Lanier: Level: About 1 foot low. Temp: High 60s. Clarity: Clear on the main lake and stained in the backs of the creeks.
Spotted Bass: Excellent. Guide Ryan Coleman reports, “The full moon in late April brought up a huge wave of spots and largemouth to the shallows for the spawn. There are fish all over the lake up shallow. We should also have another big wave of fish come up in May to spawn, as well as a few in June. Excellent patterns right now are shallow docks and reef poles, as well as secondary points near the spawning areas. I have been sticking to the offshore stuff, and we have had some nice catches. I am working reef poles early in the day with moving baits, then working my way up shallow with bottom-contact lures. We are also seeing some herring up in the shallows to spawn, but that bite will increase in May. As the herring move shallow to spawn, look for them on sandy and rocky areas in the mid-lake area in the first hour of the day. A spinnerbait or small topwater worked extremely shallow will draw some great bites from big spotted bass hanging around waiting for the spawning herring. For now, I have been working wake baits and 1-oz. Mini Me spinnerbaits around the reef poles early in the day, then jerkbaits and plastics rigged on a SpotSticker jig head later in the day. Fish very shallow and very slow with the plastics. If you can’t see the bottom somewhere close to where you are fishing, you may be fishing too deep. As May rolls in, look for the spots to start feeding and be hanging around very shallow docks in the backs of the pockets and roaming around the rocky reef poles throughout the day. A small topwater bait or spinnerbait is excellent to catch these feeding fish.” For a feature on Ryan’s May plan for spots on Lanier, turn to page 16.
Stripers: Big Fish On Guide Service reports, “Striper fishing has picked up this week as the weather has stabilized. The temperature is rising, and the topwater bite should continue as the water temperature approaches 70 degrees. There are four key lures you should take with you: a wake bait, like the Red Fin, a walk-the-dog bait, like the Spook, a chugger bait, like a Chug Bug, and a Capt. Mack’s 1/2-oz. bucktail jig. If there is a wind and a corresponding chop on the lake, the Red Fin has been working best. If there is little to no wind, the bucktail jig has been the go-to bait. There are fish on points and reef markers lake wide. Run and gun those areas, make a few casts with each until you figure out what they want that day. Don’t blast right up on the shallow areas, but use your trolling motor to get you the final 50 yards into casting distance. Live blueback herring pulled on freelines and planer boards are also working shallow early and a little bit deeper as the sun gets high. Fish your planer boards with a single split-shot 35 to 50 feet behind the boards, and set your freelines at 70 to 100 feet behind the boat. If you are fishing herring, keep someone on the front deck casting a topwater or a jig. Keep your trolling motor speed between 0.6 and 1.0 mph. Target halfway back in the creeks, and pull flats, reef poles and points. A big bait will still get you a big fish. Large gizzards, trout and the larger river herring are all getting bit. Don’t hesitate to put those large baits on a 6-oz. downrod. We continue to get some reports of a night bite with Bombers on points. The umbrella rig is also working. Set your umbrella rigs at 70 to 90 feet behind the boat, and pull at 2.6 to 3.3 mph. Flat Creek, Balus Creek and the creeks up the Chestatee have continued to be the hot spots. We are also getting reports of fish in the north and south end creeks. As we get into May, look for the strong 2013 year class to start schooling up and moving deeper off points. They will also start moving out of the creeks toward the main lake. You might find them shallow on a mid-creek point at first light and be fishing 30-foot downrods of a creek-mouth point by 11. Downrods will start to catch more fish then freelines. There’s nothing wrong with heavily weighted freelines with 1/4- to 1/2-oz. egg sinkers 30 to 50 feet back. Just remember if you stop on a school to work with the downrods, those heavily weighted lines will sink quick, so if there are brushpiles around, shorten them up to 20 feet or so.”