Bass fishing on Lake Oconee

Lake Oconee Fishing Report – April 2024

For the first part of the year, Lake Oconee was not just stained but the water was muddy throughout. The weather was up and down with clear skies and rain, warm weather and cold weather. But as we moved into April the lake has settled down.

Water clarity is now nicely stained which makes it great for bass fishing. Water temperatures have been in the upper 60's to low 70's, but you can find pockets of both warmer and cooler water.

We have a convergence of a great events for fishing going on now with both a full moon and a shad spawn. As the sun rises, look for shad spawning near rocks and throw a simple, white, willow bladed spinnerbait. My preference has been a two bladed bait with both silver and gold blades.

Depending upon where you are on the lack, the bass are in pre-spawn, post spawn, and spawning modes but I expect most will be spawned out after the full moon. The bass have moved into shallower waters (3-10 feet)

Crankbaits are always effective on Lake Oconee, especially in areas with rocky bottoms, hard clay bottoms, or shell beds.

Personally, I've been doing a lot of fishing with soft plastic minnows either just swimming them on a light jig head or using my forward facing sonar and using a Damiki Rig (also called moping or strolling).  For swimming a minnow I use the Missile Baits Shockwave or in Pearl White or the Reaction Innovations Little Dipper and Big Dipper baits in Bad Shad Green. When strolling I prefer the Damiki Armor Shad.

If you like to fish for catfish, they are everywhere. Cutbait always works, but my son has his own concoction. He will cut chunks of hot dog, then soak them in a mix of red Kool Aid and minced fresh garlic in a container overnight.

Overall, the fishing has been good on both Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair.

When you're in town staying at the hotel and you want a fishing partner I'll be happy to head out on the water with you on your boat or you can rent one of our kayaks and I'll bring my kayak and we'll head out on the water. And don't forget, our Fishing with the GM program start up again at the end of May.

Fishing with the GM

2024 Fishing With The GM Schedule

Fishing with the GM

2024 Fishing With The GM Schedule Announced

The Lodge on Lake Oconee is happy to announce our 2024 Fishing with the GM schedule. Both kids and adults can join General Manager Shawn Kosloff down at the docks of the hotel for a morning of fishing.

There is no cost for these events.

All participants will receive a certificate of achievement, promo codes for tackle discounts from various bait and tackle companies, and other giveaways (giveaways are based upon availability and may change from week to week).

It's hard to believe, but this will be our 4th season of our Fishing with the GM program. And believe it or not, during that time every single participant has caught at least one fish! No, we don't cheat. The secret is that we target bluegill with fresh red worms or nightcrawlers. But many participants also catch bass and catfish.

If you don't have your own rod and reel, that's no problem! We have rod and reel combos for everyone to use and we supply the bait.

If you're a more advanced angler, feel free to ask the GM and questions or provide a demonstration and instruction of bass fishing techniques. Techniques include skipping, pitching, flipping, and various retrieval methods. Mr. Kosloff is not only an avid angler, but he also fishes in the Bassmaster Kayak Series, the Bass Nation Kayak Series, the Major League Fishing Phoenix Series, and the Major League Fishing Toyota Series.

We usually fish from 8am until 10 am on Saturday mornings, but start and end times are subject to change. Please see the hotel events calendar for details.

  • May 25, 2024
  • June 1, 2024
  • June 8, 2024
  • June 15, 2024 No Event. GM is fishing pro tournament.
  • June 22, 2024 No Event. GM is fishing pro tournament.
  • June 29, 2024
  • July 6, 2024
  • July 13, 2024
  • July 20, 2024
  • July 27, 2024

BONUS EVENTS: Kayak Fishing with the GM

If you have your own kayak or rent one of our kayaks you can arrange to go Kayak Fishing with the GM. It is strongly suggested that only experienced kayakers participate in these trips as we will be covering 2-5 miles on the water. Please note that the GM utilizes an Old Town Sportsman kayak with a trolling motor. The hotel kayaks are paddle only.

If you wish to participate, please call the hotel and contact the GM at least one week prior to your arrival to see if the GM has an open time slot to fish with you on your desired date. There is no cost for this other than renting a kayak from the hotel if you don't have your own.

For this event, you must bring your own rod and reel and baits. The hotel does not supply those items and the GM does not loan equipment or baits.


New Signage at The Lodge!

