Patterns And Locations For Lake Lanier Fall Football Spotted Bass
Those magnum Lanier spots are feeding heavy this month, and George Forrester shows how and where to catch these fat and aggressive spotted bass.
The big spotted bass at Lake Lanier will be feeding a lot this month, getting ready for winter. They will be on predictable patterns that you can take advantage of and catch them. November is one of the best months to be on the lake, and several patterns will work.
The arrival of blueback herring and the increase of the size limit to 14 inches for bass at Lanier have combined to produce some fantastic spotted-bass fishing. Three-pound spots are common now, and five-pounders are weighed almost every big tournament. Fishermen have learned new ways to find and catch these big spots, and some have gotten very good at it.
George Forrester works at HD Marine and fishes Lanier a lot. He grew up in the area and has fished the lake all his life, but he was a self described “fair-weather fisherman” and golfer until a friend invited him to fish a night tournament. He was hooked on the competition and fun and gave up golf. For a time he fished the FLW Circuit on the pro side and basically fished tournaments all the time.
When George went to work at HD Marine about six years ago, he started concentrating on their trail and pot tournaments at Lanier. He has about 10 top-three finishes in pot tournaments this year, and he and partner Tully Youngblood finished sixth in the HD Marine Children’s Healthcare tournament in September. George was in second place after the first day, fishing by himself in that tournament to make the cut.
Due to his constant contact with fishermen at HD Marine and his time on the lake, few fishermen know Lanier better. George keeps up with the movement of bass and what they are doing and can usually find a good limit. He catches a lot more spotted bass than largemouths, but with the big spots available now, that is fine with him.
The water temperatures at Lanier have remained high this fall, with mid 70s the norm in mid October. By now the cooling waters have made the spots get on a familiar November pattern, and George shared his knowledge with me of what they are doing during a mid October trip. You should be able to follow his patterns and catch them.
With water temperatures in the mid 50s to the low 60s, George likes to start off shallow early in the mornings, throwing spinnerbaits and crankbaits around rip-rap points. He finds points that have some shallow flats around them but drop off fast into deep water. Big spots will move up on these points and feed right at daylight, and you can quickly catch some quality fish.
A white and green War Eagle 1/2- or 3/8-oz. double-willowleaf spinnerbait with one nickel and one gold blade is George’s favorite. He likes a Norman’s Deep Little N crankbait and uses several colors, with a bait with blue back and cream sides and sparkles his favorite. He throws them on P-Line, the CXX variety, not the fluorocarbon type. He will also throw a jerkbait like the Staysee or Pointer this time of year.
As the sun gets higher later in the mornings, George will move out onto deeper humps and the ends of long points and ridges, fishing for the spots where they live and feed during the day. jig ‘n pig or a Texas-rigged worm are his best baits for this kind of fishing, although early in the month topwater will still attract some bites everywhere he fishes.
A True Tungsten jig in green pumpkin is the one George chooses to fish, and he tips it with a green pumpkin trailer. For the Texas rig George likes a green pumpkin or natural blue Swamp Crawler, a Trick Worm or a finesse worm. He likes the True Tungsten bullet weights in the same colors as the worm and says matching the lead color to the worm seems to get more bites. He usually puts a red glass bead between the worm and lead, and uses 3/16- to 1/4-oz. sinkers depending on water depth.
There is also a good dock pattern during November. Bass move to the docks in shallow water and seem attracted to the black floats on the docks. George thinks the sun warms these floats and provides some comfort to bass, and the warmth also attracts baitfish. He will fish the shallowest docks and the floats on them, catching big spots from a couple of feet of water this time of year. The jig ‘n pig or Texas-rigged worm work good here, as do spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
The following 10 spots give you places to fish each kind of structure and cover George likes to fish this month. They are in a small area so you can put in nearby and fish them without burning much gas. Learn them and you will find many others nearby and all over the lake that are similar and hold big November spots.
No. 1 on the map: N 34º 18.000 – W 83º 55.954 — In the mouth of the Chestatee a small creek enters on the south side of Duckett Mill Campground. Between the 6C Chestatee channel marker and the 1BY creek marker is a long point running out into deep water. It is flat on top and has rip-rap banks on both sides. he water is very deep on the upstream side, coming up from 40-feet deep to a shelf about 13-feet deep just 25 feet or so off the bank. t runs way out shallow on the end. his is the kind of place George likes to start early in the morning.
Start fishing on the side of this point, and fish all the way around it, casting a spinnerbait or crankbait up near the rocks and working it back to the boat. Try different speeds of retrieve until the bass show you what they want, but fish fairly fast. You don’t have a lot of time to fish spots like this, just until the sun hits the water.
On the end of the point, try a crankbait and fish on out, following the point. s the water gets deeper, down to 20 or more feet, throw your jig ‘n pig or a Texas-rigged worm. Keep your spinnerbait, crankbait or jerkbait ready, though. George says this is a good spot to see schooling fish. There are some brushpiles on this point, too. Watch your depthfinder, and when you spot one, be sure to work the jig ‘n pig or worm through it.
No. 2: N 34º 17.603 – W 83º 56.222 — There is an island back out toward the main water from spot No. 1, and it has two shoal markers and a red channel marker on the side toward the open water. he channel actually bends in behind this island, and there are some great humps and points off the west side of the island.
If you idle across the south side of the island, about 100 yards off the shoal markers — straight south of them — you will cross a bar that runs off that side. It comes up to about 20-feet deep on top, and there is some brush on it. he bar drops off fast on the right side if you are facing the shoal markers on the island. The Chestatee River channel swings in right by that side.
