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Lake Lanier fishing report: Continued rains bring rising lake levels
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier as seen from the air in July 2017. - photo by Nick Bowman

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier is rising rapidly from recent rains. It is 1,074.28 feet and rising, or 3.28 feet above full pool of 1,071 at the time of this writing. Lake surface temperatures are in the upper 40s.

The lake below Browns Bridge remains clear in the in the creek mouths and stained to very stained in the backs of the creeks. The upper lake creeks are stained in the mouths and very stained in the backs. The rivers are very stained to almost muddy. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river below Buford Dam at 770-945-1466.

Join us for the next free Seminar: Come join us at West Marine in Buford on Tuesday, February 26th, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., for a free electronics seminar. Factory reps will be there to help customers with GPS, mapping, finding fish and much more. Call 470-202-1052 for details and directions.

Bass: Watching the B.A.S.S. Elite series anglers would make you think that fishing is easy. These anglers are called the elites for a reason. The fishing methods and locations varied greatly, but the biggest stringers seem to have come close to Buford Dam

The bigger fish seemed to be hanging out deeper, but several of the top ten anglers also used crank baits in very shallow water from 1 foot to 15 feet around rocky banks. Rocks hold heat, and they also can hold good populations of crawfish for the bass to feed on.

A red-colored, medium diving crank bait like a SPRO RkCrawler or Little John MD worked through rocks on points and humps is working well. The secret to fishing these lures is to keep your crank baits bouncing off of rock. Most strikes will occur as your crank baits bounce off of the bottom.

There has also been a great jerk bait bite off rocky primary and secondary points around main lake. If the wind is blowing across the point, then that is even better. If we ever get any sunshine, that will really draw the fish in shallower where you can target them with a crank bait, jerk bait or even a jig or shaky head.

Some of the top angers — like my buddy Chris Zaldain — caught fish out deeper on a drop shot and also Keitech Swim Baits fish over and through brush in 30 feet of water. Make long casts and let your lure sink to the bottom. Then retrieve your swim bait just fast enough to keep it close to the bottom, and reel it through the brush to catch some monster spotted bass.

There have also been fish on the docks and up shallower due to the recent rains.

Striper fishing is good. Look for the bait schools and you should find the stripers. Even though the upper creeks and rivers are receiving a good deal of inflow, the stripers are still in the areas where they are feeding and looking for places to spawn (even though they don’t actually reproduce on Lake Lanier).

Trolling a Captain Mack’s Umbrella rig is a great way to target stripers. Run one or two rigs while looking for fish to target with flat and down lines. Trolling umbrella rigs may be the best way to catch stripers all day long.

If you are fishing in the creeks, look for areas where the water inflow and clearer water meet. These have always been the areas I target after heavy rains. Troll a rig behind the boat, and watch your Lowrance electronics for the schools of fish that will eat flat or down lines.                                        

The night bite has not really been on yet, but expect that to change soon. Pease be careful, as there a lot of debris floating around with the rains.

The crappie are relating to docks and coves with rock and wood cover. They can be located in the pockets off main lake or in the creeks using your Structure Scan option so that you can see up under docks.

Shooting jigs or fishing minnows on a slip bobber set to 10 feet deep is working well in the right areas. Keep moving until you locate active fish. Look for both the deep docks leading into a cove or areas that have docks with brush piles set out are also crappie attractors.                                                                                           

Bank fishing:  A slip bobber is a bank angler’s best friend. If you can find a deep bank and you have the wind at your back, you can cover just about any depth and several species of fish.

Use a quality bait bucket with an aerator. Buy a couple dozen minnows and make sure you have the slip bobbers with the bobber stop depth set at around 10 feet. After you cast the minnow and bobber, the line will release and will fall below the bobber.

Secure your rods and wait. You just may catch a striper, bass or just about anything big enough to eat your live bait.

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.