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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Top water bass fishing heating up on Lanier
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Lake Lanier’s water level continues to drop and is currently 1,065.10 or 5.90 feet below the normal full pool of 1071 feet above sea level. The main lake and mouths of the creeks are clear. The backs of the creeks and rivers are slightly stained to stained.

Lake surface temperatures are in the lower to mid-80’s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river @ 770-945-1466.

Bass: Fishing seemed to take a turn for the better in the past week. This is the time of year when it can be feast or famine for spotted bass or largemouth fishing on Lake Lanier. There are many techniques that will work but this is what we have found.

We are starting to see more largemouth and spotted bass up shallower coves in the mornings. Buzz baits, shallow diving crank baits and finesse worms on a shaky head are all good choices before the sun gets up and sometimes later into the mornings. Cast a white and silver Lunker Lure Buzz Bait around the banks in between the docks at first light. As the sky gets brighter, a SPRO Fat John Crank Bait has been a great choice to cover the shallows. Use a natural color like Clear Chartreuse if the water is clear or switch over to a Cell Mate or Citrus Shad color if the water is stained.

A medium steady retrieve seems to work best but try to make these lures deflect off objects as they swim through the water. Skip a straight tail finesse worm on a one-eighth ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head around docks or laydowns or use this set up as a follow up bait if a bass strikes your buzz bait without connecting.

There have been more schooling fish on the surface in the middle of the day. The midday bite seems best when the sun is high in the sky and there is either a little breeze or boat traffic to break up the surface of the water. These fish are eating a variety of baitfish, but most seem to be either small to medium sized herring or larger sized shad, so a lure that mimics a baitfish from 3 to 5 inches is ideal. A Super Spook Jr, small Sammy or a Chug Bug are all great choices.

The bass have preferred a fast retrieve, so keep your lures moving along for the best results. Make several casts to your prime areas then move on to the next spot until you collide with an active school. This is power fishing at its core right now!

Other methods that deserve mentioning are the (yawn) drop shot, Swim baits, swimming a Big Bites Suicide on a Scrounger Head through suspended fish or down lining live spot tail minnows around brush.

Stripers: Striper fishing continues to be — yep, you guessed it — good to very good and the same methods that have worked all summer long are still working now. We have seen very little topwater schooling action but I bet as the night time temperatures start to cool and water temperatures fall in to the high 70s and low 80s, that action will start pretty soon.

There are still some fish moving shallower into the ditches early in the mornings but you will want to target areas that have both deep and shallow water access close by. Main lake islands with points and humps near the river and creek channels down lake have been the best areas to search. There are plenty of fish above Browns Bridge, but the oxygen levels down lake have been better.

When trolling or down lining, pay attention to where you mark fish on your electronics. We are seeing a lot more fish in the 25- to 50-foot range during the mornings and later in the day. Even in the deeper locations during the middle of the day, the stripers are hanging around the 40- to 60-foot range, so we are noticing some shallower movements.

Because the fish are up a little shallower in the water column, trolling is a very good option. Trolling either 1-ounce SPRO Buck tails with a Suicide Shad or live herring trailers or try Mack’s Umbrella rigs with the stock Buck Tails with curly tail trailers as both good choices. Use white buck tails with shad or chartreuse colored trailers. Troll your buck tails and rigs at around 3 MPH at around 25 feet deep.

Down lined herring are working as well as power reeling Ben Parker Spoons or larger Buck Tails with a variety of trailers. The same techniques that have worked all summer are still producing you may just catch fish a little shallower than in July and August.

Crappie and bream: Fishing has been slightly improved. Anglers that can dissect the brush and docks with light line and a small crappie jig have been starting to score a few more fish early in the day and again close to dark. Also try deep, slow trolling with spider rigs at day break as this action can start to get good soon.

I have seen a few bream bedding in the shallows with the full moon. Cast crickets or worms a foot or two under bobbers around sand and clay banks close to docks and in the coves. Small crank baits, in line spinners or crappie jigs around any banks with cover (rocks, lay downs, stumps, etc.) to connect with some bites).

Trout: Trout fishing has improved just slightly and they are biting well in the mornings on up into the day. Target moving water like rapids or hit the pools below the races for your best results. This moving water has the most oxygen.

Small nymphs and ant patterns for the fly anglers have been working. For spin fishing, stick with small inline spinners or minnow imitators in the running water. Use very light line and a slow steady retrieve for these lures and don’t use snaps or swivels as the fish right have seen a lot of lures this summer.

Live earth worms and even crickets on light line, a small hook and a quarter ounce split shot attached 2-feet above the hook will work well where live bait is permitted by law. Fish just below the rapids in the deeper pools.

Bank fishing: This event is just too good not to mention in the next report, too. Bring the whole family to the 15th annual Outdoor Adventure Day on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Unicoi State Park. The event is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting, in the large field along Smith Creek downstream from Unicoi Lake Dam. Activities geared for kids and adults of all ages include trout fishing, fly tying and casting, air gun shooting, archery and skeet shooting. Live native Georgia wildlife shows will be featured.

Smith Creek will be stocked with trout during the day and will be open to fishing. Sept. 24 is a free-fishing day, so Georgia residents can fish without a license. Bring your fishing poles and some bait or lures. If you don’t have a pole, but want to try trout fishing then loaner poles, tackle, bait, and even some streamside helpers will be available.

Directions: Interstate 75 North through Helen, then turn right on Ga. 356 in Robertstown. Go over the Unicoi Lake Dam and past the entrance to Unicoi Lodge for two-tenths of a mile. Turn right at the brown sign for the trout stream and tennis courts and you are there.

See more at or call the Wildlife Resources Division at 770-535-5498.

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. He would love to hear from his readers, so please email him at or visit his website at or Remember to take a kid fishing.

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