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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Best action for bass fishing in afternoon hours
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Lake Lanier water levels continue to drop and are currently at 1,063.17 or 7.83 feet below the normal full pool of 1071 feet above sea level. The main lake and mouths of the creeks are clear to stained. Creeks and rivers are slightly stained to very stained. Lake surface temperatures are in the mid to lower 70s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is stained due to lake turnover. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466. 

Bass fishing is still very good and they are biting all day long with the best action coming after noon. The lake is turning over so the bass may be found in 3 foot or 40 foot of water this week. Lake turnover in fall is the period when the warmer surface layers and cooler lower layers reach equal temperatures and the two layers mix. This will scatter the bait fish and hence the predator fish throughout the water column.

There may be some deeper fish, but topwater plugs or swimbaits have been the main lures on the deck of my Nitro for several weeks. The bass have been schooling over brush in 25 foot or less of water or around herring and shad schools all over the lake. Cast your topwater lures over brush and keep moving until you find fish.

A chrome Spook, 6-inch SPRO BBZ1 or a Red Fin are great lures to try. Work your top water plugs at a medium pace and V-Wake your swimbaits around brush on points and humps. Areas with rock and clay will also hold some good schooling fish. You can find schooling action from main lake all the way into the back of the creeks. Any area that holds bait will probably hold bass.

There are also some good fish that can be caught down deeper. For these fish two methods have been working best.
A drop shot rig with a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel dipped in JJ’s Magic has been coaxing some bites. Look for fish below the boat with your electronics and drop down to any fish you see on your screen. Backing off from the same areas and casting a SPRO Little John DD or a Strike King 5X will catch fish too.

The largemouth are biting topwater plugs or jigs up shallow all day long. After dark, the bass are roaming the banks.
Crank baits, spinner baits or worms will catch some good fish worked around docks, rock and clay points both on main lake and into the creeks and pockets after the sun goes down.

Stripers are biting topwater plugs all day long and when this action is happening it’s hard to put them down. Early in the day you may find some massive schools thrashing herring out in the creek mouths. Later in the day you can chase pods of three to 20 fish until the sun goes down in the right areas.

Cast a Chrome Spook on 20-pound Sunline Natural Monofilament to any schools you see on top. We have found schooling stripers in the Chestatee, Chattahoochee and all the way on down throughout main lake below Browns Bridge. Your electronics will show the right areas and once you locate the schools you should be able to wait around until they surface. Keep your trolling motor on high and cover water.

Trolling is a good way to cover water and you can use this method to find the schools and continue to troll in these areas and do quite well. Troll a Captain Mack’s 4-arm umbrella rig anywhere from 10 to 25 feet deep at around 3-miles per hour. Flat and down lined herring and trout will also yield good results in the right areas. Power reel a SPRO Buck Tail with a Suicide Shad or a Ben Parker spoon through the massive schools of stripers while live bait fishing or while waiting on the schools to surface.

The night time Bomber/McStick bite has reel started to get going. The main lake islands from the mouth of Flat Creek on down around Lake Lanier Islands will all hold stripers that will bite after dark. There are also some fish that can be found further back in the main lake creeks. Cast your Bombers or McSticks and reel them just fast enough that you can feel the lure “wobble” and hold on for some arm breaking strikes.

Crappie and Bream: Crappie fishing is good. Fishing brush in 15 foot of water around brush and docks with small jigs will yield some good stringers. The backs of the creeks and pockets have been best. Also continue to troll multiple rods with jigs and flat lined crappie or spot tail minnows has also been working well in the mornings.

Bream fishing has been OK around docks and rocky banks all over the lake. Small jigs, Rooster Tails or minnows or live earthworms under a bobber will get the job done.

Trout fishing is fair on the Chattahoochee below Buford Dam, but it is still worth a trip to the river. The leaves will start to change and the river is very uncrowded which will allow you to fish some of the best holes in solitude. Trout fishing has been hit or miss up in the mountain streams and rivers. Fly fishing with small nymphs has been good all day long. Inline spinners like a Mepps or Rooster Tail in bright colors has been a good method to try. Live bait fishing has been good with worms (where permitted by law) has been working well due to the lack of rain which would usually wash this trout’s main dish into the smaller streams and rivers.

Bank Fishing: To many anglers a buzz bait is a very unrealistic lure but for some reason bass love them. You can cast smaller buzzbaits on spin casting or spinning equipment, but a baitcaster is often preferred. You can really score some good bass in fall on these noisy topwater lures. Bass in small ponds will explode on these lures and you can also do quite well catching largemouth on spotted bass on Lake Lanier from the banks right now!

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 Remember to take a kid fishing!

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