Lake Lanier Spotted Bass Awesome Autumn Numbers
Here’s a map and pattern for November on a premier spotted bass lake.
Lake Lanier is one of the premier lakes in the country for catching numbers of quality spotted bass, and November is one of the best months of the year to fish Lanier. Spots are starting their move to the ditches, and they can be caught on brushpiles, bluff banks and in the ditches this month.
Lanier, with its deep, clear water full of standing timber and rocks, is the perfect habitat for spotted bass. And the introduction of blueback herring years ago has made spots grow at an amazing rate. They are fat and healthy and feed year-round on Lanier, but cool water seems to make them hungrier and more active.
Jimmy Sanders moved to Cumming in 1987 after retiring, and he fishes Lanier at least three days a week year-round. His house is a little over a mile from the Little Ridge ramp, and his boat is usually hooked up ready to go. Jimmy has learned where the spots live, how they move from month to month, and what baits they like to eat. Jimmy fishes a few charity tournaments each year, but most days find him on the lake concentrating on learning more about the bass patterns, enjoying the hard fight at the end of his line and just having fun.
“Lake Lanier is the best lake in the U.S. to catch a bunch of 2 1/2- to 3-lb. spots,“ Jimmy said.
Although some lakes out West may produce bigger spots, they do not consistently produce the huge numbers of quality fish that you can catch on Lanier.
Jimmy has a variety of baits ready on his deck in November and has several more in his rod locker ready for specific daily conditions. For this month, his go-to baits are a shaky head, Ned rig, jerkbait, spoon, drop shot and jig. These lures will always be ready, but Jimmy added that a spoon, spinnerbait and a fluke are also ready when needed.
Most of Jimmy’s fishing is in the south end of the lake in Bald Ridge Creek and areas near it, but his patterns work all over Lanier. Rather than running all over the lake’s 50,000 acres, Jimmy spends his time learning the keys in his home area and catching fish. Ten keeper spots are a slow day for him, and 25 nice fish are not unusual. And if he doesn’t have several spots in the 3- to 4-lb. range, he is disappointed.
A few weeks ago Jimmy took me to the following 10 locations, and we caught fish on several of them. It was early enough that we did not fish the ditches, but with the cooler than usual late September and early October weather this year, the spotted bass should be in the Lanier ditches early this year. You can catch bass on the main creek areas all month, but keep checking the ditches for the bass moving there.
No. 1: N 34º 11.593 – W 84º 06.074 — Habersham Condos sit on a steep rock point at green channel marker 5LR just out from Habersham Marina. The Little Ridge Creek channel runs in by this point and forms a rock ledge that drops fast into 40 feet of water. This is one of the first places the spotted bass congregate as they move back into the creeks, and some good spots hold here all winter.
Stop out from the channel marker with your boat in 40 feet of water, and work around the point, staying out deep. Start with a jerkbait, casting it right to the bank and fishing it out to the boat, especially under low-light conditions. Jimmy likes a 4.5-inch translucent green Spro McStick or a Rapala XRap, and he works his jerkbait with varying cadences until the bass show him what they prefer.
The ledge here is rock all the way down, and there are scattered brushpiles on it, making it ideal for spots.
After fishing a jerkbait, try bottom-bumping baits like a shaky head, Ned rig or jig ’n pig, and probe the rocks and brush from the bank down to 25 feet deep. Jimmy says you can catch spots deeper, but he does not like to have to fizz them (puncture the swim bladder to increase survival), so he sticks to the upper 25 feet of the water column.
No. 2: N 34º 12.528 – W 84º 05.698 — Go back in Bald Ridge Creek past Bald Ridge Marina. Where the no-wake buoys end at the back of the marina, watch the right bluff bank for a no-wake sign almost hidden by bushes on the bank. Stop here and start fishing upstream.
Stay in 40 feet of water, and you will be a short cast off the steep bank. The channel runs right along this bank. Cast your jerkbait to the bank, and fish it back to the boat. Then fish your bottom-bumping baits on the rocks and brush along this bluff.
When you get to the first dock on this bank, work around it with all your baits, and then fish the next two docks. There are good brushpiles on them. Jimmy says any dock with 25 feet of water under it can be good this time of year, and one of these is owned by the head of a crappie fishing group and it has good brush.
Try your jerkbait along the dock floats for fish holding near them. Bass will sometimes suspend just under the docks and will hit a jerkbait. Then work the bottom all around them, fishing slowly with shaky head, Ned rig and jig.
No. 3: N 34º 12.776 – W 84º 05.542 — A good ditch goes back to your right just upstream of hole 2. Bass move into it in November, following the shad and herring. The fish stay in here and feed all winter. They are usually in starting around mid-November, but with the cool weather this year many will be back in here by the beginning of the month.
Start out in 40 feet of water, and idle in while watching your electronics. When you see brush with baitfish near it, stop and fish it. A variety of baits will work, but Jimmy likes a 1/2-oz. white or chrome Georgia Blade spoon with a little blue in it. Drop it down to the fish, either on the bottom or suspended under the bait, and “video game” the fish—jigging your spoon in front of them while watching your electronics.
A drop shot will also work, and if you rig your worm Texas style with hook point buried in the worm, you will get hung less in the brush. If you see bass just over the brush or down in it, let your drop-shot worm hang in front of their face with just a tiny jiggle of the rod tip.
One key to a good ditch is standing timber in the mouth of it and down the middle. There is some timber here, so watch for it, especially early in the month when the bass first move into the ditches. They will hold in the timber before move up into the ditches to feed.
The docks in here will also hold bass, and Jimmy says the ones on the right side are best since they are a little deeper. Fish them with jerkbait, shaky head and jig.
