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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Use run-and-gun technique to catch trophy 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 holding steady at 1,071.60 or .60 feet above the normal full pool at 1,071. 

The main lake is clear. On the weekends or during busy days, the shore lines will become stained from boat traffic both down lake on up into the rivers. 

The water quality in the rivers and creeks ranges from clear to very stained. 

Lake surface temperatures remain in the mid to upper 60’s.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466. 

Bass: The majority of Lake Lanier’s spotted bass are finishing up the spawning process. 

These fish are beaten up after the difficult process of laying eggs, fertilizing them, then protecting the newly-hatched fry from predators. After expending all of their energy on this process, these bass are hungry and ready to replenish. 

The herring and shad are still spawning in certain areas both up and down lake. 

These minnows are the first thing on a recovering bass’ menu. 

Spawning shad seem to like rock and clay, while herring seem to prefer clay and sand. If you see shad jumping up against the shore or herring following your lure, you are in the right areas.

Start your day around main lake humps, long-tapering points. 

The creeks and rivers are also holding a lot of hungry fish, that will be located around similar humps and points as well as in pockets that have water flowing into them. 

A variety of lures have been working both early and late. 

We have been concentrating on throwing topwater or shallow running lures around humps and points where we are seeing bird activity. Cast a Big Bites Jerk Shad, Fluke, Sammy or your favorite surface plugs to coax explosive topwater strikes.

After working a productive area first thing in the morning, there are several other patterns that will work throughout the day. 

The topwater action still occurs in the day, so keep a surface plug ready at all times. 

Skipping shaky head worms around the docks has produced numbers of smaller bass with an occasional big bite, too. We also caught bass on drop shot rigged with a Lanier Fruity Worm fished below my Lowrance’s transducer. 

Keep an open mind and go fishing.

We use the phrase “Run and Gun” to describe how anglers quickly fish an area, then move on to the next area. 

We often fish 20 or more areas in a day. 

The theory is that we will hit enough areas and eventually collide with a school of trophy-sized bass. 

Night fishing has been decent. 

After dark, you probably won’t catch a bunch of fish. The ones you catch are usually good ones. Dig a SPRO RkCrawler or a black spinner bait and scrape the rock and clay from the banks back to the boat.

Striper fishing is good. 

Just about every technique a striper angler uses will produce some great action. 

Fish your strengths. Keep an eye on your Lowrance Electronics and keep moving until you locate a school of fish. These fish are moving around eating herring and shad that are spawning.

“The early bird gets the worm” applies to striper anglers. 

There is no place I would rather be than on the water as the sun rises. 

Whether you cast a surface popper on a No. 8 Fly Rod or V-Wake Redfin on the surface, nothing will wake you up more than an early morning calm and beauty being abruptly interrupted by a striper exploding on the surface and grabs your lure.

Your best areas to start are going to be islands in the creek mouths, humps and points around the main lake. Rock-to-clay or clay-to-sand transition areas can concentrate the stripers.

Use flat lines and planner boards to increase the width of your spread. 

Covering a wider area increases your chances for catching fish. 

Most of the fish you are targeting will be from the surface to 20 or 30-feet deep. Use a 1/4-ounce split shot and crimp it about 3-feet above your bait if you see fish deeper on your fish finder.

You can also try trolling standard or mini-sized umbrella rigs. 

Try something out of the box. 

Deploy a down rigger and troll a 4-inch SPRO BBZ1 Shad or a BBZ1 6-inch swim bait. Set your down rigger to 15-feet deep. Troll your lure between 1 1/2 and 2 miles per hour.

Crappie fishing is good and the fish are almost completely finished with the spawn. 

Expect to catch plenty if you are fishing in the right areas but the size will probably be smaller than they were a few weeks ago. Most of Lake Lanier’s crappie population has moved back into 10-feet of water.

These fish will still move shallow to eat a minnow or even a worm fished under a bobber. 

A downlined crappie minnow or medium-sized minnow will work well on a down line. Cast the jig into 15-feet of water and work it slowly up hill around brush and docks.

Bank fishing: Most anglers get their start with brim along the shore. Brim are present in most water ways like subdivision and farm ponds, rivers and creeks and Lake Lanier.

These hard-fighting panfish on an ultralight spinning outfit. Cast a Rooster Tail, crappie jig or worm under a bobber to any shoreline cover and wait. It won’t take long to know if the brim is there.


Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from readers, so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!

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