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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass fishing ranging from good to off the charts
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Lake Lanier water levels are currently at 1,061.85 or 9.15 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071 feet. 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 are in the upper 60’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is still stained due to lake turnover. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing ranges from good to off the charts. Last week five spotted bass that totaled over 23-pounds at a local tournament. Many anglers never catch a four-pound spotted bass. On the other end of the equation, my boat weighed in around seven pounds with only three bass. Lake Lanier can humble people.

Bass are on the move following the schools of threadfin shad and blueback herring. These bait fish are roaming around, based on water conditions and lake turnover. You may see bass chasing minnows on the surface against the shore or busting baitfish out over 100 feet of water. Always keep a lure like a topwater plug or a subsurface jerk bait.

Even though there have been some tough days, we have also had some awesome ones. My four best bass lures this past week have been as follows in order of preference. A Big Bites Jerk Minnow, SPRO McStick, SPRO Little John DD and straight-tail finesse worm on a 1/8-ounce Alien Head skipped around docks.

When the sun has just peaked over the horizon, you can catch bass fairly shallow with a crank bait or jerk bait. Cast your lures around rock and clay banks located close to deeper water. Cast to the shore and reel the lure a few cranks, then impart a jerk and pause retrieve.

Your cadence will vary according to the activity levels of the fish.

The presence of baitfish and bass is essential. If you see neither in your area, look elsewhere. The large schools of herring and shad will show up on side imaging, but you can also see them with conventional two-dimensional view directly below the boat. At times, the bait fish can be seen on the surface and you will often see fish busting them up. Be prepared to launch a lure as these fish will move quickly.

The brush piles, docks and bluff walls can all be great places, as long as there is bait in the vicinity. Your preferred lure in these locations may work better than the suggestions above. If you fish a lure with confidence and bass are in the area, you should have success.

Night fishing with large, dark colored Colorado bladed spinner baits or a SPRO DD have been very good this week.

Striper fishing has still rated good but these fish, like the bass, are on the move pushing bait around. Water conditions seem to make a huge difference. Temperature, lake turnover, current and wind all play into the game. When the water has been flat, we have witnessed schools of fish, especially early or late in the day on the humps and points close to the river channel. On windy days, the fish can be closer to the bank. If the water is a brownish color from turnover, fishing may be better elsewhere.

Fishing with live bait on flat lines or planner boards, trolling umbrella rigs and of course, casting topwater plugs or lures to any topwater fish have been working. Midlake from the mouth of Flat Creek to the Gainesville Marina has been a good area to check.

I have seen schools. Anglers with fish hooked from the dam all the way up to Wahoo Creek and Little River.

The Bomber Bite is very good right now, but make sure you practice extra care after dark with low water levels. I love to fish the islands and humps from Lake Lanier islands all the way up to River Forks. At night, wind blown banks are best for the for this action. Make long casts and cover water with a Long A Bomber, McStick or your favorite swim bait.

Crappie fishing is good and there have been some much more shallow fish, especially after dark around Hydro Glow docks. Crappie Jigs and minnows as well as trolling or ‘lake raking’ will catch fish in the creeks and even some of the large coves off the main lake.

Standing timber, brush piles and docks have all held fish. After dark, set out lights around bridge pilings and use crappie minnows or small shad close to the pilings. out your small jigs and make casts to fish you see under the dock lights. Minnows under a float will also produce well.

Trout fishing is good, but may be smoky in the mountains is only just OK on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam.

The DNR stocks trout this time of year. I have heard that they are putting more fish in some of the streams due the low water flows in the rivers. I have heard reports of pretty decent fishing in the creeks. Pick your favorite spinner or fly and get out and enjoy the weather.

Bank Fishing: Local ponds can be your best bet for catching larger fish in the fall. The water is cooling, fish will come in closer to the bank and bass, bream, crappie and catfish will all be feeding as much as possible as the days shorten. One of the most versatile lures ever made for pond fishing is the Beetle Spin. These compact jig/spinnerbait style lures are small, mostly weedless and they won’t set you back a lot of money if you lose one. Tie your Beetle Spin to 6 or 8-pound test monofilament on a spinning or standard spin casting reel, then go fishing. Just cast and retrieve and work them close to stumps, docks, lay downs or anything out of the ordinary.

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 our readers so please email him at or visit my website at or Remember to take a kid fishing.

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