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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Running and gunning best tactic for bringing in spotted bass
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Lake Lanier’s water level is 1.12 feet (1,072.12) over the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake Lanier’s water is clear on the main lake and clear to stained in the creeks and rivers. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. 

Lake temperatures range from the high 70’s to lower 80’s. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing is showing improvement and they are starting to feel the shorter days and somewhat milder temperatures. Bass often react to subtle changes that humans may not even notice.

Shorter daylight hours and cooler surface temperatures trigger their natural instincts to feed.

Bass seem to know beforehand that the colder days are in the future when their metabolism will slow down. Bass know that is the time to start getting busy. Anglers will have the opportunity to capitalize on these instincts.

There has been a lot more surface activity this past week. Large topwater plugs that mimic the mature blueback herring will produce all day long.

That being said, these techniques do not produce in just any area, but instead there are specific locations that bass start to feed on the surface.

The presence of bait is key to locating these active schools of bass. Even when you locate the productive areas, you may have to cast to specific areas where bass are located.

Points and humps located on the main lake will hold feeding bass this time of year. If you know where the brush piles or “spot on the spot” are, then you will have a huge advantage.

Spotted bass tend to hang around brush piles and other areas while they lie in hiding to attack baitfish that swim by.

Quality electronics with Side Imaging and GPS technology will quickly allow anglers to find these prime areas. If you know where the prime areas are located, it will help you make the right casts that will catch a large stringer of fish.

Running and gunning is the order of the day for your best spotted bass action. Use large topwater plugs like a Super Spook or Sammy and make long casts over bush piles and other subsurface cover and structure to trigger bass that are neutral into feeding. Swim baits are also a good option so try Sebiles, BBZ1s and other local favorites.

When you find the active schools feeding on top, fishing can be easy or challenging depending on how much the fish are moving around. Bass that feed on blueback herring tend to move very quickly as the follow these fast moving prey.

During the less active periods, use a dropshot rig to coax bites from fish on brush piles and dropoffs in these same areas. Some fish will relate to docks and other types of cover. You can skip finesse jig heads around docks and catch some nice fish.

Other lures like shallow running crank baits, Big Bites Jerk Shads or Flukes, Fish Head Spins or even an old reliable Rooster Tails can coax some fish into biting.

Striper fishing has also taken a turn for the better.

Fish are starting to appear closer to the surface, which sets up a few different patterns. The downline still seems to dominate, but there have been a few stripers showing up on the surface.

Start your day by watching your electronics and covering water. Electronics are the best tools for unlocking the bite. Pay close attention to where the fish are located in the water column.

If fish are in water shallower than 20 feet, use flat line and subsurface lures like buck tails. They may also come up to take topwater plugs. While this activity may be the preference of most anglers, it may not be the best option.

Fish deeper than 25 feet will take down lines and deeper trolled lures. Watch your electronics and drop baits or trolled lures to the depth that you mark fish.

The down line bite is still the most prevalent pattern. Whether you fish flat or down lines, lively bait is essential to your catching success.

Crappie fishing is improving, but it is still not easy. Knowledgeable anglers who can fish deeper than the standard bobber and crappie minnow techniques may do very well. A lot of the crappie are 15 feet, or deeper, so fishing slowly with a lure that will get down to these depths is essential.

Drop crappie jigs tipped with live minnows into brush that is well below the surface. Docks with brush from 10-20 feet deep are ideal for holding late summer and early fall fish.

Downlined crappie or spot tail minnows are hard to beat. The crappie are biting well when you get a live bait in the face. Trolling is just fair. You will need to get your jigs deeper in the water column.

Trout fishing remains very good and the same patterns are working well. Live worms (where permitted by law) will work very well on a lot of North Georgia’s trout.

Use as small of a hook as possible and thread a lively earth worm, in a natural position, on the end, leaving the tail and head unhooked in a natural fashion. Use a «-ounce weight about a foot above the hook.

Rooster Tails, Rapalas as well as dry and wet flies will all work in the right conditions. Remember the biggest trout will take over the best feeding locations, so cast to the boulders or current breaks above and just below rapids for your best catches.

Bank Fishing: Bream fishing has been very good this season. Now is a great time to target these pan fish before they move deeper in fall.

A live earthworm or cricket hooked 12-18 inches below a bobber will work very well. Target bank cover like trees, rocks and stumps for your best success.

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. I would love to hear from our readers so please email me at

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