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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers biting best for anglers who target deep water
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is holding very steady, just above full pool. Lake levels are 1,071.26 or .26 feet above the normal full pool at 1,071. The main lake and lower lake creeks are mostly clear. The water in the rivers rates from clear to stained.

Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures have risen and are around the mid 80’s.

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. The weather has remained relatively stable. The same goes for surface water temperatures which are up slightly from last week into the mid-80’s. While our bass-catching numbers have been down, the ones we are catching have averaged bigger than usual. About 1 in 5 fish we are catching have been largemouth and we have had some 5-pound-plus largemouth that were caught and released from my Nitro this week.

Some anglers I have spoken with have almost completely stashed their topwater plugs in trade for subsurface and bottom bumping lures. Lures like a small Fluke rigged on an underspin or Spy Baits like a Spin John 80 Spy Baits are catching numbers for anglers’ this past week on Lanier.

The one thing I know is that most anglers would rather catch one good fish on a topwater plug than three smaller fish below the surface. Our results this week suggest you may want to keep at least one topwater rod on the deck at all times. Topwater lures like a chrome Zara Spook or Lucky Craft Sammy are great choices for waking up those finicky fish. 

Get out early and start on your most productive areas to capitalize on the early morning bite. Bass are schooling early in the day around brush, humps and points in the creek mouths.

A guide can earn his guide fee in the first hour, if they can get on a big school of spotted bass early that will eat topwater lures. Just be careful. Areas that held fish yesterday may not produce the same when you get there today. 

Listen to some of these other guys who are fishing subsurface lures. Spy baits, small underspins and small swimbaits will produce around the same offshore brush along with rocky ledge dropoffs when nothing else will. They are also catching good fish so pick your strengths and go fishing.

When looking for brush use your Lowrance Structure Scan. With my 12-and 15-inch units it is easy to pick up imaging of bottom structure for marking waypoints and for setting up your milk runs for fishing on the next trip. Your best options are to locate a single large piece of cover like a big hardwood versus stumps or a bunch of small brush piles. 

Not all big brush piles hold fish all of the time, but almost all of them hold active fish some of the time.

Striper fishing has been good for anglers that can read and interpret your Lowrance Electronics. Locate the deep drains that run off from the steep banks located close to the deep creek and river channels. These deeper ditch and creek channels are the best areas to look to locate stripers.

The stripers have been located from 30-feet and deeper. These fish are relating to the herring schools. Sometimes you can set downlined herring down in an area where you’re only marking the huge schools of bait that are in water from 30-60 feet deep. If the herring are present, the stripers will be close by. Don’t sit on any area longer than 30 minutes, unless you continue to get bites. You can bet that there will be several other active schools where your fishing time can be much better spent.

Use a 20-pound test Sunline Natural Monofilament for your main line. Attach it with a 1 1/2-ounce sinker attached to a tiny SPRO Swivel and attach a long 6-12-foot leader of 12-14-pound test Sniper Fluorocarbon Line. Attach a 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook and run it through the nose of fresh-lively herring.

Drop your herring down quickly through the warmer surface layer of water through to the colder lower layer of water where it’s cooler. You will probably need to switch out your baits every 10-minutes to make sure your offerings are as realistic and lively as possible. 

Crappie: 100% of crappie fishing this past week has been done around lighted boat docks after dark. After fishing for bass until midnight, we have one particularly productive light house close to the take out where we can catch 10-20 hand-sized crappie in an hour. 

This fishing is fun because crappie are usually too deep to see in summer. After midnight, they come up shallow where you can sight cast and fish for them. Use ultra-light like 2-6-pound Sunline Siglon on a lightweight Kissel Kraft Spinning rod with a light spinning reel. 

This setup will allow you to both see the line and feel the super light “tics” that indicate a crappie bit your offering.

Bank fishing: Brim will spawn this time of year, both on Lake Lanier as well as your local farm or subdivision lakes and ponds. Usually they will build their nests during the full moon and the new moons in the summer months.

Even when the brim are not spawning, they are still fun to catch from the bank. 

You can catch brim with a regular Zebco 33 fishing outfit. 

You can also use a fly rod or a lightweight set up like mentioned in the crappie section. Brim make excellent table fare and they are often the first fish caught by new anglers.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. 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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