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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Warmer weather has positively impacted bite
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier as seen from the air in July 2017. - photo by Nick Bowman

Lake Lanier remains over full pool. The lake is at 1,071.52 or .52 feet above the normal full pool of 1,071. Lake surface temperatures are registering in the lower 70’s. Main lake and lower lake creeks mouths are clear to slightly stained. The upper lake creeks and pockets are stained. The rivers are stained.

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

Bass fishing is very good. The bass are in all stages of the spawn, but many are finishing up and heading back out to the main lake where they will start to feed heavily on herring. Start out fishing your favorite method, but keep an open mind. Be willing to change and you may load the boat.

Fishing a shaky head like a 1/8-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head rigged with a Big Bites Finesse Worm is my go-to method in spring. You can skip or cast these around boat docks and also work them at rock and clay points to score numbers of bass. 

I fish my shaky heads on 7-pound Sunline Sniper and use a medium-heavy weight Kissel Krafts Custom Spinning Rod and a Shimano spinning reel. Use a sidearm cast to skip your lure or you can also shoot them like a crappie jig to get into those tight spots. 

Please be courteous to dock owners and their property.

Topwater time is just ramping up. The fish shallow on the flats will strike smaller topwater offerings. Cast a Jerk Minnow, Fluke, Baby Spook or a Pop-R around areas where the fish have been bedding. Keep a follow-up lure like a shaky head or jig to cast at fish that miss your topwater offerings.

Jerk baits, crank baits and bladed jigs will all work when you locate fish. Use a slow-steady retrieve for your best results this week. Try “stupid fishing” a SPRO McStick. Stupid fishing means just cast it out and retrieve it slow to medium steady. These jerk baits match the subtle movements of blueback herring and gizzard shad.

Stripers: After a long and cold spring, it seems as if we have gone rapidly from spring into summer. This weekend temperatures are forecast to hit the low 90s. This warmer weather has been making patterning stripers a little easier.

Some schooling action has started on main lake points, humps and also in the creek mouths. No matter what, keep a topwater plug, fluke or SPRO Bucktail ready at all times. Make long casts over points and humps in the mornings and hold on.

Pulling a Captain Mack’s umbrella rig over the same areas is a great way to move around to locate and catch stripers. The two-ounce, four-arm version is a great option this time of year. Pull these rigs at 21/2 miles an hour. A lot of strikes will occur when you make turns and the speed and depth of your rig changes. 

The flat lines and planner boards are still your best options. 

This week, herring have worked best but add a gizzard shad to your spread to trigger a bigger bite. Pull your spread over the same humps and points as mentioned above. Use your Side Imaging to see fish that are to either side of your course and go back over these areas again.

Crappie fishing is best in the mornings and again toward dusk. Cast crappie minnows below a float around laydowns and other bank cover. The higher lake levels have kept the crappie more shallow. Shooting shallower docks has been best but keep an eye out for the fish to start navigating toward docks and brush in 15-25 feet of water.

Trout fishing remains very good. The DNR has worked overtime to make sure our local trout waters are well stocked. Your fishing license fees go directly to helping our local fisheries.

Fly fishing has been very good and the trout are hitting dry flies. Always take a moment to scan the water you are fishing and pay close attention to where you see trout rise. These fish will usually stay put, so you will greatly increase your catch rates by presenting a fly to where you have seen fish rising.

Worms, Power Nuggets, corn and salmon eggs are all considered to be live bait, so make sure the trout waters you fish allow live bait before employing these baits. Fish your live offerings on light 2-6-pound test with a light hook and a 1/4-ounce split shot placed a foot or two above your hook.

Bank fishing: Last week we mentioned how effective fishing with a bobber can be. Bottom fishing is the exact opposite method and it also works well in spring. Use 10-pound test monofilament and thread a night crawler on a medium-sized Gamakatsu Shiner Hook and attach a 1/4 to 1/2-ounce weight a couple of feet above the hook and worm.

Cast this bottom rig out around channel swings, docks, rocks or steeper clay banks. A nightcrawler will fool just about any species of fish, so you will never know what will bite! Bass, bream, catfish, carp and other species are all suckers for a live nightcrawler. Make sure to secure your rod well in case a big fish bites.

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 readers, so please email him at Remember to take a kid fishing.