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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Cooler air has made the bass bite better
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier. - photo by File photo

Lake Lanier’s water level is just above full pool at 1,071.17 or .17 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures dropped slightly with the cooler air temperatures and are in the mid 80’s. Main lake is clear and the creeks are slightly stained. The water in the rivers is slightly stained.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear, but it will muddy up quickly in the event of heavy thunderstorms. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing took a slight turn for the better with the cooler air temperatures following the tropical front that blew through earlier this week. That being said, you may still have to work to catch a limit of bass. The majority of Lake Lanier’s spotted bass population is relating to deeper water.

The spotted bass are relating to the thermocline at 27-feet deep. Plan to utilize your Lowrance Electronics and keep moving until you located active fish. These fish will appear as long, wavy lines when to boat is standing still. They can also appear as arcs when your boat is moving. Plan on cycling through your waypoints as you look for fish around brush, rocks and offshore timberlines.

The bass will feed better during power generation down lake, while windy conditions may be more important up the lake. Locate the offshore brush and timber from 20-40 feet deep. The topwater action has been a little slow but you should still plan on casting a Salt Water Chug Bug or Gunfish over the best targets before moving in to exploit it with a drop shot, Ned Rig and even a jig.

We have also been fishing the shallow water in the backs of the creeks and in the rivers to catch largemouth bass. Start out casting a buzz bait or Whopper Plopper early in the day. As the sun rises, switch over to a Jig and target banks that have deep water or channels swings close to the bank. Largemouth bass feed on bream in the summer time and it may surprise you how well these fish will be biting.

Try getting out after dark to enjoy some decent fishing for spotted bass.

The bass after dark will actively feed when the sun goes down. Try casting a deep diving SPRO Little John DD 90 around brush on the points and humps. These crankbaits will run as deep as 25-feet deep. Other lures like a black spinner bait or a jig are also good choices to cast in these same areas.

Striper fishing remains very good and this is that time of year when the new reports start to sound the same as the previous week’s reports. The stripers are deeper than the thermocline, which is set up at 27-feet deep. You can actually see a definitive line on your Lowrance Fish Finders where water density changes, and also where the plankton and bait relate to this level where the hotter surface layer meets the colder bottom layers.

My Carbon 12 and 16-inch units make finding these deeper schools of stripers much easier. You may still have to search around to find stripers because these fish are always on the move as they chase the fast-moving blueback herring. Try trolling a large SPRO Bucktail with a Big Bites Suicide Shad trailer as you search for the deeper schools.

These stripers have set up from 35 to 40-feet on down the bottom.

Follow the drains and smaller creek channels out into deeper water and you should locate the arcs and wavery lines that indicate stripers. Make sure you have plenty of herring and that your bait tanks are set up correctly to keep your baits lively for a day of fishing. Your local tackle stores can help you to make sure you have the correct setup to keep your baits lively.

Drop your herring with heavy two-ounce weights so as to get your baits down quickly through the hot upper layer of water into the cool lower layer where they will stay lively. Switch out your baits every 10 minutes. Before you retrieve your herring, make sure to drop them down to the bottom and then power reel them back to the surface to trigger reaction strikes.

While fishing down lines, also try power reeling spoons or SPRO Buck Tails up through the schools for some arm breaking strikes. A Pen Parker or Lake Forks spoon mimics herring or gizzard shad and stripers can’t resist striking these lures as they speed past their heads.

Crappie: Set out Hydro Glow Lights around the bridges after dark. Use store bought crappie minnows, medium shiners or better yet, native spot tail minnows on down lines and place them down 15-feet deep. Adjust the depths of your lines until you start getting bites.

Bank fishing: The bream was many anglers first introduction to the sport of fishing. These smaller, hard-fighting panfish are still a great way to get kids “hooked” into the sport. These fish are easy to target and a bunch of fun. All you need is a can full of worms, a hook and a bobber and you are ready to go catching.

Bream inhabit shallow water close to the bank on Lake Lanier, farm and subdivision ponds and even in small creeks and rivers. Thread a worm onto a small Aberdeen Style hook with a bobber set a couple of feet above your bait and you are ready to go. Cast to objects like rocks, trees or docks in shallow water. If bream are present, it should not take long to catch one.


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 him at Remember to take a kid fishing.