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Lake Lanier fishing report: Bass and striper fishing remains decent as lake levels stay high
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier is still well above normal at 1,073.71 feet or 2.71 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake surface temperatures are right at 50 degrees, but expect them to fall into the upper 40s with the colder weather coming in.

The main lake and lower lake creeks are slightly stained in mouths and very stained to muddy in the backs. The upper lake creeks and rivers are very stained to muddy due to last week’s rains. At the time of this writing, the CORPs has been pulling water around the clock from Buford Dam. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river below Buford Dam at 770-945-1466.

Bass: The lake is still up almost 3 feet, and bass fishing is decent. A lot of the lake is still very stained to muddy. We have been concentrating our efforts on the clearer main lake, and several patterns are working.

The weather this past week was much warmer than normal, but it looks like more seasonal winter weather is in store. We have been catching fish up shallow, but I would expect them to move back deeper toward their normal winter haunts.

We have been catching some fish shallower around rocky banks on crank baits and spinner baits. I would expect that pattern to go away pretty soon when water temperatures drop below 50 degrees.

There are still been plenty of bass deeper from 25 to 45 feet deep on steep rocky banks. Keep an eye on your Lowrance Electronics and be ready to drop a spoon or drop shot rig down to any fish you see below the boat.

Striper fishing has been fair to good. Anglers should pay close attention to mud lines and water color in general. I wouldn’t be too worried if the water is stained, but I would recommend avoiding the muddy water.

Pulling medium shiners, blue back herring and smaller trout have all worked well. My Lowrance is showing a lot of bait and stripers in the pockets and midway back into the creeks down lake. Keep an eye out for gulls, as they have been giving away the best locations.

Watch your electronics to show what depths the fish are located. We have had some luck on both flat and down lines. The fish have varied in depth from the surface down to about 40 feet deep.

We have also been casting spoons and SPRO Bucktails to fish that are pushing bait up to the surface. This is my favorite way to catch stripers. Anytime you encounter gulls diving in an area the size of your boat, fire a spoon or bucktail into the action.

Trout fishing below Buford Dam is basically off limits when the CORPs is pulling water. This week they have been pulling water non-stop to try and get the lake levels back to normal.

The water has cleared up significantly up in the North Georgia Mountains. Wet flies have been working best. If live bait is permitted in the water you are fishing, then it’s hard to beat the old reliable red wiggler fished on a small Aberdeen style hook with a 1/8th-ounce spit shot placed 2 feet above your hook.

Bank fishing:  Lake Lanier has a decent catfish population that is accessible to bank anglers. You can use the same tackle that was mentioned in last week’s striper report. Use a medium heavy spinning or bait caster spooled with 12 to 15-pound Sunline Natural Monofilament.

You can use chicken livers or nightcrawlers, but the best bait is cut shad. Use a Gamakatsu Octopus Hook and a leader with a SPRO Swivel and a 1 to 2-ounce weight (basically a Carolina Rig).

Locate a bank where the channel swings close so you can cast out into deep water. Make sure to secure you rod and reel very well. Catfish pull hard, and you will sometimes catch an occasional striper too.

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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