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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass biting deep later in the day
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level held very steady this week at 1,067.32 or 3.68 feet, below the normal full pool of 1,071. 

Water temperatures are in the mid 50’s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are slightly stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is still stained and clearing slowly. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has rated good the past week. The fish are relating to bait and you may find them shallow, deep and everywhere in between. The water temperatures have fallen into the mid 50’s. The bass continue to feed well on small-to-medium sized shad, larger herring and crawdads. 

Experiment with different techniques, based on the type of forage available in the area you are fishing. 

The ditch bite has been more consistent as water temperatures have dropped into the mid-50’s. Start your day fishing shallow, rocky banks that lead into the ditches. Bass will drive shad and herring shallow into the guts of these ditches early in the mornings. Study your Navionics mapping the night before and pick out a few ditches close to the launch ramp. It will pay dividends to be on the water near a productive ditch before sunrise.

Bass that are actively feeding early in the day will strike a variety of lures. Pick a lure that you have confidence in and work the banks where ditches lead into the lake where you see baitfish activity on the surface or on your Lowrance Electronics. If you encounter loons and gulls feeding, then that’s a great sign that you are in the right area.

Cast a jerk bait, crankbait or an underspin rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad to rocky banks around ditches that lead into the lake. Make long casts, reel slow and steady and allow your lure to come in contact and deflect off of rocks on the bottom. If you don’t get a bite, then move on until you locate a productive ditch.

As the sun gets up, the bass will back out deeper away from the banks and continue to feed. Use your electronics to follow and keep within casting distance of the fish. Once the fish move out deeper than 20-feet, try to position your boat above the fish. Watch your Lowrance Electronics closely and drop a lure down to any fish you see on your screen. Switch over to either a 1/2 -ounce jigging spoon or a drop shot rigged with a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm in Blue Lilly or a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel in Watermelon Red. 

I like to dip the tails in most of my soft plastics with garlic flavored JJ’s Magic.

Striper fishing remains productive and some anglers are scoring both numbers and better than average-sized fish. There is a ton of bait moving back into the creeks, both mid and down-lake as well as in the rivers up the lake. Use your electronics and pay attention to gulls and loons, along with any surface activity that can clue you into the right locations. 

If there is no bait present in an area, then keep moving until you find some.

Once you locate the bait, the stripers should be close by. The fish have been at the surface early in the day and even later on cloudy days. The majority of bait we are seeing seems to be small to medium sized shad. It pays to stock your live well with both medium shiners and blueback herring. 

Sometimes trout can even work best. Set out a spread and let the stripers tell you which bait they prefer. 

Pulling flat lines and planner boards seems to be the most productive technique for live bait fishing earlier in the day. As the sun rises over the horizon, then you may need to switch over to down lines. As a rule, try using flat lines for targeting fish in less than 20 feet and switch over to down lines in water deeper than 20 feet. 

Trolling is a great way to cover water while searching for the larger concentrations of stripers. Trolling has also produced very well this past few weeks. Some of the guides are pulling umbrella rigs all day. There is a lot more to pulling these multi arm rigs than just tying them on and pulling them behind the boat. There are some great resources from local guides and even YouTube that will help you run your rigs at the proper depth, speed, etc.

Crappie fishing has been good and there are some fat fish being caught this week. Locate pockets and cuts in the creeks where the shad are present. Shooting jigs still is your best producer. Mastering the jig shooting technique is an artform that takes practice but that will pay off for a lifetime of fishing. 

Bank Fishing: The stripers are moving into the pockets and back into the creeks and rivers where they can be accessed from the banks. Anglers can purchase a day or year pass and visit one of many local parks around Lake Lanier where they can enjoy some great fishing and hopefully some catching too.

Purchase a minnow bucket with a couple dozen medium to large shiners. Dust off your striper fishing poles and make sure you have fresh line. A medium-heavy weight spinning or bait casting rod spooled with 10-14 pound test monofilament is a good choice for striper fishing from the banks.

Rig one rod as a bottom rig. This is basically a Carolina Rig or a hook with a leader tied to a swivel with a large sliding-barrel weight rigged on your main line. Rig a second rod with a slip bobber and set your depth to 10-feet deep. It makes it easier to control your lines if you can locate a bank where the wind is at your back.

Target banks that have deep water nearby. Hook your shiners through the lips on a No. 2 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook. Cast you lines out, then secure your rods well. A striper is a strong fish that can easily pull your whole rod and reel into the lake. Make sure to buy some rod holders or make your own out of PVC pipe. 


Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist, guide and bass angler. He is currently booking teaching trips for Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from readers, so email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com. Remember to take a kid fishing. 

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