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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bank Fishing can bring in whopper bass
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

The lake level is down slightly at 1,069.50 or 1.5 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. 

Lake surface temperatures are in the lower 80s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are clear to stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear to slightly stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has rated from decent to good this week. We are starting to see more schooling action out on the main lake and into the creeks. While the fish are schooling more, the ones on the main lake are out mostly roaming over open water, chasing shad and blueback herring. When the CORPS generates water through the dam, they will set up better over brush, humps and timber lines. 

Keep a topwater plug like a Gunfish or Zara Spook ready at all times. 

A Whopper Plopper is a close second to the walking lures. Subsurface lures like a BBZ1 4-inch Swim Bait or a Sebile 110 are also good tools for fooling these schoolers. On some mornings it has paid to stay at the ready and only make casts to fish as they break the surface. 

If you can get a lure in the middle of the fish that are busting on the surface, then they will bite just about anything. 

The drop shot and Ned Rig are good choices when fished around brush from 20 to 40-feet deep. Both of these techniques are vastly more productive when you can see the fish and brush with quality electronics. I have had the opportunity to use the new Lowrance Live Carbon units and these are really impressive. My Carbon 12 on the bow of my Nitro makes it easy to get a lure down into the schools of fish that gather around deeper brush. The huge Carbon 16 with Structure Scan on the helm makes it much easier to locate and mark waypoints.

Running and gunning multiple brush piles, humps and timberlines remains the best way to locate the active schools. Some days we have found fish schooling on the first stop of the day, while other times you may hit as many as 10 areas before you locate the active schools. 

Even when you don’t locate active fish you can still catch a few fish drop shoting a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm or a Big Bite Baits Shakin’ Squirrel.

Night fishing has taken a turn for the better and there is almost no boat traffic now that school is in. I have not had many anglers take advantage of a night trip yet but casting crank baits, SPRO McSticks and Bombers will just get better and better for bass and stripers as the days shorten and the weather cools. If you wish to book a night trip or instructional fishing or electronics day trip send me an email to or direct message me on Facebook. My rates are extremely reasonable. 

Striper fishing rates from decent to excellent. The stripers are schooling up in the creek mouths and close to the river channel from River Forks all the way down to the dam. We still have a definitive thermocline at around 27-feet deep and the bait and stripers are hanging around below that depth from 30-to-70 feet deep.

Trolling a large 2-ounce SPRO Bucktail or Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig on 7 to 9 -colors of lead core or with down riggers at 2-3 mile per hour has been very productive. This is a great technique, not only for locatin,g but also catching stripers. Keep an eye on your Lowrance Electronics to determine the best depth and adjust your lead core or down riggers, accordingly to keep your lures in the strike zone. 

Remember that stripers often rise but seldom descend to chase lures or bait.

Once you locate a large school of stripers then you can either deploy down lines with herring or medium-sized gizzard shad. It has been tough to keep the herring alive for longer than 5-10 minutes but the gizzard shad are a little more forgiving. Use a long fluorocarbon leader because the stripers get  line shy later in the season. 

In addition, you will want to employ a heavy two-ounce sinker to get the baits down quickly through the hotter water above the thermocline.

If you are like me and prefer not to fish with live bait, then try power reeling a Ben Parker or Lake Fork Flutter Spoon or a SPRO Bucktail rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad. You should also drop and power reel your herring or live baits before switching them out. Power reeling involves dropping a lure or live bait down through the schools of stripers then reeling them as quickly as possible back through the fish to invoke a bite. Think of a reaction bite as being the same as if a bee were buzzing in your ear. You are probably going to swat it away. Fish don’t have arms or hands so they can only “swat” a lure with their mouths.

Crappie fishing is still slow remains slow but they can be caught. Early in the day or after dark is the best time to target these fish. Use a lightweight rod with 4-pound test Sunline fluorocarbon to fish light jigs or crappie minnows in brush from 20-30 feet deep.

After dark, fish the Hydro Glow Dock lights or floating lights set out around bridge pilings. Use small crappie minnows or small shad that you can also catch around these same lights.

Bank Fishing: We will be coming in to a full moon phase next week. The brim have been bedding and building nests both on Lake Lanier and also in local farm and pond subdivisions. While the brim can be a lot of fun to catch with worms, crickets and small spinners, the thing that really excites anglers are the bass that move shallow to eat the brim. These bass are usually above average in size.

A SPRO 4-inch Slow Sink Shad is a great lure that mimics a brim. Another great choice is a Big Bite Baits Suicide Buzz or Tour Toad Buzz Bait cast along the banks. You can also use a live brim caught by rod and reel (it is illegal to net brim) and fish it weightless with a Large 4/0 Gamakatsu Wide Gap Finesse hook rigged under the dorsal fin. Let the brim swim around in the shallows and keep an eye on them to prevent it from swimming into snags. When a bass eats a brim or other brim imitating lures, it is usually a violent strike and a great way to catch a trophy bass.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist, guide and bass angler. He is currently booking teaching trips for Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from readers, so please email hi, at Remember to take a kid fishing! 

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