Murky Water

Lake Oconee Fishing Report – April 15, 2022

Last week we had two days of severe weather in the area and it left the lake a mess with lots of flotsam and jetsam throughout the lake and piling up in coves. As you can see by the attached photo, the sedimentation throughout most of the lake makes it look like chocolate milk. That being said with last Sunday's temperatures approaching 70 degrees I couldn't resist heading out on my kayak to fish. I knew the bite would be difficult at best, but at least I'd get away from my desk and get some exercise. I set out to fish a cove I had not fished before, about a 2.5 mile pedal from the hotel. Winds were 6-12 mph so it was a bit of a slog getting there, but surprisingly the lake was nearly empty of boat traffic and it wasn't too bad getting there. I had planned to fish a point and flat outside the cove, but when I got there the wind had picked up and the wind direction wasn't conducive for drifting and picking apart the point so I moved right into the cove. I pitched a few docks on they way in with no luck. But again, when there's no vegetation around the docks it doesn't provide a good ambush point for bass to feed. Towards the back of the cove things got interesting with no docks, some muddy banks, lots of laydowns, and a feeder stream. If the lake hadn't been in such rough shape this would have been a great spot. As I moved further into the coves I targeted the shallows along the banks and the laydowns using a Jackhammer Chatterbait with a paddletail trailer. With the water as stained as it was, I wanted a bait with some vibration to it. I didn't have any takers, but I saw a nice 4-5 pound largemouth breach the surface but couldn't get her to bite. I switched to some finesse fishing with spinning gear and a Ned Rig, targeting the shallows and the brush. Still no takers. I switched back to my favorite baitcaster setup (Shimano Curado DC reel and Shimano Expride rod), this time with a big thumping Colorado blade spinnerbait with a black and blue skirt. This time I targeted the feeder stream area and that did the trick and I landed three largemouth in the 2 pound range. This is definitely an area I want to target again under better lake conditions and when teh water is a little warmer. Later in the week I took a break at the end of the day and fished the docks out back of the hotel and that's when things got interesting. Every time my bait hit the water it send the baitfish jumping and scrambling. That's a great sign when the baitfish start to move back into the coves. But it got better. I started hearing fish splashing, breaching the water, and making a ruckus. In the back of the cove the bass were pinning the baitfish up against the seawall and gorging themselves. I saw at least one 4 pounder breach the surface. Unfortunately, where that was happening was out of casting range because the Lure Eating Tree at the edge of our property was blocking any casts to that area. Still, I managed to land 4 smaller bass casting towards other areas in the back of the cove. One bit of advice - when you fish off of our docks DO NOT go into the neighbor's property to fish. That would be trespassing. The timing could not be more perfect with the baitfish heading into the coves as next week we have our first Fishing With The GM event on April 23rd. I hope to see kids of all ages join us on the docks that morning.

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.

Event Canceled – March 12 Fishing with the GM

Due to the March 12th weather forecast calling for cold weather and gusty winds we are cancelling the spring kickoff Fishing with the GM scheduled for that morning. We will be posting an updated schedule of all weekend events in the near future. It's too bad that the weather is not cooperating because the bass fishing off the docks in our cove has been pretty good so far this year. Hopefully that continues throughout the spring and summer.
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.

Summer Kick Off – Fishing with the GM

On Saturday this Memorial Day Weekend the hotel continued it's summer kickoff with Fishing with the GM Night. About one dozen kids of all ages took part in this event. The hotel provided Zebco fishing poles and baits for the participants.

After a slow start, things really started to take off and everyone that participated caught fish including bluegill, largemouth bass, and small catfish. While no one caught The Big One, everyone managed to land a fish. Miss Madison Lee caught the most fish during the event.

Each of the kids that participated also received a Certified Angler Award certificate from the hotel. We'll be doing this throughout the summer, so be sure to check our events calendar for the dates and times.

Gar Haul

Guest Hauls In Big Gar at The Lodge

Fishing off the docks at The Lodge on Lake Oconee is one of the favorite pastimes of our guests. The usual catch includes largemouth bass, black crappie, blue gills, and catfish. But guest Scott Bailey hauled in a more rare catch - an alligator gar!

