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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Rely on herring to catch the most stripers
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier water level continues to hold very steady and is above full pool at 1,071.37 or .37 feet above the normal full pool at 1,071. 

The main lake and lower lake creeks are mostly clear. 

The backs of the creeks are slightly stained from rain inflow. The water in the rivers and creeks still ranges from slightly to very stained due to recent rain inflows. Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures remain in the low 80’s.

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

Bass fishing still rates from fair to very good. Boat traffic has come into play this week with the Independence Day weekend. A lot of the community holes have been fished pretty hard. 

Note that isn’t preventing the bass from being catchable. 

We have had varying results this past week. 

The topwater action has been a little slower, but keep a surface plug tied on at all times for any schooling fish that may appear on the surface at any time during the day.

Start your day by taking advantage of the early-morning bite. Cast subsurface lures like a SPRO Spin John 80, Dual Realis 90 or a fluke-style lure like a Big Bites Jerk Shad over offshore brush and structure. These lures will coax some good bites this week. 

Spy baits are very subtle, sinking lures with a small metal prop on each end. 

These subtle lures are designed to be fished on very light line with a medium-action fishing rod like my Kissel Krafts Custom Spinning Rods. 

These spy baits sink with a shimmy action and generally fall about a foot per second. Many strikes will occur on the fall. Cast these lures over offshore brush, count them down about 10 seconds and retrieve them slow and steady. 

These lures also work well cast to steeper banks and around docks. 

A lot of the bass will be in a neutral mood and will not chase lures. 

Move your boat around the brush and fish vertically with a drop-shot rigged with a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel or a Lanier Bait’s Fruity Worm. Use your Lowrance Electronics to scan the area as you look for the tell-tale arcs or lines (sketti) that indicate fish located around offshore brush. 

Drop your drop-shot down to fish you see on your electronics screen. 

We have enjoyed some awesome bass fishing after dark. 

You can avoid 90 percent of the boat traffic after dark, at least on weekdays and catch fish from dusk to dawn. 

We have been casting SPRO RkCrawlers and Little John DD’s to rocky banks from the creek mouths back into the creeks and scoring some good results with both keepers and big fish.  

Striper fishing remains good. 

Just note that the Memorial Day Weekend will be a crowded time because the best areas will be out away from the banks where boat traffic will be heavy.

Target drains or ditches that lead off from main lake points and humps. 

The stripers have been congregating in water from 30-50 feet over a 40-80-foot bottom. 

The stripers are eating both large shad to medium-sized, six-inch herring.

Start out your day either trolling Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rigs or just idling over productive areas, while watching your Lowrance Electronics as you search for larger schools or fish. 

Keep a topwater plug ready at all times as the stripers are still coming to the surface, both early and later in the day.

Once you locate a school of fish, it’s time to deploy both down lines and even some flat lines. 

Herring have been the most productive baits. 

The stripers will eat herring and shad, fished from the surface on down to the bottom in the right areas. 

Keeping your herring lively is often the hardest part for anglers targeting stripers. 

Check in with your local tackle store and show them your setup and ask for recommendations. 

Herring stay alive best in cooler water, so you will need to add non-chlorinated ice. Add the proper amount of sea salt or Bait Saver to keep your baits lively. 

Circular tanks work better than square-bait tanks. 

The circular tanks prevent ‘red nose’ where herring bump into the corners of a square tank.

The same areas will also be good after dark. 

Set out Hydro Glow lights in the smaller channels, leading into the main lake for the best success. 

Crappie fishing has been a little slower during the light hours, but the anglers who are adept at fishing deeper docks with brush have been catching enough for a good fish fry.

If you can get out late in the evening, you may find some good fishing around boat docks after dark. 

We have encountered some decent shallow fishing after midnight around dock lights. 

We have been casting small crappie jigs and small crappie minnows to where we see the fish.

Bank fishing: It’s that time again. 

Many anglers and people who fish find bass, striper and crappie fishing too tough during the heat of the day. 

If you just want to hook and catch a powerful fish, consider carp fishing.

Carp are attracted to human activity around Marinas and campgrounds. 

You can target them with everything from a $20 dollar push-button fishing reels to $1,000 fly rods. 

If you fly fish for them, you probably don’t need a report.

For the people who want to catch fish on light tackle, it’s easy. Take a can of corn, throw about 1/3 of that into the water. Hook a few kernels onto your small fishing hooks. Cast your corn into the middle of where you chummed the other corn, Secure or hold onto your rod and wait 30 minutes. 

If you do not get a bite, move and try it again in a different 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 his readers, so please email him at Remember to take a kid fishing.

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