Lake Lanier Fishing Report – March 2010

GON Staff | February 23, 2010

Lanier: Level: 0.2 feet below full pool. Temp: Low 40s. Clarity: The backs of the creeks and up the river are still slightly stained.

Spotted Bass: Very tough. Ryan Coleman reports, “The water is very high and very cold. Neither is a good thing. We have not had water temps that stayed this low in quite some time. We have had a major shad kill, and you can see it all over the south end of the lake. Almost every pocket has threadfins and some herring dying off. This is also making fishing tough. These dying shad are easy prey for a lazy spotted bass just sitting around waiting for the water to warm. Just averaging a few decent fish a day has been tough. For the most part, the ones I can get to bite are up shallow. My best lures have been jerkbaits and Fish Head Spins, but I fully expect the water to warm up some and things will change. Look for fish to move up shallow as soon as the weather breaks. A few good warm days and the water will start to warm. It won’t take much. I never worry as much about the exact water temperatures as I do the trend. Once the water starts a warming trend, even if its 42 to 44 degrees, look for the spotted bass to start to feed. The sun is critical. I can’t express how important these shallow, sunny pockets are in early March. We may be a little behind due to mother nature, but the fish know it’s March and time to get busy. Look around very shallow docks in flat, warm pockets. This is the first place the fish will move on as the warming trend hits. I would suggest skipping a brown jig around these docks and ‘worm’ a jerkbait around them very slowly. As the water gets close to 50, look for the jig-head worm bite to pick up. A 1/8- to 3/16-oz. jig head with a green worm is usually the trick for early spring Lanier bass. As for the jerkbait, take your pick. I prefer the Pointer 100 or Megabass myself. Use shad colors like the ghost minnow or chartreuse shad. Work these jerkbaits very slowly with long pauses. Sometimes we pause the bait 35 seconds or so. Just dead-stick it in these pockets. If we can get some clearing skies and the backs of the pockets will clear a little, look for a mid-March spinnerbait bite around any wood cover you can find in 4 to 8 feet of water in these pockets. These warming pockets are the key to early big fish on Lanier.”

Tough. Billy Boothe reports, “The bite is pretty bad right now. The extreme weather we’ve had lowered the water temp enough to cause a decent shad kill, which is making the bite even worse. Most of the largemouths are holding on the deeper ledges in 15 to 20 feet of water. Cranking a Mann’s 20 Plus in crystal-threadfin color will pick off the few fish that are active, but the best bet has been slowly dragging a 5/16-oz. peanut butter and jelly TABU jig over the drop offs. The largemouths are wanting to move up but still haven’t due to the cold. When the water temp hits the mid 50s, look for a huge push to the bank. Then, cover lots of water with reaction baits such as a black-and-gold Mann’s 1 Minus or a 1/2-oz. chartreuse/white War Eagle spinnerbait. Toward the end of the month, look for the females to start staging on shallow docks in preparation for the spawn. Swim a 7/16-oz. watermelon-red TABU jig or work a ghost-minnow Pointer 100 jerkbait under the floats.”

Good. Shane Watson reports that his guide boats and the folks at Hammonds are seeing the bite remain about the same as last month. “Freelined medium shiners, shad-body U-rigs and casting bucktails are your best producers,” Shane said. “There are stripers in the backs to the middle of most creeks and in the backs of pockets. Look for the birds diving, and keep moving. The north and south ends are about equal right now.”

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