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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass biting well for anglers who stay on the move
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is currently at 1,070.62 feet and is .38 feet below full pool of 1,071. 

With all the rain in our immediate forecast, we can expect lake levels to rise with lots of muddy and stained water entering the system. 

Water temperatures are hovering right around 50 degrees. 

The lake is clear to slightly stained on the main lake and stained with some muddy water inflow in the backs of the creeks, as well as in the rivers.

The Chattahoochee River is stained to muddy from rain inflow. 

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing rates from fair to good. 

The bass are really grouped up in the ditches. 

While you may find groups of fish out deeper, there have also been some decent bass being caught shallow this week, too. 

Pick your favorite style of fishing and continue to move until you locate active bass.

With this past week’s warmer-than-normal weather, the fish reacted and we started catching a few up shallow in under 20 feet deep. 

These fish seem to be relating to crawfish around steeper banks with rock. 

If docks are present, then that’s even better. 

Lake Lanier’s spotted bass love to feast on these high-protein fresh water lobsters. 

In the late winter and early spring, Lake Lanier’s crawfish are typically a dark green and orange color. 

We are having great success using the new Georgia Blade Craw Bite Finesse Jig designed by local guide and good friend Jimbo On Lanier. 

Cast these jigs to the banks and slowly drag them down the drops. 

Bass often cause a distinctive ‘thump’ when they bite the jig, but sometimes it’s a much more subtle bite. 

If you feel something different, it pays to set the hook.

There are also plenty of bass that are targeting gizzard shad, threadfin shad and blueback herring. 

A lot of these fish are grouped up in 35-55 feet of water. 

Your electronics are critical tools because they allow you to confirm that the fish are located in the areas you are fishing. 

If not, keep moving until you find them.

Use lures that you can quickly drop down to fish on the bottom, like a jigging spoon. 

Rapala Ice Jigs, a Lanier Baits Lil’ Swimmer on a Damiki Rig or even a fruity worm on the dropshot are all worth a try. 

Fish will often show a preference for a certain kind of lure, but switch things up until you start getting bites.

Anglers are also catching fish by skipping a Finesse Worm rigged on a Gamakatsu Alien Hook Jig Head. 

I like to use the lightest jig head possible, which is usually a 1/8-3/16 ounce. 

These premium jig heads have a wire-locking system for your worms that keeps them from sliding off, while skipping but they stick the bass pretty well. 

Other lures like a Georgia Blade Premium Spinner Bait, Keitec style swim baits or even cranking the rocks with a SPRO RkCrawler will produce bites from the spotted and largemouth population.

Stripers: The striper fishing has been good and anglers should pay close attention to water color and rain inflow. 

Stripers can feed in muddy water because they have lateral lines that help them detect the movement of their prey. 

Stripers prefer clearer water as they are mainly sight feeders and prefer to actually see the baitfish they are targeting. 

Expect the rivers and creek mouths to get stained to muddy. 

If so, anglers should seek out color transaction areas where stained-to-muddy water meet clear to stained water. 

When you locate an area where mud lines set up, then that can create an ideal fishing scenario because stripers ‘trap’ shad up against the mud lines and they can coral them easier in these cases.

Both trolling and pulling live baits have both been working well. 

Trolling an umbrella rig is a great way to both cover water and catch fish. 

If you can find stripers targeting shad on a mud line, then try trolling these multi-hook rigs in and out of the transition zones. 

I witnessed a guide who was pulling umbrella rigs catch fish at a 3-to-1 ratio to those who use live herring. 

Personally I don’t prefer to roll, but if it produces the bites, it can be loads of fun.

The best live bait this past week appears to be medium shiners or small herring. 

Pay attention to your electronics as well as any feeding gulls or loons to put yourself in the most productive areas.

A lot of the bait right now is 2-3 inches and these smaller store-bought minnows have gotten the nod recently as the best options. 

Use a combination of flat lines, planner boards and down lines. 

Let the fish that bite determine the best bait and method for that particular situation.

Always keep a casting rod on the deck rigged with a SPRO McStick or Bucktail. 

I have seen, on tough days, where fish surfaced within casting distance were the only bites we got. 

Being prepared can make the difference of catching a trophy vs. getting skunked.

With the warmer-than-usual weather, anglers should consider targeting stripers after dark with Bomber Long As, McSticks or SPRO Bucktails. 

Cast these lures to lighted boat docks after dark and hold on.

Crappie: The crappie are biting on Lanier and these fish are grouped up in huge schools around docks with brush. 

Anglers should note that if we receive the rains that are forecast, a lot of the backs of the creeks will be rolling mud. 

Seek out areas with slightly-clearer water and cast small jigs or even live crappie minnows on a slip bobber set to the depth where you mark crappie on your electronics.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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