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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass are biting well on a variety of lures
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is rising from the recent rains. 

Lake Lanier water level is currently at 1,067.71 feet, which is 3.29 feet below full pool of 1,071. 

Water temperatures have remained in the mid-to-upper 50’s. 

The lake is clear on the main lake and slightly stained to very stained in the rivers and creeks where rain runoff is occurring. 

The Chattahoochee River is still stained to muddy from rain inflow. 

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

Bass fishing still rates good and the fish are grouped up and biting well, if you are in the right areas. 

With the water temperatures in the mid-50’s and with no definitive thermocline, Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass population can still be found at almost any depth. 

Anglers can still catch fish on a variety of different lures. 

This can make fishing good if you are dialed into a location that has fish, but can also make it tough if you find yourself in the wrong areas. 

Anglers should rely on their electronics, along with the signs of nature that God gives us as clues on where to fish. 

Most of the best locations we have found this month have aquatic bird life somewhere close by. 

Kingfishers, loons and seagulls all feed on the same baitfish as Lake Lanier’s predator fish. 

If you can find the gulls and loons diving on bait, you can almost bank on the fact that the bass and stripers will be somewhere close by.

We have made things pretty simple this past week and have relied on just a few lures for the bulk of our bass fishing. 

Continue to start your days shallow in the ditches and cast a SPRO McStick or Little John MD or DD around rocky banks where the ditches enter the lake. 

Work your McStick with a jerk-and-pause retrieve and vary your cadence until you get a strike, then replicate that cadence on future casts. 

Use a slow-and-steady retrieve with you crank baits and allow them to dig into the rocky bottom. 

When your lure stops, then quit reeling. 

If it is a fish, it will pull back. 

If it’s snagged on the bottom, you can simply stop reeling and the lure will rise and free itself 90% of the time. 

On sunny days, this shallow activity will usually fade around 8:30 a.m., but on overcast days we have been able to stay shallow and catch fish all day long.

After the sun rises and even during cloudy days, we have been able to catch fish out deeper. 

Two depth zones seem to be in play this week. 

After the shallow bite has faded, we have been able to pull back into 20-30 feet of water where there is brush or a significant depth drop and catch bass on a Georgia Blade Jig or a Lanier Baits Straight Tail Worm rigged on a Gamakatsu Alien Head 1/16- ounce jig head.  

Work your lures slowly along the bottom as these lures mimic crawfish or aquatic insects. 

Set the hook when you feel a ‘tick’ or anytime you feel weight. 

The hits you get on your jig will usually be a definitive ‘thump’ but the bites on the jig head worm often just get heavy and swim off. 

The last depth zone that has been good for us is to fish the guts of the ditches from 35-55 feet deep. 

Three techniques have shined for these deeper fish: A drop shot rig, a jig or a jigging spoon all get the job done for these deeper fish. 

I use two different presentations when fishing deep. The first is to cast to shallower water and stair-step your drop shot rigs and jigs down steeper dropoffs or cast to brush or other fish holding cover. 

The second way we fish is to position the boat directly over fish that you mark on your electronics and drop down vertically to them. 

When the fish are suspended below the boat, then my first choice of lures is a drop shot rig. 

I use a margarita-color Lanier Baits Tri Colored Worm on a Gamakatsu No. 1 or No. 2 Aberdeen Style Hook and a 3/8-ounce Lanier Baits drop shot weight. 

Fish will appear on your 2/D graph as wavy lines or arcs. 

Usually the fish will follow the dropshot worm all the way to the bottom where you can catch them by just jiggling the rod tip. 

If the fish react to your lures but don’t follow them to the bottom, then try using a Damiki Rigged Lil’ Swimmer or other form of grub-and-trailer combo to try to pick them off while they suspend. 

Jigging spoons like a Georgia Blade Shepoon will also work to catch both suspended fish as well as those directly on the bottom. 

If the fish do not react to any of our lures, then we usually move on and assume they were carp.

Other methods are working. 

We have caught some of our better fish working a SPRO McStick on wind blown bank. 

The bass continue to bite Georgia Blade Premium Nighttime Spinner Baits and RkCrawlers on the rocky banks leading directly into the ditches after the sun sets.

Stripers: The striper bite is good, but the hard part seems to be just finding the fish. 

There are some good fish moving toward the back of the creeks down on the main lake, as well as a good group of fish working into the rivers. 

No matter where you launch you boat, you should not be too far away from catchable fish.

Right now, the stipers only have to worry about eating. 

Stripers thrive in water temperatures below 60 degrees and with no defined variable between the surface temperatures and the bottom temperatures the stripers can be at any depth. 

The one thing that will concentrate the fish now is bait.

Anglers should rely on their electronics, as well as to take tips on where the birdlife is located to make an informed decision on where and how to fish. 

When you see the gulls and loons just sitting on the surface, then the stripers are probably down feeding deeper. 

When you see loons and gulls diving on bait, then you have located the right area and conditions to cast lures, troll or pull flat lines.

These factors can clue you into the correct method for any given time. 

Crappie fishing has been either feast of famine. 

The crappie anglers I have spoken with are having a hard time locating the fish, but the ones who are finding them are having success. 

And from what I have seen, some are doing all their catching from just one dock or one brush pile. 

The crappie are grouped up in tight schools, especially now as they target the plentiful shad populations located in the creeks.

Use your electronics to locate these massive schools. 

Forward-scan and side-scan technology will really help anglers determine where and how to fish for crappie this week. 

Deeper docks with Christmas tress suspended below them have been gold mines this past week. 

I watched one angler boat a dozen crappie in short time from a dock in 70-feet of water. 

Shoot small jigs under the docks and allow them time to sink to the level where you mark fish. 

Toward dark, there have been a few fish around the bridges in the backs of the creeks that will eat crappie jigs or live minnows fished below a float.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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