Lake Lanier which is located just north of Atlanta, Georgia is a year round fishery for striped bass and spotted bass. Each season brings different tactics and different things to consider. Below is a brief report of each season.
Spring: During the spring, the stripers and spotted bass will be in shallow water for the most part. This makes the spring a favorite time for people who love to cast topwater lures. Some of the favorites are Lucky Craft Sammies, Heddon Super Spooks, and always the Cotton Cordell Redfin. Early spring is also the leading time to catch a trophy striped bass. The mature female stripers have to consume more calories each day to help produce roe. Therefore, the stripers will be chasing very large baits like a 12 inch gizzard shad or rainbow trout. The weather is usually very nice in the spring except for one or two of the last cold fronts of the year that may come through the area.
Summer: The summer is the most consistent fishing of the year. The weather patterns are usually very stable and very few trips are lost due to bad weather. Consequently, this is the most popular time to take corporate trips. The schools of stripers will be in very large schools and is the best time to run up big numbers of fish. Some of the schools will have several hundred fish in them. Most of the fishing will be on the southern end of the lake.
Fall: The first part of Fall is some of the most exciting fishing on Lake Lanier. The large schools from Summer start schooling on top and topwater lures are the tactic of choice. Some of these schools will have several hundred fish in them and will be very visible from long distances. The local term for this fishing is “Combat Fishing!” Late fall is free line time with herring, trout and gizzard shad. A locals favorite due to the lack of other boats. Spoons will also come into play.
Winter: Winter is a mixed bag every year. Some years the fish stay deep and some years they spend a good deal of time shallow. The pattern depends greatly on the weather. Due to the water temperature rising from the sunlight throughout the day, we sometimes start the trips midday. Live bait on downlines is the best bet on the deep fish. Some years rainbow trout will be the bait of choice, some years it will be threadfin shad, and some years it will be gizzard shad. Every year is different. When the fish are shallow, free lines, planer boards like Water Bugz, and bucktails are the baits of choice. Spoons can also be very effective. When the fish are tight to the bottom, bounce the spoon off the bottom and many times the stripers will hit the spoon on the fall. This is also a good time to catch trophy Lake Lanier stripers.