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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Crappie biting near brush around docks and back of the creeks
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level continues to slowly fall, which is normal for this time of summer. 

Currently Lake Lanier is at 1,069.02 feet or 1.98 feet below a full pool of 1,071. 

Lake surface temperatures remain in the high 80’s. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear and rivers are clear, but these waters may turn muddy or get very stained from thunderstorms. 

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. 

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

Bass: The bass fishing has rated anywhere from very slow to really good at times. 

There are many reasons for this variance in fish activity.

Buford Dam water generation seems to have a lot of effect on these fish. 

Moon phases and wildlife activity times also come into play. 

Storms or heavy wind can cause lake currents that can blow more plankton to the windy side of the lake. 

This plankton feeds the smaller bait fish, which in turn can attract the larger predator fish like bass and stripers. 

Even boat traffic can trigger some fish into biting because boat motors scare the bait fish, which can activate a feeding frenzy. 

These small details may seem complicated, but most fish have a brain the size of a pee. 

We should use our larger minds to set up a pattern that works. 

These small details can make the difference between a fishing and a catching trip.

The bass fishing has been all over the place this past week. 

Some people are catching spotted bass on a little bit of everything from deep brush and timber lines at 25-45 feet deep. 

Other anglers are catching bass in water less than five feet deep. 

Your options are wide open, so when you finish reading this fishing report, pack your tackle, rods and go fishing.

Knowledgeable anglers who are equipped with modern boats, state-of-the art electronics, quality tackle and a gazillion waypoints marked on their high-quality maps have a distinct advantage. 

In the fishing world, the guys and gals who consistently catch fish are referred to as sticks. 

It’s probably an old reference that stuck, but I have gotten blessed to fish with some very good anglers and I have learned a lot by just listening and watching them. 

Some of these mentors are professional anglers and there are definitely sticks. 

These pros fish at a higher level because they are relying on catching fish and cashing paychecks.

The patterns are pretty similar to last week, with one exception. 

The full moon is bringing some bigger largemouth because the brim are building their nests or beds in the shallows. 

When the brim are shallow and going through their reproductive process, the predator fish hang around trying to score an easy meal. 

Fishing shallow may seems crazy in the hotter weather, but when the brim are spawning the predators will await the chance to eat their eggs, small newly-hatched brim or even their larger parents. 

Big bass hang around these beds, but instead of eating the eggs or smaller fish, they are actually looking for a bigger easy meal. 

They target the larger brim that are spawning. 

When fishing these brim beds, I usually use two lures. 

The first one is Georgia Blade white or black buzz bait with a Gamakatsu trailer hook. 

I use black during the day but switch to a white one when the sun rises or sets on overcast days. 

These bass will explode on this lure. 

It’s an awesome and fun way to fish. 

Other lures come in to play, like a swim jig in brim colors like green orange and red. 

Cast this swim jig up to the bank and slowly swim it right over the brim beds.

The next deal is the same thing that has been working for the past month. 

We are still concentrating on deep brush, timberlines and bluff walls to find these deeper spotted bass. 

Use a medium-weight 6 foot, 6 inch Kissel Krafts Custom Rods with a 2500 series-spinning reel. 

Pay close attention to your electronics to locate these offshore honey holes in the deeper water.  

We have been fishing those Lanier Baits tri-Colored fruity worms and other selections, like the Jerk Shad or even the small Runts. 

Spool your reels with 16-pound test Sunline SX2 and attach it to a SPRO Swivel, then add a three foot leader of Sunline fluorocarbon in 6-8 pound test with a Lanier Baits 3/8 ounce dropshot weight. 

I use a No. 1 or 2 Gamakatsu straight shank Aberdeen hook. 

Thread the worm either with the hook exposed through the front of worms or if you are fishing heavy brush, try Texas rigging it. 

Even the smaller Runts fished on a dropshot can trigger bites when fish are inactive. 

Play around with different baits to see which ones that bass best react to biting. 

After dark, the bass are biting in the same areas as mentioned above. 

Cast a Georgia Blade premium Nighttime Spinner Bait around deeper brush or even shallow banks in the rivers. 

Cast your spinner baits over brush and allow them to sink down before engaging your reel. Slowly crawl these lures across the bottom, just fast enough to feel the pulse of the blade.

Striper fishing has been pretty good this week and anglers are reporting that they are catching them on a variety of methods. 

Fishing with live bait, like blue back herring or spot tail minnows. 

One under-utilized method on Lake Lanier is trolling using down riggers. 

Down riggers are basically a large ball, containing lead that you attach your main line to get your baits down to the exact level you want to fish. 

Down riggers allow you to use other lures, like swim baits or large buck tail jigs. 

Even lures that you would normally cast can work well with this method.

The magic depth for trolling this week seems to be around 25-35 feet deep and that’s where you want your lures to run. 

If you don’t have downriggers, then trolling with lead core line is another option. 

Lead core line actually sinks down to level where the fish are located in the warm summer months. 

Troll your lures at about 8 or 9 colors and run the boat around 2-3 mph for best success.

The downline bite with blueback herring is also working well. 

Buy several dozen herring and check with your bait supplier for information on how to keep your hering lively.

When you see a group of fish on your electronics, then drop your herring to the level where you mark fish. 

It is better to place your baits a little above where you are marking fish because stripers look up to feed but they seldom look down. 

Switch out your baits frequently.

Power reeling or trolling with large spoons will also work well when you locate these stripers out deep.

Crappie: Some crappy fisherman are doing pretty well this week. 

The days are getting shorter, which these fish sense. 

The crappy are kind of grouped up in deep brush around docks and in back in the creeks and around steeper banks in the creek mouths. 

Cast small crappy minnows on light 4-6 pound test and allow these offerings to get down to levels where the crappy are staging in 20-30 feet or deeper. 

You can also downline with live native spottail minnows. 

I personally feel like the spot tails may work best because that’s what these fish normally eat.

You can catch spot tails pretty easily in summer. 

Take some grits or cracker crumbs and chum them around the boat ramps or sandy beaches that are free of cover that would tangle your cast net. 

Use a small mesh cast net and throw it over the area where you jumped up. 

Sometimes you’ll catch a variety of small fish with a cast net, like brim, but be aware that it is illegal to use brim for bait unless you catch them on a rod and reel. 

Release the brim that you catch in your net.

The cool thing about down lining spot tails is you’ll catch a variety of fish on these live native minnows. 

We have actually hooked into big bass or stripers on these minnows, while treating crappie.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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