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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Fishing heats up as temperatures cool down
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Lake temperatures are in the mid to lower 70s. The lake level is 1062.89 which is around eight feet under full pool of 1071. Lake Lanier's water is clear to stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been very good and the big fish are out there eating well.

We have had some very good luck fishing the banks and also out on main lake humps and points.

The bass are willing to strike a variety of lures so you can just about pick your favorite method to catch fish. Topwater plugs, swimbaits, drop-shot and jigs have all been working well. Your electronics are your eyes below the water so pay close attention and they will help you find fish.

Most anglers love the fall topwater bite and now is the time when it is just getting going. Cast SPRO Dawgs, Sammy's, Spooks and even buzzbaits around any productive areas and hold on. The bass have been hitting these lures hard and there are some hogs biting both on main lake and in the creeks and rivers.

We caught an unusually large percentage of largemouth this past week on buzzbaits shallow in the creeks. One day we had 12 good largemouths and only one keeper spot from one creek up lake. These "heads" hit buzzbaits and worms in the back of this creek.

Children's Health Care is having a charity tournament Saturday and Sunday in north Gainesville. There are still some places open and you can sign up at HD Marine or early around 5 a.m. Saturday if you wish to compete. The entry fee is tax deductible. Drop by around noon Saturday for kids activities and a raffle and weigh-in around 3 p.m. In years past they have raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for this worthy cause. If you see a guy in a bright yellow Nitro Shirt then come say hello!

Striper fishing is good and these large predators are showing up on the surface all over the lake. The topwater action for stripers will continue to get better as fall goes on. Even if you are fishing with live bait, make sure to keep a topwater plug or sub-surface casting bait on deck at all times.

Most of the guides are either trolling jigs or umbrella rigs or they are using live bluebacks on flat- and down-lines. As mentioned before, your electronics are key tools in determining the best method and depth.

There are still some deep fish in the creek mouths and down-lined bluebacks positioned right at or above the school should work well. Even when the stripers are deep, don't be surprised if some pods of stripers appear on the surface as rogue fish break away from the school to chase bait up.

Early in the fall, the stripers seem to hit topwater plugs with ferocity, but as the fall progresses, the fish may be a little finicky. It is frustrating to see fish busting all around and to not get a bite.

Here are a few hints: Slow down and breathe, then make an accurate cast. Work your lure as you normally would when no fish were schooling. Make sure to use a lure you have confidence in and don't re-tie until you have given that lure a chance. Often I see anglers who are so excited about the schooling fish that they make bad casts or retrieve the lure faster than normal. I highly recommend trying a sub-surface jerkbait or minnow imitating lure. A SPRO McStick is my go-to bait, but a Bomber Long A, Jerk Shad, Fluke or even a rooster tail are all worth trying.

There are some reports of a decent Bomber bite after dark. Hit the main lake islands and cast these lures to the bank and retrieve them at a slow-and-steady pace. Redfins fished around lighted boat docks in the creeks can also be a great method to catch stripers after dark.

Crappie fishing has been getting much better and the fish are moving shallower in the creeks and up in the rivers.

Shoot crappie jigs or micro spoons under the docks that have brush planted around them. If you can find a dock that has a beaver den under it then that can be a crappie gold mine.

Night fishing around the same docks that have lights can be very productive. Crappie jigs or a live minnow cast around the lights can work very well.

Trout fishing has been better both in the mountain creeks and also below the dam as the water temperatures drop.

There are several events planned for this weekend so the Department of Natural Resources has been stocking a bunch of trout for these events. Not all of the trout will be caught this weekend, so fishing should be decent for at least few weeks as the stocked trout are dumb and hungry.

Bank fishing: Saturday will be Free Fishing Day in Georgia. Anglers can fish without a license, so if you are new to the sport get out and cast a lure or live bait. There will be a free Kids Fishing event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Lower Pool Park below Buford Dam.

Volunteers will available to help with baiting hooks and removing fish.

The Buford Trout Hatchery will stock more than 2,500 rainbow trout at the dam on the morning of the event. A limited number of fishing poles will be available as loaner poles. Hot dogs, drinks, and snacks will be provided at no charge. All kids age 15 and under are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. Life jackets are recommended and required by law for any anglers who want to get into the water to wade.

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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