Two years ago The Lodge on Lake Oconee began the project of repositioning the hotel in conjunction with its renovation and remodeling project. Part of that repositioning was developing a new hotel logo. Our guests saw the new logo on our website, collateral material, and the signage behind the front desk, but our exterior signage had not been updated.

But finally, we have installed the new signage around the property including the great sign, entrance sign, and the lighted sign down by the docks. This is the first step in our exterior remodeling and renovations project.

The next steps are a new paint them for the building, replacing our docks, parking lot sealing, the installation of Tesla charging stations, and lots and lots of new landscaping.

We also have additional remodeling and renovations plans for the interior public space of the hotel. Stay tuned for the details and the timelines.

Eatonton-Putnam Chamber Business After Hours

The Lodge Hosts Business After Hours

For the second year in a row, The Lodge on Lake Oconee hosted the October Business After Hours for the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce. This years event featured a special guest, world renowned fashion photographer Peter Coulson who was staying at The Lodge while hosting a photography workshop. Jim Stone of Tytan Pictures was instrumental in bringing Mr. Coulson to Eatonton to host this workshop. If you missed signing up for the workshop, Mr. Coulson will be coming back to Eatonton in 2024. The weather was absolutely perfect that evening, with clear skies and a slight breeze. Tables were set up along the lakefront for guest to eat, converse, and relax. All told, there were about 50 people at the event who enjoyed the cookout by the lake. As night fell, the setting looked spectacular with the reflection of dock lighting and candle table centerpieces flickering off the waters of Lake Oconee. Many of the attendees also gathered around the firepit to relax and share conversation. While these Chamber events normally wrap up by 7pm, we were happy to see a large crowd stick around until 9:30 pm enjoying the food and fun. This year also marked the 1st Annual Lodge-Chamber Battle by the Lake Cornhole Tournament.  Ten randomly selected two-person teams fought for bragging rights and a free weekend stay at The Lodge. The randomly selected teams allowed Chamber members to meet and interact with other members they may not have yet met. The more our Chamber members get to know each other, the stronger our Chamber becomes. Chamber CEO and President Maggie Milner summed up the night the best, "Of all the events we have done in my three years here, tonight is my favorite event." Thank you Maggie for your kind words and allowing us to host an event again this year. We look forward to hosting once again next year.  

Fishing with the GM – July 15, 2023

Records were made to be broken

It was another record setting day at the Lodge on Lake Oconee as our friend Waylon set a new record with 16 fish during the event! Oddly enough, he caught nothing for the first 30 minutes or so but then it was game on as he pulled in one fish after another.

But it wasn't just the kids having fun with our Fishing with the GM program as adults joined in for this event as well.

Once again, thanks to our friends at Missile Baits for sponsoring the event. We hope to have you join us at one of our future events. But please not we will not be holding the events on the weekends of August 11 - 13 and August 25 027 as I will be in MLF Tournament action those weekends.


Fishing with the GM – July 8, 2023

It's a New Record!

It was a slow weekend for the Fishing with the GM program as most guests were in town for weddings and didn't have time to come down to the docks and fish. But Ellis and Alexis joined me down at the docks and it turned out to be a memorable morning.

Bother anglers were on the bite immediately, but it was Ellis that stole the show. The action was non-stop as he caught 14 fish on the morning setting a new record for our angler program.

Special thanks to our friends at Missile Baits for sponsoring the event. We hope to see you all soon in the coming weeks.

Award Time!

Fishing with the GM – June 17, 2023

It was a great day of fishing at The Lodge on Lake Oconee this past weekend as kids and adults joined us for our Fishing with the GM program.

The action was fast and furious all morning as every participant caught more than one fish! The bluegills and bream were out in force feeding, and one participant even landed a juvenile largemouth bass.

There wasn't even enough time for the GM to take more than a few casts as we were baiting hooks and removing fish all morning.

At the end of the day the participants each received a certificate of achievement and their families and friends were provides a promo code for 30% off their purchase on the Missile Baits website.


And speaking of Missile Baits, every now and then I take a few minutes during the day to go fish off of our docks and last week I pulled a nice 3 pound largemouth bass out from under our docks with their Shockwave 4.5 swimbait. So if you're fishing at our hotel and the sun is heating things up just run a swimbait alongside the docks or skip one under the docks and you will usually find a bass hiding under there.

Check our hotel calendar for the next Fishing with the GM event.

