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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Changing conditions require electronics
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Water Conditions: Lake Lanier water levels have fallen about a half foot since last week and are currently at 1,062.69 or 8.31 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071 feet above sea level. The main lake and mouths of the creeks are clear to stained. The creeks are and the rivers are slightly stained to very stained. Lake surface temperatures range from the upper 60’s to lower 70’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is stained due to lake turnover. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river @ 770-945-1466.

 Bass: The bass have been moving around a good bit and the lake is changing with the more seasonal weather. Lake surface temperatures have fallen and the lake is in different phases of turnover. The water clarity and quality will play into how successful your day will be.

There are a lot of fish schooling out over open water and these fish can be challenging to catch. It is easier to target secondary points and humps in the mouths of the creeks. Look for the balls of bait, both bluebacks and threadfin shad to give away the best areas. I can see bait and predator fish with my Side Imaging range set to around 45 feet. You can often tell which side to cast your lures when driving over likely fish holding areas.

Cast a bone colored Super Spook, a Pop R, a SPRO BBZ1 6-inch or a Chug Bug around rocky humps and points where bait is present. Keep a drop shot or a 3/8th ounce Alien Head with a Big Bites Cane Stick ready to drop down to fish you see on your electronics. We have been picking off the active fish with the top water plugs or swim baits and catching a few bonus fish “Video Game Fishing”. Once running and gunning to the best potential areas.

There are a lot of shallow largemouth bass in the coves, creeks and up in the rivers. These big headed fish will bite top water plugs around shallow bank cover or jigs or jig head worms cast around shallow docks or rocky areas. Look for the presence of threadfin shad or other minnows and bream.

A lot of bigger spotted bass are being caught after dark by anglers casting plugs for stripers. A SPRO McStick or a Little John DD are good choice for casting after dark for big spotted and largemouth bass.

 Stripers: The weather and water levels have only helped the striper bite. It’s easy to get distracted from any other type of fishing when the stripers are eating top water plugs. Plugs like a Chug Bug, Spook or Redfin will work around the main lake humps and long points near the river channels. Early and later in the days have been best but the fish have been moving around and also hitting on top even in the sunniest of conditions. Boat traffic or wind only seems to help the activity but it makes the schools harder to see. If you see fish come up and go down in an area try blind casting to the last place you saw them on the surface. A lot of strikes will seem to come out of nowhere because there are so many fish in some of these areas.

If you prefer to use a fly rod this action can also be awesome in fall. An 8 or 9 weight rod with floating line and a streamer or popper will fool the stripers that area feeding on blue backs. Make fast strips and be ready to pick up and re-cast to any fish you see rolling on the surface.

Flat lined or planner boards rigged with herring or trout will work well in the same general areas and also inside the creek mouths where the herring schools are present. Keep a top water plug or SPRO Bucktail ready to cast to any fish you see within range. Dropping large spoons or a SPRO Bucktail rigged with a Suicide Shad will catch fish that you see on your electronics below the boat.

Trolling a Mack’s 4-arm Umbrella Rig has been working OK out around the humps and points near the river and creek channels. This is a good way to cover water while you look for schooling fish. Once you locate fish switch to live bait or top water plugs as they have been more consistent than trolling.

The night time Bomber, Long A and McStick bite is very good around the islands below Browns Bridge. Cast your plugs to the shore line and reel them back slow and steady. Wind blow banks tend to be better. Cast the plugs with the wind at your back and cover water until you get a few strikes then slow down and work the area. It is amazing how hard a striper will strike your plug without hooking up but try to keep reeling at the same speed and allow the rod to load up on the fish before setting the hook.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is very good and the fish are concentrated around brush in coves and in the creeks. The fish are located around brush and docks. Either down line crappie minnows in the brush or dissect these areas with crappie jigs. If you don’t get a bite within the first 10-minutes move on to more productive water.

Trout Fishing: Trout fishing is OK on the lower Chattahoochee below Buford Dam and also in the upper Chattahochee around Helen. The leaves are really starting to change this week so it is well a trip out to the river. Cast a small 1/16th ounce Rainbow Trout or Silver colored Rooster Tail on light 4-pound Sunline Monofilament and work the runs and rapids for your best success. Live bait (where permitted by law) has been working better in the pools below the main current. Fly fishing with both dry and wet flies has been working well.

Bank Fishing: Crappie fishing has been good around the bridges in the creeks on Lake Lanier and also around local ponds too. Set a slip boober to 4 to 6 feet deep and rig a live crappie minnow or small shiner through the back and cast it around bridge pilings or deeper brush off the banks. Small crappie jigs will also score some of the tasty fish from the shore too.

 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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