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Lake Lanier fishing report: Fish now in feeding mode after spawning period
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier is one foot over full pool. The lake is 1,071 or .99 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 70’s. Main lake and lower lake creek mouths are clear to slightly stained. The upper lake creeks and pockets are stained and the rivers are stained to very stained.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing remains strong and the fish are still biting top water plugs along with a variety of other lures. The vast majority of our local fish have completed their spawning process and are in the recovery and feeding mode.

Cast top water plugs and swim baits over points, humps or other structures. If brush piles are present, then that’s all the better. On sunny, calm days the brush will often concentrate bass, while on windy or overcast days the fish tend to roam around more. The pattern will be the same for the next couple of months.

Start out casting a Sammy, Spook, Jerk Minnow or Fluke over brush topping off from 10-to-25 feet below the surface. Swim baits like a SPRO BBZ1 6-inch or 4-Inch Shad cast over the brush will entice some ferocious strikes. After working your moving lures, position you boat over the cover with your electronics and use a drop shot lure to get down to fish that you see on your electronics.

Other patterns are working well enough that anglers should consider their options. Casting spinner baits, crank baits or swim baits are all very viable options for catching spotted and large mouth bass. Cast a buzz bait around shallow cover in the pockets to elicit strikes from decent sized shallow largemouth bass.

After hours, we have been catching lots of bass of SPRO RkCrawlers, Fat Pappas and Little John MD and DD crank baits. A large single bladed Colorado blade spinner bait is also hard to beat after the sun goes down.

Striper fishing is good this week and for now, the fish are locked into a strong spring pattern. The stripers are hitting top water plugs, buck tails, swim baits and live herring on flat an planner boards.

Start your day by hitting points on main lake and in the mouths of the creeks. Put a couple of herring on flat lines over the long points located out from the creek mouths out into main lake.

Keep a top water plug like a Chug Bug, Sammy, Red Fin or your favorite top water striper lure. Sub surface lure like a SPRO McStick, Sebile Magic Swimmer or SPRO Buck Tails are also great choices for casting to productive looking water while you pull your herring behind the boat.

Don’t spend more than 15-to-20 minutes in any location unless you encounter an active school of stripers. These feeding fish can stay put for over an hour or they can appear and disappear very quickly so be ready to move when the action slows. Keep a milk run of areas but don’t be afraid to visit your best areas again throughout the day.

Crappie fishing has improved and the same methods that were working last week have actually improved this week. The crappie have spawned and are recovering well. Look for fish to pull back into deeper docks from 10-to-25 feet deep.

Keep a milk run of docks with brush and work these areas carefully before moving on the next most productive area. You can start developing a milk run based on brush piles that you have found on your Structure Scan and traditional down scan. With this technology, you can actually mark brush that has already scrolled off of your screen and add it to your GPS way points. Any time you see a brush pile set a new way point and add it to your existing GPS way points for further examination at a later time.

Cast small crappie jigs on light line and allow your jigs to sink down to the same level to where the brush top out. It is important to work your jigs up, over and through the brush. Live minnows on a slip bobber worked at the same level of the brush is a time-tested method for catching a mess of crappie.

Crappie have started to show up around lights both on docks and also lights that are set out beside you boat both around docks with brush and also under the bridges at night. This action will only get better as summer gets ready to roll in.

Trout fishing has been good before and after the storms have blown through. The water below Buford Dam does not get muddy too easily, unless we have had a really hard downpour or a long-term rain. The smaller mountain streams also clear rapidly after the afternoon down pours. Muddy water is hard to fish, but it does help because rain does was in new oxygenated water and also the food that trout really need.

The best action continues to occur early in the morning and later in the day. You can continue to pick your favorite methods to catch trout this week. Small crank baits, inline spinners and other spinning tackle lures. Dry flies have been producing better than wet flies but keep a subsurface wet fly offering has also worked.

Bank fishing: While walking the shores of Lake Lanier, even your own lake or pond, pay attention for clues to where the shoreline has been located over the past two years. 

On Lake Lanier, it’s easy to see where the bank was located before lake levels came up. There will be weeds that grew up along the exposed bank. You will often see small trees or branches that washed ashore where the old bank level was located. 

This secondary “shoreline” provides a sanctuary for bait and pan fish. It is a magnet for a variety of species of fish. Bream, crappie and bass use this shallow cover to hide and eat.

All you need is a bucket full of crappie minnows, a spin casting outfit with a weighted bobber and a small Gamakatsu Aberdeen hook. Hook your minnows through the nose and move them very slowly though the weed line or let them sit right at the edge of the weeds or wood.

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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