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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Striper, crappie fishing strong during these warmer days
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

The CORPs continues to pull water to achieve normal winter levels.

As of Thanksgiving Day, the level was 1,070.18 or .82 foot below the normal level 1,071.

Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures are hovering around 60 degrees. The main lake is clear to stained and the upper rivers are stained to very stained

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam remains a normal muddy/greenish color for this time of year. 

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

As the Thanksgiving Holiday comes to a close, we have the opportunity to reflect over the past year. 2020 has been very difficult for many including our own friends and family. During hard times it can be difficult to be thankful. 

Instead of concentrating on the bad, I have learned to make a gratitude list of my blessings.

I always start with family but also include the simple things like “I am thankful for my eyesight.”

This list reminds me that I have much to be grateful for. If you are reading this, then you are included on that list. 

Thank you for reading these reports.

Bass: As water temperatures drop, we have had to adjust our fishing methods and locations.

If weather and temperatures are stable, then the best lures and locations have mostly remained consistent.

When the colder weather and changing fronts approach, be ready to make adjustments.

The ditch bite has been a good bet for the most part. Over the years the most common question I receive is “What is a ditch?” A ditch can be a creek channel, a depression in the woods from rain runoff or simply the deeper water in the middle of the cove.

A ditch is simply is a concave depression and the best ones usually have a significant depth change on the sides and run from the banks on out into deeper water.

A detailed map will show many options but you may have to fish several to locate the best ones.

Start the day up shallow, close to the bank and use moving lures like crank baits, jerk baits or other moving lures that mimic shad or herring.

Predator fish like bass and stripers use low light conditions to herd bait in these ditches up against the banks where they can trap their prey for easy pickings.

The first hour of the day will often account for the majority of bites so be on the water early to take advantage of this activity.

Continue to exploit these active, shallow fish until the bite slows.

Usually on sunny days the shallow bite is best in the first hour of the day.

On cloudy days these active fish will stay shallow longer and sometimes this action will continue well into the day.

Our best lure options have been a SPRO McStick, Little John MD or an underspin with a 3 1/2-inch Big Bites Suicide Trailer.

When the shallow action slows try switching to slower, bottom bouncing lures like a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm on a Jig Head or Drop Shot Rig.

Target the deeper sides of these ditches and fish the dropoffs from 15-35 feet deep.

Sometimes the fish will also hold directly in the middle of the ditch.

Watch your Lowrance Graphs for arcs and wavy lines to show you the best positions.

While the ditch bite has been good, there are other options that may be more productive.

Rocky, steep banks have been holding bass that are feasting on crawfish.

Use a SPRO RkCrawler or small jig and cast from the shore on out into 15-20-feet. Position your boat at a 45-degree angle to bank. This will allow you to better cover the depth changes and to keep your lure in the strike zone longer.

Docks with significant depth changes have also been worth exploring.

Use a Big Bite Baits or Lanier Baits Fruity Finesse Worm on a jig head with a light-spinning outfit.

Cast along the sides or skip your lures up under docks. Try casting a McStick along the sides of these same docks to provoke bites from fish that are suspended under the floats.

Striper fishing has been good.

The stripers have followed suit with the bass and they can be found both shallow and deep.

Your Lowrance Electronics will clue you into the best locations and depths.

The same ditches discussed above will often be prime locations to fish for stripers.

These fish will also be shallow early in the day and move deeper as the sun gets higher in the sky. Flat-lined herring or medium shiners work best when you mark fish under 20-feet deep and weighted down lines may be better if the stripers are deeper.

In late fall or early winter, it is often a good idea to fish a combination of flat and down lines because the fish this week have been moving up and down in the water column all day.

You can also utilize planner boards to increase the size of you live bait spread.

This wider spread will help increase your odds of placing a bait in from of more fish.

Pay close attention to Gulls and Loons that are actively feeding.

Regardless of location or bottom depth you can usually bet that when the birds are diving there will be stripers in the same area.

Ignore gulls that are floating on the surface.

They are usually just hanging out and enjoying their winter vacation.

The night fishing has been hit and miss.

Stick with either a Bomber Long A or a SPRO McStick and fish the islands.

There have also been some stripers around lighted docks as well as in the backs of the creeks.

Crappie fishing has been good.

Look for docks towards the backs or the creeks and use your electronics Structure Scan to locate bait and stripers under docks.

Bank fishing for stripers has been decent.

Buy some medium shiners or some cut bait go fishing. Travel to the parks or bridges located in the creeks. The best banks tend to have steep dropoffs.

Try both weighted lines and slip bobbers and set out four rods. Secure them well because stripers strike hard.

Fish a couple baits under bobbers and a couple on the bottom. When you get a bite switch your rods to the method that works.



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