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Lake Lanier fishing report: Fish react to shorter light hours
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier as seen from the air in July 2017. - photo by Nick Bowman

Water Conditions:  The lake level is down slightly at 1,070.20 feet, or .8 feet below the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures remain relatively warm in the mid to upper 80s. The main lake and creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The creeks and rivers are slightly stained. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been just fair with the warm water, but daylight hours are getting shorter, so look for fishing to improve soon. That being said, we have had some flurries of fish activity during low light hours and active feeding times. Keep grinding, and you may be able to catch a decent five fish limit if you work hard. The bass are reacting to the shorter light hours, and we have seen some movement of shad and bass as they start to move into the creeks.

It’s August, and the bass are a bit finicky, but there are some good ones to be had if you catch them at the right time. Launch your boat, and be on the water before sunrise so that you can get on the morning bite. The early angler gets the bass! Right at sunrise there has been an OK top-water bite. Get out your walking baits or a Whopper Plopper and fish the main lake points to capitalize on the early morning bite.

After the sun gets up, it has been some tough fishing, but two baits have been catching them. A drop-shot rig as well as a spy bait have been your go-to lures during the days. Target main lake brush, and use your Lowrance Electronics to show you where the bait is positioned. Drop directly down to fish you see on your Lowrance Electronics, or determine the depth of the top of the brush and count down a SPRO Spin John 80 spy bait and reel it slowly on light fluorocarbon.

Other techniques have also been working, including fishing a SPRO Little John 50 around main lake rock early in the day. Casting a jig or large flutter spoon to main lake timber and brush has been scoring some better fish. Throw a top-water around dusk to pick off some bass later in the day.

Striper fishing has been tough to good, depending on which angler you speak with. The fish are still deeper, but we have seen a few moving slightly shallower with the slightly shorter light hours. The schools of stripers are chasing blueback herring, so if you caught them one place yesterday, you may not catch them in the same place today, so be willing to search around to find the active schools of fish

Start your day trolling a Captain Mack’s Mini Umbrella Rig, and stick with it until the fish tell you otherwise, or until you see a huge school on your Lowrance Electronics. Troll these mini rigs or a larger SPRO Bucktail with a Hyper Tail or live herring on lead core at eight to nine colors at 2.5 mph.

The oxygen levels are lower than in past months, so check your herring frequently, and replace them every 10 minutes no matter what. Keeping your herring alive in a bait tank has been easier than keeping them lively on the line while in the lake.

Herring and native spot tail minnows on a down line have been working well once you locate the active schools. The stripers are very line shy at this time in the season, so use a long fluorocarbon leader. Eight to 12 feet may seem long, but it will improve your chances of a hookup. Also use a heavy, 2-ounce sinker on 20-pound Sunline Natural Monofilament. Leave your rod in the rod holder until you get a bite that doubles up your rod, and then take it out to fish the fish once they are hooked up.

Keep trying the power reeling to score at least a couple extra fish during the day. A Lake Forks Flutter Spoon or a SPRO Buck Tail rigged with a live herring or your favorite trailer will also get the job done. Keep dropping your live bait to the bottom and power reel them back to the surface before switching out baits.

Crappie fishing is slow during the day, so fishing under lights after dark is your best bet. Hang lights over the side of the boat or off your docks and fish crappie minnows, spot tails or cast small Hal Flies to the edges of where your lights rays meet dark water

Bank Fishing: It’s hard to beat a day of trout fishing in August. Considering the coolness of North Georgia’s Trout waters, few outings can match hitting your local mountain streams, plus you can fish from Buford Dam all the way down to inside the perimeter, as trout are available in many different areas and can be caught by many different methods. Tie on a Rooster tail and go catching!



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