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Lake Lanier fishing report: Fishing patterns come and go, so stay “wired to the water"
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier. - photo by File photo

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier is holding well. Currently, we are at 1,071.89 feet, which is 0.89 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake surface temperatures are hovering around the uppers 80’s.

The main lake and lower lake creek mouths are clear to stained. The upper lake creeks, pockets and the rivers are also clear to stained.

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river below Buford Dam at 770-945-1466.

Bass: Bass fishing has varied from good to tough, depending on who you speak with. Personally, fishing has been a challenge for me. There have been some great days just to be out on the water, and if you boat a limit of fish that’s a bonus this week.

High quality electronics are a huge benefit during the dog days of summer. The bass don’t stop biting when the water gets hot. Instead, studies show they actually eat more to keep up with their fast metabolism. They are eating somewhere, and my Lowrance Carbons allows me to find fish in and around Lake Lanier’s abundant deeper timber or I can scan shallow, under and around Marina and dock gang planks.

Most of the bass I have caught this week were deep — from 30 to 45 feet — or they have been shallow around shallow docks and around Marina gang planks. I have been working the drop shot about 80 percent of the time and also casting a small silver and white buzz bait.

I have been drop-shot fishing deep around timber lines and deeper brush with a Big Bite Baits Shaking Squirrel in a dawn color or a smaller Cane Stick in green pearl. The Cane Stick matches the color of the spot tail minnow we see up shallow. You don’t always have to be directly over fish to use a drop shot. Try casting them out and work them back to the boat like a Texas or Carolina-Rig.

There is solution: live bait. If you can, find and catch minnows with a cast net or Sabiki Rig. Get out early and use your cast net or Sabiki Rig to catch spot tails or shad. You can hook these small to medium-sized native minnows on a drop shot rig and set them out around deeper brush. Spot Tail Minnows are candy to spotted bass and other predators.

Stripers: Fishing remains either good or slow based on how lucky or good you are at locating these fast-moving fish. I was talking with a friend about why the fishing was on and off so much this year and we agreed on a theory: maybe it’s because all of the extra water coming making the lake so high when it usually is low.

For catching stripers this, week two methods deserve mention: down lining herring in the creek channels and open water close to submerged timber lines, or pulling an umbrella rig in these same areas.

I have fished beside and seen striper boats from Buford Dam into both Rivers. The majority of fish I see are out around the ends of those long feeder ditches and also out into the small creek and bigger creek and river channels.

Start your day pulling a Captain Mack’s umbrella rig trolled at around three miles per hour on lead core set out seven to nine colors. You will want to get your rig out deep — around 30 to 35 feet deep.

When you see stripers on the screen of your Lowrance units, be ready to drop your live herring down with a heavy weight to get them to the fish quickly. Use a long leader and a 2-ounce weight so the herring punch through the warmer surface layers and down to the cool, deeper waters where the fish are located. Make sure to have plenty lively herring.

Crappie: Crappie fishing has been very slow and there have been very few reports. Sneak out after dark on week days and fish lighted boat docks.

Trout Fishing: Trout fishing has been good both up in the mountains and below the dams in the colder waters under these tail races. The DNR will probably be stalking trout for early in the fall.

Trout sense the shorter days and they will start eating way before the cooler fall and winter weather. Throw minnow imitators like a Rapala Count Down. Yo-Zuri Pinns Minnow is also a great lure to use around both dam raises and deeper river pools

Bank fishing: When Lake Lanier fishing gets tough, we anglers should be look for other options. The subdivision I live in has several lakes and so do the many other subdivisions. Some people have access to farm ponds and lakes. Most of the waters have been stocked and hold great fishing opportunities year-round, so grab a spinning reel and a plastic worm or cricket and go fishing.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. 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.