Location Rabun County, Georgia
Lake type reservoir
Primary inflows Tallulah River
Primary outflows Tallulah River
Basin countries United States
Surface area 2,775 acres (11.23 km²)
The lake was built in a deep valley located along a 10 mile (16 km) section of the Tallulah River. The Lake Burton Dam wasclosed on December 22, 1919 and the lake started to fill. The dam is a gravity concrete dam, with a height of 128 feet (39 m) and a span of 1,100 feet (340 m). The spillway is equipped with eight gates 22 feet (6.7 m) wide by 6.6 feet (2.0 m) high. The total capacity at an elevation of 1,866.6 feet (568.9 m) is 108,000 acre-ft (133,000,000 m³), of which 106,000 acre-ft (131,000,000 m³) is usable storage. The generating capacity of the dam is 6,120 kilowatts (two units). Lake Burton is the highest Georgia Power lake in Georgia.
2008 Fishing Prospects
Lake Burton is a 2,775-acre reservoir that is located in the northeast Georgia mountains near Clayton, Georgia. Its scenic mountain beauty and fabulous lakeside homes are very impressive to all who visit the lake. Even more impressive to anglers is the quality spotted bass fishing. Lake Burton is home to the state record spotted bass a whopper caught in February 2005 that tipped the scales at 8 lbs. 2 oz. Last year, a handful of spotted bass were caught that came close to the record. Many of Lake Burtons experienced anglers believe there are even bigger spots in the lake and that the record will be broken in 2008.
For trophy bass, February is the prime month, but getting a big fish to take a bait when the water temperature is 45oF can be a challenge that requires patience, finesse and lots of luck. During the winter months, big fish seek shelter in blown down trees. Because of the high density of shoreline homes, the waters edge is kept relatively clean of woody debris, but the area around the Highway 76 bridge is a good place to start. Pig-and-jig combinations, tube jigs, plastic worms, nightcrawlers and even minnows worked slowly through the woody debris have been effective artificial lures in the past; however, fish can be finicky this time of year so dont hesitate to experiment with different color combinations on your artificial lures. For anglers who like to catch high numbers of bass, especially on topwater, April and May are the prime months. On average, anglers can expect about one in every four spotted bass to weigh over 2 lbs., and the number of spots over 4 lbs. is at a record high level. In early spring, spots will concentrate around the outside corners of boathouses in search of suitable spawning habitat. Fishing with pearl-colored Super Flukes, Ratlin Rogues or spinner baits around boathouses located on rocky shorelines will increase your chances of success. By June, spots will move offshore where fishing topwater lures like a Sammy, Pointer 100 or Zara Spook at dusk and dawn along points and humps are your best bets. When the sun rises well above the horizon, switch to slow, deepwater presentations in the 20 to 30-foot depth range.
During the fall, spotted bass are on the prowl for blueback herring. Live baits such as crayfish, nightcrawlers and minnows work great this time of year. A wide variety of artificial lures like Super Flukes, Rattle Traps, Pointer 100s and deep-diving crankbaits worked on points can also be effective. If those baits are not working, switch to vertical jigging with spoons or fish slow-moving crayfish imitations along the bottom.
Lake Burton has a second claim to fame as Georgias only reservoir brown trout fishery. This fishery is maintained by stocking nearly 20,000 fish each fall. Brown trout grow rapidly through the winter and spring on a diet of blueback herring. In most years, trout in the 16 to 20-inch size range, weighing 1 – 3 lbs., dominate the catch. The fisheries survey data also indicated more 6 – 8 lbs. fish in the population going into 2008. There seems to be three peaks in the fishery. First, when fish are released in November, anglers catch high number of 10-inch fish using small in-line spinners and flies around Murray Cove, Moccasin Cove and around the dam. The second peak occurs from January to March, when trout concentrate near the face of Burton Dam. Down-lining live herring or minnows are the best way to catch these fish. Trolling Pointer 100s or flat-lining herring near the mouth of the major tributary streams are also effective techniques on sunny, winter afternoons. During the winter, a number of anglers report schooling trout in the vicinity of the Highway 76 Bridge. The third and most popular peak in the trout fishery occurs from July to October. During the summer, coolwater habitat shrinks in Lake Burton to a relatively narrow band of water that typically spans the 30 to 60-foot depth zone.
By late summer, trout will be concentrated in the lower section of the main lake from the safety marker at the mouth of Moccasin Cove to the dam. Trolling with live bait (herring or minnows), trolling spoons (Krocodile or Doctor Spoons), or shad-imitating crank baits (Pointer 100s, Shad Raps, Rattle Traps) in this depth zone are successfully proven methods this time of year. However, depth and speed control are more critical than lure selection. An anglers guide to the Lake Burton trout fishery contains more detailed information about seasonal patterns and techniques of this unique fishing opportunity. It is available at no cost here.
Lake Burton provides fishing opportunities for other species like yellow perch, bluegill and chain pickerel. Yellow perch are fun to catch and great to eat. They can be caught during the warm months by fishing with nightcrawlers or small shiners along the bottom near weed beds at depths ranging from 15 to 25-feet. Ultralight fishing rods, light line, small hooks and a box of crickets are the items needed to catch a stringer of bluegill from the bank or boathouse. For real excitement, try fishing for chain pickerel in the shallow flats at the back of every major cove. Pickerel are extremely aggressive and relatively easy to catch on a wide variety of artificial lures such as floating Rapalas and spinner baits. The key to catching one of these acrobatic fighters is to fish the shallow flats and visible structure thoroughly with flashy lures.
Bank fishing opportunities for the public are available at Lake Burton Fish Hatchery and Moccasin Creek State Park located on Highway 197 North. Several fishing piers provide good fishing for bluegill and redear sunfish during the summer months. Lake Burton State Fish Hatchery allows children ages 11 and under to fish in a stocked catfish pond. In addition, trout are stocked regularly into the special regulation section of Moccasin Creek. If you are in the area but forgot your fishing pole, stop by the hatchery or park office and ask for a loaner pole. For more information about Lake Burton, visit the Georgia Power Company website.
North Georgia Land Management Office
4 Seed Lake Road
Lakemont, GA 30552
Camping Reservations: 706-754-7979