Lake Sidney Lanier has some of the best freshwater fishing in the Southeast. From striper to largemouth and spotted bass to crappie, walleye, and catfish, you will create great fishing memories here. There are plenty of locations to fish from the shore, but fishing from your boat is superb. With all the little islands and inlets you are sure to find your favorite spot.

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As much fun as fishing is for adults, fishing can be just as fun and educational for kids! Commemorate your child’s first catch with this fun “First Fish” certificate provided by the DNR..

Fishing Columnist, Ken Sturdivant - headh shotLanier Fishing Report

compiled by Ken Sturdivant, Southern Fishing

July 2021 Fishing Report

Lake level: 1.6 feet below full
Clarity: Clear
Temperature: 70s

Bass: Bass are definitely in their early summer mode right now and feeding heavily. Top water is still the flavor of the day on most days. A Chug bug or walking bait such as a medium-size Spook are working well over the 15- to 30-foot deep brush as well as humps.

Watch closely when you catch one to see if there are others following it, if so try a frontrunner on the Spook to try and double up. If you see fish following the one you caught and don’t get any more strikes in the area it probably means that you have moved the school from the brush. Leave the area for an hour or so and return, often they will regroup around the brush.

If you aren’t getting the topwater bite drop down a level with a pearl white fluke or the Spybait. Work the fluke one to two feet under the surface while counting the Spybait down a count of three or so and slowly working it back. The Spybait is a very subtle bait so you don’t want to work it too fast.

There is also a good bite on the Dropshot in the same depth brush. I use a medium seven foot six spinning rod with a fast tip spooled with 20-pound braid backing and a six-pound test leader. It is important to have the leader long enough that when you get the fish close to the boat your braid/flouro knot is already in the reel. This takes the stress off the knot while playing the fish close to the boat. Currently, I am using a three eights weight with a one hook. Be sure to use some type swivel at the hook or above it to prevent line twist.

Fruity works have been the meal ticket for these fish with Blue Lilly and Tomato Red leading the pack. Remember, no hard hooks sets with this setup, just lift the rod tip to set the hook.

The summer night is also starting to roll. Blue, black or red crankbaits that run six to 12 feet deep will draw strikes on rocking points and banks as well as shallow humps. Night fishing is a great way to beat the heat.

Report by: Phil Johnson, a Lake Lanier bass fishing guide. Contact: or 770 366-8845.

Stripers: Stripers are on the way south to the deeper water but there’s still fish in pockets mostly south of Gainesville. Down lines with blue backs have been the most consistent method, fishing over a 50- to 90-foot bottom at 25 to 45 feet deep. Using your electronics to locate bait is a plus but marking just a couple of fish can result in a big day on the water. Always have a top water plug just in case they come up close.

Report by: Buck Cannon Buck Tails Guide Service, 404 510-1778.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. In the last two weeks we have seen our biggest numbers of the year. The hot bite target zone is eight to 15 feet deep. The crappie are on the docks and also can be found on deep water brush piles and blow downs. Put out a crappie minnow while casting your jigs, you never know what might take it. If you have live scope or active imaging set the minnows just above the fish. Right now I am setting the minnows around 10-12 feet deep. For best results use a live minnow!

Look under docks that are in 20 to 40 feet of water near a main channel and have brush or structure. Use your electronic charts to locate these areas. Remember that crappie love the shade so cast into the shadows of a dock. Try different jig colors and jig styles. Jigs can be used for short casting, vertical jigging, trolling or dock shooting.

The most productive jigs recently have been the translucent and light-colored jigs, or a blue and silver jig. When dock shooting I use a 1/16 oz. painted jig head with a #4 sickle hook. Let your jig sink and give it time to get down to the fish and retrieve your jig slowly. I’m using ATX lure company’s plastics that can be purchased locally at Sherry’s Bait and BBQ or The Dam Store. I use the k9 5-pound test high visibility yellow braid for my line (unless I am using a bobber) and a Piscifun reel on an Acc crappie Stix. I use Garmin Live Scope and the Navionics Boating app.

Report by: Captain Josh Thornton, 770 530-6493.

Bait & Tackle Shops

Buford Dam Bait & Tackle  – (706) 429-7211
2595 Buford Dam Rd, Cumming, GA 30041
Located in Chevron station

Hammond’s Fishing – (770) 888-6898
4255 Browns Bridge Rd, Cumming, GA 30041

Daniel’s Grocery – (770) 887-7052
2355 Pilgrim Mill Rd, Cumming, GA 30041

Oakwood Bait & Tackle Shop – (770) 965-9400
5422 McEver Rd, Oakwood, GA 30566

Kelly Brown Bait & Tackle – (423) 509-3708
3535 Thompson Bridge Rd, Gainesville, GA 30506

Sherry’s Bait & Barbecue – (678) 971-5607
2807 Dawsonville Hwy, Gainesville, GA 30506

STOP BY FOOD MART#2 – (770) 536-6421
2145 Cleveland Hwy, Gainesville, GA 30506

The Outdoor Depot  – (770) 539-9356
250 John W Morrow Jr Pkwy, Gainesville, GA 30501
Located in Gainesville West Shopping Center

Happy Hooker, Inc. – (770) 867-4814
104 S Broad St, Winder, GA 30680

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