In 1979, Georgia Power built the Wallace Dam, creating 19,000-acre Lake Oconee, the second largest lake in the state.

But more than that, it created a paradise for fishermen.

The lake has 375 miles of shoreline and countless coves, inlets, and creeks that are home to dozens of species of fish. With its unique shape—long and narrow—the lake attracts anglers from across the Southeast who come for its outstanding year-round fishing. But not all of those anglers have to drive many miles to test these fertile waters.

"I love to play golf, and I love to fish,” says Ken Woodring, a Reynolds resident who retired here with his wife Grace a few years ago. “This is a great location for anyone who enjoys those two hobbies.” Woodring is president of the Lake Oconee Anglers, a Reynolds club with 60 members who enjoy the camaraderie of other fishermen. “We’re just having fun. We hold nine tournaments a year between March and November, all catch-and-release, and fish only for bass with a fish limit of five and a 14-inch minimum length.”

One of those events is a three-day summertime tournament on inland ponds and around the golf courses within Reynolds.

“Our annual dues are only $50 and all of that goes to pay for our kickoff dinner in February and our various lunches during the tournaments,” Woodring points out. “I keep my boat up on davits in my backyard so I can be on the lake in a moment’s notice.” His boat is a 21-foot Ranger bass boat powered by a 250-horsepower Yamaha outboard.

What makes Lake Oconee prime fishing ground? The water is clean and clear, with an average depth of 21-feet and spots as deep as 95-feet. But what makes it special is the continuous current caused by water moving through the dam, generating power for Georgia Power. This moving water makes fish active and eager to feed.

While Woodring chooses to fish for bass, Ron Kalpak—a Reynolds member, resident, and one of the community’s real estate sales agents—likes to cast and troll for stripers and hybrids.

“I have two girls, ages 15 and 11, and they love to fish. It’s a wonderful family experience. We go down to the shoreline, dig up our own worms, put them on small hooks, and catch brim that we use as bait to catch catfish. I don’t want to exaggerate, but we’ve caught flatheads as big as 15 or 20 pounds,” says Kalpak.

Sometimes the Kalpaks fish from a boat, sometimes from shore. “I’m happy to say we have fed the neighborhood with fish tacos. You can get a lot of tacos from a 10-pound catfish. They’re great on the grill or fried,” says Kalpak.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice, Lake Oconee is the ideal place to drop a line. For more information, contact Charlie Vaughn, Director of Marinas for Reynolds Lake Oconee, at 706.467.1543, or cvaughn@reynoldslakeoconee.com. His office will set you up with fuel, bait, tackle, supplies, and lot of worthwhile advice.

And that’s no fish story.

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