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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers bunched together remain a great option for anglers
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level has risen this past week and is at 1,070.17 or .83 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. 

The main lake is clear from the Dam all the way up past River Forks. 

The water in the creeks and rivers range from slightly stained in the mouths to muddy in the upper rivers and around smaller creek inflows. 

Lake surface temperatures have ranged from the mid 50’s to 60 degrees. 

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear but it will get stained to muddy as you head down stream after hard rains. 

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

Bass fishing this past week has been strong one day, fair the next day and who knows what it will be tomorrow. 

It’s spring and one thing is for sure: we are approaching one of the easiest and best fishing seasons. 

Please note the word approaching. 

When fishing seems tough, I try to restart my thinking and return to the basics. 

Find them first, set a plan and set a goal based on real data and quality electronics to catch more fish. 

We must track and locate our finned friends before we can really go in for the catch. 

If a ditch runs through an otherwise featureless flat, then fish will use that ditch. Follow it in and out of that cove for years. 

Stripers, bass, walleye and even gar are fish that utilize Lake Lanier’s bass highways. 

The majority of Lake Lanier’s bass population migrate from deep water (35-50 feet) into shallower spawning coves where the water depth may be surprisingly shallow in under five-feet deep. 

The bass carefully search out an area that offers a warm nesting area that is out of the wind, has a hard bottom with a sandy surface and some loose rock where the fish can hide from natures many predators.

The bass we are catching are well into their migration journey. 

They are quickly approaching the spawning areas. 

The smaller males have moved out of the mid-depths and are following shallow ditches towards the docks. 

You can see them swimming around shallow in under five feet deep. 

You can catch these small keeper bass on a Lanier Baits Green/Black Flake Finesse Worm with a Lanier Bait’s or Gamakatsu Alien Head Shaky Head.

The larger females seem reluctant to follow the male bass up too shallow yet. 

These fish are hanging around sunken logs, deeper docks and big brush piles set along contour changes in 10-15 feet deep. 

If you are fishing a bank or a flat and you see a small stick up in the water, make sure to fish it either on the way in or way out. 

A 1/4-ounce Stand Up Jig Head with a Speed Craw or Lanier Baits 3 1/2 Swimmer.   

We saw some 3-6 fish wolfpack schools of bass this past week churning up the surface eating threadfin shad. 

Be ready for any active schools of bass or stripers in case they appear within casting distance be ready. 

These fish will hit a SPRO McStick, if you can land it within five feet of the action.

Striper fishing has been good. 

These hard-fighting fish have been schooled up everywhere from the main lake, creek mouths and on into the creeks, large coves and in the rivers.

Use your Lowrance Electronics to locate stripers near the creek and river channels where you mark fish. 

We have seen stripers on the surface over the Chattahoochee River Channel just above Lake Lanier Islands. 

Ask your bait shop where the active schools have been biting. 

Also, watch for areas that have lots of gulls and loons and start watching your graph.

Pull medium to extra-large shiners or medium to large herring on flat or down lines between main lake points that run out close to the river and creek channels. 

Keep an eye on your electronics to determine if the fish have moved shallower or deeper and adjust your set-up accordingly. 

Recently, I was with a friend in his boat and he was over a 110-foot bottom. 

He was showing a lot of fish in the 20-40 foot zone. 

We set out our down lines to that depth and pulled a couple flat lines and caught fish on both set ups.

Troll umbrella rigs with SPRO Buck Tails in blueback or chartreuse white at around 15-25 feet deep. 

For a little more action, try using a Blue Heron Chatter Lure in place of the center bucktail. 

The night bite remains decent around the lights, but it may be starting to slow a little. 

Instead of catching 15-20, you will probably only catch 5-10 McStick 110. 

The crappie are hanging around under docks at 7-15 feet midway on back into the creeks and ditches. 

Work small crappie jigs on light four-pound Sunline Fluorocarbon. 

Shoot your jigs through the brush. 

Some anglers are catching enough crappie to fill their coolers. 

Fish a live minnow at 3-4 feet below a bobber around bridges in the back of the creeks.

Bank fishing: Pick up a light spinning reel or Zebco 33 style closed face outfit and walk the banks of Lake Lanier or your local farm or subdivision pond to catch bass, brim and crappie. 

Small lures like a Rooster Tail, Mepps, Rapala or small crank baits will yield great results this month. 

Live worms or crappie minnows under a float will also produce shallow in these same waters this week. 

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. You can email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com

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