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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bridge pilings, docks are optimal spots to catch active crappie
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level continues to follow recent trends. 

Lake levels have hovered within a foot of full pool for quite a while. 

Our current water level continues to hold steady at 1,070.98 feet or .98 above the full pool of 1,071.

Water surface temperatures fluctuated more than usual this past week and it seemed to based on the drastic weather changes. 

We found water temps up lake in the mid-70’s only to find 67 degrees when we launched down lake the next day. 

Currently, we are averaging surface temperatures around the mid to upper 70’s

The water clarity out on the main lake and into larger creeks is mostly clear, but the water is a little stained in the lake pockets, backs of the creeks and rivers. 

Weekend boat traffic will get the waves rocking. 

You may encounter mud lines around the banks that get heavy boat traffic.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. 

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

Bass fishing has rated all over the place. 

I polled several friends to see how they were catching them and the majority claimed the bite was slow. 

We found similar results, but caught a few big fish, too. 

Anglers must be willing to change tactics and locations until you collide with the right school of bass. 

So why has bass fishing been good one day and tough the next? 

We are starting to see the typical postspawn phase.  

This is the time period when bass leave their nests and their fry (baby bass) and just hide and recover for a week or so.

These adult bass are exhausted from building their nests, spawning, hatching fry and aggressively guarding their offspring for several days. 

There are many predators that will eat these baby bass, so most adult bass have not rested or eaten in weeks. 

After the reproductive period ends, the adult bass will follow the same ditch channels that led them into the spawning flats.

We frequently talk about the bass highways. 

This is an important thing to pay attention to all during the spawn. 

After the adult bass leave their nests, they will usually set up under docks, around rocks, under laydowns and around shallow brush in 10-15 feet of water.

Knowing that the bigger bass are probably not going to chase fast-moving lures, but extremely hungry ones can help you stay in the zone. 

Here are a few lures that I depend on after the spawn. 

Cast a SPRO McStick along the sides of docks and try to make them work under the edges, while keeping your boat moving. 

Alternate between a jerk, jerk, pause retrieve, or try just reeling it with a medium-speed steady retrieve.

Skip a 3/8-ounce Lanier Gill color Georgia Blade Jig under floats, around rocks and also skip these same jigs around laydowns. 

The bass love to eat crawdads and bluegill, so you can either drag your jigs on the bottom to mimic a crawdad or you can swim these around dock floats and dock pilings. 

Fish crank baits with green, orange or reddish color around any rock piles that are located in the mouth of the coves. 

You want to keep your crank bait in contact with the bottom. 

Reel the lures slow and steady. 

If you feel the lure stop, wait to see if it pulls back and then set the hook. 

If it is snagged, stop your retrieve. 

Give your line some slack and wait as you allow your lure to float free from the obstruction. 

Prime lures for this technique include an old-fashioned Storm Wiggle Wart, SPRO RkCrawler or Rapala DT 6.

Some bass are starting to school around sand and clay banks. 

These fish are mostly done spawning but the herring and shad are still shallow and spawning. 

These sandy clay banks can be gold mines or they can seem to be devoid of any life at all.

The three lures we have been throwing are as follows: 

A topwater plug like a Super Spook, Sammy or SPRO Pop 80 will usually get crushed. 

This action is just starting to heat up. 

Don’t be afraid to fish your topwater plugs up shallow. 

There are a lot of bass in the coves. 

Anglers should also have a soft-plastic Jerk Shad (a fluke style) on a Gamskatsu 5/0 Offset super line hook and keep it ready at all times. 

We have seen some big schools of bass mixed in with the stipers. 

These fish appear, then sound just to reappear just out of casting distance.

After dark, fishing has rated about the same as the daytime report. 

There are some big girls up around the dock lights and out on main lake island banks with rock and clay.

Striper fishing is also very good one day and slow the next. 

The good news is that we are starting to see some big wolfpacks of stripers tearing up the surface. 

This action is starting to stabilize as soon as we start to see water surface temperatures at 75-80 degrees.

When the stripers are thrashing the surface, it’s hard to pull live bait lines. 

Instead, many anglers would just as well fish with a topwater plug all day long. 

If you have never caught a big fish in fresh water or in the ocean, then hooking up with a 10-15 pound (or bigger) striper that just crushed your plug is something you will never forget and is something all people should experience.

If you have four people in your boat and they all want to cast, pay very close attention to your own back cast as well as everyone else. 

Having four lures with sharp Gamakatsu whizzing by your ears can be rather scary.

Boats that hire a charter should follow the captains advice on the best method for that day. 

Pulling live herring on both regular flat lines and plainer boards, herring or trout on down lines or trolling umbrella rigs is a tried and trusted way to catch fish all year. 

Crappie fishing is good. 

These fish are through spawning and they are moving out to the first major cover or structure that leads into deeper water. 

Bridge pilings are prime areas where we will feast on herring, shad and spot tail minnows. 

Get a bucket full of minnow or cast small crappie jigs around any docks have planted brush.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions. 

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