Lake Lanier Fishing Report – March 2020

GON Staff | February 25, 2020

Lanier: Level: 5.4 feet above full. Temp: 49-52 degrees. Clarity: The water is clear on the main lake, going to stained to very stained in backs of major southern creeks, and then stained to muddy from the River Forks area north up both river arms.

Bass: Guide Ryan Coleman reports, “The water will not come down fast, so get used to fishing high water for a little while. Lanier has a very small spillway, and everything downstream is full. Look for the fish to be up shallow or in the backs of the creeks shallower than we would normally fish this time of year. They are coming up with the water. Fish the last few docks of each pocket and any secondary points that are near the backs of the small creeks or pockets. Just use a jig-head worm with a green-pumpkin SpotSticker Finesse Stick on these docks and points. You can also work a red-colored crankbait or orange-bladed SpotSticker ShadHead spinnerbait along the shoreline cover and points. Use a casting jig, worm or swimbait rigged on a football head down the middle of the pockets and creeks slowly in the mornings in 10 to 20 feet of water. Then work your way out of the shallows into 30 to 40 feet of water as the day goes along. Just drag a pearl-white or blueback-herring colored 3.8-inch swimbait along the bottom very slowly, and just reel into the fish as you get bites. As March rolls in here, look for the spinnerbait and jerkbait bites to really pick up, as will the dock bite. As long as the water is high, expect the fish to be shallower than normal.”

Stripers: Guide Capt. Ron Mullins reports, “March is time to break out your Capt. Mack’s Perfect Planer Boards and get ready to fish your herring and small to medium gizzard shad much higher in the water column. As the water warms, the bait will begin to relate more to the upper 10 to 15 feet of water versus the 10 to 15 feet of water closest to the bottom. Planer board setups are Okuma Cold Water 153 or 203 line counter reels, 15- to 20-lb. mono or braided main line, attached to medium- or medium-heavy action rods. The main line is tied to a quality Hi Seas Mighty-Mini crane swivel with a bead above the swivel to prevent the board from sliding down the line to the hook and knocking off the fish. Attach 5 to 6 feet of 12- to 14-lb. Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon to a No. 2 to 3/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook, depending on the size of the bait you are using. Late winter and early spring put your bait 50 to 75 feet back, attach the board to your line with the rear pig tail clip, attach line to the pinch clip, and let out another 60 to 70 feet of line. The board will pull out to the side of the boat and allow you to repeat the process of letting out another bait 50 to 75 feet on a second rod, attaching your second board, and then letting out just 30 to 35 feet this time. Repeat this process on the other side of the boat and then put two flatlines back 75 to 100 feet straight behind the boat. Pull these six rods at 0.9-1.2 mph wherever you are seeing concentrations of bait on your Humminbird Helix or Solix graph in the backs of the creeks, over secondary creek points or even deep water creek and river channels. This technique will allow you to cover a lot of water, which will be the ticket in March as the fish will be moving around the lake a lot looking for food. Continue to look for the birds that are diving on bait that have been forced to the surface. If you are only looking for big fish, try pulling a large herring or medium shad very close to sandy or rocky banks on sunny afternoons. This water will warm quicker than other areas, which will attract the bait, and the big fish will be looking for a big meal as they begin getting ready for the spawn that will begin in late March through late April.”

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