North Division Championship and placed first as a co-angler at Chickamauga in the Tennessee East Division Championship the next weekend. He is learning more and more about Allatoona spots and has done well in tournaments there, too.

“September is a month of transition, Frank said. “As the water temps begin to drop, the daytime fishing will start improving.”

Shad and spotted bass start schooling up on main-lake points in September, and you can catch bass on a variety of baits, from top to bottom.

For bass schooling on top, or just for fishing the points and bluff banks, hard and soft jerkbaits are always ready. When he sees fish on his Raymarine Electronics, Frank has a drop-shot rig ready. And, he fishes rock and wood cover with a jig ’n pig and a shaky-head jig.

The following holes will get better and better as the water cools this month, and bass were already schooling on top when we were checking these locations in mid-August.

No. 1: N 34º 07.084 – W 84º 42.831 — In Allatoona Creek, Allatoona Pass Historical Site sits on a big main-lake point upstream of channel marker 14A. On this big point, which is straight across from channel marker 17A, there is a small cove on the bluff bank. The upstream point of this small pocket has a cleared area on it where people fish from the bank, and big pine trees are in the water on either side of the point. It is a good example of the kind of place Frank likes to fish in September. Shad move up and down this bank this month, and spotted bass move in to feed on them.

Start fishing just upstream of the point. Fish the cove and the downstream point that is more of a straight bank. It all drops off fast into deep water and has rock and wood cover. Keep your boat in about 20 feet of water, and cast a pearl-white or albino Zoom Super Fluke or Bite Bite Baits alewife-colored Jerk Minnow to the bank. Work your soft plastic jerkbait back to the boat just under the surface.

Also try a 3/16- or 1/4-oz. Chattahoochee shaky head with a green-pumpkin Trick Worm on it. Frank dips the tails of his Trick Worm and jig trailer in JJ’s Magic chartreuse garlic dipping dye. Spots seem to love that color.

Work the shaky head or jig down the rocks, moving your bait very slowly, so it does not fall too far on each move. Start right on the bank, and fish it out to at least 15 feet deep. Also work both baits through any wood cover like blowdown trees or brush that is in the water here.

No. 2: N 34º 08.219 – W 84º 42.992 — Going downstream, a big island sits in the middle of the creek, and the channel goes to the right side of the island. The main lake bank has a point on the right with channel marker 7A on it. Start just upstream of the channel marker, and fish upstream on that steep bank. It is red clay with rocks mixed in with it, and some wood cover, too.

Try soft jerkbaits and also a hard jerkbait like a Spro McStick 95 in blue-bandit color. Throw either bait up about 3 feet from the bank, and work them back to the boat in 19 feet of water. Then try both shaky head and jig ’n pig here, too.

Watch your electronics for baitfish and bass. Frank really likes the Raymarine units due to their relatively low cost and good quality of the units. Baitfish in the area is critical to pull the bass in to feed. You will also see bass near the bottom if you keep an eye on your electronics. When Frank sees fish holding near the bottom off the bank, he will lower a drop shot rig to them.

No. 3: N 34º 09.957 – W 84º 43.509 — Go past the dam to the upstream point of Cooper Creek, the first creek upstream of the dam on the left going up. Bartow County Park campground is on this point, and it has rip-rap and channel marker 1E on it.

Work around the point with hard and soft jerkbaits and bottom-bouncing baits. Work fairly quickly, and watch for baitfish and bass. Frank will not spend a lot of time on a place where he is not seeing baitfish, since the bass are not likely to be feeding there. You may pick up one on a bottom bait like your jig, but Frank likes to improve his odds by finding places with baitfish and schools of bass.

No. 4: N 34º 10.035 – W 84º 42.277 — Going up the Etowah River, stop just upstream of channel marker 4E, and fish upstream. This main-lake bank has a steep bluff with clay, rocks and wood, and shad and spots move up here this month. On this bank, and on others, watch for transitions, and concentrate fishing on them. The bank may change from clay to chunk rock or from gravel to chunk rock to boulders. Any change like that attracts bass.

Use all your baits here. For jig fishing, Frank likes Chattahoochee Jigs, 3/8- or 1/2-oz., in green-pumpkin or PPJ colors, with a Strike King Rage Chunk green-pumpkin trailer. Dip the trailer tails in JJ’s Magic, and work the jig ’n pig along the bottom with drags and hops. Frank fishes all his baits on Seaguar Invizx fluorocarbon line and St. Croix Avid-X rods, with line weight and rod action matched to the bait he is fishing.

