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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass biting well at varying depths
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is up slightly from last week at 1,067.34 which is 3.66 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. 

Water temperatures are in the upper 50’s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are clear to stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is still very stained but should start to clear up in a few weeks. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been very good the past week. You can catch bass from 5-55 feet deep. Pick your favorite methods and go catching. There is no definitive water temperature layer right now, so the fish can roam from shallow to deep as they follow the baitfish and crawdads. 

We have been concentrating on the shallow bite first thing in the morning and on into the day. The bass are congregating on rocky points, humps and secondary points. Cast a SPRO McStick to the bank and work it steady back to the boat. If a steady retrieve does not produce, then try imparting a jerk-and-stall retrieve to coax these shallower fish into biting. A SPRO McRip or a Little John DD crankbait may also work better especially, if the bass are positioned deeper in the water column. 

Once the sun rises, we have been sticking to cranking or jerk-bait fishing until the bass tell us differently. When the bass quit striking moving lures, we will work a Big Bites Fighting Frog on a Gamakatsu Alien head from 5-30 feet deep. Even though this trailer is called a frog it more closely mimics a crawfish. The crawfish are very active in the rocks. This can produce some bigger fish that are keyed in on eating protein these protein-rich fresh lobsters.

My Lowrance HDS 12 and 16-inch graph are ideal tools for locating the massive deeper schools that are in 35-55 feet. Even if your electronics show only, bait you may discover a school of bass that are locked to the bottom. Once you locate one of these mega schools, drop a «-ounce Flex-it Spoon or a dropshot rigged with a Big Bites shaking Squirrel or Lanier Baits Fruity Worm. Work these lures on the bottom directly below your boat and watch your lure closely on your electronics screen. You can position the fish with your lure. 

This is my favorite video game.

Throughout the day you can catch bass on rocky banks with a SPRO RkCrawler, Rapala DD10 or a smaller jig with a craw trailer. Work these lures slow and steady through the rocks. Your bites will often occur as your crank bait or jig deflects of rocks on the bottom. Other lures like a finesse worm on a shaky head or even a Texas rigged craw imitator.

Striper fishing has also been very productive, but keep in mind that the fish will move around as they follow the bait. Just because you locate fish in an area one day does not mean they will be there the next. 

Your electronics are key tools for locating fish. My Lowrance Units can make the difference between fishing and actually catching these hard-fighting stripers. With photo-like images and side-imaging technology from Structure Scan along with the best traditional two-dimensional imaging my HDS Carbon units can’t be beat.

Start your days exploring areas that have been holding fish earlier in the week. If it’s your first trip in a while explore the ditches, pockets and islands located close to the creek and river channels. The gulls and loons are starting to show up and they will usually give up the best locations. When gulls are diving on bait and or loons are working an area, you can bet the stripers are close by. 

Trolling has been working very well and it is a great way to cover water and locate fish. Set out a couple of Captain Mack’s full size or mini-rigs and pull them at 2-2 « miles per hour. Watch your electronics and vary your speed and depth until you dial in the correct combination. 

Once you are dialed, in you may decide to stick with trolling all day long.

Down lines have been scoring some good fish. 

Start out with a bait tank full of medium shiners and herring. The bait sizes can vary depending on where you fish and what type forage is located in that area. Having both shad and herring sized baits can make a big difference. Set your down lines at the level where you mark fish on your electronics. 

Some bites have been soft so leave your rods in the holders until they double up before picking them up to fight the fish.

The night time Bomber and McStick Bite has been good and the fish are roaming around the main lake islands as well as back in the creeks around dock lights. Locate the bait concentrations and the stripers and bass should be in that same area. 

Crappie fishing has picked up a little and some anglers are scoring some bigger fish. Shoot light crappie jigs on light tackle around docks and deeper brush. 

Bank Fishing: A lot Lake Lanier’s bass population moves shallow in the fall and early winter to feed on crawfish and shad. This, combined with the lake being down a few feet exposing walkable shoreline creates a great opportunity to explore the banks and catch some nice bass. 

Visit one of the many lakeside parks for some cool weather bass catching.

Pick up a medium-weight spinning rod spooled with 8-pound Sunline Sniper Line, throw a few lures in a small tackle box and you are ready. Plastic worms, small jigs, crank baits and even a topwater lure are all worth a try. Some anglers even turn over rocks and catch crawfish to use as bait.

Target the high percentage areas and keep moving until you get a bite. Points, rocky banks, trees laying in the water and community docks will all hold shallow bass in the fall. Be sure to be respectful and avoid privet property. Take your mom and dad and go fishing.


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 please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com Remember to take a kid fishing.

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