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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Cooler temps warm up fishing
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Lake Temperatures are in the upper 60s. The lake level is 1060.1, which is almost 11 feet below full pool of 1071.

Lake Lanier is clear to stained and the Chattahoochee River is very stained.

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466

Bass: Lake Lanier is still in turnover, but it does not seem to be affecting the bass action.

There are good fish biting from the main lake all the way to the back of the creeks.

The bass are ganged up, and if you catch one, there should be more close by.

I saw two five-fish limits weighed in this past week that were 22 and 24 pounds. That is almost a five-pound average, and they were all spotted bass.

Back in the '80s and '90s Lake Lanier had a 12-inch limit on spotted bass, and the blue backs were not introduced into the lake yet.

It was not unusual to see a large tournament where no spotted bass over three pounds were weighed in.

Now that we have the blue backs and a 14-inch size limit, a three-pound spotted bass does not even get a second look, and five-pounders are a common occurrence.

Junk fishing gets the nod this week as many different lures and methods will work.

We caught fish on buzz baits, jerk baits, swim baits, crank baits, worms and top-water plugs, so keep you options open.

While we are catching good fish on a variety of lures, three of those lures have been catching a majority of our bass.

I have caught some very good fish on the half-ounce white-and-silver Rooster Tails.

One of my fishing partners matched me fish for fish with his Fish Head Spin with a larger jerk shad or fluke-type soft plastic trailer.

Jerk baits have been working well for the spotted bass and stripers.

A jerk-and-pause retrieve will produce, but we have been working with a medium steady retrieve and have caught some of our bigger bass this way.

The top-water action is still going on, so top-water plugs are all producing well when the fish are schooling on the surface.

If you have brush piles or specific areas that you suspect are holding bass, then it is often a good idea to cast a top-water offering over the area before moving in to pick it apart with other lures.

Largemouth bass have been biting well mid-way on back into the creeks, coves and rivers. Cast to any large downed trees, brush piles or shallow docks to catch some nice largemouth bass. The largemouth bass population is very healthy on Lake Lanier.

Stripers: Striper fishing remains steady, and I actually caught and released a huge 44-inch striper last week while casting to the shore for bass.

Any long slender minnow-imitating plug will work well because these lures mimic the blue-back herring that stripers are feeding on.

Red fins, jerk baits and even jerk shads fished weightless are all worth a try.

There are still some large schools up on the surface, and on calm days you can see them almost a mile away.

When the wind gets up the schools may actually get more active, but it takes a trained eye to see them surfacing amongst the white caps.

Cast top-water plugs or sub-surface lures into these schools of stripers for some great strikes.

Use a live blue-back herring or trout, and fish these behind the boat while casting to any surfacing fish. Sometimes the live bait will out-produce the top-water plugs and sometimes it's the other way around.

Pick your favorite method, and both should work well.

Trolling umbrella rigs in the creeks and rivers around the shad schools is producing well for anglers who have mastered trolling. An umbrella rig consists of many bucktails or other lures on one rig. You may have as many as 15 lures on one line with this method.

The multi-lure rigs mimic a school of bait fish. I have witnessed some of the guides trolling umbrella rigs and out-fishing the live-bait anglers five-to-one, so it can be a very productive method when conditions are right.

The night bite continues to be good, and very few anglers are out after dark. Cast to windblown banks around the islands for some very productive fishing after dark.

Crappie: Crappie fishing remains good and is sometimes at its best during the fall as these tasty pan fish feed up before colder months.

Target the backs of the creeks, up in the rivers and also coves off the main lake that have docks, brush and large flats that are separated by ditches.

Use a spider rig on your boat and troll micro spoons, crappie jigs and even spall crank baits around the flats and ditches.

The term spider rig or lake rake simply means trolling many rods at the same time.

The more rods, the better your chances, but it's often a good idea to start out with just a few and add more as you get proficient with this method.

Trout: The river below Buford Dam remains very stained because of lake turnover, and the fishing has slowed down a little.

Wet flies or a dry-and-wet fly dropper combo can work well in the sunny afternoons when the CORP is not pulling water.

Live earthworms where permitted have been working well on the river and also up in the mountain streams.

Worms are one of the main meals for fall trout as the cooler rains wash these tasty treats into the streams.

Fishing up in the mountain streams remains productive and is probably a little better than fishing on the river.

Bank Fishing: I have left the bank anglers in limbo these past few weeks, but excluding this category was just an oversight on my part.

Not everyone has a 75 mile-per-hour bass boat, but this should not hinder an individual's fishing opportunities in North Georgia.

Fishing from the banks in fall can be very productive. Bass, stripers, crappie and trout are all feeding in the shallows on a variety of lures or bait.

A medium shiner or minnow fished below a bobber will work for almost any species on Lake Lanier.

Note that minnows are not allowed on trout waters so try an earthworm there instead.

Any of the lures mentioned above should also work when fishing from the shore. Target the coves in the parks or bridges on the lake or the creeks up in the mountains for some very productive action.

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. Contact him at or visit his website at


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