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Lake Lanier fishing report: Bass and striper fishing at its best
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Water Conditions:  Lake Lanier’s water level is holding just above full pool at 1,071.87 feet or 1.87 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the mid-70s.  Main lake and lower lake creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The upper lake creeks, rivers and pockets are clear to stained.

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

Bass fishing rates good to very good. It’s that time of year when the bass are finishing up the spawn. The spawning process takes a lot out of these fish, so afterwards they will be out eating and recuperating. A lot of fish this time of year look beat up, but no worries. The bass get abrasions and sores from rubbing together during the spawning process. These sores will heal with time and the fish will be as healthy as ever after they recover.

Over the past month the bass have been spawning close to the banks, so bank beaters have been catching some good fish up shallow. As the bass recover from the spawn, they will move back out towards deeper water where they will feed heavily on shad, herring and other prey-like brim and crawfish. This is when my Lowrance Electronics really help to find the best locations.

Power fishing will catch a big bag of bass right now, but it can also be frustrating if you are in the right areas but at the wrong time. We have started our run-and-gun pattern out on main lake humps and points with brush on them. Three techniques have worked best for catching numbers of these main lake bass. Casting a top water plug over brush or working a small, soft plastic swim bait over and through brush has been working well during major feeding times. During slower times, get out your Gamakatsu Alien Heads rigged with a Big Bites Baits finesse worm or a Lanier Baits Fruity worm in shad and green colors and make casts to the same brush piles.

One other method that has produced big fish for my clients and me has been to work a SPRO Little John DD in clear chartreuse around the ends of the points and on the tops of the humps closer to the creek and river channels. This method has long been a staple for night anglers that target bass, but it has also yielded great results during the day for bigger bass.

My crankbait set up is an 8-foot Kissel Krafts Custom Crank Bait rod and Revo reel spooled with 10 to 12-pound test Sniper Fluorocarbon. This longer rod and lighter line allows anglers to make long casts so as to get their crank baits bumping bottom. Most strikes occur as the lure deflects off of some cover.

Night fishing has been very good. After sundown, get out your SPRO RkCrawlers and fish rocky banks and humps around creek mouths. Reel your lure just fast enough to feel the wobble and keep it digging up bottom.

Striper fishing has been very good, and a lot of guides are reporting great catches. A great day of striper fishing would be to catch 10 fish, but there have been several reports of 20 or more bites in an 8-hour day.

The herring have been spawning, so make sure to buy several dozen and fish them on flat and down lines. Keeping herring alive on warmer days requires the right mix of ice and salt. Talk with your local bait store to get advice on how to keep these fragile bait fish lively throughout the day.

Start out your mornings at safe light. Use your Lowrance Electronics to find the herring schools and the stripers that pursue them. Early in the mornings, the stripers will be shallower in the water column, so flat lines and planner boards have been working best. As the sun gets up, let your electronics show you the best depth to fish with. If the stripers are deeper than 20 feet, consider switching over to down lines as needed.

There has been some top water activity, especially in the early morning, so keep a top water plug or a SPRO Bucktail ready at all times to cast to any fish you see breaking on the surface.

Crappie fishing has been slower, but you can still catch some good ones around docks that are close to the spawning flats in 10 to 20 feet of water. Fish either small crappie jigs or small minnows on a down line. Keep moving until you find fish, then hunker down and fish these areas thoroughly. If you don’t get a bite within 10 to 15 minutes, move on to more productive water.

Bank fishing: The brim have been spawning in two to six feet of water this week, and the full moon this weekend signals a prime time to fish for these tasty panfish. You will often see beds or “craters” on small farm and subdivision ponds. The brim beds on Lake Lanier tend to be deeper than and not as obvious as in other ponds and lakes. On Lake Lanier, you will often smell these brim better than you can see them. Fish a live cricket or earthworm on either a sinking rig or by using a long leader below a bobber. Docks, laydowns and rocky banks will be your best bet.

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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