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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Time for running and gunning
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Lake temperatures are in the upper 70s. The lake level is holding steady at 1,065.09 feet and is 5.91 feet below full pool of 1,071 feet. The main lake is clear with a slight stained color in the creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: It’s that time of year when running and gunning comes into play. This is when I really use my Nitro’s 250-horsepower Mercury Outboard to cover some water in search of the wolf packs of spotted bass that are eating topwater plugs on the surface.

Bass have recovered from the spawn, and they are out there aggressively eating blueback herring. Large topwater plugs and swim baits are the lures of choice. This topwater action is what most of Lake Lanier anglers live for. Few things in life are as exciting as the day-long topwater action that we encounter on our local waters.

I usually have three rods ready: One with a Super Spook, one with a BBZ1 6-inch swim bait and the last with a drop shot for any fish that appear on the screen of my fish finder. We may fish 20 to 40 areas in an eight-hour day. We will cycle through many unproductive areas, only to stop and really work over the productive places where we find spotted bass on the surface.

Cast your favorite topwater plug out over brush piles located in 15-to 25-feet of water and hold on. You may work several areas before finding the active fish, but when you do find them, it will be worth the effort. Few things are as exciting as seeing a 4-to 5-pound spot explode on a topwater plug or swim bait. Cast your lures over any brush piles, then move in over the brush and work it over with a drop shot rig before moving on to the next area.

Other methods are working, but most anglers long for the topwater bite. You can also downline spottail minnows over the brush for almost non-stop action. Plastic worms on a jig head or drop shot rig will also work well. After dark, crank baits and large Colorado-bladed spinner baits are working great.

Stripers: Striper fishing remains good and these line sides are locked into a late-spring pattern.

The stripers can be found on main lake points and shallow humps in the mornings. These fish will strike a Red Fin V-waked across the surface. Other topwater offerings that mimic blueback herring are also working well.

A double-fluke rig or a topwater plug that can be walked across the surface may entice some ferocious strikes. Pull live blueback herring on flat and downlines behind your boat, while casting surface lures to any promising looking humps or points in the morning. As the sun comes up, the stripers will position a little deeper from 15-to 25-feet deep on the same structures. Switch from a flatline to a downline, and position your baits slightly above where you mark fish on your electronics. There are some active stripers in the rivers and also down lake in the creek mouths.

After dark, you can set out Hydro Glow lights in the lower-lake creek mouths and downline blueback herring or gizzard shad at around 20 feet, or deeper, and flat lines have been working well.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is a little slower, but some anglers are enjoying some decent catches from the deeper brush at around 15-to 20-feet down lake, and from 5- to 15-feet back in the creeks.

Cast a small crappie jig tipped with a live minnow and work these on light line through the brush piles. After dark, the crappie will move more shallow under lighted boat docks and also under floating lights around the bridge pilings. Live spot tail or crappie minnows will work well.

Trout on the Chattahoochee: Trout fishing remains good both below the lower Chattahoochee, and also in the mountain Wildlife Management Areas. Inline spinners, small minnow imitators or live bait — where permitted by law — are all good options to try.

Bank fishing: Memorial Day weekend is a great time to take a kid or adult fishing and you don’t need a lot of equipment. A simple rod and reel outfit with a bobber, hook and live earthworms are all you need. Many species of fish will bite worms from the banks: Bream, bass, catfish and even carp can all be caught on live earthworms. When you combine fishing with a picnic lunch, you can’t go wrong.

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 aldrich

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