About the only issue with May fishing is the bass are biting so good on all the lakes you just can’t decide where to go. Choose Allatoona if you want to have fun catching bass after bass on most any bait you choose.
Allatoona is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake just north of Atlanta. Although shoreline development is very restricted, day use makes it one of the most crowded lakes in Georgia. But it is full of spotted bass, and they are hungry and predictable all this month.
Mike Morris is a well-known bass fisherman in Georgia and has lived in the Allatoona area and fished the lake all his life. He was a long-time member of the Bartow Bass Club and has been fishing with the Marietta Bass Club the last nine years. He has fished almost every Top Six in both federations since they started. He has won the Top Six two times, once at Lanier and once at Clarks Hill.
This year at the Top Six on Lanier, Mike made the state team for the 19th time, an incredible record. He also fishes the Bulldog BFL tournaments and almost all pot tournaments on Allatoona, like the ones sponsored by The Dugout, where he gets all his baits. You can expect Mike to be in the money in Allatoona tournaments.
He said Allatoona is a fantastic lake for the number of bites you’ll get.
“You won’t catch a lot of big bass, but for numbers of fish, Allatoona may be the best lake in the state,” Mike said.
The lake is full of “Allatoona keepers,” spots 12 to 14 inches long. A limit weighing less than 10 pounds will win many tournaments there, and the big fish in a tournament is often a spot weighing less than 3 pounds.
Largemouth have just about disappeared from Allatoona, to the extent the state has an experimental stocking program for them. In 26 pot tournaments on Allatoona last year in one trail Mike fishes, only one largemouth was weighed in.
The spots are fun to catch, especially on light tackle. They have mostly finished spawning now and have moved to points working their way back to deep summer holes. Rocks are always a key to catching spotted bass, and most points on Allatoona have rocks, and most also have brushpiles planted by anglers that attract bass.
Mike’s go-to bait is a 1/8-oz. jig head with a green-pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm on it. He also fishes a Zara Spook, a jig ’n pig, a Zoom Fluke and a Texas-rigged or Carolina-rigged Trick Worm.
In May, Mike concentrates on secondary and main-lake points near deep water. Most of the bass he catches this time of year will be 10 to 15 feet deep, and they will gradually move deeper as the water warms during the month.
Mike took me to Allatoona to show me some of his favorite places to catch May spotted bass, and we caught about 15 fish in the three hours we fished. We caught fish on every one of these places a couple of weeks ago, and bass will be on them even better by the first of May.
No. 1: N 34º 10.302 – W 84º 42.587 — Mike often puts in at the Bartow County Gatesville Ramp since it is only 15 minutes from his house and close to a lot of good fishing. A long, narrow point separates Stamp Creek and the main lake, and on the end of it on the Stamp Creek side is a shoal marker that always holds bass.
Start on the upstream side of the marker, and work all the way around it. A rock shelf runs around it and drops off fast. Mike will often start fishing with a white fluke about 18 inches behind a swivel. He works it fast, but with pauses. A Spook is also good here.
Keep your boat a long cast off the marker, in at least 20 feet of water, and cast to the shallows. Work your bait back over the key 15- to 20-foot depths. After fishing the fluke and Spook, probe the bottom with a jig-head worm, jig ’n pig or Carolina-rigged worm.
No. 2: N 34º 10.255 – W 84º 42.177 — Go around the point, and start up the main lake. Just a short distance upstream of the point, on your left, the second point upstream is a good rocky point that drops off fast into deep water. Mike got a good Allatoona keeper here on his jig head the morning we fished.
Start on the downstream side of the point near the bank, and fish over it with the fluke and a Spook, and then probe for the rocks with slower-moving baits. Mike says wind doesn’t help much on these points, but current from generation at the dam, usually in the afternoons, makes the bass bite better.
Fish all the way around the point, covering the key 10- to 15-foot depths. If current is moving, concentrate on casting your bait upstream and working it back with the current. When your jig-head worm hits rock, shake it in place, making the tail dance.
No. 3: N 34º 10.141 – W 84º 42.069 — Not far upstream is channel marker 5E, and two shoal markers are out from it. The water around the markers is 40 feet deep but comes up to about 11 feet. Fish all the way around them.
Keep your boat in 40 feet of water, and cast to the top of the shoals, working fast with the fluke and Zara Spook, and then fishing your slower-moving baits. There is a sharper drop on the upstream side, and the bass will move to that side as the water warms, so fish it harder later in the month.
Mike fishes a home-made 1/4-oz. green-pumpkin or brown jig, and he tips it with a Zoom green-pumpkin Creepy Crawler twin-tail trailer. He usually dips the tips of the trailer in chartreuse JJ’s Magic for added attraction. Hop the jig, and let it fall so the twin tails wiggle.
