Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Also See:

Lake Hartwell Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Lanier Fishing Report from Captain Mack

Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Country Fishing – fishing reports on Lakes Sinclair and Oconee, and more. (subscription required)

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Freshwater Fishing Reports

Texas Parks and Wildlife Weekly Saltwater Reports

Jeff Nail’s Lake Lanier Bass Fishing Report

Lake Lanier Weekly Report
24 March 2023

Water Level: 0.37 feet BELOW full pool. 

Water Temp: After a roller coaster of a ride over the past week to ten days, the water temps are starting to flirt with that magical 60-degree mark.  On Thursday, my Garmin was reading low to mid 50s in the morning and high 50s in some places in the afternoon. My Lowrance units were reading mid 50s in the AM and 60/61 in the evening. 

Water Clarity: 8+ feet on the main lake with increasing stain going up the river arms.  The backs of the creeks have cleared up immensely over the past week, but I would not call the backs “clear,” at least by Lanier standards. The further up the river arms you go, the more stain in the water, which is completely typical for this time of year and it’s also why bass generally start the spawning process above the 53 bridges before the lower end of the lake.

Even being post cold front, the lake fished much better for me this week compared to last.  I had several client trips and several solo days this week before heading to the Classic Friday AM.  

Like the past two weeks, two patterns produced most of the fish.  A finesse swimbait in the vary backs of creeks on flats and dragging a worm.

As with the past two weeks, I found large schools located on flats in the backs of some creek arms.  This is not something that is happening everywhere, but if you put in the time and find one of these places you will not need to crank the big motor again until it’s time to leave.  The key is not spooking the bait as you move in and to keep your lure underneath the schools of threadfin.  A chatterbait, A-rig, and crank bait will catch some of these fish, but the most effective way I have found to catch them is slowly winding a finesse swimbait along the bottom. 

I rig the bait on a 1/8 oz head and make as long of a cast as possible.  I will let the bait hit the bottom then start a slow steady retrieve back to the boat.  I also keep my head on a swivel looking for shad flickering on the surface.  That is where I am going to cast next.  Again, this is not a time to put the motor on high and chase bait pods.  Just ease around, cast around and keep your eyes open.  If the bait is there, the fish will be there too.   Make your swimbait look like a stunned shad barley hanging on to dear life and you will get bit. 

In addition to the backs of the creeks, this technique will also work in the “guts” of spawning flats as well.  This produced one of the biggest fish on Thursday.  

A shaky head probably produced the most fish this week.  Two different rigs were the most productive.  First, on the advice of a close fishing buddy, I started to throw a Z-Man Big TRD on a 1/4oz Boss head.  I did this early in the week and had a lot of success with it.  Later in the week I changed gears back to my old trusty 3/16 Davis head with a Trixster Tamale in sweat baby candy.  This bait loaded my boat last spring and summer, and it appears that this year will be no different. 

When fishing the worm, clay banks and rocky secondary points in the mornings on sunny days and all day on cloudy days.  When the sun gets high, it’s time to target the shade lines on medium depth docks.  Again, most of the fish that I am catching off docks are still coming from the middle to the deep side of the dock.  For the clay banks and points, I am casting into about 4/6 FOW and working the bait back.  Some bites are coming very shallow while some are coming deeper.  It is just a sign that the fish are in transition. 

I posted a video this week on my FB page that shows the hookset that I use for a Shakey head.  This is also the same hookset I use with a finesse swimbait.  If you are breaking off a lot of fish on your hookset with light line, check it out.  I think it will help improve your hookup and land ratio.  There is a shot of the actual video as well as a slow motion.

With the forecasted weather and a full moon approaching in the first week of April, more and more fish will continue to pull out of deeper water and head towards the banks.  The next 6 weeks or so is one of the best times of the year to catch pure numbers of fish with some very good ones mixed in. 

Some other baits that have produced for me this week are a crankbait, chatterbait, and jerk bait. 

Thank you, Tabor Reins at Advantage Boat Center, for getting me scheduled and my 100hr service completed in one day.  I really appreciate the support in keeping me on the water day after day. 

For March I have 29th and 30th available.  For early April, I have the 1, 3, 4, 5, 7th available as well as a few dates later in the month, although it is filling up quickly.

I want to thank everyone for the support, it is greatly appreciated. 

Best of luck this week on the water, it is getting exciting out there.



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