Captain Clay’s Lake Lanier Fishing Report
Water Temperature: 58 degrees
Lake Level: Approx. 1056
Stripers: Finally getting a little rain and a few more boat ramps have opened. Hard to get excited because of how far we are still behind. Last year at this time the lake level was 1068. As anyone can see, if the drought continues this summer, we will be in major trouble. Spring is finally starting to show up and the water temperature is rising fast. As a result, the larger stripers are heading up the rivers to try to spawn. The river system is to short for successful spawning but the stripers still make the attempt to spawn. Peak water temperature for spawning is 65 degrees. April is one of the best months to find the fish shallow. Free lines and planer boards are the ticket this time of year. A free line is simply a plain line with a hook a planer board is a directional devise that helps get the bait away from the boat. Let it out 100 feet behind the boat and slowly move down the bank line. Blueback herring is the best bait for the free line day in and day out on Lake Lanier. Most of your bites will be on the points. Bucktails are accounting for a good number of fish this spring so far. With much of the lake being stained from the rain, try to pick bucktails with some color like chartreuse. Chartreuse is a hard color to beat in stained water.
After dark the striper bite continues, the fish will be in ultra shallow water and provide some explosive strikes. The bait of choice is a 7/8oz. Long –A Bomber in various colors. The three key colors are pink, black, and baby striper. Cast the lure as shallow as possible on shallow flats and sand bars. Reel the lure very slow and the fish will do the rest. Same as in the daytime, the better fishing is up in the warmer creeks. Just be very careful and try to avoid the nights after the rain due to the floating debris.
Bass: During April, the spotted bass will be in various stages. A variety of techniques will catch the fish this month. Keep a rod rigged up with a 3/16oz. Spotsticker jig head with a zoom finesse worm in any color as long as it is green. Baby bass, key lime pie and green pumpkin are three of the best colors this time of year. Work the bait slowly across the bottom. If you feel any pressure set the hook or the fish may be gone. Another excellent technique in April is to throw a 1/8oz. round ball head jighead tipped with a 3 or 4-inch single tail grub in sand or chartreuse sparkle. Work the rocky clay banks and some days you will catch a limit of spotted bass. Try to use 8-pound test line on the jig head. With heavier line you will cut your number of bites. Once the sun gets up and the wind begins to pick up, get out the spinnerbaits. This will produce some better fish. Mini-me spinnerbaits are the most popular on Lake Lanier. Try a 1/2oz. Mini-me with double willow leaf nickel blades and a white skirt. Due to the amount of stained water be sure to keep some chartreuse spinnerbaits in the boat this year. Jerbaits are another choice and will also produce some big fish. The Rapala X-Rap jerkbaits have been doing well for weeks. Cast the bait out on the points and use a jerk- pause-jerk-jerk-pause retrieve. The fish will hit on the pause almost every time. Same as the spinnerbaits, the jerkbaits usually work better on the windier days so that the fish do not get as good a look at the bait. A little stain in the water helps as well.
Crappie: Crappie fishing will continue to be good during April. So far this spring, the crappie fishing has been better than normal. We have been catching some huge slabs in the cast nets while catching gizzard shad for striper fishing. The fish will be shallow as possible most of the time. Look first in the shallow water from two to four feet of water. Look for any brush and trees in the water even if it is a simple single stick up. Anchor near the brush and cast crappie minnows as close to the brush as possible. Use a size 6 or 4 light wire hook with an extra long shank. To be exact, use a 202ELR hook by Eagle Claw. If you are close enough to the brush use a weightless float. If you have kids with you, be sure to use the weighted floats. Most of the weighted floats will be orange or chartreuse and have a band of lead across the bottom. . The better fishing for the most part will be on the north end of the lake due to the stained water. If you fish the south end, try the back of Bald Ridge and Four Mile Creek. The stained water is very important to the crappie fishing on Lanier. The crappie are too spooky in the clear water. If you want to try brush in the clearer water try to fish early or late in the day. The lure of choice is any 1/32 ounce chartreuse and white jig. You really need the very lightweight jig for the slow fall. If you have a hard time getting them to bite try tipping the jig with a minnow. If the water is very stained go to a red and chartreuse jig. One last thing, be sure to use 4 pound test line for the crappie. The crappie are very line sensitive.