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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Early spawn, warmer water make for good bass fishing
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Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is rising at the time this report is being written due to this week’s rains. The water level is at 1,062.09 or 8.91 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071.

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-stained from pollen. The creeks and rivers are stained-to-very-stained from pollen and rain runoff. Lake surface temperatures continue to rise anywhere from the mid-60s to lower-70s in shallow pockets in the afternoons.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is stained after the rains but clearing. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass Fishing: Some days you may catch 20 or more buck bass in the pockets or around docks, while other days you may catch only a few. But no matter what, now is the time to get out and catch a trophy spotted or largemouth bass.

When the pollen is falling on the water and the dogwoods are blooming, you can bet the bass are shallow and spawning. With the water temperatures being in the high-60s, and the full moon coming up on April 11, things are setting up well for an early spawn.

Casting a 4-inch Big Bites green watermelon flake worm rigged on a -ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head around docks is a time-tested way to catch both numbers and good-sized bass in the spring.

If you can’t find the Alien Heads, then another brand of stand-up jig head will do. But the Alien Heads really skip well, and a single jig head can last all day.

Casting small crank baits or a SPRO McStick 110 around main lake rocky areas will score some big spotted bass that are staging in water less than 15 feet deep. Using this method, we have caught some big spotted bass weighing more than five pounds.

The secret is to keep your crank bait or jerk bait in contact with the bottom. Cast them up shallow and reel back with a slow and steady retrieve. Most strikes will occur as your lures deflect off the bottom.

Other lures like spinner baits, jigs and top-water plugs are also producing well, so pick your favorite and go fishing.

Striper fishing is good, and not much has changed. But look for the action to heat up as the weather does the same in April. There are some trophy stripers biting right now.

Medium shiners still seem to be your best live-bait option, but start adding some herring or gizzard shad to your spreads. The stripers are showing up shallow early and later in the day, but they will move a little deeper on sunny days.

Flat lines and planner boards are working great when the fish are shallow, while down lines or trolling umbrella rigs will work better once the sun gets higher in the sky.

The blueback herring will start to spawn later this month, so start keeping those top-water or subsurface baits ready. A SPRO McStick, Bomber Long A or Redfin are all good choices to match the herring. Swim baits like a Big Bites Suicide Shad or a Jerk Minnow will also trigger some explosive strikes once the striper start targeting herring.

Night fishing for stripers has been a little slower, but there are still some good concentrations of fish in the backs of the creeks and down by the dam.

Crappie fishing is very good. The crappie are spawning around shallow brush and docks in the backs of the pockets and up in the creeks and rivers.

Trolling early or later in the day is working very well, so fish as many rods as you can manage and use different-colored jigs. Once you catch a few fish on a particular color, switch to the best producers to increase your odds.

A crappie minnow under a bobber is hard to beat right now. Get a few dozen crappie minnows, then cast your minnows and bobbers around any lay downs or brush, target shallow docks or rip-rap around the bridges.

Trout Fishing: Pick your favorite waters and go trout fishing this week.

The water quality is improving thanks to the recent rains, plus the Department of Natural Resources has been loading streams and rivers in North Georgia with plenty of newly stocked, ignorant trout.

Small black ant, small Caddis and Mayflies are working well in the afternoons for fly anglers.

Live earthworms should be very effective after the rains this week — just make sure the trout waters you’re targeting allow live bait. Rooster Tails, Mepps, Rapalas and Yo-Zuri Pinns Minnows on light 2-to-6-pound test will work well for the spinning and spin-cast anglers.

Bank Fishing: Pan fish are moving shallow toward the banks, and they should be easy to catch from the shore.

It’s hard to beat a live crappie minnow or cricket under a bobber when casting for brim, crappie and other pan fish. All you need is a small Aberdeen Style hook with a small split shot set about a foot below a weighted bobber.

Cast out to trees laying down around the bank. You can also target docks, cat tails or other cover located around the banks of your favorite shallow waters.

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 or visit his website at or Remember to take a kid fishing.

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