Lake Lanier Stripers

by Steve Scott

Traditionally the month of May would bring us an extreme topwater bite every year. But this year it has been very different with the lake not recovering to its full pool and the unseasonable weather bringing in colder temps, then warm days, then more rainy days keeping temperatures from the high 60s to low 70s. I believe this has caused the stripers to be confused about their trek to spawn up the rivers leaving most of them scattered in mid-lake. So, the topwater bite has only lasted about 2 weeks this year. Other baits used to catch these nomads has moved from medium shiners to the larger baits like blueback herring and medium gizzard shad.

June is expected to settle down as the lake should come up slowly to full pool. Downlines are back in full swing as well as the Ben Parker spoon and umbrella rigs. Stagger your downlines in 80 to 100′ of water. On a clean bottom, drop one of them to the bottom and crank it up a few turns regardless if fish are seen on the screen using a 12” gizzard shad. Be sure to use a sizeable clip-on weight, say 3-4 ounces to get to the bottom quickly. Use anchor lock so as not to tangle with other downlines while hovering over those 100′ depths.

Another deep-water method is using the Ben Parker spoon. While over those depths and anchored, drop the spoon all the way to the bottom then power reel it back to the surface is one method. Another method with the spoon is getting the bite on the fall. Be aware of the bite on the fall by holding the line between your fingers as it drops or you may miss the bite. You can also use the War Eagle spoon on an 80′ bottom. A third method is fan-casting the Ben Parker spoon at 1, 2 and 3 o’clock and let it fall beneath the boat then power reel it or use a jigging action to get a strike.

Finally, use the umbrella rig with dark colors on cloudy days and light colors on sunny days with curly tails, paddle tails or a combination of both. The umbrella rig is a reactionary bite. Maybe add a little noise with some glass rattles embedded in one of the paddle tails if the water is a little stained. Fish the umbrella rigs 75′ back over 30′ points and river bends in main channel, in the mouth of creeks and over main lake points. Update your log.

TIP OF THE MONTH: When a fish shops your bait, start power reeling one of your downlines. For more detailed information visit