Visit Georgia's Great Lake 45 Minutes North of Atlanta

Eric Aldrich's Tips for Fishing on Lake Lanier

Water Conditions: Lake Lanier is slightly below full pool at around 1070.5 (full pool is 1071). Lake temperatures are in the lower 40’s and the main lake is clear and the backs of the creeks are stained. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river @ 770-945-1466

Bass: Not a lot of anglers have been braving the cold but if you do the bass are still biting. I fished a couple of days this week when the high air temperatures were in the lower 30’s and we caught limits of bass both days.
There are several patterns that will work but we have been sticking with three methods.
The first thing we try is to cast jerk baits around steeper banks and in the creek and ditch channels. Work you jerk baits with a pause and twitch retrieve. Most of the time in cold weather you will want a very slow retrieve with long pauses. We found that even with the cold weather this week the bass have been hitting these lure pretty aggressively. I also use a trick to get my SPRO McStick down deeper. Add a small 1/8th or 1/16th ounce tungsten drop shot weight to the front treble’s split ring. This small weight will cause the lure to get down deeper and it will also make the head slant downward.
The second method that has been working is finesse fishing with a drop shot rig or a jig head worm in deeper water from 20 to 45 feet deep. You can often see these deeper fish and baitfish on your fish finders. Anytime you find the bait the fish shouldn’t be very far away. Target from the middle to the backs of the creek channels.
The third method is to stair step a jig with a double curly tail trailer. Find the steeper banks with rock and clay in the pockets and creeks and work your lure slowly down the drops. Most of your strikes will be a distinct “thump” so when you feel this set the hook. If you are having troubles felling bites than make sure you are using fluorocarbon and invest in a quality fish rod that has high sensitivity. I use 12-ound Berkley Fluorocarbon with a Denali Custom Rod (
Other anglers have been catching bass with spoons and striper anglers are catching some magnum bass on flat and down lined blue back herring.

Stripers: The stripers are biting well even with the cold weather. These large game fish are use to cold water and they actually get more active in shallow water in winter. Keep an eye out for gulls and loons because they will give away the best locations to fish. The stripers have been both deep and shallow so both flat and down lines will work. Watch your electronics closely to determine which method to use.
Trolling umbrella rigs at around 3 miles an hour in the creeks and up in the rivers has been working very well. Stop by Hammond’s Fishing Center and they will hook you up with everything you need for striper fishing. Shane Watson also says to cast buck tails and flukes to any rolling fish on the surface.

Crappie:  Crappie fishing has been slow and the slabs are down deep. Fishing with a Crappie Spoon or crappie jigs has been coaxing a few bites. Tip you jig or spoon with a small crappie minnow to increase your odds. These fish have been relating to deeper docks.

Trout on the Chattahoochee: Trout fishing is a little better as the river clears up. Make sure to check generation schedules if you fish below the dam because the CORP has been pulling a lot of water this past week. The small minnow imitating lures will work well because they mimic a threadfin shad that was been sucked through the dam. Use a pause and twitch retrieve.

Bank Fishing: Two types of fishing are working OK from the banks. The first would be to go below Buford Dam and fish live earthworms on a bottom rig for trout. The second choice would be to fish for stripers with live blue backs or shad below a slip bobber. When looking for a productive area for stripers keep a close eye on the gulls and loons. If the birds are present than it’s a good sign that stripers will be close by.

Check out Eric’s website at or
Eric Aldrich is a part time outdoor writer, bass fisherman and a member of Humminbird’s, SPRO, Gamakatsu, Tru Tungsten and Hammond’s Fishing Center Pro Staff. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. If you would like to email me please do so at  Remember to take a kid fishing!

Leave a Comment