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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Keep a variety of rods, lures available to cash in on strong bass bite
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is right below full pool at 1,070.8 feet. 

Water temperatures on the lake surface have vaulted into the mid 80’s with some saying around 90. 

The middle of June has started out to feel a lot more like the dog days of August. 

Jumping into the lake is a great way to cool down and beat the heat. 

The water on the main lake and in the creeks remains mostly clear and pretty. 

Some of the creeks up north and the upper rivers are stained from recent rainfall. 

The backs of the feeder creeks, as well as up in the main rivers, will get muddy with any significant thunderstorms but it should clear quickly. 

After noon on the weekends, expect to see a mud line along the banks from boat waves. 

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. 

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

Note: The boat ramps and park traffic have really been busy, so please be patient with people. 

Never let your kids or parents walk or run around areas where people are launching boats. 

Only park in designated trailer parking if you have a trailer. 

Wear your Coast Guard-approved PFD life jacket 100% of the time if you are under age 16. 

Adults should also wear them when the boat is moving. 

I wear my PFD 100% of the time I am on the lake.

Bass fishing has been up and down, but they are biting. 

We have seen some big stringers of fish caught in tournaments. 

A variety of methods and lures are working. 

Keep a few different rods and lures at the ready because you will have flurries of activity through out the day.

We are starting to see evidence of a thermocline on our Lowrance Electronics this past week. 

A thermocline is simply a distinct line where the upper hot layers of water divide from the lower colder layers of water. 

On modern electronics, you should be able to play around with the sensitivity or contrast located in your units settings to see it.

So why so much talk about water temperature layers? 

Because these layers are where the plankton will be located and that plankton feeds baitfish and small pan fish. 

In turn, these small fish feed the larger game fish that we are seeking. 

Concentrate on working you lure at that level because that’s where they are biting.

If you read these fishing reports for the next couple of months, you will hear me talk about “running and gunning.” 

That method has really come into play this week. 

This expression simply means fishing as many productive areas as possible. 

Anglers who have a milk run of brush piles located in 20-30 feet on their GPS mapping should do well.

Anglers should start their days with several rods with various lures tied on and ready to cast. 

Some good choices would include a topwater plug, plus a soft-plastic jerk bait to entice a strike from aggressive bass over brush. 

Try a spy bait or deep-diving crank bait. 

Cast to bass swimming in those same brush piles, plus up around bank cover. 

Lastly, a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm can be rigged in a variety of ways to catch fish close to the bottom.

You can narrow it down to 2 or 3 choices. 

If that were the case my choices would be the following: 

First: A topwater, “walk the dog” plug like a SPRO Fat Papa Walker 130 rigged on 8-foot medium weight Kissel Kraft Custom Rod and 60-pound Sunline Braid. 

Cast these large profile lures over brush to pull the fish to the surface.

Second: A Jerk Shad Soft Plastic for working on or just below the surface. 

I rig these soft-plastic jerk baits on a #5/0 Gamakatsu Hook with a Sunline Fluorocarbon leader attached to a big SPRO Swivel that is attached to 30# Sunline Braid on a 6-foot, medium-weight Kissel Kraft’s spinning rod. 

I used to jerk these “fluke style” baits, so they would sashay back and forth under the water but my friend, Jimmy Sanders, said “This lure has enough action when you retrieve it steady.” 

He was right.

Third: A Lanier Baits Tri-Colored Worm on a dropshot rig. 

I rig these dropshot worms on the exact same rod and line set up as I use for the second Jerk Shads, except with a smaller SPRO Swivel.

Note: If I was fishing after dark, I would target offshore brush and slow roll a Georgia Blade Premium Night Spinner Bait over and through the brush. 

Cast these spinner bait using 14-20 pound Sunline Fluorocarbon rigged on an seven-feet, six-inch medium-heavy Kissel Kraft’s Custom Rod.

The secret to success with these patterns is to hit as many areas as possible in a trip and don’t stay in any one place if they aren’t biting. 

Anglers can use the same “running and gunning” method, but on a smaller scale by fishing docks, laydowns or other bank cover and keep moving until you locate an active area with fish.

Stripers: The stripers continue to feed. 

We have still seen some decent surface activity, but as water temperatures continue heat up, expect the striper-surface action to go away.

Anglers should still keep a well-working rod and reel rigged with either a topwater plug or a SPRO Bucktail. 

Have a heavy lure with a quality rod and reel so you can bomb those long casts. 

Use monofilament when fishing a topwater plug, but use fluorocarbon instead when casting the buck tail. 

What’s the reason? Monofilament line floats and fluorocarbon sinks.

The best action has been to start your days early and be on your best locations by safe light. 

Target areas both up lake and down lake located in the creek mouths. 

Also pay attention to the larger ditches that lead from the back of the coves out into main lake. 

Friends have been catching stripers and bass up shallow early on flat and down lines and then down out deeper as the sun gets up on mostly down lines. 

Some stripers have shown up shallow again at sundown and on through midnight around the lights. 

Other methods are working. 

Some reports are saying that stripers are around 20-40 feet. 

These fish will come up to strike an Umbrella Rig or single lure on a down rigger set above the timber at around 20-feet. 

Troll your lures at around 3 mph and experiment with your speed and depth until you find out what the fish are wanting.

The stripers, bass and even some big crappie have been up around lighted boat docks. 

The best boat docks in summer tend to be located around the creek mouths and other docks that have access to deep water. 

After Dark take a blueback herring, rigged with a No. 2 GamamKatsu Octopus Hook through the nose and flip it up to the dock lights. 

Fish these herring on medium-heavy freshwater spinning tackle for a challenging fight from a variety of game fish.

The crappies are settling into a couple catchable patterns. 

The spawn is long over and they have one thing on their minds: eating. 

These fish are setting up at around 20-25 feet deep around brush. 

These areas provide cooler, oxygenated water, plus a place where they can hide and feed. 

They just hide in the brush and easily pick off the many baitfish that are also hanging around the thermocline.

To catch crappie this week, use a light 2-4 pound test fluorocarbon rigged on a super sensitive, light-wieght rod and work small jigs through the brush in 15-30 feet of water. 

This is a challenging way to fish as most anglers get snagged, but if you master it, you will catch more fish.

The easy way to catch crappie this week has been to anchor around a friends dock lights or bring your boat and dock lights and fish the bridges after dark. 

The crappie will move much shallower around the docks and lights after dark. 

Down-line minnows, small herring or cast jigs and work the areas where the lights cause the a shadow change.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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