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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Aim deep to catch the best stripers
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level continues to hold very steady, especially for summer at 1,071.31 or .31 feet above the normal full pool at 1,071. The main lake and lower lake creeks are mostly clear. The water in the rivers are clear to stained from the afternoon showers.

Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures have leveled out and are in the mid-80’s.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466. 

Bass fishing has been up and down, depending on whom you speak with and what times you choose to fish. The bigger spotted bass have been coming from offshore brush in 25-35 feet of water. These fish will tend to be close to or in the brush on sunny days. They will wonder from the brush when the skies get cloudy or during active feeding periods.

Start your day out in the creek mouths, near main lake and target brush from 20-30 feet deep. Cast moving lures like a topwater plug, spy bait or even a deep-diving plug, like a SPRO DD. Cast these lures around brush piles to trigger an early bite. 

You should only make a few casts to see if the fish are active, then move over the brush and use your electronics to pick off any fish you see on the screen. Use a dropshot rigged with a Big Bite Baits Finesse Worm or a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm. Pay close attention to see if the fish are reacting to your offerings. If the fish are not active, move to the next area. 

Once you develop a milk run of productive areas and cycle through them, you should eventually run into a school of active fish. The thermocline is set up between 25-30 feet deep. This seems to be concentrating a lot of the bass and baitfish at this depth.

After dark, the fish have remained offshore. Target the same areas that the fish are located during the day. 

These deeper night time fish will strike dark-colored worms, jigs or a slow-rolled spinner bait fish in the brush.

Striper fishing has been hit and miss. 

Quality electronics are one of the best tools you can have when fishing in the summer. 

You have to locate the fish before you can catch them. The patterns remain the same this week: Trolling, herring on downlines and power reeling big spoons.

Start your day with a live well full of blueback herring. 

Make sure to add ice and salt or bait keeping chemicals to your bait tank. 

When you get on a school of fish, it is easy to go through a few dozen herring in an hour. 

Few things are as disappointing as looking at your electronics for hours, then finally finding the stripers once out of live bait.

The stripers are relating to the creek and river channels from 50-100 feet deep. 

The thermocline is right around 27-feet deep, so 90% of the fish you catch will be deeper than that. 

Use a heavy 1-2 ounce sinker to help get your herring down quickly through the warmer layer of water to the cooler water below. 

Once you locate the fish and set out your down lines, try dropping a Ben Parker Spoon below the school. Quickly power reel it through the fish to entice a reaction strike. 

You can duplicate this by dropping other types of lures like a SPRO Bucktail or smaller spoon. When changing out your baits, you can also drop your old herring to the bottom and reel them in the same fashion to produce an arm-breaking strike.

Trolling an umbrella rig has been productive and is a great way to cover water. 

Set out a Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig on lead core set to 8 or 9 colors or on a downrigger set to 35-feet deep. Troll them at around 2-3 mph.

Crappie fishing has been a little slow, but some master perch jerkers are catching them by shooting small crappie jigs under deeper docks with brush.

Your best bet may still be to get out after dark and fish the lighted boat docks or to set out your own lights under the bridges that have at least 35 feet of water. 

Fish small crappie jigs or down line crappie or spot tail minnows from 15-25 feet deep.

Bank fishing: Most anglers feel that you must fish deep for bass in summer, but there are exceptions. 

I read the results from a tracking survey where most largemouth spend most of their life in water less than 10 feet deep.

You can find productive water in the backs of the creek on Lake Lanier or try fishing your local farm and subdivision ponds. 

Start out early in the day and cast topwater lures like a Buzz Bait or a Whooper Plopper. Cast these lures around any trees laying in the water or around shallow rocky points. These topwater offerings work best early and later in the day, but if you are around a good population of fish, you may catch them on top all day long.

Other great choices for summer bass are plastic worms, jigs, shallow-running crank baits and even live minnows. Get out and catch some shallow summer largemouth bass.


Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from readers, so please email me at esaldrich@yahoo.com.

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