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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Lower lake levels good for bass fishing
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Lake temperatures are in the mid to lower 70’s. The lake level is 1,061.8, which is 9.2 feet below full pool of 1,071. Lake Lanier is stained and the Chattahoochee River is slightly stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: One of the good things about the lake being down is that it greatly concentrates the fish. Bass fishing is very good and there are some fat bass out eating bluebacks and threadfin shad on the surface.

This time of year the baitfish are large, so bigger lures work best as the bass have an abundance of food. These larger plugs will get noticed in the massive schools of bait that the bass are attacking.

Threadfin shad are in large, tight schools and you can see them up on the surface at dusk. These normally small baitfish are at their peak size at around three inches long and they are being attacked by both stripers and bass.

My Humminbird 858c actually blacked out from all of the threadfin shad in the middle of Six Mile Creek.

Most of the surface activity you see out on the main lake are bass and stripers attacking blueback herring.

These herring are 4-7 inches long and they move very fast. Large topwater plugs like a Super Spook, Red Fin, Sammy or SPRO Dawg are all good choices when you see schooling activity. I leave my Minn Kota Trolling motor on high when chasing the active schoolers because they move very fast.

If you are throwing topwater plugs and the fish don’t hit your lure right away, stick with it and you should catch some good ones. A subsurface lure like a Rooster Tails or jerk baits are worth a try.

One of my personal favorite lures is a white and silver Rooster Tail.

You can throw this lure all day long and catch bass, whether they are schooling or not. Most people think these inline spinners are just for smaller fish like trout of brim.

I like to work a heavy 1/2-ounce version on bait casting tackle with 10-pound monofilament, but lighter versions fished on medium light spinning tackle will work just as well.

If you are not finding the schooling fish, then you can beat the banks and still do well. Look for clay and rock points with deeper water near by and work a drop shot, Texas or Carolina Rigged plastic worm from 5-to 20-feet deep. Fishing docks in the creeks at 5-to 15-feet with finesse worms on a jig head is also producing good results.

Other lures like an Aruka Shad rattling plug, spinner bait, Fish Head Spin or the old reliable Rooster Tail will all produce great results. A buzz bait fished midway on the back of the creeks is a great way to catch a trophy large mouth.

The bass are also biting well after dark. Take a deep diving plug like a Little John DD or other deep diving plug and dig through the rocks and clay to catch some really large spotted bass.

Striper fishing is very good. The topwater bite is on fire. Most of the guides are traveling around looking for the large active schools of fish busting on the surface.

These bluebacks and the stripers chasing them are moving very fast.

You may find a large school and have great action for half an hour, then they are gone.

The schools are coming to the surface, but you have to be in the right place at the right time as they will sound and move around quickly before resurfacing. The downline bite is also good, but don’t rule out a flat line when you see the stripers on the surface.

Trolling a 2-ounce SPRO Bucktails rigged with a live blueback or an umbrella rig are both great techniques to use while searching for the schooling fish.

The stripers are in most of the creek mouths down below Browns Bridge, but we have seen some very large 1/4-acre schools busting out over the river channel on main. Keep a keen eye out for large splashes that look like it’s raining bowling balls and you may get on some awesome action.

You can also put a flat line out behind the boat while casting surface plugs to active fish.

There is also a decent bomber Long A bite happening in the creeks and also around the wind-blown banks.

Cast the big Bomber Long A plugs or a McStick Jerk baits to the banks at night and reel them back slow and steady and hold on for some ferocious strikes.

Crappie: The crappie fishing is pretty good and trolling inside the timberlines and around any submerged wood on the flats should work well. Very few anglers troll or long line for stripers in the fall but this can be a very productive method.

Live bait is also good around docks with brush midway in the backs of the creeks. Up in the rivers the docks have been holding some fish that will eat Micro Spoons that are shot up under the docks.

Pay close attention to the areas between the floats on Pontoon boats. Night fishing around the bridges is fair.

Trout: The Chattahoochee river is getting a slight stain, which usually indicates the beginning of lake turnover.

Because of this oxygen levels will drop a little and the trout can be a little tougher to catch, but there are still plenty of fish left from recent stocking methods.

Bright colors like a pink and chartreuse Rooster Tail or a gold and black Rapala Countdown are still my go-to lures.
Live bait is still a good bet where permitted.

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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