Lake Seminole Fishing: Your Essential Angling Guide

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The Lowdown: This complete guide to fishing Lake Seminole will show you how, where and when to catch big largemouth bass, stripers, crappie, catfish and bream in one of the best fishing lakes in Florida and Georgia.

The Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam completion created this sprawling, 37,500-acre impoundment in 1952. The Chattahoochee and Flint rivers feed into it from the north. The Apalachicola River, which emerges from beneath the dam, is a great fishing destination in its own right.

Lake Seminole is arguably best known for its excellent largemouth bass fishing. And while the bass fishing is undeniably great, it’s not the whole story. 

Striped and hybrid striped bass (also known as sunshine bass) have long been stocked in the reservoir, creating outstanding fishing opportunities. The lake also offers under-appreciated but excellent fishing for panfish and catfish.

With numerous coves and creek arms, an abundance of bottom structure, and cover ranging from timber and stumps to weed beds and brush, Lake Seminole is a tremendous fishing lake. It’s also one that can take a lifetime to fully explore.

Largemouth Bass

Lake Seminole has been ranked many times as one of the bass lakes in America, and there’s no doubt that it’s one of the best places to target largemouths in Georgia and Florida. 

In addition to abundant 2- to 5-pound largemouths, Lake Seminole is among the best places to catch a 10-pound bass in Georgia. Even in Florida, a state known for producing more trophy largemouths than just about anywhere, Lake Seminole is a top-tier lake.

For newcomers, it’s often helpful to break Lake Seminole into three parts. The Chattahoochee River Arm to the west is the more riverine section of the lake, with noticeable currents and typically turbid conditions. The Flint River Arm to the east is a bit clearer and more lake-like.

The Spring Creek area, located geographically between the two major arms, is often considered the best area for bass fishing. True to its name, Spring Creek’s waters are spring-fed, keeping them fairly clear year-round. 

That makes the Spring Creek area an especially popular place to sight-fish for bedding largemouths during the spawning season in March and April. Spawning bass bed down near shallow reeds, grass beds, brush and stumps. They will readily gobble up soft plastic lures that invade their nests. 

Texas-rigged lizards, worms and creature baits are perfect choices for bedding bass.

During the pre-spawn and post-spawn months, crankbaits are popular lures for catching bass along channel edges. Strike King’s Red Eye Shad is a local favorite.

The bass bite gets more challenging in summer. As the lake heats up, hydrilla beds expand, and bass seek the shade and comfort of deeper waters and thick cover. Try working a floating frog across mats of vegetation early and late in the day. 

Aside from Spring Creek, there are quite a few excellent areas for bass fishing throughout Lake Seminole. Channels between the islands on the Chattahoochee River side near Apalachee WMA and Parramore Landing can be excellent.

When in doubt, look for grass edges, which are productive more often than not. There’s also a lot of standing timber throughout Lake Seminole, which can provide a solid target when largemouths aren’t spawning. (Note that the submerged wood also is a navigational hazard, so be careful.)

Catch More Bass

We have an easy guide to bass fishing techniques, lures, and tips that will help you increase your odds of catching Lake Seminole’s largemouths.

Also, Lake Seminole is among our recommendations for best bass fishing lakes in Florida. Check the list to find more than a dozen other bucket list bass spots in the Sunshine State.


Crappies are often overlooked in Lake Seminole, perhaps partly because their peak season overlaps with largemouth bass. But for crappie enthusiasts, there are great opportunities to target these panfish in Lake Seminole during winter and spring. 

Lake Seminole supports an abundant black crappie population, also commonly known as speckled perch or simply “specks.” White crappies, popular in many parts of the South, are absent from the lake.

Average Lake Seminole crappies usually run 9 to 12 inches, with plenty of fish up to 16 inches. And there’s a real chance to catch a slab weighing as much as 3 pounds here.

As one of the southernmost lakes in Georgia, Lake Seminole is among the earliest places in the state to catch pre-spawn and spawning crappies. However, the other side of that coin is that it’s also one of the latest crappie spawning lakes in Florida.

