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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Dogwoods and pollen signal spring fishing at its best
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier. - photo by File photo

Lake Lanier is above full pool at 1072.44 feet or 2.44 above full pool of 1071. Lake surface temperatures range from the mid to upper 60’s.

The lake below Browns Bridge and upper lake creeks are clear in the creek mouths but stained from pollen in the pockets. The rivers are clearing. Check generation schedules by calling 770-945-1466 before heading out to the river below Buford Dam.

Bass fishing is really picking up. The bass are moving up shallow to start reproduction. There are plenty of pre-spawn fish to be caught in the shallows where they are easy to find most days.

Skipping docks with your favorite bait is the best method right now. A Senko hooked whacky style on a Gamakatsu Whacky Head has been an awesome tool in my arsenal of lures this last week. A weightless Big Bites Jerk Minnow or Fluke skipped to the backs of the docks has scored both size and numbers.

If you are not into skipping docks, work those same lures between the docks for some fish other anglers miss. A SPRO Little John Crank Bait has been a great bait to fish behind a buddy who may be hogging all the best dock casts. The McStick 110 has also been a great lure to cast around flats and secondary points. Don’t be afraid to cast out into deeper water in the coves to score some big fish that dock anglers may be missing.

The deeper docks around rocky areas outside the coves have been holding some magnum spotted bass. Work a McStick 110 or a Super Jerk Minnow around the sides and corners of the docks to entice some big bites from spotted bass.

Running the reef markers with a spinner bait, Chatter Bait, McStick or a Big Bites Suicide Shad are good methods to use in the spring on the main lake or in the rivers. Make long casts and keep moving until you find a productive area.

The bass are biting after dark. Try lures with very dark or really bright colors. Some anglers always say to fish dark colors at night, but a Citrus Shad colored SPRO Little John DD is one of my favorite colors to use on Lake Lanier after sundown. A Large Colorado bladed spinner bait is a close second.

Striper fishing is good, and the fish are biting well up and down the lake. There are a lot of shallow stripers in the backs of the creeks and in the rivers and deeper around main lake points and humps closer to the creek and river channels.

Start your day shallow pulling live baits on flat lines, balloon floats and planner boards, and run the shallow banks in the pockets and the backs of the creeks or in the rivers. Gizzard shad, smaller trout and blue backs have all been great choices for targeting shallow stripers.

Set out a spread and head from shallow to deep until you catch or see fish on your Lowrance Electronics. If you see fish and are not catching them, make adjustments to the depth of your baits or try slowing down or speeding up your presentation until you get bites.

Later in the day, look for where the gulls and loons are located, and utilize your Lowrance Side Imaging and regular 2D to locate the active fish deeper in the creeks and rivers. You may need to set down lines based on what you see on your electronics, but most of the active feeders have been in less than 35 feet.

There are some stripers biting well after dark. Cast a SPRO McStick 110 or Bomber Long A to any green fish attractor lights. There are plenty of shallow fish in certain creeks that will bite these lures. Standard dock lights will also pull in fish, so make plenty of cast to these areas.

Crappie fishing has been hit and miss but load the cooler if you can locate a bunch of spawning fish. The crappie are mostly shallow so cast a crappie minnow or small shad under a float.

You can also cast or troll minnows or small jigs under a float to cover water, but you must locate fish or keep moving. Spawning crappie will be located in tight schools, so if you catch one, many more will be in the same area.

Bank fishing: Casting Bomber Long A’s, Redfins and SPRO McSticks around Buford Dam after dark has been a timely way to catch stripers in the fall. The good news is that these same stripers, along with some bass, will bite these lures during the day and after dark (when allowed by the CORPS) in the spring.

Make long casts with your preferred lures and retrieve them at a medium slow rate. Make long casts while moving to cover a lot of water. Sometimes you will find a cast that will fool the fish so don’t move too quickly once you get a bite or two.


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.