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Bass fishing has been a hit or miss in the shallows
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is just barely above full pool at 1,071.16 or .16 feet above the normal full pool of 1071. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 70s to low 80s. 

Some main lake and lower lake creek mouths are stained in a lot of areas with some clearer water in others. I suspect this is from reverse turnover (stratification) where the cold and warm layers of water mix. The high lake levels and the increased boat traffic also stirs up the banks. It’s pretty much the same deal up lake too.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466. 

Surprisingly, bass fishing has been hit or miss this past week. I have had a couple trips where we only caught 5-10 fish while a few other trips where we found good patterns, losing count of how many we caught.  

There are still a lot of fish shallow in under 15 feet of water.  We have been starting our mornings very shallow, casting moving lures to shallow areas on points and flats in the pockets. Small top water lures like a Zara Puppy, Pop-R or a Fluke are great choices for these shallow bass. 

A Big Bites Baits Suicide Shad Buzz Bait in the blue gizzard gold or pearl shad color is my go-to for catching bigger bass back around docks in the flats. Work these lures fast enough to keep your lure on top. 

There are a lot of fish at the bottom in that 5 to 20-foot zone. Work a small plastic swim bait slowly over the bottom on points and humps that have brush. Have a milk run of areas where you have brush marked on your Lowrance Electronics. 

I use a Big Bite Baits Suicide Shad Swimbait in shad colors on a quarter ounce Gamakatsu Foot Ball Head Jig. I have friends that are also doing well casting Keitech Easy Shiner or a similar prototype at Lanier Baits.

Work swim baits or even a finesse worm on a 3/16th ounce Gamakatsu Alien head along the bottom and through brush in that same 5-20 foot zone around docks and out on main lake humps and points. Try casting a spy bait or deep diving SPRO Little John DD in these same locations.

Crank Baits are lures that are over looked by too many anglers on Lake Lanier. One of the best times to learn how to fish a crank bait is after dark. This type of fishing is pretty easy, but you will have to learn to fish by feel. 

Anglers who don’t fish after the sun goes down are missing out. Get out your darker colored crankbaits and spinner baits and work these lures along the bottom for some great action after dark

The striper fishing has been similar to the bass fishing, great one day and good to fair on others. The top water activity that we usually experience this time of year seems to be off, but the stripers are still biting on subsurface offerings. 

Don’t completely stash your casting rods. There have been some fish busting herring in some areas, but the stripers are schooling then sounding very quickly. If you see fish on the surface within casting distance sling a Red Fin or a floating BBZ1 4-Inch Shad, v-wake these lures as you reel them back. 

Other top water lures like a Zara Spook or 115 Gunfish will also work if you are lucky enough to be surface striking stripers.

Not many anglers get to fish several times a week, so if you haven’t been in a while, then you will need to utilize your Lowrance Electronics. 

My Carbon 16 sees almost everything. With 3D and Structure Scan, it’s easy to scan directly under the boat and in an 800 feet wide area to see fish that are not visible in traditional 2D. 

Stripers are relating almost exclusively to the large schools of baitfish that they are feeding on. Herring are fast moving baitfish, and they can be here one day and a mile away the next. 

As we mentioned last week, it is a good idea to hit the water at safe light. This is your best time to see any fish on top. 

Keep your eyes open just and start in areas where you see fish busting up bait on the surface.

If you have not been fishing a lot and don’t know where to start, try setting out a spread of planner boards and flat lined herring and cover some water. If your Lowrance unit shows stripers in less than 15-20 feet, then keep pulling this same set up most of the day as a lot of stripers are staying closer to the surface. If you mark fish deeper than that level, then set up a few down lines and fish just above the level where you are marking fish.

There are a few anglers who are catching stripers after dark around the sunken Hydro Glow fish lights. If you are a property owner you (along with we nocturnal anglers) will enjoy watching and catching fish from around these lights. These fishing lights attract micro organisms in the water, as well as small insects flying above it. The bait fish and brim are drawn in to feed upon these small offerings.

The bigger predator fish will hang around areas where the light fades into darkness, and you can easily see them shooting in and out of the lights to pick up an easy meal.

Crappie fishing has been OK. Down lake, the bite has occurred from deeper water at around 15 to 20-foot range. Up lake, the crappie seem to be about 5 feet shallower in that 10 to 15-foot zone. 

The crappie have finished spawning and these fish have only one thing on their mind – eating. Small minnows or shooting small crappie jigs around brushy docks have been the go-to technique. Locate docks just outside of the shallow flats. 

If you are able silently position above the brush, then down line crappie minnows, native spot tail minnows or drop a small crappie jig and fish the brush thoroughly.

Bank fishing: Not too long ago I did a carp fishing report. The carp are still up shallow, finishing up spawning. Catching carp is a great way for new anglers — even accomplished anglers — to fight and catch a big carp on light fishing tackle. I use my trout or crappie fishing rods and reels, along with a 4-pound test Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon. This light setup helps with a 5-pound or larger carp.

Get a can of regular corn and open it. Grab a small handful of corn and throw it where you are going to fish. Allow about a half hour to draw the carp into the area. After chumming with the corn, bait up several rods with a small Aberdeen or Octopus Gamakatsu Hook. 

String three to five kernels on each hook and cast them into the area you have already chummed and secure your rods well and wait!

Let’s all honor our fallen heroes this Memorial Day weekend by being courteous and safe while celebrating those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Because of our strong military we get to enjoy life and this holiday in a free nation!

If you wish to book an educational bass fishing trip, email me at esaldrich@yahoo.com!

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 readers so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com Remember to take a kid fishing.

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