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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Fishing heats up with the weather
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Lake temperatures are in the lower 80s and lake levels are holding steady at 1,064.47 feet, 6.53 feet below full pool of 1,071 feet.

Lake Lanier has fluctuated less than a foot since April. The main lake is clear to stained, and the creeks are slightly stained. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Just a note to all our friends who boat and fish at night because of this week’s tragedy: Always wear your life jackets. Studies show that most drowning victims would have been saved if they had just worn a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device. It won’t work unless you wear it.

Bass: Bass fishing ranges from fair to great depending on when and where you fish. There are still plenty of bass to be found in shallow water, and beating the backs and docks will net some keeper bass. The better bite seems to be out on main lake humps and points that have planted brush piles.

We have been running and gunning main lake humps and points to catch most of our bass. The majority of fish out on the main lake tend to be spotted bass, but we did find a few largemouths offshore this week.

Casting topwater plugs is a great way to catch the bigger fish. The topwater action continues to happen and should hold up for at least a month. Lake Lanier is a little unusual because the early dawn and late dusk periods are usually the best time for topwater action on other lakes.

Lake Lanier is completely the opposite. Our best topwater action usually occurs during the middle of the day.

When the sun is directly overhead, the bass can silhouette bluebacks on the surface. When a spotted bass comes out of a brush pile at 20-feet deep to slam a blueback or topwater plug, you can bet it’s not going to be a subtle strike.

Instead, the water will often explode like someone threw a bowling ball in. It is common for the bass to miss your lure on this first strike because it is just trying to wound its prey.

Try not to set the hook, but instead keep the lure moving until you feel the weight of the fish on your line, then set the hook. I have been throwing a Super Spook, SPRO Dawg 125 or a swim bait like a BBZ1 6-inch or a Sebile Magic Swimmer over brush piles.

Some days the topwater action is slower than others, so we have also been able to fish a soft plastic worm through the brush. I like to use either a standard drop shot or the new Gamakatsu Alien Heads with a green and pearl Cane Stick attached. Other subsurface lures are also worth a try.

You can work a Fish Head Spin or Little John DD crank bait just over the brush piles for some big spotted bass.

After dark, deep diving crank baits, large Colorado Spinner baits or even a Jig-N-Pig combo is worth a try.

Stripers: Striper fishing has been good and they are starting to move a little deeper as they transition into their summertime haunts. Summertime used to be one of the worst time to striper fish, but the bluebacks have changed that.

The blueback herring swim at the same depths that the stripers prefer, and this supplies them with a non-stop food source that keeps stripers healthy and happy.

Your electronics are key tools for finding these deeper fish. I set my Humminbird 998C Side Imaging to cover a 100-foot swath, and I can see stripers in the timber and over flat bottom, even if they are 50 feet to either side of the boat.

You will need to use downlines and get directly over the fish. Most of the stripers are hovering from 25-to 50-feet deep off the main channel and in the creeks and cuts.

Use lively bluebacks on a down line and use a light and long 12-pound fluorocarbon leader below your sinker.

Stripes can be very line shy, so the lighter fluorocarbon leaders are almost invisible at deeper depths. There has also been some occasional schooling activity in the mornings, and these fish will strike a Redfin
V-waked on the surface or a bucktail jig cast to the schools.

Trolling large 1-2 ounce SPRO Bucktail on lead core line at 7-8 colors in the creek mouths and out on the main lake flats and humps has been working fair. Night fishing in the creek mouths with down lined bluebacks or gizzard shad under bright lights has been producing some fish for the night owls.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good, but the best bite is after dark. Get around the bridges and set out lights or find docks that have brush and lights near deeper water.

Native spot tail minnows are a natural baitfish that crappie eat. Catch some at dusk with grits and a cast net and you should be able to fish all night. Hook these spot tails with a small No. 1 Gamakatsu straight shank hook through the lips, and crimp a ¬-ounce split shot about a foot above your hook.

Set your rod in a secure rod holder and drop your minnow down to the level at which you mark fish on your electronics. People who fish from the shore can use a slip bobber set 5-to 10-feet deep.

Trout: Trout fishing is good both in the mountains and on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam. There are very few nicer ways to spend the day than to float down a trout stream or river.

On hot days, the cooler trout waters provide nature’s air conditioning. You can rent a canoe or even just fish from the banks. Remember the best action usually happens first thing in the morning, so the early bird catches the most trout.

Inline spinners like a Mepps or Rooster Tail should be all you need. Live earthworms — where permitted by law — are also an excellent choice.

Bank fishing: Trout are very accessible to anglers who fish from the banks. Wildlife Management Areas in the mountains and below Buford dam are great areas to spend a few hours, and you will often catch your limit. Cast inline spinners, small crank baits or live bait in the deeper pools. Just make sure to check local regulations and go 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

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