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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Warmer weather brings a spike in bass fishing
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Lake Lanier’s water level is 1,069.99 or 1.01 feet below the normal full pool at 1,071. The lake may rise slightly from recent storms.

The main lake is clear to slightly stained in the main lake creeks. The backs of the creeks and rivers are stained to very stained from recent rains. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 70s and low 80s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has improved with the warm weather and the late spring patterns have really kicked in this week.

Unlike shad that move deeper during the day in late spring, blueback herring will move toward the surface on sunny days. The bass use the lake surface as a barrier to trap herring against the surface. This can make for some crazy mid-day topwater action. While this bite is not in full force, the action has just started.

We caught some fat-spotted bass on topwater plugs early in the morning, and also during the heat of the day.

Running and gunning brush piles in the creeks and on main lake humps with topwater plugs will coax some explosive strikes right now. Nothing beats a 3-pound-plus spotted bass coming out of nowhere to explode on a topwater plug.

Walking lures like a SPRO BBZ1 4-Inch Shad floaters, Sexy Dawgs, Spooks or a Big Bites Jerk Minnow will work over brush all day long in the next few weeks.

For this week, the strongest bite for big fish has been on jigs, under-spins or subsurface swim baits around main lake brush and deeper docks. Stay away from any cover on the bottom. Make long casts to your targets.

Use Sunline Fluorocarbon which disappears underwater and improves your abilities to detect strikes. When you feel a thump on a jig, set the hook hard. With swimbaits or under-spins, keep the lure moving and let the rod load before setting the hook to prevent the lure from being pulled away from the fish.

Keep a drop-shot or shaky head ready for any fish that appear directly below the boat on your electronics. We have been picking off several fish with my Humminbird graph by dropping below to any arcs or wavy lines that are dead giveaways for suspended fish.

It is extremely cool to watch the screen and see your bait drop down and watch as the entire school of fish follow it to the bottom. This is the coolest video game ever.

The night-time crank bait and jerk-bait bite actually improved this past week, even with the warmer water temperatures.

There are a lot of 1-3 pound spotted bass that will strike SPRO McSticks and RKCrawlers worked around main lake rocky banks.

Colorado blade spinner baits or jig n’pig combos are also good choices for targeting nocturnal spotted and largemouth bass.

Striper fishing has been strong and these fish are feeding all day long. Start your day casting topwater plugs like a Redfin or Sammy.

Subsurface lures like Bomber Long A’s, 6-inch BBZ1 Slow sinkers or McSticks will also coax bites when the stripers are shallow in the water column.

Keep a topwater plug or buck tail ready any time of day for fish that can appear on the surface within casting distance.

Trolling umbrella rigs has been working extremely well. It’s not uncommon to catch multiple stripers on these rigs. Use a Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig with his signature buck tails or SPPRO Buck Tails rigged with Hyper Tails. Troll these rigs at around 10-15 feet deep over main lake points and deeper humps at around 2 1/2 miles an hour.

Live herring on flat lines or planner boards early in the day have been working well for a combination of stripers and spotted bass. As the sun rises, still keep out a flat line but also set out several down lines to the depth where you see fish on your Humminbird Electronics.

The night-time bite with McSticks and Bombers has slowed down a little. There are still some fish that will bite down by Buford Dam, around docks with HydroGlow Lights and around the lake islands.

Crappie and Bream: The crappie continue to bite crappie jigs during the day in brush from 15-25 feet. There are also some good fish that have started to bite after dark around lighted boat docks or floating lights around the bridge pilings after dark.

Cast live crappie minnows or native spot tail minnows to the areas where the lights fade off for your best results. Crappie jigs or small crank baits will also coax bites from these tasty pan fish. You may catch a bonus walleye after dark for the fryer.

Bream are shallow in farm and subdivision ponds. Crickets or live earthworms under a bobber are your best methods in these smaller waters. The bigger bream on Lake Lanier can be found by casting small inline spinners or small-medium diving crank baits around main lake rocky banks or docks.

Try casting a live earthworm with just a split shot around 10 feet deep in these same areas for the larger bream.

Trout Fishing: The trout fishing has been good in the mountain streams and rivers, and below Buford Dam.

Recent rains will help the oxygen levels in the mountain streams. Live bait, inline spinners, Rapalas and YoSuri Pinns Minnows are all viable lures in late spring and early summer.

Fly fishing has been good with small midges. Mayfly or black ant patterns will also work well in all of Georgia’s trout rivers and streams.

Bank fishing: If you want to have a blast catching fish in the heat of summer, then my go-to fish are the North Georgia redfish: Yes, carp. These hard-fighting fish can be caught on both light-spinning or spin-casting tackle, or get out your fly rods and target the shallow waters around Lake Lanier’s marinas and campgrounds.

These fish are drawn to human activity and will eat corn, dough balls or Berkley Power Bait on spinning tackle. Also, try salmon egg pattern flies on your fly rod to coax bites from these hard-fighting fish.

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 readers, so please email him at or visit his website at or Remember to take a kid fishing.

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