Reservoir Prospects

Lake Allatoona 

This 11,860-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impoundment of the Etowah River is 30 miles north of Atlanta.  Allatoona features convenient boat ramp access and parking, as well as camping opportunities.  The lake receives heavy use from boaters, skiers and anglers given its close proximity to Atlanta.

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  ph. 678-721-6700; Red Top Mountain State Park:  ph. 770-975-4222

Fish Attractors

Through a joint project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wildlife Action and local businesses and anglers, Fisheries Section personnel with the Wildlife Resources Division help construct man-made fish habitat (often in the form of fish attractors) for various lakes throughout the state. These constructions help serve the purpose of providing underwater habitat for fish.

Locate Lake Allatoona's fish attractors by viewing available pdf maps (updated 2013) and heeding biologists helpful tips. Map 1, Map 2, Map 3, Map 4.

Fish attractor data (updated Oct. 2014) for this reservoir is available for you to upload into your fishfinder or other GPS devices, or view in free online mapping applications. The data is compatible with many brands including Lowrance, Humminbird, Garmin and Magellan to name a few.

Instructions are here on how to use the data.

Download the zipped data.

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
SPOTTED BASS, HYBRID STRIPED BASS, WHITE BASS & CRAPPIE
Largemouth bass
Prospect Though far less abundant than spotted bass, largemouth will typically weigh-in at larger sizes. Bass tournament data show that only about 11% of all bass brought to the scales are largemouth, yet more than half the time a largemouth will claim big fish honors. 

The average fish anglers will encounter will be around 1 pound, with only a few reaching more than 5 pounds in size. Largemouth abundance may be slightly better than average this year due to favorable high water conditions four years ago and a couple good year classes of young fish moving into the ranks. As such, anglers may land a few more largemouth in the 14-16 inch size this year as compared to the norm.
 
Technique Artificial baits vary from season to season, but spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, swimbaits or plastic worms are all good baits to throw for largemouth. Live minnows or small bream are also good "go-to" baits for anglers wishing to use natural offerings.
Target Anglers searching for largemouth should target the shallow coves and backwaters in the Little River, Etowah River and Allatoona Creek areas of the reservoir. This is where some of the better largemouth habitat can be found in the lake. Largemouth are often found within close proximity to fallen trees and logs, especially those in shallow water. As such, they may be found holding in the numerous shoreline habitat improvement sites scattered around the lake. More than 1,000 shoreline trees have been toppled throughout the lake since 2007 as a means of improving bass habitat. 

Bank anglers looking to catch largemouth should consider fishing just below the Lake Acworth Dam on the south side of the lake, the mid-lake Payne Day Use Area or Cherokee County Park on the north end of the lake.
Spotted bass
Prospect Spotted bass are the most abundant black bass species in Allatoona - making up 85 to 90 percent of the black bass population. The spot fishery is typically characterized by high catch rates of relatively modest-sized individuals. While the the average fish will run 11-12 inches in length, the number of 14-16-inchers will be above average this year. 

Genetic analysis of the Allatoona "spotted" bass population confirmed these are Alabama "spotted" bass, which tend to grow to larger adult size than the closely related Kentucky spotted bass. While larger 4-5 pound spotted bass are caught each year, these older "veteran" fish are not commonplace at Allatoona.
 
Technique Drop-shot rigs with small baits like a 4-inch zoom tiny fluke or robo worm, or vertical jigging spoons (flex-it or hopkins shorty's) are both excellent approaches to targeting spots year-round. Live minnows are also a great means for consistently hooking-up with Allatoona's spotted bass. In the cooler months of spring and fall, when spots can be feeding aggressively, use more reactive baits like shallow to medium diving crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, or even larger swimbaits. In addition to these baits, fall anglers can try senko baits in light, natural colored patterns. Wintertime anglers may provoke spots to hit using subtle float-and-fly rigs that imitate a dying minnow. Traditional shad patterned crankbaits or bass jigs retrieved over rocky shorelines are also good winter spotted bass baits.
Target Spotted bass tend to remain in deeper habitats than largemouth. However, spots will move to shallower depths during their April-May spawning period. Anglers should target secondary cove points and pockets in spring. In the heat of the summer, try fishing in and around the more than 40 deepwater fish attractor locations placed in the reservoir by DNR, the Corps of Engineers, and their volunteers. These fish attractors are best fished from spring through fall. In fall, the key to success will be locating schooling shad in creek mouths. Find shad, and hungry spotted bass will be found nearby. With the onset of winter, spots are again deep. Target steep bluff rock walls and large chunk-rock shorelines for wintertime spotted bass action. 

Given the prevalence of spots in this impoundment , bank anglers may encounter them just about anywhere in the lake, especially in the spring. Most of the public fishing jetties scattered around the lake have brush piles around them, making them attractive to spotted bass. WRD surveys often find good concentrations of spots holding in these man-made brush piles in the spring and early summer months.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect Hybrid striped bass fingerlings are stocked annually in Allatoona. Unlike pure striped bass that prefer cool water, hybrid striped bass don't mind Allatoona's warm summer water temperatures. 

Recent DNR sampling indicates hybrid striped bass abundance remains fair, but is well below the all-time highs seen over the last decade. The average Allatoona hybrid will weigh 2-3 pounds. Older, larger hybrids will top out in the 7-8 pound range, but fish of this caliber are not the norm.
 
Technique White or shad-patterned spinners, spoons, jigs or crankbaits will produce hybrids, but serious hybrid anglers will slow troll with 4-6 inch live shad, trout (winter time), or shiners on simple free-line or weighted down-line rigs. During fall, winter, and spring, live shad remain very effective, but trolling umbrella rigs or vertical jigging with spoons can make for a good "white fish" outing. In the heat of the summer, shad-colored inline spinners are great for targeting hybrid schools actively busting the waters surface in the pursuit of shad. Live shad offerings should be fished on down lines in 18-25 ft. of water in the summer months. For the bank angler, winter hybrids can sometimes be caught using cut shad fished on the bottom near Allatoona Dam.
Target Hybrids can be found anywhere in the main lake chasing shad, but the mile of water above and below Galt's Ferry boat ramp is a year-round hot spot for hybrids. Hybrid fishing is available year-round, but is best for numbers during the heat of summer. Low summer dissolved oxygen in Allatoona's depths typically concentrates hybrids in the 20-30 foot depth range. While summer is good for numbers, winter hybrid fishing is typically characterized by catches of larger individuals. Spring hybrid action is best in the southern half of the lake (south of Allatoona Pass) and the Etowah flats near Little River in the northern reaches of Allatoona. Anglers traveling into the Etowah River above Allatoona in April and May are often treated to big hybrid catches as the fish make their mock spawning run into the lower reaches of the river.
Striped Bass
Prospect Striped bass abundance at Allatoona is typically modest. Allatoona's warm summer water temperatures limit the number of stripers the lake can support. As such, the stripers that are stocked are meant to provide anglers with the added chance of catching a larger "lineside" species in a lake dominated by smaller hybrid striped bass. 

Striper fingerlings stocked in 2013 and 2014 experienced good survival and are now bolstering population abundance. Anglers can expect these young fish to grow to 24-28 inches by year's end. 

Unfortunately, the number of larger stripers (>20 pounds) may be significantly lower in 2017. Persistent drought conditions and above average air temperatures in the summer and fall of 2016 likely trimmed big striper numbers at Allatoona. These larger individuals are less tolerant of high water temperatures than smaller striped bass. Consequently, the survival of these larger fish often declines under abnormally hot and dry conditions, such as those experienced last year.
 
Technique Though striper fishing techniques abound, slow trolling live shad, shiners, bream, or trout (winter time) on free-lines or weighted down-line rigs are favored approaches for consistent catches at Allatoona. Striper fishing is best from October-June when water temperatures are relatively cool. Though stripers may feed at anytime, concentrate your efforts during the early to mid-morning hours to maximize your chance of encountering actively feeding fish. Anglers fishing into the late morning and afternoon may consider a switch from live bait to umbrella rigs (U-rigs), slow-trolled from a boat. U-rigs imitate a school of bait fish and allow an angler to cover a lot of water in search of hungry stripers later in the day.
Target Striped bass are best pursued from a boat. In winter, the stripers will primarily be in the main body of the lake between the dam upstream to the Little River area of the lake. They will migrate to the upper reaches of the lake, where the Etowah River enters, during their spring spawning run. As summer heats up, smaller stripers (less than 10 lb) will remain in the main lake, while most larger linesides will migrate up the Etowah River, seeking cool water to beat the summer heat. With the onset of fall and cooling lake waters, these large stripers migrate back into the main lake, again feeding voraciously on shad as they pack on pounds lost during the hot summer months.
Catfish
Prospect Look for catfish numbers to be relatively stable. Channel, flathead, and blue catfish are all found in Allatoona. Channel catfish are by far the most abundant, while flatheads and blues are fewer, but typically larger in size. The average channel cat is around 16 inches and 1 1/2 pounds in size. Larger channels will tip scales in the 5 pound range. Flatheads are less numerous than channels, but most caught will be 5 to 10 pounds or larger. Though few in number, blue cats tend to grow the largest with some surpassing the 30 pound mark.  
Technique Use chicken livers, worms, prepared dough baits, or small cut bait for channel cats. Switch to large cut bait offerings or live baits, such as bream or shad, for flathead and blue cats.
Target Pursue catfish on the rocky banks in the Etowah River arm of the lake. The numerous rip-rapped banks found around the lake are also good areas to target catfish. Such habitats are common around bridges and fishing jetties. Catfish may also be found in the recesses of the woody debris jams often found in the very back of Allatoona's coves and tributary mouths. Those specifically looking for blue catfish should head to the upper recesses of the Etowah River or Little River on the north end of the lake. In winter and spring Big blues are sometimes suspended in the water column over deep water feeding on schools of shad.
Bream
Prospect Bluegill, redbreast and redear (shellcrackers) sunfish are all present in this reservoir. Bluegill are the most abundant of the three species, but average size is only about 5 inches, with few being more than 7 inches in length. Though fewer in number, redear tend to be much larger than either bluegill or redbreast sunfish. Larger redear may top 9 inches in length.  
Technique Crickets or worms fished under a bobber or on the lake bottom, micro-jigs, small spinners, and flies are all common baits used to catch bream. When on bed, nesting colonies of bream can be wary to an angler's approach and cast. Approach slowly, casting first to the periphery of the nesting group, so as not to disturb them all. Make subsequent casts further into the congregated fish as you go.
Target From early to mid-summer, bream will speckle the bottom of shallow coves with their circular nests. These nests are commonly visible to anglers, and nesting often occurs in the same general areas year-after-year. Look for bedded bream in the backs of coves and tributary recesses off the beaten path. The best locations are often associated with some type of woody debris that offers a level of nest protection. Bream tend to hold in progressively deeper waters as lake temperatures transition from fall through winter. Target them near brush piles or old channel ledges in deeper water during the colder months.
Crappie
Prospect Both black and white crappie are found in Allatoona, but black crappie are the dominant of the two species. Crappie numbers will be around or slightly better than average this year. The typical crappie will measure around 9 inches and weigh about 1/3 of a pound, but larger 1 to 2 pound slab crappie will be pulled from Allatoona's waters this year.  
Technique Small jigs or live minnows fished beneath a bobber are both proven methods for catching crappie. Crappie will often congregate at a specific water depth depending upon the time of year. Adjust the depth of the bait hanging below the bobber so the bait is at or slightly above the schooling fish. Trolling or casting jigs without a bobber is a good way to cover a lot of water and locate actively feeding schools of fish.
Target Target spring spawn crappie from March to April in the shallows of Kellogg, Illinois, Sixes, Sweetwater, and Tanyard Creeks, as well as the Etowah and Little River areas of the lake. During summer, seek deeper brush piles or other fish attractors located on humps and channel ledges, as crappie will concentrate in deeper habitat during this time. Those wishing to beat the summer heat may try night fishing with lights and light tackle near docks and bridges. During fall and winter, target crappie near old stream channel ledges in Allatoona's many coves. Kellogg and Tanyard Creeks are both good winter crappie haunts. 

Spring bank angling opportunities for crappie can be found at Cherokee County Park, Payne Day Use Area, the Blockhouse fishing jetty, and Proctor Park. Submerged brush piles, within casting distance of the bank, often "dot" these areas.
Other Species
Prospect White bass are common in Allatoona's waters. Most will run around a pound, in size, but better fish may top the two pound mark. While they don't reach the large sizes attained by striped or hybrid striped bass, white bass still have the "fight" of their larger brethren. DNR survey data continue to indicate white bass numbers are strong and 2017 should be another great year for anglers pursuing these "mini-linesides". 

Carp and gar are numerous. Carp are widely distributed and grow to moderately large sizes. Most will be around 5 pounds, with the biggest carp approaching 15 pounds. Gar are strong fighters and abundant throughout Allatoona. Gar 3 feet in length are typical, but 4+footers can also be found.
Technique Target white bass with small to medium-sized jigs, spinners, crankbaits, or spoons. Tailor your white bass lure colors to mimic their primary forage - shad. Medium live shiners or small shad can be effective on white bass too. 

Fish for carp using bottom rigs tipped with offerings of prepared "dough" bait, corn or worms. For gar, live shad or minnows fished just below a bobber, or sight fishing with hookless handmade rope lures, constructed from 6-8 inch pieces of frayed nylon or cotton rope, will work well.
Target White bass will make a spring migration into the Etowah and Little River tributaries around mid-March. Bank anglers can find spawn-run white bass in Little River at Olde Rope Mill Park in the city of Woodstock. After the spawning run, white bass descend back into the main lake body where they feed on shad. Locate a school of shad and white bass will likely be nearby. Summertime often brings large schools of white bass to the waters surface in pursuit of shad. As such, anglers should keep a watchful eye for surface activity that may indicate a white bass feeding frenzy below. Morning and evening are prime times to get into some top-water white bass action. 

Target carp on shallow flats and in the backs of coves, especially around submerged woody debris or tributary mouths. Gar are often seen cruising shallow flats and tributary mouths, but can also be found ambushing prey on rocky main lake points.
Additional Information
DNR, the Corps of Engineers, local non-profit organizations, and volunteers have aggressively worked to improve fish habitat in Allatoona over the last 16 years. Anglers can find information and current maps showing the location of fish attractors and shoreline habitat improvements on the WRD Website. For the bank angler, most of the areas around the more than half a dozen public fishing jetties dotting the lake have been "sweetened" with hundreds of Christmas trees located within easy casting distance of the jetty. Brush piles can be found at the Blockhouse, Galt's Ferry, Proctor Landing, Bethany Bridge, and Victoria Marina fishing jetties and adjacent to the Payne Campground Boat Ramp in Kellogg Creek. Those visiting the Army Corps' project office near Allatoona dam can wet a line from the bank at the new fish attractor site created in Coopers Branch off Hwy 20 spur. 

In late 2008, DNR began stocking lake sturgeon in Allatoona to re-establish this native fish to the upper Etowah River system. Anglers accidentally catching a lake sturgeon should release the fish immediately so that a population can be re-established. Fish hooked deep will often survive if anglers cut the line near the hook and release the fish with the hook left in it. Those wondering what impact sturgeon will have on their favorite game species in Allatoona can rest easy. Because of its low reproductive potential, sturgeon do not establish themselves as a prominent species, making its impacts to other fish negligible. If you catch or otherwise see a sturgeon, please contact the Armuchee DNR office (706-295-6102) to report the location from which the sturgeon was caught. Such information is extremely valuable to biologists assessing the survival and dispersal of these magnificent native sport fish. 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Andrews

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates this 1,540-acre, 29-mile reservoir on the Chattahoochee River in southwest Georgia. Lake Andrews begins at the Walter F. George Lock and Dam near Fort Gaines and ends at the George W. Andrews Lock and Dam near Blakely.

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  ph. 229-768-2516

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
CHANNEL CATFISH, FLATHEAD CATFISH, BLUE CATFISH & HYBRID STRIPED BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect The population of largemouth bass in Lake Andrews is fairly low due to lack of habitat and the average bass weighs 1-3 pounds.  
Technique Rubber worms, jigs and spinner baits can be productive.
Target Bass are not very abundant in Lake Andrews, but can be found near the numerous laydowns and fallen trees lining the bank of the reservoir. Pay close attention to the several creek mouths and backwater areas, especially between March and June.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect Hybrid bass fishing should be good in the tailrace areas immediately below Columbia and especially Walter F. George dams during late February-late May. The average hybrid should weigh about 3 pounds, with some weighing at or more than 5 pounds.  
Technique Live shad consistently produce the best catches, though anglers can utilize a variety of baits, including crankbaits and topwater plugs normally used for largemouth bass.
Target Target Columbia and especially Walter F. George dams during late February-late May.
Striped Bass
Prospect Stripers are not abundant in Andrews, but can be found in fair numbers during spring below Columbia dam and below Walter F. George dam. While anglers typically should not expect to catch many fish, striped bass fight extremely well and present an opportunity to catch a fish occasionally over 15-20 pounds. Because both hybrid striped bass and stripers are schooling fish, there are opportunities to catch large numbers of fish in a short time if the timing is right!  
Technique The use of heavy tackle (20 pound line) will increase chances of landing a rare trophy striper. Common baits include bucktail jigs, crankbaits, and large topwater plugs. If available, live gizzard and threadfin shad make excellent baits for larger fish. Surf rods capable of casting baits and lures long distances can be key to reaching fish in the tailrace areas, where fish often congregate adjacent to current seams of water being released through dam hydroelectric generators.
Target Target stripers from mid February through mid April beneath Columbia dam. Recent stockings in Walter F. George reservoir and subsequent escapement of these fish has led to increased fishing success in the headwaters of Lake Andrews (tailrace of Walter F. George).
Catfish
Prospect Flathead, channel and blue catfish are all present in Lake Andrews. Recent surveys reveal fair numbers of flathead catfish greater than 10 pounds throughout the lake. Average channel catfish will weigh 2-4 pounds, and most blue catfish weigh 1-4 pounds. However, blue catfish greater than 40 pounds are present. In fact, the Georgia state record blue catfish was caught in the headwaters of Lake Andrews in February 2010 and weighed 80 pounds, 4 ounces. Overall, blue catfish numbers appear to be expanding and should provide good catches in the coming years.  
Technique Worms and blood baits will produce good results for both blue and channel catfish, although larger blues are typically caught with cut gizzard or threadfin shad. Flatheads are usually taken with live bream, suckers, crayfish or shad.
Target Target the area below the Walter F. George and Andrews dam for large blue and flathead catfish. Winter fishing can be particularly productive for blue catfish. In addition to the current 80 pound, 4 ounce state record blue catfish, a former state record blue was caught in 2006 from Lake Andrews and weighed 67 lb, 8 oz. Night fishing during summer months can produce large 4-8 pound channel cats - target holes and shallow areas adjacent to deeper water.
Other Species
Prospect White bass, bream and crappie are also available in Lake Andrews.
Technique If schooling, white bass can be found by locating diving birds and can be caught using small spinners, spoons and jigs. Crappie can be caught using live minnows and small jigs under bobbers. Bream can be caught using crickets and nightcrawler pieces or red wigglers.
Target Look for bream near woody debris and out of the main current. White bass can be found in the tailrace areas immediately below each dam. Crappie can sometimes be found in tailrace areas, but also near laydowns in 6-15 feet of water. Best fishing times for crappie and white bass are March-May, whereas best bream fishing is usually May-September.
Best Fishing Times Key
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Bartlett's Ferry Lake

The Georgia Power Company operates this 5,850-acre reservoir (a.k.a. Lake Harding) on the Chattahoochee River along the Georgia-Alabama border just above Goat Rock Lake. The lake offers many boat docks and piers that provide good structure for concentrating fish.  Anglers will find two available boat ramps on the Georgia side - one at Idle Hour Park and one at Blanton Creek Park.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 706-317-6042

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, SPOTTED BASS, HYBRIDS, STRIPED BASS, CRAPPIE & CATFISH
Largemouth bass
Prospect Largemouth bass abundance has been steady over the last few years. Under half of the population is greater than 12 inches but fish greater than 15 inches are fairly common. The average catch weight of the larger fish is 1 - 2 pounds.  
Technique For spring spawning fish try shallow crankbaits, plastic worms, buzzbait, and spinners. In warmer months, fish deeper crankbaits and worms. And during winter fishing, try deep-running plugs, jigs and worms.
Target Boat docks are popular areas to target largemouths. Also target rocky points and underwater humps. The peak time for largemouth fishing is from early March through May, when water temps are in the 60s. In fall, fish further up the lake, above Georgia Power's Blanton Creek Park.
Spotted bass
Prospect The spotted bass fishery is under utilized and anglers are encouraged to take spotted bass home for a meal because of the lack of a minimum size restriction. The average spot will be 6-9 inches and weigh just under a 1/2 pound.  
Technique Jigs and plastic worms work well for spots. Smaller sized plugs and spinner baits can also produce a few good fish. Also, live bait like night crawlers, crayfish, and minnows may also produce a good catch.
Target During the spring, target rocky points in deeper water. Boat docks are good places for spots to hide in the summer and they tend to hold to structure like blow downs and woody debris year-round.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect Hybrids are still available for catch even without stocking them in the lake. Because of the stocking of hybrids in West Point, hybrids pass downstream into Bartlett's Ferry. This movement downstream ensures hybrids will be available for anglers. Most hybrids should be at least 14 inches long and weigh around 2 1/2 pounds.
Technique Spoons, curly-tail jigs, and live shad work well.
Target For good fishing action in early spring, target just below the Riverview dam area (a.k.a. Crow Hop) during normal flows. For summer and winter months, try lake wide fishing especially in the area near the dam.
Striped Bass
Prospect Experienced anglers can find stripers exceeding 20 pounds. However, most stripers will be in the 12 to 20 inch range and weigh 2 to 5 pounds.  
Technique Spoons and popping corks with trailing jigs. Also, try bucktail jigs and live shad. Trolling with large crank baits in deep water may also prove successful.
Target Look to the dam during the winter and upstream to Riverview Dam in early spring during spawning runs. During summer and fall, the target extends to lakewide as they school after young-of-the-year shad near the surface. Also target immediately below Riverview dam during periods of power generation at West Point
Catfish
Prospect Fishing for catfish is considered good to excellent year-round on Bartlett's Ferry. Average channel cats weigh 2-3 pounds, but 8-10 pound catches are possible.  
Technique Big cats like stink and cut baits. Live bait like worms and minnows also are effective. Fish for big cats in deeper water and have your bait located at or near the bottom.
Target Fish bait on or near the bottom. In warmer months fish under shady docks. After a big rain, try tributary mouths where muddy water enters the lake. Also, night fishing in the hot months works well.
Crappie
Prospect Bartlett's has a good black crappie population. Most of the fish are less than 10 inches, though larger slabs are abundant. Also, Bart's crappie are in above average condition.  
Technique Trolling with jigs at different depths to locate schools of crappie is effective. Minnows also can provide excellent results.
Target From early February through April, target fish on structure and the upper end of the lake below Riverview dam. Later in the year, target the lower end of the lake, where hundreds of cypress and Tupelo trees have been planted both as fish habitat and as shallow area markings for boaters.
Other Species
Prospect Though not known for bream fishing, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, and shellcrackers are all available. Bluegill average 6 inches and only 3-6 ounces. Redear sunfish generally grow to 1/3 to 1/2 pound. Few white bass are available and average around 1 pound. Bartlett's Ferry also has a white crappie population.
Technique Red wigglers and crickets work well on bream. Small plastic jugs can also catch bream in warmer weather.
Target In spring, fish bream beds in shallow water areas in protected coves and tributaries. Target bluegill and shellcrackers around docks and piers during the summer.
Additional Information
Boating can be hazardous during low flows at the upper end of the lake. Boaters should heed marker buoys for their safety. 

Blanton Creek WMA borders much of the upper Georgia side of the lake. Georgia Power operates Blanton Creek Park, which has an additional ramp and camping. However, Blanton Creek is a seasonal park and not open in the winter months (see Georgia Power's link under 'Contact Information, above for more details). 

Generating schedules and lake level information is available by calling 706-317-6000.
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Blackshear

Crisp County Power Company operates this shallow 8,500-acre Flint River reservoir.  Lake Blackshear is in southwest Georgia, near Cordele. This reservoir's waters support good populations of bass, crappie, white bass, hybrid bass, stripers and catfish.

