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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Don't neglect good opportunities to go crappie fishing
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s rose slightly from last week and is at 1,069.99 or 1.01 feet below the normal level of 1,071 feet. 

Lake surface temperatures this past week ranged from the mid to upper 40’s.   

The main lake is clear to stained. 

Lower lake creeks range from clear to stained in the backs. 

The rivers above the Highway 53 Bridge range from slightly stained to almost muddy in the upper rivers.

The Chattahoochee River below Burford Dam starts out clear but turns stained into more stained from rain inflow as you move southward. 

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

Bass fishing has rated from fair, at best, for most anglers on up to good or better for a select few. 

The moving weather fronts have changed patterns almost daily. 

Our biggest fish have either come from very shallow or very deep depths. 

The bass have been feeding mostly on a diet of small threadfin shad and crawfish. 

Bass are opportunistic and they will gladly accept a meal of blueback herring or the lakes larger gizzard shad or brim. 

Keep an open mind, vary your fishing methods and lures and try to stick with your strengths.

We have started most days up shallow casting to the banks. 

Chunk and wind SPRO RcKrawlers or Rapala DT 10’s in reddish crawfish patterns to score some good bites from both largemouth and spotted bass. 

Fishing in the skinny water seems to be easier for most anglers. Shallow fish usually bite all day and even well into the night hours. 

Even then, the action seems infrequent. Try to capitalize on the few bites you receive.

The second most productive pattern has been to target fish out deeper away from the shore from 25-50 feet deep. 

Use your electronics to identify fish directly below the boat and employ a dropshot rig, Damiki Rig or a jigging spoon. 

Medium-sized Fruity Worms in either natural or blueish colors hooked on a dropshot rig have provided our most consistent action. 

Explore out deeper around brush or rocks located on the points and humps.

Fishing with a shaky head or a small soft plastic swimbait like a Big Bites Suicide Shad has produced decent results both shallow and deep. 

Target docks or steep banks where you mark baitfish or larger predators on your graph. 

After dark, fish medium depth crank baits from the banks on back to the boat.

Striper fishing has been good, but patterns and locations can change frequently. Anglers whom I have bass fished with have caught stripers casting a Yum Flash Mob Junior (small umbrella rig) equipped with willow leaf blades and smaller swim baits. 

The stripers also appear to be keying in on the massive schools of small shad midway backs in the creeks and from the mouths into the ditches of main lake pockets. 

Use your electronics to locate the shad and stripers. 

Also watch for surface activity, including birds and loons. Once you locate the prime areas it will be time to deploy both live bait and lures that match the smaller shad that the stripers are feeding upon.

If you haven’t been fishing much recently or if a recent productive area no longer shows promise, then consider trolling a Captain Mack’s Mini Rig. 

Trolling allows you to cover water and locate productive water or to find fish that have moved. 

The prime depth to run your rigs has been around 15-feet deep. 

Lead core line or downriggers will improve your ability to troll your rigs at specific depths. 

The best speed for trolling has been right around 2 mph.  

When you locate areas with baitfish and stripers, then fishing with flat and down lines with live bait has been working well. 

The stripers have been shallow early in the mornings and later in the day on through the night time hours. 

They will also tend to be shallower on overcast days. 

Stripers seem to be deeper during brighter conditions like mid-day or during sunny weather.

Bait your lines with medium-to-large shiners or medium-sized herring. 

Add a trout into the mix to entice some aggressive strikes from larger striped bass.

Fishing after hours has been good. 

If you can handle night fishing rig a flatline (just a weightless line with a hook and live bait) and pitch it to lighted boat docks midway back in the shallow pockets and creeks. 

Try to avoid muddy water, but find areas where the clear main lake water meets the stained water inflow. 

I prefer to cast a SPRO McStick 110 or a Bomber Long A in these same locations. 

Cast these lures to the banks and fish them with a slow-to-medium steady retrieve. 

Crappie fishing is really starting to heat up. 

These tasty panfish are fat and heathy and getting fatter. 

Late winter crappie will feed all day and night so as to add body mass for the upcoming spawn. 

If the water in your best areas is stained, then crappie can often be caught from 5-10 feet deep. 

In clearer areas they tend to be found out deeper from 10-20 feet deep. 

Casting small crappie jigs to docks with brush has been the most popular method, but live bait fished under a bobber or a weighted line under the docks is worth a try. 

You can even troll or “lake rake” with multiple lightweight rods rigged with one or two small crappie jigs. 

Experiment with different jig colors, depths and speeds. Pay attention to what details have given the best results. 

Then change over most of your spread to what seems to produce. 

If the bite slows, go back to experimenting to decipher what the fish are telling you and you will probably have fresh crappie for dinner.


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

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