Lake Lanier Fishing Report May 19 2018 | Sponsored by Hayes Automotive
Weekly report from Captain Mack Farr.
Lanier is fishing well and water temps have heated up to more seasonally normal levels. The lake level still .59 feet over full at 1071.59, with surface temps around 77 degrees.
Striper fishing has improved with anglers reporting better catches in terms of numbers and consistency. The Stripers are being a little more angler friendly, with the possible exception of the fish on lights, more on that later. Fishing is good all day, with a good early am peak, largely due to the Shad /Herring Spawn. Look for the spawning bait fish around lights, rocky points and rip rap areas. or sandy saddles. Live baits on free lines and planers will get the bite here, but keep something handy to cast to any surfacing fish, a Sebile Magic Swimmer or a Chug Bug are both good choices for this application. Using the top waters and swim baits is not limited to casting to surfacing fish, casting these same baits over saddles, to areas of spawning bait, or over points and humps less than 25 feet may draw strikes from Stripers cruising over these areas, even if they are not on top chasing bait. Inclement weather seems to enhance that bite, and looking at a 10 day forecast, we have plenty of rain and overcast conditions in the forecast to support that pattern.
The after hours light pattern is still accounting for some fish, although they are a little more particular than normal and some nights they can be hard to catch. Most lights are holding fish, main lake or back in the creeks, and both the submerged or underwater lights are effective. Try a variety of baits until you tweak the bite, Jerk baits, swim baits, Flukes and jigs are always some favorites, downsizing both the lure and the line size may be a big plus. I don’t think the lighter line is stealthier, it just allows for longer cast if you are trying to stay off the fish or if you are presenting small, light baits.
The saddle pattern I have been mentioning in recent weeks may be the best overall pattern, this technique is effective all over the lake, throughout the day. Free lined Herring, 60 to 80 feet behind the boat or planer board have been consistently producing, a small split seems to be a plus as well. I have not necessarily been seeing lots of fish on the sonar, often small groups or singles, and using the side imaging or 360 will help you evaluate how many fish are on a given area. This technique may or may not produce big numbers of fish off one place but you can consistently hook up singles with this technique if you will keep moving from saddle to saddle. Concentrate on saddles that bottom out around 20 feet.
Bass fishing has been good with several techniques and baits accounting for some very good catches! Will still have Bass scattered depth wise, so factor that in as you search for fish. Shallow humps, points with a nice flat taper, and sand saddles are all producing well. Add to the list anywhere you see Shad Or Herring spawning in the early am hours. The Sebile Magic Swimmer is hard to beat here, but any of your favorite swim baits should produce well. Top waters such as the Chug Bugs, Gunfish, or the old reliable Zara Spooks will also be effective. Tie your knots well, on most days the Stripers will test them out for you!
Main lake brush in the 18 to 25 foot range is holding good numbers of fish and that pattern will only get better as we go further into May. Topwaters, swim baits, and of course worms are all strong choices for the brush piles. This bite will produce all day, but afternoons may be best.
We are starting to see a decent number of surfacing fish, they are up and down quickly, but if you can get them a bait they will generally pounce on it. Topwaters are the favorites here, but small compact baits such as spoons or Steel Shads cast well and often match up well size wise with the Threadfins that the Bass are chasing. If nothing else, when you see these schoolers, even if there are only two or three, go to where you saw them and do a sonar search, those two or three will often show you a much larger group!
Crappie Fishing’s overall good! Many anglers often forget about the Crappie after the spawn is completed, that is a mistake as May is generally an excellent month to target Crappie. The fish have recovered from the rigors of the spawn, they are congregating in big bunches. The water temps have warmed to the point the fish are active, but not lethargic like they become in mid to late Summer. Docks are probably the best structure, look for the fish to be under docks 8 to 15 feet deep over a 15!to 25 foot bottom. Brush in roughly the same depths will also be likely areas to search for fish, and don’t pass up the uplake bridges piling without taking a glance with the side imaging. 1:24 oz jigs will be hard to beat, but the larger 1/16 oz heads can be an asset in these depths, and more so as the fish continue to move deeper with warmer water. Minnows, under a slip cork are also very productive!!