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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass keying in on fast-moving baitfish
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Lake temperatures are in the lower to mid 70s. Lake Lanier levels have been great this year. We are just a foot under full at 1,070 feet. The lake is clear to slightly stained on the main lake and slightly stained in the creeks and rivers. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: Look for the last wave of spawners to hit the banks this week during the full moon on Tuesday. Some anglers insist that most of the bass have spawned, while others say this next week will be the biggest wave. My personal experience is that most of the fish are finishing up and moving out into post-spawn locations.

Many people say that spring is the best time to catch bass, but I prefer late May, June and July for the great run-and-gun action. My new Nitro is equipped with a 250-horse power Optimax, and speeding around the lake hitting multiple areas is my type of fishing. Many anglers who like to kick back, drink a soda and watch a bobber don't understand the run-and-gun style. We may fish 15 areas without a bite, then catch a five-bass limit in five casts on the next stop. When my dad comes fishing with me, he says it's almost like work, but I disagree.
The blueback spawn is really getting going and bass are keying in on these fast-moving, larger baitfish to help them recoup. Spawning is taxing work for the bass, so when they locate the larger herring, they will attack your lures with spectacular hits. Because the bluebacks are shallow, the topwater bite is getting very good.

Bass are eating smaller topwater plugs in the pockets and larger topwater plugs and swim baits on main lake. The topwater action is usually best in the morning and at dusk on most lakes. On the other hand, Lake Lanier's spotted bass and even stripers will hit topwater plugs during the hottest days. I use a Dawg 125 or a Super Spook for the main lake fish, then I size down to a Zara Puppy in the coves or when the surface water is calm.

Many other methods are working, and it may be a bad idea to only have only one type of lure tied on. Conditions change and anglers must change with them if they are going to be successful. We have caught bass on every type of lure in the past few weeks, so keep an open mind.
We caught some nice keepers out on main-lake humps and points with John Medium divers. We also skipped the docks with jerk shads, flukes, finesse worms on a light 1/6- to 1/8-ounce jig head and caught several decent bass. I even caught a few smaller bass on a topwater Horny Toad around the spaces between the docks. I expect that a Carolina Rig would also work very well.

Stripers: The guides are telling me the stripers are really eating blueback herring off the surface around the dam and around the islands toward Gainesville. Some smaller schools of stripers are appearing on the surface in groups of five to 15 fish. This action moves around a lot, so be prepared to move along with them. Your electronics and eyes are key tools for locating and catching stripers. With my side imaging, I can cover an area of the bottom in 200-foot-wide path and can also see fish and baitfish out to the side where I never used to be able to. The fish will appear as white dots or arcs, and baitfish schools will look like clouds. If you look carefully, you can see the shadow of the fish with the side imaging.

If you are specifically going for stripers then this is what I would do: Pull two live bait rods with a fresh blueback herring hook through the nose with a sharp Gamakatsu live bait hook. Just flat line them back behind while you cast topwater plugs, swim baits or even a 1/2 SPRO bucktail in bunker color.

Most of the schooling stripers I have seen are out in the creek mouths and on the points and humps in the middle of the lake. These schooling fish go up and down very quickly and they can be hard to pattern. The reason stripers move so fast is because their prey, blueback herring, swim at a very brisk pace.

Crappie fishing has slowed but the crappie are also feeding well after the spawn. They seem to have moved out a little from the banks. Try shooting small crappie jigs under the deeper docks that have flats or shallow pockets close by. Trolling small crappie jigs has been good during the day. Keep your boat around 15 feet deep and troll small jigs or Micro Spoons for the post-spawn crappie.

Trout fishing is very good in the mountain creeks and below Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River, and the fishing should stay pretty consistent for the next couple of months. The same baits that work for me year-round are working well right now. Rapalas, Rooster Tails and dry flies are all getting bites.

Bank fishing: There are many parks and lakes in Georgia that are great places to go bank fish. One of those places is Lake Zwerner and Yahoola Creek Reservoir in Dahlonega. This lake allows good bank fishing and there are some really cool trails. If you have small kids, then you usually don't want trees snagging their poles. Lake Zwerner and Yahoola Creek Reservoir both have easy access and picnic tables. See more at

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


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