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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass seem to be biting best shallow early in the day
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is up slightly at 1,073.51 or 1.51 feet above our normal full pool of 1,071. 

Surface temperatures are in the mid-to upper-50s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear. The creeks, pockets and rivers are slightly to very stained. 

The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been good for most, but a few anglers are having a hard time really patterning the fish. The good news is that the bass are moving shallower where they are easier to catch. Main lake points and humps as well as docks and shallower cover can all hold big fish right now. My suggestion to most anglers is to pick a method you are good at or have confidence. Stick with it until the fish tell you it’s time to make a change. 

If I had only one choice of a lure/technique to fish this week, it would be skipping or casting a ¬-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head rigged with either a Lanier Baits straight tale worm or a Big Bites Baits five-inch Finesse Worm. There are other lures that are producing well, but the shaky head worm has been catching both numbers as well as big fish.

Target the docks that are closest to small creeks or ditches that run back into the shallower flats. We have also been catching bass on certain lines of docks. Pay attention to where the bass are grouped and hit the same area again later in the day.

I fish my shaky head worms on a 6-feet, 6-inch, Kissel Krafts Custom Spinning Rod. It’s made from IMX High Modules Graphite with Micro Guides. I have my Shimano Spinning Reel strung up with 8-pound Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon. This setup allows me to skip a small jig or jig head under docks, gang planks and other overhanging tree limbs that a lot of anglers won’t cast to. 

Moving lures are catching some big fish. Crank Baits, Jerk Baits like the SPRO McStick, Under Spins with a Big Bites Suicide Shad are all great choices to coax bass into biting. Always keep a dropshot with a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm ready to drop on any fish that you see under the boat during the day. 

Having the proper electronics can often make the difference between first place or a small bag of fish. 

My Lowrance Electronics are always on. In addition, I always keep a lure like a spoon or a drop shot rigged with a Lanier Baits Shad Colored worm. That will get my lure down in the face of the fish I see on my electronics. Some people are still amazed when I catch a fish on the screen. 

It would be crazy to invest thousands of dollars into something that didn’t help us to catch fish! 

Striper fishing has been very good. The anglers that know their marine electronics are the ones that are catching the better numbers and quality of stripers. Different methods are producing fish in different locations and at varying depths. Live herring, trout or larger-sized shiners will produce fish. 

Use down lines, flat lines, planner boards or even a balloon rig set far behind the boat.

 These are all good choices based on the varying weather fronts and time of day. 

Some fish are shallow in the water column early in the day. 

These fish may be midway on back into the creeks around the mouths of the coves. Run a few downlines, along with a spread of planner boards and pay attention to what your Lowrance Electronics are showing you. 

Some anglers scored well in close and shallow near the banks early in the day. If the fish are biting, pay close attention to how deep and where the bites occur. Try to duplicate what works and change up your rod setups based on how the action occurs.

It is important to make sure you are fishing in the right locations. Spring is probably the best time to target stripers. 

Stripers are not as picky in the spring, so getting your lure in front of them is the hard part. Keep an eye out for clues that indicate you are on the right track. 

Your Lowrance Electronics, gulls, loons, heron, king fishers and (best yet) fish swirling or busting in the surface. There are too many stripers, but it is also a huge lake where they can hide. 

Trolling a Captain Mack’s umbrella rig remains a great way to locate and catch stripers. 

You can pull around these multi-lure rigs while you watch your Lowrance electronics. Troll your rigs between 2-3 mph. 

Night time striper fishing has still been hit and miss. A few fish have been hitting Bombers and McSticks around the Dam. Get out your medium-heavy 7-plus foot rods rigged with 15 to 20-pound Sunline Natural and tie on a SPRO McStick and go catching. 

Crappie fishing has been decent, but just like Lake Lanier’s other fish. The crappie patterns have been all over the map. Up lake the bridges and man-made, rip-rap shorelines are holding crappie that can be caught with a weighted bobber, both close to the shore as well as off the banks. These fish have not been very deep, so only set your hook 3-feet or under your float. These same fish can also be found around docks, sea walls and rocky banks all over the lake. 

Down lake the crappie seem to be preferring water that is clearer and deeper. Shoot small 1/32-ounce Hal Flys around deeper brush and cane poles. Fish water that is 10-15 feet that has brush or flooded bank cover. Flooded Cover will attract these tasty fish. If you get your tiny jigs within sight of these crappie, they will hit it 8 of 10 times.

Bank Fishing: We have been seeing some huge carp swimming around the docks in the marinas, as well as docks with fish feeders located around them. 

These fish aren’t as stupid as you might think. Throw À of a can of corn out in front of the area you plan to fish. 

Take a No. 1 Aberdeen Style Gamakatsu hook, string a few kernels of corn on it and set it into the Rod Holders. Use light action rods and hold on.

 

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from readers, so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com. Remember to take a kid fishing.

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