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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Lake turnover keeps fish, anglers on the move
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Lake Lanier temperatures are in the lower 70s. Lake Lanier’s water level is in decent shape, considering the dry weather and is at 1,062.92 or 8.08 feet below a full pool of 1,071. The main lake is slightly stained and the creeks and rivers are stained due to lake turnover. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is very stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: Lake stratification, or turnover, continues and this period is often viewed by anglers as a tough time to catch fish.

I encourage keeping an open mind when hitting the water as we have had some of the best catches this time of year. In fall, anglers should be willing to move and also open to trying different lures or presentations in areas that have recently produced bass.

Owning a fast Nitro Bass boat is a blessing, but not a necessity as different boats, kayaks, canoes and even bank anglers can change techniques or even, move to more productive areas as conditions change.

One day you may catch fish around the bridges with finesse worms, only to return the next day with limited success.

The first thing I would suggest in this situation is to try a different lure and to also target different depths.

Fish that relate to the bottom of bridge pilings one day may be actively chasing bait around the surface in that same area the next. Bass activity changes daily, even hourly. Keep your options open and don’t be afraid to abandon an area for more productive water.

This week, the wind has been blowing and a variety of lures have produced well. When the wind blows, it often pays to cast spinner baits around wind-blown banks.

Wind creates a current, which moves plankton around. Baitfish feed on plankton and bass feed on baitfish, so the windy banks often hold the most active fish. Spinner baits mimic bait fish, but other lures like crank baits or swim baits can be productive in these same areas when the fish are active.

When the wind subsides or when targeting areas out of the wind two methods have worked best for us recently. Casting a large topwater plug like a Super Spook or Redfin has been an exciting way to cover water. We caught spotted bass, largemouth bass and stripers on topwater plugs this week and the strikes have been awesome. Make sure you also have a drop shot or finesse worm tied on as we have located fish relating to the bottom in 20-to 40-foot of water. Lake turnover disperses oxygen and the thermocline disappears. This natural process can cause fish to be at wildly varying depths and areas. I rely on my Humminbird Fish Finders as much as any time of year in fall.

The night bite for bass has been very good around rocky banks from the creek mouths and on back toward the backs. Cast dark colored crank baits, spinner baits or a jig-n-pig with a rattle for some great action after the sun goes down.

Stripers: Striper fishing has been similar to catching bass and the line sides are definitely on the move.

We are very close to the best topwater bite of the year, and there have been some small schools of stripers appearing on the surface throughout the day. The best times have been early to mid-morning and then later in the day before sundown. Stripers can feed at any time so keep your surface plugs and buck tails ready.

Live bait is always a good bet. Lake Lanier has a healthy population of blueback herring, gizzard shad, threadfin shad and even brim. The striper population has plenty of variety on their menu, but it is hard to beat a live blueback herring on a down or flat line.

Pay close attention to your electronics and adjust the level of your baits according to where you graphs shows fish. It often pays to stagger a couple of down lines and flat lines and to let the fish strikes determine your best method.

I have used a set-up for years that is very productive. Take a regular flat line (just a hook and a live blueback) and add a 1/4-ounce split shot a few feet above your bait. Then cast plugs from the front of the boat, while dragging this modified flat line behind the boat. The live bait will rise and fall as you use your trolling motor. This action really seems to get the attention of any active fish in the area. It’s a really fun problem when your live bait gets attacked at the same time that you are reeling in a fish from the front.

The Bomber Long A bite is at night, but not many anglers are targeting them. Cast a Bomber Long A or SPRO McStick 110 around windy island points after dark. Reel these lures with a slow and steady retrieve and make sure you use at least 12-pound test, as these hard fighting fish can almost rip the rod out of your hand.

Crappie fishing is decent. Target brush, bridges and docks with lights in the pockets and on back into the creeks.

Continue to troll small crappie jigs or use a combination of minnows on a down line, or under a bobber and target areas from 10-feet deep up to the surface. Brush positioned around the creek channels can hold large schools of these tasty pan fish in fall.

Trout fishing is just fair below Buford Dam and the water is a pea green color from the lake turnover. Cast bright colored in line spinners or live earth worms on a bottom rig.

Check local regulations when fishing live bait.

I heard about some decent fishing in the mountain streams and rivers with dry and wet flies. Cooler weather and rain will only improve this action.

Bank Fishing: Cast live medium shiners or native gizzard shad on a bobber or on a Carolina Rig on the bottom in the creeks and in the rivers. Secure your fishing pole as you can hook into a variety of bass, stripers and even large catfish in fall.

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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