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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Look deeper to find best bite of stripers
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Lake Lanier’s water level is at 1,069.14 feet, which is 1.86 feet lower the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake Lanier’s water is clear or slightly stained from boat traffic on main lake and clear to very stained from heavy rains in the creeks and rivers.

Lake water temperatures are holding steady in the low to mid 80s.

Have a happy and safe Independence Day on the lake and wear your personal flotation device (PFD) anytime the boat motor is running, or all the time for kids in your boats. I wear mine. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear.

Please check generation schedules at 770-945-1466 before heading out to the river.

Bass: The bass fishing is good this week. The bass are chasing blueback herring first thing in the mornings and throughout the day.

I know I always repeat myself, but keep a topwater plug ready at all times. When I am fishing on the bow of my Nitro Z8, I always have my topwater rod ready — for fish that suddenly come out of nowhere, showing themselves on the surface — and also my drop shot rod for any fish that I see below me on my Humminbird 1195c big screen unit.

A keen eye along with quality electronics can account for several extra fish that some distracted anglers will miss.

Start your mornings early and try to get to your best areas around 6 a.m., just as the sky starts to brighten. The bass and smaller stripers have been schooling first thing in the mornings.

When the water is glassy, you can see the surface disturbance from a long distance. On windy days it will be a little bit harder to actually witness schooling action, but if you have had success fishing areas recently but can’t actually see schooling fish, it pays to make a few casts anyway.

When the waves are rolling on top, the fish also seem even more aggressive and they will crush larger noisy topwater lures like Super Spooks or a SPRO BBZ1 Floating Trout.

I have been using a saltwater popping plug rigged with a front runner tied ahead of the plug to entice a few extra bites. These exciting strikes can work better than a cup of coffee to get your blood flowing first thing on the morning!

This action can also occur anytime during the day, too, so what should you do?

Keep that topwater rod ready.

The drop shot rig, a finesse worm on a jig head or even a jig and trailer have been our mainstays during the daylight hours.

We are mostly fishing brush piles in 15-30 feet of water, but we have also been targeting some of the shallow and deeper docks and also stair-stepping these same lures down steeper rocky banks.

The drop shot rig works well when fished directly over the fish you mark on your fish finders, but don’t be afraid to cast it out and work it like a regular Texas Rigged worm because a drop shot rig works great as a search lure, too.

The large mouth bass are biting up in the rivers and also in the back of many of the creeks both up and down lake.

These same areas are a little less crowded, which makes them a great option to try on busy holiday weekends.

Look for areas midway on back in the creeks — where the water depths have been 15-25 feet in the deepest parts of the channel — and work shallower as this will be where a lot of the largemouth bass are located.

Start out early further back in the shallow flats and cast a Lunker Lure Buzz Bait around any bank cover, docks, lay downs or other objects where bass hide.

This week’s full moon will cause the bream to bed in the shallow pockets and largemouth bass love to attack bream beds for an easy meal. Cast a topwater prop bait lure like a Stanford Lures or Brian’s Bees Prop B around bream beds for a chance at a huge largemouth bass!

I have been catching some big bass on a SPRO Little John DD worked around rocky points and humps. I have the perfect setup for this lure with some brand new equipment I received recently. First I found the best crank bait rod available in my new Kissle Kraft’s Custom 8-foot long Crank Bait Rod.

I also received some brand new fluorocarbon line that will hit he market soon called P-ION from Sunline.

I spooled a Shimano Curado with P-ION 15-pound test and with that long rod and super slick line, I can launch a crank bait for a mile. Making long casts is important because it allows your crank bait to get down and stay down digging the bottom where the fish are.

Stripers: Some smaller stripers have been schooling out over the deep river channels before noon and closer to dark.

These stripers will attack just about any topwater, jerk bait or soft swim bait lure that you can land in the middle of the frenzy. The same lure that bass hit will also fool stripers on the surface.

The stripers have started to move deeper. Get out your down line rods and leadcore trolling equipment and get out on the lake.

Your electronics are an absolutely essential for summer striper fishing. The stripers will move into 40-60 feet of water where it is cooler and the bluebacks move down deep.

My dash unit is a 998C with Side Imaging for determining the best areas and proper depth to set out lines. It pays to be able to find the best areas quickly and Side Imaging allows anglers to see fish way out to the left or right of your boat.

Stripers are being caught on down-lined herring, but trolling is also a great method to use while searching for stripers.

You can use Cannon Down Riggers or lead core line to get your trolled lures down to the proper level. Twenty to 25 feet is a good depth to start with.

Use a 1-2 ounce SPRO Bucktail tipped with a live herring and run your boat between 1.5-2 miles an hour. Once you get a bite, you can circle back over and troll that area some more or cut off the big motor and drop live bait lines down to where you mark the fish schools.

Buy and keep your bait lively for the best results when down lining.

Hook a blueback herring through the lips and drop it down quickly through the warmer surface layers of water to the thermocline.

Use a pretty heavy main line and attach a 1-ounce sinker above a swivel with a 2-3 foot, 12-14 pound fluorocarbon leader.

Switch out your baits often and be prepared to move, as stripers can cover a lot of water throughout the day.

Crappie: There are some crappie biting during the day for anglers that are able to find and fish brush in 20-30 feet deep. They are biting shallower brush and around docks in the cooler water up in the rivers.

Night fishing has been best under lights, both on permanent ones set under deeper docks and Hydroglow or floating lights around the bridges.

You can also use crappie minnows purchased from local tackle stores, but if you can catch the live native spot tails you will have an advantage. Hook these minnows through the back and use light line with a light split shot sinker and drop them down to where you mark fish on your graph. 

Trout: Fishing remains very good for trout in North Georgia. Most residents who read this paper live within an hour and a half of some of the best trout waters in the South.

If you drive up to the mountain Wildlife Management Areas just fish below Buford Dam you should be able to connect with some hungry trout. Live bait (where permitted by law), fly fishing or casting small Rooster Tails on finesse spinning rods will work well this week.

Bank Fishing: A lot of species are biting close to the banks right now both on Lake Lanier and smaller lake and ponds. Whether you have kids or just want to explore the roots of simple fishing, grab your Zebco 33 or light spinning outfit and makes sure your line is limber and that you have some small hooks, some light split shot weights and bobbers.

Dig up some worms in the back yard or find some good dark soil in the woods and bring a hand shovel. If you have kids, teach them how to find worms. For kids, digging the worms is almost as fun as you think.

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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