Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is holding steady at 1,062.49 or 8.51 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071.
The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-slightly stained from pollen. The creeks and rivers are slightly to very stained. Lake surface temperatures are right at 70 degrees. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing is very good. Most of the bass are relating to water less than 25-feet deep. Get out a shaky heads or small jig and work rock and clay areas close to the bank. You should catch both good sizes and numbers of bass. These rocky areas can be located from main lake all the way back into the creeks.
Offshore humps that to out to less than 10 feet along with main lake points are also great places to fish. Target that zone from 5-to-20 feet and work your worms or jigs slowly. Just drag them around. When you hit an object like brush, stumps or bigger rocks, allow your lure to sit for a second and just shake it in place. It is my theory that many of the spotted bass are either finishing up spawning and guarding fry or they are pre-spawn bass moving up for the next wave.
If you are targeting bigger fish, then power fishing has been good. A High-Powered Herring or BBZ1 4-Inch Shad Swimbait are hard to beat worked out on main lake rocky humps and points. Make long casts and work the baits from the deep water up into the shallows. Vary your retrieve and let the fish tell you what speed they prefer.
Spinner baits, crank baits and even top water plugs are all playing a part in catching fish. Work your lures up around shallow flats and close to the shore around main lake. Most of the time a slow retrieve is best for these types of lures but when the fish are active they may like them worked faster.
Striper fishing has good and the fish are biting both on main lake and in the creeks and rivers. The herring are starting to show up more this past couple of weeks so they should start spawning pretty soon.
Make sure to keep a SPRO Buck Tail, McStick or a Redfin ready to cast to any schooling fish you see on the surface. We have seen some top water activity in the creek mouths out and on main lake. If the stripers are schooling and chasing herring out over open water they will probably be hard to chase because herring and stripers both move very quickly. Soon they will move up around the herring schools in the shallows where they are easier to catch.
Pulling a shallow running Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig is working in the creeks and rivers. Add Big Bite Suicide Shad trailers to match a school of herring. Running this rig around shallow humps, points and ditches will entice bites from stripers up closer to the shore. Run your boat around 2.5 miles per hour.
Trout and herring finally seem to be working better than shad sized baits that we have used all winter long. This is probably because the herring are moving up to spawn. Pull multiple flat lines and planner boards. Add a split shot if the wind is blowing to allow your baits to run under the surface.
Put a large gizzard shad on one of the outside boards. Run your boat very slowly, just fast enough to keep your boards running right. Run your spread over humps, secondary points, and along deeper rocky banks.
Gizzard shad are a native species and a favorite meal for stripers in Lake Lanier and all over the southeast. These shad grow to several pounds, but most right now are in the 4 to 8-inch range. These large shad provide a full meal for stripers and bass and they are abundant in the shallow flats and cuts in spring. Several bait stores sell these shad and they also sell the cast nets you need to catch them yourself.
Crappie fishing is still good. Take out your Zebco 33’s, cane poles or any other poles that you haven’t used in years. Put new 4 or 6-pound test line on them and go fishing!
Just about any technique is producing but you will catch better fish out deeper in the brush from 5-to-15 feet deep. There are many smaller fish up in the really shallow brush.
Shooting docks, lake rakin’ or fishing minnows under a float. It does not matter. If you are around the fish you should catch them. If you don’t get a bite in 15 minutes, adjust your presentation, depth or move on to a new location.
Trout Fishing: There are many insect hatches and the occasional rains that wash insects and worms into the streams and rivers. Add to this all of the hard work from the Department of Natural Resources to stock plenty of hatchery raised trout. Trout fishing is very good!
Use caddis patterns like a CDC Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis or try a Pheasant Tail Nymph in the riffles and in the heads and tails of pools. Use dry flies that match what is happening in your area. Mayflies, caddis and other hatches will probably occur a little earlier this year.
For the rest of us, choose a lure or bait that you have confidence in and take it out this weekend. Check local regulations about live bait fishing and limit restrictions before you start fishing. The DNR is also pretty good at enforcing fishing laws too.
Bank Fishing: Trout fishing has always been dear to my heart. One of my earliest memories was catching a 12-inch trout in my neighborhood stream. It was my biggest fish until I was 8-or-9-years-old.
A light spinning reel with light line and a small white and silver 1/8th ounce Rooster Tail is all you need. If you are new at fishing, note that most people carry several lures because you will lose one or more per trip.
Cast these in line spinners out into the deeper places in the stream or river you are fishing. Let them sink a little, but not all the way to the bottom. Reel the lure just fast enough to keep the blades spinning. I have caught trout in small streams where I just held the Rooster Tail still in the current and caught trout.
Trout fishing will get you away from the stresses of life. The water is clear and cold in trout waters and you will learn to read the water better every time you go. It doesn’t really matter how many fish you catch. It’s just great to get to a place where you don’t listen to anything but rushing water and the nature around you.
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 or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing.