Lake Lanier Fishing Report May 2017

GON Staff | April 26, 2017

Lanier: Level: 8.5 feet below full pool. Temp: Mid 60s. Clarity: The water is lightly stained on the main lake and heavily stained in the back of the creeks.

Bass: Guide Ryan Coleman reports, “The spotted bass are in three stages right now. Some are finished spawning, some are spawning, and some are moving up. Shallow rock right now is your best bet for numbers of fish. There are a lot of shallow humps that are showing up all over the lake that have rock on them. The spotted bass are using these humps to spawn. Your best bet for these is a stick bait (Senko) rigged on a 3/16-oz. SpotSticker jig head worked slowly on the rocks up shallow when the weather is calm. As the wind blows, pick up a 3/4-oz. Mini-Me spinnerbait and work these humps. There are some big fish cruising around these rocks, and they will feed if you can get something in front of them. As May rolls in, a lot of the fish will be finished spawning and out trying to feed up. A white fluke, topwater and spinnerbait will be your best bets for these fish. Fish your weightless pearl fluke on points and humps in the mornings, and then switch to a topwater like a Vixen or Spook over shallow brush the rest of the day. This is our standard pattern here on Lanier every year. As the wind picks up, pick up a 1-oz. Mini-Me spinnerbait with double white willows, and burn it over the humps and brush. May is one of our best months for the offshore spinnerbait bite. This pattern will catch some very large postspawn spotted bass.”

Stripers: Good. Big Fish On Guide Service reports, “The small shiner bite is behind us, and the blueback herring is back as being the most productive bait as we head into May. We use Gamakatsu octopus hooks size 1/0 or No. 1, depending on the size of the herring. We are fishing our herring 70 to 100 feet behind planer boards. The boards are working better than freelines straight out behind the boat or downrods. We are not sure why boards are working better than freelines, but our guess is that the fish are boat shy and move out away from the boat as we pass over them. The Lowrance Structure Scan 3D with its increased side imaging range is a huge help in finding fish out away from the boat. In addition to blueback herring, you may also want to pick up a couple of gizzard shad and either float them on a balloon 130 feet behind the boat or pulled 30 feet or so behind boards. You want to target clay flats or rocky/clay points with the planer boards, you don’t need to get in 3 feet of water, but shoot for those outside boats to be in 10 feet or so, with the boat in 30 or more feet. Best areas are the last third of the creeks and the main lake. Don’t forget main humps and flats/points that are part of an island. With the low water, some of your normal spots might be out of the water, so when you are making your fishing plans and reviewing that lake map, you might want to look at the 10- to 20-foot contours and not the 0- to 10-foot contours. There are still some fish in the river channel from Flat Creek to Little River. It’s always a great idea to keep someone on the front deck casting either a 1/2-oz. Capt. Mack’s bucktail jig with a small fluke trailer or a RedFin this time of year, while you are in the shallow areas pulling baits. Pitching a herring on a light-weight spinning rod will also work, either thrown to surfacing fish or blind casting them to points, etc. Leave the bail open, and let them swim around and when retrieving them do so slowly. You can typically get three or so casts out of each herring. Pull in and change your bait often. When using herring, there is no checking your bait. If you pull it in, change it. Once the sun gets higher or the boat traffic shows up, the umbrella rig will get you a reaction bite in late morning and afternoon when pulled at 3 mph. We use 1-oz. Capt. Mack’s bucktail jigs on a 3-oz., four-arm frame. We expect the topwater bite to kick in over the next couple of weeks. Use Red Fins, Chug Bugs and Spooks, and have them handy for casting. Keep your eyes open for surfacing fish. If the topwater bite gets good, your early time can sometimes be better spent running and gunning throwing topwaters. If you find an area with fish, while running and gunning, you can work the area with bait then. Recently fishing from the mid-lake area from Port Royal to Little River has been more productive than the south end of the Lake. We have also had some reports of fish showing up in the Chestatee and Chattahoochee.”

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