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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Video fishing a great way to land a catch
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Lake temperatures are in the mid 70s. The lake level is 1,063.75, which is 7.25 feet under full pool of 1,071.
Lake Lanier's water is clear to stained.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has taken a turn for the better and it can be exceptional if you can find the large schools of bass that are feeding on blueback herring and threadfin shad before the colder months arrive.

When fall approaches, the bass eat as much as possible. It is not unusual to see a large bait fish in the throat of a bass, and have it still attack our lures even with an overflowing belly.

The bass we have caught this past week are very fat and healthy.

If you haven't been out in a while, I would recommend starting out in the creek mouths on the main lake and work your way midway back until you find the active schools of bass.

It is still a good idea to leave your options open. We fished one day and caught bass on topwater plugs all day long. We returned the following afternoon to find no bass on the surface.

We had to adjust our presentation and ended up catching them on Rooster Tails and SPRO DD crankbaits so keep an open mind.

The majority of anglers I talk to say topwater fishing is their favorite, and now is the time to get out your topwater lures.

The bass this week are preferring larger topwater plugs like a SPRO Dawg 125, Super Spooks and Red Fins.

These larger plugs match the size of the blueback herring that are being chased across the surface.

Sometimes the fish will prefer a slow-methodical walk-the-dog or V-wake retrieve, and at other times they want these lures fished fast and erratic.

Experiment with your retrieve and let the bass tell you what they prefer.

While the majority of anglers relish topwater, I have grown to really enjoy video fishing.

With today's modern electronics it is easy to see the fish on the screen, and when that happens they are often catchable.

My buddy watched me pull out my dropshot rod while the fish were schooling on the surface and kind of scratched his head. Between casting the topwater plugs, I would often see bass on the screen of my Humminbird 858c.

The fish appear as lines or arcs, and if I can get the fish to react to my dropshot rig, nine out of 10 times they will bite it on the fall or they will follow it all the way to the bottom.

I can actually see the bass eat the worm. It's pretty cool to say "there's one" (on the screen) and then say "watch this" as I close the bail and set the hook. Combine video games and fishing and you have an idea of how fun it can be.

If you can't find the schools, there are still plenty of bass on the docks and in the brush piles at 15-to 30-feet deep.

Use worms, jigs, crankbaits or other lures to catch these resident fish.

Striper fishing has also changed, and many anglers feel for the better.

It can be hard for the average weekend angler to find the deepwater summer-time schools.

Now the stripers are moving up in the water column closer to the surface where more anglers can find them.

There are some schooling stripers mixed in with the bass and also some medium-sized schools of five to 15 fish that surface and sound pretty quickly. If you can get on these schooling fish, then you can catch a few before they move on.
If I only had one lure to use this past week for stripers, it would be a draw between a SPRO McStick and a Redfin.

Both of these lures mimic our blueback herring.

Cast the McStick to any schooling fish and retrieve it at a medium-to medium-fast pace below the surface.

If you are using the Red Fin, make sure to keep this lure up on the surface and create a v-wake and for some explosive action.

Sometimes it can be difficult to make a Red Fin stay on the surface, but there are some small changes you can do to make the lure create a consistent v-wake.

Try removing the front split ring and tie a loop knot to the nose of the lure.

Also use a 12- to 17-pound monofilament as this type of fishing line will keep your lure running high since monofilament floats.

Never use fluorocarbon on a topwater lure as this line will sink and can adversely affect the action of a topwater plug.

Some people use braided line, but make sure your rod has some give to allow for the fish to get hooked.

Braided line has no stretch, so a Denali crankbait rod works great because the rod has plenty of flex, which helps with the fish hook ups.

Trolling lead core or umbrella rigs with SPRO Bucktails has been working well around the main lake humps and points.

Allow your trolled offerings to run around 15 to 30 feet deep for your best results.

Both downlines or flat lines rigged with a Gamakatsu circle hook and a lively blueback herring will be a great choose for stripers this week.

If you are in the rivers, try using a native gizzard shad to catch some bigger fish.

Crappie fishing is also picking up and the fish are moving more shallow.

Find the coves midway into the back of the lower lake creeks and fish brush piles in five to 12 feet deep.

In the rivers, the crappie can be a little more shallow, but seven feet deep is a good depth to explore.

The docks with brush will hold the most fish. Shooting Micro Spoons tipped with a live crappie minnow can be deadly this time of year and into late fall.

Fish the bridge pilings or lighted boat docks with live minnows from five to 10 feet deep has been working OK.

Watch your graph and adjust up or down as needed.

Trout fishing has been better both in the mountain creeks and also below the dam.

Jeff Durniak from the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division informs us that Smith Creek will be stocked with trout during the day and will be open to fishing during daylight hours.

He also reminds us that Sept. 24 is a free fishing day and there are many kids and adult fishing events scheduled on that day.

The Department of Natural Resources has also stocked plenty of trout below Buford Dam for the kids fishing event coming up as listed below.

Bank fishing: The free kids fishing event is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 at the lower pool park below Buford Dam.

Fly tying, fishing demonstrations and volunteers are available to help with baiting hooks and removing fish.

The Buford Trout Hatchery will stock over 2,500 rainbow trout at the dam on the morning of the event.

A limited number of fishing poles will be available to use. Hot dogs, drinks, and snacks will be provided for free.

All youth 15 and under are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. Life jackets are recommended and required by law for any anglers that want to get into the water to wade.

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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