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Lake Lanier fishing report: Top water action gets going for stripers and bass
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier. - photo by File photo

Water Conditions:  Lake Lanier has risen above full pool. The lake level is 1,071.89 feet or 1.89 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures have varied from the low 70s on main lake to mid to upper 70s in shallower pockets. Main lake and lower lake creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The upper lake creeks and pockets are clear to stained, and the rivers will get stained quickly from the forecast rains

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

The bass are biting a variety of lures, so select your favorites and go catching. The herring are starting to spawn and the shad have been spawning, so lures that imitate a bait fish have been working best. Yes, it’s top water time.

In the early mornings we are fishing shallow on the reef markers and having a decent top water bite. This action can go on into the, day depending on conditions. Throw a Gunfish, BBZ1 four-Inch Shad or even a pop-R worked medium fast. These surface lures will produce some awesome top water strikes.

My go to lures has been the SPRO McStick 110. Cast it to rocky banks and reel it slow and steady through the shallow rocks and around sandy banks for some bigger spawning or post spawn spotted bass.

There has also been a good bite out on rocky banks and secondary points in the creek mouths just off main lake. Try casting moving lures early in the day and later toward dark and also during major feeding periods or dam generation times. A SPRO Aruku Shad, spinner bait or Jerk Shad-Fluke style soft jerk bait will work well for some bigger bites.

When the sun gets up higher in the sky, switch over to a shaky head and just cast them up to rocky, steep banks then stair step them down the drops or fish them around the docks. Small jigs, drop shot lures and even a Texas rigged lizard will catch fish during slower periods.

After sun down, get out your black Colorado bladed spinner baits and deep-diving SPRO RkCrawlers and hit the rocky banks around the lower lake creek mouths and on back into the creeks to get on the great nocturnal bite that is happening now.

The stripers are starting their top water action as the herring are starting to spawn. Cover water and either look for surfacing fish or watch your Lowrance Electronics and make sure you locate fish before setting out live bait. Cruising the points with a top water plug can help you to cover water and get some bites from both stripers and bass.

Another great way to cover water has been trolling with a Captain Mack’s Umbrella Rig and troll around points and humps in the creeks. Run your motor at exactly 2 mph and keep your umbrella rigs running at around 10-feet deep. Pulling an umbrella rig will also allow you to locate bigger schools of stripers where you can switch over to top water plugs and live bait.

Once you locate actively feeding fish, get out your live bait and set out your flat line and planner board rods. Buy plenty of blue-back herring so you can set out a spread of flat lines directly behind your boat and planner boards out to the sides. Remember that stripers may still be very shallow this week. They can also be out deeper in the middle of the day, so adjust to down lines depending on what your Lowrance Electronics show.

There are still plenty of stripers biting around Hydro-Glow lights and also on regular bright light docks after day. Cast a small streamer on an eight-weight fly rod or use conventional gear and cast a SPRO McStick 110 to mimic the herring that are relating to these lights.

Crappie and Brim: Crappie fishing has OK some areas and slower in others. The spawn is all but over, and the fish have been moving out deeper and eating heavily. Of course, this can be different all over the lake. You may still be able to locate shallow fish, especially up lake.

Look for laydowns, docks or flooded cover in the backs of the coves and also in the coves off the creeks and rivers. Large brim and crappie will bite minnows or worms up in the shallows this week. Small crappie jigs worked 3 feet under a float will also work well around these same places.

Bank fishing: The carp are moving up shallow where they are easy to catch. These big red sucker fish are plowing around in the flooded brush and weeds looking for food and also getting ready to spawn. It’s the same every year, and these fish make great sport for kids and adults alike.

Get your favorite rod and reel. Bait up a small Aberdeen Gold hook with a few kernels of corn and a small split shot, and cast it around any flooded bank cover. Chum about a quarter of the corn out where you are fishing. Secure your rod well and wait. The carp will find your, even in the middle of the day.


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.