By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass fishing should be good Christmas weekend
Placeholder Image

Lake levels are currently at 1060.48, or 10.52 feet below the normal full pool of 1071. The main lake and mouths of the creeks are clear. The creeks and rivers are clear-to-very-stained in the backs.

Lake surface temperatures remain in the low 50s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is stained but continues to get clearer. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing remains steady, and you should be able to catch fish on a variety of lures and in different locations. The forecast for this Christmas weekend shows warmer weather than normal temperatures. If you can break away from the celebrations at home and sneak away to the lake for a few hours, you should be able to catch a few.

We have been targeting shallow bass early in the day. Spotted and largemouth bass are feeding heavily on threadfin shad and shallow bluebacks first thing in the morning.

You can find small concentrations of fish up in the shallow ends of the ditches and also in the coves and cuts off main lakes as they corral and feed on bait early in the day. These fish can be fooled into biting crank baits, jerk baits, fish head spins and swimbaits like a Suicide Shad on a SPRO Buck Tail Jig.

Start out casting moving lures to find active bass and make sure the areas you target show bait on the surface or on your electronics. If there is no bait showing on your electronics in the area, make the move to locate more productive water.

The best ditches have been producing fish for many days in a row, so it pays to spend time on the water so that you can keep up with the best fishing locations.

The jig and trailer combinations have been our go-to lure recently, and it seems the bigger fish are biting out a little deeper in the 15-to-30-foot zone. A one-half-ounce Strike King Pro Model Jig with a Yamamoto Trim Tail has been a good style to choose.

These jigs mimic the crawfish that Lake Lanier’s bass feed upon. The bass seem to prefer a steady drag as opposed to hopping your lure off the bottom.

Make sure you have a sensitive rod like a medium heavy John Kissel Signature Worm/Jig rod. A sensitive rod paired with Sunline Sniper in 12-to-15-pound test fluorocarbon will allow you to feel the bites much better than a cheaper fishing outfit with plain monofilament line. Set the hook if you feel a thump or even if the line just feels funny.

Skipping shaky heads with four-to-six-inch green finesse worms dipped in JJ’s Chartreuse dye around docks has been yielding a lot of keeper bass, along with a few better fish thrown in the mix. Working a SPRO McStick or Fluke style jerk bait around the docks and ditches is also worth dedicating some time to.

Striper fishing remains good, and many anglers are catching five to 20 in a day on a combination of flat and down lines and also casting lures to any fish they witness on the surface.

It pays to have several sizes and varieties of live bait. Herring are the main bait anglers purchase, but it is also worth noting that stripers may prefer medium shiners or trout on different days. Set out flat lines and planner boards with a combination of baits and let the stripers tell you which they prefer on that given day.

Trolling with a shallow 4-arm Captain Mack’s umbrella rig on braided line in the creeks, pockets and coves has been producing some good results recently.

A knowledgeable angler can often get more bites trolling an umbrella rig than other anglers can get with live bait. Use smaller four-inch white or chartreuse trailers on your umbrella rig’s jigs. Run your boat around two-to-three miles per hour and adjust the depth to run your rigs at just above where you mark fish on your electronics.

Keep a SPRO Buck Tail or McStick 110 or 115 ready at all times to cast to any fish you see on the surface. The night time Bomber and McStick bite should still be good, especially with the warmer-than-seasonal weather we’ve been having.

Crappie fishing has been slow except for anglers who are very good at fishing deep.

The crappie have been moving deeper even with the mild temperatures. Target brush and deeper docks from 20-to-30 feet deep. Fish small crappie jigs or live minnows above and down in the brush, or shoot your lures up under deeper docks with brush.

Trout fishing has been good in the mountains and just fair on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam. The Chattahoochee river still has a green-tint indication that lake stratification is still occurring in some areas on Lake Lanier.

Dry and wet flies both continue to work OK up in the mountain streams and rivers, but this action has been a little slower on the lower Chattahoochee due to the off-colored water.

Live bait where permitted by law has been working well just about everywhere. It’s hard to beat a red wiggler on a bottom rig for catching a quick limit of trout.

Bank fishing up in the mountains after the leaves fall is an awesome experience. Many of the trout streams are all but deserted, and you can catch both newly stocked trout along with hold-over trout that may be bigger in size.

Always try to wade or move upstream if at all possible. Remember that many of the streams are very compact and your tackle needs to match. You don’t want a long rod when fishing mountain streams.

A short fly or spinning rod will make casting easier when your fishing space is constricted by mountain laurels, low lying trees or rocks. Drifting flies or live bait through the pools will yield rainbow, brown and even brook trout.

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

Regional events