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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stay on the move for best chance at catching biggest 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 at the full pool of 1,071 feet. 

Lake surface temperatures are in the uppers 60’s. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. 

The backs of the creeks and upper rivers are stained, but may turn muddy with this projected rains.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam remains a brownish/green as lake turnover still proceeds around certain parts of the lake. 

The Lake Lanier trout hatchery has been closed, due to a trout virus.

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

Bass fishing has still rated anywhere from tough to very good, depending on where and how anglers fish. 

Lake Lanier’s bass and striper population can tell that colder weather is right around the corner and they know it’s time to start feeding before winter arrives. 

We have boated several bass in the 4-5 pound range this week. 

Many anglers never catch a 5-pound spotted bass, so any day you catch one that size is a great day.

The bass have been biting a variety of lures so we have been doing a lot of junk fishing. 

This term simply means that you can possibly catch several bass, in completely separate places on 5-10 different lures. 

There are certain go-to lures that you need in your arsenal for a successful day.

Unlike the past several months, anglers may wish to start the day at safelight up closer in and cast to the banks. 

Keep fishing and moving in the early and late hours before the sun rises. 

The ditches are really turning on, but not all ditches hold fish. 

You can often clearly see ditch runoffs entering the lake. 

The best ones usually have a mix of sand, clay and especially the ones with rocky banks may hold active schools of fish. 

These fish coral and trap bait fish up shallow in the guts of these depressions in low-light conditions and also during active feeding times during the day. 

Rain runoffs, small feeder creeks, shallow flats with defined channels, larger creeks and even rivers all are forms of ditches. 

There are several things to consider when fishing ditches. 

From the time you put the trolling motor down until you leave, make fan casts with a confidence lure like a jerk bait, crank bait or underspin while making a mental checklist. 

Have the bass been close to or in that exact area recently? 

Is the wind blowing toward or away from the bank? 

Windy banks are usually better. 

Use your eyesight and electronics and pay close attention to any evidence to confirm the bait and predator fish are active. 

Lastly, if the area seems dead, move on the next stop.

While the ditch fishing will continue to improve other areas like points, humps and pockets can all hold schools or fish. 

My confidence lures for the past week have been a SPRO McStick 110, a small willow leaf spinner bait or smaller swim bait like a Lanier Baits Little Swimmer. 

We have been slow rolling all of the lures but the jerk-and-pause retrieve for the McStick has really coaxed some nice spotted bass.

During the daytime hours, the fishing has been a little slower. 

We have mostly been throwing topwater plugs or a Tri-Color Fruity Worm on a dropshot rig. 

We are running and gunning brush piles, rocky banks and the deeper guts of productive ditches to pick up one fish here and one fish there.

Night fishing for bass has been the best bet this week. 

Pick up a SPRO McStick or RkCrawler and cast to windy-blown banks around the islands and back in the creeks around rocky banks. 

Striper fishing has been singular to bass fish and hit and miss depending on conditions. 

The most important condition you need is to have a lot of bait in the areas where you stop and fish.  

Early mornings and evenings around sundown past into dark are great times to get out and fish surface moving lures like jerk baits, wake baits, walking lure and even the SPRO Pop 80’s around in the creek mouths as well as up in the rivers. 

The stripers seem be more active in the lower light hours.

Some anglers are having successful days fishing a variety of styles. 

Trolling large single bucktails on lead core or an umbrella rig can be great ways to cover water. 

Keep your boat moving at 2 1/2-3 mph and allow your trolled offerings to fall and rise as you make turns around ditch and creek channels. 

Pay close attention to where these channels run close to shallow water as these areas can hold congregations of stripers.

Trust your electronics to tell you where to go to and even how to fish. 

If you locate one of the huge schools, we have seen then employ a spread of live herring. 

If the fish are shallow, planner boards and flat lines may work best. 

If the fish are deeper, try downlines and use the anchor feature on your trolling motor to keep you pointing into the wind. 

A proficient captain can also fish down lines and even troll artificial lures with planner boards. 

The trick is to know when to stay and play or stow and go.

The stripers and bass are still eating Bomber Long A’s and SPRO McStick 110’s and 115’s. 

We have seen some cool meteors after dark last week and the lake has been uncrowded during the week. 

Many anglers’ eyes have peeled to the TV but we will be fishing.

Crappie fishing is good, but expect this week’s rain to concentrate the fish in certain areas. 

Look for where the stained water meets muddy water and shoot docks with small crappie jigs or minnows on a light downline. 

The fish seem to be in that 20-foot zone this week. 

We have seen very few crappies around the lights after dark.

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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