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Aldrich: Shallow areas have active fish

POSTED: March 19, 2009 7:39 p.m.

Lake temperatures are in mid to upper 50s. Lake Lanier continues to rise to higher levels than we have seen in two years. The lake continues to rise and is right at 1,059 feet and down just 12 feet from a full pool of 1,071 feet. The main lake is clear to slightly stained and the creeks and river are stained. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass

The fishing continues to be good for spotted and largemouth bass. While the bass are biting well in the right areas and right times, some anglers are reporting that it definitely takes some time and adjustments to figure them out. In the spring, conditions change hourly and these changes affect all species. Always keep an open mind and make adjustments as needed.

Lake Lanier’s bass continue to bite on a variety of lures and bait. Take your kids and parents fishing.

Our No. 1 pattern had been running and gunning main lake and secondary points into the creeks catching active bass with bite jerk baits and crank baits, but lately we have been hearing about some decent schooling action in the shallow backs of the creeks. We have been using Spro McSticks and Aruka Shads, but other lures like Husky Jerks, Bomber Long As, Stayzees, or Rattle Traps will all produce. Make sure to use lures that are in the 4- to 5-inch range on the main lake, as these will match the size of most of the bluebacks. When fishing towards the backs of the creeks, smaller offerings may work better because they will better mimic the size of threadfin shad.

After stopping the boat, I have mostly been running the Minn Kota Trolling on high, finding active fish then going back over the same area on a medium to slow speed to rework the most productive areas. If you catch a single good fish, there are often more in the same location. Try switching to a Jig N’ Pig or a Finesse worm on a jig head around brush piles that are located in the 10- to 20-foot range. The dock bite has been better and that will continue well into spring. Skip Zoom Finesse Worms on a jig head or Zoom Super Flukes up under these docks.

When fishing from the bank you can use a mixture of the aforementioned lures or live minnows. The bridges and Rip Rap have been good areas to target if you don’t have a boat or when you wish not to use any gas.

Stripers

The fishing is very good and Shane Watson says he is seeing some larger stripers in the 20- to 30-pound range. This is one of the best times of the year to catch a trophy fish. If you were having problems catching stripers, I would highly recommend a trip on the water with an experience Lake Lanier guide. If you can’t afford a guide or prefer to go it alone then at least stop by Hammond’s Fishing Center for some valuable free advise. Hammond’s is in constant contact with the guides and other anglers that consistently load the boat, and they are more than happy to lead you in the right direction.

Live blueback herring worked on a flat line or planner board have been the best baits. Medium Trout and large or jumbo shiners will also work well. If you are looking for a trophy striper you can net up or purchase gizzard shad. Hammond’s also carries this native large baitfish.

Watch for gulls and loons and also pay attention to your Humminbird Fish finders to determine where the stripers are located. You can often find active schools in shallow areas without any birds present because there is a lot of bait working this time of year. Some stripers will be located on the main lake or in the mouths of the creeks, while others are way up the rivers or in the backs of lower lake creeks. As with the bass keep you options open and you should be able to located fish this week.

The Bomber Long A bite has been off and on, and the warmer water temperatures in the mid to upper 50s will help draw these fish up shallow at nights

Crappie

The fishing is still good and a lot of the productive areas are accessible to bank anglers. My 998 Humminbird side finder really helps me see the cover. A lot of the lay down trees and brush piles can be seen from the bank or a boat. Target areas towards the backs of the creeks, bridges and in the coves around docks. Continue to troll or cast crappie jigs or fish small crappie minnows in the shallower water. Here is a tip from Kieth Pace owner of Micro Spoons. Pace says to look for older dock where beavers have brought in wood and to target the shady side. Pace has been fishing up by Jones Bridge for a couple of weeks and doing very well.

Trout on the Chattahoochee

The fishing is good as the DNR stocks plenty of trout for the opening day on April 1. Of course the Chattahoochee is open to trout fishing year round but the creeks up north should be in great shape for opening day. This time of year I stick with a small 1/8 -ounce silver and white Rooster Tail or a Rapala Countdown Minnow in shad pattern when spin fishing, and move to a double drop nymph rig when fly fishing. Live bait (where permitted by law) will always work well.

Eric Aldrich is a part time outdoor writer, bass fisherman and a member of Humminbird’s, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammond’s Fishing Center Pro Staff. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. Check out his Web site at www.aldrichfishing.com. If you would like to email him please do so at esaldrich@yahoo.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!



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