Lake temperatures have cooled a little into the mid 60s but look for them to rise back into the low 70s with this weekend’s warmer weather. Lake Lanier is just under full at 1,070.7 feet and is clear to slightly stained on main lake and slightly stained in the creeks and rivers.
Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
The bass are mostly finishing up the spawn but there will still be a few fish on their nests into the next full moon. We are catching a lot of spotted bass that look beat up with sores on their sides from spawning.
While these bass look rough, this is a normal occurrence and most will heal up fine and be fat and pretty again in about a month. These fish are now concentrated more on feeding than on making babies.
Spotted and largemouth bass get very hungry after the spawn. The blueback herring start their spawn around the end of the bass spawn, so these high-protein bait fish will be shallow on the sandy and clay banks both out on main lake and in the creek pockets.
Jerkbaits mimic the body shape of these long, slender herring.
We fished the Wednesday night tournament out of Vann’s Tavern and caught all of our bass including the big bass of the tournament, a five-and-a-half-pound spotted bass, on SPRO McSticks.
While these lures are called jerkbaits, they can be very effective casting and retrieving with a slow-to-medium steady return. I love this method and call it “stupid” fishing because it does not require a lot of thought.
Find a point, pocket or saddle between two islands, cast out your lure and crank it steady.
You may catch a limit of big spots or some stripers very quickly. Other slender lures like Jerk Shads, Flukes, topwater plugs and even Bomber Long As are all very effective blueback imitators.
The topwater action has started and will be very good in the next two weeks and in the early summer months.
The after-dark bite is just starting to get going and crankbaits, jerkbaits, large, black Colorado Blade spinner baits and jigs can all work well after the sun goes down.
The “junk fishing” has still been good because the bass are hitting a variety of lures. Slowly dragging worms may work best in the morning, while faster-moving lures like crankbaits, jerkbaits, topwater spinner baits can be better in the afternoons. Just about any lure can work at anywhere and anytime on the lake.
Keep a variety of lures ready and go out there and catch them. Live minnows and medium minnows or bluebacks fished on flat lines or under a float will work well.
Striper fishing remains consistent, and the guides who are out there every day can really stay connected with active fish. For the majority of anglers who may only be able to fish on the weekends it can take a little time during the day to get on these active fish.
My fish finder really helps cut down on the guesswork. With larger screens and side imaging you can actually see the larger stripers and even the baitfish schools on the screen and scan a much wider area than traditional, straight-down images.
Blueback herring are spawning and the stripers are out crushing them — topwater time is happening. Redfins, McSticks, Flukes, topwater plugs and, of course, live bluebacks are all producing some trophy stripers. I saw three photos of stripers over 35 pounds including one pushing 40 just this past week, so now is trophy time for stripers on Lanier. There are also some pretty good numbers of fish being caught.
Pull live bluebacks behind the boat on flat lines and planner boards while casting topwater plugs or jerkbaits from the front.
If you find some active topwater fish then it can sometimes be easier and more productive to stick with just lures, but the live bait will always increase your odds.
I thought the night bite had really subsided, but we got into a pretty good school of fish that were eating the McStick while fishing the bass tournament the other night and I’m sure these same fish would have hit Bomber
Long As, too, so don’t be afraid to venture out after dark.
Crappie fishing is a little slower, but they still worth going after. While some anglers are still catching 50 fish per day, most are not doing that well.
Long-line trolling of jigs and even small crankbaits are producing ok numbers in the creeks and rivers. The better-sized fish are far under the docks, so shooting small jigs and Micro Spoons is the way to go if you know how. I have not heard many reports of night fishing around the bridges and lighted boat docks, but that action should start in the next few weeks once it warms up a little.
Trout fishing remains very good in the mountain creeks and below Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River.
Live earthworms (where permitted by law), Rapalas, Pins Minnows, dry and wet flies and in-line spinners are all great choices.
I am featuring some specific areas in some of the upcoming trout reports and this week’s area is kind of a well-guarded secret.
Most anglers are aware that there is good fishing below Buford dam, but did you know you can also catch trout all the way down inside the perimeter in Atlanta?
There is also a little-known area above Morgan Falls dam where you can put a boat in at Azalea Drive and either go up or down and catch trout, crappie, bass and even tasty Yellow Perch. The Chattahoochee NatureCenter is also in the same area, so it is worth a trip. There are many large lakes just off the river above Morgan Falls and this area looks more like the everglades than inner city.
Bank fishing: Take your kids or parents out and fish from the banks. Use a small hook rigged with an earthworm, without a weight, and set it down about one to two feet below a bobber. I see a lot of anglers who use too large of a hook, a big swivel, or a too large of a weight and this extra hardware will turn off the fish.
Live bait will look most natural with a hard-to-see hook and little-to-no extra hardware. Imagine this: you take a bite of steak and accidentally bite a bone, but I doubt if I would even try to eat that same steak if you could see sharp bones or a large spear in the middle of it.
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. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit aldrichfishing.com.