By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Improving weather helps on afternoon trips to Lanier
Placeholder Image

Lake Lanier’s water level is holding steady at around 1,070.23 points, which is just shy of full pool at 1,071 feet. We did a lot of running and gunning this week and actually found water temperatures in the high 40s up to the low 50s.

I predict that this weekend’s cold weather will push water temperatures back down into the high 40’s most everywhere.

The main lake is slightly stained and the backs of the creeks are stained to very stained. The Chattahoochee River is clear but gets muddy after rains and some of the Hwy 20 bridge construction. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: The spotted and largemouth bass fishing has been tough for many anglers, but someone always figures out a pattern. The good news is that this is a great time to catch your biggest bass of the year. There are a lot of schools of 4-6 inch herring and also some shad shallow on sunny days.

Cast a Rooster Tail or SPRO McStick when you see this and you may catch a bass, striper, crappie and may even impale a herring because the schools of bait are so thick.

Some of our weekend warriors and bank-bound anglers have been scratching their heads. They’re having to move around a lot with mostly limited success.

Many anglers will throw in the towel and go home, but we all have days like this, so write down your success or slow days in your fishing logs. In the next year, you will know what not to do or make notes about what worked.

My Nitro Z8 with a Mercury 250 horsepower motor has been getting a workout this week. We have been running around and sampling different areas and various conditions.

The fishing has been OK some days and tough on others. The beautiful weather has been nice and helps the afternoon bite.

We have had some success but we haven’t had any days where we loaded the boat with fish. The good news is that the spotted bass and occasional largemouth that we do catch are very fat and healthy.

All of them are gorging on the schools of blueback herring, threadfin shad and gizzard shad.

The weekend warriors and bank-bound anglers have been catching a few fish.

When you are having to move around a lot with mostly limited success, many anglers will throw in the towel and go home. We all have days like this. Mark these days in you fishing logs. Next year you will know what not to do.

Most of the deeper bass seem to be schooled up, so if you catch one, stay and work over that same area to increase your odds.

We also caught a few shallow early. It picked up again around the middle of the day. These shallow fish were very white, which means they have moved up from deep water, so it will not be long before fishing really turns on.

Try this technique: Hop a «-ounce SPRO buck tail and work it like a regular jig. Stair step it down steep banks, ditches and rocky banks. Plastic straight tail Big Bite finesse worms on a Gamakatsu Alien Head have been producing several of the bass that bite.

A great lure all winter has been the SPRO McStick. The spots are starting to suspend around the black dock floats. This action has already started, but soon you will be able to run this dock pattern and catch some magnum spots.

Find your favorite suspending jerk bait and run and gun docks on main lake river points and pockets that have deep water close by.

Stripers: Overall, the striper fishing is good. The stripers have been further back in the creeks.

Use free-lined bluebacks behind the boat, while casting to any swirls or good looking water you see while drifting. Cast white 1/2-ounce SPRO Buck Tails.

Always look for the birds diving and the fish rolling. Capt. Mack’s Umbrella rigs are also working well. A lot of
stripers are deeper midway in the pockets.

Down lines are hit or miss. Pay attention to where you see the schools of baits and stripers and adjust your set-up accordingly. These rolling fish have also bit free-lined bluebacks very well.

This sight fishing bite will last all winter. Overall, the striper fishing is very good on Lake Lanier. The lake is full and the weather has been good for fishing most days.

Crappie: The crappie are starting to bite and the guides have been producing some limits for their clients. The fish have been schooled in large groups around deeper docks, and brush from 10-25 feet deep. You can troll Hal Flies or other stile crappie jigs.

Look for water that has a little stain to it, as this seems to be more productive than the clear main lake.

Drop a jig down and work it around the brush. Also try a standard minnow under a bobber around the bridges up the lake.

Trout on the Chattahoochee: Trout fishing is good and they have been biting in the year-round streams. Trout will bite well in the winter.

Use live night crawlers, where permitted by law, and rig them to stay on the bottom just below any rapids. Small inline spinners and small jerk baits have also been working fair.

Bank Fishing: The stripers are shallow during active feeding periods. Watch for areas that have herring swimming around shallow.

Drift a store-bought herring or jumbo shiner and hold on. You will find fishing from the bank can be very productive. Continue to use live trout or large minnows below a large slip bobber, or cast SPRO Buck tails or Zoom Flukes to active fish.

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

Friends to Follow social media