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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass fishing varies depending on water conditions
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Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is up again this week and is 1,064.77, or 6.23 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are holding steady in the low 80s.

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear-to-slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are clear-to-very stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing: The bass fishing is anywhere from great to fair depending on water conditions.

We are mostly relying on three rods: a top water plug all day long, a drop shot to pick off fish that appear on our graph and a subsurface lure like a SPRO DD Little John Crank Bait or swim bait.

I have been using walking and chugging top water plugs, and it does not seem to matter. The bass are hitting both style of lures all day long. Running and gunning is the order of the day.

Cast top water lures like a Zara Spook, Gun Fish during calmer conditions or try a SPRO floating or slow-sinking BBZ1 Shad or Trout on windy days. Target humps and points from the Dam all the way up into the rivers.

Start you day working aggressive lures like the top waters when the water is calm, or big swim baits when the water is choppy. The bass are eating well on the surface in the morning. As the sun rises, the surface activity will get better, but you may need to run and gun to find the active schools.

If the schooling bite dies or gets hard to find, then it is better to start drop-shotting. Keep a top water plug ready for any fish that surface within casting distance, and work a drop shot rig through the brush piles to catch some keep-sized and larger bass. Use a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel to Catch bass you see below the boat on your electronics.

Try casting a SPRO Little John DD on the humps during the day and also and after dark. Slow roll and dig these deep-diving crank baits into the bottom over rocky humps that are 10-to-15 feet deep for some bigger spots and largemouth bass.

Striper fishing has been fair-to-great depending on whom you ask. Right now, your electronics or surface activity will give away the best areas to fish.

In early summer, the fish will alternate from a shallow early in the day to deeper down as the sun rises. On cloudy days, the shallower patterns will work later in the day.

Dragging herring on flat lines or down lines or trolling buck tails while keeping a top water plug ready has been the pattern, and this should remain the same for a while.

Fishing with herring in the summer months is all about keeping your herring lively and dropping them down through the newly forming thermocline to the deeper, cooler waters. Make sure you have an adequate bait tank and use a heavy sinker on your down lines.

Turn your electrics up to 100 percent, and you should be able to see bait and plankton at certain level. This will be the thermocline where the upper water levels meet the colder lower levels. This is a very important thing to pay attention to because the thermocline layer is where both bait and predator fish like stripers, bass and the occasional walleye live and eat.

Down line herring from 20-to-70 feet deep has been the best place to fish you down lines. Continue to keep a lure ready for any of the rouge fish that appear on the surface. Set your down lines to the level where you mark fish, or if you mark a thermocline, concentrate on fishing considerably below that.

Trolling is working well. As mentioned last week there are several different ways to troll for stripers.

Umbrella rigs or larger single buck tail tipped with a live herring will work well. Trolling is a great way to either catch or locate fish. If you find a lot of bites on your trolling rigs, slow down and drop some herring to get a few extra bites.

Crappie fishing has slowed, and most anglers will find fishing tough.

The crappie are hanging deep around docks and brush in the 15-to-30-feet range. Use very light line like Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon, and let your jigs hit bottom. Work jigs over and through the brush. You will lose some jigs this way, but you will also catch some fish too. The Sunline Fluorocarbon will allow you to feel these lighter, deeper bites.

Fishing for crappie is best early in the day to later around sundown and after dark near lighted boat docks or under floating lights.

Trout fishing remains great in the streams and rivers. Pick your favorite method of fishing and hit the Chattahoochee or other North Georgia rivers and streams, and you should do quite well.

Bank Fishing: I remember back when I was kid, when my brother and I would get out in the back yard and find night crawlers in the wet leaves with a flash light. While this was great fun, I never mastered this method like my brother, so I just saved my pennies and bought them from a tackle store.

You can fish night crawlers so many different ways: on a jig head, bobber or even a Carolina rig. But I have found the best way to fish them is to thread them onto a medium-sized hook and just cast them out with no weight, then let them drop naturally to the bottom.

Night crawlers will catch almost anything that swims, and they are a great way to introduce young ones to fishing.

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

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