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

Lake Lanier water level is holding steady and is above full pool at 1,071.54 or .54 feet above the normal full pool at 1,071. 

The main lake and lower lake creeks are mostly clear. There is some stained water in the backs of the creeks from rain inflow. The water in the rivers and creeks ranges from slightly to very stained due to recent rain inflows. Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures are in the low 80’s.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466. 

Bass fishing ranges from fair to very good. The rains have kept water temperatures very steady and the bass can be found both shallow and deep, depending on where the bait is located. Utilize your Lowrance Electronics to determine where the bait and bass are located within the water column.

We are still experiencing a good topwater bite, but don’t be afraid to throw subsurface lures like SPRO Spin John 80 spy baits, smaller swim baits or even an underspin rigged with your favorite trailer. The bass are feeding on both threadfin shad and herring.

The gameplan has been to run and gun offshore brush from 15 to 30-feet deep. 

This technique involves fishing areas where you have previously marked brush piles on your graph. You can add GPS waypoints anytime you find more submerged brush. Remember that fish will be located directly in the brush on sunny days but they may roam out away from the brush on cloudy days.

Almost every point and hump on Lake Lanier has planted brush on or around them. 

Once you have located 10-20 (or more) separate areas with brush, then you have a foundation to run and cycle through these areas until you locate an active school of fish. 

On tournament days, we often run 30-40 areas during an 8-hour day.

As you approach a brush pile, you should make multiple casts around these productive areas with your favorite topwater plug. 

On days when the topwater lures are not producing, try casting a SPRO Spin Joh spy bait past the brush and count it down to just above where the level of the top of the brush. Most spy baits sink about a foot a second. Retrieve these lures slow and steady. 

I like to use a medium-action Kissel Krafts Custom Spinning rod with a reel spooled with 5-7 pound test Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon. 

When you get a strike, allow the rod to load up before setting the hook.

After you fish the brush from a distance, move in over it and scan it with your Lowrance Fish Finders to see if the bass are holding in or around the brush. Use a dropshot rigged with a Big Bites Finesse Worm or a Lanier Baits Fruity worm to pick up a few extra bites during the day.

Other techniques that have been working are casting crank baits around rocky banks or offshore structures. 

We have also had a decent shallow-buzz bait bite both early and on into the day for largemouth bass. 

After dark, you can score some big bites by casting a SPRO RkCrawler around rocky banks in the creek mouths.

Striper fishing has been good. 

We have caught several stripers on topwater baits early in the day. After sunrise, the stripers have been hanging around lower in the water column from 30-60 feet deep over a 40-100-foot bottom.

Trolling has been a great way to search and find the large schools of stripers. 

It has also worked all day long for anglers who can keep their umbrella rigs running at around 20-25 feet deep. 

Set out a Captain Mac’s Umbrella Rig and make sure to troll at around 2 mph. 

Make sure to invest in an umbrella rig retriever as it will pay for itself the first time you get snagged.

Once you locate a large school of stripers, then it may be more productive to drop live herring on a down line to the level where you mark fish. 

Rig your down lines with a 1-2 ounce sinker. Use a strong mainline like 15-20 pound Sunline Natural monofilament with a long leader of 12-pound Sunline Fluorocarbon. A long leader will ensure that striper who may be “line shy” will still strike your herring.

Change out your herring every 10-15 minutes. 

When you think it is time to change out baits, drop your tired herring to the bottom and power reel (reeling as fast as possible) them back through the school to trigger a reaction bite.

Knowing how to use and operate your electronics is essential for being consistently successful. I offer half-day trips in your boat for $200 to teach you the finer points of understanding your electronics. Email esaldrich@yahoo.com to schedule a trip!

Crappie fishing during the daylight hours has been decent for anglers who are adept at finding docks with brush located from 15-25 feet deep. 

Shoot or cast tiny crappie jigs and allow them to pendulum slowly back to the boat 

The bridges and lighted boat docks after dark are holding some good crappie. 

Fish the lights or set out your own as they draw bait fish and the predator fish that eat them. 

Set out lightweight downlines with crappie minnows or fresh-caught spot tail minnows to the level where you mark fish. The best depths have been 15-25 feet deep.

Bank fishing: Take a break from the heat and go trout fishing in the mountains or below Buford Dam. The waters are cool and will provide a natural air conditioning on hot days. 

We are blessed to have some of the best trout fishing in north Georgia right here in our backyards. 

You can wade or float the river or streams and catch a good limit of trout. 

Use live nightcrawlers or Berkley Power Nuggets (where live bait is permitted), in line spinners like a Mepps or Rooster Tail or you can fly fish your favorite or new waters.

A trip to our local trout hatchery is fun for the whole family. Even if your family doesn’t fish, they will still enjoy seeing the long troughs full of trout ranging from a few inches on up to 20 pounds. The Buford Dam Trout Hatchery is located just below Buford Dam on the Forsyth County side of the river.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from his readers, so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com Remember to take a kid fishing.

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