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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Start of fall signals change of patterns
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Lake temperatures are in the mid-70s. Lake Lanier’s water level is around 1,061.13, or 9.87 feet below a full pool of 1,071. The lake is clear to stained and the creeks and rivers are stained.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is slightly stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Just a quick note to thank Lee Dodgen and the many people who volunteered and participated in last weeks’ Camp Sunshine Charity Tournament. This event raised almost $45,000 for the kids.

Camp Sunshine enriches the lives of children with cancer as they and their families cope with the tremendous challenges of this disease.

Bass: Last week’s Children’s Healthcare tournament demonstrated how important it is to keep an open mind and to be willing to make changes as the seasons change.

My tournament buddy and I had been on a consistent topwater bite in the days before the tournament and had been catching 10-20 spotted bass between 1-and 5-pounds each day.

Last Saturday signaled the arrival of fall and the fishing conditions changed. The wind picked up and we barely scratched out a small limit.

These smaller bass hit variety of topwater plugs, spinner baits and even a Game Changer spoon that my partner tried, but they did not bite the way they had for us in practice. Some of the best anglers I know struggled, while some of the other teams made the right choices and weighed in large limits.

This experience only reiterates that fish don’t always follows the plans we make.

This past week, the weather has been stable with cool morning and warm afternoons and the bite has been a little more consistent.

The good news is that the fall topwater bass season is on. Tie on a Zara Spook, Sammy or even a buzz bait to entice some ferocious topwater strikes.

Target points and humps from main lake on back into the creeks and rivers. Look for areas that have brush piles, rock, standing timber or other fish-holding structures.

Lake Lanier’s spotted bass tend to run in wolfpack schools in the fall as they hunt their prey. We often witness up to 20 bass following our topwater plugs or the fish we have hooked.

Once you pull up on an active school of bass, keep casting as you may catch a few more before they disperse. A friend of mine taught me to position my boat as close the bank as possible and to cast out into deeper water. This will cause the followers to be pulled up shallow where they will stay grouped up longer than if you pull the school out into deeper water.

A SPRO Little John MD or Mini Me Spinner Bait are great choices to throw along wind-blown banks.

Wind blows plankton into the shore and baitfish and bass are drawn to these areas because bait fish eat plankton and bass eat baitfish.

Other lures that mimic shad or bluebacks and crayfish are worth trying. Confidence is your No. 1 tool so use the lures, line, rods and reels that you know will work and you will be a successful angler.

Stripers: This week, I saw stripers on my Humminbird electronics and also visually from 80 feet deep up to the surface. There is a good explanation for this. As fall progresses the lake will stratify or “turn over”.

This means the thermocline will disappear as the cooler and warmer layers of water will mix. This natural biannual process will scatter the fish.

Keep an open mind, and don’t be afraid to move or switch baits, techniques or lures until you discover what is working on that particular day.

Blueback herring on down and flat lines are working well in the creek mouths and midway up lake into the rivers. Pay close attention to your electronics and any surface activity to give away the clues of where the bait and stripers are positioned.

Trolling buck tails or an umbrella rig are great ways to cover water in fall. Run your trolled offerings right at or slightly above where you mark fish on your electronics.

Once you locate active surface or subsurface fish, you can set out live bait rigs or cast topwater plugs like a Super Spook, Redfin or even a BBZ1 Trout Swimbait.

I have not seen any nighttime Bomber Long A reports. If you are catching them, then shoot me an email.

Some anglers stay tight-lipped when they are catching fish, but I suspect this action may already be happening. I welcome all reports, comments or questions from our readers.

Crappie are biting. As mentioned in my stripers and bass reports these tasty pan fish may be deep or shallow depending on lake and weather conditions. Shoot crappie jigs up under docks or around brush and bridge pilings. Start out your day fishing around 10-feet deep and adjust as the fish and your fish finders give away the best depths.

Trout fishing is fair below the dam and in the mountain streams. The river will start to turn a green color as the lake starts to turn over. This tends to deplete the oxygen and slows the fishing down, but they will still bite and catching a limit should not be too hard.

Cast inline spinners, flies around areas with rapids as they will hold the most oxygen and fish. If it rains, the action in the streams in the mountains will get much better.

Bank Fishing: Cast topwater plugs to catch bass and stripers from the banks. Areas with a steep rocky shore have been the best areas. As mentioned in my bass report, bank anglers have an advantage over boaters because they will pull the schools of fish toward them, instead of dispersing them out into deeper water.

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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