Lake Lanier’s water level is over full pool and rising quickly with the torrential rains.
At the time this report Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,071.58 which is .58 above the full pool of 1,071. Water temperatures are in the low 50’s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained and the back of the creeks are getting muddy from rain inflow.
The uplake creeks and rivers are stained to muddy.
The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is muddy, but will clear up clear up quickly once the rains quit. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been OK but they are biting. This is one of the best times of the year to catch a trophy spotted or largemouth bass. Lake Lanier’s bass are fat from feeding and the females are full of eggs for the upcoming spawn. If you catch a large bass, please consider taking a photo and releasing it to live on and spawn in the spring.
Right now, anglers should concentrate on transition areas.
Find where the clay banks meet rocky areas leading into the shallower coves. Check you Navionics maps and concentrate on where the deeper channels lead into the coves and creeks. We refer to these locations as bass highways and fish use them to travel from their deep winter locations into the shallower spawning flats.
These areas can be loaded with prespawn bass that are feeding on crawfish and shad.
A crankbait is ideal for probing the rocky bottoms where the bass are located. Use a SPRO RkCrawler to mimic crawfish or a Little John DD 70 or 90 to match the shad that these fish are feeding upon. Other lures like a Fish Head Spin rigged with a Suicide Shad or even a jig a Fighting Frog Trailer are also good choices.
Work your lures slowly and make sure your lure stays in contact with the bottom.
Many strikes will occur as your lure deflects off of rock or wood located on the bottom.
If you can find areas where clear rain runoff water enters the lake, you will often find bass feeding on forage that has washed into the lake. Worms and insect get washed into the lake and make for an easy meal for bass and the prey that they feed upon.
The rain wash can also be warmer than the lake water and this slightly warmer water will boost the metabolism of fish because they are cold blooded creatures. Rain also washes in tiny particles which feed the shad and herring that bass eat.
One of the most productive lures right now is jig worked slowly on the bottom.
I like to use a trailer that mimics crawfish like a Big Bites Fighting Frog. Despite the name, the Fighting Frog has appendages that look like claws. Dip my soft plastic trailers in red JJ’s Magic to match the reddish-orange hue of our crawfish population.
Striper fishing has been good before the rains came in but fish don’t stop eating just because it rains. In fact, the rain inflow can concentrate shad, herring and the stripers that target them. Seek out locations where the stained or muddy water meets the clearer main lake water.
Use your Lowrance electronics to scan these areas to locate stripers and baitfish.
Mudlines will concentrate shad and herring and you can bet bait stripers will be located close by. Mudlines create a wall under water and baitfish tend to congregate along these significant water color changes. You can troll an umbrella rig or use live bait to catch the stripers that are feasting on these concentrated school of herring and shad.
Go to your local bait shop and stock up on plenty of herring and shiners or better yet use a cast net to catch your own bait.
You can find herring and threadfin shad in the shallow pockets that have running water entering the lake. Throw your cast net a few times and move on to more productive water, if your net comes back empty. If you net a few, then work that area as you may have found the edge of a much larger baitfish ball.
Once you have secured some bait, get out on the water and use your Lowrance Electronics to locate bait and stripers.
Use a combination or flat lines (unweighted) and down lines (weighted) and place your bait just above where you mark fish. Herring and medium-to-large shiners have worked best this week but consider adding a bigger trout or gizzard shad to your spread to trigger a big fish into biting.
The night time Bomber/McStick bite has been slow but it is picking up.
Areas in the backs of the creeks and also the islands around the dam can yield awesome results this time of year. The dock lights can also produce some great action. Look for this bite to get much better soon. When this action gets hot, we can catch 10 to 15-fish in a four-hour trip.
I only use artificial lures and usually concentrate on bass. In early spring and late fall, I offer guided trips so keep in touch with me email@example.com and I will let you know when it gets really good.
Crappie fishing has been slow but there are a few big ones biting around the docks. With this rain many of the areas where anglers were catching crappie will be blown out. Switch over to bright colors by Chartreuse or pink and shoot jigs around docks in 10 to 25-foot of water.
If brush or beaver hutches are present, then these areas can hold numbers of fish.
Bank Fishing: Some bass and stripers have bitten well in shallow water this week. You have many options for areas to fish from shore but you should concentrate on areas from the middle of the creeks on back into the smaller creek channels. Local parks can be perfect areas for fishing for bank anglers.
Use your paper maps or Navionics app to locate areas where creek or ditch channels swing close into the shore.
Rocky banks seem to be the best areas to fish. You can set out a spread of several rods secured in stout rod holders and wait for the action. During the start of the day, you will often get bites because there is usually a short feeding time and daylight.
If you can’t get out early, then no worries. Afternoons have been the most productive times to catch fish.
Herring are harder for shorebound anglers to keep alive.
Instead, try using medium-to-large shiners under a slip bobber.
Set your bobber stops and place them from 10-15 feet.
Set a couple of lines with a small split-shot attached so your baits get down deeper but also set a couple of unweighted lines and allow you baits to swim naturally around the surface. Once you get a bite, switch over the rest of your rods to that same depth and wait for the action.
Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist, guide and bass angler. He is currently booking teaching trips for Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Remember to take a kid fishing.