John's Journal...

How to Fish the Toughest Lake in America with Adam McClellan

How to Pick a Dock to Shoot and What Time to Shoot Docks

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: Adam McClellan of Cumming, Georgia, fishes the toughest lake in America just outside Atlanta - Lake Lanier. "The water clarity on Lake Lanier during the summer months sometimes exceeds 7 feet," McClellan says. Lanier is a major recreational lake with plenty of water skiers, jet skiers, boaters and other outdoor water recreation activities that can and does interfere with fishing. This week, we'll see how McClellan not only fishes this lake, but also successfully catches fish. Adam and his father, Stokes McClellan, fish the Southern Crappie Association tournaments, as well as the Crappie USA tournaments.

Question: What time of day do you shoot docks?Click to enlarge
McClellan: I've found that on Lake Lanier, the best time to shoot docks is from daylight until about 10:00 am, and in the afternoon between 4:00 pm and nighttime. This is the time I seem to catch the bigger fish.

Question: How many docks do you have to fish to find and catch crappie on Lake Lanier? McClellan: I usually fish 12 to 15 docks before I find the dock that's holding crappie that day. The more time you spend on the water fishing a lake, the more you learn which docks tend to hold crappie. Once you know the docks that usually hold crappie, you can go from the best docks to the next-best docks and catch more crappie in a short period. When I locate the piers and the docks that are holding crappie, I usually can bet on those same ones to be holding crappie every time I go to the lake to fish. I don't know whether it's the shape of the pier, the amount of cover under the pier or if there's a drop-off near thClick to enlargeat dock that causes the crappie to be around one dock more than the other. I've learned that the piers closest to deep water tend to hold the most crappie, regardless of the season. In other words, if you're fishing a dock that comes to the edge of a creek channel, a river channel, a drop-off or a point, it will usually hold crappie more consistently than a flat-sitting dock.

Question: How many crappie will you usually take off each dock?
McClellan: The day I caught 32 crappie off one dock was highly-unusual.
If I locate a dock that's holding crappie, I generally can catch 8 to 15 crappie off a single dock. Very-few docks hold only one or two crappClick to enlargeie. The fish either are there, or they aren't.

Question: Once you've learned the lake, and you know the docks that hold crappie, how many docks will you usually fish in one morning?
McClellan: If you're traveling from good dock to good dock, you can easily fish 12 of them and be able to catch a limit of fish with this tactic.

Question: Most people don't fish Lake Lanier for crappie because it's clear, deep and has too much boat traffic. Why did you decide to fish the lake and use dock shooting as your tactic?
McClellan: In the spring of 2006, I saw many crappie anglers on the northern end of the lake, which usually stays stained more than the southern end of the lake. After May, most of the crappie anglers leave the lake. I pretty much have the lake to myself other than a few other crappie anglers. The crappie that I'm fishing for during July, August and September have experienced very-little fishing pressure.

Tomorrow: Where Does Shooting Docks Pay Off Besides Lake Lanier?

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Fish the Toughest Lake in America with Adam McClellan "

Day 1: How to Shoot a Dock
Day 2: How to Fish the Jig
Day 3: How to Pick a Dock to Shoot and What Time to Shoot Docks
Day 4: Where Does Shooting Docks Pay Off Besides Lake Lanier?
Day 5: Stripers on Deep Clear Lakes


Entry 364, Day 3