Contact Information

Crisp County Power:  https://crispcountypower.com/lake-blackshear

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, WHITE AND BLACK CRAPPIE, BREAM, HYBRID STRIPED BASS, WHITE BASS & CHANNEL CATFISH
Largemouth bass
Prospect Average largemouth bass are 12-15 inches, with fair numbers of 16-20 inch fish available. Visit the lake from March to June for the best overall largemouth fishing. There are opportunities to catch largemouths over 8 pounds in Blackshear's tailrace as well.  
Technique Early morning top water or spinnerbaits are productive. As the day progresses, Texas, Carolina-rigged, and trick worms and crankbaits usually produce fish.
Target During the spring and early summer, target shallow water areas with many cypress trees, particularly in Limestone Creek, Gum Creek, Collins Branch, the upper end of Swift Creek and Spring Creek. At times fishing is excellent adjacent to grass beds, and many bass are caught from the numerous boat docks throughout the reservoir. Cool-season bass can be caught on 10-20 foot flats adjacent to river channels. Largemouth bass can be found throughout the warmer months in tailrace area below Lake Blackshear.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect The hybrid population has improved since stocking began again in 2002. Blackshear hybrids average 1-3 pounds, although the occasional 5-6 pounder is caught.  
Technique Hybrids are very aggressive and can be caught with a variety of baits and methods. Similar to striped bass, live threadfin shad, topwater plugs, crankbaits and white jigs trolled in open water can be productive. Schooling fish can be caught with chicken livers, crayfish, and mussels as well.
Target Hybrids are found schooling throughout the reservoir, but primarily in the lower reservoir (below the Highway 280 bridge). They are usually found in open water and most always near schools of shad, their primary forage. Good bets include the sunken island area near the dam, Swift Creek, and the sunken islands between Cedar Creek and Collins Branch. Keep an eye out for diving gulls, as this often is an indication of a school of feeding hybrids pushing threadfin shad toward the surface. Best fishing is late September through late April.
White bass
Prospect The abundant white bass population has remained healthy and stable in recent years. Generally smaller than their striped bass or hybrid striped bass cousins, white bass average 8-10 inches. However, when found, they are relatively easy to catch and provide excellent table fare.  
Technique White bass have relatively small mouths, but are very aggressive when feeding. Hook white bass on a variety of lures, including crankbaits, topwater baits, live shad, minnows, spoons, jigs and inline spinners.
Target Popular areas include Boy Scout Slough, Gum Creek and Swift Creek, though plenty of white bass can be found schooling throughout the reservoir. Best fishing is usually during early morning or evening, but they can be caught during all hours. The best time to fish is from late March to early November. Look for schools of shad to find white bass. Often, gulls feeding on shad from above means white bass have pushed them towards the surface from below. White bass fishing can be excellent in Blackshear's tailrace, especially March-June.
Striped Bass
Prospect The average striped bass in Blackshear is approximately 15 inches, but an occasional 20-pounder is caught. Biologists stock Blackshear regularly with striped bass, but extremely limited habitat in the reservoir proper means relatively few fish for harvest (compared to white bass and hybrid striped bass). Because they are so vulnerable to exploitation, fishing is closed in three springs in the lake (from May-October only). See the current Sport Fishing Regulations booklet for details. There are relatively few stripers in the reservoir, so anglers are encouraged to release larger striped bass.  
Technique Freeline or downline live threadfin shad, cast topwater plugs at feeding fish, or troll white jigs. Fish in tailraces are usually caught with large jigs, crankbaits, or topwater plugs.
Target Fishing for striped bass is easiest in Blackshear's tailrace during April and May, but some good reservoir fishing areas are around Smoak Bridge, Gum Creek and Boy Scout Slough. Swift Creek east of Highway 300 and the lower end of the main reservoir are good areas to find stripers during late November through early March.
Catfish
Prospect A good population of channel catfish are present in Blackshear, and most fish average 1-2 pounds. The lake's smaller population of flathead catfish average 5-10 pounds, although a few larger (10-25 pounds) ones are available.  
Technique For channel catfish, use worms or blood and cheese baits. For flathead catfish, use live baits such as small bream, shad or suckers.
Target Channel catfish can be found throughout the reservoir, but often are found on shallow flats adjacent to river and creek channels and off ledges adjacent to channels. Flatheads are targeted where river and creek channels meet and flats adjacent to such areas where they roam at night to feed.
Bream
Prospect Bluegill and redear sunfish make up the bulk of Blackshear's bream fishery. Bluegill average 6-8 inches and shellcrackers (redear sunfish) average 7-9 inches. The first couple weeks of May usually offer good shellcracker fishing, as fish begin their spawning efforts. Bluegill fishing is generally in full swing by June, and good bream fishing usually continues until mid September.  
Technique Red wigglers usually work best for redear sunfish while crickets are ideal for bluegill, although both baits can catch either fish.
Target Locate shallow water spawning beds during spring and early summer. Pay special attention to shaded areas with sandy bottoms as these are often preferred spawning areas. Fish can be caught throughout the reservoir during summer months when many anglers target weedline edges, weed pockets and sandy flats.
Crappie
Prospect Blackshear represents the only reservoir in southwest Georgia where catches of both black and white crappie can be expected. Catches usually average 9-11 inches in length, but fish up to 3 1/2 pounds are available. Crappie fishing in Blackshear can be boom or bust. Don't be discouraged if you have trouble finding fish - if and when you do, fishing can be really good!  
Technique Concentrate on shallow backwater areas using minnows and jigs while fish are spawning in March and April. During cooler months, live minnows fished deep (12-25 feet) on flats adjacent to channels or near bridge pilings produce fish. Similarly, fish move deeper again during late summer.
Target Throughout much of the year, target deep water near river and creek channels, brush piles and bridge abutments. Spring anglers can concentrate on boat docks and areas with cypress trees. These types of areas include the mouth of Collins Branch, Spring Creek, Gum Creek, Boy Scout Slough and Cedar Creek. Fish are often found near the bridges spanning Swift Creek and above the State Park. The creek channel above the 280 bridge can be productive during the winter and early spring months. A popular technique during late spring through summer is to pitch or "shoot" jigs under the abundant boat docks. Effective docks are often found adjacent to creek channels in 8-20 feet of water.
Additional Information
Anglers can help the spread of exotic species into Blackshear by not releasing bait into the reservoir and not spreading vegetation from another water body. Hydrilla is an exotic weed that has spread throughout nearby Lake Seminole and was introduced and is currently expanding in Walter F. George, likely from plant fragments on a boat trailer. Anglers can help avoid the spread of hydrilla to Blackshear by removing all plant fragments from their trailers and inspecting their live wells before entering the reservoir. 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Blue Ridge

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) operates this 3,290-acre reservoir on the Toccoa River near Blue Ridge, Georgia. In addition to Georgia's more common reservoir fish such as bluegill, largemouth bass and white bass, anglers have the opportunity to catch smallmouth bass, walleye and even the occasional rainbow trout or yellow perch.

Contact Information

Tennessee Valley Authority:  ph. 423-751-2264 or 1-800-882-5263

Fish Attractors

Through a joint project with the Tennessee Valley Authority, Wildlife Action and local businesses and anglers, Fisheries Section personnel with the Wildlife Resources Division help construct man-made fish habitat (often in the form of fish attractors) for various lakes throughout the state. These constructions help serve the purpose of providing underwater habitat for fish.

Locate Lake Blue Ridge's fish attractors by viewing available maps and heeding biologists' helpful tips.

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
SPOTTED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS, SMALLMOUTH BASS, WALLEYE & BLUEGILL
Largemouth bass
Prospect Largemouth bass abundance will continue to hover around historic levels this year, which means the largemouth fishing should be decent. The average largemouth will be roughly 1 1/4 pounds in size, but 3-4 pound fish will not be uncommon. Blue Ridge is also known for producing a few 9 and 10 pound largemouth every year, and this year should be no exception.  
Technique Baits vary from season to season, but larger u-tail or ribbon tail plastic worms or plastic lizards (especially in May and June) and the standard pig-n-jig are successful largemouth techniques in this lake. Top water lures like Zara Spooks or Rapalas, fished at the end of the day, can generate some exciting top water action. Natural baits such as crayfish and live minnows are also effective.
Target Locating large woody debris is key when targeting largemouth in this reservoir. Largemouth are most often found in up-river locations of the Toccoa arm of the lake, but can also be found in the backs of coves and tributary mouths around fallen trees or stumps. You can also try hitting some of the large log jams that tend to collect in the smaller windblown coves on the upper half of the lake.
Smallmouth bass
Prospect Blue Ridge Lake is perhaps best known as the last stronghold for smallmouth bass in Georgia. Anglers from around the state travel to Blue Ridge for a chance to catch a Georgia smallmouth. However, the illegal introduction of non-native Alabama spotted bass now threatens the existence of this unique fishery. In other Georgia lakes where native smallmouth were once abundant (Chatuge and Nottely), introduced Alabama bass have effectively extirpated smallmouth populations through competition and hybridization. Smallmouth catch rates have been on the decline over the last ten years. In a lake where smallmouth were once the most abundant black bass species, they now account for less than 1% of the black bass community, and only one smallmouth bass was collected in the spring 2016 electrofishing sample. WRD Biologists and hatchery staff are hoping to produce fingerling smallmouth for stocking Blue Ridge Lake in 2017, to help restore this important fishery. Despite low catch rates of smallmouth at Blue Ridge, growth remains good. Consequently, 1-pound smallies have become the norm at Blue Ridge. Persistent anglers should not be surprised to see a few 4-5 pound smallmouth pulled from these waters this year.  
Technique Use medium action rods and reels spooled with 8-10 pound line. April and May are great for shad- or herring-patterned crankbaits (#5 shad raps or Bill Normans) fished on long points. In summer, top water baits fished at dawn or dusk can be effective. However, most summer fishing is done using subtle presentations like Texas rigged plastic worms/lizards, or drop shot rigs fished around brush or rock piles. The cool fall weather pushes smallmouth to more moderate depths around 15-30 feet. At this time, drop shot rigs, flukes and crawfish-imitating jigs are good bets. These same tactics will work in winter as well. Live minnows are a good bait any time of the year.
Target When smallmouth move shallow to spawn in spring, head to long rocky points in the Toccoa arm of the lake. Summer time sends fish deep in the main lake, where they hold on brush piles, ledges and humps. Try nighttime fishing in summer for fish that move to shallow water to feed under the cover of darkness. Cooling fall weather initiates aggressive feeding activity on wind-blown main lake points. In winter, smallmouth tend to congregate around creek mouths where water temperatures may be a few degrees warmer than the main lake.
Spotted bass
Prospect Spotted bass are a species that was illegally introduced into Blue Ridge Lake. Unfortunately their abundance continues to increase in the reservoir. In addition to growing numbers, bigger spotted bass are being caught each year. The average spot will be around a pound, but 3-4 pound plus fish are increasing in number. The DNR encourages anglers to harvest their limit of spotted bass whenever possible to reduce the competition this invasive species places on the native smallmouth and largemouth bass populations.
Technique Follow the same techniques listed for smallmouth bass in your pursuit of spotted bass.
Target Spotted bass will be found in the same locations listed for smallmouth bass.
White bass
Prospect White bass used to be quite common in Blue Ridge Lake. During the early 2000s they were often the most abundant species captured in WRD gillnet samples. However, blueback herring were illegally introduced to the lake around 2004 and are known predators of white bass eggs and young fry. As a result, numbers of white bass are tied directly to the abundance of blueback herring in the lake. In years where herring numbers are high, it is difficult for white bass to reproduce. This means there are generally fewer white bass to be caught in Blue Ridge than in the past, but most will be older and of quality size. In years where herring numbers are reduced, white bass are able to spawn successfully. Herring numbers were low in 2010 and 2014, and fish from those year classes now dominate the fishery. These fish are now averaging around 15 inches and 1.5 lb, but it is possible to catch monsters up to three and four pounds.  
Technique Small lures like "doll flies," and plastic grubs in light colors, along with small, herring-imitating crankbaits, fished on light spinning gear are recommended
Target For spawn-run fish, target rocky points and shoals in the Toccoa River arm of the lake in March. Throughout the rest of the year, look for white bass in the main lake body anywhere schooling herring are found.
Catfish
Prospect Though often overlooked, good populations of channel and flathead catfish are available in this mountain reservoir. Channel cats are typically more abundant, but small, and average 1-2 pounds. The opposite is true for flatheads. There are fewer to be caught, but when you find one it is usually a good one. Sampling efforts typically show one or two 30-pound flatheads each year.
Technique For channel cats, a variety of baits like chicken liver, cut shad, cut bream, and nightcrawlers are good bets. For flatheads, anglers should focus on large live baits, like bream or small bullheads. Use lots of weight to get your bait to the bottom, and make sure the rest of your gear is ready to tangle with a beast Blue Ridge "mud cat".
Target Probe deep holes and river ledges. The cracks and crevices found on rocky banks also provide good hiding places for catfish. Such habitat can be found in the Toccoa River arm of the lake and along the face of Blue Ridge Dam.
Bream
Prospect Quality, not quantity, best describes bream fishing at Blue Ridge. Bluegill average 5-6 inches in length, but thick-sided 9-10 inch "bull-gills" are not uncommon. Redbreast sunfish are less common than bluegill, but like bluegill, they too attain impressive size in this reservoir.  
Technique For artificial baits, small is the key in the typically clear waters of Blue Ridge. Try small spinners and natural crawfish imitating micro-jigs. As for live bait, crickets or worms rigged on light line under a bobber, or bottom presentations weighted with split-shot are both good tactics. Drop shot rigs, typically used for bass, can also be employed using live bait, as a means of targeting deeper nesting fish.
Target Anglers should concentrate on fishing around downed trees or other structure in shallow coves, tributary mouths, or on sand flats. Look shallow for nests, but nesting colonies of magnum "gills" may also set up on deeper locales in 15-20 ft. of water. The Toccoa arm of the reservoir is a favored location for large bluegills, which concentrate during the May-July spawning period. For the boat angler, the submerged gravel road bed that extends out from Blue Ridge Marina to the old submerged deep water boat ramp can sometimes hold good numbers of nesting bream.
Walleye
Prospect Unlike most other walleye lakes in Georgia, Blue Ridge Lake has not been stocked with walleye in decades, as the population is self-sustained through natural reproduction. However, walleye reproductive success has been poor in recent years, following the illegal introduction of blueback herring to the reservoir. Bluebacks are known to prey on walleye eggs and young fry. This has resulted in a walleye population increasingly dominated by older, larger fish, with few young fish recruiting to the fishery each year. Total catch rates in our fall gillnet sampling have been generally declining. Fortunately, walleye spawned successfully in 2010 and 2014, and fish from those cohorts have recruited well. Older walleye have experienced better growth over the past few years. As such, there is the distinct possibility a state record walleye could be pulled from these waters this year. Several walleye caught and released in DNR samples in recent years would have smashed the lake record. Maybe a lucky angler will find one of these fish on the end of their line this year. If you plan to fish for walleye at Blue Ridge Lake, please be aware that the creel limit was recently decreased from 15 to 8 fish.  
Technique Between February and April when fish are shallow, use shallow running crank baits or jigs. Work deeper fish with 1/4 ounce light colored jigs, or vertical jig with a silver or blue chrome spoon. In summer, walleye move deep, sometimes suspending in the thermocline over deep water. Flex-it spoons are a good choice, but trolling deep diving (weight them to get them deeper) crank baits (shad raps or jerk baits) can be productive. Fall and winter techniques are similar to spring, with shad raps and spoons being the most effective approaches. Throughout the year, jigs tipped with live baits like night crawlers or live minnows also are effective. Whatever bait you decide to try, the key is to fish much slower than you would for most other species.
Target In late winter and spring, fish the deeper river ledges in the Toccoa arm of the lake. Warming water will bring walleye shallower to feed and spawn in the mouth of the river. By summer, walleye are back in the main lake, on deep (30 to 50-plus feet) rocky points, humps or even suspended in the thermocline over deep water. With the cooling of fall, walleye move out of their deep summer haunts, into the 20-30 foot depth range. Find them on points and or ledges in tributary coves. Walleye can be very sensitive to light, and often do not bite well during daylight hours. Try fishing at dusk, dawn, or even through the nighttime hours for your best chance of success.
Other Species
Prospect Though not overly abundant, yellow perch call Blue Ridge home. What they lack in numbers, they more than make up in size. Jumbo perch, 12 to 15-plus inches in length and 1-plus pounds in weight, can be caught at Blue Ridge.
Technique Perch and walleye are often found together, so try some of the same methods listed for walleye. Smaller baits are preferred, as yellow perch have a smaller mouth than that of a walleye. Small pieces of worm or minnows fished on the bottom are both favored perch fishing techniques
Target Yellow perch are often found in the Toccoa arm of the lake. Fish the deeper coves where they may be found holding on brush piles or channel ledges.
Additional Information
Anglers wishing to camp at Lake Blue Ridge can do so at the US Forest Service's Morganton Point Campground. Information is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/conf/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=10529&actid=29 

Since 2006 the TVA, DNR and local volunteers have worked to enhance fish habitat in Lake Blue Ridge. Anglers can find information about this program and maps of the deepwater fish attractor sites on the WRD Website. 

Alabama spotted bass are now established in the lake - probably the result of illegal stockings. Their population has increased significantly in recent years. Spots compete with and can hybridize with smallmouth bass, which in the past, has resulted in the collapse of other Georgia smallmouth bass fisheries. To help reduce spotted bass competition with smallmouth bass and retain that unique fishery, anglers are encouraged to harvest their limit (10) of spots.
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Burton

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. 

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 706-782-4014

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
SPOTTED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS & BROWN TROUT
Largemouth bass
Prospect Largemouth bass in the 1 to 2 lb weight range will dominate this year’s catch. Largemouths less than 10-inches are super abundant this year, which will improve the largemouth fishery in the coming years.
Technique Largemouth bass in Lake Burton prey mostly on blueback herring. Fishing with live herring is naturally the best bait, but soft-bodied jerk baits that mimic herring have a unique advantage over other artificial lures. Other proven tactics include drop-shotting with finesse worms, bouncing Carolina rigged worms or pig-and-jigs along points, humps, brushpiles and creek channels. Crankbaits and spinner baits attract strikes at certain times of the year. 

During the fall and winter months, herring and crayfish account for the bulk of the bass’ natural diet. Fishing with live herring, shiners or trout are effective cold weather baits, but pig & jig combinations are the best artificial bait. Anglers should always have a big swim bait ready in case sudden and spontaneous topwater activity erupts nearby. 

In the springtime, slow rolling spinnerbaits and jerk baits in creek channels and around docks and trees are good approaches for catching bass in shallow water.
Target Largemouth bass are structure oriented; therefore, anglers should target visible structure like fallen trees and boat house pilings as well as underwater topographic features like channel edges, points, humps and brushpiles. Largemouth bass are more abundant in the coves on the lower end of the lake, including Murray, Perrin and Cherokee Coves. The Murray Cove boat ramp is the closest access point to these areas. 

During the spring months, largemouth bass will hold close to visible structure with overhead cover under which they build their spawning nests. 

In the summer months, largemouth bass will feed on top in the early morning and evening hours. Cast big swim baits, a Spook or a Sammy into the surface frenzy. During the heat of the day, largemouth bass will hold up on top of structure in 20 to 30 feet of water along main lake points and the edge of creek channels. Drop-shotting finesse worms on top of brushpiles in 20-30 feet of water can be very effective. 

During the fall months, largemouth bass will actively feed at the surface over the open water near the back of most coves. Topwater, subsurface and crank baits are effective this time of year. A fall back strategy is to bounce crayfish imitations on the bottom along rocky points.
Spotted bass
Prospect Spotted bass weighing 1-2 lb are very abundant this year; therefore, anglers should have no problem bringing fish to the boat. As a bonus, anglers will have a higher chance at hooking into one of Burton’s famous trophy spotted bass. Several spots were collected in DNR samples that tipped the scales over the 5 lb mark. 

Lake Burton has bragging rights to the current state record spotted bass that weighed 8 lb, 2 oz. February is traditionally the month to catch trophy-sized bass on Lake Burton.
 
Technique February and March are prime months to catch big bass in Lake Burton. Pig-and-jig combinations, drop shot finesse worms and 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 dam can also be productive on warm winter days. 

April and May are the best months to catch high numbers of spotted bass. Jerk baits in herring color patterns, floating worms and spinnerbaits are effective this time of year when fished around the corners of boat docks and downed trees. Finesse worms also are effective when rigged Carolina style and dragged across rocky bottoms. 

After the spawning season, spotted bass will chase big topwater lures near points and over humps in open water. This technique works best around dawn and dusk. During the day, try drop-shotting finesse worms or down lining live herring on rocky points or brush piles in 20-30 feet of water, especially on the lower half of the lake. 

When the leaves change into their fall colors, spotted bass will aggressively feed on blueback herring in open water and in the creek mouths. Pulling planer boards or live lining blueback herring near the surface is the best way to catch high numbers of spotted bass during the fall. Among artificial lures, a weighted fluke or white crankbait are the best baits to cast on main lake points. If that pattern is not working, then switch to drop-shotting finesse worms into brushpiles, vertical jigging with spoons on rocky points or flipping a pig-and-jig into downed trees. Fishing on the bottom with live crayfish and nightcrawlers are also good live bait choices for fishing bottom structure during the fall months.
Target For most of the year, spotted bass roam the open waters of Lake Burton in search of their favorite food - blueback herring. If you can find a school of herring, then spotted bass will likely be nearby; however, knowing their predictable seasonal tendencies will help narrow your search area. 

During cold weather when the water temperature is in the mid-40s, large schools of adult herring hold tight to the face of the dam and that’s where you will find the trophy spots. Drifting live herring around the face of the dam is very effective during cold weather but the bite can be slow. If spots are not willing to take your bait, then fish the rocky points and humps at the mouth of Murray Cove or the downed trees near Jones Bridge. 

In April and May, spotted bass move into shallow water nesting areas located on rocky banks along the main shoreline as well as around boat docks located on steep, rocky shorelines. Cast toward these structures using jerk baits, floating worms or plastic lizards. Other effective techniques that work well on rocky banks during the spring are a wacky-rigged Senko worm and Carolina-rigged finesse worms. 

Warming water temperatures from June to September motivate spotted bass to follow the schools of herring offshore into deeper open water. At dusk and dawn, spots will chase bait on the surface over main lake points and humps but during the day, they retreat into the cover of brushpiles that are scattered along the bottom of the lake in 15 to 30-feet of water. 

In the fall months, spotted bass frequent rocky points in the major cove arms to feed on crayfish or yellow perch and will frequently cross over rocky points in search of a school of young, three-inch long blueback herring. Points and creeks in Moccasin, Dicks and Timpson Coves hold good numbers of fish from October to December.
Crappie
Prospect Black crappie are not abundant in Lake Burton, but the ones that swim its waters grow quite large and are worth your fishing effort during the spring and fall months.
Technique A lively shiner tipped onto a small hook is hard for a hungry crappie to resist any time of the year. Small curly-tailed grubs and doll flies in white, yellow or chartreuse are suitable alternatives to live bait.
Target Crappie are structure oriented and will be found holding tightly to downed trees, boat house pilings, and underwater humps. Dicks Creek Cove seems to hold the most crappie in the lake. 

During April, crappie will be in shallow water near visible structure located in the back of coves. In the summer and fall, crappie will move to deeper water. Anglers should target rocky points, boat house pilings or other structures in 20 to 30-feet of water. In the winter months, crappie will congregate in the deeper creek channels. Troll these channels very slowly with a light weight crappie jig to entice a strike.
Pickerel
Prospect Lake Burton supports a fishable population of chain pickerel that is under-utilized by anglers. Chain pickerel are exciting to catch because they will 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.  
Technique Chain pickerel will take a variety of artificial baits, including Shad Raps, Rapalas, Flukes, and flashy spinnerbaits. Natural baits also attract their attention, especially shiners. When fishing for pickerel, anglers should not be timid about casting around thick tangles of woody debris. Using braided line will help prevent break-offs by these sharp-toothed critters. An alternative technique is to drift live shiners or troll perch-colored crankbaits above the weed line along the edge of a shallow creek channel.
Target Chain pickerel hide in shallow water structure and along weedy flats in order to ambush their prey. The shoreline along Wildcat Creek near La Prades Marina is a great starting place to fish for chain pickerel. Other good areas include the back of Cherokee Cove, the channel in the back of Dicks Creek and the flats in the back of Moccasin Cove near Moccasin Creek State Park.
Brown Trout
Prospect Lake Burton supports Georgia's only reservoir trout fishery. Brown trout are stocked annually each fall to maintain this fishery. Trout anglers commonly catch fish in the 2 to 3 lb weight range, but several brown trout are caught each year that tip the scales at 8 lb. 

The current lake record is 11 lb, 3 oz, but that record could be broken this year.
 
Technique The best bait for catching brown trout in Lake Burton is live blueback herring; however, trout will also take trolling spoons and small crankbaits all year long. From late-winter into spring, trout will frequent the shallow backwaters of the major coves and cruise along rocky seawalls feeding on blueback herring. 

In the summer months, trolling very slowly with live herring or spoons on the lower half 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, and around the Moccasin Creek boat ramp to catch recently stocked trout.
Target In the winter months, most trout will be found near the dam but some fish also find their way to the upper end of the lake around Jones Bridge. 

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 starting place to look but also look at Murrays Cove all the way to the dam. 

During the summer months, trout move to deeper, cooler water on the lower end of the lake. Troll along the river channel from the safety marker located on the main lake near Moccasin Cove and work your way toward the dam. In October and November, trout can be widely scattered around the lake. Recent stockers will be abundant around the dam and near the boat ramps in Murrays Cove and Moccasin Cove. Anglers may also want to fish the mouth of other creek channels like Timpson and Dicks Creeks, in hopes of catching a trophy brown that is making its way into the shallow streams to spawn.
Additional Information
Free boat launching facilities are available at Moccasin Creek next to Lake Burton Trout Hatchery and Moccasin Creek State Park located on Highway 197 North, as well as at Georgia Power's Murray Cove Boat Ramp located on Murray Cove Road. For a small fee, boats can be launched at two private marinas located at La Prades Marina on Highway 197 North and at Timpson Cove Marina located on Charlie Mountain Road. 

A Lake Burton trout fishing guidebook is available at no cost on the Wildlife Resources Division web site.

Lake level and other information about Lake Burton is available on the Georgia Power website at http://georgiapowerlakes.com/northgeorgialakes/.
 
