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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Active crappie biting well for topwater anglers
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

The rain is easing up a little from the recent rains. 

The lake remains almost a foot above full pool at 1,071.94 feet or .94 foot above the full pool of 1,071. 

Lake surface temperatures have fallen slightly into the low-80’s. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. 

Most of the creeks are very stained in the backs. 

The rivers are stained to muddy from recent rains.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear, but turns more and more stained the further south you go. 

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: This summer, the topwater action never completely ended. 

Now the shorter days and moving weather fronts have just made things better. 

The bass and stripers have been stirring up the surface as they chase and trap shad and herring against the surface. 

Start your day in the mouths of the creeks around brush from 20-40 feet deep. 

Main lake points, humps and secondary points are all holding fish. 

Cast your favorite walking bait or a Jerk Shad or other fluke style soft plastic jerk bait over brush for some aggressive topwater strikes. 

On some days, this topwater action has been so good that that is all we have been doing. 

I throw a Sammy or Zara Spook on 65-pound Sunline SX1 braid. 

Braid has very little stretch and this helps greatly when you get a strike from distance. 

Use the longest rod that you can cast comfortably. 

I have seen kid’s cast my Kissel Kraft Custom Rods 8-foot cranking stick and get awesome distances. 

This rod is a medium-weight, parabolic bend (which means it bends evenly) with a soft tip. 

This set-up allows the bass a second to take the bait and makes sure you get a good hook set. 

Always wait until you feel the strike through your rod or you may miss the opportunity for a repeat strike. 

Lake Lanier’s spotted bass will often explode on a lure multiple times before they actually get hooked. 

A rod with a parobolic bend gives. 

This allows not only the bass to get hooked, but also keeps the fish hooked up during the fight.

At sunrise, the surface action has been strong, then it wains slightly through the mid-morning. 

The action really picks up from before lunch until after suppertime. 

When Buford Dam starts generating the current in the lake, it often triggers predator fish into biting. 

Major and minor feeding times are also worth noting as the fish do become more active during these sun and moon phases.

When the topwater activity slows, then our second-best method has been ‘video game’ finesse fishing. 

Use your GPS to mark the brush and use your 2/D sonar to confirm if the fish are present and how they are reacting to your lures. 

We have been using a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm on a drop shot or shaky head. 

The best colors have been the blue or red hues, but color isn’t as critical. 

Also try a Ned Rig to pick off fish that are not directly in the brush.

The topwater and drop shot bite have been so strong, you may not need to do anything else. 

Other methods like working crank baits around rock at night, buzz baits up shallow in the backs of the creeks, both day and night or even skipping a shaky head to docks. 

Most anglers’ tackle boxes have a variety of lures, so pick your favorite style and go catching.

Striper fishing is good and not much has changed. 

The only exception to recent reports is that we are seeing more topwater activity. 

Make sure you have a rod and reel with a lure that you can cast far ready at all times.

If you have been out fishing recently and know an area where they bit last week, then there is a chance the fish may still be there. 

That being said, stripers move around a lot, so if you arrive and find no fish showing on your electronics or busting the surface, then move on to find more productive water.

Trolling a Captain Macks Umbrella Rig or try trolling a single 1 or 2-ounce SPRO Prime Bucktail on lead core line has been working and is a great way to cover water. 

You will want your rigs or bucktails to run around 10-15 feet below the surface. 

Remember it is better to present a lure above the stripers. 

They often rise to attack bait, but seldom look down when hunting. 

Troll your lures at around 2-3 mph.

Live herring or shad on both flat and down lines have been producing lots of bites if you find the right school. 

Use a longer leader as the fish get a little line shy by late summer. 

Make sure you have several dozen baits and that you use the right mix of ice, salt or bait chemicals so that your baits are lively.

Power reeling is one thing I should mention more. 

This method became popular locally using a Ben Parker Spoon, but it will work with almost any lure or bait that will sink. 

Drop your lure/bait down through fish you see on your Lowrance’s screen. 

Once it drops below the fish or hits bottom, reel it back up through the school as fast as you can. 

The theory is that stripers strike these fast offerings out of reaction instead of just a feeding bite. 

It won’t be long before the fall Bomber/McStick night bite will occur. 

I have seen this activity occur right after water temperatures 78 degrees so get ready.

Brim and Crappie: There are still plenty of brim swimming up shallow and they will strike live worms or crickets under a bobber. 

If you are only catching small ones, then consider casting out deeper without a bobber. 

Attach a split shot a foot above your hook and use the largest worm, cricket or even minnow. 

Crappie are starting to get more active. 

Mornings and evenings remain the most productive time to go but they will bite all day long. 

Work small crappie jigs or minnows on a weighted line around brush or around bridge pilings from 15-30 feet during the daytime. 

When the sun goes down, turn on your dock lights as they have been moving shallower to feed on a variety of baitfish.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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