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Outdoors: Crappie found mostly in schools around brush piles

POSTED: April 12, 2014 2:10 a.m.
 

The rains have brought the lake level up. Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,071.93 feet or .93 feet above a full pool of 1,071.

Main Lake temperatures start out in the mid 50s and rise during the day to around 60 degrees.

The main lake is clear to stained and rivers and creeks are very stained to muddy from pollen and recent rains in the backs. The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: This past week’s weather has cooled the water down a bit, but it rises during sunny days.

The bass fishing continues to be good. Seasoned anglers know that when the dogwoods bloom, that is the time to go.

We saw plenty of bedding bass on nests last week, then they calmed a little after this week’s torrential down pours.

There is a lot of muddy water in the creeks and the water in the pockets is stained from pollen, but the muddy water will subside while to pollen increases. The spawning will continue to improve as the weekend moves through and the full moon approaches.

I love to fish shallow and that is the order of the day this week.

The majority of the bass population will relate to water less than 20 feet deep. Skipping jig head worms around docks, fishing Texas Rigs and other moving lures are all working in these same areas and also around rocky and clay banks.

The pockets will produce numbers of small and large bass alike. Search for the warmest water available and fish these areas hard. There are plenty of fish around, and anglers can really load the boat when they do the right things.

Some anglers are junk fishing, which basically means throwing a variety of lures and catching fish on different patterns. You may cast a spinner bait down laydowns one minute and then catch another on a rubber worm, so keep your options open.

The docks have held a lot of fish, but targeting the right docks will out-produce just randomly fishing all of them. Look for areas that have harder bottoms as opposed to silty, muddy areas. Rock, clay and sand are all the areas that bass prefer to pawn around and they will be the areas to target.

I continued to throw the same lures — a 1/8th ounce straight tail Big Bites finesse worm on a 1/8-ounce Alien Head, a Jerk bait like a SPRO McStick and a small mid-diving crank bait.

Alternating these lures may work best for some anglers, while others do better by sticking with their best techniques and going with what they know.

I know one angler that will throw a Texas Rigged Lizard and he does very well by never switching. That is the good thing about the next month: you can stick with your confidence lure and catch fish all day long.

Look for the majority of Lake Lanier’s bass population to be spawning this next week as the full moon shines bright on April 15.

Stripers remain a strong option this week, and both sizes and numbers of the fish are biting in the right areas.

 

There is a lot of bait midway back in the creeks both up and down lake. The rivers and the river channel swing close to main lake coves and are great areas to explore. There are still some loons and gulls giving away the best locations, but there can still be large numbers of stripers in an area where no birds appear.

Use your electronics to show the schools of threadfin and bluebacks. Target the areas that show bait and fish on the screen.

Set your Side Imaging to scan out a 100-foot area, so when you find the large schools of bait, the stripers should be close by. These fish can move quickly, so continue to watch for them throughout your trip and move around as needed.

Stick with live herring, trout and gizzard shad on flat lines and planner boards. Like bass, a large majority of stripers are located in 20 feet of water or less. Use your flat lines unless you see fish deeper on your electronics.

Ninety percent of your fish will probably bite shallow. Also keep a SPRO Buck tail with a Fluke or Jerk Shad trailer at the ready to cast to any rolling fish you see.

Night fishing has been slower, but there are some fish biting after dark in the backs of the creeks.

Target dock that have lights that stay on all night and make sure you can see bait. If there is not bait, move on.

Bomber Long As and McStick 110s continue to be the go to baits, but don’t hesitate to cast buck tails or drag live bait after dark. These techniques can save an otherwise slow night.

Crappie fishing has been good, but I have spoken to some people who may struggle to find them. Reports show that the fish are grouped up and the key seems to be docks, brush piles and wood like trees laying in the water.

The jig shooting bite has been strong. Te technique takes some practice, but watch YouTube videos or hire a guide to show you this unique method of using the bend in an ultralight rod to shoot small crappie jigs up under docks.

The crappie are schooled up, so if you fish minnows or shot jigs and you don’t catch a fish pretty quickly, move on to more productive water. The stained water in the creeks is holding the majority of fish. Look for stained water because it warms quicker, but fishing may be slower if the water is very muddy.

Trout: Nothing much has changed and trout fishing remains very good.

Some of the trout streams got a little muddy and this makes fishing more difficulty, but look for the water to clear up by this weekend.

The DNR has stocked the streams and rivers up in the mountains and also the Chattahoochee and the weather should be great.

The worm fishing has been very good where live bait is permitted. Clip a 1/2 ounce split shot about 2-3 feet above your small hooks and thread a live red wiggler or a half a night crawler and fish these down steam in the pools just below the rapids.

All types of fishing are working, so whether you like spin fishing with a small Rooster Tail or Mepps or fly fishing with both wet and dry flies, the fishing this next few week should be good.

Bank Fishing: The bream, bass and crappie are all biting, so bank fishing should be good.

Lake Lanier is a great place as well as the many small ponds and creeks in our area. Look in the shallow coves for pan fish and cast a Beetle Spin.

Rooster Tail of the old reliable cricket or worm under a bobber and you should be able to figure out the best way to catch fish shallow. As in all instances, if you do not get a bite move on down the bank.

Target trees laying in the water, weedy banks or areas around the docks.

One note on taking the kids fishing: I have said this many times but it is worth repeating. When you take kids fishing, try to make that time all about them.

I speak from experience, because when I first took my son fishing I would get frustrated that I was always retying his lines and clearing snags, and he would get bored and start throwing rocks. Allow your kids to enjoy Gods great outdoors. Bring plenty of snacks, drinks and a lot of patience.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. Contact him at esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit his website at aldrichfishing.com.

 

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