Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is up a little at 1,061.10, or 9.90 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071.
The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-stained. The creeks and rivers are slightly-to-very-stained. Lake surface temperatures fell into the mid-50s, but look for them to resume rising again with the warmer weather forecast for the upcoming week.
The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.
Bass: The crazy weather fronts seem to affect the bass anglers more than they do the bass. It’s been warm, cold, calm, windy and occasionally rainy, but the fish are still swimming around both shallow and deep.
With the early warm weather this year, we have seen the bass threatening to spawn a month early. There are a few fish showing up with red tails that look like they have been fanning nests, but the major spawn has yet to happen.
With the new moon and warming trend happening next week, you should keep your polarized sunglasses on and eyes peeled for any early spawning fish.
Relying on site fishing is a risky bet. The good news is that you can catch them just about any way you want to this week. There are a lot of buck spotted bass in that 0-to-20-foot zone, with a few larger females in the mix.
You also may encounter some big largemouth bass up in very shallow water right now. Crank baits, spinner baits or shaky heads will work around the docks and in the pockets.
There are also some big spotted bass hanging out a little deeper around rocky areas and secondary points on main lake and in the creeks. You can pick these fish off when they are active with a SPRO McStick, spinner bait or with a 6-to-8-inch BBZ1 Swim Bait. When these deeper fish settle down during the day, a jig or shaky head worked on the bottom can score some good bites.
Striper fishing is on and off, with the wind and weather being a major factor as they always are in spring.
Stripers are feeding all over the lake. Most of the schooling activity we have seen has been either in the pockets toward the backs of the creeks, or out in the creek mouths. Some herring seem to be showing up, so maybe larger baits may come back into play more this week.
For the most part, the stripers seem to move shallow early and late, or on cloudy days. Then they go back out deeper when the sun is up. That being said, the fish don’t read these reports, so they will be where they can score an easy meal no matter the conditions.
There are still a lot of gulls and loons — which are God’s free fish finders — plus your electronics, which don’t lie. Follow these clues to locate the best areas.
Flat lines, planner boards and down lines are standard fare. Just make sure you are watching your electronics and utilizing the best method for the depth that you are marking fish.
Trolling an umbrella rig has been a good option on windy days. For anglers who know how to do it, trolling can produce fish during any almost conditions.
There are some bigger fish showing up, so even if you are not catching much, be prepared for one of those bigger fish to hit at any point during the day. If you have not respooled recently or are trying to get by with last year’s line to save money, now is a good time to put on fresh line.
Just think about it. After you fight that huge fish for 10 minutes and it snaps your line at the boat, are you going to say, “Yeah, I may have lost the fish of a life time but I saved $10”?
Crappie fishing is very good. They are up pretty shallow where they are catchable, and several methods are producing.
“Spider Rigging,” or trolling, is a deadly method. Casting or shooting jigs around docks with brush or live crappie minnows under a regular float or slip bobber have all been producing well. Check out YouTube videos to see details on any of these methods.
I’ve heard from readers and other anglers who get frustrated hearing that the fish are biting when they themselves may not be catching many.
Crappie are like most other fish, and there are certain variables anglers must consider if they are not catching fish. Are the fish present in my area? Use your electronics, or if you are fishing from the shore, move to another area if the fish don’t present themselves.
If the fish are there but not biting, there are several other variables to consider. Depth, bait size and type, speed of retrieve and even line size come into play.
Trout Fishing: A lot of new trout are being released, recent rains have helped stream flows and the weather forecast looks great, so go fishing.
Fishing with live earth worms (where live bait is permitted) on the bottom is a great way to catch trout, especially after it has rained. Both holdover fish and newly stocked trout will eat worms because they get accustomed very quickly to this natural food source.
Use light line with a quarter-ounce split shot placed a foot above a small Aberdeen style hook. Thread your worm over the hook in and let the ends hang off to trigger bites.
Casting Rooster Tails, Mepps or Rapalas on spinning or spin-casting equipment will work well this week. Use the lightest line you can get away with.
Fly fishing with wet flies early and late, and dry flies during the middle of the day, has also been working well.
Bank Fishing: Traditionally, the Department of Natural Resources has done a mass stocking before opening day. Even though most trout streams are open year-round, they still do a massive stocking before April 1, so now is a great time to fish for trout from the banks.
There are many easy-to-access areas where Georgia anglers can go to enjoy great trout fishing on foot. The tail race below Buford Dam offers both easy public access and some slightly remote areas, too.
Anglers can also visit the Buford Dam Trout Hatchery just downstream of the dam. In North Georgia, there are almost too many places to list. Do a Google search to find areas closest to you.
Read up on trout fishing regulations and make sure you buy both a regular fishing license and a trout stamp.
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.