Lake Lanier Fishing Report – November 2022

GON Staff | October 26, 2022

Lanier: Level: Down 3.5 feet and falling. Temp: 66-68 degrees. Clarity: The water is mostly clear with a little stain in the backs of the creeks.

Bass: Jimbo from Jimbo’s Lake Lanier Spotted Bass Guide Service reports, “Many anglers make the common mistake of underestimating the viability of late fall and winter fishing. While the outside elements are not always favorable, the months of November and December on Lake Lanier can offer anglers some of the best fishing of the year.  Ditch fishing is often the approach upon which I focus, yet there are many options in a transitional month like November—so, stay versatile. As you pursue different patterns this month, stay flexible as weather fronts will affect the location and mood of the catchable fish.  Don’t forget to look shallow around points and humps both on the main lake and in the major creeks, in addition to the smaller creek runs. Even with the lake down almost 5 feet this year heading into November, a shallow bite will exist on some days. A Georgia Blade spinnerbait on windy days can be incredible this time of year fished shallow on points, as can be a large crankbait like a Berkley Dredger. The Spro RkCrawler is a great choice for a smaller crankbait.  Also a big swimbait, like the Sweet Baits Sweet Herring, can be an excellent choice for a big catch. As we proceed with this article, I will address more of how to approach Lanier once the water gets around 60 degrees, which will likely happen this year in November.  Often, if you find a shallow ditch (15 feet or less) in a creek, you will find baitfish present in and around this ditch. Bass will show up and feed in these areas, particularly in low-light conditions, even in the dead of winter.  Slow-rolling a Georgia Blade Shad Spin or slow cranking a crankbait in these areas at daylight is a great way to take some huge spots throughout the late fall and winter. Present a Berkley Stunna over these same areas for bites, as well. Cast your jerkbait long distances over the ditch, and work the bait back to the boat with a jerk, jerk, pause retrieve. Include pauses of up to 10 seconds between jerks.  Also, ensure that you jerk the bait on slack line to improve the erratic action of the bait, which will trigger more strikes. The key to this technique is patience. Long pauses can be important as well, so stay patient. Many of the same definitions and techniques above will still apply to deeper ditches, but there are some key differences. When you search for these deeper ditches (25 to 50 feet deep), start by following the shallow ditches out to deeper water. Once you have moved to the deeper part of the ditch, use your Humminbird electronics to look for cover within or around the ditch that may offer an ambush spot for bass. Always remember that bass are predatory and constantly seek an advantage through a point of ambush. Structure changes, such as a ditch, along with ancillary structure/cover such as brush or standing timber, offer a refuge for baitfish, as well as an ambush position for the bass. If you can find an area with a ditch, standing timber, brush and key feature changes such as an outside channel bend intersected by a roadbed in 40 feet of water or so, you have found the perfect winter haunts of the bait and our green-backed friends. Good electronics, such as Humminbird Helix in conjunction with Garmin Panoptix, are vital to finding these subtle depth changes and cover. Once you find a location like this holding fish, start by dropping a Georgia Blade jigging spoon or a Shepoon down to the location of the fish. Allow the spoon to sink to the bottom and then reel it two cranks up before beginning your presentation. Jig the spoon with quick, short, upward thrusts of the rod and include pauses in your presentation. Let the fish tell you how they want the bait presented. Another option for these deep fish includes a drop-shot rig. Rig a drop shot with a small worm or minnow imitation and present the bait in the area of the fish. Do not overwork the bait. Often periods of no movement can trigger strikes. I prefer the many offerings of Lanier Baits for these presentations. Lastly, steep banks and rip-rap consistently hold fish during the late fall and winter months. These vertical banks, present both in the creeks, as well as the main lake, offer the fish the ability to change depths within the water column without traveling very far. This provides an optimal situation for the fish whose metabolism and activity levels are slowed by the colder water. Begin by using your electronics to graph a likely area in search of bait. When you find the bait, you can rest assured that fish are somewhere in the area. Search for changes in the structure as your starting place.  Look for points, pockets, contour changes or transition areas where sand meets rock or clay, for example. Begin your prospecting in these areas with a jerkbait like the Berkley Stunna. Impart the jerk, jerk, pause retrieve mentioned previously, with a focus on long pauses.  If the fish are not active enough to hit the jerkbait, try worms or Georgia Jigs worked slowly down the rock bank. Position your boat in deeper water and cast toward the bank. Work the bait slowly and methodically back to the boat, paying particular attention to your lure’s movements. Bites in the late fall and winter are often VERY subtle. Once you detect something unusual in your lure’s action, set the hook. While these areas are not the only possible places to find fish on Lake Lanier in the late fall, they are some very good areas to begin your search. Remember to look for bait and fish in an area before fishing it. Fish where the fish are. Good luck out there and see you on the water!”  

