Lake Lanier is a 38,000 acre reservoir operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) and located about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta. Lanier receives heavy fishing pressure due to its proximity to the large population centers around Atlanta. Spotted bass, crappie, striped bass and catfish are favorite targets of Lake Lanier anglers. Record low rainfall in 2007 drastically reduced the surface area of the lake and brought predator and prey species closer together. These “close quarters” will allow spotted bass, largemouth bass and stripers to be more effective at locating and feeding on blue back herring and threadfin shad in early 2008. These improved foraging conditions will allow predator species to improve their body condition and put on weight for the upcoming spawning season. Black bass fishing should be very good in 2008. Spotted bass are very abundant, in excellent condition, and are putting on weight from the ample supply of threadfins and blue backs. Therefore, anglers should experience another good year catching numerous 1 4 pounds spotted bass. Based on WRD sampling from 2007, the abundance of 1 to 2 pounds largemouth bass has also improved slightly. Largemouth’s exceeding 5 pounds are present, but limited in numbers. Spotted and largemouth bass can be caught on a variety of artificial lures throughout the year as well as live baits such as night crawlers, crayfish and minnows. 
Anglers fishing for crappie should experience an average year when it comes to numbers. Fish in the ½ ¾ lb. range will be common with a few larger fish weighing in near 1 ½ pounds The heaviest stringers will be produced from late February through April, when larger spawning fish are shallow. The best areas to find crappie are the upper Chattahoochee arm (Clarks Bridge to Lula Bridge), Thompson Creek and Taylor Creek. Look for downed trees in the water and use a depth finder to locate submerged structure, when fishing for Lanier slabs.
Lanier anglers can expect another excellent year for striped bass. The lake supports an abundance of small stripers weighing from 2 to 10 pounds. A good supply of 10 to15 pounds stripers will also provide plenty of action and an average number of trophy stripers (20 to 30 pounds ) are still present. Both winter (November March) and summer (July August) offer excellent conditions for striper fishing. Live bait (herring, shiners, bluegill, shad, and small trout), super flukes and bucktail jigs will produce the best results. Angler success during the summer months will depend on oxygen conditions at cooler depths (greater than 25 ft.), which provide the striper’s habitat from July through September. An abundant supply of blue back herring, which is the preferred forage of stripers, plays a key role in maintaining a healthy population in Lanier.

WRD stocked 142,000 walleye fingerlings in 2007 to boost the fishery by enhancing spawning runs up the rivers. Wahoo Creek and the upper Chattahoochee River arm of the lake are good areas to begin the hunt for Lanier walleye. Most fish caught in 2008 will be in the 1 to 2 pounds range, with a few fish over 2 pounds Adult walleye are increasing in abundance, and a few larger fish can be caught in the Chattahoochee River near Belton Bridge in February and early March during spawning runs. After spawning, walleye move to the lower reservoir seeking the cool, oxygenated waters (25 to 40 ft. depths). Trolling the shoreline (spinners, crank baits and crawler harnesses) and still fishing night crawlers on the bottom at depths of 15 to 40 feet is an effective method for taking walleye year round. Check out for general tips on walleye fishing or the “Walleye Fishing in Georgia” guidebook that is posted on the WRD website at

Channel catfish are numerous and average about 1 lb. Bluegill weighing ¼ . lb. can be caught on a regular basis using crickets or red wigglers fished near boathouses and around sandy bottoms from May through August. Carp are terrific fighters and fun to catch in shallow water. They readily take prepared catfish baits, corn and dough balls from May through August. In 2007, WRD, State Parks, and COE personnel cut and anchored shoreline trees where permitted at two cove locations at the Don Carter State Park property, just below Lula Bridge. These downed shoreline trees will attract crappie, bass and other species for anglers to catch this year (if the lake returns to normal pool). Maps showing the locations of attractor sites can be obtained from the COE office at Lake Lanier (770 945 9531) and the Gainesville WRD Fisheries Management office (770 535 5498). A guide to bank fishing opportunities is also available. Some key bank fishing spots include Lanier Point Park, Thompson Creek Park, Little Hall Park and Little River Landing. Buford Dam Park and River Forks Park are two good sites that also are accessible. Lake Lanier was nearly 20 ft. below normal pool at the beginning of 2008. The COE, with assistance from local groups, will be extending some boat ramps around Lake Lanier. For information regarding lake levels, boat ramp openings and donations to ramp extension projects, contact the COE Buford office (770 945 9531) or visit their website:

Our bait recommendations

Here's the baits that our Pros love for this lake.