6 Best Striper Fishing Lakes in Georgia

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Georgia is home to some of the best freshwater striped bass fishing anywhere in the South.

Huge, aggressive stripers await those in search of the ultimate bass battle. While these massive bass aren’t native to the lakes of Georgia, they feel right at home in big reservoirs filled with baitfish.

And they’re ready to battle.

Atlanta is a great hub to start searching for some of the best striped bass fishing in Georgia. Multiple lakes within a few hours’ drive hold giant stripers and provide varied fishing options, great camping, and lots of other recreation.

It’s hard to choose the best, what with epic striper spots like Lake Lanier, Clarks Hill Lake, and Lake Hartwell on the list.

Stripers call those and several other reservoirs home, and they grow to unbelievable sizes. A 40-pound-plus fish is more than possible in Georgia.

So when you’re looking for striped bass fishing in Georgia, look no further than the following excellent lakes.

Best Striper Fishing in Georgia

Let’s get one thing out of the way: It’s nearly impossible to settle on which lake is genuinely the best striper spot in Georgia. Opinions vary, and with so many fantastic options, you’ll just have to try them all! I know. It sounds like work.

Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier is one of the most popular destinations in Georgia for striped bass fishing. It’s home to a thriving population of stripers, and you can be on a boat here in no time out of Atlanta. It’s only 50 miles northeast.

Lake Lanier is a well-known fishery for bass, with good largemouth and epic spotted bass fishing.

Stripers usually hang out in the deeper sections of the lake, especially along the submerged river channels.

Hit the drop-offs along the main channel for your best chances. Toss a live bait or anything mimicking a shad or blueback herring.

Focus on the points along the river channel, and you’ll soon find a pattern where stripers are cruising around behind the bait that takes shelter in the rocks.

When you find a few on your sonar, toss in live bait or a large Rat-L-Trap to do the job.

The lower lake has far less cover than the upper portion and can hold more stripers swimming in the open. There are a good number of spotted bass in the lower lake as well.

After a morning spent fishing, hit one of the many golf courses in the area.
Plenty of camping and lodging are nearby for those extended trips, and restaurants are everywhere and range from cheap to break-the-bank expensive.

Lake Hartwell

Lake Hartwell is in the running as one of the top bass fishing waters in the entire Southeast. Significant populations of stripers thrive in this deep lake.

A border lake with South Carolina, Hartwell is a mix of the Savannah, Seneca, and Tugaloo rivers.

The lake is one of the largest in the South and is popular both among anglers and water sports enthusiasts.

Fishing on Lake Hartwell can be challenging, though it is stocked regularly with stripers, with fish weighing over 20 pounds being reasonably common.

The water is deep, so you’ll need a fish finder to locate structures and schooling stripers.

Fall through late spring marks prime striper fishing. Depending on water levels and temperatures, they spawn between May and July here.

If you time it right, head into the Seneca and Tugaloo river arms during the spawn with your live bait, and the stripers won’t be able to leave you alone.

Set up at the Tugaloo and Seneca rivers confluence and toss baitfish like bluebacks, shiners, and gizzard shad. Shad tend to be striper magnets.

Summer trips require you to focus on deeper waters along the main lake channel. Find any drop-offs and points that are primarily rocky, and you’re bound to find some stripers on the hunt.

Bring the family for the perfect summer getaway. The lake hosts several tournaments, boat regattas, and more throughout the summer. Art galleries and botanical gardens fill the surrounding communities.

Tugaloo State Park offers camping, boat launching, and other amenities on Georgia’s side of this long lake arm.

Lake Blackshear

Lake Blackshear is near Cordele, just off Interstate 75 in southwestern Georgia but close enough to Columbus and Atlanta to draw in plenty of people.

Stripers of over 20 pounds are a regular occurrence at Blackshear. Something about the lake lets them get up to size fast. Maybe they snack on baby alligators.

Largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing is also topnotch, and bluegill, crappie, and channel and flathead catfish round out the angling targets here.

Be on the lookout for alligators in Lake Blackshear, as it’s chock full of them. They’re everywhere. Stripers are, too, and will attack live bait with a vengeance.

