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Lake Lanier fishing report: Move around regularly to find biggest stripers
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level is holding rock steady at 1,070.41 or .49 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures remain in the upper 50’s with some low to mid 60’s in shallower pockets. The lower main lake and creeks’ mouths are clear. The creeks, pockets and rivers are everywhere from clear to stained with pollen on the surface.

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

Bass fishing: These crazy weather fronts are up and down. It’s cold one day and warm the next. Weather fronts are coming and going faster than we can keep up with, and it greatly affects the way we should fish.

Lake Lanier’s bass are in a spring mode and they have one thing on their minds: Mating and reproduction. This means that the majority of the bass population are relating to water less than 10 feet deep. There are exceptions, but it’s just too much fun site fishing for me to fish deeper. It is just awesome to watch bass eat your lures!

Lake Lanier’s water level has risen and is holding steady at full pool. Most of the weeds and plants that have grown on the shore during the lower levels are flooded. This has created prime cover for shallow bass to feed and build nests. Using lures that can be effectively worked through this flooded shore growth without fouling are necessities for catching these shallow bass.

Trick worms, Flukes, Jerk Minnows, whacky rigs and spinner baits are all viable presentations for fooling these shallow fish. My go-to lures have been a Big Bites Baits Jerk Minnow on a #5 Gamakatsu Wide Gap or a Whacky Stick on a Gamakatsu Whacky Jig Head. Cast these soft plastic lures up into the flooded shore line growth and watch for strikes. Most of your bites will be very soft so when you can see the fish take your lure. It allows you to react properly and set the hook.

Spinner baits cast to this same flooded bank cover will also work well. Often you will see a bass roll on your spinner bait without actually hooking up. When this occurs, have a soft plastic lure at the ready to cast back into the same location to close the deal.

Other lures are working well. Crank baits, swim baits and SPRO McSticks cast to windy main lake shore line with rocks will fool both the smaller males along with the large pre-spawn females. Cast these same lures around dock floats to entice the bigger staging females into biting.

The weather fronts have also affected the striper fishing. The stripers are in one location one day and gone the next. The shallow bite has been the most consistent but don’t give up on fishing out a little deeper too.

The gulls have started moving away from Lake Lanier back towards their summer locations in salt water, so they have not been as reliable in giving away the best locations. The shallower fish are also hard to see with your electronics so the best way to find fish has been to hit your best areas and move when you don’t see any action.

Continue to pull flat lines and planer boards and make sure that your outside planners are set shallow enough to run up close to the bank. Both the rivers and the upper and lower creeks have held fish move around until you dial in the best locations. Keep a Fluke, Jerk Minnow or buck tail jig ready for any shallow action you see!

The night bite has also been just fair but casting SPRO McSticks and Bomber Long A’s will score a mixed bag of stripers and bass. You may also hook an occasional walleye which I would encourage you to take home for dinner. Walleye can be found in the same locations as stripers and bass and they have a reputation for being one of the tastiest fresh water fish you will ever eat!

Crappie fishing remains good as these fish finish up the spawning process. There are still spawning fish up shallow that will eat minnows and tiny jigs.

The docks in 10 to 20 feet are also holding a lot of post spawn crappie. Shoot 1/16th to 1/32nd ounce jigs on light line up under docks with brush. I like to locate the old dilapidated docks as these tend to be crappie magnets. If you can find a dock with a beaver dam, then these will almost always hold large populations of crappie.

Trout fishing remains very good. Pick your favorite lures and fish, along with the lightest line or leader that you can get away with. 

I like to use 2-pound Sunline Monofilament. This may sound like extremely light line, but if you have your drag set light and use a limber rod you can land fish much larger than the line test you are using. The lighter line will increase your bites in extremely clear water.

Bank fishing: Hit the banks of your favorite pond, river or on Lake Lanier. Most species of fish will be shallow this time of year so they should be very obtainable from the banks. 

Cast lures that will keep off the bottom to prevent snags. Rooster Tails, Texas rigged worms or a minnow or live other worm below a float will fool crappie, bream, bass and other species.


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


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