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Lake Lanier fishing report: Bass and striper fishing improving
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier as seen from the air in July 2017. - photo by Nick Bowman

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level continues to be healthy and is presently at an exactly full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake surface temperatures are in the lower-80’s. 

The main lake and lower lake creeks mouths are clear to stained. The upper lake creeks, pockets and the rivers are also clear to stained.

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river below Buford Dam at 770-945-1466. 

Have a Happy and Safe holiday Memorial weekend. Always wear your PFD (Personal Floatation Devices) any time you run the big motor. Make sure your kids wear them 100 percent of the time.

Bass: Bass fishing has improved slightly. The fish sense the shorter days and know that cooler weather is just around the corner. The bass have been a little more active and will strike moving and surface baits early in the day and during active feeding periods.

Start out early casting a Fish Head Spin with a Big Bites Suicide Shad or a popping surface water lure like a Storm Chug Bug or a silver and black Pop-R. Make long casts close to the bank and work the lure slow and steady out over brush and structure on long pints and humps. Keep moving, and if you mark fish on your Lowrance Electronics, slow down and fish these areas hourly. Keep a top water plug tied on at all times

Running and gunning off shore brush remains the go to pattern after the sun gets up. Hit as many brush piles from 20 to 35 feet and fish a drop shot with a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm or a Big Bites Shakin Squirrel. Your Lowrance electronics and GPS are key tools for finding and fishing these off-shore honey holes. Look for active fish that react to your lures and work those areas thoroughly

The after-hours bite has been the best way to catch both numbers and size of quality bass. Cast a SPRO little John DD or RkCrawler to rocky points in the creeks and keep moving until you find a school of bass up shallow. Work the deep divers from the shore out deeper. Dig these deep divers into the bottom and keep a slow and steady retrieve all the way back to the boat. Points and rocky banks are holding numbers of fish. During the week you may have the whole lake to yourself.

Stripers: Striper fishing has picked up a little, and the stripers are biting in the right areas. Electronics like my Lowrance Carbon 16 Structure Scan units help me to locate schooling fish that are out to the left or right of where the boat is located. Structure Scan is an important tool because I can set my unit to scan 400 feet to each side to cover 800 feet of coverage.

You can see both schools of herring and shad along with larger white spots that indicate stripers. You will often see fish that you may miss on standard 2D scans of just the area under the boat. When you see bait that is balled up, you can bet there are fish around herding them into these tight balls.

Trolling a Captain Mack’s Umbrella rig at 3 mph at around 15 to 20 feet will entice some stripers to bite. Trolling is a great way to cover water while you scan your electronics for bigger schools that will bite down lined herring or shad.

When you locate a large school, deploy your down lines with a healthy herring or large, store-bought shiner. Use a large, 2 ounce sinker on your down line to get these live bait offerings down to the cooler water. Change your baits out frequently to make sure your live bait is as lively as possible.

Drop your down lines just above the level where you mark fish. Keep a Lake Forks Flutter Spoon or a larger Ben Parker spoon to drop down through the school and power reel it up through the fish to entice a reaction strike from both active and inactive fish

Crappie: There have been a few larger crappie being caught after dark under Hydro Glow Lights. While the size of these fish may be larger, the quantity of bites has been low. 

Crappie fishing during the day has been slow, but look for that to improve when water temperature drops into the 70s.

Trout Fishing: Trout fishing remains good. Fly fishing is an art, and when mastered can out produce both line bait and spin fishing. Cast streamers around the rapids, and you may do very well. An Adams Parachute or the black ant pattern has been working well in most trout waters. 

The DNR continues to stock trout, so when you can find these “newbies” they will strike just about anything. For spin anglers, try casting a 1/8 ounce Rooster Tail of Mepps spinner for some good numbers of trout. 

If line bait is allowed in the waters you fish, try corn or live red wigglers on light 4 to 6 pound test. Attach a small split shot about 18 inches above your hook. Cast these into the deeper pools located below the rapids.

Bank fishing: Fishing has improved both in smaller ponds and lakes as well as Lake Lanier. When I was younger, I used to cast either a small silver Rooster Tail or a floating Rapala minnow. I worked hard cutting the grass and doing other chores just to allow me some money for fishing lures. Remember that Labor Day celebrates the hard work that we Americans do.

Cast your inline spinners, floating Rapalas or your own favorite lure around bank cover. Laydowns, rocks and even submerged vegetation will hold bass, crappie and brim this time of year. You don’t have to have a boat to go fishing.

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 our readers, so please email him at Remember to take a kid fishing.