Set your sights on the deeper water along the river channels throughout the lake.
Head north under Smoak Bridge in the spring, and you’ll find stripers up amongst the cypress trees.

Summer and fall find the stripers holding in deeper water throughout the main arms of the lake. Shad is your best bet, fished slowly in 25 to 35 feet of water.

Once the temps rise, Blackshear becomes a crowded recreational area. Fishing can still be good, though weekdays will be less insane with fewer jet skis.

Lake Blackshear has everything you need. It has campgrounds, lodging, golf courses, restaurants, marinas, and plenty of private rentals on its shores.

Clarks Hill Lake

Clarks Hill Lake sits on the South Carolina/Georgia border north of Augusta. In SC, it’s known as Lake Strom Thurman, while in Georgia, they stuck with the original Clarks Hill moniker.

Striped bass fishing here can be incredible. There are many reasons to fish this lake, but the stripers are the real draw.

Striped bass over 20 pounds are common, with the occasional 35-pound-plus monster brought to the net.

Blueback herring make up the prime forage here. These baitfish get larger than most forage, and big striped bass tend to gorge themselves on the overabundant food source.

Use patterns to mimic the herring closely, and you’ll do well.

The best time for stripers is early spring through late May and fall. The spawn often starts the first couple weeks of April, though it can be drawn out until late summer/early fall, depending on water temps.

Hit the river inlets and smaller tributaries for the best action when the stripers are spawning.

Winter fishing for stripers can be hit and miss. Stripers are active throughout the winter, though one day, you’ll catch a 20-pounder, and the next three trips, you’ll get skunked.

The lake is stocked regularly with stripers, and landing one that is 40-plus pounds isn’t out of the question.

Shellcracker, crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, white bass, hybrid bass, and massive catfish are also cruising around the lake. For example, Clarks Hill makes our best fishing in Georgia lists for several game fish, including crappie.

So come prepared for a multispecies day, and you’ll avoid the dreaded skunk.

Mistletoe State Park makes a good base camp for overnighters.

Lake Allatoona

Lake Allatoona is north of Atlanta, and less than an hour’s drive brings you to over 25 parks, eight marinas, 10 campgrounds, and epic fishing opportunities.

It’s also one of the most popular lakes in the country, and for a good reason. Stripers are one of those good reasons.

Head out from Blockhouse Ramp. Focus on the river channels coming into the lake from Allatoona Creek, Etowah River, and Little River.

Most stripers will be cruising the open areas searching for shad. Watch the surface for action, and you’ll be able to find them in a hurry.

Other great spots are along the many rock jetties in the area.

Get to the ramp early. It gets super busy during the summer and will close when full.

While freshwater striper fishing is often a sport for boaters, there are some spots you can reach from the shore with reasonable odds of hooking into one of these big fish.

Bank fishing can be good at the Payne Day Use Area, the Blockhouse Fishing Jetty, and Cherokee County Park.

Use a spinnerbait and work the deeper water just off the jetty rocks and brush piles. Live bait like a shad will also bring them to the net.

Red Top Mountain State Park is one of multiple public parks on Lake Allatoona.

Lake Oconee

Lake Oconee has 379 miles of shoreline for the striper angler to explore midway between Atlanta and Augusta.

Oconee is a massive lake with several popular game fish species. Stripers and largemouth bass are the standouts here.

Several marinas and docks are around the lake, along with plenty of shoreline access for the bank angler.

Search out the ledges and drop-offs into the old river channels for the best striper action. Hit any creek and river entrances where they cut deeper into the water.

Toss a shad into the swirling eddies along the confluence and you’ll hook up with something — either a striper, largemouth, or giant catfish.

Another top tactic is casting big plastics for big fish. Crankbaits and live baits are great options throughout the year.

Boat anglers should find stripers in the main sections of the lake.

The entire area is covered in resorts. So take the family and jump off the giant rock pile into the lake.

There are numerous camping and lodging options around the lake, and Greensboro is just a 2-mile drive to the east.

Catch More Stripers

Read up on our top fishing tips for catching stripers in lakes.