Lake Lucas created quite a ripple when it opened on March 28, 2004 with great fishing, but since then, it’s been under the fishing radar for many anglers. It’s likely the limited hours, fishing fees and the elector-motor stipulation that deters some anglers, but for those who fish it regularly, a day at Lucas can make for a great time fishing.
Located near Macon off Upper River Road, this 589-acre water storage lake is the main water source for Macon and Bibb County. The lake has a small inflow from Town Creek, but the bulk of the water is pumped in from the nearby Ocmulgee River. To ensure the purity of future drinking water, no gas motors are allowed on the lake. Only electric motors and paddles can be used. There is only one boat ramp, so you’ll have to watch the wind and carry an extra trolling battery. You certainly don’t want to run a long distance downwind and then not be able to get back to the boat ramp. I usually carry two trolling motors and three batteries when I’m on the lake, and I always have my cell phone.
Even with the trolling-motor limitation, Lucas offers fishermen an excellent opportunity to catch some good fish. According to Brandon Baker, a fisheries biologist with WRD, anglers at Lucas can expect 2017 fishing to be pretty good. The lake was down 13 feet from the drought of 2016, but it has recovered and is now at full pool. Data from a recent electroshocking survey suggests that anglers can expect good numbers of small- to medium-sized bluegill and shellcracker, both largemouth and spotted bass, hybrid and striped bass, channel catfish and crappie.
Brandon said the bass population is evenly split between spots and largemouth. To keep the spotted bass in check, anglers are encouraged to fry up a few. The daily limit on bass is 10 per day, but there is no size limit. To give the largemouth a boost, WRD stocked 67,000 largemouth fry this spring. He said that stripers are stocked annually at a rate of five per acre, and hybrids are stocked at the rate of 15 per acre.
This spring I have hit the lake several times with Bob Hopkins, of Warner Robins and Rob Craig, of Macon. I was also fortunate to fish with Paul Cumbess, a Macon Water Authority (MWA) employee, who fishes the lake often.
Now let’s cut to the chase. Where can you catch fish on Lucas?
1) The Ocmulgee River Discharge Pipe: The submerged 36-inch pipe pumps water into the lake from the Ocmulgee River, and the small waves of the flow gives the location away, but it’s not always flowing. It’s located near the mouth of the Town Creek arm of the lake and about 50 yards out from the west shore. Look for two large, white PVC pipes on the bank. The discharge pipe is in 20 feet of water and is surrounded by large rocks on the bottom.
I fished the discharge pipe in early April with Bob, and he caught a 5-lb. catfish on it. We have caught limits of striper there when the bite is good. I also spoke to Wade and Don Osborne, of Jones County, who were trolling around the pipe with dead shad and minnows, while they cast out various shad-colored stick baits. They said things were slow, but they still had caught several stripers. This area is good for stripers, hybrids and catfish.
2) The Dam Rip-Rap: A safety cable keeps anglers about 50 to 75 yards away from the dam, but with a good spinning or baitcaster reel, you can get in the strike zone on the north end of the rocks. The south end is not fishable. A Texas-rigged Zoom worm can be eased down the rocks, but for better casting distance, tie on a Carolina rig with a 1-oz. bullet weight, but expect to lose a few rigs in the rocks.
About 75 yards north of the end of the rip-rap, there are lots of submerged concrete debris that hold bass, bream and catfish.
Paul has just sweetened this area with lots of Christmas trees, so it will be holding a lot of fish pretty soon.
3) The Submerged Road Marked With White PVC Poles: In the middle of the lake, look for a long line of PVC poles that warns anglers of shallow water. This is an old roadbed, and on the east side of the pipes are many mussel shellbeds that attract shellcracker and catfish. Paul says the shellcracker fishing is very good. Use a slip cork, and fish a nightcrawler on the bottom. Shellcracker have grown well in Lucas, said Paul, with many fish near 1 pound in size.
4) Submerged Concrete Rocks: From the south side of the dam, head east to the first major point that juts into the lake. Paul says the point has many large concrete rockpiles on it about 50 yards out. No map exists of Lake Lucas, so you’ll have to locate the rockpiles with you depthfinder. A good aerial map can be found on Google Earth. These rockpiles are great structure for bass, stripers and catfish.
5) The Powerpole Rip-Rap: Head straight out from the boat ramp for about 300 yards, and you’ll see three sets of metal power poles. The poles are set on high ground near the shoreline with 50 yards of granite rocks along the shoreline to protect it from wave erosion. From the rocks, fish about 150 yards west toward the dam. You’ll be near an old roadbed that goes from 10 to 17 feet of water along a ridge line.
Rob Craig says this area is his best area for stripers and hybrids, and it is easy to find. Rob likes to use a Jackall Squad Minnow in sexy-shad and prefers the 115-mm size. Shad-type lures like a Smithwick Rattlin Rogue or a chrome Rat-L-Trap will also hook you up.
6) Up Town Creek: There are rocks at every bend in the creek channel. These are great places for late spring and summer bass. Also fish the overhanging limbs and deep banks. The very top of the creek, where it comes in from the rock shoals, is a great spot and beautiful, too. It will remind you of the north Georgia Mountains.
A highlight of the 2017 fishing season at Lucas will be MWA Kids Fishing Derby on June 2 from 7-10 a.m. This is a free fishing day, and no fishing license is required. The derby is open to youth ages 3 to 16. A snack lunch and refreshments will be served, and prizes will be awarded. After the kids’ tournament, the small lake will be open to general public fishing.
Gary McCoy, director of Water Operations, invites all Georgia anglers to experience the good fishing and beautiful scenery of Lake Lucas. Tony Rojas is executive director and president of the MWA, and they run a great lake.
The cost to launch a boat and fish Lucas is $10 a day, and bank fishing is $5 a day. Anglers can purchase a season pass at $50 for bank fishing and $100 for those who fish from a boat.
For directions to Lucas, visit www.maconwater.org/public-fishing-at-javors-lucas-lake. See what you have been missing at Lake Lucas. Check it out!
Lucas Lake 2017 Fishing Calendar
March 3-April 30: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
May 5-June 25, 2017: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
July-August 2017: Closed to fishing.
Sept. 2-Oct. 29, 2017: Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nov. 2017-Feb. 2018: Closed to fishing.
The MWA website makes a special notation that Lucas Lake will NOT be open for the Fourth of July, Memorial Day or Labor Day holidays.