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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Head to the river for great trout action
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Lake Lanier has dropped down below the 10-foot mark and is currently at 1,060.94 or 10.06 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071.

The main lake and mouths of the creeks are clear to stained. The creeks are and the rivers are slightly stained to very stained. Lake surface temperatures are in the low 60’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is still stained due to lake turnover. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

I have many troubles in life but when I look at the good things they always outweigh the bad. Jobs, health issues, drought, truck and boat repairs, money, bills and other distractions can take us away from the sunshine of the Spirit.

Sometimes I have to start my day thanking God for my eyes, then all the other blessings fall in line. My wife, kids, family, a place to lay my head and of course a passion for fishing! I wish that you and your family will count your blessings and have a Blessed Thanksgiving this holiday weekend!

Bass fishing has been OK and you can certainly catch some fat spotted and largemouth bass this holiday weekend. The fish are at various lake depths.

We have caught them in 5-45-feet deep this past week. The bass are gorging themselves on the tiny threadfin shad that are everywhere on the lake.

They are also eating bluebacks, herring, bream and crawdads so lure options should match the forage in the area you are fishing.

Crawfish are like lobster to bass.

Lake Lanier has a health population of these tasty bass treats so use a lure that mimics them for some great catching. A jig has been my go-to lure this week for larger bass. Find 45-degree sloping banks with rock and wood. Work from the bank on out to as deep as 40 feet. Once you get a bite, concentrate on that depth.

Our best action has come surprising shallow from 5-15 feet deep, but that can change in different areas. I use a half ounce green Strike King Pro Model Jig with a Big Bites Fighting Frog trailer. The crawfish that I have seen have an orange hue around their legs and claws. I dip my trailer in red JJ’s Magic to match the hatch.

A jigging spoon can put numbers of bass and other predator fish in the boat in late fall. Because the weather has been so warm this action is slightly behind schedule.

We are seeing some fish moving to the timberlines and ditches from 30-45 feet. A jigging spoon looks like a dying shad. Bass will group in areas and can be caught one after another when the conditions are right.

When jigging, spoons use 20-pound Sunline Nature Green Monofilament and replace the stock hooks on your spoon with Gamakatsu light wire treble hooks.

These hooks are extra sharp with the heavy line you can usually pull them loose anytime the spoon gets stuck in wood or rocks.

I rely heavily on my Humminbird graph which is a must for spoon fishing.

When you see fish on your finder, drop the spoon all the way to the bottom, reel it up about six inches, snap the lure up and let it fall, keeping your line tight. Most strikes will come on the fall.

The jerk bait bite has been very good at times. We have scored some nice spotted bass on the McStick 110. Rooster Tails and small topwater plugs will also work where bass are feeding on the numerous threadfin shad schools. Nighttime bass fishing has been great with McSticks or SPRO Little John Deep Divers.

Striper fishing has been fair in some areas and great in others. There are still a lot of smaller schooling stripers with a few good ones mixed in around the pockets in the mouths of the creeks. In the morning and later in the day, you may see these fish schooling on the surface attacking threadfin shad and smaller herring.

It can be frustrating to chase the schooling fish on the surface. These fish are targeting smaller targets and there is a massive amount of bait to distract them from normal topwater lures.

Try reeling a smaller aÚ-ounce SPRO Buck tail with a small white Cane Thumper to trigger bites from these finicky fish.

Rooster Tails or a Captain Mack’s Jig’N Shad Spoon are also great choices to cast a reel when the fish are eating threadfins.

Flat lines and planner boards are the go-to methods for live bait fishing right now. Pull medium shiners or smaller herring behind the boat. Pull or float your baits slowly below 1 mph and don’t be afraid to move close to them off shore.

Here is a rig I developed back in the 80’s and I have seen other anglers use similar set ups. Set one line with a larger trout behind your other lines to target bigger fish.

Cast your trout out like a normal flat line and feed it about 30 feet behind your boat. Attach a balloon at the 30-foot mark and then feed more line out till the balloon/flat rig is behind your other lines. The balloon on your line should not interfere as you reel a striper in. It will just slide up your line at the front eye on your rod.

The Bomber and McStick bite has been very good this year. Pink Bomber Long A’s, Redfins and SPRO McStick 110’s and 115’s cast to the bank will get bites as long as you are in the right areas.

The islands around the main lake and in the creek mouths around Lake Lanier Islands are still the go-to spots. There are also some fish in the backs of the creeks around lighted boat docks. Be safe when fishing after dark and especially with the present lake levels. Always wear your Coast Guard approved life vest.

Crappie fishing is good. The fish continue to show up in shallower areas as the water cools and days shorten.

Crappie are feeding for the winter. Crappie anglers are also packing the freezer with fillets. Shallow and medium depth brush piles and docks in the backs of the creeks, around channel swings and also in shallow coves off the main lake will hold slabs.

Some or the biggest crappie can be caught in winter.

Target brush in under 15-feet of water and either cast jigs and work through the brush or set out slip bobber with a small minnow set 3-5 foot below the surface. Freshly netted threadfin shad will work very well too. Switch out your baits often. If you do not catch a fish in 10 minutes, move on to your next area.

Trolling or ‘lake raking’ is a great method to cover water and to find productive areas. Once you catch a good fish, work that area thoroughly. Nighttime fishing around the shallow bridge pilings or around lighted docks has been good when targeting shallower fish that you will often see around the lights.

Trout fishing is good in the mountains and should be excellent on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam thanks to the DNR recent stocking efforts. The trout seem to be grouped more than usual due to lower river and stream flows.

Target areas that have shallow rapids with a large pool beneath them. The trout are looking for oxygenated water that has plenty of ambush areas. The biggest trout will usually occupy the best current breaks.

A double-dropper rig with a small pheasant tail fly on the bottom with a No. 10 Woolly Bugger on the top drifted through the runs and pools will produce well.

Live earthworms (where permitted by law) have been deadly on the Chattahoochee. It seems like the lack of rain has made trout long for the usual wash of bugs and worms into the river during normal rains. Use light 4-6-pound test with a small Aberdeen hook and a live red wiggler about 3 feet below a 1/4-ounce split shot is a standard river fishing set up.

Because a lot of fish have been stocked corn or Power Nuggets may work for these new and easy to fool stocked trout.

Bank Fishing: So, you want to catch a striper but you don’t own a boat and as much as you want to a $300 plus more guide trip is just not in your budget?

You can buy a decent striper fishing outfit for around $50 or you can get a high-end one for $200. Use a heavyweight rod with some flex to the tip.

Spool up with 20-pound monofilament for your main line. Buy a dozen large shiners or trout from your local store 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. He would love to hear from readers, so please email him at or visit his website at or Remember to take a kid fishing.

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