Lake Sidney Lanier has some of the best freshwater fishing in the Southeast. From striper to largemouth and spotted bass to crappie, walleye, and catfish, you will create great fishing memories here. There are plenty of locations to fish from the shore, but fishing from your boat is superb. With all the little islands and inlets you are sure to find your favorite spot.
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As much fun as fishing is for adults, fishing can be just as fun and educational for kids! Commemorate your child’s first catch with this fun “First Fish” certificate provided by the DNR.
compiled by Ken Sturdivant, Southern Fishing
Lake level: Down 1 foot
Clarity: Main lake clear, creeks stained
Bass: Bass fishing is barely fair. It’s a tough deep bite for most of the lake. Bass are on the deep docks mid-lake. The fish are very fat as they have been gorging on tiny shad. And the fish are under the deeper docks, ditches, and in the deep to 35 feet man made and natural brush piles. Find them with the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology as they are barely moving. They seem to be waiting for a warm-up to try and move shallow.
Use the small spoons, small jigs, and small worms but we have had little success. Try and scale down baits to the 2 inch Bass Pro Shop Squirt jigs in multiple colors. Use a small 1/8 ounce Bass Pro Shops jig head in a lead color and add some Jack’s Juice to the bag of baits. Fishing these baits is a real chore in any wind so pick some creeks down lake with larger docks to try this. Large marina docks are also holding some really big fish. We have been on three marinas on the main lake and the fish are anywhere from 20 to as deep as 45 feet.
Without the Lowrance it is hard to see these fish. They are up under the docks and Structure Scan is the way to see them. Use small 6-pound test Sufix line on a medium action spinning reel and drop baits straight down. Recently the roadbeds, humps and deep ledges were almost barren of fish until we hit the right place. There were no fish in the docks in the backs of the creeks if the water was dirty. It’s still very cold down deep and it looks like it may be another 10 days or so before any warm up. Take some small spoons in sizes no larger than half an ounce or smaller and use 8 Sufix Siege pound line on a medium-heavy spinning reel. Find the fish on the Lowrance Down Scan technology with the Fish Reveal and use it on the DOWN Scan so the fish appear like on regular sonar. Use the vertical jig in a 1/2 to 3/4 ounce spoon. Report by Phil Johnson, Pjohnson15@hotmail.com or call 770 366-8845.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. The hot bite target zone is 15 to 20 feet. The bite is super soft so keep your pole in your hands and feel for the slightest bump. When using jigs try putting two different colors on one line about 16 inches apart to see what color they are hitting. Then concentrate on what they want. There’s no need throwing all jigs if they only want minnows that day. Recently it has been 80 percent minnows and 20 percent jigs. I have had the best luck with a clear to milky jig and a red and black hair jig. Look for open water deep brush piles in 30 to 45 feet of water. Use a heavy jig head to get you down there quickly. Also look under docks that are in 20 to 40 feet of water and have brush or structure. Use your electronic charts to locate these areas.
Try down lining crappie minnows with a sinker or set up a slip bobber. I’m using ATX lure company’s jigs on five pound test, high visibility yellow K9 braid for my line (unless I am using a bobber) and a Piscifun reel on a light action six foot B&M rod. Use scanning type sonar (down and side imaging) to locate schooling fish, and complement this with the latest in live scanning sonar technology like Garmin’s LiveScope, Humminbird 360 or Lowrance’s LiveSight. Set waypoints on your electronic charts so that you can quickly return to productive locations. You can do this on a smartphone using the Navionics Boating app.
Report by Captain Josh Thornton, 770 530-6493.
Bait & Tackle Shops
Buford Dam Bait & Tackle – (706) 429-7211
2595 Buford Dam Rd, Cumming, GA 30041
Located in Chevron station
Hammond’s Fishing – (770) 888-6898
4255 Browns Bridge Rd, Cumming, GA 30041
Daniel’s Grocery – (770) 887-7052
2355 Pilgrim Mill Rd, Cumming, GA 30041
Oakwood Bait & Tackle Shop – (770) 965-9400
5422 McEver Rd, Oakwood, GA 30566
Kelly Brown Bait & Tackle – (423) 509-3708
3535 Thompson Bridge Rd, Gainesville, GA 30506
Sherry’s Bait & Barbecue – (678) 971-5607
2807 Dawsonville Hwy, Gainesville, GA 30506
STOP BY FOOD MART#2 – (770) 536-6421
2145 Cleveland Hwy, Gainesville, GA 30506
The Outdoor Depot – (770) 539-9356
250 John W Morrow Jr Pkwy, Gainesville, GA 30501
Located in Gainesville West Shopping Center
Happy Hooker, Inc. – (770) 867-4814
104 S Broad St, Winder, GA 30680
Check out these videos of fishing on Lake Lanier …