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Lake Lanier fishing report: Topwater fishing getting better
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Lake temperatures have cooled a little with the recent cold spell and are in the 60s. Lake Lanier is slightly above full pool at 1,071.8. The main lake and creeks are stained and the Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing is good and they continue to be in all stages of spawning. We have boated plenty of spotted bass in the 4- and 5-pound range and the fish are looking very healthy. As with last week, you can still just about choose your favorite method and catch bass with it.

I have had my best luck with using a SPRO Little John MD crankbait or a Bandit 300 out on main lake banks that are mostly rock and clay. These lures run between seven and 12 feet deep, and the trick is to use the lightest line possible so that they get down deep and bang around on the bottom.

I have been throwing these crankbaits on spinning tackle with six-pound Sun Line Fluorocarbon. This light line allows the lures to run deeper, but make sure your drag is set loose enough so that you won’t break off.

Texas, Carolina and Jig Head rigged soft plastics are all working well around docks and in the pockets around the flooded shoreline growth. There is a really cool finesse worm called a Squirrel Tail Worm by Big Bite Lures. These worms contain a tail that floats upward while the jig head is at rest. Use a Spot Remover Jig head with these for great results.

The topwater action is really starting to get going and this action will continue to get better as the weather warms. Use a SPRO Dawg 100, Zara Spook or try working a Jerk Shad around any schooling spotted bass. These same lures are also working for stripers too.

Live medium shiners below a float in the pockets are catching bass, crappie and other game fish, too.

Stripers are biting well, and two methods are working best. Try pulling live blueback herring on a flat line behind the boat while you cast topwater plugs from the front.

Target the creek mouths and also the main lake for the large schools of stripers that are starting to attack the spawning bluebacks. These newly introduced bait fish will hang around clay and sand banks and the game fish will follow looking for an easy meal.

Throw topwater plugs and Jerk Shads around main lake points and humps to entice some ferocious strikes from these aggressive stripers. If a fish blows up on your lure but misses, keep retrieving it at the same speed because they will often come back and hit again.

Most of the crappie have spawned and they are moving back out into the deeper water. Night fishing around lighted boat docks has started to get going and this will continue to be more productive as the water warms.

Cast DeFly spoons and small crappie jigs on light line around any lights and watch your line for the tell-tale light “tick” that indicates that a crappie has taken your lure.

Trout fishing is productive both up in the mountains and below the Dam on the Chattahoochee River. There are plenty of freshly released hatchery trout. You can catch these fish with lures, worms and fly-fishing.

Bank fishing is also good and there are plenty of fish that are shallow. I have received several e-mails from readers who are struggling to catch fish from the bank.

My best advice is to work an area for half an hour and if you don’t get a bite then move to a new spot.

Target banks that have rock and clay, downed trees or any other cover that will hold fish. Use live earthworms below a float to catch bass, bream and catfish.

Eric Aldrich is a part-time outdoors writer and bass fisherman and is sponsored by SPRO, Gamakatsu, Hammond’s Fishing and Boat Storage, Humminbird and Denali Custom Rods. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from his readers so please e-mail him at or visit his website at Remember to take a kid fishing!

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