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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Fish the banks and brush for some great action

POSTED: June 26, 2014 6:54 p.m.

Lake Lanier’s water remains just barely below full pool at 1,070.85 or just .15 below a full pool of 1,071. Lake temperatures are in the mid 80s. Lake Lanier is clear on main lake and clear in the rivers and creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear below Buford Dam. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass fishing is good. They are biting very well at times, and there are a lot of bass buried down in brush piles that are 15 to 30 feet deep. I speak about fishing brush piles a lot, but they are a key cover for spotted bass year round. Locating brush used to be a difficult task, but the new generation of fish finders makes this an easy task. One fascinating thing that my Humminbird Side Imaging can do is to make an object to any side of the boat and I can lay a waypoint directly to where the object appears even though my boat is 100 or more feet to the left or right.

Now Humminbird has a way to scan 360 degrees so you can actually see brush, stumps and even fish in front of your boat. Once you mark the brush or other submerged cover, then add it to to your waypoints.

The bass are relating to brush this week, and we have had to go down to them with lures like drop shot or a jig and pig. The drop shot rig I use is a Big Bites Shakin’ Squirrel hooked through the front of the lure to give it the best action. You can also Texas Rig your drop shot lure when needed to prevent your lure from hanging up in thick brush, I like a ¼-ounce tungsten weight with a number 1 Aberdeen style Gamakatsu hook. You should also use a swivel set about1-2 feet above your drop shot soft plastics.

You will find them hanging around in the 15-30-foot range of the day, but be ready because there are some schooling bass around chasing bait. Smaller top water. A Big Bites Jerk Shad hooked on a Fishead or Pulse Jig Head has also been a very good method for catching bass over brush. Just cast the rig past the brush and let it sink to the bottom.

Then reel it very slowly over the brush and hold on! Keep a weightless Jerk Shad or a Fluke to entice the bass to bite closer to the surface.

We have still been power fishing and hitting about 20 areas in an eight-hour day. Spotted bass go through active feeding periods and then they hunker down. You will often return to areas that were void of bass earlier in the day only to find the fish schooling on top. Also keep a lure handy to entice these followers. A Jerk Shad, McStick, SPRO Mc Stick or a Rooster Tail are all good choices in this situation. When your fishing partner hooks a bass, be ready to cast another lure in case a wolf pack shows itself.

Fishing with live bait is not my preference, but it is a great way for anyone. Native spot tails are like candy to several species of fish on Lake Lanier. You can attract these native minnows by throwing grits or corn meal out around. Rig a spot tail on a drop shot or a down line will just about ensure a successful day of catching. They hang around boat ramps or beach areas.

After you scatter your grits or corn meal then wait a little and you should see the baitfish. Both spot tails and brim will appear, but only keep the spot tails, as it is illegal to use brim that are caught with a cast net as bait. It is legal to use brim that you have caught with a hook. See my bank fishing report for more details. Rig a spot tail on a drop shot or a down line will just about ensure a successful day of catching.

Spot tails hang around boat ramps or beach areas. After you scatter your grits or corn meal, then wait a little and you should see the baitfish. Both spot tails and brim will appear, but you should only gather the spot tails, as it is illegal to use brim that are caught with a cast net as bait. It is legal to use brim that you have caught with a hook. Use a small mesh cast net to catch spot tails. You can purchase these nets at local tackle stores, but make sure you get the smaller mesh size.

Stripe fishing seems to get better ever day as these veracious predators move over deeper water. The summer bite is just starting to set up really well. Anglers in the know and guides are catching 10 to 20 stripers in an eight-hour day. Target the creek mouths and main lake areas, and watch your electronics closely. They are biting around 30 feet over timber and deeper water.

Stripers appear as arcs or lines on my Humminbird fish finder set in the standard 2D configuration. I can switch over to Down Imaging and actually see the fish even better. If the screen looks like spaghetti or oval shapes in Down Imaging, then you are probably found a school of stripers. Drop a live blue back down to the level that you mark the fish. Use a 2-ounce sinker to get these baits down quickly through the warmer surface layer of water to ensure the baits stay lively. Use 12-pound test fluorocarbon as your leader to coax the bites.

Trolling has not really been good because the down line fishing is so good. You can troll a lure on a Cannon Down Rigger while searching for the schools of stripers. Try a SPRO BBZ 1 or a 2-ounce SPRO Buck Tail or try trolling with lead core line over main lake humps and on the ends of the points. Let your lead core out 7-8 colors and keep your trolling speed around two miles an hour and run your lure around 20 feet.

Crappie fishing is fair, but experienced anglers have been shooting jigs up under docks and sea wall during the day. The night bite has been good under lights on the bridges or beneath lighted boat docks. Most of the bridges are holding decent slabs, and the best time has been 10 p.m. to midnight and later. 2 Mile, 6 Mile and Wahoo Creek bridges are all great places to put out lights.

Place your Hydro Glow or Floating lights around bridge piling that are in 20 or more feet. Set crappie minnows or spot tails out on a down line to the depth that you see on your electronics. 15 feet is a good depth to try until you get them stirred up with the lights.

Trout: Trout fishing is very good both below the dam on the Chattahoochee River and also up in the mountains. The mornings have been the best time, as the trout seem to feed better. I believe this is because they have not been seeing as many lures. Fish your favorite stream or rivers early in the day.

Use a 1/8th or 1/16th size Rooster Tail on 4-pound Sun Line or try live earth worms below a large split shot. If you use corn, salmon eggs, Power Nuggets or worms, then check local regulations to make sure live bait is permitted.

Bank Fishing: The brim are biting very well in the shallows on Lake Lanier. Brim are one of the easiest fish to target, which makes them great for kids. If you are fishing with your kids, choose a rod and reel combination that is easy for them to use. A Zebco 33 is an old reliable. Make sure the line is in good shape and that the reel is well oiled. Cast earthworms set 1-2 feet under a bobber.

Tie your line directly to a small Aberdeen style bait hook without a weight or a swivel. Small Rooster Tails or other inline spinners will work very well too. Target the shorelines that have rock or wood, as these will hold the most brim.

Eric Aldrich is an outdoor writer, marketing specialist and bass angler. Reports are based on personal experience and permission from a close network of friends. I would love to hear from our readers so please email me at esaldrich@yahoo.com or visit my website at aldrichfishing.com. Remember to take a kid fishing!


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