Lanier Bass Mapped For April

The pockets will load up with prespawn and postspawn bass. Here's a map with 10 GPS locations.

Ronnie Garrison | April 14, 2005

It would be hard to pick a bad lake to fish in April. This is one of the best months of the year. Though the angling choices are many this month, Lanier should be at the top of any bass fisherman’s list.

Lanier has varied structure that is easy to fish in April, both largemouth and spots are in predictable places, and you can catch some quality fish of both species.

Lake Lanier’s 38,000 acres contain an incredible number of coves and cuts where bass spawn. With an estimated 7,500 boat docks on the lake, most of those cuts will have some docks in them. Bass will use the docks and the many brushpiles around the docks as staging areas in these cuts, moving from deep water to hold on secondary points and docks before spawning in the cuts.

Largemouths and spotted bass will follow similar movements in the lake this month, and they will spawn in the same areas. Largemouths tend to spawn more shallow, and spots will spawn in a little deeper water with gravel, but they will all be in the same spawning areas. Since many of the bass in Lanier spawn in April, these spawning areas will be crowded with prespawn, spawning and post-spawn bass this month.

Don’t expect to go to Lanier and find peace and quiet. It is one of the most heavily used lakes in the nation, and many area bass anglers will be on the lake this month. But one reason it is so popular with area bass fishermen is the numbers of fish that can be caught. And at least in April the bass will be in the pockets where you can get out of the way of the yachts.

Dan Burnette has spent many hours on Lanier learning its secrets and catching its bass. He joined the Marietta Bass Club in 1987 and has been fishing tournaments with them since then. He has made the Top Six team for that very competitive club many times and has qualified for the state team twice, including a fourth-place finish last year at Eufaula.

April is a great time to fish any lake, but it’s hard to pass up a chance to fish Lanier this month. The spotted bass and largemouths are flooding into the spawning coves, and anglers like Dan Burnette know you can catch them coming and going.

Dan likes Lanier in April because there are so many different ways to catch fish. Over the years he has learned a lot of places he can count on to produce fish for him in club tournaments, and they are similar in some ways. He especially likes to catch spotted bass, and his best Lanier spot weighed five pounds.

Some years both the spotted bass and largemouths at Lanier will start spawning in March, but the repeated cold fronts last month means most will be looking for bedding areas this month. They will move up out of their winter holding areas and move into the coves and pockets, holding on cover and structure until conditions suit them. Then they will move up to spawn in waves, with many fish going to the pockets at the same time.

After they spawn, these bass will move back to the same places they held during the prespawn, where they’ll feed during a postspawn period as they get ready to head to deep water. Since not all bass spawn at the same time, the best cover and structure will hold both pre- and post-spawn fish. This month you can get them coming and going.

Dan likes to find a small creek or deep cove with docks and secondary points in it. Stumps, rocks and brushpiles make them even better. If there is a channel, it will focus the fish and also give them deeper water to move to if a cold front comes through and interrupts their spawning.

A Spotsticker 3/8-oz. jig with a green pumpkin Zoom Finesse worm on it will be Dan’s first choice for holding areas on secondary points. He will also have a Mojo or a Finesse worm rigged with a split-shot to fish the points as well as any flats he finds in the area. (The Mojo is a long, slim weight that comes through cover easily, and it’s often pegged up the line and fished like a split-shot rig.) For the docks he will use those same baits, but Dan will also have a merthiolate Trick Worm ready to fish around docks and in the backs of the coves.

Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits are also ready to cast to shallow cover for active bass. Those are followed by the Trick Worm, and that combination should draw strikes in the shallow cover. Dan will also have a Carolina-rigged Finesse worm ready for deeper brush and structure.

Dan and I fished Lanier in early March, and he showed me the following eight spots where he catches bass this month. As was typical of March this year, we had several warm days that drew bass into the shallows at Lanier, but a cold front came through the day we fished. It was very windy, which stirred up the water, and the fish moved back slightly deeper during the day.

The area around Latham Creek and the mouth of the Chestatee are Dan’s favorite areas, but you can find similar places all over Lanier. Check these out and then locate more of the same on your own.

No. 1: N 34º 20.293 – W 83º 56.772 — Run up to the mouth of Latham Creek and go into the small creek to the left of the point with the 1LC channel marker on it. This small creek runs back and splits, with a pocket to the right. There is a swimming area on the left side in the back for the Bolling Mill Campground. It looks like it has concrete shelves running out from the bank, covered with sand.

Dan likes to go to the secondary point on the right past the little pocket that has six docks in it. This point is clay and drops into deep water, and it has some cover on the bottom. It is an excellent staging area for bass moving into both pockets to spawn.

Start on the right side of the point out from the tree limb laying in the water. Keep your boat out in 25 feet of water and cast up near the bank. Dan starts with a Spotsticker jig and casts it on 10-lb. Excel line on a spinning outfit. He will crawl and hop it back down the slope, working it in different ways until the bass tell him what they want.

Fish all the way around this point, going by the log in the water and working the bottom where it changes to gravel and begins to flatten out. Dan tends to swim the jig on rock bottoms and hop it on clay. Fish this point slowly and carefully since there should be a good many bass holding here. I landed a keeper spot on this side of the point where it begins to get more shallow.

Late in the month, the little pocket just upstream of the point is worth working with a spinnerbait, buzzbait and Trick Worm. Some bass will spawn here, and there are some weeds and little bushes in the water along the bank to attract them to feed, too.

No. 2: N 34º 20.402 – W 83º 56.942 — Dan will go to the first dock on the right upstream of the point and start working around it carefully, trying to hit any brush near it. Fish on down this bank past the next dock, and you will find a flat with lots of stickups on it from the brush that grew when the lake was down. At the upstream end of this flat, an old roadbed crosses the creek.