No. 4: N 34º 12.985 – W 84º 06.121 – Heading up the creek, Bald Ridge makes a hard turn to the right, and Suwanee Creek goes straight ahead. Just upstream of the point between them in Bald Ridge, a sailboat is tied to a dock on your left going in. The metal dock past it is loaded with brush, and it’s a good place to catch fish as they move up the creek following baitfish.
Fish it with your shaky head and jig. Jimmy rigs a 3/16- or 1/4-oz. Hitchhiker Lures jig head with a green pumpkin or watermelon red Trick Worm on it. The lighter head will come through the brush better if it is not windy. Also bump a jig ’n pig through the brush.
No. 5: N 34º 12.346 – W 84º 04.903 — Go back downstream to the creek with Bald Ridge Access in it on your left, and stop out in front of the campground. A big flat runs out to the creek channel, and it has brushpiles on it holding bass as they move into the small creek following baitfish. Use your electronics to find and fish them. Also watch for bass holding under bait away from cover.
Here and other places, have a fluke or a hard swimbait ready to cast to schooling fish. All during the month, spots will chase baitfish to the top, and if you are close enough to hit them with one of your baits, they will eat it. Jimmy says he does not chase schooling fish— they move too fast—but he is always ready if they come up near him.
Jimmy rigs a white Zoom Super Fluke a couple of feet behind a big barrel swivel. The swivel gives you a little more weight for long casts, and it also gets the bait down a little. He also likes a Sebile type hard swimbait, that he has custom painted by Jim Farmer, to make even longer casts to schooling bass. Work both baits fast, and try to cast ahead of the feeding fish as they chase baits.
No. 6: N 34º 12.501 – W 84º 05.015 — The Bald Ridge Access boat ramp is on a point upstream of a small cove past the big flat. The channel swings in by it, and there is a big brushpile beside the no-wake buoy on the upstream side of the ramp.
Stop out from the buoy in 35 feet of water, and cast to the left side of it facing it. The brush is in about 25 feet of water. Work your shaky head and jig through it, bumping limbs and fishing it slowly enough to entice bass holding in it.
Jimmy fishes a 1/2-oz. green-pumpkin Hitchhiker Arkie head jig with a green-pumpkin Fat Albert twin-tail trailer in brush, but when fishing rocks, he goes to a football head jig in the same weight and colors. The Arkie head jig goes through brush better than the football head, but the football head comes through rocks better.
No. 7: N 34º 11.320 – W 84º 04.676 — Run downstream past channel marker 5BR on your right. Go past the first creek on your right, and go into the second one. Back where it narrows down, a dock with a deck on top has a green umbrella on it. Stop out from this dock in 30 feet of water, and idle toward the back of this creek, watching from brush to fish in this ditch.
Early in the morning, go all the way to the back and start fishing there. Bass will push baitfish to the back under low-light conditions and feed in water 10 to 15 feet deep. Start in the back with a jerkbait, fan casting all around and down the middle of the ditch, and then work out. When you get to deeper water, fish the brush out to 25 feet deep.
A small creek feeds this ditch, making it better. Any ditch can be good, but one with an old defined channel is better than a round bottom one. This small creek also has standing timber in the mouth of it, a key for ditch fishing.
No. 8: N 34º 11.672 – W 84º 04.632 — Across the creek and a little upstream of channel marker BR4, a small cove has a rock rip-rap wall on the left side going in. The dock at the end of the rip-rap in the cove has a U.S. flag on it.
Start in the mouth of this small ditch, and look for brush to fish. The right bank has wood cover to fish, as well as the deeper brush in the ditch. When you get back in the ditch, fish the dock with your baits. Keep an eye on your electronics as you cast to the brush, and drop a spoon or drop-shot worm down to any fish you see.
No. 9: N 34º 11.266 – W 84º 04.407 — A long point runs halfway across Bald Ridge Creek out from channel marker BR3. There are brushpiles on it from shallow all the way out to 30 feet deep. Any long point running across open water like this can hold bass year-round, and these long points are especially good in November.
Ride the point, especially the upstream side where the channel swings into it, watching for brush and fish. If the fish are around brush, lower your drop shot. Jimmy rigs a Lanier Baits worm about a foot above a 3/8-oz. drop shot lead, and he likes the colors LJ’s Obsession, Sweet Rosy and Blue Lily.
Bass came up schooling here when we fished, and we got several hits on topwater and Jimmy caught a couple on a fluke. I caught one on a drop shot with a Sweet Rosy worm. Jimmy caught about 10 spots during the trip and was disappointed they were “only” 2 to 3 pounds each.
On this point and any other place with wind blowing into or across it, Jimmy will pick up a spinnerbait, cast into the wind, and reel it fast back to the boat. Bass will hold and watch for baitfish moving with the wind, and the bass will viciously attack them.
No. 10: N 34º 10.842 – W 84º 04.428 — Downstream past channel marker BR1 on your right, watch for a small diamond-shaped marker on the bank. A long shallow point runs out from it and has brush is in 17 to 35 feet of water. The point is not obvious—it runs out from a small clay area on the bank. Fish your shaky head, jig and drop shot around the brush.
Also fish a Ned rig on bare bottom where you see fish holding under baitfish. The Ned rig will often get bites when other baits are ignored, and it is good on clay and rock bottoms. Jimmy rigs a 1/8- to 1/4-oz. head with a green-pumpkin ZMan TRD worm, and he drags it slowly on the bottom. Use the heavier head for deeper water or in windy conditions.
Check out Jimmy’s patterns, baits and places in the Bald Ridge area. He promises not to charge an access fee like he does to Lanier Jim! You can find similar places all over the Lake Lanier to catch great numbers of solid November spotted bass.
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