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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Spawning bass biting best in shallow water
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level remains above normal pool at 1,072.09 or 1.09 feet above our normal full pool of 1,071. Surface temperatures are in the low to mid 60’s.

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The backs of the creeks and the water flowing down from the rivers are slightly stained to stained from pollen. There has been unusually heavy boat traffic that is hitting the muddy banks and stirring up the water. 

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

Bass fishing has been good and the majority of the bass can be found in less than 15 feet of water. 

Most of these fish are shallow, which makes them easier to target. Bass are in the middle of the spawning process. Just remember that not all bass spawn at the same time. I feel that their reproductive process lasts as long as three months. I have seen bass on Lake Lanier building nests from February to June. 

I have also witnessed bass spawning in the fall.

Junk Fishing can still be a productive way to fish. This term simply means having 4-14 rods and reels with a different lure on each one. Instead of having a pile of tackle cluttering up my deck or the bank site we picked, I prefer to simplify things. Pick three different styles of fishing techniques that you have confidence in and go fishing. If you are new to fishing or need a refresher course, then hit up a friend who fishes or hire a reputable guide.

We have been fishing a lot this week. My clients and I have caught bass on almost every style of lure. 

I have also seen some anglers who are struggling a little bit. A few techniques have stood out. 

Start your day casting a small “walking the dog” style of topwater lure. 

A couple of examples are a Baby Zara Spook or throw a Sammy 65. Cast these lures out around tapering points, shallow humps or pockets off the main lake. Fish these lures with a slow but strong, deliberate retrieve so that the lure sashays from left to right. 

If a fish swirls on your topwater lure, pay attention to where the bass missed it and work weighted worms through the area. 

Work a pearl colored Big Bites Jerk Minnow just about any place where bass are located. This Fluke style soft plastic jerk bait that is easy to see. As suggested, one week work these lures on a medium-heavy Kissel Krafts Custom Spinning Rod and use 8-pound Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon with a number 5/0 Gamakatsu Offset Hook. 

Make long casts and keep your lures moving close to the surface. Use a stop-and-go retrieve. You will often see bass swirling on these lures. When this happens, kill the lure and let it glide out of site where the bass will eat it. Watch your line and set the hook if you see any tap, thump or anything unusual.

Other techniques will work as well if you have more confidence in them. If the wind picks up or you just prefer to try a spinner bait or a larger swim bait like a BBZ1 6-inch slow sink, then give them a try. Fish crank baits or jerk baits around main lake marker points. 

Just get out and go fishing. It will probably turn into a day of catching.

Striper fishing has been good. The fish have been schooling in the rivers and down lake. If you don’t see fish on the surface, then you will need to rely on your marine electronics. My Lowrance Carbon 12 and 16 are awesome tools for locating and catching fish.

The fish are feeding and they can be anywhere here so don’t camp out in any one single area too long unless the stripers are staying put. Try trolling a Captain Mack’s regular sized Umbrella Rig or try the smaller Mini Rig and keep an eye on your electronics slowly pulling live herring around any productive areas. 

Pulling herring on flat lines or behind planner boards have worked well when you locate fish. Most of the fish have be located in the upper 30-feet of the water column where they are easy to target. Keep a lure like a SPRO McStick, Buck Tail, Redfin or your favorite surface lure ready at all times. 

This is an awesome time to cast streamers on a fly rod to pick off surfacing fish.

We have been catching a few stripers and some bigger bass after dark in the creeks, down around lighted boat docks. Cast a SPRO McStick 110’s or Bomber Long A to the lights banks or around the Hydro Glow Lights to score some great action after dark.

Bank Fishing: The stripers are shallow in the creek mouths where they can be targeted by bank anglers you can set up multiple rods with live shiners, herring or shad. Find a bank where the wind is blowing out into the lake. This will allow your bait to float away from the bank and out into deeper water. Cast a slip bobber with a live bait fish hooked just under the dorsal fin. You can also fish cut bait on the bottom. Also try chumming the area with any minnows that die. Secure your rods well and wait to hear the drag screaming.

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. Email him at Remember to take a kid fishing! 

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