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Lake Lanier fishing report: Bass reacting to shorter days
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 1,069.97 feet, which is 1.03 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071 feet. The slowly falling lake levels will continue and are normal as the CORPS draws down the lake in anticipation of winter and spring rains. Lake surface temperatures have started at around 80 degrees but will rise into the low 80s during the day with the warmer than usual fall temperatures.

The main lake and lower lake creeks mouths are clear. The upper lake creeks, pockets and the rivers are mostly clear to slightly stained. The Chattahoochee below Buford Dam is stained.

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

Bass fishing has been good, and the bass are reacting to the shorter days and slightly cooler night temperatures. You can pick your strengths and catch fish on a variety of techniques this week.

Start your day either shallow in the pockets just off main lake or out on shallower points and humps on main lake. There has been a good top water/swim bait/jerk bait bite early in the day up shallow. Our best producers have been a SPRO McStick, Sammy or Pro-X herring Swim Bait. Use a “walk the dog” action with your top waters or a medium steady retrieve with your jerk and swim baits.

The top water action has been happening all day long. When this is occurring, run-and-gun and power fishing can produce some big fish along with good numbers too. Always keep a drop shot rod at the ready for fish that appear on your Lowrance Electronics.

When you see wavy lines or “sketti” under the boat, drop a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel or a Lanier Baits Fruity worm on a drop-shot rig with a 1/8th to 3/16th ounce drop-shot weight. With my Carbon 12, I can see the worm and weight and the fish follow it to the bottom. Impart a very subtle shaking action and shorten your leader if you are not getting hookups.

Lanier’s largemouth bass population is healthy, and you can catch these big mouth bass in the creeks, rivers and pockets. Start early casting one of the new Suicide Shad Buzz Baits from Big Bite Baits. Use a medium fast retrieve and allow your buzz bait to deflect off of laydowns and docks to trigger reaction bites from some big fish. As the sun gets up, skip a Strike King Pro Model Jig with a Fighting Frog Trailer to shaded parts of those same lay downs and docks.

The night bite has been very good, and during the week the lake is almost deserted. Cast a SPRO RkCrawler or a single, Colorado blade black spinner bait to rocky banks. Slow roll these lures from shallow to deeper water and keep them in contact with rocks and brush.

Striper fishing has been very good, and the fish can be found from the surface to the 40-foot range. We have started to catch stripers on top water lures while fishing for bass out on main lake humps and points. There have been some smaller schools surfacing but they come up and down so quickly that it’s hard to get on a consistent top water bite. With the shorter days, this top water action will continue to improve even with the almost summer-like temperatures we are seeing.

Trolling umbrella rigs has been one of the most productive methods to employ. A Captain Mack’s umbrella rig with the pre-rigged buck tails and trailers has worked well on lead core line trolled at around 20 to 25 feet. Also try trolling a 2 ounce SPRO Buck Tail rigged with a Big Bites Suicide Shad or a live herring on a Down Rigger set to the same depth for some good action too.

Live herring on down and weighted flat lines is hard to beat. Set your down lines at around 25 feet when you see fish on your Lowrance Electronics. These fish are on the move, so if you don’t see arcs or bait clouds move on to more productive water. Add some store-bought large shiners or smaller native gizzard shad into the mix as a lot of these fish are eating larger threadfin shad.

There have been some smaller stripers hitting Bombers and McSticks after dark around the islands after dark. When the water temperatures drop into the mid to lower 70s, this action will really increase.

The crappie have started to move shallower and they can be caught with small jigs and down lined spot tail minnows in submerged brush in the 20 to 30-foot range. Target brush midway in the pockets and creeks. Look for the presence of bait on your electronics and move on until you locate the larger schools of threadfin shad.

Trout Fishing is very good in the North Georgia Mountains. These mountain creeks and rivers are very clear due to the lack of rain. Fly fishing, spin fishing and live bait are all working in these North Georgia waters. 

The fishing in the rivers below dam races has been slower due to the low oxygen coming from the bottom layers of these deeper lakes. Brighter colors will increase your odds when targeting the dam races below larger lakes.

Bank fishing:  Fishing in subdivision and farm ponds has been good. When the shorter days set in, it’s a great time to try fine-tuning your bass fishing techniques. 

A buzz bait is a great way to cover water and top water lures will work all day long. Target wood lay downs or weeds around the dams and on the deeper sides of these ponds and smaller lakes. Texas rigged soft plastics and shallow running crank baits are all great choices in these under-fished honey holes located in our back yards.


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 Remember to take a kid fishing.

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