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Lake Lanier fishing report: Warmer weather should bring improved fishing conditions
Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier as seen from the air in July 2017. - photo by Nick Bowman

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier remains well above full pool at 1,075.6 feet or 4.6 feet above full pool of 1,071 feet at the time of this writing. Lake surface temperatures are in the low 50s.

The lake below Browns Bridge is clear to stained in the in the creek mouths and stained to very stained in the backs of the creeks. The upper lake creeks are stained in the mouths and very stained in the backs. The rivers are stained to almost muddy. 

The CORP is still pulling water, so fishing below Buford Dam may be a washout. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river below Buford Dam at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing is good and should get better as the warmer weather approaches this week. There will also be more rain, and the lake level is already very high, so keep an eye out for any floating debris.

We have been mostly using two techniques this week. The best producer has been working a shaky head in water less than 15 feet deep. Rig a finesse worm like a Lanier Baits Fruity Worm or a Big Bite Baits Finesse Worm on a 1/8th or 3/16th-ounce Gamakatsu Alien Head. Colors can vary, but Watermelon Red flake or any color green worm has scored us the best action. Work these worms around rocky banks or docks in the coves.

The second technique has been cranking rocky banks that are exposed to sun and wind. Use a SPRO RkCrawler, and allow this lure to stay in contact with the rock. The RkCrawler is designed to come over rock very well. If your lure stops, then stop cranking unless you are sure it is a fish. If you stop it without applying pressure, the lure will float free of the obstruction. Most fish will clobber these lures, so there is usually little doubt that you have a fish on.

There are other techniques that are working, like fishing small jigs around rock, working a Fish Head Spin around rocks and docks and slow rolling a spinner bait in the same locations as mentioned above. We are close to early spring, so get your lines ready and go fishing.

Striper fishing is good, and the fish are staying pretty shallow. Theses stripers are eating herring and shad, so you should be able to catch a few if you can get your baits in front of the fish.

My Lowrance Carbon units make it really easy to find the best locations. Look midway on back into the creeks — both up and down lake — for bait and the stripers that will relate below the bait. Don’t waste time in areas where you don’t mark bait or fish. Instead, keep moving until you locate better water. 

Try trolling Captain Mack’s Umbrella rigs while you idle around looking for fish. These umbrella rigs mimic a school of fish, and some days trolling can out fish natural bait.

Once you locate bait, deploy your flat lines and planner boards. Most of the fish have been relating to water less than 30 feet deep. Run one planner board close to the bank, as there have been some very shallow fish, especially early in the day. The flat lines have been working best, but if you mark fish deeper than 15 feet, it may pay to use downlines instead.

The night bite is just starting to get good, so get your Bomber Long A’s and SPRO McSticks ready. Fish lighten boat docks midway on back into the creeks.

Crappie fishing is really picking up, and the fish are moving shallow. Look toward the backs of the pockets and creeks in very stained water. 

Trolling multiple rods — or “lake raking” as we call it — is working very well. Fish a small Hal Fly jig or Marabou jigs on your rods. Use a tandem setup with one jig on the bottom and another set a foot above it. Troll your jigs as slow as you can go. We use long rods on the front and stagger them to the shortest rods on the back. This enables us to make turns without our lines tangling.

Fishing minnows under a float has also been working very well. Shooting jigs under the docks is also working well. Get out and load the cooler! Crappie are one of the best tasting fish and they make great table fair.

Bank fishing:  This week’s bank report is pretty simple. Grab a bait bucket full of crappie minnows and some bobbers and head for the parks and bridges located toward the backs of the creeks.

Rig a minnow on a small Aberdeen style hook, add a small split shot about 6 inches above the hook, place a weighted bobber 3 feet above your weight and cast out into the lake. If you do not catch a fish within 30 minutes, move on to more productive water.

Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. Aldrich would love to hear from his readers so please email him at Remember to take a kid fishing.