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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Topwater action is strong with active 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 down a little at 1,070.05 or .95 below the normal pool of 1,071.  

The main lake and the lower lake creeks remain clear. 

The up-lake creeks and rivers are clear to slightly stained. 

Water temperatures remain in the mid 70’s. 

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is very clear. 

The upper Chattahoochee River, as well as the North Georgia mountain rivers and streams, are clear. 

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

Bass fishing has been picking up. 

Bass fishing is rated from good to very good. 

After a couple of months of hit and miss topwater action, it is now more consistent.

Start your day out on the main lake around points, humps and secondary points. 

Mark every brush pile you can see with your electronics for present and future use. 

Knowing exactly where the best brush piles are located is the key to consistently scoring the biggest fish. 

Mark these prime areas and you can often return the same day and take advantage of some awesome topwater strikes. 

Once you have located a milk run of points and humps with brush, return and cast topwater lures like a SPRO Pop 80, Sammy, Fluke or your own favorite topwater lure directly over the best brush. 

The topwater activity has been strong all day long. 

If the sun is out or a front is blowing through, it will only help improve the action. 

Casting and retrieving subsurface lures, like a SPRO McStick or a SpinJohn 80 Spybait close to the surface over brush, will coax some big strikes from bass below the surface. 

Unlike the SPRO McStick, which only runs a max of five-feet, the spy bait will run at any level that you let it sink.

Running and gunning is a numbers game and not the type of fishing everybody enjoys. 

If you want to score some of the biggest magnum spots from Lake Lanier, running multiple areas is your best option for both numbers of fish and big fish.

While running and gunning has been producing some good limits, other techniques will work too. 

Try skipping a Lake Lanier fruity worm under docks in 15-25 feet with brush has also been a viable pattern. 

Skip your Fruity Worms on a 3/16th-ounce Lanier Baits jig head or a 1/8-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head. 

I like the natural Shad colors or greens, but some of the brighter hues will work too on the deeper docks.

Cranking a SPRO Little John DD 80 around offshore brush has been scoring some big bites. 

This crankbait runs 15-20 feet deep on 10-pound test Sunline FC Fluorocarbon and mimics a gizzard shad. 

Try running the Little John DD over and through deep brush from 15-30 feet of water for some big bites. 

After dark, the bass are chomping deep-diving crankbaits in Citrus Shad or Black and Blue colors, 

Other lures, like a big black spinnerbait with a large Colorado blade, are working. 

Also, try a black-and-blue jig, rigged with a Big Bites College Craw and some rattles.

All of these lures have been scoring some good action after dark around main lake rocky banks and shallower offshore brush piles.

Striper fishing has been very good. 

Understand that a lot of these stripers are running in wolfpack schools of anywhere from 3-15 fish. 

They are seeking out pods of bluebacks or freshly-spawned shad that are located shallow early on anglers through the middle of the day. 

Start your day pulling a Mini Mack’s Rig or live blueback hearing on down lines and flat lines. 

Very few of the bites have come from deeper than 40 feet. 

The good news for anglers is that the stripers seem to be preferring shallower water right now. 

Keep your eyes on your Lowrance Electronics because they will unlock the keys to the proper depths and location of bait and fish. 

It’s critical right now to be willing to move until you find a school of stripers worth working for a little while.

Trolling or running herring on planner boards are both viable ways to both catch and locate fish this week. 

Keep moving with your trolling rigs and deploy live bait once you have located a good concentration of stripers.

Casting Redfins, SPRO Bucktails and McSticks will produce well when you find the stripers working the surface. 

The same run-and-gun patterns that work for the bass will also produce great results with stripers too.

Crappie and Brim: The crappie have completed the spawn and have been moving further off the banks from 10-20 feet deep. 

You can still find some smaller male fish hanging around in the coves. 

Fishing with down lined minnows, after dark around the bridges, has worked well. 

The brim are spawning on the lake. 

Because we are a highland clear reservoir, most of our brim bed deeper than most anglers’ cans see. 

Look for spawning beds in 5-12 feet of water. 

A crocket fished on a down line will produced great results.

Bank fishing for catfish has been working well. 

Lake Lanier has a huge population of channel and flathead catfish and they are biting in the shallower coves and out on main lake points. 

Cut bait, chicken livers and live shad are all good choices. 

Fish the baits on a bottom rig with a heavy-barrel sinker.

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 Remember to take a kid fishing.

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