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OUTDOORS: Fishing action is heating up
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Forsyth County News

Water conditions: Lake Lanier water level is 1.42 feet (1,072.42) over the normal full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake Lanier’s water is clear on main lake and clear to stained in the creeks and rivers. Lake water temperatures are rising into the mid 80s. The Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam is clear. Please check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass: Fishing is very good for spotted bass and the largemouths are also biting well in the creeks. Many methods are working this week, and catching 20 or more keeper bass in a day can happen for anglers that are versatile, willing to adjust and move as conditions change.

Top water fishing has improved this last week. Use a Zara Spook, Sammy or a 6-Inch BBZ1 Slow Sink Swimbait and cast to lake humps, points and areas that have sunken brush piles. This action is happening all day long but only in specific areas so be willing to move if top water action is what you are seeking. If you run and gun you may collide with some of the massive wolf packs of spotted bass that Lake Lanier is famous for. Also try buzz baits in the backs of the creeks around trees and flooded bank growth for largemouth bass.

Junk fishing is a term for using multiple lures to catch bass, and that has been the ticket for catching fish in my Nitro Bass Boat this past week. Bass are hitting drop shot, jig head and Texas rigged worms, and they can bite anywhere from the bank on out into sunken brush in 30 foot deep. Cast a drop shot rigged with a green or pink Big Bites Shaking Squirrel worm. Some anglers think this is only a vertical fishing method, but you can have great success casting and stair stepping them down the drops too.

I have been cranking a SPRO Little John DD or Fat Pappa 70 around rocky banks and sunken brush. Use a slow roll retrieve to dig these lures into the bottom and speed up if you find active bass. You can also use a deep diving crank to catch bass after a top water strike. Bass often come up out of brush to hit a top water plug then disperse out over open water. I use my Side Imaging on my Humminbird Fish Finder to locate these suspended bass and can actually see which side of the boat they are located and then cast crank baits right to where they are located.

We have been catching some fat bass after dark on the above mentioned crank baits, jigs and large Colorado blade spinner baits.

Stripers: Fishing remains good. The late spring top water action is still happening but the summer bite is starting to come more into play. V-wake and Redfin or walk a Super Spook on the surface to draw stripers off the points and humps in the early mornings before the sun gets too high. Also drag flat lines behind the boat in the mornings and later toward sundown but be aware that the stripers may still be near the surface anytime during the day if the blue backs are present.

A combination of flat and down lines is a good way to start and let the striper bites dictate which will work best for that day and location. The stripers up river tend to be shallower and the ones down on main lake tend to run deeper but the fish change the rules all the time. I guess they don’t always read the playbooks. Use your electronics to let you know the depth at which the fish and baitfish are located and set your lines accordingly.

Keeping your bait lively is one of the major keys to success so use a quality bait tank, ice and a well running aerator. Also purchase your blue backs from a reputable local bait shop and they should be able to help you with your set up. You can also net native gizzard shad or spot tail minnows. Brim also make good striper bait, but by law you must catch them with a rod and reel.

Crappie: Not many reports are coming in on the crappie but they have not left the lake. Someone can always catch these tasty pan fish. During the day vary your depths and methods and use crappie jigs or minnows around docks with brush piles and bridge pilings. The night bite is happening for sure as we caught a few around lighted boat docks this week. Get those lights ready and fish the docks and bridges after dark.

Trout: Fishing is great up in the mountains and on the Chattahoochee River below Buford Dam. My wife and I walked the river below Buford Dam this week and watched as one angler easily caught a limit in 15 minutes with live worms. Pick your favorite method and go trout fishing.

Bank fishing: Catfish are easy to catch on Lake Lanier and are an under-reported species. Catfish also inhabit many of our other local waters and they will eat just about anything. Worms, chicken livers, dough balls, live shad, cut bait and even lures will entice these bottom feeders into biting. Cast your live or dead baits out with a medium heavy sinker and secure your rods and kick back and wait. Catfish have an incredible sense of smell if they are in the area. 

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. Contact Aldrich at or