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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers and carp biting well from the shore
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is just about 3/4 of a foot above a full pool at 1,071.80 or .80 feet above our normal full pool of 1,071. 

Surface temperatures are in the mid to upper 60’s.

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The backs of the creeks and the water flowing down from the rivers are slightly stained. During the weekends and with the continued Covid-19 pandemic, boat traffic has been heavy for spring. 

Week days have been a little better but are still more crowded than usual. 

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. 

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

Bass fishing has been very good for anglers that are open minded and blessed so as to get out and fish a lot. 

The bass remain in all stages of spawn. It is important to fish as many areas as possible because conditions can change from day to day.

We continue to average 20 fish in a 4-6 hour trip as long as you can make long casts. Two lures have been our top producers this week. The first and the easiest to fish is a SPRO McStick 110 in Spooky Shad, Clear Chartreuse or any other natural shad or herring colors. 

These lures are referred to as jerk baits but have been doing best when fished with a medium-steady retrieve around shallow cover. 

Cast these McSticks around main lake rock and clay. Allow your lures make contact with the bottom on the first part of your retrieve. These lures run 3-5 feet deep and your biggest fish will bite when these lures are digging bottom or just as they break free from the bottom.

The second class of lures are topwater plugs or soft plastic jerk baits fished both shallow around rock and clay spawning areas. We are also seeing some action out above medium-depth brush piles around points and humps in 10-20 feet of water. These fish are a combination of pre-and postspawn fish that are keyed in on both herring and shad. 

Locate the baits and bass with your Lowrance Electronics and fish these areas thoroughly.

Other methods deserve mention. 

Casting Spinner Baits or medium-running crank baits on main lake points for postspawn bass has been scoring some good bites. Lanier Fruity Worms or Big Bites Finesse or Trick Worms in natural or green hues are scoring some good bites both around docks in the pockets, as well as around shallow-to-medium depth brush out on the main lake.

The night bite has been very good fishing. Use medium-to-deep running crank baits like a SPRO RkCrawler, Little John DD and also shallower running lures like a SPRO Little John 50 or SPRO McStick around rocky banks in the pockets and midway back in the rivers and creeks.

Striper fishing has rated from fair to very good. 

A large majority of the stripers have been moving out to the main lake, but there are still a few fish in the shallows, too. 

As mentioned above in the bass report, your best bet is to keep an open mind and spend as much time on the water as possible to stay in touch with what the fish are doing. 

We have been catching some decent sized stripers while casting topwater plugs and McSticks for bass over medium depth brush. This pattern has really just started. Look for the topwater bite to heat up as water temperatures approach the low 70’s. The best striper action on artificial plugs will occur early and late in the day.

For fly anglers who like to target these hard-fighting stocked gamefish, use an 8 or 9-weight fly rod. 

A surface popper or subsurface streamer garner some explosive topwater strikes, especially early and later in the day. Fish these offerings over secondary points and humps heading out toward main lake points. 

The same advice goes for spin-or-bait casting anglers who are casting topwater plugs. 

Be on the water at your best locations by 6:30 a.m., before the sun is above the horizon. Hit the same areas as mentioned above. Make several casts, then move on if you don’t detect any activity. 

Trolling may be a better way to both locate and catch fish. 

Pulling the smaller U-Rigs like the Captain Mack’s Mini-Rig or smaller profile rigs will score bites from both stripers and bigger spotted bass both shallow and around the humps in less than 45 feet of water. Target the sides of the points and humps and fish shallow out a little deeper.

When you get a bite, continue to use your u-rigs or, based what you see on your Lowrance Electronics, deploy some live herring on both regular unweighted and weighted flat lines (add a split shot) lined herring or herring on outriggers. 

The best striper catches I watched this week were in the same areas we were catching big spotted bass and stripers on artificial and these fish were all spitting up decent sized 4-7 inch herring. Don’t miss the herring bite, but it may happen for a while with these warm and cool weather fronts.

Crappie Fishing: I heard someone great once say “a great bass fisherman must be a very great crappie fisherman.” A lot of that is true. When the bass really spawn, the crappie are in a postspawn mode, which means we may experience a time when you boat only small male fish.

The crappie recover from the spawn. Where one door closes, another door opens. There have been a few anglers catching some good keeper crappie shallow on minnows and small jigs in the coves. Minnows fished around dock and bridge lights after dark may also help you fill a cooler.

Bank Fishing: We watched in wonder at the amount of fish schooling in water under 5-feet deep this week. 

Explosive strikes by stripers of all sizes spotted and an occasional largemouth. 

One of my favorite shallow fish are carp, but if you read these reports you know that. Chum some corn, hook a few kernels on an Aberdeen hook and hold on.

For bass and stripers, fish the same lures we talk about above. 

The only difference is that you will be pulling fish up shallow where a boat will pull fish out deeper. 

A small minnow or red wiggler fished a couple feet under a bobber will coax crappie and bream (and other species) around rocky banks and big tree laydowns.

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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