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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Target crappie for best chance at good catch
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Lake Lanier’s water level is holding steady at less than 1/4 foot below full pool at 1,07.87 feet, or .13 below the full pool of 1,071. The main lake is clear to slightly stained and the creeks and rivers are stained to muddy.

The lake temperatures are in the mid to upper 50’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is very stained and is an indicator that the lake turnover is finishing up on the main lake. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been average. The higher than normal water levels and falling water temperatures are keeping the bass scattered all over the water column. Some bass are being caught in less than 10 feet of water, while others are coming from more than 50 foot deep.

In recent weeks, you could just about pick your favorite depth and go fishing. This week, the bass seem to have vacated the shallow water once the sun gets high in the sky and the majority have moved out deeper in the water column where your electronics are key tools.

Target the ditches that have docks, brush and other cover along with baitfish and the bass should not be far behind.

The majority of bass we have been catching are deeper in the water column. Get out your jigging spoons, dropshot rigs and jigs. Use these to work the deeper ditches from 25-40 feet deep. If you can find a unique feature in these deeper ditches, then it is worth a couple of extra casts.

Sometimes it’s a brush pile, stump or just a rocky area, but pay close attention to your electronics and look for the ‘spot on the spot’. Use a 1/4-ounce Gamakatsu Alien head rigged with a Big Bites Fighting Frog or a Flying Squirrel or a Strike King Pro Model jig.

Drag these lures down the sides of the ditches. If you feel something different, then set the hook because the bites have been very light.

You can also work these same areas with a Jogging Spoon.

I like to replace the stock hooks on a 1/2-ounce Flex-It Spoon with a No. 4 Gamakatsu Treble hook. The advantage is two fold as replacing the trebles will get you a better hook-up ratio, but when you get snagged you can usually straighten the hooks and get your lure back.

You will get snagged when using a jigging spoons. Keep your reel spooled with 14-17 pound FC Sniper Sunline. That way, you have the power to pull your spoons free.

Stripers: Like bass, the stripers can be caught at just about any depth. There are some good fish showing up in the creeks down lake, as well and the creeks and rivers up the lake. If the gulls are diving and you see loons in the mix, don’t just drive away.

The stripers will hang around with these aquatic birds as they are all eating the same baits: blueback herring and threadfin shad.

Keep your eyes open and watch your fish finders and birds. There are still some schools showing up on the surface around the mouths of the coves. These fish have been less inclined to hit topwater lures, but will strike subsurface lures like a McStick, Jigging spoons or SPRO Bucktails.

Start your days in the pockets and look for shallow bait balls less than 20 feet deep. Work plainer boards and flat lines.

Try to get your baits right against the shore that have deep water close by. I also use a balloon rig and will let out 20 feet of line, then tie a balloon onto your line. Feed this set-up way behind your boat.

As the sun gets up higher in the sky, move out deeper into the mouths of the pockets and use a downline set just above the level where you mark fish. Keep and artificial lure tied on to take advantage of any fish that appear closer to the surface.

The Bomber Long A, McStick and Redfin bite has slowed down a little around the Islands, but there have been some fish shallow in the backs of creeks down lake. Take advantage of the daylight hours to locate the bait and stripers. Then fish these same areas closer to the shorelines after dark. Cast to any docks with lights.

Crappie fishing remains good but very few anglers are targeting these tasty fish. Continue to target deeper in brush at around 25-30 feet down lake and slightly more shallow up lake.

The deeper docks in the backs of the creeks and pockets have also been holding crappie. Shoot small crappie jigs under these docks and just let them pendulum back to the boat. Any docks that have the old-style white floats with beaver hutches will often hold larger schools of crappie.

Trout Fishing is fair right now. The best fishing is in the mountain streams where the water is clear. Continue to fish the whitewater rapids.

Trout fishing on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam has been slow due to the very stained water.

Bank fishing: The stripers have been on the move in the shallows, especially in the mornings or on cloudy days. There are plenty of parks to fish but target the areas than have ditches, creek or river channels located close to the shore.

Anglers can set out multiple lines and use either live or cut bait. If you can set out your rods with the wind at your back, it will help you to get your baits deeper.

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 email me at or visit my website at or Remember to take a kid fishing.

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