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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Large stripers biting in shallow water
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Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,070.07 or .93 feet above the normal full pool at 1,071.

The main lake is slightly stained down the lake and stained further north. A lot of pollen remains on the surface and this should only increase as the trees and flowers continue to bloom. The creeks and rivers are slightly stained in the mouths and very stained in the backs.

Lake surface temperatures took a drop from the past week’s cool spell and are in the high 50’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: The bass fishing ranges from fair to very good right now. We should only see improvement over the next week.

Many different patterns are working and this is a great time of year to fish because an angler can pick their strengths and catch fish.

The old reliable dock-skipping pattern will yield plenty of smaller buck bass between 1-3 pounds with a few larger fish showing up too. A Big Bites Finesse Worm on a 1/8-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head will produce a lot of fish, but it is not always a big fish pattern.

Anglers should also consider throwing jerk baits, spinner baits and crank baits down the sides of the docks to entice some of the larger female bass into biting.

While fishing docks is a staple in spring on Lake Lanier, you can also catch some quality fish on the main lake far away from the docks. Small crank baits and jerk baits worked along windy banks with rock and clay can yield some awesome results.

Don’t be at all afraid to cast topwater plugs right now. It’s not too early to catch schooling fish that are eating herring on the surface. A Pop R, Sammy or other surface lures that mimic herring will work well when the bass are active.

The night fishing has been awesome. Almost no one is on the lake after dark during the week. We have been catching 20 or more bass after dark, casting SPRO McSticks and Little John DDs in the pockets, as well as in the creek mouths and secondary points.

A deep-diving crank bait is my favorite ways to catch big, prespawn female spotted bass after dark. I throw a bait that will dig up the bottom. I keep my boat in less than 20 feet of water. Make diagonal casts to the bank and slowly retrieve your crank bait, keeping it in contact with the bottom.

A SPRO McStick or a large Colorado Bladed Spinner Bait will also work well in this same situation.

Striper fishing has been better. The fish are biting well in the mornings, before weather fronts and after dark.

Three patterns have been working best.

Try trolling umbrella rigs or live bait when fishing during the days, and the Bomber/McStick bite after dark.

Start your day searching out active fish. You can either use a combination of your electronics and trolling umbrella rigs, or go straight to where you have found fish recently and setting out live bait lines.

Pulling flat lines and planners boards inside the creeks and into the pockets, as well as in the rivers have been working well. Herring, trout and freshly-caught gizzard shad are all good choices for live bait fishing this week. A lot of very large stripers can be caught very shallow. Rig one planner board with a large bait to run shallow next to the bank.

The night bite has been very good at times.

This past week’s cool spell has only helped this bite. Targeting lighted boats docks in the backs of the creeks can be hot spots, but the presence of bait is a must.

The bait is so thick in some of the areas we are fishing that it is actually getting impaled on the hooks of our lures.

Throwing large jerk baits can be easy but there is one constant; fish your lures slow and steady. If you can feel your lure wobble, try to slow it down as much as possible, while still retaining that same action.

Eventually you will get in a rhythm and the fish will reward you when you’re dialed in. Make longs casts all the way to the bank and hold on.

Crappie fishing is excellent. Find the shallow docks in the stained water and you should be around plenty of crappie.

Shooting jigs, trolling and live bait are all producing great bites. Pick your pleasure and get out and catch some crappie.

Trout Fishing: Here is an excerpt from the good folks at the Department of Natural Resource:

The last Saturday in March was always the traditional Opening Day for seasonal trout streams in Georgia. While DNR changed the regulations last year, based on significant public input, it now allows year-around trout fishing. There is still a fishing tradition associated with the last Saturday of March.

Once again, our stocking trucks are rolling, and anglers are getting ready for this weekend. Join us in celebrating one of the great spring traditions for Georgia sportsmen and women: trout fishing.

Make sure you put a trout fishing trip on your list of things to do this spring, especially since it is the time of year when trout raised in Georgia hatcheries start hitting the water. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife

Resources Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to stock more than 80,000 trout during the last full week of March, and more than 1,000,000 trout scheduled for stocking by the end of this year.

“All trout waters in Georgia are now open to fishing year-round, and to sweeten that news, stocking efforts are ready to begin to make your trip even more rewarding,” says John Lee Thomson, trout stocking coordinator for the Wildlife Resources Division. “One of the best opportunities for fishing success will be this spring when stream flows are high and the water is cool.”

Some popular stocked streams include Cooper Creek in Union County, Wildcat Creek in Rabun County, Dick’s Creek in Lumpkin County and Johns Creek in Floyd County.

The daily limit is eight trout on general regulation trout waters. Anglers are reminded to respect private property rights along streams flowing through private lands and to obtain permission before fishing on private property.

Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license and a trout license to fish in designated trout waters and to fish for or possess trout. Anglers must also possess a wildlife management area license or Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass (GORP) in order to fish on certain WMAs.

Find a list of designated areas at www.georgiawildlife.com.

How can you get a license? It’s easy. Buy it online, find a list of retail license vendors on its website or buy it by phone at 800-366-2661.

Purchasing a Trout Unlimited license plate supports Georgia’s trout conservation and management programs. These efforts impact trout production, stocking and stream restoration throughout north Georgia. Purchase or find out more at your county tag office.

For the list of stocked trout streams, online versions the Georgia trout stream map, and other trout fishing tips, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout or call 770-535-5498.

Bank fishing: The above DNR report says it all. Now is an excellent time to get out your ultralights and fly rods and go trout fishing. Whether you fish the Chattahoochee or other tail race fisheries in North Georgia or you prefer the solitude of fishing up in the mountain streams, few things compare to the beauty of a cool morning or warm afternoon on your favorite trout 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 readers, so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com or lakelanierfishing.info. Remember to take a kid fishing.

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