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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Anglers having success catching stripers using topwater plugs
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is above full pool at 1,071.49 or .49 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. 

The main lake is mostly clear. 

The creeks and rivers are clear to very stained.

Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures have fallen into the mid 70’s 

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

Bass: Depending on who you talk to, bass fishing rates from OK to excellent. We have seen unseasonably-cool air temperatures and the water temperatures are about 5-7 degrees cooler than this time last year

These cooler water and air temperatures have rocketed the bass into feeding and much of this action is occurring on the surface. It’s a topwater angler’s best scenario. 

Topwater plugs, swim baits like a Sebile Magic Swimmer or soft jerk baits, are all great options to entice the bass into biting. Anglers who run and gun offshore brush, long points and even the reef pole markers can be rewarded with some great strikes from Lake Lanier’s Spotted bass.

Subsurface lures like Spy Baits and Jerk Baits like a SPRO McStick will also work well. 

Cast these lures to the same locations as mentioned above and you may be rewarded for your efforts.

Hit the lake at sun down and work deep-diving crank baits around rocky banks and you should also be able to score some good bites.

Stripers: The striped bass have started to move shallow in the water column. 

We have seen decent groups of stripers schooling on the surface. These fish are catchable when they are located within casting distance.

Your best bet may be to drag flat lined herring (just a line with a hook and no weight) around areas in the creek mouths where you witness any schooling activity. 

Make sure to purchase quality herring from a reliable bait shop and make sure to add the proper amount of ice and salt or bait chemicals so that your bait stays healthy throughout your fishing outing.

Trolling a Captain Mack’s Mini Rig is also a good choice for both catching stripers and covering water. 

Run these mini-rigs on monofilament set out to 75-yards at around 2 mph. 

Vary your speed and let the fish that strike tell you what works best. 

When you troll, you will often get bites as you turn, speed up or slow down. 

All of these variables will provide clues to what the fish prefer.

Many anglers prefer to catch stripers on topwater plugs. 

Now is one of the best times this year to catch stripers on top. 

Cast a Redfin and V-Wake it on the surface early in the day. 

As the sun rises, switch over to a Sebile Magic Swimmer or a walking lure like a Zara Spook or Sammy to enjoy some incredible topwater action.

Crappie fishing is improving. 

Shooting small crappie jigs under docks with brush has been working for anglers who master this technique. 

Even if you are not up to speed with shooting jigs, you can set out live crappie minnows, medium minnows or even native caught spot tail minnows. 

Use light 4-6 pound line and a small Aberdeen style hook with a small 1/8-ounce split-shot placed a foot above your hook and fish directly below docks with brush. 

You can also employ a slip bobber and cast it out for success.

Bank Fishing: Lake Lanier, farm and subdivision ponds all have good populations of catfish. 

Catfish are attracted to the smell of live bait, chicken livers and even earthworms. 

If catfish are present, they can be easy to catch.

Use a Gamakatsu Live Bait hook and thread your favorite bait onto the hook. Add a 1/4-ouce split shot and cast it out into deep water. 

Make sure to secure your rod into a commercial rod holder or make one from PVC pipe. 

Some people attach bells to the end of their poles or you can just watch you line to detect any movement. 

As soon as you get a strike, set the hook and reel it in.

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

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