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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Get out on the water early to reel in bass
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level remains slightly above full pool at 1,071.43 or .43 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. 

The main lake is mostly clear. 

The creeks and rivers are clear to very stained.

Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures have fallen into the lower 70’s. We are seeing some stratification with lake turnover occurring in some areas around the lake. 

This is the time when the warmer surface area turns cold enough to mix with the cooler bottom layers and it can last anywhere from 1-3 months.

Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is starting to get a slight-green stain. 

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

Bass: The bass fishing is off the charts for anglers who have a milk run of areas to fish. 

Other less knowledgeable anglers can be rewarded by fishing the reef-pole markers. 

Even the best anglers have slow days. 

Anglers who have had less time on the water may be having an awesome day. 

That is why it’s called fishing and not catching.

Water temperature have gone from 80 degrees down into the low-to-mid 70s in a very short amount of time. 

This has super-charged bass into action.

Start your day working lures like spinner baits or try a Fish Head Spin rigged with a Big Bite Baits Jerk Minnow, a spinner bait or a SPRO McStick 110 jerk bait. 

You should start catching a few bass to start the day right. 

When the sun rises over the horizon, I recommend that you put everything down, except a topwater plug. 

Cast a Sammy, Spook, Jerk Minnow or even a Red Fin v-waked on the surface. 

The bass and stripers have been annihilating these lures with some explosive strikes. 

If you have a fish blow up on your bait, keep it moving until your rod gets heavy. 

Bass and stripers often strike a lure several times before they go in for the kill.

The only exception to the topwater action is when we see fish directly below the boat with your Lowrance Electronics. 

Fish will follow your Lanier Bait’s Fruity worms or Big Bite Baits Shakin’ Squirrel rigged on a dropshot weight. 

When you feel weight, just reel really fast to set the hook.

Night fishing remains good. 

Get out after dinner and fish until midnight, cast a SPRO RkCrawler, Little John DD or even a large, black-spinner bait. 

Hit the rocky banks and shallow hump markers. Fish the lure slow and steady.

Striper fishing has really picked up, but the live-bait anglers seem to be having more success than the people who are trolling. 

Both methods have been working.

Get up early in the morning. Be at the bait store before sun rise. 

Make sure you have plenty of lively blueback herring and that you add ice and sea salt to keep them alive. 

If you can’t find herring or have troubles keeping bluebacks alive, then medium-to-large shiners will also work well.

You may have to cover some water, but wait until you actually see fish on your fish finder before deploying your live baits. 

Both down and flat lines have been working. 

Experiment and let the fish you hook determine which methods are working best.

Make sure you keep topwater plugs ready at all times. 

We are still seeing some groups of big fish exploding and eating fish on the surface. 

Most of this action has been occurring in the afternoon before sundown.

Stay out after dark close to the nearest banks, where you have seen fish schooling during the day. 

Cast your Bomber Long As or SPRO McSticks to the banks and fish them medium slow with a steady retrieve. 

The stripers have been eating well after dark. 

Fish the islands from the Dam all the way up the islands below Browns Bridge. 

Crappie: The crappie are starting to bite well. 

Some anglers are catching slab crappie by fishing docks and offshore brush from 10-20 feet deep. 

They are still shooting small jigs and doing well.

Other anglers have reported that they are catching some nice stringers up shallower than 10-feet around shallows brush, laydowns and around the bridges. 

Shooting or casting crappie jigs to the same areas has been working well. 

Even crappie minnows on a down line or slip bobber have also been working.

Bank Fishing: Lake Lanier has area where channels or deep water run close to the banks. 

Anglers who fish from the shore can take advantage of the deeper areas.

You can cast the same topwater lures as listed above or try fishing live or cut bait on the bottom. 

These methods will all produce well if you are around active fish. 

If you don’t get a strike in 30-minutes, try moving on to another area.

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 readers, so please email me at

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