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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Crappie fishing remains strong early in the day
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is slightly below full pool at 1,070.86 or .14 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Look for that level to rise with this weekend’s forecasted rains. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 70s. The lake has cleared over the last week from the recent algae bloom. The main lake is clear to slightly stained in the rivers and creeks.

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

Bass fishing has taken a turn for the better as the lake has cleared considerably from the last few weeks greenish tint. The improving water clarity has resulted in a good topwater bite early and later in the day. This same clarity has helped other moving lures to be more affective, too.

We have been starting our day running and gunning, casting topwater plugs and soft plastic jerk baits over brush from 10 to 30 feet deep. Several areas are holding active schools of spotted bass. Some areas have yielded multiple bites in consecutive casts. The two lures that are working best in my Nitro have been walking baits like an IMA Skimmer or a Big Bite Baits Jerk Shad or Fluke style bait. The topwater bite can occur all day long so keep a surface plug tied on at all times.

Most anglers would prefer to get a topwater strike over any other way of catching bass. Other lures have been working well too. Spinner baits, Big Bites Suicide Shad, crank baits and shaky heads or drop shots worked around the same offshore brush piles.

After dark, we have been scoring some nice fish by cranking a SPRO RkCrawler, Little John DD or a big Colorado Blade Spinnerbait.

Please email me at if you wish to book a teaching trip on how to pattern Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass.

The striper fishing has rated very good. Many anglers are reporting catches of 10 or more stripers in a four-hour trip. My Lowrance Electronics are crucial tools in finding stripers and the herring or shad these veracious predators are eating. I utilize Fish Reveal Technology on my Structure Scan to find fish that are located out to the right or left of the boat. 

As with the bass, we have also experienced some awesome topwater strikes from stripers over humps and points in the main lake creek mouths and out on main lake. Keep a Redfin or walking bait ready at all times. A SPRO Bucktail with a Suicide Shad trailer has also worked very well worked around these same humps and points.

Start your day out with a live well full of herring. On productive days, anglers can easily go through several dozen blueback herring. Make sure to check in with your local bait store to get the proper set up with ice and salt to keep your herring lively.

Deploying both flat lines and down lines are working well, but the down line bite just continues to get better and better. Make sure you don’t place lines out until you find feeding fish with your Lowrance Electronics. The water quality has improved, so your bait will not die as quickly. An extra lively herring will vastly outproduce a tired bait. Switch them out every 10 to 15 minutes for your best results.

The night fishing around Hydro Glow lights in the creek mouths has been good. After dark, you can see these lights as they glow bright green. Cast live herring, SPRO McSticks, buck tails or even small streamers on a fly rod. All are good choices.

Crappie fishing been good. Anglers who are accomplished with shooting small jigs up under docks with brush from 15-30 feet deep can fill a cooler until about 10 a.m.

The night bite has picked up both around the bridges and also on the shallower Hydro Glow lights. Fish live minnows on down lines and floats around the lights after dark.

Bank fishing: If you do not own a boat, it does not mean you can’t enjoy some great topwater action from the banks. Areas around Buford Dam like East and West Bank Parks can be productive early in the day. Parks all over Lake Lanier can hold the same productive activity.

Make sure to spool your rods and reels with plenty of line so that you can make long casts. Use a heavier topwater plug like a Super Spook to further increase your casting distance. Study your paper lake map and start your trip around the steepest banks for your best action. There are brush piles positioned close to the shore on just about every point on Lake Lanier. Keep moving until you get a strike, then work that area thoroughly.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist 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 him at Remember to take a kid fishing.

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