Best Fishing Times Key
Excellent:   image     Good:   image   Fair:   image

 


Carters Lake

Located between Calhoun and Ellijay on the Coosawattee River, Carters Lake is about a two-hour drive from Atlanta. This 3,220-acre reservoir is Georgia's deepest, with steep bluff banks and an undeveloped shoreline.

Fish Attractors

The Carters Lake Fish Attractor Program was initiated in 1999 as a joint project between the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR), the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Carters Lake Project, local businesses and anglers.

Locate Carters Lake fish attractors by viewing available pdf maps (updated March 2014) and heeding biologists' helpful tips.

Fish attractor data (updated Oct. 2014) for this reservoir is available for you to upload into your fishfinder or other GPS devices, or view in free online mapping applications. The data is compatible with many brands including Lowrance, Humminbird, Garmin and Magellan to name a few.

Instructions are here on how to use the data.

Download the zipped data.

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  ph. 706-334-2248

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
SPOTTED BASS, HYBRID STRIPED BASS & WALLEYE
Largemouth bass
Prospect Largemouth bass typically comprise about 5% of the black bass population at Carters in any given year. DNR survey data show little fluctuation in largemouth numbers from year-to-year in this steep-sided, deep reservoir. Despite their low numbers, the largemouth present tend to be of quality size. Most will be just over a pound, but 7-8+ pound fish are certainly not out of the question for those pursuing big bass.  
Technique Spring largemouth can be enticed with naturally colored jig head finesse worms and later in the year by larger u-tail or ribbon tail plastic worms. The classic pig-n-jig is also a sound largemouth technique in this impoundment. Live crayfish, bream, and minnows are also effective bass baits.
Target The lake's steep, rocky banks generally provide limited habitat for largemouth. Anglers should focus their efforts in the backs of coves, which typically provide the only shallow largemouth habitat in the lake. Fishing coves containing submerged timber or fallen trees will increase your odds of catching a Carters' "bucketmouth."
Spotted bass
Prospect Spotted bass are the dominant black bass species in Carters - far outnumbering largemouth bass. Genetic analysis of the population confirmed these are the native Alabama "spotted" bass, which tend to grow to larger adult size than the Kentucky spotted bass. This certainly supports the lake's "magnum spot" reputation among anglers. 

DNR sample data shows that spot abundance remains excellent and 14-16 inch fish will abound. Encouragingly, the 2015 spotted bass spawn appears to have been a good one. These fish will still be under the 12 inch mark in 2017, but anglers should encounter higher catches of these young new-comers. Fewer trophy (5+ lb) spots will be in the population this year due to a recent decline in gizzard shad abundance. Nevertheless, anglers can expect plenty of thick-sided, 3-4 pound or better spots to stretch lines in 2017.
 
Technique In spring, spots move shallow to spawn. Throw green-pumpkin or other naturally colored jig head finesse worms to catch these actively feeding fish. With the heat of summer, shallow running baits like Pop-R's, Sammy 100's and Scrounger jigs, fished on main lake points are all good early morning techniques. During the daytime heat, slower presentations on deeper (20-40 feet) points and humps are preferred. Try Texas or Carolina rigged plastic worms, or football jigs. Summer nighttime action can be had using diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs fished parallel to steep banks and points. In fall, cooling water temperatures have spots relating to deep woody debris and schooling shad. Probe these areas with drop-shot rigs tipped with 3-4 inch plastic flukes or 1/2-3/4 ounce jigging spoons. Winter anglers should target schooling spots on steep bluff banks using Spot Sticker jigs or float and fly presentations when water temperatures fall below 50F. Find deep (50-60 feet) water holding shad, and spots will be close by. Use your electronics to find shad schools and present jigs, spoons or drop-shot baits to these waiting spots. For the live bait angler, suspending large minnows or small trout above deep structure is a proven "spot-busting" technique in cold weather.
Target In early spring, fish the deeper, rocky, main lake points. As spring progresses, spots move off the main lake points back into cove areas to spawn (April). At this time, target gradual sloping banks and coves with pea-gravel substrate. The post-spawn period often sees spots holding off downed shoreline trees sloping into deep water. In summer, look for spots holding on deeper (20-40 feet) structure, like brush piles or the 45+ fish attractors created by the Corps of Engineers and DNR. Spots will again feed aggressively on main lake points and around woody cover with cooling fall temperatures. Winter-time anglers should again target deeper (50-60 ft.) structure and areas with steep rocky banks. Finding schools of bait fish is key to locating hungry winter time spotted bass.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect The DNR stocks hybrid striped bass every year at Carters. Hybrid numbers have been relatively modest in recent years, but their abundance will be on the upswing following strong survival of those stocked in 2015. Anglers can expect these young upstarts to be 16-20 inches in length and weigh 4-5 pounds in 2017. In addition to this anticipated up-tick in hybrid numbers, anglers will undoubtedly encounter a few 10+ pound trophy class hybrids again this year. In fact, several 14+ pound hybrids have been pulled from Carters' waters in recent years.  
Technique Trolling artificial baits like u-rigs or crankbaits can be effective, but live trout (winter time) or shad are typically more consistent producers. Wintertime hybrids may also hit cut fish or chicken livers fished on the bottom at near-shore locations close to the dam. Night-time fishing during the summer can be productive. Surface or shallow diving stick baits like Rapalas or Redfins are good nighttime lure choices.
Target Hybrids are most often found close to schools of shad or alewife, which travel throughout the lake. Use your boat's electronics to locate concentrations of baitfish and hybrids may be nearby. In the spring time, hybrids will concentrate near Carters' Dam to gorge on spawning shad. They can also be found on main lake points or in the deep standing timber scattered around the lake. In summer, slow trolling weighted down-lines in 20-30 feet of water should produce hybrids. Fall and winter often have hybrids moving to deep water (> 50 ft.) in search of forage. There are also several mid-lake humps where hybrids are known to frequent year-round.
Striped Bass
Prospect Carters' striped bass abundance continues to remain modest, but trophy-sized linesides are still caught in this deep reservoir. Recent DNR sample data indicate better than average survival of the fingerling stripers stocked in spring 2013 and 2014. These young upstarts are a welcome addition to the fishery and anglers can expect them to grow into the 6-10 pound range in 2017.  
Technique Live trout (winter time), bluegill, gizzard and threadfin shad are all common baits used in the pursuit of stripers at Carters. When water temperatures are below 65 F, balloon rigging or free-lining these live offerings near the surface are good techniques to employ. Switch to a deeper (30+ ft.) live bait presentation using weighted downlines when water temperatures are above 65 F. Large jerkbaits or crankbaits are good choices in the spring when stripers are shallow or when night fishing the April/May shad and alewife spawn.
Target Striper fishing at Carters is best from October through June. Stripers can be found just about anywhere in the lake, but the areas immediately adjacent to the Doll Mountain boat ramp, Fisher Creek, the main Woodring Branch Recreation Area cove, and the "Big Island" in the Coosawatte River arm of the lake are perennial hot spots. Springtime will have stripers moving to shallow main lake points in the upper half of the reservoir and into the few areas of standing timber scattered around the lake. During the summer and fall months, stripers may be found holding around deeper main lake humps in the main body of the reservoir. In general, anglers who consistently key-in on areas holding bait fish will likely find "linesides" nearby.
Catfish
Prospect Channel catfish far outnumber flathead and blue catfish at Carters. Recent DNR sample data shows average numbers of "dinner-sized" channel cats will be present in the lake this year. Channel cats are typically around 1 pound, while the average flathead is usually 5-8 pounds. Bigger flatheads, while not common, can push over the 20 pound mark. Blue cats are likely few in number, but several were reported caught by anglers in 2014 and 2015.  
Technique Live or cut shad fished on weighted bottom rigs will produce better sized catfish. Chicken livers, worms or catalpa worms are classic options for tapping into Carters' "whiskered" resources.
Target Target the cracks and pockets along rocky banks and points found in the Coosawattee arm of the lake or the stone rip-rap of the dam. In late winter and early spring channel cats will congregate near the shoals of the Coosawattee River as it enters the lake. Often catfish will hold in deeper (20-30 ft.) water just off the sides of main lake points during the summer months. Tangles of logs and fallen trees in the backs of coves are also likely hideouts for Carters' catfish.
Crappie
Prospect Though never overly abundant at Carters, the crappie present typically run 1/2 to 3/4 pounds in size. Larger individuals may top the 1 1/2 pound mark. Bottom line is Carters' steep rocky depths hold few crappie, but those present tend to be better than average in size.  
Technique Small minnows (1-2 inches) fished several feet below a bobber or small plastic jigs reeled in slowly past submerged trees are two recommended techniques for the spring angler. Live minnows or jigs are also used to target crappie on deeper structure during the rest of the year
Target Focus spring fishing efforts around standing timber, visible in a number of areas around the lake, as well as the cover offered under the few boat docks found in the lake. The timbered-cove behind Ridgeway Boat Ramp can be a productive spring crappie locale. Fish deeper brush piles or other deep lake structure for crappie throughout the remainder of the year.
Walleye
Prospect Some limited natural reproduction of walleye does occur at Carters. However, this fishery is primarily supported by the DNR's annual spring stocking of walleye fingerlings. 

DNR survey data show that walleye numbers will be slightly better than average this year. Fingerling walleye stocked in 2015 have experienced good survival and may be extremely abundant in 2017. Anglers can expect these fish to grow to approximately 18-20 inches in length by year's end. Larger "glass-eyes" are still present in good numbers. Given the healthy forage base at Carters, walleye in the 8+ pound range are likely present in this reservoir.
 
Technique Jigging spoons, deep diving crankbaits and live bait such as minnows or night crawlers fished on 3/8 ounce lead jigs, are popular walleye techniques year-round. During the spring spawning run, walleye move shallow and can be caught with shallow running shad or minnow-colored crankbaits. Walleye move deeper (30-50 ft.) in summer. Try slow trolling Lindy rigs baited with night crawlers or minnows, keeping in close contact with the lake bottom. Summer walleye may also be enticed by live offerings of shad fished close to the bottom under a submersible light at night. In late summer, walleye will suspend in standing timber and can be targeted with spoon or blade baits. With cooling fall water temperatures, walleye become more active, making crankbaits, jerkbaits or jigs good fall walleye options. In winter, the cold water requires slower more persistent techniques. Vertically jigging spoons or live minnows/shad close to the bottom may tempt sluggish walleye to strike.
Target During the walleye spawning run (Feb-Mar), target rocky shorelines and points in the upper Coosawattee River arm of the lake above Ridgeway boat ramp. After spawning, fish areas with standing main lake timber or long, rocky main lake points. As temperatures warm, concentrate on deeper structure, to include deep standing timber where baitfish congregate during summer and fall. Summer walleye may also suspend over deep water in close proximity to bait fish. In late fall through winter, focus efforts again on rocky points from mid-lake upstream into the Coosawattee arm of the lake. Regardless of season, night fishing can be a productive approach to catching walleye.
Other Species
Prospect Yellow bass are present, but abundance of this introduced species is way down from their recent all-time highs. The species tends to weigh less than half a pound, but at Carters 1/2 to 1 pound yellows are not uncommon. Anglers are encouraged to harvest yellow bass because this illegal introduction competes with larger, more desirable game fish species.
Technique Yellow bass can be caught with a host of small lure selections. Jigs and spinners are especially effective in April and May. Jigging 1/4-1/2 ounce spoons in and around structure is also an effective approach for catching yellow bass outside the spring months.
Target Outside of spring, fish for yellow bass near deepwater structure anywhere in the lake. In April and May, spawn-run yellow bass will concentrate in the uppermost reaches of the Coosawattee River Arm of the lake where the river enters. This can be a great time to get into some fast and furious yellow bass action on light tackle.
Additional Information
The DNR, COE, and local volunteers work to improve fish habitat at Carters Lake each year. Anglers can find information about the program, as well as lake maps with coordinates for the lake's 45-plus fish attractor sites, on the WRD Website. 

Carters Lake is a COE impoundment on the Coosawattee River in northwest Georgia. Lake level, boating, and camping information may be obtained from the COE website at: http://www.sam.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Recreation/CartersLake.aspx or by calling the Carters Lake project office (ph. 706-334-2248). 

The only marina on the lake is the Carters' Lake Marina & Resort. Information about this privately owned facility may be obtained at: http://www.carterslake.com/ or by calling 706-276-4891. 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Chatuge

Lake Chatuge is a 7,050-acre Tennessee Valley Authority reservoir located on the North Carolina border.  Fishing and boating regulations are restricted to the waters governed by each state, so anglers must pay careful attention to laws.

Contact Information

Tennessee Valley Authority:  ph. 423-751-2264

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Fish attractor data (updated Oct. 2014) for this reservoir is available for you to upload into your fishfinder or other GPS devices, or view in free online mapping applications. The data is compatible with many brands including Lowrance, Humminbird, Garmin and Magellan to name a few.

Instructions are here on how to use the data.

Download the zipped data.

Best Bets
SPOTTED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS, HYBRID BASS, BLUEGILL, CATFISH, WALLEYE & CARP
Largemouth bass
Prospect The abundance of largemouth bass in Lake Chatuge is similar to other mountain lakes in North Georgia. Anglers can improve their chances of success by targeting the types of shallow water structures that are preferred by largemouth bass. Like most lakes, anglers will mostly catch largemouths in the 10 to 14-inch size range, but there is excellent trophy potential on Lake Chatuge at certain times of the year.  
Technique Underwater structure is relatively sparse in Lake Chatuge, therefore, largemouth bass strongly orient to hard structures with vertical relief such as downed trees, large rocks, creek channel ledges, points, rocky banks and boat docks. During the winter months, live baits such as night crawlers, shiners, and crayfish are effective for both boat and bank anglers. Slow moving artificial baits that imitate crayfish or dying shad also work well. A heavy pig’n jig combo with crayfish profile is a popular wintertime bait. Vertical jigging with spoons over deep channels and near the face of the dam gives the appearance of a dying herring that largemouths find hard to resist. 

When the surface temperature starts to rise from March through May, largemouth bass move into shallow water. Soft-bodied jerk baits like a Super Fluke as well as spinner baits and topwater plugs should be fished around visible structure in the backs of coves. If you are catching a lot of small fish, then cast fast moving spinner baits and crankbaits into slightly deeper water for bigger bass. 

During summer, largemouth bass will feed on small blueback herring at the surface during the early morning hours. Cast into surface feeding fish with fast moving topwater baits like a Spook or Sammy. During the heat of the day, bass will retreat to deeper water where slower presentations using plastic worms are more effective. In the fall months, bass will feed more aggressively. Look for surface feeding fish at dawn and dusk. During the day, target main lake points with crankbaits and Carolina-rigged worms.
Target Largemouth bass are typically more abundant in upper reaches of Lake Chatuge, especially upstream of the Highway 76 Bridge. Largemouths are also more concentrated in the back of coves and in cove pockets throughout the lake. In the winter months, largemouths may bunch up in creek channels, around fallen trees, and near any available rip-rap that is in the water. The coldwater bite is usually best during mid-afternoon when the daily water temperature reaches its peak. In the spring months, look for largemouth bass around shallow water structure near the backs of coves or in cove pockets along the main channel upstream from Towns County Park. Also be sure to target the rip-rapped banks along the dam and at various places adjacent to Highway 76. Warm summer temperatures drive largemouth bass into deeper water in the 20 to 30-ft depth range. Search for summer bass on points and humps or around the artificial structures placed by DNR and the US Forest Service. When water temperatures cool down in the fall months, largemouth bass go on the prowl in search of food to build up their winter fat reserves. Look for schooling fish near the surface in the twilight hours and overcast days. During the daytime, fish deep with crankbaits or slow-moving soft plastics near any type of structure.
Spotted bass
Prospect Spotted bass are very abundant in Lake Chatuge and anglers will have no problem putting a lot of fish in the boat. Sampling data indicates that there are a large proportion of spotted bass around 12 inches, and fish over 14 inches are common. 

Anglers are encouraged to harvest the legal limit of spotted bass in hopes of reducing the population and improving their growth rate. In the Georgia waters of Lake Chatuge, there is no minimum size restriction on spotted bass but anglers may only keep a combined total of 10 bass. Anglers with a valid Georgia fishing license may enter the North Carolina waters of Lake Chatuge by boat but must abide by the North Carolina fishing regulations. For the North Carolina waters of Lake Chatuge, anglers may only keep a combined total of 5 bass of which only two bass can be less than 14-inches long.
 
Technique During the winter months, spotted bass prey on blueback herring in open water. Trolling live herring or their artificial counterparts behind planer boards or live lines is your best bait option in the wintertime. Spotted bass will also take live bait and slow-moving pig’n jig combos when fished around downed timber or near rip-rap. 

During the spring months, spotted bass are very active and will attack a variety of artificial lures such as soft-bodied flukes, grubs, tube worms, and floating worms as well as spinnerbaits. Anglers should target rocky shorelines and fallen trees during the spring months. In the summer, anglers will have their highest success at dawn and dusk. During these low light hours, cast topwater plugs to surface feeding fish in the vicinity of the dam. During the daytime, switch to slow moving drop shot presentations on brushpiles and artificial reefs. Also consider casting to long points and along the face of the dam with finesse worms and crankbaits. Fishing activity peaks again during the fall months when spotted bass are feeding in shallow water on small blueback herring. Cast into surface-feeding fish with small poppers and flukes. Also consider using casting spoons. Allow the spoon to flutter into slightly deeper water where the bigger fish are often lurking. During the sunny part of the day, switch to bottom tactics that imitate a slow moving crayfish.
Target During the winter months, spotted bass are searching for blueback herring that are seeking relief from the cold in pockets of warmer water. Rocky banks and muddy water radiate heat into the water on sunny days during the cold weather months. Winter bass anglers should consider these areas as the primary target for the wintertime bite. The rip-rap along the dam is an obvious choice but anglers should also look for areas that contain large boulders and other cover (stumps, brush and logs). 

During April and May, spotted bass are spawning in 5 to 15-ft of water near fallen trees, boat docks and along rocky banks. Main channel banks along the mid-section of the reservoir seem to hold the highest numbers of spotted bass in the spring. During summer, long, rocky points and artificial structures on the lower half of the lake in 20 to 30-ft of water provide the best sites to fish with slow-moving soft plastics. In fall, spotted bass will frequently be found at the surface over open water near the dam feeding on small blueback herring. During the heat of the day, spotted bass will usually move to deeper water on points and around fallen trees. Rip fast-moving crankbaits through the mid-depths or work slow-moving plastic baits over rocky bottoms along the main lake.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect Lake Chatuge is famous in the fishing world for producing a world record hybrid bass in 1997 that weighed 25 lb, 8 oz. Although that record was eventually broken, Lake Chatuge still supports a quality hybrid bass fishery that is maintained by DNR’s annual stocking efforts. This year, anglers will mostly catch hybrid bass in the 3 to 7 lb range, but anglers have reported catching hybrids up to 12 lb.
Technique Hybrid bass feed primarily on blueback herring. In the spring, hybrids will chase adult herring at the surface, especially near rocky shorelines on the lower half of the lake. In the summer months, hybrids prefer to track down larger herring (6-inches and above) in 30 to 50-feet of water on the lower end of the lake. When the surface temperature drops below 75 degrees F in October, hybrid bass return to the surface, but this time to feed on the abundance of smaller 3-inch herring that are schooling over open water near the dam and along the main river channel. Casting bucktail jigs or flukes to surface-feeding fish or trolling umbrella rigs in deep water are the most popular artificial tactics used by Chatuge’s hybrid bass anglers.
Target Hybrid bass are schooling fish, so if you catch one then you can be confident that other hybrids are nearby. In the winter months, hybrid bass can be found on windblown points feeding on blueback herring. Pulling live herring behind a planer board or live line near the shoreline is the best approach for catching hybrids in the winter. 

During the spring, hybrids will roam the shallows in search of adult herring that are spawning on rocky banks. By summer, hybrid bass will migrate to the lower lake but water quality conditions will force them near the bottom at depths around 35 feet deep for most of the summer. By late-summer, hybrids may be as deep as 60 to 80-feet. Good electronics will help an angler locate a large school of fish hovering near the bottom. During the fall, hybrid bass will feed aggressively at the surface in shallow water during the early morning and evening. Look for schooling activity near the dam and along the main river channel on the lower half of the lake.
Bream
Prospect Bluegill are one of the more abundant sunfish varieties in Lake Chatuge and the lake supports good numbers of quality-sized fish. Success is highest during the spawning period, which spans from May to August. Redbreast sunfish, although not as numerous as bluegill, provide trophy sunfish opportunities in Lake Chatuge and are best targeted when spawning in shallow water in the spring.  
Technique Crickets and live worms fished with or without a float are productive all year. An alternative summer strategy is to cast rubber spiders, small popping bugs or rubber ants with a fly rod underneath overhanging tree limbs that are located in coves and small pockets.
Target Adult bream spawn in relatively shallow water on sandy bottoms from May to August during the full moon. Search for their circular nests in 4 to 10 feet of water near creek mouths and their adjacent flats. For the remainder of the summer, look for schools of bluegill underneath overhanging tree limbs and around boat docks. In the fall months, sunfish retreat to deeper water near fallen trees.
Crappie
Prospect Modest numbers of black crappie are present in Lake Chatuge. Anglers will have their best success during the spring months when crappie are concentrated in shallow water around visible structure located in the backs of coves.
Technique Minnows fished under a bobber or a minnow-tipped jig are the most productive baits for catching crappie. Among artificial baits, small curly-tailed grubs on a 1/8 oz. jig or hair jigs are the best choices.
Target The upper lake from Towns County Park to the Highway 76 Bridge, including Bell Creek, seems to hold the highest number of black crappie. During March and April, anglers will find crappie near downed trees and other visible debris or vegetation. During summer, fall and winter, crappie can be found around deep water structures. Be sure to target creek channels in deeper water, especially if they have any structure.
Other Species
Prospect Walleye were recently introduced to Lake Chatuge and should provide a new fishery in the coming years. Chatuge supports a good population of channel catfish. Carp are also plentiful and great fun to catch.
Technique Walleye are best targeted in deep water off of points and brush piles using nightcrawlers. Carp readily take prepared catfish baits, corn and dough baits from May - August. To increase your chances of catching carp, anglers should consider baiting a hole with a gallon or two of whole kernel corn a day or two before you want to fish.
Target Once again, the rocky shoreline upstream of Towns County Park seems to also hold the highest numbers of catfish.
Additional Information
Artificial fish attractors have been placed at several cove sites throughout the lake by the natural resource agencies. For information concerning fish attractor locations, call the Wildlife Resources Division office at: 770-535-5498. 

About a mile of good shoreline fishing access is available at the US Forest Service’s Lake Chatuge Campground, which is closed to camping but still open for day use. Head west on Hwy 76 through town. After passing the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, travel about 1 mile and then turn left onto Sunnyside Road (GA Hwy 288). Travel south about 1 mile and the old campground is on the left on FS Road 704. 

The website for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is www.tva.gov 

The upper half of Lake Chatuge is located in the state of Georgia and the lower half of the lake is located in the state of North Carolina. Anglers must abide by the specific state boating and fishing regulations for whichever side of the lake they are fishing. Anglers who possess a valid fishing license from either state are permitted to fish the entire lake by boat; however, to harvest fish requires a valid fishing license from the respective state. For Georgia waters, the bass regulation includes a 10 fish per day creel limit for all combined bass species and a 12-inch minimum size limit only for largemouth bass. There is no size limit for spotted bass in Georgia waters of Lake Chatuge. For North Carolina waters, the bass regulation includes a 5 fish per day creel limit and 14-inch minimum size limit for all bass species; however, 2 fish may be kept that are less than 14-inches. Please be an ethical angler and abide by these regulations. 

North Carolina’s fishing regulations can be viewed at the following website: http://www.ncwildlife.org/Fishing/Seasons-Limits 

A walleye fishing guidebook is available at no cost.

For up to date fishing reports on Lake Chatuge and around the state of Georgia be sure to visit georgiawildlife.wordpress.com 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Chehaw

Lake Chehaw (formerly Lake Worth) is a 1,400-acre impoundment of the Flint River and Muckalee and Kinchafoonee creeks, located near Albany.  Owned and operated by the Georgia Power Company, three boat ramps provide public access to the reservoir.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 706-317-6042

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, CHANNEL AND FLATHEAD CATFISH & SHOAL BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect According to spring surveys conducted by DNR fisheries biologists, the average largemouth in Lake Chehaw (Lake Worth) is about 13 inches. Most tournament caught bass are 1-2 pounds, but there are the occasional large (5+ pound) bass caught. Lake Chehaw offers a variety of fishing habitats, including several creek channels (Muckalee, Flint, Kinchafoonee, Muckafoonee), fallen timber, shallow flats, and extensive vegetation.  
Technique Spinner baits, topwater, and rubber worms are popular baits on Chehaw.
Target Best fishing includes the islands upstream of Cromartie Beach, the slough just upstream of the Highway 91 crossing, and the area around the main (Flint River arm) dam. Largemouth fishing can also be good in the area directly below the Flint River dam, especially during the spring months.
Shoal Bass
Prospect The average shoal bass will weigh 1-2 pounds, though fish up to 6 pounds are occasionally caught.  
Technique Lures that imitate crayfish (a favorite food of shoal bass), plastic twitch baits and topwater plugs.
Target Look to the fast-water shoal areas of the Flint River for these hard-fighting fish. Also look to the tailrace below the dam as shoal bass, among other species, congregate there at various times throughout the year and are usually present during the spring months.
Hybrid Bass and Striped Bass
Prospect In addition to flathead catfish, stripers provide the best chance at a trophy catch. Anglers annually catch striped bass at 20-plus pounds. Most fishing success occurs during the spring and in Blackshear and Lake Chehaw tailraces. Chehaw is occasionally stocked with a small number of hybrids, but there is also fish that migrate downstream from Lake Blackshear. Hybrids in the reservoir are generally small, but there are opportunities to catch 1-3 pound fish, especially in the middle summer through fall.  
Technique For spring fishing in the tailraces, live bait (primarily shad), bucktails, and large crankbaits and topwater lures work well. The trick is being there when the fish are there and feeding. Striped bass or hybrid striped bass can be difficult to target in the summer, but expect to find them mostly in the lower end of the Flint River arm, between the main dam and Cromartie Beach. Slow-trolling live bait or small shad imitations such as rapalas or white jigs or road runners can be effective during the late summer and early fall.
Target Fish Albany and Blackshear tailraces from late March through May for the occasional striped bass or hybrid striped bass. Fish can also be found during late summer and early fall in the reservoir, especially in the stretch of river between the Muckafoonee and Flint River arm dams.
Catfish
Prospect Channel catfishing probably provides the most consistent action on Lake Chehaw, with good numbers of fish weighing 1-2 pounds. Average flatheads will weigh 3-8 pounds.  
Technique Use live bait (bluegill or shad) for flatheads. For channel cats, use a variety of baits, such as large worms, chicken livers and shad or mullet guts.
Target Target flatheads along old creek and river channel drop-offs and near deeper holes in the Flint River arm and the two creek arms. Fish shallow water coves and flats near deeper water during the spring and fall for channel cats. Channel catfish can be located throughout the summer in deeper holes in the river channels up the two creek arms and the Flint River arm. Also, channel cats congregate in the tailrace below the dam at different times throughout the year.
Bream
Prospect Bream fishing on Chehaw includes bluegill and redear sunfish. Bluegill will be relatively small, averaging 5-7 inches, and the average redear will be 6-8 inches.  
Technique Red wigglers usually work best for redear sunfish and crickets generally for bluegill, although both baits can catch either fish. Some anglers fish with small jigs worked slowly under bobbers.
Target Shallow flats and sloughs adjacent to deeper water are often productive bream spots. The slough just upstream of Cleve Cox boat ramp (located at the Highway 91 crossing) and the sloughs above and below the confluence of the Kinchafoonee and Muckalee Creeks can be productive, though bream are found throughout the reservoir. Redear fishing usually is best from late April through June, and bluegill fishing is usually best from June through September.
Crappie
Prospect While Chehaw doesn't boast a large crappie population, anglers can catch modest numbers of black crappie, especially during spring spawning.  
Technique Minnows and small jigs fished 5-15 feet.
Target Target areas around creek mouths and around any visible cover, such as old stumps or fallen trees. Many submerged stumps and much standing timber is located in the main reservoir basin. Pre and post-spawn fish can also be found in and near the main river channels, but will usually be associated with channel swings and submerged cover.
Other Species
Prospect Additional species that can be found in the tailrace below the dam are hybrid striped bass, striped bass, largemouth, spotted, shoal and white bass. In addition, Alabama shad have been found to congregate below Albany dam, indicating success in passage through Lake Seminole's dam and migration up the Flint River.
Additional Information
Lake Chehaw has many shallow areas, making it vulnerable to aquatic nuisance species. Managers are particularly concerned with hydrilla, an exotic plant that has infested Lake Seminole and has the ability to rapidly spread throughout a reservoir such as Lake Chehaw. Anglers can help prevent the spread of hydrilla by inspecting their tackle, boat motor, and trailer and removing all plant fragments before entering or leaving boat ramps. More information regarding hydrilla and other aquatic nuisance species in Georgia can be found here.

Additionally, managers are concerned about the potential introduction of spotted bass into Chehaw. The invasive spotted bass may directly compete with the native shoal bass and largemouth bass, and anglers are advised not to release spotted bass into the system and report any spotted bass sightings to the Albany Fisheries office at 229-430-4256. 

Tips on how to identify spotted bass from largemouth bass can be found here: 

Spotted Bass 

Largemouth Bass
Best Fishing Times Key
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Clarks Hill Lake

Clarks Hill (known as J. Strom Thurmond in S.C.) is Georgia's largest reservoir at 71,535 acres.  This U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir is located 30 miles northeast of Augusta on the Savannah River. The numerous creeks feeding the lake, over 1,200 miles of shoreline and large areas of open water provide a wide range of fishing opportunities.

USACOE website- fish attractor coordinates list

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  ph. 1-800-533-3478

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
STRIPED BASS, CRAPPIE, HYBRIDS, LARGEMOUTH BASS, REDEAR SUNFISH & CATFISH
Largemouth bass
Prospect Tagging project results indicate a high release rate. This combined with strong year classes resulted in numerous small bass available. Anglers are encouraged to harvest catches. In doing so, more 3-plus pounders will be available in the future. Good shad spawns are helping to put some weight on bass.  
Technique Crank, spinner, and jerk baits work year-round. Try top water plugs in the spring and fall. In mid-winter, jigging spoons in creek channels or where bait fish "bunch up" is a great tactic.
Target Bass tend to congregate away from the banks after the spawn. In the fall and winter, target Grays, Lloyds and Rousseau creeks in the Little River arm and Soap, Murray and Fishing creeks in the main Savannah River arm. For great late summer and fall surface action, fish over submerged aquatic vegetation beds. In the spring and summer, target Bussey Point, and Cliatt, Cherokee and Big creeks. Shoreline vegetation is quickly spreading, especially about mid-lake and northward, and will hold big bass in the spring. Year-round productivity rests in the flats around the confluence of the Savannah and Broad rivers.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect Strong year classes in 2013, 2015 and 2016 are producing good numbers and sizes of hybrids. The average hybrid bass will be 3-6 pounds.  
Technique Best technique: drifting live blueback herring using your trolling motor to control speed and direction. Jigging spoons near drop-offs, ledges or humps in 20-30 feet of water. By summer and into fall, dead or cut bluebacks, shad and large minnows on the bottom work well. For schooling fish in late summer and fall, bucktails, Gotcha shad and pencil-poppers work well.
Target During winter and early spring, target Big Creek, the Little River near Germany Creek upstream of Holiday Park, Soap Creek, the north bank of the reservoir above the dam and major creeks near Bussey Point. Hot spots for summer and fall: the mouths of major feeder creeks and rivers and near the oxygen injection system.
Striped Bass
Prospect Excellent survival of stocked fish in recent years, 2013 in particular, are producing good numbers. The average striped bass will be 6-8 pounds. Numerous linesides in the 10 -25 lb class range will be caught along with a few over 40 lb.  
Technique Best technique: drifting live blueback herring using your trolling motor to control speed and direction. Planer boards are great for covering a broad area with the added capability of putting the bait where the boat cannot go. Other techniques: Slowly troll redfins, Norman lures or roostertails 80-100 feet behind the boat; jigging spoons near drop-offs, ledges or humps in 20-30 feet of water. By summer and into fall, dead or cut bluebacks, shad and large minnows on the bottom work well. Fishing over the oxygen injection system calls for artificials pulled with weighted line. For schooling fish in late summer and fall, bucktails, Gotcha shad and pencil-poppers work well.
Target During winter and early spring, target Big Creek, the Little River near Germany Creek upstream of Holiday Park, Soap Creek, the north bank of the reservoir just above the dam and major creeks near Bussey Point. Hot spots for summer and early fall: over the oxygen injection system about 5 miles upstream and the mouths of major feeder creeks and rivers.
Catfish
Prospect In recent years, several 40-plus pound flathead catfish have been caught. Numerous channel catfish up to 6 pounds will be caught. Large blue catfish appeared in our sampling in 2014. Blue catfish 8-40 pounds will be caught this year.  
Technique Chicken livers, cut bluebacks, shrimp and worms work best.
Target Little River near Holiday Park and White Bass Island; also Keg, Germany, Big and Hart Creeks and the Broad River. Blue catfish tend to congregate in the main Savannah Channel.
Bream
Prospect Redear sunfish and bluegill are available. You don't want to miss the shellcracker spawn in late April and early May. Sunfish are generally large, ranging between 1/2 to 3/4 pound, and easy to catch.  
Technique Crickets, worms, grubs, spinners, flies or wasp larvae.
Target Target Keg, Lloyd, Grays, Cliatt, Soap, Big and Fishing Creeks. Fish attractors also are excellent spots, holding good numbers of bluegill and other sunfish after the spawn.
Crappie
Prospect DNR sampling from several previous falls indicate awesome crappie fishing in 2017! Crappie catches will average 1/2 pound with bigger fish weighing 2 pounds and up.  
Technique Small jigs with or without minnows. Bring an assortment of colors to determine what they are hitting on.
Target In spring, target Soap, Grays, Pistol and Newford creeks and Little River near Raysville. During late summer and fall, fish under bridges. For pre-spawn action in the winter, try the backs of creeks such as Big, Hart, Dry Fork, Knoblick and Cherokee.
Pickerel
Prospect The chain pickerel (a.k.a. jackfish) population has steadily increased since the mid-1990s, and is largely attributed to the spread of submerged aquatic vegetation in Clarks Hill.
Technique Best bets: variety of weedless lures and surface plugs. Also, a wobbling spoon with trailing pork rid, plastic lizards and hollow-faced chugger type surface plugs are good best.
Target Cliatt, Grays, Cherokee, Schriver and Keg creeks.
Other Species
Prospect Sampling efforts indicate an exceptional abundance of white perch. Tons of fun on lightweight tackle. Makes an excellent meal.
Technique Small jigs, spoons or minnows work best.
Target Look in 20-60 feet of water near ledges, drop-offs and standing timber.
Additional Information
Additional Information: The lake is 10 feet low to start 2017, with lake levels expected to rise just slightly through the spring. 

Georgia state parks on the lake (Mistletoe and Elijah Clark) participate in the fishing tackle loaner program. Check with the park offices if you require additional fishing gear. Mistletoe State Park offers canoe and/or john boat rentals. More information on these and other Georgia State Parks can be found at:http://gastateparks.org/

Fisheries staff refurbished deep water fish attractor sites from 2015 through 2017. These sites are marked on Corps of Engineers Navigation Charts. Mistletoe and Elijah Clark state parks sunk Christmas trees along their banks in 8 to 15 feet of water in 2014. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Georgia WRD Fisheries staff fell pine and sweetgum trees into the lake in Little River near Holiday Park and Big, Hart, Germany, Fishing, Pistol, and Newford creeks in 2010. Try these new bank fish attractors for great bass, crappie, and sunfish action this winter and spring.
Best Fishing Times Key
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Goat Rock Lake

This 940-acre reservoir is located on the Chattahoochee River 10 miles above Columbus along the Georgia-Alabama border.  The Georgia Power Company provides public access with a boat ramp and restroom facilities.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 706-317-6042

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Fish attractor data (updated Oct. 2014) for this reservoir is available for you to upload into your fishfinder or other GPS devices, or view in free online mapping applications. The data is compatible with many brands including Lowrance, Humminbird, Garmin and Magellan to name a few.

Instructions are here on how to use the data.

Download the zipped data.

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, SPOTTED BASS, BREAM, CATFISH & STRIPED BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect Goat Rock has an abundant largemouth population. The lake is quiet and anglers will encounter little recreational boating activity. Lunker catches are possible for experienced anglers, however most largemouths are in the 8 to 12 inch size range.  
Technique Carolina-rigged plastic worms and lizards are often effective largemouth bass baits. Mid-depth crankbaits and spinners also can be productive.
Target Target rocky points in deep water. Also, shorelines and protected coves with structure are good places to locate largemouths.
Spotted bass
Prospect Spots are not large in Goat Rock, though there are plenty to catch. Most spots will be in the 7 to 11 inch range. The less abundant larger spots will average around 1 pound.  
Technique Live bait like night crawlers, crayfish, and minnows are effective. Crankbaits and plastic worms also work well.
Target The best time to fish is between April and June. Target rocky points in deep water. Main channels and shoreline cover often hold schools of spots.
Striped Bass
Prospect Gulf striped bass are being stocked in Goat Rock. They will join a few larger striped bass, which likely traveled downstream from Bartlett's Ferry where they also were stocked. Likewise, a few hybrids may move through the lake.  
Technique Spoons and popping corks with trailing jigs. Live shad also are effective for stripers. Trolling in deeper water may also be effective.
Target Target the tailrace in the spring. During the rest of the year, stripers can be found throughout the lake following schools of baitfish.
Catfish
Prospect Goat Rock continues to be an excellent catfish lake. Large channel catfish up to 10 pounds are caught year-round. Channel cats 1-5 pounds are most common.  
Technique Channels like live bait like night crawlers and minnows fished at or near the bottom. Stink and cut baits also are popular choices.
Target Target the river channel area, deep holes and rocky bottoms.
Bream
Prospect Bluegill and redear sunfish fishing historically has been good. Average bluegill catches should weigh approximately 1/4 to 1/3 pound, while redear catches can average 3/4 to 1 1/3 pound.  
Technique Live worms and crickets are most effective for bluegill and redear sunfish. Small plastic jugs may also prove productive.
Target Backs of coves and sloughs are most productive. April, May, and June are the best months to fish.
Crappie
Prospect Anglers looking for crappie often fare well in Goat Rock. Most catches average more than 1/3 pound. "Slabs" will be common for the dedicated angler.  
Technique Trolling with jigs and live minnows work well for crappie in deeper water.
Target Target woody brush and structure along shorelines. Trolling along the river channel also can be effective.
Other Species
Prospect A small population of shoal bass are present and occasionally are caught in Goat Rock.
Technique Crayfish and baitfish are favorite foods for shoal bass.
Target Target rocky areas below Bartlett's Ferry Dam and up Mulberry Creek.
Additional Information
The Goat Rock Marina has a paved parking area, courtesy dock, a restroom and area lighting. 

Generating schedules and lake levels information is available by calling Georgia Power at 706-317-6000. 

Try fishing the five fish attractors on Goat Rock Lake. Fish attractors are marked with buoys.
Best Fishing Times Key
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Hamburg Lake

Hamburg Lake is a 225-acre reservoir located 15 miles north of Sandersville on the Little Ogeechee River at Hamburg State Park. The lake is stumpy, so only boats powered with trolling motors or outboards up to 10 horsepower are allowed. The bass, jackfish and shellcracker fishing opportunities make the trip to this quiet area in Washington County worthwhile.

Contact Information

Hamburg State Park:  ph. 478-552-2393

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, CRAPPIE, CHANNEL CATFISH & REDEAR SUNFISH
Largemouth bass
Prospect Sampling efforts indicate numerous quality-sized largemouth. Many 2-3 pound bass should be caught, with some weighing in at 5 or more pounds.  
Technique Spinner baits and plastic worms on points and next to standing timber. During calm spring and fall days, utilize surface plugs. In winter, jerking spoons along the riverbed should land large size bass.
Target Navigate through the stumps to the back of the lake for some great fall action.
Catfish
Prospect Annual stockings since 2007 quickly made channel catfish one of the most sought after fish in the lake. Catfish in the 1-5 pound range bite spring through fall.  
Technique Chicken livers and worms work best.
Target Look to creek channels and deep coves in the summer and fall.
Bream
Prospect Expect redear sunfish to be around 1/2 pound. April through early May is the best time to hit the water. Georgia WRD started a supplemental redear sunfish stocking program in 2014 that will substantially improve the catch beginning in 2016. Bluegills are generally smaller, though many hand-size ones will be caught in the spring.  
Technique Crickets, worms, grubs and spinners are recommended.
Target While at Hamburg, try the area just below the dam on the Little Ogeechee River for redbreast sunfish.
Crappie
Prospect Fishing is best in the spring, but good fish and numbers are caught pre-spawn as well. Catches will average 1/2 pound with bigger catches weighing in around 2 pounds.  
Technique Cast to the banks with jigs and minnows in the spring. At other times of the year, slowly troll or drift along the old riverbed and cast to standing timber.
Target Target areas where park staff have sunk 50+ Christmas trees over the past two years.
Pickerel
Prospect Chain pickerel (a.k.a jackfish) are available and, though not typically targeted, they are sure to grab your attention when they strike.
Technique Variety of weedless lures and surface plugs work best. A wobbling spoon with trailing pork rind, plastic lizards and hollow-faced chugger type surface plugs are good bets. According to locals, jackfish aggressively attack anything red.
Target Look to areas of vegetation and stumps.
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Hartwell

Lake Hartwell is one of the three large reservoirs on the Savannah River operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The 56,000-acre reservoir hosted the recent 2008 Bass Masters Classic. The lake provides a wide variety of fish habitats, ranging from rocky bluffs on the upper Tugaloo River arm to shallow cove pockets and sandy flats in the middle and lower sections of the lake. Boat access is available at many locations around the shoreline at boat ramps operated by the Corps of Engineers and State Parks.

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  ph. 1-888-893-0678

Lake Hartwell Insider (info about activities around Lake Hartwell)

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, SPOTTED BASS, HYBRID BASS, STRIPED BASS, & CRAPPIE.
Largemouth bass
Prospect Largemouth bass is the most popular fished-for species in Lake Hartwell. Hartwell’s popularity with both recreational and professional anglers is a testimony to the quality of its bass fishery. 

A strong year-class of largemouth bass was produced in 2012; therefore, bass in the 16-inch size range will account for a big part of this year’s catch. Catch rates of bass over 3 lb will be typical for Lake Hartwell but recent sampling also detected a slight uptick in the number of largemouth bass weighing over 6 lb.
 
Technique During the cold weather months, largemouth bass are drawn to creek channels, submerged timber and rocky banks because they attract shad and other baitfish. Live lining herring in the backs of creeks or floating a shiner under a cork around visible timber are excellent wintertime tactics. Crankbaits in shad patterns as well as spinner baits and flukes are good artificial lure choices for cold weather bass fishing. 

During the springtime spawning period, cast soft-bodied jerk baits, spinner baits, and plastic lizards into shallow water around woody debris, rip-rap banks and boat docks located in backwater coves and pockets. Often times, bass will take live baits when pitched into their spawning beds. 

In the summer months, bass key on shad and herring on main lake humps and points. One of the most productive summertime tactics is to cast noisy topwater lures near reef marker points on the lower end of the lake. Bass will often rush to the surface to take the bait. 

The fall transition drives largemouth bass to feed aggressively on shad and herring in open water over the river channel as well as in creek channels. Cast to surface feeding bass with topwater plugs or troll for bass with live herring. Largemouths will also stack up in creek channels and rip-rap banks in the fall and winter months where spinnerbaits and crankbaits are most effective. Anglers may also want to drop shot finesse worms and pitch jigs into brushpiles and downed trees. Fishing with live shiners around visible structures is also an effective tactic.
Target Largemouth bass typically have a small home range, but within their home turf, they move back and forth between shallow and deep water. In the winter, largemouth bass often seek refuge in downed timber and along creek channels. In February and March, largemouths will search for slightly warmer water along shallow banks that contain rocks and fallen trees. Rip-rapped roadsides and bridge abutments are also great places to find largemouth bass during this time of year, especially on windy afternoons when baitfish are pushed close to the shore. 

In the springtime, bass are spawning in shallow coves and creeks near visible structure. Gum Log, Eastanollee and Payne Creek arms seem to support the highest numbers of largemouth bass. 

During the summer months, bass retreat to cooler water in the 20 to 40-ft depth range. The reef marker points between Tugaloo State Park and I-85 Bridge are a good starting point to fish. When the topwater bite is on, largemouths will race to the surface to attack schools of small herring and shad. 

Fall weather brings about a dramatic transition that may slow down the bite. Small crankbaits and spinner baits fished in creek channels in the backs of the major coves on the lower end of the lake are popular fall tactics as well as bouncing Texas-rigged soft plastic worms along rocky points and around fallen trees. Lightwood Log Creek from Hart State Park to the back of the creek arm provides great places to fish for bass in the fall months.
Spotted bass
Prospect The abundance of spotted bass has increased dramatically in Lake Hartwell over the past five years. Recent sampling by DNR indicated that spotted bass are now one of the most abundant sportfish in the lake. Fish in the 10 to 14-inch size range (1/2 to 1 1/2 lb) are common but a few spotted bass will top the scales over 3 lb.
Technique Threadfin shad and blueback herring are the preferred prey of spotted bass in Lake Hartwell but they will also feed on small sunfish and crayfish when the opportunity arises. In the winter months, spotted bass can be caught in the deep creek channels by trolling live herring or casting toward visible structure with slow moving pig & jig combinations, big bladed spinnerbaits and wide profile crankbaits in herring color patterns. 

Spotted bass spawn in April and May and can be caught using fast moving, shallow-running lures worked over rocky bottoms in 5 to 15-feet of water. Slow rolling big spinnerbaits is effective on windy days. The most consistent summertime pattern for spotted bass is to drop shot finesse worms into brushpiles on the lower lake. Anglers should also be on the lookout for fish feeding on the surface over humps and reef marker points. Cast into surface feeding bass with a Sammy, Zara Spook, or Fluke in herring color patterns. 

In the fall months, casting crankbaits and bouncing soft plastics in crayfish patterns along rocky points are a sure bet. Small schools of bass will also be feeding on small herring and shad at the surface over the river channel. Always have an extra rod handy so that you can cast jerkbaits toward these feeding fish.
Target Spotted bass are much like their close relative, the redeye bass, in that both species prefer rocky habitats. Rip-rap bridge abutments, rocky points, and the face of the dam provide excellent places to fish for spotted bass all year. In DNR surveys, the highest number of spotted bass is found along the lengthy rip rap banks along the I-85 corridor. 

In the spring and fall months, spotted bass will chase shad and herring in open water over the Savannah River channel in the early morning and evening.
Hybrid Bass and Striped Bass
Prospect The striped bass and hybrid bass fisheries of Lake Hartwell are maintained with annual stocking by both Georgia and South Carolina DNRs. The hybrid and striper populations have experienced some highs and lows over the last few years due to fall dissolved oxygen levels. This year, anglers can expect to catch a few less hybrid bass but most of the catch will be quality-sized fish weighing 4 to 6 lb. The abundance of striped bass is increasing but the striper fishery is dominated by relatively small fish weighing less than 8 lb. 

Anglers should be aware of the legal limits for harvesting striped bass and hybrid bass. Up to 10 fish per day of either species can be harvested but only three fish of either species can be over 26-inches in total length.
 
Technique Striped bass and hybrid bass feed almost exclusively on blueback herring but trophy-sized stripers will take large gizzard shad at certain times of the year. Wise anglers, therefore, use live herring or artificial herring imitations, like bucktail jigs and flukes, to catch fish throughout the year. The same bait and lure selections work all year, but the presentations, depths and locations change according to the season. 

From March to May, cast white bucktail jigs and flukes along windblown points and creek channels with dingy-colored water. In the summer, downline live herring on points and humps adjacent to the river channel or troll herring using lead core line above the timber line. By mid-October, live line with herring in the backs of covers or cast topwater lures and bucktail jigs into breaking fish at the on the lower lake, especially when cloudy conditions are prevalent.
Target When water temperatures range from 55 to 70 degrees (F), hybrids will congregate on secondary points located in major cove arms. Stripers will also move onto shallow points and backwater creek channels in search of baitfish. Twenty-Six Mile Creek upstream of the Hurricane Creek boat ramp, Coneross Creek, and Martin Creek are great locations on the Seneca River arm in South Carolina. Lightwood Log Creek, Eastanollee Creek, Little Beaverdam Creek, and even in the Tugaloo River itself upstream from the Highway 123 Bridge are good locations on the Tugaloo River arm of the lake. 

During warm weather months, stripers and hybrids migrate toward deep, cooler water near the dam. During daylight hours, fish will retreat to the safety below the submerged timber line. During twilight and dark, fish will more actively feed on adjacent points and humps. When the fall season arrives, fish will begin feeding on small herring and shad at the surface over the river channel and in the backs of coves.
Crappie
Prospect Crappie fishing is very popular among Lake Hartwell anglers, especially during March and April. Skilled anglers also know that crappie stack up in small cove pockets during the cold winter months. Unfortunately, two consecutive years of low spawning success will create a significant decrease in the abundance of crappie in Lake Hartwell this year. Anglers can expect the bulk of their catch to range from 1/2 to 1 lb in weight. There are also a number of fish in the 7-inch size range, which is just under the legal limit for crappie in the South Carolina portion of Lake Hartwell. 

Anglers who fish in the Georgia portion of Lake Hartwell may harvest 30 crappie per day and there is no minimum size limit. Anglers who fish in the South Carolina waters of Lake Hartwell may only harvest 20 crappie per day and all fish harvested from South Carolina waters must be at least 8-inches in total length.
 
Technique When the water temperature reaches the mid-40s, anglers should fish for crappie in creek channels or in brush piles using either live bait or by trolling very slowly with small jigs. As the water starts to warm in March, crappie will congregate in 10 to 15 feet of water in creek channels and around submerged trees, bridge abutments, roadbeds and under boathouses that contain brush. Flipping live minnows and small crappie jigs into these structures is the best way to fish during the winter months. 

When the water temperature reaches 65 degrees (F) around early April, crappie will move into 2-3 feet of water around visible submerged cover located in backwater coves. Fishing with small minnows, curly-tailed grubs and doll flies are proven spring tactics. 

