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Lake Lanier fishing report: Subtle weather changes signal better fishing
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier. - photo by File photo

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier’s water level is holding well. Currently we are at 1,071.42 feet which is 0.42 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake surface temperatures have fallen slightly and are in the lower to mid-80s. 

The main lake and lower lake creeks 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: Lake Lanier’s bass population has started to sense the shorter days and milder air temperatures, and fishing is starting to take a turn for the better. That being said, most reports still indicate the bite has been slower than most anglers prefer. 

Drop shot fishing has still been the go to method for catching bass during the day. We continue to fish a milk run of off shore brush from 25 to 45 feet deep. Use your Lowrance Structure Scan to find these hidden brush piles on main lake points and humps. Mark these way points so that you will have a regiment of areas to fish in the future.

It still pays to back off the brush and fish a moving lure like a spybait, deep-diving crankbait, top water or swim bait over the brush before moving directly over it to pick off fish you see on your electronics. Some days casting a moving lure like a SPRO Little John DD that can get down and touch the brush will be the ticket while on other days a surface lure that runs well above the brush may work best. When the CORPS is generating water, these moving lures will be more successful as the current activates bait fish and the bass that eat them.

We have had our best fishing success after the sun goes down this past week and we have had the lake to ourselves. This is an indicator that the fishing will get better and better as the days get shorter and fall approaches. Cast a SPRO RkCrawler or Little John DD around rocky banks in the creek mouths after the sun goes down. Cast your lure directly up to the bank and allow it to dig into the bottom as you slow roll them back to the boat.

Stripers: Fishing has been a little better this past week, but you will still need to rely on your Lowrance Electronics to locate the fish. You may catch them well in an area in the morning only to return and find the area devoid of fish that same afternoon or again the next morning. The stripers are constantly moving as they chase the blue back herring schools all over the lake. 

There are always clues that an attentive angler can watch out for. On calm days, surface activity can be a clue. Stripers and bass use the surface as a place to trap bait. While herring prefer the cooler lower layers of lake water, they will often try to escape anywhere necessary, and aggressive fish will follow. 

If you locate a good-looking area but are not marking fish on your electronics, then start out trolling a Captain Mack’s umbrella rig at 20 feet deep at 3 miles per hour. Pull these rigs along the timber lines and up through the ditches that lead out towards the creek and river channels.

If you start locating fish, then switch over to herring on a down line. Change your baits frequently. If you feel like a bait needs changing, then it does. The stripers we have been seeing are from 30 to 50 feet deep over ditch channels from 50 to 80 feet deep.

We have not seen as many mega schools this year, so if you mark a few fish, then it is worth fishing an area. That being said, just yesterday I found a big school of fish out around Lake Lanier Islands, so they may be starting to set up just right. Jigging a Lake Fork Flutter Spoon has been working when you can find these deeper schools.

Crappie: Look for crappie fishing to improve soon. For now, it has been slow.

Trout Fishing: Trout fishing has been good. The rivers and streams have started to clear, and fishing should be consistent. The trout have been biting a variety of dry flies. There have been some insect hatches later in the day, close to sundown, and you should “match the hatch”. Small midges and even a black ant pattern have been working well 

For spin anglers, it’s hard to beat an inline spinner on light line. I usually like to throw natural colors, but brighter colors often work better this time of year. Don’t be afraid to cast a rainbow trout pattern or a gold and black.

Bank fishing: Fishing with live worms or crickets can be very productive in farm and subdivision ponds as well as on Lake Lanier. There is a lot of brim moving into the shallows this week. With the full moon, these fish will be building nests to reproduce. They are very protective of their nests. 

Get out your light spinning tackle or the reliable Zebco 33. Place a small Aberdeen hook about 1 or 2 feet below a bobber. If you are using worms, then thread a worm over the hook without a weight. If you are fishing with crickets, then add a small spit shot to weight the hook. Cast these offerings around laydowns, rocks or stumps close to the banks.


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.