Lake Lanier’s water level is still holding steady at 1060.96, or 10.04 feet below the normal full pool of 1071.
The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-stained. The creeks and rivers are slightly-to-very-stained. Lake surface temperatures are in the mid 50s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear.
Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.
Bass fishing is good, but some days are better than others. As a whole, fishing is better than normal for this time of year, but tournament weights have been down a little.
That being said, my buddy Todd Noble weighed in a 21-pound limit of spotted bass last weekend to smoke the rest of the field. That is better than a 4-pound average per fish, which is an awesome feat, especially considering they were all spotted bass.
There are plenty of smaller fish near docks, but if you want to catch the big ones, then power fishing is the way to go.
Jerk baits, crank baits, swim baits and jigs will yield bigger fish this week. Hit the windblown banks with a SPRO McStick or 6-inch BBZ1 Swimbait to catch the big prespawn female spotted bass that are staging around rocky points and humps in the creek mouths.
Work a one-half ounce Strike King Pro Model Jig with a Big Bites Fighting Frog trailer around the rocks from 5-to-20-feet deep.
Skipping a whacky rigged Senko or Big Bites Cane Stick around the docks will yield numbers of 1-to-3-pound male bass. Some days the bass will relate to the gangplanks, while on others they may hang out closer to the fronts of the docks.
Try to figure out what particular position the bass prefer for that given day and concentrate on the same or similar dock cover to maximize your fishing.
Casting Spinner baits or a Fish Head Spin around the shallow ditches off spawning flats will yield both prespawn males and some of the larger prespawn females, too. Slow roll these offerings and try to keep them moving slowly just above the bottom.
Use natural colors where the water is clear and utilize brighter colors where the water is stained.
There is a very good night bite after dark on crank baits and large black spinner baits. Work these lures around rocky banks after sundown and make sure your lure stays in contact with the bottom.
Most strikes will occur as your lure deflects off bottom cover, like rocks or brush.
Striper fishing is decent, and the same patterns have been working as in recent weeks. The stripers are feeding on small-to-medium-sized threadfin shad. Some days matching the smaller-sized bait is your best bet, while on other days it may pay to show the fish a larger meal.
Medium-sized shiners on a smaller Gamakatsu Octopus hook will work when the stripers are targeting smaller baits, but keep some blue back herring or small trout at the ready to show the fish something that will stand out in the crowd.
Continue to use a combination of flat lines and planner board lines when the fish are shallow. Switch over to down lines anytime the stripers show up deeper than 10-to-15 feet on your electronics.
The stripers can be located anywhere in the water column from 1-to-99 feet deep, so utilize the birds and your electronics to indicate where the stripers are feeding.
Trolling with umbrella rigs is working well right now, plus this is a great way to cover water while you locate fish. Once you locate feeding stripers, you can slow down and offer them live bait. Some days trolling can work better than live baits, so don’t abandon trolling too quickly.
There are many secrets to running an umbrella rig. You can hire a guide to help you learn this valuable technique, or you can also watch YouTube videos and check in with your local tackle dealer to learn specifics on how to run your rigs properly. Experiment with different lures on your rig. Buck tails are standard equipment, but don’t be afraid to run small plastic swimbaits or even lures on your spread.
Night fishing for stripers is also good right now, and not many anglers are targeting these hard-fighting fish after dark.
Areas around the dam and also in the backs of Flat and Balus creek are worth targeting. Rocky banks and lighted boat docks will attract stripers and the bait fish that they target after the sun goes down. Cast Bomber Long As and SPRO McSticks, or try a buck tail or swim bait too.
Crappie fishing is very good right now, and there are some larger slabs biting. These fish are healthy and full of eggs, and this is the time of year to catch your largest fish.
Trolling, lake raking or spider rigging are great ways to cover water and to catch crappie. Use multiple poles and troll at a very slow speed. Hal Flies and Marabou Jigs will work great, but you can also troll small crank baits or even in line spinners.
Shooting or casting small crappie jigs tipped with a live crappie minnow will work very well this week. Target docks in the coves and creeks where you find stained water.
The stained water will warm quicker than clear water, plus it tends to have more plankton that attracts the bait fish that crappie feast upon in early spring.
Use your electronics to find both the bait and the schools of crappie. My Humminbird’s Side Imaging clearly shows the schools of crappie. Side Imaging is essential because you can see fish out to the sides of the boat that you may normally miss with traditional 2D imaging.
Shoot up under docks with your sonar to find the most productive ones that are holding schools of crappie.
Live minnows under a slip float will get down to the level where the fish are located. A lot of crappie are 10 feet or deeper down, and a traditional minnow below a bobber just won’t reach them. Use your electronics to determine the best depth, then set your bobber stop to that level and start catching.
Once you catch one crappie, there should be many more at the same depth and location.
Trout Fishing: The Department of Natural Resources continues to stock plenty of trout. If you can find out where they put in these new fish, you should be able to catch a limit pretty quickly.
In line spinners like a Rooster Tail or Mepps will entice strikes from both newly stocked fish and hold-over trout from last year’s stockings.
Both wet and dry flies will work this week. Live earth worms, corn or Power Nuggets are good choices (where live bait is permitted) both up in the mountain streams and on the Chattahoochee River.
Bank Fishing: Many bass anglers lose sight of how fun it can be to fish a live bait underneath a bobber.
Many anglers got their start casting minnows under a float for crappie, brim and bass, and this is a productive and relaxing way to catch fish.
Get a weighted bobber and attach it to light line on a spinning- or spin-casting rod and reel. Place a -ounce split shot about a foot below your bobber and attach a small Aberdeen style hook about six inches below your weight.
Hook a live crappie minnow through the lips or under the back fin. Cast your minnow around any bank cover on farm ponds or Lake Lanier.
If you do not get a bite within 15 minutes, move on down the bank until you find productive water.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing.