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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass and crappie both biting best in shallow water
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier is above full pool at 1,072.39 feet or 1.39 above full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 50’s with some warmer pockets with water temps around 60 degrees.

The lake below Browns Bridge is clear around the main lake and in the creek mouths. It’s also clear to stained midway into the backs of the creeks. The creeks and rivers up the lake are clear in the mouths and lightly stained in the backs. The headwater rivers are slightly stained to stained. 

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

Bass fishing has been very good for anglers that are willing to move around and find the active bites. Catching bass can seem easy this time of year, when you are around the fish but don’t expect them to just jump in the boat everywhere you go.

A lot of bass will be staging around docks in the pockets. Isolated docks can hold numbers of bass this time of years. A jerk bait is one of my favorite lures to throw. Bass will relate to the black floats that gather heat. I like to cast a SPRO McStick 110 along the sides of the floats. Reel it slow and steady with an occasional pause and jerk to trigger bites on the ends of the deeper floats. 

Other lures like a Jerk Shad or a Zoom Fluke skipped under the floats will produce some good bites. You can also work a Gamakatsu Alien Head rigged with a Lanier Baits finesse worm in the areas around docks. These same lures can also work very well on the reef markers around the main lake.

Moving lures like a spinner bait, SPRO Little John MD or a jerk bait on the reef markers has been a solid pattern. There are a lot of fish in certain areas, but not every reef marker is holding fish. Small swimbaits like a Big Bites Baits Cain Thumper on a ¬-ounce jig head can work extremely well for pre-spawn spotted bass.

Hit the rocky banks with a SPRO RkCrawler to catch some big spotted bass after dark.

Striper fishing has been good. The fish are shallow where they are easier to catch.

Start out early in the mornings, slow trolling multiple flat lines and planner boards. This shallow pattern has been working very well early in the day and can last longer on overcast days. Target the 

shallow water in the backs of the creeks and in the rivers. Keep a variety of live baits like small trout, herring and medium shiners for your best success. The medium-sized herring have been the best baits to use shallow.

As the sun rises, the fish will often remain shallow. As a general rule, the stripers will move deeper where they can be coaxed to hit the same flat lines. Watch your Lowrance electronics and switch to downlines as needed.

Most of the stripers are remaining relatively shallow. Continue to pull flat lines out toward the middle of the pockets. Cast a SPRO McStick or a Captain Mack’s Mini Rig to catch a few extra fish while pulling live baits.

After dark, the stripers are relating to lighted boat docks but there are also fish shallow in the backs of the creeks. Cast a SPRO McStick or Bomber Long A to the banks and retrieve these lures in a slow-to-medium retrieve. If you can feel the wobble of the lure through your rod tip, then that is the best retrieve speed. Stripers feel these lures through their lateral lines, so when you can feel the lure wobbling, then you know you are in the zone.

Crappie fishing is very good as these fish are spawning shallow. All you need is a crappie minnow below a float. Keep in mind that these fish will be located in schools. If you do not get a bite within the first 30 minutes, then move on to more productive water.

Cast your minnows shallow in the pockets around laydowns or docks with brush. Casting or trolling small Hal Flies is also a great way to cover water and to find the active fish.

Bank fishing: Fishing with a live minnow below a bobber is a great way to catch a variety of fish in early spring. Crappie, brim, white bass and spotted bass will all strike a properly presented minnow.  

There is something about fishing with a bobber that is hypnotic. Get a bucket full or crappie or medium shiners and hit the bridges or laydowns in your local park banks for some relaxing, sometimes very active fishing to make a fun day from the banks, local farm and subdivision ponds.


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 Remember to take a kid fishing. 

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