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Fishing report: Bass biting best when the sun's out

POSTED: March 10, 2011 9:03 p.m.

Lake temperatures are holding in the upper 40s and low 50s. The rainfall can affect temperatures where runoff water enters the lake.

The lake level came up about a foot with the recent rainfall is more than a quarter foot above full pool at 1071.3.

Lake Lanier is clear to stained on the main lake and stained to muddy in the creeks and the rivers. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

The bass fishing has been up and down like the recent weather. Sunny days seem to make the bass much more active and you may find them grouped or spread out.

Many lures are working well. On tough days, anglers in the know can locate groups of staging fish and catch a big bag from areas that most anglers wouldn't give a second look. Bare clay banks that are warmed by the sun can be gold mines this time of year.

Even though they may not contain the attractive docks or trees that most anglers target, these boring-looking clay banks can be a few degrees warmer and can hold schools of hungry bass. Crankbaits, jerkbaits, jigs and fish head spins will all work in this situation. You should determine the activity level of the fish and then switch to the best option, whether it is a slow-moving worm or a quicker-moving crankbait.

The bank vegetation that grew up when the lake was down is still a factor for catching these pre-spawn bass.

The fish will hunker down in the ditches during rainy colder days and then they will move up into this thick flooded growth toward the flats to warm themselves. From there, they will ambush the large supply of bait fish that use this same cover to hide from predators and to also feed on the algae that grows on the decaying submerged growth.

Skipping the docks with finesse worms or small jigs is a reliable pattern when the sun is up. Some days the best docks will be the ones all the way in the backs of the pockets and other days bass will be ganged up under large docks with black floats that warm the surrounding water. Also target the areas between the docks with a McStick or rattling crankbait.

Night fishing has been slow, but look for this to get much better later this month on into April and May.

The stripers are shallow and the bigger fish are definitely around. Several 30-pound or larger stripers are being caught from 10 feet deep or less, and there is a huge amount of bait shallow in the creeks and coves.

Drag free-lined live bluebacks and trout, and continue to use the planner boards to get your live baits right against the banks because the line sides can be in water just deep enough to cover their backs.

Some days the jerkbaits have been producing almost as well as live baits. Cast McSticks, Buck tails, Bombers and BBZ1 Shads toward the shore while pulling live baits.

Work the lures with a slow-and-steady retrieve for the best results. Few things in fresh water hit a lure like a large, shallow water striper.

The night bite has been off and on, and the clearer or stained water seems to be more productive than muddy water. Get out before dark and find the mud lines. These are the areas where muddy water meets the clearer lake water. Target these areas both before and after dark for your best bites. Some nights the larger Bomber

Long As in pink have been working best while other nights the smaller McSticks seem to be better.

Crappie fishing remains very good and the fish are up both shallow and at mid depths.

Both the backs of the creeks and the long main lake pockets are holding crappie in the warmer water. As with the bass, the crappie are also relating to the submerged bank growth and you can find them on the insides or outsides of the flooded brush depending on weather conditions and where the bait is swimming. Crappie will still bite even in muddy water, but look for the water to have at least a stain in the best areas.

Trolling and casting small micro spoons and crappie jigs and live crappie minnows below a float are all working well. Fishing crappie minnows below a float around any downed trees has been good. Target areas in the back of the pockets for your best success.

The trout fishing will be picking up as the stocking efforts increase in the next few weeks. Try using live earthworms (where permitted) after the rains; use Rooster Tails or small crankbaits when the water clears.

Bank fishing: Crappie, stripers and bass are all biting in the shallows. It's hard to beat using a live minnow under a float. Cast these live minnows under a float around flooded trees, bridges and rocks. You can also cast lures and jigs around these same areas.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from his readers so please e-mail him at esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.
Remember to take a kid fishing!




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