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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: As spring approaches, crappie fishing will improve
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Lake Lanier’s water level has remains high for this time of year at 1,070.23 or just .77 feet below full pool of 1,071. Water surface temperatures have remained in the upper 40s.

Lake Lanier is clear to stained on the main lake and stained in the rivers and creeks. The Chattahoochee River is stained up lake and clear below Buford Dam.

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

Bass: The bass have been a bit finicky this past week but they will still bite when you find them. Lake Lanier’s spotted bass have been deep for a while, but you can still catch a few spotted and largemouth bass shallower in the water column.

This time of year, the bass will start to relate to areas where they can move from deep to shallow, and back into deeper water without using up too much energy.

Steep banks, timberlines near ditches and rocky bluff walls are all good areas to fish. Several lures may work in the situations but a jig and trailer or a drop shot will tend to be the best choices as they cover these areas from shallow and out deeper.

One other lure that has worked very well on Lake Lanier in the coldest months is a jerk bait, like a SPRO McStick.

The bottom-bouncing lures will catch any size fish, but the ones that we get on jerk baits tend to be bigger fish. Because the bass are lethargic, there are a few things you need to do to increase your bites.

Use fluorocarbon line because it sinks and allows your jerk bait the chance to get down a couple of feet deeper. The next thing is to allow a long pause between jerks and let your lure sit motionless, just long enough so that the bass will see it and notice that it is moving slow enough so it’s worth the energy to attack.

As mentioned before, there are always some shallow fish to be caught and they seem to bite at two separate times of the day: Early morning and the warmest part of the day. Lanier has a very healthy largemouth populations.

These fish will tend to stay shallower. Cast a Texas-rigged, curly-tail worm around docks that has deep water near buy.

Deep-diving crank baits, like the Little John DD worked around rocky areas, can also score some bigger fish both early and in the afternoon when the sun is highest.

Don’t worry too much if you find the fishing slow. The bass are as ready for spring as we are. They will get a lot more active soon.

Striper fishing has been hit or miss this past week. There are plenty of fish shallow and deep, so check several areas with your electronics before committing to one spot. These hard-fighting fish tend to move around at different speeds, depending on what type of bait they are targeting.

The stripers that are honed in on threadfin shad may stay in an area for a week unlike the ones that are concentrating on blueback herring that can move a mile or more during the day. It may be hard to determine what bait they are eating with just your electronics.

Probably the easiest way to striper fish is live bait on flat or down lines. You may choose to add a planner board or balloon to get your bait out far behind, or to the side of the boat. The stripers are being caught on almost every different bait presentation, so note what works best on your trip and change up at least a couple of rods to exploit that same method.

Trolling with an umbrella rig has also been hot and cold. The multi-lure rigs can outperform live baits when worked correctly.

A seasoned guide can identify where the stripers and bait schools are located in the water column, then adjust their presentations high or low to hit the sweet spot.

Some anglers use lead core line to allow their rigs to get deeper. Some use regular heavy monofilament but it pays to have both so that you can adjust accordingly. The speed at which you troll is also a huge factor in getting an umbrella rig to run higher or lower in the water column. Even the size of the buck tails or baits you rig will make a difference.

No matter which methods you choose, making a fishing log describing water temperatures, what you catch, location and water and weather conditions will help you to become a better angler for years to come. Also take pictures and add them to your fishing logs to help you keep up with what worked last time.

You are actually reading my log book right now,

Crappie: Fishing for crappie has started to improve and it will just get better and better as spring approaches. Your electronics, as well as the right areas, are the key to putting together the main pattern for your day.

Use your trolling motor to get your boat moving at just 1- 1 1/2 mph. Place out as many rods and you can keep untangled with your front rods being the longest staggering back to your rear rods that are the shortest. Rig your rods with several different colors and weights of jigs and pay close attention to the ones that work.

When you unlock the secret jig, switch all of them over to that same weight. Vary the colors slightly to make sure what worked was not a fluke. You can also shoot jigs under docks or down lined live crappie jigs in brush.

The crappie have been biting around 10-20 feet deep in the clearer water, but there will be some shallower where the water is stained.

Trout: Trout fishing is fair to good for numbers and good for size. The water below Buford dam is holding many trout but you may have to slow down your presentation to catch them. Wet Flies, Live Bait (where permitted) and a Countdown Rapala have all been working well. These same techniques will also work in the year round trout streams.

I am going to keep this in my reports on through the end of February just because it seem that anglers a passionate about it. The Georgia DNY is proposing opening all Georgia Trout streams to year round fishing. The DNR is taking comments on their Facebook Page and online at

Bank Fishing: Trout fishing below Buford Dam is a great way to spend a day or even a couple of hours fishing. The section between Buford Dam and Hwy. 20 has trails and easy access to them from the Dam and is open year round to artificial and live bait. This time of you can still get a limit or you can catch and release.

Use light line and natural colors on your lures. You can also add a weight to a plain line with a hook and fish worms on the bottom. Just about any method you prefer can work but you may have to fish it slower. You can also enjoy a bounty of wildlife to watch like deer, herons and a larger variety of bird life. Also stop in and check out the Buford Dam hatchery.

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 or visit his website at

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