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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Target all depths for best chance at stripers
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s level is at 1,065.16 or 5.84 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. 

Lake surface temperatures are in the high 60’s and lows 70’s and the lake is in full turnover. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear. The creeks and rivers are clear. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is pea green, which indicates that lake turnover is in full effect. 

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been hit or miss. The lake turnover is occurring as the weather cools down for fall. The water coming out of Buford Dam is a pea green color and surface temperatures are right around 70 degrees

Power fishing is still a viable technique, but the bass gave become a bit more finicky over the last couple of weeks. Switch from casting big topwater plugs to subsurface baits like a SPRO McStick or a Spy Bait to increase your hook ups! Reel these lure slow or medium speed around schooling fish for your best results.

The bass are roaming around due to lake turnover and they may be found in as shallow as 5 feet or as deep as 50 feet. Keep an open mind. These fish are relating to deep water where they are feeding on dying shad. Use a Flex-It Spoon or a small «-ounce SPRO Buck tail and work these lures with short hops over the bottom of creek and ditch channels. Other lures like a dropshot rig or deep-running swim bait will work when the bass are eating deep shad. 

During the day try throwing deep-diving crank baits like a SPRO Little John DD or Jig and Pig combination around rocky banks in the creek mouths. Work deeper banks like steeper bluff walls and rocky drop offs with lures that you can stair step down the drop. Texas rigged worms, Jigs and shaky heads are all worth a try.

When all else fails you can work the docks with a 1/8-1/4 ounce shaky head with a Big Bites Green Watermelon Flake finesse worm. 

After dark work a Boohya black and blue colored spinner bait or a SPRO Little John DD deep diving crank bait around rocky banks in the creek mouths to catch some magnum spotted bass.

Striper fishing is up and down. Patterns change every day. The water temperatures are dropping and the stripers are on the move. Early and later in the day, the stripers will crush bait on the surface in the creek mouths or on main lake. The stripers are surfacing in groups of 20 or more fish on the surface. These schooling stripers have been up for a while. They will sound and move to open water. If you can cast a Zara Spook or a SPRO Buck Tail in the middle of these frenzies you should be able to hook up pretty quickly.

Pull flatlined blueback herring in these same areas and keep a topwater plug ready at all times to cast to any surfacing fish. You can also put out downlines at around 20-30 feet to catch any deeper fish that appear on your Humminbird Electronics.

Later in the day, you may find fish just about any depth in the water column. Adjust your live bait lines or lures accordingly. Keep an open mind and stay willing to fish for stripers at any depth.

Trolling a Captain Mack’s Umbrella rig at 2 1/2 miles an hour at 20-30 feet deep has been producing some good results during the day. After dark, cast Bombers and McSticks around the islands on the main lake as well as lighted boat docks in the backs of the creeks.

Crappie fishing has still been slow but there are some fish showing up early in the day. Target brush, timber and laydowns 15-25 feet deep. Look for brush around docks in the backs of the creeks.

Lighted docks are holding shallow crappie after dark. Cast small jigs or free line small minnows where the light meets the dark.

Trout fishing is slow below Buford Dam due to the lake turnover and the under oxygenated, stained water. 

The mountain streams offer better conditions and the water is fairly clear. Live earthworms or dry flies have been your best bet in the clear-running water up north. 

Pay attention to the afternoon insect hatched and use a fly to match the hatch. Try casting a small 1/16-ounce Rooster Tail in the smaller runs and also in the rapids in the rivers. 

Bass are easy to catch from the shore both on Lake Lanier and on local farm and subdivision ponds. Texas rigged worms, small-crank baits and even topwater plugs are all good choices for fishing for shallow bass in the fall.

Target bank irregularities like trees lying in the water, docks or rock piles. Anything that offers bass cover and that is within cast distance is worth targeting. Vary your retrieve speeds throughout the day based on the bass’ moods.  


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 our readers so please email him at esaldrich@yahoo.com.

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