Lake Oconee Fishing Report May 2016

Oconee: Level: Full pool. Temp: 65-69 degrees. Clarity: Clear.

Linesides: Guide Mark Smith reports, “May is the time of year when we change from spring to summer. The first of the month we will still be fishing like April, and by the end of the month, we will be fishing like it is June. The striper/hybrid fishing in May is some of the best of the year. The fish will be moving from the dam area, and they will be staging on the humps and points on their way up the lake to the rivers where they will spend the summer. The bait and tactics will also change as we move to summer. The first of the month we’ll be pulling planer boards and downlining live shad into the large schools of fish we find on my Lowrance HDS-12. As we move into the end of the month, we will still use live bait, but it will be on downlines. This is also the time of year to get out your umbrella rigs, and start looking for the fish staging on humps and points in the 15- to 20-foot depth. I will pull a fully loaded 4-arm rig. It will have nine, 3/4-oz. jigs attached to the rig. I will pull it at 3 mph 100 feet behind the boat. This will allow the rig to reach the 15-foot depth where the fish are. This is one of my favorite times of year to chase these big stripers. It is also a great time for numbers of fish.” Guide Doug Nelms reports, “May is the big numbers month! The stripers have spawned, and they are returning to the lower part of the lake, and they are hungry. We will move from live bait to artificial and begin targeting fish over the deep water humps on the south end of the lake. U-rigs, spoons, flukes and A-rigs will be on the boat for every trip. My favorite color is white/chartreuse and pink/white on a 3-oz., four-arm rig. On a half day, it is not unusual to boat more than 30 nice stripers and hybrids. Also, Georgia Power will began to get into a pattern for water movement, due to the warmer weather. Historically, the afternoon bite is always the best.”

Crappie: Doug reports, “It is a great month to troll for crappie, as the spawn has ended and the fish will get into a predictable pattern. We catch a lot of fish this month by pulling single and double jigs over tree tops and channel drops. Sizes 3/32-oz. and 1/16-oz. should be on your boat and maybe even some minnows if you can find a great concentration hanging out on trees. This is the fish fry season, when we can catch enough to stock up the freezer. They will not be the huge crappie that we see in March, but each trip should produce nice Oconee filets.”

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