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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers biting best in shallow water
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

The CORPs continues to manage water levels well. Lake Lanier is above full pool at 1073.16 feet or 2.16 above full pool of 1071. Lake surface temperatures are in the mid-to-upper 50s.

The lake below Browns Bridge is clear in the creek mouths and stained midway into the backs of the creeks. The upper lake creeks are slightly stained in the mouths and very stained in the backs, while the rivers are also very stained. 

The CORP continues to pull water, making fishing below Buford Dam tough. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river below Buford Dam at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has improved as the CORPs continues to pull water levels down. The fish are fat and hungry, but they can be as scattered. It’s the time of year where “junk fishing” — fishing several patterns and lures — can work all day long. For us, the fish have been sporadic with no concentration of bass.

We have started our days on secondary points close to the pockets and coves. Pick your favorite lures and go fishing. Spinner baits, SPRO McStick jerk baits, shallow-to-medium running crank baits and shaky, rigged heads with a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm, Big Bites Finesse or Shakin’ Squirrel are all good choices.

As the sun gets high in the sky, you can continue to work those secondary points for a few bites with rock and clay. Some fish have started to follow the “bass highways” that run close to secondary points into the coves and also into the creeks. 

Try to locate a flat or pocket that has a creek or ditch channel running close to the docks in under 15 feet for good prospecting. Skipping or casting a shaky head may be your best bet around these docks. Other lures like a jig or even a spinner bait will often produce results.

Docks with black floats under them heat the water up, attracting the bass. Cast a SPRO McStick 110 along the sides of the floats around deep and shallow docks. The bass will often swim under these black floats to nail your McStick when it sense the jerk bait.

There is also a great crankbait bite around rock and clay banks. Use a SPRO RkCrawler, Rapala DT 6 or a Castaway Baits crankbait in reddish colors. Cast these crankbaits into less than five feet of water and retrieve them at a medium-slow pace to attract big spotted and largemouth bass.

At sunset, the fishing may slow, but it’s prime time to use night time fishing lures. The bass are biting a RkCrawler, Little John DD or a black spinner bait. Cast these lures to rocks and clay points in the creek mouths to entice some big bites after dark.

Striper fishing is good, and they are shallower where they should be easier to catch. This is the time of year when the stripers are going through their false spawning runs in the rivers and also in the lower to mid-lake creeks. In recent weeks, the flooding rain has made shallow patterns seem a poor choice. This influx of water has impacted anglers more than it has the stripers.

The fish have been schooling in the creeks, rivers and pockets of the lake. When the daffodils and redbuds are blooming, you can find stripers very shallow. These fish are suckers for just about any bait you can get in front of them.

Utilize your two-dimensional and Structure Scan on your Lowrance Electronics to find the concentrations of fish in less than 35 feet of water. Drag herring, shad and trout on flat lines and planner boards in the pockets and around secondary points for a better catch.

These fish will remain shallow after dark where they will hit Bomber Long A’s and McSticks. Target the lighted boat docks but also pay attention to the same shallow pockets and coves where you located them during the daylight hours. 

Crappie fishing is very good, and the fish remain shallow. Crappie fillets make great table fair, and my favorite is fried fillets strips for fish tacos.

Shooting docks, trolling small marabou jigs and Hal Flies (or fishing minnows) under a float will all work when you are around the right areas. Crappie will be found in schools, so if you are not catching fish, then move on to more productive waters.

Bank fishing: Grab some crappie minnows, crickets or worms and go fishing. Crappie, bass, white bass, bream and even stripers can all be found shallow in the creeks and the rivers close to the shore.

Bridges are a great place to target for fishing as they offer pinch points where migrating fish are located. Bridges like Wahoo Creek, Little River, Four-Mile, Six-Mile and many others hold active fish this time of year. Many parks offer fishing piers and areas where bank anglers can be very successful. 

Move every 30 minutes, if you do not get a bite. 

Hook a minnow through the lips on an Aberdeen style hook set 2-3 feet under a weighted bobber. Cast it to bridge pilings, rocky areas or laydowns on the bank. Use a small-split shot about six inches above your hook to keep the minnow down. You can also use worms, crickets or cast small jigs and Rooster Tails in these same areas to catch fish. 

If you take your kids, remind them that fishing is not always catching. If your youngsters want to skip rocks or run around, allow them to have fun. Keep plenty of drinks and snacks and enjoy God’s great outdoors.


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 esaldrich@yahoo.com. Remember to take a kid fishing.


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