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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Warmer weather signals changes in fishing
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Lake Lanier has been above full pool for a while now and is looking very healthy. Lake Lanier is 2 1/2 feet above a full pool at 1,072.5. The water is clear to stained on the main lake and clear to stained in the creeks and rivers. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. The Corp is pulling a lot of water. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: Finally! The weather has started to warm to more seasonal averages and this has helped the fishing greatly. There are still some bass spawning, but many have finished up their reproductive cycle and have moved out into their post- spawn locations in search of food.

Anglers can fish a variety of lures, techniques and locations so it is a great time to get out on the water. In addition, the Corp is pulling a lot of water through the dam and when they generate, the fish tend to turn on and bite well.

The flooded brush that grew on the banks of the lake during the drought has created the perfect storm for the bass to spawn. Many of the bass have spawned already, but some are guarding their young shallow. This cover allows the fish and their newly hatched fry many places to hide and feed as the baby bass grow large enough to fend for themselves. We have caught bass along the edges of the flooded brush for a while now, and there are still some good fish relating to this same pattern.

Cast a Big Bites Jerk Shad, a Fluke or trick worm around the edges. You can also use square bill crank baits, spinner baits or small topwater plug in these same areas. If the bass do not react to faster moving lures slow down and work a regular Texas rigged or jig head worm and throw these into the brush and work them out past the edges.

Before the spawn, I talked about the ‘bass highways’. This is the term I use for the depressions that bass follow into and out of spawning grounds. A prime example would be to follow the ditches that feed into the lake on out into the creek and river channels. These channels create roads that fish follow and if you know where they are, you can narrow down the best areas to fish.

We have been having success fishing areas where the creek channels swing in close to the bank, as well as more subtle depth changes where a point will fall of in to deeper water. Try to locate cover like brush piles, rocks or docks that are near to these depth changes and the bass will be close by. Target depths from 5-25 feet have been the best. The fish should remain in these areas for a while.

Topwater fishing is one of the best ways for anglers to catch bass because you can see and hear the strike. Often you can find bass thrashing on the surface and it seems easy to catch them. It’s even better when the water is calm and a bass comes out of nowhere to explode on a lure worked on the surface.

This will get your heart pumping really quickly. This action is just starting to get going, so tie on your favorite topwater plug and keep it at the ready at all times. The bass seem to prefer long slender topwater plugs because it matches the blueback herring that are spawning right now.

While most anglers like topwater fishing, my favorite way to catch bass is sight fishing with my sonar. My Humminbird graphs have big screens and I can clearly see fish that are below the boat. They appear as lines or arcs and they seem to be easy to catch this week.

When the graph lights up with fish, drop a jig head worm or drop shot rig and watch as the lure falls through the fish. Most of the time, one or more bass will follow your lure to the bottom or bite it as it falls. I love to look back at my buddy and say, “watch this” as I set the hook on a fish before I even feel the bite. This is the best video game in the world.

Stripers: Many people are talking about the 45-pound, 4-ounce striper caught by angler Jody Pressley earlier this month. That striper is the third largest recorded on Lake Lanier and it was a fine catch indeed. They also boated many more fish on that same outing. This just tells us how great a fishery we have on our local waters.

The striper fishing remains strong. They are starting to strike topwater lures out on the points and humps in the creek channels and out on the main lake. The best action starts just as the sun rises and is best until around 10 a.m. but they can appear on the surface at any time during the day, so keep your surface plugs ready at all times.

V-waking a Red Fin is a fun and effective way to catch stripers. Use heavy monofilament and reel the plug on the surface. This should create a V wake behind the lure when the water is calm. If your lure dives below the surface, there are several things you can do. Hold your rod tip high when retrieving your lure. Also use a loop knot instead of a snap or swivel, or take off the stock saltwater hooks and replace them with a No. 2 Gamakatsu nickel treble hooks. This will reduce the weight of your lure, which helps to keep it high on the surface. Other topwater plugs like Zara Spooks, Chug Bugs or a Sammy are all good choices when stripers thrash the surface.

Flat lining live herring has been the go-to technique for a while and that has not changed this week. Pull a couple of flat lines behind the boat while you cast topwater plugs to the points and humps. If you are only using live bait, then troll over these same points and humps and hold on. Switch over to a down line if the fish appear deeper on your electronics.

The Bomber bite has waned, so get your Hydro Glow lights ready. This action will start soon.

Crappie fishing is slowing down a little, but you can still catch them pretty well if you change from early to late spring patterns. The fish will tend to be deeper and will relate to docks in the mouths of the coves, brush and bridges. A minnow fished on a down line around the docks with brush has been working well. Use light 4-5 pound test and place a 1/16-to 1/8-ounce split shot about a foot above your hook. Hook your minnow through the back and drop down to fish on your Humminbird graphs.

Trout: The CORP is pulling a lot of water through the dam and when they generate, it is very hard to catch trout and dangerous to be on the river. During the slack periods fishing has been very good. Cast small inline spinners or fly fish with dry flies around the current breaks around the rapids.

Bank Fishing: The full moon is this weekend and the water temperatures are prime for the bream to start bedding. When bream bed, you can see them around docks and coves. Their beds often look like moon craters and the fish are fat, healthy and easy to catch. A worm or cricket fished under a bobber is the way to go. Local subdivision or farm ponds are great places to catch bream. Lake Lanier may not see the beds, but they will still bite shallow.

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

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