Big Bass Fishing on Lake Walter F. George
Tales of recent excellent bass fishing on Lake Walter F. George make it a hot spot to cast a line right now, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). This lake is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) and is a 45,180-acre Chattahoochee reservoir encompassing 640 miles of Georgia and Alabama shoreline and 85 river miles between Columbus and Ft. Gaines. Over its 40-year history, bass fishing on this grand lake has seen many ups and downs and the good news is that big bass are starting to show up again.
“In 1997 the bass population on Lake Walter F. George suffered a direct and immediate impact from an outbreak of Largemouth Bass Virus which greatly reduced the number of bass larger than 16 inches,” says WRD Fisheries Biologist David Partridge. “However, since then the population has been in recovery and the excellent largemouth bass spawn of 1998 continues to improve fishing on this legendary bass lake this year.”
Reports from recent bass fishing tournaments confirm that Lake Walter F. George is coming back – winning weights for the average five-bass limit tournaments are now in the low twenty-pound range and it took a minimum of 17 pounds just to make it into the top 10 at one event. Well-known Walter F. George guide Jackie Thompson predicts that the best is yet to come and as lake levels become more stable, bass will move into the shallow water to take advantage of available food. He recommends using finesse baits, spinner baits, lipless crankbaits and shallow running crankbaits during this time. WRD Fisheries Biologists also confirm that during electro-shocking studies they are seeing big bass in numbers that have not appeared in several years and even saw one that pushed the ten-pound mark.
“If lake levels stabilize, nights get warmer and the southern breezes return this spring, this lake is going to explode,” predicts Thompson. “It is getting right for the top-water bite to turn-on and it is certainly a prime time to catch that wall-hanger we all dream about catching,”
The minimum size limit for bass on Lake Walter F. George was lowered to 14 inches in November 2000, so catch rates of keeper-sized bass should be excellent. Some of the best places to find bass on the lake are the back end of creeks and coves, the Highway 82 causeway, areas of heavy vegetation, near Lake Point Resort and near the dam. Anglers on Lake Walter F. George must have a current fishing license.