Many bluff banks like this run for hundreds of yards, and bass can be anywhere on them. Fish up them for a short distance, and watch for baitfish. If you see bait or you are catching bass, keep going along the same bank until you run out of either bait or bass. If you are not catching fish or are not seeing bait, go somewhere else and find them. Let the fish tell you when to leave a place.

No. 5: N 32º 10.417 – W 84º 41.857 — Go back downstream around the long point that separates the river and Stamp Creek. Go into Stamp Creek to the no-wake buoys running across the creek just downstream of Wilderness Camp Marina, and stop on the right bank just off the no-wake buoy on that side.

Start fishing upstream on that bank. It is clay with chunk rock and is a good place for fall bass. While fishing up this bank and all other places, keep a watch on your depthfinder for fish. When you see fish, stop over them and drop a Zoom Tiny Fluke in the same colors as your Super Fluke. Or try a straight-tail Roboworm, 4.5- or 6-inch, on a drop-shot rig. The morning-dawn color is good on Allatoona.

Use either a Gamakatsu size 1 Aaron Marten’s TWG drop-shot hook for nose hooking or a Roboworm Rebarb Hook light-wire size 2 hook. Texas rig the worm about 16 inches above a 1/4-oz. weight. Use 6-lb. line if you can, but go only as high as 8-lb. if fishing brush and other cover. You will get more bites on lighter line.

No. 6: N 34º 10.770 – W 84º 41.734 — Idle up Stamp Creek past the marina to the point on the left. The point has big boulders and a pole channel marker on it. Start at the point, and fish upstream, working all your baits along this bank. It is similar to banks, but the nice thing here is there is a long no-wake zone. It takes you a while to get in here, but on busy days it is much easier to fish. Frank got a keeper spot here the day we fished.

Watch for schooling fish here. The day we fished, a big school kept breaking the surface just out of our casting range, even though we tried to chase them. They looked like hybrids, but they are fun to catch, and spots are often running with them. Try to see which way the school is moving and get ahead of them, and cast both soft and hard jerkbaits to them.

No. 7: N 34º 10.425 – W 84º 42.163 — Go back out to the mouth of Stamp Creek, and stop on the upstream point. Start at the point, and work around it, and then go upstream on the main-lake side. The chunk rock and clay bottom comes up from 30 feet deep and then flattens out where an old roadbed ran around the point. Bass feed on this flat from the bank out to about 15 feet deep, so keep your boat out in 20 plus feet of water and cast almost to the bank.

Frank gets his Chattahoochee jigs—both jig ’n pig and shaky heads—at the Dugout where they are made. You can also get current fishing information on exactly what the bass are eating if you stop by the Dugout.

No. 8: N 34º 10.186 – W 84º 42.345 — Across the mouth of Stamp Creek, just downstream you will see some boat docks. Go to that side, and start a couple of hundred yards upstream of the docks, fishing along the clay and boulder bank. Fish all your baits as you work down this bank.

Bass often hold around docks, but there are not a lot of them on Allatoona compared to similar spotted-bass lakes, like Lanier. When you come across a boat dock in one of these areas, fish it. These docks sit over deep water, and there is some brush around a couple of them. Cast your jerkbaits, both soft and hard, to fish the shade around the docks. Then work your jig under the dock to find the brush, and work it thoroughly before moving on to the next one.

No. 9. N 34º 09.737 – W 84º 41.864 — Go back up the Etowah River to channel marker 6E, and start fishing just upstream of it. This bluff bank has chunk rock and boulders. Fish up to the first pocket and around it to the upstream point of this pocket.

Frank expects most bass that are holding on the bottom to be about 12 feet deep this time of year and feeding from that depth up to the bank. Keep your boat in 20 feet of water while working up this bank, and fish all your baits. Throw hard and soft jerkbaits to the bank, and then work a jig-head worm or jig through rocks and wood cover.

No. 10: N 34º 08.670 – W 84º 40.170 — Going upstream, the river makes a sharp “U” bend back to the left. On the outside of this bend, where it starts on the right, the Bartow Carver Camp swimming area and boat ramp sit at a small pocket. Start here, and work upstream along the right hand bank.

Keep your boat in 20 feet of water, and cast to the bank with your baits. Watch for fish holding on the bottom that you can catch on drop shot, and watch for schooling bass on top that will hit a jerkbait. This is a good place to find bass in all stages in September.

These 10 locations are just a small sample of the many similar places all over Lake Allatoona. Plan a trip to see why Allatoona’s hungry spotted bass provide one of the best opportunities for numbers of any Georgia lake in September.

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