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Lake Lanier fishing report: Bass biting at varying levels
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier. - photo by File photo

The CORP continues to pull water in an attempt to keep up with inflow and to get the lake down to winter pool. Lake Lanier’s water level is at 1,070.51 or .49 below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are hovering around 60 degrees. 

The main lake and lower lake creeks are slightly stained to stained from recent rains and lake turnover. The upper lake and rivers are stained to muddy from lake turnover and last week’s rain inflow. The Chattahoochee below Buford Dam remains very stained.

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

It’s the time of year for us all to count our blessings. Most people have turmoil in their life and our family is not immune. Sickness, injuries, money problems and other troubles exist for many people. Hard times are when we need God the most. When I count my blessings and they far outweigh my troubles. I am thankful the most for my family and friends and the blessings to be able to do what I love for a living. I wish our readers a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Bass fishing is good. Because the thermocline has broken up, the fish can be caught anywhere from a one-foot deep on down to 50 feet as we are in full lake turnover. Usually, lake turnover produces a tough bite but if you keep several different baits on deck and move around, you should get decent results.

We had started to concentrate on the ditch bite before the rain last week changed things up. This bite is still OK, but it should resume and get better as water levels stabilize and the lake water gets colder. Study your maps and make sure you still keep a few ditches in your rotation.

We have basically been “junk fishing” as we run and gun our most productive areas. The term junk fishing refers to when anglers can fish several different lures in different locations and catch fish on just about anything. 

I had a couple of trips this past week and everyone caught bass. Still, start your day around the ditches as that is where the fish have been. Usually, the fish will be in the shallow gut where the ditch channel meets the bank but look for other productive areas close to these bass highways. We have been casting SPRO Crank Baits, spinner baits and jigs while we stay on the trolling motor and watch our Lowrance Electronics. The fish can be just about anywhere that brush, rock and clay banks transit into deeper water. 

Concentrate on the steeper banks because these areas are where bass can move deep without expending much energy.

I love to fish crank baits because they catch both numbers and quality. You want to have a sensitive rod. They don’t get much better than my Kissel Kraft Custom Rods. Spooling your reels with quality line, like the new Sniper FC Crank, will increase the sensitivity so that you can feel your crank baits digging into the bottom.

Use a deep diver like a SPRO Fat Papa or Little John DD and cast the lures shallow, then slow roll them along the bottom. Bites will occur both when your baits deflect off of objects under water and also when your lures dive deep enough to break away from the bottom.

You can also catch some good fish on spinner baits by running and gunning rocky banks out in the wind. You can get some quality bites by simply staying out in the wind as you move from spot to spot. Fish the lures at a medium speed and keep moving.

The jig bite has also been working well around these same steep, rocky banks. Lake Lanier’s bass love crawdads and a jig is the perfect match to mimic these tasty bass treats. Cast your jigs to the bank on out deep and pay attention to the depth where you get bites then concentrate on that same depth as you move down the bank.

Striper fishing has been hit and miss. The secret seems to be fishing around areas where stripers are feeding on shad. The stripers will bite larger offerings, but medium shiners seem to be working best. Casting a SPRO Buck Tail front the front of the boat while you pull baits has also been producing a few fish.

There is a saying in the Air Force that says “Trust your instruments” and that also applies to our fishing electronics. My new Lowrance units have made finding the productive areas a lot easier. My eyesight is not what it used to be and the Lowrance Carbon 16 really makes it easy to detect what’s under the water. 

Run flat lines and down lines around the depth where you mark fish. Trust your electronics and when you see bait and fish then that’s the area to target. If you utilize planner boards that will greatly increase your odds as you can a wide spread of shallow baits near the bank on one side with some deeper baits on the other. 

The more lines that you can fish effectively, the better the odds are that you will connect with fish.

There is still some good schooling action early and this can also occur through out the day so keep a buck tail at the ready at all times. The night Bomber and McStick bite is still pretty good. Get out just before sunset and fish the banks around the islands and in the creek mouths. You should do well.

Trout fishing has been good in the North Georgia streams and rivers, and below Buford Dam when it is not generating water.

Live earthworms are hard to beat, but spinning gear with small inline spinners and fly fishing with both dry and wet flies has also been producing some fish.

Bank fishing: Last week, we talked about striper fishing from the banks and that continues to be a great choice for bank anglers. You can catch bass, stripers, white bass and even catfish on live or cut shad. 

Larger stripers get that way by running alone and doing different things. Cut bait has a reputation for producing the biggest stripers in the lake. While your bites will not occur as often as live shiners or shad, the size of fish you catch on cut bait is worth the wait. 

Many bait shops sell frozen gizzard shad and herring. Get out your weighted lines and rigged them with a cut up gizzard shad. Secure your rods well because you just may could land a trophy.


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