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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass roaming as water level rises
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Lake Lanier’s water level is just barely under full pool at 1,07.79 or .21 below full pool. The main lake is clear to slightly stained and the creeks and rivers are stained to very stained. The lake temperatures are the low 60’s.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is stained. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has still been very hit and miss. If you review the past five years this is usually the time when water levels have stated to move downward. This year we have had just the opposite occur and in recent weeks. The water levels have actually increased.

Because of this, the bass have had a lot more area to roam around in and that makes fishing tougher for anglers. Take a hint from the bass and expand the areas where you fish. Sooner or later you should collide with a group of bass that are willing to bite.

This past week I have been keeping two rods on deck at all times. The first one is a SPRO McStick 110 jerk bait and the other rod is rigged with a ¬-Ú-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head rigged with either a Big Bites 7-inch Finesse Worm or a Flyin’ Squirrel soft plastic.

Start your days up shallow casting McSticks, crankbaits, spinnerbaits or underspins. Work your lures “stupid style” or basically cast and retrieve with a medium steady pace and incorporate an occasional jerk or pause. Cast these lures around bank cover, small points and any type of bank cover located from the pockets just off main lake on back into the secondary pockets in the middle of the creeks.

Often you will hear anglers talk about fishing the ditches this time of year. You can actually see these ditches as they start out as small drainage creeks or even small valleys up on the bank.

The ones you want to target are the ones that flow from the bank all the way out into the creeks and eventually river channels.

These ditches are the channels or indented areas that bass use like highways to move from shallow water on out into deeper water. You can see these very easily on an old-fashioned paper map. You just can’t beat a regular paper lake map for doing homework for your next fishing outing. I keep one of these paper maps in my “reading room” at home in preparation of my next fishing outing.

After starting the day shallow, as the sun gets higher in the sky, you should start to move out deeper along these same ditches and cast an Alien Head or your favorite jig and trailer or shaky head down through the middle and around the ditches.

If you can locate ditches that run close to docks or that have brush piles or rocky areas around them then these areas deserve some extra time and attention. The bass will often group up in these areas that have cover and structure especially if the bait is present.

While the ditches have been key areas, still keep a top-water plug handy at all times.

There have been some big schools of bass roaming around chasing blueback herring and these fish will appear at any time. Lures like a Zaro Spook, Rover, Sammy or Chug Bug are all good choices for top water fishing. Sub-Surface lures like the SPRO McStick, Rooster Tail or slow sinking swimbait are also great choices.

Beating the banks, or just running around the docks and shore can produce fish this week. As mentioned above, if you cover enough water then you should eventually catch a few or more keepers. Pick your favorite lure and stick with it until your gut tells you to change. Casting a plastic worm, crankbait, spinnerbait, jig or top water will all work in fall.

Striper fishing has been good and the fish are really starting to move out off main lake and up into the rivers and lower lake creeks.

Over the years I have noticed that large schools of stripers seem to move away from the main lake and position in the creeks and rivers this time of year. The areas around River Forks Park and also the areas above Sardis Creek will all have good striper fishing after Thanksgiving week. The same thing goes for some of the larger creeks down lake.

You can find schools of stripers setting up in Flat Creek, Two Mile, Six Mile, Flowery Branch, Big Creek, Baldridge and all of the other main lake creeks. Check the pockets and on back into the creeks when searching for stripers. Keep an eye out for gulls as they will be located around the best fishing areas.

Herring have been the staple live bait all summer, but it is time to start adding trout and gizzard shad to your arsenal. Trout and gizzard shad offer stripers a slightly larger meal so they are worth trying. Throw in a big trout or gizzard shad this time of year to coax those bigger stripers into biting.

Look for surface disturbances. You can often see explosions that look like cinder blocks being thrown into the water from a long distance away. This disturbance can indicate a large school of stripers feeding on herring or other baitfish the surface. Sometimes these stripers can be seen over a half mile away as they explode on the surface eating blueback herring.

Cast a top water plug and you should get an explosive bite. One lure I have found will catch fish almost 100 percent of the time in these conditions is a SPRO McStick 110.

Be prepared to fish at any depth right now. As the water temperatures have cooled the flat lines and planner board lines are the best way to start the day. Pull flat lines and planner boards midway on back into the creeks and pockets.

Use your electric trolling motor and pull your baits along slowly at around one mile per hour. As the sun gets up the stripers will move out deeper. Watch your electronics and move to a down line if needed. Also, keep a Redfin or one half-ounce SPRO Bucktail rigged with a Fluke or Jerk Shad.

The Bomber Long A or McStick bite has been working for catching stripers after dark. Cast these lures to the islands and also in the back of the creeks down lake and reel them slow ad steady for some awesome catches after dark. Let the stripers take the lure, as they will set the hook on themselves.

Crappie fishing remains good. Work the deeper brush piles with light line and small crappie jigs or down lined minnows.
The lighted boat docks or lighted bridges after dark can hold a variety of fish.

Cast small inline spinners and crappie jigs around the lighted boat docks. Target the areas where the light fades away into the darkness. Start shallow and allow your lures to sink deeper until you find the best depth. Crappie minnows fished below a slip bobber will also work well after dark.

Trout fishing is fair right now. Cast inline spinners, small plugs or dry and wet flies around the rapids. The white water holds the most oxygen, which is key for finding the more active trout this time of year.

Bank fishing: A slip bobber is an excellent tool to target fish from the banks.

Bank bound anglers should learn how to use one and any local tackle store that sells them can instruct you on then best process of how to use one. You can also watch videos on YouTube.

The advantage of a slip bobber is that an angler can use it to cast live baits from the bank and to fish allowing you to land a bait as shallow or as deep as you prefer.

Use these bobbers to allow you to fish live bait or even small curly tail jigs directly over brush or other fish-holding cover that a standard bobber would just not allow you to hit specific depths. You can also cast to bridge piling and a slip bobber will give you an effective way to drop a live minnow or earthworm directly to any depth you choose.

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. I would love to hear from our readers so please email me at or visit my website at or Remember to take a kid fishing!

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