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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers biting well during changing spring weather
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is still rising as you read this from the torrential weather that rolled through this week. 

The lake level is at 1,070 and rising. 

Lake surface temperatures have varied a little but are in the mid 50’s.

The main lake is clear. 

The lower-to-upper lake creeks range from slightly stained to very muddy from rain inflow. 

The river above Highway 53 Bridge is stained to muddy from recent rains.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear, but turns more stained the further you head south. 

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

Bass fishing has ranged from fair to very good. 

We have caught some good numbers including some three-pound and larger spotted and largemouth bass. 

Fishing was good during the past week’s rapidly-changing weather fronts. 

Changing conditions can keep us guessing, but you should have some good fishing as spring begins.

Some anglers I have spoken with feel that fishing has been slower than they would expect. 

Keep your confidence up. 

Many different fishing techniques are coming into play.

We tried almost every lure in the tackle box, but the reliable ones continue to excel. 

Several techniques have worked, so pick and adjust them as needed. 

The strongest bite has been targeting prespawn spotted bass on the main lake and secondary points in the creeks with rock. 

We have had some windy days and that has made the bass more aggressive.

The SPRO RcKrawler continues to produce well. 

The bass that are relating to rocks seem to be feeding on crawfish and small brim. 

During the stormy fronts, casting a SPRO McRip 90 around these same rocky areas has worked. 

The McRip 90 doesn’t receive as much attention as the McStick 110, but it seems to have filled a gap this past week when the wind was blowing. 

This smaller profile lure runs from 7-9 feet and has a much wider wobble than most popular jerkbaits. 

We have been working these lures slow and steady through the rocks, but when the weather is overcast, don’t be afraid to fish them either faster or with a stop-and-go retrieve.

There are plenty of small male bass shallow around the docks. 

The females are not far away, but they just seem to be slightly deeper. 

Skipping a Lanier Baits Finesse Worm in green or natural colors dipped in JJ’s Magic has been a numbers producer. 

Rig these worms with a standard 1/8-ounce Jighead or switch things up and throw it whacky style on a Gamakatsu G-Finnesse Hook. 

You can easily skip these whacky rigged worms around docks where the bass are hiding. 

Please be courtious.

Striper fishing remains very good and the changing weather fronts just seem to be helping fishing. 

We have been concentrating on casting artificial lures like SPRO Bucktails, Jerkbaits and even topwater lures like an IMA Flit when the fish have been feeding on the surface. 

If you prefer a fly rod, rig it on floating or slow-sinking line with a streamer style fly. 

Watch for gulls and loons and also keep an eye out for fish swirling on the surface. 

Reports say the stripers have been just about anywhere on the lake. 

While they can be anywhere, that certainly does not mean they are everywhere. 

Make sure your electronics are tuned in and that you have plenty of live bait, lures and gas. 

A couple guide friends say they have been going through 5-6 dozen herring in a couple of hours.

There have been some large schools of 7-15 pound fish from the Dam all the way past Gainesville Marina. 

Start your mornings out below Browns Bridge, trolling a Captain Mack’s Mini Rig set up on two flat lines. 

In addition, put out a plainer board to each side of your troll with the same rigs or a live herring or trout. 

Some anglers have been catching them trolling all day.

The fish in these schools have been some of the healthiest striped bass I have seen in the last couple years, which is a great thing for our local fishery. 

We are starting to see stripers over 15 pounds which is a welcome site.

On sunny days, the fish have been staying a little deeper from 25 feet on down over the creek and river channels. 

On partly cloudy or overcast days, the fish can be shallower and can be anywhere from the surface on down to the bottom. 

Pulling flatlined or downlined live herring or gizzard shad will produce some great action.

Crappie Fishing: The crappie continue to bite well and there seem to be a few different patterns that are working, depending on methods and location. 

Casting crappie minnows under a bobber around the upper lake bridges or shooting crappie jigs around docks with brush have all been producing some tasty fillets for the fryer. 

Fish the stained water, but stay out of any really muddy water for your best results. 

Trolling with a Spyder Rig or lake rake set-up is a popular method for catching numbers of crappie. 

Start out trolling with as many rods as you can manage without getting overwhelmed. 

I like the Drift Master Series holders with four holders on each side of the boat. 

I find 6-8 rods is a good starting point, but have seen seasoned anglers fish twice that many on occasion. 

Stagger your long rods starting at the bow and then go gradually shorter as you move toward the stern. 

Get busy fishing.

Do you know what lures the bass were biting during the first week of spring last year? 

How about 3-years ago? 

What if the lake happens to be five feet higher or even five degrees warmer than it is this spring. 

Now here is the tricky part. 

Most kids in preschool can navigate the internet and find archived information quicker than Pa Pa Eric but how many can access private, first-hand notes and photos about what worked in almost the exact conditions.

Back in the 1980’s, a fishing mentor gave me some extremely valuable advise. 

He encouraged me to keep a record of every fishing trip that I took including weather, water temperatures, locations and any other crazy details. 

I knew I didn’t have time for that. 

I am too busy trying to determine if that awesome dock bite was in the beginning of a warm March day or a cold April day. 

I was just too busy fishing. 

He simply asked why bother just fishing when you could be busy catching? 

Needless to say, I wasn’t really good with doing mundain tasks like keeping notes. 

In 2010, I sustained a brain injury while driving my motorcycle home from work. Memories, numbers and details disappeared quicker than my hair after the age of 40. 

For some reason, I always remember details from my fishing photos. 

I could check the dates and review these photos along with my fishing logs. 

Now the younger generation has so many tools we never imagined possible in the 80’s. 

In 2021, anglers can download fishing apps that track everything. 

Youtube videos show exact lures and even our ‘secret’ fishing areas. 

Google Earth allows you to visit far away destinations without ever leaving home and published articles (including these reports) can be found with very little effort. 

Just make sure you spend more time actually fishing then staring at the screen.


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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