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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Get on the water early with ample live herring for best chance at stripers
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is down a little more than a foot deep at 1,069.87 or 1.23 below the normal pool of 1,071. 

Water temperatures are right around 80 degrees.

The main lake and the lower lake creeks remain clear during the week. On weekends, when the boat traffic gets heavy, the water around the shoreline may become stained to muddy.

The uplake creeks and rivers are clear. 

Water inflow as a result of the afternoon pop-up showers that occur in summer will cause areas around feeder creeks and in the rivers to get stained. 

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. 

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

Bass fishing has rated very good this past week. 

The fish are locked into the topwater pattern and it’s been very consistent for us lately. 

It’s the ‘same old type’ of fishing that never gets old. 

Keep four rods ready on the deck at all times. 

Tie a topwater plug on your first and second rods. 

Tie a subsurface lure like a SPRO Spin John 80, Lanier Baits Little Swimmer on a Damiki Style Jig Head, a spinner bait or a SPRO McStick 110 on the third rod. 

On your last rod, always keep a dropshot rigged with a natural-colored Fruity Worm rigged on a Gamakatsu No. 1 Aberdeen Hook to drop to any fish you see on your electronics. 

Gas up the boat and get ready to run and gun a regiment of offshore brush piles, long points, humps and areas near the shore that have significant depth changes. 

We have been on the water early and started our day on our best areas. 

The fish have been schooling early in the morning out away from brush and rock piles, so casting fan casting around these areas has been working extremely well. 

My weapon of choice has been a SPRO Pop 80 or a Lucky Craft Gunfish.

If you haven’t started to mark brush on your GPS map yet, then today is a great time to start. 

The offshore brush will hold wolfpack schools of big spotted bass. 

To find these specific spots, it takes time on the water or a very good friend willing to share way points. 

Rely on these honey holes that you have gathered and marked from previous trips. 

Keep your electronics on at all times to locate fish that appear on the screen and also to mark new brush or other significant structure like rock piles or significant depth changes and steep drop offs.

Cast topwaters over the brush all day and keep moving to locate an active school of fish. 

If the fish are inactive, cast a Spybait or Little Swimmer over brush to entice some strikes. 

If the fish are finicky, move over the brush. 

If you are not getting bites, then it’s time to employ your electronics and move over the brush to see if they’re present. 

If so, drop a linear baits fruity worm on a drop shot rig or try his Damiki rig, which is also been catching fish that we watch on your electronics screens. 

This time of year, I’ve been running my Lowrance 16-inch HDs unit on the bow because the big screen shows me clearly what the fish are doing. 

I have learned that running-and-gunning fishing is not for everybody. 

People who haven’t fished this way discount how much stamina it takes to fish 20-40 or more areas in a day. 

If you prefer to relax and wait for your bobber or live bait rig to get a bite, this may not be what you expect from fishing. 

I have orthopedic issues, so I get a chuckle when younger folks complain their back hurts or their arms are sore. 

Other less-intensive patterns have been working too. 

Fishing the docks with a Gamakatsu Alien Head rigged with a Lanier Baits straight tail worm has been also been a good option. 

Cast or skip these jig head worms around docks, laydowns or even through offshore. 

Points and steep banks have also been worth fishing with a fruity worm on a jig head. 

Another method has worked well for beating the banks. 

Cast a SPRO Fat Papa, RkCrawler or a Bandit 300 crankbait and work these lures slow and steady for some good bites.

Striper fishing has also been very good. 

The best methods have been a combination of fishing live herring on flat and down lines or you can do well-trolling umbrella rigs out around main lake points humps and islands.

Make sure you get up early and also make sure to have plenty of herring for the day. 

Pay attention to what the bait shop recommends to keep these bait fish lively during the day. 

The proper combination of salt or bait chemicals, along with a good supply of oxygenated water will keep these bait fish lively all day long. 

A couple of my clients told me their herring were always dying. 

They invested in an oxygen tank with an air stone and their bait now stays healthy.

Start your day pulling a Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig around humps and points close to the river channels. 

Troll your rigs at around 2 mph and pay attention to where you get your bites. 

Some strikes will occur when the boat turns or when your boat speeds up and slows down. 

While you are trolling, watch your electronics closely and watch for groups of fish that are relating to either baitfish or some form of depth break. 

Once you see a pattern, look for similar areas to also hold fish. 

Find the pattern where you get your bites. 

Once you locate a big school fish, it’s time to deploy your hearing. 

Deploy both flat and down lines rigged with a lively herring. 

The fish still seem to be relatively shallow, but we have started to find some big schools that are grouped up from 25-45 feet deep in ditches that run from 35-60 feet and deeper. 

I’m seeing a thermocline starting to set up around 25-30 feet. 

As the weather warms the water, the thermocline will set up consistently and you will be able to rule out most of the water above 25 feet deep. 

For now, the fish are still willing to attack bait wherever it goes in the water column.

After dark, you can anchor in the creek mouths or out around the islands and set out a Hydroglow light from your boat. 

These lights will attract the bait fish, which in turn will attract the predator fish. 

In this situation, you will want to hang around for a while because fishing will improve as more bait fish are attracted to your lights. 

Set down lines with a lively hearing below the lights. 

Watch your fish finders and set your bait at the level where you marked fish.

Brim and Crappie: Fishing for crappie has been decent. 

The best crappie fishing has been after dark around lighted boat docks or around lights set out around bridge pilings. 

Fish with live small minnows or get out before dark and use a cast net to catch native spot tail minnows.

Crappie, along with other predator fish, will be attracted to the lights after dark. 

Cast your live bait rigs or use small crappie jigs to entice the bites from these tasty panfish. 

Try a minnow set a couple feet below a bobber. 

Change to a down line with a small split shot and a small Aberdeen style hook and minnow if the crappie are deeper.

The brim will bite a variety of live baits or small jigs or inline spinners just about anywhere along the banks. 

Target areas where there are rocks or tees laying in the water. 

Cast a live worm or cricket under a bobber around areas where the brim are located. 

A Beetle Spin or an inline spinner like a Rooster Tail will coax bites from brim. 

There are lots of small brim that kids will enjoy catching up shallow. 

If you are targeting larger brim, try switching to a weighted line and fish out deeper in 7-12 feet deep. 

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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