Lake Lanier Fishing Report April 2013

GON Staff | March 27, 2013

Lanier: Level: 1.8 feet below full pool. Temp: 49-51 degrees.

Spotted Bass: Good. Guide Ryan Coleman reports, “Some of the spotted bass are heading to the banks. It has been a slow process for us this spring as the fish just stayed out longer than normal. We had some good rains in mid February, and those rains cooled the surface temps down on the lake considerably. We have been getting lots of wind, cold temperatures and rain, so it just will not warm up. Fish are holding in pockets around docks and in the creek channels from 5 to 25 feet of water. For a consistent bite, work a Spotsticker jighead with any green Zoom worm around the docks and in the middle of the creek channels. I am using the 3/16-oz. stand-up football head for the most part but will use the EWG football head with a crawfish at times. Some of the fish are tucked up under the docks very tight, so skipping under the shady areas will get you more bites. I have been working a Zoom Swamp Crawler in either green pumpkin/green or watermelon candy on the jig head. There is a lot of dead grass that is flooded in the backs of the pockets. This grass grew while the lake was down and is now under water, some of it is in as much as 10 feet of water. I have been catching some good fish on sunny days working a suspending jerkbait over this grass in the very backs of pockets. Just use a medium to slow motion with a Spro McStick or Megabass Vision, and hold on. I have also been working those same jerkbaits on main-lake structure like points and humps (reef poles) on windy or cloudy days with some success. I am not killing them out there right now, but that bite should pick up over the next few weeks. Look for the largemouth to make a big move soon for the shallows. We usually have some fish up on bed in late March and even though the water temps are not there yet, some of these things will move up and start with the moon and daylight is right. Our big spotted bass spawn should be mid April when the full moon rolls around.”

Largemouth: Guide and tournament pro Billy Boothe, reports, “Fair. When the water temp gets up to the high 50s, the largemouth bite is going to bust wide open. I am shocked how much the lake has come up, and there is an abundance of flooded grass, weeds and stick-ups now. The water is still pretty cold for this time of year, but there are still some fish moving up into the grass. You can catch a decent amount of smaller fish right now by working a green-pumpkin Mann’s HardNose Wonder Worm around the outside edge of the flooded grass. If you’re looking for a bigger fish, slow-roll a 3/8-oz. tandem chartreuse and white Mann’s Classic spinnerbait around any stumps or limbs within the grass. Although the flooded cover is tempting, don’t forget the staging areas leading into the pockets. Work the shallow docks and secondary points with a sexy-shad Mann’s Baby X square bill and a Texas-rigged green-pumpkin Mann’s Hardnose lizard. Around mid April, we should have a pretty big wave of spawners moving up. The moon phase always pushes them, but if we get any more cold fronts, the water temp getting right might trump the moon phase. Look for shallow sand and pea-gravel pockets that have a ditch in them on the lower lake. When you find a bed, work the fish with a pearl Mann’s HardNose tube or watermelon-red Mann’s HardNose flippin craw. While you scan for beds, be sure to cast a ghost-minnow Mann’s Baby 1 Minus Elite to pick off any cruising fish.”

Stripers: Good. Guide Clay Cunningham reports, “The striper fishing on Lake Lanier is slowly beginning to wake up. As always in March, the fishing has been up and down with the weather, but some really nice fish have already been caught, and more big fish will be caught the next few weeks. With no really long warm spells to really shoot up the water temperature, look for more bigger fish than normal to show up this April. So far blueback herring on a freeline have been the best bait. We are simply using a live-bait rod like the Shakespeare striper series rod paired with a Abu Garcia 6500 line counter reel spooled up with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game. We are using a 5-foot leader of Trilene 100 percent fluorocarbon tipped with a Gamakatsu 3/0 Nautilus Circle Hook and putting it 100 feet behind the boat as we troll with the trolling motor. This bite has been strong and will continue, but look for gizzard shad to also come back into play as the fish move up river to spawn. As of right now, the fish have been out over open water, but as the water temperature increases, they will eventually move to the banks making points one of the prime targets. Overall, April is still one of the best months of the year to catch a trophy fish, so be sure not to go too light on the tackle. Be prepared for a big one, she could bite any time.” Guide Mike Maddalena reports, “This prespawn period is a great time to catch a big fish as they are looking to pack on the weight to get ready for the spawn. There is more bait in the lake than I have seen in years, and the fish are already fat and look like footballs. The key is to move to points and flats as the shallow water draws in the baitfish. Live herring pulled on freelines and planer boards halfway back to all the way back in the creeks is the most productive technique. You may want to pick up a few extra baits as the spotted bass are also aggressively feeding and will keep you busy checking and changing baits. Keep your eye on your Lowrance for temperature and bait location. If the bait is over the creek channel, weight your freelines and fish over the bait. Stay flexible, and adjust to the lake conditions as things can change day to day. While you are pulling baits, keep someone on the front deck casting a 3/8-oz. Captain Mack’s bucktail jig with a small fluke. The umbrella-rig bite has started to work and will only get better. Try pulling shallower than normal by reducing the distance behind the boat and/or reduce the weight of your jigs. I am pulling at 40 to 60 feet behind the boat. The umbrella rig is a great way to quickly check out an area, and it’s is not unusual to pick up a fish that just seems to come out of nowhere. Flat Creek and Four Mile creek has fish and continues to draw striper fishermen. However, focusing on the creeks with a high concentration of bait is the key if you want to avoid the crowds.”

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