Lake Burton is a 2,775-acre reservoir near Clayton featuring beautiful scenery and large lakeside homes. Managed by the Georgia Power Company, this lake holds an impressive quality spotted bass fishery. Burton is home to the state record spotted bass catch - a whopper caught in February 2005 that tipped the scales at 8 pounds, 2 ounces.
Guide to Lake Burton Trout Fishery available in PDF (395 kb). This guide discusses tactics and offers expert tips for fishing Lake Burton in spring, summer, fall and winter.
Georgia Power: ph. 706-782-4014
Prospects and Fishing Tips
SPOTTED BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS & BROWN TROUT
The largemouth bass population in Lake Burton is holding steady for another year. Bass in the 1 to 2 lb weight class will be common, but there will be fewer than average numbers of bass weighing over 3 lb.
Largemouth bass in Lake Burton prey mostly on blueback herring. Fishing with live herring is naturally the best bait but soft-bodied jerk baits have a unique advantage over other artificial lures. Other proven tactics include drop-shotting with finesse worms, bouncing Carolina rigged worms or pig-and-jigs along points, humps, brushpiles and creek channels. During the fall and winter months, herring and crayfish account for the bulk of the bass’ natural diet. Fishing with live herring, shiners or trout are effective cold weather baits but pig & jig combinations are the best artificial bait. Anglers should always be ready for topwater action in case a sudden and spontaneous topwater bite erupts nearby. In the springtime, slow rolling spinnerbaits and jerk baits in creek channels and around docks and trees are good approaches for catching bass in shallow water. During the hot weather months, fishing worms on points using a Carolina rig or drop-shotting finesse worms on top of brush piles in 20-30 feet of water can be very effective.
Largemouth bass are structure oriented; therefore, anglers should generally target fallen trees, creek channels, ledges, points, humps and brush piles. Largemouth bass seemed to be more abundant in the coves on the lower end of the lake, including Murray, Perrin and Cherokee Coves. The Murray Cove boat ramp is the closest access point to these areas. During the spring months, largemouth bass will hold close to visible structure with overhead cover under which they build their spawning nest. In the summer months, look for largemouth bass in 20 to 30 feet of water along main lake points and in creek channels. During the fall months, largemouth bass will actively feed at the surface over the open water of coves.
Spotted bass in the 2 to 4 lb weight range are at a record high level of abundance in Lake Burton this year; therefore, anglers should catch more quality spots than ever before! Lake Burton also has bragging rights to the current state record spotted bass that weighed 8 lb, 2 oz. February is traditionally the month to catch trophy-sized bass on Lake Burton.
February and March are prime months to catch big bass in Lake Burton. Pig-and-jig combinations, drop shot finesse worms as well as live herring or trout are excellent bait choices during the winter months. Anglers should target downed trees and rocky points, but fishing along the face of the dam can also be productive on warm afternoons. April and May are the best months to catch high numbers of spotted bass. Jerk baits in herring color patterns, floating worms and spinnerbaits are effective this time of year when fished around the corners of boat docks and downed trees. Finesse worms also are effective when rigged Carolina style and dragged across rocky bottoms and creek channels. After the spawning season, spotted bass will chase topwater lures near points and over humps in open water. This technique works best around dusk and dawn. During the day, try drop-shotting finesse worms or down lining live herring on rocky points or brush piles in 20-30 feet of water, especially on the lower half of the lake. When the leaves change into their fall colors, spotted bass will aggressively feed on blueback herring in open water and in the creek mouths. Pulling planer boards or live lining blueback herring near the surface is the best way to catch high numbers of spotted bass during the fall. Among artificial lures, casting a weighted fluke is the best way to imitate a crippled herring and attract the attention of a hungry bass. If that pattern is not working, then switch to drop shotting finesse worms into brush piles, vertical jigging with spoons on rocky points or flipping a pig-and-jig into downed trees. Fishing on the bottom with live crayfish and nightcrawlers are also good live bait choices for fishing bottom structure during the fall months.
