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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Crappie are biting best around deep brush piles
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,069.66, which is 1.34 feet below a full pool of 1,071. 

Lake surface temperatures are in the high 50’s. 

The main lake and creeks mouths have ranged from clear to stained. 

The upper rivers range from slightly to very stained. 

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is slowly starting to clear, still shows a greenish tint.

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

Bass fishing has been consistent. The bass are getting into a couple of reliable patterns. 

The ditch bite is good shallow early and later in the day. 

During active feeding periods and also dam generation schedules, the fish will become more active, no matter what depth the fish are located at in the water column.

As the sun rises in the morning, the fish will startout positioned shallow. 

As it gets higher in the sky, the fish will slowly move out deeper as the sun gets higher in the sky. 

We have been dragging jigs down the steeper sides of the ditches. 

I like fish with a 1/2-ounce Georgia Blade Jig, tipped with a crawfish imitator trailer. 

Dip the tips of your craws in red to imitate the way that native crawfish look under water. 

Drag these jigs from shallow to deep down steep rocky banks and wait for the tell/tale ‘thump’ or just a heavy feel that indicates that a bass has picked up the lure. 

Always set the hook when you feel something different as the bites can be very light in the colder months.

Dragging other offerings like a shaky head, Ned Rig or even a Lanier Baits Little Swimmer on a Damiki Head down the sides or cast them and drag them directly down the center of the ditches. 

Also try using these same swimbaits on Georgia Blade Underspin. 

Swim them slowly along the bottom, almost like you would fish a standard Texas Rigged Worm. 

As the sun rises, we have continued to deploy jigging spoons, Little Swimmers and even a Fruity Worms rigged on a dropshot rig around any fish you see below the boat on your electronics. 

We can often call our ‘shot’ as we watch these fish dive and swim directly to the lures. 

We are casting at the fish we can see chasing lures and baits below the boat.

During warmer days, we have found some active fish shallow around rocky banks and also around docks in the covers that have deep water access close by. 

These fish will bite a combination of moving lures like small bucktails, small crank baits and even subsurface lures like small grubs, inline spinners and other subtle presentations that match the smaller shad that are all over the lake in winter.

Fishing after dark with SPRO RkCrawlers and large single Colorado Bladed Georgia Blade Spinner Baits will all produce good quality fish after dark.

Stripers: The birds are really starting to show up. 

When you see birds feeding on the water, you can bank on the fact that the fish are close by. 

Keep your eyes peeled. 

If the gulls and loons are present in that area, you should probably follow their lead. 

Your modern electronics will confirm that the birds you see are feeding on the same things that the stripers are. 

There is a lot of bait all over the lake from midway back into the creeks, as well as into the main rivers leading into Lake Lanier. 

When the birds are actively working an area on the surface, the stripers are more often than not directly below them.

Over the years, we have learned what to watch out for and how to target stripers that are schooling under the birds. 

If you see gulls continuously diving into an area on the surface about the size of a pickup truck bed as well as loons staying and feeding in an area then you are probably around feeding fish. 

When you encounter feeding birds, and fish don’t just speed into the areas with your big motor, as that will often shut down the feeding and push your fish out deeper. 

Instead of roaring in first cut off the big engine and ease up in to the action with your trolling motor. 

Cast a 1/2-ounce white and silver Georgia Blade Spoon on 15-pound Sunline Sniper with a 7-feet, 6-inches medium-heavy Kissel Krafts Custom bait casting rod. 

Cast your spoon directly into the action. 

Let the spoon sink about three seconds, then engage the reel. 

Often a striper or bass will strike your lure right away, but more often your strikes will occur it as it pendulums back toward the boat.  

Live baits rigged on flat lines, down lines and planner boards continue to score some consistent catches this week. 

Pay close attention to your electronics. 

If they show fish down deep, then set out your down lines to just above the level you mark fish. 

If the stripers appear more shallow than 25 feet, then your flat lines and planner boards may work best. 

No matter how deep you set your lines, keep a lure ready at all times to cast to surfacing fish. 

Crappie fishing is good for anglers who are adept at fishing deep brush. 

Shooting 1/16-1/32-ounce Hal Flies under docks or working these same lures or a live crappie minnow in deep brush is no easy task. 

If you are one of these skilled lightline anglers, you should be catching them well this week. 

Use your electronics to find the tell tale signs of crappie. 

Fish in the late fall will often be grouped up tight, both around brush and under docks.  

My Lowrance shows that some of these schools with what seems to be hundreds of fish.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.