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Lake Lanier fishing report: Stripers still shallow
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Lake temperatures are in the upper 80s and Lake Lanier’s water level is less than a foot below full pool at 1,070.5 feet. Lake Lanier is clear on main lake and stained in the creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been either good or tough depending on whom you talk to. You can see a bunch of FLW boats out pre-fishng for the championship in August and you can bet these guys are catching some toads! If you see a Ranger Boat with a Power Pole on the back you can just about bet it’s a pro.

We have had some very good days and the bite continues all day long. We have had some afternoon thunderstorms and the fishing really picks up right before the fronts blow in. The fishing has been slower after the fronts blow through.

Two methods have been working very well. Fish a drop-shot rig in the offshore brush piles and also on the steeper drops. Target areas that have rock and clay with brush planted in the 15 to 25 foot zone this week. I have tried fishing deeper, but the spotted bass are relatively shallow for this time of year.

You need to have quality tackle so you can detect these deeper light bites. With low stretch fluorocarbon line and sharp wire hooks you can stick a bass with minimal hook set.

Most of the time, I just reel up on them quickly instead of doing the old “cross their eyes” hook set that you use when fishing a jig or Texas style worm. I use a standard strait tail worm, and I like a watermelon/red flake Big Bite’s Finesse worm.

The second technique has been to target bass chasing bait on the surface. So far this year, the topwater action has been sporadic, but look for that to change. We have encountered bass chasing bluebacks on the surface in different areas all over the lake. This action has been happening throughout the day.

Target the creek mouths and throw large topwater plugs over areas that have brush.

Keep your topwater plugs ready at all times because the bass will appear and disappear quickly. If you see bait or schooling bass, and you can fire a lure into the school quickly, then they will eat it just about every time. If you have to take time to tie on a lure then you will probably miss this action as the fish are up and down fast.

Blueback herring move around very quickly, and we have seen bass appear on the surface then sound just to appear 500-feet away just a minute later. Swim baits in the herring color have also been working well for the schooling bass. Other lures can be good for schooling bass, but make sure to have silver or blueback herring patterns for the best results.

Spot tail minnows continue to catch a lot of bass. Spot tails are like candy to Lake Lanier’s spotted bass, and your can just about be assured that you will have a great day of catching.

Striper fishing remains very strong and the stripers are relatively shallow for this time of year. As with recent weeks, down-lined blueback herring continues to be the best method for catching stripers. Watch your electronics closely and drop your baits down to the depth where you mark most of the fish. It’s always better to fish a little above the schools as the stripers will move up to hit a bait.

They seldom move down, so err to the high side.

Make sure to buy plenty of bluebacks. Keep them cool with ice and add chemicals as needed. Most local tackle stores can help you with setting up your bait tank. Continue to use a heavy sinker to get your bluebacks down through the warmer surface layers of water down to the cooler thermocline.

The best depth is anywhere from 25- to 50-feet over a 50-to 90- foot bottom, depending on where you are fishing. Down lake creek mouths has been a good place to look. The stripers can appear and disappear quickly; that usually means they are chasing these fast-moving blueback schools.

Use a fluorocarbon leader, as the fish seem to be a little line shy. If the fish are present but not eating then try reeling your baits up through the school quickly to trigger a power-reeling bite.

There has been a decent topwater bite, so keep a floating BBZ1 or a Redfin close by to cast to any surfacing fish. Trolling SPRO Buck Tails or umbrella rigs out to seven to eight colors, and keep your trolling speeds at around 2-3 miles per hour. Night fishing in the creek mouths down lake has been just fair.

Crappie fishing remains good for this time of year. Morning and just before dark have been your best time to fish.

This week, the crappie seem to want live bait and the jig fishing has been a little slower. Try tipping your jigs with a live crappie minnow to increase your odds. Target brush or other cover in the 20-foot range. Down line a crappie minnow or spot tail down to just above the brush. After dark, anglers are catching some decent crappie while fishing below lights.

Trout fishing on the Chattahoochee continues to be strong early in the mornings before the float traffic starts up.

Mini swim baits will catch just about any fish that swims. The trout fishing has been very good up in the mountain Wildlife Managment Areas and you don’t have to worry about float traffic.

These mountain trout will bite all day long. You can use Berkley Power Nuggets or even corn (where permitted by law). Small inline spinners and fly-fishing are all good methods to try.

The bank fishing on Lake Lanier can be tough this time of year, but two species will bite all summer long. Try bream fishing with a small worm under a float. Lake Lanier’s bream relate to cover so target rocks or lay-downs for your best catching.

I get a lot of grief from my friends when I mention the second species: carp. Even if the bass anglers consider them trash fish no one can argue with the fight and size of these “North Georgia Redfish.”

If you use light tackle, carp will pull like a Bonefish. Chum corn around any campground or marina to pull the fish in.

Then, bait a small Gamakatsu hook with three or four kernels and cast these out near where you chummed the corn. Make sure to secure your rods because these fish fight hard. I have personally seen a couple of rods pulled into the water when the kids set them down to go do something else.

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 e-mail me at or visit my website at Remember to take a kid fishing!

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