June Blue Ridge Bass
with Barron Adams
Lots of spots, some quality largemouth and your best chance to catch a Georgia smallmouth. Fish rocks and brush in deeper water while watching for schooling fish on Blue Ridge Lake this month to catch all three types of bass.
Blue Ridge is a pretty 3300-acre TVA lake on the Toccoa River in the north Georgia mountains near the state line where Tennessee and North Carolina meet. Its deep clear waters for years harbored the best smallmouth population in the state, but the invasion of spots has decimated their population. There are still some, mostly bigger fish it seems, in the lake.
Barron Adams grew up in Mineral Bluff fishing the lake with his grandfather. He loved catching smallmouth and largemouth there and in other lakes. He fished some club and local tournaments but got serious about tournament fishing about eight years ago. He fishes the Chattanooga Bass Association tournaments and this is his second year on the FLW Costa Series. He finished 18th in the Southeast Division and hopes that will qualify him for the FLW Tour next year since several fishermen ahead of him in the points double qualified for it.
Barron still fishes almost all Wednesday night tournaments on Blue Ridge and guides there and on Chatuge and Nottely. He knows Blue Ridge well and what the bass are doing there.
“By June most bass have
finished spawning and are on deeper cover like rocks and brush piles on
Barron said. This has been a cold spring and bass spawned late. On the full moon in early May there were a few bedding and a lot cruising the shallows. And we saw balls of shad in the shallows getting ready to spawn.
Although bass are holding deep now, they come up on shad and blueback herring, feeding on top especially early in the morning and late in the day. Barron will always have a walking bait ready to cast to them. For deeper fish he relies on a shaky head, jig and pig and drop shot.
“A few years ago, I could count on catching several smallmouth each trip,” Barron said. But they are rare now, and he seldom catches small ones, a bad sign that they are not reproducing well. Spots have crowed them out, as fisheries biologists predicted. But you can still catch a few mixed in with the more common spots. And there are some good largemouth with them, too.
We fished the first week of May during the full moon and saw a few bedding bass, but most were cruising, waiting on the water to warm. They were late, and as soon as the water warmed enough a lot went on the bed at one time. Now you should concentrate on deeper cover like the following ten places to catch all three species.
1. N 34 52.163 – W 84 16.381 – The main lake point on the upstream side of the creek with Lake Blue Ridge Marina in it has red Toccoa River Marker 1 on it. It runs way out and has god brush on it. Stop way off the point in 60 to 70 feet of water and ease in with your trolling motor.
Keep an eye on your electronics, watching for brush piles around 25 feet deep. Fan cast with a shaky head or jig and pig as you move in. When you see brush, cast both to it but have a drop shot worm ready to fish straight down in it. Barron rigs a Morning Dawn Robo worm about 16 inches above a three eights ounce lead and drops it straight down into the brush.
Here and at all other times keep a topwater walking bait like a Spook ready to cast to bass chasing shad and herring on top. Barron uses a bone colored Spook and works it through any surface activity.
2. N 34 52.314 – W 84 15.579 – Across the lake and a little upstream red marker 2 is on another main lake point that is good. It, too, runs way out so stop at least 100 yards off the point in deep water. As you move in, make long casts with shaky head and jig and pig to the point, bumping the bottom. Watch for brush piles to fish with your drop shot.
The fish can be spooky even in 25-foot-deep brush piles. If you get right over one and see fish, but can’t get them to bite, mark the brush and back off a long cast away. Then fish the brush with shaky head or jig and pig. Long cast are often critical with the clear water on Blue Ridge.
3. N 34 51.204 – W 84 15.349 – Going up Star Creek, just as it starts its turn to the left there is a big cove on your right. On the downstream point just inside it is a covered dock and further into it a small wooden dock, with a private ramp between the two. The downstream point and the middle point inside the cove where it splits both come way out so stop about in the middle of the cove outside the downstream point.
Sit in about 35 feet of water and make long casts toward the middle back point. A long cast will get your bait up into 10 to 11 feet of water. There is brush and tires on the bottom and the top of the points offer good schooling areas.
Rake the shallow points with shaky head and jig and pig. Since the cover here is shallow, work all of it from a distance. You can locate the exact position of the cover with good electronics like the Lowrance HDS Carbon units Barron uses. Finding it with side scan will let you make accurate casts to it without getting too close to it.
4. 34 51.059 – W 84 14.993 – On up Star Creek Red Marker Star Creek 9 is on your right. Just upstream of it is a small pocket. The downstream point of it is a long shallow flat that comes out and drops in to the creek channel.
This is an excellent place to throw a topwater plug early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Make long cast up on the flat and work it back to the boat. Bass on the flat and in brush on it will come up and hit it.
