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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass in early stages of spawning are biting well
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is holding steady and is presently at 1,070.83 feet or just .17 below the full pool mark of 1,071 feet above sea level. 

Lake temperatures have been higher than usual for this time of year, but the cooler weather forecast for next week may bring them back down a little. 

Lake Lanier’s water temperatures are averaging in the mid-to-high 50’s with some of the sunny pockets warming into the low 60’s.

The main lake is clear and the creeks are mostly clear with some stained water from rain runoff and pollen in the backs of the creeks. 

The water is stained in the rivers and in the upper lake creeks with a lot of pollen showing up in the pockets. 

The Chattahoochee River is flowing clear below Buford Dam. 

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

Bass: The trees are starting to bloom. 

There is pollen on the surface of the lake and bass fishing is heating up. 

We have had several 20-plus fish days with some big fish showing up in the midst of the crowds. 

A lot of fish are shallow and some have actually started to spawn. 

Look for them to stay shallow, but to back off from spawning if we get any significant cold weather in the next week.

On most of the recent sunny and warm days, we have not had to work too hard to catch fish. 

We have had a couple of slow starts when it has cooled down or when it’s raining.  

Lots of methods are working, so pick your style and go catch some bass.

The fish have started to show up both in the pockets, as well as out around points and humps with rock and clay out on main lake. 

Start your days casting moving baits like a Georgia Blade Premium Spinner Baits or SPRO McSticks and cover some water. 

The fish are starting to group up, so if you don’t get a bite, keep moving. 

If you do connect with a fish, then there should be more around. 

Target transition zones where rock meets clay or sand meets rock on the banks. 

If there is wind blowing into a shore line, then it’s all the better.

There have been some large numbers of spotted bass along with a few largemouth grouping up in the pockets as they feast on shad and crawfish to build energy for the spawn. 

With the full moon this past week, we even saw a few bass building nests. 

The fish that spawn first are often the biggest of the year. 

If you catch a fish off the bed, then please release it quickly.

Soft plastics, like worms and jigs, will produce good numbers of bass this week. 

Target the ditch and small feeder-creek channels that run from deep out on main lake on up into the shallows. 

The bass will be positioned some where along these ‘bass highways’ as they move from deep to shallow in late winter and into spring. 

If you can find a ditch that is 10-feet deep running through a flat pocket that is five-feet or shallower, then the fish will be positioned somewhere along the ditch. 

They will move along this break throughout the day.

My two best producers this week up shallow continue to be a whacky rigged Senko style worm on a Gamakatsu Whacky Head or a Strait Tail Fruity Worm on a 1/8 to 3/16-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head. 

Cast these lures around docks, rock or lay downs. 

You will seldom feel much of a bite, but instead watch your line closely as the fish will more often just eat these worms on the fall and swim off with them. 

I feel that when a fish swims away with a worm, it is because there are more in that same area. 

They are trying to keep the lure all to themselves. 

If this happens to you, make them repeat the same cast again.

Not all of the bass are shallow right now. 

My buddy LJ of Lanier Baits continues to apply his extensive electronics knowledge to catch fish out deeper.  

He is targeting bass with his forward scan and downscan electronics, and says the fish are eating the Damiki Head rigged with a Lil’ Swimmer or the dropshot rig in 25-40 feet deep. 

Night fishing remains very good. Some big fish are being caught around the lighted boat docks, as well around the dark, rocky banks located midway back into the creeks. 

Cast a SPRO McStick, RkCrawler or Georgia Blade Premium Night Time Spinner Bait and reel these lures slow and steady. 

Bass are sight feeders but they can also feel a lure ‘thumping’ through sensors in their lateral line. 

This is the reason a slow-and-steady retrieve works so well after dark because the fish can hone in and track a slow-moving meal.

Striper fishing is good. 

There are a lot of fish midway back into the creeks and in the rivers.  

There are also some fish moving back out to the main lake, so keep an open mind and trust your electronics.

The gulls and loons will still give away the best locations, but you can also find some fish up shallow with no birds around. 

Pay close attentions to both your electronics, as well as fish swirling on the surface in the pockets when the birds are not present.

Flat lines, as well as free lines on planner boards rigged with either medium shiners or 4-6 inch bluebacks on a No. 2 Gamakatsu Octopus hook have both been working well. 

Occasionally, you may need to add a splitshot to your free lines, or if the fish are deeper than 20-feet, you may need to deploy weighted down lines. 

Use your electronics to let you know the proper depth to fish.

Always keep a rod and reel at the ready equipped with an artificial lure like a SPRO McStick or Bucktail to have ready to cast for fish you see breaking on the surface. 

You can often add a fish or two to your outing by being prepared. 

If you have to get a rod out of the locker or tie a lure on, you may miss an opportunity.

These same casting lures will work well after dark. 

Make long casts to the bank and reel these lures with a slow-steady retrieve. 

Lighted boat docks have been the best areas to fish after dark this past week. 

If you wish to try night fishing, shoot me an email at and book a trip with me.

Crappie fishing is excellent. 

These fish are up around shallow docks where they are easy to catch. 

These fish are fat and full of eggs. 

They will continue to spawn in the next few weeks. 

Several methods are working to catch these tasty critters, so pick your favorite and go catching.

Trolling or ‘spider rigging’ with multiple rods is an under-utilized method for catching crappie. 

Find the warmest water in the coves and concentrate on these areas. 

Look for water that has some stain to it, because stained water has more nutrients, plus it will warm quicker than clear water.

Shooting crappie jigs, tipped with a live minnow around docks in 3-10 feet of water with brush will produce some big fat crappie this week. 

Live minnows under a float around docks with brush or bridges in the backs of the creeks are well worth a try. 

Remember if you catch one fish, there will be plenty more in the same area as the fish are schooled up and ready to reproduce.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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