I wish every month was May, good weather, good fishing, that’s about as good as things get. The biggest problem with May is deciding what to fish for and how to fish for it! So here are some options if you are planning, and you should be, a trip to Lanier.
The stripers are pretty angler friendly right now, but you have to find them first. The fish remain scattered and they are still moving around quite a bit so be versatile and keep looking. Be prepared to use a variety of methods, Freelines, downlines, and weighted downlines are all productive techniques right now, be prepared to use all three or a combination of all three to maximize your opportunities. Watch to sonar to determine the best depth to place the baits.
The umbrella rig is also a good option and if the wind starts howling the rig can be a lifesaver. Pull the rig 15 to 20 feet deep over 20 to 30 foots humps, over points, or simply down the bank. For the most part, if you see the fish on the sonar, they will take the rig! Because trolling is such a high saturation technique, it is also a great way to locate fish.
Topwaters are taking a few fish and hopefully this bite will get a little stronger in the coming days. Cast Redfins, Zara Spooks, or Chug Bugs over humps and long tapering points for the best results. Keep your boat in 40 feet and retrieve the plugs over a 10 to 25 foot bottom. This technique will yield some big Spotted Bass a bonus!
Bass fishing is also very good and there are several techniques that will get your string stretched! One structure that has been consistently holding fish are the many stump flats in Lanier. In addition to holding plenty of fish they are located throughout the lake in abundance and fairly easy to find. Almost any bait can be effective over the stumps, but I really like to slow roll a spinnerbait over these areas. Cast the spinnerbait (1/4 oz. light color skirt with nickel blades) to the bank and then slowly retrieve the bait allowing it to continually gain depth all the way back to the boat. Many of the fish on these flats are in 7 to 18 feet, and allowing the bait to follow the contours of the bottom will often take the deeper fish that are too reluctant to come up and take the bait if is on or near the surface. Jerkbaits (McStiks and Pointers) are also good choices to work over the stumps and if the bass do not respond to either of those baits show them the go to bait, Roboworms on a shaky head or a Texas Rig.
Crappie fishing is also pretty good, docks are the primary structure, but free standing brush is also holding some nice groups of fish. The fish are starting to bunch up nicely and are easy to see on the sonar. The Bobby Garland baits in Pearl and key lime have been effective, as have the Crappie Country Chenille jigs in the #3 and #10 color patterns. Many anglers stow away the Crappie gear after April but that is a mistake. The Crappie will often do the same thing in the post spawn, even use some of the same places, that they we doing in the prespawn, and the fishing pressure is decreased. May and early June often can be very prolific months so keep the Crappie gear handy for a few more weeks!
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