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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Plan for better bass fishing as weather starts to cool
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level has risen back above full pool to 1,071.36 or .36 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. 

The lake level continues to rise as rains from Tropical Storm Sally subside. 

The main lake is mostly clear. 

The creeks and rivers are stained to muddy from rain runoff.

Surface temperatures have fallen to about 80 degrees. 

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

Bass fishing has really picked up and will continue to improve when water temperatures drop into the upper 70’s. Fall can provide some of the best topwater fishing and create memories that will last a lifetime. 

As the heat of summer is waning, the cooler days of fall are a welcome change. 

As the days cool and the light hours shorten, fishing will get improve. 

When the surface layer of the lake cools, fish will move shallower to take advantage of this welcome change.

Anglers in the know should capitalize on these changes. For me, this means one thing: topwater power fishing! 

You may be able catch fish on other lures, but these methods pale in comparison to the excitement of seeing a bass explode on the surface lure.

Start your fishing outing by casting a topwater plug. 

Sling a Zara Spook, Sammy or Sexy Dog to brush and don’t put it down. 

Remember that Lake Lanier differs from other lakes that don’t contain blueback herring. 

The topwater action can actually be best in the middle of the day.

Quality electronics like my Lowrance Electronics have Structure Scan. 

It’s almost easy to locate and set a waypoint on these offshore honey holes. 

Those days of keeping secrets are quickly fading. 

Anglers with a medium budget and a little bit of knowledge can afford this technology and locate brush almost as well as the best anglers.

Keep an eye on your electronics and add waypoints to your maps every time you scan new brush. 

Leave a dropshot rig locked and loaded and drop your rigs down to any fish you see on your screen. 

Topwater is great, but catching a few extra fish can make a good day even better. 

Plan a milk run and hit as many areas as possible. 

It may sound easy, but it takes discipline to stick with this method. 

You may fish for a couple of hours and 10 areas with no results. 

When you finally encounter a group of big, hungry bass, that will be worth the hard work. 

Cast your topwater lures to under underwater brush. 

Make 5 or 10 casts, move over the brush and scan it for fish. 

If you don’t see anything happening, then keep on moving until you collide with a school of fish.

As fall progresses and you put in time on the water, it will take less time and fewer areas to locate fish. 

One day your will find stupid, hungry bass that seem almost easy to catch. 

I highly recommend taking a trip to the lake after work. 

You need not fish all night long. 

As the sun sets, cast a deep-diving crank bait to rocky banks and grind it along the bottom slowly. 

When you find your groove, you will discover that these lures will crawl through the thickest brush and rock without getting snagged. 

The bass fishing after dark will get better and better as fall comes into play. 

My weapon of choice is a SPRO RkCrawler to rocky banks in the creek mouths to catch these nocturnal feeders.

Stripers: Like other predator fish, stripers continue to move shallow as fall approaches. 

We are starting to see small schools of aggressive fish feeding on the surface. 

Troll umbrella rigs at around 2 mph at 7-8 colors of leadcore. 

As you troll, keep an eye on your Lowrance Electronics. 

Set out your live bait lines when you locate the fish. 

These tell-tale arcs and lines will show the mayhem that is occurring under the surface. 

Structure scan will also allow you to see fish that are located to the left and right of tradition ‘old-school’ two-dimensional imaging. 

My 16-inch Lowrance screen is the equivalent to four, 7-inch screens. 

You can spilt the screen up to four ways. 

This allows you to set up one screen on 2/D, the next screen with Down Imaging, the third screen with Structure scan and the final screen with your C-Maps or Navionics GPS map. 

Frankly, these units will spoil even the most jaded anglers.

Spoons can produce stripers when the fish are schooling under your boat.

While other methods may produce fish, my question is who cares? 

Why would anyone miss the opportunity to watch as a big striper annihilates a topwater plug on the surface? 

As the days get shorter and shorter it is not uncommon to see hundreds of striped bass thrashing on the surface. 

If you keep your eyes peeled, you can see this action from over a 1/2 mile away this week. The topwater action is just beginning. Other methods are probably more productive but as the water continues to cool, fishing will get better and better. 

Be ready for some of the most exciting fresh water available. 

Crappie continue to move shallower. 

Fishing rates from slow to good. 

On Saturday, you may find a school of fish under a dock with brush that will bite small jig or a minnow on a light-weighted line, only to return on Sunday to find that same dock seemingly devoid or fish.

Use your electronics and set the screen to structure scan. 

Most weekend perchjerkers don’t have the budget for a huge screen but don’t fret. 

On a smaller unit, you can set your screen to show only the left or right-side sonar. 

Then idle you boat along on that same side. 

This will enable you to scan up under docks to locate brush and fish.

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 readers, so please email me at

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