Striped and hybrid bass are the last species that I will discuss regarding where they go in the summer and how they can be caught. But first, let me give some background about those species. As you are aware, striped and hybrid bass are not native to either Lake Oconee or Lake Sinclair but are stocked each year by the Georgia Wildlife Resources Fisheries Section. Those fish have a lifespan of several years but cannot spawn in either lake so annual stockings are necessary to maintain their catchable numbers.
The fisheries biologists with the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division (GWRD) are responsible for the fisheries in both lakes and one related activity just completed was the annual stocking of striped and hybrid bass. Chris Nelson, the fisheries biologist at Lake Oconee, reported that they stocked 60,523 striped bass (3.2 fish/acre) and 283,500 hybrid bass (14.9 fish /acre) this year in Lake Oconee.
Brandon Baker, the fisheries biologist at Lake Sinclair, just completed the stocking of striped and hybrid bass in Lake Sinclair. Those stockings include 7,000 striped bass and 149,000 hybrid bass (10 fish/acre).
In addition to stocking striped and hybrid bass, the fisheries biologist also do many other activities to improve the fishery for both the fish and anglers who fish the lake. Annual activities include the building and placement of fish attractors in both lakes, planting native grasses to provide places for small fry of all species a hiding place and to help stop shoreline soil erosion. Grass also provides an excellent place for anglers to catch fish.
A list of fish attractors locations for both lakes is maintained by the WRD Fisheries Section and can be made available to you by contacting those offices. They have also provided me with that information and I can provide that information to anyone by sending a request to my email. The fisheries biologist for Lake Sinclair has developed an interactive map of the fish attractors in Lake Sinclair that can be downloaded to your fish finder/GPS device.
To access Lake Sinclair fishing forecast and fish attractor data go to http://georgiawildlife.com/fishing-forecasts and select Sinclair from the list of lakes. An interactive map will appear. Zoom in on the map and a series of stars will appear on the map where fish attractors are located. Click on any star and it will give you the GPS location.
In addition, instructions on how to download the attractor GPS data for Lake Sinclair and also how to download that data into your GPS is available. Tab down the left side of the same page where the Sinclair map is located and instructions for downloading to your fish finder/GPS device. The attractor data for downloading to your fish finder/GPS device is only updated through 2017, but they are working to update the data file to include more recent attractors placed in the lake. The download of attractor data to your depth/fish finder is only available for Lake Sinclair.
The Fisheries Section responsible for Lake Sinclair recently completed the construction of a tournament weigh-in stand at the Dennis Station Access boat ramp that is now used by many fishing tournaments to weigh anglers’ fish.
Annual stockings of hybrid and striped bass have been made to both lakes since the ‘90s to give anglers another resource to catch and eat. Previous stockings of striped bass in Lake Sinclair have not faired well since the construction and operation of the Wallace Dam began. The closing of Plant Branch should improve the ability of hybrid and striped bass to survive and do better since the hot water discharge has been removed.
Anglers prefer hybrid bass over striped bass so the GWRD is now stocking fewer striped bass in both lakes. Anglers and guides fish for both species at Lake Oconee and there is quite an angler following for hybrids and striped bass at Lake Oconee. Every year in the early spring the fish congregate at the Wallace Dam on Lake Oconee and anglers and guides take advantage of the great fishing using live shad and shiners before the fish move away from the dam and spread out over the lake where they are more difficult for the average angler to catch.
The pump-back operation at the Wallace Dam creates current and the current improves angler’s chances to catch both species during the summer and winter months. It also creates conditions for surface feeding at both lakes but much better at Lake Oconee. Current improves angling success wherever the fish are located. The area directly below the Wallace Dam in Lake Sinclair, and for a considerable distance downstream, is off limits to anglers but if that area were available it would be a great location for striped and hybrid bass due to the water current.
A popping cork and a white Rooster Tail are both good for surface feeding hybrid bass on either lake. During the summer months on both lakes, hybrid and striped bass can be caught casting or trolling crankbaits over ledges and points. Jigging spoons can be extremely effective during the summer and winter months.
Lake Oconee anglers and guides use quite an arsenal of things other than live shad and shiners to catch their fish. They depend on trolling umbrella rigs to entice bites from hybrid/striped bass throughout the year in addition to the other offerings mentioned above. Why not book a trip with one of the guides to see how they catch striped and hybrid bass at Lake Oconee?
If you have questions about the information in this article or you want a list of fish attractors just send me an email at the below address.
Good fishing and see you next.
Outdoor columnist Bobby Peoples can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.