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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Try various lures, techniques to bring in biting bass
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

It looks like the CORPS is gradually starting the winter drawdown. 

Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,070.23 feet, which is .77 feet below a full pool of 1,071. 

Lake surface temperatures are falling and are presently in the mid 60’s. 

Lake stratification or ‘turnover’ continues.

The main lake and creeks mouths are mostly clear, but there is some stained water further back in the creeks. 

The upper rivers range from clear to stained. 

There continues to be some areas that are still turning over.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is still a greenish color, which confirms that the stratification period still continues. 

I spoke with a person from the DNR that told me the turnover process can last as long as three months.

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

Bass fishing has been good. 

We are still catching bass on a variety of lures and techniques as the water continues to cool. 

In the mornings we have been catching fish on topwater lures and spinnerbaits. During the day, the fish can be found at any depth. 

Trust your electronics. Pay attention to how deep the bait and fish are located. 

Have a lure, like a spoon or a dropshot, ready at all times.

Start your days casting a variety of moving lures. 

Topwater plugs, McSticks, crank baits, spinner baits are all worth a try in the early hours. 

I have had success casting a 1/2-ounce Georgia Blade Spinner Bait or a Little John DD crank bait up to the points. 

The best areas seem to be close to the ditches. 

These two lures can cover the water column up to 16 feet deep.

Fish your subsurface lures with a slow-to-medium retrieve. 

Grind the Little John into the rocks. 

Fish the spinner baits just below the surface and impart little jerks, which causes the skirt to flare to trigger the fish into biting. 

Use white blades when its overcast days and silver blades when you can see the sun rising. 

Always attach a Gamakatsu trailer hook.

We have found areas where the fish are chasing bait, just below the surface.

They will let you know quickly if the are in the area. 

Cover water early in the day. You should encounter a school of fish.

As the sun rises, we have seen the fish moving offshore. 

Pay close attention to your electronics. 

People with forward scan have an advantage. 

A lot of these fish are relating to bait more than brush. 

Many seem to be close to deeper brush piles and timberlines. 

Keep a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm rigged on a dropshot or Damiki Rig ready at all times to drop down to fish you see on your screens.

Some anglers are catching bass and other species like white bass and stripers on jigging spoons. 

You will often find bass grouped in the guts of concave-ditch depressions. 

A spoon is an excellent lure to use. 

Fish these lures on a medium-heavy Kissel Krafts Custom Rod with heavy line. 

I switch out the stock hooks and replace them with a No. 4 Gamakatsu light wire trebles for two reasons. 

First of all, they are sharper and if you use 15-20 pound test you can straighten the hooks and free your lure when you get snagged in timber or the bottom. 

Then just bend them back into place.

Other techniques are working.

Keep an open mind and be willing to make changes, based on where you see fish activity on the surface or your electronics. 

After dark, the fish are chomping around rocky banks, midway back into the creeks and also around lighted boats docks. 

Make casts to the rocky banks and grind a SPRO RkCrawler or a heavy, dark-colored Georgia Blade spinner baits with Colorado Blade through the rocks. 

If you are fishing the lights, try a moving lure first, then consider a jig or even a drop shot as a follow up lure.

Stripers: We are still seeing some small groups of stripers schooling on the surface, but they seem to appear and disappear quickly. 

Keep a topwater plug, or better yet, cast an Alabama Rig to cover water better. 

The stripers are cruising around and relating to baitfish off shore. 

The fish are scattered, so keep moving until you see or mark fish. 

These stripers are thinking of only one thing in fall: eating. 

I stress the importance of trusting and utilizing your electronics. 

These Multi-Functional Displays can do incredible things that we could never imagine a decade ago. 

If you feel like you are under utilizing your electronics, you are not alone. 

I estimate over half the boaters with modern electronics. 

Don’t trust or understand what they see. 

Unless you have it set on demo mode or the transducer is mounted incorrectly, what you see on the screen is real.

Trolling umbrella rigs has been a great technique for covering water. 

Experiment with your speed and depth. 

If you are marking deep fish, then troll slower or use a heavier rig to get them down to the level of the fish. 

On some days these multi-lure rigs have been out producing live bait. 

Trolling allows you to keep up with these fish as they move and follow the baits schools.

If you encounter a big school of fish, then you can use live herring, gizzard shad or even trout if you can find them. 

Both down lines and flat lines are working depending upon how deep the fish are showing on your electronics. 

A jigging spoon is also an excellent lure to keep ready at all times. 

You can cast these lures a mile to fish schooling on the surface. 

Spoons can also drop down to fish that you see below the boat. 

A 1/2-ounce Flexit Spoon is a good choice. 

I like the flat, white ones with the prism tape on the sides.

Fishing at night remains good. 

We are still using a combination of SPRO McStick 110s and 115s along with Bombers around main lake islands or around lighted boat docks. 

When fishing the boat docks, please remember to be quiet and courteous. 

Crappie fishing is good. 

Most of the anglers are shooting docks with brush. 

Some docks owners will drop Christmas trees under docks in deep water. 

These fish attractors are often top secret, but anglers in the know or the ones with side and forward scanning technology can find just about anything from the surface to the bottom of the lake. 

I watched a couple of ‘perch jerkers’ shooting a dock in over 50-feet of water. 

They were shooting jigs under the floats and allowing them to pendulum down. 

They were catching fish from 15-30 feet and the fish were stacked in there.

The crappie and other fish are showing up around lighted boat docks after dark. 

Cast or shoot small crappie jigs up around the edges of where the light fades to dark.

You can email Eric Aldrich at esaldrich@yahoo.com with comments or questions.

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