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.
Georgia Power: ph. 706-782-4014
Prospects and Fishing Tips
SPOTTED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS & BROWN TROUT
This year, largemouth bass will be slightly more abundant than spotted bass. Anglers can expect the average largemouth bass to measure about 14-inches in length and weigh between 1 and 2 lb. Smaller largemouths are abundant and will ensure good numbers of quality fish in future years. Unfortunately, the number of largemouths weighing over 3 lb is drastically reduced but the long range forecast indicates a full recovery over the next two or three years.
Largemouth bass in Lake Burton prefer to feed on blueback herring, which gives lures like the fluke or other jerk baits a unique advantage among artificial lures. Soft plastic worms fished along points, humps and creek channels can also be effective. During the fall and winter months, crayfish account for a greater part of their natural diet, which makes pig & jig combinations effective baits during the colder months. Fishing live bait around downed timber from January to March will increase your chances of catching a trophy bass.
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 close to visible structure with overhead cover 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. 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-sized spotted bass and the coming year should live up to that reputation. This year, the chances of catching one of these trophies are even higher than in recent years. Some lucky angler may even find a new state record spotted bass tugging on the line. The current state record spotted bass was caught on Lake Burton and weighed 8 lb, 2 oz. February is traditionally the "big fish" month on Lake Burton.
February and March are prime months to catch big bass in Lake Burton. Pig-and-jig combinations and plastic worms as well as live herring or trout are excellent bait choices during the winter months. Anglers should target downed trees and rocky points but fishing along the face of the dam can also be productive on warm afternoons.
April and May are the best months to catch high numbers of spotted bass. Pearl-colored 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 over humps in open water. This technique works best around dusk and dawn. During the day, try drop-shoting 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 fluke onto a jig-head and fish in the mouth of creeks where blueback herring congregate. If that pattern does not work, then switch to vertical jigging with spoons or slow-moving crayfish imitators on points in the major cove arms. Live crayfish and nightcrawlers are also good bait choices during the fall months.
For most of the year, spotted bass are on the move around the lake in search of an easy meal. Their favorite prey item is blueback herring. During the winter, spring, and early fall, blueback herring congregate in the mouths of creeks and over creek channels in the major cove arms. Spotted bass anglers should cast herring-imitations into these areas.
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. Jerk baits and soft plastics should be cast toward these structures and worked back to the boat using an erratic retrieve.
Warming water temperatures from June to September motivate spotted bass to move offshore in search for food. At dusk and dawn, spots will chase bait on the surface over points and humps but during the day, they retreat back to the bottom.
In the fall months, 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 good numbers of fish from October to December.
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 take a variety of artificial baits, including Shad Raps, Rapalas, Flukes, and flashy spinnerbaits. When fishing for pickerel, anglers should not be timid about casting into thick tangles of woody debris. 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 and along weedy flats 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. Pickerel can also 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. For the past two years, trout fishing has been at its best. The forecast for the coming year looks even better, especially for fish in the 15 to 20-inch size range. The number of trophy-sized fish over 8 lb is also at an all-time high. The current lake record is 11 lb, 3 oz but that record could be eclipsed this year.
The best bait for trophy brown trout in Lake Burton is live blueback herring. However, trout of all sizes will take trolling spoons and small crankbaits all year long.
From late-winter into spring, trout will frequent the back of the coves and along rocky seawalls feeding on blueback herring.
In the summer months, trolling very slowly on the lower end of the lake over the river channel at depths from 30 to 60 feet is generally the best approach.
From October to December, anglers should cast in-line spinners around the dam, Murray's Cove boat ramp, the face of the dam and around the Moccasin Creek boat ramp to catch recently stocked trout.
In the winter months, search for trout around the dam 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 into 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.