June Bass On Blue Ridge
Homegrown pro and guide Barron Adams combines a topwater bite and finessing deep cover for good summer bass action.
Why take a trip to the beautiful Georgia mountains for a summer fishing trip to Lake Blue Ridge? How about lots of aggressive spotted, some quality largemouth, and your best chance to catch a Georgia smallmouth.
Fish rocks and brush in deeper water while watching for schooling fish on Lake Blue Ridge this month to catch all three types of bass.
Blue Ridge is a very pretty 3,300-acre TVA lake on the Toccoa River in the north Georgia mountains near the state line where Tennessee and North Carolina meet. The deep, clear waters of Blue Ridge for years harbored a good smallmouth population, but an invasion of spotted bass has really hurt the smallmouth numbers. But there are still some smallmouth in Blue Ridge, mostly bigger fish, it seems.
Barron Adams grew up in Mineral Bluff fishing Lake Blue Ridge with his grandfather. Barron loved catching smallmouth and largemouth there. Barron began fishing some club and local tournaments, and he got serious about tournament fishing around eight years ago. He fishes the Chattanooga Bass Association tournaments, and this is his second year on the FLW Costa Series. Barron finished 18th in the Southeast Division and hopes that will qualify him for the FLW Tour next year, since several fishermen ahead of him in the points double qualified for the Tour.
Barron still fishes almost all Wednesday night tournaments on Blue Ridge and guides there and also on Chatuge and Nottely. He knows Blue Ridge well and what the bass are doing there throughout the year.
“By June, most bass have finished spawning and are on deeper cover like rocks and brushpiles on points,” Barron said.
This has been a cold spring, and the Blue Ridge bass spawned late. On the full moon in early May when I fished with Barron to mark a map with June locations, there were still a few bass bedding and a lot cruising the shallows. We saw balls of shad in the shallows getting ready to spawn.
Although bass are holding on deeper brush and rocks by the first of June, they will come up on shad and blueback herring, feeding on top, especially early in the morning and late in the day. Barron will always have a walking bait ready to cast to breaking bass. For deeper fish, he relies on a shaky head, jig ’n pig and drop shot.
“A few years ago, I could count on catching several smallmouth each trip,” Barron said.
But smallmouth are rare now, and he seldom catches small ones, a bad sign that they are not reproducing well. Spotted bass have crowded them out, as fisheries biologists predicted when spots were illegally introduced into Blue Ridge in the early 1990s. The two species have also crossbred, a hybridization that also hurt the smallmouth population. But you can still catch a few smallmouth mixed in with the now common spots, and there are good largemouth in Blue Ridge, too.
For a fun and productive June day of bass fishing on Lake Blue Ridge, concentrate on deeper cover like the following 10 places for a chance to catch all three bass species.
No. 1: N 34º 52.163 – W 84º 16.381 — Look for red Toccoa River Marker 1 on the main-lake point on the upstream side of the creek that has Lake Blue Ridge Marina in it. The point runs way out and has god brush on it. Stop way off the point in 60 to 70 feet of water, and ease in with your trolling motor.
Keep an eye on your electronics, watching for brushpiles around 25 feet deep. Fan cast with a shaky head or jig ’n pig as you move in. When you see brush, cast both baits to it, but also have a drop-shot worm ready to fish straight down in the brushpile. Barron rigs a morning-dawn colored Robo Worm about 16 inches above a 3/8-oz. drop-shot weight and lowers it straight down into the brush.
Here and at all other times, keep a topwater walking bait like a Spook ready to cast to bass chasing shad and herring on top. Barron uses a bone-colored Spook and works it through any surface activity.
No. 2: N 34º 52.314 – W 84º 15.579 — Across the lake and a little upstream, red marker 2 is on another good main-lake point that. It, too, runs way out, so stop at least 100 yards off the point in deep water. As you move in, make long casts with shaky head and jig ’n pig to the point, bumping the bottom. Watch for brushpiles to fish with your drop shot.
Blue Ridge bass can be spooky even in 25-foot-deep brushpiles. If you get right over one and see fish but can’t get them to bite, mark the brush and back off a long cast away. Let it settle, then fish the brush with a shaky head or jig ’n pig. Long casts are often critical with the clear water on Blue Ridge.
No. 3: N 34º 51.204 – W 84º 15.349 — Going up Star Creek, just as it starts a turn to the left there is a big cove on your right. On the downstream point just inside the cove is a covered dock, and farther into it there’s a small wooden dock. There is a private ramp between the two. The downstream point and the middle point inside the cove where it splits both come way out, so stop about in the middle of the cove outside the downstream point.
Sit in about 35 feet of water, and make long casts toward the middle back point. A long cast will get your bait up into 10 to 11 feet of water. There is brush and tires on the bottom, and the tops of the points offer a good area for schooling activity.
Rake the shallow points with a shaky head and jig ’n pig. Since the cover here is shallow, work all of it from a distance. You can locate the exact position of the cover with good electronics like the Lowrance HDS Carbon units that Barron uses. Finding the cover with side scan lets you make accurate casts without getting too close.
No. 4: N 34º 51.059 – W 84º 14.993 — On up Star Creek, red marker Star Creek 9 is on your right. Just upstream of it is a small pocket. The downstream point of the pocket is a long shallow flat that comes out and drops into the creek channel.
