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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass biting well as spawning takes place
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level rose this past week to 1,071.34 feet or .66-feet above the full pool mark of 1,071.

Look for the CORPs to be pulling water to get levels down.

Lake temperatures range from the upper 50’s to the mid 60s in the sunny pockets.  

The main lake and lower lake creek mouths are clear, but stained around the banks and in the backs of the pockets from pollen.

The backs of the creeks, pockets with feeder creeks and the rivers the water is stained from a combination of runoff from the past week’s rain and heavy pollen from our blooming plants and trees.

The Chattahoochee River’s is flowing clear below Buford Dam.

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

Bass fishing has picked up from last week and is very good.

A significant portion of Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth-bass population is moving into the shallows to spawn.  

With all the pollen, it may be hard to see the bass building nests.

I am fascinated by this time of year and often spend hours just watching our bass go through the mating process as they reproduce in the clearer water.

I prefer to venture out alone because not many anglers want to just look at fish and not even make a cast to them.

First, the male bass will move up shallow and start fanning out circular nests.

They fan away the silt, until a sandy or small-rocky bottom is exposed.

Then the females will follow them and choose a suitable mate.

When she is ready and the water is the right temperature, she will deposit her eggs in a very small area inside that nest.

The males will often nudge the females to assist her in depositing her eggs.

Then he will fertilize the eggs.

The couple will then serve dual duty as they protect the eggs and subsequent hatching fry until they are about an inch long.

Then the fry move out into a cruel world.

Even though there may be as any as 12,000 fry hatched per couple, only a few of those will survive to become adults.

This is the prime time for junk fishing.

Junk fishing is a term for when you fish with every lure in your tackle box and several different ones work.

Because the bass are presently  in all phases of the spawn, anglers can use a variety of lures and techniques to catch them.

From topwater plugs all the way on out to bottom-bumping lures, like jigs or drop shot rigs you can bet Lake Lanier’s anglers have been scoring bites on all of them this past week.

There are a few lures that have worked best in my boat this past week.

I really prefer to power fish.

I find most other anglers prefer it, too.

It takes patience to fish a worm, but even the most impatient anglers can score multiple bites power fishing when they are around the fish right now.

The three best lures for us should be no surprise to readers:

A SPRO McStick110 or a Lanier Baits Jerk Shad have been best when it’s calm or there is only a slight chop on the water.

If it’s windy, we gravitate more toward throwing Georgia Blade Premium Spinner Bait.

The cool thing about all of the lures is that anglers can easily bomb long casts and just wind them back with very little effort and catch big fish.

Just chunk, wind and keep moving until you get bit.

Then, work those areas thoroughly before moving again.

As far as colors go, we try to keep things simple.

Shad colors like white, silver, clear chartreuse or chrome all match the forage base that is mostly shad and herring right now.

I do like to have one gold blade on our spinner baits as the shad and herring often have a goldish hue.

We are mostly targeting spotted bass out on rock and clay points, sandy saddle areas between the islands and shallow humps.

Most of these areas are out on the main lake, but don’t be afraid to throw these same lures around docks in the pockets, too.

Anglers can also do very well casting worms or jigs around docks in the pockets.

Start your day casting or skipping around docks in areas where the water temperatures are above 60 degrees.

Pay attention to where your bites occur.

If you catch a fish off the front of a dock, around the gangplanks behind the dock or even in between docks, try to target the same places in that same area.

As the day moves on. the bass may reposition under or shallower around docks, so keep an open mind and make changes as the conditions dictate.

I haven’t personally started to throw hard topwater lures, but some of my friends are reporting catching some decent fish on them.

We do work the Jerk Shads (fluke-style lure) on the surface and the spots have been crushing them.

Make sure you have a surface lure locked and loaded and ready at all times.

Night fishing will remain good through spring, but we are catching some big ones right now.

Email me at to inquire about booking trips.

Striper fishing remains good, but anglers need to move around and find where the baitfish and fish are located.

The birds will help you with this as gulls, loons and other aquatic birds are feeding on the same shad and herring as the stripers.

If you are using live bait, don’t even set out your rods until you locate fish by watching the birds, or even better yet, fish showing up under the boat on your electronics.

The topwater action has only just begun, but anglers should have one or two topwater rods and reels set up and ready.

A Redfin or SPRO  Zero Minnow130 are two examples of what we call wake baits.

The reason is because these lures create a wake as they sashay across the surface like a lazy, slow-moving baitfish on the retrieve.  

Anglers can cast these lures out in front of the boat while pulling baits behind.

Some may choose to start the day just hoping from point to point making long casts.

Once you have seen a striper explode on a surface lure, you will understand why many anglers chase this action instead of even deploying live baits.

The stripers this week have been showing up all over the lake.

Target main lake areas around points, humps and on into the secondary points from Lake Lanier Islands all the way past Gainesville Marina.

The best fishing action continues to come from pulling live baits on flat lines and planner boards.

Medium-sized herring seem to be working best but it’s always a good idea to have a few larger baits as some bigger fish have been showing up his spring.

Try deploying a larger gizzard shad nose hooked about 10-feet under a balloon way out behind the boat to entice a bigger bite.

Night fishing for the stripers and bass around dock lights and also dark banks where the bait is thick in the backs of some lower lake creeks has been OK.

The stripers will probably start moving out to the lighted docks out closer to the main lake as the spring moves on.

Cast Bomber Long A’s, SPRO McSticks or even try fly-fishing with a streamer for some decent action after dark.

Crappie fishing is good.

There are a lot of these tasty fish spawning in the shallows.

It’s hard to beat a live-crappie minnow or live threadfin shad hooked through the lips or under the back dorsal fin and fished under a bobber.

Target docks with brush or bridge rip rap with trees lying in the water.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.


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