The colder months are generally best for crappie fishing. Anglers catch them along channel edges, in creek mouths, and near deeper grass lines throughout winter, but the transition toward spawning patterns starts to gain momentum in February.

February is a great month to fish for crappies on Lake Seminole, but be prepared to move around. Crappies may hold in deep water, move into the shallows, or stage in transitional areas, frequently shifting back and forth as the weather changes.

Spider rigging is the best way to locate fish during this month of frequent change. Crappies can be tricky to pin down, but it’s rare that they’re not biting somewhere on minnows and small jigs.

By March, most crappies will spawn at depths ranging from 8 feet to as little as 12 inches. Crappies are not hard to find when spawning, and Lake Seminole has so much excellent shallow habitat that it’s almost impossible to go wrong if you target shallow grass, brush or lily pads. 

Spring Creek and Fish Pond Drain, two Georgia tributaries that feed Lake Seminole from the north, offer great spawning grounds.

Also, both the Flint and Chattahoochee river arms feature seemingly endless flats dotted with grass beds, stump fields and brushy islands that draw in crappies. 

Several brush pile fish attractors have also been sunk throughout Lake Seminole, each marked with a buoy. Learn more about their locations here.

Catch More Crappies

What are the best lures and baits to catch crappie? Check our simple crappie fishing guide to find out, plus learn the techniques and other tips that put speckled perch in your cooler.

We’ve also ranked Lake Seminole as an honorable mention among the best crappie fishing lakes in Florida. Which spots are the best?

Striped Bass & Hybrid Stripers

Lake Seminole offers an excellent fishery for striped bass and sunshine bass—hybrids of female white bass and male striped bass—that often go overlooked. Both species have been heavily stocked here for years. 

Stripers and hybrids prefer cooler waters than black bass, and fishing for them is at its best in winter. December and January are the peak months, but anglers start catching them as early as September and continue to do so as late as April most years.

As the lake cools and stripers become more active, they follow schools of shad all over the lake.

Alabama rigs, which use multiple blades to imitate a school of shad, are very popular and highly effective for Lake Seminole’s stripers.

Points near the river channel and areas where creeks meet the main lake are great places to find stripers, which commonly feed on the surface. The area near the dam is another good place to catch stripers. 

The best fishing for hybrid stripers is also at the lower end of Lake Seminole near the dam. Sunshine bass use sandbars in this part of the lake to corral schools of shad, and it’s often easy to spot the intense surface activity that results.

Sunshine bass generally favor slightly smaller lures than stripers. Spoons, curlytail grubs, soft plastic jerkbaits and shad-imitating crankbaits are all effective.

Most hybrids weigh 5 pounds or less, but fish up to 20 pounds are possible. 

A separate striper population resides in the Apalachicola River.

From fall through spring, anglers catch them in the Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam tailwater, right below Lake Seminole. In fact, an angler caught Florida’s 42.24-pound state record striper here. 


You’ll find no shortage of catfish angling opportunities in Lake Seminole, including a healthy channel catfish population. Channel cats average 1 to 3 pounds (just right for a fish fry), but anglers land plenty of fish weighing over 10 pounds here. 

Catfish bite readily throughout the warmer part of the year, especially in early summer, when they make a spawning run up Lake Seminole’s many tributaries. Any creek with some brush or wood can be productive this time of year.

The best bite for channel catfish is often after dark on summer nights when anglers catch them using natural baits like chicken livers, nightcrawlers, shrimp, cut shad and crawfish.

There can also be good fishing during the day, but catfish tend to hole up in deep water when the sun is out. Daytime angling is best where current is present, and when cloud cover provides a break from the sun. 

Though channel catfish are widespread throughout Lake Seminole, the best spots are areas where a deep hole forms at the outside bend in the river channel. In particular, look for places where a shallow flat with stumps or timber abuts a drop-off to a deep channel swing.

Lake Seminole also offers flathead and blue catfish, which can exceed 50 pounds, though they’re less common than channel catfish. Neither species is native to this area. These big catfish made their way down the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers during the 1980s and 90s.

Anglers catch some huge catfish in the deep part of Lake Seminole, located near the dam.

