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Lake Lanier fishing report: Fish are shallow and deep this week
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Lake Lanier is still almost a foot above full pool at right around 1,072 feet. Lake temperatures are in the upper 60’s and the main lake is clearer while the backs of the creeks are stained. The Chattahoochee River is stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466

Bass are moving toward their deeper winter haunts, but don’t completely rule out the shallow bite.

This past week we found a surprisingly shallow bite in some lower-lake creeks.

Target the areas where the small ditches run into a bigger ditch or small creek channels. If docks are present around this type of structure than that’s even better.

The bass have been hitting both soft, plastic baits worked slowly on the bottom.

At active feeding times, they will be up off the bottom and actively feeding.

I have been using a Zoom Finesse Worm on a 1/8-ounce Spot Remover jig head. These flat-headed jigs will make the finesse worm stand up off the bottom, and they seem to coax a few extra bites.

We have been catching the more active bass on SPRO McStick Jerk Baits (check out These jerk baits work extremely well for Lake Lanier’s spotted bass.

Try just casting and retrieving this lure with a slow and steady retrieve. If this doesn’t work then try using a stop and go retrieve.
As the water continues to cool, the stop and go retrieve will work better.

Make sure to vary your retrieves and let the bass tell you what works best.

If you can’t locate any shallower bass, then follow the ditch and creek channels out into deeper water.

I prefer creek channels that have a deeper drops next to a big flat.

A jig with a double curly tail trailer will work very well in winter for spotted bass. Crawl these lures on the bottom and work them slowly down the drops.

Most of your strikes will be a very distinctive “thump.” When you feel this, set the hook. If you are having trouble feeling the bites then make sure you are using high-quality tackle and fluorocarbon line to increase your odds.

This report brought to you by Shane Watson Guide Service and Hammond’s Fishing Center. Watson says that the stripers are moving back in the creeks as wintertime approaches.

We’ve had our boats out on trips everyday of the Thanksgiving week, scattered from down south to up north.

Freelined and downlined trout and bluebacks produced best.

Look for the seagulls diving and you will sometimes see the stripers busting on top.

White buck tails and freelines will produce best when the stripers are on the surface.

Capt. Mack’s four arm u-rigs are also working well.

Nothing much has changed, just keep looking further back in the creeks as the surface temps continue to drop. Good fishing and we appreciate everyone’s business.

Keith Pace says that crappie fishing has been fair but with some hard work you can find some very productive areas and load the freezer.

Shooting the docks is still working OK but try some long-line trolling with Micro Spoons and crappie jigs in the backs of the creeks.

Trout fishing on the Chattahoochee River remains slow.

I saw some anglers catching trout below the dam on live worms while fishing from the banks. They had a heavy split shot rigged two feet above a small hook and they were using night crawlers.

Make sure to check local regulations, as some portions of the river are restricted to artificial lures only.
Wet flies or a Rapala Count Down worked with a pause and go retrieve have been working fair.

Striper fishing from the banks is a very popular method this time of year.

The main thing to remember is to secure your fishing rods because these large sport fish can pull an unsecured fishing pole into the water quicker than you can say “dang.”

You can purchase quality rod holders from Hammond’s, or some people use PVC Pipe and pound it into the clay banks.

Fish live trout or gizzard shad on a bottom rig or below a slip bobber. Some good areas to target are Mary Alice Park, Shoal Creek, Wahoo Creek Bridge, Holly Park and River Forks; just to name a few of the many productive banks on Lake Lanier

Eric Aldrich is a part-time outdoors writer, bass fisherman and a member of Humminbird’s, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammond’s Fishing Center Pro Staff. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. If you would like to email him please do so at Remember to take a kid fishing.

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