13 Best Crappie Fishing Lakes & Rivers in Georgia

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Georgia is filled with incredible fishing opportunities, including home to some of the best crappie fishing in the country. 

Sure, largemouth bass fishing is fantastic, as is the striper angling.

However, for table fare, you can’t beat the crappie. The scrappy slabs put up a decent fight as well. Plus, the action can be fast and furious when you find them.

From clear lakes and reservoirs to sprawling rivers and coastal wetlands, there’s a spot perfect for your cast. Some of the most storied waters in the history of sport fishing call Georgia their home, and for a good reason.

Best Crappie Fishing Lakes in Georgia

Just about any water in the state will have either black or white crappie, most likely both.

The state records are probably swimming out there somewhere as you read this, and the next world record may very likely come from Georgia as well. The Georgia state record for white crappie is 5 pounds, while the world record is just 3 ounces more.

Most of the lakes listed here are possible contenders for the next giant, so let’s get you on them!

Clarks Hill Lake

Clarks Hill Lake is Georgia’s biggest reservoir. Shared with South Carolina, it’s a 30-mile trip northeast of Augusta on the Savannah River and boasts over 1,200 miles of shoreline to explore.

Average crappie catches here are in the ½- to ¾-pound range. However, there are much bigger crappie here, and anglers catch fish over two pounds often enough to make this one of the top crappie spots in the country.

Make your way to Mistletoe or Elijah Clark State Parks. They’re perfect for shore fishing. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Corps of Engineers drop Christmas trees along the shoreline in 10 feet of water to keep up the structure for crappie fishing. 

Be sure to hit Holiday Park, Big, Fishing, Hart, Pistol, Germany, and Newford creeks in a boat for some fantastic fishing spots. The creek inlets have relentlessly maintained crappie structure. You’re going to catch fish.

The proximity to Augusta means plenty of places nearby for food, lodging, and tackle. Campgrounds are everywhere, so you can find somewhere to stay.

Lake Russell

More formally known as Richard B. Russell Lake, this is another giant reservoir sitting along the border of Georgia and South Carolina. The lake is on the Savannah River just upstream from Clarks Hill Lake and is simply overloaded with the perfect structure for big, plentiful crappie.

The average crappie in Lake Russell is between 8 to 10 inches, with bigger ones caught regularly. Catching one to two-pound fish is commonplace.

The Georgia side of the lake holds tons of crappie. They’ve moved into the submerged timber left from the reservoir’s creation and thrived. That’s great news for Georgia anglers and a hassle for South Carolinians. If you fish across the border, have the proper tags.

The spawn is a special time here. The entire shoreline was left alone, so hiking through and nailing fat slabs is on a whole other level. They have all the habitat they need without any outside interference.

Hit the Coldwater area and Beaverdam Creek. The timber stands provide excellent cover and prime hunting grounds for crappie.

Schools tend to group by size, so if you’re catching dinks, find another school. Big fish will be bunched up in smaller schools or cruising in groups of three or four.

Boat anglers find success using a cork or slip bobber above their minnow to keep them out of the snags. Bank anglers should think about slip bobbers.

Launch from Beaverdam Marina, and you’ll be in the prime spot to hit the timber and find access to Tate Lake. Tate is not a separate lake but a long creek arm on Lake Russell stretching for miles nearly to Elberton.

There are several smaller communities around the lake with all the conveniences you could need. Bait is as easy as tossing a cast net or stopping at a gas station.

Lake Oconee

Lake Oconee is a few miles west of Greensboro. Anything you want to catch is swimming around in here. It’s full of black and white crappie and is regularly stocked. 

The lake has over 19,000 acres to test your skills. The massive shoreline stretches for around 375 miles, and a lot of that is accessible for bank fishing.

Oh, and if you’re worried about alligators, they are infrequent at Lake Oconee.

Lake Oconee’s best crappie fishing spots are between 8 and 16 feet deep. The overall water depth doesn’t matter; they typically hold in that tight range.

What often matters is cover. So find submerged timber left standing when officials dammed the Oconee River. Crappies typically hold suspended in the target depths among the trees. 

Other spots to toss a lure include the ledges and drop-offs around the lake. Hit creek and river entrances where they cut deeper into the water. Keep in mind that brush and timber stands are the best spots all around.

The best bank tactics are casting live minnows or lures from the shore.

Boat anglers should find the schools in structure and drop straight down to them.

Use as light a line as possible. Recommended weights are 4- to 6-pound, with a light split-shot a foot above the jig. That’ll get you down to the proper depth quickly without taking out too much sensitivity.

There are plenty of camping and lodging options around the lake, and Greensboro is just a 2-mile drive to the east.

Lake Sinclair

Lake Sinclair is Lake Oconee’s sister on the Oconee River, separated from Lake Oconee by the Wallace Dam.