For most of the year, spotted bass are roaming the lake in search of an easy meal. Their favorite prey item is blueback herring. Find the herring and you will find the spotted bass but knowing their seasonal patterns will help narrow your search. During the winter, spotted bass will find herring around the dam. Live lining blueback herring from the Murray Cove boat ramp to the dam is the best way to find schooling fish. Drifting with live herring around the face of the dam is also effective. If the spots are not chasing bait, fish the rocky points and humps at the mouth of Murray Cove. In April and May, the spawning season motivates spotted bass to move into shallow water nesting areas located on rocky banks along the main shoreline as well as around boat docks in the backs of all the major coves. Cast toward these structures using jerk baits, floating worms or plastic lizards. Also try bottom fishing using Carolina rigs. Warming water temperatures from June to September motivate spotted bass to follow the herring offshore into deeper open water. At dusk and dawn, spots will chase bait on the surface over points and humps but during the day, they retreat into the cover of brushpiles that are scattered along the bottom of the lake in 15 to 30-feet of water. In the fall months, spotted bass frequent rocky points in the major cove arms to feed on crayfish or yellow perch and will roam the open waters and creek channels in search of blueback herring. Points and creeks in Moccasin, Dicks and Timpson Coves hold good numbers of fish from October to December.
Black crappie are not abundant in Lake Burton but there are some huge crappie in the population that are worth some attention during the spring and fall months.
A lively shiner is hard for a crappie to resist any time of the year. Small curly-tailed grubs in white and doll flies are suitable alternatives to live bait.
Crappie are structure oriented and will be found holding tightly to downed trees and boat house pilings. Dicks Creek Cove seems to hold the most crappie in the lake. During April, crappie will be in shallow water near visible structure located in the back of coves. In the summer and fall, crappie will move to deeper water. Anglers should target rocky points, boat house pilings or other structures in 20-feet of water or deeper. In the winter months, crappie will congregate in the deeper creek channel. Fish these areas very slowly to draw a strike.
Lake Burton has a sizeable chain pickerel population. Chain pickerel are exciting to catch because they will aggressively attack a variety of baits and lures and they put up a hard and sometimes acrobatic fight. They are relatively easy to catch in the spring and summer months if you target the right areas.
Chain pickerel will take a variety of artificial baits, including Shad Raps, Rapalas, Flukes, and flashy spinnerbaits as well as natural baits, especially shiners. When fishing for pickerel, anglers should not be timid about casting around thick tangles of woody debris. Using braided lines will help prevent break-offs by these sharp-toothed critters. An alternative technique is to drift live shiners or troll perch-colored crankbaits above the weed line along the edge of shallow creek channels. in the back of Moccasin, Dicks, and Cherokee Coves.
Chain pickerel hide in shallow water structure and along weedy flats in order to ambush their prey. The shoreline along Wildcat Creek near LaPrades Marina is a great starting place to fish for chain pickerel. Other good areas include the back of Cherokee Cove, the channel along Dicks Creek and the flats in the back of Moccasin Cove near Moccasin Creek State Park.
Lake Burton is annually stocked with brown trout, which supports Georgia's only reservoir trout fishery. Trout anglers commonly catch fish in the 2 to 3 lb weight range but several brown trout are caught each year that tip the scales at 8 lb. The current lake record is 11 lb, 3 oz, but that record is ready to be broken this year.
The best bait for trophy brown trout in Lake Burton is live blueback herring. However, trout will also take trolling spoons and small crankbaits all year long. From late-winter into spring, trout will frequent the shallow backwaters of the major coves and cruise along rocky seawalls feeding on blueback herring. In the summer months, trolling very slowly with live herring or spoons on the lower half of the lake over the river channel at depths from 30 to 60-feet is generally the best approach. From October to December, anglers should cast in-line spinners around the dam, Murray's Cove boat ramp, and around the Moccasin Creek boat ramp to catch recently stocked trout.
In the winter months, search for trout around the dam and around Jones Bridge at the upper end of the lake. During the spring, trout will move closer to the backs of coves and feed on the surface during early morning. Moccasin Cove is a great place to try in the spring. Trout move to deeper, cooler water on the lower end of the lake during the summer months. Troll along the river channel from the safety marker located on the main lake near Moccasin Cove and work your way toward the dam. In October and November, trout can be widely scattered around the lake. Recent stockers will be abundant around the dam and in Murrays Cove. Anglers may also want to fish the mouth of creeks, like Moccasin, Timpson, and Dicks Creeks, in hopes of catching a trophy brown that is making its way into the shallow streams to spawn.