Lake Lanier

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Fishing in Lake Lanier

Mention Bass fishing in Georgia and locals will tell you there’s no better place for it than Lake Lanier. This man-made lake with over 600 miles of shoreline is synonymous with the best Bass and Crappie fishing in the state. Making the most of this fishery isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult lakes to fish in the entire southeast. If you’re going to do it right, hire a savvy Lake Lanier fishing guide who can put you on the hottest bite.

Known For

Lake Lanier is game fish galore. These waters are teeming with Crappie, Trout, Walleye, Bluegill, Longnose Gar, Carp, a variety of Catfish and Panfish, and four species of Bass.

The most coveted fish in the lake are Largemouth, Striped, and Spotted Bass (a “Lake Lanier Slam” if you catch them all in one day). Anglers hook into these bad boys year-round, modifying their techniques as the seasons change. The best Lake Lanier Bass fishing lasts from February through April, when trophy-sized fish are in the cards. You can catch 5-7 lb Spotted Bass and Stripers weighing up to 20-30 lbs at this time of year!

Crappie are another top target among anglers here. While you can catch this fish at any time of year, winter is the most productive season. In April, these fish feed in shallow water and make easy targets for young kids and novice anglers. Just one month later, the tables turn completely and most Crappie are feeding in deep water, which requires precise casting.

Lake Lanier is a complex fishery, and this dictates everything when it comes to techniques and bait selection. The upper end of the lake is quite shallow and sensitive to changes in weather, while the southern end is relatively deep. Some anglers are willing to share the GPS coordinates of their favorite Lake Lanier fishing spots, but pinpointing places on the map isn’t enough to guarantee success! It takes years to develop intimate knowledge of these waters. Whether you plan to spend your day Lake Lanier fishing for a trophy or simply casting a few lines with your pals, you’ll be glad you hired a local guide.

Need to Know

Getting There

Lake Lanier is a 30-45 minute drive from Atlanta, GA. You can take I-85 N or US 19 N. Please note that some roads on your route may be private or restricted.

Lake Lanier fishing guides run trips out of numerous parks and boat launches around the lake. Be sure to contact the captain ahead of time so you know where to meet. Most parks near the lake have public restrooms and are accessible if you need to use them during your charter.


Anglers in your group age 16 and older must carry a GA fishing license.

There is no closed season for fishing on Lake Lanier and it’s legal to catch and release all fish year-round. Some species may have size and bag limits, so be sure to check local regulations ahead of time if you want to keep your catch.


You’ll find many Lake Lanier fishing charters in the $300-$500 range. Most guides offer base prices for 2 passengers and then charge an additional $25-75 for each passenger after that.

Half day trips (4 hours) typically cost $300-$350, while 5-6 hour trips are $400-$450. Full day trips (8 hours) range from $500-$700.

Lake Lanier Fishing Techniques

Anglers use a variety of fishing methods on Lake Lanier, from spinning, jigging, and trolling to fly fishing. Topwater lures are the weapon of choice in spring and fall, while jigging or live bait fishing with downlines is effective when the weather is warmer and fish move deeper.

If you’re headed to Lake Lanier for the Bass fishing, you can generally rely on one outfit to land any of the local species. Light tackle enthusiasts can catch a Lake Lanier Slam using a medium-action spinning or baitcasting outfit and twelve pound test line. Fly fishermen will be served well by an 8-weight rod. Be sure to pack an intermediate line as well as an integrated shooting head line so you’re prepared to target the fish wherever they happen to be swimming that day.

No matter the season or your level of experience, rest assured your guide will show you how to make the most of Lake Lanier! 

Lake Lanier
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Lake Lanier Fishing Seasons

Start the year off right with a Lake Lanier Slam! Your chances of catching the Bass of a lifetime are excellent, with Largemouth, Spotted, and Striped bass biting vigorously!

Outstanding Bass fishing continues on Lake Lanier. Casting your line between February and April increases your odds of landing a trophy Striper! Crappie are also at their peak.

Spring is on its way and so are the fish! From Bass, Crappie, and Walleye to Trout, there’s no telling what you’ll hook into at this time of year.

Early April is a great time to bring the kids out to Lake Lanier for some Crappie fishing, when these fish are feeding in the shallows. The Bass fishing ain’t half bad, either!

May can be a great month to fish for Crappie, but most of your bait will be snatched up by Bass feeding closer to the surface! Cast a topwater lure and you’re in for some serious Bass action.

As the weather heats up, many fish in Lake Lanier are heading to deeper water. This can make it hard to catch species like Striper, but you’ll have success targeting schools of Spotted Bass. 

Many fish are hiding in the deep, but anglers with fish finder electronics can outsmart them. Eager to hook a Spotted Bass? Spinner baits, rooster tails, and small spook lures will do the trick!

The most successful anglers at this time of year are the ones relying on their Lowrances to locate Stripers and Spotted Bass in the deepest parts of the lake, mostly at the south end.

Early fall is the time for “combat fishing” — when schools of fish begin moving toward the surface and smashing topwater lures! This is some of the most exciting angling on the lake.

Temperatures are starting to cool down and boat traffic on the lake is subsiding. This is a great time to enjoy Bass fishing on Lake Lanier after summer tourists are gone.

By November, your chances of catching any Bass species in the lake are excellent. Get ready for some topwater action and a Lake Lanier Slam!

You aren’t likely to come home empty-handed at this time of year! Depending on conditions, you’ll employ anything from planer boards and spoons to live bait on downlines.

Lake Lanier Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Lake Lanier

Bass (Striped)

Bass (Striped)

Bass (Spotted)

Bass (Spotted)





Bass (Largemouth)

Bass (Largemouth)