Despite the cold nights and frigid winds of the past week, the overall weather has been warmer, and Lake Lanier’s fish have begun to notice. Cold winters force most of the marine life into a hibernation mode, but that period of inactivity will soon cease.
Any increase in water temperature awakens appetites in most fish and triggers their spawning instincts. This transformation occurs slightly all over the lake, but it happens quicker and is more pronounced on the most northern sections of Lake Lanier. In these shallower areas, immediate changes are felt by fish, and this year has begun fantastically for the crappie population. In fact, crappies in many areas have bunched together in great schools prior to moving into the shallows. For those of us who guide for these tasty sunfish, more than 100 catch days have already occurred.
In addition to the great crappie movement, big bass are ready to move into the shallows to feed as their metabolism increases with any warming trend. Also, the walleye population is silently contemplating their annual migration toward the upper Chattahoochee River in search of suitable spawning grounds. This tasty northern sport fish is only known to a small number of fishermen who visit Lanier. That’s because the walleye were only stocked one time back in the early 1960’s when biologists were experimenting with the introduction of several cold water species.
Despite the low numbers that were put into Lanier’s fertile waters, they have reproduced well enough to maintain a standing population. Walleyes are probably not numerous enough to target during most of the year, but certainly a sufficient amount are available to warrant angling for them during their spawning run.
Unlike most other fish in Lake Lanier, the walleye thrives in colder water, and their urge to reproduce is triggered at a much lower temperature than any other predator in the lake. In fact, the walleye population is already moving toward the upper river shoals to lay their eggs.
Since the sections of the rivers that annually produce the best catches of walleyes are quite shallow and littered with huge rocks that destroy propellers, the problem for many anglers is reaching the areas where walleyes congregate in enough numbers to readily catch them. That problem is solved by a jet boat, which will run in less than an inch of water.
Catching walleyes, however, is not always easy. They can often be as difficult to pattern as black bass. Nevertheless, if the river isn’t high and muddy from heavy rains, walleye catches are generally very good throughout the spring.
Crappie Fishing ResultsIn addition to the crappies and bass, as soon as the water temperature exceeds 55 degrees, the white bass and then the stripers will be headed north again, and for those lucky enough to locate a big school of white bass, it can be nonstop action. In with those thousands of white bass, however, one might find a lifetime trophy striper lurking this spring.
Other than the great crappie fishing that is already in full swing, the promise of spring is on the horizon. Another fishing season has begun, and it will only become more productive and exciting from no until summer!