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
This year, Lake Rabun will have the highest number of largemouth bass in over a decade. During this period of population growth, the number of big fish will be lower than usual while the numbers of bass in the 12-inch and 1 lb size range is much higher than usual.
Bass in Lake Rabun will take advantage of any opportunity to grab a blueback herring, so lures that look and move like a distressed herring are your best bait choices. Fishing with live herring is your best bait option for high catch rates but there are a variety of artificial alternatives. During the spring and fall months, fishing a 3/8-oz jig-head tipped with a fluke or spinner bait around prime bass habitats, such as boat docks, downed trees, rock walls and creek channels are good tactics. When fast moving subsurface lures are not attracting strikes, drop shot finesse worms into brush piles or bounce soft plastics on a Carolina rig along creek channels, ledges and points. Among natural bait options, nightcrawlers and spring lizards are great springtime options whereas fishing with crayfish in bottom cover and trolling with live herring are your best options during the fall months. When the water temperature drops below 55 degrees, largemouths will hang tight to woody structure. Under these conditions, floating a live shiner under a cork or pitching a pig-and-jig with a crayfish trailer are effective tactics.
During the spring months, largemouth bass will hold tightly to visible cover with overhead protection to build their spawning nests. By far, the highest catch rates come from the "Big Basin" area on the upper end of the lake. Anglers should target the boat docks, down trees and small creeks and cove pockets scattered around the shoreline in this area. Largemouth bass also seem relatively abundant in the cove pockets and creek channels from Hall’s Marina, which is on the lower end of the lake, downstream to the dam. In the summer months, look for largemouth bass in 20 to 30 feet of water along main lake points and in creek channels in the mid-lake section. During the fall months, largemouth bass will actively feed on the surface during the early morning and evening in coves and open water areas of the river channel. The river channel on the upper end of the lake within the vicinity of the U.S. Forest Service Ramp downstream to the “Big Basin” is the best area to catch bass on the surface.
Spotted bass are at record high numbers this year and anglers will commonly catch spotted bass in the 1 to 2 lb weight class. Spotted bass will primarily be found on main channel banks and open water areas whereas largemouth bass prefer sheltered coves and small pockets. 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 in a 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 that comes within striking distance. Your best bait choices during the cold weather months are live herring or minnows fished around woody structure or slow-moving artificial lures fished around bottom structure, points and creek channels. In April and May, spotted bass will spawn in shallow water ranging from 5 to 15-feet deep. Jerk baits, shallow-running lures, floating worms, and plastic lizards are effective when cast near visible structures where bass are nesting. Live nightcrawlers or spring lizards are effective natural bait alternatives when spots are holding tight to their nests and seem reluctant to take an artificial lure. During the fall months, spotted bass gorge on blueback herring at the surface in open water during early morning and evening. Cast topwater baits into surface feeding activity for some explosive action or troll live herring or their artificial counterparts like an Alabama rig. On sunny afternoons, bounce crayfish imitating baits along the bottom of rocky points or in brush piles. If that pattern does not produce some strikes, then switch to vertical jigging with spoons, drop shot with finesse worms, or downline with live herring or shiners.
In the winter months, spotted bass will hold close to visible structure. Points and cove pockets in the "Big Basin" area and near the dam hold the largest concentrations of spotted bass during the winter. Target fallen trees, boat houses, rock walls and brushpiles. On warm afternoons, anglers should also fish along the face of the dam using live herring or herring-type crank baits and umbrella rigs. During April and May, spotted bass seek rocky banks with overhead cover to build their spawning nest. Fallen trees and the corners of boat houses are favored spawning areas for spotted bass. The "Big Basin" area and the area from Hall’s Marina downstream to the dam support the highest concentrations of spotted bass. As the water temperature cools down during the fall months, schools of spotted bass will aggressively feed at the surface on small blueback herring. This is a great time to fish with small topwater baits, troll umbrella rigs or live line with blueback herring. Schooling bass are most abundant in the narrow section of the river in the upper end of the lake between the U.S. Forest Service boat ramp downstream to the "Big Basin" area.
Lake Rabun supports good numbers of quality-sized redbreast, shellcrackers and bluegills. Bluegill is the most abundant bream species and they typically weigh from 1/4 to 1/2 lb.
Bluegills and redbreast readily take crickets, while the larger redear sunfish prefer red wigglers in deeper water. The best artificial lures for bream 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 late-May or early-June, bream will build spawning nests on sandy flats where creeks flow into the lake. Their circular nests are generally visible from the surface and are the best place to target bream in the springtime. Bank fishing opportunities are available on the upper end of the lake at the U.S. Forest Service boat ramp and its two public fishing piers but a $4 parking fee is required. For the remainder of the year, bream will concentrate around boat docks, downed trees and rock walls. Anglers can usually find large numbers of bream under the shaded overhangs at Hall's Marina, which is located on the lower end of the lake. Dabbling worms or crickets around the pilings underneath the shade is a productive technique.
Walleye are not abundant in Lake Rabun but their numbers will be slightly higher this year. Walleye in the 2 to 4 lb size range are the most frequently caught.
There are three seasonal patterns for catching walleye in Lake Rabun. During March, fish the shallow headwaters at dusk and dark with floating stick baits, chartreuse curly-tailed grub, shallow running crankbaits or nightcrawlers. During the day, fish the deeper sections of the lower river by dragging 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 drag nightcrawlers slowly along the bottom at depths of 20-30 feet. When cooler water temperatures return in October and November, walleye switch to a fall pattern where they move onto shallow water points at night to feed on small bream and perch. 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. About an hour before sunset, start fishing at the Low Gap Road Bridge. As evening progresses, work your way upstream. After the spawning season, walleye move down to the lower end of the lake. During the summer and fall months, troll the lower lake from Hall's Marina to the dam. Good electronics will help you identify schools of herring that walleye are feeding on. Be sure to cast nightcrawlers or herring into brush piles as you encounter them. Walleye will be tucked under the branches but will pop out to grab an easy meal.