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

Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,071.68 or .68 feet above the normal full pool at 1,071. 

The main lake is slightly stained down lake and slightly stained in the rivers and creeks. The creeks and rivers are slightly stained. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 60’s after the recent cool weather, but will probably rise into the lower 70’s soon. 

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

Bass: The morning bite has been very good for Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass. 

Make sure to get up early and get on the water early to capitalize on this feeding period. 

Start out a sunrise on shallow points and humps. The SPRO McStick 11o continues to be our best producer, followed closely by a Big Bites Jerk Shad. 

Other lures are also working well. Tie on your confidence bait and go fishing.

The topwater bite has started to get going, both early and throughout the day. 

Bright sunny skies help this pattern. Lake Lanier’s bass population are sight feeding on herring and shad. We are experiencing both a shad and herring spawn. The herring will set up on sandy saddles between islands and also on shallow sand and clay points and saddles. 

The shad will spawn close to the banks on rock and clay. 

After the morning flurry subsides, we have been ‘junk fishing’ with a variety of lures. 

One thing is for certain: don’t rely on what worked yesterday and keep several lures at the ready. 

We have had some success during the day by beating the banks with medium-diving crank baits like a SPRO Little John MD, Fat Papa or other crank baits that run 5-12 feet deep in shad patterns. 

Work areas with rock and clay banks, both on main lake and in the creeks or rivers.

Other patterns, like casting spinner baits near the banks, skipping shaky heads around docks or even dragging Texas rigged worms out on shallow humps and points will produce fish all day long. 

There has been a decent night bite that will heat up, even more along with the warmer water temperatures. 

Working medium-to-deep diving cranks baits like a SPRO RkCrawler will score bites around main lake rocky banks.

Striper fishing has been good. 

There has been a lot of topwater activity occurring both early and late in the day. 

These hard-fighting fish are schooling out on the main lake and in the creek mouths as they feast on spawning blueback herring and shad early. 

Keep a topwater plug at the ready all day long as the stripers have been feeding on the surface during active feeding periods and dam generation.

Try using live herring on flat lines all day long. 

You can score some good bites around main lake points, humps and shallower saddle areas between the islands. Because the herring have been spawning, they should be your bait of choice.

If the action slows down, pay close attention to your Lowrance Electronics to determine if the fish have moved a little deeper. If so, you can simply add a spitshot weight to your flat lines or set out down lines just above the depth where you mark fish on your electronics. 

Trolling Captain Mack’s umbrella rigs or mini-rigs have been a great pattern for both locating or catching stripers. Troll these rigs between 1 1/2-2 1/2 mph. Employ an outrigger or use a Cannon Down Rigger to change up your depths as needed.

The night bite has slowed a little, but you can still locate them around dock lights and midway back into the creeks. 

We have been catching just as many bass when fishing for stripers with SPRO McStick 110’s and 115’s after dark. Cast these offering out and use a slow-to-medium retrieve.

Crappie and Brim: The crappie have moved out deeper after the spawn. 

The crappie are setting up on brush around docks from 10-15 feet deep. 

Work small crappie jigs or live minnows on down lines around docks with brush. 

Brim fishing is starting to heat up as these tasty pan fish are getting ready to build nests in the shallow water. 

Cast a small Roster Tail or work worms or crickets under a float. 

Target laydowns or rocky banks for your best success.

Bank fishing: Get out your light-spinning reel or Zebco 33 style closed face outfit and walk the banks of Lake Lanier or your local farm or subdivision pond to catch brim. 

Cast either small inline spinners, crappie jigs or live worms or crickets. You should be able to catch a mess for dinner.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer 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 him at Remember to take a kid fishing!

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