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Fishing Report: Fall fishing patterns prevail
Fishing stock 3
Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level remains slightly above full pool at 1,070.86 or .14 foot below the normal full pool of 1071. The main lake is clear. The lower lake creeks are clear to stained. The rivers are slightly to very stained up lake.

Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures continue to fall and we are seeing water in the low 70’s. Stratification (Lake Turnover) is occurring in some areas around the lake.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is very stained. This happens when the lake turns over. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at (770) 945-1466.


Bass: Bass fishing has been very good this week. On some days you can catch big fish as well as very good numbers in both deep and shallower water. Some fish are very shallow while others are out as deep as 35-feet or more. This is probably due to lake turnover. The surface temperatures are hovering around 70 degrees. 

One of the most exciting ways to fish is to cast a buzz bait up around shallow cover. Try fishing these strange looking, surface disrupting lures around laydowns (trees that have fallen in the water), shallow water flats, brush, docks as well as steeper rocky banks. You will increase your odds if you work these lures parallel to the banks. Fish just explode on a buzz bait so give them a try.

The good news is that there are plenty of bass busting the surface out on main lake humps and points. Keep your motor tuned up so you can really Fish that are used to chasing blue backs also produce some tremendous hits. Cast over areas that have brush located from 15 to 30-feet deep. Cast a topwater plug or a swimbait over any cover that you have already marked on your Lowrance Fish Finders. GPS and the ability to mark brush and other types of cover is essential for anyone who is passionate about fishing. Make a few casts around these areas then slip up over the brush to see if anyone is home. If so, use a drop shot rig and go “video game fishing”.

If you are with you are new to modern-day electronics or even just new to fishing Lake Lanier, then book a trip with a reputable guide. A good guide can teach you years of information and they also can quickly to advance your fishing style. Try other techniques too.

Cast an SPRO Little John Spin Bait or a Big Bites Suicide Shad over brush or sunken trees. Cast to the best brush, let your lure sink to the level where you mark the top of the brush and reel it back slowly. The fish are active both day and night.

Stripers: Striper fishing is also very good. We are starting to see more schools of fish blowing up on herring and shad on the surface just about anywhere on the lake at any time of the day. I have noticed when I take people out fishing that the kids can see this action from almost a half or a mile away. It looks like someone is dropping a hundred bowling balls from a plane into the water. 

Well, these topwater fish may be found just about anywhere the better concentrations have been from River Forks on down lake to the Dam. Most people cast top-water plugs to these schooling fish on the surface but I have found that a jerk bait will outproduce a topwater plug almost three to one. Try casting an SPRO McStick into the action. When anyone rolls up on this action it’s almost like buck fever. Remember to slow down, take a breath and make sure that you, your rod and your reel are ready to cast.

A fair number of anglers are still trolling both the big and the smaller umbrella rigs and they are reporting good results. Rig your umbrella rigs with either Captain Mack’s Chipmunk or try some SPRO Bucktail Jigs. Run these rigs at 2 MPH and pull your rigs right at 10 to 20-feet feet.

Both down and flat lines have been working well and you can set out both flat and down lines rigged with blueback herring or medium to large size shad. If one rig works best the switch out to plainer boards and run your baits deeper or shallower as needed.

The nighttime Bomber and McStick bite is getting going so if you don’t mind getting to bed a little later then just go fishing! Cast these lures to the windy side of the banks and reel them medium-slow to catch stripers. 

Crappie: The crappie fishing is fair to good right now. Get up early and fish the docks in the backs of the coves. Fish small crappie both up in and around docks. You can also try using your electronics to fish above the crappie. Tip your jigs with small crappie minnows to improve your catching!

Bank Fishing: A lot of anglers are starting to fish and catch stripers from the banks. The key to getting bites is to review one of the old paper maps to find where the deeper channel. Just a side note…It’s hard to even find anyone who sells these old maps. If your “hip” like my son and grandson you can get a subscription to Navionics and use on your phone and find these secret drop offs.

Obtain some commercial rod holders or make some out of white PVC piping. Hammer your rod into some hard clay. Once you have your rod holders set up then you can rig up your rod and reel.

Use live, large minnows and get a bucket that floats or use a live bait saver system that is powered by batteries. Hook these minnows through the back or through the lips and cast them out on a bottom rig (basically a Carolina rig) or fish them on a slip bobber set to 10 to 15-feet deep. Cast your minnows out and then place them in the rod holder and wait. If you get a strike allow the fish to pull. If you haven’t had a strike