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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Success with bass depends on location
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Lake Lanier temperatures are around 80 degrees. The lake level is holding pretty steady at 1,064.92 feet, and is 6.08 feet below full pool of 1,071 feet. The main lake is clear with a slightly stained color, mostly from weekend boat traffic in the creeks.

The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: Bass fishing has been OK for numbers and size, but we have had to work pretty hard and cover some water. I may hit 20-40 areas in my Nitro Bass Boat in an eight-hour day and 90 percent of them will be just mediocre.

Then we will land on an area where we can get a five-fish limit in 10 casts. Remember you can go from zero to hero real quick this time of year, so be willing to try new areas and vary your lure selections accordingly.

Some of our best areas have been holding good fish for a couple of weeks, while others will hold good fish one day and then seem devoid of life the next. One of the biggest reasons that fish move around so much on Lake Lanier are the non-native blueback herring.

These long forage fish can move over a mile in a day, while other forage fish, like threadfin shad, gizzard shad, spot tail minnows and bream tend to hang tighter to an area. There is also a decent population of crayfish, and bass love these high-protein fresh water lobsters.

If you can determine what the bass in a certain area are eating, it will help you to make better lure selections.

The best action this time of year for most anglers is the topwater bite. This action has been off and on during active feeding periods of the day with a little better action early at sunrise and before sunset. Most of these topwater bass are eating bluebacks, so larger topwater plugs like a SPRO BBZ1 six or eight-inch floater, a Super Spook or a Redfin will work best.

Some days, the fish will want a slow and steady retrieve, while other days you may do better burning these same lures fast. Keep an opened mind and move to a new area if you don’t get a bite in the first 15 minutes.

While most anglers love the topwater action, we have actually been doing better for numbers of bass by dragging soft plastic lures on a drop shot, jig head or Texas rig.

I have caught my better fish this past week with a Big Bites Cane Stick or a five-inch Senko rigged on a 1/4-ounce jig head. Drag these bottom-bumping lures around humps and long points that top out around 10 to 15 feet below the surface.

Many locals, including some of the bass guides, rely on spot tail minnow fishing when the weather gets hot. These native forage fish can be caught by throwing bread crumbs or grits out around sandy beach areas or clay banks, then throwing a cast net once the baitfish appear. Hook these minnows through the lips on a Gamakatsu Circle hook and you will be able to release these fish to fight another day.

Stripers: Striper fishing remains good and these line sides are still relating to the creek mouths, humps and points. Pretty soon they will start their migration into the deeper channels, but for now they are still pretty shallow where most anglers can catch them. Several methods are working, but three seem to be most consistent.

Keep a Redfin or Super Spook ready at all times and cast these lures to surfacing fish or areas that may hold subsurface humps and points. Pull live blueback herring on flat and down lines behind your boat, while casting surface lures and you may discover that one method works so good that you either switch to topwater plugs or all live bait.

Let the fish tell you their preference and make adjustments as needed. There have been some reports that the lead core or Cannon Down Rigger trolling bite has started. Try trolling a two-ounce SPRO Bucktail or experiment with a swim bait or jerk bait and run these offerings from 15 to 25 feet deep at right around 2 mph.

After dark fishing below Hydro Glow or floating lights in the lower lake creek mouths should only get better as June progresses.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is slow and they are still hanging around offshore and dock brush from 5-20 feet. Live minnows under lights after dark have been the most consistent, but anglers who can work small crappie jig through the deeper brush can catch a bunch of fish during the morning and evening hours.

Trout on the Chattahoochee: Trout fishing has been good both below on the lower Chattahoochee River and also in the mountains. Spinners, small crank and jerk baits and corn, worms and power nuggets, where permitted by law, are all producing good fish.

Bank fishing: As summer closes in and the lake gets busy, many fish seem to get harder to catch. One method that is my daughter’s favorite is to take an ultra-light spinning rod or a Zebco 33 and cast small 1/16-to 1/8-ounce Rooster Tails around rocky banks. You can simply throw these spinners out and reel them back steady to catch a mixed bag of bream and smaller bass.

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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