Some Georgia Lakes Headed For Drawdown

Lower lakes means even better fall and winter fishing.

Brad Gill | August 12, 2015

Ten Georgia Power Company lakes will experience drawdowns this fall or winter.

“Get out your Rat-L-Traps,” Aaron Batson said when asked about the lake drawdowns.

Aaron is a tournament angler, a contributor to GON‘s fishing reports and a two-time GON Eliminator Series bass tournament champion.

“Fall fishing already bunches up schools of bass that follow shad into the creeks,” said Aaron. “The low water will make this even better. With less water in the pockets, it will concentrate them into the deeper and bigger coves and creeks.”

Georgia Power does periodic drawdowns on its lakes across the state for a variety of reasons.

“Often times, drawdowns relate to federal license requirements for dam operations; those tend to happen more frequently (typically annually),” said Joey Slaughter with Georgia Power Co.’s Environmental Affairs. “We also have survey requirements for the dams themselves, which occasionally require drawdowns to complete, and those surveys vary in frequency from annually to every two to three years. Other drawdown drivers include environmental surveys or invasive plant control and creating opportunities for homeowners to do maintenance on their shorelines, and those drawdowns typically happen less frequently (usually on a 3- to 5-year interval). For more information about drawdowns, permits, or recreational access, please contact the appropriate lake office (numbers below).”

Even though drawdowns make for good fishing, there is one challenge for anglers.

“The hard part will be finding ramps that you can still put your boat in,” said Aaron.

Below are start and end dates when lakes will experience drawdowns, along with the number of feet each lake will drop. There’s also a phone number listed above the appropriate lakes where anglers can call a local Georgia Power office to see what ramps will be open during the drawdowns.

North Georgia Land Office (706) 746-1450
Lake Tallulah Falls: Jan. 12-Feb. 4, 2016: 9 feet
Lake Yonah: Nov. 1-Dec. 6, 2015: 12 feet
Lake Burton: Nov. 1, 2015-May 1, 2016: 7 feet
Lake Seed: Jan. 3-Feb. 7, 2016: 12 feet
Lake Rabun: Nov. 29-Dec. 24, 2015: 12 feet

Oconee/Sinclair Land Office: (706) 484-7500
Lake Sinclair: Oct. 18-Dec. 1, 2015: 4.5 feet

Jackson Land Office: 404-954-4040
Lake Jackson: Dec. 26, 2015-Feb. 15, 2016: 7 feet

Bartletts Ferry Land Office: 706-322-0228
Lake Harding: Oct. 11-Nov. 1, 2015: 4 feet
Goat Rock: Sept. 14-Oct. 11, 2015: 8 feet
Lake Oliver: Sept. 14-Oct. 11, 2015: 6 feet

Once the end dates have arrived, lake levels will quit going down. However, when these lakes return to full pool varies greatly.

“We refill as quickly as practical considering rainfall/stream flow,” said Joey. “For places like Sinclair, we refill almost immediately. For our Chattahoochee lakes, we actually time our drawdowns to coincide with West Point’s annual rule curve drawdown, so we can refill when they release water. At North Georgia (Land Office lakes), those lakes also refill on a rough schedule that’s part of the license.”

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