Lake Lanier’s water level is holding steady at slightly above full pool. The lake water level is 1,071.18 feet or .18 feet above a full pool of 1,071. Lake water temperatures have risen into the mid to upper 70s. The main lake is clear. The creeks and rivers are clear to stained.
The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: Just like the weather, the bass fishing is heating up. This is the season for running and gunning, so you can bet I will have my Nitro Z-8 fueled up so that we can cover some ground. Figure this: About 20 percent of the most productive areas have schools of fish that are willing to bite right now.
That means you need to hit 4-5 areas in an hour, until you find the active fish.
Then when you find that secret honey hole, catch as many as you can until they either quit biting or mama calls and says you’re late for dinner.
Lake Lanier is known for some of the best spotted bass and striper fishing in the eastern U.S. There are several things happening right now that contribute to this reputation. Some spots have already spawned and they are very hungry.
If that is not enough, the blueback herring are also getting ready to spawn. Spotted bass love to eat herring because herring also eat spotted bass eggs. There is a war going on under water, and sometimes it shows on the surface.
Take a look at the herring that you see floating on the surface, then look at some of the lures and select ones that mimic them. Jerk Baits, Swim Baits, Buck tails and Long Top Water Plugs. I have one pattern right now for catching both numbers and size that’s almost too good to share.
Try ‘stupid fishing’ with a SPRO McStick or Buck Tail. I choose a Kissel Krafts Custom Crank Bait Rod with Bass Pro Shops Carbon Light Reel spooled with 12-pound Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon Line.
Use a SPRO McStick 110 in Spooky Shad or Grey Ghost colors when it’s sunny. Use a Dirty Bone or Chrome Shad on cloudy days. You want to reel the McStick at medium speed or just fast enough to where you feel the wobble.
The topwater action is heating up. As mentioned above, you may need to move around to find the active fish.
Walk the Dog with a Super Spook or Sammy around any points or small islands or humps. Other lures like a Red Fin or a SPRO BBZ1 6-inch floater can be worked on the surface for some ferocious strikes. Make sure to start casting at least 2-3 casts away from the bank because these fish are probably roaming around, waiting to run into a large school of herring or shad.
Of course the dock bite with an 1/8 or 3/16-ounce jig head with a Big Bites Finesse Worm is a great choice. There are also plenty of bass on the banks that do not have docks. Look for fresh trees laying in the water where the bank erosion is from high water levels. The still living trees lying down in the water seem to be bass magnets, so make several casts around them.
Striper fishing is good.
The line sides are showing up just about anywhere this past week. We saw schools of stripers chasing herring and even large gizzard shad in some of the pockets midway back in some of the lower lake creeks.
There have also been some 5-10 striper wolfpacks out around the main lake points both north and south of Browns Bridge.
The fish you see on the surface are usually in the middle of a feeding frenzy. If you land a lure in front of them, they will attack. There are very few things in life as exciting anglers as watching a fish well over 36 inches explode on their lure.
That same excitement can turn into an immediate gut-wrenching heartbreak when that huge strike breaks your line.
Make sure to have 14 pounds, or heavier, line and make sure your line and fishing gear are in good working condition. I find that 20-pound Sunline green Monofilament is perfect for this type of fishing.
Pulling flat lines with live herring and maybe a large gizzard shad or trout has been a staple for spring fishing. Now is the time because there are some huge stripers out there and they are hungry for sure If you mark fish down deeper than 15-20 feet, then you can switch to a down line with a swivel and heavier weight or just take your flat lines and crimp on a large split shot.
Your electronics are so important for locating and catching fish year round. You may be in the right place with the right bait during the most active feed time. If you set your bait or lures 20-feet below the school, you probably won’t get a bite.
I always get a kick out of anglers who are amazed when you watch the screen, as your live bait drops down and a fish intercepts it. After all, these electronics often cost thousands of dollars and are called fish finders.
There are some reports of people who are pulling umbrella rigs and also some anglers who are starting to catch fish after dark under lights. Striper anglers have many choices.
Crappie fishing has slowed in some areas and heated up in others. I have a friend who lives toward the mouth of Shoal Creek who has been catching his limit of 30 fish in 1–2 hours, right before sunset by casting live crappie minnows from his dock.
He uses a regular bobber and hook with a small split shot three feet below it with a minnow hooked in the back.
Other anglers have not been doing as well. If your area that was holding fish seems to have dried up, try casting out farther and using a slip bobber to vary the depths. Small crappie jigs will also work. Try fishing the deeper sides of brush piles and other areas that allow quick access to deeper depths.
Trout: No more trout season? That is correct. But before you start a revolution, let me elaborate. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has opened 1,600 miles of prime fishing streams and rivers to make them year-round fishing. Most anglers I have spoken to think this is a good thing.
The trout are biting a wide variety of lures. A large portion of these fish are newly-released trout that are pretty easy to catch. Pick your favorite fly, lure or live bait where permitted by law and start catching.
Bank Fishing: The bream are building their nests and will continue to go through this process in the warmer months.
You can see bream as they group together with other bream and build nests on sandy bottoms, usually close to the shore. These nests often look like the moonscape. These fish are very protective. If you can get a lure or live bait in front of them, they will eat it quickly.
It is hard to beat fishing with a worm or cricket under a bobber. Use as small a hook as possible and thread your worm or cricket on to the bobber so that the fish cannot see it. If you see the bream bedding, make a cast to the area.
Even if you do not see bream bedding, that does not mean they are not in the right area. Just about every pond, lake, stream or rivers hold panfish so grab the kids and go 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. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.