By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Variety of lures working to catch big catfish
Placeholder Image

Lake Lanier’s water level is holding steady at slightly above full pool. The lake water level is 1,071.39 feet or .39 feet above a full pool of 1,071. Lake water temperatures have remained in the mid to upper 60’s for several weeks. The main lake is clear. The creeks and rivers clear to stained.

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

Bass: This is a great time for bass fishing on Lake Lanier. You can catch fish on almost any pattern right now. The bass are in all phases of spawning.

There are plenty of bass on the main lake points and reef markers. The majority of these fish are nice-sized spotted bass.

A lot of these spotted bass are spawning, but plenty have yet to spawn or already have spawned. These spotted bass are hitting worms, jigs, jerk baits, spinner baits and topwater plugs. You have a wide variety of patterns to choose from. You can basically run reef poles or work the banks up and down the lake.

The topwater action has started to improve on the main lake and also in the pockets. If you ask most anglers what their favorite way to catch bass, I would bet most would say on a topwater lure but don’t commit completely to surface lures just yet. Keep an open mind and throw a jerk bait, a mid-to deep-diving crank bait, a spinner bait or the old reliable plastic worm.

There are plenty of bass shallow on the banks and around the docks.

Casting a 1/8 or 3/16 ounce jig head with a straight tail worm or a Texas Rigged lizard around docks and in the pockets is working very well. Shallow fishing continues to produce numbers of bass, including some very big largemouth bass this past week, with no signs of slowing down. Even fishing after dark has been good, so get out and go bass fishing.

Striper fishing is also good but you may catch them one way in a specific area today, only to return later to find that these same fish have moved completely. Like the bass fishing report, the stripers are on several different patterns too.

They will keep you guessing day to day.

There have been a decent amount of schooling stripers both on main lake points and humps, back in to the creeks and rivers.

These fish will hit a Redfin or other wake bait, or you can use a Big Bites Jerk Shad, Zoom Fluke or a SPRO McStick 115. Stripers may be active in an area for a while but look for them to move quickly as they target the fast-moving schools of herring.

Your electronics are your friends. If the fish are not on the surface, watch your traditional 2D sonar, along with you Side Imaging to keep up with these fast-moving fish.

It is hard to beat live bait anytime of year. Right now, blueback herring will be your best all-around bet.

Start out around main-lake humps or in pockets just off the creeks. Troll a combination of flat line and planner boards anywhere you can find the herring first thing in he morning.

You will catch a mixed bag of stripers and bass. The sizes of striper will vary from medium to very large in some cases.

Keep moving. If you don’t catch or mark fish, then pull up your lines and move on until you find them.

As the sun gets high over the horizon, stick with you flat lines or if you mark stripers deeper than 15 feet, either add a split shot to your flat lines or switch over to down lines. Place your baits directly above the level where you mark fish on your Humminbird Electronics. Keep a topwater plug or jerk bait ready at all times as the stripers can appear at any time.

Crappie fishing remains decent and the same methods are working this week as last. Grab a minnow bucket full of crappie minnows and hook these minnows through the mouth or back with a small Aberdeen hook.

Split-shot set about a foot or two beneath a bobber.

Cast several lines around shallow docks that have brush or lay downs, or work a small crappie jig on either a casting or trolling rig in the shallow pockets that have bait.

Fishing at the end of the day has been very good in some of the down lake creeks. Use the same live baits or crappie jigs as mentioned above to catch enough for dinner right before dark.

Trout fishing has also been very good. As with other spring fishing, you can pick your favorite method and catch trout with it this week.

Right now, the best fishing may occur first thing in the morning with another flurry in the afternoon but fish should bite well all day if you use the right lures, bait or flies. There have been some significant insect hatches later in the afternoon, so use small dry flies and match the insect you see on the surface of the water.

If you are new to trout fishing, make sure to check local regulations. You do need to purchase a trout stamp along with your regular fishing license. Live worms or inline spinners, like a Mepps or Roster Tail, are great lures for catching trout.

Bank Fishing: Catfishing is great right now and you can catch these whiskered swimmers in most farm and subdivision ponds, along with on Lake Lanier.

Catfish will bite a variety of bait and even some lures. They can be caught with standard spinning, spin casting or bait-casting equipment.

Worms, cut shad, chicken livers and even hot dogs all make good catfish bait. Use a No. 1 or 2 standard bait hook and cover the hook completely with the bait you choose.

Use a leader tied to a swivel and a 1/2 to 1-ounce sinker, or you can just use a large 1/4 to 1/2-ounce split shot about a foot above your hook.

Cast your line out deep and secure your rod well because even a small catfish can pull a fishing pole into the water.

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 or visit his website at

Regional events