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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Trout fishing improves as water clears on the Chattahoochee River
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 steady slightly below full pool. 

The current level is 1,070.55 or .45 foot below the normal level 1,071. 

Water temperatures have ranged from the upper 40’s into the low 50’s.  

The main lake water is clear to slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are slightly stained in the mouths. 

If it rains, the areas will get muddy in the backs of the creeks and in the rivers. 

The Chattahoochee River is slightly stained, but the water is clearing up. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing remains slow, but we have been catching some shallow as well as some out deeper. 

Truthfully, bass fishing has been a grind. The more you go, the more you will learn about winter fishing. 

The deep bite has been the most consistent this week. 

We have been targeting the fish from 30-50 feet deep around steep banks and the steep dropoffs in the ditches. 

Try stair-steeping a crawfish imitator, like a Big Bites College Craw on a Gamakatsu Alien Head. We have also caught a few, fishing directly above the fish we have marked on our electronics with a dropshot rigged with a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm.

We have also caught these winter bass on other techniques. 

There are some bass out very deep that will eat a jigging spoon, worked up and down from the bottom. 

We have also caught them shallow around docks that have deep-water access. 

On warm sunny days, the bass have been sunning themselves around the black dock floats. 

You can catch these fish with a SPRO McStick 110 worked with a jerk-and-pause retrieve. 

Striper fishing has been good. The fish continue to bite well out where you mark bait schools and fish with your Lowrance Electronics. 

The bite has been good, both up and down lake in the creeks and rivers.

Stripers have been a little shallower this week. 

We have marked some good schools in 20-40 feet deep, with some occasional fish that have been schooling on the surface early in the day. 

Start your days looking in the creeks, rivers and pockets that have some sort of fresh water flowing into them. 

The stripers have been schooled in these areas. 

Trust your electronics. Don’t start fishing until you mark fish and bait. 

Your electronics are essential tools for finding the correct areas to fish. 

Down-lined herring and trout have been the best baits this past week. 

Always set out one flat line in addition to your down lines to see if there are any fish that are coming up to the surface. 

Always keep a buck tail jig tied on in case you see any fish schooling on the surface.

Crappie fishing has been a little slower. 

These tasty fish will be found in tight schools. The good news is that when you catch one, you can usually stay in the same area and catch several more.

Crappie have been relating to deeper brush around docks. 

Find brush from 15-30 feet deep. 

Use you Structure Scan and look around docks that are close to deep water.

The best bait this week has been small-to-medium minnows fished on a down line. 

Use light 4-6 pound line with a small Gamakatsu Aberdeen style hook with a split-shot placed about a foot or two above your hook. 

Fish these live minnows down in the brush. 

You will get snagged every now and then, but that is just part of the day.

Bank Fishing: The Chattahoochee River has been clearing up, so trout fishing will improve. 

There are some bigger holdover trout that are biting. Now is a good time to catch a bigger fish.

Fishing with live earthworms has been working well from Buford Dam to the Highway 20 Bridge. 

Note that live bait is not permitted south of the bridge. Check your local regulations before using live bait on designated trout waters. 

Use light 4-6-pound line with a 1/6-ounce splitshot, fished a couple of feet above your hook and worm.

Another technique that has worked well in the winter is to cast a Rapala Countdown Minnow up stream in the rapids and work it with a jerk-and-pause retrieve. 

This setup imitates a wounded shad that has been washed through the dam during generation.


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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