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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Crappie seem to be biting well at all levels
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s level fell about a foot this past week, but is still above full pool at 1,071.28 feet or .28 feet over a full pool of 1,071 feet. 

Lake surface temperatures are in the low-70’s. 

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

The upper rivers are clear to stained.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam looks almost like green pea soup as lake turnover is still occurring around parts of the lake. 

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

Bass fishing has been awesome some days and tougher on others. 

We continue to see some evidence of lake turnover so if you encounter brown-tinted water or smell sulfur, it may be time to change locations. 

The bass are following the bait fish around main lake humps and points, as well as the creeks and rivers on secondary points as well as some of the coves with clean water. 

Find the bait and you should find bass somewhere close by.

We are still fishing brush piles, but we have added some docks, ditches and bluff wall locations into the mix. 

A lot of the most productive brush is still out on the main lake, but we are also targeting shallow and deep brush in the ditches and channels. 

Pay close attention to some of the steeper rock banks and ditches as they will hold fish up shallow early in the day. 

These same fish may back out as the sun rises.

Many of Lake Lanier’s fall fishing veterans expect the topwater bite to be on fire in fall, but this past week we have been slinging topwater plugs with less success than subsurface baits. 

When the fish are schooling, you can catch them on several styles of lures.

A Lanier Baits Jerk Shad fished weightless or on an underspin have been producing some bigger fish this week. 

We have also caught several good fish on a SPRO McStick 110 fished both ‘stupid style’ (slow and steady) or with a traditional jerk-and-pause retrieve. 

If you are good with a Spy Bait, you can load the boat when you are around fish. 

Cast these subtle baits over fish holding cover like brush or steep banks and allow them to sink to the depth where brush piles or rock outcropping. 

Most Spy Baits, like a SPRO Spin John 80 or Dual Realis 90, will sink about a foot per second. 

I fish these simple lures on a 7-foot, 6-inch Kissel Kraft Custom Medium Action Spinning Rod with a Shimano Spinning Reel loaded with five-pound Sunline Fluorocarbon. 

The lighter action of this setup allows the fish to eat the lure without pulling it away from them. 

Never set the hook with a Spy Bait. 

Allow the fish to load up, then just reel faster to set the hooks.

Our best numbers lure this week is still the dropshot rig. 

After fishing moving lures over brush, move on in a scan them with your electronics. 

If the fish are present, then drop a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm down to them to score some good bites. 

This week, I have liked the Tri-Colored Worms in bright reds or green hues.

After dark, we are catching some big spotted bass on SPRO McSticks and Bomber Long A’s while casting for stripers. 

If you wish to target mainly bass, then switch over to a SPRO Little John DD or RkCrawler and grind the rocks on main lake and secondary points.

Striper fishing has been good. 

Anglers who spend time on the lake can keep up with their locations. 

The fish have started to get a little more predictable. 

If you found them in a creek mouth yesterday, they may still be there today. 

That is, unless they have depleted or relocated the local baitfish population, then the stripers will be back on the move. 

You should also follow suit. 

Trust your electronics. 

They will tell you what to do and where to fish. 

We continue to see sporadic schooling from the mouths of Six mile and Flowery Branch up to River Forks. 

If you are searching for these schools with limited success, don’t feel bad. 

The fish seem to be up for short periods, but they will sound quickly. 

Have a bait ready to cast at all times. 

You may only have a few seconds to land your plug into the fray before they disappear, only to surface 10 long casts and a 100-yards away.

The majority of fish I am marking seem to be down 20-50 feet over the river, creek and ditch channels located over a 30-60 foot bottom. 

Your best bet in this situation is to down line blueback herring right at or slightly above where you mark fish on your MFDs (fish finders). 

It’s not a bad idea to flat line at least one larger bait behind the boat. 

Try a gizzard shad or even a trout to coax a bigger bite.

Trolling a large single SPRO Bucktail on 7-8 colors of lead core or try a Captain Mack’s pre-rigged umbrella rig and troll over the ditches, humps and long points to cover water and also catch fish.

After dark, the stripers continue to bite around the islands, lighted boat docks and in the creeks down lake. 

Cast a SPRO McStick or Bomber Long A to catch a mixed bag of stripers and bass after sundown.

Crappie fishing is improving and the fish can be found both shallow and deep. 

If the lake water you are fishing has a ‘healthy’ stained appearance, then target the docks with brush from 12-20 feet deep. 

In the clearer water, the fish can be a lot deeper.

Shoot jigs around and under the docks. 

Learning how to shoot a lure is valuable for crappie and bass fishing. 

Watch YouTube videos and practice cracking your garage door open and shooting your jigs into the small opening.  

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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