LAKE OCONEE — Anglers who target crappie and especially those who target crappie throughout the winter have seen their efforts rewarded this season with good catches of crappie. Lake Oconee’s early crappie season has been excellent thus far and should continue to improve in the days ahead.
Lake Oconee is better known for rewarding anglers with large crappie during the late winter months compared to downstream Lake Sinclair. However, Lake Sinclair is giving up some large crappie in the early season and numbers of crappie have been excellent of late.
Angling for late winter crappie can always be adversely impacted by the weather. We can normally expect some really cold weather during the late winter in middle Georgia and huge amounts of rainfall combined with the cold weather can negatively impact the crappie bite. Lately, rainfall has not been a serious problem but the weather is showing signs of more potentially heavy rain on the way.
The normal winter to spring crappie migration is usually fairly easy to follow and predict but the weather can always throw a wrench into those predictions. During a normal late winter, any warming trend where the water temperature rises a few degrees will cause the crappie’s biological clock to begin responding to the warmer water and they will begin a slight movement toward spawning areas.
When another cold front moves through and we usually have a few during late winter, the crappie will reverse their movements and move back toward deeper water. This back and forth movement may occur several times during late winter and early spring. Catching the crappie moving shallow after a few warm days can usually result in outstanding catches even in late winter. The entire migration process might actually take a month or two before culminating in the crappie spawning usually in mid to late March.