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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Crappie biting best after dark
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

The CORPS has resumed water generation below Buford Dam, and the lake is 1,072.34, or 1.34 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. 

Lake surface temperatures are in the mid- to upper-80s. I’m starting to see a thermocline on my electronics at around 27 feet deep. The main-lake and lower-lake creeks mouths are clear to stained. The upper-lake creeks, pockets and the rivers are slightly stained to very stained.

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river below Buford Dam by calling 770-945-1466. If the CORPS is pulling water, then fish elsewhere.

Bass fishing remains good for anglers who are willing to move around until they find active schools of fish. 

Some are looking for inactive fish they can trigger and make bite. The fish are schooled on main lake humps, long points and steep banks that fall off quickly into deep water. It pays to move around, but once you locate a prime area, it will make up for all the hard work.

Keep your favorite top-water plug ready at all times. I like to come in on an area and make several casts with a top-water plug or slow-sinking swim bait to tempt the active fish into striking. A lot of anglers have started throwing subsurface baits like the Realis 90 Spybait, SPRO Little John DD (deep-diving) crank baits, SPRO BBZ1 4-inch or a Tim Farley Pro-X Swim Bait.

The secret to fishing with these underwater lures is to either make contact with or swim your lures directly over or through brush piles, rock piles and rocks on the ends of humps or points and other vital cover.

The best brush piles seem to be the ones located at around 25 to 30 feet deep that have brush that tops out from 7 to 15 feet below the surface. The best rock structure has been the shallow to deeper rock shelves located just offshore from 5 to 20 feet deep. Casting and retrieving a deep-diving crank bait through the rocks can yield some big bites early and later in the day, and again after dark.

Striper fishing has been hit-and-miss, and this is the time of year when things have been changing and the stripers are starting to set up for summer fishing. 

Presently, with water temperatures in the mid-80s, the thermocline is starting to set up in some areas, but not everywhere.

Use your electronics and look for both schools of herring and the arcs below the bait schools that give away the predator fish like stripers and bass that feed on herring.

Once you find a school of stripers, the down lines have started to produce better than flat lines. If the fish are in the upper 20 feet of the water column, stick with flat lines or flat lines with a split-shot attached. If the fish are deeper than 20 feet, you can deploy your flat lines to the specific depth where you mark fish. 

Set up your down lines with a large 1- to 2-ounce lead sinker, a plastic bead (to protect your knot), a SPRO Power Swivel, a long leader of fluorocarbon line and a Gamakatsu Octopus Hook with a herring hooked through the nose.

My electronics are showing schools of stripers around the islands and around the creek mouths in the ditches and off the sides of the points around 30 feet deep over a 40- to 60-foot bottom. Explore these areas with your electronics and be ready to drop live herring or gizzard shad to the fish you see suspended.

Before you switch out old down line live baits, don’t be afraid to drop it to the bottom and power-reel it back to the surface. Even the larger spoons or bucktails reeled to the surface will trigger deeper striper into biting.

Try tolling a Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig with seven or eight colors of lead core at around 2.5-3 mph, speeding up as you make turns before slowing down. Most of your strikes will occur when your baits are different. Trolling may work all day, but it’s also a great technique to cover water and find fish with your electronics.

Crappie fishing: The best bite has been after dark.

Fishing with lights around bridges has been good. Crappie and other predator fish will move shallower to attack bait that’s attracted to lights. Make sure to buy some ice and several dozen crappie or medium minnows.

For the hardcore jig-anglers, shooting docks has been good, as has hitting deeper brush with small jigs. This fishing has been best early in the day and again later toward sundown.

Trout fishing: The river below Buford Dam has really cleared up during slack water periods, and fishing has been good. 

The trout are striking dry flies, small in-line spinners and good old-fashioned worms on a bottom rig. These same techniques will also work well up in the North Georgia mountains.

Bank fishing: Brim are biting from the banks of Lake Lanier, as well as your local subdivisions lakes, farm lakes and ponds. All you need to catch these scrappy little panfish is line with a bobber and a small Aberdeen style hook with an earthworm or cricket threaded on the end.

You can use an inexpensive Zebco 33 or even a cane pole to get your bobber and bait set in and around any fishy looking areas.

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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