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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Schools of stripers lead to great fishing
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Water temperatures this past week have remained in the 60’s. Lake Lanier is 1.17 feet above a full pool of 1,071 and is looking great.

The water is clear on the main lake and stained in the creeks and rivers. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been great one day then fair the next. The patterns seem to change with the weather fronts. The bigger female bass are moving shallow to spawn and now is a great time to catch a trophy spotted or largemouth bass.

The smaller males have been biting well the past few weeks, but we had not been catching many fish over 3 pounds until now. During the past weeks, a few female bass were spawning, but the main wave had not moved up yet.

Look for the biggest group of spawning fish to be on the banks through the next few weeks.

Bass fishing has been unpredictable and ‘junk fishing’ can be the best way to fish. The term ‘junk fishing’ refers to when anglers have 5-10 rods on deck, each equipped with a different lure. You may catch a bass on a small topwater plug only to move down the bank and catch one on a plastic worm and then catch the next one on a crank bait.

Because the bass are in all stages of spawning, they will strike a variety of lures. Junk fishing also refers to anglers who are not dialed in to what the fish really want, so we throw every lure in our tackle box.

Being versatile can make for a great fishing day but try to find two or three lures that work best and stick with them.

My most productive lures this past week has varied between a SPRO McStick 110 jerk bait, Bandit 300 crank bait and a Shakin’ Squirrel Worm on a 1/8-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Shaky Head. Work your jerk baits with a slow-and-steady or stop-and- go retrieve around docks.

Cast small, mid-diving crank baits like the Bandit 300, Little John MD or a Bill Norman Little N around rocky areas on main lake pockets and secondary points. Try to dig your crank bait into the bottom so that it deflects off submerged rocks.

Most of your bites will occur just after your crank bait breaks loose from the rocks. Cast shaky heads around the docks, flooded brush lines and clay or rocky banks leading into the pockets.

There are some big bass that are bedding or building their nests on the banks.

Seasoned anglers can see these fish, but site fishing for bedding bass takes some practice. Lake homeowners can often find these nesting fish around their docks in water less than five feet deep. A bedding bass is more interested in protecting their nest than eating.

They will often strike at a lure without getting hooked. When they do bite, you can quickly release them and they will usually return right back to their nest again.

I love to just watch these fish as they go through the reproductive process without even casting a lure. It’s like watching the nature channel, but much cooler.

The bass are biting after dark, but it is slow. Use dark colored crank baits or a heavy spinner bait. Slow roll these lures around rock and clay banks.

The striper fishing has been awesome for anglers who can find the schools that are feeding on herring. Your electronics are key tools for finding fish and the bait they are feeding on. Humminbird Side Imaging technology really helps to cut down on the time spent looking for fish.

You can set your side imaging to 100 feet or more to scan a 200 foot or wider area. I can clearly see the baitfish and striper schools on the screen, then mark their location so I know where to set my lines.

Flat lines baited with blueback herring, small trout or even native gizzard shad have been producing great stripers with some spotted bass.

Look around on points of humps close to the creek channels on out into main lake until you find baitfish schools and the stripers that follow them. Keep a SPRO Buck Tail rigged with a fluke or a Redfin to cast to any fish you see on the surface.

Trolling an umbrella rig is a great way to search for fish. Once you find them, you can continue to troll or shut the main motor off and fish with flat lines. Add a 1/4-ounce split shot to your flat lines if you see the fish positioned deeper in the water column.

The stripers continue to hit Bombers and McSticks after dark but this action is slower than in the past month.

Crappie fishing is good, and you should be able to catch them in the shallow coves around docks, bridge pilings and laydowns. This is the perfect time to use the old reliable minnow below a bobber.

Crappie jigs, small inline spinners and small crank baits will all work well if the crappie are present. The best bite has been right before dark and they will start to bite well after dark very soon.

Trout fishing remains very good and the best bite happens in the morning and again right after dark. You catch also catch plenty during the day, too.

The Department Of Natural Resources has stocked plenty of fish, so pick your favorite method and go to your favorite honey hole and you should be able to get you limit.

Bank Fishing: Fishing from the banks should be very productive as most species are shallow this week. Both seasoned and new anglers should have many opportunities to catch fish from the shore. Bream are one of my daughter’s favorite fish to target because they are easy to catch.

You can cast a $1,000 custom bamboo fly rod with a custom made fly or popper or a $20 Zebco 33 with a bobber and live earthworm to catch bream from the bank.

Look for rocky areas or trees that are lying down in the water. Bream are fun to catch and they also make great table fare so go catch some this weekend.

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 esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.

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