With summertime patterns locking several species of fish into predictable patterns, the fishing at Lake Richard B. Russell is excellent. Based on a productive trip this past week, the crappie, spotted bass and white perch fishing are overlooked and under-utilized fisheries on this lake. Few boats were on the lake, but excellent fishing action occurred throughout the day with guide Wendell Wilson.

Enjoying the fishing with Wilson was his son Luke, and Jandi Todd, all from Elberton, Ga.


"Right now, the fishing for crappie, perch and spotted bass is excellent," said Wilson (706-283-3336). "During the weekdays, there are very few boats out here, and unless there's a bass tournament, the crowd is not large even on the weekends.


"The key to catching these fish is to fish the water about 20 to 25 feet deep along the main-river channel or in coves right off the main channel," Wilson said. "They'll be locked into this pattern through the summer and into the fall."

Wilson said crappie fishing is usually best early and late in the day for shallow water-action, but they can be caught throughout the day.

"We use a slip-float rig early in the morning and in the evening, during low-light conditions to catch crappie shallower," Wilson said. "I'll target brush, stumps or trees in about 20 to 25 feet of water where the tops are up to about 10 to 12 feet deep and shad are nearby. I stay off the target and cast a slip-float rig that will get down to 8 to 10 feet deep, just above the top of the brush or trees. I'll use small, live threadfin shad or tuffy minnows as bait. Later in the day, we'll catch the fish slightly deeper alongside the brush or trees using a tight-line rig. We'll catch some crappie up to two pounds, but the average size of the crappie will be about a pound."


The spotted bass were caught on crankbaits along steep, rocky banks adjacent to trees that have fallen into the water. Wilson also used live blueback herring as he worked along the bank to hook spotted bass as well. Numerous spotted bass were caught and released.

The final species of the trio is big white perch which are caught along with the crappie and spotted bass.

"We catch the big perch tight-lining minnows on 6-pound test line on light spinning rigs along the ledges in that same 20- to 25-foot depth," Wilson said. "We often hook multiple fish when working a ledge under schools of shad, and it will be any combination of these three species."

According to Wilson, the fishing is just going to get even better over the next few weeks.