Missile Baits

Missile Baits Joins as Fishing with the GM Sponsor

Missile Baits has signed up as a sponsor for The Lodge on Lake Oconee's Fishing with the GM Program.  Missile Baits is one of is a favorite provider of professional anglers on the Major League Fishing and BASS professional tours. Professional staff members include John Crews, Ish Monroe, Derek Hudnall, Gerald Spohrer, Caleb Sumrall, Bryan Schmitt, Ed Loughran, Cody Hough, and Logan Latusso. While Missile baits is primarily known for their soft plastics, they also offer a great line of jigs designed in conjunction with professional angler Mike Iaconelli. And while I may not be famous like the professional anglers mentioned above, you'll find their soft plastics including D Bombs and Chunky D's in my tackle bag. All participants in our Fishing with the GM program will receive a promo code for 30% off their online purchases in the Missile Baits store. For the kids new to fishing in our program, I suggest they purchase one of the many Bass Fishing Kits available in their store. Thank you again to Missile Baits!
Lakefront hotel in Eatonton, GA

Lake Oconee Fishing Report – April 2023

Bass fishing on Lake Oconee has been hit and miss for the past month. Things started off well in March, then we were hit with a deep freeze for the better part of a week. Temperatures began to climb again but we were hit with two plus days of rain and storms at the end of March. Most of the lake is now stained like chocolate milk and the backs of creek channels are filled with debris. There's also plenty of flotsam and jetsam floating throughout the lake. In mid-March I fished in the Sugar Creek area and in just over 3 hours pulled in a bag that weighed in just over 15 pounds. While not great, it's OK for Lake Oconee. I caught some bass off points on a Carolina rig with an 8" cotton candy colored lizard. Later in the day the bass were hitting on a gold bladed Jackhammer chatterbait with a Rage Craw trailer. Fishing off the docks of the hotel has been hit and miss. In early March the were hitting on white and blueback herring colored paddletails on an underspin. While the biggest one I caught off our docks was only 2 pounds, the bite was consistent. But since the heavy rains and stained water in the past week the bass bite has been non-existent. That being said, there are tons of baitfish in the hotel's creek channel so it should be only a matter of time - and the water clearing up a bit - before the bass start biting again. I spent an afternoon out on my kayak last week in search of both largemouth and stripers, but the heavily stained water cut down the bite. I spent a lot of time pedaling around using my electronics and looking for bigger fish and was surprised at how barren it was at this end of the lake. I did catch a few small largemouth bass holding tight to the banks. On my electronics, I also saw some holding at drop offs but couldn't get anything to bite. Frustrated at finding bass, I started fishing for crappie and found schools of them around overpasses and sitting off at the bottom of big humps adjacent to the overpasses. Baitfish are everywhere. I don't think that I made a cast all day that didn't scatter a bunch of baitfish. I haven't fished for catfish this year, but a number of our guests have and the catfish have been plentiful fishing with cutbait. As a reminder, we're bringing back our Fishing with the GM program throughout the summer months. Visit our events calendar page for the dates and times. On another note, I have two upcoming Major League Fishing tournaments in April. On April 15th we'll be fishing right here on Lake Oconee and on April 29th I'll be fishing the MLF tournament on Lake Hartwell.
Doug Nelms

Lake Oconee Fishing Report – December 2022

This month's special columnist is Captain Doug Nelms of Big Fish Heads Guide Service.

We're in winter water conditions with the lake surface temperature at 51 degrees with stained water all around due to recent rainfall.

The White Bass Bite is on Fire!

I recently had two trips on the same day and all told we put 129 white bass, stripers, and hybrids on the boat. Most of that haul was white bass. The stained water and mud hasn't deterred the white bass bite, but the stripers and hybrids have moved to clearer water towards the south end of the lake. The mud has made its way to Cuscowilla, and by the time you read this it could be muddy all the way to flagpole point. That will bunch all the line sides up on the south end. That’s where we will spending most of our time this new year.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for the seagulls - they are spotting the baitfish for you, and that bait fish means the big fish are coming to feed!

The bite on artificial baits has been great for the last month, and there has been no need to rig with live bait. We've had success with jigging spoons, sassy shads, and striper flies under a popping cork. On most half-day trips we're putting thirty fish in the boat.

There's a full moon coming up on January 6th, and in the past that usually meant fishing slowed down on Lake Oconee, but now it's completely opposite. Instead of the big bite happening on the new moon phase, the full moon period has turned the bite on. I really have no wisdom as to why, but we really look forward to it these days.