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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Cooler water leads to better bass fishing
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

The lake level continues to drop and is down to 1,068.07 or 2.93 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. 

Lake temperatures are in the upper 70’s and have finally dropped into the 70s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear with some stained green water in areas. The creeks and rivers are clear to very stained in the backs due to low rain inflow. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is slightly to very stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: During this past week, we have welcomed in much cooler mornings. Once the sun breaks the surface, the fish start schooling well. These fish will settle down around brush during the day, but we have seen the better fish schooling deeper all day. These big spotted bass are out away from the banks, points and visible structure and have been out roaming over open water, chasing blueback herring. 

There is no doubt that the bass activity has taken a change for the better with the cooler lake and air temperatures. The question is how good are our anglers at catching the bigger open water fish. The problem with these big spotted bass is that fishing for them will make you either a hero or a zero. 

Anglers are casting a variety of lures, due to the increased surface activity. Some work better some days and others work better in varying conditions. Most folks have been casting topwater plugs, SPRO McSticks, Spybait and other moving lures to catch the 1« to 3-pound schoolers in closer to the brush and banks. If you can get away from the banks to where the bluebacks are, you just may catch a couple of big fish.

Over the past few weeks, the buzz bait was working well, but the falling water conditions that pulled the fish away from the banks have really caused the bite to fall off. Pitching and dragging bigger jigs have accounted for some big fish, but the numbers are not huge. 

Skipping jig head worms or Jerk Minnows both around deeper docks and also around the blueback schools has worked very well.

Striper fishing has been best early in the day, but it can remain good well into the day. Start your day with a tank full of blueback herring that have the proper salt and ice to keep them alive for the outing. The stripers have started to move around a good deal from the surface on down to 40-50 feet deep. Your Lowrance Electronics will help you to both locate and tune in to the stripers in late summer and early Fall. 

Start out pulling herring on flat lines behind your boat, while casting Redfins or Zara Spooks from the front to any productive points in the mouths of the lower to mid-lake creeks. The stripers have been up early out in front of the longer points from Buford Dam, all the way up to River Forks. 

Most of the stripers you will hook this week shallow early will range from 5-7 pounds. The bigger fish have bitten both trolled rigs as well as down lines. 

Start out trolling a Captain Mack’s Mini-Rig and troll them on regular braid or 25-pound Sunline Natural Monofilament at 2 1/2 miles an hour. Keep an eye on your Lowrance Electronics and set out down lines anytime you mark a school of fish in that 25-40 foot range. 

The bigger fish have been located below the smaller fish on the surface. Always drop your herring down and power reel them up through the fish you see on the surface.

Crappie fishing has started to improve. 

Fishing brush from 15-25 feet deep around shad schools in the creeks and pockets is working. Cast small crappie jigs, tipped with a live crappie minnow, medium-sized minnow or spot tail has been producing a few bites early in the day. The bite has slowed around 8:30 a.m., but try again close to dark from 5 p.m. until sundown. 

If you can find lighted boats docks, fish them from dusk to around 11:30 p.m.

Bank Fishing: The weather continues to fluctuate, but the fish are moving shallow both on Lake Lanier and in your local farm and subdivision ponds. My favorite fish to catch — either shallow or deep — is the bass.

Many kids catch quite a few sunfish before they have a memorable catch that is very often a larger-than-normal bass. 

Bass are ferocious predators and they are easy to catch when the weather cools.

A plastic worm is one of the easiest lures to use, but one of the hardest to master. One of the best ways to start fishing for bass is to use a standard curly-tail worm hooked weedless on a Texas Rig. Simply slide a bullet sinker on your line, then tie a round bend 2/0 Gamakatsu Worm Hook behind the weight. 

String a six-inch curly-tail worm on to the hook as straight as you can make it. 

Crawl the worm over the bottom, logs or weeds at a slow pace. Each bite will be different, but most feel like a small fish pecking at the worm. Tighten your line, and if something pulls back then set the hook. You will remember your biggest bass or your children’s biggest bass for a lifetime.

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 me at Remember to take a kid fishing. 

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