Fish the flat with a spinnerbait, buzzbait and Trick Worm, then make some casts on the roadbed with the Spotsticker and Mojo rigs. Spots will often bed on this old road, so work it slowly. Fish it all the way out to the shoal marker, and fish the channel edge with a Carolina rig. Bass will often hold on the drop, and they will move back out to it if a cold front comes through.

The whole back end of this creek is an excellent spawning area, and largemouths will move all the way to the back. Fish all of it, including the docks on the left side going in. The channel swings to that side, and those docks have deep water and some good brush to hold fish moving in and out. Dan says the dock on the left with a ditch running in on its downstream side is a good place for spots to hold. This metal dock has a deck on top. There is brush here, and the ditch offers good structure. Fish around it very thoroughly.

No. 3: N 34º 20.391 – W 83º 56.751 — Fish back out or idle back to the point where you started, and go into the pocket upstream of it. There are six docks in this little pocket, and there is some gravel on the bottom. Bass will move into the very back of this little pocket to spawn, and they will also hold around the docks. Fish it like the back end of the creek in hole No. 2.

Dan likes to throw his Mojo rig in pockets like this one. It has a fairly flat bottom and fish will cruise around in it looking for a suitable spot to make a bed. Dan says a cruising bass will hit the Mojo rig better than other similar rigs. There is a small, secondary clay point on the downstream side of this cove and the last dock and the little pocket past it can contain spawning bass, too. That dock has some good brush out from it.

No. 4: N 34º 20.272 – W 83º 56.747 — Fish or idle out to the next downstream point. You will see a flat, rocky area on the upstream side of it, and the point is a hard, clay bottom. There is no house on the point, but a big new house is being built across the little downstream pocket from it. This is a good place to drag a Carolina rig into deeper water, and Dan says the spots especially like the little rock flat, so swim your Spotsticker jig over it. Fish both sides of this point and out on the end of it.

No. 5. N 34º 20.648 – W 83º 54.889 — Run up Latham Creek and go into the mouth of Johnson Creek. There is a big point on your left going up between channel markers 3JC and 4JC. Just upstream of this point, a small feeder creek enters from the left, and it has docks on the left going in. On the right is a flat point, and a roadbed runs down that side. You can see where the road comes out of the water on the left toward the back of the creek.

Dan starts out on the road about even with the outside end of the point on the right. He keeps his boat near the left side of the road going in and casts across the roadbed as well as making casts down the length of it. Some of the best spots along here are where little gravel points run out from the right bank to the roadbed. Make multiple casts to them with a Mojo and Carolina rig, as well as a Spotsticker jig.

Follow the roadbed all the way to where it comes out of the water. Fish all along it. Then, especially if there has been a cold front, turn and fish the docks back toward the mouth of the creek. The channel is on this side, there is 25 feet of water right at the front of these docks, and there is a lot of brush here, too. Dan caught a throwback in front of the second dock from the roadbed the day we fished, and we both thought more fish were there, but we didn’t have time to stay and fish for them.

No. 6: N 34º 17.280 – W 83º 56.784 — Out near the mouth of the Chestatee River is Dan’s “go to” spot, a small creek entering from the right as you go downstream. There are several small islands just upstream of channel marker 3C, and you want to go into the little creek upstream of them. Go to the back of the left-hand side, and there is a small cove on the left. On the left-side point is a blowdown, and there are three docks in it on the right.

Start at the blowdown, and fish around this pocket. You will see some stumps under the water here, and Dan says he has seen spots spawning on top of them. Work around this pocket and fish the docks and bank. The third dock coming out, the first one on your right going in, is bigger and has a small green awning on top of its upper deck. Skip your Trick Worm under this dock, and fish the little pocket on the right side of it, too.

No. 7: N 34º 17.383 – W 83º 56.868 — Fish around the secondary point and to the back of the main creek channel. There are some good rocks on the right side of this point as you face it, and the water drops off fast. As you come out of the back of this small creek, there are some docks to fish, and a shallow, flat pocket on the right side going in often has spawning bass in it. Fish the docks and pocket here.

No. 8: N 34º 18.756 – W 83º 57.200 — Head out of the Chestatee through the islands and into the mouth of Chestatee Bay. The first creek on your right runs back with two coves on the right side going in. It splits into two arms in the back. This is a creek where you could fish all day this month, catching bass from the mouth all the way to the back.

The bank downstream of the left point going into this creek has some patches of white rock, and those are a good place to throw a Carolina rig or a Spotsticker jig. Bass stage here first early in the month then move into the creek. It is also good late in the month when bass move back out of the creek. Fish the three patches of white rock and the little points running out between them. Then go around the sandy pocket in the mouth of the creek and fish the rocky point past it. Dan caught a good keeper spot off this point on a Carolina rig the day we fished.

There is a big boulder past this point, and the bank is steep. There are a couple of blowdowns along this bank to fish. Fish all the way down it, hitting the wood cover and the small pocket on the bank. In the back there are some docks and a point with big rocks on it between the two coves. Fish all the cover around the docks, and fish this point. Look for spawning largemouths on both sides of the back of this creek, then fish back out on the opposite side from where you came in. This side is flatter and has some gravel bottoms, so it is a good area for a Mojo rig. The last pocket on your left going out has a roadbed running down it, so make a few casts to it, too.

You could spend all day on the first four holes or this last one since there is a lot of cover and different structure on them. Bass will move in during the day and replenish the ones caught out. Fish these and then look for others. You can find your own “go to” spot by spending time on the lake using Dan’s methods.

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