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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass are biting hard in afternoon heat
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Lake temperatures are holding in the mid-80s. The lake level is at 3.2 feet below full pool at 1,067.8 feet.

 Lake Lanier is clear on the main lake and clear to stained in the creeks and the rivers. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: There has been an OK topwater bite in the mornings, with some sporadic action during the day. It is a good idea to keep at least one rod loaded with a topwater plug all the time in case a school of fish appears within casting distance. 

We are catching the majority of our bass from manmade brush piles, natural laydowns on deep banks and also steep rock and clay banks.

I usually spend most of the summer months on offshore main lake areas, but this year we have been exploring new areas midway to the lower and upper lake creeks and rivers. 

I usually don’t advise anglers to beat the banks except in spring and fall, but this year I have learned some new areas that are both close to the shore and holding good fish.

 I take it for granted that many anglers don’t get enough time to learn those hard to find offshore areas.

Fishing docks and targeting areas close to the shore can indeed be very productive in the hot months. 

Target both steeper banks in the creeks as well as offshore areas that have shallow water close to a deep drop in the summer. Quality electronics like my 998c with Side Imaging will really help anglers decipher the secret underwater honey holes. Most of the bass we are catching are between 15- and 30-feet deep this past week, but you can expect them to move even deeper as the dog days of summer arrive.

During the day, we have been catching the majority of bass on the dropshot rig. My dropshot set-up consists of 5- or 7-pound Fluorocarbon with a 1/8-ounce tungsten skinny weight and a No. 2 straight shank Gamakatsu hook. If you are fishing brush, then try shortening your drop weight leader to about 10- to 12-inches below the hook to minimize snags. 

The shorter leader gets hung up less in underwater trees and brush. Switch between finesse worms, small lizards or try a 4.5-inch Big Bites Cane Sticks in green pumpkin and pearl color. I think these thicker worms mimic spot tail minnows, and with the lighter sinker, they really create a slow fall.

We have also caught a few active fish by casting Little John DDs and Fish Head Spins over the brush before moving in and dissecting the areas with the drop shot rigs.

Several friends and guides use native spot tail minnows in the summer. These baitfish are like candy to spotted bass and other species of fish on Lake Lanier. Hook these live spot tails on a modified dropshot rig with a circle hook. 

The circle hooks stick the bass in the mouth instead of their throats which makes for easy catch and release.

Stripers: The fishing is definitely becoming more consistent, but be prepared to change things up as needed because there are fish in a few different patterns in different areas of the lake. The deep summertime bite remains the most consistent methods in summer for catching stripers. 

The secret to successful summer down-line fishing is to have plenty of blueback herring and the proper equipment to keep them lively all day. Check in with your local tackle dealers for the best set-ups for your boat and budget. 

Large circular bait wells with lots of oxygen with salt and ice added as needed will ensure that your baits stays alive. You will also want to get your bluebacks down quickly into the cooler water layers from 40- to 80-feet deep.

As I always mention quality electronics are a must for locating these deep water summertime stripers. 

Watch your Humminbird units closely to find the large schools that appear as arcs or spaghetti on the screen. Continue to use as light of a fluorocarbon leader as you can get away with, but make sure your line is strong enough to get these hard fighting fish to the boat. 

Check anywhere from the middle of the creeks to the main lake. Some guides and anglers are trolling larger buck tails on lead core or Cannon down riggers while searching for the larger schools that will eat the live blueback herring on the down lines. 

Sometimes, trolling can be as productive as the down lines, but keep your options open because the reports are all over the place and stripers are being caught from 30- to 100-feet deep this past week.

Crappie: My buddy Keith Pace tells me that the fishing remains a little slow during the day, but the early morning and after dark crappie fishing has been productive for anglers who know how and where to target these deeper summer slabs. Pace says that he has caught crappie as shallow as 7-feet deep, but the majority of the fish have been deeper on the fronts of docks that sit in 15-feet or deeper with deep water close by.

After dark, target these same docks that have lights on them, or set out lights around the bridges and fish crappie minnows or Micro Spoons from 7-to 15-feet deep.

Trout: The early bird gets the worm, or in this case the anglers who get out early will catch the trout. 

Trout are biting well early in the mornings on the river and up in the mountain streams. Once the sun gets up, the trout fishing has been a little slow as is normal during the hotter summer months.

Live bait is always a good bet, but check your local regulations. Switch over to a spinning rod with an inline spinner or small plug if you are fishing in an artificial only area. 

Better yet, get out your fly rod and match the hatch to catch some trout with a more scientific approach.

Bank Fishing: Fishing during a busy weekend may be a challenge, but there is one species of fish that will bite all day. Bream are one of the most prolific and easy species to catch and they can be great to eat too. The biggest mistake I see anglers make is to use too large of a hook or to have large swivels or weights that turn off these smaller pan fish. The easiest way to catch a bream is with live earthworms from the back yard on a light line and small hook without a swivel or weight. 

Less is more when bream fishing, and scaling down your tackle will help ensure you or your kids catch these abundant fish. 

You can also position a bobber about a foot or two above your hook to make it easier to cast and to keep from getting snagged on the bottom. 

Make sure to use a small hook and string the worm on the hook so that it covers it all the way up. If you can see your hook, you can bet that the bream will too. 

Fish around rocks, docks and trees that are lying down in the water.


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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