Lake Lanier Page: Archived Articles, News & Fishing Reports

Stripers: Capt. Ron Mullins, of The Striper Experience, reports, “The turnover is still happening on the lake, so water clarity is clear where it is finished to weak coffee colored where it is still going on. Stripers are all over the lake already as the breakout has been in full force for a month or so now. November will be a two-pattern month depending on where you are on the lake. The north end, above the Highway 53 bridges, will be predominately a downline bite on large schools of fish found toward the backs of all the main creeks up the Hootch and the Tee. These fish have followed the bait to these areas and are feeding hard on the large bait schools that are in 35 to 50 feet of water. Search in these water depths with your Humminbird Solix or Helix for large clouds of bait. The fish will be close by and can be caught using a mix of smaller herring or even large minnows. Shorten up your leaders from your summer rig to a 4- to 5-foot length of 10-lb. fluorocarbon attached to a No. 2 or No. 4 Gamakatsu circle hook. This lighter leader and hook will allow your bait to swim more freely and look as natural as possible. The jigging spoons available at will be the best artificial bait to use on these fish this month. The 3/4-oz. white/glitter or white/silver spoon will be the colors to use on sunny days and the chartreuse/chartreuse or white/blue colors on cloudy days will be great options. The fish in these areas will be closer to the bottom so this vertical spoon presentation works great. Once you find the fish, put your MinnKota trolling motor on Spot Lock and drop the spoon to the bottom. Typically in this warmer water, a sweeping motion up with the rod about 6 to 8 feet will get you the most bites this month. A lot of your bites will be on the fall so make sure you are paying attention as the spoon falls back to the bottom. Our tackle setups will be 15-to 20-lb. braid with 7 to 10 feet of 10-lb. fluorocarbon on a medium-action bait-casting rod. There tends to be lots of spin with a vertical jig so attach a small swivel to the spoon and at the braid/fluoro connection. The south end of the lake will continue to see lots of schooling activity through November and chasing these fish is a lot of fun. They will be from the mouth of Flat Creek all the way down the river channel to Big Creek. They will come up and blow up on bait for just a little while so make sure to keep your head on a swivel and be ready to run fast to them. This month our favorite bait will be the Striper Tackle JR Hawg spoons in nickel or nickel/silver on sunny days or pearl or pearl/blue on cloudy days. These casting spoons can be thrown a long way which will be the ticket to getting to the schools before they go down. A medium-action spinning rod with a 40-class reel loaded with 30-lb. braid attached to 4 to 5 feet of 12-lb. fluoro will be the tackle setup to launch the JR spoon. A steady or fast retrieve with a pause is the best way to work this spoon around these schooling fish. ‘Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful steward of God’s grace in its various forms.’ 1 Peter 4:10. We all have gifts. Go out and serve someone else with that gift. If you are a great hunter or fisher, take someone with you or volunteer at a kids or first-timers event and show them the greatness of The Lord’s creation.”

Capt. Clay Cunningham, of Catching Not Fishing Lake Lanier Fishing Guides, reports, “The stripers are schooling at random times. More importantly, the big fish are back. For the first time in several years, we are consistently seeing fish heavier than 15 pounds. The fish are healthy and feeding heavily. After a very slow late summer, it is great to see the fishing awaken. As mentioned, the topwater bite has been off and on like a light switch. Look for some of these schools to be very large in size. You may see them from several hundred yards away. All types of topwater baits will work, but each day a different one will be the key choice. Two key baits are the Berkley Magic Swimmer and the Berkley J-Walker. So far this fall, the walking baits have been on fire. We have been catching them on the walking baits for several weeks. Not big numbers but our low numbers are being made up with size. Spool up a Penn Battle III 4000 spinning reel with 12-lb. Trilene Big Game line on a 7-foot medium-heavy Fenwick spinning rod and you are good to go. If the water is calm, pick up the Berkley J-Walker. This bait will zigzag across the surface. The south end of the lake will most likely continue to be the key area, but the stripes may quickly be found farther north on the lake. Some are already being caught on the north end. If you want to use live bait, pull some freelines which are simple baits with no weight 100 feet behind the boat tipped with a blueback herring. Smaller herring have been best as well as medium shiners. Our biggest fish many days lately have come from the medium shiners. All you need is a Shakespeare Striper Rod paired with a Penn Fathom II Linecounter reel spoiled with 15-lb. Trilene Big Game line and a 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook. The herring will do the rest. If pulling medium shiners, drop your line size. Pull the herring and shiners across humps and points and you will catch stripers and spotted bass. It’s a great way to spend the day. Looking forward to fishing this November. See you on the water. It is time to go!”

Crappie: Capt. Josh Thornton reports, “The fishing is good. We are catching a lot of fish, and they are nice size. Crappie are suspended 12 to 20 feet deep. Structure, blowdowns and brushpiles are producing well. If you are using jigs, I would try bright colors in clear water and dark colors after the rain. I have had success the ATX bluegrass color combination. I am setting minnows 10 to 12 feet deep most of the time just above the suspended fish. This week 90% of my catch came on minnows. Crappie love the shade, so cast into the shadows or shaded areas of dock. When dock shooting, the biggest fish are usually the first to bite. I use ATX Lure Company plastic jigs on Lip Thrashin Lures jig heads. I use 5-lb. test, high-visibility yellow K9 braid for my line unless I am using a bobber, then it’s the K9 6-lb. high-visibility line. I use Garmin LiveScope and the Navionics Boating app. Find me on Facebook and like my pages @crappieonlanier and @fishingwitheverydayheroes.”

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