This is an excellent place to throw a topwater plug early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Make long casts up on the flat, and work your baits back to the boat. Bass will come up and hit a topwater.
The brush on this point is also good for fishing a shaky head and a jig. Barron uses a 3/8-oz. head made at Tri State Tackle Shop beside Dunkin Donuts on Appalachian Highway near the Blue Ridge dam. He likes their heads because they have a sturdy 5/0 Gamakatsu hook. He puts a Zoom avocado or green-pumpkin Trick Worm on it and drags it along the bottom with little shakes of his rod tip.
No. 5: N 34º 51.709 – W 84º 15.726 — Back out at the mouth of Star Creek, the point between it and the river has red Toccoa River marker 3 on it. This is a flat point that comes out and drops into both the river and creek channels and has a very steep drop on the river side that bass like.
Fish topwater over it, and then work the bottom and brush with a shaky head and jig ’n pig, probing for rocks and brush. All three species of bass like both kinds of cover and hold on it during the day. Keep your drop shot ready here as on other places.
No. 6: N 34º 51.278 – W 84º 16.567 — Going up the river, a narrow point on the right is between the river and a big creek on the right. There is a dock with a green roof on the creek side of the point and a kid’s playhouse on the point. Barron called it Rocking Chair Point due to the red rocking chair by the playhouse.
Herring spawn on this point and others, and with the cold spring we had, some herring and shad may still be spawning early this June. This is a good place to throw a topwater at first light. Even after the spawn, baitfish move over the point and bass feed on them, so have your topwater ready at all times.
There is brush on this point out to 35 feet deep, and bass in the deeper brush are less likely to be spooked by the boat, so it is a good place for a drop shot. Also fish your shaky head and jig ’n pig. Stop on the downstream side of the point, keep your boat in 40 plus feet of water, and fish around it to the dock.
No. 7: N 34º 50.584 – W 84º 16.850 — In the mouth of Charlie Creek, a small island sits way off the bank. There are rocks on the right side of it when you are on the creek side. Fish school around it, and the rocks are a good place to fish both a shaky head and jig ’n pig. Barron fishes a 1/2-oz. Dirty Jig football head in the watermelon color with a green-pumpkin Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer. He dips the tails of his trailer as well as his shaky-head worms in JJ’s Magic and says the spots especially like the flash of color it gives them.
Barron fishes his jig ’n pig on a G.Loomis 7-foot, 2-inch 855 NRX medium-heavy rod, and he spools his Daiwa Type R reel with 17-lb. Segar Invix fluorocarbon line. He says this combination allows him to feel bites and get the fish out of the brush.
Drag the jig along the bottom, letting the tails of the trailer swim and flash. Hop it when you hit rocks. In brush, yo-yo it up and down on limbs. When you get a hit in the brush, set the hook fast and reel fast to get the fish out of the cover.
No. 8: N 34º 50.393 – W 84º 16.973 — Where Charlie Creek bends to the right near the back, a state brushpile marker sits off the right point. State brushpiles are all over Lake Blue Ridge and—other than rocks and fishermen-placed brushpiles—provide much of the limited fish cover in Blue Ridge. All of the state fish attractors are 25 to 35 feet deep and hold bass in June.
The brush is not all right under the markers, rather it is scattered around the area of the markers. At this location, the best brush is between the marker and bank. All of the brush is good for fishing a jig ’n pig and shaky head, but a drop shot will often get bites when the other baits won’t.
Barron drops his drop-shot sinker to the bottom and starts by holding his rod tip still, letting the Robo Worm suspend off the bottom with little motion. If dead-sticking doesn’t draw a bite, he will twitch his rod tip gently to make it shake in place a little. Fish like that all around the brush first, and then let your sinker hit the top of the brush and fish the worm on top of it, especially if you see fish suspended over it on your electronics.
No. 9: N 34º 50.160 – W 84º 16.447 — Going up the river, look for Red Marker 9 on a point on your right. The bank downstream of it is a bluff bank with blowdowns on it, and there is a state brushpile on the point and more in the mouth of the pocket past it.
Barron says bluff banks with blowdowns almost always hold bass in June, but they are scattered in the tips of them, especially when there are a lot of blowdowns. A good tactic is to fish the ends of the trees with your drop shot worm. Work slowly up the bluff bank, hitting the ends of every blowdown along it.
When you get to the point, try a drop shot, shaky head and jig ’n pig in the state brushpiles. There is a lot of brush here, and the bass may be scattered in the piles or concentrated in just one or two, so fish them all. Also use electronics to find the fish.
No. 10: N 34º 50.855 – W 84º 16.556 — At the mouth of Charlie Creek, between it and the river, a small island sits off the bank. There is a ridge of white rock running off the creek side that you can see. Those rocks run out deep and since they are right on the drop on the creek side, these rocks hold bass.
Stop way off the rocks, and cast a shaky head and jig ’n pig to them. Fish the rocks out to the deep end of the island. Bass also school on top here, so be ready to cast a topwater. Barron says the bass here tend to school on the flatter river side of the island in the mornings, but during the day they tend to be over the deeper creek side.
Check out these places during a June trip to Blue Ridge. There are many more similar locations all over the lake that have the same characteristics. A good lake map has the state brushpiles marked to help find them, and good electronics will help you find the unmarked brush to fish.
Call Barron at (706) 455-0863 for a guided trip to see exactly how he catches Blue Ridge bass.
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