Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is still holding steady at 1060.91, or 10.09 feet below the normal full pool of 1071.
The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-stained, while the creeks and rivers are slightly-to-very-stained. Lake surface temperatures are ranging from the upper 50s to low 60s.
The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing has been good, and Lake Lanier’s bass population is fat and healthy. The majority of bass on Lake Lanier are shallow and feeding heavily for the spawn.
Lake temperatures are about 5-to-10 degrees warmer than the norm for this time of year, and the bass are biting.
We have been catching a lot of largemouth bass on some of the shallowest docks that we can find. Many docks are high and dry, but the ones that are still in the water in the back of the coves are holding some decent-sized largemouth bass.
If you can locate shallow docks that have moving water running into the lake, then this can create the ideal combination for catching. These shallow fish will strike a shaky head straight tail worm, a small jig or a medium-sized jerk bait.
The spotted bass are showing signs they are ready to spawn too. You can catch some bigger female spotted bass around rock and clay points, and humps out on main lake.
Cast a SPRO McStick or a Mini Me Spinner Bait to any banks that are out in the wind. Crank baits and jigs will also coax bites from both the smaller buck bass, along with some of the larger females.
Working Texas Rigged worms, jigs or shaky heads around secondary points and medium-depth docks will score some good fish this week. There is a very good crank bait or spinner bait bite after dark around rock and clay banks.
Striper fishing is good, and there are still a lot of fish in the creeks and up in the rivers. The gulls and loons will still give away the best locations, but you can also find some fish up shallow pushing shad around in the pockets when no birds are present.
Flat lines and planner boards equipped with medium shiners on a No. 2 Gamakatsu Octopus hook has been the most productive method this past week. Occasionally, you may need to switch to down lines with medium-sized herring. Use your electronics to let you know when the stripers can be found out deeper.
Artificial lures like a SPRO Bucktail, McStick or Long A Bomber have been working well both during the days and after dark. The stripers are showing up around the dam and also in the backs of some of the lower lake creeks.
Make long casts to the bank and reel your Bombers and McSticks with a medium-steady retrieve. Lighted boat docks can be fish magnets after dark this week.
Crappie fishing is excellent, and these fish are full of eggs and will be spawning in the next few weeks. You can just about pick your favorite method and go catching this week.
Trolling or “spider rigging” with multiple rods continues to be one of the most productive methods in spring. Find your warmest water in the coves, choosing water that has some stain to it. A slight amount of color to the water means it has more nutrients, plus the stained water will warm quicker than clear water.
Shooting crappie jigs tipped with a live minnow around docks in 10-to-15 feet of water with brush will produce some big, fat crappie this week. Remember, if you catch one fish, there will be plenty more in the same area because the fish are schooled up and ready to reproduce.
Trout Fishing: Jeff Durniak gives us some updates the Department of Natural Resources trout stocking efforts. The Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will cooperatively stock 40,000 trout in Georgia during the week of March 6, giving anglers their first opportunity to harvest some freshly stocked trout in 2017.
Regular weekly stockings for the 2017 stocking season begin on March 20, when an additional 70,000 trout will hit the water.
Despite the low stream flows being experienced in north Georgia, the trout-stocking program is still aiming to provide one million fish this year.
“With the current spring-like conditions and all trout waters open to fishing year-round, we have decided to stock approximately 40,0000 trout two weeks early,” said WRD trout-stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson. “Due to the mild winter, we have experienced excellent trout growth in our hatcheries. And with the continuing low stream flows, these fish have outgrown the available hatchery space, giving us the opportunity to stock a few weeks early this year.”
Wet and dry flies, inline spinners and small jerk baits or live bait (where permitted by law) will all work well, especially when newly stocked trout have been placed in an area.
Bank Fishing: Fishing for crappie or bass from the shore of Lake Lanier or your local farm or subdivision pond can be very productive in early spring.
Fish live crappie or medium-sized minnows below a float, or cast small crank baits or a Beetle Spin around any laydown trees on the banks. Shallow trees can hold entire schools of crappie and bass.
The main thing is to cover water until you get a bite. Once you get a bite, slow down and fish that area thoroughly. Other bank cover like docks, rocks or steep drop offs are all good areas to target.
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.