For those who love fishing rivers, this is the beginning of a memorable spring season! Stripers and white bass are in the beginning stages of their annual spawning migration up into the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers above Lake Lanier, the walleyes are already on their spawning run, crappie are moving shallow, and a “Chattahoochee Grand Slam” (a shoal bass, largemouth bass, and a spotted bass on the same day) is now possible in the upper reaches of the lake above Belton Bridge.
A few days of extra-warm weather has triggered the mating instinct in the white bass and striped bass, and the run is on in the northernmost waters of the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers. The excitement began as soon as the temperature crept above the 50 degree mark, and all the muddy water from recent rains had cleared.
Many of the migrating white bass and stripers travel up into the Chestatee River as far as the shoals above Highway 400 or on the Chattahoochee River to the rocky runs above Belton Bridge. Without proper knowledge or the right type of boat, however, anglers often find themselves in life threatening situations in the upper rivers. Therefore, so that my clients can sample the great white bass and striper fishing, the walleye spawn, and have a chance at the “Slam” in these areas in safety, I use a specially-designed, jet-powered, aluminum river boat.
Though not in as large numbers, white bass and striped bass are also found in areas south of the river shoals where they are more accessible to conventional craft. These fish seem to prefer sandy flats near the moving water of one of the main river channels.
The area from White Sulphur Access Point north to Lula Bridge on the Chattahoochee and from Wilkie Bridge to just north of Lumpkin County Park on the Chestatee side is excellent. Especially productive spots are the mouth of Yellow Creek and the big bend in the river near Lumpkin County Park.
Casting the edge of these flats with my 1/8th or 1/4 ounce Swirleybirds, Blakemore Roadrunners, or 1/8th ounce jig and curlytail grubs can be effective as a means of locating the schools. White or chartreuse are always excellent color choices.
Other white bass and stripers make their spawning runs into major tributaries around the lake. Flowery Branch, Bald Ridge, Six-Mile, Four-Mile, and Flat Creeks are good spawning areas for these fish.
The striped bass and their cousins, the white bass, are headed north again, and for those lucky enough to locate a large school of either species, it can be an explosive experience. Also, a chance at catching a “Chattahoochee Grand Slam” is possible for the next two months. So, if you need more information, guide service, or Swirleybird spinners, check www.georgiafishing.com.