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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Junk fishing works best for bass anglers
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Lake Lanier’s water level is holding pretty steady and is right around 1,067.36 or 3.74 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. The main lake is clear to slightly stained.

The creeks and rivers are stained. The lake temperatures range from the high 60’s into the low 70’s.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is slightly stained. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: As with the last month, junk fishing rules. There’s a lot of anglers slinging topwater plugs and doing quite well.

With both overcast and rainy conditions, and even clear sunny days, anglers can catch some big bags fishing topwater baits all day long.

Bass fishing has also been very good for anglers who are able to move and adjust with the conditions This week, we stuck with several days doing nothing but casting topwater lures. It seemed to be producing the bigger fish.

Later in the week, we had to mix in swim baits, crank baits and even jerk baits, which was a great plan to catch some the fish that were unwilling to eat lures directly off the surface.

If you’re in to the slower action, we’ve also been having a very good bite around the docks and brush, and shallow water midway back into the creek.

Pick up a Gamakatsu Alien Head rigged with a Big Bights five or seven-inch finesse or trick worm in any green color, and go work. The best colors seem to be green or green with metallic flakes. We also had success with other natural colors like the same colors and Herring or shade colors. Anything that mimics a small live baitfish or crawdad color would work.

Try many other methods. Try picking up lures that you have done well with in the past or pick up one of these expensive swim baits and play around and you may just find your favorite brand new lure.

Striper fishing rates from tough to excellent. These fish can be heart breakers one day, and team leaders the next. No matter what you do. keep a very open mind.

Watch your electronics and the lake around you. Be prepared to run some water and make changes as the fish do the same.

I went fishing with some guys who wanted to catch stripers on live bite. We filled up the wells on my Nitro boat which are not really the best for fishing bluebacks. I have some cool oxygen pump ins my friend helped me add. They really kept the bait lively.

As it turned out, we found small groups of stripers busting all over the surface on one of the lower lake creek mouths.

After a while, we had to stow the live bait because they were basically getting in the way. After we did that we baited 7 or 8 stripers from 4-11 pounds on Red fins V-Waked on the surface and SPRO McSticks fished just under the surface.

As with the bass fishing, stick with a game plan that includes a combination of live herring and trout on flat and down lines. Use lots of salt-treated water. Also add ice if needed. It’s good to keep a couple of umbrella rigs and a variety of topwater lugs ready.

There are also a lot of sub-surface lures like SPRO McSticks, Ben Parker Spoons, Bomber Long As and the old reliable SPRO or other brands of Buck Tails. Tip your Buck tails with a live herring or around a soft bait trailer like Hyper Tails or just a regular light-white, curly-tail grub.

The night bite has improved, but they have not bit every night in the exact same location, Get up around Three Sisters, Van Pugh, the islands out around the mouths of Big Creeks, Six Mile and Flowery Branch creeks have all had good history in fall!

For stripers after dark, still be on the lookout for our brother and sister anglers who are still going out into ‘combat fishing’ mode. Over 10 boats running after schools of stripers in the same area can be crazy. Try to leave the crowds and go find your own school of fish that you can have to yourself.

There are so many anglers and stripers on Lake Lanier that there are enough to go around.

Crappie fishing is good.

There are some fish appearing shallow that will eat trolled jigs. We call this method ‘lake raking’ or ‘spider rigging’ due to the five, or more, rods we are trolling at the same time. This is a relatively easy way to fish. It can be a blast as you master how to catch crappie this way. You will need several rod holders that can securely hold five or more ultra-light crappie outfits.

Spool with some 4-pound test and get some different brands of small 1/32 or 1/8-ounce jigs and try one on each rod.

Once you get a bite, pay close attention to the rod and jig that got a bite. Also watch the way the boat was running.

Did you catch it in a turn or on a long steady pull? Pay attention to the cover these fish are relating to. Do you bites come from docks, docks with brush, deeper brush or cane pole buckets or standing timber? Match the same conditions to increase your odds.

There are also some nice slabs after dark under lighted boat docks around the creeks and bridges. Cast small jigs and reel them slowly or set out minnows.

The recent trend rains along with the cooler weather have made the trout a little bit tougher to pattern.

People who trout fish regularly know that cold weather and rain entering the streams is not a bad thing.

The old reliable is like Willie boogers small and patterns nymph, or any sinking flyer are good choices. In the fall, pay close attention for the insect hatches you see that mostly happened in the afternoon. Try to match the small flies you see on the surface.

Anglers who set up with spinning and spin-casting equipment will do quite well with artificial lures like Yo Zori minnows and smaller flies that can be rigged with a split shot ahead of them. Don’t forget live worms, where permitted by law, because the trout are used to feeding on worms.

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. I would love to hear from our readers so please email me at or visit my website at or Remember to take a kid fishing!

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