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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Warmer weather can lead to better catches
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Lake Lanier’s water level remains at almost full pool at 1070.28 feet or .72 feet below a full pool of 1071. The water continues to flow through Buford Dam.

Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River are looking great. Lake temperatures have risen quickly into the upper 40’s and low 50’s.

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

Bass: Warmer weather is finally here and bass fishing has improved significantly. In just three weeks, Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures have risen almost 10 degrees. Fish are cold blooded animals, so when the water warms, they get much more active. It is time for them to start hunting prey so that they have enough strength and energy to get through the strenuous task of spawning.

Congratulations to local angler Rob Jordan for winning the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League season opener on Lake Lanier.

Rob found areas where the water was a couple of degrees warmer where the fish were most active. He used power fishing techniques and caught the majority of his fish on a jerk bait and chatter bait style of lures.

Anglers should take note of what Rob figured out and head out to the main lake creeks and up in the Chattahoochee and Chestatee rivers where the water inflows are warmer than the water out on main lake. Seek out areas where the water gets the most sun.

Banks on the North West side of the lake tend to get more sun and bass can be drawn to these areas even if the water is just a degree or two warmer than out on main lake.

Use lures that mimic shad, herring and even crayfish.

If you read these reports, you know that one of my favorite lures is a SPRO McStick 110.

This jerk bait, along with other brands with a similar action, mimic the abundant blue back herring we have here on Lake Lanier. Most people worry too much about how long to pause or how long how hard to jerk these lures.

During the pre-spawn period, you can often just cast them out and reel them back with a slow and steady retrieve. Start out fishing them like a regular lure, then add some jerks and pauses as needed.

Crayfish or crawdads, as we call them here in the South, start to emerge from their holes or rocks where they have been hiding in the winter, and bass can’t resist these fresh water lobsters. Drag a jig down clay rocky banks where the sun shines. Use a jig with a crawdad trailer and try to avoid hopping them too much.

Stripers: The striper fishing has really warmed up with the weather. There is an abundance of shad, herring and gizzard shad in the coves that have water flowing into them. Throwing your cast net should produce all of the bait you need.

Preparing a proper bait tank and learning to throw a cast net are skills that will serve an angler for a lifetime.

If you are serious about striper fishing and you are just getting into the sport, then it may be a good idea to hire a guide for a full day of striper fishing. Check in with your local tackle shop and make sure you let them know what you want to learn.

The catch rates are improving, and most of the guides have been able to stay on the fish. Fishing methods have not changed much in the last week and the action has been consistent.

Target the long finger coves that have some water flowing into them. The pattern has been pretty consistent right now. Fish shallow early and late, and go out deeper when the sun gets up over the horizon. On cloudy days or during prime wildlife activity times, the strips may stay shallow all day long.

There is a good night bite with Bombers and McSticks in some of the down lake creeks, but don’t tell anybody.

Crappie fishing has been good and they are starting to get up shallower. Target the upper lake bridges and anywhere someone has placed brush piles. Crappie will swim around and bite minnows under a float, but if you can find trees, bridge pilings, docks or other significant cover, then you may catch one after another.

You can use several methods and all will work. A good, old-fashioned 10-foot long cane pole with about five feet of line will allow an angler to place their minnows or jigs right in front of the fish. Other equipment, like a fly rod, ultra-light or even a Zebco 33 will all catch these tasty fish.

Trout: We are coming close to the opening of trout season on March 28. While many trout waters are fishable year round, many more are only open from March 28 – October 31, 2015. You can bet that the fish in the restricted waters will be dumb and hungry, so get your tackle ready because these fish will eat about anything.

Fishing below Buford Dam has been hit and miss. There are some big trout in the deeper pools into the deeper pools.

Bank Fishing: This week’s bank fishing report is more of a talk about a tradition than just a single species of fish. My grandson loves to fish, and I love to take him fishing. His first experience of fishing was to dig up worms in our backyard, put them on an Aberdeen hook with a bobber tied about a foot above the bait.

This is a great way to get your young ones into the sport of fishing. You can find worms under leaves or in soil and especially mulch piles. Catching the worms and putting them, into a jar or coffee jug is half the fun.

Then we run over to the neighborhood pond and catch hand size brim until all the bait is gone. Grandpa loves this as much as any other fishing trip,

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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