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Fishing report: Fishing is good for a variety of species
Eric Aldrich
Eric Aldrich with the Fishing Report - photo by Eric Aldrich

Water Conditions:  Lake Lanier’s water level is above normal pool at 1072.29 or 1.29 feet above our normal full pool of 1071. Surface temperatures dropped slightly from last week and are in the low to mid 60’s.

The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to stained. The creeks, pockets and rivers are slightly to very stained. 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 rated from ok to great and the fish are right in the middle of the spawning process. You can find pre-spawn, spawning and post spawning bass this week. It is a great time to get out on the water and fish your strengths.

Many techniques are working well. You can have 6 or 8 rods on the deck, each with a different lure attached and most likely catch fish on each one. That being said it would probably be a good idea to pick 2 or 3 of your most productive fishing methods and stick with them.

Two lures have worked best in my Nitro Bass Boat. The first would be a Big Bites Finesse Worm or a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm rigged on a one-eighth to three-sixteenths of an ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head. Cast or skip these shaky heads around docks and cover in the coves or get out to main lake and fish rocky banks, points and humps. Most of the bass on Lake Lanier are shallow this week in under 15 feet of water.

The second-most productive lure has been a pearl-colored Big Bites Jerk Minnow. This is a Fluke style soft plastic jerk bait that is easy to see. Cast these Jerk Minnows on 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 using 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 sight. Ninety percent of the time bass will eat the lure on the fall.

Other lures that have been working are a Blue Heron Chatter Bait, SPRO McStick 110, Rapala Shad Rap, SPRO Little John MD, spinnerbaits or even a walking topwater plug. You can blind casts these lures close to ditches that lead back into the coves or out on main lake on rock or clay banks. Sight fishing for spawning bass remains a great technique for catching a trophy Lake Lanier spotted or largemouth bass

Stripers: Striper fishing has been very good. Like with the bass, the stripers are all over the lake biting a variety of lures and techniques. You may find stripers in the backs of the coves, in the creeks and rivers or even out on main lake so keep and open mind. Because stripers can be anywhere this week use the gulls and loons as well as your Lowrance Electronics to help you find the fish.

There has been a good trolling bite this week so get out your Captain Mack’s Umbrella or Mini Rigs and go trolling. Watch your electronics and find concentrations of fish. The standard Umbrella Rig has worked best in the deeper creek and river channels while the smaller Mini Rigs are better suited for fishing the shallower coves or behind planner boards closer to the banks.

Once you located the fish you can either continue trolling with your umbrella rigs or switch over to live baits fished on flat lines. Store-bought herring or native cast netted gizzard shad will be the baits of choice this week. Use a 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook on an unweighted line for fishing in the shallow coves or attach a small quarter ounce split shot to your lines when fishing deeper or when it’s windy.

Night striper fishing has been good around submerged green Hydro Glow Lights as well as under traditional white docks slights. You can fish SPRO McSticks, live herring or even a Clowser Minnow on an eight to nine-weight fly rod.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good and the fish are still shallow in the coves, pockets, around docks in the backs of the creeks and up in the rivers. Target any docks that have brush or Christmas Trees around them. Use either live crappie minnows below a bobber or cast small crappie jigs around any wood cover or shallow docks you encounter.

Bank Fishing:  The carp are starting to spawn and we have seen some very large fish working in the shallows. Carp fishing is probably not for everyone but they sure are a lot of fun to catch on light line or even a fly rod. Look around docks in the marinas or private docks that have fish feeders on them for your best locations.

All you need for successful carp fishing is some corn or a mixture of crushed corn flakes and water. Corn is my preferred bait because you can buy a can of it cheap and you don’t need to do anything except throw some out from the bank and then add a few kernels to a #1 Aberdeen style hook (basically a crappie hook). You can also catch them on brightly colored flies if you prefer to fish with a fly rod.

Use a medium-weight spinning rod and reel spooled with a light line or a #6 or#7 Fly rod. Fish around the area where you chummed with the corn. Secure your rod and wait! It is a lot of fun catching a 5 to 10-pound carp on light tackle!

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!