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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Now's the time to go catch bass, stripers at night
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level remains very close to full pool at 1,070.78 feet or just .22 below the full pool mark of 1,071 feet above sea level.

Frequent rains will cause these levels to change.

Water temperatures have been rising to what is normal for April. The main lake is in the upper 50s with some of the pockets around 60 degrees.

The lake is clear on the main lake and stained to very stained midway into the backs of the creeks.

The lake is slightly to very stained in the rivers.

The Chattahoochee River is flowing clear below Buford Dam, so get your Rooster Tails and go catch some trout.

Bass fishing continues to be excellent.

They are biting both shallow and deep. We are experiencing unseasonably warm weather and the fish are reacting.

Water temperatures in some of the pockets have risen into the low 60s so I would expect a few fish to start spawning much earlier than normal.

There are a lot of bass biting around the docks in water less than 10 feet of water.

If I had only one lure to use right now it would probably be a straight-tailed worm on a shaky head.

The buck bass along with some of the larger females are moving into shallow docks and the shaky head and worm combo allow bass an easy meal.

These shallow fish are easily fooled with this traditional technique.

I like to skip the lures under the docks and by working them down the sides of the docks or the areas in between them.

My set-up for working a shake head is as follows: I use a Kissel Kraft Custom Rods seven-foot, long-medium action spinning rod and a spinning reel spooled with seven-pound test Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon.

My go-to worm-and-jig head combo is a Lanier Baits Green Pumpkin Fruity Worm rigged on a 1/8 to 3/16 ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head.

The Alien Head has a wire keeper that prevents the worm from slipping down when making repeated skipping casts and an alien shape head allows the worm to stand up off the bottom where the bass can easily see it.

Just about any technique will work to catch shallow and deeper bass right now.

A lot of the bass that move shallow do so to find warmer water temperatures.

As previously mentioned in my weekly reports, the bass will use the black dock floats to absorb the sunlight and warm their cold-blooded systems.

I have seen a dock that had over 20 bass hovering just under the floats.

Usually, the first or last dock in a row will hold the most bass.

Casting a jerk bait or shallow-running crank bait around the bottom of these black floats will trigger bites from bass that are sunning themselves.

Cast these lures along the sides of the floats and start out using a slow-and-steady retrieve. Impart some jerks and pauses until you figure out the best cadence for the current situation.

My go-to lures for coaxing bass under the floats is a SPRO McStick 110, a SPRO Little John 50 or a Lanier Baits Jerk Shad.

These lures run relatively shallow, just at the level where the fish can see them.

Other lures that have worked this past week, include casting a Georgia Blade Premium Spinner bait in chartreuse and white with silver and gold blades around the shallow docks as well as out on main lake around rocky banks and deeper brush piles.

Try using a Lanier Baits Damiki and Lil’’ Swimmer combo for fish you see deeper below the boat with your electronics.

The drop shot rig or a Shepoon Spoon will also fool those deeper fish.

The fish are biting after dark.

Now is a prime time to try night fishing for bass and stripers.

A couple of lures that work best are a Georgia Blade Night time Spinner Bait, a SPRO RkCrawler or McStick 110.

Cast these lures to any lighted boat docks or hit the rocky points leading into the shallow spawning coves.

Striper fishing remains pretty good.

The warmer weather and subsequent warmer-than-normal water temperatures have pulled the stripers up shallow where they are easier for anglers to target.

Stripers also go through a spawning run, but there is no natural reproduction in our system.

These fish have to be stocked by the Department of Natural Resources.

That being the case, the fish still move up shallow and go through the process.

Start your days looking for feeding gulls and loons or stripers swirling on the surface midway on back into the creeks as well as in the rivers.

The striper population is both shallow and deep this week.

Anglers should use a combination of finding birds or schooling fish, as well as watching you electronics for bait and stripers.

If an area looks dead and you aren’t seeing any fish, then don’t hesitate to move on to more productive water.

We have seen some small groups of stripers in water less than 10 feet of water.

These fish are feeding on threadfin shad, gizzard shad and blueback herring as well as going through a false-spawning run.

If you see shallow fish feeding on the surface, then make sure you have a rod and reel rigged with a SPRO McStick 115, or a Chrome Long A Bomber.

Even though these fish may be feeding on small baits, for some reason they can’t seem to resist jerk baits worked with a slow-and-steady retrieve through the school.

The majority of Lake Lanier’s’ stripers are being caught on live bait up shallower in the pockets and backs of the creeks.

The same medium shiners and 4-6 inch herring that have worked in precious trips will continue to work for catching stripers this week.

One guide I spoke to went through six dozen medium shiners in less than four hours. Make sure you have plenty of bait before hitting the water.

Trolling the smaller A-Rig type or umbrella rigs is working for covering water.

These smaller umbrella rigs like a Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr. or a Captain Mack’s Mini Rig will work best for shallow stripers.

These rigs run a little more shallow and mimic a small baitfish school.

You can also cast the smaller umbrella rigs to fish you see breaking on the surface.

Like our weather, the night striper bite is really heating up.

Target the lighted boat docks and cast Bombers, McSticks or even a mini umbrella rig.

When approaching a lighted dock, make you first couple of casts to the area where the lights meet the darker water.

Stripers will hang around the edges of the lights because they can hide, then move up to attack the bait that is attracted to the lights.

Crappie fishing remains very good.

Make sure you have a big cooler to carry your limit for some tasty fillets.

The crappie are up shallow and spawning early so now is the time to go catching.

Target boat docks and trees lying down into the water.

You can either shoot or cast crappie rigs to this cover or get out the old reliable minnow under a bobber.

Remember the fish are really schooled up close, so if you’re not getting bites, move on the more productive waters.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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