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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Get on the water early for best bass bite
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level continues to hold steady above full pool. 

Lake levels are exactly the same as last week at 1,071.26 or .26 feet above the normal full pool at 1,071. The main lake and lower lake creeks are mostly clear. The water in the rivers are clear to stained, especially after the afternoon hard rains.

Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures have risen and are in the mid to upper 80’s. 

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. 

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

Bass fishing has rated from slow to good. 

Anglers who are fishing offshore brush and are willing to keep moving will score the best results. Anglers who fish the banks will usually catch fewer and smaller fish, but some master anglers catch good fish shallow all year. Pick your strengths and get out and go fishing.

I received a shipment of some new colored SPRO Spin John spy baits. They have been producing well in our boat. Frankly, these lures take patience and they are not usually a power-fishing anglers favorite lure, but they do produce. If power fishing is your deal there have been a few big fish that are still eating topwater lures all day long.

Start your day early to capitalize on the early morning bite. 

Lake Lanier’s spotted bass will be very active first thing in the morning. 

This is the time to target your best offshore areas with top waters, soft jerk baits and other moving lures to tempt these active fish into striking. 

Fish an area quickly. If there is no action, be ready to move if it does not produce.

Our best topwater plugs have been walking lures like a chrome colored Sammy 110 or a shad-colored Gunfish. 

Cast these plugs over offshore brush for some great results. 

Add a front runner to the front of your topwater lures. 

They do not make these tiny shad imitators that run in front of your topwater plugs anymore. Use a Palomar knot and tie on a Gamakatsu Feather Hook a foot in front of your topwater for the same results. 

You will often catch two fish at a time, one on the topwater plug and another on the tiny lure lied on in front of your plug.

Run your best areas by working aggressive lures first on top. If you don’t get any action, cast a SPRO Spin John spy bait over the brush. If you don’t get a bite, then move in and scan the brush with your Lowrance Electronics and fish a drop-shot worm to pick off the inactive fish. 

I keep a Lanier Bait’s Fruity Worm or a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel rigged and ready on a dropshot rig 100% of the time. 

These lures will account for at least three or more fish even if we only drop to fish, we see on our Lowrance Electronics throughout the day while power fishing. If you are a dropshot Jedi, like my buddy Lanier Jim, you may be able to dropshot all day long and score numbers of fish by video game fishing with your electronics.

The night bite has changed a little. 

We are still catching a few big fish, cranking the banks but the better fish have been eating lures out deeper. 

A SPRO Little John DD presented over brush in 20 feet of water. 

Other lure like a Jig N’Pig or a black Big Bites Bait’s Yo Momma, worked through offshore brush will produce well. 

For anglers wishing to stay out after midnight, the Hydro Glow Lights will pull some big fish in shallow water. 

Work finesse lures around the lights to score some early morning bites.

Stripers: The stripers have started to settle into their late spring and early summer time haunts. 

The stripers are starting to school around herring off shore. 

Just remember that offshore does not mean fishing far from the banks. 

Some of the best areas will be deep river and creek channel swings that run close to the banks. 

Start your day with a live well full of herring. 

Make sure you have the proper amount of ice and salt to keep your herring lively. 

Check in with your bait store for the proper setup.

The first thing is to watch your electronics and locate the bait schools and the ‘sketti’ on your screen that indicates a large school of stripers. 

Stripers will show up as arcs when the boat is moving. 

When you slow down, the fish will appear more like wavy lines on your screen. 

Once you locate the fish, then deploy both flat and downlined, blueback herring and let the fish tell you which method works best. 

Change our baits every 10-15 minutes. Be willing to move to stay over the schools of fish.

Power fishing has really come into play this past week. 

This is a method to employ when you are over an active or inactive school of fish. 

Tie on a Lake Forks spoon or a SPRO Bucktail rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad. 

Drop these lures directly below the boat and let them fall through the school of fish. 

You should be able to see these lures clearly on the screen as they fall below the boat with any modern MFD like my Lowrance Electronics. 

Sometimes the fish will hit these lures on the fall but 90% of your bites will occur power reeling them through the schools of fish. 

Trolling an umbrella rig has been producing some good bites. 

Set out a full-sized Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig and troll them at around 3 mph at 15-20 feet deep to locate the schools of fish.

Crappie: My experience is different than some reports. I will relay my experience and some reports from other master-crappie anglers.

I am hearing reports of anglers hitting the water early and shooting crappie jigs under docks that have brush located in 25-feet of water. 

This is a light-line technique with small 1/16-1/32-ounce crappie jigs worked on light 4-6-pound test. 

Let your jigs fall. Watch or feel for the light bites.

We have been catching crappie after midnight from obscure Hydro Glow Lights. 

These crappies will come in shallow from 5-15-feet. There are some bigger slabs in the 15-25 foot zone that will help you fill a cooler. 

Use small crappie jigs and native spot tail minnows on a down line to catch a mess for dinner.  

Bank fishing: The dog days of summer are starting to creep in. There are few places nicer to be than a trout steam or the Chattahoochee river in the morning in north Georgia. Get out 30 minutes before sunrise to capitalize on the morning bite.

Fly anglers can watch the streams for rising trout. 

Black ant or woolly bugger patterns will work. Pay attention to the insect hatches and match the hatch.

For spin-casting anglers, it is hard to beat casting small-inline spinners around rapids and below the deeper pools. 

Cast a 1/8-ounce Rooster Tail or Mepps spinner and reel them fast enough to keep the blades spinning.

Live earthworms are also a great method (where live bait is permitted by law). 

Use a small Gamakatsu Aberdeen hook and set a small split shot a foot above it. 

Fish these in deeper pools below the rapids.


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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