Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: 54 to 56 degrees. Clarity: Stained, with the clearest water in the Richland Creek arm.
Bass: Fair — only because of the cold front — but on the verge of really good. The bass are staged in the pockets in three to seven feet of water on blowdowns, dock posts, brushpiles, and secondary points, and the bass seem ready to make a move to the banks. If they’re staged, slow-roll a spinnerbait or fish a crankbait. When they move up, swim or bounce a jig around shallow wood cover, or fish a spinnerbait to pick up aggressive fish.
Crappie: Slow, according to guide Doug Nelms. “This crappie season may have been the worst I have ever seen. We had some promising catches in the early part of February, and when the full moon in March arrived we were hoping to just wear them out. It never happened. I think the biggest part of the problem was no cold weather, which has put everything about three weeks ahead of where it was last year.” Doug said his logs show everything running three to four weeks earlier on fish locations. “As far as I can tell, the big fish are done for this time of the year. Now I know there are a lot of anglers reading this report and saying, ‘The dogwoods have just started blooming, so the crappie must just be getting ready.’ You will be able to catch the dinks, or the males, up against the bank, but the big ones are gone. That’s the bad part.”
Hybrids: Very good. The hybrid fishing is in full swing, and it, too, arrived three weeks ahead of schedule. “The dam is full of fish and has been for the past month,” Doug said. “We’ve already caught many fish in the 8- to 9-lb. range, and the big ones are going to be showing up just any time. Bass minnows are the trick right now, but in a few weeks they will be eating nothing but shad. Flatlines and downlines are working fine. Keep a Spook or Sammy close by because you never know when they are going to blow up on the other side of the barrels. The north wind has been blowing wildly over the past few days, but it has given us the opportunity to float balloons over to the dam wall, which has resulted in some nice fish.”
White Bass: According to most reports, the fish are up the rivers but haven’t been biting well in the muddy and cold conditions. The next two weeks should see the peak of the run up the Oconee River.