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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: With spawn still in effect, bass fishing remains productive
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Water Conditions: Rain is causing the lake to rise at the time this report is being written. Lake Lanier’s water level is at 1,063.15 or 7.85 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071.

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-stained from rain, while he creeks and rivers are slightly-to-very-stained from rains. Lake surface temperatures are in the lower 70s, and the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been good, and the bass are in all stages of spawning. You can pick your favorite method of bass fishing and should be able to catch a few.

There are a lot of bass spawning, and we are seeing a large wave that seems to be coming in before the full moon next week. If you catch a bass with a red tail, then please release it quickly so it can find its way back to its nest to continue reproduction.

When the spawn is on, bass can usually be found in water less than 15 feet. They will often be much shallower than 15 feet, especially if you are targeting largemouth bass.

Use a shaky head, jig or moving bait and make casts parallel to the banks. A small top=water plug worked close to the bank will trigger bites and reaction strikes from bedding bass. If a bass reacts but does not hook up, then work that same area thoroughly with a jig or worm.

Both spotted and largemouth bass will spawn around docks, rocks, laydowns, stumps or just about any bank cover located in shallow water. Clay banks with rock are also great places to target in spring.

Beat the banks with a small Bandit 300 or a SPRO Little John MD. Reel these lures slowly and steadily, and bang them into the rocks on the bottom. Big bass will strike these smaller crankbaits right now.

A lot of big spotted bass spawn are staging out on the points, pockets and humps out around the main lake. Dragging a quarter-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head with a Magnum Trick Worm, Senko or Big Bites Flying Squirrel over these structures will account for some magnum spotted bass.

If you get a hit, set the hook hard. If the bass comes loose, quickly drop your lure back down because the bass will often give you a second chance.

We have started to get some great action on swim baits, jerk baits, top-water plugs and spinner baits out over the saddles and humps for post- and pre-spawn bass that are targeting herring. This action is just beginning and will only get better as time goes on.

Striper fishing has been decent-to-good. There are a lot of smaller fish showing up schooling around the islands both below Browns Bridge and up to the Gainesville Marina.

Keep a top-water plug ready for any schooling fish. There are also some bigger fish in these same areas, but the better fish seem to be up in the creeks off the main lake and up in the rivers.

Dragging herring on flat lines and planner boards is the way to go during mild weather days. You may need to add some split-shot weight if the wind picks up. Switch to down-lines when it really gets blowing.

Herring have been working best because it looks like they are moving in to spawn. Don’t be afraid to add a big gizzard shad or trout to your spread to trigger a bigger bite.

We have had some very windy days, so consider trolling an umbrella rig when the weather makes fishing live bait too difficult. Pull a Captain Mack’s 4-arm, 2-ounce umbrella rigged with four half-ounce SPRO Buck Tails with curly tails.

Add a bigger one and a half-ounce SPRO Buck tail with a Suicide Shad in the middle. This rig will run about 10 feet deep if you pull it 100 feet behind the boat at 2.5 mph.

The stripers are still hitting Bomber Long A’s and SPRO McSticks after dark around the creek mouths, the dam and in the pockets around lighted boat docks.

Crappie fishing is good, but the bigger fish may be out a little deeper.

There are plenty of smaller crappie up around brush, rock and docks up in 3-to-10 feet of water. You can also find crappie around bridges near the backs of the creeks.

This is a difficult time to beat a minnow below a bobber. Place a bobber on light 4-to-6-pound line then place a hook 1-to-2 feet below your float. Attach a split shot about 6 inches above the hook. Hook a crappie minnow through the lips or just under the dorsal fin and cast it out close to any shore line cover. You can also cast it straight out to entice suspended fish too.

Trout fishing is good and there are basically three methods to try because all are working.

Spin-fish with small in-line spinners or small minnow or creature crank baits. Take a light spinning rod with a small reel equipped with 2-to-6-pound test and work just about anywhere on rivers and streams, but concentrate on the calm areas in the rapids behind rocks or other current breaks.

For live bait fishing, first check local regulations to make sure the trout waters you are fishing allow live bait. Please note: you may fish with only one, handheld fishing pole per person on Georgia Trout Waters.

Use a spinning or spin-casting style rod and reel with 4-to-8-pound test. Attach a small Aberdeen style hook and a -to-quarter-ounce split two feet above your hook, then hook up your favorite live bait (worm, cricket, corn, etc.). Fish this rig in the deeper pools below the rapids.

Fly fishing is a great and artful way to catch trout, too. Use small dry flies like ant, nymphs or other insect imitators in spring.

A dropper rig using a dry fly as your indicator with a wet fly below may increase your catch rate. Fish flies above the rapids in the calmer runs where you see fish rising. Experienced fly anglers can fish a fly just about anywhere trout swim.

Bank Fishing: Smaller waters tend to be more relaxing and sometimes more rewarding than large reservoirs like Lake Lanier.

Do yourself a favor and seek out areas like farm ponds, subdivision ponds, small creeks and rivers or even smaller reservoirs. You can often get permission to fish a private lake if you ask politely and volunteer to clean up trash or do other favors.

These smaller waters usually get fished less and may be easier places to catch fish. Live bait, bass worms or small moving lures seldom get seen by fish in these out-of-the-way lakes.

Find your private, small honey hole, and you just may catch a fish of a lifetime.

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

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