Lake Rabun is an 834-acre lake located a few miles downstream of Lake Burton near Clayton. This mountain reservoir is long and narrow with miles of steep, rocky shoreline. The upper two miles of the lake are relatively shallow and contain mud flats with weed beds along the river channel and long sections of blown down trees. Spotted bass, largemouth bass, bluegill and shellcrackers are favorite targets of local anglers.
Georgia Power: ph. 706-782-4014
Prospects and Fishing Tips
LARGEMOUTH BASS, SPOTTED BASS, BREAM & WALLEYE
Lake Rabun will have the highest numbers of largemouth bass that it has seen in over a decade. After several years of declining abundance, this is certainly good news. During this period of population growth, the numbers of big fish will be low while the numbers of bass in the 1 to 2 lb range is high.
Bass in Lake Rabun will take advantage of any opportunity to grab a blueback herring, so use lures that look and act like a distressed herring. During the spring and fall months, work a 3/8-oz jig-head tipped with a fluke in prime bass habitats, such as boat docks, downed trees and rock walls. When the fluke is not attracting strikes, cast soft plastics on a Carolina rig into brush piles and along creek channels and points.
In general, largemouth bass seek refuge in fallen trees, along abrupt elevation changes in creek channels, on rocky points and around boat docks located in coves and small pockets. During the spring months, largemouth bass will hold tightly to visible cover with overhead protection under which to build their spawning nests. This type of habitat is plentiful in the area around Hall's marina as well as on the upper end of the lake. 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.
Spotted bass are as abundant as largemouth bass in Lake Rabun. This year, spotted bass will be a little bit larger than in previous years. Spots in the 2 to 4 lb range will be the most common size caught by bass anglers this year. In the past few years, good numbers of trophy-sized spotted bass were caught but their numbers will be lower than usual in the coming year. The long range forecast, however, indicates a return of trophy spots over the next few years.
Spotted bass are generally aggressive feeders that will take a variety of natural and artificial baits. In the winter months, spotted bass are lethargic but they will still take advantage of an opportunity to take a blueback herring within striking distance. Your best bait choices during the cold weather months are live herring or their artificial look-a-likes.
In April and May, spotted bass will move into shallow water from 5 to 15-feet deep to spawn. Jerk baits, shallow-running lures, floating worms, and plastic lizards are effective when cast near visible structure where there is a bass nest. This spring, make sure to target the steps around boat houses located on rocky banks.
During the fall, spotted bass gorge on blueback herring in open water during early morning and evening. Surface activity is often visible in the river channel on the upper end of the lake. During those pretty fall afternoons, bounce crayfish-imitating baits along the bottom of rocky points.
In the winter months, spotted bass can be found holding close to visible structure, such as fallen trees, boat houses, brush piles or near the dam. Anglers should also target creek channels during the winter months.
During April and May, spotted bass seek rocky banks with overhead cover to build their spawning nests. Fallen trees, the corners of boat houses, especially around the steps, seem to provide all the right ingredients that Lake Rabun spotted bass are looking for when choosing a place to build a nest.
As the water temperature cools down during the fall months, spotted bass will explode to the surface to feed on small blueback herring. This is a great time to fish with small topwater baits. Schooling fish are most abundant in the narrow section in the upper end of the lake.
Bream fishing in Lake Rabun is best from April to June. Significant numbers of redbreast, shellcrackers and bluegills occur in Lake Rabun. Bluegills are the most abundant bream species and they typically weigh from 1/4 to 1/2 lb. There have been no major changes in the bream population in many years, so catch rates in the coming year should be similar to past years.
Bluegills and redbreast readily take crickets, while the larger redear sunfish prefer red wigglers in deeper water. The best artificial lures include small in-line spinner baits, like a Mepps Spinner or Rooster Tail, or small curly-tailed grubs. If you are into fly fishing, try casting rubber ants or spiders underneath overhanging branches during the early morning or evening.
During the full moon in May, bream will build spawning nests on sandy flats along the mouth of creeks that enter the lake. These circular nests are generally visible from the surface and are the place to fish during this time of year. Bank fishing opportunities are available at two public fishing piers located at the U.S. Forest Service recreation area and campground that is located on the upper end of the lake. Large numbers of bream spawn on the sandy bottom of the creek channel that parallels the Forest Service’s boat ramp. There is also an abundance of large bluegills that congregate around the boat slips at Hall's Marina on the lower end of the lake. Dabbling worms around the pilings underneath the shade of the boat house is another productive approach to catching bream.
Walleye occur in Lake Rabun in lower numbers than its neighboring lakes; however, walleye in Lake Rabun tend to run a bit larger. Walleye in Lake Rabun typically average in the 2 to 4 lb size range. Based on DNR’s walleye surveys, the walleye population is stable. Anglers can expect to catch an occasional walleye incidentally while fishing for other species like bass or perch. Experienced anglers who know how to target walleye will have seasonally good success.
There are three seasonal patterns for catching walleye in Lake Rabun. During March and early April, walleye are in a spawning pattern. Fish the shallow headwaters at dusk and dark with floating minnow imitations, chartreuse curly-tailed grubs or nightcrawlers. Start at the Low Gap Road bridge early and work your way upstream as the evening progresses. During the day, fish the deeper sections of the lower river by trolling nightcrawlers along the bottom or by casting crankbaits in perch, shad or crayfish color patterns.
From June to September, walleye transition into a summer pattern. In the summer, walleye migrate to deeper waters near the dam and in the mouth of coves in search of cooler temperatures. Troll crankbaits, live herring or nightcrawlers slowly along the bottom at a depth of 30 feet.
When cooler water temperatures return in October and November, walleye switch to a fall pattern where they move onto shallow water points in the evening to feed. During the day, walleye hang tight to the bottom in nearby deeper water where they can be caught on nightcrawlers.
During the spawning season, anglers can fish from the shoreline at Georgia Power's Nacoochee Park, which is located at the intersection of Low Gap Road and Seed Lake Road downstream of Nacoochee Dam.
During the summer and fall months, troll the lower lake from Hall's Marina to the dam. DNR saturated the cove directly across the lake from Hall's Marina with artificial structure specifically placed at the critical depth range to attract walleye. Newcomers to Lake Rabun may want to explore this "Walleye Habitat Area" first by bouncing nightcrawlers along the bottom in a 100-foot wide radius around the marker buoy.