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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass biting well in shallow water
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 1,071.08 feet, which is .08 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. 

The main lake is mostly clear but some of the coves and pockets are still stained from pollen. 

The backs of the lower lake creeks are stained from pollen. 

The uplake rivers and creeks are stained to very stained. 

The rivers and the backs may turn muddy from this weekend’s forecast. 

Lake surface temperatures have ranged from the low 60’s out on main lake on up to the low 70’s in coves on sunny days.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. 

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

Bass fishing continues to be very good. 

The bass are biting a variety of lures and techniques in mostly shallow water. 

Most anglers that I talk to with prefer to fish shallow. 

The good news is that the majority of fish we are catching are less than 15-feet deep. 

During the spawning season, bass and baitfish move shallow to lay and fertilize their eggs.  

We have had a decent shallow water topwater bite first thing in the morning. 

Both shallow pockets located back in the creeks as well as main lake coves, points and humps are all good places to start your fishing day. 

Cast topwater plugs like a SPRO Pop 80, Zara Puppy or a Big Bites Jerk Minnow around rock, shallow cover and over shallow humps and points.

There are a lot of 2-3 pound bass located around the same pockets, points and humps. 

Docks provide shade as well as food like shad, brim and crawfish. 

Bass can literally just hang out in the shade and wait for dinner to swim by. 

The gang planks and backs of the docks provide excellent shade. 

Try skipping a Big Bites Jerk Minnow (Fluke style soft plastic) or a Lanier Baits Fruity worm rigged on a shaky head or wacky style rigged on a Gamakatsu G-Finesse Wacky head. 

The Wacky Rig is an easy lure to skip and, because it runs through the middle of your worm, creates an enticing action as it falls slowly to the bottom.

If you are having a hard time finding or catching fish right now, then my suggestion would be to try just two methods. 

First, pick up the SPRO McStick 110 in Spooky Shad or Blue Bandit colors. 

Deploy your trolling motor (or walk the shore) and just start fishing down a wind-blown bank. 

Cast the McStick to the bank and reel it with a slow-to-medium speed steady retrieve. 

If your lure is occasionally banging into rocks or clay bottom, then you are in the zone. 

A lot of the spotted bass are spawning from 3-10 feet deep and they will strike these lures hard.

When the water you encounter has docks or visible cover and structure keep a spinning outfit ready. 

Polarized sunglasses are a must in Spring. 

Slow down and cast a green or shad-colored Fruity Worm on a shaky head or wacky rig to any submerged objects like stumps, rocks, dock posts, boat ramps or laydowns. 

Both spotted and largemouth bass use these harder objects to spawn around. 

Some continue to hang out and eat brim, shad and crawfish until water temps reach the mid 70’s.

After dark, the bass and stripers are grouped up around the shorelines both out on main lake and on back into the creeks. 

We have been casting crankbaits, spinner baits and jerk baits shallow around rock and clay points and also the lighted boat docks.

Striper fishing rates from fair to very good. 

The stripers are on a feeding binge, so if you can find the fish, they should bite pretty quickly. 

The stripers seem to be on two patterns. 

The first pattern is to find fish eating threadfin and gizzard shad. 

The stripers are looking for shad around rocky banks both in the mouths of main lake creeks and on back into the creeks. 

The CORP started placing rip rap around the islands and also around specific CORP property on the main land to control the erosion caused by varying water levels and boat wakes. 

Lake property owners have also been doing the same on their properties. 

Shad use the rocky banks to spawn in the overnight hours. 

At sunrise, you can observe this activity. 

If the stripers you find are targeting shad, then you have a few options. 

Pulling live shad, herring or store-bought medium or large shiners on flat lines behind planner boards and straight out behind the boat will work well. 

Cast a Redfin to the banks and V-wake this lure slow and steady on the surface to entice some explosive strikes. 

The second option is to target stripers that are eating herring out around the main lake, around the saddle areas between the islands and around the mouths of the creeks and rivers.

Stripers that are eating herring tend to move around quickly. 

Anglers who are targeting these fish should also be willing to move too. 

If you are fishing with live bait during warmer weather, it is important to make sure your bait tank is sufficiently aerated the water. 

Also make sure to add sea salt, chlorine free ice and enough water to keep you bait alive and ready for action. 

Few things can be as disappointing as arriving to a great cove with fish jumping on the surface, only to find your bait has died.

As mentioned in the above bass reports, the stripers are schooling around main lake and creek mouth docks with green lights. 

Approach the lights quietly. 

Shut the big motor off well away from the lights and move with in casting distance before making a cast. 

Most of the fish will strike your lures where the light meets the shadows. 

Pitching live herring to these same lights will result in some awesome strikes.

Crappie fishing remains good and the fish are being caught up shallow. 

Your best bet will be to either skip or cast small crappie jigs around the docks with brush planted underneath them.

You can also load the cooler by casting small crappie minnows on a small Aberdeen Style hook. 

Place a split sinker about a foot above your hook and set the bobber about a foot or two above the sinker. 

Hook a live crappie through the lips with the hook tip facing up. 

Place it in a rod holder a wait. 

Move around if you don’t get a bite within a half an hour.

The DNR has been hard at work stocking North Georgia Trout Water like the creeks and rivers in the mountains as well as below Buford Dam. 

This means that the waters are full of beautiful and dumb trout. 

Pick your favorite method and go catch them.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. You can email him at

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