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Lake Lanier Fishing report: Bass fishing a challenge in lower evening temperatures
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Lake temperatures are in the mid-80s. The lake level is 1,064.6, which is 6.4-feet under full pool of 1,071. There is a small algae bloom occurring on the main lake and the water is slightly stained. Up the lake in the rivers the water is clear to slightly stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: The bass are starting to transition as the days get shorter and the evening air temperatures drop into the 60’s. The bass fishing has been a challenge. The best pattern for the next couple of weeks may be junk fishing. This means keeping several rods with different lures tied on and experiment throughout the day.

This past week, I caught a large spotted bass right on the bank in less than a foot of water, and on the same day we caught several out in the deep timber in 35-to 50-feet of water, so keep your options open and let the fish tell you what to do.

My electronics are key tools for targeting bass. If you drive over any main lake point, then utilize side imaging and you should be able to find the submerged brush, rocks ditches and dropoffs. All of these underwater objects can hold bass.

The trick is to find a consistent pattern so that when you have success, you can duplicate the same pattern to catch bass in similar scenarios all over the lake.

The drop shot rigged with a Big Bite Cane Stick or Finesse Worm has been my most productive technique for numbers of fish. Casting a top water SPRO Dawg has yielded my bigger fish this past week, including the big spotted bass I caught right next to the bank. We have been catching these topwater fish during the middle of the day over tapering points, brush and also over submerged timber.

Of course, live bait fishing is almost always productive, so buy some medium shiners or net up some native spot tail minnows. Rig these live baits on either a drop shot rig over brush, or try a flat line out behind the boat.

Stripers: Striper fishing reports have been up and down, but most of the guides who are fishing daily have been reporting great catches.

The down line bite continues to produce both quality and numbers when you can locate the right schools. Utilize your graph and keep moving until you find the right areas. Timber looks a lot like schools of fish on a graph to an untrained eye.

Make sure to pay attention to the long wavy lines that indicated fish.

If you see arcs or lines that are vertically stacked then it is usually timber as opposed to the lines or arcs that are more horizontal, which usually indicates fish. If you switch to side imaging, you can often see a clear view of the timber while the fish may be harder to see. Down line fresh lively blue backs on down lines over the creek and river channels and also down around Buford Dam.

Trolling a 1-to 2-ounce SPRO buck tail on lead core at 8- to-9 colors at 2 1/2-to 3-miles an hour has been an excellent method for catching stripers when you can’t locate the large schools of deeper fish. The trick is to keep moving and when you get a bite, go back over the same area.

Your electronics will help to narrow down areas where to fish, but the best locations are creek mouths below Browns Bridge. Some anglers are catching fish around River Forks area in the river channel. The down line bite is just fair.

Crappie fishing is just barely OK, but they are biting for anglers who are adept at finding the right areas. During the daylight hours, target brush piles that are around a dock, or next to creek and ditch channels in 7-to 20-feet of water.

Work crappie jigs or micro spoons on light line and slowly fish these through the brush. If you are not getting snagged, then you may be fishing too fast. Slow down your retrieve and allow these small lures to work up and over the branches.

You can also position your boat directly over the brush and down line crappie minnows or live spot tails. You can also fish off the docks and fish with either live minnows or crappie jigs.

After dark, hit the bridge pilings and lighted boat docks for some good numbers of smaller fish with some keepers also showing up.

Trout: Fishing for trout remains OK on the Chattahoochee River from the Buford Dam all the way to Morgan Falls. The mountain stream fishing has been a little slower due to the low water levels and the hotter water conditions.

The morning bites have been the best both in the mountain streams and also on the river. Live bait where permitted by law will be your best bet. A small silver Roostertail or Mepps inline spinner is always a good choice.

Bank Fishing: There will be a free Kids Fishing event from 9-11 a.m. Sept. 24, at the lower pool park below Buford Dam. Fly tying, fishing demonstrations and volunteers are available to help with baiting hooks and removing fish.

The Buford Trout Hatchery will stock over 2,500 Rainbow Trout at the Dam on the morning of the event. A limited number of fishing poles will be available as loaners. Hot dogs, drinks, and snacks will be provided for free.

All kids 15 and under are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult.

Life jackets are recommended and required by law for any anglers that want to get into the water to wade.

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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