By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Fishing heats up on Independence Day weekend
Placeholder Image

Lake Lanier’s water level continues to hold extremely steady right around a full pool at 1,070.94 or .06 below a full pool of 1,071. Lake temperatures remain steady in the mid-80s. Lake Lanier is clear on main lake and clear in the rivers and creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Just a quick note to wish all of our readers a Happy Independence Day! Please remember to be safe as we enjoy the great resources of Lake Lanier and the other rivers and streams in North Georgia. God Bless America!

Bass fishing remains good and the spotted and largemouth bass can be caught all day long even with the boat traffic that will inevitably develop on this busy Fourth of July weekend.

While most anglers prefer to have our fishing areas all to ourselves, boat and wave runner traffic can sometimes help the action. I have seen many times where the blue back herring and the bass that are chasing them can be seen schooling right in the middle of boat wakes.

Boats stir up plankton and also disrupt the baitfish, and this activity can actually help that catching.

The top water action has been on and off recently but it pays to keep a surface plug ready at all times. Some days you can run and gun and throw nothing else but a top water plug, but that action has been happening a little less this past week.

Surface lures like a Sammy, Spook or Pop-R are all worth a try. As you approach a brush pile or other area with bottom cover work the area over your targeting area first with a top water plug before moving over the cover and picking it apart with slower moving lures.

Your electronics are key tools for finding and fishing brush piles, rock or other bottom cover and will also enable you to see where the fish are relating to that cover. Several methods of fishing will work well when targeting the bottom cover that shows up on your screen.

Pay close attention to where the fish are located in the water column. Most of the times the fish are in or around brush and vertical fishing with a drop shot, jig or even a live spot tail minnow will be the best option. If you notice that the bass are consistently suspending over the brush, it can pay off to work a crank bait, Fish Head Spin or other lure that covers the middle of the water column before actually positioning the boat directly over your area.

The largemouth bite has been good this year, and these big mouthed bass are often doing something totally different than the spotted bass. You can head into the creeks on back to where the new water flows into the lake to find largemouth in summer.

Start your days casting a surface lure like a buzz bait or Pop-R and work them around docks, laydowns and other banks cover. After the sun gets up switch over to a shallow running crank bait like an original SPRO Little John or a Chatter Bait and cover the shallows. Slow down and use a Texas Rigged curly tail worm or a Jig and Pig combo around the docks that have cover planted next to them.

After dark the bass have been biting, but they are relating to deeper water than they were in spring. Cast Jigs or Texas Rigged worms or work a large Colorado Bladed spinner bait in brush located 15-25 feet deep.

Striper fishing is good and they are biting a little shallower than usual for this time of year. Shallower is a relative term as the stripers on Lake Lanier tend to hang out very deep in summer, but this year they have not moved super deep yet. Your electronics will dictate the best depth to target, and right now that depth is closer to 30-50 feet deep. Early and late in the day you may want to try a flat lined herring or gizzard shad, but blue back herring on down lines has been working best during the day.

Still keep a top water plug or a buck tail jig for any fish that feed close to the surface, but probably 90 percent of the stripers right now are being caught on live bait.

The creek mouths and rivers above and below Browns Bridge have all been holding good fish, but look for the majority of stripers to start to position closer to the creek and river channels below Browns Bridge as the stripers move deeper with hotter weather.

Down line herring down to the level where stripers appear on your graph. Keeping your herring lively is very important, especially during the hotter months, so make sure you have a quality bait tank with the proper amount of ice and chemicals.

The local bait stores can help you to come up with the best set-up. Also remember to switch out your baits frequently to make sure that the baits on your lines stay lively.

Some fish are starting to be caught trolling. A good trolling set-up is a 2-ounce SPRO Buck Tail set down to 25 feet deep with a Cannon Downrigger or 7-8 colors on lead core line. Make sure to move at around 2 miles per hour and vary your speed when cruising over timber, points and humps.

Crappie fishing is slow, but some anglers are still catching them. Shoot docks or down line live minnows during the day. During the summer it is great to beat the crowds by fishing after dark. Target the upper lake bridges and set out lights or locate a stretch of docks that leave their lights on and shoot crappie jigs up around the edges of the lights.

Trout fishing remains very good, and this has been a banner year for trout fishing in North Georgia. The rivers and streams will be busy over the holiday weekend, but the fish will be biting too.

On holiday weekends it pays to get out early, and you can basically choose your favorite method and catch a limit before it gets too hot. Target the rapids and the deeper pools below them with live worms (where permitted by law) or pull out your favorite spinning or fly reel and you should catch trout well this weekend.

Bank Fishing: It’s going to be busy on the lake this weekend, and most fish shy away when the water is churned up. There is one exception to that Carp! While many anglers consider carp to be a trash fish, these bugle mouthed North Georgia Redfish can offer you and old anglers alike pretty easy fishing and a great fight too.

Plus, if you keep one or two, they also make for great fertilizer for the garden, and some nationalities consider them great table fare. Carp are actually attracted to human activity around camp grounds and marinas.

My method for carp fishing is simple. Take a can of corn and chum out about a quarter to a half a handful around the area you wish to fish. Use a spinning or spin casting rod and reel rigged with a light Aberdeen hook and a one quarter ounce split shot set a foot above your hook. Thread as many kernels on your hook as possible and cast it out to where you chummed up the water. Secure your rod in a rod holder or hold onto it and wait. The carp will pull hard, and even a small fish can take your whole rod and reel into the lake if it is not secured well. Carp provide an easy and exciting way to get kids and adults alike into the sport of fishing!

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 

Regional events