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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Late spring topwater action heating up
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Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,070.53 feet or only .47 feet below a full pool of 1,071. Water temperatures range from the upper 70s to low 80s.

The main lake is clear and stained around the banks from boat traffic and recent rains. The creeks and rivers are clear to very stained from recent rains.

The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules at 770-945-1466 before heading out to the river.

Bass fishing has been off the charts some days and just plain good most others. You can pick your favorite lure and technique and do well.

This week we caught bass on topwater plugs, jerk baits, crank baits, spinner baits, drop shot, shaky head and several other lures. It’s all about being in the right areas at the right time.

While all of the above-mentioned lures have worked, I have only needed two rods on the front deck.

The first one is rigged with a topwater plug or shallow running swim bait and the second rod is a drop shot rigged with a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel or a Cane Stick. Use lures that have a long skinny profile in a natural color scheme that mimics a blueback herring.

The first and most productive rod has been rigged for slinging a topwater lure. I am using a 7 foot, 11 inch Kissel Kraft Custom Crank Bait rod with a Shimano reel spooled with 20 pound Sunline Monofilament. My first lure choices have been a BBZ1 Floating Shad or some other type of “dog walking” topwater plug.

Use a natural blueback herring or silver color on clear days and switch over to a Sexy Lavender or bone color when it is over cast or raining.

Don’t overthink while using a swim bait — the BBZ1 Floating Shad is light enough to be fished with a standard medium heavy rod.

Just cast it out and experiment with the retrieve.

Start out reeling it slowly enough so that you see the fins on the plug just above the surface.

When a fish attacks your topwater plug, either speed up the retrieve or stop it.

You can be sure the bass will let you know what they prefer pretty quickly.

It is not uncommon for a bass to strike a lure 3-4 times or more before you either hook them or see them run away when they see your boat.

This makes for some excitement!

When the bass quit schooling or appear on your electronics screen, it may be time to reach for the second rod — a drop shot rod rigged with a spinning outfit.

I use a medium lightweight Kissel Kraft Custom Drop Shot Rod with a Shimano reel spooled with 12 pound Sunline Braided line.

My big screen Humminbird 1158 allows me to see the fish under and even out to the sides of the boat. Track my lure as it drops down in front of them. I have mentioned this before but “video game” fishing is my favorite way to catch them.

I see a line that indicates my drop shot and can watch on screen as the fish moves. 

Striper fishing is very good and the guides and weekend angler should be in for a fun day of fishing. As with bass fishing, anglers have a variety of choices to use.

Flat lines, plainer boards and down lines hooked with live blueback herring have been most productive.

Artificial lures are also a must while you wait for a strike on your live bait lines or while running and gunning the points and humps. Use you electronics to locate the schools of stripers and get a bait or lure in front of these fish as soon as you see them.

One of the most important things to remember is that you absolutely must keep your herring lively to have success in the summer.

Because it is hot and herring like colder conditions, you will need to have a quality bait reservoir with the right amount of ice and either salt or another live baitfish additive.

With the right ingredients, you will keep your herring lively and your day of fishing successful.

Check in with your local tackle shops as most will be very happy to show you the proper setup for your own boat’s bait tank or they can also sell you exactly what you need for a successful day on the water.

Pay close attention to what is going on around you. Watch the surface of the water around you and also watch your electronics screen.

A single baitfish running on the surface can be an indication that there is a fish war going on under the surface.

Binoculars are also great tools that can show you fish busting on the surface too.

One thing I have noticed recently is that most anglers use their sense of hearing for the sound of a fish splashing on the surface or even a louder splash.

Striper anglers are catching really good numbers of stripers and they are also hooking bass, catfish and even the occasional tasty walleye, too. Stripers and Bass along with other predator fish will be grouped together because they are both targeting the same forage — blueback herring.

Crappie and Bream: Crappie fishing has been best after dark, but some anglers are still catching some shallow fish. Shoot crappie jigs up under docks that are close to both shallow and deep water in the coves that have brush.

If you can find a tree laying down on a step bank that is close to the spawning flats, cast a minnow on a bobber around the deeper part of the lay down.

The bream are just about anywhere on the shores of Lake Lanier.

Locate bank cover like stumps, rocks, dead trees and you will find bream. A cricket or worm on a small Aberdeen hook under a bobber or even a line on the end of a cane pole is all you need for catching bream this week.

Remember when fishing for bream or crappie. Less is better than more.

This basically means that a small hook tied directly to your line will catch fish much better than if you have a swivel and a snap rigged on heavy line. Fish are not too smart, but they can sense if something completely unnatural is tied to their line. You can also cast a small 1/8th or 1/16th in-line spinner bait.

Trout fishing has been good when the water has subsided from the heavy downpours we have been having in the streams and rivers.

While the downpours have made fishing tough for anglers, the recent rains should ensure that these fish will stay healthy and well fed well into the summer.

Georgia has an abundance of trout and we are blessed to have some incredible trout fish, and the season is all year now that the DNR has eliminated trout.

Live earthworms after the rain have worked very well and fly and artificial anglers can catch trout on a variety of lures this week.

Bank Fishing: This week’s bank fishing report is more about a method of fishing than a particular species of fish. I grew up fishing, so when my family said we are going for a ride or a weekend trip I would sneak my Zebco 33 with a couple of small Rooster Tails into the trunk.

I loved fishing with a Rooster tail for a number of reasons.

It is a versatile lure that catches just about any fish, it is easy to use and they are inexpensive compared to other lures, so when I lost one I could do some yard work and get enough money to buy enough for the next week. Try a Rooster Tail with your kids.

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 or visit his website at Remember to take a kid fishing!

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