Lake Burton is a 2,775-acre reservoir near Clayton featuring beautiful scenery and large lakeside homes. Managed by the Georgia Power Company, this lake holds an impressive quality spotted bass fishery. Burton is home to the state record spotted bass catch - a whopper caught in February 2005 that tipped the scales at 8 pounds, 2 ounces.
Guide to Lake Burton Trout Fishery available in PDF (395 kb). This guide discusses tactics and offers expert tips for fishing Lake Burton in spring, summer, fall and winter.
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Prospects and Fishing Tips
SPOTTED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS & BROWN TROUT
Largemouth bass numbers have been increasing over the past three years. Because of this recent population growth, small bass in the 11 to 14-inch size range are abundant.
Largemouth bass in Lake Burton prefer to feed on blueback herring, which gives lures like the pearl-colored Super Fluke or Pointer series a unique advantage among artificial lures. When jerk baits are not drawing bites, finesse worms fished along points, humps and creek channels can be effective. During the fall and winter months, crayfish account for a greater part of their diet, which makes pig & jig combinations effective baits during the colder months. Fishing live bait around downed timber in February and March will offer the highest chance of producing the largest trophy bass of the year.
Largemouth bass anglers should generally target fallen trees, creek channels and boat docks in coves and small pockets. During the spring months, largemouth bass will hold tight to visible cover with overhead protection under which to build their spawning nests. In the summer months, look for largemouth bass in 20 to 30 feet of water along main lake points and in creek channels. Casting soft plastics on a Carolina rig is a good choice. During the fall months, largemouth bass will more actively feed during the early morning and evening in the general vicinity of their spring and summer locations.
Lake Burton is known for its trophy spotted bass fishing. This mountain reservoir maintains bragging rights for the current state record spotted bass that weighed 8 lb, 2 oz. Although the total number of spots is about the same as last year, the average size will be smaller. Anglers will find plentiful numbers of spotted bass in the 10-inch size and weighing less than a pound.
February and March are prime months to catch big bass in Lake Burton. Anglers should fish with pig-and-jig combinations, tube jigs, plastic worms, or herring imitations around woody debris and rocky points. Fishing near the dam can also be quite productive when spotted bass are feeding on herring at the surface. Spring (April and May) is the best time to catch high numbers of spotted bass. Pearl-colored Super Flukes and soft plastic worms are effective when fished around the corners of boat docks and downed trees located near deep water. Finesse worms also are effective when rigged Carolina style and dragged across rocky bottoms. After the spawning season, spotted bass will chase topwater lures, like a Sammy, Pointer 100, or Zara Spook in herring color patterns, near points and humps in open water. This technique works best around dusk and dawn. Try drop-shotting finesse worms on rocky points in 20-30 feet of water, especially on the lower half of the lake. When the leaves change into their fall colors, anglers should thread a Super Fluke onto a jig-head and fish in the mouth of creeks where blueback herring congregate. If that pattern does not work, switch to vertical jigging with spoons or slow-moving crayfish imitators on points in the major cove arms.
Spotted bass migrate around the lake in search of their favorite prey items, including blueback herring, yellow perch and crayfish. During the winter, spring, and early fall, spotted bass primarily feed on blueback herring, which congregate in the mouths of creeks and over the creek channel in the major cove arms during these seasons. The spawning season, which generally occurs in early May, pushes spotted bass to rocky areas, especially near boat docks and downed trees in 10-15 feet of water. Target these areas during the spawning season. Warming water temperatures from June to September motivate spotted bass to move offshore to search for food. Target points and humps in 20-30 feet of water along the main lake channel. By fall, spotted bass frequent rocky points in the major cove arms to feed on crayfish and will roam into the creeks in search of blueback herring. Points and creek channels in Moccasin, Dicks and Timpson Creeks hold fish this time of year.
Lake Burton has a sizeable chain pickerel population. Chain pickerel are exciting to catch because they aggressively attack a variety of baits and lures and they put up a hard and sometimes acrobatic fight. They are relatively easy to catch in the spring and summer months if you target the right areas.
Chain pickerel will attack a variety of artificial baits, including Shad Raps, Rapalas, Flukes, and flashy spinnerbaits. Anglers should not be timid about casting into thick tangles of woody debris for pickerel. Using braided lines will help prevent break-offs by these sharp-toothed critters. An alternative technique is to troll perch-colored crankbaits above the weed line along the edge of shallow creek channels in the back of Moccasin, Dicks, and Cherokee Coves.
Chain pickerel hide in shallow water structure in order to ambush their prey. Their favorite habitat in Lake Burton is woody debris along a shallow flat in close proximity to a creek channel. They also can be found cruising the edges of creek channels. These kinds of habitats occur in the back of almost every cove on Lake Burton.
Lake Burton supports Georgia's only large reservoir trout fishery. Anglers reported good success last year and can expect similar results this year. The lake is stocked each fall with approximately 20,000 ten-inch brown trout. By spring, trout will typically average 15 inches in length and weigh approximately one pound. By the following year, trout will approach 20 inches in length and weigh nearly four pounds. The current lake record is 11 lb, 3 oz.
July through September is the best time to catch brown trout. From August to October, trout will typically be found from the dam to the first upstream safety marker. Troll live bait, spoons or shad-imitating crankbaits over a 50 to 100-ft bottom at depths ranging from 30 to 60-feet. Burton trout will also feed at the surface during the summer months about an hour or two before daybreak. Surface plugs and live baits are both effective when the pre-dawn bite is on. In November, cast in-line spinners around the dam, Murray's Cove boat ramp and Moccasin Creek boat ramp to catch recently stocked trout. The winter months can also produce nice stringers of trout. Anglers should fish around the face of the dam and downline live herring from 15 to 30-feet deep.
In the winter months, search for trout around the dam in 15 to 30 feet of water and around Jones Bridge at the upper end of the lake. During the spring, trout will move closer to the backs of coves and feed on the surface during early morning. Moccasin Cove is a great place to start looking. Trout move to deeper water on the lower end of the lake during the summer months. Troll from the safety marker located near Moccasin Cove and work your way toward the dam. In the fall, trout are widely scattered around the lake and become more difficult to catch. Try the mouth of creeks, like Moccasin, Timpson, and Dicks Creeks, as well as around the Murray Cove boat ramp and around the dam in hopes of hooking into a trophy-sized brown trout.