Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 60s and continue to warm up with the late spring weather pattern we’ve experienced. Lake Lanier continues to rise and the water level is 1,065.45, which is 5.65 feet below a full pool of 1,071. Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and stained from pollen 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: The bass are about as easy to catch right now as it gets. It’s that time of year when you can pick your favorite method and go catching. I took my wife out this week. She caught some sun and read a book on the back deck of my Nitro, while I just dropped my trolling motor and started fishing a couple of large coves so as not to disturb her.
I caught about 20 bass in three hours but they varied in size from small non-keepers to more than four pounds. I used three baits-A Cane Stick rigged on a 1/8-ounce Alien Jig Head, No. 7 Shad Rap and a McStick 110.
We caught fish this week under and around the docks but the bigger ones were biting between the docks, and also on secondary rocky points leading into the cove. You can fish topwater plugs, or you can work deeper rock walls with a worm and still catch fish.
While the deeper banks will hold spots, expect most of your bites in water under 15 feet. You may catch a mixed bag of spotted and largemouth bass. Also, some courteous and accurate casts to the docks is always worth a try. Concentrate on the shallow areas like under the gang planks. Also fish the areas between the docks as we caught more and better fish from these areas away from the docks.
The bass are in the middle of their reproductive stages. This is when the bass build nests or go on bed, as most anglers say.
The pollen is so thick that these fish are hard to see. I prefer to target pre-and post-spawn fish but many of us anglers catch fish on bed while fishing the banks without even knowing they pulled a fish off its nest.
This is a great reason for catch and release as a fish caught off its nest will quickly return, if released in time. A good way to know how long a bass can be held out of water is to hold your breath when you boat the fish and when taking a picture then release the fish before you’re out of breath.
We have been catching some toad spotted bass at night while throwing Bomber Long As for stripers. Dark color crank baits, or a big single Colorado blade spinner bait, slow rolled around shallow banks should work well after dark.
Stripers: Striper fishing continues to be great during the days and decent at night, if you can find the right areas. I actually saw stripers schooling on the surface, so they are in full force right now. I prefer fishing artificial lures and they work great when you find this type of action. A SPRO McStick, Buck tail or Bomber Long A will catch a fish if you reel it slow and steady through the action. These lures are also great choices to throw even if you don’t see stripers.
Often. a big spotted or largemouth bass will strike these offerings but a big striper could also come out of nowhere to explode on your lures.
Dragging live bait behind the boat is probably the most popular method and there is a reason for this: It’s easy and it works. You can set your boat up with four rod holders and fish two down lines or planner boards from the front holders, while fishing two flat lines on the back.
Of course, there are many very experienced striper anglers that have customized their own set. Use larger baits like bluebacks, gizzard shad, trout and even jumbo shiners. Fish these live baits behind the boat while slowly moving forward with your trolling motor.
The stripers are biting very well a little before dark and an hour or two afterward in the backs of some of the creeks, also down by the dam.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is very good. Continue to troll Hal Flies, Micro Spoons and other small 1/32- -to 1/8-ounce crappie jigs. Shallow coves and creek areas where the water has some color are the best locations to target.
You can troll these jigs on multiple rods to increase your chances, or you can cast or shoot jigs around docks and brush. Some of the crappie guides are reporting catches of more than 50 fish in a day. If you are struggling with catching any species of fish, hiring a guide can be a great way to quickly get past the learning curve.
Trout: Seasonal trout streams open March 31 and these trout have not seen a lure since last year, or maybe never if they are from recent stockings. Opening day can make for some crowded fishing but that is because the catching can be so good.
Use inline spinners like 1/8-ounce Rooster Tails or try small minnow imitating plugs on light line. My favorite trout lure is a Rapala Countdown Minnow but these lures cost over $5 each, so if you are on a budget the Rooster Tails are hard to beat.
Live worms, salmon eggs and even corn can work well but make sure to check your local regulations as some areas allow only artificial lures.
Fly fishing is also on fire right now.
Bank Fishing: Bream, crappie and bass are all shallow in the early spring and fishing can be great even if you do not have a boat. Another advantage to fishing from the shore is that if fish are schooled up, you are pulling them into the shore. When fishing from a boat, you may pull the fish away from the shore line and they may scatter.
Live minnows under a bobber are hard to beat but there are some great lures that can be very successful for bank anglers. The old reliable Rooster Tail is an inexpensive fish catching lure. I like silver and white. However, yellow, chartreuse and even black can work well. Cast these lures out, let them sink a few feet of water and then reel the Rooster Tail slow and steady back to the bank.
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.