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Lake Sinclair

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the smaller catfish are really bighting the reds in shollows (8-12') we caught fourty using a small hook with a cork placed about four foot from... Continued

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Lake Sinclair is a Reservoir in Baldwin, Georgia.

Have you fished Lake Sinclair? Help your fellow anglers out by giving a fishing report, some fishing tips or general information about Lake Sinclair.

Do you have a question about Lake Sinclair, ask it here.

Lake Sinclair is located north of Milledgeville off U.S. Hwy. 441. The reservoir covers more than 14,750 acres and stretches over Baldwin, Hancock and Putnam counties. Georgia Power Company (GPC) owns and operates the reservoir but the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) manages the fishery resources. This reservoir provides good fishing opportunities for crappie, catfish, largemouth bass, hybrids and stripers.

Fishing Description: 

The quality of the crappie catch in 2008 should be similar to the past several years. There will be abundant fish, but the average size will be somewhat small. Approximately 30 percent of the catch this spring will be over 8 inches in length with a fifth of the catch larger than 10 inches. A few fish will be over two pounds. A strong year class produced in 2006 should enhance the quality of the catch over the next several years. The current lake record for black crappie on Sinclair is a 2 lbs. 11 ½ oz. fish caught in 2000. Late-winter trolling in the Beaverdam Creek arm or spring trolling in the upper ends of coves with crappie jigs or Hal-flys is usually productive for spring-spawning crappies. When the water warms in late spring, try pitching jigs, small crank baits or fishing minnows in deeper submerged treetops and around docks with brush. When the water really warms up in the summer, try fishing with lights under bridges, deep brush in coves or around deepwater lighted-docks at night.

Catfish are both abundant and popular on Lake Sinclair. The primary catfish species of interest is the channel catfish. However, both white catfish and bullheads are also common in the reservoir. Lake Sinclair has some of the highest catfish densities among Georgia piedmont reservoirs. Most channel catfish caught will be ½-1½ lbs. with fair numbers up to 4 lbs. The reservoir has trophy potential with some fish in the 20-30 lbs. range. WRD research on the Sinclair indicates an expanding population of blue catfish. This species initially was detected in the lake during 2004. Anglers probably introduced the blue catfish illegally into Lake Oconee and the fish have since spread downstream into Lake Sinclair. Blue catfish have the potential to reach large sizes, in excess of 50 lbs. Anglers prize this fish in its native range due to the large sizes it can attain and high value as a food fish. Initially, most blue catfish caught in Sinclair will be of good eating size, in the ½-1½ lbs. range. Larger numbers of 5+ lbs. pound fish will start showing up in the catch in 2008. Popular baits for blue catfish are live or cut shad.

While not typically noted as a trophy bass reservoir among bass anglers, Sinclair produces many harvestable-sized largemouth bass that are caught and released each year. This lake also hosts many bass tournaments. In fact, Sinclair ranks third only to Clarks Hill and Oconee in the number of tournaments held in the State (according to the most recent Georgia B.A.S.S. data available-2006). Largemouth fishing will be good in 2008 with the numbers of harvestable size fish similar to the last several years. The most noticeable difference will be in the early part of the year with the increased numbers of stock-size fish (<12 inches) in the catch. Excellent reproduction and recruitment in 2006 and 2007 produced large year classes that will dominate early in the year. Those fish should become harvestable around early to middle summer. Recruitment of these two large year classes to the fishery should produce quality bass fishing over the next several years! The lake record is currently a 13 lbs. 2 oz. fish caught in 1990. Studies show that over 90 percent of the bass caught on Sinclair are typically released, rather than kept.

Striped bass, and to a lesser extent hybrid striped bass, should provide Sinclair anglers with an added sport fish dimension. The hybrid catch this spring will be dominated by a few fish in the 2-4 lbs. range that remain from earlier stockings. A few smaller hybrids will also be present and are probably escapees from Lake Oconee. The current lake record for hybrid striped bass is a 10 lbs. 7 oz. fish caught in 1998. WRD plans to continue with the re-introduction of striped bass to better utilize larger forage species in the reservoir. This also adds a trophy potential with fish of 10-20 lbs. possible in the next several years. Striped bass were stocked in Sinclair in 2007 at the rate of 16 stripers/acre, and some of the stripers stocked in 2005 will be over 26 inches in length by the middle of this summer. The lake record for Sinclair stripers is 42 lbs. However, due to changed water quality conditions, WRD personnel does not expect stripers to reach this size again.

White bass populations have leveled off to consistent, but low, levels since a decline following the construction of Wallace Dam in the early 1980s. Sizes will generally average between 1-2 lbs. Look for hybrids, white bass and striped bass in the Beaverdam Creek arm during late winter. The action will move up in the major tributaries during the spring spawning run. Good locations include Little River and Murder Creek. Another traditional area for white bass, large hybrids and stripers during the spring is directly below Wallace Dam, although this area is not as productive as it once was. Another area worth trying for large hybrids and stripers this spring is the Oconee River below Sinclair dam.

Both bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcrackers) are available for harvest on Sinclair, but like most other middle Georgia reservoirs sizes are generally on the small side. Average bluegill size will be about 4-5 inches with some individuals up to 7 or 8 inches. Sizes of shellcrackers will be better with the average size of 7-8 inches with some individuals up to 10 inches.

Fishing Tips, Tactics, How-To info: 

Best fishing for largemouth bass in the early spring is on main points in deeper water or on underwater structure (humps). As the water warms, the fish move to shallow water to spawn. Anglers should try fishing drop-offs, deep brush piles and lighted docks at night in the summertime. The edges of weed beds early in the morning or late in the afternoon can also be productive. In the fall, the fish move back into the shallows of the creeks. Many anglers report their best success during the generation or pump-back phase at Wallace Dam when water movement occurs, especially in the Oconee River arm. Baits to try include spinner baits, crank baits, jig and pig, plastic worms, lizards or buzz-baits.

Facilities and Parks: 

Public access is readily available through four GPC and U.S. Forest Service facilities and ten privately operated lakeside marinas. Many privately owned marinas offer boating access for a fee in addition to camping, food, bait and tackle. GPC owns and operates the Sinclair Dam tailrace area, a popular area for bank anglers. This area is found immediately downstream of Sinclair Dam and is accessible from Sinclair Dam Road on the west side of the river. Amenities include a fishing platform designed for physically challenged individuals and a safety railing that extends along the west side of the tailrace for a distance of 800 feet. WRD has constructed a boat ramp (on land leased from GPC) below Sinclair Dam. This ramp will allow access to a mostly untapped fishery, as it will open up motorboat fishing to the dam safety zone and downstream for approximately 1.5 miles to the first major shoal.

Fishing piers for bank fishing opportunities are located at the Oconee tailrace below Wallace Dam, at Cosbys Landing in the Island Creek area in Hancock County, at the east side of Hwy. 441 just north of the Little River bridge and at the Dennis Station Access located off Twin Bridges Road. Other popular areas for bank anglers include the areas near and around most bridge and railroad overpasses on Lake Sinclair. Anglers use the bridge overpasses for shoreline fishing along U.S. Highway 441, Crooked Creek, Twin Bridges and Georgia Highway 212. For more information concerning the location of boat ramps, bank fishing opportunities, location and directions to fishing piers, or other facilities, contact the GPC Land Department at 706-485-8770.

Lake Sinclair
Waterbody type: 
United States
Surface area: 
Standard elevation: