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Fishing report: Water starts to warm and bass fishing picks up
Eric Aldrich
Eric Aldrich with the Fishing Report - photo by Eric Aldrich

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is up slightly at 1072.70 or 1.70 feet above our normal full pool of 1071. Surface temperatures are in the mid-50s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear. The creeks, pockets and rivers are slightly to very stained. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at (770) 945-1466.

Bass: Bass fishing has been fair to good and anglers are catching bass both shallow and deep. There has been a dock bite and the bass are starting to move shallower where they are easier to catch on the docks. We have had some great fishing days and some tough fishing days as is normal during early spring.

Fishing docks is a time-tested pattern from late winter through late spring on Lake Lanier. Anglers should look at the first and the last docks in the coves and target the ones that have deeper creek channels running close to them for the best results. These bass highways allow bass an easy path from shallow to deep water. You should be able to find bass that will bite your lures somewhere along the depressions or “bass highways”.

Early in the day start out with your boat just a cast and a half away from the shallow mouth of the ditch. Early in the day crank baits and jerk baits like a SPRO McRip or RkCrawler are great choices for picking off some bigger bass. Allow your lure to deflect or bounce off bottom features to entice the fish to bite. Keep your lures moving slow and steady. Don’t spend too much time on one point, hump or ditch because if the fish are present, they will let you know within the first few casts.

As a general rule the bass will be shallow early in the day and will move to the docks as the sun gets high in the sky. Always check the shallow part of the ditches first then move to the docks. The fish may be shallow or deeper on the docks so experiment with different depths as the day progresses.

We have caught some bass working a SPRO McStick 110 jerk bait or Alabama Rig along sides of the dock floats as well as skipping and casting shaky heads so keep an open mind and let the fish that bite teach you the pattern that works best on any giving day.

Stripers: The birds continue to be great give away for the most productive areas so watch the gulls, loons and your Lowrance electronics to find the baits and stripers!

Pulling live herring, trout or medium sized shiners on down lines will continue to work all over Lake Lanier. Use your Lowrance electronics to dial in the proper depth and once you get a bite make adjustments and set your other rods to a similar depth.

It pays to pick up a couple of different sizes of live bait. The stripers have preferred herring this week but a large trout or gizzard shad can also coax a big bite. Late last winter and early spring the stripers seemed to prefer medium sized shiners but herring seem to be working the best this year with the higher water levels. That being said always like to put a big bait out to coax those bigger stripers into biting,

Continue to troll Captain Mack’s umbrella rigs around areas where the water color changes occur and also where you mark shallower fish with your Lowrance electronics. An umbrella rig looks like a school of

baitfish under the water and it can outproduce live bait under the right conditions. Troll your rigs between 2-3 MPH.

Crappie: Crappie fishing has been good and the fish are definably moving shallower in schools. This week you can will find crappie around cover like docks and brush piles in under 15 foot of water. Crappie seem to be preferring water with a slight stain so look for water color changes to signal your most productive areas.

Bank Fishing: The bass are moving shallower so get out and beat the banks with crank baits or finesse worms on a shaky head around the rocks or shallower docks located in your local parks.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist, guide and bass angler. I am currently booking teaching trips for Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. I would love to hear from our readers so please email me at Remember to take a kid fishing!