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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Spotted bass feeding on the top all day
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Lake temperatures fell slightly this week with the recent rains and are in the mid to upper 80s. Lake levels continue to hold steady at 1,063.42 feet, which is 7.97 feet below full pool of 1,071 feet.

The main lake is clear and the creeks are clear to stained. The Chattahoochee River is stained after the thunderstorms but clear the rest of the time. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: Just when we think we have the fish figured out they throw us a curve ball. I don’t know if it’s the afternoon thunderstorms and subsequent cooling of the surface layer, or maybe Lake Lanier’s spotted bass are just showing off for next week’s FLW Cup. All I know is that you may want to fish a topwater plug all day long or have one tied on and ready.

I have been using three methods for catching spotted bass and the occasional largemouth this week. The first and most productive method has been casting large topwater plugs or swim baits over brush on main lake humps,long points and secondary points in the creeks.

I like to use a SPRO Dawg 125, Super Spook or even an 8-inch BBZ1 Floater when bass are chasing larger prey.
Natural shad patterns when the water is rough are best, but switch over to a clear plug when the water surface is calm.

The best action on top has been happening in the middle of sunny days. This goes against the grain as most anglers think that dawn and dusk are the best topwater times.

These surface running spots are eating blue back herring along with a few smaller threadfin shad. Predator fish will chase 4- to 8-inch long herring out of deep water and trap them on the surface. A large topwater plug mimics the herring and the strikes this past week have been ferocious at times.

If a bass strikes your lure without getting hooked, you may be able to trigger strikes by speeding up your retrieve which imitates a fleeing blue back. My dad taught me to stop the lure when a bass short strikes, but spotted bass defy many accepted fishing rules.

The second productive pattern is a drop shot rigged with a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel or a regular straight finesse worm. We have been catching bass in the brush but have also gotten a few bites by dropping to suspended fish I see on my Humminbird 858c bow graph.

I just love to catch fish by “video game” fishing. I often chuckle when other anglers are amazed when we watch our lure drop and then see the fish eat it on the screen. Anglers spend thousands of dollars on fish finders so we should expect them to find fish.

We have also had a strong crank bait bite early in the morning, at dusk and after dark. I like to dig a Fat Papa or Little John Deep Diver around rocky points after dark. Pay attention to the rhythm of the lure’s wobble and try to deflect the lure off brush, rock and clay bottoms.

When all else fails use live baitfish or spot tails rigged on a Gamakatsu circle hook on a down line around brush. Spot tail minnows are like candy to bass and other predator fish.

Stripers: Not much has changed with Lake Lanier’s stripers, and the catching remains very good.

Stripers are biting deep and this action should remain the same for a couple of months. The one difference this week is that we caught a couple of stripers on topwater plugs. Stripers are not everywhere on top, but we did witness a few chasing bait on the surface out over main lake.

Continue to troll SPRO Bucktails on lead core or down riggers. Trolling allows anglers to cover a large section of the lake while keeping an eye on their electronics.

While your fish finders should indicate the best areas, nothing confirms that fish are around more than hearing your trolling reels drag as it rips off the spool after a big fish bites.

Once you locate a school on your electronics, you can continue to troll back over the area with the buck tails, stop and drop live herring on down lines or even stop and power reel a buck tail tipped with live herring through the school.

There are a few anglers that are fishing after dark and this action is fair to good. Down line herring around the marinas under Hydro Glow lights. Drop your herring on a down line to the level at which you mark fish on your graph.

Crappie: Crappie fishing reports are few and far between, but you can bet someone has them dialed in. Locate brush piles in the creeks and target the ones that have both shallow and deep water close by.

Trout: Recent rains will help the trout fishing. While a massive thunderstorm may muddy the waters for a day or two it will also cause oxygen to rise which improves water quality.

Rain also washes insects and worms into creeks and rivers, giving trout an easy meal. Fishing right before or during the rain is usually the best time. Water clarity will drop as the rain causes runoff and this can cause the bite to slow. After the water clarity resumes, so will the trout fishing.

Use a black ant pattern for dry flies. Try a dry fly on top with a wet fly dropper on the bottom. In line spinners and tiny crayfish colored crank baits are also working. Of course nothing beats a live red wiggler, but check your local regulations on live bait.

Bank fishing: Spotted and largemouth bass can be shallow in the mornings and even all day long.

Cast jerk baits or top water plugs away from the bank. Fishing from the bank has some advantages over fishing from a boat. Bank anglers can pull a school of bass into the bank structure where they can concentrate the school for subsequent bites.

Anglers fishing from a boat often pull the school of fish into deeper water where they can disperse.

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 esaldrich or visit his website at

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