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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Early May fishing offers several options
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Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,070.59 or .41 feet above the normal full pool at 1071. The main lake is slightly stained down lake and stained in the rivers and creeks. Pollen remains on the surface around the banks on main lake and in the coves. 

The creeks and rivers are slightly stained. Lake surface temperatures have risen into the high 70’s and low 70’s on main lake. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has rated from fair to excellent, depending on the time of day and the weather fronts. There has been a strong bite on main lake and in the pockets in the mornings. Seek out sandy and clay areas on main lake saddles and blow through areas between the islands on main lake. The blue back herring will spawn in these areas, and the bass and stripers will congregate and feed on these easy pickings.

When asked, the majority of bass anglers will say that top water fishing is their favorite way to catch fish. Few things are as exciting as watching a large spotted or largemouth bass crush a surface plug. Walking lures like a Gunfish, Vixen, Spook or a wake bait like a Redfin or a variety of swim bait like a SPRO BBZ1 6-inch trout will enlist strikes from fish right now. Make long casts and vary your retrieve from slow to fast until you dial in what the fish prefer for that given day.

Subsurface baits like a Big Bites Jerk Shad, Fluke. SPRO McStick 110 or other long herring shaped lures are excellent choices for fishing in these same lures.

There are a lot of spotted bass spawning on the shallow humps and points on main lake as well as in the creeks and pockets. These fish can be very shallow but most will spawn around 4-8 feet deep, Target banks that have small gravel or transition areas with rock that intersects with clay or sand. If you get a lure like a small crank bait like a RkCrawler or MsStick, these fish will often nip at the bait, but your best success will come by working a jig or soft plastic on a shaky head fished slowly in these areas.

Largemouth and spotted bass on bed can be very hard to see and random casting may work best for most anglers. There is a secret for sight anglers looking for bedding fish. Look for smaller white shells or lighter colored craters, because bass will fan away the silt as they build their nest on harder bottoms.

Night fishing has been very good. Throw the same crank baits as mentioned above or a large, single bladed black spinner bait around rocky banks in the creeks and on main lake.

Striper fishing has been very good. There are a lot of smaller fish with a few bigger fish located around main lake and river points, humps and sandy saddles between islands and humps. Don’t shy away from the shallow flats on the pockets just off of the main lake or back in the creeks and rivers too.

Live herring on flat lines, jerk baits or swim baits or top water lures like the Redfin or Vixen will provoke some vicious strikes from these line-sided brutes. Pull your live baits slowly behind the boat while casting lures from the bow of the boat. Pulling an umbrella rig or trolling jerk baits is a great way to cover water as you search for active fish with your electronics.

Night fishing with Bomber Lon As, Redfins and McSticks is still yielding a few fish in the pockets and backs of the creeks. Locate the bait and the stripers should not be far away. The nocturnal fish will congregate around lighted boat docks.

Crappie and Brim: Fishing is very good for pan fish this week both on Lake Lanier and also in local farm or subdivision ponds. Anglers can catch some bull brim and spawning crappie for the fish fryer. You do not need a boat, as the fish are very shallow. Target docks, laydowns or bank growth with live minnows, live worms or small crappie jigs under a flow.

Small artificial lures will also yield these tasty fish. If you want to real have some fun get out a very light fly rod and fish a 1/64th ounce jig or a small Clowser Minnow or a No. 8 Adams Kebri fly in these same areas.

Trout fishing is very good. Fly fishing, spin fishing and live bait (where permitted by law) will all work. Pick your favorite methods and go fishing!

Bank fishing: The carp are moving shallow as the start to spawn on Lake Lanier and other lakes and ponds around Georgia. This method is simple. Take a can of corn and chum out about a quarter to a half a handful around the area you wish to fish. Use a spinning or spin casting rod and reel rigged with a light Aberdeen hook and a one quarter ounce split shot set a foot above your hook. Thread as many kernels on your hook as possible and cast it out to where you chummed up the water. Secure your rod in a rod holder or hold onto it and wait. The carp will pull hard and even a small fish can take your whole rod and reel into the lake if it is not secured well. Carp provide an easy and exciting way to get kids and adults alike into the sport of fishing!

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 or visit my website at or Remember to take a kid fishing!

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