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.
Georgia Power: ph. 706-485-8704
Prospects and Fishing Tips
LARGEMOUTH BASS, CRAPPIE, CATFISH & STRIPED BASS
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. There has been a significant increase in the number of memorable-sized fish (20-25 inches in length) compared to the last several years as the large 2007 and 2008 year classes mature. Upcoming size classes combined with good recruitment should continue to produce quality bass fishing over the next several years.
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.
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.
A few larger hybrids add another sport fish dimension through escapement from Lake Oconee. DNR ramped up the stocking of hybrids in 2013 so expect a good number of 12-14" fish to begin showing up in catches as early as this spring.
The same techniques for catching striped bass can be used for hybrid striped bass. See striped bass fishing techniques.
See striped bass targets.
Striped bass offer anglers an added sport fish dimension. Reintroduction plans for the striped bass continue through stocking efforts, which adds 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.
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.
In winter, target the warm-water discharge in Beaverdam Creek. 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. Also worth trying for large hybrids and stripers this spring is 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 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 25-35 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Similar to previous years, expect abundant fish with a larger average size than last year. However, sampling this past fall indicated a higher proportion of quality (8-10") and preferred (10-12") fish in the population. Also, expect a fair number of 2+ pound fish this spring.
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.
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.
DNR will continue to implement an aquatic habitat enhancement program at Lake Sinclair over the next several years. High on the list of projects will be the installation of fish attractors with the conversion of construction materials used in making fish attractors from natural to 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.