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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Bass, stripers biting well at lake parks
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Lake Lanier’s water level rose almost four feet in seven days with this past week’s heavy rains. Lake Lanier’s water level is way above full pool at 1,075.40 or 4.40 above the normal full pool of 1,071.

Many ramps are closed because of the high water level but plenty remain open. The corps expects the water levels to crest just shy of five feet above full pool, but it could take weeks to bring the water back down to normal levels. The main lake is stained to very stained and the creeks. Rivers are stained to muddy.

The lake temperatures are in the mid to upper 50’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is muddy.

Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been surprisingly decent, considering the crazy influx of water from recent rains. The lake and fishing conditions are better than most people think who have not been out. Certainly there is a lot of floating stuff out there, but if you practice safe boating you should be just fine.

There is also a lot of smaller debris like pine needles and leaves that may bother some anglers. Once again, fishing is decent.

I will admit it either took the fish a while to settle in, or a while for me to catch up with them. As of Thursday, we were on the fish pretty good.

A lot of the bass we caught this past week were very light in color indicating that they moved up from deeper water.

There were also plenty that had a very healthy dark color, meaning they had been shallow for a while.

Two patterns prevailed this week: the ditch pattern and then we really started catching them shallow as the water level started to crest.

Start your mornings in the ditches and shallow pockets both on main lake and halfway back in the creeks. You should fish the shallow parts of the ditches from the banks on out to 25 feet deep.

An underspin, SPRO RkCrawler or Jig have been the best weapons for the bass and they are much shallower than normal for this time of year. As the week goes on, the fish should be moving deeper. For now, shallow has been what is working in my Nitro Bass Boat.

Once the morning bite wanes, we have not moved very deep at all.

In fact the fish have been biting well in 5-25 feet of water around long points and humps on the main lake and in the first half of the creeks. Up the lake, the water is very stained and the fish are also shallow. You may catch a spotted bass on one cast and a largemouth on another. The crank baits and jig has continued to be a good choice, but don’t be afraid to cast a spinner bait or plastic worm either.

I have had good luck with a Ú-ounce Alien head rigged with Chartreuse and green Big Bites Flying Squirrel or a 1/4-ounce Strike King Bitsy Bug with a Fighting Frog Trailer. Do not be afraid to fish these offerings on bait cast tackle with 12 to 14 pound Sunline Assassin P ION Fluorocarbon. This is Sunline’s newest Fluorocarbon and it is very subtle and easy to cast.

Work your jig head or jigs up shallow on rocky or clay points from 5 to 25 feet deep. Also keep an eye on your electronics. Be ready to drop down to any suspended fish you may see both shallow and out deeper.

Finesse worms on a 1/8 to 3/16 ounce jig head around the docks, both in the pockets and around deeper water, have been working well for some fat spotted bass during the days.

The striper fishing has been hit and miss.

You may have to contend with removing pine straw and leaves from your live bait and trolled fishing lines. Planner boards have been hard to work in the pockets. That is where some of the bigger fish can be found.

This week, you may actually do better pulling balloons, as the majority of the trash will catch before the balloons.

It has still been a challenge using any weightless lines. There are plenty of stripers shallow midway into the pockets.

There are also some fish relating to mud lines where the very muddy creek and river waters meets the clearer water on main lake.

Down lines may be easier to fish, but you will not need to drop them very deep. Use a « to 1-ounce egg sinker with a swivel and a 3-foot leader with a Gamakatsu Circle or Octopus Hook.

Small-to-medium trout have been a good choice but herring, gizzard shad and even larger trout will all work in the right places. Keep an eye on the birds and fish from the surface on down to around 40 feet deep. The majority of stripers on my Humminbird electronics are in the 10-to-30 feet zone, but some can be even more shallow even out over deeper water.

Keep an eye on your electronics and also watch for the gulls and loons to give away the best areas. You can troll an umbrella rig. The down lines have shined this week. Keep moving until you find active fish.

Crappie fishing has been fair.

All of the muddy water and the lake surface trash have made it hard to troll and this bite has slowed. It should resume later in the week.

Shooting jigs around the docks in less muddy water will be your best bet. Experiment between bright colors and darker blacks and blues and let the fish tell you what they prefer.

Trout fishing below Buford Dam has actually been OK. It has slowed down quickly down river from the dam with all the recent muddy influx.

The CORP will start pulling water very soon and this should make the trout fishing much tougher. Trout like fast-moving water but if it is too high or too muddy the fishing can really slow down. Add to this the large amount of worms and insects already washed into the system and it can make for some tough fishing.

Use live earthworms in the clearer water and fish the rapids and pools directly beneath them.

Bank fishing: Bass and stripers are biting shallow around the main lake parks. Buy some trout or net some gizzard shad. Keep them alive in a large bucket with an aerator stone. Cast these on a balloon rig where the wind blows at your back from the shore or cast them on a Carolina rigged type down line.
You can also do well fishing cut baits on a bottom rig around steeper banks. Make sure to use at least 12-pound test and secure your rods well with either store-bought rod holders or use homemade PVC rod holders and pound them into the sand or clay banks.

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 readers so please email him at or visit his website at or Remember to take a kid fishing!

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