During the fall months, large numbers of crappie congregate in submerged timber in 30 feet of water.
Target The areas with the largest numbers of crappie on the Georgia side of the lake include Eastanollee Creek, Gum Log Creek, Shoal Creek and Lightwood Log Creek. In the spring, target visible structure in backwater areas. If you catch one crappie at a location, there will be plenty more in the same vicinity.
Walleye
Prospect From late-February to early-April, walleye migrate into the Tugalo River headwaters of Lake Hartwell to spawn in the rocky areas from the Walker Creek boat ramp upstream to Yonah Dam. Walleye average 2 to 4 lb in size, but fish up to 10 lb have been collected by DNR from this area.
Technique Shallow running lures, like Rapalas, jigs tipped with a curly-tailed grub and nightcrawlers are all effective baits for catching walleye on their spawning migration up the Tugalo River.
Target Anglers will find walleye from the Walker Creek boat ramp to Yonah Dam from late-February to early April. In other months, walleye cruise the expansive waters of Lake Hartwell and become very difficult to pinpoint. The points at the mouth of the Eastanollee Creek arm are a reliable area to catch walleye during October and November.
Additional Information
Boat ramp facilities for large fishing tournaments are located near the upper end of the lake at Tugaloo State Park and on the lower end at Gum Branch. The contact information for scheduling one of these facilities is: 

Tugaloo State Park - (706) 356-4362 

Gum Branch - (706) 376-8590 

Striped bass anglers can find current fishing reports at the Appalachian Striper Club website: http://asc.striperboard.com 

A walleye fishing guidebook is available at no cost.

Excellent bank fishing opportunities are available at most boat ramps but the Gum Branch Boat Ramp (Hart County), Tugaloo State Park (Franklin County) the Bruce Creek Day Use Facility (Stephens County) and Stephens County Park (Stephens County) are among the best locations to fish from shore. 

Excellent trout fishing opportunities are available below Hartwell Dam in the Corps' day use area. GA-DNR constructed a large fishing pier for anglers to enjoy, and plenty of trout are stocked at the pier during the summer months. 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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High Falls Lake

High Falls Lake is a 650-acre impoundment of the Towaliga River in Butts, Monroe and Lamar counties, located just east of Interstate 75 north of Forsyth.  The Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources operates High Falls Lake for recreational purposes that include sport fishing. The lake is open to fishing during daylight hours only, and the operation of motors greater than 10 horsepower are prohibited.  Boats with outboard motors greater than 10 horsepower may be used, but the outboard must not be operated.

Contact Information

High Falls State Park:  ph. 478-993-3053

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, CRAPPIE, & CATFISH
Largemouth bass
Prospect High Falls lake is an untapped resource to bass anglers. The relative number of large bass (16-26 inches) is ranked near the top among major reservoirs within the state and almost 38 percent of the population is larger than 15 inches. The average bass is around 12 to 14 inches and weighs about 1 1/2 pounds. Relatively low bass fishing pressure (due to motor restrictions) and high numbers of large fish should result in some very good bass fishing.  
Technique Try crankbaits and jigs in Buck Creek and Watkin's Bottom during spring and fall for big fish. For lunkers, try "pitching" spinner baits around docks and downed trees during early to mid-morning. Live bait is always a "go to" when targeting bass in early spring.
Target Target areas with point bars and downed trees in the water. There is plenty of bass habitat in the lake, so anglers should have an easy time picking a place to fish. Buck Creek and Watkin's Bottom are popular areas, but don't be afraid to target the upper portions of the lake!
Striped Bass
Prospect Both striped bass and hybrids were stocked until 2006. Striped bass only stockings started in 2007 and were discontinued in 2013 due to the success of the striped bass re-establishment efforts downstream. Hybrid bass only stockings have continued in 2013. Striped bass numbers will again be low in 2017, but if caught will average 3-5 pounds and a few will reach quality size of up to 26 inches. There have been a few reports of striped bass reaching 15 pounds in size. A catch of 23 pounds was documented in 2016.  
Technique Try working spoons and grub baits just above the dam during winter and early spring. For large stripers, try drift fishing with live or cut shad.
Target Target the upper reaches of the lake and into the Towaliga River during the March - April spawning runs. Also target the deep water habitat in Watkins Bottom.
Catfish
Prospect High Falls is a great catfish fishery comprised of both flathead and channel catfish. Channel catfish numbers have remained steady compared to previous years with strong year-classes coming through. The average lengths of channel catfish in 2017 will be about 13/14 inches but individuals over 20 are not uncommon. Flathead catfish are in lower density than channels but offer a trophy fishery to High Falls with several fish over 20 lb.  
Technique Drift fishing with live or cut shad is recommended.
Target Fish deep holes and channel bends in the lower end of the lake for flatheads and channel cats.
Crappie
Prospect Crappie are abundant with trophy potential. Anglers can expect over 50 percent of the population to be over 8 inches in length. High Falls is known for crappie fishing and is comparable with larger reservoirs in the Piedmont. Recent studies have indicated that High Falls is comparable to popular reservoirs (Oconee) for anglers targeting this popular game fish. Angler reports of catching crappie ranging from 1-2 pounds are common.  
Technique Trolling jigs above the dam, around drop-offs, points and creek channels is effective in winter and early spring. Minnows and jigs fished in shallow water near brush, stumps or blow-downs is most effective once water temperatures reach 60 degrees in the spring.
Target Look for submerged timber and stumps near the main channel during late fall and wintering schools of crappie. Spring offers the most popular times and fishing is excellent lake wide.
Other Species
Prospect Bream are abundant but few reach catchable size. Bluegill and redear (shellcracker) are the most plentiful; however, redbreast also are available. Expect the average bluegill to reach 5 to 8 inches and the less abundant redear to reach 6 to 10 inches.
Technique Live worms and crickets are favorite bait for bream.
Target Target brush piles and vegetation.
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Jackson

Lake Jackson is a 4,750-acre impoundment owned and operated by the Georgia Power Company.  The Alcovy, South and Yellow Rivers meet near Jackson, Ga. to form this heavily developed lake that is very popular with boaters and skiers during the summer months.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 404-954-4040

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
CRAPPIE, SPOTTED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS, CATFISH, BREAM, & STRIPED BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect Despite having spotted bass in Jackson, largemouth currently comprise well over 50 percent of the black bass population. Average catches weighing 1 - 2 pounds, with several over 5 pounds common. Anglers targeting larger bass typically are most successful October - February.  
Technique Crankbaits and jigs fished in or around deep water produce larger bass. Plastics fished on a Carolina rig are often successful.
Target Look for rock points that fall off into deep water and docks and timber that border drop offs. Target flooded timber in the upper reaches of Tussahaw Creek in the fall. Also try the Yellow River arm - this section offers a variety of habitat for anglers seeking large bass. During summer, concentrate efforts in the early morning and at night. Largemouth will typically be found in shallower, more turbid waters than spotted bass.
Spotted bass
Prospect Spotted bass abundance appears to have stabilized in recent years. Average size for spots caught in 2017 will be 12-14 inches. However, anglers should expect a portion of the catch over 14 inches. There are some trophy spots (> 20") out there. Don't be surprised if a spot greater than 4 lb. is caught this year. Unlike largemouth bass, there is no size restriction and anglers are encouraged to harvest their catches.  
Technique Spotted bass generally are found in deeper, clearer waters than largemouth. Casting smaller crankbaits and spinners into deeper water tends to attract spots. Because they are very aggressive predators, top-water lures such as spooks, buzz-baits and propeller lures fished fast often trigger bites.
Target Stick to the main lake where the water is clearer. Target deeper points and fish parallel to the bank at varying depths to locate fish. Night fishing along docks and humps also produces good catches.
Striped Bass
Prospect Striped bass offer anglers an added sportfish option. The most recent stockings have produced the potential for a quality fishery in coming years. The average-size striped bass caught in 2017 will be 4-6 lb. Trophy striped bass are available. Anglers catching striped bass exceeding 18 pounds have been reported.  
Technique Trolling with crankbaits and large swim-baits through schools of suspended shad can produce some nice stripers most of the year. When the stripers are chasing shad to the surface, topwater lures can trigger some extreme action. Live, large, gizzard shad is a very effective bait all year.
Target Look for schools of shad and stripers breaking the surface early in the morning and just before dark. The power lines north of where the Alcovy meets the South and Yellow Rivers are popular spots for seeking surface feeding stripers early in the morning. Mid-lake also offers good striper habitat, especially in the warmer months. Anglers should also target areas above Barnetts Bridge in the Tussahaw arm. Target cooler water habitat near the dam for trolling.
Catfish
Prospect Lake Jackson provides an array of catfish species with fishable populations including bullheads, channel, white, blue and flathead catfish. Jackson holds a greater proportion of large sized channel and blue cats than most other central Georgia reservoirs and most will average 3-5 pounds. If anglers are patient, some trophy channel catfish exceeding 20 pounds are available. Anglers should target deep holes mid-lake for trophy catfish. Lake Jackson is an untapped resource for anglers targeting catfish. The current lake record flathead exceeds 50 pounds! The 2016 summer was very productive for those anglers targeting catfish. Look for similar trends in summer 2017.  
Technique Cut shad and liver fished on or just off the bottom is effective. Night fishing with live bream may also produce some quality catfish.
Target Target the deep waters near the dam or deep holes on the outside bend of the old creek channels. Flathead catfish will typically be found near rocky structures or hard bottoms. Mid-lake and the South River arm are current hot spots on the lake.
Bream
Prospect One of middle Georgia's better bream lakes. Bluegill and redbreast sunfish typically reach 5-7 inches, while redear sunfish are numerous and much larger. Anglers should find bream fishing comparable with previous years with redear sunfish being the dominant catch. Anglers will find the average size redear sunfish near 8 inches.  
Technique Live bait such as redworms, mealworms or crickets fished just off the bottom should result in redear catches from 7 to 10 inches; individuals weighing 1 pound or more are common.
Target Target blow downs and weed lines for larger bream. The Ocmulgee River below Jackson dam is a good place to target redbreast sunfish. Fish shallow sandy areas early in the spring and late in the fall.
Crappie
Prospect Similar to previous years, crappie will be abundant in 2017. Average size caught in 2017 should be 6- 8 inches in size. However, if anglers are patient and target deep holes near the dam, crappie in the 1-2 pound range are available. Flooded timber in the Tussahaw arm provide excellent habitat of anglers seeking crappie.  
Technique Trolling small jigs around drop-offs, points and creek channels is most effective. Live minnows, small crankbaits and pitching jigs all work great in late spring.
Target A hot spot: the bridge crossing at Hwy. 212. Visit in early spring when water temperatures reach 60 degrees (F). Anglers should also target deep water near the dam. Crappie caught in this area have been reported to weigh up to 2 lb. Another popular spot for crappie are biting is the area where the powerline crosses the lake. This part of the lake provides excellent habitat for this tasty fish!
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Juliette

Lake Juliette, also known as Rum Creek, is a 3,600-acre Georgia Power Company reservoir located 15 miles north of Macon. The Department of Natural Resources prohibits use of outboard motors greater than 25 hp on th lake. Anglers can use their bass boat and trolling motor to abide by this regulation.  Smaller crowds, an undeveloped shoreline, beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife are the lakes main attractions.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 404-954-4040

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
STRIPED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS & REDEAR SUNFISH
Largemouth bass
Prospect Expect largemouth fishing to compare to recent years. Average bass size will be similar in 2017; expect a good portion of the catch to be in the 12 to 20-inch size range, with a few more 20 to 25-inch fish in the population, but don't be surprised by some quality bass in the 10 to 14-pound range. Anglers should try mid-lake utilizing long points and rock outcroppings. There are no minimum size limits on largemouth bass.  
Technique Consider switching to a lighter less visible line because of the high water clarity. Fish underwater humps on the main lake with soft-plastic jerkbaits, Carolina-rigged plastic worms or lipped deep-diving crankbaits. Try popping top-water plugs on humps and points on the lower lake early in the morning and late in the day. Pitch a watermelon worm fished 30 inches behind a split shot or 1/8-ounce bullet weight to pockets in the vegetation.
Target In the spring, bass spawn in shallow water behind the standing timber on the upper half of the lake. Fish points and humps in the timber on the upper lake. Target the edges of aquatic plant beds where bass tend to concentrate. Expect good catches off points, creek channels and other deep-water structure in the middle portions of the lake in the summer and winter.
Spotted bass
Prospect Spotted bass have been present in Lake Juliette since 2000 when WRD believed they were pumped into the reservoir from the Ocmulgee River. The population has remained relatively stable up until 2006, when an expansion of the population began. Expect most fish caught to be less than 1 pound but with some individuals considerably more. Like largemouth bass in Lake Juliette, there are no minimum size restrictions for spotted bass and anglers are encouraged to harvest all the spots they catch.
Technique Spotted bass are generally found in deeper water than largemouth bass. Casting small crankbaits and spinners along steeper drop-offs can attract spots or top-water lures such as spooks, buzz-baits and propeller lures retrieved quickly can be effective, particularly at night.
Target Spots will be found mainly down-lake where the water is deeper. Target deeper points and fish parallel to the bank at varying depths to locate fish. Night fishing along humps or steeper drop-offs close to shore can produce good catches.
Striped Bass
Prospect Stripers are stocked annually at relatively moderate rates, and thanks to deep-water cooler water temps during summer, a strong fishery has developed. The severe drought in 2016 impacted striped bass populations. Hopefully rain will bring Juliette to full pool level, allowing stripers to recuperate as fishing picks up in spring. DNR has documented trophy-size fish at 40-plus pounds. However, the average size striper is less than 4 to 7 pounds.  
Technique Try trolling creek channels during cooler months, moving to cooler depths located in the main lake during summer. Drifting or fishing on the bottom with live or cut shad has produced some larger catches.
Target Concentrate efforts near the pump discharge located just above the dam when Georgia Power pumps water into the reservoir from the Ocmulgee River. Target the timber topped at 35-foot depths off the dam. Anglers also should target the flooded timber in the upper portion of the lake, especially during the summer. Look for stripers feeding on the flats in the upper end in the springtime
Bream
Prospect Juliette is one of the best lakes in the area for redear sunfish, with large numbers are typical in the spring. 2016 sampling efforts yielded large numbers of readear sunfish. Fall 2016 sampling showed sizes will average around 6 inches, but anglers should expect 6 to 9-inches with some fish greater than 10 inches. Bluegill suffer from stunting and only the occasional hand-sized fish is caught.  
Technique Bluegill, redbreast and redear sunfish can be caught with cane poles or spinning outfits rigged with small hooks, bobbers and split shot using worms or crickets fished at various depths, including the bottom. Fly rods are effective in spring, summer and fall with wet and dry flies. Slowly retrieved small artificial lures such as Beetle Spins Rooster Tails or Shysters also are effective.
Target In spring concentrate on spawning beds in shallow, weedy areas. The upper end of the Juliette around the Holly Grove Boat Ramp offers excellent habitat for anglers seeking redear.
Crappie
Prospect Crappie populations are considered fair, but average catch sizes are often good. The majority of the catch will be in the 9 to 12-inch size range with some quality catches available for anglers.  
Technique Most effective during the spring and early summer are light colored jigs fished in the upper end of the lake, though both natural and artificial baits are effective. Small minnows hooked through the back or lips using long-shanked small hooks are good live bait. Trolling with crappie jigs, Triple Ripples or Hal-flys, and casting small crankbaits also is productive.
Target One of the best places is the area around the Holly Grove boat ramp. During spring, concentrate in the upper ends of coves. At full pool, boats can run along the bank "inside" the timber. Trolling with crappie jigs, Triple Ripples or Hal-flys, and casting small crankbaits around submerged stumps and logs is generally productive for spawning crappie. When the water warms in the summertime, target deeper areas of submerged timber, deep brush in coves, or around deepwater structure.
Yellow Perch
Prospect Yellow perch offer a unique angling opportunity. Juliette produces significant numbers of this unique fish. The majority of fish will average 6-8 inches, with some individuals up to a pound.
Technique Yellow perch can be caught on live or artificial baits. The preferred bait is worms fished on the bottom with light spinning tackle. Yellow perch also can be caught with small minnows.
Target Yellow perch can be caught around aquatic vegetation and the submerged branches of fallen trees and other brush in the water.
Additional Information
WRD first detected blueback herring, a preferred striper bait, in 1999. WRD believes that anglers have released bluebacks into the lake. Anglers are catching bluebacks in cast nets with increasing frequency. Negative impacts of the species include their ability to out-compete other fish for food and their predation on larval fish, including bass less than 1 inch in length. Positive impacts include the potential of the species to provide larger forage for larger predators. WRD monitors the impact of introduced fish like blueback herring in reservoirs. Currently, it is legal to fish with or possess live blueback herring on Lake Juliette. 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier is a 38,000-acre reservoir operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and located about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta.  Lanier receives heavy fishing pressure due to the large regional population. Spotted bass, crappie, striped bass and catfish are favorite targets of Lake Lanier anglers.

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  ph. 770-945-9531

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Click here to read about turnover on Lake Lanier.

Best Bets
SPOTTED BASS, STRIPED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS, BLACK CRAPPIE, & WALLEYE
Largemouth bass
Prospect Largemouth Bass are relatively abundant in the upper areas of the reservoir, especially north of Bolling and Thompson bridges and their associated backwater sections, where shallow water and downed trees are prevalent. The minimum size limit for largemouth bass is 14-inches.  
Technique During the winter months, live baits and slow-moving artificial baits are effective when fished in the right locations. A popular winter technique is pitching jigs into blowdowns or working a SuperSpin, jerkbait, or crankbait in the creek channels and underwater road beds. When the wind is blowing strong, target the windblown rip-rap banks, especially those with stained water conditions. The wind tends to cause threadfin shad and blueback herring to stack up near the rip-rap. Cast parallel to the bank with lures that imitate shad including jerkbaits, crankbaits, and SuperSpins with a boot-tail trailer. 

As the water warms in the spring Largemouth Bass move into shallow water to spawn and are more easily targeted. They will hold close to cover such as docks, woody debris, and other hard structures. Soft plastic worms, shaky head, lipless crankbaits, and flukes are suitable springtime baits. To target bigger fish, fish in slightly deeper water adjacent to likely spawning areas. 

There are two very different summertime approaches to catching largemouth bass on Lanier. The tried and true method is to fish deep water structure with SuperSpins tipped with a soft plastic swimbait. A second approach involves casting swim baits, flukes, and topwater baits over humps during the early morning hours. 

When the water temperature starts to cool down during the fall months, Largemouth Bass will feed aggressively on shad, bream and crayfish. Cast topwater baits like a Spook, Sammy or even Fluke into surface feeding bass. Work downed timber with crankbaits and soft plastics or use jigs and spoons on rocky banks and secondary points. 

Live bait such as nightcrawlers, crayfish, and shiners can be very effective for Largemouth Bass when fishing from the bank or a boat.
Target The upper end of both river arms and its feeder coves contain the highest number of largemouth bass. Because largemouth bass orient to structure, finding their hiding places is the key to catching them on Lake Lanier. 

In the winter, Largemouth Bass will typically be in deeper water along creek channels or tucked deep within the tangle of submerged tree branches. During spring, bass will move into shallow water to spawn near tree stumps, rock outcroppings or other visible structure. Warm summer temperatures drive largemouth bass into deeper water in the 20-ft depth range along points and in the tops of standing timber. As fall approaches, Largemouth Bass will roam all types of habitats in search of shad and herring, so anglers need to use a run and gun approach to locate feeding fish.
Spotted bass
Prospect Lake Lanier supports an abundant Spotted Bass population with plenty of fish over the 14-inch minimum size limit. Spotted bass in the two-pound range are common and fish exceeding four pounds are often found on the end of the line.  
Technique Spotted Bass feed on a wide variety of prey items; therefore, every angler’s tackle box should include a variety of baits and lures. Among the hundreds of options, there are a handful of proven selections. 

Spotted Bass can be targeted similarly to striped bass throughout the summer using blueback herring on downlines and flat lines. Nightcrawlers, crayfish, and shiners are viable options for spotted bass as well, and will likely increase success rates for shore anglers. 

Spotted Bass may feed at the surface on herring and shad just about any time of the year, but spring and fall are your best bets for topwater action. The erratic action of a Super Fluke or "walking the dog" with a Spook or Sammy are among the favorite tactics of Lanier anglers. Often times, the biggest fish are hiding in slightly deeper water below the main school. 

When spotted bass are not roaming the open water, they are usually hunkered down in a brushpile or some other type of structure with vertical relief. This is a typical pattern for both summer and winter and this is the time to pull out the soft plastic tube worms, finesse worms and Senko worms. Many successful Lanier anglers use drop shot and Shaky Head techniques to catch spots that are holding tight to structure. 

Crankbaits and jerk baits in shad colors also play an important role for spotted bass anglers. On windy days in late-winter, baitfish stack up near rip-rap. Anglers should fish parallel to the windy side of rip-rap. During the spawning months of April and May, spotted bass will take a variety of shallow-running lures, jerkbaits, and SuperSpins when fished near their spawning beds. Crankbaits are effective during the fall months when fished on long, rocky points.
Target During the winter, spotted bass will follow schools of baitfish into pockets of warmer water that occur near rocky outcroppings, rip-rap embankments, muddy water and warm water discharges. 

April and May is the spawning season for spotted bass. Spotted bass typically spawn on rocky banks in 5 to 15-ft of water. Cast shallow running baits, floating worms, or bottom bouncing soft plastics along rocky banks, around boat docks, reef marker points and fallen trees. 

During the summer months, spotted bass will feed on small shad or herring at the surface in the early morning hours. During the day, use a high resolution electronic fish finder to locate brushpiles in 20 to 40-ft of water on the lower half of the lake. Patiently working every fishable inch of a brushpile can provoke some quality spots into taking the bait. 

During the fall, spotted bass are transitioning back to the surface. Look for surface activity early and late in the day. During midday, use deepwater presentations on points and fallen trees.
Striped Bass
Prospect The striped bass population of Lake Lanier is maintained by DNR’s annual stocking program. Over the past six years, several strong year-classes were produced. As a result, striped bass in the 8 to 10 lb range should be abundant this year. In addition, stripers approaching 20 lb will also provide quite a few thrills for many striper anglers. Early reports have indicated that there will be plenty of young striped bass eager to bite this year as, which is great if you have a junior angler on the boat. If you have never tried striped bass fishing before, this year on Lake Lanier is a good time and place to start!  
Technique Striped bass feed almost exclusively on shad and herring. Live-lining, down-lining, or trolling with planer boards, down riggers or lead core line are common ways that Lanier anglers present live blueback herring and gizzard shad to striped bass. Bucktail jigs, flukes, swim baits, Spooks and umbrella rigs are suitable alternatives to live bait. 

The winter months are the prime time to catch big fish on Lake Lanier using a variety of methods, including shallow water techniques, whereas the summer provides the highest numbers of fish in deep water using live baits. Live baits such as blueback herring, large gizzard shad and even rainbow trout are preferred by most of Lanier striper anglers and guides, but flukes and bucktail jigs will also produce good results.
Target The baits and lures used to catch striped bass are simple and fairly straightforward to use, but the challenge comes in knowing where to use them and how deep to fish them. Understanding the seasonal migration patterns of striped bass in Lake Lanier will give you an advantage. Supplementing that understanding with good electronic sonar and navigation equipment will increase your chances even more. 

During the winter months, baitfish and the stripers that follow them are drawn to areas of warmer water. Fish the points and flats in coves on the upper end of the lake that have stained water. Also, troll through areas where you observe sea gulls diving on bait at the surface. 

From late-winter through spring, striped bass cruise the banks in fairly shallow water, especially in the early morning and evening hours. This is a good time of year to cast bucktails or flukes around points and adjacent flats. Trolling live herring or big gizzard shad behind planer boards in the backs of coves is another effective approach for catching shallow water stripers. 

In the summer months, striped bass retreat to deeper, cooler water on the lower half of the lake. Stripers typically suspend in the tops of the submerged timber adjacent to the river channel. Good sonar and navionics are essential tools for finding stripers in their summer habitat. Once a school is located, downline herring into the school or use heavy jigs. Trolling herring behind lead core line is a good scouting technique for deepwater stripers during the summer. 

In the fall months, striped bass return to the surface and feed on small shad and herring. Look for diving sea gulls and surface feeding activity near the river channel on the lower half of the lake. Surface activity is usually greatest on cloudy and rainy days. Downsizing to small jigs and bucktails is an effective approach when stripers are feeding on small baitfish.
Crappie
Prospect The abundance of crappie in most reservoirs sporadically rises and falls in response to various environmental conditions and Lake Lanier’s crappie population is no exception. This year, anglers should catch good numbers of crappie in the 8 to 10-inch size range but larger crappie are less abundant than usual. Late February through April is the best time to catch crappie on Lake Lanier  
Technique The best baits for catching crappie are live minnows and 1/8 oz crappie jigs. Good electronics with side scan sonar will help you locate schools of pre-spawn crappie suspended underneath boat docks.
Target Based on DNR sampling, the upper Chattahoochee arm (Clarks Bridge to Lula Bridge) as well as Thompson Creek and Taylor Creek contain the highest numbers of crappie. Anglers should target these coves as well as other similar habitats in the upper end of the reservoir. 

During the winter months, crappie congregate in creek channels containing deep water timber and other vertical structure. Slow trolling jigs over these structures is the best wintertime tactic. 

