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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: With colder water, fish to your strengths to be successful
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is right around 1,071.09 feet, which is .09 feet above a full pool of 1,071 feet. 

Lake surface temperatures are in the low 50’s.

The main lake is mostly clear to partially stained. 

The creeks and rivers are slightly to very stained.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. 

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

Bass fishing this week has ranged from fair to good, depending on who you talk to. 

The fish are still seeing some active fish early and later in the day, but we are definitely seeing a change as the fish move deeper and the water cools.

We have been beginning our days using one or two patterns. 

If it’s clear, calm and sunny, we’re still hitting the ditch guts near the banks and throwing a SPRO Little John DD or a Georgia Blade Shad Spin rigged with a Lanier Baits 3.5 Swimmer. 

On days when we have moving weather fronts or overcast skies, we’ve been hitting steep, main-lake shorelines, as well as deeper points that are out in the wind. 

We’ve been casting a SPRO McStick 110 and working it with a jerk, long pause, jerk retrieve to catch some big spotted bass.

It’s very possible we may see water temperature drops of 10 degrees or more from a week ago. 

These hard cold fronts often causes shad to die off. 

Anglers need not worry. 

These are natural phenomenon that keep bait fish populations in check, as well as feed the forage fish easy meals in the winter.

For the better part of the rest of the day, we’ve been working deeper ditches, timberlines and offshore rock piles from 35-65 feet deep. 

Georgia Blade Jigs and Shepoons, Fruity Worms on a dropshot rig or even the Dimiki Rig have all been producing fish in these deeper areas.

This is fishing, so not all anglers fish the same way and that’s a good thing. 

Other reports of bass being caught on spinnerbaits and even bucktails are certainly valid. 

Fish your strengths, make adjustments as needed and you should do well even in the cold weather. 

Striper fishing remains good, but with the colder water temperatures, expect to see these fish move out deeper than they have been in the last month.

Trolling with a captain Mack’s umbrella rig has not only been a good way to search for fish, but can even possibly outproduce live bait this week. 

We witness a guideboat catching a striper almost every pass on his umbrella rigs. 

Other anglers fishing with live bait in the same area we’re not getting anywhere near those kinds of results. 

Trolling is not for everybody. 

If you’re using live bait, then trout and herring have been working the best with large shiners coming in a close second. 

It’s probably a good idea to recommend anglers fish mostly down lines this week. 

I always like to run a trout or big gizzard shad on a long-flat line to pick up any big fish that may be in the area.

There is also a schooling pattern around the giant shad schools in the creek mouths and on main lake. 

Keep an eye out for seagulls and loons feeding. 

If you can locate gulls diving in an area the size of a large boat, that usually indicates that these bait fish are being pushed to the surface by stripers and bass. 

Rig up either a one-ounce SPRO Bucktail or 1/2-ounce spoon that you can cast a long distance. 

I use an eight-foot, medium-action Kissel Krafts Custom Baitcasting Rod with 20-pound Sunline Sniper Flurocarbon.

Crappie fishing remains productive for those experienced anglers who are adept at fishing the deeper docks with brush. 

Target areas midway on back into the creeks that have slightly stained water. 

Work small crappie jigs or crappie minnows on a weighted line and fish inside the brush from 15-35 feet deep.


You can email Eric Aldrich at esaldrich@yahoo.com with comments or questions.

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