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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Biggest bass caught in deeper water
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier as seen from the air in July 2017. - photo by Nick Bowman

Lake Lanier’s water level remains healthy at 1,071.22 or .22 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are in the mid-80’s.

The main lake is clear. Creeks are slightly stained. North of the Dawsonville Highway bridge, the water is slightly stained to stained.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing rates good to very good. We have found some shallow fish in the mornings around banks located close to deeper water. Once the sun rises, we head away from the banks.

Lake Lanier’s spotted bass are settling in to their offshore haunts around brush located from 15-30 feet deep.

Start your day casting topwater plugs. Keep one locked and loaded all day long. Larger chugging or popping plugs have been working best.

Cast a Saltwater Chug Bug or a larger Pop-R to the attention of bass that are positioned in the deeper brush. Some days we have seen fish thrashing the surface, even during the hottest part of the day so keep a topwater plug on deck.

Running and gunning and hitting as many brush piles as possible is the way to go. My Lowrance Carbon 12 and 16 allow me to quickly find these offshore honey holes. If you set your Structure Scan down at 60 feet, you can scan a 120-foot wide patch.

For the most part, users should just trust factory settings. Reducing the width of your side image will allow you to see you more details.

Cast a larger topwater plug over the brush before moving in to dissect it with your drop shot rig. Other lures may work better when casting to the brush.

The Spybait has been producing some nice fish. Cast your spy baits past the brush and allow them to sink for 10 seconds. Then, simply reel this finesse lure with a slow and steady retrieve.

These tiny lures catch big bass. I have also been casting a SPRO Little John DD and worked it through the brush to trigger bites, even when the fish are inactive.

For the most part, the drop shot bite has been the way to catch lots of bass. I have been using a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm or the smaller Runt and have had great success.

Dip your worms in chartreuse JJ’s Magic to add some scent and color to your lures. Look for fish in the brush with your electronics, but drop down into the brush, even if you do not see fish.

Night fishing has been decent. Either hit the steeper rocky banks with a deep-diving crank bait or large spinner bait or target the same brush you have fished during the day. A black-and-blue jig works very well in the brush. Add rattles to your jig to attract fish to your lure.

Striper fishing remains very good.

That being said, you must find the active schools of stripers to enjoy success. Start your trip in the back of a creek channel or large ditch and follow the channel out until you mark fish on your Lowrance units. You should encounter stripers somewhere along the way. Fish appear as arcs when the boat is moving or wavy lines when your boat is stationary.

Almost all of the stripers have moved offshore in water deeper than the thermocline (which is around 25 to 30 feet deep). The majority of stripers will be from 35-70 feet deep close to the creek and river channels. Set your Lowrance units on a split screen of 2D and Structure Scan and you will be able to see directly below the boat and out to both sides. In this instance, set the scan area at 200 feet which allows me to scan a 400-foot wide path.

Stick with the same down line and spoon techniques that have been working. Purchase as many herring as you can keep alive. The fishing can be fast and furious. Set your down lines to just above or at the level where you are marking fish. If your herring are lively, it shouldn’t take long to get a strike. Switch out herring every 10 minutes.

Ben Parker spoons have been triggering lots of bites this week. Drop these spoons to below the level where you see fish, then reel them as fast as possible up through the school. A high-seed reel is a welcome asset when using the power reeling technique. Power reeling will produce some arm-breaking strikes so make sure your drag is set correctly. Use 20-pound Sunline Monofilament. This line stretches and is extremely strong, which is important when a big striper hits your lure.

The night bite around dock lights has slowed a little as the majority of stripers remain deeper after dark. Your best bet after dark is to anchor in a creek channel and drop a Hydro Glow light below your boat. I like to chum the area with some cut bait. This will pull in stripers.

Crappie: Your best bet for crappie fishing is to fish after dark. Anchor under bridges with at least 25 feet of water depth. Put out lights which attract bait fish and the predators that eat them. Drop crappie minnows on down line (just a hook, bait and a medium-sized split shot) or cast small crappie jigs around the outer edges of your lights

Bank fishing: My daughter used to get bored with me while bass fishing but there was one fish that would bite all day long — Bream. The bream stay relatively shallow during the summer and they can keep kids entertained. All you need is a Zebco 33 and a hook, bobber and earth worm or cricket. If you use crickets, then add a small split shot about six inches above your hook.

Bream can be found along the banks that have laydown trees or rocks.

You can also throw out bread or cracker crumbs to get these fish to come to your location. Your kids may enjoy feeding the bream as much as they do catching them. This weekend will be busy on Lake Lanier and these same techniques will work on farm ponds, subdivision ponds and even in local rivers and streams.


Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist, guide and bass angler. He is currently booking teaching trips for Lake Lanier’s spotted and largemouth bass. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. He would love to hear from readers, so please email me at Remember to take a kid fishing.