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Fishing Report: High water levels affect fishing.
06202020 LAKE 3
A 2-year effort by the Lake Lanier Association, Hall and Gwinnett counties, private businesses and the Army Corps of Engineers to restore Lake Lanier's many islands, which had been eroding from waves caused by passing boats, finished in May. - photo by Scott Rogers

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level rose quickly after the remnants of Hurricane Delta produced massive rains last weekend. Lake Lanier is above full pool at 1,073.65 or 2.65 foot above the normal full pool of 1071. The CORPs are pulling the high-water level back down quickly and are trying to get it down to 1069 for repairs to be made on Buford Dam. 

The main lake is clear to slightly stained. The creeks are clear to very stained. The rivers are stained to muddy up the lake. 

Lake Lanier’s surface temperatures are hovering around the low 70’s but they should fall with this week’s forecast for cooler weather. Stratification (Lake Turnover) continues to occur around the lake.

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

Bass: Bass fishing has been slower than last week. The sudden rise in lake levels and high water seems to have scattered the fish or just put them in a funk. That being said once the fish acclimate to the higher water fishing should return to being good.

Fishing has been up and down and that will probably be the case for several days as the weather report shows cooler weather coming in for the week. The colder weather may invigorate the bass into biting better as they continue feeding up for winter.

Start your day with an SPRO McStick 110, a Little John MD or a spinnerbait. Fish around the shallow reef markers on points and humps. The shad have been holding just off of shallow water all over the lake. Smaller topwater plugs like a Sammy 90, Zara Spook Jr. or an SPRO E Pop 80 will also entice some bites early in the day.

As the sun starts to rise locate the brush around points and plugs in 15 to 25 foot of water. The topwater activity has been slow before noon but it is still worth a cast or two over the brush before you move in and scan for fish with your Lowrance Electronics.

If the topwater activity is slow then concentrate on those same brush piles and fish a drop shot rigged with a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm or a Big Bite Baits Shakin’ Squirrel. Some days you can clearly see the wavy lines or “sketti” on your Lowrance’s screen. If you find thick brush make a few drops down through them. Recently the fish have been positioned inside the brush where they are harder to see with your electronics.

If you are seeing fish with your electronics but they are not biting try shortening your drop shot’s leader or try switching to a Shaky Head rigged a Big Bites Flying Squirrel. Sometimes showing the fish something different will make a difference between just fishing and actually catching.

As the sun gets up high in the sky the topwater action has been better. Try fishing the same topwater plugs as mentioned above brush or switch over to your standard-sized topwater plugs and start running and gunning. It’s the same deal as in the past weeks. Power fish over brush then move in and use the drop shot to pick off the less active fish around or inside the brush.

There have been some spotted and largemouth bass starting to move into the pockets and coves so don’t hesitate to fish with crankbaits or topwater plugs in these same areas. Skipping shaky heads around docks has also been working.

After the sun goes down you will almost have the entire lake to yourself. Cast an SPRO Little John Spin DD around rocky banks after dark around rocky banks to catch some big Lake Lanier Spots!

Stripers: Striper fishing has been good. The higher water seems to have slowed the topwater action but you can bet that it will come back fast. There is a lot of debris leftover from recent rains that have been a nuisance getting in your fishing lines but the uncluttered surface will return to normal soon.

The stripers have been all over the lake and they may also be located at different depths. This has made finding the fish a challenge. The good news is that a lot of Lake Lanier’s striper population is keyed on the large schools of threadfin shad. When they are targeting threadfin shad they may stay put in the area for a while.

Watch your Lowrance Electronics to locate stripers and the baits that they are keyed in on. If the fish are deep use down lines but if you see them in less than 30-feet deep use a combination of flat and down lines. Use herring or large shiners have been good baits to use. Even if the fish are keyed in on smaller baits, they won’t turn up the larger herring.

Although the topwater action slowed a little look for it to get back to normal very soon. Most of the time the stripers are keyed into both herring and shad in the fall. They will coral these baitfish to the surface and use the surface as a place to trap bait. Stripers will explode on these baits and you can often see them from long distances. 

When you encounter a school on the surface cast topwater lures like a Redfin or an SPRO E Pop and hold on! Some days the stripers will hit anything then on others they may seem to snub any surface lures. When this occurs tray casting an SPRO McStick 110 or a Bucktail rigged with a Big Bite Baits Suicide Shad. These sub-surface lures will coax bites when nothing else works.

The fall night bite has been working well and you may have the whole lake to yourself. Usually this action occurs long before the reports get out. Fish the islands with a Long A Bomber or McStick 115. There will also be some fish that will bite after dark in the creeks around lighted docks. 

Crappie: The crappie fishing has started to pick up. The creeks and coves have started to really get good. Fishing the docks and brush piles in 5 to 15-feet with either live minnows or small jigs has been producing some good stringers of slabs!

Bank Fishing: The lake has come up a good deal and when this happens some fish move shallow. Lake Lanier has a good population of largemouth bass and they often get little pressure.

Get out early in the day and cast traditional to water plugs like a Sammy or Zara Spook or switch over to a Lunker Lure Buzz Bait. A buzz bait will usually trigger the bigger fish into biting!