Georgia Reservoir Fishing Information
Lake Oconee

Lake Oconee is located mainly in Greene County, near Madison and Greensboro. The 19,050-acre reservoir is operated by the Georgia Power Company with Lake Sinclair as a pump-storage (pump back) hydropower generation facility. This unique operation in combination with the lake's long, narrow shape produces noticeable water current throughout the lake during power generation and pump back. Fish tend to be more active and feed more agressively when water is moving through the dam.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 706-485-8704

Prospects and Fishing Tips
Largemouth bass
Prospect A new 14-inch minimum length limit regulation is currently in effect on largemouth bass. The new regulation went into effect in September 2014 and replaces the old 11 to 14-inch slot limit regulation. Oconee is a very productive reservoir and it's popularity with both recreational and tournament anglers is a good indication of the quality bass fishery it supports. Anglers can once again expect to see good numbers of fish in the 2 to 3 pound range, with some in the 4 to 5 pound range as well. image
Technique Popular year-round baits include spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, jig-head worms, jigs and other plastic baits. These baits can be fished around riprap and rocky areas, main lake points, offshore humps, around lay-down trees and boat docks and seawalls.
Target During winter months fish crankbaits, jighead worms and jigs. Concentrate on deeper rocky banks and points and deeper boat docks; a slower presentation may be needed. During spring, fish spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and shallower plastics. Concentrate more on shallow cover such as lay-down trees, stumps and boat docks. In the summer, focus on deep-diving crankbaits and deeper plastics along main lake points, river channels and deep bridges, or try the Oconee and Apalachee rivers above Interstate 20. In the fall, fish spinnerbaits and shallow running crankbaits, keying-in on the backs of creek arms.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect Expect hybrid bass fishing to be consistent with last year's catch. Similar numbers and sizes were seen in the 2014 fall gill net survey and a number of 5-10-pounders are available. Results from an angler input meeting (2012) disclosed that most lineside anglers at Lake Oconee prefer to target and catch hybrid bass more often than striped bass, so the transition to more hybrid bass will continue. image
Technique Live bait, jigging spoons, and artificial baits that imitate shad are recommended.
Target In the winter months, concentrate on the Oconee River arm from Lick Creek down to the dam. Hybrid striped bass should be found close to deep schools of bait. In the spring, target hybrid striped bass in the middle and upper end of the reservoir as they make runs up the Oconee and Apalachee rivers. During the summer months, concentrate either on the lower end of the reservoir or upriver, and also keep an eye out for schooling and surface activity in these areas.
White bass
Prospect Expect fishing to be consistent with last year's catch. Similar numbers and sizes were seen in the 2014 spring electrofishing and fall gill net surveys. image
Technique Little George's, rooster tails, small crankbaits, crappie jigs and curly tail grubs are recommended.
Target March and April are the best months to target white bass, as they make spawning runs up the Oconee and Apalachee rivers.
Striped Bass
Prospect Striped bass will be stocked again this spring, however at reduced rates compared to previous years. Results from a angler input meeting (2012) disclosed that most lineside anglers at Lake Oconee preferred to target and catch hybrid bass more often than striped bass, so the transition to more hybrid bass will continue. Striped bass numbers and sizes were comparable during 2014 to previous years., and an average striped bass continues to measure around 16 inches in length. Fish weighing in the 8-10 pound range are available, and a few over 15 pounds also have been caught. image
Technique Live bait, bucktail jigs, jigging spoons, umbrella rigs and trolling hard baits.
Target In winter, concentrate on the Oconee River arm from Lick Creek down to the dam. Striped bass should be found close to deep schools of bait fish. In spring, target the middle and upper end of the reservoir around bridges and other riprap areas feeding on spawning threadfin shad and even further up the Oconee and Apalachee Rivers.
Catfish
Prospect Expect plenty of smaller to medium size channel catfish throughout, but the catfish populations continue to shift towards the introduced blue catfish. Blue catfish numbers and sizes continue to expand. Fish in the 15 to 25 pound range are very common; however, fish in the 35 to 45 pound range also are available. During the summer of 2011, at least four blue catfish were caught that were over 40 pounds. Flathead catfish populations continue to be stable and numbers of 10 to 15 pound fish are common with some over 40 pounds. image
Technique Live shad or bluegill and cut bait are best bets for blue and flathead catfish. Summer months may be the best time to cast a line. Also try night crawlers or cut bait fished on the bottom.
Target The summer months, especially early morning and night time fishing, are particularly good for all catfish. Their consistent bite makes them an ideal species.
Crappie
Prospect Numbers and size of fish are comparable to past years. The average crappie sampled in the spring and fall of 2014 was 10.5 inches. Crappie should weigh around 1/2 to 3/4 pound this spring, with good numbers of fish up to 1 1/2 pound. Fish from February to May and from October to December for larger numbers and larger fish. image
Technique Minnows and jigs are best bets.
Target In early February, concentrate toward the mouths of the creeks - near the main lake and gradually move toward shallow water as temperatures rise in spring. In the spring, target standing timber and man-made brush piles in Sugar Creek and the upper end of the lake, as well as the upper ends of other major creek arms, such as Richland, Sandy and Lick creeks. When water temperatures reach the low 60s, target bedding crappie around shallow shoreline cover. During the fall, concentrate on the mouths of the creeks, river channels, standing timber and bridges.
Best Fishing Times Key
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