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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers, bass biting well from the shore
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is still slightly up from last week at 1,067.52 or 3.48 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. 

Water temperatures are in the mid 60’s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to stained. The creeks and rivers are stained from lake turnover from the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam remains very stained due to lake turnover. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been great, tough and everywhere in between. Weather fronts have really been dictating how you should fish. During long, stable periods of weather, the bass have been very active both on top and below the surface of the lake. During pre-frontal conditions the fishing can be very good. After the fronts blow through, the fishing conditions often change and slow down. Use the weather conditions to your advantage and speed up or slow down presentations based on weather conditions. 

For the better part of the past week, the weather has been stable and both topwater and subsurface moving lures seem to be working best. 

Spitting baits like a Chug Bug or Gunfish seem to be pulling bass to the surface over shallow to mid-depth brush, points and humps. 

Keep running and gunning productive areas until you collide with an active school. A SPRO McStick 110 seems to be out fishing topwater plugs 2 to 1. Other lures like a Big Bites Suicide Shad, Jerk Minnow or Fluke are all good choices for targeting bass chasing larger shad and blueback herring,

When the weather fronts start to blow in, run and gun your best areas to find the active bass feeding closer to the surface. Before leaving an area, pull in over the structure and scan it with your Lowrance Electronics. Lower a dropshot rig, Ned Rig or other bottom bumping lures to any fish you see on the screen.

Post cold front conditions can put the bass in a funk where it can be tougher to elicit bites from the lethargic fish. Cast lures like a jig, shaky head or slow roll a Fish Head Spin rigged with a small Big Bites Suicide Shad and slow roll it through any brush you have marked on previous trips.

We have been catching 10-30 bass in an afternoon or early evening trip. Fish the rocky humps, points and steep rocky banks with a SPRO McStick 110, RkCrawler or the ever popular SPRO McStick.

Email esaldrich@yahoo.com or send a private message on Facebook to book a day or night time trip using artificial lures for stripers or bass. Lake Lanier is a calm, quiet place to enjoy a fishing trip and the fish often bite very well in later fall early winter so contact me and let’s go fishing.

Striper fishing has been very good for anglers that can make the adjustments needed to be successful during the warm and cold fronts that can vary so much in later fall. The stripers are more forgiving during the cold fronts than the bass. Before the cool fronts last week, the stripers had really been congregated in the upper 30-feet of the water column. After the cold fronts blew in last week, we saw some large populations of fish that and moved down deeper into that 10-40-feet zone where down lines worked better.

Start your day out trolling a Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig in the ditches and creek mouths that connect with the larger creek and river channels. Keep a close eye on your Lowrance Fish finders as well as a watchful eye out for any schooling activity. The stripers are still exploding on herring and shad on the surface. 

Make sure you keep a lure that you can make long casts with at the ready at all times. 

While most anglers prefer a topwater strike over just about any method, subsurface lures like a Bomber Long A, SPRO McStick 110, Buck Tail or even a Sebile Magic Swimmer will often outproduce topwater plugs and even live bait at times. 

I feel catching a fish on an artificial lure is twice as fun as when a striper takes a trolled lure or live bait.

We have been spending some morning and afternoon charter trips just staying in an area where the fish are schooling. The stripers some time appear on the surface in small schools but we have also seen some Ú« acre sized school of fish busting up herring on the surface. 

A trained eye can see this fish from as far as a mile away. Binoculars also can be a great tool for seeing the schools of fish within seeing distance of your boat.

Pulling live herring on flat lines, down lines and planner boards has also been very effective when you locate the actively feeding fish. 

Use your Lowrance Electronics to show you the best depths at which to place your live baits. Remember that stripers and other game fish rarely move downward to eat so it is better to position your live bait offerings above the schools versus dropping baits below where you mark fish on your electronics.

The Bomber and SPRO McStick after dark bite has been on and off but they are biting well close to the shore after sun down. Target banks close to the areas where you saw schooling fish before sundown. Also, seek out those green Hydro-Glow fishing lights as they can be fish.

Crappie fishing continues to get better especially in the morning and after dark. Seek out pockets that have brush located near the ditches and also target docks located toward the backs of the creeks close to deeper water. Minnows fished under a float or worked on a lightly weighted line in and around the brush. 

After dark, set out lines under lights around the bridges, or better yet locate the docks whose owners have equipped 

Bank Fishing: After spending most of their summer in deeper water, stripers and bass move up much shallow around the banks on Lake Lanier in the fall. We are blessed enough to live close to one of the best spotted bass and striper fisheries in the southeast. There are well over 25 parks located in prime areas around the lake where anglers can catch good fish without needing a boat.

Fishing from the shore can be made much more productive for anglers that own and study a standard old-school paper map. A good map will have depth lines and you can target the banks that have steeper dropoffs close to ditch, creek and river channels.

Bank anglers can use both live bait and lures and enjoy success. Just remember if you are fishing a good-looking area but don’t get a bite in 20 minutes, it may be time to move on to more productive water.

Live minnows below a float or on a bottom rig (basically a Carolina Rig) are great choices and will catch a variety of predator fish from stripers, bass, catfish and pan fish. Try to fish areas where the wind is at your back as this will allow your baits to swim out away from the shore instead of getting blown back in more shallow.

Fishing from the shore with topwater plugs and jerk baits can also be very productive. Grab your family or friends, pack a cooler full of cold drinks and snacks and hit the water.


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 readers, so please email at esaldrich@yahoo.com. Remember to take a kid fishing. 

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