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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass bite varies greatly with the weather
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Water temperatures are in the mid 50s. Lake Lanier came up more than a foot this past week at 1,064.55, which is 6.45 feet below a full pool of 1,071.

Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and stained in the creeks.

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

Bass: The bass are still biting well but the weather conditions will affect the patterns considerably.

On sunny days, the fish are relating to docks and steeper ditches that run next to the bank.

On cloudy days, the bass will get out and roam and it can be either fast and furious fishing, or you may just catch one here and one there.

There is some stained water in the creek pockets due to last week's rain runoff and also because windy days will stir up the particals in the water.

This stained water is actually good for fishing because it has more nutrients in it, which attracts the bait fish. Plus, water with color heats up faster than clear water does.

Water that is just a few degrees warmer will also attract fish in late winter and early spring.

No single lure seems to be the best as the varying weather fronts require a change of techniques from day to day and even from hour to hour.

We caught bass this past week on about every pattern you can imagine.

On cloudy days, moving lures like crankbaits, jerkbaits, Fish Head Spins and even the old reliable Rooster Tail will catch fish right.

On calm, cloudy days we have actually found fish schooling around the banks and even off shore. These fish are driving threadfin shad and blueback herring to the surface.

If you cast a lure into these feeding frenzies, you can usually catch a bass pretty quickly.

We actually caught two bass on one lure several times this past week and that is a good sign that the fish are active.

On sunny days, the same moving lures will work, but we have also had great success shooting or skipping finesse worms on jig heads around the docks, brush piles and lay-downs on the bank.

Just a note about dock fishing: When targeting docks, please remember that docks are private property and therefore anglers should respect the owner's rights.

If you hang up a lure, please retrieve it without damaging whatever it gets hung up on. Also make accurate casts to avoid hitting boats or other objects that could be damaged by lures.

You can practice casting at home to increase your accuracy when you make it out to the lake. Pass by any docks that have people out enjoying their day.

There have also been some spotted bass out deeper all winter, but I haven't been targeting them as much as the shallow fish recently.

These deeper bass will hit Texas- or Carolina-rigged worms, jigs and even spoons worked from 25 to 40 feet around off-shore brush and timber. Night fishing for spotted and largemouth bass will start to pick up very soon.

Striper fishing has been on and off, but the bigger fish are starting to appear and now is the time to catch a real trophy.

Like the bass, the stripers can be caught using a variety of techniques. There have been some deeper fish in the creek mouths down lake and in the river channels and creeks up lake.

Your electronics are key tools, and they will help quickly determine if an area will hold fish or if you need to move on.

Down-lined bluebacks have been working best for the deeper fish. Make sure to set your down lines slightly above where you mark fish on your electronics, as stripers will look up to eat a bait, but they seldom move down.

The birds can help you locate the right areas, but you do need to know what to look for.

There are plenty of gulls that will lie on the water during the day. These birds are not much help in showing where the fish or bait is located as they are resting between meals.

If you witness loons diving or just one, two or a small flock of gulls that are diving in one area, this is usually an indication that there are bait and predator fish in the area.

There have also been some good stripers shallow in the mornings and during the day.

Gizzard shad, trout and also blueback herring will work well for the shallow fish. You can use flat lines for fishing directly behind the boat or add planner boards to get your baits out beside the boat and up near the banks.

Trolling umbrella rigs has been working well.

Locate the stripers, then set you rigs at the level where you mark fish and troll your rigs around two miles per hour.

The night bite is on for the stripers, and they are hitting Bomber Long As and McStick 110s after dark around the dam and in some of the creeks both up and down lake.

Find the fish, cast your jerkbaits to the bank and fish them with a slow-and-steady retrieve.

Crappie fishing remains very good and it should remain that way for at least the next month.

Find docks, brush, lay-downs and stumps, and either troll small crappie jigs or shoot these same lures around the docks and wood. A crappie jig tipped with a live minnow will increase your odds.

Remember to respect the docks.

Trout fishing is good both on the river and in the Wildlife Management Areas that are open year-round. Just about any method is working, and the trout are hitting dry and wet flies, inline spinners and live earthworms where permitted by law.

The Department of Natural Resources is still stocking plenty of new trout, and these new releases will be the easiest fish to catch this year.

Bank fishing: You can fish from the shore for trout on the Chattahoochee River year-round, but the fishing has been pretty good lately.

If you fish directly below Buford Dam you can use artificial and live bait above Highway 20, but you must stick with artificial lures below Highway 20. Also, if you wade or float the river you must wear a lifejacket below

Buford Dam, so make sure to check your local regulations and enjoy a day on the river. Trout fishing is very good in late winter and early spring.

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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