The highest numbers of crappie are caught when the water temperature rises in early-spring. During this season, crappie will stage under boat docks, creek channels and underwater road beds in 10-15 feet of water before moving into the shallows to spawn. By early-April crappie move into 2-3 feet of water around visible submerged cover near bridges, downed trees, emergent vegetation, and backwater coves. During the fall, large numbers of crappie will congregate in submerged timber in 20 to 40-feet of water.
Walleye
Prospect A walleye population occurs in Lake Lanier that is maintained by DNR’s effort to stock low numbers of fingerlings each spring. Anglers have their best success at catching Lanier walleyes from February to April when hundreds of fish move into the headwaters of the lake. For the remainder of the year, anglers occasionally catch walleye while fishing for bass, stripers and sometimes crappie.
Technique Fishing for walleye requires simple baits and simple tactics. The "go to" walleye bait is a nightcrawler and the "go to" tactic is doing whatever it takes to get that nightcrawler in front of a walleye’s nose for as long as possible. There are three basic options for fishing the nightcrawler. 

When walleye are holding tight to downed trees, simply hook the nightcrawler through the middle of its body, attach a split shot about 18-inches up the line, and then allow the bait to fall into the branches. Move the bait ever so slowly through the branches and then along the bottom. If you suspect a strike, give the walleye plenty of time before setting the hook. During the summer months, walleye hold tight to brushpiles in 25 to 40-feet of water. A drop shot technique is an effective way to get the worm in front of a hungry walleye. Remember to slowly hop the worm in and around every crevice of the brushpile using a vertical presentation. Anglers can also troll a nightcrawler using a bottom bouncer or Lindy rig set up. Putting an in-line spinner blade in front of the hook will increase your chances of enticing a walleye to strike. 

There are some artificial lures that should also have a place in your walleye arsenal. During the spawning period (late-February to early-April), slowly troll crankbaits on the bottom of the river channel. No.7 Shad Raps in a crayfish, herring, perch or fire tiger color patterns are effective. When spawning walleye are in the shoals, cast topwater and subsurface lures, like a Rapala or curly-tailed grub in white, yellow or chartreuse colors. Use a slow and steady retrieve and allow the lure to make frequent contact with the rocks. Jigs are also a good substitute for nightcrawlers anytime of the year.
Target In February, walleye begin their annual migration to the headwater spawning areas in the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers. Several anglers have reported catching walleye in the Clarks Bridge area of the Chattahoochee River with jigging spoons and nightcrawlers in February. In March and early-April, walleye are in the shoal areas that are scattered throughout the headwaters. Shallow draft boats are essential for fishing these areas but bank fishing opportunities are also available at Mud Creek off Pea Ridge Road and upstream of the GA 400 Bridge at Lumpkin County Park. 

In April and May, walleye move back down into the upper reaches of the main lake. Walleye will frequently tuck into the branches of fallen trees and will also ambush spottail shiners in the mudlines that develop on wind-blown clay points. During the summer, walleye move further down the lake and typically hideout in brushpiles located near the river channel in 25 to 40-feet of water. Walleye can also be caught at night during the summer and throughout the fall by targeting main lake points. Walleye move into the shallows at night to feed on small bream. Cast crankbaits or jigs tipped with a shiner or worm to the bank and work it with a slow and steady retrieve.
Other Species
Prospect Channel catfish, bluegill and carp also are available, especially for shoreline anglers. Channel cats average about 1 pound and can be caught using nightcrawlers or chicken livers when fished near rocky banks or steeps banks with structure. Bluegills weighing between 1/4 to 1/3 lb can be caught from the shoreline during April and May using crickets or red wigglers. Carp are fun to hook in shallow water and readily take prepared catfish baits, corn, and dough balls when they are in shallow water during the spring months. White Bass stockings began in Lake Lanier in 2016 to help restore the population. As the White Bass mature, they should provide an excellent river run fishery in the spring and schooling topwater action in coming years.
Additional Information
Lake level and boat ramp information are available from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website at http://lanier.uslakes.info/Level.asp

A large fishing tournament facility constructed by Hall County and GA-DNR at Laurel Park is available. To book this facility, please contact Hall County Parks and Recreation Department at 770-535-8280. 

Additional Lake Lanier fishing reports can be accessed via the Georgia Outdoor News Forum (scroll down to the Fishing section): http://forum.gon.com

Anglers who are new to Lake Lanier should consider an internet search of "Lake Lanier Fishing Clubs" and visit one or more of these clubs to enhance their angling success rates. 

A walleye fishing guidebook is available at no cost.

For up to date fishing reports on Lake Lanier and around the state of Georgia be sure to visit georgiawildlife.wordpress.com 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Nottely

Lake Nottely is a 4,180-acre Tennessee Valley Authority reservoir located in Union County near Blairsville. The lake's relatively fertile water supports a diverse fish community.

Contact Information

Tennessee Valley Authority:  ph. 423-751-2264

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Fish attractor data (updated Oct. 2014) for this reservoir is available for you to upload into your fishfinder or other GPS devices, or view in free online mapping applications. The data is compatible with many brands including Lowrance, Humminbird, Garmin and Magellan to name a few.

Instructions are here on how to use the data.

Download the zipped data.

Best Bets
SPOTTED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS, STRIPED BASS & CRAPPIE
Largemouth bass
Prospect Largemouth bass are not as abundant as spotted bass in Lake Nottely. Within the lake, the highest numbers of largemouth bass occur in the upper reaches of the main lake and its associated coves. These areas provide the shallow water and downed trees that are preferred by largemouth bass. Recent bass surveys by DNR indicated that the average largemouth bass weighs around 1 1/2 lb.  
Technique Largemouth bass feed on a variety of organisms including small sunfish, crayfish and blueback herring. The live baits listed above or artificial baits that imitate these natural food sources will be the key to success. During the winter, when bass are lethargic, slow-moving presentations like pig and jig combinations can produce big bass when worked around fallen trees and along creek channels. In general, bass will bite better in the afternoon when the water temperature reaches its daily peak. 

Bass spawn in April and May in shallow water near visible structure. Shallow running lures, jerk baits and plastic lizards are effective during the spawning period when worked around visible structure. In the summer, largemouth bass retreat to deeper water in the 20 to 40-feet depth range. Drop shot and Carolina rigged soft plastics worked along points are a good choice for summer largemouths. The fall presents another set of challenges as bass transition from their deep-water summer hiding places in search of food to build their fat reserves for the winter ahead. Blueback herring are their primary food source during the fall months. Cover a lot of water in the major coves and around the dam during the early morning and evening with crankbaits, spinner baits and jerk baits that imitate blueback herring. During the day, fish the points with crankbaits and pig and jig combinations that imitate crayfish.
Target Largemouth bass typically prefer coves and small pockets in the upper half of the lake. Bass are especially attracted to visible cover such as trees, rocks and boathouses as well as to underwater creek channels and points. Higher numbers of largemouth bass occur in the backwater areas of Ivy Log Creek and Young Cane Creek as well as the small pockets that occur in the upper reaches of the lake, including the shallow cover that occurs from the Canal Lake Boat Ramp upstream to the Nottely River. The rocky face along Nottely Dam is a good secondary alternative.
Spotted bass
Prospect Spotted bass are abundant in Lake Nottely and far outnumber largemouth bass. Small fish under 12-inches are plentiful but anglers will also catch a number of spots in the 2 lb range. There is no size limit on spotted bass in Lake Nottely, so anglers are encouraged to harvest small fish in hopes of reducing their numbers and promoting better growth in the spotted bass population.  
Technique During the winter months, spotted bass seem to take live baits more readily than artificial baits. Target visible structure on the main lake, the rip-rap face of the dam, and rocky points with either live herring or various pig’n jig combinations with a crayfish profile. The highest number of spots will be boated in April and May. Hard and soft-bodied jerk baits, floating worms, tubes and even spinner baits should be fished around visible structure such as downed trees and boat houses as well as on rocky banks on the lower half of the lake. During the summer and fall months, spotted bass will chase small blueback herring at the surface during the early morning. After mid-morning, spots will retreat to deeper water hideouts such as brushpiles, fish attractors, and rocky points. Drop shot or Shaky Head on vertical structure with finesse worms or dragging Carolina-rigged worms across a rocky bottom are your best bait options this time of year.
Target Spotted bass are open water predators and will follow the schools of blueback herring throughout the year. The steep rocky points on the lower half of the lake and along the rocky face of the dam are prime habitats for spotted bass. During the winter, spotted bass will follow blueback herring along the dam. Drifting live herring or slowly working jerk baits along the dam are effective techniques for catching sluggish spotted bass during the winter time. Spotted bass move into shallow water in April and May to spawn. Fast moving, shallow running lures and jerk baits are very effective this time of year. Target fallen trees and other visible structures. In the summer and fall months, spotted bass typically seek deeper water on the steep, rocky shorelines on the lower lake. Also watch for surface feeding spotted bass during the early morning and evening in the vicinity of the dam. Spotted bass will concentrate on a number of DNR’s artificial structures placed around the lake.
Striped Bass
Prospect DNR annually stocks Lake Nottely with striped bass fingerlings. Survival of the young stockers from year-to-year determines the overall abundance of the striped bass population. Over the past three years, survival was better than average, which translates to more stripers for anglers to catch. This year, striped bass in the 2 to 8 lb range are abundant and will overshadow the number of trophy stripers that Lake Nottely is famous for producing.  
Technique Striped bass in Lake Nottely feed on blueback herring and gizzard shad. A good electronic fish finder coupled with an understanding of the seasonal movement patterns of these bait species will greatly increase your chances of catching a Nottely striper. 

In the winter months, drifting live herring or gizzard shad at various depths near the dam is the most likely place to find stripers during the cold weather. Anglers may also want to pull live bait along the shoreline upstream of Canal Lake. 

From late March through May, stripers will move into creek channels and even into the Nottely River channel. Casting flukes and bucktail jigs, or trolling live herring behind planer boards are all effective methods for catching stripers during the spring. 

In the summer, stripers retreat to deep water in search of cooler temperatures. As summer progresses, striped bass will migrate toward the dam. Once a school of stripers is located on the sonar, drop herring into the school with a vertical presentation or troll through the school at the appropriate depth using lead core line. By mid-October, stripers will return to the surface and feed on small, young herring. Look for surface feeding fish on the lower lake during low light conditions. During the day, return to downlining and trolling methods to catch suspended fish over deep water.
Target The biggest key to your success at catching striped bass is knowing where to fish and how deep to present your bait. Because striped bass roam the entire lake, good electronics with contour lines are essential tools for the striper angler. 

In the winter months, striped bass are looking for warmer water. Stained water absorbs heat and so do rocks; therefore, search for wintertime stripers at the face of the dam and in the backs of coves. 

From February to May, striped bass frequently cruise the shoreline in search of herring. Look for feeding activity on the points and flats from the mouth of Ivy Log and Youngcane Creeks and continue trolling all the way to the back and even into the creek itself. You may be surprised to find huge stripers in just a few feet of water. Also look for stripers in other places such as Chastain Branch and in the Nottely River. Pulling fresh baits on a live line or behind planer boards is your best bet this time of year. If the wind is blowing, concentrate your efforts on windblown points in these same coves and along the main river channel in the upper half of the lake between the Deavertown boat ramp and Canal Lake Boat Ramp. Anglers can also fish for stripers from shore at Meeks Park when fish are migrating into the river from late-March to mid-May. 

In the summer months, striped bass seek out deeper water on the lower end of the lake. You will often find them holding close to the bottom in 35 to 50-feet of water or suspended at this depth range over the river channel. Thanks to TVA’s deepwater oxygen injection system, stripers will hold near the system’s "bubble line" located near the dam in late-summer. Down lining and trolling live baits on lead core line are your best summer tactics. 

Once the water starts cooling down in October, stripers will feed on the surface on the lower half of the lake during low light conditions on small blueback herring. During the day, they will retreat to the deeper points in this same general area.
Crappie
Prospect Anglers enjoy fishing for black crappie in Lake Nottely. This spring, anglers should catch plenty of crappie in the 8 to 10-inch size range.  
Technique Minnows and minnow-tipped jigs are the most effective baits for catching crappie. Small curly-tailed jigs or hair jigs are suitable alternatives for those who prefer fishing with artificial lures.
Target Crappie are most abundant from Reece Creek to Canal Lake but good numbers of crappie also occur in the backwater areas and pockets of the major coves like Ivy Log, Youngcane Creek, Jacks Creek and Chastain Branch. When the water begins to warm up in March, a good fish finder will help you locate crappie in about 15-feet of water in the creek channels and underneath boathouses. By April, crappie move into very shallow water to spawn around visible structure like downed trees. For the remainder of the year, crappie typically reside in deeper water near submerged structure, especially timber and among DNR’s fish attractors.
Other Species
Prospect Fishable populations of bream, catfish and carp also occur in Lake Nottely. From May to September, anglers should target spawning beds on sandy bottoms near creek mouths and adjacent flats in 4 to 10-feet of water. Live earthworms, crickets or small jigs are effective bream baits. Shoreline fishing opportunities are also available at Meeks Park. 

For catfish, target the rocky bottoms located in the upper half of the reservoir. Chicken liver, nightcrawlers, commercial baits and even marshmallows and hot dogs will catch catfish. During early spring, many channel catfish move far upstream into the Nottely River. Anglers should target the deeper holes of the river. Flathead catfish are also present in Lake Nottely. To target large flathead catfish, fish with live bream around large downed trees on rocky banks. Flathead seem to be more abundant upstream of Youngcane Creek. 

Carp are plentiful in Lake Nottely and can be great fun to catch. Entice carp with prepared catfish baits, corn or dough balls in shoreline areas adjacent to the Jacks Creek boat ramp, Deavertown ramp and Canal Lake Boat Ramp. To increase your chances of catching carp, anglers should consider baiting a hole with one to two gallons of whole kernel corn a day or two before you plan to fish.
Additional Information
The WRD fisheries staff and U.S. Forest Service work together each year to place artificial fish attractors at selected cove sites around the lake. For information concerning attractor locations call the Wildlife Resources Division office at 770-535-5498. 

The website for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is http://www.tva.gov

Anglers can fish for stripers, carp and catfish from shore during the springtime at Meeks Park.
For up to date fishing reports on Lake Nottely and around the state of Georgia be sure to visit georgiawildlife.wordpress.com 
 
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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 aggressively when water is moving through the dam.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 706-485-8704

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bet
LAREGMOUTH BASS, BLACK CRAPPIE, HYBRID-STRIPED BASS, BLUE CATFISH, CHANNEL CATFISH & WHITE BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect A 14-inch minimum length limit regulation is currently in effect on largemouth bass. The regulation went into effect in September 2014 and replaces the old 11 to 14-inch slot limit regulation. Oconee continues to be a very productive reservoir and it's popularity with both recreational and tournament anglers is a great 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 several in the 4 to 5 pound range.  
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 2016 fall gill net survey and a number of 5-10 pounders are available. Results from a 2012 angler input meeting indicated 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.  
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 2016 spring electrofishing and fall gill net surveys.  
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 at rates similar to past years. Results from a angler input meeting in 2012 indicated 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 2016 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.  
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 good numbers of smaller to medium size channel catfish, but the catfish populations have shifted 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. Over the past several years, many fish over the 40 pound mark have been caught. Flathead catfish populations continue to be stable, and numbers of 10 to 15 pound fish are common, with some over 40 pounds.  
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 2016 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.  
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.
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Lake Oliver

Located on the Chattahoochee River, the Georgia Power Company operates this 2,150-acre reservoir.  Recreational boating can be popular during the summer, but anglers usually do not encounter heavy boating traffic during early spring and late fall.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 706-317-6042

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Fish attractor data (updated Oct. 2014) for this reservoir is available for you to upload into your fishfinder or other GPS devices, or view in free online mapping applications. The data is compatible with many brands including Lowrance, Humminbird, Garmin and Magellan to name a few.

Instructions are here on how to use the data.

Download the zipped data.

Best Bets
BLACK BASS, BREAM, & CRAPPIE
Black Bass
Prospect Both largemouth and spotted bass are abundant (around 50% each). Expect average largemouth catches up to 1 pound. Spots should average 6-10 inches and weigh under 1/2 pound. No size restrictions on spotted bass.  
Technique Good bait for bass are plastic worms, crankbaits, buzzbaits, and spinners.
Target For largemouth and spotted bass, target boat docks and fishing piers, but do not overlook rocky points, small coves and stumpy areas. In general, search for spots in deeper water than largemouth bass.
Catfish
Prospect Channel catfish are in good supply and are in good condition. Most cats will be in the 16-24 inch range and weigh over 2 pounds.  
Technique Stink and cut baits, and night crawlers are effective.
Target For catfish, fish bait on or near the bottom in the river channel. Also, try fishing holes off docks where structure can be found.
Bream
Prospect Fishing for bluegill and redear sunfish is popular at Lake Oliver. Expect good bluegill fishing from April through May, with the average catch at 5-7 inches and 1/4 to 1/3 pound. Redear sunfish are larger, with some averaging closer to 1/2 pound.  
Technique Live worms work best. Crickets also are effective. Small black curly tail jugs also work.
Target Target the backs of protected coves and sloughs for the best bream spots. Brush piles and structure also hold bream especially around the shoreline. Fish for summertime bream early in the morning.
Crappie
Prospect Black Crappie anglers should do well with most catches averaging 1/3 to 1/2 pound. Dedicated anglers can expect the occasional lunker size catch.  
Technique Various plastic jigs are preferred, but live minnows also are effective. In early spring, troll for crappie on the lower end of the lake.
Target Favorite spots: the mouth of Standing Boy Creek and under Standing Boy Creek Bridge; the boat dock at Green Island Marina.
Other Species
Prospect A few stripers can be caught on Lake Oliver. Most will be in the 12 to 20 inch range.
Technique Fishing with live shad is the most effective way of catching linesides. Jigs and spoons also can be effective. The observant angler can often locate schools of feeding stripers by watching for seagulls diving into the water for baitfish.
Target In the spring, try fishing for stripers in the tailrace of Goat Rock Dam. During the rest of the year stripers are usually found throughout the lake.
Additional Information
Additional fishing information can be obtained from City Marina at 706-653-4634. The City Marina has docks, fishing pier, and a bait and tackle store that also serves food. 

Georgia Power has access to the Oliver tailrace area on the North Highland impoundment. Access is located just off the Columbus River Walk trailhead next to Oliver Dam and City Marina. 

Generating schedules and lake level information is available by calling Georgia Power at 706-317-6000.
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Lake Rabun

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.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 706-782-4014

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, SPOTTED BASS, BREAM & WALLEYE
Largemouth Bass
Prospect The abundance of largemouth bass in Lake Rabun is near a record high; so, anglers should enjoy above average catch rates. Bass in the 2 lb range dominated DNR samples and will also likely dominate the angler catch. Small largemouths less than 10-inches are super abundant and will ensure good catch rates for several years to come.  
Technique Bass in Lake Rabun will take advantage of any opportunity to grab a blueback herring, so fishing with live herring will usually out catch manufactured baits. When selecting artificial lures, anglers should choose designs that look and move like a distressed herring, but those lure choices may vary seasonally. 

During the spring and fall months, cast a big-bladed spinner bait with a white skirt or a 3/8-oz jig-head tipped with a fluke around hard structures like boat docks, downed trees, and rock sea walls. When fast moving subsurface lures are not attracting strikes, drop shot finesse worms into brush piles or use a Carolina rig to bounce soft plastics along creek channels, ledges and points. 

When the water temperature drops below 55 degrees, largemouth bass will hold tight to woody structure and rocks in 5 to 15-feet of water. Bass tend to be more active in the late afternoon after the sun has warmed up the water a bit. Under these conditions, floating a live shiner under a cork or pitching a pig-and-jig with a crayfish trailer are effective tactics.
Target The highest catch rates for largemouth bass 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, 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 at the surface over open water during the early morning and evening. 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 during the fall months.
Spotted bass
Prospect The number of spotted bass in Lake Rabun will be typical for this reservoir, but anglers can tip the odds in their favor by targeting the lower end of the lake where spotted bass are much more abundant. Anglers should be pleased to know that spotted bass over 3 lb will be more abundant this year. Spotted bass under 10-inches are also numerous and will maintain the fishery in the coming years.
Technique Spotted bass are generally aggressive feeders that take a variety of natural and artificial baits. In the winter months, spotted bass feed less frequently but they will still take advantage of any opportunity to grab 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. Slow moving pig & jig combos tipped with a crayfish trailer can also be effective at times, especially when fished around rocky bottoms and main lake points. 

In April and May, spotted bass spawn in shallow water ranging from 5 to 15-feet deep. Soft-bodied jerk baits, shallow-running plugs, floating worms, and plastic lizards are effective when cast near visible structures where bass nests are visible. Live nightcrawlers, crayfish and shiners are effective natural bait alternatives when fish are holding tight to their nests and seem reluctant to take an artificial lure. 

In the summer months, spotted bass will roam the open waters in search of schooling blueback herring. These schools are often located at depths from 20 to 30-feet deep. Anglers should use their sonar to locate brushpiles in this depth zone and then methodically work each brushpile with drop shot tactics. 

During the fall months, spotted bass gorge on blueback herring at the surface over open water during early morning and evening. Cast topwater baits into surface feeding activity 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 or drop shot with finesse worms.
Target In the winter months, spotted bass 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 crankbaits or even Alabama 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. 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 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, Alabama 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.
Bream
Prospect Lake Rabun supports fair 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. Among this sunfish trio, redbreast is the smallest and least abundant of the three species, whereas shellcrackers are the largest and frequently reach weights over 1 lb.
Technique 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.
Target 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 $5 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. Dabble worms or crickets around the dock pilings that are covered in shade.
Walleye
Prospect Walleye stocked into Lake Rabun in 2015 are doing exceptionally well and currently dominate the population. Walleye from that successful stocking will approach 2 lb this year but larger walleyes are also present. A new state record walleye was caught from Lake Rabun in 2016, weighing 14 lb 2 oz. This record fish is a testimony to Lake Rabun’s trophy walleye potential.  
Technique 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 trolling crankbaits in perch, shad or crayfish color patterns. 

From June to September, walleye transition to a summer pattern. In the summer, walleye migrate to deeper water near the dam and into coves in search of cooler temperatures. Troll crankbaits, live herring or drag nightcrawlers slowly along the bottom at depths near 30 feet. If you detect bottom structure on sonar, then fish the structure thoroughly using tactics similar to crappie fishing by working crappie minnows in and among its nooks and crannies. 

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 with nightcrawlers and minnows using the summer tactics.
Target 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 on which walleye are feeding. Be sure to cast nightcrawlers or herring into brushpiles as you encounter them. Walleye will be tucked under the branches, but will pop out to grab an easy meal.
Additional Information
A walleye fishing guidebook is available at no cost on the Wildlife Resources Division website at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/Fisheries/Walleye?cat=2. Click on the link at the bottom of this webpage to download the guidebook. 

More information about Lake Rabun is available from Georgia Power. The Georgia Power website is http://www.georgiapower.com/lakes 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Randy Poynter Lake

Randy Poynter is a 650-acre reservoir constructed to meet the water needs of Rockdale County and is located about six miles north of Conyers on Black Shoals Road in Black Shoals Park. The park is open six days a week, and is closed on Wednesdays.  Hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Daylight Savings) and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. the remainder of the year. Gasoline motors are prohibited on the lake.

Contact Information

Black Shoals Park: ph. 770-761-1611

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, BREAM, CRAPPIE, CHANNEL CATFISH & HYBRID BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect Randy Poynter Lake continues to have a reputation for producing quality size-bass. However, due to vast amounts of granite bedrock in its watershed, Randy Poynter Lake is relatively clear and may not be as productive as other area reservoirs, so anglers can expect to catch fewer bass per hour of fishing. Nice catches of bass in the spring and fall are very common, with more than 40 percent greater than 14 inches.  
Technique The lake is deep with fast tapering banks, and the water is normally very clear, so lighter line may be useful. One of the few flats in the lake is located directly across from the boat ramp where an old road bed lies. Bass seem to use the roadbed as a transportation corridor. Focus on blowdowns and standing timber. Crankbaits, spinner baits, buzz baits, Flukes, Rat-L-Traps, plastic worms and jerkbaits fished around cover or structure such as creek channels, points and standing timber can produce good results.
Target Springtime will produce the highest numbers and sizes of bass as they move into shallower water to spawn. Starting off the bank in deeper water and then working towards the bank is the best way to locate these fish. Woody debris along the shoreline and shallow humps in the lake are good areas to target.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect Hybrid bass continue to be stocked annually to provide anglers with additional opportunities. Anglers can expect good numbers of fish in the 14 to 16-inch range, however, catches over 20 inches (6-8 pounds) are possible. Shad populations continue to appear abundant, which should contribute to better hybrid bass growth rates.  
Technique Live bait, cut bait, chicken liver, jigging spoons, rooster tails, rattle traps and small crankbaits are recommended.
Target Fish in deeper water near the creek channels and dam area. Keep an eye to the surface as hybrid striped bass chase shad around the surface, providing some exciting fishing action.
Bream
Prospect Redear sunfish (shellcracker) and bluegill offer the best fishing for sunfish during the spawns in spring and early summer. Redear sunfish average about 8 inches in length, but some 12 inches and longer are available. Expect bluegill to run smaller than the redear sunfish, with an average size of about 5-6 inches.  
Technique Fish red wigglers, night crawlers or crickets. Small spinners (1/8 or 1/16 ounce) like Rooster tail or Panther Martins also are effective.
Target Expect best results during the spawns in spring and early summer. Redear sunfish generally spawn in mid to late April. Bluegill will spawn multiple times beginning in May through early summer. The best areas to target are the backs of shallower coves and pockets near their spawning beds, which look like small round craters.
Crappie
Prospect Randy Poynter Lake is known for producing good catches of black crappie. The crappie population is healthy with strong reproductive rates. Expect crappie to average 8-10 inches, with some fish larger than 12 inches. Black crappie should weigh around 1/2 to 3/4 pound this spring, with some fish up to 1 1/2 pounds. Fish from February to May for larger numbers and larger fish.  
Technique Use minnows and jigs in deeper water near creek channels and around standing timber. Crappie will gradually move to shallower water as temperatures approach 60 degrees (F).
Target In March and April, crappie concentrate in areas like the 16-plus acres of standing timber found throughout the reservoir. Crappie will gradually move to shallower water as temperatures reach 60 degrees (F). Crappie fishing generally peaks sometime in April, depending on water temperatures. Furthermore, some large numbers of fish also are caught during the fall season.
Other Species
Prospect WRD has routinely stocked the lake with channel catfish when hatcheries have productive seasons and additional fish are available. Channel catfish should average 2-3 pounds, however, these fish can reach larger sizes.
Technique Catfish readily take nightcrawers, cut bait, chicken livers or prepared catfish bait (blood bait). Fish with a bobber or straight-line to the bottom. Anglers fishing from the piers at Black Shoals Park and along the shoreline have caught some large catfish over the years.
Target Target deeper water near old creek channels and timber during the spring through fall.
Additional Information
Directions: From I-20, take Exit 82 (Hwy. 138) north to Sigman Rd. Turn left and then right on Hwy. 20 north. Travel 5.3 miles and turn right on Bethel Rd. In about one mile, turn left onto Black Shoals Rd. into the Park. 

