Lake temperatures are rising into the upper 40s to low 50s. The lake level remains very healthy at 1,070.2, which is less than a foot below the full pool of 1,071.
Lake Lanier is clear to stained on main lake and stained in the creeks and the rivers. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
The bass fishing has really improved with this past week’s warm spell. Many of the spotted and largemouth bass have moved into the shallows and more are staging in the mid depths and ditches. These staging fish will be following soon if the weather stays consistently sunny and warm.
We have had some very good days and some slower days, but fishing is far better than it was two weeks ago.
Sunny days seem to pull the fish up and put them in less than 15 feet around the boat docks that have 50-degree water.
These bass will strike McStick or Rogue type jerkbaits fished around the fronts or sides of the docks. In addition, try skipping a Big Bite finesse worm on a jig head under the floats and around the gangplanks. When fishing docks, please remember to be courteous. If there are people on the docks enjoying the weather or fishing, move on and find some unoccupied docks to fish.
If the sun is not out or it is cloudy we have been having success casting jerkbaits or rattling lures. Cast an Aruku Shad or Rattle Trap between the docks and along the shore areas and points or pockets without any docks. Target the banks that have the warmest water and wind blowing on them.
The wind can warm the water and move plankton around, and this will stir up the baitfish, which in turn brings in the bass and other predator fish.
Some friend of mine reported that they had great success fishing small jig heads with curly tail grubs around docks and on the points.
These were basically crappie jigs. The bass are gorging themselves on smaller shad right now so these smaller lures can work very well.
Most of the bass we caught this week were so full of shad that they were falling out of their mouths. It was amazing that these full bass would even strike our lures but it just goes to show that bass will eat even if they are totally full.
We are almost at that time of year when the fish will hit almost any lures, but the slower methods are still best.
That said, the fish could turn on anywhere at anytime, and you may catch them on spinnerbaits or crankbaits fished at a quicker pace. These staging bass have been relating to the ditches and creek channels from 10 to 25 feet deep and they are suckers for a Jig N’ Pig.
As mentioned last week, these fish can be grouped in schools, so if you hook one, work that same area to see if there is a group of fish.
We caught four spotted bass weighing between three and four pounds in fewer than 10 casts this week. We struggled most of that same day before finally finding this “honey hole”.
Like the bass, the striper fishing is getting even better with this warmer weather. There are some huge schools of bluebacks and threadfin shad in the creeks and in the backs of the pockets, and the stripers are in there with them.
I mentioned above that we had found a pod of bass, and the same thing also occurred with the stripers one day this week. My buddy saw a striper chasing bluebacks and he cast his jerkbait to where he saw the fish and immediately hooked up. I cast my jerkbait to the same area and I hooked a fish right away, too.
We stayed there and caught and released several stripers from five to 10 pounds. We actually left these fish while they were still bitting because we had to get home. A lot of stripers are moving shallow, but there are still plenty in the creeks and rivers that are at medium depths, too. The secret is to find the bait schools. Use your electronics and also watch the birds.
If you see large clouds of bait on the screen then you may wish to drop a down line or troll an umbrella rig through the area where you mark baitfish and stripers. If you find a large group of gulls diving over and over into one small area then it is worth casting to.
We are still having a shad die off, so if the gulls are diving one here and one there then they are just picking of individual shad and that may not be as great an area to target.
If you locate the birds and bait on the surface, then cast a jerkbait from the front of the boat while pulling flat lines and planner boards behind the boat. Down lines will work better for the fish that you see deeper on your graphs.
Don’t tell anyone, but the night bite is beginning.
Cast Bomber Long As or BBZ1 six-inch trout in the backs of the creeks and also around pocket by the dam or other areas where stripers lurk.
Cast these lures to the banks and reel them back with a slow-and-steady retrieve and hold on.
Crappie fishing is really good and the fish are moving up in waves into the shallows. The same areas that are holding bass and stripers may also be holding crappie. Look midway into the backs of the creeks and find the stained water that is around 50 degrees and you should be close to the right areas.
Target docks with brush, trees in the water and even the bridges for your best results. Crappie minnows fished two to four feet below a float will work great. Ling-lining or lake-raking are terms use to describe trolling for crappie, and this can be an excellent way to fill the cooler quick. Set out different length poles in rod holders on your boat.
Rig these poles with four-to-six-pound test line and set the longest poles out away from the boat while using your shorter poles to fish directly behind your boat.
Stagger the different length rods in a “rake” type pattern. If you set them up correctly, you can cover up to a 20-foot wide area. Place different colored jigs on each rod and switch over to the colors that work best as the fish bite.
Trout fishing: March 26 is opening day of trout season for the creeks and rivers that are not open year round.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has been busy at work. Even the year-round rivers and streams receive a healthy amount of freshly stocked trout and the fishing should be very good this weekend.
Just about any method should work and if you are fishing on opening day you can bet that some of the fish have never seen a lure or bait. I love hatchery-released trout because the will strike just about anything.
Bank fishing: Crappie fishing is probably the best bet this week, but bank anglers may catch a variety of species. The bridges and shallow pockets in the parks are both great areas to target.
Cast a live crappie minnow or live earthworm rigged about two to three feet below a bobber around any trees, rocks or bridge pilings to catch crappie, bream and bass. You can also cast your favorite lures and do quite well.
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. I would love to hear from our readers so please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!