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Lake Lanier fishing report: Bass moviong closer to thermocline
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier. - photo by File photo

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier is presently at 1,072.14 or 1.14 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the mid 80s. 

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

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

The bass fishing has continued to be great one day and tough the next. The deeper bite has really just started and a lot of Lake Lanier’s bass are moving closer to the thermocline that has set up in 27 feet of water.

There has been a little schooling action so continue to keep a top water plug ready. We are still running and gunning brush at 20 to 35-feet deep. Make a cast or two over the brush with a top water plug or swimbait. Then move up over the brush and use a drop shot rig with a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel and watch your electronics for the tell-tale “sketti” lines that indicate a school of bass.

I have been playing around with a lot of the new electronics we display at West Marine and there really are no bad units. We display Humminbird, Lowrance, Garmin, B&G and Simrad. Each manufacturer has advantages in certain areas. I encourage customers to play around with the buttons or touch screens and see what setups are easier to use. Your electronics are truly “fish finders” and you can indeed use them to catch more fish!

Fishing with electronics is much easier than many people think. You don’t have to tweak most units as the stock settings are mostly ready to go. Start out by marking brush piles, rocks and other fishy looking cover below the surface on your GPS. Make sure that you fish while exploring with your graphs as you will often stumble on to at least one new productive area. Once you have built a milk run, you will have plenty of areas to fish. The more you fish, the more structure and cover you find. Make sure to mark new waypoints with a description like “brush”, “rock pile”, “sunken boat”, etc.…

Fishing the brush piles can be tough and many anglers prefer a slower pace. We fished in the back of a couple of creeks, even during the 4th of July, and had this backwater all to ourselves. The large mouth were up in water by less than 10-feet and they would crush a jig worked in the channel bends. A buzz-bait or Toad will aggravate these shallow largemouths into biting all day long!

Night fishing is a great way to beat the heat and crowd. Cast a deep diving crank bait, a large Colorado bladed spinner bait or a jig n’ pig combo and work the brush in 15 to 25-feet of water.

Striper fishing: The stripers are moving deeper with the higher water temperatures. Down lines or large spoons have been in order this past week and this action will continue to get better as the stripers set up in predictable locations.

Your electronics are the key to finding stripers right now. Idle your boat around in the creek mouths or out around the islands where the bottom is between 40 and 70-feet deep. Look schools of blue back herring or better yet the wavy lines or arches that indicate schools or stripers. Fish your herring on a down line with a long leader and heavy weight. Set them up just above where you mark fish on your electronics

The large spoon bite has just started to get going. Use a 6 to 9-inch Ben Parker style spoon and make sure you have the correct tackle. These spoons may seem large but not if you compare them to the size of the long blue back herring or the even larger gizzard shad.

Use heavy 17 to 20-pound monofilament line and drop your spoons directly below the boat to where you see stripers on your graph. Some of the times the spoon will get intercepted before it hits bottom but the best method is to let them fall below the school then power reel them quickly through the fish and hold on! A striper will often seem to just about tear your arm out of the socket as you reel it quickly back up through the fish. This fishing can be very exciting and will only get better as the fish move deeper!

Fishing below Hydro Glow Lights in the creek mouths continue to be a good bet for catching stripers after dark. Some good areas to try a Big Creek, Flowery Branch or 6-Mile Creeks. Down line herring or gizzard shad to catch these nocturnal feeders.

Crappie fishing has slowed down during the day as water temperatures rise. The crappie are relating to brush from 20 to 30 feet. Fish your jigs and down lined minnows deep early or later in the day. Night fishing on the bridges has been producing some good stringer of crappie. Casting small jigs or live minnows on a down line at around 10 to 15-feet deep. Target the deeper bridge pilings or cross beams.

Trout Fishing: Now that the CORP is holding back some water the trout fishing has been good early in the day or later towards dusk.

Get out early to the Buford Dam tail race to go fishing! Cast a small 1/16th ounce Rooster Tail around any runs or rapids. Use as light a line as possible. Avoid using swivels or snaps when possible.

The mountain streams are running fats and clear except after the afternoon thunder storms. Dry Flies, inline spinners or live bait (where permitted by law) are all working well this week.

Bank fishing: Get out early to the Buford Dam tail race or your favorite mountain streams to catch some of the plentiful trout that the Georgia Department of Recreation has stocked for use anglers. You can either fish right below Buford Dam or take advantage of the trails and parking on the Gwinnett County side of the river. You can also visit the Buford Dam trout hatchery.

If you prefer to fish with live bait, you can do so legally above the Highway 20 bridge. Check local regulations in the mountain trout waters. Use the same light line and a small hook with a ¼ ounce split shot attached about a foot to 18-inches above the hook. Live night crawlers, crickets, corn or Berkley Power Nuggets will all produce fish. Target the deeper pools and remember that it is only legal to use one hand held rod per angler!

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