by Henry Cowen
April may be the BEST month to fish area lakes throughout No Georgia. It is easily one of the two or three months to fish for both striped bass and spotted bass on nearly all our area lakes. What makes April so productive is that the winter pattern has ended, and we are fully ingrained with warm spring-like temperatures every day. This has the fish committed to two things; eating and spawning. Both of these are based on warmer water temperatures.
Striped bass the most part will already be up to the upper reaches of the river systems their lakes are formed by. While this usually starts in end of March and goes thru April, this year we will see this event already post season as the water temps sent the fish up river earlier than normal.
Not all fish head north. Some fish will head to the backs of some of the larger creeks where there is a good source of fresh water. This is when the fish will get SHALLOW. However, for anglers wanting to take advantage of the spawn, all one has to do is head north into the river system. The fish will bunch up in huge numbers. This will last from two to three weeks as all the fish do not make the run at the same time. For anglers fishing Lake Lanier, all you need to do is head up either the Chattahoochee or the Chestatee Rivers to wait for their return down river in this annual event. While most fish are still feeding on threadfin shad in the 2”-3” range, do not hesitate to toss flies that are a tad larger than that.
Equipment remains the same in that we toss both 8 and 9 weight fly rods. Lines are still the same in that it is best to employ both an intermediate (slow sinking) and fast sinking fly lines in case you are finding fish in water 8’-10’ deep (fast sinking line) or 2’-5’ deep (intermediate slow sinking line). Clousers, Coyotes and Something Else flies are still your best bet. For anglers with conventional tackle, it is best to toss medium action rods with 12-pound test line and have an assortment of baits with them. Some of my favorites are flukes (weighted and un-weighted), ¼ ounce bucktails, Mcsticks, Scroungers and Krocodile spoons. The first week to ten days of April will see the tail end of this pattern this year since it is happening in March. You can start fishing points in the dark using Long A Bombers. That bite is usually kept very quiet by in-the-know striped bass aficionados.
Anglers will also find spotted bass getting shallower at this time of the year in preparation for their spawn. Anglers need to fish in the 3’ to 8’ depth and toss a little lighter tackle (6 and 7 weight rods) for these bass that are getting very aggressive. Tossing flies on points up shallow as well as fishing the grass flats will have you finding lots of hungry spotted bass. Largemouth will also start getting active and now is the chance to catch a trophy fish up shallow and on dock lights too!
I would even guess that the beloved Redfin bite which normally starts toward the end of April will begin by the full moon in April this year. It is the ONLY time I may not use a fly rod on Lanier day in and day out. When a striper eats a Redfin, they want to completely destroy it on the surface! It is the perfect combination of beauty, excitement and good fishing.
Take advantage of April on your area lake and go have a ball. See you on the pond!