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Fishing Report: Bass spawning in the pockets
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier as seen from the air in July 2017. - photo by Nick Bowman

Water Conditions:  Lake Lanier’s water level remains above normal pool at 1072.09 or 1.09 feet above our normal full pool of 1071. Surface temperatures are in the low to mid 60’s. 

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The backs of the creeks and the water flowing down from the rivers are slightly stained to stained from pollen. There has been unusually heavy boat traffic that is hitting the muddy banks and stirring up the water in certain areas too. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at (770) 945-1466.   

Bass: Bass fishing has been good and the majority of the bass can be found in 15 feet of water or less. Most of these fish are shallower which makes them easier to target. Bass are still right in the middle of the spawning process. Just remember that not all bass spawn at the time. I feel that their reproductive process lasts as long as 3 months. I have seen bass on Lake Lanier building nests in February and as late as June. I have also witnessed bass spawning in the fall. 

Junk Fishing can still be a productive way to fish. This term simply means having 4 to 14 rods and reels with a different lure on each one. Instead of having a pile of tackle cluttering up my deck or the bank site we picked, I prefer to simplify things. Pick 3 different styles of fishing techniques that you have confidence in and just go fishing. If you are new to fishing or need a refresher course then hit up a friend who fishes or hire a reputable guide.

We have been fishing a lot this week and my clients and I have caught bass on almost every style of lure made. I have also seen some anglers that are struggling a little bit. That being said a few techniques have stood out. This is what I would recommend.

Start your day casting a small “walking the dog” style of topwater lure. A couple of examples are a Baby Zara Spook or throw a Sammy 65. Cast these lures out around tapering points, shallow humps, or in the pockets off of the main lake. Fish these lures with a slow but strong, deliberate retrieve so that the lure sashays from left to right. If a fish swirls on your topwater lure pay attention to where the bass missed it and work weighted worm through the area. That fished that missed your lure was probably on its nest and was probably guarding the nest so she will probably come back to hit your lure again. 

A great all-day technique I recommend is the same thing we tall talked about last week. Work a pearl-colored Big Bites Jerk Minnow just about any place where bass are located. This Fluke style soft plastic jerk bait that is easy to see. As suggested l week work these lures a Medium Heavy Kissel Krafts Custom Spinning Rod and use 8-pound Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon with a number 5/0 Gamakatsu Offset Hook. Make long casts and keep your lures moving close to the surface. Use a stop and go retrieve. You will often see bass swirling on these lures so when this happens, kill the lure and let it glide out of site where the bass will eat it. Watch your line and set the hook if you see any tap, thump or anything unusual 

Other techniques will work as well if you have more confidence in them. If the wind gets blowing or you just prefer to try a spinnerbait or a larger swimbait like a BBZ1 6-inch slow sink then give them a try. Fish crankbaits or jerk baits around main lake markers points. Just get out and go fishing and it will probably turn into a day of catching!

Stripers: Striper fishing has been good. The fish have been schooling up in the rivers and down lake both on and below the surface. If you don’t see fish on the surface then you will need to rely on your marine electronics. My Lowrance Carbon 12 and 16 are awesome tools for locating and catching fish. 

The fish are feeding and they can be anywhere here so don’t camp out in any one single area too long unless the stripers are staying put. Try trolling a Captain Mack’s regular-sized Umbrella Rig or try the smaller Mini Rig and keep an eye on your electronics slowly pulling live herring around any productive areas. Trolling the Mini Rig on planner boards up close the back is worth a try. 

Pulling herring on flat lines or behind planner boards have worked well when you locate fish. Most of the fish have been located in the upper 30-feet of the water column where they are easy to target. Keep a lure like a SPRO McStick, Buck Tail, Redfin or your favorite surface lure ready at all times. This is an awesome time to cast streamers on a fly rod to pick off surfacing fish.

We have been catching a few stripers and some bigger bass after dark in the creeks down around lighted boat docks. Cast a SPRO McStick 110’s or Bomber Long A to the lights banks or around the Hydro Glow Lights to score some great action after dark.  

Bank Fishing: The stripers are shallow in the creek mouths where they can be targeted by bank anglers you can set up multiple rods with live shiners, herring, or shad. Find a bank where the wind is blowing out into the lake. This will allow your bait to float away from the bank and out into deeper water. Cast a slip bobber with a live baitfish hooked just under the dorsal fin. You can also fish cut bait on the bottom. Also try chumming the area with any minnows that die. Secure your rods well and wait to hear the drag screaming.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. I would love to hear from our readers so please email me at 

Remember to take a kid fishing!