No. 4: N 34º 09.783 – W 84º 41.252 — Run upstream into Clear Creek, and watch for the downstream point of the big cove on your right about halfway back. Mike says the fish load up on this point moving out after spawning in the cove and in the back of the creek, and that you can sit here and catch a limit most days.
Keep your boat out in 25 feet of water, and cast up so your baits come over the 10- to 20-foot depths. When fishing baits on the bottom, cast into less than 10 feet, and work them back so they are in contact with the rocks in the key depth range.
There is a good drop on the upstream side of this point where it goes back into the cove, so make sure you work it thoroughly. Make repeated casts from different angles so your bait comes up the drop on some casts and down it on others to see what the fish want.
No. 5: N 34º 09.369 – W 84º 41.954 — Go straight across the river into the small creek at the Red Top Mountain Lodge. You will go past three shoal markers on the left side and three more on the right. The dock for the lodge is in the left arm of this creek. Stop on the point on the right side about even with the no-wake buoy downstream of the dock.
This creek is a good spawning area, and this point is another secondary point where the fish load up after spawning. Start on the right side of the point, and fish all the way around it.
Keep your boat in 25 feet of water to cover the 10- to 15-foot depths. There is clay, rock and blowdowns on this point and some brush out deeper. Fish over it, and then fish deeper as you go around it. A Carolina rig is good to keep your bait near the bottom. Fish faster than you can with a light jig head or jig ’n pig. When you hit cover, pause and let your worm settle at it.
No. 6: N 34º 09.253 – W 84º 41.678 — The next cove on the right going upstream has an old boat ramp on the upstream point. The cove splits into two pockets. The point between the two pockets has big rocks on it and a long blowdown on the end.
Deep hollows come out on either side of this point, and bass use it after spawning. Sit in 25 feet of water, and fish all the way around it. Try all your baits here. Mike says a Texas-rigged worm is often overlooked by fishermen, but it will come through brush and rock better than other bottom-bumping baits. Slide a Texas-rigged, green-pumpkin Trick Worm along the bottom until you hit brush or rock, and then jiggle it in the cover to draw strikes.
No. 7: N 34º 10.046 – W 84º 42.979 — Head down the river toward the dam. Across from the park marina, on your right heading toward the dam, the first point downstream of Stamp Creek is on the upstream side of a small cove. There is a shoal marker on the downstream point of this cove, and a big rock is right on the bank on the upstream point.
Fish around the upstream point, covering it with all your baits. Start on the upstream side of the point, keeping your boat in at least 25 feet of water, and hit it at all angles. Cast close to the bank since the water drops fast, and work your bottom-bumping baits slowly so they stay in contact with the bottom.
No. 8: N 34º 10.063 – W 84º 42.983 — Ease across to the shoal marker just downstream. The marker is on a big rockpile on the end of the point that runs out to it. Mike says this solid rock shelf holds a lot of bass.
Start on the upstream side of the marker between it and the bank with your boat in about 30 feet of water, and cast up to the point running out to the marker. Fish out to the end of the point and around it, working both sides and the end.
Pay attention to the depth the bass are hitting. They will likely be closer to the 10-foot depth early in the month and a little deeper later, but concentrate your casts to the depth they are hitting.
No. 9: N 34º 09.995 – W 84º 43.405 — Downstream, there are big boulders on a point around the campground. There is a danger marker just off the bank, and there is some rip-rap on the point, too.
Start fishing on the upstream side of the rip-rap, and fish all the way around the point into the cove. The boulders seem to run out, but there are more not far into the cove, so if the water is up and you can’t see them, fish slowly down that bank until you hit them. Fish hold on all the rocks here.
No. 10: N 34º 09.093 – W 84º 42.889 — Head up Allatoona Creek toward the bridge. As soon as you pass the island on your left, go into the creek upstream of it. There is a covered pavilion on the first point on your right and an enclosed pavilion on the next point past the small cove on that side.
Stop on the second point in the mouth of the cove. There is a big rockpile on a short point on that side and rocks all around the point. This rock and clay point holds postspawn bass right now.
As in the other places, keep your boat out in 25 feet of water, and cast up toward the bank to cover the 10- to 15-foot range. Work all your baits over and through this key May depth. Work the rockpile on the downstream side hard, and fish all the way around the point until you stop hitting rocks.
These places are all full of keeper spots right now, and you can find similar places all over the lake when you see Mike’s patterns. Fish with the baits Mike likes, or try your favorites. You will have fun catching a boatload of spotted bass.
Editor’s Note: Twenty years of Ronnie Garrison’s popular Map-of-the-Month articles are being compiled and published in digital eBook format. The first collections for Lanier and Clarks Hill are now available at fishing-about.com.