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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass, striper fishing has been up and down with lake turnover
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s level is a little over a foot above full pool at 1,072.26 or 1.26 foot over a full pool of 1,071. 

Lake surface temperatures are in the low 70’s. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained.  

Many areas around the lake are stained from stratification or lake turnover. 

The upper rivers are stained.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam still looks a brownish-green color from lake turnover.

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

Bass fishing has rated from good to tough, depending on who you talk to and where you fish. 

The lake is in a period of lake stratification or turnover, which means either feast or famine as far as fishing goes. 

This period is when the water layers mix. 

We have had mostly calm high-pressure days recently, but expect some cooler weather to change conditions this next week. 

Because the lake continues to turnover anglers should pay close attention to the water quality in the areas that they are fishing. 

When the warmer water layers starts to cool and mix with the cooler water below the oxygen levels and water quality suffers and fishing tends to be tougher. 

If the water in your favorite cove appears to have a brownish-green tint or smells like sulfur, you may want to move to better water.

Start your day throwing moving lures on main lake and secondary points. 

Wind is your friend, so try to find areas out in the wind. 

Cast topwater lures, SPRO McSticks, Little John Crank Baits, under spins or even spinner baits and start to cover water. 

Plan on running and gunning until you locate a good school of fish. 

This may be your time to catch one or two, or it may be the time to stay and play and catch more. 

The topwater action has been slower in the mornings, but it seems to get better in the afternoons. 

Cast a topwater lure like a SPRO Pop 80, Sammy or Zara Spook over brush piles located in water as shallow as 15-feet on out as deep as 35-feet deep. 

If the fish do not come up for a surface plug, then move in over the brush and use your electronics to see if the bass are present. 

If so, drop a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm on a drop shot or shaky head down. 

Pay close attention to how the fish react to your presentation. 

If they react, then stay a few minutes and see if you can get them to bite. 

If they do not react, then move on to find some more cooperative fish.

We have also started to find some fish moving into the ditches. 

This ditch pattern will start to come into play more as the weather and water start to cool down. 

Night fishing has been good around rocky banks back in the creeks. 

Fish a SPRO RkCrawler or a large Colorado Bladed Spinner Bait and work the lures slow and steady through the rocks. 

Striper fishing has been up and down. 

The fish are transitioning as they navigate through some of the lake turnover areas into cleaner water. 

Some are being caught in deep water, while others are moving shallower and thrashing shad and herring on the surface.

Because of the varying water conditions, the stripers are being caught on a variety of lures this week. 

Topwater plugs and SPRO Buck Tail Jigs are scoring some good bites when you encounter stripers on the surface.

Trolling or pulling live herring are working best when the fish are deeper in the water column. 

This is when you need to watch your electronics and don’t stay too long in an area, unless you see fish on your electronics. 

When you locate fish stay on them, until they move.

Pulling a combination of live herring or gizzard shad on both down and free lines will probably be your best bet for catching stripers. 

Rely on your electronics to find where the fish and bait are located in the water column. 

If the fish above 25 feet deep, a flat line on a planer board or pulled behind the boat will get your bait in good position. 

Add a small split shot a couple of feet above your hook to get your baits down a little deeper. 

When the fish are deeper than 25 feet, then a down line may be a better option.

Trolling a Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig equipped has been a very good option for both covering water and catching stripers. 

Troll these rigs at around 10-feet deep at 2-3 mph. 

Troll in the creeks close to where the channel meet secondary feeder drains and ditches. 

When you locate an area that holds fish, then consider deploying your live-bait lines.

After dark, head out to the main lake islands and start casting a SPRO McStick or Bomber Long A. 

This night action is really just getting started, but should turn on as we see cooler weather next week.

Crappie fishing has been up and down, due to the same turnover that effects our other fish. 

Fish the brush with small crappie jigs or crappie minnows or try shooting some or the deeper docks back in the creeks. 

Fishing under Hydro Glow lights around the bridges or docks after dark may produce the best action right now.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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