Lake Oconee Fishing Report – April 5, 2022

The wind on Lake Oconee has been brutal for the past few weeks (at least on the days I wanted to fish) with gusts 20mph – 40 mph. With weather like that, it’s been a bit too windy to head out on my kayak. That being said, over the past few weeks I did get out on the kayak once and fished off of the hotel docks on a few occasions.

Fishing off of the docks in our cove I haven’t run into and large bass so far this year. It’s been all male bass under two pounds either along the riprap or in the middle of the channel in the cove. But the bite has been consistent on a white or white/chartreuse spinnerbait. I haven’t fished any soft plastics in our cove because those are usually magnets for the small bluegills to peck at them as they go by. In the next week or so – if the weather cooperates – I will go out there and throw a small beetlespin and see if I can locate any crappie.

I don’t fish for catfish, but I have seen some decent sized catfish moving through our cove. A few guests left baited lines tied to our dock and those hooks were bare when I pulled them in. Just a word of advice – do not do that on our docks and never leave lines unattended. We will haul them in and toss them in the trash. It’s not considerate to leave unattended lines in a public area with all the boaters and anglers we have at our hotel.

Out on my kayak, the fishing has been much better. The day I went out last week the wind was a constant 8 – 12mph with gusts about 20 mph. Luckily, my Seastream Angler 120 PD is still very stable in the choppy water. But I did not spend a lot of time fishing open water because of the combination of wind driven waves and the wakes from heavy boat traffic. So on this outing I stayed within a few miles of the hotel.

I targeted shallow areas looking for laydowns, soil banks, and the occasional riprap. The areas I fished are heavy with sediment, and on this outing I did not bring my electronics to keep an eye on depth so I did not push in as far as I wanted to for fear of banging up the pedal drive on my kayak. To me, Lake Oconee is a little weird because I never find bass hanging out in the laydowns and timber, although that’s usually a great spot to go after crappie. But I found a number of 2+ pound bass (but nothing over 3.5 pounds) hugging the banks to make it a decent day on the water. Along with ditching the electronics that day, I also went light on the everything else bringing only two rods and a few Plano boxes of baits. Spinnerbaits worked once again, but no hits on rattletraps, Senkos, or any topwater baits. The most consistent bite was on an underspin with a 3.5″ paddletail swimbait.

I normally power fish with baitcasters, but recently picked up a new spinning reel to do some finesse fishing, mostly using a Ned Rig. While I have not used the Ned Rig yet on Lake Oconee, I was in a tournament up at Lake Russell in the last few weeks and while I caught a lot of spotted bass on the Ned Rig, none of them were a notable weight. The weather was brutal that day and the wind was ridiculous, and the winning bag was less than 15 pounds. I did manage a decent 3.5 pound largemouth bass on a big, Colorado blade spinnerbait.

Lake Oconee is going into a transition period for bass fishing as the bass begin to spawn. The males will be aggressively guarding the beds and the females will be moving to deeper water to recover. And at about the time the females recover and start to feed again we’ll get into the shad spawn. That’s when the fishing here should be great. Look for the shad popping and throw a bait right in the middle of it. That will probably be your best chance to catch a big one on Lake Oconee this year.

As a reminder, we have the first Fishing with the GM event coming up on April 23rd. All kids and adults staying at our hotel are invited to come out and fish with me on the docks. If there’s any interest afterwards, you’re welcome to join me on your own kayak or rent one of our hotel kayaks to do some fishing on other parts of the lake. We’ll set off from the hotel and keep our excursion within three miles of the hotel.

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