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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Stripers biting best on overcast days
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Lake Levels are currently at 10.70 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071 feet. The main lake and mouths of the creeks are clear. The creeks and rivers are stained to very stained in the backs.

Lake surface temperatures are in the lower 50’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is slightly stained. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been up and down this week. Fishing success seems to revolve around the weather fronts. The lake temperatures actually came up a bit this past week and are continuing to stay above the 50-degree mark which is warmer than normal for the New Year’s week.

During warmer days, the bass have been relatively active for this time of year. Crank baits, jerk baits, spinner baits and under spins should all have a place in your bass fishing arsenal this week. When you encounter active fish, it pays to have a moving lure ready.

Long coves and cuts just off the creeks and rivers have been holding large schools of shad, bass.

Stripers have been hanging around these areas gorging themselves. Cast a Rattle Trap, Aruku Shad, Fish Head Spin or other shad imitator around areas where you see the large shad schools on the surface or your electronics.

If you see fish below the shad schools on your electronics, be prepared with a drop shot rig with a shad-colored worm, or small shad imitator like a Berkley Gulp shad and drop it down to them. You can also work deep-diving crank baits like a SPRO Little John DD or Buck Tails and run these lures through and below the shad schools.

A small jigging spoon has been working where the ditches intersect with timber lines. Your electronics are key tools for jigging.

Look for deeper shad in the 20 to 40-foot range. If you see shad, drop a spoon down, even if you are not marking fish.
Bass will often hug tight to the bottom and may not show themselves until you start jigging your spoon.

I like to use a 20-pound Sunline monofilament and I replace the stock hooks on my spoons with Gamakatsu wire treble hooks.

With this set up, if you get snagged you can usually pull the hooks free without losing your spoon. Vary the way you fish your spoons.

Most of your hits will occur in the fall. Jigs and shaky heads have been working on fish that are in the ditches close to dropoffs. Cast a jig out and stairstep it down steep banks near the ditches and creek channels. It’s hard to beat a 1/4-ounce Alien Head rigged with a Big Bites Flying Squirrel.

This sets up works well on either spinning or bait casting tackle for catching spotted bass on the drop offs.

Striper fishing has been decent on overcast days, and a little tougher on sunny days. Start your days early in the coves and fish flat lines and planner boards shallow in the creeks, pockets and in the shallow areas around the ditches.

The shad have been up shallow and will stay there if it is an overcast day. Drag herring and trout around where you mark shad or fish in the creeks and pockets.

Keep a SPRO Buck Tail, McStick or Bomber Long A in shad colors to cast any active fish you see. We have seen stripers shallow early in the day and on overcast days. Keep a lure ready at all times.

Gulls and loons will still give away the best areas, but we have also seen some fish schooling when no birds are present.

Keep your eyes open and also keep a watch on your electronics. Make long casts to any surface activity you encounter while pulling live bait behind the boat.

On sunny days, the shad and fish may move deeper.

Add a 1/4-ounce split shot to your flat lines and also have a couple of down lines ready to drop down to the depth that you see shad and stripers on your electronics.

Herring, gizzard shad and trout are all good choices for enticing both shallow and deeper stripers into biting.
Trolling umbrella rigs is still a great way to catch fish in winter.

Run your rigs at just above the level that you mark fish on your electronics. It is better to run your rigs too shallow that it is to run them below the fish.

Crappie fishing has been slow. Fishing deep from 20 to 30 feet deep around brush and deeper docks has been yielding a few fat crappies for the fryer. Small crappie jigs or live minnows fished slowly on light line will work well at times.

Trout fishing has been best in the mountains and just ok on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam.

Fly fishing with both wet and dry flies has been ok in the mountain streams and rivers. Bright colored spinners, Rapalas and Pins Minnows have been working in the rivers and streams.

Bank Fishing: Using a slip bobber is a great method for fishing live bait from the banks in winter.

A lot of the bass, crappie, and stripers are going deeper. A slip bobber will allow an angler to cover any depth. Set your bobber stop at 5-10 feet deep to start with, and adjust it deeper if needed.

Watch YouTube videos or check with your local tackle store to receive more information on these adjustable bobbers.
A medium-sized shad will catch just about any predator fish.

Crappie, bass and stripers are all shallow enough to be caught from the bank with a slip bobber this week.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. Reports are based on his personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from our readers so please email him at or visit his website at or Remember to take a kid fishing!

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