Lake Lanier Fishing Report March 2014

GON Staff | March 5, 2014

Lanier: Level: 0.3 feet above full pool. Temp: 50 degrees. Clarity: Clear.

Spotted Bass: Improving. Guide and tournament pro Ryan Coleman reports, “The water is starting to warm, and things are picking up. February killed us. The crazy weather just really cooled the lake down and knocked the fish back. We are now catching up. The fish are figuring out that it is spring. We are starting to see some very nice fish in the backs of flat shallow pockets, and they can be caught on a few different techniques. Early in the day, the fish are out in the middle of the pockets and can be caught on a Fish Head Spin or a worm worked slowly along the bottom. Just stick to basics here. Try a white Fish Head with a white fluke and a green or brown worm rigged on a 3/16-oz. SpotSticker jig head. As the day warms, look for the fish to get around the shallow boat docks in the pockets. Either skip these docks with a worm or jig, or use a jerkbait and work the edges. I have been having some good days on a Megabass Vision 110 and 110 plus around the shade of the docks as well as out in front of them. Work the bait with a medium retrieve, and have a second or two pause between jerks. Keep your boat out away from the docks as the fish are suspended and are very spooky. During the day, work the same jerkbaits in the backs of the pockets where the sun is heating the water. The sun is very critical for the jerkbait bite this time of year. As the sun hits the water, the fish will suspend to soak up the heat. Without the heat, the fish will be holding on the bottom, and you should switch to the worm or jig. Look for the spinnerbait bite to pick up by the end of March, and on into April a 1/2-oz. Mini-Me spinnerbait will be your best weapon for them when they are positioned on the points. Fish white with white blades early, and then switch to the nickel blades as the day goes on.”

Largemouth: Good. Guide and tournament pro Billy Boothe reports, “A lot of fish are still deep, but there are some good prespawn largemouth starting to show up and stage. On sunny days, target docks with black floats and brush in the 4- to 10-foot range near ditches and drops. If it has brush, it will be even better, but the main key is having a migration route near it. Target the docks with a 3/8-oz. green-pumpkin Mann’s Stone Jig with a matching twin-tail grub and a watermelon red Trick Worm on a jig head. Secondary points back in the creeks are also holding some fish right now. Target points with a bottom transition close by, and crank a craw-colored Rapala DT 6 or Strike King Series 3. As the month progresses, work shallower and farther back in the creeks. A white Mann’s Classic spinnerbait will be a great bait to throw shallow all day.”

Stripers: Guide Mike Maddalena reports, “The good news is it looks like we can get on the water this weekend without freezing. Focus on creeks with birds and bait. Keep your eyes on your Lowrance electronics for fish, and more importantly, large concentrations of bait. Target long sloping points and flats where you find bait. Vary your flatlines and planner-board lines from 15 to 120 feet back. Use split shots on some lines to cover a range of depths. The stripers are getting locked in on small threadfin shad, so downsizing your bait will produce when they will not take a larger herring or gizzard shad. There is also a umbrella-rig bite on points and flats. Downsize your umbrella rigs with 1/2-oz. jigs, and pull them shallower and slower. I have had some reports of a night bite with Bombers, bucktail jigs and bait fished shallow in the same creeks you are fishing during the day. Flat Creek and Balus Creek have been producing and are good places to start if you do not mind the crowds.” Guide Clay Cunningham reports, “The striper fishing is beginning to really wake up and will get better and better in March as the water temperature rises. As always for this time of year, the weather is changing rapidly, so there will be really good days and really tough days. Especially with the big fish, it is hard to say which of these days will be best. Over the years, some of my biggest fish have come on days when conventional fishing wisdom says stay at home. Get out and go whenever possible. I don’t know of anyone who knew they were going to catch a record before they left the house. The big fish are always a surprise and a gift. The big fish are beginning to prepare for the spawn, increasing their metabolism and making them more susceptible to anglers. Furthermore, the big fish are feeding in the shallow warmer water, making them less likely to snag in the deeper timber of Lake Lanier. Right now the bigger fish are coming on live herring pulled on freelines and planer boards 120 feet behind the boat. The fishing has been best on the south end of the lake, but with each passing week more and more fish will be caught on the north end. The best bait will change with water temperature and conditions. Be prepared to pull herring and gizzard shad. Talk to the guys at the local bait shops. A couple stripers over 40 pounds have already been caught the last couple weeks. I will not be surprised if I hear any day the lake record has been broken. The last few years people have come really close to breaking the record. It is only a matter of time before it is broken again. Also, March will also be a great month to catch the stripers at night. As the shallows continue to warm, the bait will pull shallow. At night you will want to cast lures right up on the bank. The stripers will explode on the lures sometimes in less than 5 feet of water making huge explosions. The best lures will be Long A Bombers in pink, glow, and black depending on the amount of moonlight. Other lures that will work are Sebile Star Shiners and Spro McSticks. This can be some of the best fishing of the year. Always be sure to be safe, and keep your running lights on at all times at night.”

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