I have yet to fish this lake and am wondering about it's characteristics. I don't have a depth map of it so any info would be great. A few buddies of mine have gone quite a few times and have never caught a largie. I plan on proving it was their methods and not the lake but I don't want to blind fish it. Any info for me?
As far as it's characteristics, it's a typical PA hill land impoundment. It's an old lake, probably constructed sometime in the 1940's as a CCC project. Due to the fact that it's drainage area is largely agricultural, it collects a huge amount of silt, and this lake can turn muddy quick and stay that way for a while. Most of it's structural features were silted in years before you were born.
I've fished there since the late 70's, and have logged a couple hundred trips down there. I can almost always catch bass there. About one out of 10 trips I can really get into them. I've taken fish up to 6 lbs out of there, but never any true giants. I do however believe there are plenty of very large bass in there, and it, like a handful of other lakes in the area has the potential to produce a state record. I always liked the fact that it was only open on a seasonal basis, and it didn't allow 24 hr. fishing.
As far as methods and areas, my number one pattern is pitchin jigs under limbs & thru wood. There's no shortage of targets there. Rat-l-traps run down the center of pockets & coves, & buzzers if you get there early enough & someone hasn't run down the bank in front of you. As far as needing a depth chart of the lake, you don't really need one, just look at the banks & nearby hills & it'll give you all the depth info you need. Although I have several deep water spots in the form of stump fields & ledges that aren't silted in, I rarely fish them. Good electronics, like always, are a bonus here, but you can catch all the fish you need by fishing shallow.
Best results on this lake are obviously during the week when there's less boat traffic, and as early in the year as you can get in there. It's also a big lake for an electric motor, if you get up lake & the wind shifts and your batteries are low, you're going to end up having a bad day. Take plenty of batteries and fish with your return trip in mind.
It's a good bass lake, but like any other lake, there aren't any free lunches, you really gotta put in the time. Down there, if your presentation isn't spot on, the weather's off, or you're making too much noise with your boat, you'll come home fishless every time.
Thanks, I appreciate it. Your info will help me out a bunch I'm sure. I wasn't really sure what to expect from what my friends were telling me, atleast now I have some useful information. I was looking at a topo map (lacking lake depths) and it seems like there are some really steep banks and I would assume the same under water. As far as locations, I'm liking the point and pocket near 472, the three points near the dam, and the bridges where spruce road crosses.. if there are bridges. Am I on the right track?
I know that Octoraro can be a tough lake but I may be able to help. I had not been there in probably 25 years and then went last summer for a day (during the week). The bait shop was very helpful as far as leading me to the right places. Please note that the day I went it was one of those 95+ degree days and humid beyond belief. My plan was to start out right at the boat launch at the rip-rap on the right side. I ended up spending the whole 6 hours running along that stretch. I was using a Bass Pro Shops mid depth (8-9 ft) crankbait and ended up catching 7 bass that day. The smallest one was around 14 inches and the largest was 16 inches; so I would consider that a pretty good day. So if I were you I would definitely start out at the boat launch on the right side; it made for a great fishing day for me.
If you've never fished it before, a lake this size has a lot of water to cover for an electric motor. My advice; as your standing at the ramp looking at the lake, look across the lake & draw an imaginary line. Concentrate on everything to the right of that line. Fish the rip rapped causeway, and when you fish it, dont cast 90 degrees to it, keep your boat several feet off the rocks and work it paralell. It'll keep your bait in the strike zone 100% of the time. Work your way down to the bridge. Bridge = bottleneck=current=fish. Work the snot out of that bridge, go under it & work the bank along Bluegill road until your trolling mtr. kicks up mud.
The flat on the back side of the bridge is where the west branch of the Octorara comes in. The only place where I'll fish is along Bluegill Rd. Everything else is just plain silt, as the causeway creates a what's called a forebay where the sediment can fall out of solution.
On the far side of the bridge is a narrow finger of a cove with lots of shallow wood in it. In this cove, I pull my tr. mtr out of the water & use a paddle and fish a lot shallower than most people would even think of. That cove is very shallow, and the fish in there will be very shallow as well. There's always fish in there. Pitchin a jig, or plastics will work here.
Break the lake down into several smaller " lakes" learn each one, and eventually you can complete the whole puzzle.
You can easily make a day out of fishing that one small area.