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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers biting best in more clear water
Helen flooding 6
Docks at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park boathouse, partially submerged after heavy rain in 2018.

Lake Lanier’s water level was is at 4.86 over full pool at 1,075.86 and rising from the recent rains. Water temperatures are in the low 50’s. Note that many of the CORPS boat ramps are closed due to high water conditions.

The main lake and creeks mouths are slightly to very stained. The backs of the creeks are very muddy from rain inflow. The uplake creeks and rivers are muddy. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear directly below the dam but it gets muddy from the rain inflow.

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at (770) 945-1466.

Bass: Catching bass has not been as hard as some people think in the high-water conditions. As someone told me years ago, the fish were already wet before it started raining. Fishing has actually been good in areas where the water is not too muddy. That being said, much of the lake is muddy. Seek out the clearest water you can find and fish it slow and steady

A large majority of the bass we are catching have bellies full of crawfish. We have been concentrating of these shallow fish for the most part. You will do well to use bottom-bumping lures that mimic these high-protein crustaceans. Cast jigs with a craw trailer or use medium-running crank bait in brown and green hues for your best success.

Rock and clay banks will hold healthy populations of crawfish. The bass that are feeding on them.

There are also a lot of smaller shad and medium-sized herring swimming around the timberlines. Use your Lowrance Electronics to narrow down the best depths and use lures that mimic baitfish like spoons, Fish Head Spins or even an Alabama Rig equipped with 3 «-inch Big Bites Suicide Shads. The smaller sized Lanier Baits Runts are great on a dropshot to mimic shad. Watch your electronics and fish at the level where you mark baitfish and bass.

Striper fishing has been hit or miss with the high-water conditions.

Much of the lake water is blown out and muddy. My best advice would be to target the clearer water down lake and to avoid the really muddy water up in the rivers and creeks.

The stripers have been relating to clearer water areas in the lower lake creek mouths. There has been a lot of bait grouped up in the timberlines and these are the locations that anglers should target.

Once you locate fish with your Lowrance Electronics, set out live bait lines at the level where you mark bait and stripers. Downlines rigged with shad and herring will probably be your best bet.

Trolling may work very well right now, but keeping your lines clear will be your biggest challenge.

Target water color transition areas around the lower lake timberlines and use a Captain Mack’s Mini-rig. Believe it or not, you can also cast these smaller rigs to timberlines and steeper banks. Casting these rigs will allow you to quickly clear up any debris from your line.

Late winter is a great time for catching a larger striper.

Try deploying at least on flat line with a lively trout or gizzard shad to fool the bigger loner fish into biting.

Crappie fishing has been a little slow this week due to the high, muddy waters. The fish are relating to docks and flats midway back into the creeks but getting them to bite has been the challenge.

Shoot small 1/32-nd ounce jigs around docks and let them drop to the depth where brush piles are located.

Live minnows or shad are a good backup bait. You will need to land your minnows directly in front of the crappie to score bites.

Bank fishing may tend to be slow, but you can’t catch fish sitting at home. Live minnows below a small float will coax bites from bass, crappie and stripers. Purchase crappie minnows or medium shiners and fish them below a float around clearer water closer to the main lake.

Predator fish will move shallow into flooded shorelines, scouting for an easy meal.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist, guide and bass angler. He is 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. He would love to hear from readers, so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com. Remember to take a kid fishing.
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