Lake Oconee Fishing Report July 2017

Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: 85-87 degrees. Clarity: Muddy on the north end, stained in the middle and clear at the dam.

Bass: Tournament angler Aaron Batson reports, “Recent rains have muddied up the upper end of the lake. Bass have been moving to deeper areas now that summer has arrived. Look for fish to stage in brush and rock in 12 to 18 feet of water. They will feed much better with current from generation at the dam. Good baits are Carolina-rigged Zoom worms in redbug, junebug and greens. Look mid-lake from Lick Creek to the dam area. Also, keep a topwater walking bait handy for any fish that come up to school on big gizzard shad. Nighttime fishing can also be great. Try an all-black spinnerbait slow-rolled in these same areas.”

Linesides: Guide Doug Nelms reports, “There are two major areas to focus on for July stripers on Oconee, and a if a few things happen during these times, the fishing will be really exciting. During the month of July, we really lean on the generation at Wallace Dam for these fish to bite. The water is getting hot, and with no thermocline on our lake (because of pumpback), they will depend on some major current to feed. I think they try to expend as little energy as possible, so they wait for the shad to be washed by them. The early morning bite is always awesome on the lower part of the lake. If water is being pumped back up to 8 a.m. or so, you will find a great topwater, subsurface and live-bait bite. The topwater fish have a hard time resisting a 3-inch Sassy Shad on a short-shanked hook. The hook is the key because you want as much tail action on the plastic, whereas a long-shank hook eliminates the action of the Sassy Shad. I like DOA Short Shanked hooks, and you can find the ones I use at Sugar Creek Marina. Many anglers use the old standby popping cork and Thing Popper for the topwater action. You can throw those things a mile, and it is very easy to target and reach fish with this setup. Plus, kids love to throw them and usually can do so without a lot of trouble.”

Crappie: Guide Al Bassett reports, “Summertime crappie fishing is currently very good on Oconee. Fish are holding in deeper water over brushpiles, standing timber and deep drop-offs. Night fishing under the bridges and in the timber or around the lighted docks is good and will only get better during the month. Use your Lowrance HDS and LSS-2 to find the fish on the brushpiles or the deep drop-offs before you start fishing. Mark the area where you find the fish holding with a marker, and either use live bait or cast to the area using Jiffy Jigs Super Grubs. When you find the fish, work the area very good, as the fish will be found in large schools during this time of year. If you plan to keep fish, make sure you have ice on hand to put these fish on before they can spoil.”

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