Water temperatures are in the low to mid 50s. Lake Lanier's water level continues to rise and is 1,063.5, which is 7.5 feet below a full pool of 1,071. Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and stained in the creeks. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.
Bass: The results of last week's Bass Fishing League tournament prove that bass fishing is very good.
Very few anglers were without a catch and the top 10 anglers each had more than 15 pounds on the five-catch limit. The winner, Matt Wilbanks, had five bass that weighed 21.8 pounds, almost 4 1/2 pounds per catch.
I managed to catch three spotted bass over four pounds during the tournament and placed sixth overall, and all my biggest fish hit the SPRO McStick jerk bait in Spooky Shad color. The big fish were not grouped together last week, but this week there have been more fish showing up that will strike the McStick or other jerkbaits.
Still, you may need to cover some water to find the better bites. There are a bunch of smaller bass along with some better ones that are relating to docks and shallow ditches right now.
You should be able to take a shaky head rigged with a Big Bites finesse worm and catch some good numbers by skipping these light jig heads around and under docks in the creeks.
The ditches leading into the spawning coves are holding spotted and largemouth bass. Bass use ditches and creek channels as highways to travel to shallow water for spawning.
They use the same "bass highways" to retreat deeper after the spawn. These ditches are holding pre-spawn bass that are feeding heavily to store energy as they start their reproduction cycles.
If you can, find docks that are near the ditches, creek or river channels, then you may find large numbers of bass under these same docks.
These bass will hang out in the ditches during colder weather, but once the sun comes out, a lot fish will move under the docks.
These shallow bass are sunning themselves under the docks and black floats because they hold heat.
Skip or shoot finesse worms on a jig head on light seven-pound fluorocarbon line around the docks and you should get several bites. You can also use smaller jigs or Texas rigged plastics around these same docks. A Fish Head Spin, crankbait or Scrounger Head with a plastic trailer are great lures to work around the ditches and docks.
Stripers: The stripers continue to be active most days and fishing has been good for both numbers and quality.
Most of the creeks both up and down lake are holding stripers. The secret is to find the bait and these line sides should be somewhere close by.
Gulls and loons that are diving are a good indicator that there should be active fish in the area.
Use large shiners, trout or blueback herring on flat lines or planner boards to entice the shallower fish.
Avoid muddy water, but also look for water that has a green or tan look to it, instead of the ultra-clear mainlake water. This slightly stained water holds more nutrients, which in turn draw in baitfish and the larger predator fish that feed on them.
Both trolling Umbrella rigs and casting Alabama Rigs have been working well. Rig these multi-arm lures with SPRO Bucktails, Basstrix swimbaits or other soft plastics that mimic the shad or blueback schools.
After dark, move toward Buford Dam and some of the islands just north of the dam and cast Bomber Long As or McSticks around the coves and banks that have clay transitioning to sand. Stripers feed in the shallows after dark and you can have some fast and furious fishing when they are hungry.
Crappie: Crappie fishing remains good and most of the fish that are being caught are in the 3/4-pound range, which is the perfect eating size.
Continue to troll Hal Flies or Micro Spoons on the flats. You can also fish live minnows under bobbers or a flat line by anchoring your boat or fishing from the banks.
No matter which method you use, try to always use as light of line as possible. Light line is less visible, plus it sinks quicker and adds up to more fish in the live well. Target the areas where the water has a slight stain for your best results.
Trout: Trout fishing is good and the Department of Natural Resources has been stocking the creeks and rivers along with the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam.
As mentioned in previous reports, these newly released trout will readily attack a lure because they have not learned to be picky yet. The ones that do learn may turn into holdover fish that can live for years in the rivers and streams.
Fly fishing with wet flies is working well. Look for afternoon hatches and switch over to small dry flies that match the hatch. Inline spinners and small minnow or crawfish crankbaits will work well.
Bank fishing: Crappie fishing continues to be very good and there are many places you can fish for them from the banks. Crappie anglers will often catch other species of fish while targeting these tasty pan fish. Bass, bream, white bass, walleye, catfish and even stripers will all eat crappie lures or live crappie minnows.
Cast your lines around bridge pilings, docks and trees lying down in the water. Cast a live crappie minnow hooked through the lips on a small Aberdeen-style hook.
Place a bobber about 2- to 3-feet above your hook.
You may also want to attach a light split sinker about eight inches above your hook so that the minnows say down below the float.
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.