Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 60s. Lake Lanier is slightly above full pool at 1,071.3. The lake is clear on the main lake and stained from pollen on the banks in the creeks and coves. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing is excellent and they are spawning all over the lake. We have been catching 20-30 or more keeper bass a day, so now is the time to go if you like to fish shallow. The bass and forage fish are on the banks where they are easy to catch.
The lake is above full pool and the grass and brush that grew up on the exposed banks when the lake was down is providing the bass with some awesome cover to roam around and spawn in. This is the time of year that I love to just walk the banks or watch from the front deck of my bass boat as the fish roam around and create nests in the shallow water. Seeing these fish can be tough with all the submerged bank growth and the layers of pollen on the surface. Polarized sunglasses are a must. A trained eye can easily spot these shallow fish, but it takes some experience. I think it is just fun to watch the fish as the go through the reproductive process.
The bass are biting a variety of lures and you can almost pick your favorite method. A plastic worm is one of the most productive lures to fish with and they really excel during the spawn. You can rig a plastic worm many ways, but a straight tail or finesse worm on a jig head is probably the most popular because they work. Cast these worms around any bank cover you encounter. Docks, laydowns, flooded grass/brush and rocky banks are all worth casting toward. There are a lot of smaller male bass hanging just outside the flooded bank growth and you can catch them until your arm falls off in the right areas.
I caught bass on just about every lure in my tackle box this past week. A small crank bait cast around the banks both in the back of the pockets and creeks and also out on main lake points and humps is a great choice in spring. Try to get these crank baits to make contact with submerged rocks and brush to increase your odds. Jerk baits are also productive lures and they mimic the blueback herring that have already been showing up in the shallows. A SPRO McStick worked slow-to-medium steady around main lake rocky banks will catch some of the biggest spotted bass of the year.
Spinner baits, scroungers, fish head spins and even smaller topwater plugs will all produce some good catches this week, so now is the time to go.
The stripers are also biting well and the guides are reporting some awesome spring fishing this week. The stripers are biting a variety of live baits and lures with free-lined bluebacks being the most popular. Fishing free lines are one of the easiest and most productive methods to use when stripers are shallow in spring. Just make sure you have a large capacity reel spooled with high quality line and a reliable rod holder. All you have to do is attach a Gamakatsu live bait hook with a good knot and then hook a live herring through the lips so that it swims freely and let the line out of the back of your boat. I like to run 100 feet of line out, unless you are fishing very shallow. You can increase the size of your spread by using planner boards with the same flat lines. This time of year, the stripers pull very hard. Make sure you are prepared when the big one strikes.
Other live baits will work well, but there is a special satisfaction when you can catch a striper on artificial lures. Long slender jerk baits like a Bomber, Redfin or McStick all mimic the blueback herring that stripers feed on. The bluebacks will be roaming around in shallow water for the next month so you should have good success casting jerk baits around productive areas. Use your electronics and also keep an eye out for any surface disturbance. I single out fleeing bait fish can give away a school of hungry stripers.
These same lures work well after dark and there is still a good night bite going on around main lake islands, in the creeks and also down around the dam.
Crappie fishing is good and the crappie are also spawning around docks, brush and downed trees shallow. Like the rest of the fish, the crappie can be caught on a variety of lures and live bait.
When crappie move in shallow, one of the favorite time tested methods to catch them is with crappie minnows fished under a bobber. Use a small Aberdeen-style crappie hook on light 4-6 pound test line and hook a crappie minnow through the lips or back. You can add a small split shot down a foot under the bobber to get the minnow to sink quicker. A weighted bobber will help you to cast longer distances. Cast your bobbers and minnow around the shallow coves and wait for the bobber to go under.
You can also catch crappie trolling or casting crappie jigs or by using small lures like micro-crank baits and Rooster Tails. Getting a limit of these tasty fish should be obtainable this week.
Trout: With the recent Department Of Natural Resources stocking efforts, trout are biting well both on the river below Buford Dam and also in the Wildlife Management Ares in the North Georgia mountains. The DNR is stocking most of the streams and this is a great time to go.
As with all spring fishing, many methods are working well to catch trout. Live bait, where permitted by law, small inline spinners or crank baits and fly fishing all get the nod this week. Take your kids or parents fishing for trout and you should have a great trip, whether you catch a limit or not.
Bank Fishing: A small inline spinner like a Rooster Tail is a very productive lure for fishing from the banks. You can cast it out and reel it back in slow and steady to catch a variety of fish. This lure will work well both on the lake, in local ponds and on the river.
Use light line on a spinning outfit or even a Zebco 33. Half of the fun of using these lures is the variety of fish that will bite. You may catch bass, bream, crappie, white bass or trout. Tie your line directly to the lure or use a small swivel to cut down on line twists.
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 email@example.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.