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Lake Lanier fishing report: Fishing up and down with the weather
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier as seen from the air in July 2017. - photo by Nick Bowman

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier remains well above full pool at 1,074.42 feet or 3.42 feet above full pool of 1,071 at the time of this writing. Lake surface temperatures are in the low to mid 50s.

The lake below Browns Bridge is 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 muddy.

The CORP continues to pull water, so fishing below Buford Dam has been tough. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river below Buford Dam at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been up and down. The high water has probably messed with anglers much more than it has with the bass. Make sure to either move up shallower or out deeper around your normal spring fishing grounds and keep moving until you get a bite.

The same techniques that were producing last week are probably still good this week. We have been throwing the shaky head, small jigs and medium running crank baits around docks, rock and clay banks and also on long points and humps in 10 to 25 feet of water. The bass that are being caught are about as healthy and fat as they will get for the year.

Start your day with a Lanier Baits or Big Bite Baits Finesse worm on a 1/8th to 3/16th-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head. We have had our best bites on green colors, but if the water is very stained in the areas you are fishing don’t hesitate to throw darker colors like blue or black. Target rock and clay banks in transition areas where the bottom contour goes from deep to shallow in the coves, around deeper banks or on rock and clay banks.

If it’s a sunny day, then conditions may be perfect for catching bass on moving lures. Crank baits like a SPRO RkCrawler, spinner baits, jerk baits like a SPRO McStick or under spins like a Fish Head Spin worked on sunny banks. Sunny banks with wind blowing in on them can hold some big spotted and largemouth bass this week.

The docks in deeper to shallow transition areas are holding consistent fish. Casting or skipping a shaky head up around the docks has been working well.

The bass should start grouping up very soon, but for now we have kept moving and are catching one here and another there, so don’t get tied up into fishing one single area unless you are catching multiple fish. In spring, the bass will start to group up in transitional areas, and that should happen very soon when we get stable warm, sunny weather.

Striper fishing has been up and down. Use your Lowrance Electronics on both Structure Scan and traditional 2D to find the schools of bait and stripers that are moving around midway back in the creeks and coves.

Try trolling with a Captain Mack’s Umbrella rig while you search for the best areas that are holding fish. The fish will most likely be located midway on into the backs of the creeks and also up in the rivers.

Once you locate fish on your electronics, it’s time to work planner boards, flat lines and down lines. There have been some schools of fish from 15 to 30 feet down that will hold both medium shiners and herring. Blueback herring will work well even if the fish are targeting the smaller shad.

Keep a larger bait — like a medium to large sized trout or even a big gizzard shad — set on a flat line behind the boat. Store-bought trout and gizzard shad will seek out deeper water, even on a flat line, and they will often trigger a bigger bite. Keep some herring and smaller shad or shiners on planner boards, flat and down lines.

Make sure when you mark fish on your Lowrance Electronics that you fish your baits slightly above where you mark fish. Most stripers will relate below the baitfish schools, so it’s best to present a bait above them.

The night fishing is starting to turn on. Get your McSticks, Bomber Long A’s and Redfins ready, and get out to your most productive areas after dark. The stripers can be found midway on into the backs of the creeks. If you can find those green Hydro Glow Lights, then that’s usually a great place to start. Other regular dock lights are also good areas to target. Some of my best areas are in complete darkness, but there must be bait present to attract stripers.

Crappie fishing is good, and the fish are up shallow where they are easier for most anglers to catch. The recent up and down weather has affected the fishing a lot.

On sunny, warm days, you can just about pull into any cove that has docks with brush and catch crappie shooting docks, on minnows three feet below a float or by trolling spider rigs (multiple trolling rods with small jigs) in the stained coves in the pockets and the backs of the creeks.

Bank fishing: Crappie, bass and brim are starting to move shallower where they can be easily caught by bank anglers. That being said, you can’t just fish any area and catch fish.

Look for areas like bridges in the backs of the creeks, docks with brush that you have permission to fish or rocky banks with clay located around them on the west side of the lake. These west side banks will warm the quickest, and fish in the late winter and early spring are attracted to the warmest water they can find.

Minnows under a float, Rooster Tails and small crank and jerk baits are all a good bet. If you fish an area and don’t get a bite, then keep moving until you encounter better action.

Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. Aldrich would love to hear from his readers, so please email him at Remember to take a kid fishing.