The lake is just as big as Oconee and has as good, if not even better, crappie fishing.

How good? Locals say the best spot is the water. Just chuck a minnow in, and you’ll be catching crappie. Doesn’t matter where. So I guess that’s it; next lake.

Seriously, the shoreline here is pretty accessible, and several gas stations in the area sell live minnows. They know why you’re here.

Simply target anything resembling structure or ledges.

From a boat, simply work your bait or a jig straight down until you find them, and you’ll have a stringer full in no time. Fishing with worms from shore works equally as well. 

For lures, try a Bobby Garland Itty Bitty Swimr with a 1/64-ounce jig head.

Scents can be helpful. Coat the lure in Slab Sauce to keep the school in place while hooking their friends.

Milledgeville and other towns around the lake offer some lodging and plenty of campgrounds to choose. Bait is readily available around the lake and a few restaurants if you tire of all-you-can-eat crappie.

Lake Allatoona

Lake Allatoona is big. It’s going to take several trips to cover the shores of this giant reservoir just past Marietta.

Don’t let Allatoona’s vastness dissuade you from heading out and knocking the daylights out of some slab crappies. You will catch them in almost every bay, cove, and ledge in the lake. 

Toss live minnows under a split shot from shore. Let the minnow do the work, and you’ll be into them in no time.

I suggest you don’t sit too long in one spot if they aren’t biting. So if you’re not filling your stringer, move a couple of hundred yards up or down-shore.

The usual tactics work for boat fishing. Straight down with live bait. Jig it slowly in cold water.

Try trolling in the hotter months. Drag a bright lure or minnow pretty slowly. Between .4 and .8 mph should do the trick.

Also known as Allatoona Lake, this hot spot is less than an hour from Atlanta and gets busy in the warm months. Weekdays are better for fishing.

Red Top Mountain State Park is a potential base for longer stays.

Lake Zwerner (Yahoola Creek Reservoir)

Also known as Yahoola Creek Reservoir, this is a little hidden gem that doesn’t get a lot of talk. There’s a reason for that. It’s only about 100 acres, but it’s got 5-pound-plus bass and all the crappie you can handle.

Lake Zwerner is a straight shot north of Lake Lanier in Dahlonega.

With the lake’s size, it’s not the type of place to have many spots to explore. The key here is consistency. You’ll either catch it or not.

Big crappie can get up into the 3-pound-plus range, which is perfect for a big fish fry.

Try fishing with minnows.

Lake rules only allow electric motors, so you won’t have too much of a problem holding stationary to jig straight down.

Bank anglers do very well for crappie here. Worms, lures, and live minnows all do the trick.

Dahlonega has all you need for your trip.

Lake Blackshear

Lake Blackshear, southeast of Columbus, is full of crappie.

We’d be remiss not to mention that Blackshear is also known as Georgia’s most alligator-infested lake. Gators must be protecting the incredible crappie fishery. 

Start your day fishing the river channel in the spring. Target the tree line in the late spring. The flats are active with crappie for a month or so as the water warms.

When fish go deeper, move into the main lake and work the brush piles and any other structure you can mark.

Summertime finds crappie heading into the deeper channel. The issue is the channel is filled with jet skis and water enthusiasts (read Alligator Bait).

The shore offers several great spots to target these tasty fish. Try tossing a jig under the docks at night in the summer for some fast, fun action.

Shallow back coves and creek mouths are perfect for shore anglers as well. Use live crickets; you’ll have a wide range of species hitting the bait every cast. Bluegill get massive here.

While Columbus is the closest major city to Lake Blackshear, several smaller communities surround the lake and have all the gear and food you could want.

Lake Seminole

Lake Seminole is on the southeast border of Florida. It’s well known for excellent bass fishing. The crappie fishing is even better.

Several parks line the lake with great boat docks, marinas, and shore access. Shore fishing can be hit and miss as the crappie like to hold in trees and brush in 8 to 10 feet of water.

Crappie schools move throughout the day chasing minnows. That’s common in any water crappie frequent. It’s difficult to stamp one spot as a hot crappie spot because they’re constantly moving. 

From a boat one day, you might find one or two logs of structure in an entire 20-acre field of submerged timber that hold these fish, only to find them in a completely different area the next time you visit. They’re very nomadic.

Chase them with live minnows. Use spider rigs in the early spring and troll them slowly. Half a mile an hour or slower.

You’ll find crappie strewn throughout the lake, but be ready to show your Florida license if you wander across state lines.

There are several places to stay in lodges, resorts, campgrounds, and rentals along the lake. Gear and food are everywhere.

More: Complete Guide to Fishing Lake Seminole

Bull Sluice Lake

Bull Sluice Lake is an angler’s paradise just east of Marietta. There’s a rumor that the next state record striper is going to come from these waters.

