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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Live baits lead to bites
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Lake temperatures are holding steady in the mid to upper 80s, and the lake is clear to stained on the main lake and slightly stained in the rivers.

The lake level is a little more than 4-feet below full pool at 1,066.8 feet (full pool is 1,071 feet). Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been a little more hit and miss, but some anglers are still doing quite well. These reports may sound repetitive in the summertime, but these methods are truly how we have had success.

That being said, there are other bass fishing opportunities that offer anglers alternatives to power fishing for spotted bass. The spotted bass we target tend to be 20 feet or deeper this time of year, but there are always some bass that stay shallow.

Lake Lanier has a decent population of largemouth bass, and some anglers specifically target them. There are a few things you can do to increase your odds of catching large mouths.

Creek arms and pockets up in the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers and the backs of the creeks both up and down the lake all hold largemouth bass. We have even caught them on the main lake schooling with the spots.

Largemouth bass tend to live a little shallower than spotted bass and they go shallow to feed in the mornings and around sundown.

Start your day by casting a Buzz Bait or other topwater offering around trees laying down into the water or brush piles off the banks.

As the sun gets up, move a little deeper into the dropoffs or offshore brush and work a Carolina Rig, Jig or a Little John Deep Diver.

As far as the spotted bass this week, our best bite has been with a drop-shot rig at around 25- to 35-feet over and around brush piles.

Continue to keep a topwater plug tied on because some days the topwater activity has still been very good. Also try casting other moving lures over the brush before moving in and dissecting the areas with your drop-shot rig.

Fish Head Spins and mid- or deep-diving crank baits like a Little John MD or DD or a Rapala DD 16 are all good choices to pick off the active bass.

Make a few casts on an area, check your electronics to see if the fish are inactive and down in the brush, and move on to the next spot pretty quickly if you don't get a bite.

The one method that insures a great day of bass fishing is the old reliable spot tail minnows. These minnows are relatively easy to catch.

You can throw grits out around any beach or boat ramps and this should pull in the native spot tail minnows pretty quickly.

Cast a fine mesh cast net over the area that you chummed with grits, and you will often catch as many as you need in one or two casts. There are also some old fashion minnow traps that work OK if you are not proficient with a cast net.

Hook these native spot tails through the lips on a drop-shot or down-line and position your baits around brush or deeper docks.

As with the run and gun fishing, if you don't get a bite pretty quickly, move around until you do get a bite. Once you locate an active school you should be able to catch several in the same area.

The summer time striper bite remains very good for anglers adept at fishing deep. Live blueback herring continue to be your best baits, and most of the local tackle stores carry all the supplies and bait you will need for a successful outing.

Most of the stripers are pretty deep anywhere from 60- to 100-feet deep over a 70- to 120-foot bottom. Down line blueback herring to just above the level where you mark fish on your Humminbird Electronics.

Sometimes the stripers will "window shop," which means you can see them on your graph and your bait will even get nervous, but for some reason they won't bite.

The first thing to try in this situation is power reeling.

This is a term for dropping your live bait down the bottom, then reeling it up quickly through the fish. This will often trigger bites from finicky fish.

Also, check your lines to make sure you are fishing a long fluorocarbon leader and that your bait is very lively. A minor adjustment is all it takes to get the fish to commit to your baits.

There are many reports of anglers having great success with trolling both large Buck Tails or even umbrella rigs out on the main lake and up in the rivers.

Use a large 2-ounce SPRO Bucktail on lead core or set down on a Cannon Down Rigger and troll these lures at around 2-3 miles an hour.

Watch your electronics and move your baits trolling set up shallow or deeper as needed.

Crappie fishing is slow during the day, but some anglers have been catching them OK at night around the bridges and lighted boat docks.

If you are fishing the bridge pilings, set out floating lights or sink a HydroGlow light down to attract the bait fish. Watch your electronics and down-line live crappie minnows or try a crappie jig tipped with a live minnow and work it around 7 to 20 feet deep.

Trout fishing is good on the rivers and up in the mountains. Anglers are reporting catching both rainbow and brown trout with a few brook trout thrown in, if you're in the right areas.

If you are lucky enough to catch at least one of each species on the same day, we call that a North Georgia Slam and it is quite a feat. You can catch these trout on a wide variety of lures or bait.

Inline spinners are easy to use, cheap and effective lures. I prefer a small 1/16 or 1/8-ounce silver and white Rooster Tail, but other colors will also work great.

Cast the inline spinners around any rapids or deeper pools and experiment with your retrieve until you start getting bites. I like to let the lure sink all the way to the bottom in the still pools and then crank these spinners just fast enough to keep the blades spinning.

Fish these same in line spinners a little faster in the rapids.

Of course live earth worms, corn and Power Nuggets can all work very well. Just make sure to check your local regulations to make sure these live baits are permitted and switch over to artificial lures as local regulations require.

Bank Fishing: Some of the most overlooked fishing areas are farm ponds and local subdivision ponds. These smaller, secret honey holes can hold great fish that are easy to catch.

Bass, bream, crappie and catfish all reside in local ponds, and these fish may seldom see a lure or bait. If a pond is productive, then you can usually pick your favorite method and catch fish.

Plastic Worms fished on a Texas Rig (a hook, worm and bullet sinker) are a great way for kids and adults to learn this productive method of bass fishing. Of course a live earthworm or minnow fished below a bobber is hard to beat anywhere!

Make sure you have permission to fish a pond before venturing in.

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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