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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass fishing follows no predictable pattern
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Lake Lanier water levels are currently at 1,062.25 or 8.75 feet below the normal full pool of 1071 feet above sea level. Now is the time to do maintenance on your shoreline and docks.

The main lake and mouths of the creeks are clear to stained. The creeks and rivers are slightly stained to very stained.

Lake surface temperatures continue to range from the lower 70s to upper 60s, but look for these to fall lower when night time temperatures drop into the 40s.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is stained due to lake turnover.

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: One day you can be a hero and the next a zero!

The variables of consistently catching bass can make anglers scratch their heads. On one day every piece of brush in 10 to 20 feet deep will hold a topwater bite while on the next day the fish will move out over open water and seem uncatchable.

Be prepared to switch between techniques and pay attention to wildlife activity time.

The bass have been up on the surface early and late in the days chasing shad and herring. Smaller topwater plugs and sub-surface lures will coax the early morning schoolers into striking.

A small Heddon Torpedo or even a Ú-ounce Rooster Tail will work well anywhere fish are eating smaller bait. Downsize your line and make long casts. These techniques will yield average fish, but there are some good ones mixed in that will bite too.

A large topwater plug, swimbait or jerk bait will coax some of the bigger bites from the big spotted bass targeting herring out on main lake. Work a Bone Colored Super Spook, a BBZ1 6-Inch or a Jerk Shad out around secondary points and humps both on main lake and mid-way back into the creeks. These spotted bass can weigh over 4 pounds so make sure your tackle is in good shape.

Fresh line, sharp hooks and a quality rod can make the difference at weigh-in time.

There are some deeper fish that will strike shaky-head worms, drop shots or deep-diving crank baits. Watch your electronics to give away the best areas.

Sometimes the fish will be around brush but you may be surprised how many bass are relating to rocky areas in water from 10 to 30 feet deep.

Nighttime bass fishing remains very good and there are almost no boats on the lake after sundown.

Cast deep diving crank baits or large Carolina Blade spinner baits around rock and brush in the creek mouths. Work these lures just fast enough to keep them in contact with the bottom and beat the banks after dark. A lot of striper anglers are catching huge spotted bass on Bombers.

Striper fishing has been good for anglers that are willing to work to find the schools. I have seen some large schools of stripers surfacing over the creek and river channels from Gainesville Marina all the way down to Buford Dam.

The humps and long points in the mouths of the creeks seem to be the hot spots for this surface activity.

Pulling live bait on flat lines, down lines and planner boards seems to be the preferred method by many anglers that are fishing this week. Herring, trout and even gizzard shad are all good choices, but you will get more hook ups with small-to-medium-sized bait.

Most of the stripers are up higher in the water column. Use lively baits and switch them out if needed. No matter which way you fish keep a casting rod ready at all times.

The topwater bite is still the best thing going in my opinion. Early in the day and later in the afternoon you can finds stripers thrashing the surface in the creek mouths.

Spooks, Chug Bugs, McSticks, swim baits or even fly fishing can cause explosive surface strikes when you are around fish.

Silver, chrome and natural colors are working best. Cast to any breaking fish or make long casts over humps and points that top out around 10 feet or slightly deeper.

The World Series usually signals the best time for the night time Bomber bite and right now is a great time to go. The fish are biting and the lake is very uncrowded after dark. Make long casts to islands and points around main lake.

It needs to be said that if you are not familiar with the present lake levels then marking a GPS path before sundown is essential. Slow speeds after sundown and always wearing your life jacket is just common sense.

Crappie fishing remains good and the fish remain concentrated around trees and large isolated brush in the backs of coves and towards the back of the creeks and in the rivers. Use light line and work jigs and crappie minnows through the brush. There can be some large schools of fish on certain brush so if you do not get a bite move on to more productive water.

Trout fishing is OK.

We could really use some rain to freshen up the water in the streams and rivers. Fall is a great time to fly fish and with the warmer than normal temperatures there are plenty of insects still over much of North Georgia’s trout waters. Small midges, black ant and other patterns are worth a try.

Continue to cast small inline spinners or small minnow imitators on 2-6-pound test line around the rapids and in the pools below them.

Bank Fishing: A Pop-R is a great lure to cast from the banks of Lake Lanier and also your local ponds. Use a quick jerk and pause retrieve and make this lure “spit” water. The commotion looks like feeding fish on the surface while the water splashing mimics smaller shad. Work down a bank fairly quickly and cover water to up your odds.

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 or visit his website at or Remember to take a kid fishing!

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