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Aldrich: Fish for bass in the morning and crappie at night

POSTED: July 16, 2009 7:10 p.m.

Lake temperatures are in the mid 80’s. Lake Lanier’s water level is staying consistent at just slightly below 1,066 feet, which is still just five-feet below a full pool of 1,071 feet. Lake Lanier is clear on main lake and in the creeks. The Chattahoochee River is clear. Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

The topwater action for bass fishing has been a good deal slower for me this past week. Some reports are still saying there is still decent action on top but I am not personally finding it as much in the past two weeks.

There has been a decent morning topwater bite on Zoom Flukes and SPRO Dawg 100s, but as the sun gets high we have had the best results working subsurface baits like worms, swim baits, buck tails and fish head spins.

There are some spotted bass in the 10- to 15-foot range that are just keepers or smaller. These bass will bite jig head and drop shot rigged worms but the better fish are coming from 20-30 feet in the brush and around rock piles and drop offs.

That being said, don’t completely rule out shallower fish or topwater action because some people say it’s working for them. Also try fishing Fish Head Spins or swim baits around and over the brush piles to catch the active spotted bass.

The drop shot bite, and even downlined spot tail minnows in brush piles from 20- to 30-feet deep has been very consistent.

This type of fishing does require a boat and quality electronics with GPS. My Humminbird 777c and 797c with side imaging serve me very well when targeting these deeper bass.

Almost every point or hump on Lake Lanier has at least one brush pile and many have more than one. Anglers in the know always look for the "spot on the spot" which means that each good area usually contains a sweet spot that consistently holds the majority of the fish.

Often the sweet spots are only the size of an average boat or pick up truck bed, and if you can position yourself over the best area you can often catch several fish from that same spot. I suggest that if you have a good area spend some time with your Minn Kota trolling motor and slowly dissect and find the sweet spots.

Spot tail minnows will produce better than just about any technique in summer. You can cast these native baitfish from the bank with a slip bobber or position your boat above brush piles and hook them on a down line or drop shot rig. Use circle hooks when using live minnows to ensure that the bass you catch can be easily released.

After dark, work large black spinner baits, deep running crank baits or a black SPRO K-Finesse Jig with a large trailer from 5-25 feet on main lake points.

Striper fishing remains very good and these stripers are on a deep-water summer pattern. Continue to watch your Humminbird Electronics and target depths of 30- to 50-feet deep over 60- to 90-foot bottoms just off the river channels both up and down lake.

Some anglers are saying the best bite is first thing in the morning, while others are doing better during the middle of the day.

Fish blueback herring on a downline and set your baits just above where you mark fish on your finders. The power reeling technique is still a good way to trigger bites when you see stripers on your graph that are not bitting.

Drop your live bait below the schools and reel it back up through them quickly. Make sure to buy plenty of lively bait and keep ice and salt on them during the day. Also use about a one- to two-ounce sinker to get these bluebacks down quickly through the hotter surface layers of water to the cooler thermocline. Stop by Hammond’s for inexpensive bluebacks and for up to date fishing advise.

Trolling in the river channels is a little better this week.

Fish a two-ounce SPRO Bucktail tipped with a Dura Grub, Hyper Tails or even try using a live blueback herring. Set these down with a Cannon Downrigger at around 30-feet deep. You can also use lead core line at eight to nine colors. Run your boat at around 2-3 miles an hour for best results.

Here is a tip from one reader: He says he has been catching some big stripers way up in the rivers in the headwaters of the lake from the bank. He said I could share the info but not the exact location.

Crappie fishing remains good after dark. Keith Pace, owner of Micro Spoons and Jigs still says they are catching good stringers from lighted boats docks and bridge pilings. He uses a Hydro Glow light on the bridges and fishes crappie minnows at five- to 15-feet deep. Check in with Hammond’s for crappie minnows at 89 cents a dozen.

The trout on the Chattahoochee River are biting both in the river and up in the mountains.

We have had enough rain this year to greatly improve the trout fishing up in the WMAs.

Also get out to the Chattahoochee River this week early enough to beat the float traffic. Use Rooster Tails or live earthworms (where permitted by law).

 



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