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Lake Oconee

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Description: 

Lake Oconee is a Reservoir in Oconee, Georgia.

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Lake Oconee is located mainly in Greene County, near the towns of Madison and Greensboro. The 19,050-acre reservoir is operated by Georgia Power Company with Lake Sinclair as a pump-storage (pumpback) hydropower generation facility. This unique operation in combination with the lakes long, narrow shape produces noticeable water current throughout the lake during power generation and pump back. Fish tend to be more active and feed more aggressively when water is moving through the dam.

Fifty plots of timber topped off below water level and 1,250 acres of standing timber were left along creek and river channels to serve as fish attractors and provide fish habitat.

Lake Oconees slot limit is intended to improve bass growth by encouraging selective harvest of smaller bass. Under this 11 - 14 inch protected slot, largemouth bass less than 11 inches and over 14 inches may be kept, while bass between 11 and 14 inches must be released. Removing smaller bass will improve bass growth by increasing the food supply for the remaining bass. Continued harvest of small bass will be necessary to improve bass growth at Oconee. The removal of small bass is essential for slot limits to work, while harvest of larger bass is optional.

Fishing Description: 

Good numbers of harvestable-size crappie should be available again this year. For large numbers and large fish, anglers should be on the water from February through April, with the biggest slabs usually caught on warm afternoons in February. Fishing around standing timber in Sugar Creek and the upper end of the lake is a good bet for crappie in the spring, as are the upper ends of other major creek arms such as Richland, Sandy and Lick creeks. Stay out toward the mouths of the creeks, near the main lake, in early February and gradually move back towards shallow water as the temperature increases in the spring. Bedding crappie can be caught around shallow cover when water temperatures reach the low 60s.

White bass and hybrids will make spawning runs up the Oconee and Apalachee rivers in March and April, and the fishing can be great on the right day. Little Georges, rooster tails, small crankbaits and curly tail grubs are the best lures for white bass on the spawning runs. Hybrids can also be caught in April and May in the middle and upper end of the reservoir around bridges and other rip rap feeding on spawning threadfin shad. Hybrid fishing was excellent in 2007 for numbers of fish, and quite a few hybrids in the 5 10 lbs. range were caught. Hybrids will often school in the middle third of the reservoir throughout the summer, and then move to the lower end of the lake throughout the winter. The Oconee River arm from Lick Creek down to the dam is especially good for hybrids in the winter.

Anglers may begin to see more striped bass this year. The young stripers will likely be mixed in with hybrids and white bass. In addition to hybrids, WRD has been stocking striped bass over the last few years and some of these fish should enter anglers creels this year. If striped bass perform well in Lake Oconee, the long-range goal is to phase hybrids out of the Altamaha River basin reservoirs, which includes Lake Oconee, Lake Sinclair, Lake Jackson and several other smaller impoundments. WRD will stock a mix of stripers and hybrids again this spring.

Catfish angling is excellent on Oconee, but the population is changing with the expansion of the recently introduced blue and flathead catfish populations. While there are still plenty of smaller channel and white catfish that can consistently be caught throughout the lake, the number of small, 6 - 10 inch fish has declined slightly and the overall size and quality of catfish has improved. Blues and flatheads continue to expand their population, and numerous flatheads over twenty pounds have been caught in the recent past. Live shad or bluegill and cut bait are the best baits for flatheads, and hot summer nights are the best time to catch them. Morning and night fishing is particularly good for all species of catfish during the warm summer months, and the consistent bite makes them a great fish to target when introducing kids to fishing. Worms or cut bait fished on the bottom are best options for this species.

Fishing Tips, Tactics, How-To info: 

Spinnerbaits and crankbaits fished around riprap and rocky areas are popular for bass all year long. During the summer months, most fish are caught on main lake points, around deep bridges and steep banks, or up the Oconee and Apalachee rivers above I-20. Deep diving crank baits fished around main lake points produced many excellent catches of largemouth during the summer. Drop shots and jighead worms on points and offshore humps has produced good catches as well.

Facilities and Parks: 

Public access is readily available through eight Georgia Power and U.S. Forest Service boat ramps and parks. Several lakeside marinas also offer lodging, food, bait, tackle and other fishing related services.

Name: 
Lake Oconee
Waterbody type: 
Reservoir
County: 
Oconee
State: 
Georgia
Country: 
United States
Surface area: 
19050.00
Standard elevation: 
220
Latitude: 
33.4496
Longitude: 
-83.2677