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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Trout fishing has been best below Buford dam
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Lake temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s and lake levels fell slightly to 1063.59 feet which is 7.41 feet below full pool of 1071 feet.

The main lake is clear to stained and the creeks are slightly stained. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing remains good for anglers who are adept at fishing offshore areas. The majority of Lake Lanier’s bass are relating to offshore brush from 15 to 30 feet deep at the ends of main lake points and humps on main lake.

Target areas that have deep water close by.

Our weapon of choice this week has been finesse fishing with either a drop shot or shaky head worm. Use light fluorocarbon line or braided line with a fluorocarbon leader on a medium-weight quality rod with a fast tip.

The fluorocarbon and braided lines will help you detect light bites. My drop shot set up consists of a No. 1 Gamakatsu drop shot hook and a tungsten skinny drop weight. Many anglers use a swivel above their hook to reduce line twists.

For my shaky head set-up, I like a 1/8- to 3/16-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head with a Cane Stick or Finesse Worm in green or green and pearl colors.

While we are getting most of our bites by finesse fishing, don’t rule out power fishing with large topwater plugs, swimbaits or even deep-diving crankbaits. Afternoon thunderstorms can often trigger the fish and make them active.

Approach good-looking areas and fan cast a topwater plug or swimbait over the brush piles before moving in to dissect the specific brush pile.

I will also use a Little John DD lure and crank directly over and through the brush. These techniques will often catch the biggest bass in the area or you may connect with an active school of feeding fish that would otherwise have been missed by running your boat over the school.

If you prefer to fish shallow don’t hesitate to run up the rivers where average depths are much shallower. The bass also tend to be more active in the rivers where current is available. Flip small jigs and finesse worms to any down trees, and also target the rocky river channel bends near the banks. Live bait fishing with spot tail minnows is working very well all over the lake.

Stripers: The summertime bite is in full swing and the guides are reporting that fishing is very good for the down line and trolling bites.

Trolling a large SPRO buck tail on lead core or a Cannon Down Rigger is a great way to cover water while using a productive catching method. Run your lead core out to eight colors or set your down riggers to around 30 feet deep.

Make sure to troll at around 2 mph and vary your speeds to trigger reaction bites. Once you find a concentration of stripers, stop your boat and drop live herring down to the level where you mark fish. Some of the schools of stripers have been massive and they will often “black out” your Humminbird’s screen from 30 to 80 feet deep. Target main lake flats of the river and creek channels in 70 to 100 foot of water.

Lively blueback herring are a necessity for successful summertime down-line fishing, so make sure you have all the right tools to keep your baitfish lively. Ice, salt, chemical additives and a quality bait tank are all essential for summertime live bait fishing.

A good down line set-up is to have a 1- or 2-ounce lead sinker with a plastic bead and swivel tied about a 3- to 4-foot 12-pound test fluorocarbon leader with a Gamakatsu Circle Hook. Circle hooks will make it easier to return your catch unharmed back into the lake.

Unlike other conventional hooks, there is no need to set the hook. Just let the fish hook themselves by allowing your fishing rod bend over in the rod holder.

Crappie fishing has been more of a challenge, but anglers who fish deep can get some good ones. The best bite is happening at night and in the mornings. Down line live crappie or spot tail minnows in deeper brush from 15 to 25 feet deep.

Like the bass, crappie in the rivers can be found shallower.

Trout fishing is good below the dam while it has been a little slower in the mountains. The recent afternoon rains will make the upland fishing a little better, but the hot summer months can be tough on trout. Use live earthworms where permitted by law as these match the natural worms that get washed into the water after the rain.

Both fly and spin fishing has been working well below the dam.

Bank fishing: There are a great number of catfish that inhabit Lake Lanier. These whiskered fish can be very aggressive and we often catch channel catfish on lures when targeting bass. You can catch catfish with chicken livers, cut bait and commercial catfish bait. Cast your offerings around deeper banks or areas where the river channels cut close to the banks.

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

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