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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Vibrating lures coax bass in muddy water to bite
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Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,071.62 or .62 feet above the normal full pool at 1,071. The heavy rains have affected the lake.

We may get some clearer, warmer water for next week if the rain stays away. If you don’t like the weather report, just wait and it will change. The main lake is stained to very stained down lake and stained further up the lake.

The creeks and rivers are stained in the mouths and very stained to muddy in the backs from the recent rains. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 40’s with some of the pockets, creeks and coves heating into the low 50’s on warmer afternoons.

The Corp continues to pull water from the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been fair this week. A few anglers are really catching them consistently, while others, including me, say catching has been tough.

Last week, the fish seemed to be feeding on the docks and in the ditches. This week they have been less predictable as the fish go roaming around during the crazy weather patterns, making them less predictable.

Look for the fishing to be more consistent as the weather stabilizes and warms. There are some nice largemouth being caught in shallow water.

A small, medium depth crankbait fished on light line has been a good choice for both the main lake rock and clay banks as well as back in the creeks and pockets.

Try a Bandit 300 or a SPRO Fat Poppa 55. Use quality line, like super-thin and strong 16-pound Sunline SX2 braid on your mainline with an 8-pound fluorocarbon leader. This line, along with a quality rod and reel, will allow you to feel the lure vibrate and bounce off the bottom.

Don’t hesitate to line your boat in the 10-15 feet of water and cast parallel to the banks so that you lure runs along the bottom.

You will really know you are in tune when you can feel a bass eat your lures after they deflect off bottom features like rocks or stumps.

A lot of the lake water is very stained and even muddy. When a large creek gets muddy, bass will not move miles to find clear water.

Instead, they may move around a little but they will also hang out close to ambush areas. Lures that put off vibration have been coaxing some bites from bass in that muddy water. Cast chatter-bait style lures, Scroungers or other lures that put of sound and vibration around docks, rocks, laydowns or other fishy looking cover.

There are some bass out deeper too. I have heard reports of bass still being caught from water 50 feet deep. I believe it, but we have been finding our better fish around rocky areas from 15-30 feet deep.

Crawl a jig or Texas rigged craw down rocky areas both on the main lake and in the creeks. A lot of the bass we have caught have crawfish down their throats. Look for rock or clay banks. These areas have large populations of crawdads.

They also have bass that enjoy a lobster meal over shad.

Many fishing styles will work in early spring. Now is a great time to try a lure or technique you have been wanting to learn.

Invite a friend or family member and see what you all can teach and learn from each other. My grandson shows me great tips all the time without even knowing I am watching.

If the weather stays warm, then pick your favorite method and go fish. Even if it gets cold, there will still be catchable fish shallow and deep.

Striper fishing has been good. The water color has a lot of effect on the stripers right now. Many of the creeks have very muddy water. Seek out areas where that muddy water meets the clearer lake water, and where the shad are schooled up.

The stripers will be keyed in on either small threadfin shad, blueback herring and even gizzard shad. It pays to be able to determine the predominant forage size. I have caught big stripers on crappie minnows, and also some smaller stripers on large gizzard shad.

Match the hatch and when in doubt use slightly larger bait than the resident forage.

Flat lines and planner boards in the creeks around mud lines and back out into the clearer creek mouths. If you do not have planner boards, you can feed out about 15 feet of line, attach a balloon and feed the line behind the boat.

You can attach some medium-heavy split shots about three feet above your flat line hook to make your live baits run deeper.

There are a lot of signs to pay attention to. Your electronics are your eyes under the water. Trust your electronics! The birds also give away the best fishing spots. Gulls, loons, kingfishers and even ducks all feed on shad. When they are around, so are the stripers and other predator fish.

There have been some stripers holding deeper in the creek and pocket mouths. Use downlined herring or trout. Drop these live baits to the level where your electronics show fish.

Crappie fishing has improved and these tasty fish are moving shallower as the stained water has been heating up. Shooting docks and trolling are both great ways to catch crappie.

I love to troll for these fish. We called this technique “lake raking”. It can be a great way to load the cooler. First locate the crappie. My Humminbird Electronics show a lot of groups of crappie around large shad school.

Get several rod holders for the side and back of your boat.

We would usually fish eight rods of different lengths. The longest up front staggered to the shortest on the back. Tie one or two Hal Flies or other crappie jigs on. Troll them between one and three miles per hour around docks and flats in the backs of the creeks and pockets.

Shooting jigs around the docks with brush has also picked up. Use a bright colored light 4-6 pound test line and watch for any “ticks” or movement to indicate bites.

Trout fishing has been up and down. Spring is almost here and fishing has picked up once the rivers and streams clear from the rains.

It is very hard to beat fishing with a live earthworm in spring. It is one of the trout’s favorite meals. The spring rains will wash these worms into the streams and rivers.

It is best to dig up your own but if not, buy some of the smaller red wigglers from your local bait shop and go fishing.

Fish these worms on a small hook with a weight crimped about two feet above your hook that is heavy enough to hold your bait on the bottom. Note that several waters restrict live bait but many allow it. Check to avoid receiving a ticket.

Lures and fly anglers will do well in the upcoming months as the DNR is ramping up their stocking efforts. Get out there with your favorite tackle and techniques, and catch some of these beautiful coldwater fish.

We are seeing some decent catches on the river below Buford Dam during slack-water periods. Always check on generation schedules. The lake is below full pool but the CORPs will still be pulling water in preparation for spring rains.

The mountain streams should also pick up too.

Bank fishing: Pick up a small lure like a Rooster Tail or Beetle Spin and start roaming the banks of your favorite steams, rivers, ponds and lakes. The recent rains will cause bass, crappie and bream to start moving shallower in search of warmer water.

The stained shallow water allows easy access for anglers fishing from the banks.

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 readers, so please email him at or visit his website at or Remember to take a kid fishing.

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