Big fish are caught at Ocmulgee Public Fishing Area (PFA)! A 13 lb, 4 oz largemouth bass recently was caught and released back into the lake during survey work conducted by fisheries biologists with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division. In addition, anglers currently are reporting big bass catches on a regular basis at this PFA located in Bleckley and Pulaski counties.
“Angler surveys from February and March alone reveal that 46 bass over the 8 lb mark were caught and released, with 10 bass exceeding 10 lb, including a 12 lb, 4 oz bass caught by Jason Byram of Milledgeville on February 22,” says fisheries biologist Tim Bonvechio. “The strategy of stocking a lower density female-only bass in combination with a strict catch and release regulation has worked really well to meet the intended angler objective of having many catch-able trophy bass. Of the bass surveyed this spring, 10 percent have exceeded 10 lb in weight.”
Is the 13 lb, 4 oz a potential new state record? No. The current state record largemouth bass, 22 lb 4 oz, was set in 1932 by George Perry. However, that record fish, which also held world record status for more than 75 years and only recently was tied, was caught not too far from this location in an oxbow lake, Montgomery Lake, off the Ocmulgee River. Are there bigger fish swimming at Ocmulgee PFA? Possibly, are you going to be the one to find them?
Right now, especially early morning or late in the day, is a great time to catch largemouth bass as spawning is done and bass are feeding heavily before the summer heat sets in. The lake is several feet low from the ongoing drought, so many fish will be concentrated in the lower end of the lake. Live bait or artificial lures, such as crankbaits, swimbaits and jigs, are recommended. Shad-colored lures are a good option as one of the primary forage species in the lake is threadfin shad. Use stout tackle due to the possibility of a hooked bass wrapping around standing timber in the lake and breaking your line. A“flipping stick,” size medium or medium-heavy action rod and a reel with a good drag accompanied by heavy line, such as 20 lb test monofilament or 50 lb test braided line, is a good choice.
Anglers also may want to try some bream fishing while at Ocmulgee PFA, and, if they catch a fish with a colorful tag on it, they can turn that tag in for a prize! One hundred bream have been tagged for the Georgia Bobberthon. Catching a tagged fish allows anglers to win a prize plus one free admission to the Go Fish Education Center and a chance at one of four grand prizes. More information at www.georgiabobberthon.com .
Ocmulgee PFA provides a perfect place for families to enjoy a safe, outdoors environment and develop an appreciation of some fantastic natural resources. Amenities include a main 106-acre lake with numerous coves and points, creek channels, standing timber and submerged humps for attracting fish. The deepest point at the dam is about 30 feet. Additionally, there is a separate three-acre kids fishing lake, a boat ramp, two fishing piers, fish cleaning station, a pavilion/activity center and ample parking. This area experiences approximately 12,000 annual fishing trips.
The area is open from sunrise to sunset all year long. Anglers 16 years of age or older must possess a current Georgia fishing license and a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) stamp in order to fish. Anglers in possession of a three-day fishing license, sportsman’s, lifetime, Senior (65+) or Honorary license do not have to possess a WMA stamp. Anglers may use up to two fishing poles and any size outboard motor may be used at idle speed. Non-angling visitors to the area will need to have a Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP).
For more information on Ocmulgee PFA, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/PFA/Ocmulgee .