Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,070.86 or .14 feet above the normal full pool at 1071. The main lake is stained down lake and very stained up lake. The creeks and rivers are stained in the mouths and very stained to muddy in the backs from the recent rains.
Lake surface temperatures remain from the upper 40s on main lake with some of the pockets, creeks and coves heating into the low 50s. Look for the entire lake to heat up into the low 50s very soon. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing remains just fair this week. Fishing was so good this past winter that it has been a little surprising how slow the bass fishing has been these past couple of weeks.
There have been a decent amount of buck bass moving in shallow on the docks leading into the spawning flats. These fish are eating a combination of shad and crawfish, and this should be your clue for what lures to use. Jigs and plastic worms are good crawfish imitators, and both have been working well around docks and medium to shallow rock.
It seems that the docks in 5 to 25 feet just outside the coves and pockets have been holding slightly better fish. If there is a creek or ditch channel close to these docks, then that is all the better. There are also a decent amount of smaller male bass up very shallow on some of the last docks or laydown wood in the coves and creeks.
We have also been catching some bigger spotted bass around steeper rocky banks. Look for the smaller chunk rock and fish a jig or deep diving crank bait like a SPRO RkCrawler or Little John DD and make sure to move these lures slow and steady and stay in contact with the bottom. This action will be best early in the mornings and during active feeding periods during the day.
Working shallow running crank baits or jerk baits in the stained water around the flats or ditches leading into the flats has been working all day long. Both spotted and largemouth bass will bite well in these areas. Watch your electronics and look for the shad schools and the bass will not be far away.
Striper fishing has been hit and miss depending on who you talk to and where you fish. The muddy, heavily stained water in the creeks and rivers have made fishing shallow inconsistent.
Continue to look for those high percentage areas. Anglers have many clues that we can draw upon to keep us close to productive water. Gulls, loons and kingfishers are all birds that eat bait fish. If you see loons feeding in the creeks mouths or leading into the long pockets, this can be a dead giveaway that there are stripers in the area. Even a single loon on the surface can give away a much larger flock of birds underwater, and the stripers will often join in the feeding frenzy.
Of course, your electronics are one of the most important tools for successful fishing. My Humminbird electronics have been showing a lot of stripers in the 40 to 60-foot range around the clearer water. If you can find a definitive mud line, or even an area where clear water meets stained water, and there is an abundance of bait, then this is a great place to drop some herring or trout.
Since a lot of the stripers are deeper, the down lines have been working best. It still pays to run a flat line with a couple of split shots crimped on to get your offerings down below the surface.
Don’t be afraid to put one large bait like a big trout or gizzard shad on at least one line, as late winter and early spring are some of the best times to catch a trophy striper. Remember that there is a $10,000 bounty for catching a striper over 50 pounds from Lake Lanier between Feb. 1 and May 31.
Crappie fishing is just getting better and better. There are some fish showing up shallow enough to be caught with minnows and small jigs, but trolling and shooting docks is still your best bet for numbers.
Shooting docks is an art form, so if you really want to become proficient at catching crappie then this technique is worth mastering.
Use a high visibility fishing line as you will want to be able to see the light “tick” that indicates a fish has eating your jig. There are many little nuances that going into shooting crappie jigs, so watch as many YouTube videos as possible, fish with knowledgeable anglers that will show you key techniques, and you can also practice by setting up a board on two bricks and setting it up in the driveway to practice getting your shot under the board. When first starting, make sure to remove the hook to make it safer, and also just in case there is a frisky cat in the area.
My Humminbird electronics are showing tight schools of crappie around brush in the coves and around docks from 5 to 15 feet deep. These fish will hit jigs trolled or cast and fished very slowly through the brush. These same fish will also strike minnows on a down line or slip bobber.
Trout fishing has been getting better. In between the heavy spring rains when the water clears, the fishing has been decent. The Department of Natural Resources will also be picking up their stocking efforts and newly-stocked trout are dumb and hungry.
Live earthworms, salmon eggs, Power Nuggets and even corn are good baits, but all of these are considered live bait. Make sure to check local regulations if you choose to fish with these offerings.
There have been some insect hatches on sunny days and small midges and nymphs have been scoring a few trout. Of course, the old reliable inline spinners like Rooster Tails and Mepps Spinners are great choices, too. I like to use natural colored silver and white Rooster Tails in clearer water, but prefer the gold colored Mepps Spinners in slightly stained water.
Bank fishing: The crappie have started showing up around the bridges and also bank lay downs. If you have access to shallow docks in the coves, these can also be good choices for catching shallow crappie. Set out several rods with a bobber and a split shot with an Aberdeen hook and a crappie minnow hooked through the lips or under the dorsal fin. Make sure to secure your rods because you never know when a bass, catfish, striper or other larger predator fish will strike your minnows.
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 email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing!