5 DAY FORECAST
PRIME FEEDING TIMES
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.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 pounds 11 Â½ ounce 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 Â½ 1Â½ pounds with fair numbers up to 4 pounds The reservoir has trophy potential with some fish in the 20 30 pounds 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 pounds 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 Â½ 1Â½ pounds range. Larger numbers of 5+ pounds 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 pounds 2 ounce fish caught in 1990. Studies show that over 90 percent of the bass caught on Sinclair are typically released, rather than kept. 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.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 pounds 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 pounds 7 ounce 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 pounds 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 pounds However, due to changed water 17 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 1980â€™s. Sizes will generally average between 1 2 pounds 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.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 Cosbyâ€™s 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.WRD will continue to implement an aquatic habitat enhancement program at Lake Sinclair over the next several years. High on the list of projects is the installation of artificial material fish attractors. For many years, WRD personnel constructed fish attractors with natural materials. However, personnel realize that time, effort and cost could be better economized with the development of an artificial material fish attractor. Brush and trees tend to break down after a few years and need to be refurbished on a continual basis. However, fish attractors constructed of artificial materials can last much longer. Initial cost on a per unit basis is somewhat higher for an artificial attractor, but costs over the long term are expected to be less. This past year, WRD constructed and installed 117 PVC â€œtank trapâ€ attractors in 10 ft. lengths at five locations on Sinclair. Locations can be found at www.gofishgeorgia.com .Another aspect of the aquatic habitat enhancement program consists of shoreline enhancement and protection through â€œbioengineering.â€ Selected erodible shoreline areas will be enhanced with native aquatic vegetation. Vegetation along the shoreline serves many useful purposes for terrestrial and aquatic organisms, such as for feeding, reproduction or cover. Young fish and their food items require abundant aquatic and semi aquatic vegetation along the shoreline in order to thrive and even to survive. In 2007, WRD planted over 1,400 quart size maidencane plants in suitable habitat areas in Sinclair. Once established, maidencane can grow in dense stands, which will provide spawning habitat and cover for many species of fish. In addition to maidencane, 100 experimental quart size plantings of switch grass and 100 gallon size pickerelweed plants were installed. Development has continued on a large, new angler access area in Putnam County just upriver of the U.S. Hwy. 441 bridge on the Little River arm. The undertaking for this project is a combined effort of WRD, GPC and Putnam County. â€œDennis Station Accessâ€ initially opened for public use in 2001 with a double lane concrete boat ramp, dual service piers, a 100 ft. â€œLâ€ shaped fishing pier and ample parking. In 2002, another double lane concrete boat ramp with dual service piers was added. Parking has been expanded to accommodate the additional boat lanes. In 2003, the parking area was paved and accessible restroom facilities were added. Numerous fish attractors were added around the fishing pier to enhance bank fishing opportunities. In fact, the entire shoreline of the area is available for bank fishing. There are no charges associated with use of these facilities. Eventually, the site will have six boat lanes for boat launching and parking for up to 300 boaters. It also will have the capacity to hold large tournaments without crowding out other anglers and boaters. The area is accessible off Twin Bridges Road (just follow the signs) and is convenient to boaters and anglers from Macon, Eatonton and Milledgeville.