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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Spotted bass becoming popular catch
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Lake Lanier’s water level has dropped again and is right around 1067.58 feet or 3.42 feet below a full pool at 1071. Lake Lanier’s water is clear to stained on main lake and slightly stained to very stained in the creeks, pockets and rivers. Lake water temperatures are in the upper 80s and even warmer in some areas. The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. School is back in for most students so Lake Lanier has been quieter during the week.

Bass fishing remains consistent for spotted bass and there has also been a decent bite for largemouth bass, but they have been a little tougher to pattern. I have been spending some days fishing only spotted bass and have also spent an occasional day exclusively targeting largemouth.

Lake Lanier is known nationally as one of the best spotted bass fisheries and there is a reason for this. There are so many spotted bass in the 4 to 6 pound range that a 5-pound spot hardly gets the local tackle store’s attention.

The past few weeks, we have caught less spotted bass per day, but the ones we are catching are the right size. That being said, many anglers that fish Lake Lanier on the weekends have never caught a spotted bass that large because they are always casting to the banks. The best advice I can give is to use your electronics and GPS mapping and get away from the banks and find the offshore honey holes where the big fish are located.

A SPRO Little John DD (deep diver) has produced some decent fish early in the morning and also after dark. That being said, once the sun comes up, we have had 95 percent of our bites with bottom bumping soft plastics like a drop shot rig, shaky head or a small jig with a Big Bites Rojas Frog trailer. The better spotted bass have been biting in water that is 25 to 40 feet deep and has brush or on the edges of the standing timberlines. We are picking off the bass by using our electronics and dropping these with our lure directly below the boat.

There has also been a decent bite in the lower lake creeks and also up in the rivers for large mouth bass. Locate areas where the creek channel’s maximum depth is 25 to 35 feet. These areas will also have a decent amount of largemouth bass with a few spotted bass thrown in for good measure. Target lay downs, docks, stumps or anywhere there is a current break with a jig and plastic trailer or a mid depth crank bait like the SPRO RkCrawler. Let your lures dig up the bottom. Other methods of fishing have also worked, so don’t be afraid to use a Carolina, Texas Rig or even a buzz bait especially in the morning.

Stripers: The striper fishing has been decent and my electronics show striped bass that are anywhere from 30 feet to over 70 feet and deeper. The deeper fish tend to be the bigger fish. Several methods are working well but the vast majority of fish are being caught on down lined blue back herring. Here are some suggestions on how to keep your herring as lively as possible.

Buy your bait at the last minute. If possible, buy your herring from a reputable tackle store close to where you launch your boat. A standard bait bucket with an aerator will hold a2 dozen herring for about 10 to 20 minutes before they start dying. Doing so would be a waste of your money, so buying a quality bait tank is well worth the investment. Use a bait tank that is round. If you use a square or rectangular cooler, your herring will get “red nose” from where they bump their heads on the corners.

A round tank will keep your herring alive much longer. Modify your bait tank by adding a stone at the end of your aerator and if you have any doubt, seek help from your local tackle store. Throw in several tablespoons of iodized salt and a handful of ice cubes to keep your bait tank at around 65 degrees. Using this setup, you should be able to hold two to six dozen herring all day with minimum casualties.

Once you have your herring and have launched your boat, you can either drive around the mouths of the creeks and look to your electronics to give away the arcs and lines that indicate fish. Once you have found these schools of stripers, drop your herring down quickly to just above the depth where the stripers are grouped up. You will need to use a heavy sinker to minimize the stress on the herring as they pass through the hot surface layer down into the cooler water below the thermocline.

Be prepared to switch out your herring every fifteen minutes or so to keep your herring as lively as possible. As you get ready to change out your baits, try dropping them down to the bottom and power reel them back up, as this can trigger a reaction bite from the school of fish.

There are several different methods you can employ to catch striper like trolling SPRO Bucktails on lead core, trolling an umbrella rig, jigging a buck tail or spoon and other methods that are outside of the box techniques. There are as many ways to catch stripers as there are anglers who target these hard fighting fish.

Check out YouTube, the Internet or your local tackle store, as these will steer you in the right direction. I have probably mentioned this a thousand times, but hiring a reputable guide will help you to quickly gain knowledge on how to catch more stripers.

Trout fishing remains good to fair in the North Georgia streams and below Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee Tails Race. Recent rains have helped this bite because the rainwater washes worms and insects into the waters, plus the rains add oxygen too. While fishing directly after a heavy downpour may turn these clear waters into mud fishing after the rains wash through will help trout, too.

Bank Fishing: There have been an unusual amount of reports about angler catching catfish while targeting bass. I can confirm that because I have caught several of these fish while drop-shotting in recent trips. While these whiskered fish will occasionally strike my drop shots you can probably get many more bites by chumming an area with dog food and putting cut bait like cut up gizzard shad or ever cut up brim on a Caroline style set up. The dog food will bring the fish to you and the cut bait will stand out as the “bait of choice”.

Most of the catfish we have caught are perfect eating size in the 1-5 pound range, but there are surely some brutes mixed in, so secure your rods in rod holder on your dock or ones that you make from PVC hammered in to red clay banks. Seek out areas where the channels swings come with in casting distance.

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 or visit my website at or Remember to take a kid fishing!

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