Lake Lanier’s water level remains close to full pool. The lake water level is 1,070.19 feet or .81 feet below a full pool of 1,071. Lake water temperatures range mostly from the mid to upper 60’s but there is cooler water flowing in from the rivers up the lake and some warmer water in the lower lake shallow pockets.
The main lake is stained on the surface from the heavy pollen and the waves hitting the clay banks from the boaters enjoying the great weather and spring break. Underneath the surface the water is fairly clear.
The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing is very good. The dogwoods are blooming and there’s a definitive yellow stain on the water, on top of our cars and trucks and also my Nitro Z8. This means one thing: It is spring and it is time to go fishing.
Many bass are shallow and they are biting a variety of different lures. My buddy told me to put down the finesse worms and jerk baits and to go north in the creeks and rivers and cast a Carolina rig with a live-spring lizard hooked through the lips to catch some big largemouth bass. I scratched my head and thought it was a really cool old-school technique. Our fathers and mothers, and their elders, fished this way back in the 60’s and 70’s and used to catch big largemouth. With the resurgence of these big headed bass, I bet he has a good point.
The spotted and largemouth bass are in all the stages of spawning but there is a huge wave of these fish out making baby bass this week with the full moon and perfect water temperatures. An angler with a well-trained eye and quality sunglasses can see these fish building nests and mating.
Anglers often catch these fish and don’t even know they were interrupting this process. It’s cool to snap a photo with the fish on a ruler then set it free to complete their reproduction.
Throughout the next month, you can pick your favorite lure color and go catching. For me, this week’s pattern has been to start in the morning casting topwater lures like a Baby Spook or a SPRO Floating BBZ1 Shad around main lake humps and points and also up shallow in the coves. Bigger bass have been attacking these topwater lures. As the sun gets we will head back into the coves just to see all of the bass getting ready to spawn.
Through my prescription polarized sunglasses, I saw a huge school of 20-30 bass this week on a single dock just hanging out. While these mega schools are not always under every dock, there are usually at least one or two bass around that will bite a finesse worm on an Alien jig head, a jerk bait like SPRO McStick, spinner baits or a Big Bites Jerk Shad.
Striper fishing is good and the fish are shallow in the pockets early in the morning and will roam around into slightly deeper water as the sun rises. A combination of live bait and artificial lures has worked well most days. The stripers are relating to the baitfish schools and your should keep your eyes on your Humminbird Side Imaging to locate these big schools of herring and shad and also the larger oval images that indicate larger fish.
The stripers are often mixed in with the pre-spawning bass. You may catch both species so you should not get skunked if you locate the food that these predator fish are keyed into. Use lively blueback herring and set out flat lines and planner boards to cover the medium and shallow water in the morning, then key in to slightly deeper medium depths as the sun rises higher.
Start your day pulling flat lines and planner boards shallow in the pockets and around main lake points and humps. There are some good fish up in the rivers too. These fish are fat, healthy and hungry!
There are some very big stripers shallow and these bigger fish tend to be loaners that stay separated from the smaller fish. Keep a large trout or a big gizzard shad and run these close to the shore or around shallower docks in the coves. If you are targeting these trophy stripers, make sure you have heavy tackle.
Cast a SPRO McStick 110, A BBZ1 Floating six-inch trout or Red Fin and v-wake these lures on the surface. There are not many things that will get your heart pumping than to see a striper come out of nowhere to attack your lure. The huge explosion of water followed by a hard surge that almost rips the rod from you hands. Make sure to be ready with the proper tackle and line. I use a Kissel Krafts 7 foot, 6 inch Flipping stick with 20 pound green Sun Line Monofilament and keep an extra Diovan blood pressure pill to keep my heart rate down for the ensuing battle.
Crappie fishing is very good and this is the time that anglers from the shore can often do as well as anglers that own boats. The crappie are shallow around lay down trees and brush around docks and the smaller creek bridges.
As mentioned in recent weeks, get several fishing poles rigged with light-weight line on your spinning and spin casting reels and rods and buy some good old reliable small crappie minnows. Hook these minnows through the lips or dorsal fins with small Aberdeen style hooks. Set your bobber anywhere from a foot to three feet between your hook and cast around docks or the above mentioned cover. Do the same with several other rods, If you are in the right area, you may catch a fish before rigging the next rod. I have seen a lot of tight schools of crappie under the docks that are spawning.
These fish can be very shallow and are in tight groups. If you catch one quick, stay put as there should be more in the same area. If you set out three rods and but don’t get a bite in 30 minutes, move to another area.
Trout: The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has stocked almost every trout stream this past few months so fishing is excellent and there are a lot of trout to be caught, released or taken home for dinner. Most of the trout are medium to large 6-14 inch fish but there are some trophy brood fish that are included too. There are also plenty of holdover fish that were stocked last year or even several years ago. With the past few years of rain that have rejuvenated the streams and rivers in Georgia, our fisheries have thrived and it is a true blessing compared to the past decades of drought.
To sum up the trout fishing report: locate your favorite trout stream, river or lake. Pick up your favorite ultra light spinning, spin casting or fly rod and your favorite lure or bait (check regulations for live bait) and go fishing.
Bank Fishing: The bank fishing report for this week is brief and to the point. Read any of the before mentioned reports, pick your favorite species and lakes, rivers, streams or ponds and go fishing. Because almost all of the species in spring go shallow, many bank anglers have an advantage. When a boat catches a fish from a school of fish, the hooked fish will disrupt the school of fish and disrupt the school out into deeper water. If the angler from the bank pulls the school into shallower water the school will often hang out and stay where the angler can catch a couple more.
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. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.