Situated under fifty minutes away from downtown Atlanta, Georgia is one of the most fantastic fishing lakes in the state. Fishing on Lake Lanier is phenomenal, and it offers a wide range of fish species for the novice or experienced angler. Many marinas and boat ramps line the shore if you are equipped with your own vessel, but if not, no problem. Fishing guides are available for hire and will supply both bait and tackle.
What type of fish can you catch Lake Lanier?
This man-made reservoir measuring 59 square miles is a fishing hotspot. Fisherman travel to Lake Lanier most commonly to catch striped bass, largemouth bass, and walleye.
Let’s start with one of the most highly sought after fish on the lake, the striped bass or as some call it, a striper.
The striped bass is so popular as sporting fish on the lake because of its size and fighting ability. They are most often caught between two and five pounds but grow much larger in size. It is not uncommon to catch a fish well over 30 pounds, that size fish is a real bruiser. The Lake Lanier record is 47 pounds!
Can you eat striped bass?
In addition to the fighting ability, they are often harvested for dinner. These tasty fish make excellent table fare. Be sure to check the regulations before you head out.
What type of equipment do you need?
Stripers are commonly caught with both artificial lures and live bait. Cast jerk baits, bucktail jigs, or minnow swim baits towards the shoreline and work it back to the boat.
The rod and reel combination should be stout. A 6 to 7-foot rod is ideal that is medium to heavy in action. The line weight should be between 12 and 20 pounds.
If you’re able to source live bait from a tackle shop, it is ideal. Live bait is the best bait to catch striped bass. They can be fished on the bottom with a weight or near the surface under a float.
Walleye in Lake Lanier
A fish known for being in the north, the walleye is abundant in Lake Lanier.
These nocturnal fish out of the north are stocked annually in Lake Lanier. Because of the stocking program, the lake has a large population of walleye. The walleye is most commonly caught between two and four pounds but are occasionally landed, measuring nearly eight pounds. A walleye weighing just over 8 pounds is the largest on record.
Most southerners may not be familiar with walleye and if they are edible. Is walleye good to eat?
Walleye are one of the best tasting freshwater fish. The fillets are flakey when cooked and mild in taste. You can’t go wrong bringing these home for dinner.
What tackle and gear should you use?
Much like striped bass, walleye can be caught in a multitude of ways. An excellent way to increase your success rate is to fish at dusk, through the night, or dawn as they are most active in low light conditions.
Many people stumble across walleye while fishing for striped bass as many of the same types of lures are used. Although walleye are smaller in size than stripers, they are an excellent fighter. Rods can be scaled back to medium maximum, and 8-12 pound line is sufficient.
During the daylight hours, walleye hold deep but venture to the surface near the shore to eat as the sun sets or is down. Live bait, including minnows and worms, are very effective. When you are working the bottom where they lay during the day, drop a worm harness down, much like a spinner but has two hooks to trail the worm behind the spinning blade.
Some other ways to entice a bite is by trolling or casting crankbaits. During the day, use large lipped bait for diving deeper, and during the evening, a lipless plug will work.
One of the most popular fish throughout the United States is the largemouth bass. Lake Lanier has no shortage of these.
The largemouth bass fishing draws one of the most notorious tournaments. The Bassmasters Tournament Elite competition was held on Lake Lanier in 2019. Most of the largemouth are between one and two pounds and often exceed five. The lake record is a whopping 17.9 pounds. That is a monster largemouth.
How do you catch largemouth bass?
These fish are aggressive biters and often put up a spectacular fight that includes big jumps up in the air. While they can be kept for dinner, most anglers practice catch and release because of the other more tasty fish available in the lake.
Bass are fun on light to medium action rods. Keep in mind that largemouth like to hang around structure and keeping bass away from it when hooked to avoid breaking it off can require a stronger rod/reel combination.
During the winter, largemouth will tend to be deeper where the warm water is. Fish live bait such as crayfish, minnows, or worms near or on the bottom around bottom structure. During the spring and fall, expect to target bass shallow around docks, rock piles, and weedy shorelines. Much like in the winter, summer largemouth will also be deep, but this time to seek cooler water.
The choice of lures for bass is endless. Crankbaits, plastic worms, buzz baits, and more will all do the trick. Just remember to adjust to the season. Fish near the surface in the fall and spring and the bottom in the summer and winter. You’ll be hooked when you watch a bass explode on a surface bait.
Lake Lanier fishing is incredible. Beyond just these three types of fish, many other exciting species are available to catch. Check out the Lake Lanier Visitors Website to learn more about marinas, accommodations, and local dining. The area offers much more than just fishing. Have fun catching them up on Lake Lanier.