The brush on this point is also good for fishing shaky head and jig and pig. Barron uses a three eights ounce head made at Tri State Tackle Shop beside Dunkin Donuts on Appalachian Highway near the Blue Ridge dam. He likes their heads since they have a sturdy 5/0 Gamakatsu hook. He puts a Zoom avocado or green pumpkin Trick worm on it and drags it along the bottom with little shakes of his rod tip.
5. N 34 51.709 – W 84 15.726 – Back out at the mouth of Star Creek the point between it and the river has Red Toccoa River marker 3 on it. It is a flat point that comes out and drops into both river and creek channel and has a very steep drop on the river side that bass like.
Fish topwater over it then work the bottom and brush with shaky head and jig and pig, probing for rocks and brush. All three species of bass like both kinds of cover and hold on it during the day. Keep your dropshot ready here as on other places.
6. N 34 51.278 – W 84 16.567 – Going up the river a narrow point on the right is between the river and a big creel on the right. There is a green roof dock on the creek side of the point and a kid’s playhouse on the point. Barron called it Rocking Chair Point due to the red rocking chair by the playhouse.
Herring spawn on this point and others, and with the cold spring we had, some herring and shad may still be spawning early this month. It is a good place to throw a topwater at first light. Even after the spawn baitfish move over the point and bass feed on them, so have your topwater ready at all times.
There is brush on this point out to 35 feet deep and bass in the deeper brush are less likely to be spooked by the boat, so it is good for a drop shot. Also fish your shaky head and jig and pig in it. Stop on the downstream side of the point, keep your boat in 40 plus feet of water, and fish around it to the dock.
7. N 34 50.584 – W 84 16.850 – In the mouth of Charlie Creek a small island sits way off the bank. There are rocks on the right side of it when you are on the creek side. Fish school around it and the rocks are a good place to fish both shaky head and jig and pig. Barron fishes a one-half ounce Dirty Jig football head jig in the watermelon color with a green pumpkin Zoom Creepy Crawler trailer. He dips the tails of his trailer as well as his shaky head worms in JJs Magic and says the spots especially like the flash of color it gives them.
Barron fishes his jig and pig on a G Loomis seven foot two inch 855 NRX medium heavy rod and spools his Daiwa Type R reel with 17 pound Segar Invix fluorocarbon line. He says this combination allows him to feel bites and get the fish out of the brush he is fishing.
Drag the jig along the bottom, letting the tails of the trailer swim and flash. Hop it when you hit rocks, and in brush yoyo it up and down on limbs. When you get hit in brush set the hook fast and reel fast to get the fish out of the cover.
8. N 34 50.393 – W 84 16.973 – Where Charlie Creek bends to the right near the back a state brush pile marker sits off the right point. State brush piles are all over the lake and, other than rocks and fishermen brush piles, are much of the limited cover on Blue Ridge. All of them 25 to 35 feet deep hold bass in June.
The brush is not all under the marker but scattered around them. Here, the best brush is between the marker and bank. All of the brush is good for fishing jig and pig and shaky head, but a drop shot will often get bites when the other baits won’t.
Barron drops is sinker to the bottom and starts by holding his rod tip still, letting the Robo worm suspend off the bottom with little motion. If that doesn’t draw a bite he will twitch his rod tip gently to make it shake in place a little. Fish like that all around the brush first then let your sinker hit the top of the brush and fish the worm on top of it, especially if you see fish suspended over it on your electronics.
9. N 34 50.160 – W 84 16.447 – Going up the river Red Marker 9 is on a point on your right. The bank downstream of it is a bluff bank with blowdowns on it and there is a state brush pile on the point and more in the mouth of the pocket past it.
Barron says bluff banks with blowdowns almost always hold bass in June, but they are scattered in the tips of them, especially when there are a lot of blowdowns. A good tactic is to fish the ends of the trees with your drop shot worm. Work slowly up the bluff bank, hitting the ends of every blowdown along it.
When you get to the point, try dropshot, shaky head and jig and pig in the state brush piles. There is a lot of brush here and the fish may be scattered in them or concentrated in one, so fish them all or use electronics to find the fish.
10. N 34 50.855 – W 84 16.556 – At the mouth of Charlie Creek, between it and the river, a small island sits off the bank. There is a ridge of white rock running off the creek side that you can see. Those rocks run out deep and hold bass since they are right on the drop on the creek side.
Stop way off the rocks and cast shaky head and jig and pig to them. Fish the rocks out to the deep end. Bass also school on top here so be ready to cast a topwater to them. Barron says they tend to school on the flatter river side of the island in the mornings but over the deeper creek side during the day.
Check out these places and there are many more all over the lake like them. A good lake map has the state brush piles marked to help find them, and good electronics will help you find the unmarked brush to fish.
Call Barron at 706-455-0863 for a guided trip to see exactly how he catches Blue Ridge bass.
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