Lake Lanier’s water level remains at almost full pool and is at 1,070.54 or, 0.46 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper-50s to lower-60s.
The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The creeks, pockets and rivers are everywhere from clear to stained with pollen on the surface. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been very good, and the first few spawning fish have started to show up early.
There are a lot of fish shallow, but the majority are smaller males. The bigger fish are staging in the mouths of coves and on secondary points leading into spawning flats. Pick your favorite lures and go catching.
You can catch numbers of bass skipping shaky heads, whacky rigs and small jigs up under docks. Not all the fish will be on the docks, so work the areas in between the docks, too. We have been catching 20 or more fish in a four-hour day when it’s sunny.
On overcast days, the fish will stray away from the docks and can be found roaming the shallows. Under these conditions, a moving lure like a SPRO McStick or a white spinner bait may work better than a finesse plastic.
Other lures are worth a try, too. Shallow-diving crank baits like a SPRO Little John, inline spinners like a Rooster Tail or under-spins like a Fish Head Spin rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad are all good choices.
Not all bass will be found in the coves. Many bass spawn on main lake, and these fish will tend to be the larger spotted bass Lake Lanier is famous for. The same methods as mentioned above are worth a try. Power-fishing is the way to go on main lake.
My go-to lure for fishing main lake is a SPRO McStick 110 jerk bait. This time of year, I prefer to “stupid fish” this lure. Basically, that means just casting it out and retrieving it with a medium-steady retrieve. Usually a jerk bait is fished with a jerk-and-pause retrieve, but using a medium-steady retrieve mimics the way a blueback herring swims. This method is a great way to catch a magnum spotted bass during the spawn.
Night fishing has been awesome, and you may have the whole lake to yourself. A deep-diving crank bait like a Little N or a SPRO Little John DD in dark colors, or a big Colorado Bladed Spinner Bait fished slowly and steadily through the rocks, will produce some big bass after dark.
Striper fishing is up-and-down, and the weather will greatly affect the bite.
On overcast days, the stripers will be found shallower, and on sunny days you may have to fish a little deeper and slower. The same techniques have been working well.
Continue to look at the birds to give away the clues for the best bite. The gulls and loons will clue anglers into where to fish. If the gulls are diving on bait and the loons are popping up and down, then you are in the right area. Look at your Humminbird Electronics to show where the fish are located in the water column. Most of the stripers we’re catching are coming from fewer than 25 feet, but on sunny days they may be found a little deeper.
Medium shiners or smaller herring have been working best. Pull your baits on planner boards and flat lines with an occasional down line when you see fish deeper than 25 feet on your electronics. Run your planner boards very shallow next to the bank because the stripers may be very shallow this week.
When the birds are diving on bait, make sure to cast a three-fourths-ounce SPRO Buck Tail rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad to where the birds are diving. Let your lure drop a few feet before beginning your retrieve. Use a slow-and-steady retrieve, and when you feel a bite, set the hook hard.
The night bite has been hit-and-miss, but there are still plenty of fish biting after dark. Areas in the backs of the creeks with lighted boat docks as well as the points and pockets around the dam are all good areas to fish.
Cast a SPRO McStick or Bomber Long A and retrieve it slowly and steadily. You can also cast buck tails or swim baits in the same areas.
Crappie fishing has been up-and-down, but you should be able to catch a good mess for dinner. The crappie are spawning, and they can be found shallow, where they’re easy to catch.
Shooting jigs around shallow docks with brush is the go-to method in spring. Shoot small jigs up under docks and let your jig swing back to the boat. You can also reel your jigs slowly and steadily.
If the fish are on a dock, you should get a bite pretty quickly. Once you get a bite, fish the dock thoroughly because crappie will hang out in schools. If you don’t get a bite quickly, then move on to more productive water.
This is a great time to fish crappie minnows under a bobber. Use light 4- to 6-pound test line, and cast your minnows around any bank cover or laydowns.
Trout fishing is good. The Department of Natural Resources continues to stock plenty of dumb and hungry hatchery trout in most of the local trout streams and rivers. These fish have never seen a hook, so any food that comes in front of them will quickly get eaten.
It’s hard to beat a live earthworm or a piece of corn on a bottom rig; just make sure the area you’re fishing allows live bait. Use light line and a small Aberdeen-style hook. Place a ¼-ounce split-shot about a foot above your hook and bait, and cast it into the deeper pools at the end of the rapids.
Other lures and methods are working well. Pick your favorite lure and go fishing.
Bank fishing: The crappie are shallow, where they’re easy to catch.
Use a light spinning rod and reel with light 4- to 6-pound test. Tie a small Aberdeen-style hook with a split-shot placed a foot above the hook, and place a bobber 2 to 3 feet above your hook. Hook a small crappie minnow through the lips or under the dorsal fin.
Most local parks will have areas where you can fish from the banks. There are also several bridges located toward the backs of the creeks on Lake Lanier — Two Mile Creek, Six Mile Creek and Wahoo Creek bridges are all great places to try.
If you can find areas that have trees or brush piles lying in the water, then these can be crappie magnets. Fish your minnows for about a half hour and move on if you don’t get a bite. Crappie hang around in schools, and they should bite pretty quickly if they are in the area.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Remember to take a kid fishing.