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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Anglers still catching crappie as the weather cools
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Lake Lanier temperatures are in the mid 50s. The lake rose a little again this past week. Lake Levels are at 1,058.60, which is 12.42 feet below full pool of 1,071. Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and stained in the creeks and the Chattahoochee River below the Buford Dam is stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: The recent cold spells have impacted some of the bass and we are seeing a slight movement toward winter locations but there still remains a decent shallow water bite. Start out the day fishing jerk baits, crank baits or finesse worms on a jig head in the mouths of the small feeder ditches.

A slow and steady or stop-and-go retrieve with a jerk bait or crank bait will fool fish that are next to the docks and also fish relating to rocky banks.

Skipping a finesse work on a jig head is still a viable pattern for some of these shallow fish.

Only certain feeder ditches will produce the best fishing, so check you electronics for bait fish. Also target rocks, docks, brush or any other cover in relation to these bass highways. Follow the ditches out to the next major transition zone. These deeper transition zones will occur where the ditches meet the creek channels, bluff walls or even standing timber that is positioned close by.

I saw a study that placed transistors inside bass and followed their movements in the spring. These studies show that some bass can move around 2 to 3 miles in a day.

I suspect if these studies were conducted in the heat of summer or cold of the winter that the same bass may move more in hotter months, while I suspect the cold-weather fish would probably not move nearly as far.

Fishing in the winter tends to be pretty consistent, so if you caught the bass last week in 10 feet of water, then they should not have moved more than a mile away. I recommend following the bass highways (ditches, creek and river channels) to see where the bass moved.

We also found fish deeper this week that would strike jigs and worms or, during active times, would come up out of deeper water to strike a McStick or Rogue style jerk baits.

Stripers: Striper fishing remains good and the seagulls will give away a lot of the best locations. I witnessed one boat this week running planner boards along the banks in a major lower lake creek.

These anglers were pulling live trout on planner boards and in 15 minutes, I saw they caught two nice sized Lake Lanier Stripers. I couldn't help notice that they caught one fish next to the banks, then the next one hit away from the bank as they crossed over a long point. Planner boards are great tools for covering a wide swath of water because they enable anglers to get a live bait out to both sides of the boat.

Other anglers are reporting a decent bite deeper over open water with both down and flat lines. Both trout and bluebacks are working for these open water stripers. Use a one-ounce sinker above a 12-to 15-pound fluorocarbon leader on your down line rigs. I like to rig a live bait fish in the lips so that they move naturally through the water column.

Sometimes hooking your bait through the back can make the live bait struggle more which can make the difference between getting more bites. Start out trying both methods and let the stripers tell you which one they prefer. Jerk Baits and SPRO Buck tails cast to any rolling fish will work well when the stripers are active.

Pulling Umbrella Rigs are starting to produce very well in the upper lake creeks.

Crappie: There are not many crappie reports coming out but I know some anglers are still catching them. Troll or "lake rake" in the backs of the creeks and pockets. Target areas that have both bait fish and slightly stained water as these tend to hold the most crappie. Also fish live minnows on a down line or a small jig worked through the brush around docks.

Trout: Jeff Durniak at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources sent me a report earlier this week that showed the water quality in the mountains is great, so the trout should be biting. There are many Wildlife Management Areas that offer year round trout fishing. Check local regulations and try a live earthworm where live bait is permitted by law.

Trout fishing in the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is still slow but they will bite throughout the day.

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. Contact him at or visit his website at


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