Largemouth Bass

Lake Oconee Fishing Report – March 6, 2022

2021 was not a great year for fishing on Lake Oconee, especially if you fish for largemouth bass. The oxygenation levels throughout most of the lake were low and there was very little vegetation throughout the lake. That made for lousy bass fishing. I caught a nice 6+ pound largemouth bass off our hotel docks in late February last year, but that turned out to be the highlight of the year. Once the warmer summer weather came I caught mostly caught crappie and stripers. The water was so warm around the hotel it felt like bathwater – not an ideal environment for fishing for anything other than panfish..

Last week I fished in a tournament and we fished the dam area, which traditionally provided better bass fishing in Lake Oconee. The surface water temperature was 60-62 degrees, and it was a blustery, cloudy day. In other words, it should have been a good, early season day to fish. I suppose if you like to fish strictly for quantity, it was a good day. But we never got on a lot of keepers.  We fished mainly points and flats, and with the numbers we were catching we made the incorrect assumption that we’d eventually run into some bigger bass.

I had fished a few days before the tournament off our hotel docks and caught a 3 pounder and a few 2 pounders with a 3/8 oz white spinnerbait. But oddly enough, the bass weren’t hitting it come tournament time. What worked that day was a green pumpkin chatterbait with a matching rage tail craw, a sexy shad colored crankbait, and a green pumpkin, Texas rigged Senko. I also caught a nice white crappie on the crankbait, and although I didn’t weight it, it looked to be about two pounds.

As it turned out, the winning boat fished the Lick Creek area near the hotel and pulled in 3 pounders and a few four pounders. So the next day I headed out on my pedal kayak and began breaking down that part of the lake. I use my electronics mainly for depth and temperature, but as I move I do look for baitfish and larger fish. I started by fishing points, flats, and the wood seawalls with no luck.

Next, I began targeting the riprap along the shore. The sun beating on those rocks helps to radiate the heat in those areas, drawing in baitfish and predators. That paid off, as I landed two, four pound largemouth bass fishing rip rap in the coves.

This weekend I headed out again, and with the water now at 63.5 degrees I started out fishing the riprap, but this time only found dinks. It was windy out, and being the first warm weekend of the spring there was a ton of boat traffic out there, meaning that when I fished open water I spent a lot of time jogging the pedals and working the rudder to keep my kayak positioned. These are not my favorite days to fish and why I prefer to fish coves instead of open water.

With the usual spots nearer the hotel not paying off, I made a 2 mile jaunt against the current to another favorite area. It was a choppy trip with all of the wind and the boats, so I was thankful for my very stable, 12 foot Seastream Angler 120 PD kayak. With the sun warming things up, this time I targeted shade lines along grassy banks and managed to land a few two pounders on a chartreuse and white spinnerbait.

On the way back I fished the causeway near the hotel with that same spinnerbait. I rarely see largemouth bass in this area, but there are usually stripers willing to hit a spinnerbait or a Beetlespin. While I did not land any stripers, I did land two hybrid bass, both just under three pounds. The hybrids usually put up a good fight, so they are a lot of fun to catch.

Compared to where I used to fish on South Carolina, the fishing was slow for this time of year. But compared to last year, Lake Oconee is fishing much better. Supposedly, Georgia Power installed aerators over the winter, and that should help with the oxygenation throughout the lake as we hit the warmer months. I’ll keep you posted.

As a reminder, we have our first Fishing with the GM coming up on March 12th.  Kids and adults are invited to attend. We have a limited amount of tackle available, and we’ll supply the redworms and nightcrawlers.

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