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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Expect heavy boat traffic on Labor Day
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Lake temperatures are in the lower 80s. The lake level is 1,062.25 feet, which is 8.76 feet below full pool of 1,071 feet. The main lake is clear and the rivers and creeks are clear in the mouths to stained or very stained in the backs. The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Phil Niekro and Operation One Voice are putting on their annual event to support our wounded and fallen Special OPS soldiers. This event features both a golf tournament and fishing event, along with some other cool things with some very famous celebrities attending.

Come out Sept. 7-8 at Lake Lanier Islands for the event. The golf event is sold out, but the fishing tournament still has some openings, and you may get teamed up with some very talented captains or even me.

You can read more about this great cause at

Bass: Lake Lanier has been much calmer during the week days and even on the weekends now that school is in, but expect some boat traffic this Labor Day weekend. Enjoy your time on the water, but please be safe.

Bass fishing has been good for the most part, and some bass are moving shallower. We have caught some good numbers of fish around the banks, but we are also catching some of our better spotted bass out around deeper brush on main lake points, humps, and pockets on midway back into the creeks.

The weather has been mild and you can catch spotted and largemouth bass on a variety of lures and techniques. It is a great time to fish.

Start out your days by casting topwater plugs or buzz baits around key cover like lay downs trees, docks, rock and stumps around steeper bank in the creeks.

These steeper banks offer bass an easy transition zone where they can move shallow or deep with very little effort. Almost any cover on the banks will hold bass that are ready to ambush shad or bluegills that swim by.

Brush piles and other cover out on the main lake are also offering some good topwater action in the mornings and towards dusk.

I recommend keeping a topwater plug like a Zara Spook, Fluke or Jerk Shad on deck and ready at all times because there have been some large schools of bass appearing on the surface out of nowhere at different times during the day.

As the sun gets high, we have had success fishing a drop shot or Shakin’ Squirrel and finesse worms on a 1/8-to 3/16-ounce jig head around brush and steep bluff walls.

Also skip these same jig heads worms around and under docks. Skipping takes some practice, so if you are new to this technique practice skipping laydown trees away from docks. That way, when you move up to the dock action, you will minimize hitting anything or snagging your lures and line.

There are an endless variety of jig heads to choose from: Gamakatsu Alien Heads, Spot Removers, Spot Stickers or Big Bites screw in finesse Jig Heads. Many anglers make their own, so the selection is vast.

Crank Baits and Jerk Baits are very good lures to use in the late summer and early fall periods. You can buy lures in a variety of styles and colors, but I feel it’s a good idea to keep things simple.

Shad or bream colored lures are great in clear water and darker reds, chartreuse and even black are better choices for muddy water. Watch for the schools of tiny threadfin shad, and also keep an eye out for other types of bait and fish in the areas as the bass will hang around where the bait is located.

Striper fishing has a little hit and miss, but they are defiantly feeding. The summertime pattern continues to be one of the best ways to catch good numbers of stripers. Troll a 1–ounce SPRO Buck Tail tipped with either a live blueback herring or Hyper Tail.

You can troll using lead core or try a Cannon Down rigger. Thirty-feet deep seems to be good depth, so start out there and adjust up or down as needed.

The down line bite is probably your best bet. One of the hardest things about this pattern is actually finding the fish, while keeping your boat positioned over the school.

Some days the stripers will hang out in an area for hours, while other days the schools move around so much that they are hard to pattern.

All of the advances in modern day electronics help us not only by showing where the actual fish and baitfish are located directly under the boat, but also out to the sides of your location with Side Imaging.

Many modern fish finders have GPS Maps that show detailed typography. High end fish finders like my Humminbird 998c are also able to show numerous other details like thermocline level, bottom hardness and even have a Weather Sence option that shows barometer readings. There are too many other options to list. The first and hardest thing to accomplish is locating the large schools of fish.

Once you locate the ovals, lines arcs or “spaghetti” that indicate concentrations of stripers then set a down line with a heavy sinker and nose-hooked lively blueback herring. As mentioned above in the bass report, keep a topwater plug ready as we have seen some small pods of striped bass on the surface already, but they are up and down so quickly. This will change soon as the fall topwater bite is right around the corner.

Crappie fishing is fair to good, but I spoke with an experienced gentlemen who is a dedicated crappie angler. He has been catching them around his dock from submerged Christmas trees that are 10-to 15-feet deep with down lined crappie minnows and also by working jigs through the trees.

Trout fishing has been good on the Chattahoochee River and in the mountain Wildlife Management Areas. Check local regulations for all the rules, but live earthworms are a great bait to use for trout, especially after some of the rains we should be getting from the Hurricane Isaac.

Earth worms get washed into creeks naturally so a single worm on a light hook and light line can perfectly imitate what the trout naturally eat. Try to get by without a swivel or weight, but crimp a slit shot weight on your line, if the current is heavy.

Many anglers prefer to use artificial lures so try a Rooster Tail, a Countdown Rapala or try wet and dry flies in and around the rapids or quick moving water.

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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