Scott was fishing with a Texas rigged plastic worm (acid green with gold fleck) when he hauled in this three foot beauty.  Scott and his co-worker, Clint Wilde, spent their days and evenings fishing at the hotel and around Lake Oconee and while this was the only gar they caught, both caught dozens of fish over the weekend.

So the next time you visit The Lodge, bring your fishing gear even if you only get to spend an hour fishing off the docks. You never know what you might catch.

S'Mores Night!

Summer Kick Off – S’Mores Night

The Lodge on Lake Oconee kicked off the summer with our first S'Mores Night of the year. Kids of all ages snacked on gooey marshmallows, Hershey's chocolate, and graham crackers down at the fire pit along our docks and the lake.

It was a great turnout with with more than a dozen families participating in the event. The hotel provided all of the fixings as well as the skewers to roast the marshmallows over the fire.

Be sure to check our events calendar for the next S'Mores Night or another of our family friendly weekend events.

In the photo: The Wilson family was among the many participants of S'Mores Night at The Lodge.


It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

Tracy Warren

It's with great sadness that The Lodge on Lake Oconee announces the retirement of Tracy Warren.  If it seems like Miss Tracy has been at the hotel forever, well, she has. Tracy was actually part of the clean up crew when the hotel was first constructed back in 2005.

Over the years she served as both a room attendant and a Housekeeping Supervisor and during that time has seen hundreds of employees and thousands of guests at our hotel. Throughout all of those years she maintained a passion for her job and honestly took it to heart when the expectations of a guest had not been met.

As a tribute to dedication to the property, The Lodge has named our board room The Warren Board Room and affixed a plaque honoring her service to the hotel and our guests. Miss Tracy also received a copy of that plaque - and a floppy gardening hat - to take home.

These days Miss Tracy is relaxing around her home, tending to her gardens, and out riding her tractor mowing her lawn. If you're lucky, you may even meet her one day out back on the hotel docks relaxing and fishing.

It's the end of an era at The Lodge, and Miss Tracy will be greatly missed. We wish her good health and peace in her retirement years.


Oconee Fishing Is About to Get Crazy

With winter coming to an end in the Lake Oconee area, the waters are finally starting to warm up. And if you fish for largemouth bass that can mean only one thing - the pre-spawn feeding frenzy. When the water is cold in the winter, the metabolism of the bass slows down. They still eat and you can still catch bass all winter, but they don't feed as often as they do during the warmer months.

But when the water warms the metabolism of the bass begins to speed up and the bass begin their feeding frenzy in preparation for spawning. Once we get 5 or so days in a row with the overnight temperatures warmer than the current water temperature we should see the fishing pick up. The bass will start moving from deeper winter staging areas to the shallows in search of food and warmer waters.

Start by fishing the points around the basin and work your way into the shallower inlets. Structure above water such as rocks and dock pilings will absorb heat and radiate it in the surrounding waters making them prime locations to target largemouth bass. The water in Lake Oconee is still heavily stained from winter rains, so your best bet for baits along the shoreline are going to be chatterbaits and spinnerbaits. But don't be afraid to pitch jigs and soft creature baits under docks during the warmer parts of the day.

Over the past few days I've fished out on the docks of The Lodge and while the trophy bass haven't shown up yet, the winter dinks around our docks have been replaced by some decent 2-3 pound bass.

And don't forget - at The Lodge we do have kayaks and canoes available for rent so you aren't limited to just fishing our docks. You can get out towards open water and work your way back into the coves and inlets.


New Associate Recognition Program

The Lodge on Lake Oconee not only values its guests, but it also values its associates that work hard to make the guest experience the best it can be. As part of our culture, it's important that we recognize the contributions of our associates - but we would like our guest to help us with that recognition.

When you're at our hotel you may notice that associates have star pins affixed to their uniforms. Each time an associate is recognized for their outstanding service or contributions to the property they receive a pin. At the end of each quarter, the associate with the most pins receives an Amazon gift card. Associates receive recognition from both their peers and management, but we would like our guests to get involved as well.

If you're a guest at our property and receive outstanding customer service during your stay, please stop by the guest services desk during your stay or at check out and let us know the name of the associate that you wish to recognize so that we may honor them. We appreciate your participation in this program.