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Lake Lanier fishing report: Fall brings better fishing
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 1,070.18 feet, which is .82-feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures have started to fall into the low 80s.

The main lake and lower lake creeks mouths are clear to stained. The upper lake creeks, pockets and the rivers are also clear to 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 taken a turn for the better with the recent cooler and rainy weather. We actually caught more keepers on the second area this morning than we have caught during most days in recent weeks. The bass are as ready for the cooler fall weather as we humans are. This week’s milder temperatures are welcome by man and nature alike.

The pattern is very basic. Cast top water lures and swim baits early in the day, and then when you think it is time to change, don’t. Moving lures have worked very well all day long except when the water gets calm and glassy. Even then, a top water lure will call fish from brush and off shore cover.

Cast a Sammy, Zara Spook, Hump Buster, Fluke or a Big Bites Jerk Shad and work the lures quickly and erratically across the surface. Swim Baits have produced some of our biggest bites this week. Cast a SPRO BBZ1 6-inch floater, Tom Farley Pro-X Herring or a Magic Swimmer and work them quickly on the surface. The bass are eating herring and large threadfin shad that are running around in large schools in the creeks and out on main lake.

Most of these fish are relating loosely to the brush piles. When the action seems slower, try drop shotting a Big Bites Shakin Squirrel or a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm on your drop shot rigs. I am very pleased with my new Lowrance Carbon 12-inch unit on the bow of my Nitro for being able to see the fish and also my lure in relation to them. If the fish seem, finicky try shortening your leader or switch over to a finesse worm on a 1/8-ounce Gamakatsu Alien head or other shaky heads to increase your hook up ratio. Remember to drop into brush even if you are not marking fish. During inactive times, the fish will bury deep into the brush where they are harder to see with your electronics.

Other methods are worth mentioning. There have been some good largemouth bass being caught up shallow on buzz baits, Jigs or original SPRO Little John shallow running crank bait. Target the areas where drains and small creeks enter the pockets. Night fishing with a large black spinner bait or a Little John deep diving crank bait and work them from the banks all the way back to the boat.

 Striper fishing remains good, and the fish continue to be shallower from the surface, sometimes going down to the 40-foot range. Down and flat lined herring and shiners are the go to pattern right now. My Lowrance Carbon units show what is happening below the surface, and most of the stripers are in the range of 50-feet or less.

We have also seen a few stripers on top, and this action is just getting started. Cast a Redfin, Sammy or your favorite top water plug while you work your live bait lines for a bonus fish. The top water action is just getting going, but look for this action to improve greatly over then next month.

Trolling a Captain Mack’s Umbrella rig on seven to nine colors of lead core at 3 mph continues to be a great way to not only cover water but also to catch fish. The creek and rivers channels are great places to find the fish. Work from mail lake into the creeks, and keep moving until you find the fish. You can either continue trolling or drop live bait on flat and down lines.

When you are on the fish, drop a Nichols Lake Fork Flutter spoon or Benn Parker spoon and drop them below where you mark fish. Not many reports are coming for the Bomber or McStick bite after dark, but this action should pick up when the water temperatures drop into the mid to lowers 70s.

Crappie fishing should start to pick up, but there are still not any reports on how these tasty fish are doing. Continue to dissect the deeper brush in the creeks with a small jig head or a native spot tail minnow on a down line.

Trout Fishing remains good in the North Georgia Mountains and just fair below Buford Dam. When you are fishing up in clear waters of North Georgia, you just can’t go wrong with fly fishing, inline spinner baits or live bait.

Below the Dam races, the water will have a tint of green, which is an indication that the lakes are getting ready to turn over. This water will have a greenish tint to it. Below Buford Dam, the water color is a dead giveaway to the lower oxen levels and reduced visibility. When fishing in off colored water, try casting a large, bright colored Mepps or Rooster Tail in line spinner to trigger bites.

Bank fishing:  When the water starts to cool, fish head for the banks or at least shallower than they have been. You can pick up a small Rooster Tail to catch a variety of fish. Crappie, Brim and Bass all are suckers for these small, inline spinners. Small Crank baits like a SPRO Little John square bill are also good choice for fishing shallow in subdivision and farm ponds. These shallow running lures tend to not gets snagged. Cast them out, reel them in slow and steady and hold on.


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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