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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Cold weather hasn't hurt bass fishing
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Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is holding steady at 1,061, or 10 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071.

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-stained, while the creeks and rivers are slightly-to-very stained. Lake surface temperatures have dropped a little and are in the mid-50s.

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

Bass fishing remains good, but the weather fronts make can make things very interesting at times. The past week’s weather dropped the surface temperatures slightly, but this has not adversely affected bass fishing.

If you want to have an easy and productive bass fishing trip, it may pay to stick to the basics.

Find a cove out of the wind with shallow docks near a feeder ditch or small stream with flowing water. A shaky head is hard to beat in early spring. Use a -ounce Alien Head or other type jig head rigged with a standard 5-inch straight tail Big Bites Baits style finesse worm.

A quality fluorocarbon line like 5-to-8-pound test Sunline is ideal. Make casts or skip your shaky head both in between and around docks, which should score plenty of bites. If the area you are in does not produce, then move on to another cove.

Back in the “good ole’ days,” a Texas or Carolina rigged curly tail worm were our go-to baits. Today we have so many ways to rig a soft plastic baits — Whacky rigs, shaky heads and drop shot rigs get used a lot more that Texas or Carolina rigs.

This is good news for older anglers because these old-school techniques are still very productive, and the bass don’t see them as often as other techniques.

A Texas Rig is an easy to fish setup. A standard 6-inch curly tail worm rigged on a 3/0 Gamakatsu Offset worm hook with a -or-heavier bullet weight on the front. A Carolina Rig consists of a heavy ½-to-1-ounce oval sinker with a plastic bead and swivel on the main line. Then attach a 1-to-3-foot leader to the swivel with a 3/0 Gamakatsu Offset hook with your favorite soft plastic rigged on the end.

The cool thing with these setups is that you just cast and drag. When you feel a strike, lay into them and set the hook.
If slow fishing is not your speed, then grab your jerk baits, spinner baits or crank baits and get out in the wind.

Find rock and clay secondary points on main lake and in the creeks, and make casts to these prime pre-spawn areas. We have boated some magnum spotted bass by slow rolling a SPRO McStick or a Mini Me spinner bait this past week.

Night fishing has yielded some great results recently, and most anglers who are out after dark are targeting stripers. A SPRO Little John DD crank bait is a go-to lure after dark. Target the same rock and clay secondary points and reel your crank bait slowly.

Even though these crank baits will run close to 20 feet deep, target water from as shallow as the bank on out and allow it to bang into rocks, stumps or any cover located on the bottom.

Striper fishing is good, and not a lot has changed. You can locate stripers in just about any creek or up in the rivers.

Keep watching the gulls and loons because they are great indicators that the bait fish and predator fish they are feeding on are in the area. If you see fish, then start fishing. But also rely on your electronics to confirm the presence and depth of the stripers in your area.

Run your flat lines or planner boards through these productive areas. Medium-sized shiners have been the baits of choice for anglers and stripers, but make sure you add a larger herring, trout or even a large gizzard shad to one of your live bait lines to trigger a bigger bite.

If you prefer not to fish with live bait, try casting other lures like a SPRO McStick or buck tail and make long casts to the fish. This is a deadly setup for fishing during the day or after dark.

Pulling an umbrella rig can also be productive, but downsize your buck tails and trailers to better match the threadfin shad that are so prevalent right now. I have also seen several posts of anglers that are scoring some big bites fishing with a fly rod and small streamer. Pick your poison and go fishing.

Crappie fishing remains excellent, and these fish are spawning. This is a great time to take your kids fishing because a large majority of crappie are shallow in the coves.

A simple setup like a minnow under a bobber cast to any shoreline cover is a productive method this week. Casting or trolling small Hal Flies, Marabou or your favorite brand of crappie jigs is also very productive.

Trout Fishing: The Department of Natural Resources is working on stocking more than 100,000 fresh new trout into North Georgia trout waters, so fishing can be very good if you can locate these easy-to-catch, ignorant trout. There are also plenty of holdover trout to catch too.

The stream and rivers flows are down for this year, so the trout have been grouping up in the deeper runs. You can often make multiple casts in an area and catch fish without moving. If your area does not yield trout or you don’t see them rising, then wade to a more productive area.

Fly fishing, inline spinners, Countdown Rapalas, Yo Zuri Pinns Minnows or live bait (where permitted by law) are all great choices. It’s also hard to beat a regular red wiggler on a bottom rig.

Bank Fishing: Because the crappie are moving in shallow, they should be easy to catch from the shore when you locate them.

There are plenty of parks that you can target. Look for shallow coves with docks or trees lying down in the water. The bridges in the creeks will also hold crappie.

The easiest way to catch crappie from the bank is with a weighted bobber and live crappie minnow, and you can also fish a small crappie jig under a bobber. Set you bait or jig about 2-to-3 feet below the bobber. Make casts around any bank cover, and if you do not get a bite within 15 minutes, move on to a more productive area.

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 esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing.

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