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Lake Lanier fishing report: Stripers and bass fatten up for the winter

POSTED: November 12, 2009 8:41 p.m.

Lake Lanier is above full pool at 1,072.8 feet. Lake temperatures are in the lower 60’s and the lake is still turning over. Lake Lanier is clear to stained. The Chattahoochee River is stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing is still a challenge this week but anglers are catching some big spots as they fatten up for winter.
As with most recent reports, you must keep an open mind while fishing in the fall. We have been finding spotted bass scattered in all sorts of areas and it seems that they will move around from day to day.

I have found bass schooling on the surface over flats in the backs of the creeks as well as out on main lake. These schooling bass will eat SPRO BBZ1 Swim Baits or Rooster Tail as well as other lures just as long as your cast lands close to where they are chasing bait.

Other moving lures like Crank Baits and Spinner Baits will work well on main lake and secondary points. Target the windy banks when casting moving lures, as these areas tend to hold the most baitfish.

We have also caught bass deeper down in the creek channels and drops at 15-to 30-feet deep by watching my Humminbird Electronics and vertically fishing worms, jigs and jigging spoons.

Start midway in the backs of the creeks and look for the channels that are close to steeper banks that bottom out at 50-feet deep or less.

Keep a close eye out for clouds of bait fish and the wavy lines below them that indicate larger predator fish like bass on your finder.
You can watch your screen and actually track your lure to the level that the fish appear on the screen. Sometimes they will be suspended and other times they will be close to the bottom. Hop a jigging spoon around these fish to trigger strikes.

Night fishing for spotted bass has been good. Cast dark-colored Crank Baits, Large Spinner Baits or black Jig N’Pigs around any rocky banks in the mouths of the creeks.

Striper fishing has been good and the fish have been schooling on main lake, especially on cloudy, windy days before a front.
There are some gulls and loons showing up on Lake Lanier and these are nature’s fish finders. If the gulls and loons are actively feeding in an area, you can be pretty sure the stripers are close by because these birds eat the same baitfish that they do.

You will even find schooling stripers without any birds around even on sunny days.

These fish are chasing both blueback herring and thread fin shad.

Surfacing stripers can appear in small packs of 5-10 fish, or they can show up in much larger schools of a hundred or more.

If you encounter a school, cast swim baits like SPRO BBZ1 or a Sebile Magic Swimmer or use jerk baits or topwater plugs.

Make accurate casts and work your baits through the surfacing fish with a steady retrieve. You will often have to make multiple casts to get hooked up.

Pulling live bait behind the boat on flat lines has also been working very well both when fish are surfacing, and also when they are down.

Use an unweighted line with a Gamakatsu Circle Hook and hook a live blueblack or trout through the lips and let them swim around naturally.

Trolling umbrella rigs behind your boat has also been working fair for these schooling fish. Hammond’s Fishing Center has all the bait and tackle along with up to date daily reports from local guides and they will help you to catch more fish.

Check in with them for great prices and the best bait in town.

Stripers have also been eating after dark. Cast pink and natural colored Bomber Long A’s around main lake islands and also in some of the creeks.

Kieth Pace says that crappie fishing is hit and miss.

Some days shooting docks has been very productive and on others you may have to work hard to catch them.

Shooting Crappie Spoons and Jigs up under docks seems to work best on sunny days, and on overcast days you may catch them better by trolling out in front of the docks.

My Humminbird Side Imaging unit is great for shooting sonar up under the docks to find the most productive ones.

Trout fishing is still slow but they are biting. Keep using live worms and Berkley Power Nuggets (where live bait is permitted by law) or cast count down Rapalas around the rapids. Try casting these small minnow imitators upstream and use a jerk and pause retrieve to imitate an injured threadfin shad.

Bank fishing options include bass, crappie and stripers. Try using PVC as an inexpensive rod holder.

You can cut one end at an angle and pound it into the bank to hold your rods securely.

Cast a live gizzard shad or large shiner out on a weighted line or under a slip bobber for bass and stripers.

Use smaller minnows or cast jigs around docks to catch crappie.

Eric Aldrich is a part time outdoor writer, bass fisherman and a member of Humminbird’s, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammond’s Fishing Center Pro Staff. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. If you would like to e-mail him please do so at esldrich@yahoo.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!



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