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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Crappie biting well in shallow water
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Lake Lanier is holding very steady and is at 1,060.95 or 10.05 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071.

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to stained. The creeks and rivers are slightly to very stained. Lake surface temperatures remain in the low 50’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been good, especially for early February. The bass can be caught on a variety of lures and in different locations. If you pick your strengths and fish what you know, you should be able to catch a decent limit.

Casting jerk baits, crank baits or blade baits anywhere bass are feeding can produce results. On sunny days, working jigging spoons around the timberlines and in the deeper locations at the ends of the ditches can yield big numbers when the fish are grouped up deeper.

Weather conditions play a big part on fishing, no matter what species you target this week. The bass will be active early in the day, during active feeding periods and especially when weather fronts blow through. If a storm is blowing in, then switch from finesse techniques to power fishing.

The jerk bait bite has been my go-to technique for actively-feeding bass.

Keep a SPRO McStick 110 or McRip 95 tied on and ready at all times. Look around deeper docks, bluff walls and ditches close to shallow feeding flats for your best locations. The presence of shad or herring is essential. If the bait is absent in an area, expect the same from the bass.

During less active feeding times, a finesse worm on a shaky head, a jig or even a jigging spoon are all worth a try. Work the deeper docks leading into the spawning coves with a shaky head or jig. Target the deeper sides of the coves where the channel or ditch swings close to docks.

Pay close attention to where you get your bites and hone in on those locations to maximize your fishing times. If you get a bite up shallow around the gang planks, then pay close attention to these locations on the other docks. If you bites come at mid-depth or on the ends of the docks, then concentrate on those locations.

Stripers: Not much has changed with the striper fishing and anglers are reporting decent catches. As mentioned before weather patterns, will pay a big part in the way you catch stripers.

On cloudy days, most of your action will come closer to the surface. If you see stripers on the surface, check your depth finders as the fish you see on the surface can be just a small indication of a much larger school deeper below.

During active feeding times, anglers may be able to catch stripers as easily on artificial lures as with live bait.

A SPRO McStick, buck tail or a spoon cast to surfacing fish can yield excellent results. Making repeated casts to where the fish are surfacing is often what it takes to get their attention.

Back in the 1980’s, we never saw fly fishing anglers targeting stripers. Nowadays, flinging streamers or minnow imitating flies is the in thing to do and is a whole lot of fun. An eight-weight rod with a sealed drag reel will get the job done.

If the fish are higher in the water column, then floating line will work best. When the fish move deeper, a sinking line may work better. A Flash Minnow or Hoo Fly will mimic the small threadfin shad that are currently on the surface.

Casting flies can often outproduce live-bait fishing.

Keep doing the same things as you have all winter and you should be able to catch a few. Locate feeding birds first, then hone in your techniques based on where you see fish on your electronics.

Pay close attention to your Humminbird’s Side Imaging feature to find those fish that aren’t directly under the boat. Flat lines and planner boards are best when fish are shallow and down lines when fish are deeper than 15-20 feet.

Too many anglers miss out on the early spring night bite.

Casting a SPRO McStick or Bomber Long around the banks can yield the striper of a lifetime. Historically, areas around the Dam and in back of Flat Creek are good places to start. Locate your own area off the beaten path and you may catch stripers there for years to come.

Crappie fishing is good and some fish are showing up shallow in the 7-12 foot range. Docks or steep banks with wood or brush piles in the backs of the creeks have been holding good groups of fish.

If you have not already located fish, then get out early and troll or ‘lake rake’ in the backs of the creeks. Target areas with stained water and shad in the creeks and coves. Trolling will allow you to cover water and locate the fish.

Then you can slow down and target them later in the day. Troll and cast several different colors. Let the fish tell you which ones they prefer.

We found a mess of fish this week against a steeper bluff wall with brush that bottomed out around 15-feet deep.

Casting a 1/24-ounce Hal Fly on four-pound test Sunline through the brush to produce enough for crappie for fish tacos in under 30 minutes. The same action will come from bush piles and laydowns in other strategic locations.

Trout fishing is good and the DNR has been stocking fish in many areas. If you can locate these secret locations where they drop off the fishing can be contagious. Plenty of 7-12 inch, or larger, fish get stocked all over North Georgia in Spring.

For river fishing, both north or Laker Lanier and below Buford Dam it’s hard to beat a 1/8 to 1/16-ounce Rooster Tail.

Bright colors seem to work best in Spring. Cast these inline spinners on a light-to-medium light spinning outfit spooled with 2-to 6-pound test.

The secret to catching fish on a Rooster Tail is to retrieve the lure just fast enough to keep the blades spinning.

Bank Fishing: Crappie fishing from the bank can be very productive both on Lake Lanier and in local subdivision and farm ponds. Like most fish, crappie spawn in the spring. Before the spawn, they feed heavily and that time is now.

Crappie are very social fish and they tend to congregate in tight schools. Wood is the best cover to find crappie in the spring. Docks, trees and brush probably account for the majority of fish caught. If you can locate a school of fish on a lay down that you can fish properly, then you may get your limit very quickly.

If you are an excellent angler than you can’t beat fishing a Beetle Spin on a light fishing outfit.

Work this jig/spinner through brush and cover water until you locate a school of willing fish.

For the rest of us anglers, a crappie minnow rigged below a bobber is the standard bank fishing set-up. If the fish are shallow, then you can just hook a crappie minnow through the lips with a small split shot set a couple of feet below the bobber and cast it out.

When the fish are deeper, using a slip bobber can make the difference between catching and getting skunked.

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 readers, so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit his website at www.aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing.

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