Lake Lanier Fishing Reports – March 2021

GON Staff | February 25, 2021

Lanier: Level: 1. Temp: The water temperature is 46 degrees but will rise rapidly with the first good sunny days. Clarity: The main lake is clear with some slight stain in the backs of the creeks.

Bass: Guide and tournament angler Ryan Coleman reports, “Fishing has been fairly tough in the past week or so but should really rebound this week. Most of the shallow fish ran out deep but will come right back to the banks as the sunny weather comes. I have been concentrating on docks and blowdowns on the lower end with slow-moving baits like a worm or jig and pausing a jerkbait over the ends of the deep blowdowns. With the water being so high the past few years, there are tons of blowdowns on the south end of Lanier right now. As for the docks, I have mostly been using a 5-inch Yamamoto Double Tail Hula Grub rigged on a 1/4- and 3/8-oz. Spot Sticker Crawler Head. Skip under the shady docks and work around the outside edges of them afterward. This is a nice slow-moving bait and will work as the water cools like it has. For the jerkbait, I would use a MegaBass 110 or 110+1 on light line like 10-lb. fluorocarbon and just use long pauses over the blowdowns and in the middle of the sunny pockets. Take your time with this technique right now. The pause seems to be the thing triggering them. As we roll into March, look for the dock bite to really pick up. Also make sure to work on the secondary points with worms and jerkbaits as that sun gets out and heats the water up. Good luck out there.”

Stripers: Guide Capt. Clay Cunningham reports, “Freelines will become the primary tactic in March as the fish get ready for the spring spawn. Rig up a Penn Fathom Linecounter reel with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game line. Then use a 10-lb. Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon leader, a Spro 80-lb. Power Swivel and a Gamakatsu 1/0 octopus hook tipped with the herring. This setup is the Lanier staple. The Penn Fathom Linecounter really helps your success rate as you are able to know exactly how far your baits are behind the boat. Start at 120 feet and make changes as necessary. Some days a small split-shot or an additional 30 feet of line can make a huge difference from day to day. Pull the freelines at 1 mph across humps and points and in some cases over open water. So far, open water has been best with the herring as the bait. If the fish move to the banks, keep a Penn Battalion 7-foot medium light spinning rod paired with a Penn Conflict with light line on the deck. Tie on a Capt. Mack 1/4-oz. bucktail in white or chartreuse or a Berkley Fusion 1/4-oz. jig head tipped with a white paddle tail and beat the bank. Some days the plastics outperform live bait. Also start thinking about a Berkley Surge Shad in bone later in the month. The topwater bite will be around the corner.”

Crappie: Capt. Josh Thornton reports, “Crappie fishing is good! The hot bite target zone is 12 to 15 feet. The crappie are getting fat! The crappie are on the docks, and when you find them, they are loaded. The bite still is super soft. Keep your pole in your hands, and feel for the slightest bump. Look under docks that are in 20 to 40 feet of water and have brush or structure. Use your electronic charts to locate these areas. Remember crappie love the shade, so cast into the shadows of a dock. Try slow trolling a crappie minnow with a 1/4-oz. sinker over the submerged creekbeds. Jigs can be used for short casting, vertical jigging or dock shooting. If you are not dock shooting right now, you are missing out on some slabs. Let your jig sink. Give it time. On average for me jigs are 50/50 to minnows. The most productive jig color has been monkey milk in clear water, and try using dark colors in stained waters. I’m using ATX Lure Company jigs on 5-lb. test, high-visibility yellow K9 braid for my line (unless I am using a bobber) and a Piscifun reel on a light-action 5-foot B&M rod. I use Garmin LiveScope and the Navionics Boating app.”


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