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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass, stripers and crappie are all biting in deep water
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Lake Lanier’s water level continues to drop which is normal for summer. Currently the lake level is at 1,066.79 or 4.21 feet below the normal full pool at 1071. The main lake is clear as are the mouths of the main lake creeks. The backs of the creeks and rivers are slightly stained to stained. Lake surface temperatures remain in the mid to upper 80s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing is fair, but anglers who can make on the water changes are still catching some decent stringers. The bass are deeper for the most part, but anglers in the know understand there are always some shallow fish to be caught. We are spending the majority or the day running and gunning main lake brush from 25 to as deep as 40 feet deep.

Early in the day we have found some fish that will attack small top-water plugs like a Baby Spook or small Chug Bug. Target shallow humps or long points in the mouths of the creeks and keep moving until you locate active fish. Add a small Front Runner ahead of your lures to increase your chances of a hook up. The Front Runner was discontinued a few years back, but they are now available again. A Front Runner is basically a small shad looking lure that attaches ahead of any lure. When you put one in front of a top-water plug the bass will often strike it first and it’s not that unusual to catch two at a time – one off the front runner and a second on the top-water plug. Bass are greedy and will fight over a lure after another has taken it. You can also simply use a Gamakatsu Feathered Treble hook in front of your lure for a cheap and effective replacement.

For the rest of the day we have been fishing the deeper brush piles with a combination of moving lures to pick off active fish then switching over the soft plastics for the inactive bass. Start out away from the brush and cast moving lures like a SPRO Little John DD or Big Bites Suicide Shad on a Fish Head Spin. Try to get these lures down and tick the top of the brush.

After you target the active fish, move in over the brush and use a dropshot, shaky head or jig and target fish you see on your electronics. Not all fish will show up as wavy lines, so make sure to get your lures down into the brush to trigger bites from fish that are buried deep down in the cover.

Other methods are working as well. Live spot tail minnows fished on a down line or dropshot rig are very effective in the summertime. After dark try deep diving crank baits or a large black Colorado blade spinner bait and target the same brush as mentioned above or steep rocky banks back inside the creeks.

Stripers: The deep bite for stripers is on fire right now. Make sure to purchase fresh herring and have as many on hand as your bait tank and wallet will allow. Also, make sure to keep one of the large Ben Parker style spoons ready for anytime you get over a large school of stripers.

Your electronics are essential and my Humminbird graph is my main tool for finding these massive schools of stripers in deep water. These schools can stay put for a little while, but they usually move quickly. As my grandpa used to say, “Make hay while you can”. Use a heavy 2-ounce sinker with a long leader on your down lines. 20-pound Sunline Monofilament is my choice for the main line and I like an 8-foot or longer leader of 12-pound Sunline Sniper with a sharp Gamakatsu Octopus hook rigged through the nose of a fresh blueback herring. 

If the fish are present but just “window shopping,” try dropping a herring below the school and power reel it back to the surface.

If you are on fish, drop a Ben Parker Spoon down to them and reel quickly to trigger bites. This is the same theory as power reeling a live herring and will often trigger the whole school into action. This method triggers reaction bites and it works!

Trolling a 2 or 3 ounce SPRO Bucktail rigger with a Cane Thumper on 7-9 colors of lead core will work well too. Or try trolling an umbrella rig at around 25 feet when searching for the schools with your electronics. Once you find a big school, drop herring on down lines or the Ben Parker spoon for as long as the schools stays in the area.

Crappie and bream: Crappie fishing is slow during the day but there are some being caught from deeper brush with live spot tail minnows. The perfect depth seems to be around 25 to 30 feet. If you are a small jig perch jerking guru, you may be able to coax a few bites in the morning from this deep brush before the sun gets high in the sky.

Your best bet for catching a mess of crappie to eat is after dark. Fish the deeper bridge pilings with a floating light or better, a Hydro Glow. Use live crappie minnows or spot tail on down lines at different depths until you dial in what is producing the most bites.

Bream fishing is good all over the lake and there are some fish spawning with the full moon, especially up in the rivers and in the creeks that have flowing water. Crickets or live earth worms under a bobber will work well or beat the banks with a small 1/16th ounce Rooster Tail on very light 6 to 4-pound test line. Fly fishing with dry flies is also a great way to catch bream on Lake Lanier and in farm or subdivision ponds.

Trout fishing is very good on the Chattahoochee River and in the mountain streams in the mornings. If you have a canoe, kayak or float tube, fish the area between Buford Dam and Settles Bridge. The river is loaded with trout thanks to the DNR stocking efforts. The old reliable Rooster tails or Countdown Rapalas or live worms or Berkley Power Nuggets (above highway 20 where live bait is permitted) are always my go to lures. Fly fishing with a dry fly and wet fly combo called a double drop rig is also working well both on the “Hooch” and up in the mountain streams.

Bank Fishing: With the full moon you may or may not find bedding bream on Lake Lanier and in farm or subdivision ponds. Look for “craters” where brim have fanned out their beds. If you find this action, the fish will bite a variety of lures. Even if the brim are not bedding they will bite well from the bank. Dry flies, inline spinners or worms below a bobber are all great methods to use.

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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