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Fishing Report: Late spring patterns prevail
Eric Aldrich
Eric Aldrich with the Fishing Report - photo by Eric Aldrich

Water Conditions: The rain has been keeping our lake level extremely healthy. Lake Lanier’s water level is at 1,071.47 or .47 feet above the normal full pool at 1071. The main lake is mostly clear with some off-colored water in some of the creeks due to an algae bloom. The water up in the rivers and creeks ranges from slightly stained to very stained due to recent rain inflow. Lake surface temperatures have risen and are teetering from the high 70’s into the low 80’s.

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

Bass: Bass fishing has been very good for the anglers that have plenty of off shore brush piles marked on their Lowrance Electronics. Even anglers that are working the banks are scoring some decent action so pick your favorite method and go fishing.

There seem to be two patterns that are working based on weather conditions. When the weather has been overcast or it has been raining, Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass population has been shallow roaming the banks and shallow humps and points. 

These shallow fish will eat top water plugs, shallow running crank baits and spinner baits. If you get into a school of fish you can cast working lures to pick off the active fish. Then after the bites slow get out your jig head, Texas and Carolina rigged worms to pick up the less active fish. A Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel or a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm in natural greens and shad colors have been producing some good bites.

The docks are also holding some good fish so use the same lures as mentioned above to catch a few. On overcast days the fish will not necessarily be up under the docks so work the areas in between to catch a few fish. On sunny days the fish will be up under or close around docks.

Our best action all week has been to work the main lake brush piles offshore with a variety of lures. Topwater plugs have been our first choice. Cast a Strike King Sexy Dog or a Big Bites Jerk Minnow or Fluke up over the brush. These methods have produced several 4 and 5-pound spots as well as the occasional striper.

On sunny days if you don’t get a strike on the surface then move in up over the brush and work a drop shot rig with a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm directly in the brush.

After dark work, an SPRO RkCrawler or Little John DD slowly along rocky banks in the creek mouths. A black and blue single Colorado bladed Spinner Bait will also work well worked along the bottom will also score some decent bites.

Stripers: Striper fishing has been good and the fish are starting to migrate closer to their normal summer areas. That being said the weather has been mild enough to keep some fish shallower than is normal for this time of year.

Two patterns have been working the best for stripers on Lake Lanier. The primary pattern has been to down line herring from 35 to 50 foot over ditch indentations from 50 to 75-foot of water. Use a heavy mainline like Sunline Natural Fluorocarbon with a 1 to 2-once sinker with an SPRO swivel tied to a long leader or 10 to 12-pound Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon. 

For these deeper fish, you will need to rely on your Lowrance Electronics to find the stripers and bait schools that indicate your best areas. You no longer need a line counter as these quality electronics will show you your sinkers and baits as they drop down into the strike zone. Always try to keep your baits right at or just above where the fish are marking on your electronics.

The second technique that has been working Ok is to run and gun main lake humps and points during the early or later in the day and fish either a topwater plug or moving lures like an SPRO Buck Tail rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad. Also, try trolling a Captain Mack’s Mini Umbrella Rig up over the shallower structures.

Crappie: Crappie fishing during the day has been a little slower than most anglers prefer. Your best bet this week is to tie up or anchor under bridges and night. Deploy a light in the water and set out down lined crappie minnows or, better yet native spot tail minnows. 

Spot tails will usually outproduce other store-bought minnows 2 to 1. Before dark, take a fine mesh cast net, chum some grits out and net as many as you can close to boat ramps and beaches.

Bank fishing: The brim have been spawning on Lake Lanier and farm and subdivision pounds this past week. On Lake Lanier, you will not see the defined beds or the bigger brim as the tend to spawn out deeper than most anglers can see. On-farm or subdivision ponds you can usually see the “craters” or nests very clearly.

Use a live earthworm, cricket or even a crappie minnow under a float and cast to any craters you see. If you are fishing on Lanier you probably won’t see the beds as well so just locate trees laying in the water, shallow docks or rocky banks and fish these with the same set up for success.