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Lake Lanier fishing report: Striper fishing remains as good as the weather
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Water Conditions:  Lake Lanier is down slightly at 1,067.16 feet, which is 3.85 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Water temperatures are hovering around 60 degrees. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to stained. The creeks and rivers are clear to stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam has just started to get a little less stained and should clear up in a few weeks. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass: Once the lake completes turnover, water temperatures are the same from the surface to the bottom. This means the baitfish and bass can be anywhere from 5 to 50 feet deep. Several people I know were catching bass out deep in the ditches. No matter what depth you get your bites, don’t be too quick to move on. Once you get a good bite, work that area, because the bass are schooled up!

We have been concentrating on the shallow bite early in the day, and have needed just one lure, a SPRO McStick. These lures are slender jerk baits that closely mimic blue back herring, and the spots have been eating them up! The McStick is called a jerk bait, but we have had as much success casting them and just reeling them slowly with just an occasional jerk. 

Target the mouths of the coves and secondary points where there are transitions from chunk rock to clay. Other lures like crank baits or an underspin with a 4-inch Big Bites Suicide Shad are working well. Allow these lures to make contact with the bottom. There is still a decent top water bite in certain areas during active feeding periods, so don’t stash those surface lures away for winter just yet!

Later in the day, move out deeper into the ditches and utilize your Lowrance Electronics. Locate the schools of shad and bass or stripers around them. Structure Scan side imaging sonar will allow anglers to locate these schools of shad and bass. Pay attention to their location and move your boat back directly over the school. 

Drop a ½-ounce Flex-It Spoon or a drop shot rigged with a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm to catch these deeper fish. Set your electronics split screen to both traditional 2D imaging and Down Scan, which will allow you to see your lure as it descends to the bottom. You will often see the fish strike directly under the boat on your screen. 

Stripers: The weather is great, and the striper fishing is very good if you can locate the mega schools that almost black out my Lowrance’s screen. We have seen this action in the mouths of the lower lake creeks below Brown’s Bridge and up in the River Forks and Chestatee Bay areas. Target the humps and long points that lead into the main river channel.

Start your day pulling a Captain Mack’s Mini Umbrella Rig. Trolling is a great way to cover water while you search for the huge schools of stripers that are feeding on shad and herring. You may be able to catch stripers on this rig all day long. 

Once you locate a good school of fish, you have options. A lot of the bigger fish are schooled up from 40 to 80 feet deep. These fish will move shallower or deeper, but the deeper fish have been better quality. You can either deploy down lines with herring or shad or drop a 1-ounce SPRO Buck Tail or a ¾-ounce Flex-It spoon below the boat. Jig these lures at the level that you mark fish on your electronics.

There are still some stripers schooling on top. This action seems to be best in the afternoon on to sunset. I feel that a subsurface lure like a SPRO Buck Tail or Bomber style bait will out produce a top water plug two to one right now.

The night bite has been good, so continue to cast Bomber Long A’s or SPROM McStick 115’s to the shallow beach and rocky areas around Lake Lanier Islands on north around the islands below Browns Bridge.

Crappie fishing has been OK. The schools of crappie seem to be shallow and deep. This is definitely a good use for your electronics. With Structure Scan, I can shoot a sonar signal to shoot under docks. This allows you to find the brush and often the crappie that are schooled up in fall.

Get out your light spinning or spin cast equipment, and work the brush under the docks. Shooting a small crappie jig up under the dock will test your angling ability. Look to YouTube to learn this valuable skill. 

Once you have landed a tiny Hal Fly jig into the prime spot up under a dock, close the bail and allow your jig to pendulum back to the boat. Once you locate the proper depth, repeat it around other docks with brush.

Bank Fishing: The river below the dam is clearing up, and the mountain trout streams are clear and holding trout. No matter if you go north or south, this is a great time to just be outdoors!

Use ultra-light spinning gear with 2 to 6-pound test or your favorite fly-fishing gear and hit the water. The trout will be located behind rocks or trees lying in the water. Cast your fly or a small Rooster Tail into these prime areas and you should be able to catch your limit.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist, guide and bass angler. He is currently booking teaching trips for Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass. 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 esaldrich@yahoo.com  Remember to take a kid fishing!

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