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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: May 9
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier. - photo by File photo

Lake Lanier is over three quarters of a foot over full pool. The lake is 1,071.82 or .82 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures have risen into the mid 60’s and will rise up to 70 degrees or higher in the shallower pockets on sunny afternoons. Main lake and lower lake creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The upper lake creeks and pockets are stained to very stained and the rivers are stained to very stained.

The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river by calling 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing has been steady and there are plenty of bass up shallow where they are easier to catch. The same pre-spawn and spawning methods are continuing to work well, but post spawn techniques are starting to come into play.

There are a lot of fish out on secondary points and shallow humps. These fish are replenishing after their spawn and will attack your lures if properly presented. Smaller top water plugs fished close to the vegetation lines on secondary points leading out of the pockets have been scoring some aggressive strikes. These fish are feeding on herring and gizzard shad, but for some reason the smaller plugs have worked best. 

There are also plenty of bass up shallow around the docks in the pockets. These fish are suckers for small shaky heads or whacky rigged plastics. The last several docks in the backs of the coves seem to be best but don’t ignore those isolated deeper docks that are on the outsides of the coves to catch staging fish.

Crank baits like a SPRO RkCrawler or Fat Papa have been scoring some bigger fish toward and after sun down. Fish the lure up shallow around rocky banks in the mouths of the creeks, Cast the up shallow so that the lure makes contact with the rocks. The bass will load up on these crank baits after dark!

Striper fishing: The weather is showing signs of leveling out which should help to get the stripers biting more consistent. I have seen a lot of gizzard shad up shallow on the secondary points in the creeks. As the water temperatures increase, we should also see the herring spawning very soon.

Anglers should start to concentrate in the creeks and lager coves both up and down lake. The stripers will follow the bait up shallows where they can be caught on shallow planner board, jerk baits, flukes and jerk shads or your favorite top water lure.

Outfit your rig to fish shallower this week. You can run flat lines out back of your boat in addition to several planner boars to get you baits up shallow close to the bank. Try to run a herring or shiner up close to the bank cover. Run your baits outside of the submerged weeds to trigger bites from shallow stripers.

Although I mention the shallow bite some anglers are catching schooling fish out on main lake in the mornings on flat lined herring and also while casting Redfins to the points. Keep a top water plug tied on at all times and get ready. Top water time is just starting to get going!

Crappie fishing has been hit or miss as of this writing, but it should improve drastically with the warming weather.

The docks in the backs of the coves will hold some fish that have finished spawning. The coves and rip rap around the bridges are holding some fish that will bite minnows under a bobber and small jigs fished slowly around brush and laydowns.

Trout Fishing: Trout fishing has been really good and you can pick your preferred method to catch fish. Fly fishing, spin fishing or live bait, it will all work when fished in the right areas.

Both wet and dry flies are working but the dry flies have been the best producers. Watch for hatches and fish rising to match the hatch. Small midges and elk hair caddis are good choices below Buford Dam.

It’s hard to beat a 1/16th or 1/8th ounce silver and white Rooster Tail. The secret to fishing these in line spinners is to cast them out, let them sink a couple of feet then reel them just fast enough to keep the blades spinning. This slow and methodic retrieve will entice trout to bite. 

Bank fishing: It’s spring and there are a lot of fish up in shallow water. Anglers can just about pick their favorite method right now to catch fish from the banks of your local ponds, lakes and Lake Lanier.

There is something magical about watching a bobber. Take a weighted bobber with a small Aberdeen style hook rigged about 2 feet below on light line. Thread a worm or hook a small minnow through the lips and cast it around any bank cover you encounter. Watching the bobber “get nervous” then disappear under the surface is about as exciting as it gets! Bass, bream, crappie and even catfish will all strike a live bait below and bobber. 


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 his readers so please email him at Remember to take a kid fishing!