Park hours change depending on the season. Call (770) 278-7529 for up-to-date information. Park is closed on Wednesdays. 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Richard B. Russell 

This 26,650-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir is nestled between Lakes Hartwell and Clarks Hill on the Savannah River.  Shoreline development is forbidden, making this one of the more pristine reservoirs in Georgia.

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  ph. 1-800-944-7207

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, SPOTTED BASS, BLACK CRAPPIE & STRIPED BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect Expect fishing to be consistent with last years catch. Similar numbers and sizes were seen in the 2016 electrofishing survey. Increased numbers of spotted bass make it more difficult to find and target largemouth bass in some areas. Concentrate in areas such as Beaverdam Creek, Coldwater Creek and Pickens Creek.  
Technique Popular year-round baits include spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, topwater baits, jig-head worms, jigs and other plastic baits. These baits can be fished around standing timber, main-lake points, river channel markers, offshore humps, riprap and rocky areas and around lay-down trees.
Target During winter months, fish crankbaits, jigs and other deeper plastics around standing timber and deeper main-lake points. Also, concentrate on deeper fish following large schools of baitfish with jigging spoons and drop shot rigs. In the spring, use jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and shallower plastics focusing on shallower standing timber and secondary points. During summer, use deeper plastics and drop shot rigs on main-lake points and creek channels. Night fishing during this time of year is popular. In the fall, fish spinnerbaits and crankbaits in the backs of creek arms, as fish migrate following baitfish.
Spotted bass
Prospect The population of spotted bass continues to expand. Numbers of fish are up and targeting spotted bass has become easier than largemouth bass. Spotted bass can now be found throughout the reservoir. The average spotted bass during the 2016 electrofishing survey was around 1 pound, however 2 to 3-pound fish are available.  
Technique Popular baits include smaller crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jig-head worms, drop shot rigs and soft plastics. These baits can be used around standing timber, main-lake points, river channel markers and off shore humps.
Target During winter, fish smaller jigs, deeper plastics, jig-head worms, drop shot rigs and jigging spoons. Concentrate on deeper areas such as creek channels, ditches, main-lake points and rocky areas. In the spring, use jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, jig-head worms and drop shot rigs. Focus on main-lake points, secondary points and standing timber. Throughout summer, use jig-head worms, drop shot rigs and deeper plastics along deeper main-lake areas, off shore humps, rip-rap areas and bridges. In the fall, fish smaller crankbaits, jerkbaits, jig-head worms and drop shot rigs. Fish areas such as main-lake points, river channel markers, off shore humps and bridges.
Striped Bass
Prospect A special striped bass regulation is in place at Lake Russell to manage the striped bass population as a trophy fishery. The striped bass regulation at Lake Russell is two (2) striped bass or hybrid bass per day, only one (1) of which can exceed 34 inches in length. With the special regulation in place, striped bass have been stocked at very low densities every third year (cycle began in 2011) to facilitate reaching management goals. Continue to expect striped bass catch rates to be low. However, expect the average striped bass to be in the 12 to 15 pound range, with many over the 25 pound mark.  
Technique Live bait, bucktail jigs, swim baits and jigging spoons are effective.
Target During winter months, focus on the lower third of the reservoir and look for striped bass in deeper water following schools of baitfish. During summer, concentrate on the Lake Hartwell tailrace and the Lake Russell Dam area.
Crappie
Prospect Anglers can expect fishing for black crappie to be consistent with last year's catch. Most keepers will be 8-12 inches, with some fish larger than 12 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 for larger numbers and larger fish.  
Technique Minnows and jigs are recommended.
Target In early February, concentrate toward the mouths of the creeks, near the main lake and gradually move towards shallower water as temperatures rise in spring. In the spring, target standing timber, man-made brush piles and shallower cover in Coldwater Creek, Pickens Creek and Beaverdam Creek. When water temperatures reach the low 60s (F), 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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Lake Seed

Lake Seed is a 240 acre run-of-the-river type lake near Clayton that is operated for hydropower by Georgia Power Company.  Walleye and trout are the featured species in Lake Seed but spotted bass, yellow perch, white catfish and trophy redear sunfish also take up residence.  Summer stratification does not occur in this lake because water flows through the impoundment at a rapid rate.  Coolwater fish, like trout and walleye, will often be found within a few feet of the bottom all year long.  Trout will feed on the surface under low light conditions in the cool weather months and walleye will move also move into shallow water under the same conditions.

 Anglers Guide to Walleye Fishing in Georgia  (847 kb). This guide discusses tactics and offers expert tips for catching Walleye in Georgia.

Contact Information

Georgia Power: 1-888-GPC-LAKE (1-888-472-5253)

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Walleye
Prospect A fishable population of walleye occurs in Lake Seed, giving knowledgeable anglers have a reasonable chance of success. The current population is dominated by small fish; therefore, the bulk of the angler catch this year will be in the 2 to 3 lb weight range. 

The only boat ramp on Lake Seed is located on Lake Seed Road at GPS coordinates N 34.769302 and W 83.510311.
Technique During March, a high number of adult walleye invade the shallow headwaters of Lake Seed to spawn. Spawning walleye are fairly reluctant to bite, but patient anglers can have some success when fishing at dusk with floating stickbaits like a broken-back Rapala or shallow running crankbaits or even a small jig tipped with a nightcrawler. Since walleye will be holding tight to the bottom, make sure the bait makes frequent contact with the large rocks and cobble. Another important tip is to retrieve the bait as slowly as possible in order to entice a gentle strike from a reluctant walleye. 

Throughout the remainder of the year, walleye reside in the main body of the lake. Anglers should slowly troll live baits like herring or nightcrawlers a few feet above the lake bottom. Walleye prefer to stay close to structure, so good electronics will help you find the occasional downed tree that has fallen into the lake. The biggest walleye in the lake tend to hideout on the bottom underneath tree branches. Fish these bottom structures, much like you would for crappie, using medium-sized minnows.
Target During the month of March, most walleye will be found in the shallow headwaters of Lake Seed from the Mountain Patrol station to Burton Dam. For the remainder of the year, walleye will be found near the bottom from the public beach to the dam. Walleye are more active in low light conditions, therefore, walleye usually bite better at dawn, dusk or even at night rather than during the bright light of sunny days.
Additional Information
A walleye fishing guidebook is available at no cost on the Wildlife Resources Division web site at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/Fisheries/Walleye?cat=2. Click on the link at the bottom of this webpage to download the guidebook. 

More information about Lake Seed can be found on the Georgia Power website at www.georgiapower.com/lakes
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Seminole

This 37,500-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir forms at the junction of the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers in the southwestern corner of Georgia.

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  ph. 229-662-2001

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, REDEAR SUNFISH BLACK CRAPPIE & CHANNEL AND BLUE CATFISH
Largemouth bass
Prospect Expect average catches to weigh around 2 pounds with good numbers of 5-6 pounders available. Lake Seminole has improved over the last 10 years in its largemouth fishery, with both more and larger fish weighed in during its many tournaments. Visit the lake January through May for the best largemouth fishing.  
Technique Throw a lipless crankbait, plastic worm, spinnerbait or top water lure in and along the edges of Seminole's abundant aquatic plants.
Target Fish for bass in the late winter and early spring in the numerous backwater areas, especially in the Flint, Spring Creek and Flint River arms. Bedding fish can be found in pockets in coves and sandy flats primarily during March and April. Grass lines will be productive throughout the warmer months (May-September), and ledges and main lake points adjacent to river channels are productive during cooler months (December-January).
Hybrid Bass and Striped Bass
Prospect A small number of hybrid striped bass are again being stocked annually into Lake Seminole. Additionally, some fish escape every year from Walter F. George and Blackshear and find their way downstream to the reservoir. Striper abundance is fairly low, but there are some large fish available. Dedicated anglers should expect the average fish to range between 2 and 4 pounds, with the occasional hybrid reaching 5-plus pounds and the occasional striped bass reaching 10-20 pounds.

 

Technique Best bets are to find schooling fish during warmer months in deeper water and use jigging spoons or live shad. During cooler months when water temperature is below 70 degrees (F), fish can be caught drifting or slow-trolling live shad or trolling jigs. Night fishing can be productive during the summer, but anglers should be careful of numerous standing trees and stumps left in Seminole.
Target In the lower area of the lake (between Faceville Landing on the Flint River arm and Desser Landing on the Chattahoochee arm) target the main lake areas. From March through May, many hybrids will run up the river and can be targeted below Albany, Andrews and Walter F. George dams. Hybrids are attracted to cool water during the warmer summer months. However due to ongoing efforts to rebuild striped bass populations, fishing is closed in five springs located in Lake Seminole from May through October. For more information on these restrictions, please see the current Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.
Catfish
Prospect Channel catfishing is good on Lake Seminole, with average cats weighing 2-3 pounds, but be sure to hold out for the occasional 10-pounder or greater. There are a good and expanding number of blue catfish in the upper end of the Chattahoochee arm. Both blues and flathead present opportunities for larger (10-20 pound) fish.  
Technique Local anglers prefer prepared blood and cheese baits fished on small artificial worms. Cut shad or bream work best for larger blue catfish.
Target Channel catfish can be found throughout the reservoir, but often are found on shallow flats adjacent to river and creek channels and off ledges adjacent to channels. Blue and flathead catfish can be found primarily in the Chattahoochee arm of Lake Seminole up to Columbia dam.
Bream
Prospect Lake Seminole is known for, at times, spectacular redear sunfish fishing. The average redear sunfish is less than 8 inches, but fish greater than 1 pound are not uncommon. Fishing for bedding fish will produce average fish of about 1/2 pound. Bluegill fishing also can be excellent, although fish over 8 inches are rare.  
Technique Red wigglers usually work best for redear sunfish and crickets generally for bluegill, although both baits can catch either fish.
Target Locate shallow water spawning beds during spring and early summer. Numerous backwater areas off the Chattahoochee River arm provide good catches. Spawning beds often are located on main lake shallow flats in 1 to 4 feet of water. Fish can be caught throughout the reservoir during summer months, with many anglers targeting weedline edges, weed pockets and sandy flats.
Crappie
Prospect Though not generally recognized for its crappie fishing, Seminole has in recent year produced good catches, especially for larger-size crappie in the spring and fall.  
Technique While fish are spawning in February and March, concentrate on shallow backwater areas using minnows and jigs. During warmer months, use minnows along grass lines and areas with some sort of cover adjacent to river channels 8-20 feet deep.
Target Target the old Flint and Chattahoochee river channels during summer, fall, and winter. During spring, fish are found throughout shallow, warmer coves and wind-protected areas as they spawn.
Additional Information
Recent chemical treatments by the US Army Corps of Engineers to the Spring Creek arm of Lake Seminole have reduced hydrilla coverage. However, drought and low-flow conditions have allowed larger than normal stands of hydrilla throughout the reservoir. Grass carp are currently being used to help control hydrilla in designated areas behind electric fish barriers. Use caution when navigating boats through these areas and report any damage to the Corps of Engineers at 229.662.2001. 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Sinclair

Lake Sinclair is located north of Milledgeville off U.S. Hwy.  441.  The reservoir covers more than 14,750 acres and stretches over Baldwin, Hancock and Putnam counties.  The Georgia Power Company owns and operates the reservoir but the Georgia Department of Natural Resources manages the fishery resources.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 706-485-8704

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Fish attractor data (updated Jul. 2017) for this reservoir is available for you to upload into your fishfinder or other GPS devices, or view in free online mapping applications. The data is compatible with many brands including Lowrance, Humminbird, Garmin and Magellan to name a few.

Instructions are here on how to use the data.

Download the zipped data.

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, CRAPPIE, HYBRIDS, CATFISH & STRIPED BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect Sinclair produces many harvestable-sized fish that are caught and released each year, and fishing should continue to be good this year with similar numbers of preferred and quality-sized fish compared to last year. Large numbers of stock-sized fish have been added to the fishery over the last year due to highly successful reproduction. Upcoming size classes combined with good recruitment and growth should continue to produce quality bass fishing over the next several years.  
Technique Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jig and pig, plastic worms, lizards or buzz-baits are all effective. Try fishing drop-offs, deep brush piles and lighted docks at night in the summertime. Also try edges of weed beds early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Target In early spring, target main points in deeper water or underwater structure (humps) with crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Texas-rigged plastic worms. Look to shallow water in spring as spawning begins. At any time of the year, greater success can occur during the generation or pump-back phase at Wallace Dam, especially in the areas influenced by the water movement. Remember that fish like to hold on the down-current side of docks and points.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect A few larger hybrids add another sport fish dimension through escapement from Lake Oconee and greatly expanded stocking efforts in Sinclair over the last couple years. The 2013 and 2014 year classes appear to be strong, so expect good numbers of 12 to 20 inch fish in catches this spring.
Technique The same techniques for catching striped bass can be used for hybrid striped bass. See striped bass fishing techniques.
Target See striped bass targets.
Striped Bass
Prospect Striped bass offer anglers an added sport fish dimension. Continued low-level stocking will add trophy potential for 10 to 20-pound catches possible in the coming years. A number of 10+ pound fish are already showing up in angler catches.  
Technique Striped bass can be caught by trolling, casting or jigging artificial lures such as Rapalas, Rebels, Cordell Hot Spots or bucktails in deeper water or at the surface depending on the presence of schools of baitfish. Striped bass also can be caught by floating or bottom fishing natural baits such as live or cut shad or shiners. During the summer months, stripers can be located and caught by trolling deep-diving crankbaits over main lake points or near the edge where a flat drops off into the channel.
Target In winter, target warmer water around the upper end of the reservoir. The action will move up in the major tributaries during the spring spawning run. Good locations include Little River and Murder Creek. Another traditional area for white bass, large hybrids and stripers this spring is directly below Wallace Dam. For large hybrids and stripers try the Oconee River below Sinclair dam. In the summer, look for stripers in the main lake following schooling baitfish, both on the surface and at greater depths.
Catfish
Prospect Catfish are both abundant and popular. Channel cats have always been the primary species of interest, but the past several years, blue catfish have surpassed channel cats in numbers and the fishing for blues has really been heating up; white and bullhead catfish are also are common with a few flathead catfish thrown in the mix. Recent research indicates a greatly expanded population of blue catfish. Trophy potential for channel cats (15-25 pounds) and now blue catfish (in the 30-40 pound range) exists, though the majority of channel cats will be 1/2 - 1 1/2 pounds. Expect most blue catfish catches between 2 to 4 pounds.  
Technique Effective baits are live and cut fish including bream, shad and minnows, worms and doughballs fished on the bottom with spinning outfits or with cane poles under a bobber. A suitable choice for a spinning outfit is a spinning rig with 8 lb. test line and a 4/0 hook with a sliding 1-ounce sinker.
Target Look for catfish around cover adjacent to old creek channels in deeper water during the day and shallow flats adjacent to the creek channels at night. Catfish also can be found around docks with brush. Larger catfish typically can be found below Wallace Dam during the generation phase.
Bream
Prospect Bluegill and redbreast sunfish are available, but generally small. Both bluegill and redbreast will measure 4-6 inches with some individuals reaching 7-8 inches. Shellcrackers will be bigger with good numbers of 8-10 inch fish and some reaching 11 inches.
Technique Bluegill, redbreast and shellcrackers can be caught with cane poles or spinning outfits rigged with small hooks, bobbers and split shot using worms or crickets fished at various depths, including the bottom. Fly rods are effective in spring, summer and fall with wet and dry flies. Slowly retrieved small artificial lures such as Beetle Spins Rooster Tails or Shysters also are effective.
Target Look for bream in or very near cover such as weed beds, brush piles and under and around docks with heavy brush. Bream easily can be caught in the spring and summer when the fish spawn. Search for the saucer-shaped depressions in shallow water during this time.
Crappie
Prospect Similar to previous years, expect abundant fish with a smaller average size than last year. Lots of stock-sized fish (5-8") have been added to the population this past year due to highly successful reproduction. Sampling this past fall indicated a similar proportion of preferred (10-12") and memorable (12-15") fish in the population as in years past. Also, expect a fair number of 2+ pound fish this spring.  
Technique Both natural and artificial baits are effective. Small minnows hooked through the back or lips using long-shanked small hooks are good live bait. Trolling with crappie jigs, Triple Ripples or Hal-flys, pitching jigs under docks, and casting small crankbaits are all effective.
Target In the winter, target deep-water structure or the warm water discharge in the Beaverdam Creek area. In the spring, concentrate in the upper ends of coves. When the water warms, target deeper submerged treetops and areas around docks with brush or try fishing with lights at night under bridges or lighted deep-water docks, deep brush in coves or around deep-water structure.
Additional Information
DNR will continue to conduct aquatic habitat enhancement projects at Lake Sinclair this year. High on the list of projects will be the installation of fish attractors build with artificial materials. Another piece of the enhancement program consists of shoreline enhancement and protection through bioengineering. Division personnel continue to plant maidencane, pickerel plant and water willow in suitable habitat areas in the lake that will provide cover for fish and help stabilize erosion problems. Look for expanded areas of water willow up the Little River arm and continued expansion in down-lake areas. 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Tobesofkee

Tobesofkee is a 1,750-acre lake owned and operated by Bibb County near Macon, Ga.  Property owners have developed the shoreline on the lower end but the upper end is still relatively undeveloped above the Lower Thomaston Rd. Bridge.  The Bibb County Recreation Department maintains a large area for bank fishing access on the upper end of the lake called the fingers.  Tobesofkee also is a nice place to take the family for the day.

Contact Information

Tobesofkee Recreation Area:  ph. 478-474-8770

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, CRAPPIE, CATFISH & HYBRID STRIPED BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect The largemouth bass population should continue to thrive as last fall's abundance remains above the past 12-year average. Expect to catch similar numbers of larger fish this year with up to half of the catch in the 12 to 20-inch size range with fair numbers of fish in the memorable-size range (20-25 inches).  
Technique Use crankbaits, topwater plugs and Texas-rigged plastic worms (finesse-type worms rigged Texas style behind a 1/8-ounce lead with June bug and green pumpkin color). For crankbaits use No. 5 or No. 7 lipped crankbait in shad or perch colors in clearer water or firetiger in stained water.
Target Target boat docks with brush piles, lighted boat docks at night and steep banks and points near deep water on the lower lake below the Lower Thomaston Rd. bridge. Also fish in water willow grass beds in pockets above and below the bridge on Lower Thomaston Rd.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect DNR discontinued stocking stripers in 2013, and will stock exclusively hybrids for the foreseeable future. The hybrids stocked in 2013 and 2014 were present during our fall sample in 2016, with several in the size range of 15-20 inches.
Technique Live bait, cut bait, chicken liver, jigging spoons, rooster tails, rattle traps and small crankbaits are recommended.
Target Fish in deeper water near the creek channels and dam area. Keep an eye to the surface as hybrid striped bass chase shad around the surface, providing some exciting fishing action. Lots of hybrids are caught off the swimming beaches in the evenings during the summer.
Catfish
Prospect Abundance and quality of channel catfish will be similar as in recent years. Most fish will be in the 1/2 to 1 1/2 pound range with good numbers of quality fish in the 3 to 8-pound range.  
Technique Effective baits are live and cut fish including bream, shad minnows, worms and doughballs fished on the bottom with spinning outfits or with cane poles under a bobber. A suitable choice for a spinning outfit would be a spinning rig with 8-pound test line and 4/0 hook with a sliding 1-ounce sinker.
Target Look for catfish around cover adjacent to old creek channels in deeper water during the day and shallow flats adjacent to the creek channels at night. Catfish also can be found around docks with brush. Look for channel catfish in the upper end of the reservoir in the "fingers" area in the spring and also in the Tobesofkee Creek area during the summer.
Bream
Prospect Bluegills and redbreast sunfish are available and average 4-7 inches. Redear sunfish will run a little larger with average lengths of 6-10 inches.  
Technique Bluegill, redbreast, and redear sunfish can be caught with cane poles or spinning outfits rigged with small hooks, bobbers and split shot using worms or crickets fished at various depths, including the bottom. Fly rods are effective in spring, summer and fall with wet and dry flies. Slowly retrieved small artificial lures such as Beetle Spins Rooster Tails or Shysters also are effective.
Target Look for bream in or very near cover such as weed beds, brush piles and under and around docks with heavy brush. Bream easily can be caught in the spring and summer when the fish spawn. Search for the saucer-shaped depressions in shallow water.
Crappie
Prospect Crappie are a popular pursuit for Tobesofkee anglers. Catch rates should be similar to last year with the catch dominated by a a large number of stock-sized fish (5-8") entering the population due to strong year classes produced in 2013 and 2014.  
Technique Both natural and artificial baits are effective. Small minnows hooked through the back or lips using long-shanked small hooks are good live bait. Trolling with crappie jigs, Triple Ripples or Hal-flys, pitching jigs under docks, casting small crankbaits or fishing with small minnows also can be productive.
Target In the spring, concentrate in the upper ends of coves and shallow flats. When the water warms, target deeper submerged treetops and areas around docks with brush. Also try fishing with lights under bridges at night or lighted deep-water docks, deep brush in coves or around deep-water structure in the vicinity of the old creek channel. In addition, look for crappie around the DNR fish attractor sites marked by white buoys.
Pickerel
Prospect It is not uncommon to catch a few chain pickerel in Tobesofkee while fishing for bass as they have increased in abundance in recent years.
Technique Chain pickerel may be caught with both live and artificial baits. Live minnows and frogs are good choices for live bait. Artificial baits to try are white or black Marabou or Mickey Finn streamers, weedless plastic worms and both surface and deep-running lures. Many of the same lures used to catch largemouth bass also are effective for chain pickerel.
Target Fish the water willow grass beds in pockets and thick cover both above and below the lower Thomaston Rd. Bridge.
Additional Information
Analysis of stripers since stocking began in 2005 indicates that condition factors decrease as stripers grow into quality sizes. This trend is generally indicative of poor summertime water quality and the lack of availability of cooler summertime refuges that larger-sized stripers need to thrive and survive. Historically, larger hybrids have seemed to do better than comparable-sized stripers. Stripers have been stocked into Tobesofkee for 8 years, but an apparent fishery has never materialized. Hybrids are better adapted to survive the warmer summertime water temperatures common in Lake Tobesofkee. The major tributary to Lake Tobesofkee, Tobesofkee Creek, has the potential to provide a source of limited cool water in the summer for larger stripers, but lower summer inflows have occurred over the last several years, due to the drought, and cannot be considered a reliable source of cooler water. Therefore, DNR has discontinued stocking stripers, but will continue to stock hybrids in Lake Tobesofkee. 
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Tugalo

Lake Tugalo is a beautiful 600-acre lake formed by the Tallulah and Chattooga rivers.  Owned and operated by the Georgia Power Company, Tugalo is on the South Carolina border near Clayton.  Outboard motors are restricted to 25 horsepower.

Contact Information

Georgia Power:  ph. 706-782-4014

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, WALLEYE, REDBREAST SUNFISH, AND BLUEGILL
Largemouth bass
Prospect Among the six reservoirs in the Tallulah River system, Lake Tugalo supports the most abundant largemouth bass population. Bass in the 12 to 14-inch size range will be very abundant this year and an occasional 4+ lb largemouth will take the bait from time-to-time. 

Because bass are abundant and receive relatively light fishing pressure, Lake Tugalo is a great place to introduce children and novice anglers to bass fishing. Lake Tugalo also provides the added bonus of quiet solitude and unmatched scenic beauty.
 
Technique From December through March, largemouth bass find security among the submerged branches of fallen trees that are scattered along Lake Tugalo’s steep, undeveloped shoreline. Fishing the trees with wacky rigged Senko worms, pig & jig combinations and live baits are effective cold water tactics. 

During the spawning season (April and May), cast soft-bodied jerk baits, floating worms, spinner baits or plastic lizards around visible structure near the shore's edge. Slow rolling spinnerbaits in the creek channels is also an effective springtime tactic. 