George likes to fish the drop and brush on this bar with a jig ‘n pig or Texas-rigged worm. He will fish it from all angles, bring his bait from deep to shallow and shallow to deep, too. The fish are often down 15 to 30 feet during the day and will hold in any cover on the bar. If you find a brush pile, mark it and fish it carefully.
No. 3: N 34º 17.510 – W 83º 56.193 — If you keep going out the way the bar runs it will come back up with a hump way off the island. You can find this hump by following a line between red channel marker 4C and black channel marker 3C. The hump is on the 4C side and the river channel will be between that marker and the hump.
When you find the hump, it will come up to about 20 feet on top and there is brush on it. ark it and fish all around it, concentrating on the brush. Keep your bait near the bottom. George says fish holding on places like this relate to the bottom so he keeps his jig or worm right on the bottom, and does not use a drop-shot rig that keeps it off the bottom this time of year.
No. 4: N 34º 17.447 – W 83º 56.003 — Just south of spot No. 3 the Chestatee channel makes a big loop, almost coming back on itself. In the loop are two good places to fish. This one is a hump that comes up to 15 feet on top. If you line up the small island on the east side of the river with the beach area way across at Keith Bridge Park, you will go across it. It is on the island side and is where the river channel comes closest to touching itself. This hump is between the two sides of the channel so it drops off fast on both sides. Fish it like the others, looking for brush and fishing the drops.
No. 5. N 34º 17.315 – W 83º 55.999 — Go southwest from spot No. 4 toward the outer loop of the river channel, and you will find another hump that comes up to 19 feet on top. It is farther out and deeper, and fewer people take the time to find and fish it. You can see it on a good map, though.
George says this is the kind of place you can pull up and catch a five-fish limit weighing 20 pounds if the fish are there. Here as in other spots, note the exact depth you catch a bass. According to George, bass hold at a consistent depth all over Lanier this time of year, so if you locate that magic depth you can catch fish on other places at the same depth.
No. 6: N 34º 18.237 – W 83º 56.509 — Head up the Chestatee toward the bridge, and you will go past a long point on the right that is part of Duckett Mill Campground. Near the 10C channel marker is another long rip-rap point like the one in hole No. 1. t runs way out and has some benches on it. The sides of it are more shallow than in No. 1 but the end is deeper.
This is another good place to start in the morning. Fish all the way around the point with a spinnerbait and crankbait. There is a lot of brush here, too, especially on the up river side. You can see the Little Hall ramp just upstream across the mouth of a creek from this point.
After fishing around it, try your worm and jig in the brush. George says you should not waste a lot time on these spots, either the fish are there or not. They will hit on the first pass if they are there feeding, so work around it then head to the next spot if you don’t catch anything. Slow down, and fish more carefully if you do catch some quality fish.
No. 7: N 34º 18.379 – W 83º 56.719 — Straight across the river from the end of this point is a good set of docks to fish. There is a pocket with protected docks that hold bass between the island on the downstream side and Channel Marker 11C on the upstream point. This is a big, flat cove with some depth to it, so it is a good feeding and holding place for the bass. Since it is protected from the wind it is even better.
George fishes them all, casting a jig or worm to them and letting it fall right by the floats. Skip your bait back under the dock if you can, too. he black floats seem to be better this time of year, and hit the most shallow docks, too. Work the ends, but also go back behind the dock, and fish the floats closest to the bank. Pitch a jig or worm softly to the shallow floats, and be ready for a fast strike.
No. 8: N 34º 18.427 – W 83º 57.081 — If you head upstream, go around the point with channel marker 11C on it and there is a creek on your left, before you get to the bridge. It is full of docks, and there are blowdowns, brush, rocks, and other good cover. George starts at the mouth of the creek and fishes all the docks and other cover going in. With the water down you can see much of the brush and other cover you want to fish.
There is good depth going way back in this creek, and in the very back there are some willows and trash to fish. Bass may be all the way back in these shallows in November, especially if it is a warm day. itch a jig or worm to all the visible cover back on the flat, and concentrate on cover right on the old creek channel.
No. 9: N 34º 16.661 – W 83º 56.413 — Head out of the Chestatee through the downstream cut, and watch for the shoal marker on your right as you hit the Chattahoochee channel. A ridge runs out from that shoal marker toward the river channel. George says this is a good spot year round, and everything works here.
Start with a spinnerbait up shallow early, and then back off with a crankbait. Fish even deeper with a jig or worm, fishing all around the point on both sides. This spot is even better if there is some wind blowing in on it, and current coming down the river will position fish on it, too.
No. 10: N 34º 16.525 – W 83º 56.774 — Down the river a short distance is an island with channel marker 31 on it. here is a shoal marker on the downstream side toward the bank a lot of folks fish. But if you idle straight downstream from the channel marker you will cross a ridge or hump that is not shown on the map. George says he is not sure exactly what this structure is, but it holds fish.
The hump is about 150 feet off the island, and there is some brush here. Fish all around it from different directions, working a jig or worm on the drops and in any brush you find.
These spots are a great starting point for November fishing at Lanier. George says you can find a small area like this anywhere on the lake, spend time on it and learn how to fish it. If you find some fish in an area, stick with it and you will find more schools nearby. You don’t have to run all over the lake to catch bass right now.
Start out shallow with active fish in 10 to 12 feet of water early in the morning, and then back off to find fish holding and feeding in 20 to 30 feet of water after the sun gets up. Find brush on long points and humps and work it. Or go to shallow docks for the fish feeding there. There are plenty of options and lots of big spots on Lanier this month.
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