Lake Lanier Fishing Report April 2012

GON Staff | March 28, 2012

Lanier: Level: 5.5 feet below full pool. Temp: Mid 60s. Clarity: Mostly clear except shoreline stain from waves.

Spotted Bass: Excellent. Ryan Coleman reports, “The lake has come up to 6 feet below full pool, and the surface temps have rocketed up. The abnormally warm spring has pushed everything ahead a few weeks. The largemouth bass are dead on the beds right now all over the lake, and the spotted bass have hit the banks and are preparing to spawn. We are already catching postspawn fish, and I have seen a good bit of main-lake schooling over the past week. The prespawn spotted bass are holding on steep rock banks all over the lower end of Lake Lanier. These fish are up in 2 to 6 feet of water on rocks and stumps all over. The best way to catch these fish is to use a light-weight spinning rod rigged with 8-lb. fluorocarbon line and a 3/16-oz. wide-gap SpotSticker jig head tipped with a watermelon-seed Zoom Finesse Worm. This is a deadly combo for spawning spotted bass. Just work the steep rock banks with the SpotSticker all day long. We are catching from 50 to 75 fish per day right now with this technique with a mix of small, medium and very large spotted bass. As the month rolls along, look for big schools of fish out on main-lake points feeding up after the spawn. A small swimbait, spinnerbait and weightless fluke will catch these fish. Keep your SpotSticker lying there, and drop it on any fish you see below your boat. For swimbaits, use the small 5-inch Bull Shad or Farley Herring swimbait to draw up some of the big postspawn females. Work your baits in 15 to 20 feet of water, and keep moving. You will eventually run into a big school of them. On sunny days in late April, work topwater baits such as a Spook, Chug Bug or wake bait over points and brush. We should have an early topwater bite this year as the water temps are soaring. This is one of our best bites of the year here on Lanier, so don’t miss out on it.”

Largemouth: Good. Guide and tournament pro Billy Boothe reports, “You can catch some big fish right now early in the morning before the sun gets up good. The big females are staging at the mouths of pockets and are crushing a spinnerbait. Target the first third of pockets and coves with a 3/8-oz. white-and-gold War Eagle spinnerbait. The best pockets have a ditch leading into them to concentrate the fish. Once the sun gets up or you work your way to the backs of the pockets, switch to soft plastics. The two that have worked best for me are a green-pumpkin lizard or a pearl-white fluke. I’m pitching the lizard to visible cover and working the fluke just under the surface between targets. If you want to sight fish, run sandy and rock pockets that are protected from the wind. When you come across a bed, pitch a white tube on 15-lb. Spiderwire fluorocarbon. Since March was so warm, look for a great postspawn topwater bite to start toward the end of the month. Run isolated cover with a 3/8-oz. blue-herring War Eagle buzzbait. Since there will be some fish guarding fry, fish the buzzbait just fast enough to keep it up and turn the blades.”

Stripers: Excellent. Guide Shane Watson reports, “Over the last two weeks, the striper blow-ups on live bait have been amazing. We have caught many stripers from 20 to 31 pounds on freelined bluebacks and on gizzard shad. Spro McSticks and bucktails are also working very well on stripers, spots and largemouths. Some mornings the stripers have been busting on top, and the action has been great on 10- to 20-lb. male stripers. Our bigger female stripers have been caught in the backs to the middle of creeks up in 5 to 15 feet of water.” Guide Clay Cunningham reports, “The striper fishing has been better than normal for this time of year on Lake Lanier. Some really big fish have been caught over the last month, and look for some more big fish to be caught this month. Freelines and planer boards with big herring have been the primary tactic. Some of the fish will move upriver to spawn but not all the fish. With each passing week, look for more and more stripers to be caught on topwater lures like the Sebile Slim Stick. Cast the topwater lures to the points on the north end and the south end of the lake. Points will become more and more important each passing week as well. Overall, this has been the best start to spring on Lanier in numerous years.” Guide Mike Maddelena reports, “Striper fishing continues to be very good. The weather is hot, and so is the fishing. With the rising temperatures the fish have moved out over the river channel and into the mouths of the creeks. Yes, that’s right the mouths of the creeks! The lake is fishing at least six weeks ahead of schedule. The fish are scattered lakewide but from Browns Bridge to the dam will continue to be your best bet. Blueback herring pulled on freelines 80 to 120 feet back on planner boards and behind the boat should hold as the most productive pattern throughout the month. When you fish boards that far back, be careful making tight turns, as the inside lines will get into the trees and you will end up getting your lines hung up. I usually speed up when making turns, which helps keep the baits out of the trees. Hang a downrod over the side when pulling baits, and adjust the depth based on the water depth. Always put someone on the front deck and cast a Capt. Mack’s 1/2-oz. bucktail jig with a fluke trailer. Keep your eyes open for surfacing fish. I would not be surprised to see a Red Fin bite develop in April. Keep your umbrella rigs available, and pull them out if your are marking fish that will not eat bait.”

Crappie: Very good. “The crappie fishing has been great on jigs and on minnows,” said guide Shane Watson. “Our crappie guide has been been catching 50 to more than 100 crappie a day. Spring is here, the trees are budding out, the lake is rising and the fish are on a full spring-time pattern. It’s great to be alive and on Lake Lanier.”

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