And while the crappie here might not always be huge, they make up for it in sheer eagerness. Catch rates can be epic. Boaters need to move carefully through the channels to avoid the shoals and brush that litter the lake and river above. 

Worms and minnows work best here. Drop-shot rigs often get the call in 4 to 6 feet of water. Unfortunately, the lake is relatively shallow and management practices mean the water level can fluctuate widely.

With its location near Marietta and Atlanta, there’s plenty of lodging and everything else you need. There’s even a Costco just up the road, in case you need a 30-pack of TP.

Lake George (Lake Eufaula)

Lake Walter F. George, or Lake Eufaula if you prefer, is a big impoundment on the Chattahoochee River. Located on the Georgia/Alabama state line, it stretches from south of Columbus to Ft. Gaines.

While famous for largemouth bass fishing, this border lake also is the place to go for spring crappie fishing. They get big here and are very active in springtime, prepping for the spawn.

You can fill a bucket with 10-inch crappies with the occasional slab of 15 or 16-inches thrown in.

Mid-March through May finds abundant crappie in the shallows. Hit them at night for some of the best crappie fihing action you’ve ever had.

Boat anglers will do well along the entire lake, especially under any bridges or near creek mouths. Standard crappie techniques will work great here.

Bank anglers are a little more limited. Hit the fishing piers at Florence Marina or Hardridge Creek. East Bank and River Bluff have designated fishing areas.

Summer months slow everything way down here. It might be time to head to the northeast portion of the state.

Not surprisingly, Lake Elfaula (as most Alabamans know it) also made the cut for our article on the best crappie fishing lakes in Alabama.

West Point Lake

West Point Lake is perfect for trips from Columbus or Atlanta. At just under 26,000 acres, there’s plenty of room to spread out and target crappie without feeling overcrowded.

The lake is along the Georgia/Alabama border, providing both states easy access to 9-inch-plus crappie on the regular. Larger fish are commonplace.

Targeting the crappie by trolling lures is particularly productive at West Point Lake. Try fishing the upper portions of Beech and Stroud creeks. Fishing the bridges around these spots at night is also good.

Other options include the tried-and-true drop-shotting a minnow or worm, suspending a minnow under a cork or slip bobber, or casting lures and jigs.

Bank anglers will find success with minnows under a slip bobber.

Rocky Point and McGee Bridge fishing piers have PVC fish attractors to bring crappie close for bank anglers.

All the amenities and conveniences you could ask for are located within minutes of the lake. Plenty of camping is available, and RV camping is everywhere.

Lake Nottely

Lake Nottely is a smaller impoundment by the Tennessee Valley Authority in North Georgia, near Blairsville. There are two marinas and several public boat ramps.

The lake has plenty of crappie in the 8- to 10-inch range.

Minnows and minnow-tipped jigs work great here. Or try a curly-tailed jig if you want to try artificial.

Focus your attention on the area from Reece Creek south to Canal Lake. Search them out in 8 to 15 feet of water. If they aren’t biting, move into the bigger coves like Youngcane, Jacks Creek, or Ivy Log. 

Bank anglers will do their best casting under the boathouses and docks in search of crappie. The rest of the lake isn’t very bank-friendly unless you like a good hike.

Several rentals around the lake have private lakefront access. If you’re visiting, take full advantage and rent one. The ease of access is worth it.

Altamaha River

Aerial photograph of the Fort King George Historic Site along the Altamaha River, which also is known for excellent crappie fishing.
Photo by fireandstone (Depositphotos)

OK, this isn’t a lake, but the lower end of the Altamaha River system is a lesser-known crappie hot spot we simply couldn’t leave out.

Near the town of Darien, an hour south of Savannah, the river gets a bit of tidal fluctuation. The crappie get passed over for the stripers, largemouth, catfish and saltwater species in the area.

Most of this river is full of crappie, which the locals call white perch.

When the water temperature is in the upper 50s and low 60s, crappie move tight to riverbanks and up creeks to spawn.

The spawn is when you hit Honeygall, Buzzard, Studhorse, and Lewis creeks. Since you’re dealing with tidal flows, it’s good to know that crappie hit more actively when the water is low and slow.  

In the main river, you’ll want to target old brush and timber stands.

Here’s a good tip: Try fishing the ancient rice ditches running into the river. They’re typically loaded with crappie. Tiny jigs or minnows at the mouths of those rice canals can be the best crappie action you’ve ever seen.

When you’ve had your fill of crappie, bring out the big rods. The Altamaha River is is among the most renowned catfish fisheries in Georgia. There are giants in the deep holes.

There isn’t much beyond fishing happening in this sleepy part of Georgia, though Darien has what you need.

Catch More Crappie

Follow the tips within this article and we’re confident you’ll be stringing up the slabs in no time. But if you’re still learning, pick up some easy crappie fishing tips and techniques in our how-to article.