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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Lower temperatures create challenges for anglers
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Lake Lanier’s water level is 2.48 feet over the normal full pool of 1,071.

Lake Lanier’s water is clear on main lake and clear to very stained from recent rains in the creeks and rivers. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear.

Lake temperatures are unseasonably cool in the high 70s. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass have provided many challenges this year on Lake Lanier.

Usually the water temperatures are in the high 80’s in August but they have actually fallen into the high 70’s due to the unseasonably cool weather we have experienced this past week. Combine that with the near record rain fall and it makes catching bass a challenge.

Normally in August the bass are deep but this summer we have been catching them in both shallow and deep waters, and everywhere in between. There seems to be no real depth to target, so anglers need to keep an open mind and be willing to make changes throughout the day.

Normally quality electronics and vertical fishing with finesse presentations would be the way to go, but we have been keeping a variety of rods and lures on deck with no strong pattern to stick with.

This past week’s full moon has produced a decent bream spawn.

The largemouth and even some spotted bass have been up on the banks targeting bream. These pan fish build their nests up in water less than 5 feet deep. Start the mornings by casting buzz baits in the pockets towards the back of the creeks.

Look for stained water but steer clear of the very muddy pockets that have received too much inflow.

As the day progresses, switch over to a SPRO Fat John 60 crank bait or cast a Stanford Lures Turbo shad around any brim beds that you see.

This has been a great big fishing pattern but you will have to work to get a limit.

The second method that has been working is to target rocky points and bluff walls midway into the creeks.

Cast a Texas rigged Yamamoto Craw or even a drop shot with a Big Bites Cane Stick to the banks and work them down into the drops. Many anglers only use a drop shot rig for vertical presentations but you can have great success retrieving this rig like a standard Carolina or Texas rig from shallow to deep waters. I have been picking up a few extra bites when I see bass suspended on the bottom with my Humminbird bow unit by dropping a worm down to them.

One of the best patterns right now is to get out and fish from sun down until midnight. Cast deep diving crank baits or a Booyah Moon Talker spinner bait to rocky and clay points in the creeks and on main lake.

The secret to a successful night bass fishing trip is to use a slow and steady retrieve and make sure that your lure bounces off rock and brush that are less than 20 feet deep.

Most of our bites are occurring from 5 to 15 feet deep. My personal choice for fishing after dark is a Citrus Shad colored SPRO Little John DD. This lure will hug the bottom and the stock Gamakatsu Hooks will insure that the bass that strike will stay hooked.

Stripers: Striper fishing has also been a challenge but the good news is that when you find them you may be able to load the boat quickly.

This summer the striper fish have not been in their normal river channel locations, but instead seem to be relating more to the creeks and mouths of the creeks below Browns Bridge.

Normally anglers would be catching stripers around 50 to 70 feet deep in August, but they seem to be reacting to the cooler weather and water temperatures and you may find them in much shallower water.

Some anglers are saying the heavy rains have affected the water quality and are dispersing the thermocline. I can still see a thermocline in some of the lower lake creeks on my Humminbird electronics around 25 feet. The bait and fish seem to be relating to it or are a little deeper from 25 to 40 feet next to flats, adjacent to the creek channels.

Down lined blue back herring are a staple and keeping your bait fresh is half the battle. Use your electronics to locate the large schools of herring. When you find the herring, the fish should be close behind. Drop a few herring down to the level where you mark fish. Make sure to check on your bait every five minutes to make sure the fish staying frisky.

It is not difficult to go three to four dozen or more in half a day of fishing.

Use a long fluorocarbon leader to increase your bites as stripers seem to be very shy this time of year.

There have been several reports that the fish are starting to school on top so keep a Redfin or SPRO Bucktail ready.

This usually does not start to happen until September but it is easy to see why it is happening now, with the cooler than normal water temperatures. If you encounter fish feeding on the surface try running a flat line with a small Ú-ounce split shot behind the boat while casting plugs.

These fish have been up and down very quickly so the down line bite will probably be more consistent. Keep an open mind because this year the stripers have not been following the playbook very well.

Crappie: The crappie should start to move up into shallower water soon. There are a lot of threadfin shad schools appearing in the creeks and the crappie will be close behind. Trolling with multiple lines called “spider rigs” or “lake raking” is a great way to target crappie that are relating to the threadfin shad schools. Because these fish are suspended, trolling small jigs tipped with crappie minnows will work very well as the weather cools. There are also some slabs relating to these same threadfin shad after dark around the lighted boat docks in the creeks.

Trout: School is in and there are not many anglers fishing during the week. The CORP has been pulling a lot of water below Buford Dam but the trout will bite very well during the short slack water periods.

Just make sure you call to get the release schedules and be off the water well before the water release.

Pick your favorite lure or method and hit the river because they are biting. Fishing up in the mountain Wildlife Management Areas has also been good.

Bank Fishing: Bream are bedding and will remain shallow for a while. Shallow bream are suckers for a cricket fished below a bobber. Use a small Aberdeen hook and a very small split shot and cast around docks or bream beds.

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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