When water temperatures rise in the summer months, look for quality-sized fish in the cooler headwater areas of the lake. Bouncing crayfish imitations or live nightcrawlers along the rocky bottom are effective baits for catching bass in these rocky, shallow water areas. Shallow running stickbaits in herring color patterns or jigs tipped with a curly-tailed grub can also be effective in the headwaters. 

The transition into the cooler fall months pushes bass into the interior recesses of downed trees, especially on the upper end of the lake. Shad-imitating crankbaits, soft plastics and jigs are best bets in the fall. Anglers should also keep a watchful eye for surface feeding fish in the upper reaches of the lake and cast toward breaking fish with crankbaits and surface plugs.
Target The shoreline of Lake Tugalo is very steep, undeveloped and dotted with fallen trees, which provide a haven for largemouth bass. The Chattooga River arm in the vicinity of South Carolina boat ramp is one of the best places to fish for bass during the spring and fall months. The upstream headwater areas on both river arms are the best places to fish for bass in the summer.
Spotted bass
Prospect Spotted bass are now present in Lake Tugalo in measurable numbers. Because spotted bass are relatively new to the reservoir, the bulk of the population consists of small fish less than 12-inches long. Spotted bass are more abundant in the Tallulah River arm of the lake.
Technique Spotted bass will roam a wide area in search of their favorite food, which is blueback herring. White-bodied soft plastics or hard baits that imitate herring will likely attract the attention of a hungry spotted bass on the prowl.
Target Spotted bass are more abundant in the Tallulah River arm of the lake. Anglers who want to target spotted bass are advised to start in the mid-section of the Tallulah River arm and fish toward the upper reaches of the gorge. Spotted bass orient to points and areas with large rocks. During the fall months, spots can be seen feeding on blueback herring over open water.
White bass
Prospect Over the last three years, there has been an increase in the number of white bass in Lake Tugalo. White bass weighing up to 3 lb can be caught during their spring migration into the headwaters of the Chattooga River. October provides another window of opportunity to catch white bass when they are feeding on small blueback herring near the surface in the upper reaches of the Chattooga River arm of the lake.
Technique During the spring months, white bass will readily take small, in-line spinner baits like a Mepps Spinner or Rooster Tail, as well as small curly-tailed grubs in white, yellow or chartreuse threaded onto a light-weight jig head. Small topwater plugs will generate some strikes during the fall months when white bass are feeding on schools of small herring at the surface.
Target During the springtime, anglers will find white bass in the upper portion of the Chattooga River. Start fishing where the river narrows down and fish upstream as far as motor boat access is possible. In the fall, look for breaking fish in the narrow section of the lake on the upper Chattooga River arm.
Catfish
Prospect Catfish were once very abundant in Lake Tugalo and was the number one favorite among its anglers. Today, the abundance of channel catfish and white catfish is much lower. Most catfish that are caught will weigh around 1 lb. The upper half of the Chattooga River arm supports the highest numbers of catfish.  
Technique Catfishing techniques involve simple baits and simple tackle. Worms, liver, small bream and artificial catfishing mixtures are the most popular baits. Impale your preferred bait onto a size 6 to 1/0 size hook. Attach a few split shots onto the line and fish on the bottom near the shoreline at depths ranging from 20-40 feet.
Target The best time to fish for Tugalo catfish is on a summer afternoon when the electrical generators are pulling water through the dam. The gentle current that occurs during power generation seems to trigger a feeding frenzy in catfish. Catfish are most abundant in the vicinity of the South Carolina boat ramp. Target the points on the Georgia side, especially in the sharp bends upstream of the boat ramp. During the summer, bank anglers can catch catfish from the South Carolina boat ramp.
Bream
Prospect Bluegill, redbreast sunfish, and redear sunfish (shellcrackers) are plentiful in Lake Tugalo. Redbreast and bluegill in the 6-inch and 1/4 lb range are very common around downed trees and stream outlets in the upper half of the lake. Redear sunfish are less abundant, but trophies weighing up to 3 lb are caught each year along the steep rocky banks near the South Carolina boat ramp.
Technique Crickets and small spinners are effective baits for redbreast and bluegill. Cast around shallow water structure that is located in the small pockets and backs of coves. Fishing with red wigglers on slightly deeper rocky bottoms on the main shoreline is a more effective approach for targeting trophy shellcrackers.
Target Fallen trees are abundant along the rugged, undeveloped shoreline of Lake Tugalo. The submerged tree trunks and branches provide a perfect hideout for bream that should be targeted by bream anglers. In addition, good numbers of bream reside in the many small creek mouths that drain into the lake.
Walleye
Prospect Among the walleye lakes in North Georgia, Lake Tugalo ranks near the top in terms of abundance and quality size. Although the lake contains some trophy-sized walleye that weigh over 8 lb, most of the walleye in Lake Tugalo are in the 2 to 3 lb size range, which is the perfect eating size!  
Technique From March to early-April, cast Shad Raps or stick baits in crayfish and herring patterns or a small jig-head tipped with a nightcrawler or curly-tailed grubs into the flowing waters of the Chattooga River. This same tactic also works downstream of the Tugalo Power Plant on the Tallulah River side of the lake. Use a slow but steady retrieve and be prepared for gentle resistance on the line, which indicates a strike. During daylight hours, anglers should bounce nightcrawlers on the bottom around downed trees. 

The summer heat forces walleye to migrate into the main body of the lake. Brushpiles and downed timber in 30-50-feet of water are the favorite summertime hideouts for Tugalo walleye. Using sonar, locate these areas on the Chattooga River arm and then slowly and patiently dabble nightcrawlers, minnows or jigs into every nook and cranny of the structure in hopes of enticing a gentle strike. If you suspect the walleye has taken the bait, allow plenty of time before setting the hook. 

In the fall months, walleye often move into shallow water at night to feed on bluegill, yellow perch and blueback herring. Nightcrawlers, minnows and shad-imitating lures are effective this time of year. Walleye have a very light bite, so anglers new to walleye fishing should remain alert to slight movements in the line, which may indicate a strike.
Target From March to mid-April, walleye congregate in the headwater areas of the Tugalo and Chattooga River arms. These areas are only accessible by boat. The Tugalo arm below the Power Plant is easier to fish during the non-generation periods, which usually occur from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. The Chattooga River arm maintains a steady flow all year. Anchoring in the slack water adjacent to the large cascade is the safest way to fish this fast water area, and it is well worth the effort because large concentrations of walleye are within casting distance of this spot. 

From mid-April through June, anglers should fish on the bottom around downed trees along the upper half of the main lake. Cast nightcrawlers toward the bank and move it along the bottom very slowly. 

Surprisingly, the best catches of walleye occur on the lower half of the lake during the summer months. Use sonar to locate downed trees and structure on the bottom in 30 to 50-feet of water. Walleye will hide under these structures and wait to ambush their prey. Slowly and methodically drift nightcrawlers or jigs in and around these structures to entice a strike.
Additional Information
Lake Tugalo is an excellent destination for those who fish from kayaks or small boats. Because of Lake Tugalo's rugged access roads, anglers should use vehicles with four-wheel drive and trailer small boats less than 16-feet long. Boating access on the Georgia side of the lake is available through Tallulah Gorge State Park, which is located off Hwy. 441 in Tallulah Falls, Ga. Easier access to the lake is available at the South Carolina boat ramp. Directions to the South Carolina ramp are as follows: From Hwy. 441 in Clayton, Ga., turn east onto Hwy. 76. After crossing the Chattooga River Bridge into South Carolina, travel about three miles and turn right onto Orchard Road. At the stop sign, turn right onto Battle Creek Road. At the fork in the road, bear right. After passing Damascus Church, turn right onto the gravel road. This long, winding gravel road will lead to the boat ramp, which becomes paved and very steep as you approach the parking area. 

A walleye fishing guidebook is available at no cost on the Wildlife Resources Division web site at http://www.gofishgeorgia.com/Fisheries/Walleye?cat=2. Click on the link at the bottom of this webpage to download the guidebook. 

Lake Tugalo has a 25 hp motor restriction. More information about Lake Tugalo is available on the Georgia Power website at www.georgiapower.com/lakes
 
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Varner

This 850-acre reservoir is about two miles northeast of Covington on Alcovy Road (Exit 92 off Interstate 20).  The Newton County Parks and Recreation Department manages Lake Varner.  Gasoline motors are not allowed on the lake.

Contact Information

Contact Newton County for more information, including regulations, hours of operation and current fee pricing by calling (770) 784-2049.

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, CRAPPIE & HYBRID STRIPED BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect Abundance and quality of largemouth bass have remained in the good to excellent range for the past few years. The most recent electrofishing survey indicates that about 1/4 of the fish are 16 inches or larger. In the spring and fall, Varner offers a great opportunity to catch a 5-plus-pound bass. Practice selective harvest to improve bass quality by harvesting smaller, legal fish (bass at least 12 inches) and releasing larger bass (those greater than 18 inches)  
Technique Popular lures include topwater baits, soft plastics, swim baits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs. These baits can be fished around grass, stumps and lay-down trees. Crankbaits, suspending jerk baits and jigs around cover are effective in late winter and early spring. In late spring, try topwater lures, floating worms and soft plastic shad imitations like flukes or bass assassins. Plastic worms and deep diving crankbaits are ideal for summer, and spinnerbaits work well in fall.
Target During winter months, use crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits and jigs around the edges of grass and around other shoreline cover. In spring and summer, concentrate on fishing around grass, shoreline cover and off shore humps. Use lures such as topwater baits, soft plastic baits, deep-diving crankbaits, swimbaits umbrella rigs and lip-less crankbaits baits
Hybrid Bass
Prospect Hybrid bass continue to be stocked annually to provide anglers with additional opportunities. Anglers can expect good numbers of fish in the 14 to 16-inch range, however, catches over 20 inches (6-8 pounds) are possible.  
Technique Live bait, jigging spoons, rooster tails, rattle traps and small crankbaits are recommended.
Target Fish in deeper water near the creek channels and dam area. Keep an eye to the surface as hybrid striped bass chase shad around the surface, providing some exciting fishing action.
Bream
Prospect Bluegill and redear sunfish populations are in good condition. Expect good numbers of sunfish in the 5-8 inch range, with some catches around 10 inches (1/2 to 3/4 lbs).  
Technique Live bait-worms, night crawlers and crickets. Also try rooster tails, beetle spins and smaller jigs.
Target Fish shallower water along shorelines and coves in early spring through summer. Also target spawning sunfish in late spring through summer.
Crappie
Prospect The black crappie population is in good condition. Anglers can expect the average size fish to be in the 7 to 9-inch range, however some larger (10-inch plus) fish are available. The best time to fish for crappie is in late fall and early spring, especially in the months of March and April.  
Technique Minnows and jigs are recommended.
Target Early in the season, fish in deeper water near the creek channels and dam area. In the spring, focus on more shallow water as temperatures approach 60 degrees (F), and target the upper end of the two major tributaries for spawning fish.
Additional Information
Lake Varner hours of operation are as follows: 

April-October 7:00AM - 9:00PM November-March 7:00AM - 6:00PM 

For more information, call 770.784.2049 
 
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Lake Walter F. George

Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this 45,180-acre Chattahoochee River reservoir encompasses 640 miles of Georgia and Alabama shoreline and 85 river miles between Columbus and Ft. Gaines. 

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  ph. 229-768-2516

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, CRAPPIE, CHANNEL CATFISH & HYBRID STRIPED BASS
Largemouth bass
Prospect Average catches of Largemouth Bass will be around 13-16 inches and 2-3 pounds. However, there are excellent numbers of 3 to 4-pound fish. There is a 14-inch minimum length limit on the reservoir, but there are good numbers of legal-sized fish for tournament anglers as well. March through May is usually the best time for largemouth fishing, but anglers also experience good success January through mid- October.  
Technique Along with standard medium and shallow-running crankbaits, plastic worms, lizards, tube baits and jigs also are good baits to use during the spawning period (late March through April). Fish consistently are caught through the warmer months by using crankbaits and Carolina-rigged worms adjacent to abundant channel ledges. Rattle-baits fished near the top of hydrilla stands can be highly effective. Top-water lures such as Pop-Rs and buzzbaits can be good producers, especially during mornings of warmer months.
Target The numerous creeks and coves are the most productive areas for catching largemouth bass. Popular fishing areas include the three branches of Cowikee Creek - Grass, Rood and Pataula Creeks, Sandy Branch and the Highway 82 causeway area. Look for fish to be near shoreline vegetation, especially March-May throughout the reservoir, and in wind-protected areas. The recent introduction of grass carp in the reservoir by the USACE has limited much of the vegetation and many fish will relate to deep structure adjacent to the river and creek channels. The changing patterns of vegetation in Walter F. George will attract fish to areas of hydrilla. As hydrilla expands, many fish will orient to it and when it declines, fish will drop back to more traditional lake structures, such as the abundant ledges.
Hybrid Bass and Striped Bass
Prospect Among southwest Georgia reservoirs, hybrid fishing in Walter F. George is as good as it gets, with excellent numbers of 3 to 5-pound fish and some up to 8 pounds. Although not near as numerous as hybrids, stripers are periodically stocked in the reservoir and fish less than 10 pounds are harvested annually. Larger fish are occasionally caught, such as a 39 1/2 pounder taken from Pataula Creek in June of 2007.
Technique Shiny artificial lures that imitate shad work well. Local anglers use spoons, rooster tails, Ratl-traps and deep-diving crankbaits. Some anglers have luck bottom fishing at night with chicken liver or dead shrimp, but the most popular fishing technique is trolling over sand flats in 10-15 feet of water. Anglers willing to catch and keep live threadfin shad can be rewarded with excellent success as well.
Target Good areas to try are found from Sandy Creek to Pataula Creek, near Cool Branch landing and just above the Hwy. 82 causeway. Flats adjacent to the river channel, 8-15 feet deep, are good areas to try. Hybrids are usually found near forage, and feeding gulls can often give away the location of schools of threadfin shad. During the warmer months, hybrids are often found in the lower end of the reservoir and are often found feeding near main-lake points and underwater islands.
Catfish
Prospect Channel catfishing is excellent on Walter F. George, with average cats weighing 1-2 pounds, good numbers of 2-5 pound fish and the occasional 10-pounder or greater. There are good numbers of flathead catfish and blue catfish in the upper end of the reservoir and Chattahoochee River. Blue cats can be identified from channel cats by their relatively small head and longer, straight-edged anal fin (as opposed to a rounder anal fin in channel catfish).  
Technique Worms and blood baits will produce good results for both blue and channel catfish. Larger blue catfish typically are caught with cut gizzard or threadfin shad, whereas flathead catfish are typically caught with live bream.
Target Channel catfish can be found throughout the reservoir, from the back end of coves to deeper (15-20 foot) channel edges and flats. Blue and flathead catfish primarily are found in the upper end (above Lakepoint Marina), where fish larger than 20 pounds are available. The tailrace of Walter F. George can be a very productive spot during the cooler months for blue catfish. In fact, the state record blue (80 pounds, 4 ounces) was caught here in February of 2010.
Bream
Prospect Bream fishing includes bluegill and redear sunfish. Bluegill average 6-8 inches and redears average 7-9 inches. Excellent catches can be made from April through September, especially during May-June.  
Technique Red wigglers usually work best for redear sunfish and crickets generally for bluegill, although both baits can catch either fish. Some anglers fish with small jigs, worked slowly under bobbers.
Target Shallow ends of coves, creeks, and sloughs, especially above the Hwy. 82 causeway. The shallow flats from the East Bank boat ramp north to Sandy Creek often are productive sites for redear fishing. Redear fishing usually heats up in late April and lasts through June, which is when bluegill fishing is at its best. Fishing success often peaks around full-moon phases, as many fish move on to bedding areas.
Crappie
Prospect Spring crappie fishing can be spectacular, both in numbers and in fish size. There are good numbers of 8 to -10-inch fish available and fish to 15 inches are not uncommon. Both daytime and night fishing under lights are effective March-June.  
Technique Minnows or jigs fished 12-16 feet deep. During mid march through May, spawning fish can additionally be found in water as shallow as a foot or two.
Target Favorite spots are creek mouths and under bridges. Other hotspots include Moccasin South, Pataula Creek, White Oak Creek, Rood Creek and Grass Creek. Bank anglers should try the fishing piers at Hardridge Creek and Florence Marina or the marked fishing areas at East Bank and River Bluff boat ramps. These fishing piers also are accessible to anglers with physical disabilities. Additionally, shoreline anglers can find success at the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge south of Rood Creek.
Additional Information
While aquatic vegetation can produce positives in fishing success for largemouth bass and bream, the Corps of Engineers is concerned with the increases in hydrilla observed in recent years in Walter F. George reservoir. In addition to chemical treatments, the Corps of Engineers released grass carp in an attempt to control the further spread of hydrilla Anglers can help prevent the spread of hydrilla by inspecting their tackle, boat motor and trailer and by removing all plant fragments before entering or leaving boat ramps.
 
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West Point Lake

West Point Lake is a 25,900-acre reservoir operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Chattahoochee River at the Georgia-Alabama border.  Excellent facilities, close proximity to Atlanta, and an excellent largemouth bass population makes West Point Lake a great choice for anglers of all skill levels.

Contact Information

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:  ph. 706-645-2937

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Fish attractor data (updated Oct. 2014) for this reservoir is available for you to upload into your fishfinder or other GPS devices, or view in free online mapping applications. The data is compatible with many brands including Lowrance, Humminbird, Garmin and Magellan to name a few.

Instructions are here on how to use the data.

Download the zipped data.

Best Bets
LARGEMOUTH BASS, SPOTTED BASS, CRAPPIE, HYBRID BASS, STRIPED BASS & CHANNEL CATFISH
Largemouth bass
Prospect West Point consistently produces quality bass fishing. The lake has a 14-inch minimum size limit on largemouth bass. The largemouth bass population has many larger fish with 35 percent of the population in the 15 to 25-inch range and average weights around 1 3/4 pounds or more.  
Technique For early spring action use shallow-running crankbaits and spinner baits. Fish with deep-running crankbaits and worms during late spring and summer. In winter, preferred lures are deep-diving crankbaits, jigs and worms.
Target Concentrate on warmer areas like protected coves in the early spring. Fish deeper main creek and river channel structure during late spring and summer. Also try fishing under the tree canopy near the upper ends of major creeks. In warmer months, blow downs are popular largemouth hiding spots. Winter action is found deep and near main channel structures. Fish along riprap where largemouth hold year-round.
Spotted bass
Prospect Good spawning success over the years has resulted in a substantial increase in spotted bass numbers. They comprise the majority of the black bass population in the lake. These aggressive feeders may be smaller than the largemouth bass, but are more numerous and are quick to attack lures. Most spots are less than 12 inches with few individuals in the 16-inch range. Because of their abundance and lack of a length limit, anglers are encouraged to harvest their catches.  
Technique Fishing jigs and worms work well on these aggressive fish. Spots also are attracted to crankbaits and spinners. Spotted bass will also take live bait like night crawlers, crayfish, and minnows.
Target Similar to largemouth bass, spots also like protected coves and deeper creek mouths in the early spring. In warmer months, spots hang out by structure around channels and rocky points. Blow downs also hold many spots. In winter, find spots deep and holding to river channel structure and rocky areas. Focus on riprap along bridges, which usually hold spots year-round. Generally, spots are more abundant in the lower end of the lake while largemouth bass are found more often in the upper end.
Hybrid Bass
Prospect Good numbers of hybrids are found in West Point. These hybrids have good survival and growth rates, and most will be greater than 14 inches and can weigh 3 pounds or more.
Technique Live shad work extremely well for catching hybrids. Also, curly-tail jigs and sassy shads provide good action. The observant angler often can locate schools of feeding hybrids by watching for seagulls diving into the water for baitfish.
Target During the spring, target the area below the shoals in Franklin. Throughout the rest of the year, fish the areas scattered along the main river and tributary channels.
Striped Bass
Prospect The striped bass stocking program has greatly increased the chances of catching these top predators. Several 25-plus pound stripers are out there to be caught. Smaller linesides also are common thanks to the successful stocking program.  
Technique Fishing with live shad is the most effective way of catching linesides. Jigs and spoons also can be effective. The observant angler can often locate schools of feeding stripers by watching for seagulls diving into the water for baitfish. Also, fishing with blueback herring is illegal in Alabama state waters.
Target In the spring, stripers move into the shoal area in the Chattahoochee River near Franklin. In warmer months and also during the winter, stripers usually are found throughout the main lake, especially in the area of the dam.
Catfish
Prospect West Point is one of the most productive catfish lakes in middle Georgia. The average catfish weighs around a pound, which is good eating size. Larger channel catfish are also abundant with 38% in the 16 to 24-inch quality-sized fish category. These larger cats can weigh in the 2 to 4-pound range.  
Technique Classic catfish baits work well. For example, stink and cut bait usually are successful, as are night crawlers. Fish on or just off the bottom around structure like rock ledges.
Target Expect exceptional fishing during the spring in the upper reaches of the Chattahoochee River arm of the lake around Franklin. During the warmer months, night fishing around bridges and structure should provide excellent fishing. Increasing numbers of flathead and blue catfish are being caught in the Chattahoochee River and the upper end of the lake.
Crappie
Prospect West Point crappie are abundant and sizes indicate a healthy and stable population. Crappie 9 inches and larger are common, but the average weight hovers under 1/2 pound.  
Technique The best action is found by trolling jigs in traditional hot spots. Still fishing with jigs or minnows also can be productive. Determining the depths at which crappie are located will greatly improve chances of boating more fish.
Target Target the upper portions of Beech, Whitewater, Wehadkee and Stroud Creeks. Also try night fishing these areas around bridges.
Other Species
Prospect Bream are abundant but few reach large size. Bluegill and redear sunfish are the most plentiful, but redbreast sunfish are also numerous. Expect the average bluegill to reach 4-6 inches and the less abundant redear to reach 6-9 inches.
Technique Live worms and crickets are favorite baits for bream. Also, small black curly tail jigs work well around rocks.
Target The May full moon around Mother's Day means bream are on the bed and ready to be caught for the frying pan. Brush piles and fish attractors should provide plenty of opportunities to catch a plate full. Summertime bream often hide under rocks and shady banks. Best summertime bream fishing is early in morning.
Additional Information
The division has ten large fish attractors. Each is constructed of numerous plastic peach crates and distributed widely over the lake. The locations of the fish attractor sites can be obtained by contacting the West Point Fisheries office. The Corps of Engineers and the West Point Lake Coalition have buoy lights on the main channel markers for easier navigation at night. 

Fishing during water release from the dam is often a good time to fish because fish become more active and feed aggressively during this period. 

Fishing and tournament information, guides, boat rental, camping and cabins can be found at Highland Marina Resort; www.highlandmarina.com; (706-882-3437). Rocky Point and McGee Bridge fishing piers have PVC fish attractors for bank anglers.
Best Fishing Times Key
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Lake Yonah

Lake Yonah is a 330 acre run-of-the-river type lake near Toccoa that is operated for hydropower by Georgia Power Company.  Steep canyon walls of solid granite and limited shoreline development provide a scenic backdrop for any fishing experience to this reservoir.  Walleye and largemouth bass are the featured species in Lake Yonah but crappie and catfish also occur in moderate numbers.  Summer stratification does not occur in this lake because water flows through the impoundment at a rapid rate.  Coolwater fish, like walleye, will often be found within a few feet of the bottom all year long.

Anglers Guide to Walleye Fishing in Georgia  (847 kb). This guide discusses tactics and offers expert tips for catching Walleye in Georgia.

Contact Information

Georgia Power: 1-888-GPC-LAKE (1-888-472-5253)

Prospects and Fishing Tips

Walleye
Prospect Lake Yonah’s small size (325 acres) and abundant walleye population make this reservoir an ideal place to learn how to catch walleye in Georgia. Walleye in the 2 to 4 lb weight range are plentiful, but state-record sized fish weighing over 12 lb are present.
Technique During March, cast floating stickbaits, shallow running crankbaits, curly-tailed grubs or nightcrawlers into the flowing waters below Tugalo Dam. Allow the bait to make regular contact with the rocky bottom. Use a slow retrieve to entice a walleye's gentle strike. It might be helpful to keep in mind that successful walleye anglers call the twilight conditions before sunset the "golden hour." 

Throughout the remainder of the year, walleye remain close to the lake bottom adjacent to the edge of the river channel. Anglers have had good success dangling nightcrawlers, minnows or live herring a few feet above the lake bottom along the 20 to 40-ft depth contours, especially around structure. Vertical jigging with spoons is an alternative approach. Walleye prefer to stay close to structure, so good electronics will help you find submerged trees and brushpiles where walleye may be waiting to ambush prey. Slowly and patiently bounce nightcrawlers, minnows or jigs into every nook and cranny of the structure in hopes of enticing a gentle strike. If you suspect a walleye has taken the bait, allow plenty of time before setting the hook.
Target During the March spawning season, walleye will congregate in the upper river section adjacent to the Georgia Power campground. In fact, walleye can be caught from the shoreline in this area, especially at night. 

For the remainder of the year, walleye will hide in any type of structure on the bottom near the river channel in 20-40 feet of water. 

For those willing to try walleye fishing at night, your odds of catching fish increase. Cast live nightcrawlers, minnows, or herring onto shallow water points and drag the bait slowly back to the boat. Be sensitive to light resistance or line movement as this will indicate the gentle strike of a walleye. To ensure a good hook set, give the walleye some extra time to take the bait.
Additional Information
A walleye fishing guidebook is available at no cost.
More information about Lake Yonah can be found on the Georgia Power website at www.georgiapower.com/lakes
Best Fishing Times Key
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