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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Take advantage of warmer weather, better bass fishing
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is down slightly from last week and is at 1,069.62 or 1.38 feet below the normal level of 1071 feet. 

Lake surface temperatures have risen into the low 50’s.

The main lake is clear. 

The lower to upper creeks range from clear to slightly stained in the backs. 

The rivers above the Highway 53 Bridge range from clear to stained.

The Chattahoochee River below Burford Dam is clear. 

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

Bass: fishing has taken a turn for the better and catching has improved. 

The warmer weather has caused surface temperatures to warm at least five degrees from the previous week. 

This weekend will be cooler. Look for the warmup to continue with the warmer weather forecast for the upcoming week. 

A lot of different lures are working. Pick your strengths and go fishing.

In the late winter and early spring water, locating warmer water is very important. 

If you can find water temperatures that are one to two degrees warmer than the main lake surface temperatures, then the aquatic activity will most likely be more active in these areas. 

Look in coves or tributaries that receive the most sunlight. 

Areas located on the northwestern shores tend to warm quicker than shady banks on the southeastern side of the lake. 

Start your days looking around rocky points that are located in the mouths of spawning bays. 

At daybreak the fish will be active so casting moving lures like a SPRO RkCrawler or a Rapala DT 6 or DT10 in crawfish colors like dark green and red are all good choices. 

Cast these lures to the shore and work them with a slow-steady retrieve. 

Try to keep them in contact with the bottom for as long as possible. 

When your lure hits a rock or wood on the bottom. Allow it to pause before reengaging your retrieve. 

The bass will often be looking for crawfish around rocks and these lures imitate the tasty freshwater lobsters that provide a quick high-protein meal for bass that are feeding heavily before the spawn. 

As the sun rises. the fish will continue to feed all day. 

Lures that mimic crawfish, shad, herring, brim and other forage that bass eat are all good choices. 

Skipping a shaky head rigged with a Lanier Baits Finesse Worm in natural colors like green or shad colors around docks, brush and rocky banks can catch both good size and numbers of spotted and largemouth bass.

A lot of late winter bass will suspend around docks, especially around the black floats. 

These black floats will warm up quickly and bass often suspend underneath them to warm their bodies. 

Shad and brim also enjoy the same warmth and provide and easy meal for the bass in these same locations. 

Cast a jerk bait or a shad imitator beside these floats for aggressive strikes. 

I like to cast an Alabama (umbrella) rig next to some docks close to spawning areas. 

I use a Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr. rigged with a small swimbait on 1/8-Gamakatsu Bullet Jig Heads.

On sunny days, the fishing will just get better and better as the sun warms the water. 

As the day progresses you can use moving lures and cover water quicker and still enjoy some good action. 

When you catch a couple of bass in an area, slow down and fish it thoroughly. 

Bass will group in late winter and you can often catch a limit from one or two docks when conditions are right. 

The night bite has been great. 

Fishing with crank baits and jerk baits has been producing some bigger bass. 

The lighted boat docks will hold numbers of fish but we have had our best luck fishing rocky banks away from any artificial lights. 

I offer guided night trips for people looking for a quick education on how to fish after dark. 

Striper fishing remains good. 

These fish have only two thoughts for the next few months: Eat and reproduce. 

We have been catching a lot of stripers while bass fishing during the day and after dark this past week. 

The stripers are feeding on the same forage as the bass. 

Lures that mimic threadfin shad, herring and the larger gizzard shad will all work. 

A little-known fact is that stripers feed on crawfish too so even your RkCrawlers aren’t safe from a violent strike of a striper.

The key to successful fishing is to be where the fish are. 

One of the most common errors in fishing is when anglers don’t understand or trust their electronics. 

If I don’t understand what I am seeing on my screen, then how can I believe it? 

That trust comes quickly when you go out with a buddy who sees a fish on the screen, drops her bait and immediately hooks up. 

Maybe you have doubt, but then she scrolls back through the touch screen and explains the whole deal. 

That happens several times a day on most experienced anglers’ boats.

Trust your electronics and also watch for natures clues like aquatic bird life. 

We have been seeing stripers schooling early and late in the day in entrances to large coves or cuts. 

These fish have been shallow over a bottom that can be in five-feet or out over a 100-feet. 

The key has been they have been shallow in under 25-feet feeding in shad. 

Once you have the fish located, then live bait has been a great choice. 

Medium-to-large shiners, herring or even add a trout to the mix. 

They have all been working well. 

The ideal set up would be to use planner boards and set out a spread that can cover shallow on one side on out deeper on the other. 

Set a troll path in 25-40 feet and slowly troll through an area. 

If using a trolling motor is not preferred, you can also set up flat lines and use a controlled wind drift. 

During the day, the stripers may move out deeper so use your electronics and switch over to downlines if needed. 

If you are marking fish below shad schools at 30-feet deep, set your down lines to just above that depth. 

Still, keep a larger bait rigged on a flat line to coax a big bite.

Fishing after dark for stripers has been good but they have been moving around a lot. 

The green fishing lights are getting a lot of attention. If you can locate fish that are feeding around more isolated areas, then you may enjoy more consistent action.

Crappie fishing is great, if you can locate the best areas. 

The fish are relatively shallow, but a lot of these fish are located around deeper docks. 

Use your electronics’ Structure Scan or side imagining and scan docks to locate the ones that have bait and fish before going back and fishing them thoroughly. 

I know of one dock that is located in 80-feet of water that has Christmas Trees hanging underneath it. 

One angler never moved his boat and caught 30 nice crappie. 

He left them biting.

You can even tip your jigs with a live minnow to entice more strikes. 

Shoot these small jigs under docks or fish them along the sides. 

You can also fish live bait around the bridges located in the back of the upper and lower lake creeks.

Bank Fishing: The best bet right now may be to fish for trout both in the North Georgia Mountains and below the Buford Dam Tailrace. 

There have been some very large trout caught recently in several of our trout waters. 

The DNR has been gearing up with their trout stocking in all of these waters.

Fly anglers should still concentrate on pre-emergent patterns. 

I heard someone make a good case that 90 percent of a trout’s diet comes from subsurface forage. 

In the late winter, native trout will be eating hellgrammites, small amphibians and crawfish anytime they come into site. 

On warmer days you may see some hatches and this will usually be later in the day. 

Watch for trout rising and choose your cast and drifts.

For spin casting and spinning anglers start with making sure your line is fresh. 

Use the lightest line possible. 

Six-pound line that is new will outperform old, used 10-pound line. 

Spray a line lubricant like Reel Magic on your line. 

Oil up your reels and make sure they are secured and ready to go.

Inline spinners are one of the most tried and trusted lures for catching trout. 

My first go to lure is a white and sliver 1/8-ounce Rooster Tail. 

Cast these into the current breaks and also cast them in the deeper pools. 

Reel them just fast enough to keep the blades spinning.

Check your local trout water regulations before live bait fishing. 

Live earth worms, corn or even Berkley Power Nuggets will work well in the deeper pools behind the fast-flowing water. 

Hook your offerings on a No. 2 Gamakatsu Aberdeen Hook with a small 1/8-ounce split-shot tied a foot above your hook. 

You are only allowed to fish one hand held rod per person on trout waters. 

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 Remember to take a kid fishing.

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