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Fishing Report: Water temperatures start to warm for the first time in months
Eric Aldrich
Eric Aldrich with the Fishing Report - photo by Eric Aldrich

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is down from last week to 1074.62 or 3.62 feet above the normal full pool of 1071. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are stained to almost muddy. Lake surface temperatures are around 53 degrees. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at (770) 945-1466.

Bass: Bass fishing is good and water temperatures have finally started to get warmer for the first time in 3 months. This minor warming trend has really helped the bass fishing by moving the bass up into the shallows and around the docks.

There are plenty of smaller fish with a few larger ones around the docks. Skipping a whacky rigged Senko or Big Bite Baits finesse or trick worm on a 1/8th ounce jig head around and under the docks will yield numbers of 1 to 3-pound bass. On sunny days the bass can be found under the gang planks and up under the fronts of the docks. On overcast days the bass can be found around the outsides and in between these same docks.

If you want to catch bigger bass then power fishing is the way to go. Jerk baits, crank baits, swim baits and jigs will yield bigger fish this week. Fish the windblown points with a SPRO McStick 110 or McRip 95 to catch bigger bass that are staging around rocky points and humps in the creek mouths. Cast these same lures around rocky banks to score some big spotted and largemouth bass.

Also concentrate on the shallow ditches running through spawning flats. Use natural colored lures where the water is clear and switch over to brighter colors where the water is stained or muddy.

The night bite on crank baits and black spinner baits has just started to get going. Work these lures around rocky banks after sundown and make sure your lure stays in contact with the bottom. Most strikes will occur when your lures deflect off bottom cover and structure

Stripers: Striper fishing has been decent and the same patterns have been working as in recent weeks. The stripers are feeding on medium sized herring and shad. Rig your herring or medium or large shiners on a Gamakatsu Octopus hook on down lines close to the ditches midway back into the creeks.

Some stripers are showing up a little bit shallower so add a couple of flat lines or planner board lines to your spread to pick up any fish that are located shallower in the water column. Stick with down lines and keep an eye out on your Lowrance Electronics to show you where the fish and bait is located.

Trolling with umbrella rigs is working well right around mudlines and water color transition areas. Once you locate feeding stripers on your electronics you can slow down and offer them live bait or continue pulling your umbrella rigs. Some days trolling can work better than live baits.

Night fishing for stripers has been slower right now but with the recent rise in water temperatures it should real start to pick up very soon. Cast Bomber Long As and SPRO McSticks in the backs of the creeks and also around green Hydro-Glow lights.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is picking up and several techniques and depths are holding fish.

Shooting or casting small crappie jigs tipped with a live crappie minnow will work very well this week. Target docks in the coves and creeks where you find stained water. The stained water will warm quicker than clear water plus it tends to have more plankton that attracts the bait fish that crappie feast upon in early spring.

Use your electronics to find both the bait and the schools of crappie. Structure Scan Side Imaging technology will really help anglers find the best docks. Shoot up under docks with your sonar to find the most productive one that are holding schools of crappie.

Live minnows fished a few feet under bobbers has been working best in the backs of the creeks and also up lake where the water has more color to it. A lot of crappie are located in under 10 feet of water right now.

Bank Fishing: Many artificial lure anglers have forgotten just how fun it can be to fish with minnows under a bobber. Many of us anglers got started fishing with minnows under a float. It is a productive and relaxing way to catch fish.

Get a weighted bobber and attach it to light line on a spinning or spin casting rod and reel. Place a one eight-ounce split shot about a foot below your bobber and attach a small Aberdeen style hook about 6 inches below your weight. Hook a live crappie minnow through the lips or under the back fin. Cast your minnow around any bank cover on farm ponds or Lake Lanier. If you do not get a bite within 15 minutes’ move on down the bank until you find more productive water.