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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass are biting as winter approaches
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Lake temperatures are in the mid 60s. The lake level is 1,059.75 which is 11.25 feet below full pool of 1,071.

Lake Lanier is clear to stained and the Chattahoochee River is very stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

The bass continue to aggressively bite our lures as they fill their bellies for winter. Bass instinctively eat as much as they can in fall. We have landed bass in late fall that literally had their throats overflowing with gizzard shad.

I don't know about you, but I can't eat more food when my mouth and throat are already full. However, I can assure you that bass will.

When you catch one of these stuffed bass, watch as the spit up shad. Pay attention to the size and profile and match it with your lures.

We have has some very good days of fishing this past week, and we have also had some slow days mixed in too.
This is typical of the lake turnover period.

We have not found any one particular pattern that works every day, so my best advice is to continue to junk fish, or keep several different lures ready. I must have kept 12 rods on my front deck this week as a little bit of everything was working.

Brush piles often hold schools of bass and they are great places to target.

The problem for many anglers is that they don't sink brush, so they have to find brush piles that already exist.

Often, when I have a large tournament away from our home, I will take an entire practice day and just ride around and find stuff with my Humminbird Electronics.

I scan these areas with my side imaging, and finding brush or rock piles are now an easy task. Once you mark brush, then set a waypoint on your GPS and you can go back later and cast over the productive areas.

Bluff walls or steep rocky areas are great places to target bass from the fall all the way into early spring.
Bass like the steep, rocky banks for several reasons.

A bass can move shallow or deep on these steeper banks without expending too much energy.

These rocky bluff walls also hold warmth and that warmth will help produce small plankton that in turn feed the shad and bluebacks.

When you find the bait fish, you can expect that the bass are in these same areas.

We have also caught bass from docks in the pockets off of the main lake, bridge pilings, standing timber and even small ditches located in the middle of large, flat areas.

Night fishing has been very good and I usually throw two lures. Cast deep-diving crankbaits or jerkbaits fished with a slow and steady retrieve to any rocky points.

This will produce some nice bass, stripers and the occasional walleye.

There is very little boat traffic after dark and the skies are clear, so it is well worth a try.

Striper fishing has been great some days and fair-to-good on others. Most of the stripers on the main lake are targeting blueback herring.

These long, slender bait fish move extremely fast. I watched a school of striper exploding on bait on the surface in the mouth of a lower lake creek.

We set our boat down a castaway from the school and the fish sounded only to reappear 100 yards away in just about a minute.

That is why some anglers don't turn off their big engine, or deploy their trolling motors, because they know from experience that the stripers are on the move.

If you witness these large schools as they appear and disappear, you can often pattern where they will surface next, and position your boat accordingly.

This time of year the stripers really react to moving weather fronts.

If you can get out to the lake right before or right as a front blows through, then the fishing can be incredible.

If the water is calm try casting a Red Fin and retrieve this lure slow and steady on the surface. You want your lure to create a V-wake as it is retrieved.

Sometimes it may seem impossible to get a consistent V-wake, but there are some tips that will help. Always fish topwater lures on monofilament because this line floats.

Also hold your rod tip up high. Try to tie your line directly to the lure eye with a loop knot, instead of the normal split ring.

You can also downsize your hooks slightly, or remove the center hook if you are throwing the larger versions. All of these little tweaks will make it easier to make the lure wake on the surface.

Sub-surface lures like jerkbaits or even a Jerk Shad or Fluke will work very well.

Work these lures just below the surface where fish are schooling or showing up close to the surface on your electronics.

Live trout, bluebacks and even gizzard shad fished on flat or down lines have been working well. Your electronics are your eyes below the water and have become essential tools for most anglers.

Pay attention to your graph and position your live bait offerings just above where the stripers appear on the screen.

If you are trolling the same, this applies as you want your umbrella rigs or buck tails to run at the same level as the fish that show up on your electronics.

The night bite has been very good some nights and just fair on others.

We boated seven stripers between 8-15 pounds the other night in about an hour down around the dam.

These fish struck McSticks and Bombers. Cast these slender lures directly to the bank and retrieve them with a slow-to-medium steady retrieve.

If the wind is blowing, then find the windiest banks and work those with the above mentioned lures.

If the lake water is very calm, then you may want to switch over to the red fin. You can catch stripers after dark in the creeks, out on the islands, or around the dam.

I usually don't mention specific areas, but Flat Creek and Balus Creek have been very good areas for many years.
Crappie are biting, but like the above reports, the fishing can be great one day and then slow the next.

A lot of the most productive docks have been pulled out due to the lake levels.

The older rusty docks with fishing rod holders tend to be better than the brand new shiny docks. I also keep an eye out for lights that are set close to the water.

Shoot Micro Spoons or small crappie jigs under the docks. Shooting lures is basically a method that allows anglers to get their lures into tight, out-of-the-way areas.

To learn more about how to shoot lures for crappie, check out YouTube, as there are several great videos that explore this method in detail.

Once you learn how to shoot lures, you can reach areas that other anglers miss. Night fishing under lighted docks or under the bridges has been working very well in the rivers.

Trout: The river below Buford Dam is still a pea-green color because of lake turnover. When you encounter stained water on the river, bright-colored lures will work better because fish can see them better.

Also try using lures that have vibration like a small crankbait or Yo Zuri Pins minnow.

Fish have lateral lines on their sides and they can actually feel the vibration of a lure, which allows them to hone in on you lures, even in the stained water.

Bank fishing: There are many anglers targeting stripers while fishing from the banks. Check in with your local tackle shop and purchase some slip bobbers, live minnows or bluebacks if you have the right bait tanks.

Slip bobbers allow anglers to cast their live bait from the bank.

Then the bait can be positioned at any depth the angler prefers. Right now I would set your bobber stop at around 15 feet and use a very light weight so that your bait can swim around naturally.

You can purchase some very nice rod holders or you can make your own with PVC pipe. Make sure to secure your rod. Many anglers lose a good fish and their fishing outfit, which can really ruin the day.

The fall colors are close to peak so get out and enjoy the fall colors and mild weather.

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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