By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Lake Lanier fishing report: Upper water columns great for stripers
Placeholder Image

Lake temperatures continue to remain around 70 degrees. The lake level is at 1,068.7 feet and rising slightly from the recent rains. Lake Lanier is clear to stained on the main lake and stained in the creeks. The rivers and the Chattahoochee River are stained. Check the generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

The fall colors are almost at their peak and the lake is less crowded. There are few sights more beautiful than Lake Lanier at sunrise, or sunset when the fall colors are showing. Even if you don’t catch fish, it’s still a blessing to be out there.

Bass fishing has been decent, but fishing can change from day to day. One day the topwater bite will be on fire and the next day the bass will change locations, and a drop shot or plastic worms will be the best method.

Because of the lake turnover, the bass can roam both deep and shallow because they have no specific temperature or oxygen layer to relate to. Your electronics can play a key role in unlocking these ever changing patterns. I have learned to trust my graphs and when they show the arcs, lines or “spaghetti,” I can be sure that there are fish under the boat. I can usually determine pretty quickly if they are bass by dropping a spoon or drop shot rig down to their level.

I know I am repeating myself from past weeks reports, but junk fishing remains the best option for figuring out the patterns this week. When weather fronts come through it will affect the fish.

In the beginning of a large front, the fish tend to be more active and you should try aggressive fishing like large topwater plugs and spinner baits burned just below the surface. After the weather fronts blow through, the fish may slow down and you can catch them better on worms and jigs.

I like to find the windiest banks midway back in the creek mouths this time of year. When my trolling motor is coming out of the water and the bow of the boat is getting wet from the waves rolling, I am usually where the active fish will be.

These windy banks have the most oxygen and plankton that attracts bait and then bass and stripers. I like a large topwater plug like a SPRO Dawg or a Super Spook, or even better I like to throw a swim bait like a 6-inch BBZ1 in Blue Back color to coax bigger spots.

Live bait like blueback herring or large shiners will work very well for bass fishing. You can keep a dozen or so minnows alive in a bucket and they will work very well fished on a flat line or under a bobber, either from the boat or from the bank.

Striper fishing is good and there are a lot of stripers in the upper parts of the water column now that the water temperatures are approaching the upper 60s. Keep a topwater lug tied on at all times. Last week, I was fishing a quiet stretch of bank and the water was flat. All of a sudden a huge school of stripers appeared out of nowhere. I was able to lob a SPRO Dawg and immediately hooked up, but then the school sounded as quickly as they appeared. I would have missed my one opportunity if I hadn’t had that rod ready. Most people throw topwater plugs when they see stripers busting on the surface, but I have had my best luck with subsurface lures too. Try a SPRO bucktail, McStick or Rouge Jerk baits, Rooster Tails and Big Bite Jerk Shads are also great baits to try.

The guides are also doing well dragging bluebacks and trout on flatlines, and also on downlines on sunny bluebird sky days after the fronts have blown through. Once again, your electronics play a key role in locating and determining the depth of the fish.

We went out one night after dark and caught a few smaller stripers and some bass on the main lake islands. Target the windiest banks and throw a Bomber Long A in pink or black and silver all the way to the shore. Reel these lures back slow and steady for some fantastic after dark action.

Crappie fishing is good and they are still hitting several different patterns. Still look for that brush at 10 to 15 feet, but don’t be afraid to go shallower as some fish have been found in the coves and around docks this week. Keep you options open because trolling, casting or shooting crappie jigs is working well. After dark, fish a little shallower and use lights or find the lighted boat docks that attract baitfish and crappie.

Trout fishing is slow on the river but better in the mountain streams. The mountain streams are not affected by the lake turnover, subsequent low oxygen and green stain that is in the river below Buford Dam.

The river is still producing trout so target the fast stretches of water that hold the most oxygen. Live bait like red wigglers are your best bet where live bait is permitted. There are some small hatches of bugs in the afternoon on the river, so small dry flies should work well.

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 Remember to take a kid fishing!

Friends to Follow social media