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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Fall fishing remains inconsistent
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is up a little more at 1,065.60, or 5.40 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the mid 60s as Lake Sidney Lanier continues to turn over. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-very stained. The creeks and rivers are stained-to-very stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is still green as a sign of lake turnover. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been a little off this past week. 

A few anglers claim to be catching, but the bass have been tough to pattern. The lake is still turning over, which means bass can be shallow, deep or anywhere in between.

Junk fishing has been the best way to go in my Nitro. We may find our first one schooling over open water, while the next bass may bite a worm in less than 5 feet around a dock. I have caught bass on worms, crank baits, swim baits, jerk baits, top waters and inline spinners this past week alone.

A lot of spotted bass have been on the move relating to shad and herring. This means the rocky bank or brush pile where you caught them yesterday may be devoid of bass today.

The one lure I have kept on at all times is a SPRO McStick 110. I also keep both a large and small top-water lure ready to cast to schooling fish. A medium-to-deep-running crank bait will produce fish on the rocks and over brush piles. Finally, a jig or weighted worm will cover docks and deeper cover like brush and steep rocky banks.

The night bite can be great if you target the right areas. Cast SPRO McSticks or dark-colored, deep-diving crank baits around windblown rocky banks. 

Striper fishing has also been up and down — literally. There has been some schooling activity early and later in the day from River Forks all the way down around Lake Lanier Islands.

These schooling stripers can convert normal anglers into combat fishermen. The stripers will surface in large schools just long enough to cause five to 10 boats to corral within a half-cast of each other and tangle lines. If we all stay courteous, we can all have fun and maybe even catch a few fish.

These stripers are feasting on the larger shad and smaller herring. The stripers are chasing bait and can be in one creek mouth one day only to disappear the next. 

Herring, smaller trout and freshly netted bait are all good choices for live-bait fishing this week. Flat lines (just a line with a hook and live bait) and planner boards have been working best in the creek mouths. The stripers are schooling out around the Islands, and creek and river channels. Drop a down line if you see fish down deeper on your electronics. 

The stripers have been hitting Bomber Long As and C McSticks after dark around the Islands, and also lighted boat docks in the creeks. Cast your lures to windblown banks and reel them slowly and steadily.

Trout fishing has been a little slower with the stained water on the river but should be better up in the clearer mountain rivers and streams. 

The good news is trout are very active in the fall as they get ready to spawn.

Light line is a necessity in clear water, and it will help fool the fish. Plus, lighter line lowers the drag on your line when you fish faster waters. 

Use as small a lure as you can work in the rapids. I like a one-sixteenth ounce Rooster Tail, a Rapala Count Down or a Pinns Minnow in the deeper pools below the runs.

Bank Fishing: I have motioned this before - anglers that target fish from the shore have an advantage over the ones using boats.

If they do hook a bass, the entire school may be drawn toward the bank where they can potentially be caught on subsequent casts. If you catch a bass, do not move down the bank until you have made several more casts from the same place. Multiple casts can yield several other catches, so it pays to stay around for a bit.

Bass are also suckers for live bait. Worms or minnows fished under a bobber or even on a bottom rig are excellent.

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

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