The tailwater area on the Apalachicola River immediately below the dam is arguably the best place for catfish, and some truly giant flatheads and blue cats have been caught there.

Catch More Catfish

There are many ways to skin a cat. There also are many ways to catch a catfish, and we’ll show you the best in our easy guide to catfish fishing baits, tackle and techniques.

Lake Seminole also is among the best catfish fishing lakes in Florida.

Bluegill & Sunfish

Lake Seminole is an outstanding panfish lake with a tremendous bluegill population. Average ‘gills measure 6 to 8 inches, and some stretch a tape measure close to a foot. Redbreast sunfish, also called shellcrackers, are also common.

Collectively referred to as bream in this part of the country, bluegill and shellcrackers are most active throughout the warmer months. Bluegills spawn in earnest during March and April, and some can be found on their beds all summer long.

Shellcrackers spawn during a more defined six-week window, but you can expect to find both species on beds in late spring and early summer. Look for them in shallow areas that are clear and protected by nearby vegetation.

The best month for bream on Lake Seminole is May, when the spawn coincides with epic mayfly hatches, sending bluegill into a feeding frenzy. Some anglers fly-fish for bluegill using mayfly imitations.

Of course, live bait remains the most popular offering. Thread a red worm, cricket or grass shrimp onto an Aberdeen hook. Cast it into bedding areas with an ultralight spinning combo or dip it into pockets among the vegetation with a cane pole. 

Great bream fishing spots are all over the lake. Some of the best places to fish are cuts and edges between the grassy islands on the Chattahoochee River side of the reservoir and at the mouth of Spring Creek.

Catch More Bluegills and Sunfish

Want to fill your cooler to the brim with bream? We show you some of the simplest as well as funnest ways to catch spunky bluegills and other sunfish with our simple fishing guide.

Planning Your Trip

Getting to Lake Seminole

Lake Seminole is easy to reach from various points in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

The closest major city is Tallahassee, which is less than an hour away from the southern part of the lake via I-10 and US-90. 

The smaller city of Chattahoochee, Florida, overlooks the southern end of Lake Seminole near the Jim Woodruff Dam.

The Georgia cities of Donalsonville and Bainbridge are also near the lake, offering a wide range of amenities and accommodations.

Approximately 40 boat launch and access sites are available around the shoreline of Lake Seminole, including state and county parks in Georgia and Florida, as well as sites managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Lake Seminole Access in Georgia

The majority of Lake Seminole lies within Georgia. The Corps of Engineers maintains several recreation areas on the Georgia portion of the reservoir with camping and boat ramps, including Eastbank Campground, Hales Landing and River Junction.

Numerous day-use areas and boat landings also offer bank access and free public boat launch facilities. These include Hale’s Landing on the Flint River Arm, Ralph King Landing on the Spring Creek Arm, and Cummings Landing on Fishpond Drain.

Seminole State Park is another excellent access point in Georgia. The park offers boat ramps, campgrounds and a fishing dock on the Fishpond Drain area of the lake.

Privately owned marinas and resorts include Spring Creek Park Resort and Trails End Resort & Marina

Lake Seminole Access in Florida

Florida’s access to Lake Seminole consists primarily of landings and parks on the Chattahoochee River Arm of the lake. Howell’s Landing and Sneads Park each offer boat ramps and bank access. 

Three Rivers State Park is one of the best places to fish Lake Seminole on the Florida side. The park offers a boat ramp, fishing pier, and camping facilities for tents and RVs. 

Access is also available on the Apalachicola River below the Jim Woodruff Dam at River Landing Park.

The park provides boat launch facilities and a fishing pier. This tailwater location is ideal if you focus on catching catfish and the striped bass that run up the river every winter.

Know Before You Go

Lake Seminole is littered with stumps, standing timber, and other hazards, many of which are just inches below the surface. Use extreme caution when navigating outside of marked boat lanes.

It’s also important to keep an eye on where you are relative to the state lines. For example, portions of the lake require a Georgia fishing license, other parts require a Florida fishing license, and in some spots, anglers can fish with a license from either state.

More fishing license details are available here

Georgia fishing limits and regulations apply to most of the lake except for areas west of Highway 271 (River Road).